Sunday, November 22, 2009

Racism Reared Its Ugly Head

Tonight, Belen and I made our routine, not-so-quick, trip to Wal-Mart. Wherever we go, it is inevitable that someone will make a comment about how lovely she is. Belen seems to catch the attention of many. There have been a few times that the looks were more a form of indifference or even nonacceptance. My view is that is their choice and loss, and I go on about my business. Tonight, proved to be something we have not experienced as a family...Filthy, Disgusting, Vile RACISM.

Belen and I passed a couple with a new born when turning down an aisle, when I realized that was not the aisle I needed. That meant we ran into the couple again immediately only to hear filthy, disgusting, vile words spoken by the man about my family. To be honest, my first reaction was confusion. Within a split second, my confusion turned to anger. As I continued to shop and sort out what had just happened, Baby Girl and I ran into them again. This time, this vile human being began to speak the same words directly in front of us until the woman told him to stop. Some of you reading this will think I am exaggerating when I say I felt such an evil presence about him, but it is true. He is an evil, vile, despicable human being, and I truly felt that presence. I should have kept walking, but the protector in me stopped, clinched my teeth, and glared. If he would have said one more word, I felt I was going to hit him. Even though Belen could not have realized what was happening, I still felt he was attacking my child, and I was not going to let that happen.

This incident occurred about 2 hours ago, but I still feel extremely sick to my stomach. I think I had prepared myself as best as I could for the indifference and the nonacceptance, but not for complete, utter hatred. Does anyone have any advice, a website, or reading material, that I could use to help me better handle myself in these situations? I know one book I am going to pick up as soon as I finish this post. Right now, because of my feelings toward that man, I need the Word to consume me.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pictures Paint a Thousand Words...Plus

Papa Gary is holding his beautiful, dancing ballerina.

I do believe that is the cutest, little lady bug I have ever seen.

Look, Grandma! I can sit up on my own!

Years down the road, I will be in trouble for posting this one.

I know I haven't posted in over a month, but as you can tell by these pictures, I have been a little busy. Belen is truly flourishing, and I love being a part of every moment of it. She can now sit up on her own and play. With a little help, she can also stand while I hold her hands. Her vocabulary (Ma Ma, Bah Bah, Pa Pa, etc.) grows daily. She mimics sounds whether she hears them in surrounding conversations, on television, or the radio. It can be quite humorous at times. I believe she is going to be a conversationalist. Yes, like her mother.
I just wanted to give a brief update through pictures showing everyone how well my little one is doing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Finally, Some Pictures!!

This is the first time I held Belen. My mom is to the right.

Belen was a sick little girl. This picture makes me a
little sad every time I look at it. I felt so helpless.

Ready to cheer on her cousin, Tatyana, in a soccer game.
Actually, I think she is enjoying the Tic Tac box more.

Baby Girl LOVES her food.
She is healthy and happy.

I wanted to share some pictures that show the transformation Belen has gone through in just a few short weeks. She is doing quite well. As you can tell by the last photo, she loves her breakfast. Thank you for all of the prayers that have brought Belen to this point. She is a doll, and I love her so very much!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Settling In

Please accept my apologies for not posting sooner. I know some of you have been waiting for a post or pictures. Well, life has been a whirlwind the past couple of weeks. I never could have imagined how much everything would change.

Ethiopia Trip-I don't know where to begin.
I have experienced life in developing countries prior to this trip, but I am never prepared for how life is so different in other parts of the world. I didn't begin to appreciate, for specific reasons, the culture until close to the end of my trip. There are so many aspects of my life that I take for granted...drinking water, paved sidewalks, health care, etc. An Ethiopian gave me a lesson in appreciating what I have in my life. He said, "We may be a poor nation, but we appreciate what we do have." I can't say I do that. So many times, I focus on what I don't have.

