Sunday, December 23, 2012

A chapter closed, a chapter opened

A post from Arnie:

4 plus years of waiting and warring , and his name is Isaac. He has a face, a smile, and he is loved. Ive wrestled with not just the unfairness of adoption , of waiting and prayer, of children suffering , but the whole idea of taking in a stranger. God has chiseled off my edges and I've come out a little more defined and refined. More importantly though, I've learned over the last 5 years of my life who God is, what he's passionate about, and what my part in his kingdom looks like. God fights for each of us to become his heirs, and we inherit thru adoption that which we neither deserved , nor were capable of inheriting on our own. We are loved , fought for and his love which is undeserved is given freely. I've evaluated my part in the adoption and now see God's hand over my wife and marriage. I've had the privilege of fighting not just for Isaac, but for all of the oppressed, especially children. God has chosen the weak and oppressed, the marginalized and mistreated to be his favored ones. It’s a blessing to know that Isaac is favored, he was defended and fought for by the one who created him long before he was ever given to us ! I pray the day will come when we can hold him and show him in a tangible  way how loved he really is. But I know in my heart that the real battle has been, and will continue to be fought on or knees. I told Bek that the outcome doesn’t lie in being parents or in Isaac , but a passion for defending the fatherless and weak. This whole journey will be a selfish failure if our hearts aren’t changed , and lives don’t reflect it. If fighting for orphans is on our hearts , it must become a lifestyle, not just great ideology. I remember talking to a youth in our church at a retreat . His family has adopted 3 beautiful children . Our discussion was on the subject of what he wanted to do or become in this life; something tangible and realistic. And the first thing out of his mouth was that he was passionate about adoption. He talked about how much he loves his new family members and can t wait to go  down that road. I hope Isaac sees the value in adoption one day, and praise God if that passion comes at a young age. That family has clearly done something right!  But for now we continue to battle for little Isaac. The preparations seem to be endless and we love it. Our nephews pray for him daily, and recognize his picture already. Isaac has brought much joy to our family and friends. Now we patiently and passionately pray for his presence with us .

Phil 1 ; 3

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart

Monday, December 3, 2012

And now we wait....just a little longer

The first question people ask me is, "So when does he come home?" Honestly, I really have no answer for this. I have seen court dates given as quickly as 2 months and some as long as 8 months. I don't know how long it will take for us. We think it will be closer to the shorter end because of certain paperwork logistics that we won't have to do, but we honestly can not predict what could happen. BUT this is what I do know; Isaac was hand picked to be our son. That before time began, he was chosen, we were chosen. I don't know when we will get to see him, hold him and call him ours officially. I'm not worried though. Jesus worked it out so far and I know he will carry us to the completion of this adoption. The story of Jesus sleeping in the boat in the middle of the storm has been one I have often referred to. I was reminded today of why Jesus was able to sleep in the boat. He had a plan, he knew the end result. He planned Isaac, he knew he would be ours and we would be his. He knew the day he would be born, the day we would receive our call and he was at peace. He could rest because he knew he had figured out the best plan for us. We now know the first portion of that plan, we know who! But now we wait a little longer. I hope though, that I have learned what trust looks like. I hope I can sleep in the boat, to rest in the storm of waiting, the unknown. My only answer is that although I don't know when Isaac will come home, Jesus does. He has a plan and it's good. So please pray for us as we wait, that Jesus would prepare us to be good parents, that he would get ready our hearts for this little baby and that we would wait patiently. Everything in me just wants him home, but more than what I want, I want what Jesus has in store for us. This is his plan, it always has been and so it needs to finish this way. It is not about us, but about the one who gave us this gift. Thank-you everyone for your prayers to bring Isaac home, I know God will listen. Please pray over our papers and Isaac's papers. Pray for a court date but also pray for God's will to be done!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Friends :)

I came home to this on my driveway today. One of my best friends made it up for me. She is a huge advocate for breastfeeding and is overjoyed that I will choosing to do it. So sweet and thoughtful! And I love the card.

I also had another friend drop off a "gotcha day" gift. It was a bag filled with the things that she said helped with bonding with her adopted children! Another friend gave some thoughtful signs for Isaac to hold for a photoshoot when he gets home! And of course his Aunty's showering him in gifts, begging for a registry, new Mexx outfits and who knows what else...

Spoiled? Um yes!! Already overwhelmed by everyone. Feeling so loved and more importantly my sweet Isaac is so loved! More than the gifts have been people's words. So kind, full of love and joy. I am so blessed to have so many people walk this road with us. I can't put into words the gratitude I have for each one of you congratulating us through messages, phone calls and in person. It's so much, I am so grateful. I will be updating more often as this adoption rolls along. I will keep you as best informed as I can! Thank-you again for all your love my beautiful family and friends!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Adoptive Breastfeeding

