Ok, so today has been a total blur. As you saw in my last post, we got a call from Jessica at Gladney at about 7:30am our time. We wondered who could be calling us so early in the morning! I was in my PJ's grading papers on the couch (trying to get caught up) when Davis answered the phone. When he said, "Well, hello, Jessica...", I knew something good was about to happen. We spent about an hour on the phone with Jessica going over every detail of our completed referral. It was a very surreal experience - opening an email and having your life change in an instant because you are looking at your kids to whom you will now be joined forever. I couldn't help but wonder if that is what an arranged marriage feels like - to see a picture and know that you will choose to love that individual and commit your life to that person. In our case, we were thrilled to see our two little ladies and learn that are very healthy (we were amazed at how healthy they are!). One of them did have a runny nose. Heaven forbid! If that's the worst case, I think we can handle that! From what we can tell, they are also very spunky. They should fit right in in this house!
The first emotion we both experienced was surprise. When I opened the email, the first thing I said was "Oh! It's two girls!" All along we have been expecting a boy and girl but we had indicated we would consider two girls as well. It appears that God had two girls in mind! All along we have been praying that God would pick the exact kids for us in His perfect timing. It appears he has done just that. Davis is excited and still processing the fact that he is going to be outnumbered in this house! I have no doubt that he will be a great girl dad. I fear, however, that the poor man is going to have to install a few more sparkly chandeliers and ruffle-related items around here (as if this house has a shortage of those!). He'll need a "man-cation" after we get done prepping this pad for two little ladies. All I could think of this morning was "Oh goodness! Two girls...that's butterflies and tutus! Sounds good to me!" I had been praying that when we got our referral that we would know these were our kids. As we worked through the file and learned more about the family situation under which these children were put up for adoption, it was very evident that these are the kids God wants us to embrace and provide a home for. There is a great deal of peace in that.
So after crying on the phone with Jessica and calling the grandparents, we had to rush off to work. We were both very late at that point with heads in the clouds thinking about that fact that our hypothetical kids are now REAL. We have two daughters - ages 10 months and 2 1/2 years - and they are coming home soon! A verse that has been so meaningful to me during this long waiting season has been Hebrews 6:15, "After waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised." I've had this on a chalkboard in our kitchen for weeks. Today, I put the girls picture next to the verse and took a picture. God is good.
On an emotional level, this day has been a TOTAl blur. We have both cried talking to so many different people today. I feel like I have been talking and typing all day. It's almost like I will remember this day more in images, like scenes from a movie, rather than as a unified whole. I will remember driving the 30 minutes to work and trying to cram in as many phone calls as I could to friends near and far. One friend even answered her phone from Mexico (not cheap!) because she knew why I had to be calling. Getting sweet emails at work from coworkers, including a guy friend who told me Davis can come over and work on cars with him and his son if he ever feels the need to escape our little kingdom of girls! One coworker even posted a message in the staff room about "Sarah's Daughters". That felt so weird! I will then remember driving home and listening to SOOOO many voicemail messages from friends I had left messages for that morning. My mailbox actually got filled up and started rejecting messages so people started calling our house instead. Most of the messages began something like "Oh my gosh!..." Many of them congratulated us for having been matched with girls because as one best friend of mine said, "Girls rock!" I was greeted at home by neighbors in the street who wanted to look at pictures and talk about what hand-me-downs they already had for our little lovelies. One neighbor family (they have five adopted kids that are now grown) gave us the most darling first gift for our girls - matching purple plaid dresses to wear to church in winter. SO CUTE and so thoughtful. Our parents are thrilled. Great-Grandma is thrilled. A cousin across the country wants to collect clothes to send to the other kids in the orphanage. Just about every girlfriend I have wants to be called "Auntie"! We have spent hours sending and receiving emails tonight and our Facebook pages (we love Facebook!) are bubbling! This has just been an all around great day.