I had stated that I didn't appreciate the Ethiopian culture until later in the trip for a couple of reasons that held my focus elsewhere. I had the opportunity to meet Belen's family the first Sunday we were in Ethiopia. Mom and I flew in Saturday night, and I became very ill shortly after arriving. I had not read the directions properly on my motion sickness meds (duh!). Because of that, I was unable to make the 4 hr. trip. I still regret that for my daughter's sake. The sickness lasted for about 3 days. Even when I held Belen for the first time, I was trying not to get sick.

This leads me to our not-so-picture-perfect meeting. Monday, August 31, all of the families waited in the courtyard by the orphanage anxiously waiting to meet their child for the first time. I was filled with so many emotions (including trying not to get sick). I wasn't sure of my initial until I heard the travel director say to one of the the caregivers to bring out Belen. I immediately began to cry quietly. When my little girl was brought to me, I was surprised by all of the white blisters that consumed her body. It didn't stop me from embracing her and kissing her spotted little cheeks. I didn't know she had the chicken pox. Belen seemed a little taken back by this stranger holding her and kissing her. After a few minutes, she began to cry...scream. This lasted an hour before she fell asleep. There was nothing I could do to comfort her. I was a foreigner, a stranger, and she wanted no part of me...These were my first thoughts of how my daughter felt about me. It was difficult, but I felt some comfort when she fell asleep in my arms.

Tuesday, I got to take Belen back to the guest house. She cried and screamed all day and night. Mom and I knew she was scared, but we also knew it was much more than fear that overwhelmed her. She was sick. We knew she was running a high fever and screamed every time she sipped her bottle. She didn't eat for at least 17 hours; Mom and I assumed it had been much longer. Early Wednesday morning, my baby girl had become lifeless. Fear is not an adequate word that would describe how I felt. That morning I had one of the directors take us to get immediate medical attention for Belen. The clinic was something that I would picture in a movie. The power was off, sanitary was not a word that came to my mind, and the room was full of many. Shame on me for not having respectful thoughts. Even with so many sick people, Belen was taken back for care immediately (for reasons I am still unclear about). The physician was quick was his assessment. He said Belen was a very sick little girl; She was severely malnourished which magnified her chicken pox, she had pneumonia, a throat infection, thrush, and an ear infection. The doctor was truly God-sent. He had Belen on several different medications. By Friday, she was beginning to feel better. Thank God for that little clinic.

Belen is doing incredibly well. She is a vibrant, spirited child who loves to smile and lets me know I am too slow in getting her bottles ready. She is sweet and loving but not passive. My dad says she has my temperament...hhhmmmm! Okay, we may have some conflicts during her teenage years. I can't wait.

After a complete whirlwind these past couple of weeks, I finally heard the stillness this evening. Belen was sitting on my lap, playing and chattering, and I began to weep and couldn't stop. I was holding MY child...the one I longed for, at times mourned over not having. I realized I was holding in my arms God's promise. He didn't give me a child; He gave me my child.

Sorry it has gone long, especially since I didn't attach pictures. I have been typing one handed this entire post, because baby girl is asleep in my arms. What a wonderful feeling though.

Monday, August 24, 2009

3 Days to Departure!!!

My mom and I will fly out this Thursday. I have listed our schedule in case you want to follow along daily and most importantly, pray for specific needs each day.

*Thursday- Leave Springfield airport to fly into Memphis
Fly out of Memphis into Amsterdam
*Friday- Spend the night in Amsterdam
*Saturday- Fly to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the morning
Reach Addis that night
*Sunday- Rest
-I get to meet my daughter for the first time!
-I will also have a lot of paperwork to do in the morning before seeing Belen
*Tuesday- GOTCHA DAY
-My baby girl is forever mine! She will go back to the guest house w/ us.
*Wednesday- U.S. Consulate Appointment
*Thursday- Visit Belen's family (still pending) or the orphanages
*Friday- Receive Belen's paperwork and Shop
*Saturday- Sight-see
Fly out Saturday night (almost 35 hrs. w/ flights and layovers)
*Sunday- Fly into Springfield airport at 8:52 p.m.!!

