Happy Thanksgiving! I just looove the holidays! We spent Thanksgiving with Jon's family at his aunt's house. One thing is for sure, no matter which family we are with, mine or Jon's, there is always excitement! Haha. However, I will say this holiday had a much different "feeling" to it. Jon's cousin and his wife were among the crowd with their two adorable boys Thomas and Samuel. It kind of made our hearts sink a little thinking that our son could already be born, and by himself, without a family, this Thanksgiving. We left that night, tired from a fun day with family, but longing for our baby to be home and enjoying the holidays with us. It's strange to think that he could possibly already be born right now, or still in his birth mother's womb. We are already looking forward to next year when our babe will join the family celebrations! I can't imagine how those we've met in our adoption group must feel who already have pictures of their babies and unable to get them before the holidays. We are praying for you! Soon...very soon...


Super Hard to be Patient

So I got an email from our agency today. Our dossier is complete and waiting to be assembled. They said it will probably not be assembled and sent to Ethiopia until later this week or early next week due to the holidays and people being out of the office. Although I understand that, it was still one of those moments where you feel discouraged and frustrated and the pit of waiting just grew a little deeper. Once AAI sends it, we are officially on the waiting list. It's crazy to think how that stack of documents is our life blood to Ethiopia right now and separates us and our baby boy! Oh the prayers we've prayed over that envelope! Soon....


Some Thoughts on "Race"

I'm reading a lot of books right on "race" and self perception in early childhood. Not only am I intensely interested in it due to our adoption, but I'm also writing a paper for grad. school on it. It's fascinating and has provided so many good insights. I'm reading this book called "Shattering the Myth of Race" by Dave Unander. I wanted to share some of his thoughts:
There are no individuals or people groups ANYWHERE whose existence and culture lack value, because EVERY human being is a bearer of the image of God. The hand of God molded the system of genetic diversity (Psalm 139:13-16), including those characteristics we have falsely distinguished as racial traits. Anyone who disparages the architecture disparages the Architect.
There are so many different ways to do culture. Doing culture differently is not wrong or sinful, unless it violates the Bible. God created mankind to be culture creators: to cultivate, create, and be stewards of creation. There are SO MANY amazing ways to do this. Just because it looks different, and just because it is different, doesn't mean it is inferior. Dave Unander also talks about the Bible on race:
Although a complete study of this question would require a book in and of itself, allow me to highlight several points about what the Bible says on the topic of race. First, the Bible carries a message in what is not said: There is a striking lack of physical description being almost totally absent in the New Testament. This "omission" is consistent with God's word to Samuel not to look at outward appearance, but at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). In the New Testament Jesus stressed to the Jews that God's covenant is not based on ethnic heritage. The Jewish followers of Jesus began to welcome Samaritans (Acts 8:4-6), Ethiopians (Acts 8:26-29), Italians (Acts 10:1, 47), Greeks (Acts 11:20), and eventually anyone who came to Christ as Lord (Acts 15). Scriptures final word on national and ethnic identity occurs in Revelation, which describes the vision John saw before the throne of God of "a great multitude that no one could count" (Revelation 7:9).


Date Night Meets the Adoption Process

Jon and I usually try to have a date night once a week. We try and set aside an evening where we don't do anything "life" related and hang out together. Well, ever since starting this adoption process we are saving every penny! We are looking for your ideas of cheap, fun, creative date nights! I'd love to hear what you do, or even just ideas you might have! I'll post the list later on the things Jon and I come up with too if you're interested!


Oh The Waiting Game

I drive home everyday from work hoping to open my email to a message saying our dossier is in Ethiopia! Once that happens we will be officially on the waiting list for baby Oren and then we get to stalk the waiting list and our agency and hopefully our name moves up quickly! Some online friends I met through our agency's online adoption group sent their dossier to AAI (our agency) 4 days ahead of us and they got the message last week saying they're dossier is in Ethiopia. So we're hoping that means our turn is close!

