Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Time for Everything...

A Time for Everything: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace

February 27th... This will be a date that will be in our family's hearts and minds forever. February 27, 2009 - We arrive in Oregon with sweet baby Shani in our arms... forever a part of our family! February 27, 2010 - We say goodbye to Great Grandpa Howard... we will miss you so very much... you are now forever safe in the arms of Jesus!

I was priviledged to be present when Grandpa took his last breath and that time together and the accompanying emotions as family will never leave my heart. Grandpa you touched us all deeply in life and you touched us deeply in your journey out of life. For days your children and wife never left your side, yearning to be near you, give you comfort and find comfort ourselves. Then in God's sweet timing He took you home.

One quick story... many years ago, Grandpa was on the local news station as they did a story about him and some silly geese behind his house. He had a white truck in the pasture and one of the geese became quite attached. So, every time Grandpa would get into the truck, the goose would follow him... chase him... silly goose.... the faster Grandpa drove the faster the goose would run until it flew. Yesterday evening, David was in the same field with the kids while the rest of us were with Grandpa. Just moments before Grandpa's spirit left us, David called to tell me that Shani was chasing geese, saying "geese" and "helping them fly". My dad beckoned me to come back to the room as I was talking to David... and moments later, Grandpa "flew".

Thank you Jesus for your sweet timing, sweet embrace, and loving kindness...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In just a year...

It is amazing to sit here and think back to this day a year ago, February 20th, 2009... the day we held our daughter in our arms for the very first time. To think of how deep our love was for her at that very moment and how much it has only continued to grow... how tiny and precious she was, how trusting and loving her sweet eyes were as we lovingly gazed into them.

To think of the beautiful country of Ethiopia, how we fell in love with the beauty of it's people, the land, it's rich Christian history. How the mere mention of "Ethiopia" stirs our hearts with longing, gratitude and anticipation. How deep a mother's love to share with us the precious gift of Shani's life... we are forever grateful... there truly are no appropriate words to express these emotions.

We feel so abundantly blessed by the gifts God has given us in our children!

Now for a family update...

We have been diligently praying and seeking as to how God would continue to grow our family. As many of you know we began the journey of adoption in March of 2007 following God's precious call for us to grow our family through the miracle of adoption and to begin paperwork for a baby girl from China, a dream that I had had since a child. As the timelines for China lengthened, God called us on a "second journey"... to adopt from Ethiopia and bring home our beautiful daughter Shani.

Even while in Ethiopia, we both felt God preparing our hearts and leading us to come back to this amazing country. I remember sitting in the van, driving down the streets of Ethiopia and David telling our traveling companions that he could see us coming back to adopt again. I was speechless but in my heart I was in total agreement.
But, what about China? That was our prayer. God, why did you lead us to adopt from China and then seemingly close the door? After diligent prayer, His answer was clear: China was a bridge to Ethiopia. He had put such a strong desire in my heart for adoption and specifically adopting from China that when He softened David's heart to adoption, the only country in our mind was China. However, His plan for us was a bit different... and His plans are ALWAYS best!!! Had the timelines not lengthened for China, our sweet Shani would not be a part of our lives. How amazing are His plans!

In our hearts and minds we have gone through a process of letting go and, in a sense, mourning the loss of "Emma Mei". At the same time we began rejoicing in the amazing calling He has made clear to us: that we are to return to Ethiopia to complete our family! And that is exactly what we have begun to do!

As of January 27th, 2010, our China file was officially closed (after a mere 1,039 days or 2.89 years in process!!!) and simultaneously, our 2nd Ethiopian adoption began. We are slowly, but excitedly, gathering our paperwork (sure is easier the 3rd time around!!!) and as for a timeline... we have learned (very clearly) through the last process... it is in His hands... Praise the Lord! Perhaps next spring? Hmm...

Our first step was fingerprinting at the court house... and the experience was priceless! Micah loved watching the process (Shani was a wee bit tired that day) and afterwards, one of the ladies gave Micah a teddy bear to remember the first step in bringing his new baby sister home.

Micah named his bear "Rolo" because her coloring is kind of a mixture of chocolate and caramel (and everything has to be named after candy these days!!!) and to remember how they "rolled Mommy and Daddy's fingers". Too cute!

How sweet the journey will be... we don't plan to name our sweet baby girl until we receive our referral... however, the name Emma is still close to our hearts. After telling my (Shana's) parents of our plan to return to Ethiopia, the very next place we went was Toys R Us for a surprise for the kids, when what did we find... the sweetest African-American doll (that truly has Ethiopian features!!! and looks a LOT like Shani). She melted our hearts. Her given name on the box... "Emma". Perhaps just coincidence or a sweet whisper of confirmation from God... she just HAD to come home with us.

Again we invite you to join us on our adoption journey and enjoy our new blog... The Journeys of the Reece's Pieces!