Friday, August 28, 2009

Is this really happening?

Thursday I was working on locating how to request a form that is related to our fingerprints. I took a deep breath as I was about to dive into, what seemed, like a bottomless pit of the automated telephone options on the other side of the government phone number I was about to dial. Okay, here I go..................If this then press 2, and then on I went to press 3, and 2 and 1 and 3 and 2 and 1 and then it was a dead end so I decided to press 0. I had been writing down my path just in case I ever needed to get back here. The phone actually rang and a live person answered! I explained what I was looking for and he knew the answer but wanted to make sure. He forwarded me to another live person! This guy was the most helpful government worker I have ever spoken to on the phone! (I'm not saying there are not others out there, my husband is also a government worker. This is just from my experience.) I was shocked at the great service I was receiving. He was patient, calm, helpful, apologetic for any wait time and double checking himself with the info he was providing me. He walked me through the website to find the forms I needed and then made sure I had them filled out correctly! He explained exactly what the letter we needed would look like and the precautions they take with Foreign Adoption requests so that the letter is as acceptable as possible to other countries. He also explained the 1-8 week wait time and reassured me that when these forms come in they do them the same day and get them back out. He then gave me his personal desk phone number and said to call him once our prints were done and he would look for it and get it back out to us. WOW! I then thanked him, asked for his name and the name and number of his boss so I could express my gratitude for the incredible service I had just received. He supplied me with the info and I made the call immediately. I had to leave a message so I made it a long one and left my contact info so I could be reached. I totally consider this to be answers to prayers from so many of you who are praying for things to go smooth and quick. Thank you sooo much!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting Closer

Today we were assigned a social worker to complete our home study and should hear from her very soon. We were advised that this adoption is on a fast track, which was very encouraging. Both agencies are motivated to get this child home. Yippee! According to the adoption agency, Ethiopian courts are closed until the beginning of October, but if the Dossier is received in Ethiopia by the time court reopens a November court date could be possible. WOW!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Last medical form...

...Check a

Woo Hoo!

God's faithfulness

So you know how there are things in life you pray for and wait and wait and may not feel like any answers are coming. I've had one thing in particular like this. I haven't been focusing on it, just praying here and there and waiting or forgetting for the moment or putting it on the back burner. Well, on Sunday morning out of the blue, no warning, my prayer was answered after 3 years. I never saw it coming. I'm writing this to show how faithful God is even when we push our own prayers aside. He's heard and he has not forgotten. I am so thankful. In the midst of the adoption busyness God's also bringing things together for my own needs as well. So cool!

Parenting Class and a Celebration

Saturday we attended our second and last required parenting class. Once again it was very enjoyable and informative. We now have new friends with the common thread of adoption. We are also excited to be able to check another box off the list. We are waiting on 3 items now to either come in the mail, results to be turned in and one appointment to be completed. Woo Hoo! We are plowing through.

In the evening we were excited to join our friends in celebrating their adoption from Ethiopia at their fundraiser dinner and auction. We went as a family to enjoy the experience. The entire evening was full of a slide show, traditional music, silent auction, and dessert auction. The girls did very well. We fed them dinner ahead of time and explained that we wanted them to try some of the traditional food that was served. They did try it and were good sports about it. We'll keep working on them and find something the whole family will enjoy. The evening was great exposure for them. What was even more exciting was to see so many people come together to support our friends and their son. The goal of the evening was met and it was a success all around. This coming Friday our friends will be traveling to pick up their son! We are so happy for them.

An unexpected call and God's humor

Do you know those days where something good or something not so great happens in every aspect of your day whether it be with family members, your home, your work, etc. You are watching your day pinball between the good, bad and ugly hoping it will end with the good. Friday was one of those days. I was working to focus on the good since it's great and trying to not let the rest bother me. Needless to say I was emotionally spent and needed a nap that was not going to happen.

