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How will they respond?

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.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2012 in the journey

 

Court date!

Today we received information on our first court date in Ethiopia, February 27. We are beyond thrilled, and we realize how quickly things are changing for our family. On the first trip, we go to court and get to spend some time with our girls. Upon passing court, we are their parents from the Ethiopian government’s perspective. Our second trip should happen two to three months after passing court, but could be up to four months later.

On the second trip, we go to the U.S. Embassy and upon approval we will be recognized as their parents from the United States’ viewpoint. At this point, our daughters will receive their passports. We will also be bringing them home on the second trip! When they step out of the plane and onto U.S. soil, they become citizens of the United States.

We want to thank all our family and friends again for their support and their generosity. We couldn’t be where we are on the journey without you!

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in the journey

 

Letter from Ethiopia

At our recent Thanksgiving meal with Kristy’s family, Marty (Kristy’s father) invited us all to share what we were thankful for this past year. It came to my turn, and I took the opportunity to say that I was thankful for my wife and our family. Kristy’s willingness to be open to growing our family through adoption has been such a blessing. It’s her generosity towards others that I think I admire the most. Anyway, it was Kristy’s turn next. She said that she was thankful for the place that God had led us to in the adoption process and that she was thankful for the Littons allowing us to go to Ethiopia with them in May. This was where seeds were planted that would later bloom into our adoption that we are in the midst of. When she was done, Shannon (Kristy’s sister) said that she had a surprise from Ethiopia! She had been given a letter from our girls that they had written the day they found out they were going to be joining our family. Kristy began to read it out loud, but was quickly moved to tears by the emotion she felt. I tried to pick up where she left off.

Here’s what it said, along with some paraphrase as their English is improving.

My best family mom and dad how are you.

I am fine thank you. Mom and dad Jesus told me that he would take care of me until we meet.

Today I am happy, I cannot explain how I feel. Happy happy happy

I see God’s love in you. I love you so much. I can see how you love me.

I cannot stay here at the orphanage. I want to see you as soon as possible.

I hope we can stay in touch. I’m excited I will have a sister and brother.

We love you. God bless you.

Needless, to say, we were both crying tears of thankfulness. And it makes us all the more eager to bring home our daughters. We hope to be able to tell you soon what their American names will be.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2011 in the journey

 

Overwhelmed by Generosity

We are completely blown away by the number of people wanting to help in any way they can. The way God is using people to bless us is humbling. We want to thank so many of you who have responded with overwhelming support. Many of you have offered words of encouragement and have reassured us that you are praying for us. Thanks to your monetary gifts we are current on our foreign fees and agency fees. Praise the Lord! We made yard sale history a few weeks ago with thousands of items that were donated and many shoppers with generous hearts. We had about 30 people volunteer to help over the course of 3 days with pricing, sorting and taking money. Thank you to our friends for the many ways you helped. We continue to be amazed at the creative ways people are finding to raise money to bring the girls home. A few friends are organizing a Zumbathon on November 4th, one family purchased Adoption T-shirts for us to sell, and a ladies small group is spending hours making beautiful Adoption bracelets to sell. A local photographer has even offered free photo shoots for the first year that the girls are home. One of the students in our youth ministry even gave us all the money he was saving for a car. He is an adopted young man and he said he knew what adoption had meant to him; and was excited to help. We have several loud cheerleaders who have been posting events on Facebook and calling on people to help with events like the yard sale. We want to say a special thanks to Kat Hunter who is our dear friend. Kat has volunteered many hours, putting several of these events together.
I’m not sure why we are so surprised by God’s faithfulness to us. He ALWAYS does what he says he is going to do. Thank You Jesus.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in the journey

 

Papers, Papers & More Papers

At this point in the game our lives are an open book for the entire US and Ethiopian governments. The amount of paperwork you must produce to adopt is monstrous. You can’t see our dining room table anymore for all the files and papers and I have renamed the dining room Whitten Adoption Headquarters. I have no doubt that ALL the lost sleep, emotional breakdowns and days of sitting in front of this computer will all be worth it when we step onto American soil with our daughters.

We were given our referral over a month ago but were told we could not officially accept the referral until the agency received the social reports on the girls. We found out that the girls birth certificates had been switched and they were waiting on those to be fixed before they could produce a social report. After a few weeks of patiently waiting our agency contacted us and asked us if we would consider adopting two other children. We let them know we committed to doing everything we could to make these girls part of our family. We began to pray and so did many of you. Well, to this day we still don’t have the social report but we did receive word from our agency this week that they are very confident that the report will be produced and there should be no reason why these girls will not be part of our family. Please continue to pray for us while we wait.

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2011 in the journey

 

Please help us bring our girls home

On Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22  we will be hosting a yard sale as part of our effort to raise funds to have two less orphans in the world. If you’d like to help, you may donate your items by Thursday, October 20. You may leave donated items outside our garage door (we are located on Grace Church property), or contact us to set up a time to bring your items by (e-mail kristymwhitten [at] gmail [dot] com or comment below). Thanks in advance for helping us bring our girls home!

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in the journey

 

three precious words

This past Saturday Derek and I had probably one of the most amazing opportunities adoptive parents can have and that was to Skype with our girls. We were supposed to Skype at 6:30am our time (3:30pm their time) and when our alarm went off at 6:15am I already had a face book message saying that the girls were ready and very excited. So we managed to take a few sips of coffee and brush our hair before we got on the call. The girls had just been told by the director that we intended on becoming their parents and so they were very anxious to meet us (of course they did not remember us from the brief 45 minutes we spent with them a few months ago). When the video finally came on there they were with earrings, hair bows and new clothes a missions group had just brought for them. The older kids in the orphanage had come to be a part of this special day so behind them was a sea of little faces. We smiled and waved at each other for a minute or so, as they do not understand English. However, the smiles on their faces said it all. They were so happy. We spoke to them through a translator for a few minutes, found out what size clothes they wear, favorite colors, favorite activities. We told them Derek was a pastor and all of the children began clapping. You would have thought she had told them he was the President of the United States. We had limited time with them (they don’t have unlimited internet) so we woke Hayden up so he could meet his future sisters and so they could see him. Poor Hayden was so sleepy but he sat there and waved and even made silly faces to make them laugh. Hayden has no idea what a huge moment that was in his life.  As we were saying our good byes after a short 17 minute conversation our oldest girl said, “I love you Mommy and Daddy”. WOW! We know that these girls don’t have a clue what it means to be in a loving, secure family. They don’t understand what those three words actually mean in a  relationship to a mother and father but we can’t wait to teach them. This one conversation and that simple phrase moved me from a love for a few orphan girls to a mother’s love that will do whatever it takes to get these girls home.

We hope to Skype with them again this Saturday so they can meet Emily as she was at a sleepover and missed the call.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in the journey