April 30, 2003

When I went to bed last night I couldn’t sleep. I kept asking myself why and the only answer I could come up with was fear. You see God has been asking me to do something for a while and I have been ignoring him. How can I be afraid I just adopted four kids from Ethiopia? Yet the fear is there haunting me never resting. This fear that pursues me is not a fear that can be quenched with tangible things. Adoption gives me a real experience of following God. There is a prize for all the sacrifice and struggle. The fear that won’t let me sleep is answered only with things unseen and at times unknown. God has asked me to take a journey that I don’t want to take. He has asked me to do things and say things that I am afraid to say. Why? God please tell me why. I live in a world that has a bitter resentment for truth. I am not talking about the truth we all know and speak. The truth I am talking about is something that is hard to explain and convince a doubter as real. People around me talk of things that are empty and I am seduced by that talk and I give into its fear. We just fought a war that was based on fear. You see we would have never invaded Iraq if we thought we would lose. We have become a place where the pursuit of truth has been usurped by the sound bite. When our government decided to invade Iraq we did it knowing we would win. The last time we fought a war we thought we might lose was over two hundred years ago. Yet we live in a place where that ability to undertake a task we already know the outcome of is valued above all else. At times I don’t even know who I am. This God who claims to know all seems distant and aloof to me. We spent the last 16 months fighting to bring four children into our family. The reason we were doing it was we knew it was what God had asked of us. Too many times I was confronted with the realization that God can not control all things or the four new kids sleeping above me right now would have been here without such a struggle. Wait isn’t part of following this God suppose to be a struggle, pain-filled and horrible? But why wasn’t I told this when I signed up for this army? I listened to a sermon this past weekend about how Jesus died for me and was unmoved. I have become hard and distant from the things I need the most. My callous heart unable to grasp the compassion and love that is given so often. When I stop to ponder why this is happening I am overwhelmed with a picture of hopelessness. This place I call home is dying. But we are so well insulated and indoctrinated that we are unaware of the disease that surrounds us. God has asked us to be something we can not even define or explain. The reason for that incompetence is fear. Fear that we will fail, Fear that we will lose. Fear that we will die. Yet, isn’t that exactly what this God of three asks of us? That we fear not, that we go about our lives with boldness and passion, that we live in ways that others will see and be awed. Yet at the end of the day we offer nothing. We go to our beds tired and defeated because we were too scared to be what we created to be. Fear destroys us and we love it. This fear has created a place where we worry more about preserving our car and our job than loving our neighbor. This fear allows us to kill people in the name of freedom without even asking why. This fear allows us to boycott a country for exercising the very rights that we claim as fundamental to our way of life. We have become a place where it is more important to protect the status quo than living freely. We have forgotten that we were once terrorists and overthrew an oppressive and self-serving ruler. We forget that we were born out of ideals that value diversity and openness. The ideals that inspired our forefathers are the very ideals that destroy the fear that haunts me. Yet, we have become a nation of cowards waiting for God to rescue us from this horrible place. All the time God has been asking us to be bold and powerful. Yet, we cower in our fear, paralyzed by complacency and greed. There is only one way to destroy this fear that is there forever, only one way to control it. Embrace it and know that we can never conquer it. It is a fear that allows us to be followers of a God that is unknowable and awesome. It is a fear that allows us to be what we are created to be and live with boldness and power. So lets grab this fear and use it to love each other.


April 28, 2003

as you have guessed it been chaotic around our house the past few weeks. we have a great day then a horrible one. riley 11 just from ethiopia wanted to go back to her sister last night because sydney forced her to take some medication she needs to take daily for 6 months for ring worm. so those are the battles we are fighting without the benefit of common langauge. overall the new kids are doing great after the trauma of coming here they are communicating their basic needs very well. we just keep giving them lots of hugs and telling them we love them. friday night the four older kids were gone for the night, jacob and evan at icthus a regional christian music festival in lexington ky hadley and bailey at an overnight. sydney and i joked it was like a date having only 8 kids to put to bed. it was a night filled with restless little ones and not much relaxation for us. it will take some time for all of us to adjust and i think the hardest thing is being patient with the process. sydney and i have had a few tiffs about how to deal with the new ones versus the others and we have seen that equal treatment for all is the best just hope i can follow through with it. we did find out that Kasey and Riley both have fgm, Kasey's is very severe and will need major reconstructive surgery to repair the mutilation, Riley's is not as bad but she will need minor sugery to repair the damage. Riley also has a serious heart murmur. so we will have a few health issues over the next year to get through also. so thanks again for your prayers and support in this.

we also close on our new house wednesday at 2pm it will be awesome having more room. but we still need to sell our present home and will have 2 mortgage payments until we do, which will be no easy task for us with all the financial stress we have had over the past five years.


