Thursday, August 27, 2009

Great News!!!!! Praise God

Yesterday, August 26, 2009 we received a referral for TWO children. Yeah!!!!!!!! So, apparently it WAS God's plan all along for us to adopt two. Even if it took longer than I would have liked and even when I started to doubt if we were in step with God. The waiting is the hardest part.

Our referral was for an 11 mo. old girl and a 2 yr. old boy. They are precious and we accepted the referral today. We are on cloud nine.

Courts are closed right now so we won't be given a court date until they reopen in October. We are praying that we will get a quick court date and be able to travel to bring them home by late October or early November. But, it could be further out than that. Again we wait.

We are unable to post photos of the children until we pass court and they are officially ours. But take our word, they are TOO CUTE.

God has orchestrated everything perfectly as usual.

Please pray for us as we gather the remaining funds needed to pay the agency/country fees, the humanitarian aid money and any travel expenses.

Our babies will be home soon!

God is SOOOOO good.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

4th Annual Adoption Seminar & Expo

As many of you know, Mike and I run an Adoption & Orphan Care Minstry through our church called God's Visible Love. We will be hosting our 4th Annual Adoption Seminar & Expo on Saturday, September 26th from 8am - 4pm at Providence Baptist Church on Glenwood Ave. There will be general sessions where adoptive families will share their testimonies and breakout sessions covering an array of topics (domestic infant adoption, foreign adoption, adopting from foster care, etc.) The cost is $5 per person and covers breakfast, lunch and materials. We will also have many local adoption agencies on hand at the expo to share information and answer questions.

On-line registration will be available on September 1st at .

Please feel free to share this information with anyone who may be interested.

We hope you can make it.

As a pre and post curser to this, the Southern Baptist Convention has recently passed this resolution:

WHEREAS, in the gospel we have received the “Spirit of adoption” whereby we are no longer spiritual orphans but are now beloved children of God and joint heirs with Christ
(John 14:18; Rom. 8:12-25; Gal. 3:27-4:9; Eph. 1:5); and

WHEREAS, the God we now know as our Father reveals himself as a “father of the fatherless” (Ps. 68:5) who grants mercy to orphans (Deut. 10:18; Hos. 14:3); and

WHEREAS, our Lord Jesus welcomes the little ones (Luke 18:15-17), pleads for the lives of the innocent (Ps. 72:12-14), and shows us that we will be held accountable for our response to “the least of these my brethren” (Matt. 25:40); and

WHEREAS, the Scripture defines “pure and undefiled religion” as “to visit orphans and widows in their trouble” (Jas. 1:27); and

WHEREAS, the satanic powers have warred against infants and children from Pharaoh to Moloch to Herod and, now, through the horrors of a divorce culture, an abortion industry, and the global plagues of disease, starvation, and warfare; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have articulated an unequivocal commitment to the sanctity of all human life, born and unborn; and

WHEREAS, a denomination of churches defined by the Great Commission must be concerned for the evangelism of children—including those who have no parents; and

WHEREAS, upward of 150 million orphans now languish without families in orphanages, group homes, and placement systems in North America and around the world; and

WHEREAS, our Father loves all of these children, and a great multitude of them will never otherwise hear the gospel of Jesus Christ; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, June 23-24, 2009, express our commitment as a denomination of churches to join our Father in seeking mercy for orphans; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we call on each Southern Baptist family to pray for guidance as to whether God is calling them to adopt or foster a child or children; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we encourage our pastors and church leaders to preach and teach on God’s concern for orphans; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we commend churches and ministries that are equipping families to provide financial and other resources to those called to adopt, through grants, matching funds, or loans; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we ask our International Mission Board and North American Mission Board to prioritize the evangelism of and ministry to orphans around the world, and to seek out ways to energize Southern Baptists behind this mission; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we encourage Southern Baptist churches to join with other evangelical Christians in recognizing November 8, 2009, as “Orphan Sunday,” focusing that day on our adoption in Christ and our common burden for the orphans of the world; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we hope what God is doing in creating an adoption culture in so many churches and families can point us to a gospel oneness that is defined not by “the flesh” racial, economic, or cultural sameness but by the Spirit unity and peace in Christ Jesus; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that we pray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit on Southern Baptist congregations so that our churches increasingly will announce and picture, in word and in deed, that “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.”

Friday, July 24, 2009

Remembering Our Daughters Adoption

I thought I would take some time to reminisce about our daughter's adoption.


It was 2004. Mike and I had been married a little over 2 years. I was desperate to be a mom. I knew my whole life that this is what God had called me to do. I was going on 38 years old and not a pregnancy in site. Oddly enough, when Mike and I were dating we talked about having a couple of biological children and then adopting also. Little did we know during that conversation that God had planned for us to build our family through adoption all along.

In March of 2004 Mike and I traveled out to California to visit his sister. Before we left, I asked Mike if I could take some time to talk with him about adoption while in the airport and on the plane. I am notorious for jumping on him with an important topic at the wrong time. So, I prepared him for what I wanted to talk about. By the end of the trip we were both in agreement to move forward with the adoption.

