Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Ellis!

Ellis' birthday was August 26, 2011. As scheduled I'm writing a blog post about it almost 2 months later. That's when I get around to things these days. I hadn't thought much about children's birthday parties until someone told me I needed to have a party for him. I knew that I wanted to but for some reason it hadn't dawned on me that his birthday was coming up soon when they had mentioned the thought of a party.  Within a day I had decided when, where, and what type of party we were having. Even though we were keeping it small I became extremely excited when I realized I now had a new reason to craft, decorate, and plan an event which are all three things I thoroughly enjoy. After much researched I settled on a cheerio theme for Ellis' party.

Some things to remember about the party were:
 1.) Many invitations came back in the mail due to lack of postage.
2.) When they came back I decided to open one and realized the cheerios that were apart of the invitation were now dust that exploded in your face when you opened the invite.
3.) Due to Ellis' potential of not quite being of age he didn't know what to do with or really enjoy his cake. In fact he became so overwhelmed with everyone starring at him he threw a fit in his seat. The only way I got him to smile for the picture was to tickle his feet.
4.) We sang Happy Birthday to him in the bathtub because it is a place he is always happy!
5.) Somewhat ironic but he never has and still doesn't like Cheerios. :)

It was so much fun thinking and decorating for this party and now I'm excited to start planning for Abram's 4th birthday coming up in November! The party planning will probably happen sporadically a week or maybe two before the party. Anyway, enjoy some pictures from the party in August!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hallelujah! What a Savior.

This past weekend Tony and I had the privilege to spend in Gatlinburg with many college students from the ministry he works for. It was a refreshing getaway to go to the mountains, be with friends, and meet with the Lord. Throughout the weekend were several sessions that included games, a talk, and worship. This weekend I was reminded of what happened in my life several years ago when God called me out of the darkness (enslaved to sin) and brought me into his light (freedom in Christ). The talks were good, and the fellowship as well but I was mostly reminded through a song.

It seems with the busyness of mothering lately that I am mostly reminded of the gospel through songs. I heard a new or possibly old hymn for the first time this weekend and cannot stop thinking about the lyrics. If my heart could cry out a song this is what it would be. I can't listen to it without tears coming to my eyes and without wanting to shout in thankfulness and gratitude to the God who saved me from my sin and calls me righteous through his son. I cannot even fathom the undeserved love and mercy He has poured onto my life. How I wish everyone could understand this song in the way God has graciously allowed me to understand it. You can either read the lyrics below or listen to Hallelujah, What a Savior. Hallelujah is used to express praise or joy.

Man of Sorrows what a Name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners, to reclaim
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Buried shame and scoffing rude
In my place, condemned he stood
He sealed my pardon with his blood
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Guilty, vile, helpless me
Spotless lamb of God was he
Full atonement can it be
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was he to die
It is finished, was his cry
Now in heaven exalted high
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

When He comes a glorious King
Oh his ransom home to bring
Then a new this song we'll sing
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Super Baby

Most parents probably think they're child is extra special, really smart, and does crazy things that other babies don't do. Well, let me join the club. I honestly think Ellis is a baby genius. It could be because in a matter of 4 months he has gone from not being able to roll over to almost walking. He went from making little coo sounds to repeating words. The poor babe only had formula his whole life and is now eating veggie soup out of a spoon. And this not so little one has almost doubled his height, weight, and head size. Now this might happen with all babies in a matter of 4 months but that's a big shocker to me. I can't believe that when I brought my baby home he was wearing 3-6 month clothing and is now 12-18 months. Sometime's I'm self conscience about the rapid growth rate of my child and I feeding him to much. But, he's a cutie, and he's solid, and tough, and fun, and he just needed a little jump start on life.

I started to notice his genius at his 12 month appointment. There were several animals on the walls at the Dr's office and I was trying to get Abram to repeat the animal sounds after me. I then noticed Ellis was saying them. His first word was Night, Night. His second word...Cat. Later came Mama and Dada. His vocabulary has now also expanded to ball, Nana, and choo choo. It's been fun to see this little man grow but Ellis! could you slow down just a little. I'm really enjoying this little baby stage or small child stage of life and would like to keep it that way at least for a couple of weeks. I'm not ready to change out your clothes again or to begin chasing you around the house. But whatever happens, we love this little boy and are so thankful for his life! Here's to our Super Baby!!!

After writing this today I forgot to mention he can give hugs, kisses, and wave and say hi to strangers. :) Loving this crazy baby.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Our Son is a Warrior

I've decided not to give up on the blogging world even though I haven't written in almost 3 months. We have been busy to say the least. A good busy and I'm going to try to get back to blogging...although no one may longer read this. Anyway, here is a blog I started in July that I decided to finish 2 months later. ENJOY!

This past week at church was Vacation Bible School. We were excited to get to spend the week with our church family and were also hoping it would get Abram a little more used to being in the nursery at church. As of now he doesn't necessarily like when we leave him anywhere but he's getting used to the idea and now knows we're coming back. I would vote this past week at VBS a success. I think he made a few friends and really enjoyed his time. One thing we learned from this past week is that he has no reservations and will do anything. We've also learned that he is very protective of his family and we've deemed him a warrior.

Tony, another man John, and I were put in charge of the story time for the 2-6 year olds for the week. Due to Tony and John's humorous and creative personalities it was a fun, wild, and crazy week. I don't think they looked at the actual script at all but they made the stories very real and interactive for the kids. One night in particular was the story of the Good Samaritan. Tony was the man beat up on the side of the road and John played all of the characters that passed him by. The scene started with Tony moaning and groaning and dressed as if he'd been beaten. This may have been slightly intense for the young children and we know it was for the few that were crying but most of the kids just seemed intrigued. As the scene goes on the priest passes him by, then the Levite. The children were all yelling stop, stop but as the story goes the men just passed up poor, beaten Tony. Next comes the Good Samaritan. Dressed as a super hero he makes his grand entrance and then heads over to help Tony.

As he reaches Tony and begins to perform CPR, give him a shot, and do all of these things to make him better we hear a loud scream come from the audience. The scream was followed by a small child who jumped out of his seat, shoved all others aside, and ran to the good Samaratian. He then proceeded to push the good Samaritan until he no longer lay hold of Tony. It was our son Abram, the warrior. He had come to save his Dad. With a big hug and smile on his face his father was saved and all was right with the world.

