Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Inadequacy.... the theme of  thoughts swirling in my head as of late.  I won't go into all the details surrounding all the topics I feel inadequate in tackling because..... 1. I think it'll just feed the fear,  2. This would be a pretty long post,  and 3. I don't write this wanting a "Hilary, you can totally do this!" speech from anyone. I write this because I desire to be real- and admit that I get scared and feel in way over my head! I write this to remind myself of the obvious- I truly am inadequate, and ill equipped, and unable to accomplish all that God desires for me to... BUT HE CAN do it, in and through me! Phil. 1:6 "HE who began a good work in me will bring it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ"... NOT ME! Thank God- literally!

Yep, that's all I got for now. Short and sweet... but what I'm hanging on these days!

Friday, March 25, 2011

One Conversation... One Year Ago

One year ago today Joshua and I had a conversation. This one conversation has radically flipped our world upside down. This one conversation has brought with it more blessings then I could have ever fathomed. This one conversation has impacted our family more then any other conversation we have ever had before. This one conversation started because God wanted to get to work on our lives and He began opening our eyes and hearts to His bigger plan. Here is how it all went down ONE YEAR AGO TODAY...

It was about 10pm on Thursday, March 25th, 2010 and we were driving home from our Go Group from my sis's house (our church small group that was composed of four other couples at the time). Our group had been going through a study called, Becoming a Good Samaritan, by Michael R. Seaton, for about 6 weeks. In conjunction with the study, there were excellent video segments "hosted" by John Ortberg (which I must plug in here and say, having grown up at Willow, he is near and dear to my heart, so I was a fan from the beginning!) and a list of other awesome leaders like Philip Yancy, Rob Bell, and Shane Claiborne- you know, powerful and passionate people. These video sessions covered topics from Caring for the Sick, Seeking Justice, Honoring the Poor, Loving the Forsaken... and the list goes on. Simple truths and topics for Christians, right?! Well the crazy thing is, here Joshua and I sat, both having grown up as Christians nearly all our lives- and it was like our eyes were just now being opened to the truth of what our responsibility was regarding these issues! I'm ashamed to admit that I clearly didn't get, and I mean really get, what Loving God and Loving Other's truly looked like- reflected in my life. In saying that, I am in no way admitting that I have it all figured out now either- I have so much to learn! But I'm just dumbfounded that it took me 29 years, as a believer, to figure out it was probably important for me to pray that God would break my heart for what breaks His! It was probably important for me to... CARE, frankly, for the issues that were being discussed, because after all Jesus OBVIOUSLY CARED for these issues! Duh Hilary! It was probably important for me to ask myself, "What will my life TRULY look like if my actions back up what God says should be important to my heart?!"! Because heres the deal, Joshua and I knew the "right answers" and had the head knowledge that these topics should be important to us.. we just weren't applying it to our lives, and we weren't burdened by them either. That being said, I think in classic "God style"- HE knew we needed to wake up, so that's why He started tugging on our hearts and flipped our world upside down!

Okay, back to the 10pm drive home that night....
I was driving. Joshua was in the passenger seat. It was quite. It usually was on the way home because we put Jude to sleep at my sister's and then wake him up when we leave and gingerly load him in the car. So in hopes of keeping Jude in that delirious sleep stage, so that he goes back to sleep at home, we generally don't talk much during the 5 minute car ride.  In the stillness and quite of the car, completely out of the blue and unexpected, I had the thought of adoption come to mind. It took me off guard a bit and I dismissed it, thinking it strange that it even crossed my mind. The study and video never touch specifically on orphans or adoption, so it wasn't because we had been talking about it. I didn't say anything to Joshua, and just finished driving home. We get home and get Jude unloaded, and tucked into bed, we hurry and get ready for bed too (because after all, it's  after 10pm on a school night, and we're getting old!), and we both crawl under the sheets. I hear Joshua take a deep breath and say, "Hil.... what about adoption?" with a curious tone. I laid there in the dark, still and speechless for a moment. "Huh?... what made you ask that?" was my response. I started second guessing whether I had in fact said anything out loud in the car on the way home OR if he just had the crazy ability to read my thoughts?! He went on, "I don't know, I just think it's something we should maybe be praying about. I know we've never talked about it before, but why not?". Still confused and shocked that this was on his mind too, I said, "No joke hun, literally, just 10 minutes ago, I had the thought of adoption run through my mind for the first time ever in my life on the car ride home! This is weird!". Of course, instead of seeing it clearly as the Holy Spirit at work in our hearts, I dismiss it as "weird"... nice Hil! Joshua was equally as surprised that the word adoption was even being thrown around by us- after all, I loved being pregnant with Jude and was genuinely looking forward to getting pregnant again at some point. I literally said, "Do you really think God would want us to adopt? I mean, I'm a really good baby making machine?!"... again, nice Hil. We both kind of laughed... and sighed, maybe catching a glimpse that God might have a different story to write- but doing our best to dismiss it as... I don't even know what. And honestly, that's about the extent of our conversation that night. We both said we'd pray about it- in a light-hearted kind of way, and then we drifted off to sleep.

