This is not the blog I had hoped to be posting at this time. I wish I were telling everyone that we had booked our flights and were heading to Africa to bring Bethany and Katie home. I have dreampt of writing that blog but cannot write it today. I do hope that blog will follow in the next few weeks. We serve a God who has promised to not leave the orphans as they are but he has promised to come to them. I have been clinging to this promise as my heart aches for my daughters who are hurting on the other side of the world. I have been praying as we wait for our girls that the Lord would “come to them” and comfort them in a way that I deeply want to. I keep reminding myself that as much as I love these two precious girls, my God loves them even more. After many weeks of prayer Derek and I have decided that I should go over to Addis Ababa to be with our children. I will make myself available to our agency to try and get the necessary paperwork finished up but mostly I will be there to spend time with the girls. I have purchased a one-way flight in hopes that Derek will be able to join me in a week or two to bring them home. I am staying with an American lady (who used ot run the girls orphange and she happens to be from TN)and 10 Ethiopian children who are living with her right now. I do not know how long I will be gone so your prayers for my family who will remain here without a wife and mother are greatly appreciated. I ask that you will pray for me as well as I will be away from Derek and the kids and in a country that is emotionally draining. I also ask that you pray for my health as it hard to eat “good” foods there since fruit has been cleaned in their contaminated water and I don’t think they know what Whole grains are. I HOPE to be able to keep you updated on this blog and over facebook while I am there. I leave Tuesday morning and will arrive Wednesday night. Thank you in advance for your continued prayers for our family and our paperwork. Kristy
Category Archives: the journey
I have noticed a lot of you have been checking our blog for updates so I figured it was time to get you up to date.
A month ago we were very excited as it looked like we were just 2 or 3 weeks from heading over to Ethiopia to bring our girls home. I think our excited blinded us to that fact that all the paperwork was not quite complete which meant there could still be hiccups along the way. We thought we were in the final stretch until our agency director informed us that the Embassy doctor wanted an x-ray to determine Bethany’s age. The doctor ended up determining that her age was somewhere between 14 and 18 years old (there is NO way she is that old). This created a huge problem in that her new birth certificate and passport stated she was 11 years old. So, overnight we went from having an 11 year old to a 14 year old. We are now in the process of having all her paperwork redone stating that she is 14 years old.
We did find out a few weeks ago that Bethany overheard the nannies talking about how her paperwork had been messed up and she cried and cried. These sweet girls have had more disappointment in their lives up to this age than some of us will experience in our whole lives and they just want to be home. Please pray for them.
Today is such an exciting day for our family. Today our precious Katie turns 9 year old and in just a few weeks (April 18) sweet Bethany will turn 12 years old.
Katie and Bethany,
Even though we can not be together on your birthdays please know that your mom and dad, bother and sister are celebrating your lives and I will sing my silly birthday song to you! Even though you have had a very diffcult life to this point we want you to know that today we celebrate your past because it has molded you into strong young ladies . You are very loving, courageous, caring, funny and beautiful. We also celebrate your future! We can not wait to bring you home and start our future with you. We KNOW you can accomplish incredible things in your life and we can’t wait to see what the Lord has planned for your future. We commit to teaching you how to hear God’s voice so you will be able to live to His full potential. We love you so much and wish you both a very happy birthday! Next year we are going to party hard! You can count on it! As you father tells your bother and sister every night before bed and will undoubtably tell you as well. We are proud to be your parents. We believe you have it in you to do great things; that’s why God made you. We will always love you no matter what, and so does God.
Love, Mom and Dad
It is difficult to come home from a country like Ethiopia and not remember the people you met there. This was our second trip there so we have close to 2 thousand pictures and I always love it when Derek catches a single shot of a persons face. There are some faces you wish you could forget, but will never forget like the little boy with leprosy who came to us begging for money. He had no nose and his face was misshaped. On the trip we took last May the two little faces Derek and I could get out of our minds were the faces of our new daughters. The trip we just returned from we did not do much sightseeing or even walking around the community (honestly, we weren’t there long enough) so the faces that really stick in my mind are the kids in the Care Center where our girls are living. In this home the kids seem happier and we were not bombarded when we arrived because all the children at the Care Center have a family and are just waiting for court or embassy dates. We had the privilege of making some new friends from North Carolina (Teresa and Ty) who were going to court for their two precious babies. She was telling me when she arrived at the Care Center to meet their babies for the first time she was greeted by a young boy with a small bag in his hand and said, “Mom, I am ready to go.” He obviously had her mistaken with someone else and so she explained that she was not his mother. We both assumed because he and his sister were in the Care Center that they had a family and he had just made a mistake. Teresa emailed me the other day to tell me that she had asked our agency director who this boys family was so she could send them the pictures she had taken of him. Our agency director told her that the boy and his sister did not have a family. In fact they had been brought in from a prostitutes home and because of that had very little chance of being adopted. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to be surrounded by children who had families and that were daily anticipating being reunited with those families. This boy was so incredibly sweet and his sister is good friends with our girls.
