Friday, December 17, 2010

A Little Christmas Cheer

Bethany and Lydia having breakfast with Santa. It was Liddy's first time seeing the big guy and she was all smiles and no tears.

Mr and Mrs Claus

Thomas family Christmas: the Dad and Sisters with Liddy for her 1st Christmas

JP got a present, too!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Hear it Nooowwww......

I am so psycho these days! But I can't help it.... I hear the stop and go of the little mail truck outside in my neighborhood!!! I jumped up and got all excited. Our last pieces of requested paperwork are in that truck. I am taking my girls and heading to Columbia to get it all state-sealed and it will be off and out to Washington DC for the national seal. One week ago today we got the call that knocked the wind out of me. I have cried everyday knowing that we aren't waiting for our next travel call but we are waiting, again, on this updated info to get to Ethiopia. I wake up thinking about it, I go to sleep thinking about it, it's always on my mind. But I have found peace this week just knowing that My God is there and here and He is the creator of all things and nothing happens without Him allowing it to happen. I really rest in that knowledge.

I knew I was getting package today because have have been stalking my USPS tracking number like my life depended on it. I sat down in my comfy recliner after I dropped B off at school and put Lyd down for her nap and plopped the laptop on my lap and stalked away. It said that it was "Out for Delivery" and I made up a little song and sang it out loud. Some know that I make up a little ditty for things that need to be sang. Like the Diaper Genie, or the question "What you gonna wear to school today?", or special occasion phrases like "Out for Delivery"!!! So exciting. So I'm off to get this stuff to Columbia.

Pray my paperwork through Washington and over the Atlantic and straight past the translating office and to MOWA!!! Chant it with me... "BRING HIM HOME, BRING HIM HOME, BRING HIM HOME". I'll make little ditty writers out of you before it's all over with....

Monday, December 13, 2010

A fitting Devotion in my Inbox

I LOVE, I mean LOVE to listen to 106.9 The Light weekdays from 9-12. It's my way of unwinding. I will turn on the radio while B is in school and listen and clean and just emerge myself into something deeper for a little while. This is Billy Graham's listener supporter radio station and the morning programs consist of 30 min sermon segments. While I have my favorites and so I signed up for James McDonald's podcast and email devotionals. This morning I hear the "ding" of my Blackberry and find this very fitting devotion waiting for me....

The Benefits of Waiting

"I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord." - Psalms 40:1–3

The longer I live, the more I come to understand that life doesn't have a lot of green lights. There are hardly any times where God is like, "Do you want that? Have it right now. Why didn't you ask sooner?" More often God is like, "I'd like you to wait."
"No! I want it right now!"
God is like, "Listen! You might think you want it now, but I'm going to give it to you when you're fit to receive it. I'm going to use the process of waiting to shape you into the woman or the man that I want you to be. Getting it now wouldn't advance My purposes for you. I want you to wait."
Waiting is not an easy thing. Waiting is not passivity. Waiting on God is not the absence of efforts. Waiting is "I've done everything I know how to do but it's not enough and now I am waiting on God to do for me what I could not do for myself."
That is such an important lesson to learn. Let me tell you about some of the benefits that you get when you wait on God. Here are five verses that spell them out.

According to Psalm 40:1 when we wait on God, He hears our prayers: "I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined to me and heard my cry."
According to Isaiah 64:4 when we wait on God, He acts on our behalf: "Nor has the eye seen a God like You who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him." That's what God is fired up about. He works for the people who wait. I wonder how many things we don't get because we're out there working for it ourselves beyond what we should and God's like, "Would you just stop that? I act on behalf of the people who wait for Me."
Psalm 25:3 says that when we wait on God, He keeps us from shame: "Indeed none of those who wait for You O God will be ashamed."
Isaiah 40:31 says that He gives strength to those who wait: "Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength."
Psalm 37:34 tells us that those who wait for God are exalted: "Wait for the Lord and He will exalt you."

Bottom line; God always makes it worth our while to wait for Him!

James McDonald
And so we wait....

