Friday, December 30, 2011

thank you!

Thank you for your prayers and kind messages (I apologize it's taken us so long to write an update!).  We found out right before we traveled for Christmas that Moses was back at the transition home.  We're still waiting on additional information about his health status, but we're so grateful he was spotted running around with the "big kids!"

Please keep praying for him---and for our sanity!  We're still waiting impatiently for a court date!




Friday, December 16, 2011

please pray.

Friends,
M needs our prayers!  We just found out that our sweet boy is in the hospital and has been experiencing respiratory distress.  PLEASE join us on our knees as we plead for a full recovery ...and soon.   It sounds like he's on the upswing, but it's still so hard to be so far away, especially in moments like this.

Trusting in a God who is far bigger than us.
with love,
em

Monday, December 5, 2011

all good things...

It was a great weekend, indeed. Two families from our agency brought their babes home this weekend--and while in Ethiopia they were able to get pictures (& video!) of Moses.  It was the best birthday present, ever.  This little guy has stolen our hearts in big ways...

Also, our dear friends, Rachel & Doug, are having an online auction and it starts today. Every penny goes towards their adoption.  Please help us support them and head over to their blog and do some Christmas shopping!  (Incredible items from 147 Million Orphans, Ordinary Hero, The Anderson Crew Blog, numerous Etsy stores, and much, much more!!)  You may even stumble upon a One-Less Tee and fun baby wear from yours truly....

Thank you for your support friends.  Blessings on the week ahead!  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

stocking stuffers!

With our referral in hand and two trips to Ethiopia in our midst, we're finding ourselves number crunching once again. 
If you're still looking for great stocking stuffers or Christmas gifts for the holiday season
look no further!  (and help us clean out Moses' closet!!!)

The cost of each item is listed and includes shipping.
You can pay via the paypal button on our blog or in person!

 Uganda Bead Necklaces (solid red ones or multi-colored)
$20
          Photobucket

One Less Tees
$20

Limited sizes available!
(5 smalls, 2 extra larges)


Africa Cookie Cutters! 
{I LOVE these!}
$15


Just Love Coffee
{$5 for every bag purchased goes towards our adoption}

For more fun stocking stuffers visit the blogs below! 
(proceeds go towards their adoption or upcoming mission trip to Ethiopia!) 

Handmade Headbands!

MudLove Bands

Great gift items at a discounted price for 12 days!
(necklaces, t-shirts, etc!)

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

what's next?

We're anxiously waiting to hear that our paperwork is in Ethiopia!!!

After it arrives it will be translated and submitted to the courts for review.  In approximately 2-3 months we will be assigned a court date.  We'll travel to Ethiopia for court and to meet, cuddle, and love on Moses.  The trip will be way too short for our liking {3-4 days}, but it will ultimately bring us one step closer to bringing home our sweet boy.

After that....more waiting.  It will most likely be a couple of months later that we'll have an embassy date and get to return to the land we already love, to the boy who is already a part of us, and bring him HOME!

We're anticipating Moses won't be home for 6 months {yet, we're hopeful it will be sooner}

While we wait....

we're praying for wisdom
we're praying for patience
we're praying for health for M
we're praying for a miracle {for a court date while Jim is on a break from school the first 3 weeks in Jan.}
we're praying for the paperwork
we're praying we may pass court while in ET
we're praying for the nannies caring for Moses and Bek {and all the other ethiopian babes!}
we're praying that God may prepare Moses' heart for the crazy road ahead
we're praying that He may prepare us for the hardest part yet, in our journey.

will you join us on our knees?

{right before we mailed off our paperwork on 11/21 saying
 "YES!" to Moses!}

With much love,
em & jim

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

gratitude.

On the eve of this Thanksgiving I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  I'm working tomorrow and Friday, so I'm surprising James with a thanksgiving dinner tonight.  The pie and turkey are in the oven and I find myself sitting here reflecting on life.  What a year it has been!  The last year has been incredibly difficult (you can read more about that here and here)  in addition to the normal stress and emotional roller coaster the journey of adoption brings.  Yet, today we're not only standing....we're jumping, dancing and rejoicing!  The last year has stretched us and grown us into the people we are today--and has led us to Moses.  God has been so incredibly faithful.  We can't stop looking at pictures of our little guy.  He already has brought us so much joy.

