Sunday, January 27, 2008

#2 Adoption FAQ

Why Africa?

Phil and I have had a heart for Africa for a while. Apex has done a lot of work in Africa and the more we became educated about it, the more we were interested. When we started to look at adoption agencies, we didn't have a specific country in mind. After finding our agency we knew they were the one for us. Scripture was infused in every part of their vision. We then narrowed it down between El Salvador and Ethiopia. After reading, "There's No Me Without You" I didn't really feel like I could do anything but Ethiopia. There is just such a huge need. I have loved researching and learning about the country and it's culture and heritage. I am so excited to make it a part of our family. Here are a few facts about the orphan crisis and the state of Ethiopia right now:


-One in ten children die before their first birthday
-One in six children die before their fifth birthday
-44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old
-60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition
-The median age in Ethiopia is 18 years
-1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)
-720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone
-Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa
-In the 90s the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%)
-Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school.
-Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000.
-Ethiopia has approx. 4.3 million orphans and the country is just twice the size of Texas.

The statistics could go on and on, but it is a reality. I think it is easy to read 4.3 million and get lost in that number, but if you think of each individual child and how each one is a precious life. We are excited to help even one. We are so thankful for the encouragement and prayers we have received! Thank you all for loving us and being a part of our family!

Ephesians 1:4-6
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

(next FAQ: how are you going to pay for that?!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

#1 Adoption FAQ

Why do you want to adopt?

We have gotten this question quite a bit. I think half want to know how God brought us to that point and the other half wonder why in the world we would ever decide to do that when we can have "perfectly good children of our own". Well, let me start at the beginning. I have always had a desire to adopt. Even when I was a small child I remember crying about orphans and thinking that someday I would adopt. About 6 months after Phil and I got married, we stopped using our normal preventative methods of birth control because of some problems I was having. We weren't necessarily desiring to get pregnant at that time, so when the time began to stretch on and we weren't getting pregnant, we were O K with it. After a while though, we knew something must be wrong. After a year and a half I decided to go to my doctor to talk about it. I tried several rounds of drugs and they just made me too sick. I took a break from them hoping we would conceive on our own. Then, I tried the drugs for a few months again. Nothing was happening. Honestly, I was at peace with it because my desire to adopt was so strong. I just thought, well I guess this is why God always placed that within me, because I can't have biological children. On the last month, just before doing a load of fertility tests, on a triple dose of medication, God began to knit Gibson together in my womb. It had been 2 1/2 years. We were completely surprised and overjoyed. I still thought about adoption, but obviously it was placed on the back burner. After having Gibson the doctors thought it was clear that if I ever wanted to conceive again I would have to do the same round of drugs. Ugh. Well, God had other plans. When Gibson was about 7 1/2 months old...we got pregnant with Maya completely naturally. We were excited, and a bit overwhelmed honestly. I was consumed with caring for a baby and being sick and pregnant again. We have been blessed with two beautiful, healthy children, but that desire was still there on the back burner where I had left it. Maya was only a few months old when it began to get stronger and stronger. I talked to Phil about it, and he wasn't overly excited about adoption but also not opposed. Just before Christmas 2006, our house church participated in a local Christmas party for foster children. It was a powerful experience for Phil. After that party, he told me he could see why I had always wanted to do it and was interested...but maybe in 5 years or so. That made me cringe inside! I felt like my desire was only growing, but I knew we both had to be on board for this. Of all things I certainly would never want to jump ahead of him on this. I was getting so excited and I wanted him to feel the same way I did. I didn't want to push my way on him, so I talked about it very little and began doing some research. I looked into agencies and different countries. We talked more about it and I prayed about it constantly, fervently. Last summer he went to a conference in Texas. It was a conference for worship leaders but we believe God also took him there for other reasons. On about the second night he was there he called me and told me the whole focus of the conference was taking care of orphans and widows. I got chills. A few nights later he called me and told me he was ready and that he knew this is what God wanted for our family! When I hung up the phone I just put my face into the couch and cried and cried, thanking and praising God. We are overjoyed to begin this journey and we can't wait! There is a child out there, who may not have even been conceived yet, who will one day be a part of our family. We can't wait to meet them!

*next I will answer, "Why Africa?".

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hooray!

We have had several people asking about the chalazion that was on Maya's eye. The doctor said it could take up to a year to go away. Thankfully, after only 4 months, it is almost gone! It ended up draining on its own (I know, yuck) and now you can hardly see it unless you know that it's there. Thanks to everyone for your prayers!


Before:

After:



Friday, January 18, 2008

Awww

This is what my little bear has looked like most of the day today. Well, at least that's how he looked when he wasn't laying on me. Even though we've been sick, I have loved each and every snuggle.