If you are having a difficult time calculating travel times, that is because Ethiopia is 8 hours ahead of us in Missouri.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Count Down Begins

In one week, Mom and I will be flying to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to bring Belen home. It is an overwhelming feeling. Eleven days from now, I will be holding my baby in my arms. There are no words for the feeling I get when I think about it. I have gone through this process for almost 2 1/2 years knowing I desperately wanted to become a mom, knowing that God knew my child all it is real.

I remember when I first started teaching at the school I attended in kindergarten through my senior year and the feeling I got when my former 1st grade teacher addressed me as "Miss Lane". As silly as it sounds, I felt like I had arrived. There was such respect with that title and now to be called "Mom". For me, there is no greater title. May I live up to everything that encompasses that name. A name of love, comfort, forgiveness, discipline, consistency, protector, care-giver, and so much more. This summer has brought so many emotions I don't know that I have ever experienced before. Tonight being one of those "emotional" nights. I think about my mom and the loving home I was raised in with two wonderful Christian parents. My parents have been such a great encouragement to me throughout the past 2 1/2 years. My mom will be traveling thousands of miles with me, not because she loves flying (far from it), not because she wants to see the world, she is going because she knows even as a grown woman...I need my mom. When I asked her to go, there was no hesitation. It was just another way of showing me a mother's love for her child and grandchild.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for your unconditional love for me and your granddaughter. Since I can't stop the tears, I might as well continue with the mush. I love you so much Kevin, Melissa, Chandler, Hunter, Kelly, Jerry, Victor, McCallister, Tatyana, Wayne Edward, Kristi, Easton, and Hudson. Thank you for your support and encouragement. I know you are just as excited to see your new baby cousin and niece. I love you.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Winner of the 32" Flat Screen T.V.!!!!

I went to Wal-Mart today and asked a gentleman in the parking lot if his son would pull a ticket from the raffle box (of course, I explained in detail what it was for). :) I appreciated that young man's help. The name drawn was Jenny Davis from Texas. Congratulations, Jenny!!!!! I will contact you to make arrangements to get your brand new t.v. to you.

To EVERYONE who bought tickets, sold tickets, and advertised tickets, THANK YOU SO MUCH!! You helped raise over $1,500.00. Wow!

I have a few prayers requests now that Belen has passed court.

1) Pray that her TB test will come back normal
2) Pray that the U.S. Consulate can give us an appointment for Sept. 2
3) We need traveling mercies
4) Finally, pray that we will begin the bonding process immediately
No matter the outcome of these requests, pray that we will always remember that God has his hand upon us at all times.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

We Passed Court!!!!

View this montage created at One True Media
Click on the picture to watch the video.

I got a call at 9:45 this morning letting me know that the Ethiopian court released custody of my daughter to me.  Now, my mom and I will be flying to Ethiopia possibly in two weeks.  I just feel so overwhelmed and overjoyed.   Thank you for all of the thoughts and prayers this week.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Court Date

B's court date is this Thursday, August 13. It also happens to be the first day of school. As I am introducing a new set of students to the 6th grade, I will be anxiously awaiting a call from my adoption agency letting me know whether B is officially my daughter or not. So, I am praying to hear the words, "Congratulations, B passed court!" If that isn't the case, then she probably won't get another court date until October.

Many people have asked what it means to pass or not pass court. There are many facets to the Ethiopian court system, but it basically comes down to three major parts. The Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs (MOWA) has to have all of the proper paperwork ready to present to the judge, along with a letter of relinquishment. From my understanding, for my little one's case, a relative has to appear in front of the judge. Finally, the judge has to see fit to relinquish her into my custody. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is 8 hours ahead, so court will be in session as we are sleeping (trying to at least) in the early morning hours, beginning at midnight. Would you please join me in praying for these three aspects of this part of the journey and anything else that may hinder the day of court?

This is also a reminder that this Friday, August 14, is the LAST day to purchase tickets for the 32" flat screen television. I will be having the drawing this Saturday.

