Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Referral Day!

On this day, one year ago, we received a very important phone call that would change our lives forever. I dropped Michael off at work and was heading to my parent's house, which was 45 minutes away. I have no idea why Michael did not drive himself to work that day, but he didn’t. It was a few days before our production week for Grease and we were swamped. I had gotten about 15 minutes away and my phone rang. I looked down and saw the famous 817 area code. I answered and Kristin said, “Katie, your referral is ready”. I think I responded with, “That was quick.” Yes, it had been almost a year since going on the wait list, but we had only changed our referral request from siblings to one child on November 30. I told her I had to go back and pick up Michael and we would call her back. I called Michael and told him the news and went and picked him up. We went to our performing arts academy, so we could have a place view the emails by ourselves. We got everything ready and called Kristin back….voicemail. We called her back several times in the next thirty minutes. It was the longest thirty minutes of our lives. She finally called back and said she had been on a conference call with Belay. She sent us the email and we opened it up. We saw this tiny baby and asked how old she was and she told us she was two months old. These are the first pictures we saw...

We heard her story and Kristin went through all of the info with us. I said awkward, stupid things, because I was excited and nervous. The phone calls to our families began soon after. It was such an exciting day and one we will never forget!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

Having Sophia home for Christmas was such a joy! For years we dreamed of what it would be like to have a child at home during the Christmas season and we loved celebrating the birth of our Savior with Sophie.

Sophia opened so many presents. She was given lots of wonderful things and we are very grateful! My sister made her the cutest outfit. Everyone loved it and so did we! Thank you, Aunt Amy!

This picture was taken of Michael and I during Christmas 2009 and we included it in a baby photo album we sent to Sophie.

This is a picture of her in Ethiopia, taken on January 20, 2010, with the photo album. What a difference a year makes!

Christmas 2010 - a family at last!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

We forget...

My daughter did not grow inside of me. I did not experience morning sickness, feel her kick or hear her first cry. I will never know what her first months in Ethiopia were like. There are things we missed – things we did not get to experience. We did, however, get to experience a deep love. A love for a child we had never met. Michael and I will never forget the moments when we opened the email and saw the tiny face of our daughter. For three months we stared at pictures and longed to hold her in our arms. We looked at them over and over again, hoping to notice something new. We bought her clothes, dreamed about what our lives would be like once she was here and shared our story with others. Adoption consumed our thoughts and we busied ourselves with preparations to travel to Ethiopia.

Adoption. It was all we could think about. And now...we forget. It is true. We forget she was adopted. Her skin does not match our skin, but we don’t think about it. We look at her and see our beautiful, precious daughter. She brings so much joy to everyone she meets. She is a blessing and is as much our child as one I birthed would be. I do not say these things lightly or in a way that appears that we forget about her heritage or her story. We do not. We love Ethiopia and it is the country where Sophia Mekdes was created. She will know her story and we will tell her about the wonderful country that allowed us to bring her home.

I am not writing this to downplay the importance of adoption. Rather, I am writing this to share our story of love. Love created our family. God’s love for us and our love for Him, brought the three of us together. I know there are many people who consider adoption, but think they won’t be able to love their adopted child like they would a biological one. I believe those feelings are very normal. However, in most cases, those feelings go away the moment you meet your child.

We chose adoption. We will choose it again. To us, adoption is an amazing gift God gave us and we feel so blessed to be able to know Him in this way. We were given the chance to fall in love with a tiny baby 8,256 miles away. We loved her before we even met her. Naturally, meeting her was amazing. Holding her for the first time and kissing her soft skin, was surreal. The love we have for her grows deeper everyday.
Choose adoption. Let God turn your world upside down. You will experience a love deeper than you could ever imagine. Trust me. You will not regret it. If we had said no, we would have missed out on this…

Choose love. Take the jump. It may seem scary, but it is SO worth it!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Family For Vika: $800 Best Buy Gift Card Giveaway

A Family For Vika: $800 Best Buy Gift Card Giveaway: "We are raising funds for Vika's grant fund. She is in an institution in Eastern Europe and she needs to be rescued by a family. She is lis..."