Again I'll say.... One year ago today Joshua and I had a conversation. This one conversation has radically flipped our world upside down. This one conversation has brought with it more blessings then I could have ever fathomed. This one conversation has impacted our family more then any other conversation we have ever had before. This one conversation started because God wanted to get to work on our lives and He began opening our eyes and hearts to His bigger plan. Praise God for this ONE CONVERSATION!

I say, pray boldly. Pray that God would take your life and use it for His glory. And then sit back and watch what He can do with ONE conversation!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

God Showed Up AND Brought People With Him too!

Life seems to happening quicker than I can keep up with here on the blog. My head and heart are full of scattered thoughts I want to share, yet I can't seem to pinpoint where to even begin!

Okay, I think the easiest way to recap it all is just to rewind back a couple weeks to the beginning of March and share how God showed up in a pretty big way... AGAIN (surprise, surprise)! If you've been following our journey from the beginning you may remember THIS POST way back at the end of August. For the other 99% of you that can't even fathom following a blog for that long... I'll sum it up for you! (o; Long story, short- God opened a door for me to be a part of leading an orphan care ministry at our church. With excitement, a little bit of anxiety, and a whole lot of reassurance from the nudging of the Holy Spirit, I said YES. 

Over the past five months, prayer has been given as to what this ministry could look like and what it would offer to Preston Trail Community Church. Ideas of how we wanted to launch this ministry and name this ministry have been discussed across the table between Nancy (director of Compassion Ministry) and I and given much thought and prayer individually. Last month, we were meeting and decided that we both felt at peace with starting simple and letting this ministry transpire organically (just saying that word makes me feel all hippie-like). Considering we weren't entirely sure of what the need was within the church, we thought it was best to just start with a simple social and get to know our "audience". To be honest, I had an underlying fear of NO ONE showing up if we did an official BIG "launch" of the ministry and the idea of inviting people just by word of mouth for a small get together at the local Starbucks to chit chat, was A LOT less intimidating to me! Classic Hilary style I convinced myself that there would be a total of maybe FOUR people that would RSVP to the Evite and be at the Starbucks... ONE being me (duh), TWO being Joshua (because there's an unspoken obligation that comes with being married to me) THREE being Nancy (because she rocks and has helped get this ball rolling), and FOUR being my mom (because she's that kind of stellar mom who shows up to all my sister and I do in support of us... even though we're in our 30's! And for that, I'm so stinking grateful! ). 

Well, well, well... I'll have you know, GOD SHOWED UP- and brought people with Him too!!! I might have unknowingly picked the smallest Starbucks in town to meet at- BUT I'm just sayin', we filled the entire front of the store out! Fifteen people showed up to express their interest in being a part of this unfolding ministry, which by the way we've named... Abba's Children!!! Fifteen people that I basically didn't really know (so they didn't all come as a pity guest on my behalf). Fifteen people that have passionate hearts that genuinely LOVE God and LOVE others. Fifteen people that represent all aspects of orphan care from international adoption, to domestic adoption, to foster care, to sponsorship, to just wanting to be a support and encouragement to those in the process! Fifteen people who God burdened their hearts to show up on a Friday night to a "social"... that God had planned all the way back in August and knew just who needed to be there. 