April 13, 2003

they are back and they are beautiful. an even dozen now. please no comments about making it a baker's dozen at least not for a few months


April 11, 2003

sydney and the kids are on their way home. they left addis ababa at 5:45pm est. they are scheduled to arrive in cincinnati at 3:40pm tomorrow. this entire journey has been a real battle about 17 months ago we started and tomorrow this stage ends. now we have to acclumate four new children into our already chaotic life, they dont speak english and have been through some really awful stuff in their short lives. yet i know this is the path we are to be on and through God's supernatural power we will give them a loving home and a chance to fulfill the gift that is deposited in each of them, i cant wait to meet them tomorrow and hold them and just be with them.

thanks so much to everyone who has prayed and supported us in this. all of you have made this possible.


April 08, 2003

the kids are ours!!!

sydney just got through court with the last two children, senait and milena. this thing has been a real battle. now sydney has to get all the documents for them to travel and has had problems with that also. there are several approvals needed to get passports and other documents so she can get visas from our government. sydney needs to have all the documents to the us embassy by friday morning before the cashier closes at 11:30am, they cant keep it open longer even though they know sydney and the other women may be a few hours late getting everything done. so there is still a possibility that she wont be able to come home this saturday. she is also running out of money and we had a near disaster with the tickets for the kids, they are going to cost $300 more per child than we were told by our advocate who has left the country. our agnecy in montana has offered to help pay for some of th etickets to help offset the costs we have had to pay that were suppose to be part of the fees. we had also been told that she would pay of the visas for the kids which is about $400 a piece, so sydney is almost out of money and wont know until friday when she goes to the embassy if they have enough.

thanks for all you prayers and support and keep praying that sydney, senait, milena, kasanot and solomon will be on a plane saturday morning bound for home.


April 05, 2003

talked with sydney again last night. she has a court date for early monday morning, which means she will most likely get done with all the other things by friday and be home saturday with the kids. i went and picked up a bunk bed with materreses today another donation to our endevour. this has become a communal thing, people we have met here in cincy are helping from church, from soccer, from out of the blue. people we know from the internet only have sent money from other countries and the usa, thanks frank, john and mrs olson. thanks all of you who have prayed and supported us in this journey it has truly changed how i feel about many things. i am suppose to call sydney monday night after her court date so i will update then. she no longer has access to email or phone in the house they are staying in, so i am calling about very other day at $20 a pop, found a cheap phone card place on the net. everyone here is doing well, cecilia our three year old told a friend of ours that her mommy is never coming back, i wonder if she is just being funny or is really thinking this for real. i think she will be a handful when sydney does return with three new sister and a brother. we are also curious how noah will do with "his brother." it has been so cool to watch our children become a family, thank you Lord. more later


April 04, 2003

spoke with sydney last night and the saga continues. our advocate in ethiopia has left the country so sydney and the 4-5 other women there to adopt are on their own. they had dinner with a person from the usa embassy and were told they would do everything they could to help. the biggest problem is the person we were working with is seen by the embassy as a person who they recommend not to work with. sydney is running out of money the longer she stays the more it costs and we have a very limited budget to do this. it appears that things our advocate was to pay for from the money we paid her left with her. sydney will try to have the documents opened in court today which means the kids will be in court monday, then if that is approved she might get home next weekend. she had to subpeona the sisters of charity to go to the governemnt office to sign the final adotion contract for solomon so with that she has gotten all the paper work in order, but she is still at the mercy of one man who has been less than helpful in the past. she still needs to get brith certificates and visas and passports after the court approves the adoptions. keep praying.


April 01, 2003

i talked to sydney twice in the last 24 hours. things are still going roughly. she is trying to get one final document for solomon, she needs an adoption contract from the sisters of charity who were caring for him. she is still getting the run around. she said she fell apart yesterday but sounded strong this afternoon. she will not be coming back until the 11th if we can get them all seats on the plane. if not the 11th then the 13th. she feels everything will be finished in court by the end of the week then she just needs to deal with the usa and manage to get visas for all the kids to come over and then tie up a few other things. the kids are doing great and testing her limits. no surprise there, solomon just plays quietly a lot, probably never had the place or time to do that before, it will so cool to watch our present kids make the new ones part of the family, noah keeps asking when his new brother will be here, he is so excited about solomon. keep praying