We are awaiting our first flight, our baggage checked, summer Olympics humming on the flat screen over my shoulder. We covet your prayers for our journey.
1. Pray we make all of our connecting flights. Our first flight is currently an hour delayed.
2. Pray for my sweet kids at home, that they enjoy being with their grandparents and only miss us a little,
3. Pray for our safe travel, and pray that our baggage arrives without incident.
4. Pray for our reunion with M, especially pray for his little heart which must be so confused. We have left him so many times already.
5. Pray for our court date, August 6th. Pray that our letter from MOCWYA arrives on time and that we pass court that day.
6. Pray for swift submission to the Embassy so that we can return for M very soon to bring him home.
7. Pray for other adoptive families as they wait and attend court. Pray for their children.
8. Pray for other children, waiting in orphanages for permanent placements.
9. Pray for at risk families in developing nations, that they might receive any help needed to allow their families to remain intact so that there are fewer orphaned and relinquished children.
We leave for Ethiopia in 9 days. I’m not nearly ready to go. I’m working extra these next two weeks prior to and after our trip to make up for my time off, so there’s not near enough time to collect orphanage donations, clean the house, finish the laundry, decorate my little girl’s room, buy what we’ll need in Africa, etc. prior to our departure. Our lives are full of other necessities, too, visiting friends at a nearby church camp, completing paperwork and charts, writing letters for my patients, sports physical forms, having Lulu’s hair braided. I’m trying to focus on one task at a time. Today, I’m painting Lulu’s shelves and tackling the laundry. It would be lovely if my kids would nap all afternoon, but I already hear my girl lifting her head.
I want to be intentional about my time with my two before there are three. I want Lulu and Teme to feel secure in their bond with us prior to leaving them (twice) for a week and bringing home their big brother. This morning we played outside and read books and danced in the kitchen to my collection of African children’s music. I still managed to do the dishes and cook two meals for them, and the laundry is still spinning. This afternoon, I’m hoping to let the kids swim in our kiddie pool and maybe take a walk after Matt comes home.
After we pass court for M, there will be so much more urgency in getting our home ready for him. We’ll need appropriate clothes and toys, more little cups and little bowls, another little toddler bed. I’ve got to finish all that I can now before things become so much more complicated.
Today, my husband sent me a text message to let me know that we received our tax return today, a substantial sum since we claimed the adoption tax credit last year. It came earlier than we were expecting, and we are relying on those funds to pay for M’s adoption and travel expenses. He added, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a court date soon.”
Three hours later, my phone rang, our agency calling to let me know we have a court date on August 6th, prior to court closures. This is, without a doubt, all God. As late as our paperwork arrived in Ethiopia, I really thought it impossible to get a court date so soon. Why do I worry? God has done this, and we are so thankful.
So, we leave for Ethiopia in two weeks. TWO WEEKS! We have no donations gathered, no packing done, and my list of things to do before M arrives is still quite long. Pray for us as we make arrangements. I’m so excited to see my boy again!
Today is our 8th wedding anniversary. I do love my man. He is brilliant, my voice of reason. He spends evenings on the floor with the kids building rather intricate towers out of megablocks even though my kids immediately destroy them over and over. He kisses boo boos, refills milk cups, wipes squished strawberries off the kitchen floor. He serves our family, makes dinner from empty cupbords when I work late, brings me water and snacks after the kids go to bed. He’s willing to try anything. He’s followed me to Zambia and Ethiopia and back, and when I dream of raising our kids for a little while in Ethiopia, he doesn’t silence me, even though he’s not sure about it yet. He tutor’s my brother’s girlfriend in calculus in the evenings on short notice and doesn’t mind loaning our extra bedroom out to anyone in need. He trusts Jesus. He doesn’t worry. He’s such a good man.
We spent the evening on our anniversary at one of our favorite local restaurants eating sushi and fried rice. We stopped by the mall to return my Mother’s Day November earrings and found an October necklace (to match my October earrings) on sale. We ended up at Wal-Mart for a few things for Lulu’s room. Romantic, I know, but it’s so so hard to go to Wal-Mart with the kids. One of the things I love about our relationship is that we just enjoy each other’s company, even at Wal-Mart. We have not picked up our annual tradition yet, a Cold Stone ice cream cake. We’re saving it for the weekend.
For our anniversary, Matt gave me a Bring Love In t-shirt and bracelet. If you aren’t acquainted with Bring Love In’s incredible ministry, I suggest you check them out.
Would you join me in praying that we receive our court date soon? We would LOVE to be with our little man before the courts close (and maybe get through Embassy in late August or September). Only God can make that happen. I know God’s plans are best, but I still want my boy home. I really would like him home before his birthday in early October. He’s spent enough birthdays away from home.
Our I-171H arrived today. Isn’t God good? USCIS has exceeded my expectations, and I am so thankful. I will notarize and authenticate it tomorrow and ship it off to our agency to send on to Ethiopia. There’s nothing more we can do until we go to Ethiopia. Now we are awaiting a court date which will likely occur in late September (but I’m willing to scramble for a late July date if possible). I am expectant, not anxious. God will finish what he’s started.
