Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Bread of Life for Today, Tomorrow and Forever


From Thanksgiving until Christmas day we rush, plan, pack, wrap, shop 'til we drop (which takes longer for some) and then... Christmas day comes and.....ahhhhhhhh...... sigh of relief..... we can slow down now. Today has been an emotional day of quiet for me. After being with family in SC last week and having lots of noise (the good kind!) and activity, this morning felt all too quiet. The quiet was bringing out an emotion in me that I've been trying to ignore during the busy-ness. It's the emotion of loss - only, I haven't lost anything - I just haven't received what I'm wanting - Lulu. 

It was a little over 2 years ago that God put it on my heart to adopt from Ethiopia. In the next day or so it will be one year since Billy said, "let's get a baby from Ethiopia." It then took us about 6 months to finish the paperwork and on June 13 our paperwork was shipped to Ethiopia and we began our "official" wait for an infant girl. At that time the expected wait for a referral (picture and medical info of chosen baby girl) was right at 9 months. Since then only a few baby girls have been referred and we are at least number 17 on the list. March is not going to be the month for a referral unless miracles happen. Then AWAA (our agency) sent an email out saying that the wait time for an infant girl has increased to 9-11 months. I received this news last week and was sad, but I had so much going on I don't think I let it completely sink in. 

The reality is - miracles will still have to happen in order for us to get a referral in 11 months. I don't know exactly how it all works, but unless more baby girls are referred soon the reality is we are still way down the waiting line and I need to expect a much longer time frame than I originally thought. I know that God has already chosen our baby girl so I do have much comfort in that and I trust His timing. But that doesn't make the wait easy. Today, in the quiet of our small family, it was obvious to me that someone is missing. Lulu is not missing in the eyes of Jesus. He is with her even now. But to me - she is not here and so part of me is not here either... If you haven't adopted this is impossible for me to explain...

On a happier note, however, we have had a delightful Christmas day. We originally planned on having a Burmese family over for lunch and a Happy Birthday Jesus Party, but we found out yesterday that they had other plans. So, here's what we did today

Libby woke up and opened her presents -one of which is a huge and really cute dollhouse. We played with all her toys and rearranged her room to fit the dollhouse in there. Then we fixed breakfast and had a small but wonderful "Happy Birthday Jesus" party with cake, balloons and all! 

Afterwards, we got dressed and took 20 loaves of scrumptious gingerbread to each of the Somali families. I have not seen the Somalis in several weeks and I have missed them so much. I can't tell you how good it was for my heart to see them today. Their little faces lit up with excitement and they seemed kind of relieved that we haven't forgotten about them. We just hugged and loved on each family and let them know that we missed them and will see them again soon. It was probably more of a blessing to me than it was to them. I just needed to be around Africans today! I love them so much!

After that, we drove to Larry and Terry's house and were so excited to find Batula (one of the Somali moms with 8 children!) and all her children having Christmas lunch with the Singletary's. Larry and Terry bought each of the children Christmas presents. Terry prepared a fabulous meal and I walked in to see bright, happy African faces beaming with the knowledge that they are loved and not alone. It was all too overwhelmingly beautiful for me and I burst into tears. One of Batula's sons was wearing a black suit - jacket, pants and all. He was all dressed up for this special occasion. Batula's newest son was just born a few weeks ago. She named him Larry Ali after Larry Singletary. I got to hold Larry-Ali and Libby was so precious with him. And that's when it hit me  - this was God's Christmas present to me - I got to hold an African baby and see my daughter help feed him his bottle. God brought Africa to me when my heart longed to be in Africa getting my baby. How sweet is that!


Our trip to SC was wonderful. It took a grueling 2 1/2 days to drive there because we tried a new route that just took FORVER, unfortunately. Libby started the trip out sick and our first night after traveling the first full day was just AWFUL! It was a long night of crying and total tantrums... but everything got better after that.

