Thursday, January 13, 2011

Prayers Please

I can hardly believe that we are approaching the end of this adoption process journey (and the beginning of our new life with 3 kids!). What a crazy, crazy trip it's been! And, yet, despite the ups and downs; the many, many tears shed; the mid-process changes; the frustrations; and the seemingly endless waiting; one thing has been amazing to me throughout it all -- the peace that we've had the majority of the time. Definitely a peace that passes all understanding. Definitely a peace that only comes from our God. So, thank you for all your prayers thus far, and thank you in advance for praying for us over the next few weeks as we travel to Ethiopia again. We rest in the knowledge that our God is in control.

Many people told me that they appreciated the break-down of our days with regards to specific prayer requests that I did on the blog for our first trip, so I thought I'd do it again for this trip. Here is our itinerary and some specific prayer requests:
Monday, January 17th - Please pray for my dad as he travels to our house to stay with the kids, also that we would get all the packing and preparations completed!

Tuesday, January 18th - Please pray for our flights and that there would be no delays or cancellations due to weather; also pray for my dad as he manages the kids schedules, packs lunches, prepares meals, etc.; and pray for the kids - that they would also have peace (and fun with Pappy - not that that is ever really much of a problem though).

Wednesday, January 19th - Please pray that we arrive safely in Addis, and that our luggage does as well. Also pray for a good day and safe travels that day in Ethiopia. We are in the process of arranging a possible day trip to the south of Addis, or visits around the capital to see a variety of other agencies, orphanages, etc.

Thursday, January 20th - Please pray for the bulk of our travel group who will be arriving late this evening, that they would arrive safely. Also, pray for Eric and I and our travel friends who will be accompanying us north of Addis on a day trip.

Friday, January 21st - Please pray for our time with Markos. We should spend a majority of this day with him at his orphanage, learning his routine and his likes/dislikes, etc. Pray that Markos would be comforted and would also feel peace in this transition. **Back on the home front, please pray for my mom as she travels to our house to meet up with my dad for the remainder of the trip. Pray for no snow as she travels over the mountain because she is not a fan of driving in the snow.

Saturday, January 22nd - Pray again for our additional time with Markos at the care center. Also that we would have clarity of mind to ask the questions that we need to ask to make our transitions easier.

Sunday, January 23rd - Please pray for us as we travel 7 hours south, close to the area where Markos was born and raised for the first 3 years of his life. Also, please, please, please pray for our meeting with Markos' birth father. My heart hurts at the thought of this meeting. I am scared, anxious, excited, and in awe of the possibility. Please pray for our composure -- that we would not be complete basket-cases who are crying so much that we can't even talk. (seriously, it could happen!) Also, pray that his father attends the meeting. We long to be able to share as much as possible about his family, his birth, his infancy, etc. with Markos as he gets older, but we need his father to show up for this meeting in order to do so.

Monday, January 24th - Please pray for our trip back to Addis, and also for all 3 of us as we take custody!! Pray that we are comfortable in our hotel room with each other, that Markos transitions into our care easily, that we continue to have peace and confidence in our ability to parent once we are all he has! (yikes! what a responsibility!) Also, pray for our ability to communicate with him. We are grateful that we are staying at the same guest house where we stayed for our first trip and that the staff there are AMAZING. We know that they will be helpful with this, but it's still a little scary that we won't speak the same language as our son!

Tuesday, January 25th - Please pray for our U.S. Embassy interview and also for all our travel buddies' interviews. There are a lot of rumors going around right now regarding changes in American policies regarding relinquished children, changes in Ethiopian process, etc. It's scary, but our agency is assuring us that we have nothing to worry about (and yet that won't stop me from feeling called to worry!) ;-)

Wednesday, January 26th - Please pray for Markos and his friends as they say goodbye at the farewell ceremony. :-( Pray for Markos as he again says goodbye to the caregivers who have loved him and cared for him this past year, and as he, once again, has to endure great loss.

Thursday, January 27th (otherwise known as MY 40th BIRTHDAY!) - Please pray for the start of our trip home! Pray that all of Markos' documents from the U.S. Embassy are completed on time and accurate. And, pray for the start of our LONG trip home! We fly out of Addis at 10:15 pm. We have a direct flight to DC, but we will stop in Rome to refuel, we just won't get off the plane.

Friday, January 28th - Please pray that our flights continue to be on time, and go smoothly. Also that Markos is getting along well with us, and that we are able to communicate effectively. Also please pray that everything goes as it should as we go through customs with Markos. After a few hours in Washington, DC, we should arrive in Pittsburgh around 1:15 pm (and hopefully our luggage will arrive there, too).
Of course, we ask for prayers for our kids and parents back home as they attempt to get along without me/fill my shoes. (they're BIG, you know?!) ;-) kidding!

