Friday, February 26, 2010

Some Perspective

I think some people would think it's crazy to sign up for the heartbreak of adopting an orphan. I ask: Isn't it more heartbreaking that someone wouldn't? If I didn't cry mother's tears for a tiny stranger and plead for their life like a mother does, who would? If ya wanna talk crazy... a child without a mother... THAT'S crazy! - Borrowed from another adoptive mom

I've been asked about how hard the adoption process is, especially after not passing court again this time. It's hard to put into words the drive that you have to keep going even though your heart does get broken each time a disappointment comes. I think the statement above pretty much sums it up.

I believe there is a spiritual battle going on in the world of adoption. It is a precious gift that has been ordained and exampled by God and Satan is trying to steal, kill and destroy. We are praying that the chains be loosed and that our child, as well as the others who are waiting for their forever families, be set free. March 12th is our next court date. Pray with us that the bonds to orphanhood will be broken and God's glory will shine!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tonight's The Night

Once again while we sleep tonight a judge in Ethiopia will be looking over our case; determining if everything is approved for us to legally adopt our son. We are praying that the paperwork needed by the judge on the last court date is there, correctly filled out and that there won't be anything else required.

I am learning a lot through this process of waiting. I'm realizing just how selfish I am in wanting this to work out the way I think it should. Who am I to expect it to. This was God's plan from the beginning and who am I to think there are any flaws in it. Each "bump" or "delay" along the way has been placed there for a reason and each one will bring Glory to Him.

I'm learning what it means to have true patience and real hope. Not just the wishful thinking kind of hope but the hope that's rooted in the promises of God. I'm learning to fully rely on Him when I feel discouraged and disappointed. He is always there waiting to bring peace and comfort. I'm learning to see Him in new ways, as a Father, that I haven't been able to before.

"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 40:28-31

It hasn't been easy but I am thankful for everything that has happened on this journey to start our family. Tonight I'll be praying for God's will to be done and if that means we don't pass, there's another blessing in the reason why, waiting to be revealed.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snowy February

It was a record. 12 inches of snow. The most we've seen and on Valentine's weekend! I love the way snow quiets the world. It falls silently and covers everything in a thick blanket of white. Everything is hushed and peaceful. It was magical. The thing about Texas though is that it doesn't allow for snow to hang around very long. The next day it was already starting to melt.

We took a drive around the neighborhood to check out all of the snowmen people had made and the beauty in the snow covered trees. We also saw a lot of damage. It's strange that something so beautiful could be so damaging. Our neighbors' carport collapsed onto their car, trees were uprooted and laying in the streets or had fallen onto fences and cars.

There will be lots of clean up ahead for our short time of beauty.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Precious Gift

The Koceich family is in Ethiopia right now to pick up their beautiful little boy, who happens to be a month younger than ours. Cindi is taking pictures for us while they are there and she sent us a quick email that absolutely warmed my heart...


Got to get to bed, but really quick. I got to go see Yacob at the transition home Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, while I walked Yacob around the compound screaming because he is afraid of me (poor baby) my husband spent the time playing with your son. When we left he told me all about this little boy that he fell in love with. He said he was so happy and so much fun!!! I pretty quickly figured out that was your precious little boy!! I am so excited, and so is my husband that ya'll live so close and that our boys will get to be playmates again!!!!

Just wanted to let you know!!!

With Love,

Thanks Cindi for this email, it's such an encouragement while we wait!

Maybe it's the mommy in me, but it brought me to tears hearing that our little guy is happy and how easily people are drawn to him and can't help but love him. I know it's how I've felt from the first time I laid eyes on him and it's really comforting to know that others feel it too. We are so blessed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day

I have to say that this was the best Valentine's Day by far. We kept it very simple and made dinner together at home. I love cooking with my husband; it's such a sweet time of connecting, talking and laughing together. It's not something we do all the time so I really try and savor it when we do. Plus we get to eat some great food too!
Ben found this wonderful recipe online for Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken. We made fresh green beans with garlic and lemon and homemade bread to go along with it. For dessert we made an Apple Crosata. It was all so good!! It was the perfect meal to share with my perfect Valentine. I am so thankful for such a wonderful husband and friend, I thank God every day for blessing me with such an amazing man.

Here are some pics of our meal

Wedding Cake / Groom's Cake Tasting Project

I received a call from a bride-to-be that she'd gotten my name from someone and heard great things about my cakes. Yea! She and her fiance wanted to come by for a tasting. Awesome! She wanted to keep things simple and taste a vanilla and an almond wedding cake with buttercream icing. Wonderful! So I baked and baked and even made an amaretto cake as well, just for some variety. They came and tasted. Success! They both liked the cakes and after choosing the almond cake and thinking it over, hired me!

That evening she called back to see if we could do a tasting for a groom's cake as well the following weekend. Yippee! German Chocolate with chocolate buttercream icing. Oh but wait, can we taste the wedding cake again with a lemon filling? Oh and can you make the wedding cake denser and not so light and fluffy?? Well sure, I'm up for the challenge!! So I made my ingredient list and headed out to the supply store.

The next day I started baking. Lemon filling, check. Chocolate buttercream icing, check. German chocolate cake, check. Dense vanilla and almond check. We are having a snow storm and just when I was going to get these cakes ready to bake, we lost power! I waited about an hour keeping myself busy thinking surely it will come back on and praying my ingredients didn't spoil in the fridge. Finally I called the power company and they said it wouldn't be on until 4pm at the earliest. It was 1:30!

Thankfully my in-laws live right around the corner, and still had power, so I packed everything up in a big box and headed over to use their kitchen to finish the task. I barely made it out of my driveway and had to try a couple of times to get into theirs due to the slippery snow and ice, but I made it.

