Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our Family is Growing...

This post is a long one.  If you don't want to read about every detail, I will just say that our family is adopting again!  A 9 year old girl from Ethiopia named Efrata.  We are very excited to know she might be home with us soon.

I told myself that I would continue to write once the boys came home, but it has been challenging.  I am busier than I ever was and loving every minute of it.  Our family is doing incredibly well.  Yonas and Yosef have blended right in to our life and each day brings us closer.  We are thankful for how God has worked in each of our lives, and I think we all have a greater appreciation for one another.

With this post comes some very exciting news!  We are adopting again!  We are thrilled to be able to finally share this news with everyone.  The story begins back in October of last year.  During our first visit to the orphanage to meet the boys, a girl grabbed hold of my heart.  I knew within a couple of hours that I was going to have to talk to Vince about what I was feeling.  She stayed with me the entire day.  I began envisioning her being in our family.  But I was also thinking..."this is crazy, we are here solely for our sons, Vince is going to say no way, our family will not bless this, etc....."  By the time we got in the car to leave, I said to Vince, "I can't stop thinking about Efrata, what if we adopt her? "   I don't remember Vince's exact words, but I know he was ready. He didn't hesitate in saying yes.  I immediately began praying that God would give us wisdom to make decisions without using just our emotions...

We came home and waited for the call to go back.  During this time, I was so busy preparing for Yonas and Yosef.  We as a family were anticipating bringing them home and spent our days waiting for that call.  We couldn't wait to get them home.  I was still praying about Efrata.  I was still asking God to give me clarity.

During our second trip, we had the opportunity to visit several orphanages, one of them being the one Yonas, Yosef had been in and Efrata was still at.  I ended up going by myself while Vince stayed back with the boys at the Transition house.  I remember how nervous I was driving up to that gate.  I prayed the whole drive there.  Asking God for peace.  I was not sure if she would even be there.  As we opened up the gate to walk in, Efrata was the very first person I saw!  She was standing there smiling.  I began walking to her, and she remembered me.  We hugged and said our hellos.  I was so excited to be back at the orphanage and have the opportunity to see her again.  Emotionally I broke down and began crying.  (not a very good thing to do when you can't explain why you are crying)  She was looking at me like I was crazy.  lol   She was one of only a few kids at the orphanage at that time.  The rest of them were at school.  If we had arrived just an hour before, she would have still been at school.  She went to the morning session and the rest of the kids went in the afternoon.  What a God thing!   I enjoyed my time with her and the staff, thanking them for how well they took care of Yonas and Yosef.  It was a wonderful day that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Fast forward to us being home about a month.  We knew that Efrata was not "paperwork ready" to be adopted.  This means that she had not been officially through the courts to be approved to be adopted.    We also knew that Woudneh was working on this for us.  During this time I was still praying that God would open those doors in His time.  I spent many hours anticipating a call that would mean we could adopt her.  I also knew that the door could close on us at any time.

By April, I began thinking that this door was closing.  Maybe God was teaching me something throughout all this, not necessarily with the outcome I had hoped.  Whenever I prayed from this point on, I just wanted closure.  It was difficult because I wasn't really talking about this to many people.   I would say to Vince, "I don't think this is going to happen.  Maybe God has something else in mind for Efrata."  Vince was always quick to say, I think she is supposed to be with us.  He felt so strongly that God was still working.  It is amazing how I was the one to give up hope and doubt.  I think I was trying to protect myself from any further hurt.

A couple of months went by and 4 days before our anniversary, we got a call that she was in the final stages of passing regional court to be adopted!  I couldn't believe it.  I think I sat there in shock for a couple of minutes.  Instantly I praised God for the answer I had asked for.  It just seemed too good to be true...We were ready to proceed.  Vince and I began to update our home study, send off our immigration application, and start preparing the kids.  We also told our families.

Yesterday, we got the call that she is finally ready!  We are now trying to speed up our end, just in case we can get filed for court before they close in August/September.  Things seem to be moving fast, but I'll take it!

 I am asking that you be in prayer for us.  It would not be accurate to say this has been an easy journey.  When you surrender to God, you have to be ready for anything.  Each day is a new opportunity to give God the glory.  Pray for Efrata and her transition into our home.  Please pray for Abby, Gracie, Yonas, and Yosef as they welcome another sibling.  They are all so excited.  It brings me joy to see how they are ready to open up their lives for another child.   Also please pray that I not let worry and fear overcome me.   I am realizing the enormity of gathering the money needed and the cost for travel.  Once again, Vince's faith is not moved.  He knows that God will provide.  We have been blessed over the last year and are so thankful for how our family and friends have rallied around us.  God has been so good to us.  Praise Him!