Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gotta love Coinstar

Today we hauled our crazy family to Walmart to make use of the Coinstar machine. We had amassed a whole lot of change through garage sales and the gathering of change in prior years (that's the beauty of having an adoption process drag on for three years), and also through the change drive we held at our church these past couple months. Now, Coinstar charges 9% on each dollar counted, which is a little steep when you're trying to raise money and every penny matters. We had hoped to avoid Coinstar, but as it turns out, banks these days simply don't work with large quantities of change or won't do so without charging you for it, so the folks who invented Coinstar have themselves a nice corner on the turn-your-change-into-usable-money market. And we had ourselves over 1000 quarters, 1000 dimes, 700 nickels, 6000 pennies, and one half-dollar for good measure. What's a busy family to do? Well, we certainly weren't going to roll it all ourselves. So, we spent a good half hour feeding that greedy little machine all that change, never mind the horrendous clamor it made and the audience that sometimes gathered. And what did we have to show for it? Why, $467.76. Not too shabby!

Oh, and I got my Sleepy Wrap in the mail today! Its like a Moby Wrap, but a lighter weight material...and cheaper. I wore it around the house for a good half-hour...sadly empty, of course. (Though I was tempted to try it with the cat...the snuggly one, not the evil one.) It was a sort of boost in the right direction for the 31 days ahead. Ack! 31 days!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

34 Days and Feeling Random

Sitting and waiting and planning for a baby girl halfway around the world is kind of awkward. I mean, I feel so powerless. And confused. There are days when I think, "I want my little girl!" But then I'm quick to realize that she's NOT my little girl. Then I wonder if I'm even doing the right thing, taking a child away from her home country. I envy the travel groups that leave on nearly a weekly basis, all the while wondering how strange it is to be part of a never-ending tide of white people washing in and out of Africa, babies in tow. However, I've read books like, There is no Me Without You, so I know the need is real. Its not just a matter of overbearing Americans taking advantage of a surplus of babies. Adoption may not be the answer, but it is an answer for a developing country struggling to take care of its own. So then I'm back to just waiting.

I'm moving forward in the faith that we will pass our court date, that we will be traveling to Ethiopia sometime in April, and we will be bringing this little girl home. We are working on the nursery, bit by bit. Today I bought two of those unattractive, but necessary, passport/money pouches for when we travel. (I passed on the one I could tuck into my unmentionables. I mean, do they really expect me to reach into my undergarments when I want to buy a Coke at the airport? Or make a pitstop at a bathroom each time I need to get out my passport?) Its not much, but its a small step I can take and feel like we're making progress.

Speaking of progress, we've copied Autumn and Brian , who created a chain of verses to count down to their courtdate. I know at a certain point I'll think that the month is passing quickly, like when our mid-month bills are due, but right now I just need something to show for it.

Our fundraising is essentially complete -- praise God! -- so for the time being we have a "huge" chunk of money sitting in the bank, mocking me because I can't use it on anything until we pass court! (Sure would be nice to have that much for those mid-month bills... ;) ) But I'm trying to stay in the right frame of mind and let it instead be a reminder of God's provision. He's provided the money, He'll see the rest through to completion too.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." Heb 10:23

I can't wait to wear that ugly little pouch and hold that little girl!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Good Medicine

The last week has been a blur of cold and flu medicines. Tuesday night and Wednesday it was Tylenol for the body aches and fever. Thursday added a decongestant to the mix. By Friday, the decongestant had caused me to, well, decongest, so that called for something to curb a runny nose and make me sleep. Nyquil took care of Saturday and Sunday. Just as Sunday morning seemed to finally bring relief, the youngest woke up with a 102 degree fever.

The last several days have not been without blessings, however. I couldn't sleep Thursday night, so I decided to check my email. What a surprise it was to find an email from Autumn, who had traveled the week before to be united with her son. She wrote to say that she saw our little girl while in Ethiopia and proceeded to tell us all about that experience. She said that our little M is looking happy and healthy, and that she (Autumn) gave M our love. Thank you so much, Autumn! It made our week!

The weekend was spent doing our best to help out my wonderful mother-in-law, who had put together a huge garage sale to raise money for our travel expenses. Many family and friends donated stuff to sell, we threw in all our BOY stuff that we certainly won't need anymore, and the Lord sent dry weather for nearly the whole weekend. Not only did we sell off a whole lot of stuff, we met a lot of interesting people (including a man from Somalia, a man from Yemen, and a family from Kenya), AND we made nearly $1600! Praise God!

