Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Home Isn't The Same.

Being in America feels weird.


Here, I'm not afraid to use water, from any location. I can drink any water. From a faucet. I can wash my hands in it. I can cook with it. I can get it from INSIDE my house. And I LIVE in a house. A real house. Not a trash heap, made from old tires and sheet metal and rags and sticks.

When I walked out to my car today, there were no people around. No crowds thronging the streets. No children offering to sell me gum or shine my shoes. I got into my own car, by myself, (instead of into a minivan stuffed through the roof with passengers) and I pulled out onto the street. All the traffic followed the same rules and patterns, instead of crazily weaving in and out and all the pedestrians were safely on the sidewalks, instead of dancing between the cars. No children, maimed people, or mothers with babies tied to their backs came to my window to beg for food. No eyes haunted me with their desperate stares, no one tugged my sleeve to ask for help.

But still they haunted me.

I drove to Wegman's to get fruit and milk and cereal. Instead of people selling their produce on the street, all the food was clean, safe to eat immediately, and there was too much of it. Everywhere. In a cool, air conditioned warehouse, with clean, solid floors. No mud, or flies. No one walked up to me and tried to convince me that their food was the best, and that I should buy from them. I was deeply thankful to be in a place where plentiful food abounded and was easily accessible, but at the same time, I started to cry. All I could think about were all the starving children I had seen. The stupid fruit and vegetable bins in Wegmans could feed hundreds of them. I started picking through the apples, trying to avoid the bruised ones, and then I cried more. Because those bruised and damaged apples would be treasures in Ethiopia.

I saw a little kid screaming and swatting at his mom. I heard other kids complaining and whining. And I remembered walking into the older kids' Transition Home, and how all the kids ran to us and begged to be held or hugged. They just wanted love. Just a hug. Or a kiss. Every time I would try to put a little kid down they would scrunch up their legs and refuse to stand, and cling to me. How one little girl with a hunchback came and stood a few feet away and just stared at me and kept saying, "Mom, beautiful Mom," until I started crying and put down the other kids I was holding so I could go to her.


I hate being home. I feel sick. All the wealth, and the waste. Everything I see, I relate and compare to Ethiopia, and then I cry. It's like a depression.........a heartbreak..........a crime. I am haunted by all the eyes. Children from the streets running next to me, holding my clothes, begging for food. They say it, and sign it, "Food, food, food. Please, food. Please. I have a small brother at home. A small brother. He hungry. I no lie. Please, food. Food."



God help America.






Update: we passed court on 8/17/12 and so the kids are legally ours in both countries. We can't bring them home however, until we pass embassy. Usually families start the embassy wait immediately after court. Our situation is different (of course). We have to move, get another homestudy update, go through USCIS again, and THEN start our embassy wait. Which means probably November or December before our kids can come home. Please pray for us as we try to push through this extra paperwork. We miss them so badly and it is so hard, knowing they are waiting for us and that this process just keeps getting dragged out. Thank you!

Ethiopia Diary #3


8/17/12

11:02pm ET time. I'm lying in bed (Abe has been out for 40 minutes) and I'm trying to process how to write. What to write. I can't possibly include or explain everything we are seeing and doing and I desperately wish my eyes could be a camera so that I could record EVERYTHING. There is so much I wish I could show you. I'm going to try and pick up where I left off yesterday, but yesterday is already hazy. Everything is happening so fast. 



Today was incredible and yet heartbreaking. We woke up at 7:30am and then just laid in bed and talked for 45 minutes. Mostly we kept saying how beautiful our kids are. We are just so amazed by them. They are the most incredible kids I've ever met in my life. And I'm not just saying that because they are mine. They are just SO amazing. I feel so incredibly blessed and I am sooooo lucky that I can claim to be their mom and yet really can't take credit for how incredible they are. 

We finally got up and Abe showered. I'm waiting till Saturday. Disgusting? Maybe. But the water here is not safe and I don't want to risk any more than I have to. We haven't gotten sick at ALL (not from the food or  the trip) and I want to keep it that way. Abe went downstairs and ate and I grabbed a pop tart. Then I made sure our bags were packed with donations, paperwork, and stuff for the kids and we headed out. Yonas had us pile into a van and we drove to the court building. 

Driving is a whole other experience that I could write a book on. There are NO rules of the road. Cars are EVERYWHERE, at every speed and vehicles just manhandle their way through. I've never seen anything like it. It's like adult bumper cars, only way more dangerous. Pedestrians are all over the place dodging cars and we pass within INCHES of them. Everyone is swerving and weaving like they are drunk. There are dead dogs on the sides of the road everywhere. I don't know HOW we haven't hit anyone or another car. I'm going to video it, because I really do not have the words to explain it. 

