Thursday, September 27, 2007

Three boys being adopted

This video is a little slow at the beginning, but if you can sit through the first 30 seconds, the rest of the video is so worth watching! It is a video showing three little boys who are finding out who their new family is who went to get them in July. You will need tissues for sure!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I saw what I saw...

Sara Groves wrote this song after a trip to Rwanda.....This song stuck with me since the very first time I heard it:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Interview with Thabiti Anyabwile

The Carolina Hope Christian Adoption Agency has posted a great interview with Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman. Below are some thoughtful and encouraging excerpts, with the interviewer's questions in bold:

Some people, for any number of reasons, are uncomfortable with the idea of transracial adoption. Other people, because of their views on race, are outright opposed to the idea of transracial adoption; they believe that adoption across ethnic lines should not be practiced. How might the Bible speak to these concerns?

Well, I think it depends on the nature of the discomfort or opposition. If the discomfort or opposition is grounded in some assumption that “races” are unequal or that “races” should remain segregated in family and social relationships, I think the Bible rebukes and corrects that kind of thinking in several ways. First, it’s clear that there is only one “race” of man, all descended from our original parents Adam and Eve (Gen. 2; Acts 17:26). There is no biblical basis for discomfort or opposition based on racial attitudes.

Second, the alienation that sometimes stirs opposition to transracial adoption is really a spiritual problem. It’s a product of the Fall of man into sin. The cure for that problem is saving faith in Jesus Christ, wherein man is first reconciled to God and then reconciled to other men. So, for Christians in particular, those who are adopted into the family of God through faith in Christ, opposition to transracial adoption is tantamount to denying the work of Christ on the cross.

But there may also be discomfort or opposition not based on racial attitudes but some prudential concerns. Some may wonder if they are sufficiently equipped to parent across culture and ethnicity. Others may worry about the tension or conflict they may experience. There we have to remember that we are not called to love only in the convenient places and situations. We’re called to a radical love, one that mirrors the love of God for broken sinners. And the end of such love is unspeakable joy. For the joy set before Him, Jesus Christ endured the inconvenient and uncomfortable agony of the cross to redeem a people who were hostile toward Him. Adoption across ethnic lines may be one of the best pictures of that radical Christ-like love we have available to us today. So, “prudential” concerns that awaken discomfort aren’t finally sufficient reason to refuse or oppose such adoptions.

More and more couples are considering adopting transracially. How would you counsel a couple that desires to adopt a child from another race (i.e. ethnicity)? How would you seek to educate them theologically? How should the gospel help shape their view of transracial adoption?

The first thing I would want to do is simply commend and encourage them. I’d want to commend this act of selflessness and love. And I’d want to encourage them to remember that God’s grace is sufficient for their every need. That’s true of parenting in general, and it’s true of the specific case of transracial adoption and parenting. So, first, be encouraged.

Second, I’d want to encourage them to jettison the idea of “race” as it has historically been defined. Drop it like the bad habit it is. Learn to read the Scripture for its accent on our common humanity. Hayes’ Biblical Theology of Race is very valuable in this regard. Think of the children, indeed all people, as essentially “same” rather than “other.”

But third, having acknowledged our common humanity, think and teach your children to think in terms of “the nations.” In other words, there’s a tremendous opportunity in multi-ethnic families to cultivate a deeper concern for missions and getting the gospel to all nations. Try to prevent conversations and cross-cultural education from terminating on man or your family; try to think of those conversations as opportunities for thinking great thoughts about God who wants to be known among all people. The Lord has purposed that His glory will be shown in the bowing of the nations to His name. Our reflection on ethnicity and culture is incomplete if it doesn’t have that goal in mind.

Many who will read this interview have already adopted transracially. They are often concerned that their transracially adopted children will struggle with a sense of identity since they do not have same-race parents or do not live in an ethnically diverse area. Would you address their concern?

Again, I’d want to remind them that the Lord’s grace is sufficient for their parenting and this concern. Lean into that grace; commit this issue to the Lord in prayer. He’ll direct your steps and give you wisdom in this area.

Second, it’s important to think of parenting as essentially an exercise in identity formation (spiritually first, and ethnically in light of those spiritual realities). So, give considerable time to helping your child think of her or himself as one made in the image of God. The dignity of their lives is derived primarily from this aspect of their identity. Whatever struggles they encounter in terms of social and ethnic identity, they should resolve them in light of this fundamental truth. Also, parents want to help their children ground their identity in Christ if the child is/becomes a Christian. They are being renewed in the knowledge of God, righteousness and holiness through their union with Christ. This is the most profound aspect of who they are and understanding this is critical for putting identity conflicts in their proper perspective. Having laid that theological basis then it’s time to think critically about ethnic culture, experiences, and ideas.