As the joy still continues to sink in every time I look at my son, my mind is beginning to switch gears. I am beginning to prepare. As it was a complete shock that we got such a young little baby, there are so many things to think about! We were thinking we would most likely get an older boy, so we are switching the gears in our minds. We are thinking of all things baby; sleeping, playing, diapers, teething, carrying, bathing and of course feeding. I have decided that I would like to breastfeed. I wasn't going to come outright and tell everyone, but I was encouraged by a friend that I needed to be an advocate for adoptive breastfeeding. Not many people have heard of it, but it is, in my mind, one of the best things I can do for my son. As I did not know what age my child would be, I have not really looked into this before... it is all new to me. I have been quick, however, to begin the process as it can take some time and I want to harness every day that I have. In preparation, there are medications that I am currently on to hopefully induce lactation. I began this process quickly, knowing without a doubt that this was something I wanted to do. It is only slowly sinking in now as to why this is so important to me.  It dawned on me this morning as I started to feel slightly nauseated at the thought of a certain foods, that instead of hating this feeling as I usually do, I am starting to enjoy it. You most likely will think I'm crazy, but let me explain. Up until now I've had no part in Isaac's upbringing. I have had no way to be his mama. I can not hold him, bath him, rock him or feed him. I had no part in his birth mama's pregnancy or delivery, although I know that our prayers have carried her through. But physically there has been no part I've played, until now. To feel nauseous, hungry, craving some things, I am beginning to feel connected to my son. As if in some way I am "pregnant" with him, I feel physically connected. Preparing to breastfeeding is the one thing that I can physically offer to my son. When you are pregnant you basically resign your body to your growing child inside. It is no longer your body but your baby's body. Everything becomes about them, your growing, your changing, your sickness, your entire shape begins to change for them. I don't get that, my body stays the same, except for maybe some extra pounds from stress eating during this adoption process! But this is my chance for my body to become my son's. He may not have grown inside me, but I am still his. I want to change for him, to feel different for him, to feel like I am becoming a mama. And physically as I begin to change in very small ways, I somehow feel connected to his birth mom as well. This beautiful stranger, who carried our son. She choose life for him. Her body changed, swelled, adapted. She felt his first movements, his heartbeat and she carried him into this world. I can't imagine. She placed him somewhere were he would be found and taken care of, she chose life for him. And now I get to continue in choosing life for this boy. I get to be the second mama. And somehow I am connected to this beautiful women in Ethiopia, not through relationship but through our son. The boy we both will choose life for. So in part of that, I believe the best thing I can give my son is breastmilk. I want him to have the best; the best food, clothes, blankets, lotions, bed, etc. I'm not saying he will get it all, but I'm saying this is how I feel. Breast milk is the best nutrition I can give him right now. I realize it may not work out and he may not latch, but I feel this is worth fighting for. He is worth changing for, feeling nauseous for, hurting for. He deserves the best of what I can offer him. So as I wait for him, prepare for him, I pray that I can provide this God given gift to him.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"He will laugh"

I can't believe I am writing this post. I honestly did not know if this day would ever come. It's not that I lost hope completely but I had recently resigned myself to the fact that this adoption might just take a few more years. But, Guess what????????? WE GOT THE CALL !!!!!!!!!!! It is a 6 month old boy from Ethiopia. God is so good and before I talk anymore, I need to give him the glory for this little boy. It is because of him that he is.

So here is the story.

This past summer we had begun to grow weary of waiting on this adoption, as you can see from reading earlier posts. I had alluded in one post that maybe the ship had sailed and it was time to move on. What I didn't say was that we were beginning a new adoption process. We had heard that Hungary had opened in Canada for adoptions and since that is where Arnie's family is from, we had decided to look into it. We spent the summer updating our paperwork from Ethiopia but also beginning paperwork for an adoption from Hungary. Our homestudy just seemed to drag on and on. It seemed we had to wait for everything! Two weeks ago we finally received our completed homestudy. I immediately sent it to the government for their approval. The average time frame is 4-8 weeks. A few days after I had sent it, we got a phone call from our agency saying that the government workers had called them to say we were missing a paper for the homestudy... the paper that gives us approval to do the homestudy in the first place!! My husband called me and said this, "You need to call Christian Adoption back because our Hungarian adoption is on hold because we forgot to do something". There is a rule of thumb in adoption, never use the words "adoption" and "on hold" in the same sentence. I immediately freaked out. I was so angry that day, angry at the paperwork, angry at myself and angry at God. I had a conversation with my husband about being angry with God. I didn't understand that if He loved adoption so much and told us to fight for the orphans, why then everywhere we turn we see red tape! I didn't stay angry too long though. I have some great friends who have stood by me in everything and on this particular day, they knew just what to say :) So we did the missing paper and sent it in, problem solved and we were ready to move on. At this point everything seemed impossible. I had my eyes set on waiting for our Hungarian homestudy to be approved so I was "on hold" so to speak. I just kept thinking about Christmas and spending it with my family and was hopeful that in the new year maybe then we could get a referral. I had spoken with a few people about our recent plans, but I had recently talked about just longing for our Ethiopian adoption to be finished before we opened another door. I wanted so badly to be finished with the first one, the one we started with before moving on. 

Friday November 16, 2012
I spent the day at my sister's house making cake pops for a fundraiser. We finished around 2pm and I headed home to prepare for the bible study I was supposed to be leading that evening. I sat at the table with my book and some food when my husband called me. He asked me where I was and then said, "Ok, I'm coming home." I thought nothing of it. About 10 minutes later, he walked in the front door, and sat down at the table. With tears in his eyes, he grabbed my hand. At this point my stomach dropped. The last time he looked at me like that was when he had to tell me my dog had died. He doesn't usually have intense emotion, so when my husband cries it is for a reason. He looked at me and said, "It's a 6 month old boy." WHHHHHAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTT ??????????????? Now you can insert some screaming and some NO WAY's a few ARE YOU SERIOUS's and some more crying. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would get a baby. Well I secretly hoped for one but I just didn't think that that would ever happen for us. After I danced, jumped, fist pumped the air, I gained enough composure to find a phone, or maybe that was my husband? Anyways, we called the social worker to find out the details... and more importantly to see our little man for the first time. I had enough brain cells to videotape the conversation and to video us seeing his little face for the first time.
 Instant love. This handsome little man was who we fought for all these years. He was the reason we gave our blood, urine, fingerprints, time, money, tears, prayers. He is the reason we didn't give up. And he is laying there with the most handsome smile, arms wide open as if to say, "come and get me!!"I was speechless, literally had the breath taken out of me. I couldn't form a sentence, just shock and joy and disbelief, this little guy is for us!!!
On wednesday, after I had my meltdown over that paper, I searched adoption quotes. I wanted to find something to help me keep fighting and this is the quote I posted on facebook:

“Be assured that if God makes you wait longer than you wish, it is only to make the blessing all the more precious.” 

