Jul

03

It’s late and I’m sitting in the dim, thinking, praying, surrounded by haphazard piles of things to be packed.  We leave in only a few short days for Ethiopia.

 

For near a decade, it has always been this tiny little unit here, just us three.  (not including the cat)  And in a sense this is our last week to marvel in the special beauty and uniqueness God has shown us as He’s built and cared for us 3 together.  Like the last few days before a wedding.  A flurry of activity and preparation and wrapping up one chapter and being ready to embark on another of mass proportions.  The bringing of this little girl into our tight family core… watching and participating and loving… knitting us into a foursome…

 

Today, three times, this scripture came up before me, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Phil 4:6  There have indeed been some mighty anxious moments this past week.  And the weightiness of it all.  Adopting a child.  I want to say and promise this will be just like when Alicia was born.  That I will see and love her as if she came from my own body.  And that the motherly instincts will be just as strong.  But I have a feeling that while I will come to completely love, (and deeply already adore this little girl), we do not know each other yet and it will not be the same as what I experienced with Alicia, my sweet and fiery firstborn… it was also my first as a brand new clueless mom!!  So I softly voice these thoughts through the hours to the Almighty and let Him take the weight.

 

Farther down in that passage, the Bible says to set my thoughts on things that are true and noble and right and pure and lovely and commendable and excellent and praiseworthy.  I glance around at the diapers and sippy cups and tiny clothes and borrowed duffle bags and loaned maxi skirts and box of beautiful bedding and regifted baby furniture strewn about my living room.  They all represent people who have showered incredible love on our family and this new little darling about to come into our family.  We are SO RIDICULOUSLY blessed and thankful.  I think of all who have helped by giving toward our adoption expenses.  And those who have ceaselessly cared for us through the years with prayers and encouragement and walked along with us during the ever stretching wait.

 

Tonight I will lay my head down with the knowledge that once again, I have no idea about the road ahead and it is probably not what I expect.  But it’s gonna be GOOD.  Wahoooo!!!

 

 

 

 

Jun

27

I can’t believe it. We got our court date.  Right on the heels of a birthday celebration for baby!  Last night, friends joined us to delight in delicious Ethiopian fare… and lots of dessert… and water balloons. And today, just savoring the reality that we finally will be meeting this little girl, face to face, in her own country, and watching what God does to knit our hearts together.

 

So details.  Ahhh… July 10th is our court date.  We hope to travel a few days before and stay a few days after.  Many of you have asked about our travel plans.  We’ve been saving our airline miles and there ARE flights… and they consist of 50+ hours and 2 massive layovers.  Hmmm… So, Lord, please provide for actual tickets somehow!!! We found some that bring it down to about 17 hours with one short layover in DC, then straight to Addis Ababa.  Praying for good wise decisions here.

 

Thank you God. THANK YOU. You are leading and we are following. Ethiopia, here we come!

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May

17

One thing I am learning, and trying not to be too resistant to, is that with adoption, there is no guarantee. I guess even with pregnancy, things can go wrong. But over the last four years, it seems we’ve been navigating paperwork hoops and waiting through delays and handing over enormous fees… and yet the realization is… there is no real end in sight.   Only HOPE in the One who holds our heads above water and who guides our steps day to day is a sure thing.

 
Yesterday, we received another heartbreaking newsletter of yet another international delay. Some regional seal forgery was discovered by MOWCYA… (not by our agency thank goodness) and there has been a sudden lock down hold on all adoption cases from receiving the necessary MOWCYA comments. No comments, no court date.

 
Our authenticated POA, PAIR letter, and dossier update arrived in Ethiopia last friday and is being translated by the Holt staff in Addis Ababa. But it can go no further until MOWCYA agrees to start processing these cases again. This is the “one step” between us and that blessed court date.

 
Honestly, my anticipated travel plans have felt fizzled before, and the heat of the tears on my face no stranger at this point. But somehow, this news has felt more piercing than the others.

 
God, we trust You have not forgotten our family. This new hurdle before us, reason unknown, will not make us stop trusting You.  We believe that this adorable little girl will someday be legally ours and make her home in our family forever. We also lay before You our sadness and fears and intense frustration. Looking to You, who can move mountains with Your mighty arm… who loves justice and who fights on behalf of the orphan!

 
Thank you dear friends and beloved family who continue to walk this crazy journey with us.

Apr

12

ELATION!!!  For those of you following our adoption story, we’ve had TWO grand steps forward.  And one knows, in the adoption process, any and all steps are to be celebrated with much glee.  This week we have been submitted for Ethiopian court and also received our long awaited PAIR letter!!  We’ve been waiting and hoping and praying on this one item since we were assigned our referral in November.

