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Less than one day after my last post, I read this… from another momma who adopted from our same agency, and has since made the journey again.

My favorite part:

I have a Daddy who has made mission out of a heart-union, me to Him. He is so good that He allows disruption, distraction and delay (yes, even the kind that the enemy sends, because we know it is God who has the final say) to even the most stunning quest  – adoption — so that my heart would know hunger.

I was made to know Him, more, every day and in every life-delay. It’s here that I come alive, regardless of the external.

And my daughter, who talks more about her baby sister every day, left her high chair open for the first time… saying with certainty that it was “because Baby E is going to come home soon.  Baby E will sit in the high chair, and I will be a big girl.”

Thank you, Sara… and my sweet baby girl Annie.  Thank you, Father, for speaking truth and comfort through their words.

 

My dear children…

Mommy hasn’t been paying much attention to you lately.

Yes, a lot of that has to do with the incessant coughing you hear from Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom at all hours of the night.  Little sleep means that Mommy has been exhausted for a couple of weeks now.

(Yep, I’m STILL sick.  Stupid cough.)

But you may also have noticed that the daylight hours aren’t much more interactive.  Mommy spends much of her time staring blankly at the computer, jumping six feet or so in the air every time the phone rings.

(Last week, the phone rang with a particular number more than once, causing shortness of breath and some involuntary muscle spasms — in other words, Mommy completely freaked out — until the voice on the other end wasn’t the one hoped for.  A bit of frustration ensued.)

My sweet babes, Mommy is pining.

A couple of weeks ago, we found out that we had moved to the top of our adoption agency’s wait list.  That any day could be THE DAY when we discover the name and first see the face of the next daughter and sister who is to join our family.

Since then, the boys have been prohibited from even touching Mommy’s phone.  “Angry Birds”?  No way.  Totally off-limits until we get THE call.

Mommy is jittery.  Distracted.  Even when not medicated, still often swinging wildly between hope and despair. Bringing more animals into the fold (most recently a rabbit) to keep from going insane.

It’s not pretty.

My dear children, Mommy loves you more than words can say.  And because she loves ALL of you — including the one she doesn’t yet know — this craziness will likely continue until she can wrap her arms around each and every one of you all at the same time.

Something about the way God put together a mommy’s heart makes it unable to work properly unless it has all of its parts.  And each of you holds a piece of your Mommy’s heart.  YOU are what makes it beat, what makes it strong.

And when one of you is missing, Mommy’s heart doesn’t work right.

My precious ones, pray… and hope… and trust with me that this time will pass quickly.  That the phone will ring.  That her image will appear on that computer screen.  That we will book tickets and gather donations and travel and come back and travel again.  That she will finally come home as a new daughter and a new sister.

That Mommy’s heart will be whole again.

Yes, we’re still waiting for our referral.

18 1/2 months waiting.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of sitting around feeling angry, or sad, or self-pitying.  I’m ready to DO something.

In lieu of jumping on a plane to Ethiopia (which, by the way, I would love to do, but I wouldn’t know who I was trying to find), our family has decided to spend the Lenten season focusing on understanding maybe just a little more the way people in Ethiopia live on a daily basis.  What dominates their minds each day?  How must they work?  What do they eat?  How does “family life” look different there?  How is it similar?  Why, exactly, are there such struggles there?  Where is prayer most needed?

In other words…

Where can we best invest our time and resources to bring about redemption in a broken world?

So, for the next 40 days — during all of Lent — we are going to try to put our hearts, minds, money, and mouths where are thoughts are: with our daughter in Ethiopia.  We not only will spend time in focused prayer for her and for her country, but will seek out ways to experience life as it is lived halfway around the world.

My husband and I have been encouraged to participate in this 40-day effort by articles challenging our “love” relationship with food and videos focusing on raising “giving” children (and, accordingly, increasing our own generosity), along with a growing spiritual conviction in our own hearts against excess.

Here’s what Lent will look like for us.  We have three small children, so we have adjusted a bit what we otherwise would have done without kiddos involved in the process:

1.  We will daily read of the needs in Ethiopia in Operation World, praying for a specific need each of the 40 days

2.  Twice each week, we will eat a “typical” Ethiopian meal (usually rice and beans with injera)

3.  We will, overall, limit our meal variety… learning to recognize that a “different meal every night” is a Western luxury to which not many in the rest of the world relate

4.  We will read books on African life, visit an Ethiopian market, and generally try to learn as much as we can about our daughter’s native country

5.  As a family, we will research and decide how best to invest certain resources to benefit Ethiopian families

Our Lenten fast may seem radical to some, and to others it may not go far enough.  But it brings us as close to our daughter as we can be right now, and hopefully will bring our family even closer as God brings spiritual fruit to these hard days of continual waiting.