I cried when I read it, It hit me in the heart. I knew God would be faithful, I knew it would be hard but I knew He had a plan for us. If only I knew that plan would start to unfold only two days later! 
Our God is good. It wasn't easy to wait, in fact it was painful and it outright sucked, but Jesus never left me. I'm not sure how I can put this into words. He didn't let me sink too low but he did allow me to feel the pain. He let me feel the hole in my heart, I think because He wanted to fill it. Something I learned about God is that He loves to be the one who we fill the holes in our hearts with. SO many times, I couldn't handle the wait and the pain, but He was ALWAYS faithful to pick me up and help me keep fighting. All those times I thought that He was not fighting on our behalf, I can see now that He was busy picking me up off the floor and making me strong enough to get up and fight some more. He was fighting through me.
I can't tell you how hard it was to be the only one without a child, how badly I wanted to be a mom. How hurtful it was to not only have lost my mom at a young age, but then not be able to become a mom. I shed many tears over this. But no matter how hard the storm would hit, there was Jesus sleeping in my boat, calling me over, looking at me and saying, "Come and rest with me Daughter, I've got it all figured out!" 
And He did, he is here, my sweet little boy... I just can't believe it.
Oe of the first things I said when we got off the phone with the social worker was, "He needs a name!" My husband said we needed to pray about it so I said, "Jesus what's His name!!??" Are little son's name is Isaac. It means, "he will laugh". But more than that he was the promised son to Abraham and Sarah. That story often got to me. Their wait, my wait, God's faithfulness. Sarah seemed to be unloving and seemed to be full of anger over her situation but it says, "Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he promised." Not only the miracle that Isaac's birth was, the story that comes after also gets to me. Abraham was called to lay his only son on the alter. I can't tell you the amount of times I have had to lay my child on the alter. My desire, my greed, my selfishness, I had to lay it down in order to receive back what God had for me. I often thought of if I never had a child, would I still love Jesus. I look back over this year and I am happy. I resolved in my heart that not a day would be wasted. That my life would not be completed because of a child, but that it would be completed because of Jesus. I can say that my life is so full, and now with Isaac... I may just be bursting at the seems!!!! I can't wait to post pictures of this sweet little man. He is so precious.
On my way home from my sister's house on friday, I was talking to God about my future child. I asked him if our child could be cute. He didn't have to be "worldly" cute but I had to think he was cute. It was a selfish prayer I know... but for some reason Jesus decided not only would he give us a cute son, but that he would pick the cutest baby in all of Ethiopia to be our son!! He is perfect in every way and we could not be happier. 
And since I can't post pictures of him until we get a court date, I will post our Christmas photo our friend took this year (It will have to change now though :)

So your next question is, "when do you get him?" We will have to wait for a court date now. I've seen some as quick as 2 months and some as long as 8 months. So we ask you to please pray that our baby can come home as soon as possible! I just want him home right away, but I know the timing will be perfect!

Thank-you to everyone who prayed and fought along side us, we have a son because of you. Isaac has an army behind him, I can't wait to tell him all about it one day!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Garage sale money

Today we are meeting with our agency! They will be travelling to ethiopia at the end of this month so we are sending the garage sale money we raised this summer with them to donate on our behalf to the orphanage. We are so excited to do this and again thank everyone who helped us this summer. Hopefully we will let you know at the end of the month more specifically how the money will be used!

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's been a while

This summer has flown past and landed us straight into fall. As I look back over the summer i am grateful that we did not waste it. I am excited as the season changes, onward to new adventures. We have a few adventures planned for this fall. We are currently in BC spending Thanksgiving with family and friends, I am thankful for the airmiles I diligently acquire that allows us to see our family a few times a year. We are also planning on renovating our kitchen! I am excited for this as I love decorating and renovating. I'd love to have the house all finished and ready to bring home our child.
As far as adoption goes, we continue to patiently wait. This summer brought about some ups and downs, which is usual when waiting. I still have faith to continue this journey God has sent us on. I have hope for a family. I want to wait for God's timing, but it gets hard. My heart hurts sometimes, but we press on. I believe my children are worth all this, so we fight ono our knees daily. Something I have started to do is to pray for my children at 11:11 everyday. Random, I know, but when I was younger someone said to pray for your future husband at 11:11 everyday, so I did. Nothing special about the time, it is just a reminder... but for some reason I almost daily catch a glimpse of 11:11 on a clock somewhere. I smile and thank God that has has reminded me to pray. Somedays the prayers are long and other days all I can muster to say is, "Please Father bring them home". So here we are, continuing on, hoping, praying and waiting for the day Jesus says, "It's time!"

Monday, August 20, 2012

Right of passage

I just watched The Business of Being Born, a documentary on birth in America. I have been an advocate for home birth for a little while now, but watching this movie... I am sold. If I ever got the chance, this is what I would do. But this post is not about that...
In the movie, they use the term "right of passage", in regards to birth and a women's right of passage to deliver the way she was designed to. For some reason that term hit me in the heart, like I was being ripped off of my right of passage, that somehow I am not quite a women until I get to give birth. Feeling quite crappy after the movie, I ran into this...
and tears came...
To compare birth and adoption is not even possible because they are just different. One is not better than the other, they are just different.
To be called to adopt, to wait, to fight, to learn of the Father's heart of healing, restoring, attachment... maybe this is a "right of passage"?
You may wonder how I gathered all this from my friend's blog post above, but to see God so clearly calling someone to support adoption reminds me that sometimes God has a different plan for us. How dare I compare plans... and say I must have one over the other. Again one is not better than the other. It is so clear that Jesus has called me out, like a spotlight on a crowd landing on me. And although I am in the middle of the fight and haven't seen the outcome yet, my plan is still good. It is my "right of passage", it is the pathway I have been called to walk down, the one that has been set in front of me.
I hope if you are reading this and you live in Alberta, you will consider supporting the Spirit of Adoption foundation. It is important that we band together for those who have been chosen to walk down the path of adoption, because it is hard, it is different,  but it is just as important as everyone else's "right of passage".