Immediately upon arriving home, I started the investigation of agency and countries. By the end of April we had decided on Russia and Frank Adoption Agency which happened to be located here in Raleigh. I spent the next four months getting us "paperwork ready". We officially went on the wait list towards the end of July. Within two weeks of going on the wait list, we got a referral for a baby boy. I can not explain it as God was in control, but we did not accept that referral. A month later we received another referral for another little boy. Again, this did not feel right. We almost decided to postpone the adoption process but we went to the agency and changed our request from with a boy or a girl to just a baby girl. We expected the wait to take much long. Two months later, we got Em's referral.


Emily's referral came at the end of October. We accepted it and two weeks later we were on a plane to Russia to meet our baby girl. We flew in to Moscow and took a van on a two hour ride north to Tver. Emily's orphanage was another two hours north of Tver in a tiny town called Kaishin. We had two other single ladies traveling with us who happened to be adopting at the same time. One of the ladies was from Cary, NC and her daughter was in the same orphanage as ours. The first trip was short. Five days. Just long enough for us to meet and spend a little time with Emily. Of course that was not her name at the time. Her Russian name was Yevgenia. While driving to Tver, our van was pulled over by some police at a roadside stop. Our van driver (Losha (sp?)didn't speak a word of English but VERY nice) had dark features and the Russian police were pulling drivers over who may look like they were from the Chechnya region where all the unrest was going on. It was a bit scary as all the police were armed with automatic rifles and did not speak English and none of us on the van spoke Russian. After an hour delay, we were back on our way.

Upon arriving at the orphanage, we all piled out of the van. The orphanage was painted a pastel lime green color and looked pretty against the white snow, even if it was run down. Most of the buildings in Russia are very old. It was a tiny orphanage with only about 50 children. We entered the building and went up the uneven stairs to the orphanage directors office. They don't have OSHA in Russia so we were constantly tripping over door thresholds and uneven stair steps. At one point I had to use the restroom. All the plumbing is very old and the pipes are exposed. It is amazing that it still works. Everything screams history. You can see it in the buildings, plumbing, roads, the churches and the elderly peoples faces. Russia's history is still very prevalent.

We spent about two hours holding and playing with Em. At one point we placed her on the carpet to see if she could sit up or crawl and we were instructed that that was not allowed. The orphanage workers are very nice but very careful to not let the children get sick, if they can help it. When one gets sick, they all get sick. I am sure their jobs are hard enough without all the kids having colds. Russians tend to think that sickness or colds are caught from drafts (not germs or viruses). Because of this, they keep the buildings VERY VERY warm. They are heated with oil and we sweated to death the entire time we were there. Freezing outside and a sauna inside.

One the ride back to Tver, our coordinator (Tatiana) handed us a book and asked us to write down her full name. First, middle and last as she needed this information for the adoption documents. Now, let me just say that I had spent the previous six months flipping through a book of 50,000 names and narrowing down my list to about 20 names. I kept on Mike for us to decide on a name so we could start talking about her by name. I just happened to take the list of 20 with me. The night before we went to meet Emily for the first time, I pulled out the list and said "okay, we are here in Russia now lets pick a name". Still no commitment. When our coordinator asked us for her name, you could have seen daggers shoot from my eyes at Mike. ;-) That night he wanted to go look up names on the Internet. I said "NO!! I spent the last six months looking at names and trying to get you to do the same. Now, you can choose from my list." Is this a guy thing??? Not funny at the time but hilarious now. I chose her first name and Mike chose her middle name which ended up being her birth mothers name. How cool is that! In the end, it suits her perfectly.


The first trip to Russia was cold but tolerable and no snow. Our second trip, which was just two weeks later, was MUCH colder and snow drifts as much a 4-6 feet deep. We left the US on Friday, arrived in Moscow on Saturday, stayed two nights in Moscow at the Marriott Grande and on Monday went to court, in Tver, to finalize the adoption. We spent Monday and Tuesday running around doing paperwork for Visa's and passports for the kids. On Wednesday we left for Kaishin to pick up the babies. It was like a blizzard driving from Tver to Kaishin and we insisted on being okay with postponing the trip to the next day. But, the Russians drive in that kind of weather all the time and didn't think a thing about it. The snow drifts were so deep that they cover up roads and drive ways. People would use TALL wooden stakes with greenery attached to the tops to mark their driveways in the snow. We got to the orphanage and found a small group of little children playing out in the snow. They were TOO cute. I wanted to take one of them home with us along with Emily. We went up to the orphanage directors office and they brought the kids in to us. We dressed her in the clothes we brought for her and then shared some tea and desserts with the ladies of the orphanage. After bundling Em in her snow suit we brought, we got in the van for the long driver back to Tver with two babies and no car seats or seat belts. We stayed one night in Tver with the babies and then left Thursday for Moscow. Thursday, by the way, was Thanksgiving. We spent hours in the van as we got caught up in Moscow's rush hour traffic that evening. After finally arriving at the hotel, we were exhausted and had missed the hotel's traditional US Thanksgiving meal. So, we ordered room service for Thanksgiving. I had spaghetti carbonara and wanted dessert but Mike wouldn't let me because it was so expensive. He wouldn't even let me order a dessert on Thanksgiving. I will never let him live that down. ;-)