A new day

Yesterday was a pretty bad day in our household filled with vomit and diarrhea. Not so good, huh? It is hard when you have a sick child, you just wish you could take it all away from them. That is really hard to do though when you are sick yourself. I need to give my husband major kudos for cleaning up puke all night since I was too down to help him. He was the hero of the day for sure. I am thankful that today is a new day and there has been no puke. Gibson is feeling much better, just tired I think. At least he has been able to keep down a little bit of food today. I am still not great, but much better than yesterday. We are praying that Phil and Maya are protected from this virus! Man, I'm really ready for Spring.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

And now a post of randomness

-We are excited to report that we have had 3 showings on our house so far in January. That is creeping up on the total number we had in the last 3 months, so now you know why we're excited. Now we're just praying for an offer!

-I am getting all pumped up about our vacation planning beginning. The Gulf of Mexico is calling my name...now I just have to wait until May.

-Gibson has chosen Maya as his official sock remover. Tonight he walked in the door, sat on the couch, took off his shoes, and shouted across the room, "Maya! Come over here and take off my sockies!". She came running over with a smile on her face. She ripped them off with great gusto, one by one. Then they looked at each other and laughed.

-I think I mentioned in a previous post that I am loving the new Jimmy Eat World CD. In one of the songs they say the word "fierce" and every time I can't help but think of Tyra Banks. Thanks a lot Tyra.

-Tonight after story time I was taking Maya to her room. She was blowing Gibson kisses and telling him, "night-night, lu you". He looked at her, smiled, and said, "I love you stinky pooper!". Ah, brotherly love.

-You need to go over here to my sister's blog and read her most recent post. I had the joy of listening to this story over the phone and I was crying because I was laughing so hard.

-I love my husband. I love him very, very much.

-There will be a series of posts coming soon about our adoption. I am going to answer some FAQ's and hopefully inform people of our reason behind adopting, fundage, the process, etc. Can't wait!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Little billy goat

You can head over here to see a video of my daughter doing her best billy goat impression.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mommy is happy...

Her first little piggy tails ever. I could just faint from all the cuteness.



Friday, January 4, 2008

The funniest things I heard today

1. Gibson was playing hide and seek with Daddy and after counting to ten said, "Here I not, here I come!".

2. Maya was covering up her little eyes and then flashed a big smile and said, "Peek-a-boop!".

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

from the husband's point of view

Hello faithful "mama..." readers. This is Phil, Amber's husband. I've had the pleasure of being married to her for almost 6 years now and in that time, I've learned quite a bit about her. I've learned very, very important things...for example:
  • her phobias of other people's hair, being tickled, and pretty much anything that has more than 2 legs (except dogs).
  • her interesting quirks such as the way her eye will sometimes, unbeknowns to her, begin to half squint, half twitch when she's really focusing on something or how she can't seem to get comfortable in one sitting position for longer than about 8 minutes.
  • her odd sleep issues such as having to have a fan on all night...not for the air movement but rather for the sound; having to have her toes out from under the blankets because they feel trapped; and her inability to sleep while a certain perfect man snores ever so lovingly in her ear all night long.
Whereas all the above things are true, what I've really learned about her is much deeper than that.

  • I've learned that she has an amazing ability to love. She loves deeply, and freely.
  • I've learned that God has given her a supernatural ability to parent. Gib, Maya, and any other children God puts in our family are so blessed to be able to have a mom like Amber.
  • I've learned that she is a very strong woman. I've seen her take on some tough storms and she always comes out aiming in the right direction.
  • I've learned that her sense of humor it a great gift to all that know her. She's stinkin' hilarious and just has a way of making people lighten up, smile, and laugh.
  • I've learned that compassion is one of her greatest characteristics. She cares in ways that still surprise me. Our family will be greatly impacted this year because of her compassion, specifically for orphans.
  • I've learned that she is humble. I am so blessed by her humility and desire to serve others needs above her own. She is also one of the most "appropriately modest" women I've ever known.
  • I've learned that though she may never be a public speaker, or figurehead, she will always be a leader. She is a servant leader.
  • I've learned that Jesus will always have her heart.
  • I've learned that after 2 yrs of dating, and almost 6 yrs of marriage, I love her more now than I ever thought possible. She is the best woman I know and I am honored to share life with her. I know that whatever comes our way, we'll be there together in the end.

There are probably 50 more things that I could mention, but I think you get the idea.

From this husband's point of view, we're all blessed to know Amber...wouldn't you agree?
If you don't know her yet, you should. Your life will be better afterwards. :)

phil