However, Friday's joy didn't come without a twist of emotions and heartbreak.  To see our son's face is an answer to prayers.  Yet, I'm reminded that all adoption stories begin with tragedy, and for that I cried.  I cried for the brokenness of his past and all he has already endured.  I cried because my #1 fan in life (my mom) wasn't here to join in the earthly celebration.  She longed to see our referral day, yet God called her home just three months before.

It hurts, yet my heart is bursting with thanksgiving. I'm rejoicing in the story God is writing with our lives.  Through the pain and heartache, we continue to trust and believe and hope for God is good...so, so good. As we wait for our papers to reach Ethiopia, wait for our court date, wait for our embassy date, and ultimately as we wait to bring Moses home, we pray God may continue to refine us.  We pray he may grant us wisdom and prepare us for the road ahead.

I still can't believe it.
I can't believe we get the privilege to do this.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.
We are so blessed.

with love,
Emily

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

referral day

Oh, friends--what a blessing to see pictures of our little guy!  It makes the wait so worth it.  Joy certainly comes in the morning and after a year with much heartache and sorrow, little Moses brings so much joy.

Here is how our story unfolds, our story as a family....

On Monday, November 14, 2011 our dear friends, received their referral.  We knew we were next in line for a boy (everyone in front of us was waiting for a girl or siblings!)  We held our breath all week.  On Friday, November 18, I went to a meeting at work and as I drove home I prayed--out loud.  I thanked God that He already knew who our child was.  He knew the gender, the age, and his/her life story.  As I quickly approached a red light near our house I prayed, "Lord...if we don't receive our referral today..."  (it was going to conclude with me pleading for PATIENCE).  However, I never got the words out.  At that exact moment my phone rang.  It was our adoption consultant with THE CALL that we have long awaited.  As I stopped at a red light, she told me she had our referral.  I started shaking.  She put me on hold and attempted to get Jim on the line (it was the longest minute ever).  Unfortunately, he was leading a meeting and didn't answer.  I couldn't wait--so without further ado, she told me the details.

I scribbled down notes and ran inside the house to grab our camera and call Jim.  He answered, I screamed....and then I told him the news.  The email with his pictures would be sitting in our inbox momentarily....we agreed to open the email together.

I jumped in the car and drove to his school.  I raced inside and met him in his classroom--his arms wide open.  We embraced in a hug and ran to the computer for a glimpse of our SON!

It was incredible to see his face---his huge brown eyes--and his super long eyelashes. It was truly love at first sight!

So, sweet boy, we love you with all that we are. We're humbled at the opportunity to be your parents.  We're praying for you, sweet child.  May the arms of Jesus hold you tight, as with each passing day, we're one step closer to holding you in ours.  Sweet dreams, tonight, Moses Kai....we love you.

{opening the email!}

a slightly blurry picture after we saw his face!
{we were shaking too much to hold the camera still!}

Sunday, November 20, 2011

the call!

WE HAVE A SON!


His name is:
Moses
{we'll post details on his name at a later date}

He's 21 months old.
He has the biggest brown eyes and longest eyelashes 
we've ever seen.  
They're a-maz-ing. 


We're completely smitten.


We received the call on Friday morning (more on that later).
We have pictures (but, we're not able to post them online or email them until we pass court in Ethiopia)
However, we'll be back in Michigan in a month and we would love to show you his picture then.
{or if you're local--don't hesitate to ask!}


 Rejoicing in God's faithfulness!
Stay tuned for details :)



Monday, November 14, 2011

one more!

Another referral given (this time to our dear friends!!!)
which makes us number....

We're ecstatic to see God's plans unfold before our very eyes.
Praying we may see our little one's face SOON!


inching forward

WE'RE NUMBER 14!!!!


We're jumping for joy in anticipation!!!!

...and praying for sanity as we anxiously wait for our phone to ring!

we'll keep you posted!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

on the move...

We ended last week with another referral from our agency---making us number....


(and we decided it was finally time to carve our pumpkins!)

we're one step closer!



Monday, October 31, 2011

sweet 16

Movement is a beautiful thing and after months at a standstill we are beyond excited that we moved up on the wait list today!  We're now number:


Rejoicing tonight with a renewed sense of hope (& excitement!)





Monday, October 24, 2011

much improved.

 Every time I open our adoption blog I am greeted by the previous (downtrodden) post.  Thankfully the weary state I wrote about last was brief and we're back to our optimistic, yet realistic selves.

Nothing has changed with our adoption and we fully realize this journey is going to take a lot longer than we anticipated.  But, we're holding tight.   Timeframes are unknown with the recent changes in Ethiopia.  Speculations have arose (from other agencies and ours) that families may wait for 2-3 years.  Sunday marks 11 months for us.  Only time will tell how our story--and ultimately His story--plays out.

