Friday, July 26, 2013

The Rainy Season

Our adoption agency sends us a weekly update about Ethiopia and the adoption process. I haven't ever posted their weekly update to our blog, but I thought this week was one you would all be interested. I have discussed the rainy season with many of you, and thought you would like to read more. I did edit the weekly update a little, but most of it is pure copy and paste.

Ethiopia’s Rainy Season
There are three seasons in Ethiopia. From September to February is the long dry season known as the bega; this is followed by a short rainy season, the belg, in March and April. May is a hot and dry month preceding the long rainy season, kremt, in June, July, and August. Total annual precipitation varies from 20 to 40 inches (500 to 1,000 mm).
Source: Britannica Online 

During the rainy season, many roads are impassable until dryer weather. This makes it difficult for Ethiopian court staff to get to the court, and more difficult in general to travel around Ethiopia. In the capital of Addis Ababa many side streets aren’t paved and get very muddy and problematic to travel on. This is the case to a greater degree outside the city of Addis.

With the rainy season approaching in Ethiopia, we expect the courts to close as they typically do each year. The court is scheduled to close from August 6th until October.  We do not know yet the exact date court will open again. It is generally a date early in October.

During closure, no court dates will be held or issued. Please keep in mind that the court closure does not affect the Embassy process.  The Embassy remains open during court closure and families are still able to travel for their Embassy appointment. It is also the case that referrals are still issued during court closure.  Families who receive referrals during the closure will receive court dates when the court opens again in October.


THE FIRST BIRTHDAY

I feel like a lot of my post lately have been more of updates than anything, and although I want to keep you all informed, I also want to write more. I intended to write this post actually a while ago, but I wasn't really exactly sure what I wanted to say. This week, I was talking to my friend, Steph, about this topic, and I decided to just go for it.........

"Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you"
"They say it's your birthday!"
"A Happy Birthday to You! A Happy Birthday to you!"

There are many renditions of the birthday song. Some families I know even have their own special versions or traditions that go along with birthdays. Right around my birthday, I was receiving cards, text messages, Facebook posts, etc, and I started to think how birthdays are such a huge deal here in the United States. There are even special birthdays that are even a bigger deal than others. Jeffrey and I have been so blessed to be a part of many first birthday celebrations. We are at the age where many of our friends have babies or are having babies, and we are so blessed to celebrate with them the first year of life.

As an adoptive mommy, I have come to the realization that I am going to miss many first. The first cry, the first coo, the first smile, the first feeding, the first diaper blowout (maybe I'm okay with missing that one-JUST KIDDING), the first bath-okay I think you get it. I did not however think I would miss the first birthday. This is something that I have really been looking forward to. Since Jeffrey and I are adopting an infant, I assumed that we would still be able to have the big first birthday celebration. You know the one with the little cake and the messy baby. I am not trying to be super negative here, but trends that I am seeing are telling me that there is a huge possibility that even though we may meet our baby before he/she is one, we may not bring them home till after.

Last month, I just couldn't shake this. I was lying in bed the day before my birthday and just sobbing. Jeffrey maybe assumed I was freaked about being another year older, but still of course asked what was wrong. I told him how I had been thinking about birthdays, and I was doing the math with the current adoption trends in Ethiopia. I was literally a mess that night thinking about our baby's first birthday. Sure, I know that we could celebrate afterwards if we really wanted to, but that is so not even the point. The point is my baby is special and loved, and it breaks my heart so incredibly much to think that there could possibly be no cake, no songs, no presents, and no mommy and daddy on his/her special day.

Lately, I have really had peace about waiting and just trusting that the right baby will be matched with us at the right time, but there are little things that I never even thought about that totally hit me. This time the little or not so little thing was a birthday. As I sobbed in bed, I knew at that moment that I would give up anything to celebrate my baby's birthday with him/her.  This adoption is really revealing many things to us, and one of those being God's love. I know that my love for Baby W doesn't anywhere compare to His love for me or for Baby W, but as a mommy I am learning how a parent gives everything because of love.

