Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Maybe We're #19 now?!!!

The Semlow family (who is listed in our YG's waiting list for infant girls) received a referral today for THREE children. The Semlow's just recently updated their 171 info to be approved for a sibling group of 3. They were the only family approved for 3 children with our agency so they got a referral right away. They were referred 2 boys (ages 4 and 3) and a little girl (age 2). By the way - the Semlows have 3 biological children - 2 teenagers and a 3 year old boy. HELLO! This family is awesome AND they need our prayers. There is some serious life change about to happen. But what God set in their hearts to do - He will provide all they need to see to completion! Wow! So excited for them.

And speaking of excitement. I've been getting a serious excitement bug in the last week or so. Maybe it's my sinus infection that has me laying around more than normal so my mind just needs something to think about - but I am getting so excited about our referral. While this is not a bad thing and is totally normal - it is tricky because we still have a good wait to go and I need to pace myself and not get too excited. There is a fine balance here.

Since the Semlow's were on our "waiting list" it looks like we are now around # 19 for a referral. It feels good to be below the 20 mark so I'm hoping no mystery families are going to pop up and be in line ahead of us. hee hee!

We're a movin' on up!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Because I Believe in the Value of Life....

When you decide to adopt - you do so, in part, because you believe in the value of life. Someone else may not have the means to care for their baby, but that baby's life is a precious one no matter. That is why I must post this video. A friend of mine posted it on her blog and as I viewed it I was horrified. I already knew that I would not vote for Obama, but this.... this is worth informing everyone. I actually have hesitated in the past to mention anything about my political views concerning Obama realizing that many who are adopting from Ethiopia see things differently than I do. But, if you are adopting from Ethiopia - then you value life too and you need to see/hear this before you vote. It is frightening. It is unbearable. And it is UNBELIEVABLE that this has not made it on every prime time news/media regarding the coming election. How can this be ignored?

The idea that a baby is not a baby because it is in the womb is atrocious enough. We send men/women to the moon. There, they are not walking on earth and they have to wear special suits to breathe and survive. But they are no less human, right? Then, how, just because a baby is in the womb is it considered less human? And then - to think - that people are actually inducing labor prematurely in order to let the baby just lay there and die all by itself when it had every chance for survival before such a selfish and murderous act. This is actually considered acceptable by Obama - enough for him to fight for it. Listen to the video. Almost ALL the democrats were opposed to this sort of atrocity - but not Obama. He would not support the bill to protect babies from this murder. In fact he voted AGAINST this bill THREE TIMES!!!

We have a choice in this election. I realize there are many things to consider. But the sanctity of life should be high on the list of anyone who is going to govern over - PEOPLE - living, breathing people. If you don't value life then you can't govern life with any kind of honor, respect, dignity. Here the choice is clear for anyone who believes in the sanctity of life - which I'm assuming all people who adopt hold to. We can vote for McCain - who has adopted and clearly, by choosing Palin as his running mate - is holding to the value of life. Or you can vote for Obama who clearly has no problem with bringing life into the world just to see it sit there and die slowly and all alone - on purpose. This makes Obama a very scary and ugly man despite the polished man you see on TV. Looks can be incredibly deceiving. It is time to listen to our ears, hearts, and minds and not our eyes. Fashion, youth, skin color, trends, and the hip-factor don't make a good president. It's all presentation and fluff. All very worthless.

One other question - sort of off the topic - I heard on the BBC that the rest of the world hopes we vote for Obama. So - what - that should make US want to vote for him. WAKE UP PEOPLE. Since America currently is the most powerful country, the other countries' leaderships are not exactly hoping America continues to do well. In any contest, would you vote for the person your opponents want you to vote for. Come on!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Still Around #20...

Finally there has been a referral for an infant girl among the AWAA/ET families. The Howley family received this referral. Their little girl is almost 3 months. Now the Howley's have the hard wait for a court date and then travel.

This newest referral puts the Black family in the number 1 spot for a referral. I am so coveting that spot!

But, doesn't look like we are going to be moving up in the list line (see the "List" post - a few back) because somehow the Blackwell family is not accounted for in that list and they are definitely ahead of us waiting for an infant girl.

So - one referral down - another girl requested in the line ahead of us and we are still around #20.
All is God's timing,

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Live Worship Video Out of South Africa and Addis Abeba

This is a YouTube video of live praise and worship. Clips are from South Africa and Addis Abeba - the later being where I will fly in and receive Lulu. The language is Amharic. I don't know a word of it, but I love this video. If you know Amharic - please post a translation of the song in the comments section!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We Passed The 3 Month Mark - And My Views on Some Changes

Time is ticking! We passed the 3 month mark while we were in Michigan this weekend. I was talking to someone at the church there, looked on my watch and noticed the date said 8/13 and my heart did a little leap of joy that the 3 month mark had arrived. Just another 5-6 months of waiting to go before Aria-Lu's is revealed to us! The greatest comfort is that Jesus already knows her - her name, her birthday, her biological parents and her entire life story - beginning to end. He knows her intimately and maybe - just maybe He is watching and weaving her in her mother's womb right now. Only Jesus knows.

