Sunday, December 27, 2009

"The Call"- How it went down

For about 2 weeks now, we've had the feeling that our referral call could be anytime. We were really hopeful that we'd see our girls face by Christmas. Then Monday rolled around, when we woke up that morning we talked a little bit about our expectations. We kind of decided to let go of that expectation to hear anything before the holidays and just be patient for January to roll around. I'm so glad we did, it was really nice to enjoy a few days without feeling like my phone had to be on me at all times, or jumping every time it rang.

So the week went by and we relaxed. Christmas Eve was so nice with our family. We opened gifts, including many for Miss Lucy. Then, we returned to my folks on Christmas morning for our traditional big breakfast. We opened our stockings...and again, a few more surprises for Lucy. We thought about how fun it would be to put cute headbands and girly socks on her in the future. Our day went by, we were all relaxed, still wearing our new Christmas jammies (except for Matt, he has issues with wearing sweats or pj's in public).

About 2:30 my phone rang with an odd 'number withheld" showing on the ID. I figured it was one of our out of town family members calling to wish us a Merry Christmas. I was too slow, and it stopped ringing before I could answer. Immediately after, my hubby's phone rang, showing the same thing "number withheld". He answered, and calmly said,  "Hello. Merry Christmas to you, too." I figured it was my father in law or brother in law. After a minute or so, he said "OK... hey, honey, It's The Call, get the computer!"

I said, "WHAT?? You're kidding!" I really thought he was. Surely they wouldn't be calling on Christmas...Gladney was closed for the holidays and the weekend. He assured me it was THE CALL and it was real. To which I promptly replied, "I LOOK LIKE CRAP!!" I had not showered, I was still in my jammies and grubby glasses. No makeup. Greasy hair. (yes...I am that shallow to be worried about how I'd look in the pictures my mom was going to take!) I realized there was no hope of improving that, and grabbed the camera for my mom. We opened the laptop and Kristin from Gladney told us she was sending us a few emails to go over with her. It took a few attempts on her end...she was spending Christmas at her parents house and using her dad's computer to send our emails. We couldn't believe that she took the time on CHRISTMAS to call us and make it the best Christmas EVER for us.  We got the email, opened it up and saw the sweetest face ever looking back.

Kristin was busy telling us all of the details, which we only vaguely heard...we were too distracted by the beautiful girl we were looking at! We finally started paying attention to what Kristin was saying, which was that she was 4.5 months old, described by her caretakers as  "Happy, Happy!" and engaging and personable baby who is generous with wide smiles.  Kristin gave us her background story, which broke our hearts for her. We knew that our blessing would not come without heartache along with it. We knew that the reason she would be ours, would be because of tragedy in her family. No matter how much you think you're prepared for that, you just can't be.

We were beyond blessed that we got our call on Christmas Day. It was the best Christmas ever. We were so happy that our loved ones were there with us when we got the call to enjoy the moment with us. Our kids peeked over as we looked at her pictures and then quickly ran off to play with their new toys. Since then, they've gotten really excited that their sister is coming, that we have a face to love.

Hayden wanted his own copies of her photos to put in his own little book, and he's making up stories about a tiny little girl named Lucy, who came one day to a boy named Hayden's house. He is already in love with her. Jack, honestly, is a little bit oblivious. He will catch on soon enough.

We are totally smitten with our sweet girl. We are thanking the Lord for giving us such a precious gift this Christmas. We continue to pray for him to be glorified through the remainder of this process. We get asked constantly, what is next. What's the next step...unfortunately for us, we don't get to hop on a plane just yet. Our next step is waiting for a court date in Ethiopia. Gladney will shortly be submitting our files to the court system to move forward with finalizing the adoption. We expect it to be 3-4 months before we get to travel to Ethiopia to bring her home. In the mean time, we're forcing our photo books with Lucy's pictures in them on anyone who stands still long enough to see them :) I can't share them online until we have passed court, but believe me, she's so lovely!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to Us! (NOW it's the referral!!)

We can't even believe it! Several days ago, we completely let go of the expectation to get "the call" before January. But...the shock of our lives was today when Kristin from Gladney called us at 2:30 today wishing us Merry Christmas and telling us she had a referral for us!

More details to come when my brain returns to a solid state...I'm mush right now!

Quick details...she is 4.5 months old, 11.2 lbs, and healthy and described as a "happy happy baby". We are  already in love with her!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tissue Needed (no, not a referral yet!)

My sweet friend Aimee texted me this morning a quick "look up this song and listen to it".

I had wished she'd given me a tissue alert...If you have adopted a child, are waiting for a child to come home, waiting to see your child's face for the first time, or just give a hoot in general about adoption and/or orphans...get out your kleenex. Your gonna want it handy.

