Friday, March 22, 2013

A Day with Eternal Treasures

I just posted this on the trip blog so nothing new if you saw that.  I wanted it here on our personal journey too:)

A Day with Eternal Treasures...

Most of the team split for Chapa, another Care Point in Awassa.  We would meet back up in Dale for the afternoon with the kids.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this meeting of our son’s first families being so early in the trip, but I learned later how informative it was for the rest of my time; the value of Care Points; seeing the lives of orphans I would meet all week differently; and the list goes on.

I was privileged to return in the morning to the Dale Care Point with KA and 2 new friends:
(yes I see the photo bombers ;p )
one with HopeChest who was also going to meet her adopted son’s caregiver at the end of the trip in another town we’d be in (Ambo).  So neat to have her help me think about it as she had been ‘planning’ for this as I felt like it was just plopped right on my lap. Her bestie offered to be my ‘photographer’;)

I’m going to say at the outset,  I’m not sure if I will share our photos of our our son’s first families publicly (maybe in time).  Right now, they are still very personal, emotion filled and sacred.  I wasn’t prepared for that.  I wasn’t sure what each next step would unfold but I knew we were being interceded for.  I had the peace of the Spirit and assurance of HIS LOVE for them and for us.  I was in awe of how ‘from the Lord’ it was.  What I wasn’t prepared for was their gratefulness.  Yes gratefulness to us, but mostly their praise offering to our Father.  Humbling. He had been with our boy’s long before they were relinquished, when they experienced death, while they were family-less, as they started a new life, and even now as I stood face to face, arm to arm and cheek to cheek with them.

It might sound too glamorous if I just say it was amazing.  It was! but what kept taking me back was the the ‘beauty from ashes’ that God was making…in each of our lives.   They had hoped and prayed their boys had new hope and were pointed to their Father.  THEY WERE! This moment of assuring them of no condemnation was almost too much for me.  You see, they wondered too.  It wasn’t just me who wondered, they had …for almost 3 years.  I could see and say God had been at work and will continue to be.

I don’t know that I want to stand where I did, but I should more often. That place of smack dab in the middle of brokenness? Where you can’t ‘fix things’.  Where you don’t get all your questions answered.  I think that’s what I love so much about our times in Ethiopia;  our adoption journey; and this morning with these ladies who’s lives were very hard. I was just there, yet Jesus united us in new ways.

waiting for them…
during…(see R. video’g? This is why losing my phone became such a disappointment)
IMG_0004 IMG_0003 IMG_9976  IMG_9941

A treat that unfolded was I DID NOT go to market in the morning on the way back to the Care Point where we met them.  I opted to ask them if a goat/sheep would even be a blessing? Well, let’s just say we ended up tapping out my spending $ for 2 cows:)  The gals that came with us? They bought some chickens, supposedly a male and female for the ‘reproductive effect’.  Oh I hope so!
IMG_0348                                   IMG_0353 IMG_0364                       IMG_0365   IMG_0366          IMG_0369 
So they spent a long time in market negotiating and these white foreigners stayed outside the market after we were ‘spotted’ when we dropped them off.  Otherwise they would never have been able to ‘negotiate’ the cost:p  So 1.5 hrs later, many stoppers by and our driver warding the peepers away w a stick:(, they returned.  Our translator said later he had NEVER seen anyone so happy as they were when they got the cattle rope in their hands:)
They were praising God yet again!
How do you describe this middle ground of one foot in brokenness and one foot in redemption?  Not only have our son’s been given a chance for life (I really don’t think they would have if they had stayed in the poverty), but these families and I could say TOGETHER that we are part of a larger plan of seeing God’s redeeming love.  I think I’m realizing that this is the essence of every single day for God’s Kingdom on earth.  I just get self-focused and miss it.  I don’t want to.  I’m asking him to help me not walk away from this as an ‘experience’, but spread my roots even deeper and help me walk among the broken world.
So they had a long walk home and their hands full, so our good byes were quick.  We had spent the morning together, had coffee, shared and took pictures, snapped videos (on the phone that later was stolen) and laughter. I didn’t get to ask all my questions.  It wasn’t the time.  The real eternal treasures of the visit could not be stolen!
We wept.  Mostly over God’s faithfulness to all of us…
Friends, HE gathered us on holy ground.  Do I believe that in the little ways I ‘wait’ each day he’s inviting me to HIS PRESENCE? I’m asking for help with my unbelief. It’s all worth more of HIM!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Update on the 'kebele' (neighborhood)!

