Shine Like Stars

Shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of life (Phil. 2:15)
We're not trying to be rock stars but just shed some light on a sad and lonely world. Stay tuned for how God works through weak and tired, sometimes really cranky vessels.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Simply Amazing

Melia is officially a Gothro
We passed court!!

I'm so amazed. We prayed we would pass-- we did! We prayed we would find out soon- we did! We also prayed like crazy that her birth mother would feel peace
about her decision-- I'm trusting that she did.

I feel so blessed to have so many people in our lives that have supported us with prayers and encouragement. The body of Christ is a really cool thing!!

The next step...waiting for our embassy date so we can make travel arrangements. I have no idea when this will be. Our caseworker was preparing me for the wo
rst, she said it might be a while like 6-8 weeks.

This the photo book we made for the birth mother. I also made another one for Melia to have when she gets older. Most of the photos are the pictures we received with the referral.
That's the blanket that we sent for Melia to snuggle with, not the same blanket because I already sent that one to HH, I bought two, so I'm cuddling with this one until she comes home.
We also sent a photo album to HH for Melia with pictures of us, hopefully she'll recognize us when we meet her for the first time. Just writing those words gives me goosebumps. We're going to meet her soon!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Like a ton of bricks

Today was a very emotionally rough day for me. Which I was so surprised about. For the past week I've been so excited about our court date and bringing our girl home soon that I didn't think much about her birth mother. Today my heart was so heavy thinking about her.

I imagine her taking the long journey to Addis (I'm really hoping that she did take the trip), all those hours to think about her decision and about how much she loves her daughter. I am so indebted to this woman that I've never, and probably will never, meet. She's giving me the most amazing gift. Well, today she's probably having a ridiculously hard day. So I've been praying my brains out today for this amazing woman.

Having our court date scheduled so early is amazing and I'm by no means wishing it was later but since we just found out last Friday that our court date would be in less than a week, the photobook I made for her birth mother probably won't arrive in Addis until after court. We emailed the letter that we wrote to her thanking her for entrusting us with her daughter (very hard letter to write) and a list of questions that the orphanage director will hopefully have the chance to ask her.

I'm forever grateful to Melia's birth mother. She's so brave!

Oh, I didn't mention this before but we probably won't know if we passed court until early next week. It'll be a long weekend of waiting but soon and very soon we'll find out:)

Thanks for praying with us!!

Feels like the beginning stage of labor

24-ish hours until our Ethiopian court date. I say -ish because our date is on Friday 10/30, Ethiopia is 7 hours ahead of us and if we potentially have our case reviewed in the am, well, that'd be in about 24 hours!

It's like those last days of pregnancy when you think 'Could this be it? Will this child finally be out of my belly so I can kiss them?' I'm thinking 'Could this be it? Is this beautiful baby that I've been loving and longing for officially be mine? Can I finally make definitive plans to bring her home?' Just like those last days of pregnancy, you don't know if it's really 'it' or if it just feels like 'it'. You know it's going to happen, just not exactly when. The adoption process is like that but magnified a million times because instead of carrying your child around with you, you have never held your baby and you just have to trust that she's being taken care of. Oh and things could fall through and..... (I'm not going there in my head)

So, our court date.... there's a possibility that we won't pass court the first time. Many things need to happen in order for us to pass....
~The birth mother has to come to Addis Ababa. Melia was relinquished in a
government orphanage in the south, which, according to what I've heard is about 8
hours away from Addis. Our agency provides transportation for her to come but I
imagine it's going to be hard for her to get there. Oh and she has to have proper ID.

~The court also needs a letter stating that Melia is adoptable and another letter stating
that we are fit to adopt her.

Please pray that these things happen and everything goes smoothly and that we pass court the first time and don't have to reschedule our court date for any reason.

By the Lord's grace, I've had a super busy week and haven't had much time to think (stress, worry) about our court date. Although, I haven't been able to fall asleep at night before 2am and now that court potentially 24 hours away, is sleep is eluding me more than usual!

Please Pray We Pass!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Ethan is home (at Nana and Papa's house) and is doing better. He's still coughing a lot and is pretty weak so he still needs prayer.

3 Families passed court this week! Congratulations to the Hensleys, McBrides, and Sinclairs they officially have added Ethiopian beauties to their families!! Yay!