The mistake many will make—partly out of an overdeveloped sense of guilt, and partly out of a desire to help their children—is to rush to ethnic and cultural considerations. Based on my own experience running rites of passage programs aimed at fostering cultural identity and values, most children are really ill-equipped for this kind of exploration because they haven’t settled larger, more fundamental questions about existence, faith, and purpose. Parents want to lay that foundation first. Children will be healthier in the long run even if the struggle feels acute at some points. But for help with ethnic identity issues, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of others. Build cross-cultural friendships. Include cross-cultural experiences in the family’s entertainment options (books, movies, concerts, etc.). This may take some investment, but it’s not only good for the child but the parents as well.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Garage sale!

This morning, we had a garage sale to raise money for our adoption. Our neighborhood will only allow two garage sales within a in the spring and one in the fall. Well, we have missed the last two, so we had been collecting garage sale items for over a year and our garage was overstuffed and looking like a major fire hazard to say the least! Brad loathes garage sales but had been so helpful in getting ready for this one. He did make me promise that what I didn't sell would have to been given to our mission or burned, since I usually save what doesn't sell and wait for the next garage sale!

My mom and sister had collected items to our pile of "treasured junk" and came over early this morning to help set everything up. While it was still dark and we had just begun setting up, we had several people come by and the steady stream did not stop until after 1 pm! In the hustle and bustle of setting up and the swarm of people, I never stopped to take a picture until some of our friends came by!

I quickly took this picture after my friend's little girl got into the wagon with Elijah. They are friends from our church and while her mom and grandmother perused our "treasures", Brad took her, Elijah and Isabella on a walk as they all three rode in the wagon!

Of course, we were telling everyone why we were having the garage sale and so many were encouraging to us! We even met an older lady (who came with her granddaughter) that began sharing with us how she took a mission trip to Africa every summer. She was 75 years old and had been making the trip to Africa for years! She showed us her necklace that was a gold pendant in the shape of Africa that she was very proud of as she had received it while over in Africa. As she spoke of her trips and the people she had met while in Africa, she had such a contagious joy! It was truly encouraging to meet a complete stranger who shared a love for a country and its people that is not our own and who understood our desire to go there and bring home our children!

At the end of the day, we made close to $800 which was more than we had ever made in any of our past garage sales!!!! We are so thankful, once again, for the Lord's provision in our lives! He continues to demonstrate His love and provision for us in so many ways, but it seems like this adoption has definitely heightened our awareness of His provision in our lives!

"The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. " Psalm 116:5&7

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ethiopia's Millenium!

Enkutatash is the first day of the New Year in Ethiopia and means Gift of Jewels. Ethiopia recognizes the Julian calendar in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each, a thirteenth month of 5 days, and 6 leap days in a year. Because of this, their new year and new millennium (2000) was celebrated on September 12, 2007.

There was a celebration in Addis Ababa as well as in Washington D.C. where there is a large population of Ethiopians.

This video features the New Millenium song along with beautiful photos of Ethiopia's landscape, culture and people.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sorry, Sheriff McChocolately!

HELLOOOOO! I am doing the snoopy dance! Yes! We received our FBI Clearance packet today!!! I guess they like smudgy prints!!! Who knows? I am just so glad my prints made the cut!

Our social worker emailed me our completed Home Study for final review. It was perfect! Nothing to change! She does great work!!! Love her!

We also received an email from the USCIS stating that they have everything except for our Home Study and we should send it soon as it is completed. We are hoping to get that to them in the next couple of weeks. USCIS was pretty efficient for us last time around so we are hoping they move quickly this time as well!! We are getting closer!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Quack! Quack!

