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Archive for December, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!

(Below is a copy of our Christmas letter… and reading it, I realize there are a few things I haven’t yet blogged about.  They’ve all happened so quickly!  I promise to catch you all up… but in the meantime, enjoy.  And rejoice!)

“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

* * * * *

For us, this Christmas is one of great joy as well as great expectation.

We rejoice that God has led our family through these last few difficult financial years and has now provided Bryan with a new job (starting in January); we praise Him for giving Nikki, Jonah (6), and Bode (3 1/2) positive and encouraging times in our homeschooling journey; we thank Him, the Great Physician, for healing Annie (20 months) from her kidney disorder with no lasting effects.

As far as “expectation” goes, many of you know that we are in the process of bringing a fourth child into our family through adoption.  We currently are waiting to be matched with an infant girl in Ethiopia, a country with more than five million orphans.  We wait with hope and longing — and sometimes anxiety! — for the day to come when we first see her face in a photo, and later travel halfway around the world to bring her home.  We hope to complete this process by the end of 2011, but we also know the timing is out of our control.

Some may call this radical (or even crazy!).  We feel called by God to care for orphans (James 1:27), to rescue a child from a desperate situation and love her as our own.  Yes, it will change her life… it likewise will change ours.  But this isn’t even really our doing; God alone is the author of adoption.  He wrote this story, not us.  He is the One who sent His Son as the Light of the world, to welcome the poor, the fatherless, the broken and undeserving into His family.  So simply put:  We love because He first loved us.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)

The same Light who brings hope to an orphan in Africa brings salvation to all those who believe… in our neighborhoods and around the world.  He is both our highest hope and our reason for rejoicing: Jesus Christ.

We wish you the merriest of Christmases and a blessed 2011!

With love, the Starrs

P.S. We invite you to follow along — and join us — in our adoption journey!  If you feel so led, we would deeply appreciate both prayer and financial support for what is a very costly and time-consuming — but unbelievably amazing — process.  Thanks so much!

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The Molly-Pup Has Landed

We picked up the newest member of the Starr family this morning!

May I be the first to officially introduce Molly-Dodden Starr:

Look at those paws!!

At eight weeks old, Molly weighs over 12 pounds and has really cool coloring — mostly rust with white markings, and freckles on her nose.  She has a reserved but super-sweet personality.  She pees and poops where she’s supposed to, when she’s supposed to.  She cuddles like a champ.  Nothing fazes her… not loud noises, not her first car ride, not children clamoring to touch/hold/play with her… nothing.

Well, her first bath fazed her just a little.  But that was necessary.  And now she’s over it.

Here are some more pics of the kiddos loving on lil’ miss Molly.

Since arriving home, Molly has done little more than briefly sniff the Sammy-dog and snooze in her new crate.  Oh, and get a bath… which was no fun and quickly forgotten.

We love her already, and can’t wait for you local folks to meet her!

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Unheard of… but it happened!

So…

Necessary background:  We got our biometric fingerprints taken at our local U.S. Immigration Office last Tuesday, December 14.

I went to grab the mail from our mailbox Saturday afternoon.  In the stack of Christmas cards and advertisements was a large white envelope.

From Homeland Security.

Which contained — wait for it — our I-600A approval letter.  Our “golden ticket” from U.S. Immigration, approving us to adopt a child from Ethiopia.

WHAT???!!!!

The date of our approval letter is December 15, one day after our fingerprints were done.

Approval usually takes weeks.  Or months.  And by “usually” I mean it never EVER takes one day.  A dear friend of mine waited more than four months for her approval letter.  Seriously.

I didn’t believe it — and frankly, neither did our wonderful IAN coordinator.  So the kids and I ran the paper down to the agency this morning to verify what it was.  Which it was.  Unbelievably.  She said that had to be like a world record or something!

We, my friends, are 100% paper ready.

Now… bring on the referrals!!  🙂

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All I want for Christmas…

… is to be in the 30s (39 would be fine… really!) by the end of 2010.  Though we have absolutely no control whatsoever over list movement, that number has been a personal goal of mine since August.  Do you think Saint Nicholas is listening?  😉

We made at least one more step in that direction, when another family accepted the referral of a baby girl today… so I think our official number now is #43!

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#44!!

A family accepted a referral this afternoon for a beautiful baby boy… and they were also on the girl list.  So downward we go… yee haw!!!  🙂

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And just like that…

…. #45!!!

As of this morning.  🙂

A family who was on the infant girl list accepted a baby referral this morning… AND also decided to adopt a sweet four-year old boy off the waiting list at the same time.  How awesome is that??!!!

God is good, my friends.  God is GOOD.

Let’s keep ’em coming!

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Some of you may wonder if I’ve been neglectful of the adoption side of the blog, since our little counter-thingy in the sidebar has been conspicuously idle for many weeks.

I regret to say that I haven’t.

Yep, that’s right… there has been zero movement on the wait list for more than a month.

Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.

(sigh)

There are reasons for it… and we expect and hope things will turn around soon.  Meanwhile, I’m doing my best to not be one of the (I’m sure) many, many mommies who are calling their adoption coordinator every day asking when the referrals will start coming in again (you’re welcome, Allison!).  Sometimes this restraint requires more willpower than I feel I have, but to date I haven’t yet succumbed to the “compose” button’s ever-increasing pull.  I can’t guarantee what tomorrow will bring, however.  🙂

I’m also occupying my time by preparing for our new addition.

No, not that one.  Not yet, anyway.

We’re getting a puppy.

Yes, we already have a dog.  Her name is Samantha, and she’s a Border Collie/Blue Heeler (ACD) mix of some sort or another.  Here’s our sweet girl:

Bryan and I adopted Sammy as a wee pup herself, just a month after we were first married.  Which makes her over 80 years old in dog years (hello, Granny-pup!).  She has been an amazing dog, and perfect for our family for these many, many years. She also has cancer… which we operated on once, but won’t do so again due to her age.  She’s doing really well for now, though, and we are grateful for any time we have left with her.

We want to ease the transition for ourselves and our little ones for the future (and we also don’t want to be training a new puppy any time near when Baby E comes home!).  And let me tell you, this Momma desperately needs somewhere to put all that baby energy!  That’s a mild understatement, by the way.  🙂

So… enter the cutest pup in all of Colorado:

This adorable little thing is a Great Bernese (3/4 Bernese Mountain Dog; 1/4 Great Pyrenees).  She currently is seven weeks old, and her name will be Molly-Dodden (“Molly” because it’s a child’s name I liked but Bryan didn’t, and it was my turn to pick since he got “Samantha”; “Dodden” is what Annie calls all dogs… very excitedly, I might add).

We get to bring lil’ miss Molly home in a week, and at least four out of five family members are really, really pumped (Bryan is more ambivalent than anything about the whole situation, but he loves me and I love dogs… so wa-LA… he made it happen).  So please bear with me through what I’m sure will be at least a few months of sickeningly sweet puppy pictures to come.

‘Cause I won’t have any cute African baby pictures to show you for a while longer.

(sigh)

 

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