Thursday, December 27, 2012

When we saw his face...

We always knew... in fact, while we were adopting Malakai Aweke we really thought God had 2 Ethiopian children for us.. but HE made it clear that our 2nd Ethiopian child was not yet ready. Well, now we know why!

Shortly after we returned home with Malakai, we found out that we were pregnant with our sweet Finley girl. A few months later, while pregnant, we suddenly felt this sense of urgency, that we definitely had another child in ET. What are we to do, we asked the Lord? We are pregnant! HE was so clear that just because we were pregnant did not mean that we could not ALSO adopt... His ways are higher than ours... He made it clear that this was not a choice, an either or, this was our children after all.

We found an {amazing} agency that would work with us while pregnant, updated our home study, got to work on our dossier, and soon got a call that IL would not approve our home study until Finley was born. So, we continued to gather our dossier and waiting impatiently for our little girl! And what a sweet, joyful, smiley baby she is!

Finley Eden was born in March and about a week later a social worker was at our home, updated our home study, and we got it back 2 weeks later... our dossier was ready and on its way to our agency, who told us it would be a long wait, even for special needs children.

We moved to Guatemala in June and in the midst of the biggest transition of our lives, the voice of the Lord clearly said, "be still..." He made it clear that it was not HIS timing, and that we needed to wait.

I'll be TOTALLY transparent at this point... we both knew... Dan faced it and submitted to the Lord... I, on the other hand stalled... wrestled... cried... questioned... and was frustrated! Why the sense of urgency that we had Lord? The money? The time? Why... why... why my heart cried!

The agency emailed several times... "what are your plans", they would ask... usually I would say something to stall...

something in my OWN plans to delay what I knew the Lord was saying... 
something to delay my heartache... 
something to delay surrendering to the ONE who knit me in my mother's womb... 
the ONE who knows each and every hair on my head... 
and KNOWS the desires of my heart! 

Finally, October came and the agency needed an answer. Our documents would expire in a few short months and they needed to know how to proceed. So, we sat here at this computer... Dan had his arms around me as I cried painful tears feeling so confused and wrote the dreaded email. We must wait... I cried... I reluctantly hit send... curled up in a ball... and cried myself to sleep. For the next few weeks, I cried a lot, cried out to God, and FINALLY after fighting for so long with all I had... I surrendered!

It was hard!
I did not understand!

A few dear friends rallied around us and prayed us through this period and really encouraged me to cling to the cross (THANK YOU sweet friends)!

As the weeks passed, we prayed for clarity. Maybe it wasn't time... maybe it would be Guatemala instead of Ethiopia, since after all, we live here... maybe it was the ministry we are leading... the children's home we are starting... I just needed some clarity, I felt.

Many weeks passed and I could finally talk about what the Lord was teaching me about His perfect plan without losing it! There was healing, in the name of Jesus and it felt oh, so sweet!

We went on with life as normal... Jesus, family, ministry, Spanish, friends, nothing seemed to stand still when I wanted it to. Time has been flying at lightning speed!

Then, on December 10th we saw his sweet face. We had REALLY stayed off anything and everything related to adoption to let our hearts heal... no blogs, no agency sites, and NO waiting children lists... does your heart stop when you see those faces... oh, I seriously can't take it!

On Dec 10th, I had looked at our previous agency's (All God's Children) page on facebook to catch up with a friend we thought would be traveling soon when another friend that traveled with us posted about a sweet little boy, about 6 mo in age, with some special needs. I immediately saw those eyes... and SUNK into them... the world seemed to stop for what seemed like hours...

I was lost in those BEAUTIFUL, deep brown eyes... 
I studied every curl on his little head... 
every little chubby finger... 
every stain on his dirty clothes... 
and I wondered... 
could he be ours? 

Malakai woke up from his nap and I showed him this sweet boys photo and shared with him that little "I" needed a mommy and daddy. We paused and prayed for him and agreed that we would pray for him each day.

I waited for Dan to return home and calmly {ha!} shared with him and asked if we could inquire. Like the amazing man that he is, he was trying to guard my heart and agreed to inquire but wanted me to be careful with my emotions.

The agency (IAG) responded quickly with some information on his special needs and a few additional photos. They stated that a few others had expressed interest, but none had decided to move forward yet.

We prayed. 
We prayed. 
And we prayed some more. 
Malakai asked about him non-stop... and we prayed as a family for him non-stop. 

After a couple days of praying, staring at his photo, and receiving more information on his special needs, we decided to ask more questions. We soon realized that we needed an international pediatrician to review his info. It was at that moment, as we searched for the contact info for our old intl peds that the Lord clearly spoke to our hearts saying, "It doesn't matter... he's yours"... and we knew. Regardless of what the doctor would respond with, we would fight for him and bring him home... no matter what it took.

You see, Jesus fought for you and I in this same way... with his LIFE. THAT, my friends, is why we do this... 

We told the agency we were ready to move forward and on Thursday evening, December 13th, they called and said the words your heart longs to hear... "He's yours"...... oh how we rejoiced! Since a friend had generously given for us to fly to IL for Christmas, we waited to tell our families until we got home on Sunday... it was a SWEET time of rejoicing!

