Why Was He Placed For Adoption?

Sometimes, people have a negative and misguided view of the circumstances that brought a child to adoption. The common thought is that his birth mother must've been some teenage girl who ended up pregnant through her promiscuity and couldn't take care of the baby, or didn't want to. There are cases, yes, when the birth parents were too young to be parents. But all too often there is a negative view of the child's birth mother that is formed by nothing but stereotypes and egocentric thinking. The devastation in Ethiopia, and other places alike, is an awful thing. These women do not want to place their babies for adoption. They do not want to see them grow up without them. If you have carried and delivered a baby in your own womb, imagine the devastation of knowing you cannot properly feed him and that he might die if he stays with you. What a heart wrenching thing. There are many reasons birth parents are unable to raise a child, and these reasons vary from family to family and country to country. In Ethiopia there is great famine that takes place. Families and children are without food and proper medical care. Children die every day from starvation and treatable illnesses. Just imagine the love it would take, to carry a baby for 9 months and to your devastation not be able to provide for their basic needs, and you choose to place your child for adoption so that your child will be well taken care of and have a better life. When birth parents do this, they have performed the most difficult and purest act of love there is. Often times, the birth parents have died due to the same causes... famine, illness, lack of proper care. So if you think of it, say a prayer for our son's birth parents and all the other birth parents of the many orphaned children in Africa. Ask God to minister to them emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Ask God to bring someone into their life so that they can meet Jesus!

Prayers For Our Son

Dear Heavenly Father,
Wow...this whole process has gripped our hearts in a way we cannot describe. We love this little baby, who probably isn’t even born yet, so incredibly much! This baby, this little boy, across the world, probably in his birth mother’s belly, is ours. He will be ours and we already love him more than life. Please protect him Father. Be with his birth mother and father. Please provide for them physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Please give his birth mother good health and nutrition while carrying this precious life, so that he may born vibrant and healthy. Please also provide care for her during and after the pregnancy. Encourage her spirit, and please send someone to share Jesus with her. Our hearts are heavy over the circumstances that will ultimately end with his adoption. Although we are incredibly thankful, excited, and blessed to call him our own, we grieve for the loss of his birth family and we grieve for the heart of his birth mother. Protect them Lord. Be gracious to them, bless them for the gift of life they are bringing into the world.


Who Are His "Real" Parents?

" Our son will have two sets of parents: his birth parents, and us, his adoptive parents. They're both real. We refer to the mom and dad who gave birth to him as his birth parents, not his 'real parents' or 'natural parents.' We, as his adoptive parents, are every bit as real and natural as those who gave birth to him. We will be his real parents by adoption. We will provide for him, love him, talk to him, hug and kiss him, play with him, read him bedtime stories, keep him safe, take care of him when he's sick, teach him about Jesus and about life. We will be his real parents every bit as he is our real son. He will be a permanent and important part of our family. We are very proud of his heritage and how our family will be formed. "

Talking and Dreaming Over a Stack of Papers!

We are well on our way to finishing the dossier! We move quick! We spent HOURS today organizing paperwork and getting things ready to be sent. I go through paperwork like a crazy person! It's the strangest and coolest feeling knowing this last major step is upon us, before the long waiting period! At least now I feel like we're "doing something," whereas in a short time, we'll feel like we're "doing nothing." Jon and I had such a sweet time together tonight. I imagine parents who are experiencing the arrival of a biological child, talk and dream over a pregnant belly, but we talked and dreamed tonight over a stack of papers! We talked about what kind of person we pray our son becomes... a strong man, a courageous man, a protector. We laughed and talked about the dreams and goals we have as a family. We talked about the values we want to instill in our son and our other future children, how we want to teach them to love Jesus, and how we want to raise them to be confident in exactly how God has crafted them. We know the road of parenthood is not easy, is unpredictable, and has lots of ups and downs. But we are so ready to embark on this journey with Jesus Christ as our guide. (Plus all those friends of ours who are raising toddlers and pre-teens that we tell we will be calling to find out what the heck we're supposed to be doing). We also listened to a very inspiring, yet challening message by Mark Driscoll on Educating Children from his Proverbs series. We highly recommend! It has GREAT insights!

You can pray with us for all this paperwork! Our homestudy will not be completed till my last physical exam is done, which isn't until October 27th (our doctor is away this week). So praise God we can start on the dossier in the meantime. (The homestudy is the largest part of the dossier). Pray that all the paperwork comes back written and notarized correctly and that there are no hang-ups in the offices. Thanks again friends, for your support!

On a completely random note: Does anyone know how to get or create stick figure clip-art that can be used on a t-shirt?

Dossier Packet Arrived!