There aren't that many events life that are truly celebratory and to feel the love, support and genuine enthusiasm that we have felt from people today has been such a special experience and one that I will never forget. Our daughters are blessed indeed. They are coming home to a group of people who are ready to embrace these little ones from the other side of the world (and probably spoil them rotten if Mommy and Daddy aren't careful!) because they are God's kids and that makes us all family. Yes, this has been a very good day.
Check back tomorrow for our video of today's referral adventure! Must sleep now. Mommy is wiped out. Please forgive the rampant overuse of the exclamation mark in this post. I gave up trying to rework these sentences. How often do you have a day like today?! (There I go again...)
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Posted by Sarah and Davis at 10:38 PM
We got THE CALL from Jessica this morning. Much to our surprise, we are going to be the proud parents of TWO LITTLE GIRLS. We are VERY late for work right now so more details will follow this evening. These are our little ladies and we can't wait for you to hear more about them. (I told you we hoped to hear something SOON!)
Posted by Sarah and Davis at 9:16 AM
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Ok, so I did a fair bit of ranting in that last post. I just can't help it when I think of the needs of so many being unmet for lack of what seems to most of us to be just a few dollars. Hopefully I didn't sound too nutty! I am really excited about this post today. When I saw this sign out in front of a small church in our town, I couldn't wait to share it with you. Isn't this a great message? "Kindness is faith with work clothes on." I just love that. If we, the global church, are going to make a difference in the world - and be a "powerhouse" for change - we need to put our "work clothes" on - whatever that may mean for each of us. What is so encouraging to me is just to look at how much good is being done in the world by the quiet heroes who are putting their faith into action in so many unique and tangible ways. Every time I am wandering in the blogosphere, I come across another lead about a worthy organization that is doing something good. I want to highlight a few that I think are so cool.
First, there is a t-shirt company called Tiny Rock Star. Their mission is to end the phenomenon of orphans living in extreme poverty. For every shirt you buy, you can feed an orphan for a month. The designs are really hip and their vision is so close to our hearts. Here's one of their fun designs.
Another great group that we support is called Five Loaves and Two Small Fish. They support orphan and widow care, and church planting in Ethiopia. Check out this video to learn more about this important organization working in our children's homeland!
I also got another great lead from Brandi, a fellow blogger whose son's name is Davis (how cool is that!). She has an organization called KidsLake that encourages kids to get involved in serving God through global outreach. Check out her fun blog. She has a link where you can donate to AHOPE, an organization that cares for HIV+ orphans in Ethiopia, and receive a free t-shirt. These shirts are cute too! I'm donating tonight so I can get one. The free t-shirt offer is only good until the end of September. Don't miss out!
Finally, there is the most darling woman named Tracy from Colorado who sells handmade jewelry through her company called JunkPosse on Etsy (if you haven't checked Etsy out yet, it's more addictive than eBay!). Her stuff is amazing and her work helps to support adoption. Look at this pendant!
What I love about every single one of these examples is that they are about people in "work clothes" using their unique gifts and abilities to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need. May we all put on our work clothes and do something beautiful for God. Thanks to those of you who replied to my last post just saying that you are reading our blog and following our story. That means a lot! We hope to have news for you soon!
