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.
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.