Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Celebrating the Season

OK, is anyone else telling themselves, I need to slow down....., I need to take more time to reflect on the season......, I'm trying to savor every minute, but it's going too fast, ! While all that is true, with the days going by so fast, it does bring us one day closer to our Amanuel, so honestly, my feelings are mixed. This year I really feel like time is getting away from me. My firstborn is 10 1/2 years old already, and my girls almost 9 and almost 7. To try and spend some "quality" time together on Sunday, we made Time Capsule Ornaments. My blogger friend Amy gave me this idea and I think it is awesome, so we tried it. It wasn't without some trial and error, but they turned out really neat.

Some of the other things we've done this December, other than of course receiving the great news that Amanuel will be joining us this spring: we participated in the local Christmas parade on 12/3 and had dinner that night with our dear friends to celebrate our referral. Some neat memories from that night were the the Choir from Waupaca - like 25 high schoolers singing to us while we ate, the kids and grown-ups too thought that was so neat. We were also able to share the news of Amanuel with many of our friends from church who were all so excited to hear of our news!
The next day we went to Wild Rose to cut down our own Christmas tree- an experience, one I'm not sure we will repeat. Lots of walking, carrying a heavy tree, complaining kids, and not dressed for the weather- looks like a fake tree will make it's way into the living room next year.
The day after that Jon and Payton went to the Packer game vs. the 49ers, they won 34 to something; MAJOR snowstorm on 12/11 foiled our plans to get together with some other great friends from out of town, but we were still able to attend a fun Christmas party with lots of friends from church; Christmas cookie decorating was canceled too, but we did reschedule for a day after school and had a fun, sprinkly time.

We also started the new tradition of wrapping up Christmas - themed books and letting the kids open one each night. I will buy a new book each year to add to the collection, right now we have about 10 books. This year I bought The Princess and the Kiss; Three Gifts of Christmas.

The kids had their Christmas program last night, Payton Ava both played pre-service music and did such a great job - mom and dad were so proud!

Court Date!

We have a court date already! Jon received the call on 12/20 from AGCI letting us know that we will be traveling very soon- leaving on the 17th of February and returning the 23rd and our court date is February 21st at 8:30am. We are very excited, a little nervous and very thankful this came up so quickly. Time to start talking with a travel agent to get some flight reservations made!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Our Amazing Christmas Blessing!

On Thursday, December 2, 2010, at 1:50pm we received a call from K, our case manager at AGCI who had some amazingly exciting news to share with us! Unfortunately, I missed her first call (downstairs doing laundry), so she called my cell, which was also upstairs (we now have a phone downstairs again). Then she called Jon and told him. In the meantime, I saw that I had missed her call, and called her back about 6 minutes later. I was expecting to get an update on our numbers, thinking we were about 13 or 14 on the list. But, K had other news! She wanted to tell us about a little boy who had come to Hannah’s Hope on November 25, - Thanks. Giving. Day. I know, how can that not be from God? She got Jon on the other line b/c he was at work, just 15 minutes away but it felt like he was physically in Ethiopia- too far away. She proceeds to tell us that his name is Amanuel and that he is 3 years old. I totally lost it when she said his name. Amanuel of course means “God with us”. We have totally and completely believed that God has orchestrated this entire process, strongly bringing it to my attention back in November of 2006, bringing Jon on board in October, 2009, submitting our paperwork to our local agency on 11/13/09 and believe it or not, signing our names on the paperwork with AGCI exactly one year from our referral date, December 2, 2009. Whew………God is SO AMAZING!

Of course, Jon was at work when we got the call and wasn’t able to get home until 7:30 that night! I had called my mom and dad pretty much after getting off the phone with K from AGCI to tell them and then again, asking them to come and take pictures for us when Jon got home. I had already seen his picture when K first send his referral picture, but I didn’t want to tell the kids until Jon got home. It was such a beautiful and special moment. My sweet, sensitive husband gathered us all together (in the meantime, uncle Brian arrived and was quickly handed the video camera)and with such emotion, shared that God had decided to add one little boy to our family, he could barely get the words out, so they came in a whisper. In true Alaina fashion, she says, “Dad, why are you crying, I thought someone died.” Jon quickly explained his tears were tears of joy. Payton and Ava were teared up as well, it was such a special moment. The kids never asked why we were not getting our “little dudes” as that has always been “our plan”, we just simply explained that Amanuel is our “little dude” and him joining our family was God’s , which is way better than anything we could ever dream up on our own. In one of the photos, Amanuel is kicking a soccer ball and Alaina says “What if he beats me in soccer?”- which got everyone to laugh. That girl is going to be a comedienne!

I had planned to make Shake-N-Bake Chicken for supper that night, but of course, didn’t check to see if I had the Shake-N-Bake first, so then I was left with 8 chicken parts and nothing to make it with, so got the bright idea to make some duro wat, a traditional Ethiopian meal, which we all really liked the last time I made it. Still had to run to the store anyway b/c I didn't have any lemon juice, which was ok, b/c it helped kill some time. Well, it took 2 ½ hours to get done, which was perfect timing- a great celebration meal in honor of our Amanuel.

Although we were ecstatic about our news, wouldn’t you know it, the devil thought he could get in and distract us, cast doubt, take our focus and attention off of this amazing news. With a few people less than excited for us than we'd hoped, he thought he’d get us down. With me, getting very ill the day after the referral and diagnosed Monday with strep throat, he thought he’d keep us down. With our INTERNET NOT WORKING AS OF SATURDAY MORNING- he thought he’d won. BUT…… he was wrong! Sure these things have caused a few glitches, but we continue to praise God! My mantra Scripture reference lately has been 1 Thes. 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.“, and we have been discussing that lately in my bible study. So thank you God for that reminder, to praise you in all circumstances. I’m not sure why I got so sick and why our online service went kaput, but God knows and will use those circumstances for our good. You might wonder, what is so significant about having the internet? Well, not only could I not forward pictures of our beautiful little boy, to anxious family and friends, I could not make an announcement on my blog, and I couldn’t use it to do research for our transition plan which needed to be done by 3pm on Tuesday! (Thank you Mr. Charter Man for coming to hook us back up!) So, despite the fact that my house is a disaster (when Mama is sick, things tend to get a little chaotic, although, I must say the kids made sure I was taken care of yesterday), me feeling super yucky, Jon coming down with the aches and sore throat yesterday, me missing out on the Packer game with my hubby, and no online service to work with, I have not been able to keep the smile out of my heart! We are so overjoyed with the blessing God has entrusted to us and we know Amanuel was always meant to be part of our family. If I haven’t mentioned yet, he is absolutely adorable. We can’t post a photo online, but trust me, as soon as I can, I will!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to those who have supported us, encouraged us, shared in the excitement with us, and most importantly, prayed for our family. We are certain God will see us through the remainder of our journey and as always, we ask him to use every detail, every circumstance, each happy, sad and frustrating moment to His honor and glory!

I will try to be more regular in my posting now that I have some exciting news to share!

Written: Monday, December 6th