Posted by Sarah and Davis at 10:36 PM
Friday, September 26, 2008
Does anyone else feel like our elected representatives are planning on spending a WHOLE LOT of our money? The apparent lack of fiscal responsibility that got us into this mess is driving me nuts. I am appalled by the greed and corruption that seems so rampant in so many segments of our society today. A few days ago CNN ran a piece on what $700 million dollars could buy. Numerous news outlets have done similar stories highlighting things like how many cups of coffee at Starbucks $700 million could buy, how many gallons of gasoline $700 million could buy, and so on. Here's what I want to see someone report on: How much $700 million could buy in Africa. Given that the malaria nets that are literally helping to save lives by preventing the disease cost as little as $3, $700 million could go a long long way. Given how many people continue to die because they simply cannot afford the $60 a month for the antiretroviral drugs to help their bodies combat HIV, $700 million could go a long way. My friend Joy has been ranting lately on Facebook about how something is wrong with the capitalist system in America today. She cited a recent article in Business Week that tells how the average CEO makes $12.8 million dollars a year. I know they work hard and sell their souls to the company store, but please! It's time to start saying enough is enough. This seems an appropriate place for what some would call "righteous indignation". I'm not sure what the political answer is but I do know that children are dying all over the world for lack of the most basic supplies (like clean water) while one more fat cat in the Hamptons is buying another yacht/jet/mansion. I'm sorry if that sounds too harsh but it just is not right. If you are thinking about some places to really invest your money during these trying times, consider an organization like AHOPE - A Hope for Children. For $10, they can feed a child with HIV in Ethiopia for a week. Or consider Shoes for Orphan Souls. I talked about them in a previous post. They provide shoes for the millions of little feet worldwide that don't even have footwear. Or how about Chidren's Hope Chest, a ministry that seeks to bring hope to orphans worldwide. Currently, they are working on helping to rescue orphan girls in Russia from the sex trade. When financial turmoil is so prevalent, it is good to be reminded about investing in things that will truly last.
On the adoption front for us, another week went by with no news. I am so tempted to call our agency again to try and see if they have ANY information for us but Davis says that would be unfruitful and annoying to all concerned. He is probably right (as usual). I got a few more great nuggets of wisdom from the Streams book I keep talking about. One entry this week talked about the "ministry of waiting" and how sometimes God is calling us to stillness and not action for a season. That seems to be where we are (and continue to be) for now. Thankfully, "we live by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). During this quiet season, we would love to make some new blogger friends so if you read our blog, please please please leave us a message. We'd love to know who you are!
Posted by Sarah and Davis at 8:54 PM
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Today I took dinner to a dear friend who just had a baby two weeks ago. When I asked her how things were going my very together and usually very balanced friend began to cry as she talked about how all she did was feed the baby...all the time. She said she never expected having a baby to take away so much of her freedom. This was not the first time that I had heard a new mom share this frustration. However, to hear it from such a close friend as I held her very cute but very squirmy little girl in my arms made the situation far more real to me. This has gotten me thinking about things that help to make my life sane. Here they are (in no particular order):
1. Getting enough sleep
2. Exercising daily
3. Having a tidy home (this includes vacuuming up dog hair on a regular basis!)
4. Having my schedule under control so that things get done (checking items off my list is particularly gratifying to me)
5. Having some quiet time to wind down before heading off to bed
I'm sure that some of the moms out there are probably rolling on the floor laughing by now at my "tightly run ship" but I am serious. I am also serious in saying that I am realizing that everything that makes my life sane is going to be seriously threatened by these little ones. I find that a bit terrifying. I know God will provide the strength I need but the idea of trying to pull all this off knowing how HARD being a mom can be is sobering. I can't help but think about how Sarah Palin's nomination has brought the whole issue of being a working mom into the spotlight. I'm not sure if Palin is a role model or a myth. Maybe the idea of her is a bit of both. She is, it would seem, the "supermom" many of us hope we can be. I would like to think that I will be able to care for my children, manage my career, stay fit, be involved in my community, have a hot husband (this is already taken care of!), etc. etc. etc. Frankly though, I'm just not sure if that is even possible as a working mom. I guess I'll give it a go and let you know how it goes. I just can't help but think of how exhausted that woman must be - all the time. I wonder what her list of "sane things" looks like. Does she vacuum up dog hair?
