A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Praises to God! We are twelve!!!!

This will be a quick post.  I am exhausted and emotionally wrung out.

But we have good news, finally.

A and K have passed court, it is final!  We are the parents to ten children!

It is a long story, and truly another example of God's miracles in tough situations.  I have nothing but the highest praises for our agency and the wonderful people who went to bat on our girls behalf.  I have never cried so much.

We passed.  A and K are Oswalds!  We will see them one more time before our plane leaves tonight.  What a Thanksgiving it will be at home with eight out of ten of our kids!  Hopefully we will all celebrate Easter under one roof!  I will think about that later.  For now, I am grateful for God's blessings and the commitment of IAG.

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, November 21, 2011

What God knits together....

I wanted to start this blog post by thanking our agency so much for all the loving care they give all the kids, for all their efforts, for how much they truly CARE about each and every one of these kids.  It is wonderful, simply wonderful.  I know as much as I will be so sad to leave my girls behind until they are cleared to travel, they are well loved and cared for.  I can rest in that and knowing that they are just fine while they are here.  There are so few words to express what it means to me.  I highly recommend our agency.  Message me if you would like to know who we work with!

And onto what everyone REALLY cares about - the girls and our trip!

They are fabulous!!!!!!  Of course I am totally biased.  We are head over heels in love with them and really enjoying getting to know them.  We had prepped ourselves that they might be older than we had thought, but now after being with them, they aren't, at least we don't think so.  I think at court tomorrow someone will give us birth dates, but who knows?  We have been told that court will be a simple task, actually sounds similar to our re-adoption court hearing in the states.  I am looking forward to getting it done.  I am nervous, for no good reason, except that it is so IMPORTANT!  I know it will all be fine.  We are planning to go see the girls again tomorrow before we fly out late at night.  It will be so hard to leave!

A is hysterical, energetic, talkative (of course we have no idea what she is saying!), playful, interactive and a total ham.  Loves being the center of attention and making people laugh.  Not in a pesky way, but fun.  If you laugh with her, she will peal out the biggest sweetest belly laugh you have ever seen.  Just a hoot!  And loves picture books - not the cartoon kind, but the photo kind.  She goes through our photo books we brought for them, over and over, "reading" aloud all the way through.  Today she wanted to be held by us and came for hugs and to sit on our laps.  Yesterday she was too busy to sit down.  When we went to leave, she ran to us and grabbed our legs just wailing.  I was sobbing at that point.

K is very quiet - we have only heard her voice when she is laughing at her sister or crying.  Other than that she is quiet, sits on our laps, takes it all in.  The biggest eyes you have ever seen.  Today she played with a toy while sitting in my lap - which was huge - it gave me a better idea of her development.  She has napped in my arms once each day, and you know I was eating that up!!!  She is just tiny.  Lots of the much younger babies are bigger than she is - I thin there will be a growth spurt at some point.  But she was a bit of a picky eater at times, so that could be part of it too.  She wouldn't let the nannies feed her lunch today, but when I tried, she would eat if I fed her.  Yeah, you know I ate that up too!

So anyway, I had better share the computer.  Facebook has been such a blessing as we can chat with the kids at home, if we can all be up at the same time.  Certainly makes me feel better.

God bless you all!  God has accomplished such miracles, it is just amazing to see.  I cannot fathom it, even as I see it.  We are so blessed and so grateful!  Please continue prayers for the kids and helpers at home, and for us as we go to court and travel, and for our little ones as we all wait for their clearance to travel!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Writing from Addis Abeba, Ethiopia!!!!!!

We are here!!!!  We got in last night, got out of the airport about midnight or some such time, and safely arrived at our wonderful guest house.

I will do a longer post later, as I don't want to take too much advantage of the internet usage here.  But, we are fine, even finally got some sleep and leave soon to go see our little girls.  I am so excited I am just in constant wiggle motion.  Steve is anxious.  It is just hard.  Hard to believe that we are here, that it is all really happening, worrying/thinking about our kids and home and all the changes in our lives!

Ethiopia is a beautiful place, a place of such contrasts and it is so unique.  As soon as we stepped off the plane, I recognized the smell of Ethiopia - a wonderful mix that you just don't get in the US.  It is forever seared in my memory.  How can I feel so much like I belong to both places?  Because my kids do, that is why.  We are so blessed to be here.

Our guest house with IAG is wonderful!  The staff has been so very kind, I just cannot say enough good things.

I will try to post as I can and add more, but I know that I will be processing so much.  It is hard to even put it all in words.  I still find I cannot explain so much from my last trip!

So, prayers for our little girls, for our kiddos at home and our wonderful friends and family who are helping keep the home front together.  Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us.  I am humbled if you even read this.  God bless you all!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, November 18, 2011

'Twas the night before travel....

Tomorrow, we leave for Ethiopia.

We are so excited and so terrified and so in awe.  God has brought about so many miracles to bring this all about.  We see His hand daily.  We covered yet another hurdle just yesterday morning.  God is so good.  I have reached a point where I no longer find it hard to believe that anything is impossible, even when He has put this weak vessel to His work.  I so hope I do it well. 

I know I am not perfect, I make more mistakes than I can even fathom.  But I hope my heart shows through and my attempts are remembered more than my failures.  God didn't ask us to be perfect, thankfully.  He asked us to just do what He asked.  I hope I am saying this in a way that makes sense, as I am so tired I really feel like I cannot see straight.  I just wanted to express myself before we leave.

It takes a lot of faith to leave your eight precious children behind, even for a few days.  This is not something we do.  But, we know they are in loving and capable hands and God is their eternal protector. 

