Monday, November 25, 2013

Hysmith Update

Aaaaaannnnnddddd…..We're back!

Life has been crazy, busy, wonderful lately and at this moment I drinking my afternoon coffee and it is quiet. Like all the way quiet. Only the click of this keyboard and the sound of light rain on the metal roof. It smells like fresh baked sourdough rolls in the kitchen and my husband has the whole week off for Thanksgiving. Right now I'm operating at about 110%. I am truly thankful for this moment on this Monday.

This moment however is just a tiny snippet of the way things in our life though. Since we moved here in April we have accomplished a lot.

Such as..

  • Building a house and barn, moving in, unpacking, hanging approximately 7 things on the walls, and making this place HOME
  • Starting a new job (Ryan) and almost making it through the first semester already!! Being a teacher is fun because you get to divide each year up into semesters and look forward to long breaks
  • Becoming potty trained (Brody-hopefully that was obvious). I'd like to thank the Elmo Potty Book for potty training my child. After a few days of reading it 30 times a day, Brody requested big boy undies and has basically been potty trained ever since. 
  • Breaking a finger. (Ryan) Intramural football, watch out for guys wearing shorts with pockets. 
  • Read a million books (Abby). I love being able to text Ryan and say-can you go get me X book from the library today..and my library gals always have great suggestions for me too, and let me be the first to read new books. :) 
  • Trained (almost) for our next half marathon-St. Jude Memphis in less than 2 weeks!
  • Sped up their running considerably (Abby). Running with Ryan and Papa (Ryan's dad, Brody's Papa, my fabulous father-in-law) can make a girl much faster, as nice as it is for them to run circles around me, I prefer not to be such a wimp
  • Run 3 5k races and gotten some medals and personal records! (All of us)
  • Planted a garden. We planted the garden and built a fence early this summer and we were able to harvest a few things but we have a great plan for next year…which may work better since we actually live here this time. 
  • Become obsessed with things like beekeeping (Ryan)
  • Become obsessed with keeping mice out of our home (Abby)
  • Hosted 20 people in our home
  • Hung out with some really sweet college kids
  • Made a lot of great new friends
  • Have lived with very limited internet capabilities since August
  • Have no cable, no Netflix, no Hulu, just an antenna that miraculously gets us the Titans games and a free movie library at Freed Hardeman. Henderson also still has a movie rental store that we frequent.
  • Built some fires in our wood burning fireplace
  • Cooked some great food and some edible food
  • Watched deer running in our field
  • Gone on runs around our property
  • And just generally, we have enjoyed life! 
We love our home and feel so blessed to have been able to build it while we are young and can grow our family in this house. Speaking of growing a is an update on our adoption…

Moving to Henderson did not really delay our adoption process in any way because when we decided to move we still had not received a referral of children. If we had gotten our referrals while we were still in our rental house we probably would have just had to do a home study update for that home and a home study update for the house we were building once we moved in and just hope that it all worked out time wise. When we moved into the house we built they came and looked at our house so they could update our home study and we changed our address on our immigration approval. 

So here we are, all ready to be a mommy and daddy again to some sweet little babies. Our house was built, our paperwork was ready and we are just waiting for a call….Well we got a call but not the one we were hoping to get. First, let me say that we believe that our adoption agency is the absolute right agency for us to be with. We trust them, they are open with us, they are easy to work with, they handle things in a Christ like way, and they are advocates for orphans and do everything they can to bring families together. The children are their first priority. 

We learned a few weeks ago from our agency worker, who's been so great to us, that right now our agency (this is not an Ethiopia countrywide issue) cannot process adoptions from Ethiopia.  They took over an agency that is in Ethiopia and have done some really good things to get that agency working more efficiently and helping more and more children. Every few years all agencies have to renew their licenses with Ethiopia and when they went to do that and change the name of the agency they got stalled. Their license is NOT being renewed right now, so basically they cannot operate in the country with no license. There is no way of knowing when they might renew the license, if they ever do, and the words that Ryan wrote down when he was on the phone were "expect significant delays in Ethiopia" and "not optimistic about them renewing our license". So clearly, not the news we were hoping for or,to be honest, not what we were praying for at all, right?

Our hearts were so broken over this delay for so many people. Our agency, the families waiting, us, and of course the children. I am glad that Ryan decided to have the conversation with our agency because at the point of learning all this secondhand from Ryan I was a basket case for all of the reasons just mentioned. Some selfish reasons and many unselfish reasons. The second part of the conversation was slightly more hopeful though…

We had a few choices at this point. 1.) Just sit tight and pray for Ethiopia to renew the license or for our agency to possibly reapply in the spring and just start from there 2.) Leave our dossier (paperwork file) in Ethiopia and also look into starting the process of adopting from another country that our agency works with.

We chose option 2. We have dreamed about our children from Ethiopia and prayed for them daily. But we don't feel it is the best use or our time, money, and faith to just sit and wait when God might be providing other avenues. We aren't giving up on Ethiopia, but at the root of this journey was the fact that we wanted to adopt. And right now the path we chose to go down is blocked, so we are taking another path at the same time and we will see which one leads to this house being a little louder and a lot more filled with love. 

The country we decided to go with is a little bitty country called Lesotho. It is pronounces "le-soo-too" or "le-so-too". To find it on a map, look at South Africa and then look at one of the little countries that is right in the MIDDLE of South Africa. That is where we have paperwork heading. I'm going to be honest, I'd never heard of it before that day. Like, we had to look up how to pronounce it. It's a new program for our agency and has not been a big program in the U.S. at all previously. We are praying to help that change. Our agency is the only agency that works with Lesotho right now. So there was a pretty small chance that we would come to know about this country and then have the opportunity to adopt from there unless God had something to do with it. There are a ton of adoption agencies out there that we could have chosen and you would drive yourself insane to sit and wonder what would have happened if we had picked a different one. So we trust that when we prayed about our agency choice that those prayers were answered and that God will bless this scenario. 

Basically we are waiting for our paperwork to go to Lesotho and then be on the waiting list. If we do get referrals from Lesotho (probably in 6 months to a year) then we will only have to travel one time but it will be for about 3 weeks. We do not know which path (Ethiopia or Lesotho) God will continue to lead us but we are just waiting to see which one progresses. 

Whichever country our children are born in we will love it because of them. We will learn as much as we can about it and it will become part of our family. When we started this journey we felt led towards international adoption so we are going to continue down that path, as we still feel like that is our calling this time. We have no idea what the future holds but if you ask either of us, I think you would learn that we plan on our family growing for quite awhile. Though you may get a different definition for "big" family from each of us. :)

We are SO ready to meet our little ones and right now we have NO CLUE when that will be, where we will be traveling to, how old they will be, or ANYTHING!! We just know that God knows and that has to be enough. When we stepped onto the rocky ship that is adoption we knew that the waters were gong to be rough. All you have to do is read a blog or talk to someone and learn that it is NOT smooth sailing. But we are trusting God and we are weathering the storm.

Please pray for our adoption. In whatever way you feel you should, because sometimes I am not quite sure not he specifics of it myself. But most of all, pray for our children, their health, their sweet little hearts, their birth families, our agency, government workers, all families around the world who are waiting on little ones and all children who need a family, no matter where they live. 

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