I missed this month's conference call. I was so excited to be in on the call. I called in promptly at 2pm, started listening to the conversation and realized they were at the end of the call. I forgot the call started a 2pm EASTERN time. Oh bummer!

So I quickly reviewed the notes from the cc that our YG is so graciously quick to post. As I read the notes everything was very positive except for one change that sort of saddened my heart. I'm not saying the change isn't positive - I'm just saying the change was sad for me. And even while I say that it made me sad - I never came to tears or thought my world would explode. It was just a simple sadness with some thought behind it, that's all. So - to explain - up to this point all AW (our agency) families have traveled to E, received their babies a couple of days after arrival, stayed in the Hilton and the total travel time was about 7 days. Well, the M*** (which governs over international adoptions in E) met with different international adoption agencies and shared their suggestions that agencies should begin staying in Guest Houses instead of the Hilton AND they suggested that once families have their babies they should stay under the radar and not be out about town with their babies. The M*** said they have received some public pressure as people in E do not understand international adoption. So the option is to either receive our babies early in the week and remain mostly in the guest house - or receive our babies later in the week - which means less time for 24/7 bonding before the long flight home.

I was not sad at all about the whole guest house thing. I really don't care where we stay. But I was sad to hear that we could not be out with our children. The very first thought I had was about the post I had just "published" a few days prior on our family blog: www.followthefeet.blogspot.com - about Libby's Gotcha Day and my most precious memory of my time in China with her. Libby was strapped to me in the Baby Bjorn and we walked around China exploring her country - not in the fancy hotel, not in the big shops - but in the side streets where the real markets were and the real Chinese faces and smells started to sink in. Libby would study my face as I interacted with her people. The Chinese people would ask questions and I was just soaking up Libby's stares and her homeland. It was such a rich, intimate and precious time to me. I feel like that experience allows me the opportunity to share with Libby, one day, my thoughts and experiences with the "real" Chinese people - not the communist leadership, not the "ideal" - but the real, hardworking, culturally rich Chinese people - from colors, to tastes, to dialects and precious conversations with those who delighted in Libby's new - found hope. This is a gift I get to give back to Libby one day.

So - I had just posted about that being my most precious memory and BAM the conference call revealed that we will not have that opportunity with Lulu. So my heart felt really sad about that. I was never plummeted into the depths of depression or anything ridiculous like that - I was just disappointed - not destroyed or distraught or angry or anything else - just sad and disappointed.

Now I firmly believe that AW has international adoption, orphans and it's adopting families' best interests in mind. I also believe that if doing what the M*** suggests is the only way to keep international adoption an open option - then - we must do that. I firmly believe that - "whatever the cost might be to follow the Christ my King" (as my husband so eloquently wrote) is still true for my life. I'm not going to not adopt just because I can't have it just the way I dreamed. And, as my closest friends and family know, I am culturally sensitive, particularly when it comes to adoption issues. Though we adopt with joy - I realize that adoption happens because of the reality of pain for some else.

Having said that- I have further reasons for being sad about this reality. In my spirit, it just didn't settle right. It was incredibly sad to think that the M*** considers tucking adoptive families away from the public "a step in the right direction". While education of the E people about adoption will take lots of time - it really CAN'T start unless they see it happening. As we've worked with some African refugees in our city they have been so confused when they see Libby with us - this includes the Burmese refugees we work with. They keep looking at us and then back to Libby and they ask questions all the time - but their questions are just because they've never seen adoption before -particularly international adoption. But the more they see my love for Libby and how we respond to each other as mother and daughter the more their eyes are opened and some of the Africans have even talked to me about how much hope they think Libby has now that she is no longer an orphan in China. They are starting to get it because it is being modeled before them.

If there is anything I have learned about spiritual warfare and how it works over the last 2 years of my life - it's that darkness - keeping things secret or hidden - does not allow light to penetrate and reveal the beauty that darkness loves to keep a scary mystery. E people will always think adoption is strange and weird and unnatural and... list goes on - unless they see an adoptive family carrying around one of their children with tender caresses, a sincere smile, an exchange of hellos, and the joy written on our faces. We can show the E people love and help them to not fear the "unknown" of international adoption by being where the real E people are. So - my spirit did not resonate with the new change - though I realize the need to adapt to the change for obvious reasons.

