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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Because I'm not stressed out enough...

Michael decided to shave the boys' eyebrows. Yup, that's right, not the boys shaved their eyebrows but Michael did. He said Caleb saw his beard trimmer and said can we shave my eyebrows, and since Michael always does whatever Caleb says (lots of sarcasm here) he did it. Not only that, but he said I started it on the long setting and it didn't do anything so I did it on short. Ummm, really???

Prayer Requests

Here's an email Michael sent to his family, we'd love your prayers!!!

We will be leaving soon to pick up Melia from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and would greatly appreciate prayers for the whole trip. Here are some specific areas for prayer:

- The biggest prayer item in my mind is that Melia, by God's grace and sovereign power, would prepare Melia to meet us even now.
Please Pray:
-That the Spirit would let her know now that her parents are coming to take her home soon.
-That when we meet her for the first time, she is not fearful or anxious, but knows that we are her parents and that we love her.
- Also pray that Lauren and I have a blessed time of bonding and attachment with Melia throughout our time in Ethiopia
- Pray for travel mercies, especially on the trip home. This will be a long flight with a child in our laps. We would love for Melia to sleep much of the time as she cuddles with us!
- Please pray for our other children, Caleb, Nathan, and Addie, as they will be away from us, (and we from them!) for the longest stretch of time in their lives. I'm not sure who that will be harder for, us or them! We will certainly miss them! They will be having fun with their aunt, uncle and cousins in North Carolina.

Here is a quick rundown of our traveling schedule and agenda in Ethiopia:

Fri 12/11 Leave Detroit at 6 am (fly through Dulles to Rome to Addis Ababa)
Sat 12/12 Arrive in Addis at 8:30 am (12:30 am EST)
Sun 12/13 Meet Melia around 9 am local time (1 am EST)
Mon 12/14 Embassy Appointment at 9 am local time (Visa and Passport for Melia)
Tues & Wed 12/15 - 12/16 Bonding with Melia at hotel, playing with her at Hannah's Hope Orphanage, meeting the "Special Moms" who took care of Melia for the past few months, shopping, cultural dinner, Bonding with Melia!, Bonding with Melia!
Th 12/17 Paperwork finished in AM, depart from Addis at 10:15 pm (2:15 pm EST)
F 12/18 Arrive at Detroit Metro Airport at 2 pm EST (yes, you did the math right...that's almost 24 hours in total travel time! Oh Lord, be gracious!)

Thanks for praying!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Elfie preparing to attach

My new Baby Hawk arrived in the mail today (actually I think it's been at the backdoor for a few days, but I just found it today). I love it. I'm hoping Melia will enjoy it too because it's a big part of our attachment plan. Speaking of attachment parenting, I've been meaning to write a post about what we are planning on doing, but I don't have time to do that right now with all the carrying of my toddler and decorating for Christmas when I should be packing for my trip half a world away. Here's a great post from the Hensley family. We are planning on doing all of things they list so I just decided to steal it from their blog:) Thanks Hensleys!
I think I have some practice to do with the Baby Hawk, Addie and I look very awkward. We look nothing like the instruction book. Hummm.... I guess we'll figure it out. Addie is only 4 more pounds and 3 inches taller than Melia, so this is a fairly accurate picture of what holding Melia in it.

A little known fact about me....I'm like an elf when it comes to Christmas. I love decorating (I don't go overboard or do very much but I just love having decorations out) I love Christmas music, I love driving around and looking at lights, I love having advent devotions with my kiddos every night, I love nativity scenes....I could go on and on. I'm the only one in my family who loves it so much. Most years I go and help my parents set up their tree and my sister really dislikes the whole bit so I set up her tree too! I love it. Now I should be packing but tonight, Michael and I put the tree up and tomorrow morning there will be 3 kids digging through boxes and decorating our tree. How lovely.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Baby Love

The Hensleys, the Easts, the McBrides, and the Sinclair Family are loving on their Ethiopian babies as I type this! They are the first group to travel from AGCI since the Ethiopian courts have reopened. Oh, what joy. They are finally united with their children they have been waiting for. If you get a chance, please pray for each of these families that the transition time with their children would go smoothly and that they all bond well with their new families.

Wow...I'm still so amazed that we'll be meeting our babe in 21 days. I get butterflies in my stomach just typing that! I'm so excited.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Melia Update

One of the reasons I was itching to get our travel date (besides the obvious reason of just wanting my baby) was because our agency gives out updates of our children with the travel date. Ours came today. I have to share the words used to describe this new little Gothro....
Serawit is a content baby most of the time. She has huge personality and has very strong will. She takes everything in around her. She is not willing to go to people she is not familiar with. Most likely she will have hard time at first in going to her new family as she is very attached with her special mothers and knows her surroundings really well—she has a hard time with changes.
I am in love with the idea of her having a huge personality. I'm wondering, what exactly does that mean and I can't wait to find out. I'm also asking for prayer for her as we will be changing her world in 25 days. Please pray that she'll surprise her nannies by not being scared of us.
She takes in everything around cute is that?
Her attachment to the special mothers is good, hopefully she'll be able to attach well with us too.
She has a very strong will.... hehehehehee, this just makes me smile and want her with me!

