Sunday, March 27, 2011

A new Sheriff (deputy) in town

Guess who's really excited that someone started working a new job today?? (Braeden) Guess who's really excited that someone is finally working at a job that he has wanted to do all his life?? (Tony) Guess who thinks that a man in uniform is by far one of the biggest turn-ons there is??? (oh, that would be me) Guess who is really, really bummed that Daddy has to go to police academy for two months? (again, that would be me - 2 months of nightly races to the ball-field and having to wake up early to take the kids to school in my pajamas.... I need my man there to take care of the hard stuff!!)
**Tony will be working as a school resource officer at 3 of our local schools. Looking back, we think that this is a job that God had prepared for him all along to do -- with his background and childhood experiences, he will be an awesome, Christian, role model for those kids that has already dealt with every issue they may be struggling with. And if you take into consideration the 10-15 kids who have loved to play ball with him in our front yard, I know that the kids will love him. (But not as much as we do...)

In the Zone

Funny how when I told my mom we were having ice cream tonight she knew what day it must be -
7 Month DTE-versary!!!!!
And we are #6 in line for baby girl!! What is even more exciting is that our agency's estimation on time from DTE date to referral date is currently 7-11 months. So we are officially 'in the zone'!! Meaning that it could be anywhere from 1 week (but most likely not) to 4 months until we see her little face for the very first time. In the adoption world - rumors, speculations, etc abound and my new favorite is that a traveling family noted that there were 30 babies between the two baby rooms in our transition home. 30 babies under the ages of 12 months (we are requesting a baby 0-12 months). And of those, my friends are estimating that 20 are on our list now as in the process waiting for their mommies and daddies to come and bring them home. So 10 left, maybe. And guess what number we are overall in the line for 0-12 mos babies????? #10. Sweeet. Kinda like this:
Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream
This month, I chose a flavor for my honey. Since, truth be told, the following months have pretty much been to my flavor favs. And he loves Red Velvet cake..... but told me that he would have rather had ice cream with chocolate. Now ya tell me! This one was Red Velvet cake batter ice cream with pieces of red cake, and a cream cheese icing swirl. Ugh. The big boy hated it. The middle boy loved it. And the girl, she ate it all. The bigger boy said it was 'pretty good' and I, well, I just wasted a many a calorie on it and am glad that it wont be teasing me from the freezer tomorrow. Next month (if there has to be one), back to something with chocolate!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ethiopia Update

For those of you who have been praying for our adoption and our Prayer 911 -- a little update:

  • We have heard from our agency and other agencies that the director of MOWA has been replaced.
  • That there have been many staff changes and even a new name.
  • That the Ethiopian govt. has been very supportive and pro-adoption.
  • That the new staff is being diligent about going back to write the letters needed for those cases that have been back-logged with multiple court appearances (800 in the pipeline).
  • That so far all changes appear to be positive and in the best interests of the children.

What we are hoping is that with things finally moving forward, and hopefully moving smoother - the process will begin to pick up and actually begin to 'work' with parents passing court vs. having to struggle through the emotional roller-coaster of multiple court dates and failures, usually due to MOWA not having written that recommendation letter on those court dates.

What we don't know is how the changes may affect cases going forward. MOWA gives no indication of reinstating the 5 per day letter policy (GREAT news!). But as new regulations are being put in place, we are not sure how much time will be added to, (or taken away) from current times from referral of our baby to the day we have to travel to court. Before this recent episode, the time from seeing her picture to going to meet her and appear in court was from 8-12 weeks.

Friends, please continue to pray for our little girl. The news so far has been positive, and we are hoping that the referral train will start moving again. But right now, things have just seemed to drag since last November - I really seriously thought we would have a referral by February. And according to last year's time-lines, I believe we would have. Now I am hoping for late April at the earliest. I know God has it all in His hands and Olivia will be ready for us when we are ready for her. But it still is enough to cast gray clouds on many days as the process is taking us so long. August will be 2 years of waiting ...

In other news - Tony has left the unreliable field of sales in a crappy economy. He has been blessed to be given a new position as a school resource officer under our new Sheriff and will be going to the academy the first of April. He is excited beyond words and we (especially the boys) are very proud of him. I think that with his background and life experiences - he will be a wonderful role model and encouragement to the elementary school kids he is in contact with every day. It will also be nice to have some stability in the insurance and job department! And also nice to know that he will be in an elementary school vs. out on patrol for the most part.

But I have told him that if our referral comes in while he is in the academy and not able to accept phone calls - he had better believe I am taking that phone call with or without him!!! I told him I might wait until he gets home to open the email and see her photos.. maybe.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

To catch a leprechaun..

You take one little boy with a class assignment ...

Add 30 minutes of quiet time (where did he go???) .....

And without an ounce of parental assistance or direction .....

You get the Leprechaun Holiday Inn - Braeden style!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Prayer 911

For those prayer warriors of you, for those who like to send up mini post-it note prayers throughout your day, and even for those of you that really haven't prayed much before ---

we are asking for your help. Seriously, and urgently.

This past week the ET (Ethiopia) adoption community started flipping out as it was leaking out that MOWA (think- 'Ethiopian DSS') has decided that due to staffing problems, they were cutting down from 50 adoption permission letters a day, to FIVE a day. Add to that an extremely biased news article (with misleading facts and errors) that sent us all into a tail spin quoting wait times for adoption to increase by a year, and for ET adoptions to to the US to decrease from 2,500 to 500 a year.