What I love most about this story is how Abram had nothing holding him back. He saw his Daddy needed help and he didn't care who was around, no one would stop him from getting to his Father. This was a fist pumping time for his Dad and I. We were so proud of our courageous little boy and were excited to see his love come out. He couldn't yet say it but we could see it without words. That is why we've deemed him our little warrior!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Day at the Waterpark

We had a fun day at the local waterpark here in Georgetown. Due to Abrams intense love for water it was a day we couldn't resist and he loved it. His favorite part were the jets he could run through and the huge pool he could sit in. He did not however enjoy the lazy river and I was extremely sorry to anyone trying to lounge while we were passing by. It probably wasn't a pleasant experience. That may have been one along with some other embarassing moments for the day. Here's a couple more...

Abram got so excited (and I can't blame him) that he decided to take off running. After seeing and hearing the lifeguards yell at many other people for running I quickly decided that I needed to stop him. So there I went running after him. By the time I got a hold of him I completely wiped out on the ground skinning my feet and knees and shoving my son down and into the water as well. So there we were both laying on the ground one of us in pain and the other wailing. I'll let you decide who was who. But I picked him up and took him to the jets and all was well except for the cuts that I'm now nursing on my legs. At that moment when both of us were sprawled out on the ground I wanted to yell... it's only been 3 weeks people. But I didn't. I stayed composed and went on with the day. I got many sympathy smiles from the people around.

Another time we wanted to explain our situation was when Tony was taking Abram back to the jets. They were almost there and Tony went to wipe his eyes. Within about 3 seconds Abram had went and jumped into the pool that he cannot yet swim in. Thankfully there was a man sitting on the side of the pool that pulled him out. It wasn't very dramatic and Abram didn't even seem phased but once again you're tempted to explain...we've only been parents for 3 weeks! Needless to say we've been learning humility as parents but it's been a fun journey so far. We love taking the boys places because they're usually a joy to people wherever we go. Abram loves to wave and hug and usually has a smile on his face. Ellis just smiles and is usually held by many people. He's a heavy weight and I'm glad he's a magnet which means I'm not the one holding him all the time. are some pics from our day of fun at the waterpark. We'll probably go back sometime.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Reflection on the Gospel

When I have time to sit and think, or often times when I'm holding or playing with the boys I start to think what if. What if we'd never made the decision to adopt and what if we'd never brought them home. Even in writing that sentence tears well up in my eyes. It's only been 2 plus weeks and I can't even imagine the thought of it. It almost makes me feel guilty for the times when I asked myself... what are we thinking, or how can we adopt,or how can we adopt 2 at one time, and how can one of those children be older? I was scared and could see these questions in other people. I could see that some people thought we were crazy and it made me wonder if we were. But now none of those questions come to mind when I look at the beautiful faces of two young brothers that are now my sons. My SONS!

This process has affirmed my faith in God and my faith in his son Jesus Christ more than
anything else has in my life and maybe in my lifetime. As a Christian I had recently learned the correlation between adoption and between my walk with God. I started to realize more and more what it meant and what it looked like for me as a spiritual orphan. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about life before I came to know God. I thought there was nothing else I needed. But deep down I felt something was missing and I couldn't ever get it right. I can now see I was selling myself short and most importantly selling God short. I didn't see the CRAZY peace that could come in life from knowing God is in control of all things. I didn't see the joy that I would have even when I shouldn't have had any. And the love that can come
from God and from fellowship with other believers. An unconditional love that is full of grace, and forgiveness, and mercy. These kinds of relationships will change your life. All of this happened when God adopted me into his family. It was nothing I did but he came, chose me, died for me, and brought me into his family. If God hadn't adopted me I never would've known and have experienced all that I have so far. Sometimes I wonder if God feels as much joy adopting me and others as I do when I look at my sons. The joy when I look at them and know the life they came from and the life they were headed for and can see the life they are now living.

While in Ethiopia we saw street children begging for money. One child in particular looked as though he had acid poured on his face. This young boy clung to my side in the markets asking me for money. We then saw a man standing close by collecting all the money from the children. Was this our boys future? We met the boys mother. A prostitute just trying to survive... we saw men selling mops door to door and others laying on the ground begging for food. Was this the future for our boys? Who knows what would've happened to them at their mothers brothel. Who knows what kind of men could have gotten ahold of them. Our boys have scars from their past that we cannot explain but we do know they won't get those same scars again. These boys were destined for a life of corruption, disease, and abuse. So I guess the What if question wouldn't be to hard to figure out. From this we've learned that adoption is a messy process. Orphans come from a messed up life. This makes me wish other people would be questioning, "What if" and not thinking it's not possible. People say to us, "You're such great people", or "you deserve an award", or "this is such a good thing that you're doing." But honestly all I feel like is we had kids. And when they say that all I can think about is how what we have done is nothing compared to the sacrifice that God made to adopt us.

When the process has been hard, when the boys are sick, when I don't get any sleep at night, I think about what Christ endured on the cross for me. I think about how a perfect and holy God, sent his perfect and holy son to earth to become a human just like me. I think about how that man lived a perfect life without sin. A life I could not have possibly lived. And then that man was murdered on a bloody cross to save God's children and to bring them into the family of God. And then he conquered that death and went to be with his Father again.

It should've been me and all of us on that cross. None of us can live a perfect life and all of us have offended God even if we don't see it. But God knew that and sent his son to die the death that I deserved. Our adoption of these boys is nothing in comparison to that great news. Because of that news we are able to extend the unconditional love to these boys. The love that says I don't care where you came from or what baggage that you come with but we will love you and serve you and die for you daily. It is a great honor and joy to have rescued these boys. And the joy that they bring surpasses all.

Ephesians 1:3-6 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In LOVE he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his GLORIOUS GRACE, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved."

I'm thankful that God chose me and I'm thankful that he also chose my sons. He picked 2 out of 6 million to be ours and it couldn't be more affirmed by them being here! They are Wells' through and through and hopefully one day they will have another adoption story by our heavenly Father.

Anyway, I was just feeling overwhelmed with the goodness of the gospel and the thought of bringing these boys out of destruction. Hope you're encouraged by the God that you already know or the God I hope you one day come to know. These pictures are random things we saw in Ethiopia.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Our First 2 Weeks!

First I want to thank everyone for helping us. We are so thankful for our families and friends that have helped us these first few weeks. They've enabled to catch up on some sleep and spend really good time with the boys. SO thanks to everyone whose brought us food and helped us take care of these guys.

Our first two weeks have been eventful to say the least. Within the first 6 days we went to the doctor twice and the hospital twice. Abram seemed to have caught a couple different viruses from becoming a U.S. Citizen. The little guy was so sick for the first week he couldn't eat and was in and out of fevers. But we got him medicine, took him to the international adoption specialist, and now we have medicine to hopefully cure him for good. He's been so sweet already that I can't wait to see him when he's feeling good!