Friday, August 10, 2012

Maybe the ship has sailed

I haven't written much about our adoption lately, mostly because I don't have much to say. I am tired. It's a strange feeling but I feel like I have given up. I'm not sure it's a bad thing but I feel like I can't hang on to hope anymore. I trust Jesus and I trust His plan for me, I just don't want to keep thinking about this adoption, hoping then being disappointed. Maybe this is some sort of defence mechanism, you can only hold on to something that just seems so far out of reach for so long. 
I should say however, that I have not given up on my children. It's just this particular adoption that I am done with, I am ready to move on. I still fight daily for my children, wherever they may be. I pray continually for Jesus to bring them home, to go to war for them, to bring them to the family He chose for them. 
Maybe my child doesn't live in Ethiopia? 
I don't think I've been open to that thought before, but I think I need to open my hands and grip on this particular adoption. 
I'm not sure where God will lead us, or if He will just ask us to stay, but I am willing. 
Please pray for us as we seek our Father, listen to His leading and as we continue to wait.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My house is full

This week I have four kids in my house. We have our parent's foster kids for ten days for respite care as well as our cousins from Hungary and their two kids. Despite the challenges of language, we are having a good time. I've prayed for my house to be filled with kids and suddenly overnight we went form 0 to 4! Talk about training, these kids have kept me on my toes!!! Mostly, I am grateful to wake up early to a cute little girl curling up in my bed, to play tea party and forts, to chase, cuddle, dress, wash, feed and love these four little guys. I'm not saying it's all been good, we've had our share of tears, fights, time-outs and other things but I'm grateful.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Huge Success

Well it is all over now, the sale went amazingly well! I am still blown away by everyone's generosity. I feel like I am still processing this weekend and all that happened. I catch myself thinking about it and realizing all the support that we have received. Honestly, I feel overcome by the blessings we received.

I want to thank everyone who was a part of the weekend, it was only possible because of all you gave. My garage was so full on thursday night from donations that we had to just throw a tarp over the remaining boxes and leave them on the driveway for friday morning. Thanks to everyone who donated to our sale. We continued to receive donations on friday and on saturday. I had a friend who kept dropping things off, one load didn't even make it to the driveway before it was sold!!!

Also I want to thank again all my friends and family who came to just help during the weekend. Even early on saturday morning the first person there was my friend who is pregnant and suffering from morning sickness! She drove in to town and was the first person to help set-up. I am blown away by people's kindness. I also had two friends from Bible College fly in for the weekend just to support us. I honestly don't deserve such a great community. I can't be grateful enough for all of you that God has sent to walk beside us.

You are probably wondering by now how much we made.... the grand total is somewhere around $3200!!!!!!!!!! I did not expect this at all... I am so amazed at God's faithfulness to provide and to go over and beyond what I dreamed of. Of that $3200, $600 was from raffle ticket sales for the quilt, which by the way is $100 over what I was hoping for as to cover the costs of making the quilt. About $500 was also made from the crafts that my sister had helped me with back in March. So that leaves about $2100 from the garage sale itself! The grand total keeps growing though. We kept some of the bigger items from the sale and put them on kijiji to sell. I have some people coming this week to hopefully take those items off our hands, this money will be added to the sale money as well. When all the items are sold, I will come up with a complete grand total!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Garage Sale

This weekend I am having a huge and awesome garage sale!!! The money we raise will go to buy gifts for the orphanage. My garage is just about full thanks to all the wonderful people who have given donations! We are so blessed by our community.

I was nervous to have this garage sale because we don't have a referral yet but it seemed everything was just falling into place. Two of my friends I met in Bible college are flying out to be here for the weekend! I honestly can't wait to have them here.

At the sale I will have a Compassion booth. I have 2 child packs and 2 mom and baby packs that I am hoping to see get sponsored throughout this weekend. I love adoption but I also love adoption prevention. I'm huge on child sponsorship so these children don't have to end up as orphans. Please also pray that these children can find their sponsor homes!

I will also be selling raffle tickets for this:

I started making this quilt earlier this year. The fabric and pattern are Joel Dewberry. I had he quilt professionally long arm quilted and I hand-sewed the binding on! It is reversible also, the back has a panel in the middle with squares of fabric from the front. I will be selling tickets at the sale, 1 for $5 or 5 for $20. If you would like tickets and can't make it to the sale, you can send me a message on face book or email, I will gladly ship to anywhere in Canada!

A while back you may remember a post from when my sister and niece came in March to help me with a fundraiser! Well the beautiful aprons, along with some other crafts, will also be for sale!

I have been preparing for this sale for a while now. When people find out we are adopting, a lot of questions come out: "You can't have your own?" "When do you get your baby?" "Why did you choose Ethiopia?" "Why not adopt form here?" ... I find most of the questions innocent until this one. I was asked a very frank question on face book, so I will just copy and paste my answer. I was warned by Denise that people who come to the sale will ask all kinds of questions, so be prepared. I think after the question that I was recently asked, I should be good and prepared for the weekend! Please pray that I can answer people in a way that brings awareness to adoption, in a way that educated people, and in a way that brings glory to God.

Question: It is illegal to buy children, so what are you fundraising for?