Again, I would appreciate all of the prayers possible to pray my little one home.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


The final fundraiser for bringing my beautiful baby girl home has finally arrived! I thought to myself, "Why not go ALL out!" This time of year brings joy to many homes because they are anticipating a new season of television shows: The Office, The Biggest Loser, the final season of Monk, or the new NCIS with L.L. Cool J (love him). I WANT TO HELP YOU ENJOY YOUR FALL SHOWS. You have the opportunity to win an APEX digital 32" HDTV flat screen television. At least, I have the attention of the guys reading this.

I need to raise about $5,000.00 for the final expenses of the adoption (plane fare, consulate fees, etc.). This is where I need your help. You can purchase tickets, possibly win a nice, big flat screen T.V., and help me bring Baby "B" Hope home.

Tickets are
1 for $10.00
5 for $25.00
15 for $50.00

You can purchase them by hitting the "Donate" button just below the picture of the T.V. w/ my adorable, little nephew sticking out his tongue (Thanks E). DON'T FORGET to leave your name and phone number when purchasing tickets. If you don't have a paypal account, you can contact me via email at (There is an underscore between last and first names) to make other arrangements.

If you would like the opportunity for free tickets, you can post ALL of this information on your blog and/or facebook for 1 free ticket (I would need to be able to view the post). If you personally want to sell tickets, for every $50.00 in tickets you sell , you will get 2 free tickets. If you are interested in either of these opportunities, contact me via email or point me in the direction of you blog.

The contest runs from August 1 to August 14. The drawing will be August 15-Don't Miss Out! Buy your tickets beginning this Saturday!! Watch for a video on Aug. 15 (Hopefully, I can figure out how to load it) to show the drawing. Remember: Don't Wait, and I need you name, phone #, and of course, your money. :)

I want to say, "Thank you," ahead of time. So many of you have been a great moral support to me throughout this entire journey, and with your encouragement, I am going to get to see my daughter in about a month. Please be praying for her August 13 Court Date. If she passes court, I will fly out by the end of August! Please be in prayer!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Realizing What's Important

Recently, I have been so concerned with, as my last post stated, getting organized. I have worried so much about the money, and I have even had thoughts that since I have been waiting to have a child for almost two and a half years, that bringing her home in October instead of August is just a minor detail. Along with that notion, I have also thought that it is not the best idea for a teacher to miss the first part of a school year because I will be taking six weeks of leave. I felt it is important for me to be in the classroom in August so I can get my new 6th graders acclimated to my style of teaching and my expectations.

After this past week, I realized the money, having the perfectly organized house, setting up my classroom management in the beginning days of school does, etc. does not matter anymore. This past Friday morning, July 10, I received a phone call from my agency informing me that "B" was very sick. She had been sick last week, but it had escalated. She wouldn't keep anything down, she had severe diarrhea, and a fever. They had to insert a feeding tube in her and IV's to rehydrate her and push antibiotics through. That evening I found out that another baby in the orphanage had passed away. I can honestly say this past weekend was the longest three days of my life. I felt so helpless, and I couldn't even see my child. I literally cried out to God and clung to certain scriptures, such as Psalm 121 and Hebrews 10: 35-38, 11:1.

Monday, I again received a call from my agency letting me know that "B" was doing much better, and that day the feeding tube and IV's had been removed. The nurses in the clinic were keeping her there for a while to continue to monitor her. To say I was elated, is an understatement. I have never felt such joy and relief. Another scripture that has been my stronghold throughout this adoption process is Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." I have a better understanding of that verse today than I did last Thursday.

Yesterday, I received news that my family's court date has been set for August 13. Praise the Lord! If "B" passes court, Mom and I will fly out in September. Please continue praying for her health and safety along with the other children in these orphanages. "B" and I also need your prayers that she passes court in August because there is a large percentage of families who do not pass court the first time around. I need to bring her home as soon as I can!