WAHOO!!!! Our dossier packet came today! I'll write more later, I'm going to dive right in! (rachael)

BTW, Dossier is pronounced DOS-EE-EY!!! (jon)


Origins of Coffee

“I’m not addicted. I could quit any day,” said my college roommate while sipping a cup of the magical hot elixir. Many have echoed those words. You’re possibly one of them. Fortunately, I am not! Although, everybody who’s said the aforementioned words would say there’s nothing fortunate about my addiction-free lifestyle! From images of Juan Valdez, to tunes of Folgers being the “best part of waking up,” we are just one among many nations known for our lack of insipid (yes, intended) desire for coffee. We are a nation of coffee addic…I mean we just really like the stuff.

The U.S. coffee market grosses nearly $18 billion annually. (I bet if coffee execs issued “sub-prime” cups of coffee, we’d have a bigger problem than a $700 billion bailout...bloodshot eyes, students missing exams, really bad hangovers, people killing each other at work, and ultimately…rioting that makes L.A. in ‘92 look like child’s play!). Americans also complain about the cost of gasoline, but will pay for a few ounces of something that costs much more. If we pumped coffee at the station, most certainly there’d be riots with a charge of approximately $32 per gallon!

So where does this costly fluid flow from? What are the origins of these TDF (to-die-for) beans? The legend is as follows:
Once upon a time in Ethiopia, there was a staid goat-herder named Kaldi who herded equally staid goats. One evening, the goat-herder was surprised to discover that his goats had failed to return to their stable. He went out into the night to look for them. His surprise was significantly intensified when he finally came upon his herd: his goats were gathered together and appeared to be dancing vigorously in the moonlight.

Perplexed, the goat herder discovered that they were munching on the red berries of a dark leaved shrub. He concluded that this was the cause for their energetic movements. By this time, the goat herder was quite hungry himself, and a fair bit sleepy. Perhaps because this, he decided to throw caution to the wind, and joined his goats in eating the mysterious fruit.

Sometime later, a neighbourhood monk came upon this unique group composed of goat herder and goats dancing about with unabashed glee. Coming to the same conclusion as the goat herder, the monk decided to bring back some of the berries to the monastery. Being more scientifically minded then Kaldi or his goats, he conducted various experiments on the berry before trying it out himself. Trying various preparation methods, he particularly enjoyed one combination where he would boil the roasted berries, leaving behind a steaming brew. After a few sips, the monk found that he could now pray long into the night without getting drowsy. So he spread the word about this wonderful drink across Ethiopia, and across the world.
Certain elements of this story might be embellished, but I think the basic kernel is true viz. the dancing goats part. Everything else is probably mere conjecture.

Nearly 12 million Ethiopians work on either the 300,000+ peasant owned farms or the 19,000 state owned farms. The country has a rich coffee heritage and maintains a current global prowess (2nd in Africa and 7th in the world in exports) in the coffee market.

Did you forget to wash your hands?!

Yesterday, October 15, 2008, the first ever Global Hand Washing Day (GHWD) occurred. According to one report, nearly one million Ethiopian children (plus millions elsewhere) washed their hands to initiate this simple, yet profound celebration.

Estimates say that nearly 2.6 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation, nearly half of the population in Ethiopia. The lack of sanitation impacts the affluence of disease, which often leads to death. A horrific statistic states that nearly 4 million children die annually in developing countries because of simple diahorreal diseases and pneumonia – both of which can be severely minimized by basic sanitation.

The implementation of GHWD is an attempt to impact the thinking of children in Ethiopia and other developing countries. If an entire generation of people can apply the life-saving techniques of hand washing, then thousands perhaps millions will be saved from serious illness and/or death. The little things that we take for granted!

So…did you wash your hands yesterday?! Did you wash them today?! Are you teaching your children to wash their hands tomorrow?


2nd Homestudy Visit

Wow! It's been quite a busy week and it's only Wednesday! Yesterday we had our 2nd homestudy visit and the third one is tomorrow! We met at the office again yesterday and it went well. Pretty much just talked about our family history and growing up and how we met. I spent awhile this afternoon cleaning our house and making sure it was all in place for our home visit tomorrow. Our caseworker will come to our house and make sure it's "suitable for a child," and our meeting will be about our marriage! If you think of it, please pray for us! We have a lot going on and are so tired! We're waiting for our dossier packet to get here from our agency so we can start cranking out more paperwork. I'm officially stalking the mailbox! I can't wait to have this baby home! It seems so far away, but so close in other ways. He's often in my dreams and I can't wait to actually be able to walk across the hallway and get him out of his crib and snuggle him!


Our Adoption Ticker

Our adoption ticker is counting how long we've been in the process, not how long till the baby is home (although I sure do wish it was one month till he's home!) Sorry that's so confusing. Lots of people have asked. Once we get a referral and a travel date, we will turn the ticker to a countdown to when Baby Oren will arrive home! :)


Q&A 2- Where is He From?

