Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Good News from Ethiopia!!

So, for the past few weeks.... this is kinda what I have been walking around looking like!

If you've been around me, you understand this picture!
I have been ANXIOUSLY waiting on word from Ethiopia regarding the status of International Adoptions.
Regardless of my emotional status, God has still been on the throne, and He still is.
I am learning that.
Adoption is hard, ya'll.
It is completely worth it. But it's hard.
God is using this journey to draw us closer to Himself. He is using this journey to prune us. He is growing us in ways that I never thought possible. He is stretching me WELL beyond my comfort zone. And He is constantly drawing me to my knees.
For that... I am thankful.
So today, I was standing in the kitchen and Lee came running through to house screaming..
"Abby, Abby! Where is your phone?"
My heart skipped a beat for a moment, then he spoke again.
"I just saw on the AWAA facebook page that we have an email about Ethiopia!"
So I quickly found my phone.
And there she was. The long, awaited email about the status of Ethiopia adoptions!
I read the email out loud so Lee could hear it too.
It felt as it I was releasing 500 pounds of weight off my shoulders as I read it.
I cannot express through typed words the emotional roller coaster that adoption is.
I have been SO, SO blessed to be surrounded by fellow adoptive moms who constantly encourage me, cry with me, pray with me, fast with me and simply journey with me.
And I have been surrounded by you who do the same even if you don't completely understand everything that I am feeling.
So thank you sweet, sweet friends!
You guys are the hand and feet of Christ... here... daily... with us!
Here is part of the email that our agency sent us today!
We are thrilled to share positive news from Ethiopia.  Earlier today Minister Zenebu, along with other high level MOWCYA officials, met with agency network representatives.  In this meeting it was clearly expressed by Minister Zenebu that she does not plan to work to stop adoptions, but desires to focus on eliminating bad practice and continue to invest in good practice of Ethiopia adoptions.  She reiterated that neither MOWCYA nor the Ethiopian Government plan to shut down adoptions within Ethiopia, and went on to encourage agencies to continue their work as normal.
We know this news comes as relief for many adoptive families in process.  America World will continue to work on behalf of Ethiopia’s orphans and vulnerable children to place them into Christian homes.  We expect MOWCYA will likely hold more meetings in the weeks to come and will continue to keep families updated with any new information.  We are seeing several regions issue clearances for children to be adopted and are hopeful more will start soon.
 So, like the email says, we expect that Ethiopia will continue to pursue making adoptions ethical and attempting to eliminate corruption.
I anticipate change to continue to happen within the process of adoption. We have already seen lots of change in the 2 years we have been in this process. After all, when we first started they told us we would be home with a baby in 2 years or less :) We are now a little over 2 years in the process and still waiting, waiting, waiting.
But sweet boy is WORTH THE WAIT!
Please keep us in your prayers as we wait on God's perfect timing!
"being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phillipians 1:6

Thursday, January 23, 2014

No News

This may be my shortest post ever. 
As promised, our agency sent us an email today. 

No News. 

Apparently a meeting is planned for next Tuesday, but our agency said they do not anticipate any decisions to be finalized on that day. So we continue to hold loosely to timeframes. 

Court and Embassy appointments in Ethiopia have proceeded as normal. It seems as though everything within the adoption realm is continuing to process as normal. So we continue to wait! 

We are praying our boy home!!! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Adoption Update... or lack of one.

Hey guys!
A few weeks ago I posted THIS regarding our adoption. At that time, we anticipated to hear something from the Ethiopian government within approximately 10 days.
Well, 10 days have come and gone.
Still no word.
Our agency (America World Adoption Agency) has been awesome about keeping us constantly informed on things that they are hearing. However, nothing official regarding the status of Ethiopian adoptions has been confirmed.
So we wait.
And we pray.

Our agency had an Ethiopian research paper (that was apparently discussed in the initial meetings) translated and they emailed it to us. It was a whopping 44 pages long and difficult to read because of translation.
However, I trudged through it and I am thankful I did. It really gave me great insight into what the Ethiopian officials are concerned about regarding International Adoptions.
I am praying for reform.
I am praying against complete closure.
I ask that you join me in praying on behalf of the true orphans of Ethiopia.

Also, I have been on the phone with both America World and our Home Study Agency (New Beginnings).
You see... a lot of our paperwork is beginning to expire and needs to be updated.
I want to be diligent about keeping stuff up to date, but I also want to be a good steward with our finances. Particularly since Ethiopian adoptions are "questionable" right now. So after many discussions with both agencies, we have decided to let certain documents expire and we will simply update them one more time when we are near a referral.

I am slowly beginning to gather the mounds of paperwork that we will need for our home study update. FYI, most people do not have to gather a bunch of stuff simply for an update, but since we have both switched jobs, health insurance, etc and had a new baby.... we have a lot to update.

Our home study is something we will update regardless of Ethiopia's adoption status.
Because we plan to adopt, and to do that from any country (U.S or international) we will have to have an updated home study.

Thank you guys for checking in on us and for praying for us!

I am so sorry that I have dropped the bomb with blogging.
I absolutely love to blog and to talk about our adoption.


I. Am. Exhausted.

Chip is 4 months old. The first 2 months home, I felt like I was running on adrenaline because that was the only way to survive. I was "out of the game" because I was on maternity leave.
So I didn't have to stress about work or socializing or anything like that.
I just had to function in my household.

But now.
Chip is 4 months old and life is demanding us to pick up the pace.
To get back in the game!

And some days, I feel like I am running with people who have been training for a marathon.
I simply cannot keep up the pace!

I will get there. We are just adjusting still :)
It takes time I guess.