The next day, Friday, the kids had to have physicals and then we had our exit interview at the US Embassy. There must have been 50 families all crammed into this tiny room waiting for their name to be called. That night, we all went out to dinner to the TGI Friday's that was right down from the hotel. After several days eating nothing but Russian food in Tver, a familiar restaurant with familiar food was a welcome sight. The next morning, Saturday, we boarded a plane and headed back to the US.


The entire time we were in Russia, I never got emotional or shed a tear. It was all about the business of getting things done to bring our baby home. But now, on the plane, leaving Russian soil, it was all done. Em was ours and we were going home. There were at least 20 other kids on that flight. All just adopted. Many of the older children were terrified as they had never been out of the orphanage before, let alone on an airplane. Tears just started to stream down my face uncontrollably. I was overwhelmed with all the emotions I had encountered over the last several weeks but denied myself from feeling. Excitement, fear, nervousness, joy, love. The gates opened and all this rushed in. Em was the best baby on the plane. She did not cry once. When we landed in NY, Mike took mine and Em's picture stepping off the plane because that is the moment that Em became a US citizen. After a 4 hour layover at JFK, we boarded a much smaller plane for the flight back to Raleigh. With all that had occur ed and time changes, we had been up for over 24 hours. We were beyond exhausted and running on fumes. All we wanted to do was crawl in our beds and sleep. When we arrived at RDU we had some family and friends waiting to greet us with signs, gifts and balloons. It was great.

We spent the next two days staying home and sleeping. Then, I was off from work for 12 weeks to spend with Em getting all her doctors visits, getting her on a schedule and bonding with her. Not to mention it was Christmas time and we had to decorate and shop.

We had a Welcome Home Baby Emily party in February and had all our friends over to meet Em for the first time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Time Fun

Emily's Preschool Graduation

Birthday fun at the Mestas.

The grand-kids visiting Gammy & Gampy. Emily, Josh & Kate

Josh's 3 year birthday cake

Ballet recital with best friend Emma.

Learning to ride bikes at Falls Lake Dam.

The butterfly garden at the NC Museum of Life and Science.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Still waiting but definitely not idle

So, we are still awaiting a referral for our children. Every month I dial into the Gladney conference call to get the country program update. We have been on the wait list for 10 months now. I am desperate to see and hold our children. I have an emptiness in my heart that can only be filled by them. The Ethiopian courts will close for the rainy season in August and September. That means no cases will be processed during that time and when court opens back up there will be a back log of families waiting to be processed. I am still hopeful that we will get our referral this Summer and travel this Fall to bring them home. However, as time passes, it is becoming more and more realistic to think they may not come home until after the first of the year.

This is a whole new experience for us. Our first two children's referrals came to us rather quickly and both adoptions were completed in under a year. This long drawn out wait is so hard. God is testing us. He is testing our patience and obediance. I am not very good with the patience thing but leave it to God to use our weaknesses to refine us. We pray nightly at the dinner table for their safety and health and mostly that they will know they are loved and wanted. My heart aches for them.

We have definitely been kept busy with our two littles at home. After 4 months, Josh is finally potty trained. Yeah!!! Em graduated pre-school and has now started an Early Start Kindergarten program to get her ready for Kindergarten that starts in late August. She LOVES kindergarten!

Please keep us in your prayers as the waiting is the hardest part.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Perfect Snowy Day

Our kids had not seen snow since either one was brought home from Russia. (2004 and 2007)

They had a blast. Cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate and bacon for breakfast. Out to play in the snow. Back in to warm up with more hot chocolate and some tomato soup for lunch. Then naps, back out to play some more, in for dinner, a nice warm bath and early bedtime.

Aaahhhh! Bedtime! ;-)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What We've Been Up To...

October, November and December proved to be just as busy for us as they have always been. After wrapping up a successful Adoption Seminar & Expo at the end of September, I took a much need break to enjoy my favorite time of year.

October was filled with visits to the local pumpkin farms, a visit from my sister and new neice, a vacation in the mountains, Mike's birthday and of course Halloween.

November was busy with Emily's birthday Tea Party, our anniversary, my birthday, a visit from my parents, pictures with Santa, Thanksgiving, decorating the house and a fun neighborhood event with Santa, hot chocolate, cookies and hayrides.

December I did lots of baking and cooking, shopping, Christmas parties, getting together with long lost friends, my parents coming for a visit, Jesus' birthday, Emily's actual birthday, New Year's and house cleaning.

I just LOVE the holiday's. Did I mention I had two weeks off???