My response: When Arnie and I first started this adoption process, we had to consider the "cost" of this child. We had to pray and ask Jesus where He wanted us to go and from what country he wanted us to adopt from. We chose Ethiopia. In choosing Ethiopia we also agreed to the costs that it would take to bring our child home. We have to pay social workers, homestudy fees, lawyer fees, fingerprint fees, police checks fees, agency fees for working on our file for 4 years, government fees to process the mounds of paperwork it takes to process an adoption, and fees that are paid to teh orphanage for caring for our child for the length of their stay there. None of the fees are for a child but all the fees are for the cost of adopting them. I don't expect people to do their jobs for free. Something that I have often thought of in this whole process is the cost that Jesus paid to ransom our lives. He gave his life to save us. I often mirror adoption to the gospel, that a steep price would be paid to save a life. The children who are in the orphanage have no parents or are not wanted by anyone else. They have social workers who search for relatives and fight on behalf of these children (part of the fees) so that they know this is their only chance at having a family. Honestly, I would give whatever it takes to bring my child home. Suzie is right when she says that the money we raise is going toward the orphanage as a gift for caring for our child for the first years of their live. I wish I could give them everything I have. They took care of MY child. They fed them, clothed them, sang to them, loved them.... when I couldn't be there for them yet and I don't think I could be more grateful to someone for doing that for a child. I want to give them a gift from all the people who have fought for our child to come home. I thought of this fundraiser as a way to include everyone in on the fight for our child. WE have paid for the adoption in full. We owe nothing. In fact we have our own money to give gifts to the orphanage too, but we want the community "in" on it with us. I don't plan on raising this child alone. I plan on having people in it's life that lovehim/her too. If ever you can understand the true fight that adoption is, you will know that having people stand beside you is priceless. IT matters, it is the difference of Arnie and I throwing in the towel or continuing to fight in this process. Sorry for the novel response, I am actually glad you asked the question because there tends to be a lot of misunderstandings when it comes to adoption and I love any chance I get to talk about adoption and to advocate for those sweet little children waiting to find their forever families!! Thanks for your thoughts and donations!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Adoption Photoshoot!!

I havent written in over a month now. I don't have a good reason why, just that I am tired. I don't have too  much to say just the same old waiting and praying and hoping. I have been particularly exhausted with this whole adoption lately.
We did our three year update and then realized we needed an addendum done for our homestudy. I don't know why I was never told that we needed this, but we found out through the government asking if we were still proceeding with our adoption. I was so upset by this, more papers, more time, more money. I know it is a privilege to fight for my child but some days it is just hard. I thank my husband for his strength the past few weeks, he has really supported me through this.
So our social worker came and went. We had no changes except I had a new job. It was a quick visit, but yet a costly visit for what it was... but we are closer to our child, we have fought harder for our child, our love for our child has continued to grow.
On thursday, Arnie and I were privileged enough to get our pictures taken by our friend, Denise Bolen. SHe is an amazing photographer, we had been in conversation for a few weeks about doing an adoption photoshoot. I had been sad lately of all the photoshoots my friends have done of their pregnant bellies and all their beautiful family photos, so when Denise did this photoshoot for us I was so grateful. I get to have pictures too!!!! And they are so unique and one of a kind... and they mean so much to us. I am so proud of these pictures, proud that we get to adopt and proud of this journey we have chosen to take. Here is a sample of the shoot!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Three Years

Yesterday marked our three year anniversary of our file landing in Ethiopia. Four years and two months ago we started this crazy adoption process. We took our time getting our file together, signing up with an agency and completing a homestudy. After a year, On May 7, 2009 our file landed in Ethiopia and our official wait began.
We were told it would be about nine months before we got a referral... after the bankruptcy and some slow downs in Ethiopia, we are now at three years. We hope the wait will end soon. We want nothing more than to bring our child home. I don't regret this time of waiting, but I am hoping it will come to an end soon.
I'm not sure what else to say about this. This is not what we signed up for, but this is what we got. Despite the heart ache and pain, we just want to glorify God with all that He has given us. It's not always easy, but we want to say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord, when the darkness closes in, we will still say blessed be your name."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A good day

Today was one of those days I was thinking about our kid all day long. I was home all morning cleaning, and chilling. I made homemade pizzas before lunch and all I could think about was how I wanted so badly to have some kids to feed the pizza to. I texted Arnie and said I was thinking of our kids, how I would be homeschooling them, then we'd eat pizza for lunch. I was about to text him the second part of the message "then I'd take them to see the Chimpanzee movie, since it's raining and we would do a study on Chimps so it would be educational!" He called me before I could send it and actually asked if I would like to see the Chimp movie! He read my mind :) So before we went we stopped by the lab at the hospital to get our HIV test done.
Yes I was nervous!
I can't believe that I have given hundreds of needles and I still hate them!!!! Just because I'm a nurse doesn't mean I like  to get blood taken!
Not nervous at all.
Seriously he is watching... and intently watching too!

It always feels weird to go into a lab with my husband to get just HIV tests done....every year. I always feel I need to clarify why we are getting the tests done, especially since I was taking pictures. The nurse said "Oh I was wondering why you two were coming in for HIV tests." Yes it is odd to come in with your husband, one can only let their mind wonder. Anyways, I can't even express how much I love my child. I didn't care about the blood and tests, they can take all the blood they want, just bring our child home. All this "fighting" for our child, just makes me want them even more. I wold do this dumb HIV test every week if that was required! So today I'm praying hard for our child, please bring them home Father!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I found out that our file in ethiopia is about to expire, in fact some of the papers have expired already! I didn't realize that police checks only last one year so they have been exited for months already. At first I was annoyed and angry at this news, the last thig I want to do is run around doing paper work all over again, this will be our third update!! As I was stewing in my anger God reminded me of something. A few weeks ago I had an elderly patient who was incredibly picky. His son had flown in from Hong Kong to care for his dad. We were joking about how picky his dad was when he said something to me. He said, "in all seriousness it is a privilege to care for my father in this time." I was shocked. This is the first time I have heard anyone say that it was their privilege to care for their sick family member. I found out this man was a christian which was clear to see before I even knew he was. God reminded me of this conversation yesterday as I began to get angry about all the paper work. He reminded me that it is a privilege to be chosen to fight for a child. I am beginning to understand this. As we went about our afternoon making appointments, filling out police reports and renewing passports, I had a joy in my heart that came from the truth god had spoken to me. I truly felt honored to fight for my child in this way. Every paper filled out and dollar spent was done to serve Jesus by serving my child. I was also reminded how Jesus has never stopped fighting for me or for any of us. He would never let paperwork or money get in between his love for us. He wouldnt even let death get between his love for us! So we continue on in this adoption battle, we follow Jesus as he leads us through and we see ourselves as privileged every time we fight for our child to come home!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Finding Joy