Thank you all for your prayers and your support throughout the journey! Thank you, God, for allowing us to participate in Your Kingdom! Oh, how WE are blessed when we choose to do so!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

FIVE!

Sing it Elmo! Yes, that's right! We leave in FIVE days!!





Cleaning, packing, preparing. Hoping and praying that all this snow doesn't affect our flights, or my parent's ability to get to our house to stay with the kids!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eric's and Lori's Birthday Wish List: Water

Warning: This post may seem presumptuous,
but it's a risk we're willing to take.
:-)


As most of you know, we're leaving in NINE days to go back to Ethiopia to pick up Markos and bring him home. We are so very excited to go back to Ethiopia - not just to get Markos, but also to be in Ethiopia again, to travel around and see more of the country, to learn more of the culture, and meet more of the people. There is a part of me that finds it strange that I have such a strong desire to go back to a place that broke my heart the last time I was there; a place where I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I will have my heart broken all over again.

When I look through the pictures from our first trip, in the background of many of the pictures that we took driving through the city -- the CAPITAL city -- I see large yellow plastic water jugs being carried. Being carried by children. Being carried by the elderly. Being carried by women. Being carried up roads so steep that I truly thought that the van we were riding in was NEVER going to make it. Water. Walking and walking for water. And this was in the capital!

On our next trip, we will travel south. South, not quite to where Markos lived, but far enough out to get the idea of how he lived. In rural Ethiopia, women and/or children sometimes walk for hours to get water. Miles & miles to fill that yellow jug with water. Then, they get up the next day and do it again. And the water they walk to get is not clean. It is teeming with parasites and bacteria. It sickens and kills. Here's a few statistics:
  • More than 1/2 of Africa has no access to safe drinking water.
  • 76% of Ethiopians have no access to safe drinking water.
  • Every 19 seconds, a child dies from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation facilities.
I prayed that I'd be changed by what I saw in Ethiopia, and I have been. What I fear is that I will forget and that I will come home to my nice, cushy, American life and forget. That I will become complacent and happy to keep the news turned off and my blinders on, so I don't have to have my heart broken. But, I certainly hope that doesn't happen.

One thing that became convictingly clear while we were there the first time, was how very much we have, how very little we need (if anything!), but how very much others elsewhere in the world need. And need to SURVIVE. Not to be more comfortable, not to be "happier", not to live an easier life, but need simply to LIVE. And, so, after struggling to get through Christmas this year with this painful knowledge, Eric and I have decided that we absolutely WILL be giving up our birthdays this year. (This is where the slightly presumptuous part comes in!)


As you might know, I turn 40 the day that we leave Ethiopia to come home with Markos. I'm not having a big party (and have threatened Eric's life re: any surprise parties!). I don't want gifts. I don't even want cards. What I want is for you all to donate to the well that we will be sponsoring through Charity:Water. Each campaign lasts for 90 days, so we will start around my birthday and end around Eric's birthday -- thereby giving up both of our birthdays!

I will send more information later, but for now, please know that we have all that we need and so much more. Our heart's desire is that all the beautiful people in Africa would have at least the simple basic necessity of clean water. That other little boys like Markos will not have their mother, brother, and sister die from disease caused by the unclean water that they were drinking, thereby forcing their father to relinquish them for adoption.

We hope to raise $5,000 which will cover the cost of drilling a well in Africa, supply a rural village with clean water for 20 years, and train the local men to drill and maintain the well! $20 will provide one person with clean water for 20 years!! That means that with the cost of birthday cards and stamps these days, the sacrifice of 4 birthday cards will provide one person with clean water for 20 years. 100% of your donations to our Charity: Water campaign will go directly to the well drilling project, and in 2 years, we will receive the satellite coordinates to the well that was dug and be able to go to Google Earth and see the area where the well is located.


I know that some of you might also want to buy gifts for Markos when we get home, but again, we have all we need. Truly. Markos is already going to be overwhelmed with all the toys and such that he already has waiting for him here. Please save your money and give it to the well in honor of his family in Ethiopia instead.

OK, this was my little heads-up, we're going to be hitting you up, warning. :-) As I said, more information will be coming after we're home. Just wanted to catch you before you start sending those birthday cards, or buying birthday gifts (MOM!) ;-) Instead, watch the following video and begin praying about giving to our well!





For additional information about Charity: Water, go to:
http://www.charitywater.org/