So... for some logistics and practical stuff... since many of you that we have seen in person and shared his photo with have been asking(we can't post his photo online, but if you want to come to Guatemala, we'd be GLAD to share with you!):

-Little "I" (we can't share his Ethiopian name until after court) is approximately 7 months old... YES, that is 2 mo younger than our Finley (I always prayed for twins) :)

-We will not be sharing publicly about his history as we feel that is a part of his story, for him to share one day, when he is ready.

-How does this work with living in Guatemala? It's a bit interesting, but we are working out all the details... will most likely involve a short stay in the states to and from Ethiopia both trips (YES, we have to make 2 trips, like we did for Malakai) for citizenship.

-What are his special needs and how will we care for him? Our first response to this is that he IS our son... God made that very clear... and just like we would care for any other child He calls to be ours, biological or through adoption... we will do anything and everything we can for him. Little I has some special needs that *may* require surgery to help him. He will be delayed, like most children who have spent their lives in orphanages, and will most likely need physical and occupational therapy. Although we are uncertain of some of his special needs due to the difference in medical care, his needs are not life-threatening so Ethiopia will not expedite his case, but we are being told from our international pediatrician that it would be best for these things to be addressed prior to 6 months of age... since it's too late for that, we are PRAYING like crazy that we are able to get him the care he needs and that the caregivers are doing the things suggested in the meantime.

-Do we have the care he needs in Guatemala? We are blessed to be starting a home for special needs orphans and have met and interviewed many doctors. We have been reaching out to each of them and are confident that we will be able to find doctors to work with here.

-How will we do this along with Village of Hope? You know, I have to be honest here, no matter where we were at in our lives, each time we have added a child or the Lord has called us to a new journey, I have asked this same question. However, HE is faithful... we put our faith and hope in HIM alone for ALL things. We know that have children is huge, having children with special needs is huge, and running a ministry is huge... however, we know that He will see us through this. Similar to what we did for Malakai, I will be taking a chunk of time 'off' for bonding and attachment and plan to 'wear' little I as much/as long as possible. Our family is our first ministry. period.

-When? Because we had started the process before Finley was born, our home study and dossier were already completed. Because of I's special needs, this is the only way we were able to accept him... ONLY God! Our dossier is currently on its way to Ethiopia and in the process of being translated. We are hoping to travel for our first trip 1-2 months after that... and then approximately 2-4 months later to bring him HOME forever... what a redemptive process this is... seeing a child once an orphan come into a family... it's just amazing that the Lord allows us to be a part of this!

By the way - If anyone has recommendations for having one baby on your back and one on your front, I'd love to hear them.... and recommendations for strengthening my back in the meantime as well... little man is a chunker! :) haha!

NOW... for the MOST IMPORTANT part... would you please pray with us for sweet I? We are naming him Titus Charles *I* Ucherek... oh how we love this sweet boy!

PRAYER requests: 
-Please pray for I's health. That we can find another doctor to assess him and care for him.
-Pray for a smooth process. He really needs his medical needs cared for as soon as possible.
-Pray for Malakai and Finley as we prepare their hearts for a new brother... Malakai is so excited... and prepare to travel.
-Please pray for Malakai... he is really asking a lot of questions about what it means to not have a mommy and daddy and how that translates to his life in Ethiopia.
-Please pray for finances... we have been doing a LOT of fundraising for our family to move to Guatemala as well as for Village of Hope and are a bit overwhelmed by this part of the process.
-Please pray that we find the medical professionals we need quickly.
-Please pray for healthy bonding and attachment with sweet I.

OH, I almost forgot to share with you THE MOST AMAZING THING... our friends Bryan and Whitney are traveling to ET soon for their court date to bring their sweet D home... AND we just realized that he is at the SAME care center as our I. What are the chances... ONLY God! So, they are taking a care package to him for us and going to kiss those chubby little cheeks like crazy! Squeeze him tight Whit! LOVE this!

Have questions? Fire away!

We are SO thrilled for what the Lord has in store for our family...

11 comments:

  1. your such faithful people- love how god is so open in your lives- wish I had that

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  2. Fantastic news!!!!!!!! I am so happy to hear you are adopting again. I would love to help with funding. PM me your address and I will make a monetary donation.

    Sandra Klimesh Breetz

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  3. YES!!! Let the fundraising begin!!! Would LOVE to Help!! What a blessing!! Praying for ALL of you!!!

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  4. BAWLING like a crazy lady again!! Your words are so sweet and touch my heart! I thank God for your family and the inspiration you are to all those who come in contact with you! Your hearts shine the light of Jesus! We are so blessed to call you friends and we are keeping your prayer requests and little "I" close to our hearts and lifting them up to our Savior! LOVE YOU ALL!

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  5. I just love you guys and already miss you like crazy! Can't wait to see his sweet face! Will be praying for your newest addition!

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  6. So happy for you and all your blessings! Marni Bishop

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  7. So VERY excited for your family!!! What a huge blessing Titus is already to those who know him and who are waiting on him. CONGRATS!! Can't wait to hear that you are on a plane to meet him!!!

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  8. I'm so excited for you! Our girls are close in age so I'll PM you about our experiences. I know what it's like to look at that face and *know* that child is yours without a doubt. Congrats!!

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  9. Congratulations on your wonderful addition. We will pray that everything goes smoothly and that little "I" can join his new family soon. Can't wait to hear more about this Journey! Love to All

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  10. The above comment is from us. Sorry, I pushed the wrong button.

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  11. Congratulations, so excited for you Christi! Praying for I and that everything goes smoothly, can't wait to read more!

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