Here are some of the families we will be traveling with the Pratts, the Derloshons, and the Stewards.
Wow, this really happening! I'm going to Ethiopia to pick up my Melia. Whoot, whoott!!!
Michael's really excited too. It was evident in the way that he booked our flights to Ethiopia even when our agency said that the dates were just tentative and to wait for finalization. He felt like making it final himself, so he did and we have flights! He's currently booking the flights for me to take the stateside kids to go to North Carolina, Thanks Uncle Lee for the frequent flyer miles. You rock!!

Melia...Here we come!!!

We have tentative travel dates. Arriving in Addis on December 12th and leaving on December 17th!

I've been waiting for this call and this info and now that I have it I'm in a daze, amazed and excited we are actually going to get our sweet girl! God is so good!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Collecting Donations and Praying to travel SOON!!

The home that Melia is in right now, Hannah's Hope, is run by our agency AGCI and it's an amazing transitional home for children of all ages who are loved on as they wait for their families to bring them home. We have the priveledge of bringing things with us when we travel that are hard to find in Ethiopia.

I was very excited to find out that they wanted new bedding for the older girls rooms. I went to one of my favorite places, Ikea, and picked up ten bedding sets that AGCI picked out. Friends have generously covered the cost of this bedding! Thanks guys.

We have more donations coming in and are very excited to be able to give these things to the children at the orphanage. We are also collecting organic flax seed oil (not capsules), Infant multivitamin drops, bottles (Avent), Amoxicillin (125 grams, in powder form). We are also planning on bringing a cash donation to give to the orphanage director.

I have 4 rubbermaid bins to fill with donations. We're hoping and praying that the airlines will be cool and let us bring them without paying extra costs.

We often get the question.. When do you get to go? Well, hopefully soon! We are waiting for an Embassy date and in order to get that Melia's paperwork needs to be all ready (her passport and birth certificate). Once those documents and the court decree are at the Embassy they will schedule a date for us. Our agency has two tentative dates for December...the 14th and the 28th. I'm hopeful that we will go sooner than both of those dates. I'm either an optimist or just really needing to hold my girl.

Great news....Families from our agency have their travel dates....they leave in 2 weeks! Yippee Shauna, Easts, Hensley's and McBrides, soon you'll be leaving on a jet plane!! A couple of those families passed court 4 days before we did! We're getting so close.

Plan and re-evalutate

I was listening to a good sermon by Mark Driscoll the other day about Proverbs and what it has to say about planning. One of the things that he said was that we seek the Lord to make our plans and then we later re-evaluate the plan and tweek if if we need to.

Throughout the summer we planned and prayed about schooling for Caleb. Since he was a little babe I had envisioned homeschooling him, my sister Jennifer has homeschooled for years and I remember when her children were in lower elementary, they had an amazing grasp of history and knew so much about everything! Jennifer used a program called Classical Conversations (CC). The more I heard about it the cooler it sounds. I won't get into that now, but if you're interested check out the link. Now my other 2 sisters and my bother (actually my sister-in-law does the schooling:)) homeschool. They started a CC group in our city this year.

Anyway, back to the planning.... There is a free Montessori school in our district that uses a lottery to choose what students get in. It seemed like a great option for us, so last spring we put our name in the lottery and we got in. We made the decision to send Caleb and we are glad that we did. It was a great opportunity for him and it was good for him to see what school is like.

But after a few months of sending him, we have 're-evaluated' and have decided to take him out of school and homeschool him.

Basically, this decision seems to be the best for him as an individual and for our family as a whole.

Caleb Reasons:
-Caleb loves learning and spends a lot of his time working on math and reading.
-Having a husband as a teacher, Michael helped by checking out the state of Michigan achievement goals for Kindergarten and Caleb and he's already at a first grade level, so I can't do too much damage:)
-Caleb had a hard time going to school, he would cry and say that he didn't want to leave us. Usually, he loves going anywhere and doesn't have separation anxiety.
-Having Kindergarten at the end of the day cuts into our "fun" trips. Since school has started we haven't been going to the museum or zoo or other educational outings as much because his class was from 12:30 - 3:30. At this age I think all of those things are important and that he learns through those experiences.

Family Reasons:
-We miss him when he's gone. Nathan's behavior really changed when Caleb started school, he missed him yet when they were around each other Nathan was often jealous and they fought more. When they are constantly around each other they find their groove and are best friends.
-When we bring Melia home, Caleb really won't want to leave us and I feel like Melia will get a better sense of family earlier if he's not missing for part of the day.

Me Reasons:
-Practically, It will be way easier for me to be at home with the kids than piling 4 cuties into the car 2 times in 3 hours.
-I love teaching him. Since Kindergarten is pretty easy and he's successful at what he's doing, he's really fun to teach. I love reading with him and I am constantly amazed at how quickly he improves.

So, all that said...
1. We have no regrets about sending him to school and left on a good note with the teachers. It was a great learning experience for us as a family.
2. What's next~ We are going to join the Dearborn CC group in January. Until then we'll work on reading and math and science experiments (pretty much stuff we always do!)