We're eager, yet content today.  So grateful for that...
peace, friends.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

feeling a little....

weary? frustrated? confused?

ah, yes.  I feel like we've hit an all time low in our adoption.  A year ago I never thought we would hit this point....and I secretly vowed I would never write those kind of blogs.

but, i feel Satan creeping in.

perhaps it's because we have been at a standstill with no referrals for over 12 weeks...
and part of me is leary that this will ever happen....

it seems so surreal.
we're so close---yet it feels years away  (i'm the inpatient one)

perhaps you can say a little prayer for my heart...and my attitude.
and for God to be close and incredible real to me right now.
i need it and HIM so bad.

BUT, we do have exciting news....our dear friends, Rachel & Doug just announced they are adopting from Ethiopia!!!!  My heart bursts with joy for them (& for future play dates!)  Congrats, friends.  So, so, so excited for y'all!

that's life. incredibly real...raw emotions and all.
grateful His mercies are new every morning.
with love,
emily

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It Is Well With My Soul

I never imagined that 36 hours after posting my previous post we would be flying home to Michigan and my life would change, forever.

Three weeks ago today, my mom passed away.  She was surrounded by family and friends and we held onto her and each other as she passed from this world into the arms of Jesus.

My mom was ready to go.  She approached death with an incredible amount of peace and joy (and even humor).  It was a complete honor to care for her at home during her last days on this earth.  It was one of the most beautiful and heart wrenching moments of my life.

She was one our biggest supporters, especially in our adoption.  If/when I get caught up thinking about the future, the pain is too much to bear.  The older I get the more I have realized how much I need my mom, now more than ever.  The tears swell and I need to remember just to breath....to know that God will grant me the grace and mercy I need to make it through the day and the days to come.

It's almost impossible to think about our adoption right now.  Things have slowed waaaaay down in Ethiopia and our agency hasn't had any referrals for months.  For you friends, who are waiting, I pray your referral comes fast.  But, truthfully I'm ok with the wait, because I can't imagine becoming a mom right now.  It hurts too bad.  But, I trust and will continue to trust in God's perfect timing.  I pray He will prepare my heart and mind for what is to come.

I hope to write more later and I will try to update our blog more frequently--but, tonight I leave you with this, words from my devotional this morning.  with love and peace, em

Abraham was tested for a very long time, but he was richly rewarded. The Lord tested him by delaying the fulfillment of His promise.  Satan tested him through temptation, and people tested him through their jealousy, distrust, and opposition to him.  Sarah tested him through her worrisome temperament.  Yet he patiently endured, not questioning God's truthfulness and power or doubting God's faithfulness and love. Instead, Abraham submitted to God's divine sovereignty and infinite wisdom.  And he was silent through many delays, willing to wait for the Lord's timing.   Having patiently endured, he then obtained the fulfillment of the promise.


Beloved, God's promises can never fail to be accomplished, and those who patiently wait can never be disappointed, for believing faith leads to realization.  Abraham's life condemns a spirit of hastiness, admonishes those who complain, commends those who are patient, and encourages quiet submission to God's will and way.


Remember, Abraham was tested but he patiently waited, ultimately received what was promised, and was satisfied.  If you will imitate his example, you will share the same blessing. 


(Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mercy.

Six years ago the old familiar hymn, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" permeated my life in a new and tangible way.  Six years ago my mom aquired a rare auto-immune disease that left her organs failing as she lay sedated and vented in the intensive care unit.


Mom spent weeks in the hospital fighting for her life and every morning I would head northbound on 131 to be with her and my dad.  Morning after morning as I approached the "s curve" the sun would be rising--brilliant in color and size--the light so bright it blinded my vision for a fraction of a second.


As I drove thinking and praying for my mom the rising of the sun was a tangible promise of a new day ahead. My heart swelled with the words of the old familiar hymn...


"Great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see



The words never so sweeter--the promises never so true.  Now six years later the memory of those mornings have not fled. The power of the hymn continues to bring tears to my eyes and I can't help but raise my hands in gratitude and surrender.  The last few weeks as I've been driving to the hospital in which I work, and I approach the on ramp, the sun appears, brilliant in color and size.  The words of that old beloved hymn flood my heart once again.


What a powerful reminder--a much needed reminder for my life-for our adoption-for my mom's health-and daily stress and struggles.