 

Honestly, I thought I’d have way more to say but sometimes when there is such relief and thankfulness, the words actually don’t come and there is nothing to do but quickly post the good news and then sit and breathe.

 

All praise and gratefulness and joyful relief go to You Father God.  All of it.

PAIR

Jan

04

Yup.  Really wanted my favorites today.  Chocolate.  And coconut.

So, I made up a cookie recipe.  And it was quite delicious.  See what you think?GF cookie

 

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter (can sub in coconut oil if you want)

3/4 cup real maple syrup (none of that HFC stuff)

1 TBs Molasses

1 egg

1 Tsp almond extract

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1 TBs cocoa powder

1/2 Tsp salt

1/2 Tsp Baking powder

2 1/4 cups oat flour

As many chocolate chips as you feel is necessary

 

Blend up and bake at 350 for 10 minutes on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Then devour at least 2 before they completely cool.

 

Dec

31

Why?  How?  What were we thinking? Was it all for nothing?  I MUST put all these questions out of my mind.

 

Because there’s a pretty good chance no answers will satisfy.

 

With the recent rumors circulating, a recent proposal to possibly shut down adoptions in Ethiopia, and very little in depth communication with our agency, my heart is galloping leaps and bounds… and not in a good way.  Processing what all this could mean, when we are sooooo darn close to having our little daughter home, is bewildering and frustrating to say the least.  My mind naturally wants to dwell on the gravity of the three years we just spent waiting, hoping, keeping documents current, gobs of money being invested, names being picked, and on the adorable photo on the fridge.

 

I know this is a risk everyone takes when adopting, especially from another country.  And it doesn’t make any sense with the thousands of children living out their lives in institutions without families.  But I will drive myself absolutely mad if I do not allow God to lift my head, slow my panic, catch the tears, and fill my thoughts with His truth.  And the truth is, God is SO GOOD.  He is holy and just.  He loves us.  He loves the orphan across the sea.  Not just he “nice benevolent” kind of love… but the kind that gave His life in exchange for ours. He is not punishing me or angry with me or playing games in some weird faith test.  We have not been overlooked.  Adoption will be part of our family’s story.

 

His plans are not to harm us but to give a future and a hope.  I won’t deny that my heart would be absolutely crushed if this adoption fell through in this last stretch.

 

But nothing, NOTHING is wasted with God.  He redeems all things.

 

When I went to kiss Alicia last night, I asked her if she’d like to pray for Baby E.  I hadn’t shared with her the details of what mama had been bawling about.  But she looked at me with large brown eyes and replied, “oh you mean about the Ethiopian government not letting us have our baby?  I’ve already prayed twice.”  This girl never ceases to amaze me.  She said she’d overheard me earlier talking with Brian and so he had explained things as best he could.  And we will choose to worship God no matter the dark road or the bright sunny road, unashamedly.

 

Thank you all who have been supporting us with encouragement, prayers, and with fasting.  We will post more as we know more of the outcome of Ethiopia’s decisions concerning their adoption laws.

Dec

05

We just returned from a quick trip up to D.C. this last weekend. I am amazed again and again at the amount of artifacts and stuff that is packed into the multiple, massive Smithsonian museums. We are a people that love to recollect… to keep alive that connection with the past. I went through the house where Abe Lincoln died. Did you know they still have his bloodied pillow? Wow. Being the history nerd that I am (I fully admit it), this type of stuff fascinates me.

 

It occurred to me this weekend, that we also began the adventure of moving to North Carolina exactly 365 days ago.  So, I’m setting up that year milemarker with relief, amazement and a couple paragraphs of some recollecting of my own.  Within 2 weeks of Brian getting a job offer, the house was packed and I was bravely waving goodbye to my fella.  Alicia and I would join him 2 days before Christmas.  I could not have been prepared entirely for what lie ahead. My silly brain had been assuring me things would go on pretty much the same, but better of course, and in a “warm” new zip code.  Isn’t that how it often is?

 

Brian began working for a company called Sports Endeavors. A steady nine to five.  (and with health insurance). Big change. I’d become accustomed to having him home, working in his home “office”. We shared a car. We took lunches together. His schedule was FLEEEEXIBLE… and for 6 years I enjoyed that incredible blessing without truly knowing what a huge blessing it was.

 

Alicia is now in a fulltime private school. Which happens to be exactly 20 miles away. And I drive that. Four times each day. You do the math. Big change. The amount of petrol we use and the cost of her tuition is shocking. Alicia has been homeschooled up til now, and dropping her off each day at Grace Christian in Raleigh has reminded me how swift these childhood years pass, and how careful I need to be to make each moment matter. This change has been needful. It has been hard.

