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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

.The Rhythm of my Heart this Christmas.

We lived a very different Christmas this year with fewer gifts, less flurry of activities, quieter, slower, and perhaps sweeter. And while my heart was filled with so much joy in experiencing and celebrating my Jesus' birth, I cannot pretend that every corner of my heart felt that joy. I braced myself for the sadness, and in doing so it did not swallow me, it did not overtake me, but it did linger and cling to the dark shadows in the little corners of my heart. He's not home, not home, not home. My heart beat out a steady rhythm. With each hand chosen, carefully thought out gift that we presented to our children Christmas morning, my heart continued to beat out the sorrowful rhythm even in the midst of the JOY. A brown eyed, curly haired, dumpling of a boy was missing, and my heart knew it. My head knew it was foolish, after all he will be here next Christmas and next and next, God-willing. And that sweet, chocolate skinned child had no idea he was missing a family or a Christmas or a celebration of His Savior that had come to rescue Him. And perhaps that was the saddest, hardest part for me - he had no idea. For five months now he has been in the transitional home in Ethiopia. What his first seven months looked like in the orphanage I do not know, and I cannot go there in my mind yet. He has known no family in his twelve months of life - no mommy, no daddy, no sister, no brother. No goodnight prayers and kisses and lullabies. He doesn't know what he has missed, and that makes my heart hurt. It changed the rhythm of my heart this Christmas - in both good and hard ways.

There were bright, bright spots in our Christmas despite the gaping hole in our family. Cadi sang her first solo on Christmas Eve. Her voice was sure and sweet, and she sang about the greatest gift we have been given - Jesus. We encouraged her to do her best and sing to Jesus. It's not a performance we said. And she sang, closing our Christmas Eve service at church, as if what she was giving was truly a gift to her Savior. It is something I will never forget.

We spent Christmas quietly with those we love, and it truly was a special time.


We awoke Christmas morning to the second best thing to having Jamesy home - our very first video of him. The video is less than a minute long, and I have literally watched it hundreds of times. Memorizing every detail, trying to get a better understanding of who he is and of his "special need". This little one needs our prayers, as we have learned he has now been diagnosed with chronic otitis media (ear infection). He has had ear infections for over a month and has been on four rounds of antibiotic. I am just praying for his recovery and protection for his hearing. In the video we also noticed that he has a horrible sounding cough that has caused us some concern. We have heard of several children coming home from Ethiopia recently with pneumonia, and I am fearful of that for him.

I am carrying a lot of fear right now, as the reality of Jamesy's needs become more apparent. I know it is Satan whispering lies to me. I know that God will equip us to care for the needs of this amazing little boy, but my flesh screams out my inadequacies daily as we get closer to our new reality. We leave to meet our son in 19 days! Most likely Jamesy will be in our arms for the first time in 20-21 days. Oh my heart beats faster writing that! I have imagined the scenario a thousand times, but I know nothing will prepare me or compare to the real thing. I wonder what he smells like, what he feels like, sounds like. Is God preparing his heart? Will his heart know that I am his mommy? Will he cry? Will he be scared? Will I cry? Will I be scared? So many emotions... I am fearful of not passing court the first time, as this seems to be the pattern right now with most families. I am preparing to not pass court the first time, and to be unexpectedly elated if we do. I want to. I really, really want to, as it would get Jamesy home faster if we do.

We requested donations for orphanages in Ethiopia for our Christmas gifts. Our family and church family has blessed us greatly, as we are so excited to bring these needed items to the children in Ethiopia who are still waiting for a family to claim them as there own. Here is the first part of our donations. We still have more coming!


I sent Jim to the store on Monday to pick up our prescriptions for our malaria prophylaxis. He left with some Christmas money, and laughed about checking out the prices on the Wii's. He came home with bags loaded down with shoes, formula and clothing for children a world away that he has never met, and my love grew surer and stronger for this man that has been transforming into the likeness of Jesus more and more before my eyes.

I am excited for the new year as all of my children will finally be under one roof, God-willing. I am excited to finish Jamesy's adoption and start our journey of parenting this little sweet heart. I am anxious to see what God has in store for us next. I wonder if we will adopt again (I think we will, but probably not this year!), if we will organize a missions trip for our church, or start a widows/orphan/adoption care ministry in our church, or if God has something else in store. For now I will sit back and place my trust into God's hands as we finalize this portion of our story. I will try not to peer too far ahead but just enjoy the here and now and the moments that God has for our family in the coming days. Our stories are made up of so many moments. I want to be prepared to tuck away and marvel in each one - the hard ones, the joyful ones, the scary ones, and the beautiful ones. I desire for each God-breathed moment of our life - our story - to truly be a moment cherished.


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