Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Photos of the Twins

Soon after we contacted Hope about adopting the twins they sent us photos of the twins. As I opened the photos to view them my eyes filled with tears. Seeing my children for the first time is something that I will never forget. I remember the first time that I saw Megan, Kaylee, Jacob and Lindsay on the ultrasound screen. A joy that is unspeakable each time- to know that God had blessed me with another precious life. These same feelings overcame me as I looked at the sad faces of our new son and daughter. Sad faces from fear from the unknown, pain from their circumstances and confusion as to why they are where they are. My heart broke as I longed to be there to hold them and tell them that everything was going to be ok. I wanted them to know that they have a mommy and daddy who are going to take care of them forever and four siblings who are going to love them like they have never been loved before. I couldn't quit looking at their precious faces and wanted to notice every small detail. I then noticed that there were more than one photo of each of them. I continued to cry as I looked at several pictures of our new family members. We continue to get photo updates from Hope and it has been a joy to see these sad, scared faces begin to brighten up with each new photo. I look forward to the day when tears can stream from my face as I see not a photo but two precious faces looking back at me -until then I will enjoy the gift of photos that God is giving to us as we patiently wait on Him to bring our children home!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Journey Begins

For days I have been telling myself (and David has been telling me) that it is time to sit down and blog about our Adoption Journey and I know exactly why I haven't.......every time I even think about the journey we are on I begin to cry. Tears of joy and tears of unbelief at what God is doing in our family. I have a feeling that this blog is going to be a very, very long one and from here on out every day or two I will update with much shorter blogs.
I will begin almost 17 years ago when David and I were first married. We talked often about having children and we both were sure that not only would we try to have biological children but we both felt God leading us to one day adopt. As most of you know God has richly blessed our family with four precious kids. Megan is now 13, Kaylee 11, Jacob 8 and Lindsay 5- Each are so special and gifted in their own way. While pregnant with Lindsay we felt that Lindsay would be our last biological child and both had great comfort in that. When Lindsay was born I went into heart failure due to her birth. At the time this was very scary for us and we were told that if I ever became pregnant again I would lose my life. God confirmed what we felt- Lindsay would be our last biological child. It still amazes me how God used such a painful time in the life of our family to teach us so many amazing things about who He is.
Several years ago, not long after the birth of Lindsay, David took his first trip to Ethiopia. It was a fact finding trip where he and several other Pastors from our area went to inquire where we as a church could invest long term. When arriving back in the states and after much prayer David felt God leading our church to invest in Ethiopia with a Sports Camp in the Lake Langano area. We had no idea several years ago what an impact this decision would make on us personally as a family. David just knew that this is where God was calling our church to serve and we followed.
A few month after David's trip a group from our church was traveling over again to see how our church could be most effective in serving the people of Ethiopia in the Langano area. Just a few short weeks prior to the trip, David and I were invited to come to a meeting about the trip and we joined them to pray as well. During our time of prayer I really felt that God was telling me to join this team and travel to Ethiopia. I argued with God for two days and gave Him every excuse that I could think of. I hate to fly, I had no passport, I hadn't had any shots, I have four young kids who need me, David is busy and can't be bothered by this.......the list goes on and on. I lost the argument and a few short days later I found myself on a plane headed to Ethiopia. I can honestly say that nothing other than accepting Christ as my Savior has ever changed my life more than this trip to Africa.
While on this trip, I had the opportunity to visit the Mother Teresa's Aids orphanage in Addis. While there I held a precious newborn baby named Micholous. From the moment I picked him up I started to cry. I fed him from his little bottle while his tiny fingers wrapped around my finger. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion, a day that I will never forget. After feeding him, rocking him and praying for him God was working in my heart- Gently showing me that there are so many precious kids who need someone to love, care for and share Christ with them. My life was forever changed by that one hour and that one precious baby boy. I cried as I placed him back in his bed and prayed that God would protect his little life and that God would use me if that was His will. Our family prayed everyday for Baby Micholous when I arrived back home. God closed the door for us to pursue his adoption and thankfully Michelous now lives in a loving home here in the United States.
On this same trip a few days after being at the orphanage we visited the local trash dump. Again I cried as I watched moms dig in the dump to find food for their children who were by their side. Children who were starving and moms who so desperately wanted to provide for them. All they could provide was trash from the dump for their family to eat. I saw young boys cheering and running quickly to jump into the trash truck as it rounded the corner. How could this be? Children excited about a trash truck because they would have new trash to dig in to find something to eat. I couldn't believe my eyes and again I felt God calling me to do something. Yes, I am willing I responded but what is it God that you want from me and from my family? I felt a huge amount of guilt for all that I have and I longed to have everything that I own there to share with these children who surrounded me. This was a life changing moment that I will carry with me until God calls me home to be with Him. I prayed as climbed into the van near the trash truck and I could sense that God was calling me and our family to something big.
David and I have traveled to Ethiopia several more times and we have fallen in love with the special people of this country. On David's last trip to Ethiopia he had a life changing experience as well. He decided to spend the night sleeping on the street in Addis with a few street kids. He found three young boys about our kids ages to hang out with for the night. As you may have guessed he didn't sleep but spent the entire night watching these precious boys sleep. They had no food, no blankets, and most of all no mom or dad to love them. A night that will forever mark David's life. A night that will never be erased from his mind.
After we had both traveled to Ethiopia and had these experiences we felt that God was calling us to pursue adoption from this country that we had been so changed by. We knew that God was calling us to adopt from Ethiopia but we just didn't know when. We shared with our children that we felt God leading us to pursue adoption and we were thrilled that all four of our children were excited about adding to our family. We have been praying for a few years that God would show us when and we know that now is the time.
About three weeks ago David and I filled out the paperwork to begin the lengthy process of adoption.  We felt that God was saying now and we followed Him. Soon after we started our paperwork, a friend came to David and I individually and shared that Hope Adoption Agency had twins (one girl and one boy) that were around five years old waiting for a family. I started to cry as he told me and I felt God say- "Mendy, These are yours- A gift from me." David felt the same as Trent shared with him about the twins. We had a very exciting Sunday afternoon as we talked about adding twins to our family.
The very next day we called Hope Adoption Agency and shared that we would love for these children to join our family. We sent in the application form and Tizatia and Geremew are waiting for us to come and bring them home.