Thursday, December 10, 2009

It is Better to Give Than to Receive

J-man and I had a very busy day yesterday. First we donated a couple of items to our favorite local no-kill animal shelter, Safe Harbor. (Our dog, Bella, is an alumnus.) Then it was off to Wal-Mart for a whirlwind shopping trip. There are many causes we typically support at Christmastime and hubby and I agreed to amp up the giving this year because so many people are really struggling financially. Don’t get me wrong. This year has been a very challenging year for us financially. Business is down but God is faithful and continues to bring clients and work in our doors. This is more than we can say for many people. Therefore, we really feel the need to share this year. In an effort to accomplish this we’ve decided we’re not going to exchange gifts with each other this year. I can only speak for myself, but honestly there is nothing I need. Now want, well that’s a different story, but if 2009 has taught us anything it is that our wants are definitely NOT needs. On a funny aside, I had an epiphany the other day while walking through a craft store. The song All I Want for Christmas is You was broadcasting over the store speakers and I was singing along aloud to J-man who was chilling in his Peanut Shell. As I looked down at him singing the refrain it dawned on me that those exact words would’ve been flowing from my lips last Christmas as we awaited our referral. I smiled from ear to ear knowing nothing could be closer to the truth. I got everything I wanted for Christmas and it was delivered EARLY this year.

Yesterday my heart was light as I selected a couple of pairs of jeans, shirts, socks and underwear for a young man we’re “sponsoring” through our church, Maranatha, this Christmas. We also picked up a wagon and a huge bag of building blocks for a baby we’re sponsoring through our company for a toy drive facilitated by one of our clients. This year we elected to sponsor just one child in each charity as opposed to two or three, but we’re going above and beyond for each child as our finances permit in an effort to make it a special Christmas for them. Our final purchases yesterday were items for New Life Nicaragua, an orphanage in Managua. This charity is near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons. New Life houses infants and children that are seriously malnourished. Our church is seeking donations of over-the-counter medications and vitamins, cloth diapers and small toys for infants at the orphanage as well as monetary contributions.

I have two more tasks remaining on my to-do list. Saturday I will purchase food items for a food bank our church houses. It goes without saying that the need is great this year for families requiring assistance to simply put food on the table. We will purchase the components for two entire meals—including whole chickens. My final goal is to find a person or family who can benefit from large ticket gently-used toys Jackson has already outgrown. The ideal person would be a single mother. Since I was once that person, I know what it means to be blessed with toys for a child. When you’re struggling to merely survive (pay rent, utilities and put food on the table) Christmas is something you’d rather not think about. After posting this entry I’m off to make some phone calls to find this person or people. Today as I embark on my quest to find someone who will benefit from these toys I’m going to reflect on these words of Mother Teresa:

“Today, more and ever, we need to pray for the light to know the will of God…
for the love to accept the will of God… for the way to do the will of God…”

I challenge you to do the same. You’ll experience Christmas in an entirely new light. I gave an in depth detail of our giving, not to glorify what we’re doing, but to illustrate that it doesn’t take a lot to be a blessing to someone. Boys’ polo shirts and jeans at Wal-Mart: $7 and $15/each respectively; building blocks (HUGE bag): $15; OTC meds/vitamins: $3 to $8 (plus you can clip coupons for them); groceries: nominal (look for BOGO); donating GENTLY-used toys: nothing-nada-zip. You don’t have to donate major bucks to make a difference. ANYTHING YOU DO will make a difference. Go ahead—BE THE DIFFERENCE!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Change of Tone and Praise

Obviously I’ve posted little since returning home with Jackson. Frankly I just don’t have time, but I’ve also decided to keep our family life private. The internet has made it commonplace to share everything and anything about our lives; however, I’m not comfortable sharing Jackson’s life. This is my own personal decision.

That said there are times that I’ve thought about sharing thoughts I’ve had or things I’ve read, but that would mean changing the tone of my blog. The blog was initially established to share my personal journey in our adoption. Now that our adoption is complete, I’m putting the “Ethiopian adoption” aspect of this blog to rest. Hopefully I will find time to post things on here as they are laid upon my heart or pop into my mind. If someone benefits from it, that’s great. But the real reason for the blog from this point forward is merely to share.

Today I feel the need to worship. I feel the need to praise our awesome and wonderful LORD for his faithfulness, goodness and mercy. He is a truly merciful God who loves me despite my many blatant shortcomings. He blesses me time and again, each and every moment of the day and he is truly worthy of my praise. I can’t think of a more appropriate offering of praise than the following Psalm. It says it all. I hope anyone who happens to read this is as blessed as I am by King David’s writing. I want to shout this from the rooftop!

Psalm 145
A psalm of praise. Of David.
1 [a] I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works. [b]
6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
your saints will extol you.
11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made. [c]
14 The LORD upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.

May you be blessed today and perhaps even be moved to take a moment to offer up your own prayer of praise and thanksgiving for the innumerable blessings and wondrous works God bestows upon you each and every day.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

911 has a profound affect on me each year. As a former flight attendant who worked an early morning flight out of Boston’s Logan International Airport September 11, 2001, it is suffice to say I will never forget where I was that day. Our plane had flown over The Pentagon just moments before American Airlines flight 77 struck the building. Our first officer actually commented, telling passengers to look out the left side of the aircraft for a clear view of The Pentagon on the clear September morning.

I spent the following three days sequestered at a hotel in Lake City, Florida, after a government-ordered emergency landing. I spent those three days sitting at the foot of my bed, watching the news coverage over and over again, crying until I made myself sick.

In the years that have followed I still try, albeit unsuccessfully, to make sense of that day. Eight years later, I am no closer to understanding the evil that perpetrated these attacks on innocent people. That said, I was directed to the following scripture by the Holy Sprit this morning. I experienced a profound sense of peace in reading it.

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; and his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the LORD, who is my refuge—
10 Then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

Wow! Where does the time go? It's been over one month since I last posted an entry. It's not for lack of desire, but for sheer lack of time. I am working (albeit from home) every hour during the day that Jackson is asleep. That leaves early mornings, evenings and weekends for housework, laundry/ironing, shopping and family time and absolutely zero time for blogging or even Facebook for that matter. It's as if I've dropped off the radar. If it isn't a mobile upload on the fly then sadly I don't get to it.

Things are absolutely great here in the DuBose household. We've settled into a wonderfully comfortable rhythm (sleep deprivation aside). Jackson is such a joy and we are having so much fun! He still isn't sleeping through the night, but I don't feel as bad in a physical sense as I thought I would. He is usually up for an hour to an hour and a half, usually waking at two. He is just not a sleeper. He takes a couple of naps during the day which recharge his batteries and then gets what must be ample sleep for his internal clock because he is up and raring to go in the best of moods each morning. When Jackson does sleep through the night our day begins in full force at five a.m. It's a very good thing I'm a morning person! I will be sad to see the end of my Ethiopian coffee. I'm sad to say only two pounds remain.

Jackson is up to nineteen pounds. That's a far cry from the eleven pound baby we brought home from Ethiopia two and a half months ago. He LOVES to eat! Jackson also has six teeth at present. The two front teeth on the bottom were the first to arrive. The four top teeth (front and eye teeth) all popped in the past week. Yep! They are popping like beautiful, white kernels of popcorn! This extreme teething may well be contributing to his sleeplessness, but it has not affected his jolly mood in the least. He is so much fun!