Other than illnesses we are all doing great! The boys have adjusted better than we could've possibly imagined. They have adjusted to the time change, they're loving and trusting us, and we are getting into somewhat of a routine and learning new things everyday. Some things Abram has learned so far is to close his mouth, where everything is in the house, he knows some words (but isn't saying them yet) such as Mommy, Daddy, Smile, Hug, Kiss, Trash, discipline, yes, no, all done, eat, and all the African words for potty. He amazes us everyday by doing more things on his own. He can now get his own water out of the fridge, throw anything in the trash, climb the ladder in and out of the pool, and pee outside in our backyard. The last one is his favorite.

As for Ellis he is as sweet as ever. He's started eating 4 times a day which has helped in between feeding times extend and has helped him sleep better at night. So far he's made it through the night one time and we're hoping this becomes a habit. He's also been rolling all the way over and has recently started sitting up!!! He seems to be right on target.

Tony and I are also doing well. I am so thankful to have him home for the summer and know that I couldn't do it without him. People ask if it has helped or hurt our marriage and as of now I can only say it has helped. It's been fun trying to figure out what we're doing together. It's also made us much more appreciative of the little time that we now have to ourselves. This has seemed to help our communication and helped us show our love and appreciation for each other all the more. I have loved watching Tony be a wonderful Dad. It makes this whole parenting thing so much easier than I thought it was going to be. So as of now we're just enjoying the summer and teaching the boys more and more everyday!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The End of the Beginning...

Our Embassy trip was wonderful and now that we're back home it seemed more wonderful than ever. We were told on a Wednesday morning that we needed to be at the Embassy the following Monday morning at 9 a.m. Everything we had been planning for was finally coming to fruition. All the toys, clothes, "child proofing" we had done was about to be put to use. Yet all of a sudden we felt rushed to "get things together".
We had only been waiting 6 weeks. Throughout the adoption process you are always waiting for the next thing. This was our last waiting for our boys and we were ready for it to be over. So when we got the call it was some of the best news we'd ever heard but we really didn't have much time to think about what was about to take place.

We bought our tickets that day and on friday we were on our first flight. We arrived in Addis, Ababa on Sunday morning. It felt like we had just been there. Once again we were greeted at the airport by our lovely hostess Agie. She took us to the Guest House to get situated and then we went to get our boys.
We had been going and going since friday afternoon. I just remember praying. Praying they'd remember us and hoping they'd be the same sweet boys we left a few weeks prior. I was hoping Abram wouldn't be bitter or sad that we had left him but would trust us and know that this time it was for good. Our prayers seemed to be answered when we opened the gate to the transition house and saw our little boy standing there with a toy.
As soon as we made eye contact he smiled. He stood and waited for us to come get him. We walked over, Tony picked him up and he gave him a big hug. He couldn't stop grinning and neither could we. We then took him to go get his baby brother Ellis. When I first saw Ellis I was shocked to see how much he'd grown since we'd seen him last. Immediately he smiled, I picked him up, and our family was complete! There was an overwhelming peace and joy that came from holding them and knowing we would "Lord Willing" never have to let them go again. It was a good feeling.
We stayed and played with the other children for a while and then had the boys say their last goodbyes. We were surprised at how many children were gone that had been there before. We were happy that they were not there because that meant that they had already been brought home to be with their families.
The next few days went by fast and I'm so thankful that they did. This trip unlike our last trip the Guest House was full of other families adopting. One of the famillies was a Dad and his little girl Rebecca. Rebecca was friends with Abram. They came from the same village, orphanage, and transition home. It was fun to see them interact. They spoke to each other, shared toys, and shared food even if it came out of their own mouths. They were buddies. We ended up traveling back with Rebecca and her father and plan on staying in touch. They live only 20 minutes away and may be friends for life.

Staying at the Guest House those last few days in Ethiopia have made us very grateful to be home and to live where we live. We had a very small room in the Guest House with a shared bathroom and a toilet that wasn't working. With the end in sight it wasn't hard to rough it for a few days but helped us see al the luxuries that we have. Starting our family in Ethiopia has made it 100 times easier raising them at home. Even though it hasn't been easy, I am thankful for where our boys are from and for how our journey has began. Right now they're sleeping in their beds and it couldn't feel any better. Even though it feels like our journey is over we know it has just begun and what a crazy, fun ride it's going to be. Hope to update more soon!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Room is Ready!

Well...tomorrow is the day we get to go get our boys and we never have to take them back! I guess it was time to officially finish the room. So we finished it today and here are some pictures to share!

My friend and her mom made these awesome Map Blankets for both of the boys. We thought they'd be nice decorations!
The Abram and Ellis signs came from a shower for the boys.
This was the laundry bag I used in college that I painted for their room.

My friend and I painted these canvases for their room as well. I wanted some scripture to be readily available in time of need!
Some little gifts for the boys.
This is the puzzle we used that raised a LOT of money to bring our boys home. It has the signatures of everyone that helped bring them home from donations to showers!
Their little Book Nook.
Ellis' bed that we are excited for him to soon be sleeping in!
The toy box, also used as a nice bench. One of our smartest additions to the room.
So that's all for now. Thanks to everyone who has helped us and made special things for their room! We are soooooo thankful to the Lord that they will be here within a week to fill it!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Our Packing List

I found a packing list on a blog and it was one of the most helpful blog posts I'd ever seen. As I begin packing for our second trip I thought I'd review my original lists and post them on the blog. Maybe they'll be useful to someone else someday. So here was the list for the first trip:

5 Outfits for each of us.
Nice outfits for Court Date
1 Light Jacket and Sweatshirt (Didn't need either went in April)
Shoes-wore sandals and Tony wore tennis shoes the whole week.
Airplane outfit to be reserved for home (not necessary, they did our laundry)
Baby Clothes (sleepers, onesies, etc.)
Should've brought pull-ups for Abram.
Clothes and shoes for Abram (2 yrs. socks, lots of undies!
Swimsuits for each (not necessary)
Baseball cap for Tony and Abram

Scabie cream (didn't use)
Children's Antibiotics (bought while there, definately needed!)
Children's Tylenol (used)
Cold Medicine
Thermometer (used and needed)
Children's Anti-Diarrheal (we used it)
Melatonin (used to sleep the first night there)
Allergy Meds
Cold Medicine
Had shots and Malaria Medicine (didn't need in the city)

Face and Hand Wipes
Clorox Wipes
Hand Sanitizer
Sunscreen (didn't use)
Bug Spray (didn't use, we stayed in the village)
Shampoo/Conditioner small tubes
Cocoa Butter (used for boys)
Toothpaste and 3 Toothbrushes
Brush, Flatiron, hair dryer and ADAPTER! (adapter very important)
Children's Vitamins
Adult Energy Vitamins
Nail Clippers
Qtips (very important for the boys!)
Leave in conditioner for boys and pick.
Wash clothes
Baby Washes
Small towels
Regular towels

SNACKS: (took more than needed)
Instant Oatmeal (didn't use)
Fun Candy (didn't use)
Chewy Granola Bars
Dry Soup Mixes (nope)
Mac and Cheese (nope) They cooked for us!
Ramin Noodles (nope)
Paper Bowls
Roll of Paper Towels
Plastic Forks and Spoons
Animal Crackers
Fruit Snacks (awesome!)
Fruit Cups (awesome!)

