Sunday, April 29, 2012

Comic Relief from One I LOVE Dearly


Just in case you haven’t been told, point exists in parenting that fear takes hold.  For me, it’s right before the arrival of a child.  OKAY.  I am currently TERRIFFIED.  SCARED.  NERVOUS.  ANXIOUS.  I keep hearing this is to be expected considering I am traveling alone with 3 small children to Ethiopia to take placement of 3 more children and staying for 35 days.  SO I am ever so grateful when relief enters the scene. 

Tonight, my mom and her new husband (GREAT guy.  Great!) recorded a message for our trio.  I could be super-spiritual and tell you I was clinging to the foot of the cross for each breath (I am), but I’d be remiss not to tell you the laughs my mom and Ran-G provided.  (OKAY, Ninaw provided the laughs.  Randy played recovery.)  Enjoy the video that’s worth a 1000 words.

video
Since when does volume and speed translate foreign language?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Baffled. Astonished. Blessed.


Right now we are in full-blown shock.  Amazement.  Astonishment.  Wonder.  Surprise.  Bewilderment.  Exicitement.  Stupefied.  Disbelief. Blessed!

Last night, in less than a week…  Wha????  Huhhhh?  Confused here.  We cleared Embassy.  Did you hear me?  WE.  CLEARED.  EMBASSY.   WEEEEEEEEE  CLLEEEEEAARREDDD!!!!!!!!!!  We are busily evaluating our plans for return.  We will keep you posted.  But WE CLEARED!  Thank you, God, we cleared!  It's only HIM.  We woke up to this:

KNIGHT CASE CLEARED

Dear Knight Family,                                                                                                                                  

This office is ready to schedule an interview for the I-600 petition filed on behalf of the below applicants.
1.       Case Number 
Family Name, Children’s Names   KNIGHT, NIGUSOM JOSHUA
                                                        KNIGHT, HEWAN JOSHUA and
                                                        KNIGHT, TSEHAYE JOSHUA

Interview slots are available Monday and Wednesday at 9:00 am or Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00 pm. Please select your 3 preference dates and send us an e-mail. We will send you a confirmed appointment date after checking our available slots. Make sure you get our confirmed appointment date for parents to come for their appointment.

When communicating with this office, please provide agency name, child’s full name and case number exactly as shown in this letter.


Sincerely,

Adoption Visa Unit

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Submitted, Oh Yeah!!!


Could someone pinch me?  This seems surreal.  Unexpectedly, today we received this email:

Dear Knight family :
Congratulations!  Your adoption case has been submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Your authorized agent, Gladney, submitted the case to us on April 24,2012.  The name of the beneficiary in your case is:
Knight, Nigusom, Tsehaye and Hewan Joshua

Our agency re-assimilated our missing papers.  We were submitted to Embassy!  On to the next step…review for a visa.  THANK YOU, Lord!!!

And a little eye candy:

Aren't we the most blessed parents EVER???




Saturday, April 21, 2012

For the Sake of Love and Money


Here we are with just the facts, ma’ma.  (If you need a refresher on “how things work” in the adoption process, you can read a short post here.)  We first appeared before the Ethiopian courts on February 3 for the adoption of our trio. Due to paperwork issues, it took two more attempts to finally clear on February 21.  At that point, our social worker, “T”, in Ethiopia had the privilege of sharing the wonderful news of a forever home with our trio.  Our trio’s response could NOT have been any more an answer to our prayers.  Not an ounce of fear.  Not an ounce of concern about whom we are.  Just JOY.

Upon news of their adoption (photo compliment of a friend)
Post court, our agency had the task of collecting documents required four our trio to immigrate to America.  A few weeks ago, our US caseworker believed our file was ready for Embassy.  BUT come that Thursday, a piece of paperwork had gone missing.  Alas.  It’s a journey.  The following Thursday, that piece of paperwork appeared and our file was taken. 