If you are a member of our family, a friend, or even someone who happened by the blog this morning, I want to invite you to join us for the next forty days.  Please pray for our daughter.  Pray she doesn’t have to spend one more day than is necessary in an orphanage, without her family.  Pray earnestly for peace and prosperity in Ethiopia.  And spend some time praying that God would open your eyes to how you can make some small difference… both here at home and around the world.

After studying several wonderful pieces by Audubon and Monet last fall, this morning we began our second semester of “artist study” at our little homeschool with Matisse’s Icarus:

Annie (age 2 1/2) took one look at it and promptly said…

” Mommy!  It’s Mr. Incredible dancing!”

Class dismissed.  😉

17 months…

17 months on the wait list today.

No word.

I know she’s over there right now, waiting…

… waiting for someone to call her “daughter”, for her new family to take her home and help her heal.

… waiting for a momma and daddy to love her with all we have, to smother her with more hugs and kisses than she could imagine.

… waiting for a big sister and two big brothers to teach her, to play with her, to adore her.

She is waiting for us.  Waiting so we can become one family, to grow together in the years to come.

Waiting on Him.  We all are.

Please Lord, let us see her sweet face. Please let us go get her…  let 2012 be the year we become a party of SIX.

Yes, I have pics of the kiddos getting all excited about Christmas (a few of them are below).  But this post is really focused on what Mommy and Daddy were most excited about under the tree this year:

Toy organization.

Also known as:  taming the Lego and tool chaos.

(can I hear a “Hallelujah”?)

Legos are very popular in this house.  They multiply by the thousands, it seems, every time the boys smile at their grandmas.  😉  But the resulting sprawl was getting ridiculous; we had Legos stashed under beds, crammed in kitchen buffet drawers, stuffed in cabinets and nooks and crannies… well, you get the idea.

For the sake of comparison, here’s a “before” pic of the boys’ room… in other words, what we looked at, griped about, stepped over (and on), and fought with on a daily basis:

A trip to IKEA, a can of wood stain, and some creative uses for a long-ago Home-D*pot purchase later, and… wa LA:

How did we do it, you ask?  We split the blue PBK bookcases we already had in the somewhat small room (former floor models, which were a great deal — 75% off — a few years back) and put in between them an Ingo desk ($70) and two wood shelves ($15 each), all from IKEA.  Below the desk are four large containers on casters (also IKEA, $6 each) and a Lego stacking storage unit with pull-out scrapbook-type storage ($59 from Amazon).

The tool organizer mounted between the desk and shelves had been sitting unused in the basement for more than a year.

Total cost for the entire set-up: $174 (plus several hours of work constructing, staining, and installing).  Finished projects are now kept in full view, and out of tiny little sister’s hands.  A large, flat, smooth work surface makes creating easy and fun.  And… every single Lego now has a place that is NOT the floor.

As part of the organizational re-do of the boys’ room, “The Tool King” Bode’s play tool bench and accessories (which he ADORES) was moved from the boys’ bedroom to a corner of the downstairs family room/playroom.  We didn’t want him to feel slighted in comparison to what was mostly Jonah’s Lego extravaganza upstairs… and by the look on his face, I think we achieved our goal:

We took the second of the unused tool organizers and mounted it on the wall, filling it with the assorted plastic screws, nails, etc. that formerly were tucked in various boxes and bins throughout the house… wherever creativity had struck through the years.  A pegboard Bryan had already put on the wall a few years back served as a great place to display the larger tools (the hooks were extras we had from Bryan’s basement workroom).  The large bin for the “kid wood” was simply moved from the bedroom.  Total cost for this little tool corner:  $0.  

It took some work, but the boys love their new spaces.  And Mommy and Daddy love that we can look forward to walking through the house in the dark without piercing our feet on millions of sharp little plastic pieces.  The cost of our reclaimed sanity?  Priceless.  

This year, we could honestly say “Merry Christmas to ALL”, and to all a future of more fun, more creativity, less bickering and nagging… and far less painful nights.  🙂

Mommy and Daddy: “Kids, pick up your rooms so Mommy can vacuum while you’re sledding!”

(a few minutes later)

Annie (age 2): “Mommy, wook! I did it!”

Mommy walks into Annie’s room and sees THIS:

Image

Floor.  Completely.  Covered.

Sigh.