Friday, June 29, 2012


Our daughter (forever and always) . . .


Merhawit is officially our daughter! 

Just wanted to let you (who have been praying and hoping and wishing) know the news!

We can't bring her home for awhile, but we know she will one day sit at our table and play in our yard and walk in our neighborhood with us. 

Thank you for encouraging us!

One more picture :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hello from Ethiopia!
Wow! I will try to catch you up on our travels. For those who don't know, on our way to Dallas my beautiful '93 Suburban broke down on 635, right before 75. Thank God that when the fuel pump broke we were by an exit and coasted off the road. We coasted to an Exxon station that had a mechanic. We left our car there and my friend's sister was able to come get us and our 7 bags and take us to the airport hote. God was so evident.
We flew to Washington DC the next day and spent the afternoon wandering around DC. As wonderful and romantic as it sounds, it was pretty hard to get into town and to see a whole lot in a short time. It probably ruined my kids from ever wanting to go back and sightseeing. Oh well.
The next day we boarded Ethiopian Airlines for a very long flight. Not much sleep!
We met Sweet M yesterday for the first time and it was pretty amazing. She is so cute and has a sweet smile. She was shy and maybe a little sad and confused. Her birthmother is staying at the Care Center and she has been spending time with her.
Today we met with the birthmother. It was extremely emotional for me. Knowing what she is doing for her daughter (and I know that it is for her daughter) it very humbling. She was there the whole time today and we took lots of pictures. Greg and I kind of kept a little distance just out of respect for her. And that was okay, we know that there will be plenty of time to get to know our daughter.
It is surreal that this is all happening right now. We go to court tomorrow and hopefully will pass. If not tomorrow, we know it will happen.
The kids, Greg and our driver Solomon have been having the best time at the Care Center. I think my kids want to live there and play ball all the time. The children at the center are delightful. Beautiful and full of love. It is a privilege to meet them and get to know them a little and to know that the majority have families.
We love our driver, Solomon! Yesterday within a few minutes of meeting him both of my kids threw up. Solomon insisted on cleaning it up.
Today he took us to the meat market. He loves raw meat! Aidan ate some and wanted to keep eating it. I, on the other hand, was trying not to throw up. He did order us non-adventurous kind wonderful beef tips and injera.
This is a very choppy blog, kinda without feeling. I think everything is a bit overwhelming and I am trying to process it. It is really too much to feel at one time. The poverty, meeting Sweet M and her birthmother, and the time difference. One thing I can tell you with deep feeling is that the people of Ethiopia are deeply sincere and kind . . . wanting to do for you at every turn. Lovely and humbling.
Okay, need to go. Will update again. We are thankful and happy.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Control Freak

I am a control freak, I might just be a freak that likes to control EVERYTHING! And as I type those words tears come to my eyes because I have felt the disarray being this controlling has on my body, mind, spirit and family. And, it's not the kind of control that cares about what you wear or eat (I should be one of those), it's the kind that likes to control circumstances and events so that it all works out in my favor, for my purposes. It is the kind of control that puts my palm toward the Lord and says, "Hey, um, I got this . . . let me figure this one out. That way I will know what is coming down the pike. No surprises." It is ugly and lacking in faith. And when the faith is wavering so is the peace.
We are this close (can't you see my fingers?), this close to getting Sweet M. Today we were supposed to find out that her mom has definitely decided to go forward with her decision to relinquish Sweet M. She was to appear before a judge and let him know, and then we would know that this girl we have grown to love would become ours after our court date next week. But, yesterday we got a message saying the courts would be closed today (Friday) and her court appointment is rescheduled for Monday. Monday is the day we fly to Washington on the first leg of our trip to ET. Once we are on that plane to Washington, there is no plane ticket refund. Once we are on that plane we hoped to be just over the moon to be traveling together as a family to meet Sweet M. And anticipating doing a little afternoon sightseeing in Washington. I wanted to get a great night sleep on Sunday, so that I would be rested on Monday for that fun day. I wanted to be relieved and happy and carefree. Do you see how very ugly this is?? I mean how self centered and controlling. And it is ugly and not only because it is full of selfish controlling, but because it is full of fear. I cannot let go because I am scared to death of what might happen. Pretty funny since in reality I don't control it anyway. I am flat out afraid that the birth mom is going to change her mind, afraid that we are not going to meet our Sweet M (who is really not ours),  not going to bring her home to love her. I am afraid that we have thrown our hearts out there ready to love love love and we are going to be the one in however many that all the bad happens to.
Really, what I am doing is choosing not to believe. It boils down to belief. Is God's heart for me good or not? I know enough about enough to know not everything works out all of the time. You know, this throwing  my heart back out there has reignited this something inside of me that grew before in the form of another sweet girl inside of my tummy. The hopes, the excitement for a daughter. The love of a little girl. I carried her for 29 weeks before she was born and died. She had Trisomy 18. So, there is a fear that Sweet M's story will stop short of my arms. And it might. And this is where I either believe or I don't believe. It is that simple. Is God in control? Is he GOOD? Does he love me even if I never have a daughter? Does he love me? PERIOD? I mean the right answer is YES!!! The way it plays out in my daily life is "Heck no, we have been down this road before . . . I will take it from here, thank you very much."
I am realizing this for what it is right now. It is lack of belief. I can focus on all of the things that could go wrong, I can remember the pain of what has gone on wrong, or I can remember who God is and what he says and how he shows himself to me in such kind ways. I am telling you he is long suffering, this God. So, if you are still reading I am going to remember the ways God has worked and blessed. Knowing full well this portion of our journey could end in heartache and grief. But I do believe it is not the end of the story. Most of you have met my bubbly, kind-hearted 8 year old, Josiah, who was part of the story surrounding Gracie's birth and death.
Since God told us to adopt a little girl we have seen his mercies:
He made it very clear that we were to adopt.
He put people around us who have adopted other Ethiopian children. (Isn't that kinda crazy in Tyler, Texas to have so many families who have kids from ET?)
He placed on several of my friends hearts (some of whom I hardly knew) to host a dinner for us that raised a large part of our agency fees.
He used one of my best friend's business to bless our family with a chunk of change towards our adoption.
We have an envelope of beautiful notes for Sweet M that hopefully she will read one day and know how much she was prayed for and loved way before she stepped foot on American soil.
We have friends who have walked closely, prayed fervently and spoken boldly (and challenged us) into our lives regarding this adoption.
We have friends who travel to Ethiopia and the timing worked out PERFECTLY that they were able to go visit Sweet M TWO times in May. She was held, loved, and literally prayed over. She was told that she has a family who loves her, that she has a gentle father and two fun brothers and a mom who can't wait to hold her. She was given hope. (That gift was such kindness from God)
We were given very expensive shots for free from a friend who loves us and has a heart for orphans.
We have bags, medicine, Birr, pillows, shoes, more bags, a video camera (and more) that we wouldn't have if it wasn't for the kindness of friends' generosity.
We have dear friends who have prayed over us for this trip and I know they will till the end and then they will keep praying. 
We have about 100 pictures of Sweet M. (I hope I get to post them soon and tell you her real name. She is so beautiful, with a smile that will make you smile)
These (and there are more) are evidences that God is good, that he is in control, that he follows through, that he has a plan and that his ways are so much bigger and better than my measly control freak habits. Even if this all falls through and Sweet M goes back to her momma . . .is there a better place for her to be??? God will still have a plan for us. He still loves us and will care for us. He is good. I have seen it. I don't always never get it, but I can't deny that he is SOVEREIGN.
It doesn't mean I don't feel anxiety anymore, but it means that instead of freaking out (at least for the moment) I am going to remember what he says and not what I feel.
"I believe, help my unbelief"