So some of you are following our trip blog too so this is duplicate and you can get on with your day!

If not, remember my post last week saying we had been given the boy's neighborhoods (kebeles) and now they would see if they could find any family still there?   Well they found them!

Suffice to say we are hopeful for our time of meeting them early on our trip!  Details still coming together and now it looks like they'll bring them to the carepoint instead of us traveling the roadless route to their huts.  That's ok! At this point, I can't wait to look in their eyes, assure them of God's love and provision, thank them, ask some questions and pray with and for them, and give them personal photo albums (which is comical b/c I don't do photo albums but Aliza helped me!) !! OH my heart races at what this time will look like, but I'm thankful. 

Thankful that when we stepped back onto American soil (a little over a year and a half ago) that officially made our son's US citizens, that the story didn't stop there.  That there's a citizenship in heaven that I'm trusting unites their first families with ours:)  I have a hunch I'm going to get a glimpse of this. 

Pray with and for us!

Firmly in His Grip,

Friday, February 22, 2013

2 weeks and some good news!

In case you don't want to read all the rambling below, I've decided to put our trip updates separate from our family blog here:

Oh my! Little did I know the 'prep' that would be required at this busy time of year to LEAVE my family and then step back in.  Whirlwind with each kiddo stepping into a new phase next year (2 rising Kindergarten, rising Middle School, rising School, rising part time Jr. College).  These all require their own level of 'registration' and preparation NOW.  Whew:) Almost there.

In the meantime let me just say we have been BLOWN AWAY by the continued encouragement, excitement (sometimes more than our own) and support!  I've also had to learn that Kaylee Ann and I approach 'preparing' EXTREMELY somewhat differently.  Funny how this has been good for ME as I think about our dynamics together ON our trip.  I'm grateful (now) to learn and see this!

I'm also thankful for the neat 'extras' the Lord is leading me to ask and believe He is able to answer!  One of those 'big extras' was getting the details of where the boys lived (down to the neighborhood level) before they were placed in the orphanage.  As of yesterday, WE HAVE WHAT WE NEED to look for them and try to meet any living family or friends!  One thing that has fueled me is that when they were asked (when they were placed for adoption) if they would want any future contact from the boy's future families, it was a resounding YES...we would WELCOME THAT!  So, now I'm ready; mostly ready to say YOU'D BE SO PROUD OF THESE BOYS but also a heartfelt THANK YOU!!! for blessing us TOO! Finally, I frankly just hope they're there to hug their necks.

So that's NEW for us to think about as we get closer to departing.  Someone from the team in Ethiopia has willingly offered to go ahead of our arrival to see who's there and tell them we're coming.   Will you PRAY the Lord will make a way for this 'meeting' before we arrive as well as when Kaylee Ann and I go?

There are so many levels to understanding adoption, first families and how to speak faithfully about our son's identities.  As we do this, know it's new for us too and the emotions stirred are crazy...crazy-good though:) (as she wipes her tears).

Again, THANK YOU from Kaylee Ann and I for the ways you're loving us already on this trip!  I'm going to try to keep the trip updates over here now:), so I hope you'll follow us and also hope I'll be able to regularly send pictures and updates from Ethiopia (because you know power, the internet and time will all by rampant while we'll be there!)

In much grace,

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