I keep thinking that I should stay up and keep puttering.  Organizing my room, making sure each step I want done is done.  But it is time to rest for a few hours before we leave. 

So, know that we would appreciate any prayers as we travel across the globe, and for our children safely at home.  In just two days or so we will meet our little ones for the first time, and then on the 22nd, we will go to court to adopt them.  The hardest part of the trip will then be leaving them as we go home until their visas are ready.  As Aman so succinctly put it "it must feel like your heart is in two parts, one on each side of the world:.  Yes, it absolutely does.

Thanks to everyone.

On a more homey note, life is good on the farm.  We are preparing for winter - I have more projects that I want to do once this journey is over.  And Kiley's fabulous trainer has volunteered to make Thanksgiving dinner for us (as Steve and I get back in the evening of the night before).  She is thrilled to be cooking and we are so wonderfully blessed and thankful.  We had been thinking we would just do pizza and hang out with our kiddos (and maybe some friends).  To have a traditional holiday meal prepared for us was beyond belief!!! 

I hope you all have a blessed turkey day and thank God for all your blessings.  I suspect that we will come home from our journey realizing all we have to be thankful for!  Nothing like a trip to Ethiopia to shock you back into really thinking about what we "need" and what is just a frivolous "want". 

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Do the Next Thing

We are preparing for our trip!  So much to do!  So much to prepare at home and for leaving!  I tend to be the Mom who wants to have it generally planned out so I feel comfortable and in control when I am not here!  Can't do that from the other side of the world, but I am trying to make sure there are meals ready, schedules prepared, helpers available, and generally that all our ducks are in a row times eight kids.  
I was on a blog (sherigraham.com) and found this this morning.  It seemed very appropriate for where we are, and I think I will have to print it out and frame it for my wall.
Elisabeth Elliot often quoted this poem (I am not sure if she wrote it or not).
                Do The Next Thing 
“At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
  there came in the twilight a message to me.
  Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
  that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
  And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
  like a low inspiration, ‘Do the next thing.’
Many a questioning, many a fear,
  many a doubt hath its quieting here.
  Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
  time, opportunity, guidance are given.
  Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
  trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.
Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
  do it reliantly, casting all care.
  Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
  who placed it before thee with earnest command.
  Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
  leave all resultings, do the next thing.
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
  working or suffering be thy demeanor,
  in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
  the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
  Do the next thing.”

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, November 3, 2011

AND.... Here we go!!!!

After all the uncertainty, it looks like we are set!  We have clearance to go to Ethiopia for our November 22nd court date!!!!!!

Whew, it is only just now settling in.  I am really nesting big time, lots to get done.  To prepare for all the needs of the kids at home while we are gone, to arrange for an adult to stay with our kiddos here on the farm while we are out of the country, to think about what to bring, to organize myself.  I don't deal well with what I can't control or with sitting still for long, so a very long plane ride is going to be a challenge for me.  I am already beginning to think about ways to keep myself sane as we travel.  Literally, my head is spinning.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this all unfolds.  But, we are going.  We really are going to see our babies!  I cannot even put it into words right now.  We will have this worked out in the next couple days for sure!

It is hard at times, because for various of our kids the thought of Mom and Dad being gone is unsettling at the least.

I know Kiley and Aman can figure out their food doses and all for their diabetes, but Kiley has NEVER had anyone but Mom or Dad do a pump site change for her - and that is about six years.  She will need one while we are gone.  I have a couple options, but it has to be someone who is comfortable doing that - it is a shot you are giving my kid - and someone that Kiley is comfortable having do it - she is a teenage girl and her pump site needs to go on her backside as the child has such little body fat - needless to say, we need to find someone she feels comfortable and confident with.  Sigh.  I have a couple options and will be calling them in the next couple days to see if we can work it out.  Otherwise I am going to call our Medtronic MiniMed sales rep (Kevin) and see if he knows someone who can help us - like the nurse who came and did Kiley's training and first pump site years ago. 
That is one of the worries that we have to prepare for. 

Make sure the kids have all their prescriptions filled. 

Make sure the pantry is stocked. 

Make sure there are suggested menus on hand. 

Make sure everyone knows where all their various stuff is. 

Make sure we have things arranged for Solomon and Tsion to get to their play performances that happen while we are gone - we will miss their last few shows but I will at least get to see it!!!!

My list will just keep getting longer and I will likely be a nervous wreck before we get going!  That is par for the course.  As Aman put it, "It must be like having your heart in two parts, on opposite sides of the world".  Yep, that is about it.  I will worry about my kids at home, and miss them terribly, and get acqauinted with my newest family additions at the same time.  And when I am home I will worry about the two that we had to leave behind for a while, and love on the eight at home.  The best night is the first night that we finally have EVERYONE under the same roof.  The sheer realization that they are all together where I can care for them - that is heaven.

So, we prepare for this adventure. 

And for the continuance of life.  Packing up summer clothes, cleaning out drawers, making sure all the cold weather clothes are out and handy, reminding kids to dress appropriately!!!  Lugging out things that need to be used for animals for winter.  Decluttering - I can't be the only one who is constantly doing that, am I?  Schooling the kids is a never ending activity - day and night there is learning going on! 

But, tonight, I am tired.  I am looking forward to "the great eight" getting to bed, so I can crawl in and snuggle down and feel all my muscles relax.  I clean stall several days a week, and that has really helped my waistline and health and strength, but I am tired!

Tomorrow is another day.  Hugs to you all!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11