Back to court. We arrived and climbed a bunch of stairs, which is hard because the air is REALLY thin here (major altitude change). The steps were all made of marble because the marble lines are so close, but it feels like a contradiction with the rest of the building, which is not at all like an American court. We were ushered into a room full of chairs and we all sat. And waited. Lots of other agencies and families filed in and we squished together to make room. It was chilly and we had no idea what to expect. About fifteen minutes in, I saw Hanna's little face peeking through the door and when she saw us, she grinned. She and Levi came over and gave us long hugs and then sat in the back of the room. We turned around in our seats and kept signing "ILY" to them and then we played some ABC and number games with Levi from across the room. After the room emptied a little, they let me go sit with Hanna and Levi and I read a traveler's book to them and we practiced signing. About 40 minutes after we had arrived at court, we got called into the judge's room with four other families. The judge started asking us questions about the kids and if we really wanted to adopt them, etc., and we were all so nervous. We were only in there about five minutes though, and she passed all of us on the spot. It was such an amazing feeling. I felt like my heart was whole. 

We went back out and found the kids. I've been working on explaining to Levi everyday that when we leave, we will come back. I want him to know that when we leave on Sunday, we WILL come back for him. We signed that we would see him tomorrow and hugged them both. Then we were taken away. 

We went out to eat at a really cool restaurant that appeared to be made from bamboo on the inside. I ordered beef tibs, which is beef in a spicy hot sauce on peppers and other vegetables with injera (the local bread, like a damp, sort of sour tortilla). It was really good. My friend Carrie had to go to the bathroom, but often the bathrooms don't have toilet paper OR doors. I went with her to block the door, but we found the door and so I left. There's more to the story, but I won't share till Carrie gives the okay ;). 




After lunch we were brought to the guesthouse to pick up our donations. Then we drove to the Transition Home. The kids came running over to see us and Hanna grabbed my arm and clung to it. Such an incredible feeling. Levi gave me a huge hug. We took the kids to the schoolroom and started reading a book that I brought with signs in it (thank you KIERSTEN!!!). We were teaching Levi new signs and soon were surrounded by 12-15 kids and all of them were signing with us. It was SO cool! They all adore Levi and communicate with him SO well. I can't believe how much they all love to try and sign with him. It almost makes me sad to bring him here, where many people WON'T try. His friends are amazing and they just want love. They all snuggle up and hold your hands. I feel like I could hug them for DAYS and never get enough. 

We played Uno after and were amazed to see that all the kids, down to some 5-6 year olds were pros at it! The game was smoking fast and so fun! It was one of the best moments of my life (top 5). Every kid was chattering and signing and laughing and snuggling up and throwing their cards around and they were so HAPPY. These kids have nothing and they are HAPPY. So cheerful and they share and are so kind and sweet. I don't understand. It's so amazing. I feel honored to even be here with them. 

Someone called me for donations in the middle of the game so I went and brought those to the counting area. That went by fast, but they were so grateful for everything. I wish I could have brought a million more bags. 
 
(Abe and I debated on sharing this next part. We decided to go ahead and do it, because we feel it is an important part of ours and the kids' story, but we will not be sharing any further information regarding it, as it is very private. Thank you.)

