Now What?

We find ourselves asking that question a lot in BrownTown. Things don’t always go as planned.  In fact, most of the time they don’t.  As a family of six it’s difficult to plan anything and execute that plan as you originally intended.  Maybe that’s why Desi and I are able to handle the chaos of our big family.  Neither of us are Type A folks and we both tend to roll with whatever comes and adjust as we go along. So, when we get everyone loaded up in the van, get ready to go and then find out that two of the kids need to go potty, we’re not excited, but we can deal with it. This ability to adjust on the fly makes the big family thing work.

However, this latest pregnancy is a greater test than the “van to the bathroom” scenario above. We were getting so excited about the plan – climb our way up the waiting list, get our referral, write some big checks, go get our son in Ethiopia.  That was the plan.  We want it to still be the plan.  But in all likelihood it isn’t.  Are we upset? Yes.  Are we happy? Yes.  We’re both.  And that’s an uneasy sort of place to be.

JoshuaWhen I look at kid number four, Joshua, I can’t help but be excited about this pregnancy.  If you remember, the same thing happened with him.  We were planning our adoption and then got pregnant.  (Yes we know how the pregnancy thing happens.  Thanks!) We were kind of upset then, too.  But look at the result.  What an amazing little guy he is.  Watching his little personality develop and seeing him interact with his brothers and sister, we can’t be anything but absolutely ecstatic that he’s part of our family – and I’m sure it will be the same with baby number five. But at the same time, we can’t bring home baby number six anytime soon and that makes us sad.

So then, what does all this mean? Are we going to continue with the adoption? We’re answering that question with a cautious “yes.” We’re hoping that our agency will let us continue to move forward on the wait list so that when baby number five is old enough we can proceed with the adoption.  That’s what we’re hoping for.  But that will mean a policy change for them, so we’re not sure yet.  We’ll find out after we let them know about the pregnancy (We’re waiting until we get through the first trimester to let them know. ) So, it’ll be a while until we’ll know what will happen with the adoption.  In the meantime, we’re going to do the normal stuff you do when you’re pregnant, which is pretty much the normal stuff you do when you’re not pregnant with a few differences.

If you’re so inclined, we’d love to have you ask God for good health for Desi and the baby as well as for wisdom for us. We want to make good decisions about the adoption and we believe that if we ask for wisdom, God will grant it.

Thanks for reading. You’re all super-important and we’re so honored that you want to keep up with us on this blog.  We’ve been blessed with amazing friends. Thanks!

Three Months

It’s hard to believe but we’ve now been on the waiting list for three months! Back in December when they put us on the list, our agency told us that it would probably take anywhere from seven to ten months for us to get our referral. At this point it looks like it will be longer but we’re still hopeful of getting a referral by Christmas and going to pick up the newest member of BrownTown a few weeks later. We’ll see what God has planned. Thanks for hanging in there with us.

News from Ethiopia

Great news from Ethiopia today! We got an email from our agency stating that MOWA, the government agency that oversees adoption in Ethiopia, is still processing 40 adoptions every day and it looks like they are going to stay at that rate indefinitely. This is the news we were hoping to hear. If you read our previous entries then you know that MOWA at one time was considering cutting back to only five adoptions per day. Had they done that, our adoption could have taken three years longer or more. We’re so thankful that won’t be the case.

Thanks to those of you who prayed about this. We’re so grateful. We would have been content with whatever God deemed best, but we’re especially glad that things turned out this way.

Ethiopian Adoption Cuts are Official

The US State Dept posted a notice today stating that Ethiopian Adoption Cuts are real. Apparently, they will now only process five adoptions per day as opposed to the 40 to 50 they had been doing. This is obviously a major blow to the children awaiting homes as well as the families waiting for children.  While we are thankful that the Ethiopian government is working to ensure that all adoptions are legal and above board, we are hoping and praying that this limitation will not be permanent.
There are two things you can do to help:

First, you can pray that the government there, specifically MOWA (Ministry of Women’s Affairs) will find another way to make sure that all the adoptions are done legally and correctly with the children’s best interests in mind, and that they will go back to processing 50 adoptions or more per day.

Second, you can sign the petition found here:

Ethiopian Adoption Emergency – Petition to Ethiopian Prime Minister

Please take a few moments to do both these things right now.

Thanks…

Les

We’ve been reading a lot of news and speculation about the Ethiopian government cutting international adoptions by as much as 90%. Right now, there’s been no definitive statements and we don’t really know what to believe. Some people believe that they may be shutting the doors much as China did a few years ago. Others think this is political infighting between governmental agencies looking for funding and decreased workloads. God only knows which is true. Really. God is the only one who knows what’s going to happen with this thing. Which is good for us. We know him. We can talk to him. We can plead our case to him – the only one who can really do anything about this. We’re hoping that God will move in the hearts of the people in Ethiopia, who we believe want the absolute best for the orphans there, and that they will not cut back international adoptions. But we don’t know what’s going to happen. So, if you would, please pray for the people at MOWA – The Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Ethiopia, as well as their justice system. Pray that they will not close the door to International adoptions and that the current adoption cases that are in their system won’t sit un-processed while they figure all this out. Also, pray for all the families who have already received referrals for the child they will adopt and are now just waiting. Many of these families have actually already met their adoptive children and talked to them, held them, played with them and spent time with them and now they are simply waiting for the legal process to run it’s course. These are challenging times for them. Pray for peace and comfort. Last but not least, pray for the children. They have already been through much just to get to this point. They need loving families, something an orphanage just can’t provide. Pray for their peace and comfort as they wait for their forever families.