In the midst on the difficulties the phone rang. I actually don't really know why I answered it...long distance I don't know...busy cleaning up a situation...but I answered. To my surprise it was the Executive Director of Chrysalis House, our Fresno agency. I was totally caught off guard and trying to process what was happening. I collected myself and was able to form coherent sentences. He was calling to welcome us to the agency and chat about our son a bit. We spent a good amount of time going over the information they know about Samuel and his possible needs. Both agencies wanted to make sure we were informed and thinking about what kind of services we would need to pursue once he is ours and home in the US. There were no surprises and nothing that would change our decision. I then also shared the resources within our family, friends and community that would be available to us upon Samuel's arrival. The Directors response was, "Wow! We wanted to make sure you were ready with a team when you return home...sounds like you have an army waiting." Yep, we sure do. He then also expressed their commitment to our case and how excited they were to be working with us. We feel the same about them. They have been a wonderful agency to work with as well.

So soon after the call the pinball shot back into a difficult area. I immediately called in some prayer support. Today was a day that needed extra prayer for sure. Once my distress signal was heard I went back to the task at hand...frosting 6 dozen cupcakes for 2 separate parties. I was going through the motions of completing the task at hand while processing the days events when my eyes were opened. I was frosting cupcakes for our friends birthday. He wanted cupcakes frosted yellow with happy faces on them made out of candy. All of a sudden as I am mentally reaching deep to find my content, peaceful place, I look at the table below me and I have over a dozen happy faces staring at me. How could I not smile? I got the message found my peaceful place and pressed on with the days tasks. Thankfully the rest of the day was fine, all the tasks were complete and I slept good that night. In the midst of this wonderfully exciting and crazy season of life it's so comforting to be able to see God in the details whether they are big, small or frosting.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A "Picture" of baby Samuel

Since we are not allowed to post or distribute a picture of of Samuel until the Adoption is final, I asked Chloe to draw her best picture of Samuel. I don't know if you can make it out, but Chloe wrote the words "I love you " on the left side. Children are so precious!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Today...YAY...I'm on today!

Today was a pretty simple day. This morning I mailed the I-600 to immigration, I think, it went wherever it was addressed to for whatever we need it for. I also had my TB test read. The list is getting shorter. Our eyelids are getting heavier.I also managed to maintain the work we accomplished yesterday. Whew!

Now I can also say,"The blog is current!" I can hardly keep my eyes open to type right now. Okay, I've nodded off 2 times, make that 3...see you tomorrow

Team work

Wednesday, yesterday, was a very productive day. We decided that since Randy was off work early it was a perfect day to organize the house. My very generous friend took a day off work and came to help me purge our home. We literally started at one end of the house and began a yard sale pile, trash pile and laundry pile. This is what we did for 9 hours, floors are clear, clutter is tossed, and I can see my kitchen again. We got through most of the house, threw 4 bags of trash and treasures away from the girls rooms and a few more from the rest of the house. My friend is amazing and we are eternally appreciative for her and all that she adds to our family.

Other things accomplished:
Randy's TB test read
4 Birth Certificates purchased
2 Marriage Licenses purchased
CCI Application mailed

Another productive day! Yay!

I have Oxygen and a blood pressure

Tuesday Randy woke up at O'O' dark thirty to go have lab work done and be on the way to work by O' dark thirty.

Today I also have my physical appointment. I pick up our notary, who is Awesome, and we head out to the appointment. As we are driving I am sharing our story with her since the blog had not been started yet. This was also the first day I left both girls at school and I was by myself, quite an adjustment. I was experiencing a wide range of emotions at this point. As we wait we talk some more and it is just so hard to contain my excitement. We get called back and they do the normal vital signs or at least they tried. The nurse went to take my blood pressure and it would not take. I sat there for at least 7 minutes while the machine tried over and over to find my BP. I was trying very hard to calm down and breath easy. Then she said, "Let's see if you have oxygen."....Nope, no BP and no oxygen. Finally she gave up and said,"Let's go do it manually, my ears have to work." At this point she is baffled. So she does it manually and thankfully my BP was within the normal range. I am quite positive that it was through the roof and God knew it needed some time to come down. Whew! Passed another test.