Jackson is also scooting backward on his belly for very long distances and trying very hard to talk. His first word will most likely begin with either a "c" or "g" because he says these consonants over and over in rapid fire succession throughout the day. He is fascinated with our dogs and Gunnar is his shadow, so perhaps "Gunnar" will be his first word. Jackson has also learned how to scream--loudly. He screams just for the heck of it. He cracks himself up. He'll scream, look at you and then smile and/or laugh. And then he does it all over again. He's a riot!

In my "downtime" I've been working on the re-adoption process we must go through in this country. The United States does not recognize the Ethiopian courts so we must go through the arduous and somewhat expensive process of a stateside adoption. All states are different. We are lucky that Florida does not require an attorney so I am attempting to do this myself. It has been a challenge to say the least because there are no written instructions, rules, regulations, guidelines, requirements, etc. A family from central Florida who adopted from Ethiopia last year was kind enough to share some of their document templates and links to government documents to be filed but I had to make yet another trip to the courthouse this morning (my second this week) to provide another batch of information/documentation. It wouldn't be bad if you could ask someone a question and get a straightforward answer, but they will not answer not even the most basic question at the courthouse. Their pat reply is that they are unable to provide legal advice, even if it is not legal advice you are seeking, but rather simple direction or clarification. Not to mention the fact that we received someone else's request for additional information in the mail which I had to PERSONALLY return to the courthouse in order to receive OUR request for additional information! It's frustrating.

Also in my downtime I've been preparing our three-month post placement report. The Ethiopian government requires follow-up reports from adoptive families and social worker visits three times in the first year and every year thereafter until the child reaches 18 years of age. This also requires documentation and legwork.

So perhaps you're beginning to see the picture as to why I have so little time to blog. And I really, really miss it. It's not only a great way to document the goings on in our/my life, but has proven to be a wonderful means by which to sort my thoughts as I write. I keep thinking it's going to get better; that there will miraculously be more hours in my day tomorrow, but that has yet to happen. I'm just thankful I was able to get photos uploaded to Facebook today. Yea! It's the little victories that mean so much!

Oh well, I'm going to go wake my sleeping baby. Don't want that nap to be too long...

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hakuna Matata

Jackson had his one-month (or six- month, depending on how you look at it) pediatrician visit today. To say he is doing good just might be the greatest understatement of the year. He has gained nearly four pounds in one month. That’s the difference a high-protein diet makes.

As noted in an earlier post, Jackson has gone from looking like a frail infant to a healthy, robust baby. The gain in strength alone is amazing to me. When I look at his girth I find it hard to believe this is the same baby we met April 13th in Africa. His weight has gone from the less than five percentile to the 25th percentile on the (American) chart for a normal male infant. And his height is right in the normal range. This is amazing!

Additionally, I really feel as if we’ve turned a corner this week in attachment and bonding. I really feel as if Jackson has finally learned he can truly trust us to be there from moment to moment to care for him. For the first four weeks of our lives together I felt as if he was holding back somewhat. He was very quick to cry at every turn but now sheds very few tears during the course of the day. He is such a joy to be around. He makes me laugh and laugh—all-day-long. I just love being around him. He makes life make sense.

Hakuna matata, friends. Hakuna matata…

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Six-Month Birthday, Jackson!

Today is Jackson’s six-month birthday. It’s almost hard for me to imagine because he was only seven weeks old when we received our referral. It’s hard to believe three months have passed since that day. I remember the telephone call as if it were yesterday.

Jackson has changed so much since meeting him five weeks ago. When we met him he was a tiny, fragile, dazed little sprite. Now he is robust with a big roly-poly belly and chubby legs. He is amazingly strong in my opinion. He is learning to sit up on his own and loves to stand erect on his own two legs. I yell, “Hurray!” and he just laughs and laughs. When we met him he was incapable of grasping anything but one of our fingers. Now he grabs anything within reach. One thing he definitely does not like, however, is “tummy time”. He hates to be on his belly and I can’t blame him. He has virtually no strength if you place him face-down. But he does just fine if we’re reclining and he is laying face-down on our chest. He has plenty of arm strength to lift himself up and backward, looking all around.

Another thing I must comment on is the attention Jackson garners when we’re out in public. I’m going to have to add thirty minutes to my anticipated shopping excursions because everyone stops us to talk to him and comment on how big his eyes are and how beautiful he (she—which is what people actually call him) is. And it’s true. He is all of those things: charming and beautiful with these huge, lovely eyes that absorb every detail of every possible thing in his line of vision. Sometimes in our quiet moments I get lost for long periods of time just watching him observe the world around him. He has a look of utter surprise as his head turns 180 degrees right to left and 90 degrees straight up to the ceiling. I would LOVE to possess that innocence and be that fascinated by the world around me. What a beautiful space to be in.

Greg and I still cannot believe he is here—in our home, in our lives, in our arms, in our hearts. The process of adoption is fraught with so many ups and down and unforeseen obstacles and delays that it sometimes seemed like we would never have a baby. But he is here. And he is ours. And he is lovely. And his name is Jackson and he is six months old today.

Happy birthday, my beautiful son, and here’s to many, many happy returns. I love you.

A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and love, a resting place for innocence on earth, a link between angels and men.

Martin Farquhar Tupper
(British poet, 1810-1889)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One Month

Well, we’ve been home with Jackson for one month and what a month it’s been. We’ve had many adjustments to make, but I honestly I can’t imagine life in this house without him. Having Jackson here is as natural as breathing.

Having an infant can best be summarized by this thought. Want to forget the rest of the world? Have a baby. Seriously. Want to forget about the economy and the state of the world, global warming, swine flu, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, getting older, crow’s feet and belly fat? Have a baby. With a baby in the house, nothing else matters except snuggling, feeding time, nap time, bath time and dirty diapers. Nothing. And I’m okay with that. It’s a welcome mental vacation!

I am overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from friends and family. The cards, emails, visitors, telephone calls, food and gifts have literally poured in here. We are so blessed to have so much support. It has helped to alleviate the sorrow I feel in not having family in close proximity.

The past month has not been without challenges. The greatest of which was getting Jackson’s internal clock set to our time zone. Our nights were his days and vice versa. Thankfully that did not take nearly as long as I had anticipated. He sleeps through the night most nights. I’m actually getting more sleep now than I have in years.

I just completed the required one-month post-placement report and am trying desperately to find information on the re-adoption process for the State of Florida. The former was easy. Almost each answer was “Great”. The latter is causing me angst. According to my online searches we do not need to hire an attorney but I cannot find anyone who can give me direction. I even went to the court house today to inquire (which is another story in and of itself) but got absolutely nowhere. Ugh!

Jackson’s smooth transition isn’t the only great thing happening in our lives. Wonderful things are happening in daughter Brittany’s (and hubby Mike’s) life too. She begins grad school in just a few weeks. They are in the process of packing up and moving quite a distance to begin the next phase of their lives. I am so very proud of her and am honored to be her mother. She is an amazing individual who has so many wonderful things ahead of her.

Before I sign off (gotta sleep while the baby’s sleepin’) I want to share a few verses from 1 Chronicles that have been floating in my head since last week. I’m still trying to read through the Old Testament, but it is now a struggle. I am firmly a month behind in my reading but I believe it’s better to be a month behind than to not be reading at all. I’ve written about my love for King David in previous posts. He was so perfectly human and perfectly flawed yet was chosen by God above all others to do great things. David’s heart is what mattered to God. Oh, how I would love to be as full of faith, humble and God-focused as David.

This scripture speaks to me of Jackson and how eternally thankful I am to God for blessing us with this precious baby. If I could only offer up one Psalm of Thanks to God in heaven for this blessing it would be this.