I tried to tell myself that it is just one birthday out of many. Maybe I was overreacting. But when I started to think about first birthdays and who deserved to be celebrated I couldn't think of anyone more deserving. ( I KNOW....Of course any mom would say that about their child, and I never want to be that mom that thinks my kid deserves everything and is perfect or more deserving than anyone else's) However, living in a country where AIDS, poverty, and Malaria are so prevalent, and many babies don't see their first birthday, I feel like yes, this child deserves to celebrate life.

Many people constantly tell me that I don't know and that things can change. Though I don't want to be labeled the pessimistic mother, I also need to be very real with myself and not set myself up for more heartache. Some of you may call this not having faith, but I absolutely have faith and I am trusting that all will go according to the way it is supposed to. I know that it is so out of my control, and like I said I really do have peace. Some days are just harder than others. If we happen to know Baby W's birthday and not be there, we will of course send presents and try to do something special here. I will of course pray that Baby W feels loved and extra special on that day. I know that Baby W will be okay because even if his/her mommy and daddy won't be there, Jesus will.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Fundraisers

We want to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Myrah Whittington and Teresa Fehrenz! These two ladies both approached us about doing fundraisers for our adoption. Thanks to all their hard work, we raised almost $900 this summer.

Teresa held a 31 Party  for us, and she so kindly held it at her home even though she was undergoing a big home improvement project. She was a wonderful host with great snacks including my favorite Eckerts chips and salsa =) People were able to make orders online which made it nice for those who were not able to come to her house. This was her first party ever, and I think it was a great success! Baby Woodson was also able to get a diaper bag from the party which was nice even though daddy wants to use it as a camera bag. She also donated one of the 31 bags for the raffle at the Zumbathon and worked the raffle table. Teresa has gone far beyond anything we could ever ask for; we have been so blessed by her and can't wait for Baby W to meet her!

Myrah held a Zumbathon at Spin City Skate Center and did an amazing job. Not only did she choreograph 20 something dances, she found other Zumba instructors to come and help lead, she got the skating rink for us for free, and she promoted it like crazy. Thank you so much for taking so much for your little free time and investing it in our family, Myrah. Baby W is blessed to have you in his/her life.

There are also others who helped with these fundraisers- Aunt Leah and Uncle Jon came on Jon's birthday to collect tickets and also purchased some of the items in the raffle bag, Jose' Alvarez killed it as the DJ and also helped us carry some extremely heavy risers for the stage, Grandpa Woodson helped us haul the risers back, Sarah Goins and Tara Davis did an amazing job leading some of the dances, and Myrah's family helped do other things at the skating rink. Thank you to Spin City Skating Center for allowing us to use their venue. THANK YOU TO YOU ALL!

We wanted to acknowledge everything they did for us, and we pray that they are all extremely blessed for blessing us. We are so thankful to have people in our lives who see our vision and our purpose behind this adoption.

WE ALSO WANT TO GIVE A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO PARTICIPATED IN THESE EVENTS! Without you, these events would not have been successful. We are excited about some upcoming fundraisers. More details to follow in upcoming post.

Teresa at the raffle table
Part of the group during Zumba
Aunt Leah and Uncle Jon at the ticket table
DJ Jose'
Please continue to pray for our finances regarding this adoption. Thank you again for all your support. We love you.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Grant Writing

Today, Jeffrey and I submitted the online portion of an adoption grant. We are hoping that the letter we need from our adoption agency will be in the mail today, so we can mail out the paper portion of the grant.

We know that God is going to provide for this adoption, but we also know that we must be active and do everything we can to help the cause. ShowHope is an organization that gives out grants to families who are in the middle of the adoption process. We had to wait till all our paperwork (homestudy) was finalized, and we have to apply before we are matched with a child. There are several deadlines for the grant, but we thought we would write the grant over the summer since I have a little more time. You can only apply for the grant once, so we will either be accepted or denied. They have to deny people due to the fact that there is a large number of applications and not enough funds.

Please pray that our application will be selected. Every little bit of help we can get is huge! Right now, we still have quite a bit to go in having our adoption fully funded. Please also pray that the money will come. We know that this is the way we are supposed to expand our family. This would be a huge help. They give grants of all different amounts, but I think the highest is around $4,000.

The deadline that we are applying for is August 31st. We won't know for a few weeks after that. Please pray for a good letter!