Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Praying for patience

Each person in our family is feeling the happiness and stress of adding a new little one to the house. I suppose Eli should be the one most out of sorts, but he isn't. He's a happy baby...eating like a pig and growing. He still has the "orphanage cold" he came to us with, and I gave him an antibiotic today as I think it may be in his ears now. Yesterday was the first day he cried for me while Josh was holding him...we were so excited!

Cora loves her baby brother and often gives me a play by play of his every movement, "Mommy, mommy, Eli smiled. Eli touched me. Eli pulled my hair...". She has been a bit more defiant though. She seems to know she lost her place as the baby, so she's giving us a hard time. I truly feel bad for her, so we've been trying to snuggle more.

Sam is, well, same old Sam. He also loves Eli, sometimes too much for Eli's taste. This week is a big adventure for Sam, as he's flying with his Nana and Papaw and Great-grandpa to Florida for a visit with family. He is sooo excited to fly and see alligators. We gave him some money to take along and he said he would by us some Ethiopian stuff...little confused there. Anyway, we are so happy he gets this opportunity (if it weren't for grandparents, our kids might never get off the farm:) I'm ashamed to admit that I'm also glad for a little break for the jabber mouth...did I just type that!? No really though, I think God knows what we all need, and this trip is a blessing to us all.
Josh is so great helping at home. The kids adore him. He has lots of jobs he'd like to do outside, but right now he just comes home and helps with the kids. I take a big sigh when he gets home in the afternoon.
I am so happy to have Eli home. During the adoption process you are always waiting on something, often with butterflies in your stomach. Now, that feeling of nervous anticipation is gone, and I don't miss it. It is not a let down, it is a relief because my baby is HERE! This said, having three kids is hard! I am an organized person stuck in a crazy life. God is working on me though, and He knew I would feel this way. I am praying for patience for each one of us as we find our "new normal".
Finally, Josh and I are both in awe of God's plan for adoption...adopting us. Eli was truly lost without hope until we took him and made him our own child, with all the benefits (well don't ask Sam about that). This so clearly illustrates how God saved us when we were lost in sin. The Bible says He ADOPTED us. Now we are His children forever, with all the benefits, and there are many. How wonderful that our family has a constant reminder of God's salvation and love.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Final Day in Ethiopia

I awoke Thursday very sad that it was our last day there. I was ready to have the comforts of home and see Sam and Cora and introduce Eli to our family, but I was not ready to leave. We really enjoyed our time there, and we were both surprised at how normal it felt to be in Africa. This was the first time we'd been out of America, and it wasn't what we expected. It made the world seem smaller because we saw that even across the world, people are people. They had jobs and families, joys and sadness, a need for God. We also saw the vastness of God's creation, and Ethiopia is beautiful. Every way you looked around the city, you saw green trees and mountains on the horizon.

We went to Hannah's Hope again, just to be there. It was like a magnet, drawing us in. We wanted to memorize every part of it, not just because its special to our son, but because it is the hands and feet of Jesus. I literally did not want to leave, but the babies were asleep and the little ones were sitting down to eat lunch, so we felt a little intrusive. Before we left, we picked some flowers to press and a few stones from outside the gate...free souvenirs! Unfortunately, our larger rock was taken by security, but she let me keep the little one when I said sadly, "For the baby please?"

I took this pic as we were leaving HH. The laundry you see in the background is typical. We were never there that the lines weren't filled with laundry, and there were always a few ladies in the laundry room. It seemed there were also workers whose main job was washing bottles and cooking. I can't imagine all the chores to be done!

On the way back to hotel, we decided to stop and get a buy something from a little vendor (shown below), mostly to break our Birr for tips. The older worker knew NO English, but he understood that we wanted 2 Sprites and 1 bottle of hair oil for Eli. Just then a local boy Danny, maybe 12, came up. We'd met him before and asked him if he could translate for us how much we owed. He quickly got in argument with the worker, who was shooing him away. We ended up paying 250 Birr, or $2.50 for all of it. The boy walked us back to the hotel and was so upset that the man overcharged us. He said it should have been half as much, but not since we are American. We gave him a Birr for his help. He also asked us if we like video games, and we told him we don't have a tv. He said, "America, no tv!?" He just couldn't believe it!