The remainder of the day I worked on getting the blog up, continued organizing and we worked on the application to CCI, our international agency.


In the midst of the Monday paper chase I needed to call our pediatrician. We need to have a medical form filled out for both our girls saying they are in good health. We just so happened to have a well check-up for our youngest (soon to be middle) daughter, scheduled for Friday August 21st. Imagine that...fingerprints. I was calling to first give them a heads up on the form and that I was bringing a notary. I was also hoping that they would "fit" our oldest daughter in at the same time. So I go through my conversation explaining what we need and why and they say,"Our next opening is on October 20th." Ummm, okay, I'm thinking fast and working to be appropriate. I respond,"that is not going to work. We need this done ASAP." And I go on to use all my buzz words such as 2 months preemie, special needs, expedited process, etc. She is silently looking and I am trying to breath and praying like crazy. Then I hear exactly what I was looking for,"How about Tuesday August 24th?" In my most thankful voice I said,"That will work, put us down." Whew!

So we will have managed to get all our medical forms done in an 8 day period! Yay God!

Once we had everything collected, including our youngest from kindergarten, we decided to take it to our agency, Chrysalis House, just because we could, it would show them again that we are on top of things and it also made sure nothing happened to it before Saturday. We walked in and handed them our next stack of paperwork, they were surprised and happy. As they were recording they received everything they were looking at the computer screen and all of a sudden both of the ladies jaws dropped.

Them-in disbelief," fingerprints." As they are staring at the monitor. "It...took...1 hour and 41 minutes. That's unheard of"

FINGERPRINTS!!!!!! (In more ways than one)

At the same time they received another clients prints that had been holding up their home study for 3-4 MONTHS! MONTHS!

We felt soooo blessed and stunned ourselves.

The rest of our day consisted of organizing and cleaning the house guessed it...more paperwork.

An update from Ethiopia

Monday morning as we were leaving for school this came in from our cousins.

Since Samuel arrived a little over 2 months ago, we have been blessed to see God do so much. His arms no longer shake or tremble consistently in the way they did. His sleep patterns have improved and lengthened, and his eating has certainly increased. He has grown a good bit from that time and we have seen the Lord bring about His joy in Samuel's life. One particular weekend, after a week of really praying for the joy of the Lord in Samuel's heart, we had two specific prayer times over him concerning different struggles that existed. Specifically, he often acted as if he was behind a veil and could not relate to us much at all. With this, he made virtually no eye contact and smiles were non-existent. But we really felt God gave us specific ways to pray, and we know you were much involved in this as well. After the prayer times we praised God as we saw immediate change. Eye contact began to be more frequent, a few smiles began to pop up, and he began to interact with his surroundings like he hadn't before, like a veil had been lifted. Our nanny who helps with Samuel here even came in the day after these prayer times and said, "What happened, he is so different." We praised God for what He had done, and we continue to today. Each day we try to look back over all the Lord has done already in his little precious life, and thank God for His plans and all that we have seen Him do on Samuel's behalf. Again, thank you for joining us in prayer amidst this all.

It's an incredible amount for such a young and small little boy to be enduring, but he is still progressing well. God is certainly carrying him through this. They are not sure what his prognosis will be as to long term effects, but they told us that many of his symptoms would show as what is described with Cerebral Palsy. He continues to get stronger and each day is just a day we hold him up before the Lord for God to give him exactly what He knows Samuel needs that day. God certainly looks down on him with a special love, and we continue to trust the Lord for His best in Samuel's life.

An exciting part of Samuel's journey however is that on the same day his full diagnosis became clear, we learned that our cousins in California had begun the full process to adopt Samuel permanently into their home. They are fully aware of his diagnosis and feel a special love and a call from God to take this step. Please be in prayer for Samuel and their family as God brings their journey's together. Please be praying for all the details and timing of their adoption process, as they are eager to embrace him as a family and to watch the healing that this kind of love can pour in. We know nothing else to do but to thank and praise God for His perfect plan for Samuel and for this special development in the family. He could not be loved anymore already by the family God has raised up and we are in awe of how the Lord brought things together in such timing with his diagnosis. The same day the world would try to deliver Samuel a blow, God answered with His love. And as we know, love never fails!

