The Mom Quilt for Mercy House

Long time readers of my blog know that for a year, we dreamed of an African daughter. God had other plans, but Africa will always have a special place in our hearts. I have followed Kristen Welch’s blog for years, pre-ordered and then devoured her book, Rhinestone Jesus, and have closely followed the story of Mercy House‘s ministry in Kenya.

The staff and young women at Mercy House have had to spend an outrageous amount of time, money, and other resources to bring in water for drinking, cooking, washing, etc. I am so excited and honored to be a part of this project, The Mom Quilt, to raise money to build a well in the Mercy House property. It will be a blessing to the entire community.

My own story is included in the e-book, plus a story from one of my very best friends. It has been so fun to work on this project with her and all of the other amazing women! You can CLICK HERE to read more about the project, or click the image below to order your own copy. You’ll laugh, cry, and ultimately feel encouraged by the shared journeys in the book.

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Goodbye & Hello

Goodbye & Hello

Good bye, Ethiopia. Hello, China!

After many weeks of earnest prayer, research, and conversation; we have decided to withdraw our dossier from Ethiopia and pursue a special needs adoption from China. At the beginning of these conversations, I felt panicked about what to do, and thought my heart would be broken to leave Ethiopia. We are definitely leaving parts of our hearts there, and I did shed some tears, but now we’re both to a place of total peace and excitement about the decision.

If you had asked me a few years ago if I’d be adopting a special needs child from China right now, I would have said no – this is obviously God’s plan and not ours, and we can’t wait to see where He is going to take us!

Once again, can we ask for your prayers? We’re finalizing our special needs request right now, and crave discernment for that decision. We also need prayer for continued financial provision. Thank you!

you know you have an awesome social worker when…

you know you have an awesome social worker when...

I’ve been fairly wound up about everything adoption related lately. I’m trying to live up to my word of the year (STILL) and succeeding at some times, while failing miserably at others. I emailed and called several places this week for information and didn’t get anything returned before the weekend. Ethiopia was supposed to make an announcement this week and didn’t.

Finally, this Friday afternoon at 5:20 DC time (where our agency is located), when I knew that I wasn’t going to hear another word from anyone until Tuesday at the earliest, I emailed our social worker and told her what I was thinking. I do sometimes send her anxious emails (usually at 2 am – it’s our running joke, because she is often also up emailing at 2 am), but this one was mostly factual.

Just before Wild Kratts time (when our kids would all be distracted!), she called me, and we talked for quite a while.

You know you have an awesome social worker when you get off the phone with her feeling much more sane, relaxed, and like you just talked with a friend who “gets” you.

Are you reading this, awesome social worker? I’m thankful for you.

So, there still isn’t a plan, but we’re working toward one in a way that doesn’t make me want to have a panic attack. I’m back at a place now where I can BE STILL.

Melkam Gena!

Melkam Gena!  It’s Christmas Day in Ethiopia.

It’s also one year since we sent our application to adopt from there.  Such a whirlwind of a year.  We’re excited to see where the Lord will take our adoption journey, even if that place ends up being thousands of miles from where we expected to go.

2013 – adoption review & update

2013 - adoption review & update

2013 was a whirlwind of parenting, friends, paperwork, and fundraising. It was a year that God stretched our faith and showed us (once again) that He keeps his promises. We have been so blessed by the support of our family, friends, and community with our fundraising this year. We have about 40% of our adoption funded. That leaves a lot more money to earn, raise, and save, but it’s a really good chunk to have under our belts. So many people have prayed for us and encouraged us this year. We feel so loved, and we appreciate all of you more than we can say.

2014 is on the horizon, and the future of Ethiopian adoption is so uncertain. In the next couple of weeks, the Ethiopian Parliament will present a tentative plan for international adoption moving forward. This is terrifying for our many friends who already have children waiting for them in Ethiopia, and unsettling for the rest of us waiting families, who have so much emotional energy, time, and, yes, money invested into adoptions from this place that we have grown to love. The most important consideration, of course, is that if Ethiopia disbands international adoption without an aggressive new plan for dealing with poverty and orphans, then there will be literally thousands of children who will never have any hope of having a mother, father, and forever family. The only word for that is: heartbreaking.