There is another child I can not stop thinking about and I actually never met her. There was a family also staying at our Guest House who was adopting a 14 year old who was in a Catholic orphanage. One afternoon the head Nun gave this mother a list of older children who desperately needed homes and asked her to do whatever she could to help find them homes. The next day when this family came to visit their daughter, a girl who is almost 15 years old came to the mother and said,” I don’t think my name was on that list the Nun gave you.” She continued to tell the lady that she and her brother had a family from India that wanted to adopt them but well into the adoption test results came back showing that her brother was HIV positive and in India you can not adopt children that are HIV+. So, since she is just a few months shy of her 15th birthday she said this was her last chance at finding a home. These stories are so sad and yet I can’t help but wonder how many other children are in the same hopeless situation.
One more things before I end this posting. At some point in writing this blog I began to recall a blog my sister wrote last year that sounded similar to this blog. I went back to see what it was she had written and she too had written about the unforgettable orphans in Ethiopia and she zeroed in on the story of two sisters who desperately needed a home and those girls are now our daughters!
“Congratulations, you are now the parents of Bete and Mahlet.” To hear the judge say these words were every bit as exciting and filled with emotion as hearing a doctor say congratulations you have a healthy baby girl or boy.
We arrived at the court house with all the families from our agency. (We also stayed with these families at the Guest House and had a great time getting to knowthem.) We were lead into a large room filled with people from all over the world. I leaned over to Derek and said, “I would love to know how many nationalities were represented in the room.” There were signs in several languages telling us to be quiet however everyone was talking. Trying to be the good rule keepers, we all stood there staring at each other in silence for about 20 minutes waiting for our agency to be called. I am so glad that several people had warned us that court was very UNDERwhelming because in fact we walked to a small room with a judge sitting at a small desk and she all asked us the same questions, “Do you understand that this adoption is irreversible? Do you have other children? Are you learning about Ethiopian culture?” I felt as though I were in the principals office and ready to defend myself when she looked at Derek and I and said, “Congratulations, you are now the parents of Bete and Mahlet.” My eyes filled with tears and as we exited the judges office with the other families from our agency who had just been told the same exciting news we stood there hugging and congratulating each other. We had to again wait in the “silent” room but this time none of us were silent. We were all new parents and it was evident by our tears and smiles! After celebrating for a few minutes I noticed a woman sitting in the corner holding a sleeping baby girl. The woman was wearing the traditional headdress that alot of the woman wear in Africa and I noticed her wiping away tears with it. I continued to watch her for a several minutes and brought her to the attention of the other women in our group. All of us new moms watched as this mother was escorted into another room with her sleeping baby and a tiny sack of clothes. This mother was having to give her baby up and it was obvious that this decision was difficult for her to come to terms with. At that moment we caught a glimpse of what it is like to be on the other side and I stood there silent and crying waiting for our attorney to finish up. I will never forget watching that mother and although we probably looked like arrogant, loud Americans I do hope that she saw the joy and love in our hearts as we passed court and knowing that one day a family will feel the same way about her sweet baby girl.
For those of you wondering what will happen next, well, we wait. AGAIN! We are now waiting on the USA to get their paperwork done and we all know how long that can take. We hope to travel back over to Addis to pick our girls up in the next 8-16 weeks.
For several weeks now the question I get asked the most is, “What are you feeling?” Well, here is my answer.
I am writing this blog on the first long flight of our trip to Addis Ababa and at this point if I forgot to pack something, turn something off or tell Emily and Hayden something well, it is too late. So my thoughts are now consistently focused on what it is we are coming to Addis to do. I can not stop looking through my IPOD at pictures of the girls and really want to savor these next few days because I know I will never want to forget them. One thing that continues to pace through my mind is, how will they respond to us? From our standpoint I can’t help but think it will be emotional, filled with excitement and a bit awkward at the same time. As their mother I have been dying to hold them, give them hugs and cover their face with kisses but will they be confident enough to accept these signs of our love or will we have to earn that right? Will they want to spend time with us or not want to make the effort at this point to get to know us? Wow this really makes me think about how God desires a relationship with us and wants to hold us and be our father just like we desire this relationship with our daughters. He too wonders what our repsonse will be to him and the love he freely offers us. Will we reject his love or accept him as our caregiver without any reservations?
I also sit here wondering what emotions Bethaney and Katie are experiencing. We know they have been dreaming of being a part of a family for 3 years now and have even been told two times that they had a family who wanted to adopt them when in fact they had been mistaken with other children. I hope they know this is the real thing and are not questioning if we will really come. WE ARE ON OUR WAY GIRLS! Derek and I have no doubt that before Bethaney and Katie were even born that God had planned for these 2 beaftiful girls to be included in our family. If God is for us then who can be against us (not even the courts)! As I heard my sister once say, I am so glad that God’s plan for our family is bigger than anything we could have dreamed.