Usually, when a file is submitted to Embassy, you receive an email in the wee hours of the morning.  For these past two weeks, I’m woken every night hoping for something.  Thursday came and went.  No email.  The following morning, our US caseworker called to tell us the news:  unfortunately, our file was taken with copies of paperwork vital to our file when it required originals.  They would return the following day with the original. 

Yesterday, new news.  This form couldn’t be located.  Only the copies.  The paperwork needed to be re-originated and mailed to Ethiopia for our file.  Heart sank.  Sadness for our trio.  Sadness for us.  Many tears by our Princess and the H-man.  I drown my tears in papers needed and they hit FedEx yesterday afternoon.

In the meantime, we’ve come to understand more and more the hearts of our children abroad.  They are racked with excitement and joy AND fear.  They know loss.  Lots of it.  The news we have adopted them but not come to them creates fear of yet another loss.  Remember it’s been a month plus now since they heard they finally have a family, and from my memory, a month is eternity in kid time.  Enter our decision.

Josh (and I) believes for the sake of love, for the sake of the children’s hearts, for the sake of bonding and showing them promises kept, I need to go on over and take placement of our children.  For the sake of money, we booked the tickets departing April 30 and returning June 4.  It was the most reasonable fare.  Officials do NOT recommend traveling without Embassy clearance.  It IS, however, recommended by my husband.  It couldn’t get much clearer than that for me.

So, for the sake of love and money, I will be leaving with Princess, Tiger, and Mez in less than two weeks.  Our agency is sure our file will be successfully submitted on the 26th of April.  We will keep you posted on our progress.  For now,  pray.  Pray for travel (one mom three kids).  Pray for health.  Pray for sleep (I am prone to thinking all night long).  Pray for our children to understand why all of their family isn’t coming right now.  Pray for our transition and bonding and the perpetual Groundhog Day once in Ethiopia.  Pray for wisdom while I parent many without my one partner.  Pray for Josh, my partner is this, and his heart while we are apart.  Pray against anything that could separate us or cause friction.  Pray each moment of my time I am an example of the love of God.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Small but Precious Jewel


When we wrote to the trio, we never expected a real response from the children.  Surely, not an immediate answer.  Today, we received the most immeasurable gift…a letter from our son. 

 
This is our small but precious jewel.  A letter from Nigusom.  TEARS.




Translation:  My mommy, my daddy, my brothers and my sister I love you so much. I cannot wait to see you. When are you coming?
Ewedachualehu

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Just Another Answer to our Prayers

I can’t help but think how many times in this adoption God has gone in front of us and answered our prayers.  Some He has answered after months, some after only days, some at the moment they depart our lips, and some before we were even bold enough to voice them.  Today, I was struck by that reality. 

"T"s, our children’s social worker in Ethiopia, is another Ebenezer in our journey.  "T's" heart beats for orphans.  From her own life and family story to her job, her life testifies to her love for the lonely.  T’s care and concern for our trio became so clear during our time in Ethiopia.  Knowing our trio by name, rejoicing in their progress, mourning for each of their struggles, and praying for their future is NOT part of her job, but it is her heart.  She remains the answer to the prayer I’ve offered too many times to count for our children.  “God, provide them one, just one person, in flesh to love them until the day we arrive.  Give our children a person with a heart for you.  A person willing to love the whole part of  my kids, the brokenness and beauty.  Make yourself and your redemption known to them even as they wait through a person, who is a living example of YOU.”  I love knowing that while we are apart, T has been God’s answer to another prayer we prayed so often. 

T returned to work after a vacation and Easter holiday.  She immediately delivered the letter we wrote to our children.  She didn't hesitate to respond:

“This is to let you know that Tsehaye, Hewan and Nigusom were very, very happy to get the letter from their family.  They are very excited to see their family.  They kept asking me when they are going to see them.   Hewan and Nigusom wrote a letter to their family, and Tsehaye has something to say. I will send you a more detailed report  on the session I had with them and the translation of their letter tomorrow.  Also find attached some picture from today.”