I'm in awe of the fingerprints again...

Monday Mania

August 17, 2009: The paper chase
On todays agenda: Kids to school, DMV, Live Scan, Physical, and Passports.

Kids to school- check
DMV- check
Live Scan- check
Physical- check
Passports- check
Sanity.....ok check

What a blessing as there was no one else waiting for Live Scan and Passports. We were in out of of both of those places quick! The Live Scan person remembered doing prints for Monica's cousin for his home study not too long ago before he returned to Ethiopia where he and his wife are missionaries. He is the one currentling caring for the baby we are adopting. It really felt like God has cleared the way for us and all was accomplished before needing to pick up our oldest from school. It was a blessing to accomplish all of this in one day minimizing my time off from work! What a gracious God we have.

Lots of sharing

We woke up and realized this is our first Sunday at church since we have announced our plans through calls, facebook and e-mails. Oh, my, be ready with our story. It has been so quick and so filled with God's guiding it has to be told...there's just so much in such a short time. Not one detail can be completely appreciated with out the others. God has moved so swiftly and clearly. Wow! We soon figured out how to say things in "bullet point" format and tried to tell several people at once. While at church we also secured a notary to go with Randy to his appointment. Woo Hoo! The morning was exhausting and given we are running on adrenaline and our hearts are jumping with joy it was emotional on many levels.

After church I had the opportunity to go to a baby shower of a friend of ours. This is especially exciting because they are an adoptive family as well. They are leaving in a couple of weeks to go pick up their some from Ethiopia too! Soooo cool. Our boys are going to be friends. It was an honor to share this special time with her. The afternoon was filled with blessing her in this new adventure, eating some wonderful Ethiopian food and helping her fill her nursery with all the essentials a new mommy needs. We had a great time!

Once I was leaving I was planning in my head what was next. I had a friend who was planning to come help me organize our home but I talked with her and she was not feeling well. So we were going to reschedule for later in the week. I needed to make sure we prepared for the first day of school. I needed to remember that we needed to take them to school in the morning. Thankfully Randy had the day off so we should be okay with this. As I was pulling into the neighborhood I received a text from Randy, "Bio and financial done" Once home I concluded that I need to finish paperwork too and then start working on organizing the house. I also had some time slated to hang out with the girls and prep for school.

Randy went out to get a few things from the hardware store. While he was gone I wanted to finish my paperwork to surprise him. I also made a call to our doctors 24hr nurse service in hopes of making an appointment. A very nice lady answered and I explained our situation and how we needed to get this form filled out quickly. She looked and said,"How about Tuesday at 10am?" My jaw dropped and I was stunned. Through my stuttering in excitement I was able to say,"Yes! I'll take it!" Usually it takes days or weeks to get in....more fingerprints. Once he returned I met him and shared all I had accomplished and the incredible news about my appointment time. Now I just needed to find a notary to go with me.

We now began our nightly routine...get the girls clean and ready for school, lay out clothes and shoes for the next day, read books, tuck them in guessed it....more paperwork. Yes, there is more! We sat down and prepped all the paperwork for the following day. All the applications and forms needed to get everything done and on the way. Whew!

Parenting class and a fun surprise

Our Saturday morning began early. We left our house in time to get to my parents to drop off the girls and photo copy the paperwork we had completed so far. With our paperwork in hand we arrived to our class just before 9am. As we walked in we were greeted by the Adoption Services Manager who teaches the class. We said our hello's and Randy handed her packet which contained 2/3 of the paperwork. She was pleasantly surprised and obviously knew we were not wasting any time. At this point it had been 5 days since the info meeting and 1 day since receiving the home study packet. It was so clear to us that God lined everything up, who were we to not keep up pace. Usually CHI has Info Meetings every 6-8 weeks and the Classes are the same way. We just saved a good chunk of time.