 

I also began looking for a part time job. With Alicia in school all day now, I was free to jump back into the world of dresspants and customer service. Big change. Somehow, with each place I applied for and interviewed with, there was a small nagging feeling that this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. Practically and logically speaking, I rationalized that getting a job was exactly what I needed to be doing with my “free time”. We had an adoption to pay for for crying out loud! Hadn’t I been looking forward to this opportunity for years? But one by one, doors refused to open. And the ones that were open, just didn’t suit. I have had to reevaluate and face myself over and over, realizing I don’t need a job to fill hours and fill the heart and fill the bank account…

 

As many of you know, we received a long awaited call from our adoption agency. They had a darling baby girl ready to process out. And she could be ours. Maybe not on legal paper yet, but in our hearts, she IS ours. Big change. We now have a daughter, currently living in a small care center in Ethiopia. And I pray that I can be the mother she needs. Oh how can I even anticipate the changes this coming spring when she comes home?! This is to be our last Christmas as a threesome.

 

There it is.  A quick recalling of this last year…  God’s favor and grace and beauty in the midst of these big changes.  365 days of His Shepherding presence. New co-workers and learning a whole different perspective outside the christian bubble. Enduring a challenging odd cabin in Durham for 4 months. Being side slammed with intense loneliness. Having a car payment again.  Church hopping for 8 months. Meeting new families and being okay with my introvertness. Believing these people will be core friends and fellow sojourners but rejecting the pressure to make it happen instantly. Navigating a contrastive city and culture. Moving again, into a Cary neighborhood. First time with swim team! WILD thunderstorms we’d never experienced before. Being part of a spank’n new church plant! Raleigh State Fair! Transitioning from mega church style to baby small church style. HanIMG_4290ding up my expectations and dreams, and taking hold of God’s arm, wherever that may lead day by day. Pioneer day at school! Welcoming our adoption referral news but far from our family and friends. Seeing God do the miraculous. Seeing God meet us in the daily little things. Purchasing an ice scraper for the below 30′s mornings. Carrying with us holiday traditions and incorporating new ones. Rejoicing and resting in the season of new life and new light and hope.

Nov

15

all threeToday I spent an entire day with a friend, hunched over a fabulously messy table… tapping, hammering, and measuring.  And dipping brass in Liver of Sulfur, holding my breath.  And buffing with soft pad carefully stamped letters that hopefully catch the heart.

 

Redeemed. Courage. Endurance.

 

Words that have been my companion these past 25 months as we’ve waited for “the call”.  The call from our adoption agency that will give hope and tell us that all our waiting and working and praying has now brought us face to face with a small photo.  She has enormous chocolatey brown eyes, wisps of dark, Ethiopian hair, and big future ahead.

 

Em’net means Believe or Faith.  And while we aren’t sure that will stay her first name, it certainly fits the spirit surrounding the circumstances that have brought her and us together.  For now, we call her Baby E.

 

These are genuine leather cuffs to adorn your wrist; where you will see it and be reminded, that you are Redeemed by Christ.  That He fills us with Courage to face anything!  And that we press on with Endurance as we follow Him.  Each one is handmade and intended to be unique with little imperfections.  It was certainly a labor of love!

 

Every cent earned by these leather cuffs will go directly to bringing Baby E home to her family.  To purchase, either use Paypal or you may send me a check.  $37, free shipping…  (Next week, I will be making some leather cuffs that are black with antiqued nickel.)

Thank you all for looking and supporting us with this adoption!




courage Redeemed
 Endurance  smile
 adjustable  snaps

Oct

29

I love the sun.  I’m drawn to it’s light like an ant to a picnic crumb.

 

I really wanted to take some pictures of the morning sky today.  Instead I focused on maneuvering four lanes of early morning cars,  staying ahead of the coming traffic deluge. But take my word, the sky was magnificently glorious.

 

Blushing hillsides, all shades of pink and gold…. the lifting sun streaking yellow fingers through the high wispy clouds.  Mmmmm-mmm!

 

While the sun itself is a ferocious mass of flaming gas and fire hurtling through space, it brings gentle warmth and a softening to these terribly groggy mornings.  Face turned up to its rays, I thank the Lord for such a heavenly kiss today.  I need it.  IMG_8916

 

Hwy 40 snakes around the top of Cary suburbs and the edge of Raleigh.  Momentarily, the sun vanishes behind tall Carolina trees, winking here and there.  I should be concentrating on my coming exit.  The sun is back, higher now, glaring through the windshield.  No sunglasses for me.  I. Love. It.

 

I grew up in the sunny, temperate, coastal valley of California’s bay.  Each summer, my brother and sis and I would play outside from dawn til dusk.  By the second week of summer vacation, we were tanned brown as berries.  Back then, no one was chasing after their kids to slather on the sunblock.  Rather people still enjoyed baking their skin.  While (ahem) slightly more intelligent now, and we know the benefits of sunscreen, I am still a huge fan of the sun’s rays which fills us with not only healthy Vit D but scientifically proven, a large sense of well-being.  Sunshine can lift my soul faster than a starbucks mocha.  Seriously!