Friday, October 8, 2010

goodies for my brown skinned babe

I was browsing the card section looking for a birthday card for miss Sophia Mekdes, when I saw a card adorned with a cute, brown faced girl. Behind the duplicate stack of cards, was a sign that said ‘Ebony’. “Wow, they have a section of cards for my sweet, brown baby”, I thought. I looked for more cards, and to my dismay, I didn’t find any. The entire section of girl’s birthday cards had ONE card with a little girl who had the same color skin as Sophia’s. ONE out of probably 50 cards. Now, many of them were bears, elephants, Dora, etc. They weren’t all little white girls, but you get the idea.

What really makes me sad…I never would have noticed this prior to our Ethiopian blessing. Never. That is embarrassing and I don’t really feel like I can complain, when I think about my previous lack of awareness. I do, however, wonder if there is a need for an ‘Ebony’ label, especially for only one card. Shouldn’t we just mix all of the cards together like one big {expensive} paper world?

I am noticing these types of situations more and more. I am fine with Sophia having both white and brown dolls, after all both colors exist in her family. However, I would like to have as many options for brown as there are for white, or at least somewhat close to the number of options. It seems like most clothing items with little girls on them, only have white girls. My sister was able to find a really cute ballerina shirt with a sweet brown girl on it. I love it. Yay, Old N*vy! (her legs are longer than two inches...she is somewhat squating in the picture)

Don’t forget about Sophia’s birthday celebration benefiting the Linck family. You can read about it in the previous post. Thank you to those of you who have posted about it on facebook and your blog. I really appreciate it!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Will you help us celebrate Sophia's birthday?

Our little Sophia is growing up so quickly! She will be one on October 12. We are celebrating in a BIG way and we want YOU to be a part of it!!!

As I said in my last blog post, we believe God calls Christians to care for orphans. Adoption is one way He uses us to care for His children. I LOVE reading adoption stories and especially love seeing how God provides the funding for adoptions. He provided for our adoption of Sophia in so many amazing ways. We never could have paid for her adoption on our own. So many of our family and friends gave their hard earned money to help bring her home and we are so thankful. You have no idea!

We know that it wasn’t too long ago that many of you helped with our adoption, but we are asking for you to give a little of your money to help bring another Ethiopian baby home to his or her forever family.

You see, we have some friends who are adopting from Ethiopia and we want to help them out. They are in the fundraising stage and are hoping to turn their application in on October 25, their 2nd wedding anniversary. They want to have all of the money for the fees raised ($18,000) before they submit the application. God has already provided in HUGE ways for them and it has been a blessing to watch.

So, back to Sophia’s birthday CELEBRATION!!!!! We are asking all of our friends, family, blogland buddies, total strangers, etc. to donate to the Linck’s adoption fund in Sophia’s name. If you know Sophia and she has brought joy to your life, would you please consider giving $5 or more, so Baby Linck can come home? If you don’t know her, but know how precious children are, would you donate money, as well?

For every $5 you donate, we will enter your name into a drawing for a prize. We will have a drawing when $100 has been donated and then again at $200, $300, etc. The more you donate the bigger your chance is to win.

The first prize is a brand new copy of “The Hole in Our Gospel”, by Richard Stearns!

Would you like an additional chance to win? If you donate money AND do a blog or facebook post about this, then your name will be entered an additional time (twice if you post on fb and your blog). Make sure you comment on my blog and let me know you posted about it.

To donate, please click here or on the link on the sidebar. This will take you to the ChipIn page I have created for Sophia’s birthday celebration. You are also welcome to write a check or pay with cash, if you will be seeing one of us in the near future.

“‘Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:37-40)

For more information on John and Jennifer Linck, please visit their blog
Thank you so much for reading this and for your consideration in helping John and Jennifer bring home their "Missing Linck". I am so excited to see how God will use Sophia's life to help bring an orphan home to their forever family!

Friday, September 10, 2010

our hearts are heavy for orphans

My heart is heavy. My thoughts have been consumed with the orphans in Ethiopia lately. So quickly, my memories can take me to the government run orphanages in Addis. Oh how I wish we could have spent more time with those precious kids. Their tenacity in the midst of such heartache humbles me. Their smiles make my heart swell, but their sad eyes make mine tear up.

As Christians we are called to care for the orphans. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (NIV) Now, I have seen this verse on countless blogs. I always thought it seemed a little pompous to put this verse on your adoption blog, as if the blogger was trying to show the world how ‘pure and faultless’ they are. Yes, I was being judgmental. Yes, my feelings have changed.