Bouncy Balls
Blow up Beach Balls
School Supplies
Paperwork (Dossier, passports, I-600A, and copies of everything!)
Swiss Army Knife
Waterfilter (not used, had bottled water the whole week)
A little detergent (didn't use, they did our laundry)
Line to dry things (nope)
Paper with Words in Ahmaric (helped us communicate with Abram)
Flashlight (a must, especially when the power goes out and you need to change your baby at night!)
Camera and Chargers (make sure to bring adapter!)
Video Camera
Pack with Ziploc Bags
Wal-mart Bags

Coloring Books
Blow-up Balls
Cars and Trucks
Bear and Blanket for each boy
Butt Paste
Baby meds (gas, tylenol, GRIPE WATER, cold, benadryl) only used Gripe Water.
Baby Wash
Hat and Jacket
Rice Cereal
Pacifiers (should've brought an assortment)
Bottles and variety of nipples
2 different types of Formulas
Baby Spoons
Dirty Diaper Bags

And there's the list!

Tony's Letter to Abram

Tony wrote Abram a letter on our flight to Ethiopia. I'll let the letter speak for itself. It's titled, "Unstoppable.":

Abram, (Praying in 5 days I will call you son!)
Your Mom and I are sitting next to each other on the plane. Millions of thoughts have been running through our heads. What will you be like? Are you ok?, Do you smile? How will you react when we take you from the transition home? What happened to you and your baby brother Sitota? Will we meet your birth parents? How will you react when we leave you at the transition home? Will we pass our court date? How long till we can come back for you and your brother...etc. The list goes on.
Above all those questions I have an inexpressible excitement to hold, kiss, play, feed, and stare at you. We have been looking at pictures of you since December (over 4 months). I can't wait to meet you. After this week we should know the answers above so we can talk about them one day me and you are together.
As all of these thoughts were flooding my head I decided to do something mindless and watch a movie on this 7.5 hour flight. The movie is Unstoppable with Denzel Washington (we will watch many movies with him in it). It's about a runaway train that has the potential to cause serious desolation as it goes through the cities of Pennsylvania. As this 10 ton train is going with nothing stopping it things are being detroyed, lives are being taken, and fear is filling the hearts of the people.
This train reminded me of the great force and catastrophe that is happening with the 147 million orphans in the World. 5 million from Ethiopia alone. 5 million orphans is a hard force to stop just like the train. It is destroying children's identities, value, purpose, and most of all their lives. You are an orphan and this train is coming to you and your brother. Wanting to destroy you and leave you hopeless with no last name and no family to be apart of.
In the movie 2 men risk their lives to stop the train. These men discovered how the train could be stopped but what they discovered is it would cost them their lives. They knew their lives were worth putting on the line for the sake of serving others. When risking all that they had, THEY DID IT! They stopped the train.
My lip was quivering, tears forming, and my heart was pounding throughout the movie. Although not the same it reminded me of the many months of hard work and waiting we've spent trying to stop this train of 147 million orphans in the world.
Your mom and I know we can't rescue all of the orphans but we know we can stop the train for 2! We are willing and committed to lay our lives down for you and your brother for the rest of our lives.
Ultimately it's because Jesus Christ has came and stopped the train (sin) which was going to destroy us by laying dow His life so that we might live. Your mom and I are so thankful Jesus rescued us from the sin train that it moved us for you! Because of what Christ did for us we want to be the same for you. Stop the train of 142 million orphans for 2 orphans Bruike and Sitota. May you never feel the weight of the train as Abram and Ellis Wells!!! We love you and are so grateful for what the Lord has in store for us. You are a blessing and I'm so thankful that one day soon I'll be able to call you my son! I pray God would mold you into a man that lays His life down for the good of others! Praying you would be a train stopper!
Trainstopping! Love, Tony...Soon to be Dad.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting on the World to Change

It's been a while since my last post considering my last post was in Ethiopia. I've been wanting to write but haven't wanted to really think about this whole waiting game. It's getting down to the wire and this final stretch is seeming to be the hardest wait that we've had.

The last couple days in Ethiopia were wonderful and really hard. After the court date we decided to start going to the transition home with the boys for a couple hours a day. We wanted to make the transition for Abram a little easier by bringing him back around his friends and his nannies that take care of him. It was a good decision and even helped our transition in leaving him and Ellis there. It was also nice to be able to get out of our guest house for a few hours everyday. At the transition home we got to spend time with the children waiting for their families and their nannies. It's a wonderful place where we know they are being taken care of very well. There is a full-time nurse, cook, cleaner, and lots of nannies to help the children. We also got to meet some of Abram's friends and learned that they feed him very well! Probably why he's gained 8 pounds in 3 months!

This is how we found out he has friends:
While we were there they moved transition homes. We went one day to try to help move things. Tony helped move while I helped a lady attend to 14 babies at one time! It was chaotic. But we were there when all of the children 2 and over showed up. We were standing with Abram watching all of them get out of a van when we hear this shriek from the van. It wasn't a shriek of fear but a shriek of pure joy. We then saw this little boy hop out of the van and heard him yelling, "Bruke, Bruke!!!" He was so excited that his friend was back to see him. He ran straight over to Abram and reached his hand out to touch him...we were a little shocked by Abram's reaction, well not too shocked. He immediately shoved him away. It was a sad scene. The little boy was so happy to see him but Abram was not so happy. Abram often got sad when we took him back to the transition home because I think he knew the day was coming when we would leave him there. He had seen it many times before and knew his time was coming. However, that little boy's excitement gave us hope and helped us see that he had friends and was loved. We also have hope because not only does Abram see children being dropped off but he also sees them being picked up again by their forever families!!!