This past week, Arnie and I have been making summer plans. Awesome summer plans. How can we make plans when our phone might ring? you might ask... well we refuse to waste our lives, we refuse to put them on hold, we refuse to sit around being sad and depressed!!! Nope, there is way too much life to live to sit around waiting! Yes, we are still waiting for the call... but until the day our phone rings, we will live out our lives to the fullest.

I've been learning about joy. You know, the kind of joy that is unexplainable, the kind that is from Jesus. I was thinking that this joy can not only be available for people who have their act together. If Jesus came to save everyone, it has to be available to those who are broken, needy and desperate. Jesus didn't come for the healthy, but for the sick. This means that His joy must be accessible to the down-hearted, depressed and lonely. How this relates to me: For the past while I've been walking around waiting, crying and obsessing over "the call". Somehow in my mind, I could think of nothing more joyful then to see the face of my child. But if that is true, then I'd have to believe that Jesus' joy can't be available to me while I wait, while I feel incomplete, while my heart hurts. And that is wrong. I've had days where my arms feel so empty, where my heart is longing and I can't see past my situation, BUT I've also had days where my heart is so full, where my desires are met with Jesus, where the joy he gives me is more than enough. I am learning to find joy in the midst of despair.
Paul says this in Philippians:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

How true is this! What a good God we have, his joy, hope, peace and love are not conditional, they are available to everyone not matter your situation. What a great hope we share!

Monday, April 2, 2012

April: a month of discipline

Inspired by a friend's "month of torture", Arnie and I are doing a month of discipline. Our plan is to have a month of health and productivity. Our goals are to read our Bible everyday, workout 5 times a week, eat healthy daily (which includes drinking water ), and do one other activity everyday like running the dogs or yard cleanup.

Today is day one! I'm excited to do this challenge as I have had some goals for a while now that I just needed to implement, like drinking water. I don't really like water and would way rather drink something else, so this might be hard!

Our goal is to not do this for ourselves but for the glory of God. I feel that our physical bodies are directly connected to our spiritual bodies. When I am healthy I have more energy, more energy to pour into people, a better mood, less illness and a general joy about life. God has asked us to take care of our bodies and so I feel that we need to do that. Laziness just robs us of a joyful life. There is a time to rest but resting requires that you did some sort of work to need the rest.

 I'm excited for this for so many reasons! Intimacy with Jesus is so needed and needs to be my priority, so I am excited for that! Also very excited about all the husband time I am going to get! Oh and I'm also excited for some more energy, always welcomed in my life!

We will see if I am still this excited in a week, but I am planning on being faithful and following through on my commitments!

Friday, March 23, 2012

He is home!!

He arrived yesterday, and I am finally at peace! I had the worst anxiety as it decided to storm hours before arnie was to arrive... I went to the airport 1.5 hours early just so I knew I was there. Well he landed safely and has two feet firmly planted on Edmonton soil. All I could think was, " thank you Jesus for bringing him home!" I'm so grateful to have him back. We've already had some crazy and inspiring conversations about our future and where God is leading us! I'm just so happy to be married to this man!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Our "sweatshop"

Last week Arnie went to Hungary. He left on the 6th and is staying until next thursday. He went to encourage his family as they are going through some difficult times. It's not that I didn't want to go, but I felt like this wasn't my trip. Also my sister caught wind that I was sewing some special projects, and had a few days off of work so she said she would come spend some time with me! We organized both trips to overlap so while Arnie is gone, she was here. My niece was also able to come as it is her march break! 

We had a running joke about our sweatshop we had set up in my dining room. It was pretty intense, or messy I should say. I am making some special projects for a fundraiser I am planning... one day, hopefully soon, I will go into detail about it! 

My sister trying to work while Louie decided to lounge on her!

My niece, Dakary, hard at work!

Our sweatshop

I love the serger!!!

Our shop... it's a little messy :)

A sneak peak!

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I was so blessed to have my sister come, we always have a good time together. I am so thankful for her generosity to come and help me. I had lots of ideas for these projects, but she helped me to start making them come true. This project is connected with our future child, and my sister knew that. More than anything I am just grateful for her support in our adoption. Sometimes I feel people have lost heart on our adoption or believe it will never happen, so it means the world to me that she would come and "fight" for our child in a way she is very talented in. The best part is that it was totally unexpected and I didn't ask... it makes this gift just that much more meaningful!

Now as far as Arnie being gone, I can't write much about it... just thinking about what to write right now has made the tears start flowing. So I'll leave it at that. He is missed. My husband is such an incredibly special man, he leaves his mark wherever he goes and people can tell when he is gone. I really love this man, he is definitely the one for me. And when he gets home.... I'll be stuck like glue!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Adoption and the Gospel

I had a great weekend with my husband. On friday morning he informed me he was taking me to Calgary for the weekend! We didn't do too much; shopped, ate, watched a movie, worked out and just hung out together. I'd have to say the best part of the weekend was the drive home. It seems life just always interrupts when we are at home, so to have 2.5 hours straight of quality time, yes in the car, was great. We talked and laughed and even had a moment of tears together. We talked about our adoption, the pain in the wait, the sacrifices but more importantly how we feel adoption mirrors the gospel.