""All I have needed thy hand hath provided





Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me"


Now six years later mom is beginning the evaluation process for a heart transplant.  And today we're one day closer to seeing the picture of the child God has chosen for us.  


What a journey--we've come so far and for this girl who never was a morning person--I've found beauty, joy and a peace that surpasses all human understanding in the rising of the sun.


Friday, August 12, 2011

clean water.

The pictures are haunting.
Reality is cruel
and the need is great.

It's easy {for me} to forget the blessing of clean water and food.

But, for those living and enduring the great famine in the horn of Africa--each breath is a reminder that they are going without life's basic needs.




Together can make a difference in the lives of many.  Organizations like A Glimmer of Hope and World Vision have initiated emergency campaigns to bring food, water and healthcare to those in need in Ethiopia and surrounding countries.

Also, in efforts to bring clean water to Africa, my uncle is running his 7th Chicago Marathon with World Vision.  His goal to to raise $7,000 to help make clean water a reality. If 700 people donated $10--his goal would be met.  Would you consider giving?  Go HERE for more information. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

the last year...




Wednesday marked one year--Aug 3, 2010 we embarked on a journey of a lifetime. We thought we knew what God was calling us to---oh, how we have been stretched and grown!

Over the past 12 months we have experienced: great joy, pure excitement, blessings beyond compare, fear, comfort, support - SO much support, love, contentment ( a true blessing from God), great pain, sorrow, confusion, HOPE, and most of all, GOD - He is truly at work!

We're in awe of how far we've come--how fast the past year has gone--how much we've learned (& how much more we have to learn!). 

We're eager to see what the next chapter in our lives hold. Somedays the wait seems indefinite and weariness sets in--yet, more days than not--we remain hopeful and certain in the Lord's plan and timing.

Here's to the next 12 months....praying little feet are running around here by then!

Thanks for your support, friendship & love this past year.
We are humbled and grateful.
em & jim

PS. I'm putting in another order for the Uganda Bead Necklaces! Interested in purchasing one? Leave a comment below!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

still here...

Still patiently waiting.  Somedays more so than others.  But, God has been gracious and although we're more than eager to see the child He has chosen for us--we're enjoying life in the here and now.

We've moved 1 spot in the last five weeks--which makes us #17 (and right behind the Chase Family again!)



We're at peace about where we are--content too. 
Which I'm beyond grateful for. 

thanks for checking in.
with love,
em

Thursday, July 7, 2011

i heart community.

One of the biggest blessings we've been given throughout this journey 
has been the relationships with other adoptive families.

We've been blessed in big ways.
By prayer, words of encouragement, thoughtful emails & blog/fb messages they have entered into the small corners of our world and cared for us in incredible ways.

They're brothers & sisters in Christ, strangers in flesh, and yet our lives have been intertwined in such intimate ways.
It's the body of Christ and it's a beautiful thing. 

So, today I want to introduce you to the Maser Family.
Photobucket

They have accepted the referral of their sweet Caleb and received word this week of their court date--which is less than 3 weeks away.  They need to purchase their plane tickets by 4 TODAY.
They still need $1,500 to do so.

Will you consider helping them?!

For a $10 donation you will placed in a drawing to win a iPad! 
Go HERE or HERE for details.

Help us help them bring their little boy home.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

the winner is.....

Thank you to everyone who purchased t-shirts, coffee, necklaces & bracelets this past month!  
We're so grateful for your ongoing support.

The necklaces & bracelets have been purchased and we are waiting for their arrival--we'll get them into your hand as soon as possible!

So, without further ado.....
the winner of the $50 Visa Gift Card IS:


Cami B!!!!

Congratulations, friend!!!!




Saturday, June 25, 2011

more than eggs.

We were on a mission this morning.
The destination: a small farmer's market at North Hills shopping center.
The goal: to find a local farmer selling eggs.

{We watched Food, Inc last week & it has changed our life}

As we were talking with the nice lady behind the booth about the eggs and her farm, I spotted a tent--brightly colored and quite inviting. The sign read, "Cupcake Kids". I've read about this amazing organization before within the world of adoption blogs. {This incredible organization raises money for the imprisoned children in Africa by selling cupcakes.} After we finished our conversation with the nice farm lady, we headed over.

Right away the guy behind the booth started talking to us about this organization. When he paused I quickly explained that I was somewhat familiar with it as we're in the midst of adopting from Ethiopia...

He replied...."We are too."