Matt and I dove into resurfacing the hardwood floors in Lucy to be's room this morning. I put on the ipod and asked him to turn up the song (Merry Christmas by Third Day) that Aimee told me about. About 3 seconds into the song I was crying...the UGLY cry. I'm sure you know the one...Matt asked me jokingly, "Did they write this for us?" It's a good one.

First, watch this. If you are or have been on the adoption journey, you will SO be able to relate. It's the story of how this song came to be. ( So sorry, this post will take you about 9 minutes total to watch!)

Then, watch this (this is the actual song)

Then, hug your kiddos tight, and be thankful you have them in your arms this Christmas.
We had so hoped to see little baby girls face before Christmas, but we're trying really hard to stay present with our kids and enjoy what we do have. I have thought SO much about our girl, and this song sums up my prayers perfectly. I have prayed so often these past weeks, every night when I'm trying to fall asleep but thinking of her instead.  Praying that God would be overwhelming comfort in her tiny little presence. That God would hold her close when I can't. Whisper lullabies in her ear when I can't. Love her when I can't. The beautiful thing is, he will keep doing those things, even when we have her home, but it is so comforting to know his arms are around her until we get to her. And then, he'll use our arms to love and comfort her.

Merry Christmas, and to all of you waiting for your babes and children, we are thinking so often of you and praying for a quick process for all of us to get our kiddos home into our families.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Update on Neumans...keep praying!

Update from Neumans: Claudia has A.L.L Leukemia. Prognosis is good. The expected treatment is to last 2 years with intense round of Chemo for first 30 days.  Caringbridge site will come soon. Thank you for all the prayers!!!

Please keep praying friends...they have a tough road ahead, but we have a HUGE God. And he is good, even when times are overwhelming.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Please Pray.

I was about to write a whiney post this afternoon. About what a bummer week it's been with no apparent referrals from our agency (Gladney). Just a slow week. Then, I was perusing Facebook, looking for any referral news when I spotted an urgent prayer request from a sweet friend from church and my MOM's group. Suddenly, my perspective is much clearer.

Steve and Becki Neuman have a 4 year old daughter, Claudia, who just two days ago complained of bad leg aches. When she didn't stop complaining about it, Becki took her in to the Dr. Xrays were done, blood work drawn...which led to some results the pathologist didn't like. Preliminary results are pointing towards Leukemia. They are waiting for more conclusive test results. Tonight, Becki and Claudia were called into Doernbecher Children's Hospital, to prep sweet little Claudia for a bone marrow test tomorrow.

Please, Please, lift up our friends in prayer. Steve happened to be traveling out of town this week, and is catching an early flight home tomorrow. They have two other children as well....please pray for peace, for calm hearts, and negative results. Pray for Becki, as she's in the middle of this without her hubby next to her (physically) and for Steve, as I'm sure it's so so hard to be distanced from his family right now. Pray that the Lord would fill their hearts with his words of scripture, his comfort and his love. Lord, let them have restful sleep tonight. are mighty to save. Please do it here, again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I let my baby boy stay up til 10 because he wanted to snuggle with me extra. And I let him. For him, of course, after all it was his birthday. I layed on the couch for a while an just smelled his clean little head while we cuddled. We talked about when he was a crabby baby. He reminded me that he is NOT a baby, he is a BOY. I thought about how many hours I spent snuggling him, nursing, rocking, loving. We rubbed eachothers faces.

He said, "I love you, Mama. I love you MUCH.'

"I love you MUCH MUCH" I said.

"I love you MUCH MUCH MUCH" he said.

"I love you MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH, Buddy."

I love YOU Mucha, Bucha, Crucha, Mama."

*SIGH* Perfect end to my day. Love that boy!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Jack!

My baby turns 3 tomorrow, and I am in shock. I can't believe it. It seems like just yesterday we were stuffing him into a red stocking at the hospital! (All the december babes got them!).

My sweet Jack...

I can't believe that 3 years have gone by since I first held you! From your first moments, you have been a passionate, spunky boy and now is no different! You love passionately and fiercely. Your passion also reveals itself in stubborn determination. Every day, I relish in your sweet hugs and kisses that you generiously pour out on me. We joke that you have a strong line of "crawford DNA" (mommy's side of the family!)...You remind me alot of your Grandpa. You have a very clear idea of what your opinions are, but right along with it, you have the softest heart every. Mushy Mushy love fills you up and you share it with anyone who will stand still long enough to let you hug them. Literally. Your strongest trait is that you are a lover. Each night, you come out of your room about 4 times before you finally fall asleep, telling me you need "one more hug". Daddy says I have a soft spot for you, and I think he's right. I can't resist your lovin'. I love that at the end of the day,  your biggest complaint is that we didnt' get enough snuggles. Every time  I put you to bed, you reach your hand out to my face and just rub my cheek. You reach up, grab my neck and pull my face to yours until we're cheek to cheek. And you breathe deep like it's the best part of your day...and I soak it up, it's often the best part of mine. In that moment, my day melts away. I forget the potty training woes, or the fact that you crept into my bed at 3am tickling my nose with your wispy wild curls. In our cheek to cheek minutes, all I can think about is how much I love you and how thankful I am to have such a lovin' boy.