That afternoon we took turns taking naps and occupying Eli. I sat with him for a while on the patio, again just soaking it up. We took lots of random pictures this day, hoping to capture as much as possible. One thing I loved the most was the sounds. Goats, dogs, and roosters could be heard anytime. There were always voices floating up from the street of friends talking in Amharic. Across the street from the hotel they are building a fairly big building, and all day long we could hear picks and hammers chopping rock for the facing on the building (no power tools). There was usually a loud vehicle driving by and a horn honking. The Muslim call to prayer was early in the morning, and I thought it sounded beautiful. It brought me to prayer for the Ethiopian people.

We took showers and bathed Eli then packed everything up, even though it seemed we had just unpacked it! The seven families on our flight were all ready to go. It was a long ride to the airport, and Eli ended up sleeping from the van until we got on the plane, which must have been three hours. And if you think checking in and security at American airports are bad, they don't even compare to ET. It was slow and thorough.
I don't really want to write about the flight home, as I try not to remember! It was long, what else is there to say. I could tell about our baby with diarrhea which leaked on every outfit we had, or the loud child across the isle, or the long wait at immigration, or the person on our last flight who suggested we give our screaming child a pacifier (which made me cry and want to scream "he doesn't take a pacifier because he's lived in an orphanage his whole life!", besides he stopped screaming after he made yet another mess in his diaper, which happened on every take off and landing I suppose due to pressure and you can image changing diapers in airplane bathrooms).
But I won't tell you all of this. Instead, I'll say we loved ET Air, and I loved having all the Ethiopians speak Amharic to Eli and many of them told us that Tamru means Miracle. We also enjoyed our final times with our travel buddies. We had a great seat with a bassinet for Eli, so he slept quite a bit or sat in it to play, it was truly a blessing. Touching down in America was a great feeling too. It was sad to leave Immigration and know that we would likely never see our new friends again, and no one else in the airport knew how special this trip was. Also, I was very aware that Eli would not recognize Amharic the next time he hears it. This part of our journey was over, but really, it was just beginning.
We had a big crowd of family waiting for us in Indy, and it was great to see them. Eli was a trooper, and even smiled for them. He first car seat ride was 2 hours, and he slept most of it. After 9 days at home we are all settling in, but we will never be the same.

Shopping and Eating in Ethiopia

On Wednesday in Ethiopia we visited Hannah's Hope some more, went shopping, and went to eat dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant.

We loved spending time at Hannah's Hope. It is an amazing place, full of joy. We marveled at how happy the children are and rarely did we hear a baby cry...and there's a LOT of babies. Just a guess, I'd say there are about 30 babies and 20 toddler-preschool. We did not see alot of school age children, so we assumed they were at school.

It was fun to walk around the house and look at all the bedrooms painted with beautiful pictures and lined with cribs. We saw Eli's bed, one in a room of 6 beds. We let his special mother give him a bottle this day, and it was obvious she was very fond of him and he knew her well. She spoke no English but just grinned at us. We learned that he was bottle number 28.
I sat outside with the toddlers and preschoolers on a play mat during their play time. It was very impressive how they stayed put, they obviously know the routine. Those 15 kids caused less trouble than my oldest 2! Most of the toys were dirty and broken, but it didn't seem to matter. As we sat there, one of the special mothers was rubbing oil on each of their heads and it seemed to almost put them to sleep (not with Eli, he hates having his head messed with!). Two of the little girls wanted to sit on my lap, so I made room for both. One of them kept rubbing my hair and the other picked sequins off my shirt. I could have sat there all day looking into those beautiful brown eyes, and I will never forget those moments with little girls searching my face to see if I could be their mama.