We got settled in class and really it all felt surreal. A whirl wind. Later, when I was telling our friend this she confirmed my feelings, "It should feel surreal! This is fast." Now coming from her makes her statement even more impactful. She has adopted several times and is known for being very driven and efficient in completing paperwork. If we were keeping pace with her or surpassing it...that again is a sign of God's hand in it all.

So back to the class. The others taking the class had very interesting stories. Some had pictures and others had no idea who their child was going to be. We really enjoyed everyone's company. The materials were very interesting. Nothing was not anything we did not know but having an adoption spin on it freshened up the information and it held our attention. Randy also had the opportunity to contribute to the curriculum. The topics before and after lunch were centered around child abuse, recognizing it, effects of, neglect and trauma. The instructor was ready but not...I mean who really wants to have to have to talk about this but unfortunately it's necessary. Randy was able to give input, statistics and answer some questions from his first had experience. We had a couple in the class who are planning to do foster care and then adopt so this was very interesting to them. We made it through the tough topics and moved onto less intense subjects. The class flew by and before we knew it we were done with the first day. Yippee!

As we walked out of the office I looked at him and said, "You're taking Monday off right." at the same time he was saying,"There's no way I can work on Monday." We were in agreement he needed the whole day off instead of just the two hours to take the girls to the first day of school.

We left and headed to get the girls. We arrived at my parents as Aunt Stephie and our oldest were just arriving. Our oldest hurried in the house ahead of us obviously on a mission. Once we were all in and starting to hear about their adventures they had a surprise for us. Aunt Stephie took our oldest shopping for an outfit for her new brother. We opened the box and inside we found a cute little outfit, a long sleeved light blue onesie with sports balls all over and on the front it said "Little Brother" and there were a pair of navy pants to match. So cute. Our first baby gift. Wow! We proceeded to listen to the stories of the day, gather everyone and everything up and head home.

Once home, Randy decided to try to call our doctors 24 hour line and see if he could get an appointment. So he calls and before I know it he comes to me and proudly announces,"I have a physical tomorrow at 10:15." I am stunned, shocked and amazed. Seriously, this Monday that he is taking off anyway...WOW...God is so good.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out with the girls having some family time and a little prep for the first day of school. Bedtime came, we tucked them in and once guessed it....paperwork here we come! I must say I have given Randy a new nickname after these last few days. He is now the "Paper Master". He has done such a great job printing, organizing, reading the fine print, collecting, and supervising the paper I am tremendously grateful. I have been able to just ask what's next and he hands me the next stack to either fill out, initial and sign or proof read. Then I return it and he puts it in it's home. Again, off to bed late to dream of our boy. He is so precious and it makes it all worth it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Follow those fingerprints!

Friday morning we woke up and were ready to turn in the initial application to CHI. Randy was on it. He collected everything and went to deliver it. We thought we were doing good and very excited to get things going. Randy arrived to the CHI and this is what happened.

R-"Here's our application." handing it to them.

CHI-"You know we heard about the CCI Director staying with your cousin and we started to put the pieces together. We figured out that the daughter of our Director is with the CCI Director staying at your cousins. Here's a picture of her holding him a couple of days ago."

I am in awe of how amazing God is as I type this.

So then Randy calls me:



Mo-"Okay, what?" bracing myself

Randy told me the story and I cried. More fingerprints that are undeniably God's

A couple of hours later we received an e-mail from CHI and they wanted us to know that a parenting class is required for a completed Home Study and the next one is TOMORROW and next Saturday! Then after that the next one is not until the end of September. Um okay...clear the schedule find we go! Follow those fingerprints!

So now it's about nap time for the girls. We capitalize on the time and Randy starts printing documents, questionnaires, quizzes and many more things. I begin filling out what I'm supposed to fill out. An hour and a half later Randy is finally done printing and can move on to completing forms himself.