I also ask that you are in prayer for this family who lost their baby girl this past Friday. As I cannot imagine their grief, I do know what the unknown felt like. Through certain circumstances this past weekend, I had a lady tell me about a family who was "on their third child" because two of the babies had died. She was speaking about these children as if she was talking about how many pieces of cake this couple had eaten, "on their third...". She truly had NO connection to the fact that this family has lost two children, sons or daughters. To be honest, I wanted to smack her, but that probably wouldn't have been the most appropriate thing to do (Human nature creeps up in us once in a while). If you are wondering, I did give a "Christ-like" answer and told her she needs to be praying for that family. Again, these families who have lost their children, need to be lifted up in our prayers.

I do plan on having one more fundraiser before I travel. So, be paying attention! Thank you again, for ALL of the prayers you have lifted up for my little girl.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Just Trying to Get Organized

Now that I have a referral for my beautiful, little girl, I have a lot to do. There is a chance that my mom and I could fly out as soon as August. Yes, one month! If "B" gets a court date and passes court before the courts close (August and September), then I will be in Ethiopia in August. Otherwise, it will be October(ish).

Someone asked me today if I am panicking. There are a few issues that stand out right now that make me a little worried. I feel a sense of uneasiness when trying to find a pediatrician (I may have found one as of today), finding quality child care, and financing the last part of the adoption. It is definitely time to work on the nursery; that will require some rearranging of furniture before I ever begin setting up the bedroom. I also need to begin packing, because I already have some donated items for orphans and gifts for the workers. I will be getting an update about "B" at the end of this month. That will help know what size clothing to buy. Right now, I only have a few items for her that can be put in the suitcase (I definitely have the butt paste). :) Another minor concern is what shots to get or not to get. That is the question. I am sure I could ramble on about other worries I have, but I know that will not help me at all. So, I will end by saying that when I look at that perfectly round, little face with those chubby cheeks, I know it will be okay, and God has truly blessed me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

God's Grace and Love

Today, I have been overwhelmed by the promises of God. At 9:15 a.m., I saw my child for the first time. I received a referral call letting me know I am now officially a mom, and then I immediately looked at my email following the phone conversation (I sobbed through most of the phone call, so I guess it technically wasn't a conversation). When I opened up my daughter's (I love the sound of that) photos, literally my breathe was taken away. Gazing at my baby for the first time, made my heart ache because it was filled with so much joy. As cliche as that may be, there is no other way to describe that initial feeling. It was an incredible experience that is difficult to put into words.

Legally, I can't go into a lot of details about my daughter, not until she has passed court. I can share with you that I will be referring to her now as "B". "B" is a precious and beautiful 4 month old who has the biggest, consuming eyes. She will melt your heart when I finally get to share her pictures with you. Trust this mama when I tell you that.

Thank you, Father, for your grace and love you have shown me through your promise of allowing me to become a mom. Father, grant me the wisdom and guidance I need to be the mother you would have me be.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summertime is Flying By

Tomorrow will be the last day of summer school. It seems as if June is just flying by. I was talking with another teacher a few days ago, and she made the comment that after the 4th of July, summer is basically over for teachers because of conferences, developing next year's lesson plans, and setting up the classroom. I laughed because I have to agree. I am making some adjustments to that schedule this summer though. Instead of July conferences, I am going to be setting up the baby's room. :) That is my priority this next month.

As for the adoption, I haven't heard any news in a couple of weeks. I am #3 in line for a girl according to my yahoo group. I carry my phone with me everywhere I go just in case I get the "call". Hopefully, when I get the "call", I will have access to a computer, because my agency will send me any information they have about her and a PICTURE.

So many times, I have tried to envision what she looks like. I think most moms do that. Sometimes I see her as an infant, not even ready to sit up, yet other times, I view her as being older and walking. A few months ago, I had decided to contact my agency to change my age request from up to 24 months to much younger. I had an email ready to send, and I couldn't send it. God has brought me this far, and he knows my child as he knows me. That wasn't a change I felt I was supposed to make. I truly will be ecstatic if she is 2 months or 22 months, because she is God given.