We went with 3 other families to a shopping market to buy souvenirs. The shops were basically a tourist trap, but we got some mementos we'll always treasure. We only had an hour, but I was prepared with a list. We got Eli some things to give to him on special occasions, and we also got items for the kids and our home. Among our purchases were two bowls, picture frame, belt, 2 t-shirts for Eli later, basket, 2 drums, doll, banana leaf pictures, 3 bracelets and 1 necklace. The best things were traditional Ethiopian outfits for all three kids, which they will wear when Eli is dedicated at church. A worker at Hannah's Hope also fixed us up with coffee, music DVD's, and an Amharic Bible.

Eli and I sitting outside the hotel ready to go for dinner. He wore is ET shirt.

Wednesday night we went with three other families to eat at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant. When we ate at an ET place in Indy, we did not like it, so we did not go real hungry this night. We were pleasantly surprised though. The food was very good. The meal started with hand washing (you eat with your hands). Then the waitress brought us lots of food. Everyone eats off the same big plate, and we were all happy with the meal. During the meal there was a band of 4 musicians, playing drums and flutes. Later a lady sang while 3 guy and 3 girl dancers performed. It was fun to watch, and a very different style of dancing. We thought for sure someone would through their back out. Eli slept through the first part of the night, and then he wasn't too fond of the music either, but we were glad we went. Many families did not come with us because they were sick. We still thank God that we were healthy the entire trip.

This night, our last in ET, was our best sleep yet!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Our Embassy Appointment

Tuesday morning in Ethiopia was very relaxed. We ate breakfast out on the patio and enjoyed the sights and sounds. The street was very busy, as usually. We walked to Hannah's Hope and too many pictures, of people, rooms, Eli's bed and special mother. We tried to soak it all up. We also had lunch at the hotel.

That afternoon all 10 families and children rode in two vans to the US Embassy. It was about a 30 minute drive, and some of us to Dramamine before we left (sitting in the back of a hot van and with a baby on my lap and ET streets is a recipe for disaster)! Thankfully with the windows open we all made it alright.

We enjoyed seeing the sights of the town. We did not go out of the hotel too often, as our agency likes to keep us rather low profile. There are some Ethiopians that disagree with the adoptions, so we do not want to aggravate them. Hopefully we can go back to ET some day and see more. This was not the time for sight seeing!

The US Embassy did not allow pictures, but there really wasn't anything exciting to film. Each family waited for our name to be called then we went to a little window where we were asked a few questions about the adoption. We signed our name and that was it. They then processed the paperwork for the kid's Visas, which we got Thursday.

One family in our travel group got an unexpected surprise though. They were told a doctor report showed their child as having a problem (which wasn't true), and they were not approved in their homestudy to adopt such a child. We were all shocked, but it was a moment for God to come through. We gathered round them and prayed in the Embassy, which was a beautiful sight. As soon as we left there, Almaz was able to get a doctor appointment for them, we dropped them off, and their sweet baby got a clean bill of health. We all praised the Lord with them.

Tuesday night Josh got a ride to the airport, where our other luggage was finally waiting for us. He was gone for three hours, and I was starting to think he wasn't coming back. Eli was already in bed before he got back. I was so excited to see my own pajamas and toiletries.

Current Update

We are all adjusting well to being a family of 5. Eli is still very happy, and he sleeps through the night! He went to the doctor Wednesday, and weighs 15 pounds 9 ounces. If the way he is eating is any indication, he's going to gain fast!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gotcha Day

March 9th will always be a special day for our family now, its Eli's "Gotcha Day".

Monday morning in Ethiopia we enjoyed a good buffet breakfast, though all of the foods were a little different than American. We got to know a few more of our travel buddies, and we were all wondering when we'd get to see the kiddos because the itinerary given us Sunday night did not mention it until Tuesday morning...no way we were waiting that long!