Roughly 34 hours until our court date. Please pray that we pass. We can't wait to bring our baby girl home:)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"My baby sista"

One of the first things I did after we got our referral for Melia (after finishing all the paperwork and sending it back in 2 days) I made each of the kids photo albums with all the pictures of Melia. They love them! Addie is very attached to hers, she has to sleep with it at nap and bedtime and often carries it around the house.

Last week Addie was sleeping in our bed and Caleb had a bad dream and also joined us (bonus of having a king size bed, although they all seem to be magnetized to me while Michael sleeps soundly on his half of the bed!) Anyway, Caleb brought his photo album with him, Addie having a 2am toddler moment screams, "My baby sista. My baby sista," while riping the book out of his sad hands. Melia's going to be bombarded with love when she comes home!

Friday, October 23, 2009

This is Ethan

My nephew, Michael's sister Laura's son, is really sick and needs your prayers. He has pneumonia and is on a ventilator. He has been on the vent for a few hours and is already looking better, but he still really needs your prayers.
Thanks for praying.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We Have A Court Date!!

I couldn't believe it today when Christy (our caseworker) called and said we have a court date and it's really soon.....October 30th.

I do this thing where I set my expectations really low so that I won't be disappointed. I know it sounds like a bad thing but it helps me get by so I go with it. Anyway, I came to the conclusion this week that Melia probably wouldn't be home with us by Christmas. I had no facts to back up this conclusion just trying to prepare myself for the worst. While I was talking to my dear friend, Missy, about this earlier this week I came up with a plan to leave the state for Christmas because I wouldn't be able to deal with being home for Christmas if Melia wasn't going to be either. I know, I're probably thinking, she's crazy it's not even November yet and she's thinking about Christmas. And you're right I'm crazy but, it's hard having a baby on the other side of the world.

So, with that in mind finding out that our court date is next Friday was a complete shocker to me. I was crying and shaking and worried that I'd get in a car accident. I'm really happy.

I'm also really worn out from Michael's soccer season and the craziness that goes with it. Late game last party tonight, having to run around all afternoon after BSF getting the supplies for the party.....Now I'm rambling.

Anyway, I'm shocked and excited about our court date. Please pray that we pass!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

on her way home....

Here's a picture Nathan made at preschool....

Melia is on her way home!
The courts in Ethiopia are officially open and so yes, she will be coming home soon, relatively:)

So... We are naming this sweet baby girl,

Melia "S"

Melia means "the work of the Lord" and that she is.
The Lord has chosen her for our family and provided for her and us every step of the way. It will also take the work of the Lord to bring her home to us. We are praying for a quick court date and to travel soon. But until then, we trust that He, who loves her more than we do, will care and love her, and those amazing people at Hannah's Hope will too.

The "S" is the name her birth mother gave her.
We are not allowed to post that either until we bring her home. It's a very pretty name and I'm excited to use it often. I'm one of those people who say their kids' whole names. Not only when they're in trouble.

We have hermit crabs named Hermit Crab (Nathan's choice), Cooper (Caleb's choice), and
Creeper (my choice, cause he's really big and really creepy). In Nathan's picture it looks like we have a creeper at our front door. Don't be alarmed it's just a crab!
Also funny that he's calling Michael and I by our first names and that he thinks he shares a room with me. That explains why he's always climbing into my bed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Please PRAY for these babies

Two families from AGCI who are also waiting for court dates found out today that their babies have been hospitalized for pneumonia. So please pray for the Anderson and Wright families and their babies.

Potty Training as a Distraction

Tonight as I was making dinner thinking "Michael's not coming home tonight, what am I going to do with these people." This was after numerous break-downs from Nathan at the Lego exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum (and when I say break downs I mean more like trying to break his siblings and then my eardrums on the way home).

I look down at Addie and say "You're 26 months old, you want to try the potty?" I put the little potty in the kitchen, stripped her down and said that's where you put pee-pee and poo-poo. For months now the bathroom has been her favorite room, she sits on the potty for a long time maybe twice a week, spends lots of time washing her hands and leaving the faucet running, so really she's already a bathroom pro. But she's never once produced anything on the potty.

But I'm needing some distractions from the fact that we can't get our court date until the Ethiopian courts open, we all thought that was happening last week and it hasn't happened yet. Also, I'm really ready for Michael to be done coaching this season. Every Monday Nathan has these ridiculous meltdowns then a few minutes later will say "When's Daddy coming home?" Sadly my answer is "you'll get to see daddy tomorrow night." He's not happy with that and sometimes hits me. I digress..... I needed a distraction, and I didn't want it to entail cleaning or sorting anything, so potty training Addie seemed like a good idea.