David’s Psalm of Thanks

1 Chronicles 16:8-12

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced.”

I hope to be back here soon. Until then, blessings, peace, love and gratitude to all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Rythym of Life

The past two days have been a dream. Jackson seems to have settled into a routine (once we got past the nasty doctor visit). Or at least that's what I'm telling myself. But since this isn't my first ride on the merry-go-round, I'm taking it day by day.

Jackson slept for nine hours again last night. That's two nights in a row. He woke up at six o'clock both mornings, took a bottle and we went outside to smell the jasmine and gardenias. Jackson loves to be outside. He looks around in wonder at the trees and sky. I just love watching him watch everything.

He went for a stroll around the neighborhood with papa so mama could get a shower and get dressed. Jackson has trained us well in such a short period of time. We know to get while the gettin' is good! He is lying in his crib at the moment, just cooing, giggling and panting. I LOVE listening to him. It is music to my ears. It will be time for another bottle in about fifteen minutes (if he stays true to his schedule). Rest assured he will let me know if it's time.

I think mama and Jackson are going to make a trip to the medical express clinic today. My regular D.O. is not in on Fridays and I fear I have an infection in my eye. A mother we traveled with noted yesterday that her son was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in his eye and I just might have the same. I've been sick since Thursday of last week and wonder if this is all tied together. I have a terrible cough and congestion in my chest which takes me at least an hour to clear in the morning. We'll see. I hate to take Jackson to a sick clinic, but papa has to go to work to earn the dough. I confess, I thought I'd be able to do a little work from home myself this week, but it is much more difficult than I ever anticipated. There is very little down time with Jackson. As a matter of fact, this respite (with him in the crib) is a rarity that I am fully enjoying. It's the best of all worlds. A few minutes to myself while listening to my sweet baby's voice. He is absolutely precious!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I spent months with a cell phone glued to my hand, not allowing it out of my sight while waiting for a telephone call announcing our referral. Now I spend my days with a baby monitor glued to my hand awaiting the sweet stirrings of Jackson in his crib. I like the baby monitor much better!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Home, Safe and Sound

Well, here we are home safe and sound replete with all the activity associated with an infant. We made it home safely Saturday evening and let me just say the BTDT people did not exaggerate their warnings for jet lag. Greg and I suffered greatly (and still are to some degree) from jet lag. That said, I can only imagine how hard it is for Jackson. Our internal clocks were only reset for ten days. Imagine poor little Jackson who has been on Africa time for his entire five months of life. I can’t say the adjustment has been easy. Jackson is a very high-maintenance baby. This may also be due to the fact that he has some type of infection (I presume) in his chest, sinuses and possibly ears. He has no fever, but a strong, rattle-like cough that has gotten worse since we’ve been home. Additionally, his tummy is so bloated with what I presume is gas, that I swear it’s going to explode! We have our first pediatrician appointment scheduled for tomorrow and I cannot wait to get there!

He is on an extremely tight feeding schedule of every three hours. Once in a blue moon we can stretch it to four during the night, but not often. It’s pretty firm at three hours and there is no way around it. When hungry, Jackson screams at the top of his lungs until you put that bottle into his mouth. I had expected it to be trying, and I have not been disappointed in my expectations.

To top it all off, Greg and I are both sick. My throat became scratchy Thursday of last week, but I was optimistically hoping it was from the dense smog we had been driving through for hours throughout the day. It worsened somewhat Friday and by the time we got to the airport Friday night I was pretty miserable. Our flight, scheduled to depart at 10:15 PM Ethiopia time, didn’t actually take off until nearly 1:00 AM Saturday morning. During the six hours of travel to the airport and waiting at the airport I deteriorated rapidly. But the time we got on the plane (11:15) I had a fever, severe body aches, chills and a pretty bad sore throat. Twenty-seven hours of flying was absolutely miserable. Here it is Tuesday morning and I still have a severe sore throat and no voice at all. I cannot even say Jackson’s name aloud. This makes me sad because he cannot hear me tell him how much I love him. Needless to say, Greg now has the sore throat and fever so he’s a few days behind me in whatever bug we have.

Enough about me though, let me just say that Jackson was such a trouper on the way home. We had four total legs of travel—two international and two domestic. He slept through the entire first leg and much of the second leg. The third leg? Well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. Our travels took us from Washington, D.C., to Atlanta and ultimately to West Palm. The aircraft from D.C. to Atlanta was a smaller plane that never really cleared the 10,000 foot pressure barrier and poor Jackson screamed bloody murder the entire flight. I felt bad for the entire plane, because I’m certain they heard us, but I feel much worse for poor Jackson whose ears must’ve been throbbing.

We have some adjustments to make here at the DuBose household and they are on a fast-track schedule. But it’s all good. This is what we’ve waited for, for nearly nineteen long months and firsthand experience tells me that we’ll be through this phase before you know it. Until then, say a little prayer that we might get at least a couple of hours of shut eye. Just because Master Jackson demands a bottle every three hours it doesn’t mean he sleeps for three hours in between. Au contraire, mon frère. Master Jackson just LOVES that hour and a half of playtime and walkabout following each feeding. Yes, my friends, we certainly have our work cut out for us.

I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Journey of a Lifetime

Today was our first full day in Addis and already my life has changed forever. We began the day by heading to the top of Mount Entoto. The driver parked approximately one mile from the top and we along with the seven other early arrivals hiked to the top. It's not the typical hike one might think of. This was a hike up a paved roadway intermittently dotted with tin roof, dung-sided, one-room houses.

We were accompanied on our journey by several children and young men who served as pseudo tour guides, begging and (sometimes) pleading for money.

Our drive to the mountain showed us such great poverty that I can't even begin to put it into words. I felt so helpless. I wanted to save each and every person I saw--children, women and men. I wanted to feed them, bathe them and give them medical care. But I can't. I can't help them all.

I can begin, however, by helping one beautiful little boy named Jackson Bereket DuBose. He is but one little boy, but it and he--will make a difference.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Time has Come

Tomorrow we depart from West Palm Beach to travel to Africa to bring our son home. Although this adventure is nearly 19 months in the making, it still doesn’t seem real. It doesn’t seem like it’s happening. Perhaps this is exacerbated by the fact that it will only be two weeks Friday since we passed court. It has been many months of waiting followed by a punctuated HURRY-UP! Although we knew expedited travel dates were a possibility, there were still so many things to finalize. We had three different sets of potential travel dates assigned to us since January, plus two court dates. Each time I moved forward “tentatively” with things, but until you get that final “YES”, all bets are off.

So, here we are. We will leave our home tomorrow to return in 10 days with our long-awaiting addition.

We thank you all for your prayers over the past 18+ months. We ask for your continued prayers for us, for Jackson and for a safe, healthy return home. We love you all.

In HIS name,

Peace love and blessings.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Donations! We are blessed!

This suitcase is filled with donations from our church and our
friends. It is packed to the brim! It's a huge suitcase, large enough
to hold me if I tucked into a fetal position. And it's filled! We
serve an awesome God!

The bags next to the suitcase are filled with donations for the TH
caregivers and for children. I only have enough for 40 children, 20
boys and 20 girls. And I'm sad I can't take more--space-wise or
mometarily. We are visiting two orphanages. I wish I could take
something for everyone!

Can't Sleep

I am so keyed up! Saturdays and Sundays are my days to catch up on my sleep. I don’t mean sleep the day away. On weekends I look forward to getting eight hours of peaceful slumber, an additional two hours from the six to six and a half I get Monday through Friday. But this weekend, the last weekend without a little one to care for, I can’t sleep.

