Sunday, February 28, 2010

5 more days

Could it be true?  Tune in to find out.  

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Gift

I am not an artist, I am not a writer.  I am just a mom going through a different avenue than the biological means to get there and along the way started blogging to deal with the roller coaster ride we are on.  But along the way, I have been given many gifts, so I am going to attempt to divulge these overwhelming feelings that I am experiencing.

There is the obvious gifts of our sons.  This is by far one of the most amazing gifts.  Our boys will bless us ten times over what we could ever do for them.  I hear often that they are so lucky, so fortunate, to have us as parents, for the opportunities they will have, and to come to America.  While so many think that might be lucky, I disagree.  It was through unfortunate circumstances that we get to become parents.  I really wish there was no need for adoption.  I truly wish our boys were in a happy, loving, sustainable home with their biological parents.  Unfortunately, that isn't the case.

As much as I want to be a mom, my heart is breaking for them.  They have been through so much and their world is about to turn upside down.  I only pray that God has prepared Nick, S, D, and I for each other.  I am not naive.  I know that we will have melt downs, tantrums, grief, loss.  I just pray that we are equipped to deal with their past.  These boys have lost one set of parents.  I pray they know that they won't loose us.  We are here to stay through the good and the bad.  They are a gift.

Through this process, I have learned God's love much more thoroughly.   I see how much God's heart breaks for children.  My goodness.  They are helpless much of the time.  They are often looked at as belongings, an inconvenience, or nuisance.  I recently finished a great book.  It is written by the CEO of Compassion International.  It is Too Small to Ignore.  He writes about how all of the worst crimes or actions are saved for children.  Rape.. rape of a child.  Abuse... Child abuse.  Trafficking... Child trafficking.  See what he means.  These children do not often have a voice.  My heart breaks.  This is a wonderful gift.  I want to be miserable for them.

Becoming a parent to a child you have not met, birthed, touched... is truly teaching me the meaning of unconditional love, that agape love that God so perfectly displays.  When Nick and I started dating, there was of course the sparks, fireworks etc.  Then we got married.  The sparks seemed to intensify as we learned about each other even deeper.  After almost six years of marriage the sparks are definitely there.  I thought our love was unconditional.  But realistically it isn't.  We work to stay in love.  And there are conditions.  We promised to love, respect, trust, and be honest to each other.  I know that Nick would never cheat on me.  But if he did I don't think I could say "I love you unconditionally".  It's amazing if you can.  I just don't know if I could ever get past that.  There are definitely conditions.  Follow them and of course I will love you always.

However...  I don't think there is one thing that would ever betray my love for these boys.  I know there will be times where I might think that we were crazy for starting this journey, times of disappointment, shock, sadness.  But I know I would never turn my back on them.  I also know that being a parent means making difficult choices, that might hurt, but in the end will benefit them.  I will always love them.  More than I do today.  That is a gift.

This process has really given me some insight to God's love.  And I am sure that our human hearts, brains, souls can truly only love a minute fraction of what God is capable.  And if God's love for me is similar to the love I feel for S and D multiplied an infinitesimal amount, I feel peace.  No parent is going to  knowingly let their child perish without doing everything possible to redirect them.  So this journey may have been God's way of making difficult, painful, uncomfortable decisions for us to make us understand his love.  And that is the Greatest gift of all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Travel Conference

We are getting closer...  I can feel it.  It's only nine days away... or maybe 14... or maybe 32...  So maybe its getting farther.  Who knows anymore.  It's kinda a cruel joke.  Time is not of the essence.  I can tell you that.

We had our travel conference with our agency today.  We were given all of the travel details.  Went through our immigration paperwork.  Talked about cultural sensitivity.  And then discussed parenting children in our circumstances.  It is starting to feel surreal.  I am so anxious.

We found out today that all of the documents are ready, we are just waiting for the negative TB tests.  Hopefully they will be administering them today and can check negative results on Friday.  What I am not sure of is, because of the time difference it is Thursday in Ethiopia now.  Do they check results of TB on Saturday?  I hope so.  Because if they don't; that would mean that they won't do the test till Monday, find the results on Wednesday. We leave Friday!!!  Crazy.  Nothing like living by the seat of your pants.  Crazy!

So we continue to wait.  The good news is that an extra embassy date was added.  And it is the 15th so that would only delay our travels by a few days and I am thinking about just extending the travels.  Still leaving at the same time.  Since our room is booked and everything.  We might be able to add two extra nights.  I still have to talk to nick about this.  So we will see.

I am trying to make Pediatrician appointments for our boys upon our return but am being given the run around.  I can't make appointments with out a medical record number, I can't get medical record numbers until we get documents, can't get documents till we travel.  See my dilemma, apparently I will be making appointments as soon as we return.