We went around the crowded, mis-shaped, circle of chairs and shared our hearts and what God was doing in our lives, and as I sat there listening to each story, my heart was happy- because I felt like God was whispering, "See, I told you I got this! It's not about you Hilary, it's about ME and as long as you're obedient, I'll make my name big!". And so I walked away on March 4th seeing a glimpse of His plan coming together. And while I still don't know what the big picture of Abba's Children Orphan Care Ministry at Preston Trail looks like, I'm cool with that- because I'm learning that He just shows me one step at a time and asks for me to faithfully step out in obedience. This seems to be becoming a theme in my life and I'm strangely becoming more and more comfortable with that. 

So, with one successful  social under our belt, we're getting ready for our next social coming up Thursday, March 31st, where we're doing a family potluck! I'll just have you know, so far we're already up to 28 YES's on the Evite! Wahoo! (Keep in mind that is including kiddos, but still! Bring it!) My hope and prayer is to get a better feel for what the immediate needs are for Abba's Children to offer to  our church family AND to hear the hopes and dreams of what other's would love to see offered in the future. I'm confident that God is already at work and is just as excited as I am to make His name BIG! Here we go! 

I'll do another post here soon about our awesome camping trip we had with the Aston's over spring break and what a blessing their friendship is in our lives! But for now, I'll give you a glimpse of the fun we had being all outdoorsy! This picture of Jude and I fishing, in a strange way, captures how I view this ministry opportunity and how God has let me be a part of it. I sort of feel like Jude, like I'm playing a role in casting the vision and reeling it in- but the obvious truth is, God is right behind me, holding the "pole" and guiding me, whispering in my ear only what I need to know in that very moment. I love that we have a God who desires to use us in accomplishing His work. I love that He is also a God who stands behind us, holding the "fishing pole", reassuring us how to reel it all in!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Heart is Encouraged!

Well, it seems to me some prayers are being answered in regards to all the Ethiopia adoption news! I just thought I'd share the latest update we received today from our agency...

Oh how my heart is encouraged! I know that all this could change in an instant- but for now, I'm holding out hope that things are moving in the right direction!