Surprisingly enough she did a great job. 4 hours no accidents and 5 times going on the potty! I'm impressed. She'll probably forget all that she learned by the time she wakes up in the morning but for tonight she helped me through the rough patch I was headed in.
Watching Elmo on youtube helped her work it out

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What's next

Addie's hugging/looking at 'baby sista's' picture the day we got our referral packet.

We received our referral call on September 28th and I had all the paperwork filled out, and sent out on the 30th. The packet included the placement agreement, post adoption agreement (sending updates and pictures to Ethiopia each year until baby girl's 18), Ethiopia placement agreement, Medical Review (we had a call with an international doctor who reviewed all the medical records we had), social worker release, media release, travel release, transition plan (I really appreciate the education that our agency gives us. We had a conference call about her transition home and this plan was a 10 page packet about how we can make it easier for our sweet girl to bond with us), and a fatty fee check.

In my head I thought that the sooner I finished it all the quicker we'd get a court date. Bu that's not how it works. More waiting now. We are waiting to get a court date. Courts in Ethiopia have been closed for about 6 weeks now. There were talks of them opening up last night. Anyway, for those of you lovely people who ask, when do you get to bring her home:
-We get a court date, hopefully in November.
-If we pass we make travel arrangements for 3-4 weeks later.
-We bring our baby home!!!
    Mental status update: I'm doing really well. After finding out who our baby is I felt a huge relief. I know that she's safe and being loved on at Hannah's Hope. I also have pictures to stare at!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Call

A week ago Monday it happened! The moment I've been waiting for.....the call.

It was 4:35, My house was crazy as usual. I had a couple of extra kids (really cute nieces) here, Michael was amazingly home ( he's gone so much during soccer season, I was sure he was going to miss the call and I've been working on conferencing cell phone calls, but he rarely an
swers when I call him and I didn't know if I'd have the patience to wait to hear about my daughter until he called back, anyway, no need to worry about that! He was home) and scrounging for food to eat before he left for his game in 20 minutes, I had literally just gotten off the phone with my sister, Megan, planning to meet her at the library to return my nieces and retrieve Caleb.

Well, the second I put the phone down it rang! I looked at the caller id and panicked. It was our agency, instead of answering I started screaming and
jumping and telling Michael "It's Christy!" To whic
h he said "So answer it." I honestly needed him to tell me that. I had completely lost control. Then when I did answer, I was a nut. I didn't scream in her ear, but I did cut off her pleasantries with...."Do you have info on our baby?!!?" When she said "Actually I do, is now a good time to talk?" I nearly passed out.

I was so nervous and excited that I couldn't operate the tv (I was trying to occupy the kids) seriously it was like my fingers were jelly. But finally after relocating the kids to the upstairs tv because I couldn't fix the issues in my state of mind, Michael and I sat together in a quiet living room and heard about our new daughter...her weight, height, age approximately, her medical info, where she was born, etc. After we aske
d all our questions Christy said she'd email the pictures over.

So we waited and waited and waited. Those were the longest 10 minutes of my life and I've been in labor 3x. We couldn't wait to see her...well we could because we did. Michael was incessantly flipping from my email inbox to his and I was jumping around the house, really I'm not usually a jumper, I don't know what was going on but I was jumping a lot.

Then the pictures came. She is so beautiful. Seriously, amazingly beautiful. We aren't allowed to post any pictures on-line of her until the adoption is final. We took a video of Michael and I seeing her for the first time. It's a really long video, wherein you will see me with the ugly-cry face and making some crazy sobbing noises and Michael says he looks like he has a nervous tick (all of the pictures were sideways so we had to turn our heads). Here it is, you were warned...

We then 'introduced' Nathan and Addie to her. They were smitten. I have vidoes I'll upload later. News
In both of our families travels quickly so Megan had already heard that 'the call' had come and she
brought Caleb home. He was so in love and very excited to introduce her to his cousins.

So Michael left (he was late for his game) and my sisters and their kids came to 'meet' baby girl, too!
Then all the sudden everyone was gone (including my kids who left with aunts) and I sat and stared
amazed at my precious girl.

Then off to my parents for more celebrating and technical help with the email download.

It was an amazing day. A week later and I'm still feeling it! I feel like a huge weight is off my shoulders.
I know who my baby is and I know she is in a safe place. I'm so in love!