My dear friends, L and T, were missionaries in northern Uganda for 10 years. They came over for tea and conversation the evening after I read about these changes. So I asked them to share with me their perspective. They said that mostly Africans just don't know how adoption works and they are curious and hesitant because of their lack of knowledge - lack of ever seeing it or being educated about it. They said that most, however, if you talk and explain it to them will feel like it's a good thing. They said the problem is that there is probably a certain strata of leadership or society that wants to keep certain "appearances" up and that group probably has some influence over M***. They said in Africa that's just the way it works - a certain strata of society has influence and what they decide is the way it is. The common man of E isn't going to have any say in it - to disagree or agree. But the M*** must pay heed to those who have influence over it in order to continue their work - in order to survive.

In light of that being the case - this is where my sadness rests most heavily. AW, M*** and the common E man/woman can't change what a few have decided should be kept unseen. All they (and we) can do is follow the rules and get our babies. As far as E is concerned -the kind of "governing" that is influenced by corrupt hearts is not the kind that has the option to make long-term-healthy decisions. It must do what it has to do to survive. And I think that's very true of this precious country. They are just in survival mode and that makes my heart incredibly sad.

When I shared with my YG my sadness (pause here to say that our YG is incredible!) I was short on time and typing quickly and I don't know that my entire heart could be expressed in a message post and some people probably thought - wow, what a whiner... but I don't think that is the case. I am looking at this situation not just as a physical issue, but spiritual as well and the new change has somehow brought some of E's plight to my heart/mind in a fresh and burdened way - not because my dream of walking with Lulu around authentic E towns will be unfulfilled (I'll get over that) - but rather, what the death of that expectation/dream means on a deeper level for E as a whole.

Okay - that took a long time to say... I'll leave it at this - "I know the plans God has for me". "I know goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life". I know Lulu is coming - and she is coming HOME. And - I know that God's heart breaks for E - their struggles, their dreams unfulfilled. May He bring to light the depth of their aching so restoration CAN begin. May He also reveal the hope and light of what He IS doing among the E people - through our E brothers and sisters in Christ, through international adoption, through financial aid and food/water/medical relief. May His work be revealed to the common man/woman of E. Because the closeness of God is so good!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thank you Jenn!!!

Just want to give a big THANK YOU shout to Jenn Gager! She redesigned our blog and, as you can see, it's WONDERFUL! I think it is so cute. Jenn, your thoughtfulness and kindness has truly blessed me this week. Thank you!

Jenn is a great writer and she keeps her blog updated regularly. She is also the mother of 5 children - 4 biological and one who is soon to be adopted from China! She is currently waiting for travel to China to pick up her sweet little Karleigh Mei. The Foote family can't wait to welcome her home. She is just a few days older than Libby. God is so good as He continues to give Libby precious Chinese friends her age who also have godly parents. Love that!

Jenn's blog is: www.karleighmei.blogspot.com Click, read and enjoy!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lists, Lists, Wonderful Lists!

It's almost impossible to come up with a perfect list of who is "in line" for a girl before us... but there are some pretty clever families out there doing their homework and sharing the answers. Hee hee!

So - it's a bit complicated, but for ET adoptions with our agency there is a girl line, a boy line, and an either line. Since the "either" line is more likely to receive a boy referral than a girl referral I'm just keeping an eye on the girl line. And we're a bit further down it than I previously thought. Also - there are the "mystery families" who have not joined our YG and we don't know who they are or what their DTE is.... so....having said that - here's the list with the info we have to go on:

There is a space between DTE dates...

Howley - 1 - next in line for baby girl

Black - 2
Bowman - 3

Lunceford - 4

Rothermund - 5

Eckhardt - 6

Heinrichs - 7

Jones - 8
Keiderling - 9
Gillman -10

Mullins - 11
Moffat - 12

Semlow - 13
Pickard - 14
Delfosse - 15

Dragovich - 16
Gagnon - 17
Bartley - 18

Portilla - 19
Foote - 20!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Redd - 21
Kerby - 22

Reed - 23
Bowers - 24

Carpenter - 25

Monberg - 26

So it seems that we are at least number 20 in line for a girl. Since there could be a number of "mystery families" in line also - we have to assume that 20 is as good as it gets for now. So - this means that there have to be at least 3 girl referrals per month in order for us to receive a referral by the end of March and travel in May. And that is the latest end of the current projected time-line of 7-9 months waiting. March would be our 9th month of waiting. Make sense?

I'm praying for 3-5 girl referrals per month! The sooner the better!

Note to Lulu - your big sister and I bought you a stuffed animal with our voices recorded in it. When the button is pushed mommy says, "Lulu, we love you" and then Libby with her sweet little voice tells you she loves you too!
Love you Lulu!