We talked to him & his wife for quite awhile.
We talked of adoption, adoption support groups in Raleigh, their recent trip to ET to meet their sweet daughter, church, our "stories" and so much more.

We walked away with huge smiles. Really, God?!?

Today was about so much more than a dozen eggs.
Finding an adoption community of believers in Raleigh has been heavy on my heart.

And, God met us right where we were--at little farmer's market, right here in North Raleigh.
The road of adoption isn't always easy. At times the wait is grueling, but it's moments like these that I can't help but praise God, for He is at work---He has heard our prayers and in His time, His perfect time, they are being answered.

So, Hemphill Family---it was a pleasure meeting you. Your little girl is adorable. You've already blessed our life in big ways. We'll be praying you through as you wait to to bring your little one home!

Friday, June 24, 2011

best part of the day...

...was the text from from Jim & Jen {I was at work}
with the latest news.
Two more referrals were given today, 
which makes us...
it's a beautiful thing.

happy weekend, y'all!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I thought I was being all savvy figuring out another paypal button for the necklaces & bracelets....

....but, I was humbled once again in my lack of technological skills.

So, if you're attempting to purchase one of these:



you can pay via cash or check {message me for mailing details....} OR pay using the "DONATE" paypal button on the sidebar.  PLEASE let me know if paypal still isn't working for you!!!  So grateful for your support.  LOVE these products--and I know you will too!  {necklace= $20, bracelet= $10} shipping included!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's a new day!

ah, I'm back to my optimistic self today--and it feels so good. It's amazing what a little r&r, time at the gym, and a glass of wine can do :) My spirits have been renewed and it's a welcome change from yesterday.

Exciting news on the fundraising front---we're partnering with 147 Million Orphans !!! This incredible organization was created by two moms who have a huge heart for orphan care. Their fun, unique and message-filled gear helps bring light to the orphan crisis.


We're selling Magazine Bead Necklaces made by the women of Uganda. These incredible necklaces are handmade using recycled paper. By purchasing one of these {stunning!} necklaces you'll be helping women maintain sustainable income for their families. A portion of the sale also goes back to our adoption. You can make a difference--in the lives of many. $20.

The silicone cuffs share the bold statement of the orphan crisis and "speak up for those with no voice!" Help us share the message--for only $10.

To maximize the savings we're pre-ordering the items. Purchase yours today using the "donate" paypal button on our side bar! 

***Purchase a necklace, silicone cuff, One Less tee, or coffee NOW through JULY 4 and you'll be entered to win a $50 Visa Gift Card!!!

Thank you for your continued support--for loving us--and the orphans and oppressed of this world.
Continuing to wait, hope, and trust....
In His grip,
Emily

Monday, June 20, 2011

today's reality.

We started this journey during a time in our lives when we were content with life in and of itself. We were enjoying time spent together, soaking up our days with just us--dreaming of the future, the "what-ifs" and kids, someday. We didn't decide to adopt due to infertility, but simply because God was moving in big ways and clearly made His will known for our lives. There was no better time to start the grueling process than that day. We looked with great anticipation for the day our home would be filled with little feet and little people's laughter, but we were content with where we were. Life has kept us busy and our minds occupied--and for that I'm grateful.

However, today....my heart is struggling. Today the wait is tough. The finish line seems unreachable and the tears are not far off. Maybe it's purely due to exhaustion after a weekend of work or because we're nearing the 11 month mark. Maybe it's just today, for reasons beyond my understanding. Maybe it's because we have seen a picture of a little guy we thought God was calling us to and our court date should have been issued any day now. Maybe it's because it was Father's day yesterday and I so badly wanted to celebrate Jim with a picture of Zeke in hand. Maybe it's because it was Z's birthday Friday and the cake I had planned to bake didn't get done or because the special date is written in pen on my calendar and it's a daily reminder of what won't come to be.

....maybe, just maybe, it's a combination of the reasons above and today it just feels good to cry.

A dear friend sent me these quotes this morning--they're so good for my heart to hear and my soul to ponder.

Even the saddest things can become, once we have made peace with them, a source of wisdom and strength for the journey that still lies ahead.
Frederick Buechner


Shattered dreams are never random. They are always a piece in a larger puzzle, a chapter in a larger story. The Holy Spirit uses the pain of shattered dreams to help us discover our desire for God, to help us begin dreaming the highest dream. They are ordained opportunities for the Spirit to awaken, then to satisfy our highest dream.
- Larry Crabb

Grateful His mercies are new every morning.
with love,
em

Friday, June 17, 2011

then & now.