After the girls woke up we had to hit the road again. We had a previous appointment set up that just so happened to be very instrumental in helping us move forward with the adoption process. More fingerprints...Amazing!

We now took a break, went out to dinner and enjoyed our girls remaining waking hours. We were also able to chat some more with them about everything going on. It's so neat so see their personalities come through. Our youngest is all about the social aspect of loving and caring for her brother. Our oldest is all about the logistics. What does he eat? How's he getting here? and Where's he sleeping? We answered all their questions and enjoyed our evening.

Once again after they were tucked safely in bed we got to work. We filled out paperwork late into the night until we could hardly see straight. Now off to bed to be fresh for our parenting class TOMORROW. I'm in awe...

Messing with people and the longest movie of my life

Okay, so now I'm all out of sorts with excitement. We are at a point where we need to leave if we want to get to the movie and have a seat. I get us all going and call Randy to explain what is going on.

Here's how it went:

Mo-"Hi, I talked to CCI and our next step is to do our home study."

R-"Just so you know...I just told you mom!"

Mo-"What?!" in disbelief. "I thought we were going to wait a bit?"

R-"I'm excited! I wanted to mess with her." and proceeded to tell me the conversation.

Once we hung up he continued to call his side of the family and my immediate family while I called my aunts and cousins here in town. Over and over everyone was beyond thrilled. All the conversations began with "You're going to be a ______ again!" and ended with many joyful and ecstatic family members.

We arrived at the movie and got our seats, diveed out snacks and then sat...and watched...and sat...and my mind raced...and sat...and tried to watch...and sat...and it was done! Whew! I'm free! Now I can at least talk. Holy Cow that was torture. I worked to get us out of the theater as fast as possible. I have things to do! We did meet up with our friends and other cousins outside and were treated to a favorite drink of ours. This was very good. I could talk, process and start wrapping my brain around this.

We then went to my parents so the girls could be distracted while I made more phone calls. I called CHI and explained the situation to them and the information we had learned. We spent the rest of the day working on the Application for CHI.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

While we were sleeping

Thursday morning I was armed and ready with the phone for the moment both girls were up. I think they were wondering what was going on and why I would not feed them or turn on the TV until we called. Actually, we had not even officially told them yet. So with them I focused on calling their cousins and talking before it was bedtime in Ethiopia. I wanted to try to wait until evening when we could tell them together.

We called and while we were sleeping they had been busy. The Director of Celebrate Children International (CCI) was able to get more detailed results of Samuel's testing he had been through. The results were not anything that would deter us. We were ready to begin this process. We were given instructions of who to call in Florida and what to explain. So off we went.

I immediately began calling CCI. After a couple of attempts and malfunctioning answering machines I resigned myself to e-mail. I was looking forward to talking to a real person so I was a bit bummed. I sent my e-mail and began our day we had planned. For the next hour I would go between helping the girls get ready for our day and checking e-mail. Back and forth...back and forth...until I received a "Read:" notification from the e-mail. Ahhh Ha! She may be in the office! Sooo of course I had to just try calling one more time before we were off to the movies where I would be limited in my telephone abilities.

To my surprise she answered! I immediately started stuttering through my words and trying to calm myself. I'm sure I left a memorable first impression. I got myself together, formed understandable sentences and was able to communicate. I explained the situation, that my cousin had talked to the Director, used the right buzz words and we were in...literally. Since there is such an urgency to get Samuel out of the country and get this process going she was very helpful. While we were talking she e-mailed me two sets of information to get us started. Given my excitement she wanted to make sure I did not forget anything. Once I opened the e-mails to my surprise she went ahead and made some special provisions that would help speed things up for us. Praise God!

God is in the details

After the initial announcement we needed to find out some important information. Once we all calmed down we moved onto business. This is where we saw God move in an amazing way and we have embraced this as another fingerprint, another confirmation that Samuel was purposed for our family.