Ethiopia Update: March 17, 2011


Ethiopia Program Update

Hello Families,
Happy St. Patricks' Day! We hope this email finds you well and finding rest in God’s peace and plans for your family and your Ethiopia adoption journey!
As you know, over the past week AGCI has been working in collaboration with Joint Council, other licensed Adoption Service Providers in Ethiopia and the US Department of State to get clarity on the proposed changes instigated by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs that would have drastically reduced the number of adoptions processed by their office.
We have spent the entirety of this week and last connecting with our own Foreign Staff, participating in caucus calls led by Joint Council and the US Department of State, and independently collaborating with other Adoption Service Providers to get clear and accurate information concerning this matter. Your grace and patience has been so appreciated during this time! What we know as facts are:
  • MOWA posted a notice indicating as of March 10th they would be reducing the number of adoptions processed through their office to 5 cases a day.
  • Within days of this announcement, the director of MOWA and several other staff members from the ministry have been terminated.
Today we want to update you on the feedback we received yesterday from our foreign staff in Ethiopia, which was confirmed in a discussion with our adoption colleagues in a Joint Council caucus call later in the day.
At this time, all Foreign Staff on the ground in Ethiopia are reporting that MOWA has completed their staffing changes and are now currently working at full capacity to complete those adoption cases currently re-scheduled or assigned a court appointment through the courts of Addis Ababa. Our staff believe this to be around 800 cases they are working at full force to complete with no restrictions on the number of cases processed each day. This is great news! We are thrilled to hear these drastic changes do not seem to be going into full effect.
We are also pleased to report that for new cases moving forward; it appears the original changes proposed by MOWA will not be implemented to the degree of 5 cases a day. At this time it is unknown whether or not MOWA will issue a formal statement regarding how they will process cases in the future, but from all discussions it will not be a drastic decrease from before. Through the continued work, meetings, and advocacy of many Foreign Staff members in Ethiopia, it appears any future changes within the case processing for MOWA will avoid sweeping and disproportionate alterations to the number of cases processed each day. Rather, the hope is that MOWA, Joint Council, Adoption Service Providers, the US Department of State and other NGO organizations can come together to support the government of Ethiopia in strengthening the process for ethical adoptions to continue while also improving the general social structures to assist with family preservation in Ethiopia. This plan was acknowledged in the recent posting by the US State Department this morning at We understand the US Department of State cannot issue a formal statement without MOWA issuing a retraction. Based on the information we are receiving, MOWA is concentrating on processing the current adoptions and the new staff is not focused on numbers, but doing their jobs.
AGCI and our trusted colleagues look forward to collaborating to ensure adoptions move forward with the highest level of transparency possible. It is our commitment to carefully, ethically, and mindfully complete the adoption process on every level for orphaned children. Our hope is that as we do this in collaboration with other licensed agencies, we can also help to eliminate future concerns by MOWA and continue to build trust between their office and the adoption community at large.
Despite all this talk and discussion about proposed changes, we want to share with you some highlights from just the past two weeks in our program. Even in the midst of all these proposed changes we have seen things move in positive directions:
  • 7 children were referred to their forever families (wait time for a referral for our most recently placed families was approximately 10 months for an infant boy and for an infant girl)
  • 9 families and children were issued their first official court date
  • 3 families and children were approved at a rescheduled court appointment
  • 1 family and child was approved on their first scheduled court appointment
  • 9 families and 10 children were cleared by the US Embassy and invited to travel to Ethiopia to complete their final immigration visa appointment and bring their children.
  • 2 children have returned home with their forever families.
As you can see from above, our attention over the past week and this week has been not only on gathering information on this issue but also on processing adoptions for many of the children at Hannah’s Hope. We will be calling each of you to check in for your monthly updates, paperwork calls, and to connect with those of you who are already referred and in the court process. For those of you in the paperwork process, Julie Salwasser will also be continuing to step in to provide support and answer questions. Thank you for your ongoing patience!
We want to encourage you all and to share that Ethiopia is still an active adoption program! We are so blessed to be looking back at all these wonderful moments and see God’s hand at work in the stories and lives of these children He loves. Thank you for your continued passion and dedication. We look forward to all the wonderful moments yet to come as we continue to serve in Ethiopia!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Super cute stuff from Thirty One!

Okay, is this stuff not super cute?!?! I mentioned this before, but just in case you haven't heard- a friend of mine from high school, Erin, who works for a company called Thirty One, has generously offered 15% of her commission for the month of March to go towards our adoption fund! I know, crazy nice, right?! We think so too!
Well, I went to the mailbox today to find the catalogs she sent and I'm pretty much in love with everything in here! I just spent the past hour out on my back porch, with my Diet Mountain Dew in hand, soaking up the sun, dog tagging the pages with all the super cute stuff I love and want to get! If you're in need of a trendy bag/tote/purse/beach bag/luggage/wallet... the list goes on, totally check it out! It incredibly reasonably priced and the materials are fun, trendy, and cute- you can also have pretty much anything monogramed and customized- which I know people in the south are a huge fan of! (Truth be toldI have no idea if that is true, it's just I feel like I never heard of anyone monogramming things until we moved to TN and it was the "IN" thing to do!) Click on the picture below or CLICK HERE to take you to the online catalog!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Keeping You in the Loop

I just thought I'd share with you the latest news that our agency updated with us today (posted below). We continue to pray that God would move mountains! What I find the most interesting in this update is that it was announced that the Head of MOWA was terminated effective next week! Hmmm?!?! I pray this is a good thing and that God would expose evil where darkness lies and shine light over what is good! 