Now I've never made a dense cake before so I'd researched how to do this online and found a few great tips. Well, let's just say they didn't really turn out so well. The first one was more like a cheesecake and the second, well it tasted like a shortbread cookie! Tired and frustrated, by 6pm I decided to stop for the day. Our power finally came back on at 9:30pm and we headed home for the night.
The next morning I got up early and checked out the snow outside, a foot to be exact. SO beautiful. I got online again for more research and found a few more tips. Braving the freezing cold, snow and ice my wonderful hubby drove me to the store (after a drive through the neighborhood to check out snowmen and the damage the snow caused) to get what I needed and I began again.

Three attempts later, eureka, it worked! A dense cake that actually tasted good. I felt like I'd accomplished something grand! It was quite the process figuring out this dense cake but I'm thankful for the opportunity to learn something new.
So the next morning they came, they tasted and they liked it! There was a nice moment watching their faces light up as they tasted and enjoyed what I'd made. Now I get to make their wedding and groom's cake! I'm so excited, it's gonna be lots of fun!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Court Date #2 - Strike Two!

I suppose you can guess by the title of this post that we did not pass our second court date. The judge has asked for more paperwork from the region of Ethiopia that our little guy's aunt is from. She did appear in court to testify of his relinquishment so at least that part is taken care of. Our next court date is Feb. 23rd.
We are praying again for peace and comfort with whatever God's will is for us and our sweet little boy. We stand firmly on the truth that He promised us a child from Ethiopia and we know without a doubt that He keeps His promises and we WILL be united with our son.
Now we just wait for that day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Court Date #2

Tonight as we sleep a judge in Ethiopia will be reviewing our case to make our adoption official. We're praying that everything is in place, everyone shows up, there are keys to the file cabinets, the fax machines and copiers have paper and that God's will be done. We are praying that no matter what happens this time that we have our faith and trust firmly grounded in Christ and will continue to trust in Him throughout the remainder of this process.

Last night we got to meet up with an awesome family who just got back from picking up their two little ones in Ethiopia last week. We saw them and couldn't keep our eyes off of them; they were so beautiful and full of life! They took a care package for us when they went and had some wonderful pictures for us. Not only did they have pictures but they had video too! What a blessing to be able to see our little guy moving and interacting with people! He seemed so happy and aware. He would look at whoever was talking to him and just smile. Seeing him reach up and touch their faces was really sweet. I think I've watched it at least 10 times, maybe 20. They also surprised us with his foot print on paper. How amazing to see that foot! He's got big feet! It just makes it all the more real. We started this process with paper, then our first photo, now video and a foot print. Next we'll get to see him up close and in person. I just can't wait!
Thank you so much to the Roots for such an amazing gift, you guys are the best!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Year's Getaway

For New Year's this year we wanted to get away for a few days, just the two of us. It will probably be the last time we get to do that for awhile since it's almost time for our little guy's arrival. Not that that's a bad thing of course, in fact, we don't mind at all considering what that means.
We stayed in a cabin in Oklahoma for the weekend out in the middle of nowhere. We didn't know it when we made our reservation but when we got there we found out that the family that owns the cabins and land are a christian family and they made us feel very welcome. They decorated the cabin for Christmas and had even set up a manger scene. They stocked the bookshelf with christian authors and cd's to enjoy and they stressed the fact that they provided this place for people to come and connect with our Creator. It was very sweet. Everything you could need they provided, from cookware to board games and mountain bikes, even skewers for s'mores...which we were upset that we forgot until of course we looked in a drawer and there they were. They saved us! We thought we were gonna have to get inventive and get a twig from a tree.

The cabin was beautiful, I especially loved all of the large windows and the wonderful back deck. It was surrounded by trees so you really got to experience being alone together in the woods and marvel at God's handiwork. A river ran through the property which you could see and hear from the deck. Too bad it was so cold and the water was low or we would have taken the canoe out for a spin.

We went hiking in the trails and had two wonderful trail guides to show us the way! Peter and Sam were so much fun and they stayed with us the entire time. They would lead us on a trail and if we stopped to take a picture or just admire the view, they'd stop and wait for us and then carry on. Peter entertained us with his playful pouncing on sticks. He's quite the character.

After a long day of hiking we came back to the cabin, made dinner and sat by the fire. We had s'mores on the fire for dessert. So much fun!

Our second day there we headed out for a beautiful scenic drive; the Talimena Scenic Drive that goes through Oklahoma and Arkansas. There were lots of places to stop and check out the view along the way. It was so beautiful. We saw huge icicles along the sides of the mountains where the shade keep them frozen in the cold mountain air. The road twisted and turned up through the mountains and though it was a bit hazy that day it was still awesome. We stopped in at Queen Whilamina State Park and took a tour of a very old 9 level vacation house. It was really interesting to see how homes were built back then, such a different way of thinking than today. They built them for efficiency and functionality rather than cosmetics and luxury. I guess priorities have changed over the years.

More hiking along the river and a boat ride on the pond were on the agenda for the evening. Peter sat impatiently along the shore of the pond watching us paddle around until he could absolutely take it no longer. He jumped in the water, swam out to us and hopped right in the boat! We thought we were going over for sure, and the temp was in the 30's that day. He made it in without tipping us but then showered us with water anyway when he shook his coat! It was hilarious! He just stood there in the boat as we paddled around a bit more, content just to be there. We laughed the rest of the night about that adventure!

When it was time to head home we were sad to leave such a wonderful place and look forward to going back again sometime soon. Maybe in the summer when we can get in that canoe ride on the river.