Friday, November 30, 2007

I cannot even begin to compare to my husband!

Okay, okay...I know you all have been waiting for me to post something, but honestly, when you are married to an extraordinary writer it is very difficult to write after he does! Tymm has such an amazing way with words and he can truly paint a picture for you as you read. In his writing he wears his emotions on his sleeve and I love that about him...but here goes, I will try my best.

As you all know, this week has truly been amazing, our actual Thanksgiving Day was Monday November 26. It was a day that will be burned in my memory and in my heart forever. The day that my world stopped in an instant, or a buzz, you might say, when the email of all emails dropped into my Eudora inbox. I had just been chatting it up with my wonderful coworker and friend, Kelli, and had decided that I needed to get back to work. I sat down, checked my mail, and there IT was! The email was from our adoption coordinator, Elizabeth and all I saw at that moment were these words, "I have some wonderful news, you have been referred a baby!!!".

At that second, my heart was racing and I shut the email as fast as possible, first wondering if I was dreaming and then being afraid to see the pictures. I knew that I wanted to see our child's face with my husband...certainly not in a cube farm at GA Tech! I slowly got up, afraid of fainting, and walked over to Kelli's cube. She looked at me with a puzzled look as I was shaking and breathing heavily. I think she probably thought I was about to puke on her cube floor. Anyway, I managed to tell her that we had received the referral and it was a boy. She came with me to read the email and managed to help me gather my thoughts enough to call Tymm. After a big hug from her and some tears shared, too, I was able to call him. Kelli has known me for only a year but has been there for me for many ups and downs. She has watched as my heart has broken over and over again as with each passing month and there was no expansion to our family. But Monday was different! I got to share amazing news about the "birth" of our son with her and I could not have picked a better person to have shared that moment with...well, other than my husband, of course!

Back to the story...I told you I am not as good as Tymm! So I managed to make it home. Tymm met me in the garage. All I could say was, "I have to pee!!" He was like, "WHAT??!!! Our baby is on that computer!" I could only laugh and cry at the same time at that comment.

So the two of us gathered around my laptop in C-Baby's room and downloaded the pictures. Three and half years of heartache, pain, questions, anger, love, salvation, redemption and healing were coming down to this very special moment where we would see our child for the first time.

All I can really say is that it was one of the most amazing moments of my entire life. In that room, where we stood staring at our lil man's face - God was there. I felt His tears flow with ours as He once again brought even more healing to our hearts. For years now He has slowly been turning the pages of the book of our lives and that day, we got to the best chapter yet! How good and faithful God is and He loves us so...even when we are broken, angry, and full of sin...He loves us! He loves me! And now He has given me a child to love...boy, I cannot wait to teach lil man about the love of our true Father.

That is what life is truly about...

Thanks for reading my ramblings.

Laura

Thursday, November 29, 2007

1,440 Times

That's how many times I thought about our son today. I mean it doesn't help that I have his picture propped up on my desk - but yeah - that's how many times I thought about him. Roughly once a minute.

The human mind can be a dangerous place. And when mine is left unattended - watch out. It's open, vast, empty, warped, spacious and scary. Dangerous sums it up.

If my thoughts were prayers, our son would be drowning in them. But not all of mine were. Some were worries, fears, anxiety, greed, selfish thoughts. I want him home. Here. With his mom and me.

We'll get there.

Heres a picture to pass some time. A shot of the land where our son is at right now:

Beautiful isn't it? Man - we can't wait.

GodPod

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."
- 1 Chronicles 16:34
About 20 strides in to my run this afternoon my iPod started acting flaky. Seemed like maybe the cord on my headphones or something so I stopped to try and fix it. No good - the vocals were sounding all crazy and it wasn't going to work for me - it'd be more annoying than helpful.

That's when I realized what was happening. God has been such a gigantic part of our lives over the past year and so often I spend my time running in prayer. But not as often as I should and sometimes I let music take the place of a good conversation with God. Well today it felt like He wanted to talk to me. And He was giving me a pretty clear hint by completely geeking up my iPod.