One week from now we will be in Ethiopia. Nine days from now we will have a baby! This baby has been nearly nineteen months in the making and the day to hold him in my arms is finally almost here. It’s funny though because I just can’t quite wrap my arms and mind around it. I’m terrified! I’m nearly as terrified as I was when I was pregnant with Brittany. The same thoughts are racing through my mind. What if I’m not a good parent? What if he gets sick? What if he stays up all night crying? Having a baby is expensive! I’m too old to be a parent, which is the opposite of what I said when carrying Brittany. The list goes on and on. But you know what, as much as I worried about all of these things, they worked out. They happened. That’s parenthood. But it was all okay.

Isn’t it ironic, however, that it’s not these thoughts that keep me up at night. It’s thoughts of I can’t wait to hold this baby. I can’t wait to love this baby. I can’t wait to care for this baby. I imagine reading to him and putting him to sleep in his crib. I imagine walking outside with him so he can hear the lovely birdsongs. I imagine walking around the neighborhood with him so he can take in all the greenness and fresh air and feel a breeze brush against his tender skin.

Our life is about to change drastically. Friday at work I kept thinking, this is the last weekend Greg and I will spend in our home as “just us”. The next weekend we spend in this home we will have a little one between us—literally. I know it won’t always be rosy. There will be sickness, tantrums, sleep deprivation, messiness, (much) extra work, etc. The list goes on and on. But these things are outweighed by the fact that we will be loving, nurturing and teaching a now-tiny person who will grow up one day to become someone who will change the world because he was given the tools and opportunity to do so. Not because of who we are, but because of who he is and because he was given a chance in life.

Hold on, Jackson. We’re almost there, son. I can’t wait to meet you!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Eighteen Months in the Making

Psalm 52:8-9

8 But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of the God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. 9 I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

Today, the little man we’ve called Bereket for the past two and half months became Jackson Bereket DuBose. This precious baby who was born in a small village 350 miles from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, officially became a member of our family.

It has been an 18-month journey that has tested every ounce of my inner being, every ounce of my faith and every ounce of my strength, but is it finally here. The last 24 hours have been the longest 24 hours of my life. I had difficulty going to bed last night. I was just so darn keyed up. I sat, monitoring the chatter on the YG, watching the banter about being unable to sleep. I finally turned in at 12:30 AM after praying over the opening of the court in Ethiopia. Greg has been sick since Saturday evening and I have been sleeping on the couch so I didn’t expect a good night’s sleep, and needless to say I wasn’t disappointed. I didn’t sleep well. I woke up several times throughout the night which is so unlike me. I’m usually so exhausted by 9:00 PM that it’s easy to fall asleep once I crawl into bed. I awoke at 4:18 AM and actually had the feeling that the judge might be reviewing our case. Whether or not that is what happened, it is what was happening in my mind. So I prayed hard for God’s favor in not only our case but also in the other six cases being heard throughout the night. I finally got up from the couch at 7:00, feeling like a zombie. I wandered through the morning, waiting for the phone to ring. I literally counted down the minutes. Before I knew it, it was 10:00 AM and by that point I was afraid to take a shower, fearful AWAA would call. By the time Anna called I was about to crawl out of my skin! I honestly did not know what to expect. I had several people say to me that they just “knew” we would be “okay”. I honestly didn’t know that. I’m not privy to God’s thoughts. And God’s will is not mine. So how on earth could I know everything would be okay? I didn’t! I was so relieved to hear Anna finally say, “Congratulations.”

So here it is 18-months in the making. And our son is coming home soon.

Thank you, Father, for your mercy. Thank you for your love and grace. You are faithful. And you are awesome. You are my Father. And I love you.


Today, Jackson Bereket DuBose joined our forever family!

View this montage created at One True Media
Jackson Bereket DuBose

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tick Tock

Psalm 51:10-12

10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit
within me. 11Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy
Spirit from me. 12Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant
me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Well, the day is finally here. Months have now turned into hours.
After 18 months (as of today) of counting "up" the days (xx days since
submitting our application, xx days since submitting this form or that
form, xx days since submitting our dossier to Ethiopia, etc...) this
is the first instance we've actually counted "down" the days.

I don't know how I will contain myself today. I am wound tight as a
top. I can't think about anything else and have been chattering
constantly to God for the past several days. And I do mean constantly.
There are SO many families with court dates this week. In fact I've
never seen so many court dates in one week before! So I have been
continually lifting families, the AWAA staff and program and the
Ethiopian officials and judges up in prayer, I always have, but as
you can imagine, it has been amplified now that we are finally in the
"hour queue". I am so glad God is patient, loving, merciful and
gracious because my chatter would drive a mortal mad!

So please, if you're reading this, won't you join me in praying for
God's favor for all families who are awaiting court decisions? There
are three as of this moment who's cases went before the court last
night and six of us who's cases will go before the judge while we
sleep tonight. I thank in advance for your prayerful support. It
means the world to us.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In the Eyes of a Child

The following is an actual transcript of a voicemail left on my cell phone by our Godson’s mother, Tempal.

“Hey, Bob, it’s me. I just had something funny to tell you. I was getting Nickson dressed this morning and he said, ‘Mom, how can I make my legs black?’ And I said, what? What do you mean? Nickson said, ‘Like Greg? How do I make my legs black like his?’ I said, well you can’t. And he said, ‘Yes you can. Greg did.’ So I explained to him that Greg was born that way because that’s how his parents are. And that Nickson’s legs are white because that’s how his parents are, and that everyone is different but you can’t change the color of skin.”

I love the innocence of that exchange.

How wonderful would the world be if everyone looked at skin color as Nickson does? Imagine looking at skin color as no big deal. And imagine this tiny little knock-kneed, porcelain-skinned child thinking he could change his skin color as easily as he changes his tee shirt.

I wish we all had the innocence of a child. The world would be a much better place.

God bless you, Nickson. Don’t you ever change!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


We have much to focus on this week. I want to have as little distraction as possible. I want nothing more than to focus on God and His plan for us this week. I admit that’s been hard to do lately. The enemy has been coming at me strong as of late, but that’s to be expected. He will try to do everything within his power to derail our spiritual walk and take the focus off God. Satan doesn’t want anything good to happen—not to me, not to Greg, not to Jackson, nor does he want God to get the glory for what he is doing in our lives.

But I am going to do everything in MY power through the power of our Lord in heaven to keep my focus on God and what he is doing in our lives. God has a special place in His heart for Jackson—for all orphans—and Satan does not want to see His plan for Jackson come to fruition.

James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

But God’s plan will come to pass. I pray with all my heart that will happen Friday, but even if it doesn’t happen Friday, it will still happen. Don’t get me wrong. I will be heartbroken. Jackson turned four months old today. And as I said in my previous post days have turned in to months and it is very hard to see photos of him and to see how much he has grown and changed since we received those very first photos upon his referral.

So I will stay focused this week. My immediate prayer is for God to keep me as close to Him as possible. I pray that there be not the slightest chasm separating me and my Lord in heaven. I pray for wisdom so I can see clearly when the enemy is tapping me on my shoulder and knocking on my door. I pray for strength and fortitude to fight the enemy and turn him back, away from me and my family. No distractions. Just me and my Father. That’s it.

Isaiah 31:4

This is what the LORD says to me: "As a lion growls, a great lion over his prey— and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against him, he is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor— so the LORD Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Lord, may your will be done.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I read the following quote in the daily devotional Your Daily Walk.

“Patience is accepting a difficult situation without giving God a deadline for removing it.”