We played Uno some more and then we got called and were told that the birth mother was here. We weren't ready at all. We grabbed our camera and the pictures that I had for her and followed our guide across the street. We walked in and a man came up and shook my hands and kissed my cheeks. I found out he was the birth father. Then their mother came up and hugged and kissed me. She is so tiny and beautiful. We went into a tiny room with glass walls and sat across from them and a translator sat near us. We asked questions and they asked questions and we talked for almost half an hour. If you don't want to cry your eyes out, don't read any farther. I asked if the kids had any specific characteristics when they were young and what their favorite activities were. She told me, "My children have never played. Always they were helping me try to find grass (a special grass that is served for a coffee ceremony) to sell so we could eat. They did not play. They have never played." She also said that often she would beg the neighbors for food for them because she had none. I started tearing up the moment she said they had never played and it only got worse. I asked if there was anything that she wanted us to tell them; anything specific she wanted us to make sure they remembered. She said (crying), "I want them to know that I worked so hard for them. I took care of them all by myself and I tried so hard. I want them to know I love them so much and I am dying so I cannot care for them. I will die soon. I did my best for them. I give them to you. All responsibility I give to you before God. I give you my children. I give them to you before God." She was crying so hard and so was I. I mean, we were SOBBING in that tiny office. I grabbed her hand and Abe did too and we all cried and cried. I told her, "I promise!!! I promise to love and take care of them forever. I promise." We cried for a long time. Then Abe told her we will send Levi to a deaf school and I told her we are having whole conversations with them. She started smiling through her tears then and said that she knew, and that Levi had told her we could sign, and that he was SO excited. I gave her pictures of the kids and she was just kissing the photos over and over. We cried some more and then we took some pictures and then walked back over to the Transition Home together. (FYI, I'm bawling as I write this. It's so painful to write, and so private, but I don't want to forget any of what happened and I think it's important for people to read this. To understand why we all need to be adopting.). The kids came up to us (tons of other kids and families were in a half circle around us) and were smiling at us. Levi and Hanna/Zahria's mom was hugging and kissing them. Hanna ran over to me and wrapped my arm around her so she was up tight next to me. Her mom called her and I gave her a little push. Her mom started speaking to her in Amharic, telling her I was her mother and to listen to me and that I would take care of her and that she loved her. The mother and I were both crying really hard. She handed me Hanna and sent Levi over to me. Someone snapped a few pictures of us all and then she said something to the kids, and shook my hand and kissed me. Our tears were worse than the rainy season. I grabbed off my opal ring that Abe gave me five or six years ago and put it in her hand. She kissed me, put Hanna in my arms, and turned and basically ran. I have never felt so honored, or so horrible in my whole life. Hanna and Levi were smiling when they were next to us and Hanna was holding so tight. I picked her up and promised her I would never leave her. I promised Levi. And then I cried and cried. That beautiful woman gave me the most precious things she had. The two greatest gifts in her world, and in mine. I can't even tell you what it felt like. To know she trusted me and gave me her treasures and to know that she is dying and loves them so much kills me. I feel like such a huge, HUGE responsibility has been given to me, and I swear I will do well for her. 

Levi took us to a seat and I mostly just hugged Hanna (Levi is too manly for more than a few hugs at a time). Then we played Uno and I asked Levi about getting an American name. His Ethiopian name is Tamirat (Miracle.....how fitting) and then we looked at photos on my phone and camera. He thought my brother Josh was hysterical, and my Dad (his "papa"). I had pictures of my parents and my dad was being really stupid and making crazy expressions and Levi was laughing out loud. #incredible 

Yonas called me to take pictures of Kalkidan (my girl Lindsey's baby) and she was so funny! She came right up to me and held my hands and walked with me. We went outside and I tried to get her to smile but she just looked everywhere but at me and kept rubbing her eyes (she had just woken up). Then she noticed my camera and went after it. I let her touch it but she started pushing buttons so I pulled out my iPhone. She GRINNED. I mean, ear-splitting grin. I sat her in my lap and we took self photos and then I let her play with it. Instantly I had 10 or so kids on top of me (literally) all wanting to see the pictures on my phone. Kalkidan was hysterical; she was pushing these big 5-8 year olds away from her and hugging my iPhone. She would make these angry attitude faces at the other kids who tried to touch the phone and I was laughing so hard. I turned on some fiddle music for them and they loved it. I showed them pictures of Levi and Hanna and they would all chant: "Tamiru! Hanna! Tamiru! Hanna!" It was so precious. They all wanted to have a picture with me but I wasn't allowed to take any of them. 

We left the Transition Home around 4:30pm and at 7:30pm got picked up for a traditional dinner. There was live music and dancing. It was pretty cool. We tried honey-wine (no one was a fan haha) and ate injera. All of the meats and sauces and dippings were delicious. The dancers came down and started making people dance with them and they grabbed Abe. We had vowed NOT to dance but I pushed him up anyway. They made him dance and then carry some girl around and it was hysterical. THEN later they came back for him and made him stand up on stage and do another crazy dance. He tried REALLY hard and did a good job! The Ethiopians are CRAZY win their should movements but he did so awesome! Then some girl came for me and challenged me to a shoulder dance and I went right at it (and sucked) but it was fun and she was laughing with me. Totally crazy to dance in front of the whole restaurant. We looked like insane people haha, and so uncoordinated compared to the Ethiopians haha. So glad we did it though! Although Abe threatened me if I show the videos I shot (oops! Did I say I shot a video? I DID!!!!......). 