Thanks!

ONE

I thought I would post our “months on the wait list” with eager anticipation. Hurray for one more month down and one month closer to bringing home our baby. Unfortunately, around the same time we got on the wait list we found out our agency is in a stand still right now in Ethiopia. We trust our agency and know things will be up and running again soon but its still disappointing news. I know this past month of waiting has not be a waste but it feels like we are going backwards instead of moving forward. I am very thankful that we are where we are and don’t have a referral. Waiting on this end although not easy is nothing compared to knowing who your child is and having to be delayed in bringing him or her home. Please join our in praying for provision for our son during the time he lives in Ethiopia and for the salvation for his parents and the difficult choices they are about to face.

Adoption Update

We are nearly through with paperwork. Just a few more items and we’re done. For now. Apparently, you never really are done with it, but the major bulk of it is about to be out the door. Whew! It’s unbelievable how much there is to do. Totally worth it, but crazy amounts of paperwork.

Thankfully, once we’re done with the paperwork and get the results of our homestudy back we’ll be able to start the grant request process as well. We’re blessed in that we’ve already received some help from one group and we’re hoping to get more from others. Most of them want the homestudy to be complete before they will consider anything, though, so we’ll have to get that back first.

So, it’s hurry up and wait from here on out. Hopefully it won’t take a year or more to get our son. We’ll see.

With Increased Joy Comes Sadness

As our checklists begin to dwindle and our excitement to bring home our baby grows, my sadness increases. I can’t help but lay awake at night and think about our baby’s birth parents. While adoption is a beautiful thing I am sad that there is such a need in Africa. I wish moms and dads weren’t literally starving to death and unable to feed their children. I wish parents in Africa weren’t dying from HIV/AIDS and other diseases in such outrageous numbers. I wish I could look my child in the eyes someday and tell him that his Mother had made a brave choice and chose life eventhough she was unable to take care of him. I’m not sure what the circumstances might be that allow our paths to cross with our son but I’m most certain they will probably be grim. I’m praying desperately that whatever the reason that causes our child to become an orphan, that his parents come to know Jesus. That one day we will meet in heaven and our son’s biological parents can rejoice with us in the man that God created him to be. Together we can stand amazed by our Maker in a place where there are no such things as starvation and disease. A place where there is no more anguish, pain, and weeping.

Mullets for Mankind Update

Based on the photos, Mullets for Mankind was a huge success. Our buddy, Steve Vanderheide, an amazing videographer and all around fine young lad, put his personal appearance up for auction in order to benefit our adoption. What a guy. Honestly, I didn’t think there was any way this would amount to much in a monetary sense, but that it did sound like fun. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Steve raised over $2000 to benefit our adoption. Wow. We couldn’t believe it. Thanks, Steve. You’re a good man and I hope you marry some sweet mullet-loving girl after this is all over.

Yard Sale Update

Well…It was kind of crazy around BrownTown this weekend. Wished I had spent more time getting pictures and video, but mostly I was just walking around in a daze trying to make correct change. I couldn’t possibly tell you how many people came by and looked or bought something, but it had to be in the hundreds. My lawn looks like a cattle drive went through. Awesome.

We’re still overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we received in the way of household items, old clothes, books, cd’s, dvd’s, and anything else you can imagine that was given to us by our friends for this sale – completely overwhelmed. And then there was all the help. There must have been 20 people who helped us set up, watched our kids, brought us food and cold drinks, priced things for people, helped people load stuff in their cars, etc. It was crazy. So many of you helped us so much that we couldn’t possibly repay you. I get a warm, but queazy feeling in my gut just thinking about it. Overwhelming.

People keep asking us how much money we made. Well, we made enough to get the ball moving and push it way down the field. We can start the process of this adoption again – pay deposits, file new forms, get background checked, fingerprinted, etc. again and get started. How will the rest of the money come? I don’t know, and I’m okay with that. I’m confident that He is going to provide every step of the way. There may be days in the future when I have my doubts because I’m a weak human being, but I know God will provide.

Somewhere in Ethiopia, there’s a boy who may be just a few days old or not even born yet. His momma and daddy can’t take care of him. Who knows why? God does. He sees them and he sees that boy. He knows his name. He knows his plight. He knows the way that someday he will come here and join his new family. Some day. Not soon enough for us. We love him and we don’t even know who he is. Beautiful.

Thanks so much for all you’ve done to bring our boy home. Can’t wait for you to meet him because that will mean that I have met him as well.