It is also a place for me to bring into the spotlight the 163 million orphans around the world who are waiting for the Body of Christ to fulfill God's command to "care for orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27)
Soli deo Gloria... (All Glory to God Alone).
Seriously, Ya'll! I thought I was going to explode when we got these pictures in my inbox the other day. Our local-China-adoption-expert, Erin, told us about two ladies in China who run Ladybugs 'N Love. We were able to go on their website and order a package and belated birthday cake to be sent to little M! (Her actual birthday was in March.) The package included a little stuffed panda and a toy from her grandparents and some candy for her ayis (caretakers) from our family. Then they give the orphanage money to buy a birthday cake and ask that they provide pictures of your child with the cake.
It was overwhelming to get these precious pictures and see this sweet child that, in our hearts, is already our daughter. Adoption sure is a wild ride and seeing the pictures filled us with joy and love as well as pain and longing.
So I thought this would be a good time to give a quick update on where we are in the process. Our homestudy has been completed and approved and we are now finishing our dossier and waiting for our fingerprint approval from our I-800 application. All of this will need to be authenticated and certified and then sent to China after which we will wait for our LOA (Letter of Acceptance). After that comes TA (Travel Acceptance) and then our actual travel dates. It is hard for us to predict exactly how long all of this will take but we are hoping to travel by November.
It would be hard to express how much we appreciate prayers at this point. All of this began in the hands of God, and we have complete trust that He is in control. Our deepest prayers have been that God would be with little M- filling her with His presence, comfort and peace; preparing her heart for becoming a part of our family; and keeping her healthy. For Scott and I, we ask for prayer that we would remain steadfast in our faith and trust in God and not let any stresses distract us from keeping our eyes on Him.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and for praying for our family. We are humbled and grateful!
When we travelled to Ethiopia in 2008 to bring little "B" home, we spent much of our time with six other families from all over the U.S. who were adopting their children through the same agency we did, All God's Children, International. We stayed in the same hotel, ate together, shopped together, and met our children for the very first time together.
One of the couples that had a lasting impact on S and me was Tim and Cheryl Giese. They were adopting a beautiful little 2 1/2 year old girl named Rediet. We both thought at that time that we would eventually adopt an older child like Rediet, so we watched closely to learn from this couple (and two others) what this experience might be like.
I wish you could have been there and seen Tim and Cheryl interact with little Rediet. It was especially moving to see Tim- this tall and broad guy- stoop down and speak so tenderly with Rediet. The way that he treated her with such gentleness, tried to speak to her in Amharic, and soothed her when she was scared is an image from that trip that is forever etched in my mind. It was truly beautiful.
That is partly why we were so thrilled to hear, a little over a year later, that the Giese family (Tim, Cheryl, Rediet and their older daughter Ava) would be moving to Bahir Dar, Ethiopia to come alongside the work and ministry of
Grace Center. Then when we learned more about what Grace Center does and the ministry it offers to women like "Meseret" (see previous post) and children just like our sweet "B"... well, we knew that this was something we wanted to be a part of. We have been incredibly blessed since then to hear each update of what God is doing in Bahir Dar and to feel like, even in a small way, by supporting this work we are somehow giving back to the country that has given us so much.
Below is a little glimpse of what goes on at Grace Center, but I hope that you will click here and learn more!
Mission of Grace Center
Grace Center’s mission is to provide responsible care for families and children by equipping and supporting mothers in their care role, giving children every possible advantage available to grow in a stable, Christ-centered environment, empowering them to be the leaders of tomorrow through education and training.
Grace Center serves over 850 women & children.
The Grace Center for Children & Families offers…
» Day Care
» After school care
» Temporary Care Center
» Transitional/Orphanage Care Center
» Hope Medical Clinic
» Business Co-Op
» Sponsorship Program
Grace Center has over 100 employees, most are single moms who have a strong desire to work for their families. In an area where there are very few job opportunities, these women are able to work at Grace Center to provide for the needs of their family. Many of their children are sponsored to continue their education…as their children are going to school, many of these women then have the opportunity to continue their own education.
I am so embarrassed to admit this, but I began this Mother's Day struggling with ungratefulness. It had been creeping in for days as I had missed a couple mornings of prayer and let my focus during the day wander to some things I had been wanting for awhile. I even began to think that I “deserve” these things. How incredibly foolish... on this day of all days. A day when I can stop and savor and be thankful for the absolutely incredible and totally undeserved gifts I have been given. I am called “Mom”- this... this is a gift inexpressible.
Now with a few moments of solitude I remember the woman so far away that I always carry close to my heart. (I will call her “Meseret” here.) Always I remember her. I remember seeing her say 'goodbye' to her only son for the last time. She hands him into my arms and her words are translated to me: “I gave him to God. Now I give him to you.” I hug her, look her in the eyes and say all I know to say- “Thank you.” But I am numb. I know if I let the tears come they will not stop. Scott embraces her but does not let go quickly. She melts and the sobs come and all of the sudden it is so real for me. She is me. I mean, before I did not know what to expect when I met her- we were so far apart, she and I- our worlds so different. But in this moment all of that fades and she is a mother just like me. A mother who genuinely loves her son and has had to make the choice to give him to another to raise. I am overwhelmed. What happens to cause a mother who truly loves her son to give him away to someone else? And the answers are all around me- the poverty so crushing; babies die here... a lot; disease that rips away a generation of parents. I have read all about it. But now here she is handing me her son.
Admittedly, there is so very much I do not know and much more I do not understand. I do not glorify “Meseret”, but I do honor her. She gave her son to God and God brought sweet “B” to us. I can let myself be paralyzed with the questions all of this raises... Why is her greatest loss my great gain? But the way of Jesus is not that way. Because I do not have to always understand to love. And I want to choose the way of Jesus- expressed so beautifully by this precious woman. I will choose the way of sacrifice infused with the deepest gratitude. For what great gift can I give to “Meseret” in exchange for the gift she has given me? At the very least, I can be grateful. Everyday grateful for the awesome privilege of being 'mom' to sweet 'B'.
Next post I will share a unique opportunity God brought us to honor “Meseret” and the many women like her in Ethiopia. A wonderful ministry in Ethiopia that has seen the needs of mothers and come alongside them to help them gain employment and be able to care for their children...