Wednesday we celebrated our fourth anniversary!
 [see more about that here]

It's mind boggling to think how drastic our lives have changed in the past 10 1/2 months.
It's almost humorous to think back to our anniversary last year.  We had no idea that six weeks later God would call us to international adoption and our dream of adopting "someday" would turn into "now".

What a reminder that He is in control.
He's holding our future in His hands...
...and at the right time it will come to be.

That alone gives rest to my soul.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

twenty.

As of Friday,
we're number...

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we're pressing on.

grace & peace,
Emily

{looking for info on our big giveaway?!?! click HERE}



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Giveaway!

Perhaps it's nesting--
[or wishful thinking!]

but, it's time to clean out our closets!
From NOW until the 4th of July for every "One Less" t-shirt you buy....

OR bag of coffee purchased from our Just Love Shop--

you'll be entered in a drawing to win a
$50 Visa gift card!!!!!!

One item equals one entry.
The more you purchase--the better your chances are for winning the gift card!!!!

[Limited t-shirt sizes available]
7 Small
1 Large
2 Extra Large

{see side bar to order and pay via paypal}

The winner will be drawn at random and announced bright and early on July 5.

Please leave a comment on our blog or email me at: emily.hapner @ gmail.com with the number of items you purchased to ensure the correct number of entries with YOUR name on it!

Thanks for your support, friends!
let the good times begin.

Friday, June 3, 2011

welcome summer adoption auction!

The Chase Family
is hosting an adoption auction
to help bring their kiddo{s}
home from Ethiopia.

AMAZING items.
Incredible cause.

 We were blessed beyond measure with your generosity
with our auction---will you consider sharing the love and helping our dear friends?

it would mean the world to us.

we're all in this together.

Team Chase 4 and Counting

today till friday.
let the bidding begin!

praying it's a success
and our little ones will come home soon.

blessings.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

all must be well.

Just over one week ago our world was rocked with the news that Z wouldn't be coming home--to us.
Once again we were reminded that this adoption is so much bigger than us, our plans & dreams.

A couple nights ago I rolled into bed and whispered to Jim, "Do you still find yourself thinking of Zeke?" {As tears welled in my eyes} He whispered, "Yes.... {and he paused} "but, I also find myself dreaming of our future and the next child God places in our lives"


"See in every sorrow and trouble of your earthly pilgrimage the hand of Him who gave Christ to die for your sins! That hand can never smite you except in love! He who gave His only begotten Son for you, will never withhold anything from you which is really for your good. Lean back on this thought and be content. Say to yourself in the darkest hour of trial, ‘This also is ordered by Him who gave Christ to die for my sins. It cannot be wrong. It is done in love. It must be well.’" -J.C. Ryle


At last, friends...it IS well with my soul.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday, at last.

With a cup of coffee in hand, Mumford & Sons on Pandora, my hubby and dad installing a new kitchen sink....all is well this morning.  

My heart is content.  It's a new day after storms hit yesterday.  The sun is peaking through the clouds.  Good things are in store...

As of yesterday we're back on "the list".  #22 to be exact.  

So boy? girl? infant? toddler? 4 year old?
Only God knows.
{you're welcome to leave your guess!}

Off to spend the weekend with our much loved family!

much love.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

hurting...

Today it hurts. I worked all day yesterday and the fast pace of labor and delivery kept my mind occupied. Today is my day off. My family is here, although we're busy with house projects--my mind keeps wandering.

There were more referrals given out with our agency yesterday. Although I am overjoyed for the families, there's an ache deep within my heart and the sting of the pain is so real.

We don't doubt that God is in control or that He is at work in midst of this all.
But, today it hurts and the tears are many.

Adoption seemed so simple nine months ago.
What a journey it has been....

We're learning to let go of our dreams and learning to take each day at a time.

I cannot thank you enough for the kind words and prayers. We never imagined this is how our story would go. Although the journey hurts so bad right now, we have no doubt it will be so worth it.

blessings tonight & always,
em

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

difficult news.

This is a post we never imagined writing...and one that hurts deep within.
We received a call from our adoption consultant last night. We instantly knew the news wasn't good.
The details are sparse--but the facts remain the same.

The sweet little boy whose smile permeated our hearts--who we have prayed for by name--whose room we painted two nights ago--and whose closet was beginning to fill with well loved hand-me-downs.....

is no longer ours-
for reasons we may never know or fully understand.

The tears, confusion & uncertainties are many.