Here's how it went:
Us-"So what agency is he with?"

Cousin-"He is registered with Celebrate Children International."

Us-"Okay, so should we just call them and explain the situation."

Cousin-"Actually, the Director of that agency is staying with us right now while she is in the country."

Us-"WHAT! are you serious?"

Cousin-"Ya, I'll go talk to her. This is so exciting! Samuel is Paper ready and Court ready on this side of things. He's ready to be adopted!"

Us-"Obviously that is a God thing."

We were stunned and amazed. As we talked I was writing everything down. As information came up Randy was researching them on the Internet. After a long conversation we wrapped it up. We were going to try to sleep and Joey was going to talk to the Director. Once we woke up we were going to call with the girls so they could talk to their cousins and we could get an update. I think it's funny that we thought we would really sleep. Randy did pretty good. I was pretty much up most of the night. Mind racing, praying, pretending to sleep, and praying some more.

We also asked them to not say anything to family until we e-mailed or called. We wanted to tell everyone ourselves since it was so unexpected. Our cousins were gracious and waited patiently.

The Call

Wednesday, August 12, 2009, I spent the morning trying to reach a cousin in town for the phone information. I was trying to not stalk her or sound too desperate for the information. I was relieved to have the phone set up by midday and antsy to call. Sooo hard to wait. We felt that we should call Ethiopia and tell my cousins first. They had been the ones to pour love and prayers into our little boy and we thought they deserved the news first hand from us. Before we could call we had to attend a birthday party that evening and Randy had a meeting for church. Once again, we met at home, shuffled kids to bed and got set up to call.

The excitement was almost overwhelming. Butterflies returned, shaking hands and cracking voice. We sat on the couch in the living room and started to dial what felt like endless numbers. We had to try a couple of times and finally the call went through. Destiny picked up the phone and it was soooo good to hear her voice. We went through the basic reacquainting, updating and exchanging of information that happens after not really talking for over 2 months voice to voice. We relayed messages and gave updates on families. The kids cycled through saying hellos, I love you's and "horsies" or "hersheys" from the 11 month old. All the while anticipation kept growing. Finally it was time.

We had Joey on the phone as asked him to put us on speaker phone. He was a bit confused it sounded like and we heard him working to find the right button. We then asked if Destiny was right there, she had moved away so we had him find her again and bring her back. Joey again, had no idea what was coming and seemed more curious now. Once they were both there Randy gave them the news.

He said,"There's going to be another cousin!"

They erupted with joy and said,"You're pregnant?!"

He said,"No, we wanted you to know we are pursuing baby Samuel!"


Many fast paced questions followed with us all talking over each other. We got to hear Samuel squawking in the back ground. They gave us updates on how he was doing. They were so relieved, not because he is a burden but because they were having a hard time realizing they may never know what is going to happen with him. Now he is family. He is with his cousins. It was a special moment to share from across the world.

Acrobatic Butterflies and off our hearts went!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009, is here. Oh my, it's here. I had a flurry of feeling going through me. I had be careful to not let it out of the bag, not slip up and cause undue drama among the family or friends. Most of all my stomach felt like it was full of acrobatic butterflies. This was a very long day. I actually had a previous commitment that I needed to fulfill so Randy was going to go to the meeting and relay information back to me, and let me say this was killing me! I so wanted to be there but I needed to follow through. Afternoon came and we got one daughter shuffled off to a "safe friend" who would not ask where we were going and if she did we could tell her because she would not let it out. Our other daughter was conveniently away on a trip with my parents. Score! That's 3 people out of town so I could not slip up with them.

Meeting time came and Randy was there to soak up whatever information he could. He asked questions and learned what the next steps were that we had to take. We then both finished our meetings, met at home, put daughter to bed and then hurried to share information. He had brought home a packet of information that included an application to CHI. We had many questions that needed to be answered and the only way was to call our cousins. Whoa...okay...this means we are telling someone. Now through this whole process Randy said a few times,"I know what the right thing is to do." as he would refer to his times of seeking God's will. He wanted to be responsible and gather information because this is such a huge decision. Our prayer was always for God to make it clear. Having an informational meeting so quickly was another sighting of God's fingerprints to us. So back to making the call. Randy looked at me and said,"I guess this means we are doing this!" Our hearts were gone. We were now tethered to our son in Ethiopia. God is so good!

