Monday, June 22, 2015

Update in Ethiopia

Elections have definitely slowed things down on the adoption front. Many families are waiting for documents, waiting for approvals, and waiting for the court dates. Not a lot of movement has happened in the last month.

MOWCYA (The Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs) which is a big part of the adoption process in the Ethiopian government was shut down for almost two weeks due to no power, and now they have slowed down significantly due to new staff from the outcomes of the recent elections.

Please pray for diligence in the new team that they are building and that MOWCYA will be staffed with adoptive friendly people who will process papers efficiently.

Please pray for Embassy clearances for families waiting to go home (It seems that as more families go home then they will start matching more children again)

Please pray for both the US government and the Ethiopian government officials to see the importance of their jobs and become more efficient in processing times.

Please pray that more adoptions are able to be processed before the rainy season comes! It is coming soon! (The government shuts down once it starts to rain)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Beauty from Pain

Yes, I agree adoption is such a beautiful experience. Afterall, isn't our adoption into God's family the most self-less, beautiful, and incredible display of love that has ever existed. I have had so many people tell me how wonderful our story is, and as beautiful and wonderful it is and is going to be, we must not forget that all adoption comes from a place of loss.

Although adoption has been our first plan for starting a family since the beginning, I have to realize that our adoption is not everyone's first choice.

Adopting family- Many people start the adoption process due to the great grief and pain that comes from infertility. I have read countless numbers of adoption blogs where couples experienced many miscarriages and horrible tragedies of trying to start a biological family. Now, I want to word this carefully because I don't want adoption to sound like 2nd place, but for many people adoption stems from the loss of dreams and plans that a couple originally had. Thankfully, God can turn pain and hurting into something beautiful and better than we ever imagined, but many times couples are facing loss when they start to consider adoption. 

Birth mother- I have talked about the love a birth mother must have to give up their child. While I am gaining a daughter or a son, I cannot help but hurt for the woman who has lost her child. In adoption cases, birth mothers can experience this loss for a variety of reasons. A lot of times with Ethiopian adoption it is because the mother understands that she does not have the means to provide for her child to thrive or because she is deathly ill due to malnutrition and disease. Regardless of why a birth mother is unable to mother their child, I feel that anyone who is adopting needs to realize that no woman would want to give up their child. Even if she didn't plan on having a child or wanted a child, I don't think any birth mom would say that this was her first option of how she saw things going with her life. I think it is very easy for an adoptive mom to take on this heroic type of attitude and feel superior, but my eyes have seen the hurt, pain, and love a birth mother has for their child. As an adoptive mom, I want to do my very best to speak with respect about the woman who birthed my child. When speaking about a child's birth mother, remember that you are not in their situation and so you need to be slow to speak and to judge.

Child- I have many friends who are adopted, so I hope I write this in a way that will come across with my true intentions for writing it. Every adoption case is so very different, and some adoptive children experience much greater loss than others. As much as I want to think that I would be my child's first choice, I have to realize that my child has experienced loss. I am not threatened by this, but think it is important for adoptive parents to be aware of this. Adoptive children have needs that biological children will not have because they have not experienced loss. Adoptive children may experience loss from family members that they may never see again or maybe they have even never met. With international adoption, as much as we want to teach our baby about Ethiopia, we know that much of their culture will be lost due to the fact that we will be raising them in America. This list can go on due to being raised in an institution, and many other factors, but my point is every adoption story has hurts and wounds.

Though we know adoption is not an easy path, we do know that there is sweet grace and mercy that can take sorrowful nights and turning them into joyous mornings. Many times when I write these blog post, I am not always sure of my purpose which probably isn't the best example of an English teacher. I know that adoption is spoken about much more than it was in the past, but I still feel there are many stereotypes and just unknown facts about it. Through this sometimes, I just want to share what is on my mind. We want Baby Woodson to see this is sort of as a pre-baby book of our journey to him/her. I also want this to be a place that brings awareness to others about situations and topics that come with adoption. I am so honored and blessed to be the mother of this beautiful child that I haven't even met yet. So yes, even though their is pain and hurting, adoption to me may just be one of the truest examples of the love God has for us. Through this adoption, I am learning more of what it truly means to be adopted into God's family, and the more I see it, the more I am in awe of such a loving savior.

Psalms 30:11

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Loving Someone You Haven't Met

Loving someone you haven't met can be difficult.

It's not the loving part that is hard. No, that part is easy.

Loving you is so natural. We talk about you, laugh about you, cry over you, pray for you, prepare for you, and dream about you. Loving you is easy, but it's not loving you how I want to love you that is heart breaking.

I want to love you with my eyes and see your beautiful face.

I want to love you with my touch and hold you in my arms.

I want to love you with my voice  and tell you how much I love you.

I want to love you the way I am meant to love you as your mommy. 

I can't wait for the day when we are no longer separated by miles, oceans, paperwork, and time. 

I love you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ethiopian Elections

Ethiopia is currently in election season.

Although the election is technically over, the results will not be announced until late June. Just like anywhere in the world, the appointed leaders are can have a huge influence on topics such as foreign adoption in their country.

We are praying for the right people to be appointed and that those elected will see the need for the children of Ethiopia to be united with families. Since we have started this process, rules and regulations have definitely changed more than once in regards to international adoptions. We are not worried about the outcome of the election or the results it may have on our adoption, but we are praying that adoptions will increase and that they will begin to move faster than the current trends.