An explanation: when we, and other families go to court, a letter from MOWA is required to be there waiting for you, on that day, recommending your adoption. If it isn't, your wait for that letter and court passing could be anywhere from weeks to months waiting on it to show up on the perfect day.

So now for those parents waiting to pass court and legally be declared parents to a child they have already met and fallen in love with, the wait could be much, much longer. We could possibly receive a referral for a perfect 4 month old baby girl, go to ET to meet her - and then watch her grow up in an institution with only updates and photos every month. I know the nannies who care for my child love her very much - but they still aren't her mother and every month apart is a month of a family's love that my child has been cheated.

BUT - our agency emailed the following statement on Friday which seemed to indicate that this situation still could be rectified and will be discussed in the coming days:

We are writing to ask your family to join us in prayer for the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWA) regarding the number of cases they will be able to process each day. They have made statements that they desire to decrease the number of recommendation letters they write each day. We understand that because of these statements, the Court and MOWA are in the process of meeting to discuss and work out any potential changes or new processes regarding adoptions in Ethiopia. We want to blanket these meetings with prayer and ask you to come along side us in this....

If you could (well, even if you don't want to - do it anyway!!!), could you take a moment now, or in the days to come to pray for these negotiations and the thousands of children who are patiently waiting for their parents to come and bring them home. MOWAs job is to make sure all ET adoptions are ethical - and it has been shown that still corruption exists within shady agencies. (Ours is one of the top in ethics and practice). And I am in complete agreement that safe guards and procedures should be put into place to make sure all adoptions are on the up and up and the children are true orphans. But the statistics are staggering - and 5 children a day who are given a new life is not acceptable:

Almost half of the population of Ethiopia are under the age of 14.
Of those 40 million children, 6 million are orphans.
1 out of 10 children in Ethiopia don't make it to their 1st birthday.
1 out of 6 children die before their 5th birthday.

--------feel free to stop reading - the following is just a typical Wages in the Making rant ----

So when I received all the above news late Friday evening - I went from denial, to anger, to peace.

Yes, the rug could be completely pulled out from underneath us and the entire process (going on 2 years already in the making) could be lengthened considerably. Think Guatemala or Haiti where parents being their 'babies' home at the age of 3 or 4. But I have to believe that God would not bring us this far, have shown us His power so much, to leave us in shambles now. It's too soon to give up, something will just have to be worked out and a compromise reached.

Then came the anger. "How DARE he??" How dare the enemy, because believe in it or not, we in adoptions have felt his attacks - how dare he use just one more method of stealing not only the joy from all parents in the process (we found out yesterday we are now #6 in line!), but how dare he continue to try to thwart God's promise of setting the lonely in families? Of bringing my 'daughter from the East' (Isaiah 43:5-6) as He promised me?

We have had friends taken from us, church support taken from us, jobs taken from us, paperwork delays that were so long they were laughable --- and now he is trying to keep my daughter from me even longer??? So many attempts to get us to give up. And not just us but other adopting parents have gone through the same trials, some even worse.

And I am ashamed to say that for a second, for about half a second - the doubts hit me again. What if this goes through and our wait is extended another 1, maybe 2, years? Would we give up? My youngest would be 7 when we bring a baby home! Would we stop and loose everything we have worked so hard for?

But then I remembered Ephesians and the call to 'put on the full armor of God so that you may be able to withstand the attacks of the devil' (Ephesians 6:10-20)... taking the shield of FAITH with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one."

As I have told struggling friends before, and continually tell myself - God doesn't call you to be a soldier for him without knowing you can withstand and win the battle. Because He doesn't loose. He will equip you and strengthen you if you are fighting for His cause. And the plight of the orphan is in the Bible over and over. His heart is for the care and release of the fatherless.

Satan knows that through our adoption, and countless others, we, as Christians, are given the chance to explain the gospel to others. Those who question "why are you doing this? how can you trust God so much for the money/strength/etc.? how are you not falling apart right now?"

Christ came to Earth to find me - his child. He then lay down his life for me just as I, as a mother would lay down my life for my children. He died for me AND you. And then he adopted us, and will bring us home. What a beautiful parallel to every adoption?

So if putting on the armor is required - I'm in. Will you fight with me?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weight Watchers be gone!

Another month, another ice cream...

Since it's o.k. for pregnant women to eat ice cream, and since usually pregnant women aren't doing Weight Watchers, it's o.k. for paper pregnant mommies to forget about that diet for one day too. It's only reasonable and fair.

Sunday was our DTEversary celebration and we were officially.....

6 Months DTE!!
And we have moved from #9, to #7 for approximately one day, and back to #8!! (It's complicated, don't ask..)

So on our agencies yahoo group, we are unofficially #8 in line for a baby girl! A long way from the #27 we started with 6 months ago! Our agency still estimates time from DTE to referral of a baby girl to be 7-11 months. 1 more month til crunch time! Hopefully.

And to celebrate, the flavor of the month was:

Half Baked

Oh goodness, goodness. I know I said we had our favorite a few months back but this one ROCKED! Chocolate and vanilla swirled ice cream, bits of squishy fudge brownies, AND globs of choc. chip cookie dough. Heaven I tell ya!!!

And if I hadn't just brushed my teeth, I would so be breaking into those few spoonfuls that only mommy knows still reside in the container. In the freezer. Waaaaaay in the back. Just sayin'.