We fully believe God called us to this little guy--for reasons we may never know.
But, His plan didn't end the ways ours did.

So, we'll keep trusting and continuing on in this journey.

We will mourn and, we will move on, leaving behind a small part of our hearts
with a little boy that we already loved so dearly.

thanks for the prayers and love.
emily & jim

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

looking ahead...

Updates have become difficult to write. It's become challenging to put my thoughts, feelings and emotions into words. It's all so surreal. We have a picture of an adorable little guy--and we know he is ours--we're family, yet I don't know if my mind can fully grasp the concept until he is home, with us. I cannot wait for the day I can wrap my arms around him. I pray he likes to cuddle :)....this momma's heart needs that.

We are waiting and praying for a quick court date. We're anticipating it will be in approximately three months {we're praying it will be sooner!}. We'll meet our little man on our first trip, but we won't be able to bring him home until our second trip {hopefully five weeks or less after the first}. However, the courts in Ethiopia typically close for a month around August or September--so, we shall see :)

Soooo.....maybe Zeke will be home in October or November? It's definitely just a guess! Regardless-it will definitely be the best Thanksgiving--ever.

We're staying busy so once Z's home our life can come to a standstill and revolve around him. That alone keeps us going...

Oh. my...I can hardly contain my excitement!

Thanks for the outpouring of love & support--for the kind words and encouragement. We continue to plead for prayers as we wait and prepare to bring Zeke home.

Thanks, friends.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

looking back...

This post was written on Monday, May 9. It's a glimpse into how God has opened our hearts and an act of surrender--a glimpse into how we got to where we are today & why...

Something happened Thursday night {May 5, 2011} that has and will forever change our adoption journey.


We surrendered everything to God.


Our hearts were stirred. For the past nine months we've been envisioning an adoption of an infant. Talk of cribs, diapers, and baby carriers entered into conversation from time to time. It just seemed natural. We're young and have no biological children-yet. Adopting a baby seemed fitting.


We started to feel a stirring a couple of months ago and we took action to include special needs and change our age preference to 0-5yrs old. Our eyes were opened to the greatest need of adoption in Ethiopia--"older" children and those with special needs. Our home study was amended and just last week we sent off our paperwork to USCIS. We wanted to make our age range as wide as possible-knowing we could narrow down our age preferences within our own agency.


We told our agency 0-2 1/2 years old. That's what we felt comfortable with.


I think God laughed.


For Thursday he started stirring in our hearts even more.


There's a little boy on our agency's waitlist. He's been there for six months. His smile penetrates our hearts and we're hearing God whispering for us to take action.


This sweet boy is almost four.
God is stretching us beyond what we ever imagined....and right where He wants us to be.
We want to meet the need--where the need is....which for us, right now, means a three year old little boy without a family in Ethiopia.


So, tonight we have a conference call with our agency about this little boy-whose face we cannot get out of our minds. We'll review his file and pray without ceasing that God gives us clarity.


Our biggest prayer has and will be that God's will will be done.


We want to surrender it all....and see where He leads.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

the call....

I've attempted to start this post numerous times in the last few hours.
I'm speechless--and yet I can't stop talking.
I can't wipe the smile off my face, yet my eyes swell with tears.

Today was the day, my friends.
Today, after nine months of waiting, with a picture of a ridiculously adorable little three year old in hand, we said "YES"....a thousand times over.

Overjoyed we cried "Yes!" to a little boy who has been on our agency's waitlist for months.
Unable to contain our excitement we shouted "Yes!" to a little boy who has stolen our hearts and has forever changed us.

We said "YES!" to our first child, a son....who we named:
Ezekiel
{which means "God will strengthen"}
{We will keep his Ethiopian name as his middle name-and once he's home we can share it :) }


And with a resounding "Yes!" we celebrated our first steps into parenthood!

In the days to come, as the shock wears off and I can regain composure, I hope to write more about our story and how this all came to be.
We can't post pictures of him until we pass court, but we would love to show you his picture in person!
{so, don't hesitate to ask!}

Thank you for walking with us--for the prayers and encouragement, the sharing of tears and shouts of joy. We are honored and blessed that God has called us to adopt. We are stoked to bring Zeke home.
We are giddy and still in shock. The emotions are many and tonight we're trying to soak it all in.

Tonight we're praying God may be working in Zeke's heart and preparing him for what lies ahead. We pray he may feel God's presence in a real and tangible way and that he may know he has a mom and dad who love him and can't wait for him to come home.

