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I count all things loss…

Today was a hard day. That’s about all I can say as I hold back tears. I had passing thoughts through out my day reminding me that…

1. God called us to this.


2. It will be worth it. (because obedience is always better than worse case scenerio)

Our day started off crazy—it involved stool samples, labs, 2 older kids wrestling / my 20 month old struggling with his new place and a precious new one that needs his momma to hold him most of the day. I woke up at 11:30pm after crashing at 8pm with Isaac in my arms in our bed…looked over at my precious hubby in the hallway folding clothes and said, “Could you lay here for awhile with him…I think I haven’t had a shower in a few days.” (He sleeps GREAT as long as someone is beside him.) Our bonding is happening…but there is definitely a cost.

Frank is struggling. I’m bouncing him on one hip and every opportunity I have with Isaac happy in a jumpy or napping, I’m holding Frank and smoothering him with kisses. And then…I find myself saying to the older ones a gazillon times a day, “Quiet voices please—you’re scaring the baby.” Where upon they lower their voices, giggle and eventually just get crazier. The cocooning phase for the older ones is making them a bit delirious I’m afraid. And tonight–I am simply reminded of the costs in knowing and following the Lord. And I hold back tears–while I type this.

And I tell myself—It. Will. Be. Worth. It.

Tonight, I find my encouragement from Philippians 3. Confession—I think I may have been too confident that *I* could do this. But that is confidence in my flesh. And I can’t. I need to know Jesus deeper and clint to His strength. Not sure where each of you are—but I hope this encourages you as well. Be encouraged by Philippians with me–and trust with me that the hard days of following Jesus can be counted as loss:

Philippians 3
No Confidence in the Flesh
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Pressing on Toward the Goal
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

So much goodness in these verses. I get to count the hard parts as loss of knowing Jesus more. Today I felt Him carrying me. Today I cried out to Him and He was present. It wasn’t me loving my children and keeping my cool—but it was the Holy Spirit and His power. And tomorrow—I will need Him again. In this process, I pray I am transformed to look more like Him and to have a heart more like His. I’m thankful my citizenship is in heaven, and that I get to press on to the goal that He has called me to. And I realize—many of you are right there with me…whether you are adopting or not, waiting, struggling with the hardness of your current calling…it looks different for us all–but we can be sure that if life is too easy—we just might be missing our calling because one thing we are promised is that following Him will never be easy. So…as you follow Him—will you press on with me?

Each day–is a new day.

I’m confident that tomorrow He will guide me and be my strength again. Oh my…did I just write that? Check out the power in scripture!

Truly, I don’t know how people do life without Jesus. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus! Isn’t it amazing how He changes your heart from being tired—to being excited and hopeful for what tomorrow brings?! Wow…the power of the Holy Spirit. On a “wow, God is faithful note”, I was reminded today how far our little guy has come…really, I am reminded of that daily…but today–it came by a phone call. Our agency caseworker saw a picture of Isaac on my blog and she honestly couldn’t believe it was the same child we were referred just 4 months ago. You wouldn’t believe the work that God has done…really–it is UNBELIEVABLE (how I love serving an unbelievable God who does the unfathomable!) and we are so thankful. It is an answer to prayer that he is sitting before his 1st birthday which will come next month. He just started sitting—and I am amazed and thankful! Another good thing God has done…and we are so glad! In our babe’s referral—all we got was “he smiles…not holding his head up…BUT we see God’s power and grace in his face”. And we knew—he was our son! I am so thankful for you Isaac Temesgen. Isaac “he smiles” and Temesgen “Thank you God!”…such a fitting name for such a miracle! WE LOVE YOU SWEET SON!

Thank you for your prayers, your words of encouragement, and for trusting the Lord with me. May He “wow” you today as you trust deeper each day in Him. May you be reminded in difficult days that they are to be counted loss as you follow Him and to press on to the prize and goal He has called you to. Tomorrow is a new day…and I’m excited to get to spend it with 4 of my favorite littles:). Have a great day!

Megan - July 8, 2010 - 1:32 am

You are doing AMAZING Andrea, hang in there! The LORD will be your strength….the LORD will be your STRENGTH!!!
Thank you for sharing the verses on your heart today….just had to share that God WOWED me today too….we are doing our adoption yard sale this weekend. 3 days ago we had a couple piles of clothes, some random vases and a few big pieces. Today, we have our unfinished back room stacked three feet high with NO walk way and boxes and furniture loaded outside out house and MORE COMING!!! GOD has provided, no doubt…and I can’t WAIT to see what this weekend has in store for us! 😉

missy - July 8, 2010 - 1:42 am

love that god is strengthening you through his word. he smiles, for sure, and sits up now too! you have seen so many miracles, but it’s okay to be worn out too. i will pray for you right now as i am up late that EVERYONE in your house is sound asleep.

