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Still processing…especially Bethzatha

Isaac Temesgen and I have just been home for a full 3 days—and tomorrow (Tuesday) is my FIRST day all on my own as a mommy of 4. Laney (4) and Parker (5) are doing AMAZING with all of the changes–they are so sweet, helpful, loving and even supportive. They love Isaac Temesgen to pieces—and they are even sensitive to Frank’s new role from baby to big brother. We are all making grand efforts to give Frank much of the same love and attention he was/is used to AND at the same time give Isaac Temesgen the extra love and care that he needs. Needless to say–it’s MORE than a full time job. MUCH MORE.

I can’t say I didn’t expect the MUCH MORE part–because I did. I have had the gift of meeting with many other adoptive mommies who have gone before me to tell me the efforts and time that are required of transitioning your children already in the home as well as new ones. I am up every 2-3 hours every night–and some times it’s hour to hour with our new one. Often he wants to eat. And other times–I think he just wants to make sure I’m still here. He is startled at sudden or loud sounds–and I’m constantly speaking softly and singing Jesus Loves Me reminding myself that He who calls us–will equip us–and deeply…He loves us.

I am still processing my time in Ethiopia–there is really so much to process. I keep seeing the countless faces of the children at Hannah’s Hope (our agency’s orphanage) waiting patiently and some even unknowingly for their mommies and daddies to also come. And that to me–is so HOPEFUL. It didn’t pain me to look in their eyes as I knew all of those children had been referred to parents back home who have so faithfully followed the Lord in this calling to parent through adoption. What did pain me…was the WAIT and Bethzatha.

As you may know, adoption requires waiting, waiting and more waiting. There’s red tapes—lots of hoop jumping and often programs change and even close at moments notice. With 143,000,000 orphans in the world–and almost 6 million of them being in Ethiopia–the wait doesn’t really make sense. BUT there is a wait. Our agency’s orphanage can only serve so many orphans at a time–and one can’t come to our private orphanage to be matched with a forever family until another one has gone. SO–while our private run orphanage serves betweent 40-60 children, many are simply waiting on court dates to come and pass so families can travel and another bed can be opened for a child from bigger orphanages like Bethzatha to come in. Most all of the children at Hannah’s Hope come from Bethzatha–and we had the amazing opportunity while we were there to visit Bethzatha…and this is what I am still trying to process.

Our Isaac spent a month at Bethzatha until there was a bed for him at Hannah’s Hope. I wasn’t sure how it all worked–and it is actually the staff at Bethzatha that chooses what children they will send to Hannah’s Hope while Hannah’s Hope simply tells them how many spaces they have open for new children they can serve. I love that the staff at Bethzatha can release the children who need families most desperately first–and while some only spend a few weeks there, others have been there for years and years. Really—I had no idea.

We walked in a room with SO MANY toddlers—that it overwhelmed me. (And the baby rooms–two of them…and they were full as well.)

You wanna know something else that surprises me?

Adoption statistics.

SO–since 2004, adoptions have cut in HALF in the U.S. There are MORE orphans in the world TODAY than any point in HISTORY–YET, there are fewer families adopting NOW than ANY year in the last decade. Seriously?! Yes, there is a wait. There has ALWAYS been a wait. It takes time for the red tape in the U.S. and then more time for red tape in foreign countries–and then of course more time for court and more time for empty beds. And yes–the wait for those of us who are following the call is beyond hard and frustrating…and for those of you waiting–DO NOT GROW WEARY…BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS…trust in the Lord and wait upon Him! But–it’s not the wait that has made those statistics drop. The rising cost? Well, we are supposed to count all things loss at the cost of following Him…right? So…I’m really not sure why the drop. Are we distracted…have we lost sight of what is really happening and that there are millions of children who need families or at the very least need believers to advocate and pray for them or visit them in their distress?

What I am having a hard time processing now…is if 2% of professing Christians adopted–the 143,000,000 orphans would be dissolved as they each became a son or daughter of someone.

No, we aren’t all called to adopt.

But I really—really—really believe…that we are all called to do something.

I am realizing I was called to wake up every 2 hours for this season in my life and to remind my son, “I’m here. I’m here. I’ll always be here.”

I am reminded of Almaz’s words, “You were not called to save Ethiopia. You were called to save Temesgen. Now, go be his mother.”