The infamous Almaz came at 9:00 to do Visa paperwork, which was fairly simple. She told us a little of what to expect during our trip and meeting our kids. She gave a few examples of the differences in the children, and the first she mentioned was Tamru - the screamer. She said the others may kick us out of the hotel! We were so impressed with her knowledge of each child, but thankfully Tamru rarely lived up to his reputation.

Finally, it was time to go meet the kids. Walking the alley to Hannah's Hope was surreal. It is about a 5 minute walk...if you go slow. It is a stone walkway that's very dusty this time of year. Others are always walking this way or that and there is a little market along the way. The street in front of the hotel is very busy and noisy, but as soon as you get back by HH its very quiet. You'd never know there were over 50 kids inside the gate. There were flowering trees all along the way, and birds singing. The weather was beautiful all week...80's in the day and sunny.

We took photos by the AGCI gate and then entered in. We were the last to go in, so we watched as the other families were handed their babies or shown their children (they were all outside). WOW, what a privilege. At last we asked Almaz where Tamru was, and she in turn asked a special mother. After they looked a bit (there are LOTS of babies!) they found him in a walker faced the other way. It seemed like slow motion that they turned him around and we saw his sweet face. He was very sleepy and had that glazed over face. He had a broken toy in his hand and mouth. When we bent down and started touching and talking to him, he puckered up. I couldn't take it another second so I picked him up. He started fussing, so I turned him around so he couldn't see me. We walked around the yard and he was content. It was so good to feel the weight of him in my arms.

Eli eventually fell asleep on me so I sat down and watched all that was going on. Josh played with kids and took pictures. One little girl sang Jesus Loves Me to Eli and a little boy kept putting stickers on us. Another girl kept asking us what state we were from. She'd say "Me California" and stick her chest out. I don't know if she was right or just repeating what she'd heard from others, but I'd gladly bring her to Indiana. The younger kids absolutely captured our hearts. They didn't know English, but we knew exactly what they wanted...a hug, a pat, a smile.

It was a very emotional day to say the least. I think the best part for me was walking around HH trying to get Eli to go to sleep and coming upon the young children singing in Amharic. I knew the tune and finally identified it as "I have decided to follow Jesus". WOW, that's a sound I never want to forget! That's my prayer for Eli Tamru, no turning back.

Another great part of the day was watching a family meet their 4 year old son. Seeing them work at winning him over, and him easily loving them was very neat...maybe because I have a 4 year old son. He was the oldest adopted child in our travel group, and we all adore him. A week in a hotel with a boy who knows no English...they did great, even if they had to eat spaghetti every meal!

After a few hours at HH, we went back to the hotel with Eli. He left with the clothes on his back, which we later returned. We ate lunch at the hotel, during which Eli started bonding with Daddy, giving big smiles. We knew we were goners when we saw that smile! We spent the rest of the day either in our room or in the lobby. It was exciting to give him his first bottle and change his diaper. We couldn't wait to strip him down and inspect every inch....pure cuteness all over. He loved his bath too.

That night he got up twice, after the second time he slept with us (which he hasn't done since...he likes his own space). In the morning, he opened his eyes, looked at me, and grinned. It was going to be a good day!

The flight to Ethiopia

We left Loogootee Saturday morning, March 7. We are at Cracker Barrel for our final American breakfast...we didn't think we'd get biscuits and gravy in ET and we were right. We got to the Indy airport in plenty of time. Our flight left around 2:30 in the afternoon. After everyone boarded the plane, they told us it was too heavy so some of the luggage would follow on a different plane. When we taxied out of the terminal we saw two of our luggage sitting there on a cart, and we knew there could be trouble!

We made it to the Ethiopian Airline check-in with plenty of time to spare in Dulles. We got our boarding passes and met a few of our travel buddies. We ate supper with Eders, though we were all a little too nervous to want much. We boarded a BIG plane for ET at 8:30pm and then they told us we only had 1 bag on board, the others would come on the next flight to ET, Tues morning...oh well. It was so exciting to be on the plane, especially b/c there were so many Ethiopian people on board. We were really going!!!!