We are still waiting and hoping for our time to come. We have kept in touch with the three other families we were with in court. I was doing ok in waiting because I knew none of them had heard. What I was most scared of was that they would hear something and we wouldn't.

My fears became a reality about three weeks after we had been home. We have a news feed going on facebook with the families we were in court with. The first family posted..."We got the call!" This was very excited and kept us hopeful in that it would soon be our time. Then the second family posted..."It's a no go." My heart sunk. I knew that we would soon be hearing one of these two things and the anticipation was almost unbearable. Later that day the third family also posted that they had heard it was a no go and their birthmother was to be interviewed again. At the end of the day I knew my fear had became a reality. All of the families had heard something except for us. This was probably the hardest time in the waiting. The time had gone by fast until now and until I've known it's possible for us to return. Each week we keep getting our hopes up and so far they have been shut down. But it's ok!!! We are still hopeful and know that God is working it out! It's just hard to keep getting your emotions up and then getting them back down again.

Throughout that day I was sad that we hadn't heard and was also scared of what we were going to hear when it was our time. The next morning Tony received an email that said our birthmother was to be interviewed again. That means it's a no go...but only for now. We also heard that all of the interviews were booked and there was no room for our birthmother to travel with the rest of the mothers from her village. Once again, hard emotions were coming. We then received a beacon of hope when they said they got her in and she would be traveling with the rest of them. We also were told they could approve it on the spot and were asked what days we could come the following week! Well, tomorrow was supposed to be the interview and it turns out to be an Ethiopian holiday. Once again our case has been delayed and hopefully the interview will take place next week. So as of now we are waiting, praying, and trusting in our Sovereign God who is working all things out for our good. We know that he is teaching us and taking care of the boys better than we could ever take care of them. It's just that once again our hopes were lifted and then let down. I kind of wish they wouldn't tell us such things and would just tell us after they happen. But when I really think about it I'm glad they keep us informed. So please continue to pray and we will continue to wait on our whole world to change!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Our Court Date

The day we had anticipated had finally arrived. It was the day that would determine if two orphans would be in our family. Many people had been praying for this day and we were very hopeful. We were told to be ready by 9 so Tony took the boys to breakfast and I got ready. I then met them at breakfast and the driver arrived. We were not prepared! We had 5 minutes to fix all the bottles for the day, Tony to get ready, and to get all of our paperwork in order (very important paperwork). So we rushed down to the room with the boys, I made the bottles, Tony got changed and we ran out the door. I didn't even get a chance to say bye to Abram and later found out that I had on two different earings the whole day, even infront of the judge.

As we went outside we were happy to see some friends that we made on the plane. We then drove to pick up two other families who were going to be going to court with us. It only took a few minutes to get to the courthouse and we all got to know each other and talked about the children we were going to adopt. This man took us to a room and as we entered it was quiet and full of people. We didn't know where to go due to most chairs being full. When we found a seat I started looking around the room because we knew that the birthmother was in there. I spotted her right away. I could tell by her mouth. One thing the boys have in common is their big lips and their mouth is always open, this is also the one thing they have in common with their birthmother. She was a tiny lady and was the only one with teary eyes in the court room. We had heard before we went that the fathers were different and they were unknown but didn't find out later until why.

As we sat there they called groups of people in and out. We didn't know why the people were appearing before the judge and just awited our turn. After the group called organization (the birth parents) went in and out they waved all of us in. It was a relief to go in as a group. We had been rehearsing what we were going to say when the judge asked us Why we wanted to adopt from Ethiopia and what not. Turns out we were nervous for no reason. Right away she put us at ease. She was a beautiful and genuine woman. She was very calm and spoke to us very well. She simply asked us questions as a group. Two of the families there had already adopted from Ethiopia and she mostly wanted to know how their children were doing. She asked us as a group if we had received training, yes. Do we know adoption is permanent, yes. We're we prepared to help with their identity crisis as adopted children, yes. Would we teach them about Ethiopia, yes. And that was it. Then she started pulling out the files. She read the first family and said approved. It was a joyful occasion and my heart started to pound. She read the second family and said approved. There were tears in the room. The third family was us and she said the letter had not been received but was coming today. This was good news. It went by so fast that we weren't exactly sure what was happening. But I asked her today and she smiled at me and said I hope so in the most sincere way. The fourth family's letter had not been approved and they didn't receive the same news as us. Hopefully their letter will also come soon.

After we left everyone was explaining to us what she said and telling us to be hopeful. And we were. God had brought us this far and there was no need to worry now. Then the unexpected happened. They brought us outside and standing there were all the birth parents. They started pairing us up and naming the children. They said Bruike and Sitotawe and I was right. She came forward and we came forward. At first I didn't know what to do so I patted her on the back. She was a tiny lady who ends up being the same age as me. By her size I thought she may have been much younger. She smiled and we just stood beside each other not being able to yet communicate. Tony and I were not prepared and had no idea what to do so we just watched everyone else and followed their lead. The other families started showing their birthmother pictures. They even had photo albums to give them. So Tony pulled some pictures out of his wallet and we gave them to her.

Then the really unexpected happened. We all got in a van together and they told us that they were coming with us to see our children. What! Atleast that's what we thought at first. Afterwards I understand and was happy that she got to see them for the last time. She told us she was happy that we were taking them.

We first went to the other guest house and our children were not there but we got to talk to her. We asked her about her family, we asked her about the boys and their birthdates. By what she said it seems we have a 4 month old and a boy who will be 3 in May. These ages seem more than accurate. We then asked her why the fathers were unknown and were shocked by her answer and that she actually told us. It is due to her occupation. This broke my heart and I wish we could take her with us as well. We then asked her what she wanted us to tell them and she just said she wanted them to be educated, she wanted them to be men, and she said that she loved them.

She was a very intelligent woman. She knew some English and spoke two different languages and was able to interpret for the other families. I wish we knew more about her. But we took pictures and hugged and she said she was happy. She then came with us over to see the boys. She smiled really big and got them right away. Neither of the boys seemed to recognize her but they sat with her for a picture. She was only with them about 5 minutes but I hope it was a peaceful thing for her. I hope she knows we will love them and take care of them as our own and we told her they will always be thankful for their birthmother.