You go a million miles an hour all day, trying to keep up with your big brother. You have a wild imagination, making up crazy stories all day long to tell me. Your spunk gets you into trouble often, like when earlier this week, you flushed your dirty undies down the toilet. There is never EVER a dull moment. I am so thankful for the laughs and the love you bring to our family. I pray that your heart and love will grow into a deep love for Jesus and others. I pray that your passion and determination will lead you to be compassionate and determined to help others. That your spunk will turn into confidence and leadership in others lives. I know that God has big big plans for you, little man. I love you so much! Hugs and kisses, Mama

Ethiopia Sponsorship Opportunity!

I am pasting this from Amy Bottomly's blog. A WONDERFUL way to make a big difference for an orphan.

Our Ethiopia online Connect Community through Children's HopeChest is making more matches for children at Ethiopia Children's Home in Addis Ababa. To review... our connect community has currently fully sponsored Kebebtsehay Orphanage, and Moses' Orphanage. We also have some kids now that we are sponsoring at Kolfe Orphanage (some of our boys moved from Kebebtsehay to Kolfe) and we are close to having Ethiopia Children's Home fully sponsored. We had it fully sponsored, but some new children have been added. SO, we have some more matches to make!

Sponsorship through Children's HopeChest is $34/ month and it is holistic and long-term. The Children's HopeChest sponsorship model addresses the following five areas of need:

Spiritual Development- Every 50 kids will have 1 discipler assigned to them. The discipler will meet with the kids weekly, and act as a mentor to them.
Physical Development- Most extreme and basic needs first: Food, Clothing, Shelter, etc.
Educational Development- Make sure that the kids make it through primary and secondary school as well as Trade School or University.
Medical/Dental Needs
Emotional Needs- Counseling needs for any abandonment issues, etc.

Children's HopeChest will also offer Life Skills training to the children. Teaching them how to live independently as some of them age out of orphan care.

To read more about sponsorship through Children's HopeChest please click here. To read more about Ethiopia Children's Home please click here.

One of our sponsors, Lindsey, recently received a letter from her sponsor child. She blogged about it right here. Read her post. It is so sweet.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crazy Dreams and Bah Humbug.*edited*

*new note!* Another infant referral today!!*

Today, I woke up at 6 am from a dream about our girl. I have dreamed about a generic baby before, but never seen a sweet girly face. Today I did...and it was SO sweet. I was snuggling her in a baby sling "bonding" with her, and she was smiling and cooing at me with big brown eyes.

I had a hard time falling back to sleep (but I did :). I just layed in bed with this real sense that Lord was telling me to get ready. We are close. So I prayed. Prayed for our girl, prayed for her family. It brings tears to my eyes to think that thier goodbyes are probably so fresh right now. That their grief will bring us joy. That another families sorrow or tragedy will bring a daughter to our family. It's SO hard to wrap my head around some days. While we're so ready to have and love her, it is just a very sad and broken world that brings adoptions about...there is just no way around that.

I have had a hard time shifting into Christmas mode. I usually LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas. I love giving gifts, I love talking to my kids about Jesus birthday and the reason why we celebrate. Love hunting Christmas Trees, love making cookies. I am a lover of family traditions and Christmas is full of them. But I keep hearing myself say last Christmas that "hopefully we'll have her home with us next Christmas". That was a dumb thing to say. Adoptions are so unpredictable in a timeline sense. We completely trust and believe it's God's timing. We absolutely dont' want anything BUT that. I know some of you don't share that belief, but it  is THE reason we are in this thing. For some reason my heart is reluctant to dive into the festivities without our girl. I'm so hoping we'll see her face by Christmas.

I actually thought this morning, "I should do my hair this morning, just in case we get "the call". I want to look decent for pictures". Silly, right? It could happen at this point. Matt and I went over our plan for when we get "the call" last night. I text him first. If he doesn't respond, I call the school secretary to track him down. Then we'll meet at my parents house (right by the school) to call our caseworker together and be in front of the computer to see that sweet face together with my folks and our boys.

So, now, we just need THE CALL. I'm ready.

ps...there was actually 2 families yesterday with referrals, one with siblings who was below us on the list, and one beautiful 2 month baby girl! Yahoo! Congrats Andrews and Bottomlys!
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