 

So the thought of heading into these cold winter months has me daydreaming I was on the same travel plan as those geese overhead, wings pushing hard toward warmer regions.  Our extended family is nestled in their scarves and under umbrellas on the other side of the country, and while I don’t envy the gloomy rain, I know they are also preparing for the icy months ahead… and I think how I miss them tremendously.  Truly the dropping temps and darker days is such a challenge for me.  I recognize it, and for those out there who know what I’m talking about, we are all headed to the health stores and grabbing our bottle of Vit D and adrenal support!

 

Thankfully I do not have to live grey and dormant all winter.  While C.S. Lewis’ Lucy Pevensie entered a silver, bejeweled winter with no hope of Christmas, I know that these darker bone-chilling months will in fact be lit up with warm candles, roaring campfires in the backyard, and strands of sparkling holiday lights.  I also think about the One who is the True and Everlasting Light of the world.  He is more than the grace of the bright and cheery sun.  He is the heat and life and strength that runs through the veins and propels me forward.  On days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed and the sun isn’t shining brightly like it was earlier, Jesus draws me upward and is the Light within.

 

May your Fall and Winter be filled with crunchy red leaves, peppermint mochas, and fat orange pumpkins.  And when your pumpkin has rotted and the leaves turned to gutter mulch, I hope you don’t lose heart under the heavy dark sky, but that the Shining King, the Hero of heaven, brings Light and Peace and Joy to your spirit.

 

 

Oct

02

For two weeks we’ve been planning our first real official adoption fundraiser event.  Yeah, and I was scared spitless.  I despise asking for money.  I loathe it.  I love it when people give me money.  But the whole awkward part of fundraising makes me wish I could saw off my right toe instead.

 

A friend here talked me in to it.  Why?  Because she did something similar last year for another adoption related event.  And because I totally trust her.  She’s a beautiful mom with 6 of her own kiddos, three are adopted.  She’s been there.  And I watch her and think, “wow, she’s beautiful.”

 

I nervously put the word out to our very young church family.  I say young for two reasons.  One, they ARE young, in age.  We happen to be in the top 20% of 35 and over.  And secondly, the church has officially just begun, we are 4 services into our church plant.  So, I put the word out that if anyone had a knack for baking cupcakes, that they could contribute them to the booth we’d be having in exactly 2 weeks at the farmers market.

 

I can’t tell you how fast I received responses.  It was like I said “hey, I need cupcakes” and within a few days, I had been promised over 100 sweet little treats.  Rather than rejoice, my ever cynical and fearful mind blurted out over and over to me… “Becca, can you really expect to sell all those?!  You’re going to be left with dozens of cupcakes and then what?”  Oh the annoyance of that voice for 2 whole weeks.

 

At one point, Brian exasperatingly said I was “limiting the Lord” and “who knows what a bunch of cupcakes could multiply into in the hands of God!”  Either he had way more faith than I, or he was just plain to busy to think on it, OR (and this is my hunch), he was looking forward to gorging himself on delicious leftovers.

 

Fast forward… Saturday morning opened with beautiful crisp sunny skies.  The booth was set up with relative ease.  I noticed we were next to another vendor selling bakery goods and my heart sunk.  But I didn’t have time to mull over and fret for long.  Our friends showed up and we organized the table, took a few photos and before I knew it, we were in the middle of a fullblown cupcake sale.

 

We also had these amazing t-shirts with Africa and a scripture verse design as well as two baskets of the most incredibly lovely handmade Ugandan beads. All in all, I didn’t sit down once. We had eager helpers (Alicia and several friends eagerly hawked their wares and couldn’t wait to bag up some goodies for those who wanted to take theirs for the road.)

 

Towards the end, I offered cupcakes for free to anyone passing just to make sure we didn’t come home with a load… and without fail, they all lit up, came over, and after picking a few melty cupcakes, tossed their contributions into the jar.

 

We were one of the very last booths to come to a stop and tear down.  My feet were sore, I hadn’t even stopped to eat lunch.  The kids were coming down from their sugar high, and I was ready to close myself away into my quiet car and head home.

 

All in all, we sold nearly all the cupcakes.  And we made a little over $1200.  God did WAY ABOVE what we imagined.  Truly.  We are so utterly thankful for the friends who, moved by God’s heart, came around us and supported us each step of the way through this.  And all my awe goes to the Lord.  For He is good.  And He delights in showing Himself strong.

 

Ps- And amazingly, the bakery vendor next to us sold every last item on his table. He even came over and bought a t-shirt from us.

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