Friday, July 8, 2011

One Year Ago

One year ago I was walking on clouds because I was days away from meeting and holding our Brielle for the first time. I was in awe that our Sovereign Lord had chosen our 9th anniversary, July 20th, as our court date and praying it would be favorable. I was imagining what the day in and day out of life would look like with four kids, one of them being Ethiopian American. I was wondering how our life would change and how much richer it would be. I was thinking about the culmination of years of paperwork and waiting coming to its climax.

Today, and every day, I praise the Lord when I hear that sweet little voice calling "Mommy!" I smile with delight at her happy demeanor and energetic voice. I am thankful that she's growing like a weed and talking up a storm. I am overwhelmed at the grace of God daily when I see her play and dance, eat and drink, and walk around continuously in someone else's shoes or her flip-flops which she pronounces "eesops". She is such a gift and the labor that it took to bring her home makes her nearness all the more precious. This year has gone by faster than I ever imagined and my thankfulness for her life and adoption has only increased day by day.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Brielle is 2!

Brielle turned 2 on Feb 2nd! She was full of excitement at her princess birthday. She shrieks with delight when she is excited about something, and the house was full of exclamation that day. Our girl is growing too! We just took her to her 2 year old check up and she has caught up to the 50% from the 5% she was at the time we brought her home. She is talking in sentences now and wanting to start potty training. She wants to be fully included in whatever the older kids are doing. She also loves to say her name and the names of everyone in our family. I love hearing her say over and over, "Mommy, Daddy, Sissy, Bubba, Bubby, Brielle!" Her eyes are full of sparkle and she is thriving. I could not be more thankful and full of joy, and yet her very presence is a daily reminder of those across the nation and world who do not yet have a family to call their own. I find myself weeping in prayer often over those children even as I laugh with our beloved one. We are still battling both ringworm and impetigo, but these are minor things (though they are so contagious and persistent they are hard to conquer). As I now have two 2 year olds and am homeschooling my 2nd grader and preschooler I feel like when I wake up I blink and its time to go to bed. I am trying to capture these moments with the camera of my heart though as I know one day I'll say that it felt like I blinked and they were all grown up. What an honor it is to be "mommy" to so many precious ones!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Our Adoption Testimony for Show Hope

We finally sent in our adoption testimony to Show Hope for the wonderful blessing of the grant they gave us that helped fund our adoption. We wanted to share it here on our blog as well. We also just celebrated our first American Christmas and Ethiopian Christmas with Brielle. She is still doing so well, and I am daily overwhelmed with thanksgiving to the Lord for the gift that he has given us in her.

Our Adoption Testimony

Just days after our engagement in December of 2000, Nathan and I began to dream about what our family might one day look like. Both coming from large families,we were excited about having lots of children. We knew that adoption would be one of the ways that the Lord would grow our family in His perfect timing. Nathan grew up with a brother adopted from Vietnam and had experienced the miracle of adoption and way it blesses all who experience it. I had traveled to Kenya and experienced the Lordʼs heart for the children there and had taken several classes at Wheaton College regarding third world issues and the plight of the worldʼs orphans. Little did we know that on July 20th 2010, our ninth wedding anniversary, and exactly ten years to the date of my trip to Kenya, we would be in Ethiopia in a little court room, having a judge pronounce that our precious Bire (Brielle) was now officially our daughter (becoming our 4th child). What an amazing anniversary gift from the Lord!

The story our daughterʼs name and the dates surrounding her adoption still

overwhelm me every time I think about them. They are a manifestation of the intimate

knowledge and perfect love and leadership of the Lord over each of our lives even in

the midst of devastating circumstances. The beauty of adoption is that when there

seems to be no future and no hope, God provides a future and a hope in Himself--so

often through His Body. We felt led to begin the adoption process in January of 2009.

We spent months of research and prayer regarding the country and agency we were to

pursue. We were accepted to America Worldʼs Ethiopia program in April of 2009,

pursuing a girl 0-18 months. Shortly after we began the process, we decided on the

name Brielle for our daughter. We loved that it means “God is my strength” and began

praying for our daughter by name every day. When we we received our referral call for

a 15 month old baby girl a year later on May 20th, 2010, we were shocked when our

family coordinator began spelling her Ethiopian name B-I-R-E--pronounced “Brie”. We

were truly in awe of our God and the fact that we had been praying for our daughter

literally by name for over a year-even before she was orphaned! Our show hope grant

enabled us to accept her referral immediately. As a pastoral family with limited income,

Lordʼs provision through this ministry blessed us tremendously! When Brielle became

our daughter on our anniversary--a date chosen by the Ethiopian judge--there could not

be any greater confirmation that this was indeed the daughter God had chosen for us.

We can not wait to tell her of the love of God for her in this way as she grows up. He

truly has our days written in his book before one of them comes to be. His fingerprints

are on every single detail!

We were able to bring Brielle home on August 20th of 2010. Due to Ethiopiaʼs

two trip policy we spent about half the summer traveling and the other half packing and

unpacking. We were so thankful to finally have our whole family together! We had

been prepared in adopting a toddler for a challenging transition, but things could not

have gone more smoothly! She is one of the happiest and most delightful and engaging

little girls I have ever met! She brings daily joy to our family and all who know her. One

would never guess now that she was ever malnourished or had battled malaria multiple

times! She often looks around at all the loving faces surrounding her--family and

friends--several of whom have also been adopted and blessed by Show Hope--squints

her eyes, scrunches up her nose, puts a HUGE smile on her face and does a happy