I turned the iPod off and took off running - and let me tell you - I had both the best 5.6 mile run I have had all year and the best conversation with God I have had in a long time. I owe so much to Him - so much gratitude - He has been consistently present and consistently good to me.

I was able to get some alone time with just me, the woods and God - to tell Him how thankful I am for the news this week. I was able to ask Him to be with our son - I prayed long and hard about that. I prayed for Him to make our son one of the favorites in the orphanage. I know that sounds selfish but if we can't be there for him I want him to be showered with love by those around him. I prayed for His will on the upcoming medical records - and for Him to make everything crystal clear to us.

Man - I prayed for so much stuff today on that run that I started to feel a little greedy and guilty - like I was taking up all of God's time. But then I remembered that He is God and He probably heard me think that and just laughed at me. Cuz He is God.

When my run was over I had run my fastest time all year for that loop and didn't even feel tired. God was so with me - I think He showed up today for a couple reasons. One - I needed Him. I needed to tell Him how thankful I am for Him. How much I love Him and how much I am in awe of His world. Two - I think He showed me that He can be right here with me and all the way in Ethiopia with our son at the same time. And that was a great feeling to get - a huge peace of mind.

Oh - and by the way - when I got back to the parking lot my iPod was working fine - like nothing was ever wrong. Tell me God ain't cool.

I heard more on my run today with my broken iPod than I have in the last 6 months with lyrics blasting in to my ears.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

What a day today has been. First Monday back after the long holiday weekend - lots of work to catch up on. All about business, right?

Wrong.

At 11:56 AM my phone rang. Caller ID said "GA Tech" so I knew it was Laura. Our conversation went something like this:

ME: Hello
LAURA: Hi.
ME: What's going on?
LAURA: We just got a referral in my email.

At that point my hearing went a little nutty as chills ran through my body - Laura was crying, I was crying - it was nuts. I said "I'm on my way down there" so we could soak this in together. But Laura's boss allowed her to leave for the rest of the day so she could come home and we could experience this as a family.

The next 40 minutes may have been the longest 40 minutes ever. I knew that in Laura's email account were some pictures of our child. I could hardly stand it. Laura had not opened the pictures because we were going to do that together.

Let me just tell you - he is PERFECT. He looks so healthy and he looks so awesome and he looks so incredibly perfect. All we know is he is around a month old. That's it. We are still waiting on the health records to come through - hopefully this week sometime.

So that's it - we have a referral! As soon as we know more we will post it - and once we know some other things for sure and know we are allowed to we will share his picture with everybody.

For now we are asking for prayer - prayer for our guidance - that God will really live in us while we get his health records and make sure everything checks out. Prayer for our little child's safety and health and ability to affect those who are taking such great care of him.

God is so incredibly good and we feel like He has really showered us with his graciousness and love.

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness." - Psalm 115:1

Monday, November 19, 2007

Praying for Emebet and others

It is officially all out of our hands now. We have received word that our paperwork has been completely translated and authenticated in Ethiopia. So right now, a wonderful person by the name of Emebet is visitng orphanages 8,000 miles away from us - being led by God to our child.

We are praying for Emebet. Praying that she feels God's presence and follows His lead. We are praying for our child who right now is somewhere halfway around the world. Maybe hungry. Maybe tired. Probably scared. Hopefully touching the heart of someone who is taking care of him for us right now.

We are praying for our child's caretakers - that they may see and feel God's presence throughout this process.

We are praying for our child's birthparents and family - who right now are dealing with a whole set of circumstances that we know nothing about. We are praying for them. A lot.

We are hunkering down for the stretch of this that really should be the easiest because there is nothing required of us but in reality is the hardest (maybe because there is nothing required of us). The wait.

But it will be worth it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

National Adoption Day


Today - November 17, 2007 - is National Adoption Day. What a great day to think about those that you know who have adopted or are in the process of adopting. I know we will be saying a lot of prayers today - not just for those in the process - but for the millions of kids out there all over this world who find themselves without a home. Without a mom. Without a dad. Some without the simple neccessities of life - food, water, shelter.

