Saturday, November 29, 2008

Prayer Request for the Upcoming Week...

It's coming together. Praise God! Both Blake and I have been rather 'emotionally fragile' as we have worked thru the paperwork and ToDo Lists of the past week. We will be FOREVER grateful for those who have lifted us up with encouraging words & fervent prayers. Speaking of prayers, I thought I would take a quick moment to share with you a couple of specific prayer requests for the upcoming week.

  1. physical/emotional health for the demanding travel schedule ahead, specifically for ‘emotional strength’ in regards to the possibility of meeting Alexander’s birth mother and/or member(s) of his extended family
  2. wisdom regarding decisions in the coming weeks to best allow for bonding/attachment with Alexander as he adjusts to his life outside the orphanage
  3. ability to put aside our expectations and simply 'soak in' and 'catalog' our time in the country of ET
  4. grace to ‘live in the moment’ as we experience parenting for the first time; to surrender our fears & hold fast to God's promises that ‘His grace is sufficient’ and that ‘I [we] can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me [us]’…
  5. for our friends, Jeff & Abby & family, who are adopting a little boy (Charlie) from ET. Their court date is this coming Friday (December 5th)
  6. PRAISE for the gift of family. It's gonna be a Christmas to remember! :)

Gratitude Post...

I was 'tagged' by Janell to share with you a few things for which I am thankful. Here is what comes to mind at the moment (certainly an incomplete list but there is neither time nor space to share everything)...
  1. MERCY. "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not, they are new EVERY morning.
  2. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
  3. The ABILITY TO READ. I have experienced so many things simply by stepping inside the pages of a book. And learned much, too.
  4. WARM, SOFT BLANKETS. I am convinced that if it were socially-acceptable for an adult to carry a blanket with them everywhere, that's exactly what I would do.
  5. ANSWERED PRAYERS. Even when the answers are hard to accept, there is comfort in knowing God always hears & answers according to His perfect will for our lives.
  6. FRIENDS. Those with whom I currently interact & those who may have touched my life for just a season.
  7. FAMILY. Parents. In-Laws. Brothers. Sisters. Nieces. Nephews. And one very special little boy in ET.

Monday, November 24, 2008

BabyProofing (a.k.a. The Lockdown!)

One of our weekend projects included some final 'baby proofing' of our house. From developmental reports we've received, Alexander is not currently standing/crawling/cruising but as you experienced parents know, that could change within a day.

Speaking of 'experienced parents' (insert: tsk! tsk! sound). I mean, really, you could help a clueless first-time mom out, you know. While you've provided much encouragement & parenting tips, NO ONE warned me of the potential for extreme shoulder strain/dislocations involved in parenting a child. So, as a 'community service announcement' of-sorts to future first-time parents...I offer this.
CAUTION! WARNING! BEWARE! Do NOT forget the morning after installing cabinent/drawer locks that the crazy mechanisms are there. If you do (and especially if you routinely use an adequate amount of force on your cabinets doors b/c they do not open easily) could quite possibly (a) dislocate/strain your shoulder/elbow when simply trying to retrieve a tupperware dish or (b) be caught so off guard you'll stumble backwards and/or land on your backside in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Not that either happened to me on Sunday morning, mind you. This is just a 'service announcement' remember?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Candlelight Carols 2008...

We have 2 free tickets to the Candlelight Carols on Friday, December 5th (8PM) at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Since we'll not be able to use them, we would love to give them away to someone who can.

If you are interestered, post a Comment and I will drop the tickets in the mail ASAP.

UPDATE: Offer no longer valid (as of 11/24); the tickets have been claimed.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Yes! We have received a copy of Tamirat (Alexander's) birth certificate!
Yes! We have been assigned a travel date!
Yes! We will be together for Christmas!
In less than 2 weeks time (on December 3rd) we will be on a plane to Ethiopia and our little boy!

Lots of last-minutes details, paperwork to be completed/validated, phone calls to make, Christmas presents to purchase, etc.

WoW! Yikes! Oh, My! In the past days, I have been vacillating between unencumbered JOY and pure FEAR at the thought of parenting a child. I keep reminding myself that it is a one-day-at-a-time journey.

And, I have an eye infection so I am typing this while squinting with only my right eye fully open.
And, I can hardly sleep...actually, I CANNOT sleep. You can pray for that, if you'd like. Blake offered to knock me over the head REALLY hard, in an attempt to provoke unconciousness, but I would prefer to avoid meeting my son with a huge goose-egg on my let's go with the prayer route.
I might write more later...or I might just continue to rush about the house muttering to myself..."in just 3 weeks a child will live in this house...this is REALLY happening...what am I going to forget to it lunchtime? I have a sudden craving for chocolate...who put the telephone in the refrigerator..."
Truly in the midst of the flurry, the beauty is that we can "...let the peace [and calm] of God rule in [our] heart[s]...".