God has called us to adopt, there is no doubt about that. In fact He chose adoption for us. We knew we always wanted to adopt but at first we did not pursue it, until God made it evident that this is what He had for us. Since the beginning this journey has had a great cost. We have paid for this decision. And I'm not just talking money here. We have paid with our time, our emotions, our prayers, our hearts. It has cost more than money. It has required endurance, strength, faith, trust, patience...and it has hurt. But you can be sure that it holds value to us. Our children hold value, not in anyone else's eyes necessarily, but in ours. That someone in their high state (jobs, friends, family, wealth) would spend themselves, give everything, to find a child who has been cast out, pushed aside and look on them with such value, is just the heart that Jesus has shown us. And this is where the gospel comes in. Jesus paid for us, dearly. He paid with his time, emotions, prayers and heart; but ultimately He paid with His life. He saw us in our lowly state, meaningless and desperate. We have nothing of worth to offer Him, nothing but to love Him back. But yet He sees us, he works for us, he longs for us, he pays for us with His life. All so he can have us, so we can be His sons and daughters, so He can be our Daddy. Because in His eyes we hold such a high value. He would give anything for us. Our Ethiopian adoption story is just a fraction of the adoption story of Jesus.
You see adoption is not second to having a biological baby. It is just different. It's a choice that requires a high cost. It's a choice that will be painful, expensive, exhausting, and frustrating... but it is also a choice that is full of joy, hope, trust, faith and love; if you choose it to be.
Just when we feel like giving up, Jesus reminds us of the price He paid for us. My children hold a high value to me,  they are worth fighting for in my eyes. I could quit, I could turn my back or take an easier way out, but I'm not willing to let them go. Just like Jesus has never been willing to let me go.
Adoption is also about redemption, to take someone out of their lowly state and offer them everything you have. To look at them and not only tell them, but show them, their value. This is what Jesus has done for us. He redeemed us. In our sinful state he offered us Himself. He offered us eternal life. When we least deserved it, He gave himself as payment on our behalf. He paid for all we did wrong with His life and then He offered us a seat beside Him on His throne.
Adoption is close to God's heart because He adopted us. There is something beautiful in not caring where your child is from, what they have done, whose genes they carry or what they look like. It is simply about choosing to love, to pick them up and to value them so highly that you would pay the price; whatever that price may be.

And just to lighten the mood a little (things just got a little serious haha), some pictures of my latest project!

This is the quilt I made for our future child. I had a professional long arm quilt it, which means do all the square design stitching. I even hand stitched the binding on, which took about 5 hours. 

I had so much fun making this quilt. Arnie helped me make a huge pattern out of paper so I could have my own original design and he also helped me pick the long arm quilt design. Now all I need is a little one to snuggle up in it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

God is Good

He  continually amazes me with His grace. He truly is strong when I am weak. Despite our short- sightedness, he has grace on us. He is good. Yes, this wait hurts and I still long for my children, but God continues to give me the strength I need. Encouraging my heart when I'm down. Thank goodness I don't have to have it all put together to be loved by Him. I don't have too much to say except I am amazed and in awe that the God who created the universe has heard me and has found favor in me. I am completely undeserving. Praise Him when the times are hard, because He is still good. Praise Him when I can hardly lift my head, because He is good.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I am tired and feeling weak from this struggle, trying to overcome and have joy and find the meaning in it all. But test after test after test just gets hard. It wears one down. I feel like I'm hitting a wall...or maybe banging my head against one! I so long for this part to be over. I am grateful for the wait because in it I found God's heart as well as my own, I have found a fight and a strength that come from waiting... but friends, I am just wishing this wait could be done. I won't ever give up and as long as God gives me strength I will continue to stand strong for my children, I will do what it takes but my prayer is for Jesus to bring them home. This longing to meet them can't be stuffed down anymore. This wait is long and tedious and painful but it has not been wasted. Please pray with me for enough strength to carry me until the time is right. I don't want to rush my time and I want everything that God has for me, but I need strength to hang on to that.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Praying for my friends

Today is hard.

As another adoption agency, CAFAC, has to close their doors due to financial strain, I am overcome by the grace of my Father, who a few years back picked us up out of the ashes and restored our hope. I pray for these families and shed tears for them too. Some have waited longer than us for their children and now they are being told the door will be shut.

I hope and pray and trust that God has a good plan in it all. I emailed and phoned the ministry to advocate for these people. Although I do not know them personally, I know all too well the feelings they are going through.

Over two years ago when our agency went bankrupt, we thought we lost it all... our money, our time, our hopes and dreams... mostly though, our family. Oh, but in the midst of the despair...God whispered to me, "I've got it." And he did not lie! Months later our agency was restructured, through the grace of forgiveness by many collectors, we were able to continue on our journey. This has never been done before... but God just smiled and said, "Nothing is impossible for me." So in the same tone as I had two years ago, I will cry out to him on behalf of my friends whose hearts are broken today.

This adoption thing is not easy. It is not for wimps. But one thing is certain, Jesus loves adoption. He adopted me into his family!! And so with that I will fight for these sweet children to come home as I continue to fight for my own.