Karen - July 8, 2010 - 1:51 am

Thanks for being vulnerable! We had a tough transition when we brought our baby home over two years ago. So I know how hard it can be. You are right–it WILL get better! With any baby, its hard at the beginning. You will find your new normal! And you have such great perspective to keep your eyes fixed on the Lord to get you through. XOXO

Bec - July 8, 2010 - 2:14 am

I just wanted to let you know that I’m praying for you today. I help run an organisation in Australia which promotes parenting and adoption as positive alternatives to abortion and I came across your blog about a month and a half ago. Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable when you write. I’m praying strength, peace and complete surrender for you today.

Amy @ Filled With Praise - July 8, 2010 - 7:22 am

Thinking of you and praying for you. You are right, He will provide the strength and love that you need. I will be in the same boat as you in a couple of weeks. We can talk each other through the rocking of the waves 🙂 Let me know if I can do anything to help you out.

Rebecca Harley - July 8, 2010 - 7:43 am

Andrea – thank you for being so transparent and sharing your joys and struggles with us all. Praying for Frank specifically today – for him to be enveloped in his Father’s peace and to simply know that your love abounds for him. Praying for peace for you, because you are right – He will provide the strength that you need! Hang in there sweet friend!

kelly - July 8, 2010 - 7:51 am

I would like to have the perfect words to encourage you, from one who has been in almost exactly your shoes, but you already know where the best encouragement comes from…God’s word brings life, peace, and a hope for tomorrow!! We had some tough days that would continue through the night without a break when we first returned home…..God is faithful, that you know, and His mercies are new each morning (even when you haven’t slept). Keep filling your empty cup from HIs word and it will overflow!!!!!! Thank you for being real!! It is hard, no doubt, but obedience to the Lord is a beautiful thing and His promises are real. Love to you and your beautiful family.

JonesEthiopia - July 8, 2010 - 8:36 am

I promise it will get easier. R was 24 months when E came home. It was soooo hard at first. But then, she started to see E as her sister and not someone trying to steal mommy. The first month home was very difficult in that way, but they love each other now and are doing much better.

Elle J - July 8, 2010 - 9:23 am

Beautiful writing, Andrea! Your attitude towards these struggles is inspiring. You are making it work for your four more than you recognize from where you are at ~ “we” all see success ~ your steadfast faith is awesome. God, no doubt, is smiling upon you with great joy. Gather these days ~ you know how fast life moves with little ones.

Tiffany - July 8, 2010 - 9:57 am

I love your heart and your honesty Andrea. The adjustment will be trying, for sure. I too don’t know how people do life without Jesus…to face the struggles and trials without the peace and purpose – I can’t imagine. Praying for all of you, but especially for you…for discernment, patience and endurance as you love all of your little ones. Hang in there!

Jenny - July 8, 2010 - 10:40 am

Smothering you with prayer today and calling on other prayer warriors to do the same! Hugs and Love sent your way!!!

Amy Hoyle - July 8, 2010 - 10:42 am

Your blog has moved me and I’ve been praying for you throughout your journey. I know all too well how difficult it can be to be in the will of God. There’s no better place to be, but when He’s reshaping and stretching us it can be so difficult. I was raised Baptist and read a lot of Corrie Ten Boom’s writings. She touches me so much with her eloquence and this is one of my favorites, “It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.” God delights in you and it’s evident He is your strength. Continue to allow the gift of the Holy Spirit to fill and lead you. Your entire family is in our thoughts and prayers! ♥

Shannon - July 8, 2010 - 11:21 am

Sleeping is big. My guy was the same barnacle sleeping on top of me clinging for MONTHS. It has been 6 mo now and he still sleeps with me but only periodically goes through phases of needing to cling. Keep praying. Those hard hard hard weeks…. well “hard” isnt a big enough word. Taking care of yourself can be swamped if you are not careful. Praying helps. Showering Helps. Clean bed sheets and clean side boards help. I swear. You have to feel like you are still in your own environment. So you have help in your family- but do not be afraid to ask for help with the basics around your home.

Routine in the day also helps. It helps him to know what is happening next and know that he can count on you all.

I remember praying similar prayers, seemingly hundreds of times a day. And when I was so tired and weak- He rose and held my child. It does get better. But it WILL TAKE TIME.

If you don’t have an ergo – get one. If you have one- see if you can borrow another from a family and carry one guy in front and one on the back. It is hard physically- but with only a couple times it may help your bigger guy feel more secure.

I will be praying and remembering how hard these weeks are. You really are doing great. It may not feel it. But you are doing exactly what you need to and praying is a big part of it.

Jennifer - July 8, 2010 - 12:05 pm

You are on my heart and in my prayers! God is BIG!

Lauren - July 8, 2010 - 12:36 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this Andrea.. I am praying. I so appreciate your realness. Thank you for being so open with us. I know God will use this in so many lives… but for mine it’s being used to open my eyes to reality. This won’t be all fun and games. But, like you said, following Jesus is always worth the personal cost. That scripture is wonderful and I will pray it over you!