Thursday, June 14, 2012


We have a court date!!! Whoohooooo!! We are so happy, scared, thankful, blessed, and overwhelmed!
It went down like this: Sunday I emailed our Caseworker to ask her a few random questions (cause I am a need answers kinda girl) and Monday morning the phone rang. The number was a Colorado number and I knew it wasn't my In-Laws.
Me: Hello?
CW: Good Morning Lydia (I don't say a word, am holding my breath). Well, I thought it would be easier to answer your questions over the phone instead of email. (My breath let out and my heart sank to my toes) But first I wanted to let you know YOU HAVE A COURT DATE!!!
Me: (Screaming, Laughing) WE HAVE A COURT DATE? WE HAVE A COURT DATE! WE ARE GOING TO ETHIOPIA! WE HAVE A COURT DATE! (Repeat at least 3 more times)
CW: June 29th for your family to appear in court and June 22 for her birth family to appear before the Judge. (Sheer panic and trembling)
So that is about the gist of it. I hung up the phone, screamed some more and then realized I had no idea what happens next, so I called my caseworker back three more times. :)

What this means is that Sweet M's birth family will go before the judge and completely relinquish her rights. (Cannot imagine and I feel so mixed) Then a week later we (our whole family) will stand before the judge and be asked a series of questions and then (if we pass) she will officially become our daughter.

This is a big deal, this is an answer to prayer. We were praying to get in before we are to go to Colorado in July for the yearly reunion of my husbands family and especially before the courts close in (usually August and September) for rainy season, which would delay everything for months. So now we are in lock down, get it done mode. My problem most of the time is I don't know what I am supposed to be getting done, so I walk around like a zombie daydreaming about meeting Sweet M or I scramble and get a few things done or I bark at everyone and cry. It's not really pretty.

When I slow down and reflect (for very short periods) I am blown away by God's goodness, patience and kindness toward us. If you read my last blog you know that we basically lost faith and had almost given up when Sweet M's face showed up on our computer. He changed our hearts, restored our faith. Then, as we have waited anxiously for a court date, he was really the kindest. I will make it a separate blog entry, this kindness of God.

We are still trying to raise the final money for our adoption expenses. I had no idea that getting vaccines would cost one of your arms. (We are thankful that dear friends have graciously offered to give us the two biggies for free). Just one more example of God's grace. Anyway, we lack around $8000,00. If anyone would like to join with us in this last stretch of bringing Sweet M home, please see the sidebar. And if you do join with us, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We truly are just God's vessel to love, care for and bring up this child to know him. I say that sincerely because I know this is a little crazy, we are not spring chickens and feel quite ill-equipped to raise even our two children. But we know God told us to do it. So we are. We are trusting God knows exactly what he is doing!