The rest of the day was just an ordinary day here. We played with the boys, took naps after lunch, had dinner, etc. Abram didn't seem to be affected by the activities of the day. It was a good day but we were still lingering. We called our representative later in the day and he said the letter should be there in the morning. Today we went out to the transition home and had a wonderful day in the city that I'll try to write about soon. While we were out our representative called our driver for the day and told us the good news. Tony could hardly hear what he was saying but said, "I think he just told us we were approved." We were able to celebrate with some friends we have made at the guesthouse at a nice cafe. Abram ran around and played with other boys while we sat in airconditioning and had some pop. It was a wonderful day! Now we are moving to pray for other things. We pray that the Visa applications were correct and that they will be processed soon in order for us to get an Embassy appointment to come back and get the boys!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Day of Firsts!

I just wanted to write a small post because I'm so excited. I just fed Ellis his first rice cereal!!! ANd he liked it! Well at first I thought he would either throw up or start crying but I let him take some down with a bottle and he got used to the idea. Hopefully now he won't want to eat every two hours! He was craving him some rice cereal. Another first, we're about to give Abram a shower or bath depending on which one works out the best. They keep him nice and clean at the transition home but it's his first one with us! That's really all the firsts I can think of just so excited I had to write. Here's a few things we love about the boys: Abrams deep belly laugh that continuosly fills our room. Ellis starts to laugh a little when he's falling asleep and smiles a lot when we change his clothes. Abram is a cuddler. Anytime we pick him up he just puts his arm around our necks and lets us hold him. Ellis is good at looking deep into your eyes and his are so beautiful you just want to keep starring back. When Abram eats he gets food everywhere but doesn't mind and he will eat anything. As of now he really likes fruit snacks and oranges, but he's not a big fan of animal crackers. Ellis is happy when his brother is around. We could go on and on. Now this post may seem like total bliss but nothings perfect on this earth. We can tell Abram is getting more comfortable cause his rebellious (sinful) side is starting to show but this is a good learning experience and we're trying to figure out how to handle it. He's so smart he's already starting to understand things as ask him and tell him to do. Which also shows his side when he doesn't respond to come or no or now. But we think he gets it. We're still giving him his medicine and it still makes me cry to think he would still be sick if we hadn't come. He's getting better though. Please pray that when we take him back to the transition home he will understand that we are coming back for him. Please pray that the weeks we are gone will only be like a couple days in his mind. We are bonding so fast that I'm going to be scared to leave him on thursday. Also pray for our court date tomorrow! Hopefully the Embassy will like us and will declare them our boys. That's all for now. We'll let everyone know how the court date goes!

Our First Day as a Family

It has been only 2 days and there is already so much to say, therefore I'm going to do it in sections! THE MEETING: The meeting and the first day were better than we could have ever expected. We got ready in the morning, packed our bags for the day because we thought we'd be spending the day at the transition home but it turns out we were only there for 20 minutes. When we got in the car the driver said it was only a few minutes away but a few minutes turned to 30. We were pretty distracted by the sights we were seeing and all the people we noticed starring our way. Our trip was also full of prayers, not just prayers for what was about to happen but prayers for our safety as we weaved in and out of traffic. When we got to the transition home we gave our camera to our driver Daniel just in case the boys were there as soon as we walked in. That wasn't the case. But when we did walk in we were greeted by probably 10 little smiling faces. We had noticed several of these faces from our agencies website and it was so fun to get to see them in person and to know that all of these little precious orphans were not going to be orphans for much longer. When we arrived we asked for Bruike and Sitotawe but Bruike was getting cleaned up by his nanny so we spend some time to play with the children. Tony brought a huge blowup ball for them to play with and they loved it. They all went wild. Sadly though this one little girl got trampled on and her finger started to bleed. She started crying and me and Tony were the only ones there to pick her up. Most of the Nannies spend time with the babies and there were two middle school aged boys watching the older children. As I picked up the little girl I almost wept thinking that no one was there to see or kiss her boo boo. So I did it for her. She was sweet and I know soon her mother will be there to heal her wounds. Well the time came and we walked up the stairs and there Abram (Bruike) was. I had been anticipating this for a long time now. I tried to prepare myself for the worst and decided to try to stand off just a little bit. Well as soon as I saw him I stuck out my hand and he walked over to me and put his arms around my neck. I picked him up and he just laid his little head on my shoulder and squeezed my neck. I don't know what was going on in his head but I was thinking is this really happening. Could this be as sweet as it seems. The first day just continued to get sweeter. I held Abram for a while and they took us to the baby room. As we walked in they handed Ellis (Sitotawe) to Tony. We were all smiled at this beautiful baby who just let us hold him. The next few minutes the boys just let us hold them while we asked their Nannies questions about their schedules and what not. Within a few minutes it seemed as though us and the boys were ready to leave. By this time Tony had Abram and I had Ellis in my awesome new Moby wrap! Anyway, the young boys who were watching everyone took Abram out of Tony's arms to give him a hug and he immediately started to cry. When Tony took him back the tears were gone. On the drive home I was thinking this is crazy. Ellis fell asleep on my chest and Abram laid his head on Tony's. No tears, no need to bribe with candy. They just sat there and took it all in. THE FIRST DAY: It seemed as though they had always been ours. When we brought them into the room Ellis was ready to eat so I made him a bottle and Abram just went and laid on our bed. He spread out and smiled. From that point on we played as though we always had. From what we had seen of Abram before we thought he would be quiet and reserved. But that hasn't turned out to be the case. He's full of laughter and joy and can even be a little to crazy at times! The first time we heard him laugh we jumped to get the camera. It was only a few minutes after we'd been in the room and there has been much more laughter since then. Abram has become Tony's little buddy. I'm so thankful that Tony now has someone else to throw a ball at and Abram likes it. He runs and laughs and then tried to hit Tony back. He also enjoyed coloring, playdoh and all the usual things. He seems to be very smart. We love him and it's funny to see the simliarites between him and us. He is our child. :) One scary and unexpected thing was he is sick! He seemed ok in the morning and then after lunch you could tell he felt terrible. He slept for 2 hours and then woke up with a 103.5 temperature! All within God's providence our Guest House owner and his wife a nurse came to visit us. The nurse was there when we took his temperature and immediately sent someone to get him antibiotics. Thankful to say those antibiotics are working and Abram has felt wonderful all day. When I checked that temperature and gave him his medicine is when the tears began to flow. I was scared and so sad thinking he had been sick for so long and there was no one here to give him his medicine. I know that is will be hard to leave but I'm thankful for the timing that we are here to make sure he gets his medicine and will hopefully be healed by the time we leave. Ellis is a sweet baby who begins to smile at me more and more as I changed him and feed him. He's pretty laid back but seemed to be a little high maintenance until I started putting Gripe Water in his bottles. Things are getting better although he's on his own schedule and seems to be wide awake from 2-4 a.m. But that was only the first night. Another scary thing happened today when Ellis projectile vomited out of his nose and mouth right infront of me. I think that this is normal and he seems fine but please pray that he is. Sorry for the details, the last detail I'll add is that he's the most beautiful baby I've ever seen. :) THE FIRST NIGHT: Our first night was crazy! Abram was sick and Ellis likes to eat when he wants so I can honestly say it's the first time I've seen the clock every hour in one night. But we made it and have better hopes for tonight now that we've figured maybe one or two things out and can better prepare ourselves. Looking back on what was happening in the night is pretty funny to think about. We were scrounging around looking for bottles and wipes, flashlights, chairs. We had 2 wet beds and the baby pooped everywhere! I went to move him a little and stuck my hand in poop. However, I was just thankful that he did poop and was concerned when he hadn't. Both of the boys are asleep now and hopefully this night will be better. If not we're still thankful for God's provision in our lives and for the opportunity to love these boys through it all. This is a long post and I probably have much more to say. But that is just a little glimpse at how these past two days couldn't have been better. Abram seems to fit right in and continues to come out of his shell. We are starting to learn things that we never knew and are excited that the journey has only begun!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