Never really thought about adoption? Think about it today. You won't believe what you can accomplish when you hand it all over to God. Yeah - you can do this too.

I like the report in the bible where the disciples were arguing with Jesus about who would be the greatest. Jesus pulls a child aside and pretty much says "Look - unless you can become more like this child you ain't getting into the Kingdom!"

And then He says:

"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." - Matthew 18:5
If that doesn't tell you what God thinks about adopting I am not sure what would. How cool to know that when you open the door to a child you are opening the door to God.

Think about adoption today. Because you can make a difference. You can change the world. You can open the door to God.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

B.O.B. and Jimmy

Laura and I have become pretty avid runners and we are bound and determined (against what everyone says will be so impossible) to continue running when we get back home with our son. So on Saturday we headed over to REI to meet B.O.B. in person and see how he was gonna work for us in the running stroller category. I'm not gonna lie - B.O.B. is pretty dope. His full name is B.O.B Ironman - and I think he's gonna work out perfect for us.

He has really sweet suspension, great hand brakes, an emergency brake - all the bells and whistles to keep little eBaby chilling like a villian on a run - whether it's off-road or just cruising on the pavement. We still have to do the mandatory consumer reports check out but all the reviews I have read online from pretty serious runners say this is the one to go with. So B.O.B. - it looks like you're getting adopted too.

Now let me tell ya about Jimmy - cuz this is just cool. The whole time we were ogling B.O.B. we kept having the helpful REI sales guys come up and ask if we needed any help. We were really just looking so we kept saying no. Finally, Jimmy rolls over right as I am attempting (miserably) to fold B.O.B. up to see how that works. It was pretty obvious we needed help - I know nothing about folding up kid's equipment. So Jimmy shows us how and points out all kinds of other cool characteristics of B.O.B.'s.

After some conversation about the stuff hanging around my neck (African piece from my mission trip, my Sharpie magic marker, my fake tooth, etc.) Laura tells Jimmy we were adopting from Ethiopia. He seemed genuinely intrigued, and in what I thought was a pretty bold move at the time, he asked "Did you guys decide to do that because you couldn't have kids?"

I gulped and and looked to Laura - and God bless her she didn't miss a beat - she isn't one to pass up a chance to talk about God. She said "Yeah - we tried and couldn't so we prayed about it - and God led us to China and Ethiopia."

Come to find out - Jimmy was a Christian too. He said "I wondered if you guys were Christians - doesn't seem like too many non-christians would do what you're doing."

How cool was that? So we got to spend a few minutes out in the real world talking to a brother in Christ and it was really nice. We talked about our church, his church and what all we were doing. He even asked us to bring eBaby by the store when we get home.

Thanks Jimmy for helping us get to know B.O.B. better and for giving us a great experience at REI!

13 Days

God showed up in our life last week. Don't get me wrong - He is here all the time - but He left behind some real deal evidence this time. I'm not talking about burning bushes and parting of oceans (though that would be really cool to see) - I'm talking about a practical every day thing that I would typically try to explain away when in reality I should really just say "Thanks God."

So on Friday, November 9th - which just so happened to be our 5th anniversary and my birthday - a walk to the mailbox produced the coolest gift we could have asked for. A white envelope from our friends at the Department of Homeland Security. It was our approval to bring our child home from Ethiopia. Nice, right? Here is where it gets cool - the USCIS received our application on October 24, 2007. They approved it on November 6, 2007. I'll do the math for you - that's 13 days! For those of you not deeply embedded in this international adoption world - this may mean nothing to you. But here in Atlanta - that process usually takes a lot longer. For example - our China petition took 76 days.

So needless to say we were a little excited about that. It really means everything is running smoothly and at this point all is kind of out of our hands (this form was the last thing we could keep in our control).

So HUGE thanks to God - for taking time off from running the universe and taking a part time job at the Atlanta USCIS office and really pushing our paperwork through. Big thanks to Jan at USCIS and Dick, Chaunda & Ellie from CCAI for all they did to expedite this process!