Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Piece of My Heart...

...is in WISCONSIN... where Arsema Rose and Ytbarek Taye now live...I love these children and saying goodbye was hard ...but I'm happy for their new lives and new family.

...another piece is in ARIZONA with Benjamin Tesfaye, Asher Bilisuma and Grace Miheret... the three musketeers.... These beautiful children always made me laugh...I miss them.

...and one more piece is in COLORADO with precious Yonas... his smile can melt any heart and those eyes!!!

All of these children left Ethiopia on Christmas Eve and arrived into their forever families on Christmas day... now that's a gift! I am so grateful to God for allowing me a small part of their lives... the smiles, tears and laughter. Thank you Lord for these three families who answered your call...may they each be abundantly blessed!

Friday, December 25, 2009

A day like any other...

I’ve spent Christmas away from home before. But I’ve never been in this small room, in this house, inside these four stone walls, along this dirt road, just off the beaten path, in a third world country in Africa. A country that celebrates Christmas on a different date and in a much different way. When you take away the trees, the stockings, the lights, the plastic yard figures, the music, the candy, the reindeer, the jolly man in red, the huge amounts of food, the family gatherings, the egg nog, the gifts, the plays, the traditions and the count down calendars…..yes, all the STUFF that we add to make it Christmas….well, it becomes a day like any other. I would have never known it was Christmas except I have a ten year old who wouldn’t let me forget! I love Christmas…maybe a bit too much…which is no doubt one of the many reasons I’m here. I awoke to a strange sound…but it wasn’t footsteps on the rooftop…it was the daily 5am Muslim call to prayer…than another familiar sound woke me at 6am…the sound of the handmade broom sweeping the courtyard. There was nothing magical in the air….there was no reindeer poop on the steps outside…it was just Friday. When all the STUFF is taken away….we are left with the one thing that is not of this world….Jesus…and our relationship with Him. With everything else removed, I could focus on Him and truly celebrate His birth. It should be like this every day. I spent some time this morning holding “H”….a beautiful 8 week old (we’re guessing)… who was found about 3 weeks ago laying in the dirt on the side of the road…I bet Jesus likes this story…He can probably recall the taste of dirt on His lips as an infant. I know His plans for “H” are glorious. I thought about how today for her was just another day to survive…another day waiting for simple things… things every child should have. I looked at “M”, “A” and “D”… a young girl and her two little brothers who watched their mother die from AIDS and than lost their father in a tragic accident….they know loss…they know hunger… they know poverty …they know what it’s like to be left at an orphanage by their only living relative. Today for them was just another day to survive. A day longing for a family…the comfort of their own bed …a promise of full stomachs every day. There were no visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. But I’ve seen 7 year old “D” praise the Lord with pure abandon…they still have such hope….and joy …and they have no idea what a stocking is….much less a candy cane. I think with Christmas we are trying so hard to produce joy…to create magic …and to make others happy. What I’m realizing is that there is tons of joy all around me …all around each of us …if we’ll just look for it. I know now that I’d rather find Jesus in an unwanted child than in a plastic manger. I’d rather taste the sweetness of orphan kisses over a Snickers bar any day. God is working on my heart …on this day…just like any other.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

May your Christmas be filled with gifts from above!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One of those moments...

Today, I watched my child make the right decision. One she shouldn’t have to be involved in, but she is. I’m sorry I can’t share the details. Without thinking it through… without concern for her own safety…she chose to put someone else above herself. She reacted immediately and therefore gave me a glimpse into her true character…her heart of compassion…her determination to see good prevail…that in a pinch she stepped out for another. Wow! At least for the moment I seem to have forgotten the attitude, the eye rolling and the battles…for the moment, I’m proud and even inspired…individually we can make a difference…one person making the right choice…one battle at a time…one child at a time. Have a blessed day!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


What a treat! Kenli and I had never had sugar cane...... everyone else here had. We all got a piece..

You cut it in half and than in fourths....tear off a piece and chew on it to suck out the yumminess...

Everyone enjoyed it!!!!