I think these words speak volumes. I know I’m guilty of doing that—giving God a deadline, and it’s always TODAY. And this especially rings true at present. One week from today our case will go before a judge in the Ethiopian courts.

I am finding it so hard to be patient. This entire process has been a great test of my patience. But right now, with days having turned into months since receiving our referral, it’s extremely difficult. That, combined with the fact that we will most likely not receive an update this month, has me on the edge of my seat.

But I must continually talk myself off that ledge and remind myself who is in charge here. It is not me. It is The One who knows how I am formed and remembers that I am dust; The One who will never desert me. That’s right. It’s my Father heaven. And he will receive the glory, no matter what.

But it’s hard. It’s by far one of the most difficult and challenging things I’ve ever faced. I’m a doer. I make things happen. I just put my head down, take up the task at hand and get to work. That’s my M.O. But here, I have no control. I must trust. And trust I will.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; …

1 Samuel 3:18

…He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes.

Please, Father, hear my prayers. Please grant us your favor in the coming week. You know our hearts better than WE know our hearts. Let your will be done!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Donations for Orphanages and Transition Home

Dearest Friends,

Several people have expressed a desire to donate items to the orphanages and transition home in Ethiopia. The following is a list of needs for the orphanages and transition home as provided by our agency, America World Adoption Agency (“AWAA”). *

Please bear in mind, this is not a solicitation for contributions. We merely wanted to give everyone the opportunity to contribute, should they so choose. Any and all donations are welcome.

Items Needed For Ethiopian Orphanages and AWAA Transitional Home

Basic Items:
Toys to stimulate babies such as colorful objects, rattles, etc. appropriate for babies up to 2 years
Unscented baby wipes
Nestle Great Start Supreme powdered formula with DHA/RHA
Lactose-free formula
A + D Original Ointment, Diaper Rash and All-Purpose Skincare Formula
Hand Sanitizer

Medications/Medical Items:
Tri-vi-sol (o to 6 months)
Poly-vi-sol (6 months to 2 years)
Chewable multi-vitamin (2 years to 9 years)
Tylenol (acetaminophen)
Baby nose saline spray
Benadryl liquid/elixir
Toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss

Per Ethiopian Airlines’ checked luggage allowance we are allowed two checked bags per person weighing up to 50 pounds per bag. If the bags weigh in excess of 50 pounds but less than 70 pounds the excess baggage fee is a flat rate of $60.00 per bag. Additional bags weighing up to fifty pounds are assessed an excess baggage fee of $150.00 per bag. Additional bags weighing in excess of 50 pounds but less than 70 pounds are assessed a fee of $210.00 per bag. Donations to cover excess baggage fees are welcome. Please note: Any and all monetary donations remaining after allocating funds for excess baggage fees will be used to purchase items from the above list.

Items can be dropped off at Bella Group’s Jupiter office located at 2074 West Indiantown Road, Suite 101. Bella Group’s telephone number is 561-746-6077.

Thank you in advance for your generosity. It means the world to us and it will make a world of difference to children we will likely never know.

Warmest regards,

Greg, Bobbie and Jackson DuBose

* America World Adoption Association is a non-profit, licensed Christian international adoption agency.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Switching Gears

No matter how many times it happens, it is still amazing to me how God continually renews and restores my spirit when I humble myself before Him. But it makes sense. After all, He is my Father and I am His beloved daughter. He wants nothing but good things for me.

Psalm 65:4-6

4 Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.

5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,

6 who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength,

After a couple of days of asking God “why” last week, I have a brand new perspective today. I am so happy to say that once again, the glass is half full!

We have begun to ask for and accept donations for the transition home and orphanage. I requested and received a list of needs from AWAA last week. I shared the list with our pastor’s wife and my dear friend, Ashlie. They are on the case! Our church is including a note in the bulletin this week and Ashlie has already sent a list of needs to her family and friends. She is going to do the same for Greg and me once I furnish a list of contacts. I can’t wait to see what the Lord does in our friends’ hearts!

Proverbs 22:9

9 A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.

I spoke briefly with a wonderful man at church yesterday, Mark Sotak, who happens to be a truly gifted mouth painter ( A recipient of Ashlie’s email, Mark told me he would like to donate a painting inspired by Jesus’ evening in the Garden of Gethsemane. Mark’s generous offer literally brought tears to my eyes. It will be our distinct honor to deliver Mark’s painting to the transition home.

We are blessed beyond measure.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Prayer for Today

1 Samuel 3:17

..."He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes."

I am giving it all up to God; every last bit of it--our court appearance (two weeks from today), our travel dates, our business, our finances--all of it. After a stressful day, night and morning (thus far), I'm giving it up.

I simply cannot be consumed by things I cannot control. I am casting all of my cares and burdens on you, Lord. Please, take my yoke and I'll take yours.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

For the past nearly 18 months since beginning this adoption process, I’ve felt like my system has operated in one of two modes; flight or fight or mental exhaustion. Sometimes I’m in a mode for weeks on end and sometimes only for a day. But I constantly vacillate between the two. There seldom seems to be a gray area.

This adoption has been a rollercoaster with far more valleys than peaks. Mind you, I may just feel like this at present because I’m worn down, but this is my reality—today.

As mentioned in my previous post, we received an email last week notifying us of an earlier court date. Tuesday of this week we received our new tentative travel dates of April 18 to 25, which had us traveling one week earlier than our originally assigned tentative travel dates. Notice I say, “Had us traveling.” We received a disheartening email today from AWAA announcing changes being implemented in the coming two weeks by the Consulate in Ethiopia. AWAA isn’t exactly certain how this will ultimately affect families currently waiting to travel, but their initial statement is that we will be delayed from one to three weeks. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. And I'm realistic. I've learned over the past nearly 18 months that things seldom swing toward the positive in this odyssey, but rather toward the worst-case-scenario. That's why I was SO delighted to receive an expedited court date. It seems things like that almost NEVER happen.

I know in the grand scheme of things this is not a major setback. There are families who have been waiting six months to travel due to problems with their in-country paperwork. There have been families in the past whose children did not make it home because they succumbed to illness. Families were stuck in limbo for months last fall because of Ethiopia’s court closure. There are families whose children have been extremely ill upon arrival in the US and ended up in the hospital several times. Every family who has ever gone through an adoption has experienced a myriad of setbacks. It’s the nature of the beast. But this is still a BIG DEAL to me. I've been literally counting the days until court, and literally counting the days until our TTD's. And now, I have no idea where we stand. It's just a kick in the stomach. And you know what, it's okay to feel the pain. Things aren't always, "alright", "fabulous", "wonderful", "great", etc., etc., etc. Sometimes things are just crappy. And this setback is C-R-A-P-P-Y. I know. I know. I know. I'm whining. There are elements of these new policies and procedures that benefit us and our children and it's only a matter of weeks. But it's still difficult to bear. I'm fearful there are some people who will read this post and be upset with me for grumbling. But you know what...I'm human. I am not perfect. I am fraught with human frailties.

But I hold out hope of the day I will finally hold Jackson in my arms and look into his big brown eyes.

Psalm 55:1-2; 16-18

1 Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; 2 hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught ...

16 But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. 17 Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. 18 He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.

Please, God! Don’t delay not one more day than absolutely necessary. I know you are sovereign over all things. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Please, Lord, listen to my prayer. Bring this child home!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Oh Give Thanks

Psalm 105: 1-2

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
 make known his deeds among the peoples!
 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
 tell of all his wondrous works!