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I guess I've put this off as long as possible thinking that it was all a misunderstanding. But it appears to be reality and I must face it.
On Wednesday I got a phone call from our social worker. It appears we didn't actually pass court. Instead of an approval to bring our son home in our file, it was a request for updated information. It has been so long since we initially sent in our dossier to Ethiopia there are some documents that needed to be updated. We had updated our fingerprints and other necessary documents for the US, but Ethiopia now wants some other paperwork updated.
I've been sick to my stomach and crying for days. I can not believe we are going through this. I thought the nightmare of the wait and uncertainty was over. All we want to do is bring our son home. The first day I tried to put it into perspective but I couldn't. The fact is, our son is in an orphanage day after day and we have a pretty great family right here that wants to love him and provide for him. What other perspective is there? But the next day I did convince myself that it could be worse. I could have gotten a phone call saying that he was very sick or had an accident or worse. IT COULD BE WORSE. I have so much to be thankful for. I have a husband that has been through the ups and downs of this journey with me, I have two sweet and smart and precious little girls that are happy and healthy, and I have a son that is being well taken care until he is under my roof. We have a happy and secure life and the promises of a Savior. It has taken days to make my "blessed" list because I just want to sink in a hole of despair about this.
I do understand that it is really for the interest of the children of Ethiopia. It is the governments responsibility to make sure all their children are in safe and legit homes. Sadly, there are people out there who exploit and take advantage of orphans. It is ET's job to protect them. In the grand scheme of JP's life, what's another month of waiting?
I'm not one to throw out the "Sunday School" verses but all week the Lord is pressing this verse on my heart.
"Trust Me with all your heart and lean not on your own limited understanding and knowledge, but in all things acknowledge that I am in control and I have gone before you and I will make your journey straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Lord, I know that You have gone before me in this situation and You are there now working on my behalf. I know that Your word tells me that You have only good things for Your children and even the bad things for our good. I trust that Your ways are higher than mine and my earthly view is not able to span time like Your heavenly view. I know that You are a God of miracles and You can work a miracle in this situation if You so choose. I pray for JP this day, that You continue to surround him with love and prepare his heart for the day when he leaves the only home he's known. We give You all the glory and honor in bringing us to this place and I give over all my worries to You, who is ready and able to give hope. In the name of Jesus I pray these things, Amen.

Friday, December 03, 2010

We offically have a son!!

Just writing the title of this post is bringing tears to my eyes.  Yesterday flying over Ethiopia was a sight to see.  I never tire of God's creation and how different He has made each place and each person.  I see rolling hills and flat land.  Patches of brilliant greens and dull browns.  It's all woven together to paint a beautiful picture.  Stepping out of the airport and hearing, seeing and smelling a different, foreign, culture never ceases to amaze me.  All of these beautiful people who don't look or act like me intrigues the inner parts of my heart and mind.  The imagination of my Maker overwhelms me and I feel privileged to experience it all.
Today was a surreal experience for us.  We woke up and unlike the other families, I wasn't nervous at all about the court proceedings.  We drive through the city and make it to the federal court building.  After several flights of stairs and many winded Americans:) we make to a semi-large room filled with other families from different agencies.  We wait for our orphanage to be called.  Each family anticipates hearing their child's name to go into the room.  It seems like families are coming out after a minute or less.  I'm still not nervous at this point.  Our orphanage is called and our families start being summoned one at a time.  I start crying after the first family receives good news.  Soon, JP's, name is called(his Ethiopian name) and we enter.  The judge is a beautiful Ethiopian woman who over sees ALL court cases!  What a busy lady, glad she wasn't our sick on this day:)  She quietly, as custom in Ethiopia, ask us several questions.  I get really nervous and Joey takes over!  She finally ask, "Do you understand that this is permanent?", us: "Yes". She smiles and says "Congratulations, He is yours"!  My heart was overwhelmed with joy!  We have a son!
We go to a coffee house to celebrate our good news with GREAT Ethiopian coffee and popcorn!  We go to a nice mall and have a fabulous lunch with shopping and then we all canceled our "mountain" sight-seeing plans and asked to see our children.  We got to spend the afternoon with JP and pretty soon he was sitting in our laps and letting us hug and kiss on him.
Today is a day that will forever be etched in my heart and soul.  JP we love you and can't wait to come back and bring you home!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Face to Face