It's funny because some people still give funny "hints" such as, "Are you sure about this?" or "But what about____" (and fill the blank with pretty much anything you can think of). Some people are concerned you can't love an adopted child like a biological child, some think only infertile couples should adopt (Christians, of all people, should be pro-adoption. After all, God adopted you into His family saving you from a life of misery, and God isn't infertile), and the list goes on. It's really hard for some to understand. I wish those people could just jump into our hearts and be in our shoes for 1 minute. Then they would experience the call of God, and the heart we have for orphans and it would all make sense. As I was driving home from work today I was thinking of how confident and how sure we are of this. There are only four major events in my life that I have felt as sure as this, and the confidence and assurance in every one of them was totally and completely from God.
1. When I gave my life to Jesus.
2. When I married my husband.
3. When I walked onto my college campus my sophomore year. I knew it was exactly where I was supposed to be.
4. Our choice to adopt.

I pray that believers around the world draw so close to God and his heart that the assurance of their decisions are set in stone!


A Small Taste of Ethiopia!!

The Abyssinian Ethiopian Restaurant
Tonight we went to an Ethiopian restaurant here in Indianapolis with Jon's parents. It was really fun! We've wanted to try this place out
for awhile now. It's called the Abyssinian Restaurant run by all Ethiopians serving Ethiopian food. From what I'm told it's accurate Ethiopian food, not like "chinese" food in the States.

Jon's Parents: Magz and Dig as we affectionately call them. hehe. I love how interested and excited Jon's parents are about our adoption. We had a good time sharing what's next in our timeline and the general/common circustmances surrounding orphans in Ethiopia. It's always fun to talk about adoption and get people excited about where God has led us!

Here's the dish Jon and I had. I can't remember the names. They were hard to pronounce. The bread on the bottom is called injera and we were given a plate with rolled up injera. With Ethiopian food you don't use a fork, spoon, or knife. You rip off pieces of the injera and pick up the food with the bread and then eat it. It was quite fun! I really liked my dish. I had beef, jalapenos, onions, and berberre sauce. The injera bread has a slight sour taste. The spices were really good. Jon had lamb with a variety of spices and stuff. I'm still not quite sure if I liked the texture of the injera. It was kinda of spongy. It tasted great but the texture kind of freaked me out. I've been looking for Ethiopian recipes to try at home. I'd like to get good at a few dishes myself!

Baby Oren gets his first gift tonight from Grandma Magz! How sweet of her to bring a gift on our first visit to this Ethiopian restaurant!

Since we don't know how big or how old our baby is yet, she got him a cute little crawling ball. It moves on the floor (while ducks bobble around it) and encourages the baby to crawl after the ball. We were very excited to get our first baby gift! HOW FUN!


And It's Off!!!

Wahoo!!! It's on its way and the long waiting for Baby Oren begins! We mailed our dossier to AAI today! Wow! What a relief! We've been working like mad the last month or so putting together our life on paper, and it's finally done! No more paperwork till we find out who our precious boy is! I'm not exactly sure what happens to get our dossier from our agency to Ethiopia, so when I find out, I'll be sure to post it! Here are some pics from "delivery" day!
Here's the packet our dossier material originally came in. Our life revolved around the contents of this little blue folder. So glad this part is done!!

Here's Macy with the dossier! She can't wait to get a baby brother from Ethiopia! :)

And Macy again... looking so "astute" and proud to be getting a brother from Ethiopia! Haha.


Adoption Do's and Don'ts

Here's a new section we're hoping to add to as we go through this adoption process. This section, like the Adoption Q&A was borrowed from "Cross-Cultural Adoption" by Amy Coughlin and Caryn Abramowitz. When quoted from the book, it'll be in quotation marks.

