Glory Be! She's FREE! We have a new Daughter!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Celebrating Ethiopian New Year 2009

This morning, I dressed Berhanesh in one of her beautiful Ethiopian dresses and headed out to celebrate New Years!  Berhanesh was beyond excited when she saw her dress.  She kept saying, "have, have..."  She spun around while saying, "pretty, pretty."  BE STILL MY HEART!!! September 11 marks the start of a New Year in Ethiopia.  While we are in the year 2009, Ethiopia is beginning the year 2002.

We went to the store and picked up some flowers and delivered them to some family while wishing them a "Happy New Year."  Berhanesh received some coins in return.  We had so much fun! 
Tonight, we will have our family over for dinner to help continue the celebration.   I am excited to be able to celebrate this joyous occasion with our princess.   In the joy of today, I am reminded of how lucky we are to have this child with us.  Sometimes it is hard to believe she is really here.   In continuing the beginning of a new tradition in our home, we will light a candle in honor of Berhanesh's birth family.  We know some have gone on before us...some remain in Ethiopia.   It is our desire to honor her family, wherever they may be. 

"Dear Father,  thank you for such a special day!  We are thrilled to share with Berhanesh some of the culture from her birth land.  I look at Berhanesh and I see a glimpse of who you are.   We are honored to play a small part in B's journey.  Thank you for choosing us!  I ask Lord that you be with B's family in Ethiopia today.  Provide, protect, heal and minister to her family in only the way you can.  I pray they are given the opportunity to know about your son, Jesus.  You are awesome!  I love you.  Amen."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

We have a shopper!

Berhanesh loves Kroger! She loves the coffee and getting to push (actually, run into things) her little basket around!





Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A few of my favorites!

This girl loves, loves, loves BUBBLES or "baba-o-tete" as she refers to them! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Coming full circle

We have been home from Ethiopia for a little over 5 weeks now.  I have written and erased THIS post about 10 times.  I am not sure how to put to paper what is in my heart.   Please be patient with me as I attempt to convey my heart feelings.  I feel if this is something I need to do, for me.    This is rather long...make sure you have enough time!

Just a little history...

Tulio and I were raised in the same churches (same denomination, different churches) for over 15 years each, respectfully.  We were presented with missions and foreign missionaries our entire life.  I remember being a little girl, wearing an asian dress and attending a mission conference.  I vividly recall standing at the Ghana, West Africa table gawking at the different types of food that were presented for our sampling.  My sister and I, among our friends, would nudge each other in a dare over who would try "THAT"first.   I remember sitting in "big church," hearing Mark Buntain preach about the children of Calcutta, India.  Wow!  He was a great man! As a little girl, I dreamed of being a missionary or a pastor's wife.  

Tulio and I met though church.  I knew Tulio wanted to be a pastor, which just thrilled me.  We married young, so in love and so naive.  Tulio graduated from seminary and we began our ministry career.  We served as full time associate pastors (mainly serving children and youth) for over 9 years, followed by a year from hell as Tulio was a hospital chaplain.   Tulio was an ordained minister for a very long time.   Through a series of bad, rough, heart crushing experiences we left full time pastoral ministry.  We were broken and severely bruised.   We did not attend church. At all. For a very long time.  We left our denomination and felt homeless.  Everything we had ever known,  people we thought were friends, it was all gone.   

We begin attending a very large church, one that we could hide in.  We did not tell a soul our previous ministerial experience, for fear of being asked to serve.  Tulio begin a career as a public school teacher and it was our GOAL to forget what had happened over the last decade of our lives.  

Very, very slowly...we began to heal.   The bondage and bitterness that had held us hostage begin to fall away.  Letters were written to previous minsters, asking for forgiveness of grudges they were not even aware of.   We begin to feel free.   To feel whole and healed.  A wise woman, my mom, often told me and still reminds me that all those years were not in vain, that God will use them to His benefit and for His glory.

Tulio and I both felt lead to adopt a child several years ago but a number of things kept us sitting on the sidelines.  So many different excuses to not obey what we felt called to do.   Our pastor, Kerry Shook, did a series at church (which is now a best selling book), entitled, "One month to Live:  Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life."  This was the fire we needed.  We did not want to look back over our lives and REGRET obeying God's commandment for our family.  We began the adoption process the same month Pastor Kerry's book was released, February 2008.

Tulio found a career that he loves and has been very successful in pharmaceutical sales.  We still attend "the" large church, not so much in hiding anymore.  We have opened up ourselves and have begin to offer our experience through both ministry and adoption to whatever God has for us.   

When Tulio and I begin this adoption journey so long ago, we weren't really sure where it would take us.   Yes, we knew we would bring home a child, a girl.  That, we were certain of.   We came to find out, rather quickly, that in the adoption world, certainty is NOT common.   Ups and downs are just part of the process.  Trust in God (or rather a poor attempt) became "the way", the only certain thing we KNEW we could hold onto.  The feelings and emotions that we both thought we were healed from, resurfaced during this process.  We were shocked to realize that we both knew NOTHING of true trust.  Something we both taught others, yet we we never truly lived. Super humbling!  God knew the plans He had for us.  He knew that we needed to be refined and reminded that He is our all in all.   We lived and breathed Jeremiah 29:11.

As most of you know by now, I am a planner.  Control Freak. Really.  In my mind, I had these perfect moments of when we were to meet our daughter for the first time.  I had the perfect outfit picked out.  I just KNEW she would instantly love us and not get the picture.  About two weeks before our travels, I was praying for our trip and for B' s little heart and I felt the Lord tell me to lay all my plans aside.  Would I trust Him and be open to all He has planned for Tulio and I to receive.  Was He not the one in control?  Would He not orchestrate the perfect meeting day for us?  Was I allowing Him to fully be in control?  I quickly and humbly apologized and asked my creator to take over.  Looking back, I am so thankful that I listened and obey the Lord.  Tulio and I did experience more than we could have ever planned on our own.  Sure, we had some tough times, but in those dark moments, I just remembered Jesus asking me to love and feel the way He would.  Removing myself is the only way I survived our trip.  

I really, really believed that once we had Berhanesh home that our story would be finished.  Little did I know, it was really just the beginning.  When you embark on a journey such as ours, returning home is filled with many mixed emotions.  How do you live among the people of a 3rd world country and not be moved?  How do you come home and live your life the same?  Tulio and I honestly miss Ethiopia.  We miss the smells and the culture, the people, the children.   We saw first hand extreme poverty and we will never be the same.   The faces of the street children haunt Tulio at night.   I have seen a burning, exciting passion return to my sweet husband.   Something I thought was lost forever.   

Would you join us in prayer?  Pray for God's direction in our family.  

We will keep you posted.


***I promise some new photos this week!***