We still have not heard from CIS as of today. We are expecting to hear from them any day now. The current status is that the government in Ethiopia will be closing the beginning of August to end of September. But, children are still being referred to families during the rainy season, so we are hopeful that we can still get our dossier turned in and get a referral for our daughters during this summer sometime.
Meanwhile, I have been having some strange dreams lately. I dreamt that the doorbell rang and this lady was standing there with her car door open in front of my house. She said,"Aren't you the family that wants to adopt multiple children?" Yes, I said. "Well I have a baby in the car that needs a family. Her mom thought she could take care of her but she has decided she can't do it anymore. She is 5 months old." She ran to the car, brought her to me and said, "Here, look at her, what do you think?" I immediately called to Jerry and the kids and they all came to the door. We all agreed, we'll take her! Then she said,"Come with me to sign the papers." Jerry and I were then walking up a huge flight of stairs to an office where we signed some papers and immediately came home with a beautiful chubby little blue eyed curly topped precious baby girl. When we got home, I said, come on and lets get the crib set up, go buy diapers, formula, etc. and get everything for our baby. We had like a 2 hour notice all together from start to finish. Then, my heart started to race and I began to panic. I said "if Ethiopia finds out about her they won't let us get our daughters??" Then we were trying to figure out how to hide her for a while. I finally woke up with a totally stressed out feeling and a knot in my stomach. I was so glad this was only a dream!
We have received the travel packet information from Gladney for our trip to Ethiopia. This is exciting! We have to decide on which airline and hotel to book, and figure out all the details. So far, we are pretty sure we will go with Ethiopian airlines because they fly direct from D.C. We are also interested in staying at the guest house on the property of the orphanage vs. a hotel. Ellie really likes the idea of living the real life they live instead of being a tourist. She also wants to be able to visit with all of the other children there. I know my heart is going to break when I see all of the children that we can't take home with us. I am praying so hard for grace, peace and courage to be able to go through this experience in a God-honoring way. I sometimes fear I am going to be crying the whole time from just seeing all the poverty and poor children that have lost their parents and families. I have been reading "There is No Me Without You" by Melissa Faye Green as so many other families have recommended. It is just such a tragic state of affairs that this poor country and precious people are going through. My eyes are being widened to how very fortunate we are and how little I realized how many people around the world are suffering. Education is available only to those who can pay for it. Girls are especially disadvantaged and are often forced into prostitution because of lack of skills and jobs. Even when the fortunate people get an education, there are few jobs available to put it to use. There are many well educated people begging in the streets for lack of a job. I have been overcome with the thought that so many of our young people today are taking drugs, rebelling against their parents, doing poorly with their education etc. and I can't help but think about how the people in Africa are not able to get an education unless they pay for it, they are dying of starvation, disease and living in extreme poverty. I wonder what kind of an impact it would have if every American student had to take a mandatory two-week trip to Ethiopia or some other impoverished part of Africa for a community service project before they could graduate? I wonder if the attitudes would be one of gratitude and life-transforming? While I am looking forward to traveling to get my daughters, I am preparing for a very difficult life-transforming experience as we will be seeing first hand, the difficult living conditions that we only see on commercials here in the USA. I am truly being humbled and already shedding tears! I sincerely pray that somehow, we can make a difference and be a blessing to everyone we come in contact with while we are there. This is so not a vacation or happy time we are looking forward to. Yet it is probably the most exciting and life-changing trip that we will have ever experience. I am just feeling the need to be in much prayer and prepare for this trip spiritually more than physically. I long to hold my daughters, wipe their tears away, kiss, hug and love them with all of my heart, and most important, teach them to love, trust and lean on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for true healing, safety, security and direction. Only He can restore them and bring them true joy.