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Jun 25, 2008

Time to Confess

Have you ever looked at a picture of one of your children and seen yourself in their expression? My husband took some pictures of our 2 year old son that reminded me so much of myself that it took my breath away.

Can you see me in these pictures?

You have to trust me when I say that they could have been pictures of me each time God called me to adopt. We have two children who were adopted as infants from Guatemala. God provided the money that we needed to adopt them, blessed me with a wonderful agency and in-country lawyers to help us complete their adoptions and most importantly of all, He choose children for our family who are beautiful, affectionate and so funny that we routinely laugh until our sides hurt. We have been blessed by these precious children more than you could ever imagine.

After competing the first adoption in 05 and the second in 06 you would have thought that I would be excited and confident when God called us once again to adopt. After all, we have two reminders of God's love walking through our home, hugging our necks and telling us that they loved us. In December of 07 God called us once again to adopt, but this time we were called to adopt a beautiful 9 year old girl from Ethiopia. We heard God's call and we moved forward on her adoption, but I will admit that I was nervous. I fell in love with her pictures and was committed to being her mom, but the unknowns scared me. You can read so many stories of challenges and problems that can occur with older child adoptions and it was easy for me to take my eyes off of Christ. I am not proud of the fact that I am weak, but if I am honest with you, at times I am.

Samrawit was at the orphanage longer than any other child. I can't imagine how hard it would be to watch sibling groups and older friends be chosen, knowing that no one had picked you to be their daughter. Sami said good-bye to a lot of friends while she waited for her turn. Some of the pictures that we received, as we were praying about adopting her, showed her beautiful smile, but a few others gave us a glimpse into the the pain that she was feeling as she waited. When I looked at the pictures of her when she was sad, it drove to me complete the paperwork as fast as I possibly could~so that was a good thing. But, if I took my eyes off of Christ, it was easy to imagine that she would need a lot of help and support when she came home.

We were committed to giving her the time, love and attention that she needed to heal, but we didn't know what she would need from us until she came home. What God knew, that we didn't, was that the girl who would join our family was a confident, affectionate and loving child, who would instantly embrace her new family with all of her heart. Yes, like every child, she will have moments of sadness, but those moments never define her and are very infrequent. She is one of the funniest people I have ever met, loves God and chooses to love her new family~those are the things that define her. We could have easily justified not adopting her because of problems that we IMAGINED that she MIGHT have, but we chose to take a step of faith and adopt this precious girl. We knew that we were willing to do God's will and serve Him by caring for this orphan. What we didn't know was that God, our Father, wanted to bless us beyond our wildest dreams with a daughter who would give us a millions of hugs and kisses, and a house filled with laughter and joy.

Just like we knew that Landis would love slides, if he would just trust us and go own that slide one time (he actually did once he finally slid down, despite the terrified look at the top), God knew that our lives would be blessed by taking that step of faith.

God initially put this post on my heart a couple of weeks ago. At the time I thought that maybe there was one person who needed to hear my story. Then a week ago my husband announced, to a group of friends, that we wanted to adopt again... and I found myself looking like this once more.

Samrawit, Abby and my husband would love to have another child join our family. After a week of praying, I can honestly say that I am beginning to get excited too. I have no idea when it will happen, where the child will be from or whether the child will be a boy or girl, but what I do know is that is that God is calling us and we are willing to take that step of faith.

Jun 13, 2008

Just Having Fun

We have been busy getting ready for a garage sale. Not my favorite activity, but it will help simplify things once it is over. We are getting rid of a ton of things that are taking time to maintain, crowding our space and costing us money to store. I wondered what Sami would think of the garage sale, but she is very relieved to get rid of things that we don't use. My girl likes things organized.

I will write more later, but I wanted to post some pictures of Samrawit, Abby and Landis clowning around and having fun. Don't you love it that kids can turn anything into a party?

Jun 5, 2008

Soccer Pics

Soccer is over for this season, much to Sami's dismay. During the last game she had numerous saves as goalie and she scored 4 goals. Needless to say, she had a blast. Best of all, she made some great friends. Many of the players on the league go to our church, which means she will be able to continue building friendships with them. In fact the goalie that stopped a lot of Samrawit's shots was a girl who is in her Sunday School class. They were intense on the field, but they both enjoyed the competition and loved playing each other.

Did you ever wonder how Sami got the dark mark on her nose? We sure did. The last pictures that we got of her before we traveled was of Sami with a huge scab on her nose and between her eyes. Not pretty. Almaz said that she was playing soccer and got kicked in the face. She ran off of the field, splashed water on her face (9 year old attempt at cleaning her wound) and then tried to join the game again. Almaz had to MAKE her leave the game. The story didn't really make sense until the first game after she came home. Sami is a fearless, intense goalie. The pictures below are the best that we took, but we saw her grab a ball that numerous other players were kicking at, her face inches from their cleats, almost every game. I can't believe that she didn't get injured more than she did, especially since in Ethiopia she was playing coed soccer on a cement field. Fortunately all that is left of her injury is some hyperpigmentation and will disappear in 6 month to a year.

Sami getting a hug from her coach after she scored a goal.