We received the most wonderful news today! I received a completely unexpected email from AWAA late this afternoon informing us that our court date has been moved up two full weeks to March 27th. I was not expecting this. I was so thankful to HAVE a date that I never even gave an expedited date a thought. To say I was dumbfounded would be an understatement.

We serve an amazing God!

Psalm 57:10

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Hero

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with my dear friend, Robin. We have known each other for practically a lifetime. We chatted for about 30 minutes or so and laughed about old times and current times. It was good to hear her voice. She sounded great!

Robin is my hero. She had brain surgery Wednesday. But what is important is that this isn’t the first surgery she has undergone to remove a “Dixie cup-size tumor” from her brain. This is Robin’s second surgery in five months. And let me tell you—she is an inspiration to all. Robin sent me a text message at 4:40 Wednesday morning. The message stated, “On our way…, 4 in the morning. God is perfect and faithful. And I’m at peace. Love ya.”

I mean, really. That puts it all in perspective. I can only hope that if I’m ever faced with something of this magnitude that I can muster a small fraction of the faith and grace that my dear friend Robin has expressed throughout this ordeal.

Yes, Robin. God is perfect and faithful. And I love you too.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Special Delivery

We received Jackson’s monthly update this week. He has grown so much! He no longer looks like the baby he was in his referral photos. He looks like a little man. We are so grateful that AWAA has implemented this policy of sending monthly updates. This policy began the week we received our referral. Prior to this, families usually only received information on their child if their child was experiencing health issues. I couldn’t imagine going months without knowing your child’s progress and development. What a blessing these updates are!

Yesterday I sent a small package to Jackson courtesy of a family who departs next Friday to pick up their son. Obviously luggage limitations are an issue so you can only send a one-gallon food storage bag. In reality this is well within reason. At only three months of age it’s not as if there are a lot of things Jackson could use. There are of course many things he needs, but I cannot send bags of diapers, cases of formula and bottles of vitamins earmarked specifically for Jackson. Nor can I send clothing and expect the transition home nannies to keep track of what belongs to Jackson as opposed to what belongs to the other infants. So I am more than fine with the one-gallon food storage bag restriction. Jackson will receive a small, soft blanket, a plush rattle and an outfit Tempal purchased and sent him.

I am so thankful that God provided the means for this family to take Jackson’s care package to him and am overwhelmingly grateful they are willing to deliver it and take a few photos of our beloved son. I can’t wait to see the pictures!

And just think… Tomorrow is March 1st. As of tomorrow I can say, “By the grace, favor and blessing of God we will bring our son home ‘next month’”. This will be poetry to my ears.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


This is a test of my new mobile blogger account.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Words to Live by

Isaiah 30:15 and 18

15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation.
In quietness and trust is your strength…”

18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

I came across this scripture during my devotionals Sunday morning and it has been speaking to me ever since. I find such great peace in these verses.

Rest. Salvation. Quietness. Trust. Strength. Gracious. Compassion. Justice. Blessed.

Who doesn’t want these things in life? Who doesn’t want these things in every waking and sleeping moment of their life? I know I do. And the older I get, the more apparent this becomes to me. I want to rest. I cherish my salvation. I want to be strong in the blood that was shed for my sins by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I thank God for his tender mercy and grace. I thank God for his compassion that flows over me like a river. And I want to be blessed. Don’t get me wrong. I am already blessed beyond measure. But as I wait to get our little guy home, I pray for God’s favor and blessing on the final stage(s) of this adoption process.

These are definitely words worth living by.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to One of the Most Amazing Women I Know

Today happens to be the birthday of someone very near and dear to me. Today is our daughter’s 27th birthday. Happy birthday, Brittany!

Let me begin by asking you, “How did you get to be 27?” Last I knew, you were a kid riding your bike, playing basketball, softball and homerun derby. Next thing I knew, you were in high school and working at Dunkin’ Donuts. Then came graduation and on to college. You worked hard in college, juggled multiple jobs, yet graduated at the top of your class. Now you’re married and living halfway across the country. I honestly don’t know where time has gone. The years have flown by.

But enough reflection. This is about celebration—a celebration of you. You are an amazing individual. We are so proud of you. You have accomplished so much in life in your 27 short years. I applaud your courage and tenacity. You are not afraid to be your own woman and to live your own life. And although I miss you terribly, I am so very happy for you.

You could’ve used every familial and socio-economic excuse in the book to settle for mediocrity (or shall I say idiocracy) but you didn’t. Instead, you put your nose to the grindstone and took the world by storm!

God blessed me tremendously by allowing me to be your mother. I am honored. And Jackson is going to be equally blessed in having you as his big sister.

So happy birthday, my dear, sweet daughter. I encourage you to continue to dream big, to continue to take risks, and to never take no for an answer. You are loved beyond measure! Thank you, for allowing me to be your mom.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Getting There... Slowly but Surely

We are now under two months until court. Okay, not by much. We have 59 days until our Ethiopian court date. But I do feel we're making forward progression.

We had to have our Home Study updated as it expires March 7, 2009. This required new new local law enforcement background checks as well as state-level law enforcement and CYS background checks. We also had to do an interview with our social worker. Initially it was daunting (to me) to to go through this again. In addition to the time required to initiate and complete this update, I was also fretting over the associated costs. But then again, no one said this would be an easy endeavor.

I'm just happy we're finally moving forward. Now, if I can just lock in the air travel we'll be set to jet. Literally... And that's a great feeling!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Countdown Continues vs. the Coundown Begins

We received our tentative travel dates today. Providing we pass court April 10 we will travel April 25 to May 3rd to bring Jackson home.

This is 78 days from today. The practical side of me says that’s not a lot of time. I have so much to accomplish in 78 days. I need to finish the nursery. There are still necessities (diaper, formula, baby clothes) to purchase as well as items we need for the trip in case of illness or emergency. But the emotional side of me says 78 days is an eternity. I look at the photos of Jackson we received with our referral and my heart breaks. He was only seven weeks old in those photos. He’s already two and a half months old. He will be five months old when we finally get to hold him in our arms. (I know, you’ve heard this before, but I can’t stop thinking about it.)

It’s human nature to want to be with someone who needs us. And he needs us. I’m certain the AWAA Transition Home caregivers are loving Jackson and nurturing him as I write this. But let’s face it, there are a limited number of caregivers and so many children who require their time and love.

Please, God. Please let us get there just as soon as possible. Jackson needs us.

James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Mention of Gratitude

I’m taking a moment to express my gratitude to family and friends who have supported us in our adoption process from the get-go.

Over the past 16 ½ months I can honestly say I’ve only encountered two people (personally) who were not onboard with our decision to adopt. One person is a close family member and the other is a friend I’ve had for many years. Their primary argument is that I am too old to take on this responsibility. Now, don’t get me wrong. We’ve had some devil’s advocates along the way. Just about everyone told me initially that our life is going to change dramatically. Really? I had no idea…. (wink, wink) Of course our lifestyle is going to slow down a bit, but I’m a-okay with that. The tradeoff cannot even be measured on the same scale. Sorry, I digress…

Seriously though, I do want to say thank you to all of our family and friends who’ve been so supportive. This post was actually prompted by our friend, Cory. It appears she’s become a “blog stalker”. That’s an affectionate term tossed around the AWAA Yahoo chat group for people who monitor blogs for news of all-things-adoption. I was surprised to say the least that Cory popped back in to read my blog. Her subsequent email was so simple, yet uplifting. She really buoyed my spirits. She gave me a breakdown of hours (as opposed to days) until we get to hold our precious Baby Jackson in our arms. Her lighthearted yet tender words of encouragement really spoke to my heart. She went on to remind me that our friends and family are pulling for us and that she is indeed praying for us. I can’t possibly ask for more in a friend.