We Have Arrived!

Well we made it! After a few of the longest flights we've ever been on we finally arrived at the airport in Addis! From the get go we noticed a few differences in the culture that mostly made us laugh such as people cutting lines, telling us to move, moving our bags if they were in the way. There wasn't much personal space. Anyway...after the flights and going through customs we were greeted by this beautiful girl who was holding up a sign that said Tony Wells. As soon as I saw that sign we just smiled at each other and she knew who we were. Seeing her sweet face was more than welcoming and made me feel so Happy to be here! The same sweet girl just made us breakfast and will be helping us with our boys! After we left the airport we got on a short bus to be taken to the home where we are staying. It was dark out but now that it's morning we are looking at the beautiful yet rundown city and mountains that we couldn't see last night. It was a short drive that ended down some very dark and bumpy alleys...Tony and I just looked at eachother and started laughing! I said, "We are Crazy! We're in Africa and tomorrow we're going to get our Africa babies!" Tony is talking to Agiee our sweet helper and she just informed us that the boys names, Bruike means Blessing and Sitotawe means Gift. In a few minutes we are going to go meet that beautiful blessing and gift. Now the tears have started. Hopefully more updates will come soon! We're going to go get our boys now so not sure how much time we'll have to blog, but will make a great effort. As of now we are not nervous but excited and prayerful. We know this week may be tough but it won't even compare to the goodness that will come from having these boys with us home.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Good News, The Bad News, The News

The Bad news...Ethiopia to cut Foreign Adoptions by up to 90 Percent. We had heard speculations a couple weeks ago about things changing in Ethiopia. You're always warned when you start international adoption that the country or agency could close when you're right in the middle of it. It was never something I worried about and didn't think would happen. Thankfully it hasn't happened but some things are changing. When we first read the article above it was a little shocking and did bring forth some emotion. We had lots of people asking us what this meant and if the door had been closed to our adoption. Our initial reaction to the article was thankfulness that we already have a court date but came with questions of how long we would have to wait for our boys. After researching for information we have found that hopefully all the news and changes in Ethiopia will not affect us at all. The following is hopefully some helpful information to help you understand more about all of the commotion in Ethiopia. It all has to do with an agency called MOWA:

"The Adoption Team in the Children and Youth Affairs Office (CYAO) operating under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA) is the primary adoption authority in Ethiopia. MOWA has responsibility for all activities regarding children in Ethiopia, including welfare, foster care, domestic adoption, international adoption and investigation of neglect and abuse. When an orphaned or abandoned child comes into the custody of the Ethiopian government, the police and MOWA create the child's dossier."

"Upon completion of an international adoption from Ethiopia, MOWA prepares a request to the city of Addis Ababa for the issuance of a new birth certificate, in addition to a request to the Office of Security, Immigration and Refugee affairs for an Ethiopia passport for the adopted child in his/her new name. Both of these are best facilitated if the requests are hand-carried to the relevant offices. The U.S. Embassy needs both the new birth certificate and the passport to complete the child's U.S. immigrant visa application process."

MOWA is responsible for reviewing each individual case and sending a letter to the court system for approval. We've known cases that have not passed and it is usually because there is no letter from MOWA. The cases pass contingent upon receiving the letter. Therefore when we heard they had been writing 50 letters a day and we're going to take it down to 5 that's why we thought our case would be delayed and we would have to wait a long time for our boys.

Yesterday we read some really GOOD NEWS about the situation in this blog The WayFarer. After the announcement was made to only write 5 letters a day the director and other employees have been terminated. They have now completed their staff changes and are focusing their attention on the approx. 800 cases of current families waiting on their children. Thankfully we are in those 800 cases. It was also helpful to read a week ago in court every single case passed. I don't know if that's ever happened. Also MOWA are no longer limiting the number of letters being processed and have written up to 25 in a day. This is Great News. All of this turmoil may be helping us and hopefully will be improving Ethiopian Adoption all together. It seems to my limited knowledge that they are cleaning it up and hopefully making it more efficient in the long run. The sad thing is we have already heard of families that did not have referrals that have had to end their journey of adopting through Ethiopia. We will continue to pray for these families as they deal with the loss and confusion of what to do next. We should also pray for the leaders in Ethiopia making decisions regarding the lives of 5 million orphans and the families longing to bring them home.

Thoughts from the Beach...

It's been a while since my last post and that's because we recently enjoyed a wonderful vacation with 22 college students in Destin, Florida. It's a great privilege to be able to take people to the beach as part of our job. For a while I wasn't exactly sure how or even if the trip was going to happen but it all came together beautifully at the last minute. This trip was such a great balance of fun and relaxation, time with God and time with people, getting to know new people while going deeper with old ones, it was awesome and we could really see lots of prayers being answered that we'd been praying throughout this past semester and year.

As wonderful as this trip was it was somewhat bittersweet. It was almost so enjoyable that I had feelings of sadness when I thought we weren't going to be on summer project this year or that we'd not be taking trips exactly like this again. I knew that our next trip to the beach was going to be a little bit different because it wasn't just going to be Tony and I anymore. Next time we go to the beach there are going to be two little additions to our family. Of course that brings excitement to our hearts and thoughts but if I'm being honest I had thoughts about things I wouldn't be able to do next time we go to the beach. I questioned things like when would I be able to sleep in again, or go for a jog in the morning, or go lay out on the beach all day long. I felt a little selfish at having the luxury of doing that already but found myself thinking and counting down the years until I would be able to do those things again. As selfish as that seems it did cross my mind a time or two.