It seems he works best when everything else seems hopeless. Today, I thank him for what he has done for me and I ask him to do the same for these families today.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Banner Word

A few weeks back when I had spent some time reflecting on 2011, I also spent time thinking about 2012. I have this deep desire that this year can not be wasted. I have set a few "goals" in my heart, some thoughts that I truly believe in and want to live out. As I thought over the past year, I felt that I had a banner word for the year (and the previous few years as well). The word that came to mind was WAIT. I have written on this before as it was the word that kept coming back to me. As I would spend time with Jesus over the past few years, this word was always in the conversation. Well, I feel like my word has changed for this year. I feel like our word is now FOCUS. It has come up consistently since the New Year. In regards to spending, travelling, working, vacationing, etc. the word whenever questions on these topics arise, has been FOCUS. Arnie and I have been trying hard to crack down on spending. We were tempted by this dirt cheap trip to Mexico and God said nice and clearly to us, Focus my children. So we are trying. We are focusing our hearts first on Jesus, then on where he will lead us. We are saving, working hard, praying and preparing.

Yesterday I went to help a friend out, while I was at her house she prayed for us and for our future child. I felt God say something I had heard a while back from a preacher I listened to, "If you take care of my business, I will take care of yours." To me this means serving God without reservation, caring for those he puts in front of me at work and in life and obeying what He asks me to do in my everyday life. It means if I see a need, I need to take care of it because that is what God asks of me. Now on the other side it also means, that as I care for and obey the work that Jesus asks of me, in return Jesus will take care of all my needs. I don't need to worry about a thing. I don't need to worry about my children because he is taking care of it! I don't need to worry about what I will eat or wear or what I will do because he will take care of it! I love that. I want to live life this way. I may not, actually I know I won't live this out perfectly but God is so good and so gracious to me to allow me to try. He has asked me to take care of a few people he has put in my life, so that is just what I am trying to do. And by God's grace and against all that I deserve, He has and will continue to take care of Arnie, our children and I.

1 John 3: 16-18

 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Father's Prayer

I started to make a Life Story scrapbook for our future child. I designated two pages, one for a Mother's Prayer and one for a Father's. These are prayers for our children as we wait.  Arnie finished his the other day and handed it to me, I wanted to share it because I felt he put into words what our hearts are saying.

A Father's Prayer

My gracious Savior. You are the giver of all good gifts; past, present and future. I thank you for the longing you’ve placed in me for divine justice, Holy and undefiled. To love orphans, care for the needy, and advocate for the marginalized. I thank you for creating us to love and be loved. Today my heart cries out for our children. I am in a state of longing … longing to hold them, longing to teach them your ways, longing to fight for them even as I fight now. I ask that your grace, mercy, favor and presence be felt by them. Your love pierces distance and time. As a Father you are perfect in all your ways. Teach me your truth, that I may resemble you. Prepare me to love unconditionally. Equip me with patience, grace and forgiveness. I ask that you would also be teaching my children your truths. Write them on their hearts I pray. As You refine gold in the fire, so you have already begun the cleansing in my children; Poverty , hunger, loss, hardships. You have humbled my children beyond any humility I’ve  learned. I pray that You would raise up leaders out of the ashes of despair and warriors out of injustice. You call the lowly , especially those the world writes off. I declare my children yours to shape and break and mould. Today my Jesus, I release them fully into your care. Until you hand them over to us, I ask again for your hand of wisdom to be on my wife and I. We long to be parents who go above and beyond what this world has deemed ‘good’.

I Love You Jesus,  Your son

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Taking account for 2011

The new year has come and gone and I was asleep. I could've stayed up but I had to work and felt the need to be responsible and not go to work sleep deprived. Not sure if this was a good decision or not but alas I slept through the changing of 2011 to 2012.

I wanted to spent some time and go through 2011, take account for the last year of life that I had the privilege to live through.
When I first sat down the only thing that came to mind was how hard and awful 2011 had been. How I was so thankful it was over and how I didn't even want to remember all the events that had taken place. I thought over all the difficulties of 2011 and came up with a large list. Among the top ten were: potential adoptions becoming non-potential adoptions, the death of my high school best friend, our volunteer job (although it was a positive experience in the end, it took every ounce of anything in me to make it through), quitting my job, applying, interviewing and training for my new one, and of course the age old adoption/infertility battle.

Then I started my blessings list... it started off small, short, stale and stingy. Maybe after reviewing the enormous difficulties list I had nothing left in me... but slowly as I began to unfold my year through prayer, God started showing me the blessing that I did have in 2011. And truthfully, the blessing list kicked the difficulties list's butt.

This year was among the hardest years of my life to date: stress and pain wise, but I have never experienced God's presence and grace in my life quite like I did last year. I was never alone. Never. Ever. I walked through some dark times but I was still never alone. And I am so grateful for all those times. God reminded me of the character he built inside me as He allowed me to go through the storms and I feel like I am slowly emerging a strong, victorious and courageous person. I have far to go still but I am so glad I can look back and know that 2011 was not a wasted year. At first I wanted to forget it even happened, but now I can honestly say I am so much more because of it.

As far as 2012 goes... I have many hopes, no set plans, but hope for plans. I won't say that this is my year or that this year my dreams will come true, because I don't know that for sure, but I can say STAY TUNED..... this year will not be wasted!!! Arnie and I have a few little schemes in the back of our heads that we are praying about, so if you think of us please say a little prayer that we follow all of what God has and wants for us in 2012.

A few highlights from 2011:

Baptism in our hot tub

Foster kids who got adopted this past spring

The two crazies... always brighten a day!
This one crazy huge tattoo!
My two sweet nephews

My niece came to visit in March for her birthday

Mosaic (winter warming) ran until April

Forts in the snow
Girls night out!!!

5th year anniversary in Mexico

The beach

Sundays in the summer at Mosaic
Boot camp with my sisters!

A few days spent at the cottage in Ontario this summer

My three beautiful nieces in Ontario

In a park in Hungary with the family
Hiking trip in Jasper with the church

As of the past few months Arnie and I have been doing some serious crafting and throughly enjoying it!! I have been working on a special room for a future special someone!

And last week Christmas in Vancouver to finish the year off!