So thank you, Cory. And a warm, heartfelt thank you to all of our friends and family who are pulling for us, praying for us, cheering for us and loving us. And please know, you are all loved in return.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

When Every Day Counts

We received our (Ethiopian) court date for Baby Jackson this week. It is scheduled for April 10th. This is about two weeks further out than I hoped for, but at least we have a date. We just have to keep this baby covered in prayer until we get him home.

I find myself counting and re-counting days until we get him home. I’m so happy there are only 28 days in February. But I am sad there are 31 days in January and March. Yes, friends, that’s what it’s come down to for me. I’m splitting hairs (or in this case, hours).

April 10th might as well be the year 2020. That’s how far away it seems to me. When we received our referral, Baby Jackson was only seven weeks old. By the time we travel to bring him home (best case scenario the end of April—providing we pass court the first time) he will be five months old. I think of how many things we will miss in his development in these three-plus months. I know—I should not be looking at the final phase of our adoption like this, but I can’t help it. Having reared a child I know how much he will grow in these early, formative months. And I want to be there to not only witness it, but to comfort his fears and love him and nurture him too.

So please, keep Baby Jackson and our upcoming court date in your prayers over the coming months. Pray for protection over Baby Jackson. Pray for strength, patience and love on behalf of the AWAA staff and care givers in-country and at the transition home. Pray for wisdom and discernment for the AWAA staff compiling our (all waiting families) paperwork/files. And most of all, pray that the Ethi*pian judges and M*WA staff come to know the Lord. Pray they process our cases with wisdom and discernment and absence pride and prejudice. I believe in the power of prayer. And I believe in the power of many prayers. Please, everyone, get on your knees and petition the Lord to bring our little guy home.

2 Corinthians 1:10-12

10He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our[
a] behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Want to be Like David

One of my devotionals has me skipping around the book of Psalm this month. I’ve read them often over the years but for some reason the chapters and verses are really speaking to me this time around. I have an entirely new appreciation for David.

I’ve always been in awe of David. He was God’s chosen son yet he was utterly flawed. Just like me, he was perfectly human. He made mistakes time and time again, but God truly loved him and never gave up on him. And God did not like to see David’s enemy’s closing in on him.

But something really spoke to me in Psalm 3 today.

1 O LORD, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
"God will not deliver him."
Selah [
3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD;
you bestow glory on me and lift [
b] up my head.
4 To the LORD I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.
5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.
7 Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.
8 From the LORD comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

The faith David exudes in this albeit short Psalm is almost incomprehensible to me. David is facing tens of thousands of his foes, yet he has the utmost faith that God will deliver him from this situation. He’s not standing there wringing his hands saying, “Poor me,” or “What am I going to do?” No! First and foremost he is giving God the just glory that is rightfully his. Then he reiterates God’s power and faithfulness.

I want to be like David! I want to have that confidence. After all—that’s exactly what we’re instructed to do.

Hebrews 4:16

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sick of Being Sick

I’ve been so vigilant this winter in my attempts to avoid any and all cold and flu bugs. As I’ve watched people around me suffer with colds and flu (including husband Greg) I’ve been obsessive compulsive in washing my hands and the application of hand sanitizer. I’ve been faithfully taking my vitamins and zinc. I’ve been drinking orange juice with grapefruit seed extract every time I had a tickle in my throat. I continued to work out (which boosts your immune system), ate ginger, got plenty of rest, blah, blah, blah…. And all to no avail.

Yep. I was hit with the mother-of-all-flu-bugs this week. It all began with a sore throat Monday. By Tuesday morning I was in the throes of a high fever, body aches and headache. Here it is Saturday morning and I’m not much better. And I’m a miserable bear. My poor husband has borne the brunt of my grumbling. And last night wasn’t pretty. I snapped at the poor guy in the middle of the night because his snoring was peeling the wallpaper (well, I’m embellishing—we don’t actually have wallpaper) off the walls. All I wanted was to get a decent night of sleep. This has been my bed for the past four nights.

Although this chaise may look big in this photo, the flat portion is probably only three and half feet in length before it begins to curve upward. Thank goodness I’m short! I’ve been sleeping on this for two reasons: 1) Greg snores (see paragraph two) and I’ve not been sleeping soundly to begin with and; 2) Because I’ve been tossing, turning and blowing my nose like mad.

So please, say a little prayer that I’m better soon, because in all honestly I don’t like being a mean, grumpy person. It’s so out of character for me. To use the phrase of a very dear friend of mine, “It gives me the feel-sorries.”

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I need a doctor, stat!

It’s absolutely maddening, I tell you!

I’ve been searching for a pediatrician (in South Florida) with experience in international medicine—primarily one who specializes in post-adoption evaluations. I come up empty-handed in every search.

Ironically (and sadly) a search for plastic surgeons in South Florida, however, gives me 438,000 results in .28 seconds. It is me, or is that just ridiculous? One would think Miami, being the international hub that it is, would have someone experienced in this field of medicine. For the record, Ohio has pediatricians specializing in international medical in Akron, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but when I think of Ohio I don’t necessarily think of a cultural melting pot. Cultural, yes. Melting pot, not so much…


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Exodus 15:11

“Who among the gods is like you, O LORD?
Who is like you—
Majestic in holiness,
Awesome in glory
Working wonders?”

I have spent so much of my life feeling as if I’ve received the “short end of the stick”. But when I truly dig into my memory bank I realize how much God has blessed me over the years. But I probably wouldn’t have realized this had I not met my husband. Like me, my husband had a less-than-storybook upbringing. But you know what? God has more than compensated for any loss we may have experienced throughout our lives. The older I get, the more I realize God has given us many gifts and blessings to make up for anything we have lacked.

And for this, I offer up praise and worship today to my Father in heaven for all the beautiful blessings he has so graciously bestowed upon me throughout my life.

Exodus 15:1-3

“…I will sing to the LORD…
The LORD is my strength and my song:
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The LORD is a warrior;
the LORD is his name.”

Thank you, my Heavenly Father. All praise, glory and honor be to you.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I am so in love!

I look at the photos we received in our referral email and I am head-over-heels in love with this child. He is perfect in every way.

I admit, throughout sixteen months of waiting for this referral, I wasn’t certain what I would feel toward Baby Jackson. I knew I would be grateful and feel relief and joy. But I didn’t know if I would feel an immediate bond with this child.

I’ve given birth. I have a daughter. I know what it’s like to feel that in utero connection. It’s begins immediately once you know a child is present. You begin to take care of yourself and ultimately the child living within you. You watch what you eat. You get enough rest. And once you feel movement, well that's an entirely different story. A bond is undeniably formed from that point forward. You can’t help it because you know there is someone present within.

Well, I can tell you that I felt that same connection as soon as I opened the file of Baby Jackson’s photo. I fell immediately head-over-heels in love. I instinctively felt that same urge to protect and care for this tiny individual, just as I felt for my daughter. I can’t wait to touch him; to hold him; and to smother him with kisses. He is mine. And I am his. And I am so in love…

The Tears Won't Stop Flowing

1 Samuel 1:27-28

27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD."…

I have so much to tell so I’m simply going to start writing and see where this takes me. (I tried to post a brief version of this story on my blog Thursday evening, but I hit some key that erased the entire post. So I guess I wasn’t supposed to be brief in telling this story. And in retrospect, it would’ve been a slight to God to not give him the fullest glory possible for what he did Thursday.) Bear with me—this is a long one.