My sister-in-law, Carissa and my brother, Kelly, sweetly allowed us to invade their home and stay there for the week. They are also pregnant and due on Feb 19 so my sister and I and Julie (a friend) threw a baby shower for her. It was a great turn out and a blast to do that for her. Libby enjoyed playing with Taylor and Camryn and even Kelly and Carissa's dog - Banjo. Libby flirted with my brother, Kelly, all week and loved opening presents. Billy went fly-fishing with Jason (my sister's husband) for 2 days so Libby and I spent the night with Becky that night and I loved sitting up in bed with my sister having a long, deep conversation. We shared a room growing up, but we haven't had the chance to sit up talking like that since we were young. It was so so good. 

I had the chance to catch up with a couple of old friends. One old high school friend, Will, met us for lunch. I love what God is doing in Will. When God allows the grit of life to humble us, He does such because He is standing by mercifully anticipating stepping right into that humbled heart. He is doing that in Will and I am so thankful for that! Will, lunch was a blast and I just love you, friend!

Betty Jean was in SC the same time we were so we met her and her entire sweet family for breakfast. They are all doing so well and, again, God hand is wonderfully working and has done a great healing in my sweet Betty Jean. I am so glad she is full of life and doing well. I love her and watching her be a mom to Bowen is so amazing. She is an awesome mom.

I also got to catch up with some family members who we never get to see (which is why I am in every picture with each family member - because I never get to see them and wanted to have some pictures of us together to remember). All of my dad's side of the family came in town and we had a big Christmas party with them. Then I got a chance to visit almost everyone on my mom's side of the family. On both sides it was so good to see that God is at work, changing hearts and lives. I was so encouraged by my Aunt Jenny who shared some words of comfort with me that my soul just needed to hear. God is so good. I am, even in the midst of grieving over longer wait times for Lulu, so in awe of and grateful for His never-ending, powerful, inspiring, surprising mercy and grace. 

I posted all of the above along with A LOT of pictures on our family blog. It was going to take too long to try to cut the pics over to this blog so if you'd like to see them - just hop over to:

But I have posted the Somali pics from today since that was such a special gift from the Lord...here they are:


Above pic - we were at Larry and Terry's house which was full of Somalis, food, fun and His Presence!
God's gift to me for today - the chance to hold an African baby!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Not too much to say...

Tomorrow morning will mark 6 months of official waiting (since DTE of June 13). I'd love to say referrals are rolling in and we're moving up the line, but that is not the case. At some point we heard news that there would be some referrals in late November and then more in early December. In fact, late November did bring some referrals but thus far in December - NOTHING! - just complete, utter, awful silence....


We are nowhere close to the "top 10" in the waiting list - currently pushing number 17. I can't imagine how families closer to referral are feeling right now. I have checked our YG a thousand times this week just aching to see some kind of positive news. What will I be like when we are actually in the top 5 -10 - I'll be a total nut case.... you might want to pray for me.... and my family...

The Savage family - Hallelujah! - did pass court today so you can scroll down and on the right side click on "Savage" to see their baby boy's sweet face. So cute! Congratulations Savages.

Early in the morning we will be packing up the Suburban and driving for hours upon hours all the way to South Carolina. It will take at least 2 days to get there. We are celebrating Christmas with my side of the family just a little before Christmas so we can be back home for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I am looking forward to being occupied by loving family, active nieces and lunch dates with long-time friends. 

Libby has an awful cough that a less than helpful doctor said not to worry about. Her doctor she normally sees was not in the office today. The doctor she did see - well, he might just get an unpleasant visit from my husband if Libby starts running a fever or ends up with pneumonia on this trip.  I explained to this doctor that last year at this time Libby had the same cough, same symptoms and then - boom - one day she ran a high fever. We were out of town so we had to go to Urgent Care and they did an x-ray and sure enough - the beginning stages of pneumonia. So I was hoping this doctor would do a chest x-ray or just prescribe some antibiotics that we could take on the road just in case there was a need for them - but nope - nothing. He listened to her chest, asked her to breathe deep (she's 3 and doesn't know how to do that so she just sat there) and he listened for about 5 seconds and was done. Do I really have to pay for that? He didn't look up her nose or wait to hear her cough...nothing... I should become a doctor - it looks way easier than the late nights up with a coughing child...