I received an incredibly encouraging email yesterday from the sweetest gal, Bethany Ardnt, that was jammed packed full of truth and wisdom to hang onto during this time. I just wanted to share one of the quotes that was in her email that was my favorite... "Waiting for the Lord is an expression of faith. When circumstances bear down on us, it is tempting to orchestrate our own relief effort. Yet if we will tenaciously trust the LORD, He will renew our spirit and strengthen us for any challenge." unknown author. Love it! 

With all the craziness going on, it doesn't come as much of a surprise that our monthly call letting us know what our official wait list number is, from our case worker is going to be delayed a bit. Their work load right now is no doubt insane! So be in prayer for the amazing Ethiopia case workers at AGCI, they truly do bust butt to keep us up to date and informed with facts on a regular basis! I'm so grateful to be with an agency that rocks! That being said, our list serve however does post the "unofficial" numbers every Friday, so that we can have an idea of the movement that is taking place as referrals go out. I'm so excited and encouraged to share that in the midst of uncertainty, movement is happening- referral's are still going out and court dates are still be assigned! For every referral that is given, that is one less orphan, a life, forever changed, and given a forever family! So, without further ado... our official number for the month of February was #55, and NOW for the month of March, our "unofficial" number has dropped to #46!!! This makes me smile! Just wanted to share! I'll keep you posted when we hear from "K", our case worker, what our official number is! 

Okay, onto the most recent update from today... 

Ethiopia Update: March 11, 2011


US Department of State Ethiopia Adoptions Conference Call Update

Good morning families! What a week this has been for all of us! Thank you so much for your commitment to getting the word out about the petition for the children of Ethiopia these past few days! We are hopeful that the voices of these precious children will be heard.
As we had shared in previous communications, there was a conference call that we participated in this morning with the US Department of State to discuss the changes the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs (MOWA) announced. Not all Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) were able to join the call due to the number of adoptive parents on the line. According to Joint Council, it was understood that this conference call would be geared towards informing ASPs specifically about these changes and how the US government would react. Unfortunately, the call ended early and several ASPs were not able to address more detailed questions geared towards the ramifications of these changes for the program as a whole. While we admire adoptive families’ desires to be a part of these discussions, we are looking forward to opportunities to connect more exclusively and candidly as a professional network with the US Department of State and Joint Council as they learn about these details in the coming weeks. This will allow us to better communicate with you factual information about how this impacts your family’s adoption more specifically while also being mindful of Ethiopian adoptions as a whole. Again, though, as evidenced by the feedback in this call by the US Department of State, at this time there is little to no information that is being disclosed. Here is what we did learn:
  • Although this change has been supposedly confirmed to have gone into effect on March 10, 2011, there is no information available on what the process could look like moving forward, what cases it impacts, and if and for how long it will remain in effect.
  • It was mentioned that cases already registered with the Ethiopian court could possibly experience up to an estimated 12 month delay. It was made very clear by the US Department of State that this was dependent on a number of factors, all of which are yet to be determined, i.e. how many cases are registered, what cases this change will impact, if this change continues to be in effect, etc.
  • There is a vast amount of rumors going around related to this change, and none of them are able to be confirmed at this point.
  • The head of MOWA has been terminated, effective next week, for unknown reasons.
  • We are hearing that there will be meetings between the US Department of State, US Embassy, MOWA, network of ASP Foreign Service Providers, and Ethiopian government offices during the next week. We believe these meetings will begin on Monday, March 14th; however, there is no way to know if there will be concrete solutions that develop.
At this point, we are all still in a waiting stage to see how this change will be implemented. We have greatly appreciated your prayers and understanding as we have all tried to grasp this announcement. As we continue to pursue a better understanding, we encourage you to be wary of rumors that you hear about this change and know that we will continue to keep you up to date on the information we receive. Along with being updated through our office, you can also continue to stay informed by monitoring Joint Council’s website at
We continue to do our best in addressing your questions and concerns as quickly as possible and appreciate your patience. Our primary goal remains to facilitate the progress of your adoptions, which continues to show movement on a daily basis. Despite all of this uncertainty, we hope you go into this weekend feeling hopeful and staying focused on preparing your hearts for the road ahead.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Many Thanks and My Car Ride with Jude

Can I just say THANK YOU  to everyone who has graciously reached out with words of encouragement, prayers, and support?! You're willingness to spread the word about this petition and take the time to sign it, means the world to us! We know many of you that have gone out of your way to do this, don't have connections to Ethiopia or invested emotions there, and could have easily overlooked this petition- but you didn't! And so please know we are grateful and it truly does matter!!!  Your signature holds the hope that could potentially change the Ministry's decision and save thousands of legitimate orphan's who need a home!