The Trio with Our Letter




My Nigusom Writing Back


Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Letter to Our Trio


Dear Sweet Trio,

Hello from Texas and your family.  We think of you every day.  We cannot wait to come to you.  Every day, we pray for you.  Every day, we wish you were here with us.  We will be there as soon as we can.  Right now, we are waiting for the United States Embassy to tell us we can travel to Ethiopia to become a family.  They will work hard to make this happen as quickly as possible.  In the meantime, we will keep getting ready for you.

There are a few things we would like to tell you.  The most important thing is that we love each of you.  Daddy and Mommy love you Nigusom.  Daddy and Mommy love you Hewan.  Daddy and Mommy love you Tsehaye.  And your brothers and sisters love each one of you.  Second, you are precious and treasured.  We have dreamed of the moment we would be able to hug and cuddle and kiss you and tell you how precious you are!  We also want you to know that we are doing our best to make our lives and your home ready for you.  We want to tell you a little bit of what will happen when we come to you.

We will come to Ethiopia to be a family as soon as the Embassy says we can.  When we come to Ethiopia, we will come to get you FIRST thing.  You will come with us to stay at a home in Addis.  We will stay there for a while and see some very exciting parts of Ethiopia.  It is a friendly guesthouse run by our friends and Ethiopian family.   We will stay there for a while as we get to know one another.  During that time, we will learn more about being a family together.  We will do our best to teach you English, and you can teach us some Amharic.  It might be hard for us to talk to each other for a little while since our languages are different.  Please, be patient and know we will do our best to help you.  Also, you might be scared leaving the foster care.  You can tell mommy and daddy anytime you are scared.  We will keep you safe because we love you.  We will protect you from scary things because we love you.  We want you to feel safe because we love you.  We will hug you and kiss you and pray with you and remind you that you are safe.   Do not be afraid to tell us what you miss and how you feel.  We want to know, and we want to help you.  Have I said, “We LOVE you?”  

When it is time to leave Ethiopia, we will go to the airport.  We will fly home on a very big airplane.  The flight is long.  There will be many people, new sounds, and the flight will be very long.  You should know daddy, mommy, and your brothers and sisters will be there with you the whole time keeping you safe.  You do not have to worry, but you can tell us when you are scared.  We LOVE you.

The airplane will land in America in Texas where we live (where you will live).  The smells here are different.  The cities look different.   The sounds here are different, too, because most people in America speak English.  The food is different.  We will do our best to help you with these changes because we love you.  You should tell us when these differences are hard for you because you can trust us to help you.  Do you remember why?  BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU.   When you come to America it will be summer time.  That means it will be hot.  That means we will be out of school.  That means we will have time to play and explore.  That means your brothers and sister will be home, too. 

We will live in our home together, Mommy, Daddy, Hunter, Ann, Tiger, and Mez.  We have 2 dogs that are friendly.  One dog is very small.  Her name is Penny.  One dog is big.  Her name is Chin.  They are very nice.  H-Man is your oldest brother.  He is 14 years old.  He loves you.  He likes to read and play soccer and to play in the woods by our home.  H-Man is funny and loud and brave.  Nigusom, he has been dreaming of you being home for so long.  He cannot wait to show you how to ride a bike.  He wants you to teach him how to say things in Tigrinya.  Princess is your sister.   Princess is 10 years old.  She loves you.  Hewan, she cannot wait for you to be home.  She’s always dreamed of a sister to share life with.  She’s been busy getting your room you’ll share ready and helping pick clothes for you.  Princess likes to ready books.  She loves gymnastics.  She hopes to teach you how to do a cartwheel.  She wants you to teach her how to braid hair.  She says you have the prettiest hair she has every seen.  Tiger’s is your next brother.  He calls himself “Tiger” or “Telek Neber.”  He loves you.  Tsehaye, Tiger cannot wait for you to be here.  He is silly and funny and laughs a lot, just like you.  He loves to play baseball.  He wants to show you how to play baseball, and he wants you to show him the karate you do.   Mez is your baby brother.  He was born in Mekele, Ethiopia.  He is 2 years old.  Mez is very strong and very busy.  He likes to play cars and build blocks.  He will be bossy sometimes because he is a baby.  He will love you, too.  He knows you each by name.  WE ALL LOVE YOU!!!!  This is our family, your family in America.  Do you know we are your forever family?  We will NOT leave you.  You are safe with us.