On board ET Air (Shannon behind us)

It was a long flight (though not compared to the way home!). We dozed a little, read a little, watched Madagascar 2 about 3 times, and enjoyed the view. We got to see the French Alps very well, and the Mediterranean Sea too. The desert over Egypt seemed to never end. ET Air is a very nice airline, helpful people and very good service. We landed in Addis Sunday night their time, and took a terrible 2 hours to get our visa and go through customs, then of course fill out missing luggage forms.

There ride to the hotel was about 30 minutes, and though it was dark, we could see the city a bit. We got to see ET driving, with no rules and lots of horn honking. We also saw the friendliness of people in the streets, hugging and holding hands. We also saw the poverty. There were lumps laying under tarps that we thought at first was animals, but we then realized it was people.

When we got to the hotel, we were exhausted and excited. I had a good cry and we prayed together. It was very hard to be there at that moment, but we slept well and that night I "counted our blessings" and the number of things that went right far outnumbered the things that went wrong. Satan was not going to steal our joy. We awoke happy and ready to meet our baby.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Home Sweet Home

It is so good to be back in America, land of the free, home of the...ice, fully flushable toilets, clean water, seat belts, and the brave. We got to our home Friday afternoon, after a very looooonnnnnnnnnnggggg trip! Eli was a trooper though, and I think he did better than mom.
Here he is on the airplane...and no, he was not happy the entire 17 hour flight. (Isn't he adorable...he loves to give big open mouth kisses too!)

Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes. I can't quite put into words all that the trip to Ethiopia meant to us. A part of our hearts stayed there, and hopefully we can return someday. I will try to write a little about each day on here over the next few weeks.

We are slowing adjusting to having THREE kids! Sam and Cora love Eli, and he gives them the biggest smiles. To put it simply: God is so good, and we are so blessed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We are here!

Hello from Ethiopia! We are here with precious Eli in our arms. Our first meeting was wonderful
and Hannah's Hope is amazing, as promised. Eli seems to love us very much, or at least the
constant attention.

Only 1 of our 4 luggage peices arrived (one with only donations). Our travel buddies have been so
generous in sharing with us.

Please keep praying for us, and specifically that Eli transitions to the formula and clears his

We are in love, with Eli and Ethiopia and God's plan for adoption.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Baby Calves

My brother David got his first two baby calves of the season this week. We went back to see them, and saw this little cutie laying outside the fence (little ones can walk right under the electric fence). As soon as his momma heard us coming, she started mooing and pacing. I explained to the kids that meant she was a good cow. The calf got up and went to its mother before we got too close.

My brother keeps meticulous records. He has about 40 cows and 2 bulls, and this is just a little part of his farm (the part he enjoys the most). This calf was born Wednesday, so its tag says 3-4 at the top. Its big number is 902, meaning it was the second calf born in 2009. On the back of the tag is its mother's number.

Two of our old 4-H cows are still in the herd, and one of them is very gentle. I showed her at the fair in 1997, and today my kids go back and pet her.

We love calving season, and spring is in the air!

Well, my stomach has been in knots for three days. I'm glad I only have one more night of restless sleep to get through. All is ready to go, minus last minute items and loving lots on Sam and Cora.

I leave you with this picture of Cora. She is laying on the quilt my grandmother, Meme, made for Eli.

"I sure hope Eli gets here soon!"

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Strawberry Land

Only two more days!!!
When we got out travel dates, we made a paper chain for each day, which at that time was 19, and numbered them. Today, we have only two links left!!! This was a great way for Sam to understand how much longer. I'm sure there have been times Sam thought Eli would never get here. He said in the car yesterday that he wants to kiss and hug Eli because he's never seen him before. Boy, is that a day I can't wait to see!

Tomorrow I am going to make a chart with Sam of each day we'll be gone and what we do that day. He can mark off the days as they go by. Of course, he may be too busy with Nana and Grandma to notice we are gone!