Posted by Sarah and Davis at 9:43 PM
Thursday, September 18, 2008
It's hard to believe that this was taken almost 6 months ago. We know those kids are on the way. It's just so hard when they have been nothing more than "hypothetical kids" for such a long time. We are really just waiting on a dream right now. It's very intangible. That part of this whole process is pretty strange. I am thankful for the many people God has put in our lives that have helped to make these kids more "real" to us during this season - my mom who calls me all the time to tell me about the latest preschool age books she nabbed from her school library's free table (including ones in Spanish!), my friend Jenna who called me to tell me how often she thinks of us with our kids and how she has a picture in her mind of us surrounded by kids passing out hard candy at the orphanage (she even wanted to buy the candy for us to take on the trip!), my friend Kim who leaves me messages on my phone telling me how she is so excited about the kids that she thinks about them all the time, my mother-in-law who wanted to start making the kids' bedding three months ago, my friend Marla who wanted to spend the first day of her vacation with us shopping for kids' clothes, and the list goes on. Perhaps God sends others to help carry our hopes when we feel like we no longer can. Perhaps it is through others' willingness to involve themselves in our dreams that we are able to keep our hopes alive. As we continue to wait (and read blogs about other families from our agency who have already received their referrals), we are blessed to have dreamers along with us on the journey that help keep our "hypothetical kids" present in our hearts. Here is a special poem that I was touched by this week. This too came from the Streams in the Desert book:
If we could push ajar the gates of life,
And stand within, and all God's working see,
We might interpret all this doubt and strife,
And for each mystery could find a key.
But not today. Then be content, dear heart;
God's plans, like lilies pure and white, unfold.
We must not tear the close-shut leaves apart-
Time will someday reveal the blooms of gold.
And if, through patient toil, we reach the land
Where tired feet , with sandals loosed, may rest,
When we shall clearly know and understand,
I think that we will say, "God knew best."
Posted by Sarah and Davis at 10:33 PM
Monday, September 15, 2008
This weekend I was doing some serious academic reading (my mom's People magazine!) and discovered a cool story about a clothing line launched by Ethiopian model and philanthropist Liya Kebede called LemLem which means "to bloom" or "to flourish" in Amharic. Kebede recognized that she could use her experiences and connections to empower Ethiopian workers to use their skills to create high end children's clothing to be sold in Western markets. She believes that in order to help heal her homeland, avenues for industry in the global economy must be provided for the people of Ethiopia. She is also committed to having her line produced IN Ethiopia. Given the cost of international adoption, I'm not sure we will be bringing home too many of these luxury clothes for our Ethiopian kiddos! However, they are very cute (as is her darling daughter!) and the story of Kebede and her mission to do what she can to help bring economic development to her home country of Ethiopia is inspiring. To learn more about Liya Kebede, check out the recent Time magazine article and the interesting video below. Visit the LemLem website for more info on this fun and "distinctly African" clothing line.
Posted by Sarah and Davis at 8:47 PM
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
A friend of mine sent me a surprise gift in the mail after I had the "downer day" last week. It is a book called Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman. It's a great book for anyone who is dealing with struggles in life (aren't we all?). I was moved by what I read recently in one of the entries. The text was based on a verse from Hebrews (6:15) that reads, "After waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised." Ironically, the author talks about how Abraham was tested by many things including his wife Sarah's "worrisome temperament". The author writes, "Abraham submitted to God's divine sovereignty and infinite wisdom. And he was silent through many delays, willing to wait for the Lord's timing. Having patiently endured, he then obtained the fulfillment of the promise." The parallels to our situation (and the situation of so many adoptive families on waiting lists) is striking. If we can just perservere (resisting the temptation to give into hastiness and the desire to complain) and allow God to work, our blessing is assured in the end. That is hopeful indeed.
On that happy note, here's another old picture just for fun (you can tell it's old because my hair is a different color!). I'm posting some of these now because we didn't have the blog started at the beginning of our process and we don't have pics of much else right now! This was taken one night after we had sent in our completed paperwork to Gladney. We stopped by Toys-R-Us on a date night just because it was becoming real that we were going to be parents someday. Here's the first toy I bought for my daughter (much to chagrin of my feminist leanings...I said I would never surrender to the Barbie franchise!). It was just too fun to pass up. An Ethiopian princess for my Ethiopian princess! Davis found the dinosaurs a bit more entertaining than the Barbies.
Posted by Sarah and Davis at 11:12 PM
Sunday, September 7, 2008
"I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry."
"Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You.
Let such as love your salvation say continually
'The Lord be magnified.'