We're coming sweet, child...we're coming.

witih all our love,
emily & jim

Thursday, April 28, 2011

the marathon...

I started running again last night, for the first time in months.

And as I ran I pondered life-for many have compared the adoption process to a marathon.

I've been to the Chicago marathon a couple of times-cheering on friends who are dear to my heart. I love watching the crowds-spectators-paramedics-and runners alike. I love watching the joy and excitement that fills the air at the starting line. I love watching the elite runners-who run with such ease and grace. I love standing at the finish line and watching runners cross and collapse in the arms of loved ones. I love the smell of sweat and the endurance behind it. I love witnessing such a physically demanding and inspiring story unfold....

It's such a beautiful thing, but it doesn't go without difficulties. The training is grueling. The mental game is half the battle. The road is long and weather unpredictable.

And, that's exactly how I feel these days about our adoption. Some weeks are easier than others. Some days the finish line feels like a moving target-with no end in sight. Some days I am filled with complete peace and most days this all feels surreal.

So,we're still here...still waiting and still relying on God as He writes our story.
{thanks for checking in.}

and we're rejoicing tonight because:
we're officially #26!!!

thanks for being our cheering section.
life is more fun when we do it together.

blessings tonight & always.







Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More Movement!

We've moved again!!!
We're now #28!

Our home study was also updated today
{which was required due to the change in our age preference}
We're spreading our wings and leaping out in faith!
{and we're super excited about it!}
Our NEW preference is for a boy, 0-30 months, healthy or special needs.
We'll see how many more times this changes before our little one gets home :)

...waiting to see what God has in store for our family.
{AND, for our new I 171-H!!!!}

with joy,
em

Friday, April 1, 2011

Adoption Rocks Tees

THIS special family has graced our life and
 has made our adoption journey so much sweeter.
We're right behind them on the wait list and
it's our prayer we may meet someday {soon!} in Ethiopia!

They are making and selling sweet tees to bring home their kiddo{s} from Ethiopia.
Will you consider supporting them?!


For more information click HERE
We love you, Chase Family!


AND, we moved another spot today!

it's true...we're now 29!!!
have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

We're #30!!! {and other life updates!}

I'm back. I'm back after a time away...a {much needed} time to rejuvenate my heart and my soul...

to process life. to stop "thinking" and start learning to simply "be".

After a week visiting family, I feel renewed and ready to face this crazy world again.

As my flight left Florida on Wednesday night, I found myself praying, "Lord, please reunite my whole family...my mom, dad, siblings, husband & SON here again next year"

That's a big prayer.


and I'm grateful we serve an even bigger God.

In other exciting news....there were numerous unexpected referrals this week.
We moved up NINE spaces in TWO days!!!

We're now #30!!!


How crazy and completely wonderful.
God is good, friends.

My heart is aching for the children in Ethiopia tonight and especially "older" orphaned children.

We've fallen in love with the pictures of the older kiddos on our agency's "waiting children" list. Part of me wishes we were at a point in life to adopt a 5, 7, 9 AND 14 year old.

Yes, my heart wants them all.

God is whispering to us and we're straining to hear Him. We know our child preferences need to change, because we know that's what HE is calling us to do....we're just trying to decipher exactly what He is saying. What age? gender? special needs? Yes, He's been talking and we're listening....and eagerly waiting to see what this means for us and for our family.

So, I'm asking for prayers and for clarity. We simply long to do God's will....to put aside our dreams and desires and simply live for Him.

so that's it. that's where we are and what we're doing. if you haven't heard from me about your adoption items and/or invoice PLEASE message me. I think I have contacted everyone!

thanks for your love & support.
feeling blessed tonight.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

immeasurably more.

Thank you doesn't begin to express our gratitude.
We're completely humbled.
We're in awe.
We're speechless...

The outpouring of support from family, friends and strangers is mind-boggling. 

THANK YOU to those who donated items  
{the auction wouldn't have been possible without you!}

THANK YOU to those who bid and kept bidding
 all-week-long 
{because the auction wouldn't have been possible with you!}

THANK YOU to those who helped us spread the word
on facebook, emails and by word of mouth
{the auction wouldn't have been possible without you!}

THANK YOU for joining us on this journey...
because of your love and support {and crazy bidding!} the auction raised...

$3,048.50 

a wise friend once said, "God funds what He favors"

we believe it.
our adoption is living proof. 

***We'll be contacting the highest bidders via email in the upcoming days!  Thanks again.