Now we are back at the guesthouse and I'm going to bed. I wanted to catch up on yesterday's post but I need to sleep. 

I can't believe the kids are ours, after such an insane fight. I love them so much.

Ethiopia Diary #2


8/16/12

It's 7:32pm ET time right now. We're exhausted. As in, drop dead, can barely focus exhausted. Actually, Abe has been passed out for a half hour. We arrived back at Yesabi and ate a pop-tart dinner, and then re-sorted and organized all our luggage. We rearranged all the donations and made bags of stuff to give to the street kids. We made a pile of things we brought for Levi and Zahria. Then Abe went to sleep and I went on a hunt for a computer. I found one downstairs; but the connection is slow. Email is virtually impossible. I updated my FB status and wish I could thank everyone and personally respond to the comments but I don't have time. 

Okay, documenting this day is going to be nearly impossible. It was overwhelming and dream like and crazy. We landed in Addis at 7:30am and it took two hours to go through the process of getting a visa, going through customs, and collecting our baggage. We did it without any trouble then, which was a huge relief. We stayed with Carrie and Dave the whole way and it was nice to have friends with us. I thought it would feel weird being basically the only white people in the airport but it didn't. I didn't even notice it. The whole day just felt so weird. We were greeted by Yonas (who is super cool) and we had our first experience tipping.....none of us gave enough money and the guys went to Yonas and complained and then he tried to explain tipping to us. The result is that we are now passing out 100 dollar birr like candy. 
 
We were rushed to meet our kids right after we arrived. We dumped our stuff in our rooms and were driven to the Transition Home. We were the last family to meet our kids and it happened so fast. Hanna ran out and jumped into my arms and I started bawling. Levi ran out and ran to Abe. I wish I had more time to write how it all felt, but I am too tired. It was completely and utterly amazing; the most incredible experience ever. We played with our kids the rest of the day and they are insanely awesome. We love them so so much.

I can't keep my eyes open. Good night.

Ethiopia Diary #1

8/16/12

It's exactly 10pm EST and 5pm ET time. I just pulled out my phone (this may be the longest I have ever been without it!) and it has been completely useless to me on the flight (no service ofc). Abe is sleeping next to me with a sleeping mask (oh yes, he caved) and his jacket thrown over his face and upper body. Naomi, a girl who lives in ET but flies home once a year to visit her dad, is on my left. We bonded over lamenting about the endless flight. 

We are on a Boeing 777. It's a 3x3 seater. It's a nice place but even as big as it is, we are very cramped, especially poor Abe. The flight to DC was a small plane; two rows of seating on the right; one on the left (I don't understand how a lopsided plane doesn't tip??? Why not just add the other row? Totally freaks me out....) and only took an hour. This flight is 13 hours. It's been very long. Due to such last minute notice and bringing everything we need in carry on's, we didn't have a chance to bring anything to do except a book each (and reading while moving makes me sick). There IS a TV here but nothing on is good. We've just been sitting and trying to sleep, since when we arrive at 7am our time, we will have a full schedule. Once we land, collect our baggage, apply for and pick up Visas and find our driver, we will be dropped off at the Guesthouse, where we will be staying. We can "freshen up" (we look ATROCIOUS! :)) and then we are going to go meet the kids!!!!!! After that I have no clue what our trip looks like. 

It still hasn't sunk in that we are meeting the kids in a few hours. Or at all. This whole things seems surreal. Like a weird dream. It hasn't hit yet. I know this sounds ridiculous, especially since we left our house at 3:30am EST, but we aren't even excited. I can't even fathom that this is happening. The Lahmans, who are traveling with us (we freaking adore them) are the same way. I think we are all just shell shocked. Carrie thinks it will hit us on the way to the Transition Home. I keep trying to imagine what it will be like to FINALLY meet the kids after so long.......but I can't. It just doesn't feel real. Weird. 

Neither of us are sick (thank you God!) except for a headache that has been with me all day. We had a three hour layover in DC and had a blast chilling with Dave and Carrie and were hoping to be able to hang out on the plane but it is VERY tough even just getting to the bathroom and they are in the back of the plane and we are at the front so we haven't seen each other basically at all since boarding. 

I've never liked flying and I probably never will but it's been a smooth trip. All the ET Air staff are nice and are SO pretty. :) 

Writing this is making my headache worse. It's 5:13 now. Thanks for your pra

Pictures from Ethiopia

My posts are going to be scattered and out of order. But I thought pictures would be nice, so you could see what we experienced this week with our kids! :)




We wrote our names on some paper together, and we each have a copy so we can put them back together when we see each other again. :)



These little boys sang for money (birr) and they were so precious!



