“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

Friday, July 5, 2013

3 years...and Marra

Today marks 3 years as a family for me and Eden.  3 amazingly blessed years.  For previous milestones like this, I have posted meaningful photos or a cute video to mark our time together.  My heart is very heavy to do something different this time.  To take the focus off of us and hopefully pay some of our blessings forward.
Eden and I like to say “ADOPTION ROCKS!”  And, oh, how it does.  I love to immerse myself in other families’ adoption stories – they all “rock” but, in some cases, there are those who stand out as true “rock stars”.  One  family who has always held that distinction for me is the Olssons.  I have become friends over the past couple of years with wife & mom Amy through an Ethiopia adoptive mom Facebook group.  I observed with admiration throughout their adoption of baby girl Marra Frehiwet – their tireless efforts to get through the red tape that was even more tedious than usual, and we all celebrated when Amy and her husband, Sten, finally had their precious girl home.  When I saw Marra’s photo for the first time, I must admit the first thought that went through my head was “Wow, she is even more beautiful (gasp!) than Eden!” J 
Shortly before I left for Ethiopia to bring Eden home, a friend pointed out to me, “Once you are a parent, you will never live another day without fear.”  How right he was – the fear is always there, but it kind of stayed in the back of my mind.  Until Sunday, May 18th when I logged onto Facebook and read the unfathomable news that the Olssons had lost their beautiful 2-year-old Marra in a tragic accident – an accident that could have happened to any of us parents.   It just hit way too close to home and rocked me to my core.  Since the accident, the Olssons have continued to demonstrate their rock star status in how they have stayed focused on God for their faith and strength. 
On a positive note, they were already in the process of adopting another Ethiopian daughter (Mihret, 9) when this tragedy occurred.  And just a couple of weeks ago, they were able to share the news that they learned she has a 12-year-old brother, Samuel, so they are now in the process of adopting him, too!  Through such grief and joy at the same time, it has been so amazing to see how God is working through the memory of Marra Freh and this beautiful family.
So, here’s where you come in.  To bring these 2 children home is going to require a large sum of money.  To honor me and Eden on our 3rd anniversary as a family, would you please consider making a donation to the Olsson family?  Whether it be $5 or $50, I can speak from experience that every dollar means a lot.  And please say a prayer for healing, peace and growth for this awesome family.
To learn more about the Olssons’ story and make a donation, here is their blog.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Once Upon A Time...

To celebrate our 3-year ‘referralversary’, I am sharing a special bonding moment  between me and Eden that happened totally by accident on my part several months ago.  One evening Eden was challenging bedtime as toddlers often do, asking to read one more book, get one more drink of water, etc.  Finally I said, “No more, lights out.  Mommy will tell you one more story in the dark then it’s time to go to sleep.”  At that moment, I had no idea what story I would tell, just something made up about princesses or the like.  Then out of my mouth, I blurted, “Once upon a time, there was a girl named Gina…” And I proceeded to tell her our story off the top of my head in a simplified manner a child would understand.  Every single night since then, when I turn out the lights, Eden has said, “Read me Gina”.  I know that God planted  these words on my tongue to share with my sweet girl night after night: 

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Gina.  Gina was lonely, and every night she would pray, “God, please bring me a baby I could love forever, and we could be a family.”  And one day, God answered Gina’s prayers and said, “Gina!  I found your baby!  She’s in Ethiopia!!”  Gina was sooo excited to know she was finally going to get to be a mommy and couldn’t wait to meet her baby girl.  As soon as she could, she got on a great big airplane with Aunt Angie, and they flew and flew and flew all the way to Africa.  When they reached Ethiopia, a white van pulled up next to Gina, and in the back seat was a teeny tiny baby wrapped in a pink blanket.  And Gina said, “Oh my goodness!  Is that MY baby??”  And they said, “Yes!  This is baby Eden!”  Gina was sooo excited to finally hold her baby girl, and they hugged, and they kissed, and they laughed, and they smiled.  Then they spent a beautiful week in Ethiopia becoming a family.  Some of Eden’s friends were there, too – there was Bristol and Jack and Christian and Chloe.

Then it was time for Gina and Eden and Angie to get on the great big airplane, and they flew and flew and flew all the way to Nashville.  When they got to the airport, all their friends and family were there to greet them and meet baby Eden for the first time.  After they gave hugs and kisses to everyone, Gina and Eden got in their car, drove to their house, and from then on, they lived happily ever after.