Yesterday while in the car with Jude, out of nowhere he asked, "What is going on in Opia today mom?". Somewhat taken back, because I knew he hadn't heard Joshua and I talk about the possible turn of events in front of him, I asked, as I turned down the radio, "What do you mean bud?". He repeated himself again, "I said, what is going on in Opia today?". So after a long pause of trying to gather my thoughts and explain to my little 3 year old (almost 4 year old, he'd want you to know!), a pretty confusing situation - I said, "Well.... some pretty important people over there are about to make some BIG choices, and we need to pray that they make a GOOD CHOICE for all the kiddo's who need mommy's and daddy's that are there!". To which I hear him sigh and say, "Oh... do we still get to get Isa mama?".  At this point, I got the ache in the back of my throat, the kind you get before you're about to tear up. You see, I know my tender hearted boy gets upset if he sees me cry- so, with my big ole' sun glasses on, I kept looking straight ahead down the road, blinking like crazy- thinking it would make the tears go away, no such luck. I realized in this short quite moment before answering him, that I'm just a mama with a lot of questions too... but God used this moment to reassure me that indeed, Isa is still our son! So I mustered up my confident, non-cry voice, and said, "You know what Jude, YES we still get to get Isa! I don't know when and I don't know how it's all going to play out- but God knows, and He'll lead the way!". And while I looked up into the rearview mirror to see my sweet boy staring back at me, he said, "We should pray mom! ". I swear I'm convinced that my boy has a direct connection with God crammed into his little body! "That's a great idea bud, let's pray!"... and so we did.

In the midst of uncertainty God's sovereignty is our certainty!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Heavy Heart- Please Pray and Petition!

You know when you're just at a loss for words because you're almost too overwhelmed with emotions all over the spectrum to figure out a way to eloquently sum it up? That's me right now- and part of me doesn't want to even write this post for that very reason, but I NEED to because there is a much to be prayed over right now, and I KNOW that there is power in prayer!

As most of the adoption community already knows, there are some major changes that are about to take affect in Ethiopia regarding adoptions. While this news didn't completely blind side us since there had been some talk of possible changes earlier in the week, Joshua and I still held out hope that nothing would transpire of the rumors. Well, yesterday our hearts sank when our agency did in fact confirm that MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) was planning on taking some drastic measures that would cut intercountry adoptions up to 90%! Sigh... not what we wanted to hear. Here is the statement that was released yesterday:

Statement on the Pending Reduction of Intercountry Adoption in Ethiopia
Last week the Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs announced their intention to reduce intercountry adoptions by 90% beginning March 10, 2011. The Ministry’s plan for a dramatic reduction is apparently based on two primary issues; 1) the assumption that corruption in intercountry adoption is systemic and rampant and 2) the Ministry’s resources should be focused on the children for whom intercountry adoption is not an option. Without further announcements by the Government of Ethiopia, it is our understanding that the Ministry’s plan will be initiated this week.
The Ministry’s plan is a tragic, unnecessary and disproportionate reaction to concerns of isolated abuses in the adoption process and fails to reflect the overwhelmingly positive, ethical and legal services provided to children and families through intercountry adoption. Rather than eliminate the right of Ethiopian children to a permanent family, we encourage the Ministry to accept the partnerships offered by governments, NGOs, and foundations. Such partnerships could increase the Ministry’s capacity to regulate service providers and further ensure ethical adoptions.
The Ministry’s plan, which calls for the processing of only five adoption cases per work day, will result not only in systemic and lasting damage to a large sector of social services, but will have an immediate impact on the lives and futures of children. Moving from over 4,000 adoptions per year to less than 500 will result in thousands of children languishing in under-regulated and poorly resourced institutions for years. For those children who are currently institutionalized and legally available for adoption, the Ministry’s plan will increase their time languishing in institutions for up to 7-years.
Joint Council respectfully urges the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs to reconsider their plan and to partner with governments, NGOs and foundations to achieve their goals and avoid the coming tragedy for children and families.