We also received a few other donations from friends -- thank you so much, everyone! I can't describe how much it means to us...all the kindness and prayers. It will be such a special thing to tell our little girl how many people were involved in bringing her home.

Many families had their court dates last week -- and passed the first time through! This is very encouraging news. Only 43 days until its our turn!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

To Ethiopia with Love

These two handsome fellows...

Plus these two crazy people...

Wish they were traveling with this bundle of love...

To our baby girl in Ethiopia!

Yes, we finally were able to take the pictures to go in the album to be sent (along with a loved-up lovie) to our little one. I think they're our best pictures ever. Seriously. She's going to be shocked when she finally meets us!

Friday, February 6, 2009

And Again We Wait

The good news: We learned our court date today!

The bad news: Its not until March 31st.

If we pass court the first time through, this means we will travel some time in April. The longer wait for court could bring with it the benefit of the Ethiopian officials having more time to get all the neccessary papers in order, which would increase our chances of passing. This is, of course, our prayer.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sitting Still

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor deem these days -- these waiting days -- as ill!
The One who loves thee best, who plans thy way,
Hath not forgotten thy great need today!
And, if He waits, 'tis sure He waits to prove
To thee, His tender child, His heart's deep love.

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Thou longest much to know thy dear Lord's will!
While anxious thoughts would almost steal their way
Corrodingly within, because of His delay --
Persuade thyself in simple faith to rest
That He, who knows and loves, will do the best.

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor move one step, not even one until
His way hath opened. Then, ah then, how sweet!
How glad thy heart, and then how swift thy feet
Thy inner being then, ah then, how strong!
And waiting days not counted then too long.

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
What higher service could'st thou for Him fill?
'Tis hard! ah yes! But choicest things must cost!
For lack of losing all how much is lost!
'Tis hard, 'tis true! But then -- He giveth grace
To count the hardest spot the sweetest place.

-- J. Danson Smith, from today's reading in Streams in the Desert (Cowman)

**Dedicated to those who is looking like court dates will be a long way off for many of us...and to those who suffer...a family from our agency was informed today that their long-awaited baby girl has passed away. Please keep them in your prayers. Please continue to pray for little Abby, who tonight is struggling just to breathe....

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dude, Where's My Court Date?

Wow. This part of the journey is agonizing. Its like being pregnant, but the doctor tells you that your due date could be sometime in the next three to five months. Certainly it doesn't carry with it the physical discomfort like the last stages of pregnancy, but this stage of waiting is emotionally painful. Prior to reaching this point I reassured myself that our life is busy enough to keep my mind and heart engaged for the (hopefully) three month interval between our referral and court date/travel approval. That is proving true -- but only to a point. After the boys are in bed each night --and hubby is working -- I find myself aimlessly thinking of nesting-type things that I want to do, but am unsure if I really should be doing them...yet. After all, so much is still up in the air.

I am huge on planning things ahead of time. Spontaneity was something I learned only through marriage and having two little boys. To me when something can be planned ahead of time, its so much better. I can relax. The fact that we may or may not be travelling to Africa some unknown time in the next two to three months wreaks havoc on my planner. (Let's not forget the poor grandmothers, who are essentially "on call" for two to three months from now, as they get joint-custody of our boys when we travel.)

A phone call regarding our court date is what we're waiting for now...and it essentially could come any day now, I think. (The phone call, not the court date.) Its been a month since our referral. Not all that long ago, parents weren't told of their court date until it was over. God was merciful when He had that policy changed in time for our turn through the process. I don't know how I'd stay sane with absolutely nothing to put on my calendar!

In the meantime, we're slowly getting the office/future bedroom cleared out. We bought a dresser at IKEA a few days ago. The box has been riding around in our van ever since, as we essentially haven't got a spot to put it. (Yes, its packed in a two-foot by four-foot box and we don't have anywhere to put it!) We had decided to buy it anyway, because it was just one of those days when Mama needed some sort of forward movement, lest she hole up in the her bedroom for the rest of the evening. It got us out of the house and IKEA is just so was just a good thing to do. And when you've got two to three more months to go (on the short side) you take what you can get.

But, seriously, we need a court date!