What does it mean in your life to ‘look after orphans and widows?’ In my opinion, it isn’t a question of ‘should you?’, but a question of ‘how will you?’ What will you do to care for the orphans and widows? What kind of sacrifice are you willing to make? What are you willing to give up for God? Maybe God is calling you to adopt. Maybe he is calling you to give money to a family who is adopting. Maybe he is calling you to do something bigger.

Michael and I have been spending a lot of time thinking and praying about what God wants for our family. We keep seeing the faces of the older children we met and we can’t sit back and do nothing. In addition to praying for orphans in general, there are six specific children we have been praying for. Three we met in Ethiopia and three my friend, Janet, met. We are asking God to move mountains and find homes for these precious kids. We know that God might ask us to be the family for one or more of these children or he might have other families in mind. If we are not to be their parents, we are sure he has other children in mind for our family. Either way, we know we will have to sacrifice.

I have read James 1:27 too many times to count. I have never really spent a lot of time thinking about the last part of the verse, “…keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” I am not a theologian, but I believe this verse is saying that the care you provide to the orphans and widows should be a sacrifice. It might not be easy. Perhaps ‘easy’ and ‘convenient’ is worldly. We avoid being polluted by the world when we make sacrifices and when we become okay with everything not being easy and convenient. We also become less worldly when we focus more on the world, in my opinion.

We feel called to care for orphans. It is as plain and simple as that. What does that look like? We don’t know. What we do know, is that we feel like God is going to be calling us to do things that are going to make us uncomfortable. He is asking us to make sacrifices and to lay our lives down for him. The dreams we had for our family may not be the dreams God has for us. We are scared and excited. We know everyone will not understand. You may not ‘get it’ and that is okay.

For those of you who have been to Ethiopia, you know where I am coming from. Your heart is not the same. You have more than likely lost sleep over the plight of these sweet people. For those of you who have never been there, trust me. Trust me when I say it is worth the sacrifice. God has great things planned for those kids. Will you be a part of it?

Will you pray that God would move mountains and set the lonely in families? Will you also pray that God would move mountains in our lives, so we can bring more children into our family? We are willing. Hear our cry, oh God. Here are specific things we need prayers for:

  • Guidance. Please pray that we would hear God’s call loud and clear.

  • Patience. I tend to rush into things, so please pray that we would wait for God’s perfect timing. Luckily, Michael is much better at waiting.

  • Provisions. Please pray that our business would continue to grow, so we have the money to support a growing family. We also live 25 miles from our business and put a LOT of miles on our cars going back and forth. We would love to move closer and get a home that would provide room for more children.

  • Adoption finances. Adoptions are expensive. Unfortunately, we don’t have $30,000-$35,000 in expendable income right now. Ethiopia now requires you travel for your court date. This means two trips and more money. God provided for our last adoption and we know he will again. Will you pray that we would come up with effective fundraising ideas and that God would stir in the hearts of others to help us bring orphans into our home? For those of you who supported our last adoption financially and through prayer, thank you so much!!!

We are not starting the adoption process right now, but when God gives the ‘go ahead’, we want to be ready. We want to start working on saving money and raising it, so we have a large portion before moving forward.

Here are a couple of pictures from Ethiopia of us with two sweet girls we met and are praying for. We can’t show their faces, but they are so precious.

If you are feeling called to help others in the adoption process, I would encourage you to hop on over to my friend Jennifer's blog. They are in the fundraising stage of their adoption and they are selling puzzle pieces for $20. Once all of the pieces to the puzzle have been purchased, they will assemble the puzzle and frame it for their future child. Will you please consider giving them $20 or more?

Finally, a little bit about our favorite Ethiopian! Miss Sophia is growing so much. She is almost 11 months old! She has four teeth and is always on the move. She crawls and pulls up like crazy. She has no fear, which scares her mama! She is such a joy and everyone she meets LOVES her. She is completely spoiled by her daddy, Aunt Amy and her grandparents. My parents are completely enamored with her and it has been a joy to watch.

Sophia decided to crawl under the stool and then stood up inside of it.

Then it was time to figure out how to get out of it.

She knew she couldn't crawl back under it, so she took a diving leap and made it out successfully!