So we continue to wait and pray.  I know that this adoption has brought Nick and myself so much closer to God.  What a great God.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Heart Might Explode

Today we received new pictures.  I think I am going to just leave tomorrow.  At least I want to.  I wonder if they would mind.  It's only ten days early.  That's less expenses on their part.  We will pay for every thing once we are there.  We will stay as long as we need.  What do you think?  Ya, I know, with our luck they won't let us in and we would be sitting outside of the HOH trying to sneak a glimpse.  Oh man! How my heart aches.  It is only 10 1/2 days till we leave, if all goes well.  That is a test of faith.  I am prepared to be told that we won't be able to travel till April, but... they may have a mom who has been comitted to the looney bin if that's the case.

My poor long term sub. She has been ready to go since freakin' Novemeber.  November!  Oh well, at least she is a good sport.  And she is great with kids.  I am so ready.  Every fiber of my body is crawling.  I love it and hate it all in the same breath.  We are learning, growing, loving a little more each day.

Thank you God.  Thank you for the gift you have given us.  I can not wait to love on them in person.  Please keep them safe and brave, Lord.  Let their hearts be prepared for us and ours for them.  Give us the strength and patience needed to learn about each other.  Send us support and strength when needed.  Equip us with the tools needed to provide for our sons.  Lord, we praise and worship you.  Thank you for being the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  Thank you for keeping your promises Lord.  Amen

And a little treat for the road,

Precious!!!  Look, It's our first official Family photo.  We all know who each other is...  Now on to the real introductions.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Count Down Super Speed

Yesterday, our case worker called and explained that our Embassy appointment was moved up a week (eight days actually).  Hooorayyy!!!!  This means we will be leaving on the 5th of March.  Less than two weeks away.  I am so excited and soo nervous.  This gives our agency one less week to get the paperwork in order.  I am not usually skeptical, but if I have learned anything through this process it's to not get to excited until it is official.  So we wait with baited breath.  Are we leaving in two weeks or five?  Oh please don't be five.  I am so ready to have them home.

Moving our travel to the week ahead worked out for us.  The Guest house we are staying at was booked so the upgraded us to a suite for free.  We now have our own kitchen and living area while we are in country.  Plus the airfare is thirteen dollars cheaper per person.  And we get to stay one extra day.  So we  really hope this is our travel day.

Today was another work day around the Crain household.  Here is the list of accomplishments:
- Finish closet to home office conversion
- Deep clean master bedroom (under the bed and everything)
- Fill prescription for travel meds
- File taxes
- Take care of ticket (we don't even own the car anymore)
- Wash all of the kids clothing
- Make a list of things to buy for the trip
- Miscellaneous shopping
- Print and hang some of the boys pictures.

There is much more to do but it feels good to be moving forward.  Please continue to pray for efficiency and hopefully we will be in Ethiopia in two weeks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

could it be 24 more days?

We hope so...  I am off work this week.  But for the first time ever in my life, I wish I was working.  I think the time would go faster and I wouldn't be so consumed with time.  I check my email, blog, twitter constantly trying to keep busy.  I swear I love the iphone, but I am so connected all the time it is probably unhealthy.

I am anxiously waiting for the Hubbards to return from Ethiopia next week.  They took a photo album of Nick and I to each of the boys.  I so hope that they were able to video them while they are looking at the pictures and someone is reading and translating the letter. Well time will tell

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A day of celebration

Yesterday, my brother in law was able to come home, from Afganinstan, for ten days.  While I was excited to see him; watching Brooke (my sister) and Matt interact was where I found excitement.  There was such a joy between them.  I cannot fathom being separated from Nick for so many months.  They are both so strong, so inspiring, and positive.  Matt knows his duties and Brooke doesn't complain about it.  It's amazing to me.

The love and affection they were showing yesterday is definitely something to celebrate.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Going Crazy

Possible 26 day count down!!!!

It is crazy not knowing.

This is what I look like this morning.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Counting down and finishing lists

This month will hopefully go quickly. I am a giant ball of nerves and unfortunately, Nick is taking the brunt of it. I just wish the travel date was finalized. I am so sick of waiting for an unknown. It is starting to become nauseating. You would think after almost four years of waiting this would be no biggie. But it's not. So we are focusing on getting things done around the house.

Today we got a lot done in the Crain Household. We hung some artwork that we purchased a year and a half ago. It was a big piece and it has been sitting in the boys room till today. It finally has a place in the living room. We hung the pictures in the boys room. They look great. I cleaned out the planters in the front. Most of my plants froze in the crazy weather we had so I cleared them out. We are leaving them empty. We are thinking this could be a family activity. Let the boys help pick out and plant the flowers and plants in their new home.