We know you had another family before us.  We love that family, too.  When you are ready to talk about them, we will be happy to hear about them.  We love every part of you. 

Mommy and Daddy love you each very, very, very much.  We will do everything we can to make you feel safe and help you with all the changes in store.  We will teach you about your new home, new sister and brothers.  We will help you anytime need help BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU.  Nigusom, we love you.  Hewan, we love you.  Tsehaye, we love you.  You are precious.  You are a treasure.  We cannot wait to see you, to hug you, to hold you, to play games, and to grow as a family. 

May God keep you and protect you and carry you while we are apart.  May you know HIS love.  We are coming soon.

Love,
Mommy-ye Lori, Ababa Josh, H-Man, Princess, Telek Neber, and Mez-a-zu


Our Trio

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Love of a Father


Tsehaye wears his joy all over.  This beaming smile never ceases to amaze me.  After all he has walked through, he still glows. 

Tsehaye, my son full of joy.

When I stare at the grin that engulfs his entire face, I wonder what knowing real love and acceptance will mean for him.  Today, on Easter, I am reminded to pray that Tsehaye knows how completely he is love and not just the love of an Earthly father and mama but the far-reaching love of a heavenly father.  Isn’t it today that we celebrate such an endless love that He “sent His only begotten son “ (John 3:16)?  It is my prayer that God will cause Tsehaye “to hear His loving-kindness in the morning, (and know) in Him can he trust.” (Psalms 143:8). 


Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Ropes of Fear


2:00 a.m. and the “mind beeper” went off.  LOUD, even though it was only in my head.   Josh ended up awake, too.  When I wake at the time, I just don’t think it is coincidence.  Snuggled up on the couch in the den, Josh asked in a disquieted voice, “Do you have any idea how scared our trio has to be right now?”  (Um, yea, I do.  See, I am prone to anxiety…the kind that feels like there are ropes tightening around the neck.) 

“Honey, I do.  They must be wrought with panic and excitement.  You know, that’s a lethal combo.”  

“I don’t know.  I don’t get scared often.  I can only imagine,” he answered.

We had a great visit in the wee hours of the morning, and we both became more devoted than ever before to pray against fear.  I know this darling girl must be in the throws of anxiety and anticipation over what is to come.

My daughter, Little Mum.

Then reading through Psalms 18, I was reminded of the Lord’s greatness to save in the midst of the throws of death, fear, defeat...  His power, his love, his faithfulness, and his rescue is great.  We are praying the latter part of that Psalm for our children.  We pray that the Lord will, “reach down from on high and take hold of these children and draw them out of the deep waters.  That he would rescue them from their powerful enemy, from their foes, who are too strong for them…that the Lord would be their support and take bring them to a spacious place.  That He would rescue them because he delights in them.”  What a testimony to His glory that will be.

We covet your prayers.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's Our Mez-iversary. Two Years!

Sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words.  Just two years ago, we held our sweet Mez for the first time.  Crazy how it can seem like just yesterday and like an eternity ago…  Enjoy our Mez-iversary photo flash back.

Placement Mobile

Delivery, Delivery

First Family Photo

And, now, here we are, soon to be a family of nine.


Don't Hate Us Cause You Ain't Us (complements of Laura Carlson)
Really, friends, we don’t usually look like this.  We are lucky to be clean…don’t get the wrong impression, please.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Liberation


I wonder how many times a child goes without rescue before they doubt their situation will ever be redeemed?  Each time I look into my son’s eyes, I’m quickened to pray that he will know great redemption.  A redemption greater than the I can offer.  You can also pray that through the Spirit, he will quickly understand there is a Rescuer greater than his dad and me.  Pray that though there were years of loneliness and hurt, God would supernaturally ready his heart to know true liberation…

Nigusom, my son