Adoption Do's and Don'ts
DO treat him like any other kid.
Although it breaks our heart to think that there are probably people in this world who may struggle with our choice to adopt (for some strange reason I cannot wrap my brain around), we are committed to surrounding our son and family with people who love and treat him just like any other kid. In our son's case, he will be adopted at such a young age that our family will be all he has ever known, so he won't necessarily feel any different (outside the obvious), unless he is made to feel different. He is a precious baby, made in the image of God, who if it weren't for adoption would most likely starve before adolescence or die of treatable illness. In the Bible, James tells us that "Pure and undefiled religion is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress." God has a very special place in his heart for ch
ildren. Jesus celebrated them on several occasions throughout the Gospels. The color of their skin, their ethnicity, where they born, who they were born to, does not matter. Each and every one of us bears the equal image of God and should be treated as such. So one of the most important things for an adopted child is to know they are loved and cared for, just like every other child in the family. It's the most valuable gift we can give!

DON'T introduce him as adopted.

When introducing children, don't distinguish between adopted and non-adopted children. The pain and continual damage this inflicts is obvious. Although many who might make this mistake do it completely innocently, it makes the adopted child feel inferior, like he falls into a different category and will never be considered a real part of the family. Constantly referring to a child as adopted, as inadvertent as it may be, repeatedly drives home the false message that people who were adopted must always be differentiated from those who were not, and that children who were adopted are somehow less genuine than those who were not.


America's First Black President

Wow, what a week it has been! Jon and I aren't into debating politics nor do we discuss at length with others who we support politically. We are committed to knowing the Bible and making decisions, including voting decisions, by our faith convictions. No matter what political party you belong too, and no matter who you voted for, please don't tell me you aren't at least proud of how far America has come through electing its first African American President. In the hustle and bustle of every day life, it's easy for many to not realize what a great part of history was accomplished on Tuesday night. But for many other Americans, it's impossible for them to not celebrate at what this means for their lives, the lives of their children, and the lives of their grandchildren, and the generations to come. Just sit back and think about it.... the first African American President! Do we have any idea how this can hopefully impact Americans to truly embrace all of mankind for who they are.... image bearers of God! Incredible! Just as John McCain said in his concession speech..."America has come a long way from it's cruel, prideful, bigotry." It's incredible that we have gone from African Americans being unable to vote, to an African American being on the ballot, to an African American winning the election. Even though I have my own opinions and convictions about both parties, and about both candidates, I am hoping that the election of an African American President (regardless of who it is, what party he is affiliated with, and what he believes), will bring more hope for our son's future here in America.

On a completely different note: My arm is killing me from the shot I got yesterday! haha. We are waiting on one more document to send our dossier to AAI. Please pray that we can get this in our hands tomorrow, and our dossier can be on its way to Washington on Saturday morning! We've been hearing some news around the blog world about referrals being faster than we first anticipated! Woo-hoo!


Now I'm Feeling that Word... WAITING

I think this week I've hit the first bout of the emotional roller coaster many people talk about when going through an adoption. We aren't even in the referral stage yet! I had a day or so this past week where I just wanted to be with our baby so bad, where I wanted to hold him and let him know he's loved and will be taken care of. It's heart wrenching to know that he will spend the first several months of his life without us.. The slightest bump in the road almost reduced me to tears. We're waiting on one more document to send in our dossier and when I heard it was going to be a few more days to get it in our hands, I almost burst into tears on the phone with the lady giving me this news. I'm also so distracted this week. I have huge assignments due for grad. school and I can't bring myself to do them. My mind is constantly on this baby. Like I've stated before, people going through pregnancy talk and dream over their bellies, and my life right now revolves around a white binder sitting on our living room bookshelf. I take it out about every day and look through it, making sure all the documents are in order. I find myself checking it again the next day, even though I had just checked it less than 24 hours ago. I have to try to "reward" myself when doing schoolwork by saying things like, "after I finish 3 assignments, I can read people's blogs, or read about adoption, or google adoption sites." Haha. It's pretty bad when I have to bribe myself! Well, I'm off to try and be productive today! Wish me well! This baby already has my heart!