I lean on the barstool in my kitchen and stare at the image of my boy who is so much bigger now than when I first scrolled to his 2 x 2 picture in an email in March 2010. I keep watching him there on my screen, unsure if he’ll still be there tomorrow. What a blessing he is, such a miracle, a boy I have deeply grieved, and yet here he is, resurrected on my computer screen. The right words just won’t come.
“God is not a man, that he should lie,
nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?”
Numbers 23:19 (NIV)
My Lord promised this boy to me. My Lord has created this family. I hope anyone who knows our story understands fully that God has orchestrated my children’s homecoming.
Our family coordinator sent me a message yesterday to tell me that my M’s birthday is in October. We know this to be true based on a very early document from his history. I am so glad to know this for him. I will also be wearing opal from time to time, in his honor. 🙂
We’ve had a full day, and my children have been great, really great. We’ve taxed their little bodies more than we should have in the name of getting their brother home. We got them up at 4:15 this morning for our drive to the city. My boy went right back to sleep. My girl sang and shrieked and kicked the back of my seat for the next 3 hours. She fell asleep after we stopped for breakfast, but by then my boy was up, and it was his turn to sing and shriek. My poor brother and his girlfriend (my live-in college student) were in the back row trying to sleep, tired after a late night watching fireworks in our family’s boat at the lake 2 hours away. The staff at the immigration office was fantastic. They helped us quickly, and we were on our way to the children’s museum within an hour. Our kids climbed, slid, splashed, touched, and tasted lots of things today. Lulu particularly enjoys putting her hands in water. She touched a turtle, played in a giant ball pit, and climbed higher than I’ve ever seen her go. Teme was thrilled with the climbing, even though he’s not quite strong enough to pull himself up without help. They crawled through an underwater tunnel, waved at a sea turtle and some giant fish. They loved that they were allowed to run in such a big place, not strapped into their strollers or carried everywhere. We stayed until their eyes started to droop and Lulu’s thumb went in her mouth. We made our way from the museum to a lovely little Ethiopian restaurant in town. We sipped mango juice and pinched off rolls of injera to munch a vegetarian platter, tibbs, and a tilapia dish (my new favorite). Teme loves injera, but I had trouble getting him to eat much else. Lulu didn’t want to eat anything and spent her time rolling the injera and pressing it into balls like play dough. We opted to skip the botanical gardens when the temperature on my car’s gauge read 108 degrees. The kids alternated screaming and sleeping the whole way home. I put them both down for naps when we arrived back home. When they’d both fallen asleep, I ordered a pizza online and Matt and I napped until it arrived. I woke the kids up and we munched on pizza and cinnamon sticks on the couch watching Sesame Street. We’ve never had pizza and TV as a family before. I’m generally an anti-TV momma, but today, it was just what we needed.
Our dossier arrived in Ethiopia this morning. I’m relieved to have two more things checked off of my list. Now I just need the I-171H in hand, notarized and authenticated, and there’s nothing more for us to do.
I have been stalking the FedEx tracking site for the past 5 days to follow my dear dossier across the globe. It languished in a smoldering FedEx facility in Memphis Tennessee for 4 ridiculously long days before finally leaving yesterday and landing this evening in Dubai. I’m hoping it takes off for Ethiopia sometime tonight. Am I crazy to hope we are submitted to court next week? Surely they’ve gathered all necessary documents and are just waiting to put my dossier on the top of the stack. My hopes of a pre-closure court date are narrowing. God can do it though, if he wants. Tomorrow we leave at 4am for the city: fingerprinting, a trip to the museum and aquarium, and a stroll through the botanical gardens (with a stop at the kiddie fountains), topped off with Ethiopian cuisine before the kids go down for naps on the ride back home. So, rather than fireworks tonight, we will stretch under bleached sheets, the ceiling fan humming, prayers swirling up around us for this boy.
So, we received our USCIS appointment this weekend. It is for July 26th, an unacceptable 26 days away. We plan to head to the city’s USCIS office on 7/5 and beg to be fingerprinted early. This generally isn’t a problem provided we bring a copy of the appointment notice. The college student that lives in my home (over the age of 18) must be fingerprinted as well, and she has not received an appointment yet, even though we paid for all three of us to be printed. Taking her along is a risk. Without an appointment notice, they may refuse to see her, and it is a 3 hour drive away. This week is ideal since her classes are cancelled for the holiday, but I don’t want to waste her long weekend off. I’m praying we receive an appointment notice for her before Thursday.
Once the fingerprints are done, I’ve heard it can take about 3 weeks for the completed I-171H to arrive. We must have the I-171H prior to our court date. I know it probably won’t happen until October, but I’m still a teensy bit hopeful for a late July court date prior to closures. This is my final task in this adoption process. The rest is in the hands of our agency, the courts, and immigration. I’m so thankful that God sees these details.