"When we adopt our baby boy as an American family, he is both Ethiopian and American. It's a cool thing for us to learn more about where he came from- what the land looks like there, what people eat, how they dress, and what their holidays and traditions are. It will teach us more about our world and is a good way to show our son that we are interested in where he comes from. When he gets a little older we will show him on the globe where his birth country is (and maybe one day get to take him there), we can read books and stories about his birth country, and teach him interesting facts and information about his country. We are very proud of where our boy is from and want him to be proud of it too! It's also important for us to remember that he is an American just like you and me. He's not alone in having coming from another country- all Americans arrived at some point from another country-our grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. When our families got here, they made America their country, and when we adopt our son he will also become an American. He might even feel more American than Ethiopian which is why we want to be diligent in teaching him about his heritage and teaching him to be proud of it! It's a very important part of who we each are! But the most important thing to remember is where he will be when he's with us. After all, it isn't where we were born that makes us who we are; it's where we live, with the people who love us and care for us"

Adoption Q&A- Can you not have biological children?

We thought it might be fun to post a section of common adoption questions and answers. Obviously, we are no experts on the topic, but we have been reading a lot and chatting with other adoptive families, and are very excited about the things we're learning! So we figured we'd pass it on! We hope to address some other questions that people might have in regards to our adoption but might be too afraid to ask. Once I figure out how to get this into a category on the sidebar, I'll do that (so if you know, pass on the info!) The majority of the information and ideas for the Q&A's has come from "Cross-Cultural Adoption" by Amy Coughlin and Caryn Abramowitz. Since I don't want to spend a lot of time writing this as if it were a paper for a class, I will directly put in quotes the answers that come from the book. Why re-create the wheel!

Q&A 1 - Can you not have biological children?
As far as we know, we don't have any fertility problems. I mean, we don't know since we haven't attempted to get pregnant. Our adoption is a response to what we believe about the heart of God and what we understand about the Bible and the heart of Jesus. We believe that God has a tremendous heart for the downtrodden, the broken-hearted, the helpless, the weak, the orphan, and the widow. In response to that, we take James 1:27 very seriously and practically. We cannot think of a better way to live with the heart of Jesus than to adopt, care for, and love a child who otherwise would have been cast aside. After all, isn't that a physical picture of our adoption by God into His family? Where would we be without him initiating and pursuing us?


1st Homestudy Visit

We had our first homestudy visit this past Tuesday! We met with our social worker Heather and she is really sweet! We had been communicating over email for a couple weeks before our meeting, so it was nice to put a name with a face. We have most of our documents for the homestudy completed/already sent out, so the meeting wasn't very long. The agency was really neat. The entire place was covered with pictures of children who have been adopted through them. It was really cool to see all the families that have been created by adoption! We even found the daughter of some friends of ours on the wall! Heather asked us about our reasons for adoption and we were able to share a little bit of our testimony and how after what we know about the heart of God and what we understand about the Bible, how could we not consider adoption? Then she asked really general questions about our request for a baby, like gender, age, etc. We have requested a healthy, infant boy, as young as possible. We have two more meetings next week, one at the agency and the other one at our house! Hopefully by the 4th one, all of our documents will be done and in place!

It's Official!!

With much excitement we announce that our family will soon be growing to 3!!!
James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." It's official! We are adopting! We applied to an agency called Adoption Advocates International and were accepted this week! We are soooo excited!

We have chosen to adopt from Ethiopia. It is one of the highest need countries for adoption and has over 4.8 million orphans! Boys are the highest adoption need, so we have requested a healthy, infant boy, as young as possible.

Some might wonder, "why adopt?" but for us, it's not even a question. Due to what we know about the heart of God and what we understand about what it means to truly live a life with the heart of Jesus, the decision was easy for us. The only question was simply "when?" This past June the desire to adopt grew to an overwhelming one and we could sense the Lord leading us in this direction at this time in our lives. We have been praying continually about this and WOW, I never knew I could love someone so much whom I've never met! It's crazy that we have already cried tears of love, compassion, and concern for this little baby that we don't even know yet! I have dreams of what it would be like to hold him, but I wake up and can't remember what his little face looks like. We want to be with him so bad it hurts!

So, many are asking... when? We have begun the process of a home study, then after that we have to compile a huge packet of documents called a dossier. It will take a couple months to put together the dossier. So, all in all, we are looking for our baby to join our family next summer in 2009, or early fall 2009.

We have a BIG God, a powerful God, who is in control of all things. Our very specific, huge, God sized prayer request is that we can bring our baby home in early June so that he can meet our extended family at my cousin Jenny Boulet’s wedding on June 20th. That's really pushing it time wise, and falls much shorter than the time frame we were given. But the process in Ethiopia is currently going very smoothly and plus, God is ultimately in control! Would you join us in praying for an early June travel date? We realize that even if the Lord does not grant us this request, that His timing is always best.

One of our biggest joys has been the overwhelming amount of people who are sharing in our excitement and passion. It means the world to us! We love talking adoption, so don't be shy if you have questions you want to ask. We’d love to hear from you! We love you and thank you again for your excitement as we travel on this incredible adventure!