Enjoy your summer and don't wish it away. I just read my friend's blog about living in the present and enjoying life's little everyday gifts through family and friends. Okay, so if you live in the Midwest like I do, you may want to enjoy these moments inside, in the air condition. It has been a HOT June. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Little Sentimental

Sometimes I don't express, as I should, my appreciation and love to my family and friends. If you know me, you know I don't have a difficult time expressing my opinion or thoughts about any given subject (whether or not it pertains to me). When I was younger, my mom would say that if I found a situation to be unjust, I would give my opinion, even at the expense of getting in trouble. I still have a tendency to do that. :) In my world of finding justice, I sometimes overlook life's everyday blessings. These blessings come individually family member or friend at a time.

If I forgot yesterday or forget tomorrow, I want to let you know tonight how much I appreciate and love you all.

A special "Thank You" goes out to some FABULOUS family and friends who helped serve A LOT of pizza last night (and I can't forget the ones who ate all of that pizza). Words cannot express my utmost appreciation.

Friday, June 5, 2009


According to the spreadsheet on my Ethiopia adoptive family YahooGroup, I am #5 in line for a little girl. Whoo-hoo! That makes me nervous. :)

I ask that you remember in prayer the following needs as I get to this point in the adoption.
-Give me guidance and understanding as a first-time mom
-Keep Baby Hope out of harms way and healthy
-Lead me in getting the rest of the finances in order
-Continue to direct MOWA (Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs) in Ethiopia as they
continue their investigation into illegal practices
-Continue to guide the judges when these children come before them

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I am "ON DECK"

Today, I received an email from my agency informing me I was "on deck". This email indicates I will get a referral for a little girl within the next one to two months. I thought I would be getting this notice soon, but I still felt pleasantly surprised (This phrase is probably an understatement).

When I receive a referral, that means I will get information and picture(s) of my little one. After I accept the referral (I have about a week), then I wait two weeks to a month to get a court date in Ethiopia. Generally, court dates are set 8 to 16 weeks from the time of the referral. If my child passes court the first time, then my mom and I will fly out about 2 to 4 weeks later. Of course, I have learned through my journey, there truly are no set timelines for international adoptions...just estimations. I have definitely experienced changes in the "schedule", along with many families I have met going down this same path.

Hopefully, I will be able to post about having a referral by the end of July. That is my wish and my prayer.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Finally Did It!

It has only taken me two years to set up a blog, but here it is in all of its glory. I am going to attempt to wrap up the past few years in a few paragraphs. Anyone who knows me well, won't believe I could say anything in only a few paragraphs.

I have had the desire to adopt for as long as I can remember. Those feelings developed when I was in college. During my college years, I was fortunate to participate in a few misson trips in underdeveloped countries. I was overwhelmed by the living conditions, especially for the children. I believe these trips had given me the feeling of wanting to adopt internationally.

Several years had gone by, and this yearning to adopt grew tremendously. I didn't think it was possible because I was single and living on a teacher's income. About 9 years ago, I began researching options to adopt. Through the next seven years, this desire became a painful longing for something...someone who was out of reach. One day while driving, I heard the end of an advertisement for an adoption seminar at James River Assembly in Ozark, MO, on a Christian radio station. I found the information on-line and decided to register. I kept hearing that same voice I had heard for so many years telling me, "Why bother? Nothing was going to come of it."

So, the first weekend of April, 2007, I ventured to James River, which is about 60 miles away. It began to snow, and I thought a few times I should just turn around and go home (Nothing was going to come of it anyway). How my life changed that day! April 7, 2007, was the beginning of my journey to bring Baby Hope home. I felt God's presence and approval.

I can honestly say this has been a journey with joys and sorrows. If you are currently or have adopted, you would probably agree. After great turmoil and even grief, I chose to change countries last June for various reasons. Again, I felt God's presence and approval. This was his plan the entire time. I am now waiting to bring my daughter home from Ethiopia. I am currently sixth in line for a little girl, age: birth to 24 months.

Please continue to remember Baby Hope and me in your prayers.