Okay - so I sound down and out and a little negative... but I actually am doing okay. The Lord has been putting some really interesting song ideas on my heart (and I am not the songwriter in the family) and I love the Christmas season and I sense the Lord's presence in all of this - so I'm doing well considering the weight of the wait.

Blessings to all and may referral news be released so joy may abound more than longing...

cindy

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Finally got another video to post!

So - if you missed our last post, you should read it and see that video first. It makes this video a little funnier if you've seen the other video before this one..... enjoy....


video

By the way - a couple families, sadly, did not pass court this week (and we are praying for you guys), but today several families did pass and have posted their baby's pictures and videos! Here are the family blogs I have for those who passed - check them out. Every baby/child is so beautiful!

Stagers:
www.teamstager.blogspot.com

Burks:
www.bringinghomeezra.blogspot.com

Caldwells:
www.faceoflove.blogspot.com

Slonigers:
www.beboldjen.blogspot.com

Sparrs:
www.thefifthsparr.blogspot.com

Tennants:
www.ethiopianadoptionspot.blogspot.com - this is the family with one child, Igor, who is adopted from Russia. Igor is the sweet child who painted a canvas for the Orphans Ticket Home Gala. I am so excited that Igor will have a precious little brother!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Little Update and a Special Video

We are nearing the six month mark in our official wait time. I have the major want-to-go-get-Lulu-right-now itch. I've started thinking about what I will need to gather for our trip to Ethiopia. There is some new news on one major travel detail. After much prayer and consideration of how Libby may process the adoption of Lulu, Billy has decided that he and Libby should join me for the trip. Originally he was going to stay home with Libby while I traveled to Ethiopia with my dear friend Cristie. Many months ago Cristie and her husband had offered for Cristie to go with me and I am so blessed to have a friend who would go that distance for me. I was so sad to share with Cristie that plans have changed because I know it would have been lots of fun to travel together and I know she's had her heart set on going with me. Cristie - I love you and I love that you were willing to leave your family for a week to travel overseas with me to get Lulu. You would have been an awesome travel companion! Thank you, also, for being so understanding. Love you!


While I am sad that Cristie is not coming, I am seeing God's hand in the decision for Billy and Libby to come. We know it will be a hard trip. With the short length of the trip, the time change, the culture change, the change in food and schedule - we are sure to have our hands full. But Libby is so perceptive and we feel like she will comprehend this adoption so much better if she can see it with us. I am excited, too, that Lulu will be attaching to Libby right from the beginning. Libby is so full of joy and fun that she is sure to give Lulu some precious first impressions.  We are already praying and asking God to give us many traveling mercies regarding Libby. And we are praying that God would begin to grow her understanding/comprehension of Lulu's adoption. We are also praying that traveling into such a different culture will make its appropriate mark on her heart for the nations and for God's glory - yes, even at her young age. It's possible!

Speaking of Libby - she turned 3 last Sunday. She's been potty trained for almost 2 months now. She is growing like a weed and is smarter than she should be (haha!). She walked by Lulu's baby room the other night and said, "Good night, Lulu"  - totally on her own with no prompting from us. She is starting to understand that a real baby will one day occupy that room - her baby sister. I can't wait to see her mature as a big sister to Lulu.

Libby has been helping us create a special video journal to Lulu. I keep trying to post the second and third video entries - but it's not working. For now, here's the first entry - Hope you enjoy!  (before you push the play arrow for the video - make sure you scroll up to the top right music box and stop the music that's playing!).



video