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A Third Package and More of the Story

We are getting ready to deliver our third package to the boys, but this time I'm hand delivering it to the family that will be bringing it to Ethiopia for us... which leads me to a portion of the story that I haven't shared yet on our blog. 

I'll try to keep this brief. Our referral for the twin boys actually came from a different agency than the one we were waiting with for over two years. It came from the agency we had been contacted by earlier in the summer, and the story of how that all happened is a post for another time.  

But, back to the care package... or even before that. When we moved forward with the referral for our boys and entered the program with the new agency, we found out that the twins from this summer were in the same care center in Mekele as our boys and (even more crazy) that they were going to a family from my home town. I emailed this family and found out that the husband and wife had actually attended the same small college as Don and I. 

When everything happened this summer with the other twins, I remember Don and I talking about how sad it was that we'd never know what was going to happen to these two little boys. We'd probably never know their family or where they were going to live. We didn't know if they were going to a Christian family or not... it seemed like they were just going to be a little blip on our life story that we'd never again have any connection to. Well, we were totally wrong! Not only have we been able to see these other little guys in pictures and see how they've grown, we're also getting to meet their future family. They are going to grow up in the same area that I grew up in! 

And it's this family that is taking our next care package! They have told us that they'll spend time with our twin boys while they are in Mekele: playing with them, holding them, taking pictures of them, and praying for them! AMAZING!   

One other crazy detail: the day that we found out that we were not going to be able to adopt the twins from this summer was July 19. When we opened our referral information for our twin boys, their birthdate was listed as July 19. So while our hearts were breaking over the loss of these other boys, God was preparing a new set of little boys that was going to be just perfect for us... and he kept us in line with our other agency for exactly 14 months to put us in a position to be ready for them when they became available. Can I say it again? Amazing. 

So, later this week, I'll drop off a gift for the other twins boys, and I'll drop off a care package for our little guys, and I'll sit down for coffee with this other family that has already become very dear to us. Amazing. 

"From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him." - Isaiah 64:4 (ESV) 


Second Care Package

We're so thankful to have another opportunity to send a package to the boys! 

They are at a care center in northern Ethiopia, and most families that travel only go to Addis Ababa, the capital city. Mekele, where the boys are, is a 90 minute flight from Addis. So, we have to take all of the chances we can get to send them things when there are families taking the additional trip!

Two more cozy sleepers and some crinkly, rattling, soft blocks. 

When we send them things, we package them up in these ziplock bags and include a little picture of each of them with their Ethiopian names on it so that the families know who to give the packages to. Today I included "Jones Family" under their names. How sweet is that?!



Today we received some additional pictures of the boys. The family that took our care package just returned from their trip and we got to see 7 new pictures of the boys. I so wish that I could post them here, but I have to wait until we pass court... grrr! In a couple of the pictures, they have their little care packages resting on their bellies, and in one they are holding their toys! Well, the big guy is holding his toy, but the little guy is not so interested yet... he seems to be more interested in sucking his thumb. I would say 90% of our pictures of him show him sucking his thumb (do I see braces and orthodontics bills in our future?).

Honestly, I was so happy to see the new pictures, and yet as soon as I saw them I felt so sad. In every picture we have of them, they are on their backs in their crib staring straight up. I am not complaining at all about their care; we are so thankful for our agency and for the nannies that are caring for them, but there are lots of babies and not a lot of nannies. How often are they held? Do they ever get put on their tummies? When was the last time their little cheeks were kissed?

I was looking at their sweet faces and wondering how many of their wakeful hours they spend staring at the ceiling when they should be staring into the smiling faces of their mom and dad, who love them. It broke my heart in a whole new way today to think about them being so far from us. 

I thought, All I can do is pray for them and entrust them to the Lord, and then I thought, Well, that's what I should be doing all the time, even when they are home- that's the best way to parent them both now and in the future! The Lord gently reminded me that even when we have them in our care and I'm able to help meet their physical needs, I'll still need to pray just as diligently for them, and I'll still need to entrust them to his care.  This is precious training time, and not being able to care for our boys' physical needs is making us learn to be dependent on the Lord for them in a way that we might not experience if they were with us right now.  

None of this has been easy, but none of it has been wasted either. 


Christmas Mantel

Notice the two additional stockings this year? 


Looking Back...

Wow- these past weeks have been an absolute blur! There have been about a million things going on, both related to our adoption and outside of it that have kept our heads spinning. We're actually hoping to take some time in the next day or so to reflect on the past weeks/months/years so that we can record all of the answers to prayer and all of the ways that we've seen God's hand orchestrating all of the details that have come together for us recently. 

Thankfully, I had a little opportunity to do this over Thanksgiving. Our church has a tradition of having a Thanksgiving Eve service where people are given an opportunity to share about God's faithfulness to them over the past year. I've never gone up to share at this service, but this year I couldn't resist! I'm posting what I shared here because it briefly sums up how I'd describe these past years and also the past weeks since getting our referral: 
Many of you know that for the past two years we have been in the process of adopting from Ethiopia, and for several years prior to that we have been praying and waiting on the lord for children. 
We thought our wait time for our adoption would be about a year, and it was easily double that. There were many discouragements and disappointments along the way, but God sustained our hope and our trust. He refined us and used this trial to drive us more deeply into the love of Christ that was shown for us on the cross. We are different people now than we were when this all started, and I’m sure we’ll forever be thankful for these “painful but precious” waiting years. 
 Well, last week our waiting season came to an end. The Lord blessed us with the most beautiful twin boys in all of Ethiopia. They are four months old, and Lord willing, we will bring them home this spring. We love them already and are so thankful to the Lord for these precious little boys. We are humbled by the extravagant love and kindness of the Lord in all of this and feel as if we are standing beneath the waterfall of his blessing. It’s more than we can contain… we are overwhelmed and marveling at the undeserved kindness of the Lord to us. 
We always wanted twins, but we didn’t think it was going to be a possibility, and not only did he give us twins, he gave us the most perfect little twins in all the world! The following poem, written by William Cowper, was really helpful to me over the past years, and it seems especially fitting to share now in light of what God has done.
God works in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up his bright designs
And works his sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy,
And shall break in blessing on your head

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
but sweet will be the flower

Thank you for praying for us over the years and for now rejoicing with us. We are blessed!