Since today was such a beautiful day, we decided to all go down to the duck pond and feed the ducks (and turtles)! Brad and I walked while the kids rode their bicycle and tricycle. We walked on the greenbelts (which are like sidewalks but they are graveled paths throughout the woods) and it took us a long time to get there since we were having to stop for every sound the kids heard or track they saw in the dirt. They were both hoping to see deer or at least a bunny or two but with no luck. We trekked through the woods, under two cement tunnels that they love to scream in to hear their echoes, and finally arrived at the duck pond. The minute they saw the pond, they ditched their bikes and ran toward the ducks. We had some old bread that we brought, but Brad didn't think it was enough for all of the ducks, so he grabbed a brand new load of CIABATTA bread that was HUGE. The ducks had a fine dining experience today!
The ducks and geese here are so used to people feeding them that they are strangely aggressive for food since they know humans=food. Some of the geese are as big as the kids, so even though Isabella was trying to pet the geese and play with them, Elijah was running around scared and the ducks would chase him down for his bread. So, he finally figured out how to throw the bread at the geese so they wouldn't chase him. The geese were so quick that Elijah couldn't keep up, so he was hurling HUGE chunk of bread at the geese and laughing! This clip is so funny!

After all our bread was gone and Isabella screamed, "QUACK!" at the ducks and geese, we walked across the bridge and let the kids ride their bikes over to the second bridge. It was a great day!

Friday, September 7, 2007


Elijah has just recently discovered Isabella's "dress-up" trunk and especially loves all her jewelry! She put every piece of jewelry she has on him but when I tried to take it off of him, he refused saying, "I look beautiful!"
Then, later this afternoon, I walked into the playroom and found Elijah watching his favorite movie, "Finding Nemo", making shark noises (Bruce the shark is his favorite character) while wearing a ballerina tutu, fairy wings (he said he was a butterfly) and blue satin gloves! When Brad saw these pictures, he instructed me to go to Wal-mart tomorrow and buy him a pirate costume!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Do Something

You must watch this video! I cannot watch this video without bittersweet emotion. It is sobering to read the statistics but out of the sadness I feel complete joy knowing the Lord has called us to rescue some of these children and bring them into our family. To be able to love them as truly our own and call them "our children" is just the sweetest blessing that we have been given by our gracious Heavenly Father!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

New Princess in Town

Disney Announces The Princess and the Frog for 2009:
The Walt Disney Studios will continue its fairy tale legacy in animation by taking moviegoers on an all-new "once upon a time" musical adventure with its 2009 release of The Princess and the Frog. A musical set in the legendary birthplace of jazz -- New Orleans -- The Princess and the Frog will introduce the newest Disney princess, Maddy, a young African- American girl living amid the charming elegance and grandeur of the fabled French Quarter. From the heart of Louisiana's mystical bayous and the banks of the mighty Mississippi comes an unforgettable tale of love, enchantment and discovery with a soulful singing crocodile, voodoo spells and Cajun charm at every turn.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Last Home Study visit

We met with our social worker, Beth, at our home from 2:00 - 3:30 pm to finish up any questions that she needed to ask directly relating to Ethiopia. We love her because she has such a sweet heart and a quiet spirit. She is close to our age and shares a lot of the same views and passions as we do. Everytime we meet with her, we end up laughing most of the time. We love that her humor is similar to ours and she just makes us feel comfortable. When you hear the word "social worker", you tend to think negatively but she has given a new meaning to that word. We are so thankful for her!

She asked us many questions but mostly focused on any history we had with loss and grief. Brad was able to give some examples but I didn't have anything to offer. I was searching my mind to think of anything that would somehow resonate with grief or loss, and I had to tell her that I had nothing. I hadn't even experienced the death of a family pet (and yes, she asked)! I felt almost superficial.....and I felt embarrassed that I had always felt fortunate for not experiencing death up close and personal. I explained to her that I was feeling inadequate and I wanted so much to be able to somehow relate and deeply understand the pain, suffering and loss that my children might be grieving sometime in their life. She assured me that some parents will never understand the grief their children feel in a situation like adoption, and most who have never been through it, don't understand completely. After our interview, I thought about it for a long time and I remembered a verse that had comforted me many years ago:

"For since He Himself has now been through suffering and temptation, He knows what it is like when we suffer and are tempted, and He is wonderfully able to help us." Hebrews 2:13

It was made clear to me that as parents, (or people for that matter), we greatly lack so much but sometimes we try to have all the answers wanting our children to depend on us for everything. But instead, we should always direct our children to the Lord. For He can understand and heal their hurts much more than we can even imagine! We must teach our children to turn to Him for strength and comfort and ultimately depend on Him and Him alone. When my children grieve for their past or for what they have lost (or maybe grieving not ever knowing their past), I may not completely understand, but I can grieve with them and assure them with the Word of the Lord that He knows their every thought. He is our great Comforter!