Being a mommy—it is my calling.

Praise Him! Praise Him! I love my calling.

My heart though aches…for more to be called…and to see more children become daughters and sons.

There are two specific children that my heart is just aching for at Bethzatha. One has been there 4 years and another 3 years. They are both handicapped and just lay there—day in and day out. I walked in the room and tried to sing Jesus Loves Me to them–but my voice cracked and I broke down in tears. The staff worker in the room came over and told me not to be sad and I just asked her, “Do they know they are loved? Do they know how much He loves them?”

She reassured me that they do–but do they???

Will you join me today/tonight…whenever and whoever is reading this in praying these verses over the children left behind?

“And Jesus said unto them … , “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to younder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.”
Romans 1:17

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear … “1 John 4:18

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
Psalm 23

“One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”
Psalm 27:4-5

And let us pray this in boldness for us to follow…maybe it is us that will sing them Jesus Loves Me each night…for really—in the big scheme of things…isn’t that all that really matters? Lord, I pray you call up a multitude of believers to follow you and love orphans and widows in a deeper way than they ever imagined doing. I pray that you would have many step out in faith and boldness to follow you–and to trust you in the hard wait and the difficult waters…help us Lord to live for what really matters.

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15

“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear ; do not be frightened.” Take Courage 1 Peter 3:14

Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4

Still processing…not sure if anyone really even reads my processing;)…but thanks for letting me process…goodnight. For at least 2 hours anyway;). But…oh so worth every waking.

And on a P.S. note–I have to add that Frank sweetly gave Isaac 2 kisses on the cheek today. AND he even shared his binky. Progress people. We’re making progress;).

natali - July 6, 2010 - 12:14 am

praying that over those kids. soooo heart breaking. but He is the GOD of the impossible 🙂 oh yes. amen. amen. amen.

Lauren - July 6, 2010 - 12:19 am

I read your processing! It is a huge encouragement to me as I am praying to begin my adoption journey SOON. I love reading your blog, and I am praying for all of the children, but especially the two you mentioned. -Lauren!

Elle J - July 6, 2010 - 12:22 am

I read all of your processing and I am so thankful for God sending You to Me in whatever fashion it took. Grateful for your wisdom, Andrea. Your sharing of orphans, widows, adoption, family life, the gospel, laughter, photography, joy … is well received by me. Praying for you, our calling, our focus to be on Him. Good Night Blessings to you, Sweet Friend!

Kristy Filbrun - July 6, 2010 - 12:39 am

Oh I read your processing for sure!!! Once again I have tears!! So glad you made it home and your adjusting the best you can! Hoping someone is helping you do laundry and meals! Keep writing!! Through your words God is speaking!!!

april - July 6, 2010 - 1:01 am

love this post Andrea. so close to my own heart and what I’m feeling tonight too and thanks for showing/reminding me even more. i feel like there is so much I want to say right now yet have no words. thanks for this post though!

Megan - July 6, 2010 - 1:05 am

Tears overflowing…I too, LONG to see more called and more children in a loving, forever home. I will continue to pray for your sleep, your perseverence, for Frank and Isaac’s adjusting…and that the more families that travel to Ethiopia to pick up their little sweeties, the more hearts are changed for the cause of the orphans and the widows. I love your heart and your passion for your ministry. I love how even in your pain, even in your processing…you just ooverflow with the love of God.

Christy - July 6, 2010 - 1:10 am

I have loved reading your posts about your trip. We returned just over a week ago from Ethiopia with our 2 1/2 year old son. We used Children’s Hope International and our son came from Bethzatha too. What an amazing orphanage that we also had the privilege to visit!

Congrats on your new son!

Alison - July 6, 2010 - 1:39 am

Beautiful words! My heart is breaking for these precious children…oh, the wait is so hard, but it will all be worth it! We just can’t wait to bring our Caroline Faith home! So thankful that God called us to her! Praying you get lots of sleep tonight!!

Asher Collie - July 6, 2010 - 1:54 am

Thank you for this. I wish every believer could read this. If its any consolation…we sent in our application to start our adoption on June 29th…so our waiting has just begun. We are leaving in the morning for GA. I’ll be thinking of you guys and praying for you as we are so close in proximity.

Asher Collie - July 6, 2010 - 1:55 am

PS- what I meant by any consolation was, soon there will be one or two less orphans.

