New Date – May 6th

Our 7th court date for W…16 months that we’ve had his referral…Lord willing, this will be the end!  May 6th happens to be my sister and brother-in-law’s anniversary, so maybe it will be a doubly special day this year!  Thank you again for all of your intercession for this sweet boy!

Cowboy Nachos

And I quote my husband tonight as we were engulfing these nachos…”This has to go on the blog (chomp, chomp, chomp) because we love mankind.”

A lot of you have probably heard of the Pioneer Woman (she has a new cookbook out called The Pioneer Woman Cooks).  I first read an article about her in Southern Living and my sister happened to have just purchased the cookbook.  The article listed several of her recipes, including this one for Cowboy Nachos.  The picture looked so yummy that I knew I would have to try them.  And tonight, I think my husband fell even more in love with me (read the end of her recipe)!  And my son as well…Mikias almost put away an entire pie plate by himself!!  I substituted a smaller pork loin for the beef brisket to save money and topped the nachos with her Pico de Gallo, chopped avocados and sour cream.  Kevin added sliced jalapeno to his.  All tummies in our home were quite satisfied!

If I’ve enticed you to give this one a try, go here for the recipe!

Seriously, 7 court dates?!

Once again M*WA didn’t write our recommendation and we didn’t get issued a new date, so I’m not sure what to think.  I have never heard of another family who went to court more than 6 times before passing.  I know God is sovereignly controlling all things, but my heart is still sad right now.  I guess we’ll just continue to wait on the Lord and see what unfolds in the coming weeks.  Thank you for praying!

P.S. – I forgot to praise God here for allowing my friend Sandee’s daughter to pass court!  Mom and daughter have waited 748 days and just a little bit longer until they are finally united in person!!  Even in the midst of my sorrow yesterday, I couldn’t help but rejoice in God’s goodness to this family!

A Prayer for W

So, I’m stealing this from a friend who had court today (she’s adopting one of W’s new friends) and I just love it…may God grant us favor tomorrow in the presence of the courts and may we continue to walk confidently as we trust in Him.

“O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” Nehemiah 1:11

I really can’t begin to explain my gratitude to the number of you who pray regularly for our family.  I hope it encourages you that we are continually experiencing the fruit of your prayers as we constantly see God caring for us, preserving our faith and sustaining us during the many hardships and transitions we have endured.  As you pray for us tonight, please pray for my friend Sandee. She has court with us tomorrow for her beautiful daughter Mame whom she has been waiting on for over two years.  Sandee’s journey makes the difficulties of our own pale in comparison and yet she continues to faithfully trust in her good God as she waits on Him.  May God grant the both of us great favor tomorrow!

Sweet W sleeping soundly in Mommy's arms

5 Weeks Home

I can’t believe Mikias has been home for over a month…time is flying by so quickly as life with two children is so much more busy!  Tonight is the first night in a while that I’ve had more than 30 minutes to just relax and as I was catching up on some blogs, I ran across one that a friend had e-mailed to me about a family who had just brought home a sibling group of four!  What was most refreshing about her blog was her honesty about the struggles her children are enduring now that they are home.  So many times, adoption blogs showcase all the glory and bliss of an orphan being united with his/her forever family, but one never really knows what life is really like day-to-day.

So, with those thoughts in mind, I thought I’d shed a little light onto the last five weeks of our life, particularly for those of you who read this blog and might be encouraged to pursue adoption one day (and I pray that you do!).  With all the reading about adoption and prep work I did prior to his homecoming, I can honestly say that Mikias’ transition into our home has been a relatively smooth one.  I knew there was the possibility of major attachment issues or long periods of grieving, but we have seen very little of any of those types of things.  This is not to say that more will be revealed as he continues to adjust to our family, but for now, he seems to really enjoy being around Kevin and me and even told a friend-translator that he is sad at night because he has to be away from Mommy and Daddy.  Nighttime seemed to be our biggest struggle at first…he had terrible night terrors the first week home, but once we finally discovered his fear (that thieves were going to break in) and had our friend-translator assure him that he was safe in our home, his sleep improved greatly.  In the last couple of weeks, the greater challenge has been discerning genuine grief from mustered-up tears to manipulate a situation.  Honestly, this is where I am constantly on my face before the Lord, asking for wisdom and grace and compassion.  And God has been so faithful to help me in such difficult parenting.  I’m learning my son more and can more easily distinguish his true sad moments in the day (usually around rest time or bedtime or first thing in the morning).  And Mikias seems to be understanding our role as the authorities in his life and submitting himself to us happily instead of pouting every time he doesn’t get his way.  Oh, how many times I’ve longed for a book that combines biblical parenting and adopted children (maybe I’ll write one some day!). But as I haven’t found one yet, I continue to rely on the only infallible source of wisdom and truth, God’s Word.