We have dreamed of having an Ethiopian daughter for a year now. We have visualized her, and smile so fondly at little girls who may be her age when we bring her home, and who may look a little like her. We have researched Ethiopian girls’ names, learned about caring for African skin and hair, and done countless hours of reading and researching on bringing home a toddler from a broken past and with a different race than our own.

But now we may be faced with a decision. We may be forced to change countries. Our hearts are in Africa, but there are not really any other viable programs in Africa, unless God has a radical plan that He has not yet unveiled to us.

We know that this political unrest was not a shock to Him, and He knows exactly who our daughter will be, exactly where and when she’ll be born, and exactly when she’ll come home to our family. We have to pray earnestly and wait on Him. Right now, all of the information is numbing, and I have absolutely no words to pray.

My word for 2014 is going to be: STILL. Like Psalm 46:10. I want to learn to be still and know that He is in control. My worrying, fretting, frantically searching for every bit of information I can, trying to make my husband talk in depth about every possibly option… do absolutely not one bit of good. I have to learn to be still. It will be a year of praying, fasting, and learning to let go and truly let Him lead.

We appreciate your prayers for the decision-makers in Ethiopia, for the orphaned children there, for all of the families with children waiting to be brought home, and for those of us families with hard decisions to make.

Doro Wot for the Crock Pot!

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I modified my Doro Wot recipe for the slow cooker! Obviously, it’s a bit American-ized, but retained some Ethiopian flair, and was super easy.  Bonus:  All 5 members of my family liked it!  That doesn’t happen very often.

Ingredients:
2T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2  six oz cans tomato paste
3c chicken broth
1T fresh garlic
1t black pepper
1T red pepper flakes (or 2t berbere*)
3-4 large chicken breasts
6 hard-boiled eggs (poked with fork)

Put it all in the slow cooker and cook on high 6 hours or low 8-10 hours, or until chicken is done.  Shred chicken coarsely, stir, and let it all cook about 30 more minutes.  Serve with Injera** if available, or with pita bread or naan.

*Berbere is a traditional Ethiopian spice.  I haven’t used it yet, but have heard it’s awesome!
**Injera is Ethiopian Flat Bread.  I tried to make it once and almost caught my kitchen on fire.  I’ve read on other Ethiopian adoption blogs that it’s pretty hard to make in a US kitchen, but you can buy it online or at some multicultural stores.

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what to do & what NOT to do.

what to do & what NOT to do.

Our wonderful social worker encouraged me this week to, “Do you best to wait patiently! Enjoy your babies now, and the right day will come for your baby from Ethiopia!”

We are doing that. It would be silly to do anything else with this undetermined wait time. But a sweet reminder that I should write in a baby book or journal somewhere.

What I should NOT do is go to youtube and watch “gotcha day” videos. No, really. Don’t do it. I thought, “I’ll just watch one,” and an hour later, I was still watching them; a sobbing, puffy-eyed mess.

But, I do ache to be in Africa. Maybe one of us will get to go there before we go for our “meetcha” and “gotcha” days. We’ll see. Until then…

sent!!

sent!!

We sent our Dossier today!! Every document has been pre-approved, and the funds are available. God is so good!

The next step is for two people from our agency to double/triple check to make sure it’s perfect, then they’ll send it over to the Ethiopian embassy to get translated. Then in a couple of weeks…on to Ethiopia!

To tell the truth, it was actually pretty hard to let go of it and let another person be responsible for it. Prayers for a safe arrival in Virginia and then Ethiopia, please!!

an Africa day

I’m having what we call an “Africa day.”  A day where my heart and mind are 8340 miles away in East Africa.  My mind is filled with orphans, who are now young adults, from the Rwandan genocide; and for birth moms who couldn’t raise their babies.

I want to be there.  I want to smell the smells, I want to hear the sounds, I want to see the beauty and the devastation, I want to put my feet on the ground.

Just a little bit ago I was hugging my daughter, who was giggling, and who has never experienced anything other than love and warmth, while my heart was heavy for the babies who have experienced such different things in their precious little lives.

Will you pray with me?

“God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing…”
Psalm 68:6

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21:4