But I am poor and needy
yet the Lord thinks upon me.
You are my help and my deliverer.
Do not delay, O my God."
"Why are you downcast, oh my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God for I shall yet praise Him
the help of my countenance and my God."
This weekend I was thinking to myself how much my life related to the Psalmist's words in Psalm 40. In my frustration over our adoption delays, I felt very connected to the cry of the Psalmist who expressed anguish at God's seeming lack of involvement in his trials. When I went back and reread Psalm 40, I was convicted by how selective I had been in my recollection of that famous text. I couldn't help but feel like I have been being a pouty little whiner. The author does express his apparent need for God's intervention, but his words are also hopeful in their faith in God to deliver and prevail in any circumstance. I was reminded - again - that God is working. He is ordering our steps. We just need to put one foot in front of the other each day and wait for Him to move. And perhaps cut the whining.
Posted by Sarah and Davis at 9:53 PM
Saturday, September 6, 2008
My sister-in-law Stephanie commented on my last post that it sounded like "retail therapy" was helping me get through this tough time. She may be right - at least on some levels. I thought I'd share one more "retail-related" pic of something I should NOT have purchased. Our adoption agency has advised us not to have baby showers, purchase items for your child, etc. until you actually bring the child home. The thinking is that this helps to protect you from disappointment if things change or don't go as planned. That's all well and good but when the wait goes on AND on AND on AND on, you just have to do something - anything! So, you shop a little. We were out one night and ran across these shirts in the window of a shop in downtown Ventura. It's the cutest little African-inspired "Mommy and Me" duo. Even Davis agreed that we couldn't pass this up. The little girl's shirt was shown with bright yellow pants! I hope to find a slightly cheaper version of those litle yellow pants at some point to go with this. If our little girl ends up being 4, this should fit perfectly. If she's a little younger, she can grow into it or wear it as a dress! We really should not have bought this if we were trying to be sensible (as we are WAY too often) but there has to be SOME fun in this process somewhere, right?
Posted by Sarah and Davis at 10:37 PM
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Well, we are now at FIVE MONTHS of waiting. We are trying to keep focused on God's plan and His timing in the whole equation but it is hard not to keep asking "How long, Lord?". (I'm finding myself a big fan of U2 right now). Yesterday was a DOWNER DAY. We had yet another conversation with our agency and were told that they have no news for us at this time. The feelings run the gamet: frustration, exasperation, exhaustion, confusion. I just feel "flattened" by the whole thing. It makes me want to give up. Maybe that's just one of my character flaws that God is working on. I noticed this last night when we went to a hip new restaurant that just opened in our town. (It should be noted here that we didn't really fit in because we really aren't that hip!). We had to wait in a long line to get access to the rooftop bar. Midway through waiting in line, I told Davis that the wait (especialy in heels) just wasn't worth it to me. If things involve long waits (ex. Disneyland - really any amusement park!, hip new restaurant, parking at the mall at Christmas), I often find myself incredibly disinterested. There is always another restaurant where the food will be decent enough and I can sit my butt down right away. I was struck by the swanky-bar/adoption parallel as I was heading to bed last night. Bottom line right now? Don't ask us if we know anything about our adoption. That appears to be the question no one will answer right now.
In order not to be a total downer, I thought it might be fun to share a pic of something recently that I did relevant to the adoption. There is very little we CAN do, but this was one thing. Based on advice I got on another adoptive family's blog, I shopped the end of season summer sales for stuff to collect to take with us to the orphanages in Ethiopia. We are required to bring several suitcases of humanitarian aid to meet the many needs of the orphans in orphanages in the country. My dear friend Marla, who came for a visit this summer, and I spent two days hitting up all the discount shops in town (Old Navy has BY FAR the best deals!). We came home with several BAGS full of little clothes and shoes for under $100. Pretty cool! I also picked up a shirt for our daughter that says something about her daddy being hot! Here's a fun pic of Marla and our bags of loot from that adventure.
Posted by Sarah and Davis at 9:29 PM