Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Could we get a timeline of how long you think this will take?" (July 2011, us to CHI coordinator)

I've kept the most private details about this journal to myself, but felt that if anyone every needed to know that there was a Living God,--if they heard this, maybe they'd see a glimpse of the Hope that lies within me and ask God to show Himeself to them in a mighty way.  So out of that one thought comes this little journaled timeline.  Every moment, each completed document, each step, every day, each prayer- each and every prayer on our behalf, every penny...all provided by God.

Before 2010- trying to pursue the American dream. Ha.

2010- first inspirations: Rachel’s first trip to Ethiopia/Emily and Steve begin adoption journey/Mahaela  Hauter  home.

April 9, 2011- Light the Fire even at our church, followed by a video (Sam&Esther)  Wednesday night presented by Michael Saunders. 

April 14, 2011- “Mom can you watch the girls while I take Michael out for his birthday?  I need to talk to him about something.”   He felt the same.  (WHAT.) And we made the decision over a quiet birthday dinner at Granite City.  The long process began.  Looking back I am thankful for each moment we spent together working through all the paperwork, finances, adoption classes and so much more.  The waiting.  The biggest decisions made: to adopt.  a little boy. from Ethiopia.  And the agency would be Children’s Hope International .

Sept/Nov. 2012- Unexpected call: Dr. Fisher’s referral of local new born abandoned at the hospital. Followed by meeting with attorney and news of withdrawal while at the hospital.  Mother given consent.  Father in jail. Followed by approx. 3 weeks of no news from DCFS or attorney. Later notified that baby had been placed in foster care and that we would never be granted custody but had option to pursue a 2 year long process of attempting to get foster/ custody.  Because of the long process and hardships on foster family, especially it they were a waiting foster/adopt family, and birth father’s choosing to legally fight for this baby, we considered this door closed and chose to no longer pursue this child.  ... I pray for that little one and his new family, and his birth mom often.

Wednesday, November  19, 2012
We received the following email from Sharon Turner, director of the Ethiopia team at Children’s Hope International:
“Dear Families,
 We are looking for a family for an 18 month old boy whom I have profiled below. Interested families please email me as to why you are interested in this  particular child and resources (medical and others) that you have in your area to support such an adoption given the medical  need of the child.  You may want to do a little research  on the medical need before responding to the email.  The actual name of the child is not being used  in order to protect his identity and privacy.

The Ethiopia team is looking  to find a family for a beautiful 18 month old  little boy  ....  He was relinquished by his birth mother who is not able to care for him; the father is unknown. The boy’s developmental status is described as satisfactory. A family who is already approved in the home study for special needs, and one who has the resources available to accommodate his special need,  is preferred. ... As well, we are still waiting on one document to be completed on this little boy before he can move through the process; ...  If we should find a family sooner, we ask for the family’s patience as we wait for the additional document.
 If you are not able to parent him yourself, please spread the word to those whom you think might be interested. Thank you.”

Right away we posted expressed our deep interest.  We were number 73 in a line of families who had been waiting for months and even years, waiting for little boys and girls of all different ages.  Even though my heart beat rapidly as I sent in our reply my mind told me push my expectations away, especially as we had just lived through such an ordeal, not so many weeks earlier.

We were notified that many families were interested and to write a statement of why we would be a good parent to this little one and should the child have any special needs, what resources did we have to get him medical attention.  We did on November 20, and received this reply November 21, a day before Thanksgiving:

“Dear Michael and Jen,

Thanks again for your interest in this little boy and for sharing the resources that you have.  We have made a decision and there is another family currently reviewing his information.  The family that is reviewing his information is farther up on the wait list.  We will keep you in mind in case this family decides not to proceed.

Thanks again and I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving.”