The good thing is, those things like sleeping in, laying on the beach, and running aren't what I find my joy and satisfaction in. The satisfaction and joy in my life truly come from my relationship with Christ. This is what I kept being reminded of on this trip. I kept remembering the gospel and the call of it on mine and Tony's lives. I kept remembering the promises from Gods word of how we will rest in heaven, how his plan and purposes for our lives are good, and how his steadfast love for us will never end! That brings me reassurance in knowing that these boys are going to be a gift from God. Even though I may no longer have the luxury of sleeping in for the next 10 years, Gods' plan is good and right and we are going to have an unimaginable joy from living, loving, and learning with our boys! I left the end of the week more ready than I've ever been to go meet them and be with them til we grow old. I left the week refreshed, excited, encouraged, and loved by the creator who won't leave us or forsake us but will give us strength and comfort, and etc, I could go on and on and on again. Anyway, I'm so thankful for a creator that loves me and that has planned this adoption from the beginning. I know He's brought us this far and isn't going to leave us now. So here we go! It's time to start packing cause Ethiopia here we come!

These women are an answer to prayers we've been praying for years. Some of them knew Christians, some of them old, all loving the gospel and loving Christ. I'm thankful for the friendships that we have and the encouragement that they are. I'm also thankful for the great help they will be when the boys are here and how excited they are to babysit and to love on them soon!

Lucky for me this guy is ready for some kids to play with!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Letters to Our Boys

A couple of weeks ago the Staff Women of Campus Outreach took me out to dinner to celebrate our adoption. I love being with these women. I always leave our time together encouraged, refreshed, and wanting to hang out more. I knew that our time together this night was going to be how it usually was but for some reason felt a little uneasy about it during the day. I'm not sure if it was something I ate or nerves but my stomach was in knots all day. When asked if I was excited for the night I responded with a yes but also wanted to say that I didn't know how I felt about it. It felt weird going to a "shower" with the uncertainty of children. This was before we had received our court date and we still thought we would be waiting at least another 3-6 weeks until we received word. As I said in an earlier post receiving the court date was the first time this adoption has become real real for us. Needless to say I was a little nervous about the shower. I felt weird and almost selfish asking people to gather and bring money together for children that I wasn't 100% positive we were going to have. At the end of the night I realized all of these emotions and feelings were wrong and there was no reason for me to be sick to my stomach that day. God is in control and this night helped me realize just that.

After dinner we went back to one of their houses and had dessert. I noticed all of them taking turns going in and out of the laundry room. They were trying to be sneaky but it was hard not to notice, especially as people stared at me and smiled as they entered the room. Well, i knew it wasn't a laundry party and just figured they were signing a card which is usually what we do at showers, birthdays, etc. Little did I know the surprise they were going to bring me. (Tears just started flowing as I wrote that last sentence) Anyway...

After we had dessert and talked for a little bit they brought me a big basket full of goodies! It had handmade blankets, sippy cups (if that's how you say it), a jar full of money, and two journals labeled with an A and an E. As soon as I opened the journals I saw letters written to the boys. I immediately closed the journals and put them back in the basket as tears welled up in my eyes. I told them I was grateful but would not be able to read those in front of anyone. The letters were full of prayers and excitement and you could see the love they have for our boys. I am thankful for these women, their love and encouragement in our lives, and the joy they will bring our boys one day. Here are what a couple of the letters said...

You are a blessing from God for your mommy and daddy. You will fill their lives with laughter and joy and have been a prayed for gift! We hope you will carry on the gospel heritage of your parents! Love,

I cannot wait to meet you and watch you grow! you are going to have so much fun being a Wells! I love you already and have been praying for you. Love,

Abram and Ellis,
I hope you know that you are loved and cherished by so many people! We have and will continue to pray for you. I cannot wait to watch all
that God will do in your life and where he will take you, I pray that you will put your trust & hope in Christ as your Savior. We love you,

We always liked the saying it takes a Village to raise a child and we are very thankful for the "village" God has blessed us with. The boys will be leaving a village but coming to another full of love, laughter, and joy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Court Date

Getting a court date is one of the most exciting days and things you wait for in the adoption process. Throughout the entire process you do paper work, you wait, you get excited because something goes through, then you do more paperwork, do more waiting, and then you get excited for the next thing to happen. It's the cycle of adoption, you love it and you don't love it. It's fun getting excited but then weird when the emotions settle down and you realize you are once again waiting. Up unto this point I've known that this adoption is going to take place and that very soon we will be the parents of two beautiful boys, but nothing has made it feel more real than receiving a court date.

When thinking about getting a court date it's almost like you're expecting this huge ceremony with cake and balloons and all of your friends to be there and the agency to send you a box with roses and a certificate saying you've arrived. But that was not the case. It was one of the most nonchalant announcements we've ever received. But I loved it exactly the way it came.

I had just gotten home from running, or meeting with a girl on campus or something, came in and sat down on the couch. Tony and I were just talking while he was checking things on the computer and all of a sudden he throws a fist pump in the air and shouts, "We have a court date!" I was so surprised that my first and typical reaction was to laugh and then ask him to repeat what he just said. So once again he says, "We got a court date babe!" I was slightly confused and then asked him what happened and when is it and then he showed me the email. The email makes me laugh because of it's simplicity about a subject to complex to comprehend. The subject line simply says, "Your Court Date" and when you open up the email April 4. Please make arrangements accordingly. I love that. Such a big ordeal in such simple words. Needless to say after we got the email both of our personalities showed. Tony was running and screaming all over the house and outside of the house, while I sat on the couch with a big smile on my face and thought about who to call. Having a court date and buying plane tickets is one of the most exciting times I can remember in my life. But it's also one of the most scary times I can remember. It means this is REALLY happening and within a couple of months we are going to be the full time parents to Abram and Ellis. We could worry or be anxious but God has really blessed us in just being able to wait. To wait and pray and know that we're going to love them and that this was his plan all along. Some scriptures that I have been clinging to during this time are:

Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Phillippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Isaiah 12:2-3, "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation."

It is because of the goodness, the glory, and the grace that God's poured into my life through his son Christ, that I know any and all situations will work out for good. My joy will come from the wells of salvation with which I can draw water (life, refreshment, substance and nourishment). Because my joy is from the Lord I can wait patiently and know that His will and timing are perfect and I have no need to worry. During this time of waiting and when they get here He will be my strength and my salvation!