Shannon - July 6, 2010 - 2:15 am

I love that you share your processing…I am challenged and inspired by your words! Praying for the adjustment-it will be no time before those two are the best of friends!

kristi johnson - July 6, 2010 - 2:28 am

oh, another beautiful post that speaks right to my heart…I had to link to it…it’s just too good!! we won’t forget what we saw…I pray every night that God will always remind me…I pray he’ll continue to break my heart..and sister, my heart breaks over the waiting children that you saw, kj

Karen F. - July 6, 2010 - 2:44 am

I’m praying with you . . . praying for those little ones in Ethiopia you visited . . . for those orphans I was privileged to serve in China this past April, many of whom are over the age of 14 and are no longer “adoptable” by China’s standards.
Thank you for this precious post.
Firstbrook Five

Meredith - July 6, 2010 - 6:05 am

This was an amazing post. I would like to link it to my blog if that’s ok. My baby isn’t even close to being home yet, and I am up in the middle of the night thinking about her and praying for her. So, you are not alone. I am praying for you and Isaac tonight. I pray the Lord gives you all the strength you need to care for your 4 precious children.

Christy - July 6, 2010 - 6:53 am

Love reading your processing. Love seeing your gorgeous photos. Still praying for your transition.

Amy @ Filled With Praise - July 6, 2010 - 7:37 am

When you were describing this to me the other night, I had a visual in my head. I have continued to think of that since talking to you. It truly breaks my heart. I pray that God continues to use each of us to bring these precious children home. They are so precious to him…each and every one.

So happy that your boys are making progress. They will be best buds before you know it.
Much love,

kim jewett - July 6, 2010 - 7:53 am

Oh Andrea..thank you for sharing and of course we can read your processing. The “so many toddlers” set my tears rolling this morning as we wait for our little “Hope”. And..Yay for little Frank as he opens part of his heart to his baby brother.

Katie Dunlap - July 6, 2010 - 8:20 am

Thank you for sharing this, Andrea. I’m definitely going to link to it. Thanks especially for providing the verses to pray over the children. I will certainly join you in praying for them.

Nikki - July 6, 2010 - 8:46 am

Reading your processing with joy, anticipation, and grief as we “hurry up to wait” for our ET daughter. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

Emily - July 6, 2010 - 9:09 am

As a mama to one of those kiddos that most likely would have simply been left in a crib, my heart breaks. For them, for the families that are missing out on one of His greatest blessings, having a special kiddo in the family! Just breaks.

Thanks for advocating and processing. I’m still having a hard time processing my trip and I have been home a few weeks already. Takes time……….

Tiffany - July 6, 2010 - 9:40 am

Andrea – I feel SO much of what you write…yet you always put it more beautifully than I ever could. I was exhausted upon returning home…trying to love everyone well while tending to the “extra” needs of a new baby who had already been through so much pain and loss. Caleb was the same way…not sleeping much…just checking to see that we were there…very easily startled and very fearful. Hang in there. You are a wonderful mommy and God will sustain you as the exhaustion grows. I’m praying for all of you…that God will meet you with the strength you need in this time of adjustment. We have been so tired lately – feeling spent and not able to keep up – but your post already has me considering our next adoption. Crazy how God works.

Lori - July 6, 2010 - 9:41 am

Thanks so much for processing! I’m a friend of Sonya Todds and have been following your blog the last couple months. We are WAITING on our baby girl from Ethiopia. Your posts have been such an encouragement and, many times, convicting to my husband and I. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your family with us!
Much love,

Kameron Shadrick - July 6, 2010 - 10:43 am

I am so happy to see Isaac home with you. Thank you for your posts – they are encouraging. I love today’s post – so powerful and well written. My heart breaks for the orphan and how people come up with excuses to do nothing. You did a great job discussing the need… I am going to post a link to your post on my blog. I hope that is okay.
Have a blessed day with your babies. By the way – Isaac is BEAUTIFUL!