J P,
We are such proud parents at this moment! After all of our flight delays, we stepped out of the airport at 10:45 in Addis Ababa and went straight to visit you. The other families had been visiting yesterday and all morning and when we first arrived you and the other children were having a very busymorning with all the parents playing with you.  Your dad and I went to you but you shyed away from us.  Daddy did get you to kick a ball with him before the Nannies took you inside for lunch. I noticed that you barely ate any of your food but drank all your milk!  You and your big sister share this common trait! Once the Nannies brought out the dum-dums you were done with your food. Your special friend was there and very happy to greet us and play with us.  While you were eating she came and took your block.  You calmly called the Nanny and pointed to tell on her.  WHen the Nanny didn't understand, you got up and pointed harder!  THe Nanny went to her and she took off running with a smile on her face!  The Nannies report that you "fight and play with her a lot" since you are close to the same age. 
She was an important tool to getting you to warm up to me and your dad.  At one point, you cried when we tried to show you too much attention and we had to give you some time to come to us on your own. I helped convince you to do that by giving you candy:)  The Nanny then came and sat with me and your friend and got a a pile of books to get you close to me.  It worked! And before long you and your friend were laughing at me make animal noises and fishy faces.  Your friend especially liked the fishy face and belly-laughed each time I did it and this would make you laugh at her.  It warmed my heart each time I heard you sweet laugh or saw that big smile.  You kept pointing to the kitty because you wanted me to meow.  I think you and Bethany will get along just fine:)
Soon after I was able to cuddle you some and get you comfortable, we had to leave.  We tried to get you to wave bye-bye to us but you started to get shyagain. After we turned to leave you ran to the door and waved bye bye to us and gave us a big smile.  This was the best moment of our day with you! 
We understand that it will take you time to love us and trust us.  We are okay with that and will give you as much time as you need.  But you must know that we have loved you long before this meeting.
We are going to visit you tomorrow and I know that we gained good ground today.
With Love and Patience,
Your Parents

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

My Dearest JP,

Well, if it were a perfect world, we'd be soaking in the sights and sounds of your birth country and feeling all the night-before flutters in anticipation of meeting you.  Instead, I'm sitting under the golden arches in Frankfurt, Germany hoping to get to Ethiopia by morning to see your beautiful face for the first time.
Your dad and I have had quite the journey thus far and I wanted to write it down before the details left me.  We drove to Atlanta in fog and downpour yesterday and arrived at Hartsfield Airport at about 4 PM.  Our flight was scheduled to leave for Frankfurt at 6PM.  Luck so had it that our aircraft was struck by lightening landing in ATL!  You'll soon find out that your mama is a nervous flier and this news only frazzled me more than I normally am at an airport.  If that wasn't enough, I spotted two very suspicious passengers booked for our flight!  At some point between 6PM and 10PM when we finally left, the TSA came to our gate pacing around my suspects!  They left without find but I was still nervous to board our lightening-struck aircraft that suspicious fellas on it.  We were in the very back of the economy zone and your dad's lap tray wouldn't stay up for the entire flight!  Don't get me wrong, we're economy type of folk, but for your sake I might book business or first class when we come back to bring you home.  We had very turbulent conditions and your dad and I both thought we might get sick.  Daddy even broke out in a sweat and had to get out his barf bag! 
We touched down in Frankfurt to a picture perfect winter scene and the land blanketed in snow.  It was sight to see but once again, made your nervous mama scared we'd skid off the runway.  Thankfully we touched down with no problems:)  We missed our connecting flight and were redirected 4 times before we had to wait for 1.5hr to get our next flight.  Once I got to the booking desk I politely informed the attendant that we had to get a flight before the next day so that we could meet our son before our court date.  Evidently Germans aren't use to this kind of helpful direction from their fliers because I was asked not to get hysterical!  We got it all worked out and we are now enduring our 9 hr layover before boarding our Ethiopian-bound plane.  I can't wait to see your sweet face and put all these travels woes behind me.  Seeing you will be all worth the setbacks we've encountered. 
More to come from your hysterical Mother....