I long for the language barrier to become less and less of an issue.  While we are communicating 100% better than the first week together, I want him to be able to tell me what’s going on inside his little mind or what his heart is feeling when he wakes up sad in the morning.  These are the things that I know will only deepen my love for him, but for now, it is much like loving a newborn baby.  You daily pour out your love and energy on a baby, but not much is reciprocated.   Eventually you get those first smiles and laughs and then you finally get to see a personality begin to evolve.  As more of your baby’s personality and personhood is revealed to you, you find yourself loving your little guy or girl that much more.  I know that I love Mikias, but I just cannot wait to find out who he really is on the inside and that will only come when he can communicate his heart to us.  Thankfully, God has given me glimpses…and I’ll keep hanging onto those until he can verbally share more.  And as I long to be a faithful mom and steer his heart toward the Lord, I see so many character issues that need attention and work.  And yet because we cannot speak the same language, I have to literally ignore many of these right now and trust God will give us the time we need when we are able to finally talk.

Without question, the single most difficult trial of his transition into our family has been they way God has used it to blatantly reveal my own sin to me.  My first two and a half years as a mom have been relatively easy.  Molly Kate was in every sense of the word an “easy child” and though she’s struggling more now as she has to adjust to a shared life, she is still a delightful little person and often times makes motherhood seem like a piece of cake!  But in learning to care for the needs of two children, constantly having to stop what I’m doing to handle the sin issue in the middle of what seems like hundreds of daily arguments between the two of them and meet the physical needs and demands of my body because of the sweet little boy growing inside of me, I have come to groan like Paul, “wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:24).  I’m impatient. I lack compassion. I’m selfish. I idolize thirty minutes alone. I complain. I worry. I’m angry. I’m bitter.  I’m overwhelmed. I fail to turn to Christ in my moments of need.  I fail to think of Christ at all some days.  Yes, yes…the greatest pain of all has been the revelation of the depth of my flesh and the way it seems to constantly and frequently rear its ugly head.  And yet, God has been most merciful in my struggle to not despair…how sweet the promise of Romans 8:1-2:

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Our closing hymn in last night’s evening service was “It Is Well With My Soul.”  As we began the third verse, I found myself wanting to shout, not just sing:

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

My blog is aptly named as God continues to refine my faith.  Silly me to think most of the refining was happening prior to our adopted children coming home.  Praise, praise to God that He does not leave me as He found me and uses every minute of my every day life as a wife and mommy to two (hopefully soon to be four) to make me more like Jesus.

Busy Week!

Last week was one of those marathon weeks, but the kids had a whole lot of fun! On Monday, we headed off to meet my sister half-way between here and Mississippi to pick up our 6 year old chocolate lab, Annie. My dear sis had offered to keep our dog so that we didn’t have to board her during our trip to Ethiopia, but due to several unforeseen circumstances, Annie ended up in Mississippi for almost 2 months! On the way we had the blessing of meeting up with two of Mikias’ friends, Abenezar and Sami, who have been home roughly two weeks longer than him.  Their family was on the way home to Indiana from a vacation, so we pulled off the interstate at a random exit in Tennessee and surprised Mikias!  He was more than thrilled to see his familiar friends and they began blubbering away in Amharic!  I was also glad to finally meet their mommy who has become a precious friend and source of strength during our long adoption journey.   We then made our way further into Tennessee and upon first seeing Annie, I realized how much I have missed having her around the house. I was so pleasantly surprised to see how quickly Mikias took to her and how much he really seems to love having a dog!  I was also delighted for Amy to finally meet her new nephew and Molly Kate couldn’t have been happier to see Aunt Amy.  Watching MK take off across the park to greet Amy when her car pulled into the parking lot made my heart sink a little…my sister is an incredible woman of God and I would love for Molly Kate to be able to see her more often. Gramma surprised us with a visit on Wednesday and it didn’t take Mikias long to figure out that having a Gramma is a wonderful thing (the trip to Toys ‘R’ Us didn’t hurt either!)!!  And on Friday, both kids started their private swim lessons.  I am very happy that they love the water so much…in fact, a healthy fear of a massive swimming pool wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but both kiddos jumped right in and loved every minute of it!  Enjoy the pics!