Putting the baby from our minds we tried our best to be thankful to the Lord the next day.  I had to make myself pray for this family who was chosen.  After all they had probably been waiting for what seemed like a life time.  They were more than likely better qualified than us.  They deserved him.  We would wait longer.  The Lord would sustain us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
We got news that afternoon that Grammy had suffered a stroke and probably wouldn’t have long to live.  During church that night Michael left to meet the family at Pekin hospital.  He called into work to let them know he wouldn’t be in the next day.

Thursday December 13, 2012
Michael was home and preparing to go to the hospital again.  He was in the living room with the girls.  It had been a year (December 16, 2011)  since our home study and dossier were complete and we were considered a waiting family.  Since that time, our caller id on the phone never showed me “Children’s Hope International” was calling.  But today it did.  Might heart beat in my throat.  I gestured to Michael it was CHI and ran up the steps to our room as I closed the door I heard Angie Thorn’s voice on the other line...”Jen, this is Angie at Children’s Hope....” I sat on the bed, waiting for her to say that our home study was expiring soon or that we needed to send in some updated document.  

“Are you and Michael still interested in that little boy we emailed you about in November?”

...thump thump, thump thump, thump thump....

“Yes.  Angie we are. Very.”

Trying not to explode, I hopped down the steps and frantically gestured to Michael to come upstairs.  He followed me back up to our room and pushed the speaker button on the phone and laid it on the bed.  As Michael talked with Angie, I heard almost nothing.  The only thing I remember after that is the fact that we had to review his medical chart with a doctor and if we gave our official “yes”, she would send his picture.  I had already said yes.  

We went pushed our way through the channels of having a couple docs look through his charts, but ultimately, it never mattered.  Files were overnighted to us, but we already knew.  We told our parents (that makes it pretty official). I checked our email every 5 minutes (and so did Michael), waiting for a picture to pop up... and it did.  Not until the next day but it did finally and I saw a pair of shiny brown eyes with long curly lashes staring back at me, along with the most chubby, kissable cheeks I had ever seen.  


Saturday, March 30, 2013
Tomorrow it will be Easter.  It will be the 1 year mark for Judah’s entrance into the House of Hope and just under 2 years since a girl in Ethiopia walked through the doors of Numan Orphanage with her newborn son.  

Tomorrow,  just before midnight we will load up Dad’s van with luggage and donations, legal documents, medical supplies for Becca and Luke and gifts for Lyzee.  And of course a stuffed hedgehog for Judah.  

Emily is sending me with a couple shirts with Judah’s name on them and my mom made him a baby boy ragdoll. 

 Could this really be?  

Grammy passed away December 16th.  At her funeral, one of the grandkids shared a verse that Grammy had needlepointed.  Psalm 13:5&6.  

I have clung to that verse.  Exactly one year after being added to the “list”.  And being #73 in a line of around 100 families...the Words sum it up so perfectly.  
Through the moments of trial and impatience.  
Through praying into the eastern sunrise. 
Through daily giving this back to the Lord and asking His forgiveness for my unfaithful attitude.  

Psalm 13:5&6
But I have trusted (not as well as I wanted to) in YOUR mercy (something I could never live without); My heart (oh has it ever beat this strong before?) shall rejoice (even after pouting and frustration) in YOUR (Yaweh) salvation (my only hope, my everlasting).
I will (please Lord help me to) sing (I sound terrible) to the Lord (He deserves the glory for every moment of my life- past, present and future), because He has dealt (my righteous, merciful Judge) bountifully (no words can describe how I feel) with me. (His daughter who was bound for hell but am now redeemed through the blood of Jesus, and daily brings me closer to Himself, even through my failures.  Even undeserving me.)

If possible, we will try to update from know, where we will be in a couple days to meet our son.


  1. the greatest news, the most beautiful story, the sweetest ending, and a glorious new beginning...all for Jesus' sake. Judah we cannot wait to meet you.

  2. Oh Jen, this is lovely. So thankful that you said yes and that God has shown himself so evidently during this part of the process. Beyond excited that you will be holding Bek's buddy exactly one year from when our prayers began for him<3