Jenn - July 8, 2010 - 12:47 pm

Strength and persistence will come from God…lean on Him!!!! And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it 🙂 I SO WISH I was closer to come and run a load of laundry for you…fix you dinner…or just let you vent. Praying from here though!!!


SleepyMom - July 8, 2010 - 1:20 pm

My heart aches for you as you go through this difficult transition period. It’s so heart wrenching to have to divide yourself between your children when you want to give each one of them all of you. I’ll be praying for your little Frank as he adjusts to his new role (I have a 22 month old boy and can imagine Frank’s reaction to not being the baby anymore). Hang in there and know that people are being inspired by your family and prayig for them as well.

Christina - July 8, 2010 - 1:33 pm

I wish I lived near you and could do something tangible like deliver a casserole and a cobbler, but know I am praying for your family. Don’t get discouraged! It WILL get better, and it WILL get easier! Everyone will eventually settle into their spots–even precious Frank–and you’ll develop a new family rhythm. You’re an awesome mama and you’re doing a wonderful job. xoxoxo

emily - July 8, 2010 - 5:13 pm

You are SO NOT ALONE! So many praying and being encouraged by your authenticity, your honesty. I was reduced to tears at the end. I remember reading your referral post, wondering if it was some sort of development delays you were referring to, then to read the quote. Wow. Girl, that is some kind of faith. I don’t know that I could have, and it makes me shudder to think of life without Abe. The difference, you knew, you could have said “no” and you didn’t. He was your son. As Abe is mine. I just didn’t know of the lack of head control part, but He did. So many ways that He didn’t allow that information to get to us- I see it now. I don’t blame anyone, the agency, the orphanage- it was just His plan. Love that He does ALL THINGS for OUR GOOD and HIS GLORY! Praising the Lord for Isaac T’s continued growth and development. What a testimony to His faithfulness.

Billie Hobbs - July 8, 2010 - 6:53 pm

Dear Andrea, How do I begin? For such an outspoken person, who responds first to people who I feel needs any comfort or encouragement, I have no excuse for not reaching out to you. I have followed your journey to be Isaac Temesgen’s mommy from “day one”, along with Melanie. I found myself using excuses, trying times, etc. and somewhat giving into my grief and depression. This past year I lost my mother, my brother, my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law, and more relatives of our in-laws and found myself, a proclaimed Christian, finding excuses not to pray, go to church, etc. My daughters continue to struggle with their own problems and I can’t fix them, only be there for them and offer advice and pray for them. Your blog has been my daily devotion and today, your words lifted me so very high. I feel God’s presence as I write this to you, holding back tears. Tomorrow is a new day for you and for me! You are an amazing child of God and I am thankful for you and your family and your new son. When you are struggling with the children, and I know it is so very hard, just know God is holding your hand as he holds the hands of all mothers and children when they need him. HE will give you the extra strength to get through this period of adjustment. You can do it!!! I will continue to follow your journey and pray more, and worship more, especially through your daily blog. Isaac Temesgen is more than adorable, as are your other three.
Love and blessings,

Ia - July 8, 2010 - 7:47 pm

I hear your struggles. You have gotten a lot of wonderful Godly advice from all your friends. But God keeps putting your struggles back on my heart again and again. I am just another sister in Christ and a grandmother. What I do hear is your unbelievable love and concern for all your children. God chose you and your husband to love and care for one orphan. He will also be there through joys and struggles. Whoever said it was going to be easy to be a mother anyway. Having one child is not easy. Just trust that God will not leave you alone, you are in this together.
I will keep praying for you.

Rachel - July 8, 2010 - 10:46 pm

Beautiful. Thank you. I will link to this from my blog.

amy bell - July 9, 2010 - 9:54 am

this was post ministered to me so much….yesterday we finished our home study…wow. we really finished it! now we start the international paperwork. my heart is so full….so full. we know we are called to this…and we trust Jesus…but, there are times that i think “can we, Lord?”….

thank you for reminding me that the power is there….a reminder i needed today….

Lisa - July 10, 2010 - 10:52 am

Dear Great God, Andrea know your loving arms wrapped tightly around her these hard early days, may she know your shelter under your wings, may she know the strength of your hands holding her. Give her your almighty strength again and again today for all that she needs to do and be for all her 4 precious ones, as well as for Rich. Give her your stilling peace that passes all understanding, while these waves of adjustment and sleeplessness and intense exhaustion wash over her and just seem to keep on coming. Daddy God, you have promisd to give Andrea all that she needs for every day- please give her restful sleep when she gets it, words full of graciousness and overflowing with love and patience, and the courage to keep on going, each step at a time, for your glory’s sake. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.

Megan - July 13, 2010 - 10:57 am

Thank you. Your words were sweet to my soul today. God’s journey for us has been hard. He has been good. He has been faithful and we have seen His sovereignty and sufficiency for each day. Often times it is not in the way I imagined and I am learning much about my sin of self-sufficiency and trusting and clinging to Jesus is a precious lesson, worth every hard moment in this journey. In the midst of it all, our sweet children are learning and growing, too. Blessings to you this day!