Please continue to pray for the country of Ethiopia, for our adoption, and for our baby.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Adoption: No Horror Stories Needed

If you know me, you know I absolutely hate horror stories and movies. The scariest movies I watch are what most people would consider suspense thrillers. I am a person who gets scared easily and I don't need anything else to fill my imagination or thoughts with the what coulds.

I am not quite sure why, but I have found that many people who discover that we are adopting feel that is the cue to share the horrible experience their friend's cousin's sister had while adopting or trying to adopt. Everyone seems to know someone with a story that could end up on CSI, Unsolved Mysteries, or Maury. You know the stories where the kids are total nightmares who ended up doing something illegal and ended up in prison, the birth mother fought for her rights back and stalked the family, or the adoption never even happened after thousand of dollars and years of waiting.  

Trust me, adoption is scary enough without the constant reminders of what could happen. Most people who sign up for adoption understand that they are stepping into a world of risks and uncertainties. Also, if people are adopting for the right reasons, they know that most of the time it is not going to be a quick or easy journey to have a child in their home. What they are even more aware of is the fact that they are going to have to prepare to deal with a lot of hurt and extreme transitions once the child is home. Adoption and foster care training is very in your face and brutally honest. It sends many people running from the process, so if someone is adopting they know the reality of what is ahead of them.

I am not trying to say that it is certain our family will face terrible and scary things because we are adopting. We are praying for smooth transitions for sure, but we are also educating ourselves and are using wisdom to prepare for the worst because every adoption story comes from a place of loss and hurt.

Like anything in life, people who are going through trying and scary situations need encouragement not warnings. So whether your friend is facing a life threatening illness or making a big decision in their career, think about stories that would encourage and build them up. They have already played all the worst case scenarios out on their own. If you don't have an encouraging story then you probably should opt to not share one.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

This Blog is Back in Session

Well, I did it! Let me change that.... WE DID IT! I would not have made it through this program without my supportive friends and family and my amazing husband!

Although a lot of things were put on the back burner (this blog being one), I am ready to once again start writing about our adoption journey. There has been a lot of things happening and I have a lot of thoughts to share. I am excited to start writing again.

I am so happy I did this before Baby Woodson arrived because I am not sure if I would have been able to do it with a baby.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in a Jar

Like many years, 2014 has been filled with ups and downs. We have experienced pain, strength, sorrow, joy, excitement, and many other emotions.

This year, Jeffrey and I decided to keep a jar of Blessings, Answered Prayers, Can't Forget Moments, and Anything Else Worth Remembering. We kept our jar (a large mason jar with a cute sticky note describing what the jar is for) on the corner of our fireplace, so we would see it daily, and we and everyone in our home could watch it grow. We have found in past years that difficult times such as the ending of this year, we easily forgot some of the great moments that had happened because they were overshadowed by something devastating and negative. We knew we wanted to end looking at 2014 on a positive note whether it felt positive or not. Unfortunately, this hasn't been an ending we would really want to remember, but thankfully we have many reminders that these last few weeks are not the summary of the year as a whole. Today, we pulled out our strips of paper and read what 2014 looked like for our family in quick snapshots from our jar. Here are some of the things that made it in the jar for 2014 in no particular order:
  • Boating and Fishing with Dad and Leah
  • CJ mowed our lawn! 
  • Raised close to $3,500 at our trivia night!
  • Ethiopian Government NOT CLOSING!
  • Sunday afternoons at mom and dad's-Free food, relaxing, and family time
  • Attended the Empower to Connect Conference for adopting parents
  • WHAT A GREAT WEEKEND- Pappy's with Brent and Erica, WinterJam, Movies (Bookthief), Dinner with Gary and Meghan, Dinner with CJ and Myrah
  • Awesome 4th of July-Movies, BBQ, Fireworks, Friends and Family
  • Jeffrey got a snow day with me! January 6th!
  • The release of Citilights first EP "We are Citilights"
  • I did it! I hit my reading goal for 2014! 25 books in one year!
  • Camping in our living room for 2 weeks due to a bed malfunction
  • Cards game with family (Dad's 1st game in the "new" stadium)
  • Celebrated Eric and Leah's birthday at Ruiz
  • Bonfire with friends
  • Leah surprised me with STARBUCKS!
  • Celebrated Mother's Day with both our moms. So glad we can spend time with both our families at the same time!
  • Rachel had a dream of us in Ethiopia and we met our baby. I believe it was confirmation that we are still doing the right thing.
  • Attending the Deeper Unconference with my dad in Texas
  • Fun Drive-in date with Pete and Camilla from Norway! Getting to know Camilla!
  • Rach's birthday at Hendrick's
  • Awesome time at our 1st Blues game! Mary gave us tickets with Amazing seats!
  • Rainy Date at the Muny, but Jeffrey made it in time from the airport
  • Celebrated 6 Years of Marriage!
  • Reminded of our awesome support system through Jeffrey's sickle cell crisis
  • Mom helped me redo the countertops in the kitchen. They look so much better!
  • I somehow pulled out an A in my grad class this semester

These are just some of the items that were in our 2014 jar. They may not seem big or too exciting for you, but they were worth something to us since we took the time and put them in our jar. Sometimes it is easy to just focus on the huge, the dramatic, and the life changing, but going back and looking at the things that made you smile and made your day, can give you a better picture of the year as a whole.

After looking over our list, I can easily and confidently say that despite our challenges and disappointments, we are blessed people and have much to be thankful for in 2014! We pray that as 2015 approaches we will have many more jar worthy moments. We pray the same for you and your family as well!

May 2015 be a year of laughter, prosperity, and adventure!