God's fingerprints and the race began...

For the next week we processed the idea of pursuing Samuel, discussing with each other and researching information. We were praying, fasting and waiting as we continued to search. Samuel continued to be on our hearts. One of our concerns was how the girls would handle this. At this point all our conversations were after bedtime so our girls super sonic ears would be least likely to hear. To our amazement we began to see a change in our daughters. All of a sudden the girls were enjoying reading books in the room they would both be sharing if this happens. Hmmm. Then they decided they would like to have a sleepover in that room as well. Hmmm. We knew at that moment we were seeing God's fingerprints in this situation. So we encouraged them to enjoy their books and we tried a sleepover while it was still summer and school days would not interrupt these opportunities. The books still go over well and the sleepover would of been fine if we actually had a second bed in the room. So we were quite encouraged.

We also had set a family dinner date with some close friends who have adopted so we could talk about it. We met with them on a Saturday night. Our time with them was really good, we asked questions, processed some more and learned about the different agencies available to us in the area. We went away from our time together deciding to go to an informational meeting with an agency called Chrysalis House, Inc. (CHI) to start. Once we were home and the girls were in bed we jumped on the computer. We learned that there was an informational meeting on Tuesday night, 3 days away, and there was not another one scheduled at that time.

At this point, I was teetering on the edge of shooting my heart across the world at any moment. I was working to not let my heart go until Randy and I were in agreement that this is what we are being lead to do. I knew it took a split second to shoot my heart away and months to go get it back.

Seven Weeks and WOW!

I continued to pray for Samuel and had surrendered the "are we the forever family" portion of the prayer. I knew I was supposed to pray and ask my friends to pray. In the meantime I happened to begin the Esther bible study by Beth Moore, Esther was an orphan, and seek God's will and purpose for my life in general. I was looking ahead at the Fall semester coming quickly and praying to know what to add to the schedule and what not too. We were also getting little updates from aunts and cousins who had talked to them and hearing tidbits here and there. With every tidbit my heart began to ache a bit more.

Mid-July we received an update on Samuel. He was going through medical testing and we were again praying for God's will in it all. Around the same time we also received a newsletter from my cousins that included another picture. As I saw him and again my heart ached for him. Then one evening out of the blue Randy and I happened to be sitting at the table together and he said, "So what do you think about baby Samuel?" What? Did I just hear that? I responded with,"I prayed you would bring it up." His look was priceless. This was not quite what Randy was expecting. I took a deep breath, trying to not get too excited, and shared that I ache for him and feel like he is ours. WOW!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The story began here...

To begin let's back up to June 1, 2009. Our cousins are missionaries who are also an adoptive family. They returned home to Ethiopia at the beginning of June. Upon returning home they learned that they would be able to have a social worker come out within the week. Adoption can be tricky when you are a US citizen living outside of the country and adopting from the country you are in. Having a social worker in the country was very exciting and an opportunity to jump on. Once this visit happened they could be considered to be able to foster kids if the need came up. They also were allowed to have their own daughter come live with them now.

A few days after this the orphanage they work with told them the story of this preemie baby boy. He had a nanny but for some reason she was going to have to leave and they needed someone to step up and care for him. Our cousins spent a lot of time in prayer over the next few days and determined that God really wanted them to foster him.

On June 15, 2009 we received a call that our cousins were fostering a 4 week old baby who weighed less than 4 lbs. We were asked to pray simply for his survival and that God would work in and through him. I sent out an e-mail to many friends to pray for this baby and for his forever family. I prayed that we would know how to help. I also prayed that if we were to be his forever family that Randy would bring up the topic first. Little did we know...