In response to this heart breaking news, Joint Council has put together THIS PETITION to present to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. We are in desperate need of signatures, currently there are about 13K signatures, but our agency has let us know that the NEED is to have at least 250,000 by Saturday in order for our voice to truly be heard! Click HERE to read more and sign! 

The US State Department also issued an OFFICIAL ALERT today as well. 

With all that being said, there are a couple clear thoughts that are still swirling around in my head that I want to make sure I mention. Most importantly... Joshua and I know that God's plans are far greater than our own! He's been writing this story from the beginning and we both trust and hold tight to the fact that He still has the pen in His hands! It's easy for me to want to come up with all our "what if" solutions of Plan A, B, and C- but the truth of the matter is, God is our PLAN A. We choose to look up rather then at the circumstances surrounding us. We pray for the Ministry's leadership over in Ethiopia right now, that they make wise decisions that are in the best interest of all the orphaned children, and that they are willing to partner with the government and other foundations in order to come up with another solution! We pray that God would be in the middle of it all! Most importantly we pray for all the children that this policy change will negatively affect as well as the families that are waiting on their court dates! We would be forever grateful for your prayers as well! As I said before, I KNOW there is power in prayer! 

Okay, that's all I have for now! I'll keep you posted as I know more!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tupperware and Thirty-One Gifts

So much to say, so little time!  So I'll be back later to share all that is on my heart and what God has been up to lately!

But for now, because time is ticking... I wanted to let you know that the Tupperware Fundraiser that my my mom-in-law is hosting on our behalf is in full swing and the last day to place orders will be March 10th! The incredible thing is, that 40% of the proceeds will go towards our adoption fund! There is some really great stuff, and it's all really reasonably priced- so check it out and see if there is some sort of nifty container that would make your life a little easier! Thanks again to Debbie and Ali for putting this together for us! Such a blessing!

Also, wanted to let you know of another great opportunity that my super generous friend from high school, Erin,  is offering to us! She works for a company called Thirty-One Gifts as an independent consultant and she is offering 15% of her commission for the month of March to help with our adoption! They have some awesome gift ideas on there, including personalized/monogramed bags that are way cute! We are totally blown away and taken back at the generosity and creativity of so many to be a part of this journey! Thank you Erin for being a part of Isa's story! If you want to check out the catalog, click here:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The face of Jesus

The pictures tell it all. Two boys born half way around the world from each other. Two boys that God has given very different beautiful stories to of how they got where they're at today. Two boys loved deeply by their creator (AND their mommy's and daddy's!). Two boys, one with beautiful chocolate colored skin and the cutest touchable curls you've ever seen, and the other with ivory white fair skin and crystal blue eyes. Two boys soaking in each other's company, oblivious to any of their differences, loving and laughing together. This is simply the face of Jesus to me in so many ways!

 These pictures represent answered prayers. We earnestly prayed that God would surround us with other families that understood the crazy and wonderful world of adoption. He's blessed us with THREE local families that already have adopted or are in the process like us, from Ethiopia AND from AGCI- all three families are incredible! I tell you what, Whitney, Mitzi, and Courtney... you girls are a true God send! Thank you for your friendships! So here's the scoop on the sweet-pea with Jude in the pictures above... Mekele is adopted from Ethiopia from Hannah's Hope (where Isa will be).  His mama, Whitney, has become a dear friend of mine and a true blessing throughout this process! Whitney's hubby and Joshua are both teachers and work across the hall from each other. They are the very first couple we sought out when we began this process, having them over for dinner last April, to beg for their guidance and wisdom as to what the heck we were getting ourselves into! I know God must smile as He looked down today at our little play date we had with Whitney and Mekele, because it so clearly represented His handy work... I know it makes my heart smile!