Nick changed the door knobs on all of the doors in the house. We have been slowly doing this for the last two years. (Are you noticing a trend with procrastination of house work?) We did some major spring cleaning. Cleared out all of the junk we don't use. We have too much junk. Way too much. How do two people collect so much stuff?

We also booked our room at the Guest House in Ethiopia. YEAH!!!!! Luckily the deposit is transferrable if the dates change. I contacted some travel agents about air fare. I can't find a place to book one way tickets for children where they are inexpensive. The quotes came back around the same price as I could find on Cheap sooo that was good news. I am just waiting for the ok.

I haven't started packing yet. I am nervous to start counting our chickens before they hatch, if you have followed our journey you know why. But we did clean up the luggage and ask if we could borrow some heavy duty suitcases from my Uncle. My parents will be on a cruise the same time we could be in Ethiopia. How exciting. Our family will be all over that week.

Tomorrow we hope to get more done on our to do list. It feels so good to have things done. I don't know why I procrastinate so much. The feeling of accomplishment is a good one. Well, have a great weekend all. I will leave you with the newest picture from a traveling family.

You gotta love their smiles.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We were given a gift today....

Today we received new pictures of our boys from a traveling Mamma. They change so much each time. It's amazing. She also took foot prints of the boys so we can buy them shoes. I know it seems small, but every time we walk by the shoe department I look. And I have no idea where they size up regarding shoe size; so here was our first glimpse at our boys feet...


This translates to a 3.5


and this translates to about a 12.

Plus she had some wonderful things to say about them, "I didn't realize these were your boys. They caught my eye on the waiting child list and I was praying for them to find a family. They are absolutely beautiful. Dawit is as sweet as he can be. He kept sharing all his goodies with anyone he could. My son and Sintayehu played basketball and were big buddies. You are so lucky. They are absolutely precious, I am so happy they are going to be yours!!!!"

Hear that? We are so lucky. She captured it. We are the lucky ones in this miracle. Nick and I are the ones being blessed. Thank you Lord for these boys.

And for the finale, I leave you with new images of the Crain Kiddos.

Don't you just want to hold him?
He looks so much older already
Our Handsome Boys
I think Sintayehu is going to hate this picture when he is older
This kid has the best smile in the world.

I love them so much it hurts.

Well Good Night All. Please remember to Praise God for this miracle.

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's Official

We passed today!!!! On February 8th, these two beautiful boys became Crains. Introducing Sintayehu (Sin-ty-you) Isaiah Crain and Dawit Micah Crain. S is the older son and D is the little, shy one. Behold....

They leave me breathless. We are in love!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Not Great News

I swear, this journey is the hardest journey we have ever been on. So we did not pass court today. We were approved by MOWA, which is great. We had all of the paper work in order. Which is awesome. However, the judge wanted an additional piece of paperwork from the father. The paper was already done once, but she wanted a newer version on Addis letterhead. So, our agency went and got it signed already so we are rescheduled for Monday. Hopefully we will pass this time. If we don't, I guess we will keep fighting.

The good news is that if we pass on Monday, our embassy date is still March 18 so there shouldn't be a delay in when we can go get them. Just a delay in anxiety. So please continue to pray. Our pastor called and cheered me up. He reminded me that it took the Pharaoh 10 plagues before he let His people go. Not 5 not 7 but 10. We are close to 10 delays I think. Thanks for all of the supportive comments and emails. It has really helped me get through. Monday its only four days away. We can hold on till then. We have no choice :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

GroundHogs day repeat

So after being completely nervous all day yesterday, tossing and turning all night and waking up in the bathroom we finally got the call from Ashley. And the news was that our case was not heard and we will get our chance tomorrow. So within the next 6 hours, a judge will decide if our boys are legally ours. Here's to another sleepless night.

Please continue praying. Congrats to Shannon who passed last night and has the most beautiful daughter.

Hold on boys, we are coming sooner or later.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

18 more hours

So I have been praying all day. Long prayers, short prayers, interspersed throughout the day with all my 5th graders. I have such a knot in my stomach. I know not to expect to pass, but it's our turn. We have hit so many dang bumps I think we actually flipped upside down. So I am trying to stay calm. Every time I feel nervous, I just look to the maker. If He can create all life in seven days, this should be cake.

So tomorrow I may be legally a Mom maybe not. The thing I know for sure is I am a Mom through my heart. Check back tomorrow to find out.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for being the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I come before You knowing that I am insignificant and unworthy, Yet You tell us You know the hairs of our head. You created us in our mother's womb. There is promise upon promise that You have made Lord. And you have always kept Your word. Please God hear our prayers. Make us a family tonight. And if it is not your will for it to happen tonight; give us peace and serenity. I thank you Lord for being the Great One, our Maker, the Creator of all things. I pray that Your will be done.