This is a typical house. And it is a lot better than many that we saw.



Our first family time! The bubbles we brought did not have wands so I made one from a weed and we got more laughter from watching me try and blow a bubble than we did from the actual bubbles!



Officially a family after we passed court the day before! :)



Waiting to see our precious kiddos for the first time....



Hanna ran out first and jumped into my arms.



Levi ran to Abe. I was bawling. Like, B-A-W-L-I-N-G.




I couldn't stop crying........prayed and fought so hard for my boy. Look at his face <3





Our little Hanna-Banana. Or in Amharic: "Hanna-Moose". Zahria Hanna Marie Ruper.



My precious precious boy. Levi Tamirat James Ruper.



 Signing with the kids! Levi and Hanna/Zahria are so smart! :)


Monday, August 13, 2012

COURT DATE!!!!!!!!!!

We got a shocker this morning.

We have a court date for Friday morning. 32 hours before we get on a plane. Leaving for Ethiopia on Wednesday morning (5:50am) and coming back Monday afternoon. Meeting our kids this Thursday.

HOLY COW. 

I. am. OVERWHELMED. 


Most people get a couple weeks or at least a week to plan for their trip. I get 1.5 days to plan. Here's how my day went:

-Booked plane tickets ($4,600 for tix alone....)
-Registered our trip with the US Embassy
-Started packing donations
-Made a packing list
-Walked around my house like a moron about 60 times
-Cancelled my life for the next week
-Talked on the phone to a bazillion people
-Forgot how to even use my phone (it's true) to make calls (I felt like an alien)
-Talked to festivals and tried to explain this insane event
-Said, "I don't know what to doooooo!" 20,000 times to myself. And to the dogs. And Carrie and Brandy.
-Found a home for the dogs
-Spent hours carefully writing out required paperwork
-Ate Doritos and cake mix
-Called Abe 12 times
-Stared at my kids pictures to calm me down. 



I was all ready for the "here is your October date" call. I had nothing to do today except cry on my couch and eat chips and watch TV after work. Which is exactly what I did for an hour, and then I was making setlists for this weekend when my phone rang. And then came the bomb.

I seriously feel like everything has exploded.

But did I mention I am thankful? So thankful for everyone in my life. For all the people stepping in to cover my shifts at work. For the gazillion texts and phone calls and FB messages I have received. For the donations. For my band boys trying to cover these shows. I love you guys. And I can't wait to introduce you to my kids!!! If we pass court on Friday, there will be pictures on FACEBOOK!!!! :-D If I can access the internet in Addis of course. ;)



Sunday, August 12, 2012

Waiting = Extra Coffee

In case you don't know me very well, I don't like chocolate. So instead of indulging in candy while I wait during this adoption, I drink extra coffee. Venti caramel (OMG IT'S ALMOST SEPTEMBER, PUMPKIN SPICE WILL BE BACK!!!!!!) iced latte from Starbucks anyone??? :)

This extra caffeine intake may or may not influence how patiently I wait. Whatevs.


Halfway across the world tonight, someone I have never met is going to decide if Abe and I will be allowed to continue in the process of waiting for a court date, or if further investigation into our case will be required first. Since Ethiopia is about 8 hours ahead of us, this decision will happen tonight while we sleep. Tomorrow around noon, I should hear one of three outcomes:


#1. Further investigation into our case is required before a court date can be issued. This would mean absolutely NO chance of a court date before closures next week on the 22nd. Which means our first trip would most likely be in October.

#2. No further investigation required, but no court date. This also means about a 99% chance of not going before closures.

#3. We get assigned a court date (for either now or October).


We are rooting for options #2 or #3. I'm sick as a dog as I write this. I'm wondering (not quite at the obsessing level, but almost) what will happen tonight and trying to pray about it, but thinking about it makes me sick. We also got our travel vaccines this week and so my body is currently a torment zone for Hep A, Tetanus, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever, and a stomach bug. Fun times.



Waiting is not my thing. It never has been. I'm not good with down time. If you know me, you know I can't sit still. I need to be DOING something at all times. Like right now. Abe sent me home to rest and I'm thinking, "What can I get done on my to-do list while I sit on the couch? Oh, I can blog!" (After this, I am going to go pack donations for our trip.)

