Monday, December 29, 2008

Child Slavery - Read This Article!

We've been getting lots of questions lately about why the Ethiopian government doesn't do more to expedite adoption cases. I like to think that the delays we have experienced are to keep things like this from happening. Check out this infuriating story about children being used as slaves in domestic settings. If this doesn't make you mad, I don't know what will!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hello Blogger Friends! We wish you all a very Merry Christmas celebrating the birth of the King! We so wish our little ladies were with us (it's harder to celebrate when half of your family is missing!) but we look forward to sharing Christmas together with them as a family next year. For now, this our Christmas card to Baby E and Little Miss J.

video

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thanks.

So we are still here. We did drop off the grid for a few days after Big Bad Wednesday. However, I've now had a couple of days to think ... really think ... a lot ... about the whole thing and I am feeling a little better now. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of so many who called, sent texts and emails, posted messages on Facebook and replied to our last blog post
with words of encouragement and hope. I didn't realize how many other families have struggled/are struggling with passing through the court system. I have to say that is something for which I was not really prepared. Just knowing that we are not alone in our experience has been helpful to me. I have been thinking a great deal about what God has been trying to teach us in this. I can't say I have an absolute answer on that point yet but I do know that God has shown me that He does care. I have seen this primarily through the way He has used others to speak truth and hope into our lives during this dark time. My friend Ashley posted this great quote on Facebook: "Be encouraged for the Giver of Good Things, the Renewer of Hope, and the Dispenser of Wonderful Surprises is on your side. He loves you and He never fails. Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out." I am now looking for God's surprise in this. I know there is a reason for this delay and I am trying to be hopeful and patient as we try to figure out what the blessing is going to be in this.

We are excited that Rebecca and Ben will be in Ethiopia in just a few days, armed with a care package from us for the little ladies. They've promised to send us pics and video. We can't wait for that! What a Christmas present! Thanks to these special blogger friends for letting us add a few more pound to their already-stuffed suitcases.

Since these last few days have been pretty sad (it's hard to be around families and kids at Christmas when your own are so far away), I did something that made me happy. I organized all of the girls' clothes in their closet and drawers. Just looking at the sea of brightly colored dresses made me smile. The closet is a bit lonely right now - as are we - given then there are no little people yet to take advantage of that bulging wardrobe. But - they will be here soon because God completes the good works He begins. I am claiming that promise with my little mustard seed of faith- again.


I recently read this poem that reminded me of why we - as the body of Christ - need each other as we journey together through life. It seemed particularly relevant to experiences of adoptive families.

If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back-
It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perhaps, the Father's light is dim, because the oil is low;
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

If you'll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you'll say He saw you through the night's sin-darkened sky-
If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back-
It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.


Thanks to all of you who took the time to show us compassion and empathy in our time of need. We didn't know how many friends we had out there. Thanks for "calling back" to us.

Please pray for January 29th. Round two.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

THE WORST DAY

So after a night of much hopeful prayer coming from all of the faith my little mustard seed could muster, we got the call today from our caseworker about our day in Ethiopian court. I knew from her voice when I answered the phone that we didn't pass. Little Miss J's paperwork was fine. If we had only been adopting her, our case would have passed. The problem was with Baby E's paperwork. The court decided to ask for an additional document that is not usually required so this was a surprise to all concerned. The Gladney team will now have to acquire this document for our next court date which is not until 1/29. That means we will not travel now until February. As of last night, we were planning on New Year's Eve in Ethiopia. We will now not see our girls for many more weeks. What makes this even more hurtful is that we were the only family who did not pass court today.

This is a bit of a faith-shaking event. I'm not sure what God was thinking on this one. It's hard to process why all of this happened but we are trying to trust that God still has a plan for us and for our girls. We are now trying to regroup and plan what the next step will be. This is a truly devastating day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR COURT DATE!