New Date – April 22nd!

So, M*WA didn’t write W’s recommendation for court today.  Our new date is April 22nd, just around the corner.  Funny enough, this is exactly how Mikias’ case played out…he didn’t pass on his 5th court date, we were rescheduled about 10 days later and he passed the 6th time around.  I’m pretty sure next week will be the week, Lord willing!

Embassy dates are usually scheduled 6-8 weeks from passing court.  If we pass next week, our embassy date will either be June 3rd, June 17th or July 1st.  The two latter dates have Kevin traveling either right before Madden makes his entrance to the world or right after (due date June 25th!).  Either way, our life is going to be nuts this summer! But we continue to wait and see what good plans the Lord has in store for our family, fully assured that His plan is a million times better than anything we could imagine (Ephesians 3:20).  Please continue to pray that W would pass, we would receive one of those embassy dates before our immigration paperwork expires and that Kevin would not miss the birth of our son!

Pray for W!

We had such a fun-filled day today, but more on that later 🙂  For now, I’d ask that you pray for our little man W tonight and his court date tomorrow!  Yes, it is absolutely the most crazy timing, but its not ours and so we trust the Lord will bring him into our family just as He planned before the foundations of the world.  We are especially praying that we would indeed pass tomorrow and that God would provide us an embassy date before July 10th.  On that day, our immigration approval expires and we would be looking at basically re-doing our entire home study to extend the approval.  Given the craziness of our lives, I’m asking the Lord’s grace on me and that He would not cause me the extra burden of the home study update.  And yet, I have full confidence that I will see His goodness and mercy either way! As He rules over all authority in Ethiopia, so we pray tonight that His power and might would work on behalf of this little boy we have grown to love.

Thank you for praying…I’ll let you know as soon as I hear from our agency!

“Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.” 1 Chronicles 29:12

Pork Marinade

I recently found a great deal at Costco on pork chops, which then had me looking for a good marinade.  I found this one in “Southern Sideboards“, a cookbook that has been treasured by many a generation of Mississippians!

1/2 c. dry cooking wine

1/2 c. soy sauce

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

We have yet to replace the gas on our grill, so I’ve just been pouring the marinade over the pork chops and baking them for about 35 minutes at 350.  I serve it with long-grain brown rice and steamed asparagus (with butter and garlic, of course!).  This might be one of our kids’ favorite meals…go figure!

Chicken Tacos with Mango-Avocado Salsa

So, I know the transition is going fairly well as I realize I’ve actually had time to try out some new recipes in the last week or so.  I love to cook and the hour I spend in the kitchen before dinner is a great re-fueling time for me after a long day.  Throw in the fact that I have about 20 new recipes I want to try, and my dinner prep is that much more enjoyable!  Here’s one from Cooking Light that we tried Saturday evening…very delicious except the corn tortillas…we’ll definitely be using flour the next time.  I only used 2 chicken breasts, which worked fine for two adults, two children.  And of course, I didn’t spend extra money for pre-chopped onion…I actually enjoy chopping onions!  Kevin picked up chips and salsa from the Mexican restaurant just up the road, and they made a perfect salty side to the somewhat sweet entree.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 tortillas, 1 chicken breast half, and 1/2 cup salsa)


1  teaspoon  garlic powder

1  teaspoon  paprika

1/2  teaspoon  onion powder

1/4  teaspoon  ground red pepper

3/4  teaspoon  salt, divided

4  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 1/2  teaspoons  olive oil

1/2  cup  diced peeled mango

1/2  cup  diced peeled avocado

1/2  cup  chopped tomato

1/3  cup  prechopped onion

2  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro

2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice

1  tablespoon  minced jalapeño pepper

8  (6-inch) corn tortillas


1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine first 4 ingredients; stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Rub over chicken. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

2. While chicken cooks, combine mango and next 6 ingredients (through jalapeño); stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

3. Heat tortillas according to package directions; top with chicken and salsa.