I'm tired of waiting. I know that's a HUGE (the main?) part of the adoption process, but it hasn't gotten easier. What's worse is waiting for the unknown. Sure, God is my Heavenly Father and He has everything in His hands, and I know that, but I am not going to lie and give you the proper Christian answer and say I don't worry about the unknown remainder of this adoption. I have two kids that I love more than anything except Abe on the other side of the world and I can't get to them. AND Levi has acute bronchitis. Heart-wrenching.

I'm tired of waiting for a court date. I'm tired of everything possible going wrong, and of hearing, "Your case is being handled abnormally," or "There is another delay on your case," and I'm tired of my kids waiting and waiting and waiting for us, and yet we never show up. It's not our fault. But it's a reality. Levi and Zahria are old enough to understand that we haven't come and are supposed to. But they aren't able to understand WHY we haven't come yet. All they know is that parent after parent arrives at the Transition Home, but it is never us. They have waited almost eight weeks and we haven't shown up. Not a very promising set of parents, if you ask me. Forgive me babies, Mommy is trying. You have no idea how hard Mommy is trying. I WILL come for you.






My dear friend Amy got me this bracelet to wear until I see my kids, and then I am giving it to Zahria.

 

Callanach played an acoustic show yesterday for a church benefit and there was a young couple there who adopted a small (A-DORABLE) boy internationally (he didn't look to be more than a year and a half old) and we found out they started the process around the same time we did. January 2010-ish. They were fundraising when we were in March of 2010. And they brought a baby home in September 2011. And here Abe and I are in practically September 2012, and we haven't been to court yet. We will be lucky at this point if our kids are home at Christmas. Granted, if we had gotten a referral earlier and completed our process, something would have been wrong, because we are supposed to be adopting Levi and Zahria. But it still makes me wonder: "These people had way less difficulty. Why them? Why was their process so much easier? Are they better Christians? Am I doing something wrong? Why is this happening to us?" But even as I ask that, I know why. Abe and I needed to grow, spiritually, and just as people. We needed a hard time because it has touched other people. There have been several chain reaction adoptions, partially because of our story. We are proving that as a pair of kids we couldn't do this on our own, but with the Almighty God, we can do anything because He is in us and leading us. God is proving that faith DOES move mountains and that miracles DO happen. And our job is to follow and trust. But I still struggle. Last week I was really struggling with the "why". Why haven't we gone? Why aren't the kids already home? Why don't we at least have a court date? Why are courts closing and we are no closer than before?

I have to keep reminding myself that I need to have faith like a child. I need to trust God implicitly with the whole situation. The past couple weeks I was hoping that if I had faith like a child that God would give us a court date before closures, that it would happen. I totally believed it. I was praying like crazy. I had total faith it was going to happen last week. I was expecting it to happen, anticipating it, preparing for the call. I was positive we were getting a court date.

We didn't.

I felt shattered at the end of last week. Why had I even bothered trying to have a childlike faith and to believe so stubbornly? I was angry. A little betrayed. And then I realized I have been approaching this all wrong. I need to have faith like a child that God is my Father, and that He wants what is best for me, and that He has perfect timing. In THAT I need to have total and stubborn faith. Not that He will always give me what I want when I want it. But that He will work everything out and it will all be for the best. Levi is proof of that. When we found out about him last year and were told he was about 7, that was fine. When we thought he was maybe 9, that was a big decision and faith tester to go ahead and say yes. And then later we found out that he was even older. But by the time that happened, age no longer mattered. Levi is our son. He always has been. And his age has nothing to do with it. But at the same time, if I had known last year, or even in December that he was older than 9, we probably wouldn't have kept going after him. And that would have been the worst mistake of our lives. So we needed that year from hell to realize how much we wanted this boy.........how much he means to us. So that situation alone is enough to comfort me while my phone remains black and silent.

God's GOT THIS.

Worrying is pointless. It doesn't help me (it actually harms me, as it makes me MORE sick) or Abe, and it doesn't help the kids. As my girl Jamie told me, "The devil is a liar! We know whatever is happening, our God is greater."  And she's totally right. So I'm not giving in, I'm not giving Satan the satisfaction, and I'm not going to worry. I'm giving this situation, this judge's decision, our whole adoption, back over to God for the millionth time, and I am going to go enjoy making music with my friends. My wise Mommy told me the other day to, "Relax, enjoy your weekend, and just REST. Everything is going to change soon!!!!" (Did I mention I can't WAIT for that??? ;))


That being said, please PRAY for us and the kids tonight! God's in control and it is His decision what happens, but we would still like option #1 nixed. Doesn't hurt to ask! ;)