Sam made us laugh a bit last night. He and Cora were eating strawberries at the bar when I walked into the kitchen and eyed the strawberries. He said in a rather seductive voice, "Come on over to strawberryland."

At bedtime, Sam took off his shoes and socks and started picking toe jam (a long-time disgusting habit of his and his sister, not to mention that they like to do other people's toes as well). He was singing, "Picking my toe jam, picking my toe jam." Then he starting inspecting his hands and singing, "Picking my finger jam, picking my finger jam." This is a new one, and the question begs to be asked, when was the last time this kid washed his hands? I have no idea...poor Eli coming into this place of filth. Oh well, we're low on hygiene, but big on love.

Oh, and you should have seen the dirt I just picked out of Sam's old carseat to get it ready for Eli. Looked like three years of spilt Happy Meals!

And finally a Cora story for Sara, who watched the kids yesterday while I got ready for the trip. On the way home from church we were talking about all the fun things they did at Hannah and Addison's house. Cora says, "I eat playdough, but it nasty." Don't worry Sara, its part of her regular diet!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ethiopia itinerary

We are very close to packed, and beyond ready to go! 


Here is our itinerary for next week, as we know it.  Please pray for us, especially Monday.


Saturday – eat our last American breakfast at Cracker BarrelJ

Leave Indy at 2:47pm and arrive at DC 4:30pm

Leave DC at 8:30pm with six other families in our travel group for a 15 hour flight


Sunday -Our plane refuels in Rome, but we do not get off the plane.

We arrive in Ethiopia at 7:30pm their time (they are 7 hours ahead of us).

We will be picked up by AGCI staff and taken to the hotel.


Monday – Early breakfast in the hotel

9:00am we will do paperwork with Almaz, the director of Hannah's Hope.

After that we will walk to Hannah's Hope and meet Eli!!!!!!!!!!! 


My mind has really been wondering about this time.  Some babies react as if they've known their parents forever, others cry.  Some are asleep so you get to just watch them a bit.  Often all the babies are outside and kids are playing in the yard.  No matter what Eli's reaction, we only get to a first meeting once, so I want to remember everything about it.  I very clearly remember to moments after Samuel and Cora were born, and they both cried!  There is nothing like holding your child for this first time. 


Monday afternoon our whole travel group will travel together to the US Embassy to get visa's for our kids.  After this, Eli will stay with us.


Tuesday – Families are usually taken to a shopping market to get keepsakes for the family.


Wednesday – Some families will have birth family meetings, we will not.  That night we will all most likely go to a nice cultural dinner.


Thursday – We leave Ethiopia at 10:15pm their time.


Friday – We arrive back at DC at 7:15am EST, and then arrive at Indy at 2:16pm to have our three children together forever.


Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we can use our free time to play at Hannah's Hope, hang out at the hotel, and soak up as much of Ethiopia as possible.  The hotel has a good restaurant.  We are asked to be rather low profile, as there are some ET people opposed to adoption.  Josh hopes for some opportunities to sight see a bit.  I will be content to give Eli all my attention.


This is all subject to change.  I may be able to post to the blog while there, but not likely.  I want to write a lot about it though once we get home.  I am taking my adoption journal, which I started in January of 2008.  Our camera holds over 600 pictures, so we hope to capture as much of Ethiopia as possible to show Eli.


Thanks for the prayers…and yes the Girl Scout cookies are gone!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Donations for Hannah's Hope

I have packed the donations that we received for Hannah's Hope, Eli's current home. So many people blessed us with donations that we bought very little. I enjoyed counting it all and praying for children that will get to use the items. Here is what we have packed:

1000 diapers (isn't that a nice round number! I tried to figure how many diapers Eli might have used since he's been there, but I gave up. Its probably way more than 1000)
817 wipes
6 pairs of shoes
20 onesies
9 pairs of jammies
5 baby outfits
3 big boy outfits
9 big girl outfits
6 bibs
5 blankets
1 towel
4 cans of formula
3 boxes of cereal
4 tubes desitin
2 bottles lotion
1 baby powder
1 nail clipper
1 tooth brush
1 oragel
2 boxes of crayons

Thanks so much to all who donated. It means a lot to us to have the support of our family, friends, and church family. And we will be able to tell Eli how many people gave to his first home.