So with that being said... I am going to try try try to do a better job blogging and keeping you guys up to date on our adoption.
Our agency plans to send us an email on Thursday regardless of an official word from Ethiopia or not. We will hold loosely to timelines.
So please just continue to pray for the Ethiopian officials as they make huge decisions on behalf of millions of orphans in their country. Yes, "millions"
That research paper I was telling you about listed the specific number of orphans in ET last year. It was almost 4 million!! To give you a visual for that number.... in 2010, the population of the entire state of MISSISSIPPI was like 2 and 1/2 million.
So... yeah. A LOT of sweet babies!

Lee and I were writing some scriptures the other day and I came across this one:

"being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phillipians 1:6

We are learning to trust.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Urgent Prayer Request for Ethiopia

I have debated sharing this until I know more details, but like one friend put it "I've decided I'd rather have you guys praying with me than praying alone."

So here it is.

The day after Christmas, my adoption agency's Facebook page exploded with news about meetings that had taken place in Ethiopia.
The meetings were held by government officials. They discussed different "issues," with adoption being one of the topics.

Here is the article that was released:
Ethiopia: Stakeholders, Public Has to End Foreign Adoption

The House of Peoples' Representatives and the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth urged stakeholders and the public to undertake integrated work to totally stop adoption of Ethiopian children by foreign families.
In a press conference, House Speaker Abadula Gemeda and the Minister Zenebu Tadesse told journalists that stakeholders should work closely to end foreign adoption.
Abadula urged the importance to give priority to use local means to raise orphaned children rather than giving them away to foreign families.
He suggested the importance to establish and support local NGOs which raise orphaned children with the close collaboration of the public.
He urged stakeholders and the public to support these initiatives and protect children from any kind of abuse.
The Minister Zenebu on her part said the government is working hard to end foreign adoption and facilitate situations to raise the children within their community.
Over 9,000 children were adopted by foreign families during the previous years, in a yearly basis, she said.
Through various activities carried out over the past years, number of children adopted by foreign families reduced to less than 1,000 in 2005EC.
She attributed the success to implementation of various laws and increasing knowledge of the public."


Skipping all of the political jargon, the meeting adjourned with the notion that a strategic plan would be presented after approximately 10 business days.

Plan about what?
We aren't exactly sure, but many government officials desire to completely shut down international adoption from Ethiopia. There are lots of reasons why this is being petitioned.

Is adoption reform needed? Absolutely.
But to completely close down international adoption will be devastating for orphans in that country. There truly is an orphan crisis in Ethiopia. Many of the orphanages in Ethiopia are completely dependent on international adoption. The result of this would be for kids to grow up in overcrowded orphanages.

Parliament will give an official word (hopefully on Jan 13) on whether or not they will sign a bill for the closure of international adoption.

"Emotional" doesn't even begin to describe how I have been the past week. It's been r.o.u.g.h.
Very rough.

We have been praying, praying, praying. Praying for our adoption in part, but mainly praying for the country of Ethiopia that we have grown to love. We are concerned about our adoption, of course, but even more we are concerned about the lives of the orphans of Ethiopia.
I do not doubt for one moment that the Lord will provide another way for us to adopt. After all, this is His story, we are just walking it out.
We have said from the beginning that adoption is unpredictable (especially international adoption), so we have said since day one that we would keep going in one direction until God changes that direction.
Whatever His will is, we are open.

So we wait.

This week has been hard. Lee has been awesome! Covering me with prayer and encouraging me. He is so determined. He doesn't doubt like I do. One day, I literally couldn't walk through the house without crying because everywhere I turned reminded me of Malachi!

And Jesus.
Well... He has shown up and showed out!

Seriously. This journey is tough, but just this week in the midst of it, Jesus has given us the privilege of witnessing extraordinary things take place! Things that I can't even wrap my mind around. Touches of heaven that are more than I can explain. More than I can comprehend!

I have much to say. But it's late and this blog is getting long. Maybe I can write another one tomorrow.

Just please pray! And if you know someone adopting from Ethiopia, send them some love! We need it! These are our babies!

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Year's Resolution That Will Change Your Life

Have you made a New Year's Resolution yet? Or are you still working on it like I am?

I was on the phone with a friend 2 days ago and this topic came up. However, this friend is oozing with love for Jesus so she of course challenged me with the question, "What are your spiritual goals for this year?"

Can I just insert right here how thankful I am for my community of believers? Seriously. Jesus has been so gracious to Lee and I. We are completely unworthy of the love, encouragement, support, discipleship, and accountability that you guys give us. Thank you for loving Jesus and loving us!

So in light of all the worldly new year resolutions, I ask you. What are your spiritual goals for the next year?
Do you have any?

January 2008.

Lee and I were on Christmas Break. We were in college. I still remember this "spiritual marker" in my life. We were at my parent's home in the delta. I grabbed my Bible late one night. It was stiff, still looked brand new. The pages even stuck together. It hadn't been opened in, well... Years.
I opened it to Genesis. I looked at Lee and said, "This year, I am going to start reading my Bible."
And I did.
My life has never been the same!
Jesus met me in the pages. He changed my life. I will never be the same.

January 2014.

Lee passed my Bible to me for my daily quiet time. When he picked it up he said, "I love to see a worn out Bible."
Coffee stains, torn pages, and handwritten notes throughout the scriptures. This is my lifeline. I cannot see how I ever lived a day without it.

So I challenge you. Make a resolution that will change your life.

Just a few ideas.

Start a daily quiet time, reading the Word.
Learn to practice the discipline of Fasting
Start a prayer journal
Go to church
Go on a mission trip
Read through the Bible
Read through the Gospels
Start a bible study
Attend a bible study

The List is endless!

Life is short. Don't go another year being stale in your walk with Jesus. Examine areas that need improvement (no matter how small) and I promise Jesus will meet you there!

Happy January 2nd, 2014!!

Sent from my iPhone