We received our long-awaiting referral call from AWAA Thursday. It is a day and date I will never forget. After sixteen sometimes torturous months of waiting, we finally know who our son is! But the call wasn’t the only thing that is so memorable.

The day began like any other day. I got up at 4:45 AM and went to the gym as usual. I had a great workout. I came home, grabbed a cup of coffee and headed into Baby Jackson’s room for my daily devotionals and prayer time. And immediately as I sat down God revealed an answer to me that I had been searching for since November. (Mind you, it is important for you to know this does not happen to me often. God has spoken to me a couple of times over the past few months, but typically I do the talking and God does the listening.) I had been praying ardently for something relating to the adoption and felt as if I wasn’t getting any response from God. It was about a matter that I truly did not want to respond to on my own. I wanted my action(s) to be fully according to God’s will but I wasn’t receiving any direction from him. The previous day (Wednesday) we had to meet a deadline for something and I made the best decision I could with information I had at hand, hoping it was pleasing to God. In sitting down for my morning of prayer, God told me that what I had done was of HIM. And I was so happy because it was made so clear to me. I literally smiled, raised my hand and said aloud, “THANK YOU.”

I finished reading my devotionals and moved into reading the designated scriptures. (I began reading a devotional last year that walks you through the Bible. I began mid-year with Isaiah and began Genesis January 1st.) Thursday’s reading was about Joseph and his reunion with his brothers in Egypt. Not to go too far afield, I am estranged from my siblings for reasons that have nothing to do with me. It has been their choice to extricate themselves from my life. Over the years I’ve tried to re-establish a relationship with them but my efforts have gone unanswered. Now, you may ask yourself what does this have to do with our referral. Well, to me it has nothing, yet everything to do with it. You see, it’s what God has placed (or in this case removed) from my heart. I’ve been very bitter about a family matter as of late. (Refer to previous blog entry.) And as I read this chapter about Joseph I decided I would send my sister a card. The only thing I wrote in the card is the following:

1 John 4:7

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

“XXXX, Know you are loved. Bobbie”

And that’s it. That’s all I wrote. I just wanted my sister to know that no matter what has happened in the past, she is loved by God and she is loved by me. This small gesture opened up a huge pathway in my heart. This action combined with my admission of doubt and frustration in my blog the previous evening literally took a weight off my shoulders. All I could think of was this scripture:

Matthew 11:29-30

29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I was a thousand pounds lighter!

I put my Bible down, moved onto my hands and knees, bunched up as tight as I could with my forehead resting on the floor and began to pray. I began with a prayer of thanks for God’s revelation to me in his answer to my many months of prayers. And the tears began to flow. I could feel God’s presence in the room with me. And I was crying and praying aloud, prayers of thanksgiving for all God has done in my life, for all of the wonderful blessings far too numerous to name, literally like grains of sand on the beach and stars in the sky. I prayed for forgiveness for all of my sins and shortcomings, confessing my doubt and fear. And as I prayed I felt God place a blanket (or robe) over my shoulders and his hands were resting on my shoulders and he was telling me, “It’s okay. I’m here with you.” And I saw, in a vision, our stack of paperwork in someone’s hands. And he told me (without words) that our referral was coming; that is was underway. I didn’t know when. I didn’t see that, only that it was coming. I finished my prayers, emotionally spent and overwhelmed by the experience.

I got up and went in to the kitchen and texted an important prayer warrior in my life to tell her what had just happened. She called me and we talked about it. I told her our referral would be coming soon. I didn’t know when, but I had total peace in my heart that we would be hearing from AWAA – soon.

I went to work and received a call from our adoption coordinator regarding an email I had sent the previous week. Mind you, I have had very little unsolicited contact from AWAA during the past sixteen months. So when I saw the area code, my heart literally stopped. But Terra began the conversation saying she thought she would call me instead of emailing her response. We talked for a few minutes and then I joked with her about calling me out of the blue like that when I’m so close to a referral. She admitted that we were “very” close. I joked with her that she needed to use the code work “Jackson” when she would be calling with our referral and that if she called again and I didn’t hear that word then I would know it was just a regular old “business” call. We laughed and concluded the conversation. I texted my prayer warrior friend to tell her what had happened and we bantered back and forth about it via text messages. I went back to work (still a bit shaken) to finish a project Greg needed for a meeting.

About an hour and half later my phone rings again. I see it is AWAA’s area code and again, my heart stops. I answer and it is our coordinator. I hear the word, “Jackson.” And that’s it. I completely lose my mind. I fall to my knees and I am crying so hard I can barely speak. I can’t breathe. She tells me a bit about the baby boy God has sent us. And he is perfect.

I do not know what I am supposed to do with all of these words, but I do know I was supposed to put pen to paper to chronicle this story. If not for you, the reader, it is for our son, Jackson. The course of this journey was plotted not by me or Greg, but by our loving and gracious Father in heaven.

Isaiah 55:8-9

8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

And I ask all of you to continue to pray for us and for Baby Jackson until he is safely home. There are still many bureaucratic obstacles to overcome before the process is complete. So please, I implore you, continue praying this sweet child home.Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. We are forever grateful.

Proverbs 16:3-4

3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. 4 The LORD works out everything for his own ends—

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Girding My Loins

I have not been a faithful blogger. It's been more than a month since my last post. There were numerous holiday parties throughout December. Christmas has come and gone. Ditto for New Year's eve/day. The tree is gone. The decorations are packed away. Work has resumed and time marches on.

I'm minimizing things of course. The holidays were wonderful. We traveled to Cincinnati to spend Christmas with family. We were blessed to spend almost five full days with our cousins and Godson. It was so wonderful to be around family. I miss them. I wish daughter Brittany would've joined us, that's the only thing that would have made it absolutely 100% perfect. But alas, she spent Christmas with hubby Mike at home. But that's okay. We'll get to see them in March, God willing, when they come to visit.

Christmas was bittersweet this year. I learned Christmas Eve day that my mother was in the hospital undergoing surgery. She had actually been there for three days. I was saddened beyond words that no one had bothered to contact me. But that's a story I won't go into right now. I was also disappointed that we were really no closer to a referral for our child at the end of December then we were in the beginning of October. As we celebrated last Christmas I was pretty certain we would at least know who our little guy is this Christmas, but that didn't happen. I won't lie. I was a sad about that. I felt as if we had been at a standstill for a long, long time.

Referrals began to flow the first week of January though. And they continue to do so at a record pace. On the YG unofficial list we are number two in line for an infant boy. I am on pins and needles every single day. And on the days when there have been referrals I don't know whether to puke or cry as I wait for the phone to ring. And that's the honest truth. That's how worked up I get.

My greatest concern over the past several weeks though has been what seems to be a constant barrage of spiritual warfare I'm undergoing. This doesn't really surprise me. The more you walk your spiritual walk, the more Satan comes after you. And I've really been using this waiting period to dig deeper into God's word and spend more time in prayer and meditation. So it stands to reason the devil would come a knockin'. I've been bitter (see paragraph 3), I've been quick to become angry over silly things, I've been full of self-pity, and I've doubted God's faithfulness. I've had some very dark days as of late. But my greatest mistake has been to think that God condemned me for these thoughts and actions. The Holy Spirit may have convicted me, but I'm responsible for the condemning. Me and only me.

So, I'm going to pick myself up and brush myself off and start all over again. That's the beauty of life. I get a do over tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day.... You get what I mean. Isn't God great?!?!

Psalm 86:15

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.