My to-do list is about a mile long, and somehow it just keeps growing. Things like buy chicken feed, give Sam a haircut, make passport copies, eat an entire box of Girl Scout cookies before the kids find them...and on and on and on. So here I sit typing, I guess its therapy and maybe I will sleep better knowing this blog post is done:)

“Why are you adopting?”

This is a common question for us. We were told when we first started this process we should be ready with an answer, one that was positive towards our adopted child. My answer is usually, “That’s just what God called us to do.” Seems pretty vague, but it’s true.

But how do we know that? Josh and I both clearly felt God’s voice on this.

We were recently looking at high school pictures of us, and Josh asked if I ever would have thought back then that we would be adopting our third child from Ethiopia, and I said its more than I could have hoped. I always thought adoption was so special, but I thought it was something other people did, people with more resources, more faith, more…something. This thinking prevents many parents from pursuing adoption, but believe me, if we can do it, so can you!

November is National Adoption Month, and in Nov 2007 our local Christian radio station aired many programs about adoption. Focus in the Family and Family Life Today talked about it, and Money Matters even talked about affording it and the fact that most adopting families are average, middle class people. Shoahannah’s Hope, a foundation founded by singer Steven Curtis Chapman, aired many 30 second and 1 minute bits about adoption. We listen to the radio a lot (no tv remember), but that month we couldn’t turn it on without hearing something about adoption. Mid-month we started talking about it.

At first it was “Wow those are neat stories”.

Then it was “Wouldn’t that be awesome to be a part of?”

Next came, “What if we did that?”

Which was soon, “Could we do that?”

I will never forget the afternoon I was washing dishes with the radio on and Josh was listening in his truck on the way home. We both heard Money Matters, and I think it eased the unknown about affording adoption (Josh had just changed jobs and took a pay decrease). My heart was ready, but my mind wasn’t sure until Josh came in the door, looked at me, heard the radio was on, and said Let’s do it.”

Sometimes I wonder if all those programs were really on, or if they were just for our ears. And certainly God had us turning the radio on at the right times. November 2008 I was looking forward to hearing all those adoption programs again, but there were much fewer, and none of the smaller bits….hmmmm.

After we committed to pursuing adoption I spent many late nights on the Internet researching agencies and countries. We had friends over, Danny and Ashley Graber, to share with us their experience in two Guatemala adoptions.

We ruled out domestic adoption and Guatemala due to closures, and we also ruled out Africa. I will not lie; we did not want to adopt a black child. This had nothing to do with our own prejudice, but we thought bringing a black child to white southern Indiana would be tough on the child (and it may be). However, God continued to work on our hearts, and our concern became more for orphans than comfort. By the way, we now look at Eli’s beautiful skin color as an opportunity to share God’s plan of adoption.

In January 2008 we went to an info seminar in Indy at Bethany Christian Services. After that meeting, we knew our child would be born in Ethiopia, a beautiful place facing so much tragedy. We applied to the Ethiopia program very soon and were accepted the same week that I discovered All God’s Children through blog land. We switched agencies because AGCI had a quicker timeline and their own orphanage, plus the testimonies of the families we read, not to mention God know where Eli would be.

One Bible verse that God led us to claim throughout this adoption was 2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

I wanted to write all this for two reasons (and if anyone read it all, thanks!):

- to remember the path God took us on to Eli. He is not another number in the Ethiopian orphan crisis; he is an important and beautiful member of our family. We are his mom and dad. Please don’t ask if we love him like our “real children”, he is our real child.
- To encourage you to follow what God is calling you to do. He’ll talk to you, just listen. Knowing you are doing His will leads to peace in your heart.