Jody - July 6, 2010 - 11:50 am

Our little Zoe Mahlet was at Bethzatha, too-although we didn’t get to go there. But I know your feelings, I felt them, too. I would go around to all the babies at HH and pray over them and whisper, literally, in the ears of those I knew who were referred that their mommies and daddies were coming. And I cried, the whole time I did it, both of sadness for the world’s brokenness and for joy that these lucky ones had parents coming who could barely stand the wait. But for those without that, my heart hurts. I leave in a week for 10 days in Ethiopia, with “the least of these”–I’m BEYOND thrilled to be spending time at 2 HIV pos orphanages, but I know it will be heartbreaking. Can the 2 at Bethzatha you mentioned be adopted? Did you ask about that? b/c if so, I want to make it happen-somehow, someway whether us or someone else. Can we do that??

Andrea - July 6, 2010 - 11:57 am

I understand how you feel. I work in a group home were many unadoptable children with broken families are and that alone griefs me. Can’t imagine what it will be like in Ethiopia. I am earnestly praying that God’s people will rise to the opportuity to truly live the Gospel out.
In a difficult place right now trying to raise the funds for our adoption and go through the steps. We are hopeful though and can’t wait to have our baby girl home!

Olivia - July 6, 2010 - 12:43 pm

Thank you sooo much for the window into the world of adoption. I am just starting out in the journey, we have 4 kiddos our littlest is 1 years old and I had to beg my husband who is an only child for each one – he has come so far! Now I’m praying and fasting and asking the Lord to open the door (really to soften my husbands heart for orphans) and show us the way… is it fostercare, or adoption? I don’t know but your posts are encouraging and thought provoking! Thank you for being willing to share!

Christy - July 6, 2010 - 2:04 pm

What a heartfelt and beautiful post. Thank you for sharing! I followed a link from Heather’s (and baby makes three) blog. Sending up a prayer.

Kathryn Lewis - July 6, 2010 - 2:59 pm

Just came across your blog the other day – what a beautiful time to read about God bringing your family together! We are just sending in our contract with AGCI today and can’t wait to bring our baby boy home. Thank you for sharing your experience and your heart. Your post about meeting Isaac’s birth mother is truly amazing

Jennifer - July 6, 2010 - 5:05 pm

Yes, the wait is a killer. I love the pic of the toddler room. Yet I will wait.. maybe a year for two older children… amazing…………. A lot can happen in a year with international adoption, so who knows if it will even happen.

Jen - July 6, 2010 - 5:36 pm

My heart aches, too. We are waiting for our court date right now. Aching for my baby girl and for the others who need a family. Praise God for this post. He is going to use it to draw others to Himself.

Melanie - July 6, 2010 - 5:39 pm

Who is the child in the yellow shirt? What is his/her name? Also, what are the disabilities of those that had been there 3 or 4 years that lay there? That is breaking my heart. I would like to pray for those three by name? How come the two with handicapps don’t go to Hannah’s Hope? I am just wondering. That seems like an awfully long time to be there without getting picked to go to HH. Please email me with the info. We are currently on the waiting list with AGCI for boy or girl 0-3 years…..Thanks, Melanie

becky - July 6, 2010 - 9:12 pm

love this post and your little Isaac is ADORABLE!

Rachel - July 6, 2010 - 10:35 pm

Cried over those same two babies when there in January…thank you for bringing them back into my mind and my prayers.

How you find time to write such a beautiful post, I don’t know…but thankful.

Your son is precious.

Joely - July 6, 2010 - 10:38 pm

I just wanted to let you know you along with many others here in adoption blog world are very inspiring and have been so helpful to many of us out here in the adoption process. My husband (who is adopted and has other adopted siblings)and I are adopting from Ethiopia and are in the beginning stages but my heart aches so much for all of these children and it is now our mission in life to do everything in our power to spread the word on the need to save these innocent children and adopt! I just wanted to let you know I feel and understand everything you said and want to save Ethiopia too but you are inspiring and you have not only saved your child but are helping myself and other families do the same.

janell - July 6, 2010 - 11:30 pm

You are a beautiful writer. thanks for glorifying God through your words. My heart echos this post. Praying for those kids and for more to stand up and say “yes” to adoption!

Deb - July 7, 2010 - 9:54 am

Praise the Lord you are home safely! I have LOVED following your journey! We just adopted from China in Jan. (#5) The wait for a healthy child in China is over 4 years right now. At one point it was believed that there were close to 30,000 dossiers there just waiting!! So let’s pray that these programs will speed up and get these children home with their families and that NOTHING will stop that from happening!! Will keep you and the orphans in our prayers!!!