This is what you do with it after you've gotten all the yummy out. Spit it on the ground!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I know...but

These three words leave my daughter’s lips way too often….and they normally send my head spinning. I consider it backtalk and disrespectful. She is certainly allowed an opinion, but I believe there is a better way to verbalize it. These three words seem to cancel whatever I’ve just said…treating it as unimportant…dismissing it for her “own” better idea. It’s something I’ve worked long and hard on to correct. Recently I was frustrated and angry after an “I know…but” encounter…and God began to reveal something to me. God likes to speak to us in a language we understand…so He often uses our lives to parallel what He wants to teach us. What I realized was this….I say these same 3 words to my Father way too often! I can hear God say “I will never leave you” and I respond “I know…but how will I manage being all alone”. I can read God’s promise “Do not worry about what you will wear or what you will eat” and I respond “I know…but where will I get the money to buy what I need”. He reminds me “I knit you together in your mother’s womb” and I respond “I know…but I don’t really like this or that about myself”. Oh, how frustrated my Father must be with me some days…but His head never spins and He never looses it. He continues to gently correct me and love me anyway. How often in daily life do each of us say to our Wonderful Father, “I know…but”….many times every day I believe. “My grace is sufficient”… “I know…but”… “I can do miracles” … “I know…but”… “With Me ALL things are possible”… “I know…but” … “I called you to adopt so I will make a way”… “I know…but”… “You are forgiven”… “I know…but”. Okay, I’ll stop…I’m sure you get the point. I know that I do this but until it was done to me I wasn’t really thinking about how disrespectful I was being to my God. Questioning His authority and treating Him as if somehow He doesn’t know what He’s talking about. Absurd!!!!!!!….just like a ten year old who thinks she knows more than her mother! I’m trying so much harder to just accept what He says… no questions, no doubts, no buts…

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dear Lord...

You can restore ANYTHING….even when I doubt…even when I question how…even when I try to bypass you and do it on my own…even when I decide it can’t be done…even when I wonder how you can…even when I refuse to believe…even when I quit and walk away…You CAN still do it!!!!!!!! You are capable…you make all things possible…your plans and ways are perfect…you know what I need…you can make it brand new…you are victorious…you love me more than I can understand…you aren’t worried about the enemy. You know what has broken my heart…you know what causes my tears…you know my desires…you want me to be happy…you know what my future holds. Trusting you is sometimes hard…I know you are all I need, but living that is difficult…there are days in my human weakness that I desire more than you. I must lay it at your feet….I must pick up your promises, your protection and your love…I must walk away believing that it’s worth it….whatever IT is. I know Satan has been victorious so many times in my life…I live with the consequences of his victories everyday. That doesn’t mean I’m not forgiven…or restored. But life is REAL…the good and the bad…God and Satan…truth and sin. For me, one is past and one is now…but I remember because I never want to forget. That WAS MY life….my path…it has helped to shape my today. I ask BIG and pray BIG because I believe my God is BIG…bigger than anything in this world. He might say no, but I can live with that…I want no more regrets in my life…they are much harder to live with than no.

I’m asking BIG!!!!!….HUGE….ENORMOUS…but I think it only looks that way to me…God isn’t worried.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Love These Faces...

I thought you might love them too!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Look What's Been Hanging On My Clothesline...

Welcome to our 3 newest arrivals...."R" is an adorable 2 month old little boy, "A" is an energetic 2 year old cutie pie, and "H" is a gorgeous 1 month old little girl. The clothesline may be a little fuller but so are our hearts!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Big City

We are in Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia) for a few days. My director (boss of my boss) is visiting from the States and we have the privilege of hanging out with her a bit. We have been going non-stop...but it has been great. We have seen a lot of the city and are learning more about the inner workings of international adoption. One highlight was seeing (and hugging) six of my sweet children from Adama. They have all passed court and came up to Addis to await Embassy appointments and of course their new parents. I have missed them terribly these last few weeks and was thrilled to see them. They will all be heading home for Christmas! We have tagged along with Joy (the boss lady) to meet with children who are just being placed and we also met a wonderful (but very sick) two year old who desperately needs sponsorship. Check out http://www.thatwemightbeadopted.blogspot.com/ to read Joy's account ...it's far better than anything I could write. Today we hung out with some WONDERFUL "former" street kids who are part of YWAM's Mercy Ministry here in Addis. They are on fire for the Lord and their stories break my heart and inspire me all at the same time. There are so many stories to be told and so many children to help ...I am glad God has a plan!

I love this face !!!!!!