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Purchase of the Week...

For most of you reading this post, purchasing an item from the local grocery store would certainly not make your week's Top10 List. Not the case here. Guess what I bought? was SO, so very fun.

All right; I will give you a couple of hints...
  1. I am round & very small.
  2. I am found in an aisle of boxes similar in shape but very different in content.
  3. I am crunchy.
  4. I am found in excess quantities between the cracks in most any carseat.
  5. An entire box of me costs approximately about $2, depending on sales ads and/or coupons.

Okay. I know the suspense is KILLING you.

(drumroll please)...

(you should stop holding your breath)...

YES! I bought a box of cereal. Not just ANY cereal. CHEERIOS. Possibly the first ever box of Cheerios I've ever purchased in my my adult life.

Do you KNOW what this means? Yup. Means I am officially a mommy. Non-moms seldom buy Cheerios. But REAL moms have stock in General Mills. It is so exciting to be transitioning into a new category.

WooHoo! What a week!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

He's Coming Home...

"I will praise You, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name..." We received word this morning that our case has passed thru the Ethiopian courts. We made it!

"...give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done..." By decree of the courts, it is official. Blake is a daddy. I am a mommy. We have a son!

"...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus..." We will probably never fully understand the ins-and-outs, the hows-and-whys of our adoption journey but we DO believe that bringing Alexander into our lives -- in His timing, in His way -- is God's perfect will for our lives. He is faithful!

"...always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..." Thank you! Thank you! To each of you who have walked alongside us thru the past months. Thank you! Thank you! To each of you who have prayed without ceasing. Thank you! Thank you! To each of you who have encouraged our hearts with words, cards and emails. To each of you who have shared our tears. We love you all!

What's next? Now we wait for a birth certificate (BC) to be issued. Once our agency receives & validates the BC, they will call us with a travel date and we'll book our airline tickets. At this time, it is estimated we'll be able to travel in 4-6 weeks! That's right! 4-6 weeks! Praise Him! Praise Him! Our son is coming home...

Oh...I almost forget. Since it is now official, I am allowed to post pictures in a public space. Check out this cuteness!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Jumping for Joy!

This just in! Upon spending most of yesterday on the phone with the USCIS, the NVC and finally with Congressman Peter Roskam's office, we received a phone call this morning that lifted the exhaustion from our hearts & replaced it with joy...


We were given no explanation as to the reason for the delay but at this point...who cares!

Now, we can focus our prayers on Tuesday's court date. Praying we'll have more good news to share...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Little of This. A Little of That...

It's me again. I am taking back control of my blog & considering a change to my password to prevent future posts like the last :) Life has been a bit helter-skelter lately. Here and there. This and that. I figured I would use this post as a 'catch-up' with random happenings and/or news.

  • My in-laws celebrated 40 years of marriage this past Monday. We'll be spending the weekend together as a family & taking a group/family picture, too. The gathering will be a mite bittersweet considering 2 little ones will be missing -- our Alexander (still in ET) and our nephew, Carson who is in heaven.
  • My little/younger sister (Brenda) and her husband (Mike) are going to be first-time parents in May! SO very excited!
  • My parents finished harvest...several weeks later than in past years but it was a successful & safe time of farming.
  • I have spent several hours the past few days trying to resolve an adoption paperwork issue with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Chicago office, the National Visa Center and the USCIS Headquarters in Washington, DC. Endless phone calls, hour after hour of being put on hold only to be transferred to another department, sending emails and seeking assistance, etc. I am trying to remain calm b/c there is nothing we can do w/out the cooperation of these government organizations but...I am accepting any prayers you'd like to offer for this situation to be resolved. SIDE NOTE: If this situation remains unresolved, we might need to get our state senators involved. I'm thinking at least one of our IL senators, Barack Obama, might be a little preoccupied right about now :)
  • We recv'd a developmental update and weight/height measurements for our little guy earlier this week. He continues to grow...27-1/2 inches and just over 18lbs. The checklist provided by our agency indicates Alex is a talker, prefers to be with people, sits well in a tripod fashion, bears good weight and rolls back to front.
  • Our case is scheduled to be heard in the Ethiopian courts next Tuesday (November 11th). We are looking ahead to this date with anticipation; hoping & praying, praying & hoping for a positive outcome AND hearts to accept the situtation should we encounter additional delays. If you'd like, please pray along with us.

I will sign-off with a verse that has spoken to my heart throughout the past several weeks. "Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know THAT GOD IS FOR ME." (Psalm 56:9)