Our court date is Wednesday, December 17th. We are calling it "BIG WEDNESDAY" around here. On the West Coast where we live, Big Wednesday in Ethiopia will actually already be in progress on our Tuesday because of the time change. Would you please pray for us tomorrow - and for the other families that will be processing in court with us on Big Wednesday? Please pray that there are no "hiccups" and that our girls (and the many other children affected by these court decisions) are cleared to come home soon as our daugthers.

Thanks!

This is the big one.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Highlights from Baby Shower #3!



This weekend we were spoiled with another baby shower in our hometown. I spent Sunday afternoon with dear friends who have played different roles in my life over the years - Bible study friends, college friends, work friends, neighbors, adoption friends, even several former students of mine! What an absolute delight to share the day with these special girls who have supported us in more ways than I can even count through this adoption process. Thanks to Ana, Janet, Jenna, Emma and Kim for making me and the girls feel like absolute royalty. Your friendship is a treasure to me.

We were overwhelmed with gifts - again! - at this shower. We were thrilled to get some of the "biggies" - including our double stroller and our single stroller! Getting a few of those big ticket items was a total blessing given that those things are so pricey. We also got loads of toys, books, clothes, bath stuff, and even a membership to our local zoo! Special gift highlights included handmade "Mommy and Me" aprons for cooking (my friends know my love for cooking!) and handmade butterfly coat racks with the girls' names on them. We continue to be amazed at the generosity and thoughtfulness of all those who have partnered with us in this adventure. Our girls are so loved already.

One other fun shower highlight was getting to share with my friends about why we are adopting. It was special to have a total of four adoptive families represented at the shower. Two of our "inspiration families" (some of the people that got us thinking about adoption) were represented at the shower. Our neighbor Lora has 5 adopted kids from Korea. Shelley, our friend from church, has a precious little girl recently adopted from Uganda. Christy, a new friend we met in the area, has two on the way from Ethiopia and so do we! It is amazing to see how God is moving in different families to provide homes for His children.

Other weekend highlights included Davis finishing the last of the closet construction. He has now built custom shelving in the girls' bedroom closet and the playroom closet. What a guy! He even felt inspired enough to make custom doors for the playroom closet - one has cork to show off the little ladies' artwork and the other is a chalkboard. These are seriously cool. Thanks to Daddy Davis - AGAIN! Also, our dear friends Larry and Kim surprised us with handmade adirondack chairs for our patio in small sizes for little behinds! Larry does finish carpentry and he took this on as a special surprise project for the little ladies. He even put their names on the back in pink sequins! Thanks, Uncle Lar! The girls can't wait to go surfing with you.

We have been blessed beyond measure in our friendships and for that we are so grateful. We are truly rich in what really matters.

Only 9 days left until our court date....Please pray for us on 12/17!

(P.S. I was teased at the shower for making the same "shower face" in every picture. I acknowledge this is a problem. I honestly tried to think of a new face to make in the pics of opening gifts but came up blank!)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another Update!

We finally got another update. What a joy to see new pics of our girls and know that they are thriving!

“ E especially has grown so much in the past few weeks, and I'm not just talking about her size! Developmentally, E has progressed from standing while holding on to something, to now being able to hold her balance on her own! She can stand for an indefinite period of time, without shaking too much, and seems very comfortable! E even responds to one-step command! It's more falling towards you with her legs moving, but she is getting the idea. She can say "mama" and "dada" as well as anyone else in her room. Now, she does spend quite a bit of time with her mouth on the edge of the bed, so be prepared for her to try and teethe on anything she can get her hands on. J has become much more confident. I mentioned in my previous update how she occasionally likes to be at the edge of the crowd - not this time! She has become very curious, and wanted to spend more time with me when I showed interest in what she was doing. Her eyes and her smile is heart warming too! She goes to the bathroom in the plastic, toilet training seats, which she seems very comfortable using. J really enjoys it when you take her picture as well. E is a bit harder to get to smile, but I just poke her stomach and make exploding noises! That seems to do the trick. Both J and E are healthy and happy!”