...Our Family...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Year, A New Face, A New Heart

Tomorrow is a new year, a new set of days. But, to us, it is yet another day without Micah David.

It has been a wonderfully difficult year full of unexpected joys, sorrows, and a challenge that has yet to be overcome. At times we feel this year was unsuccessful as we have not held our youngest son yet. But, to our God, this year was all within His plan, including the fact that our Micah remains in the arms of his nannies, not in the arms of his parents and big brother.

When it comes to Micah David, our hearts have learned to hope upon hope upon hope upon...well, you get the idea. We have decided that we need new hearts for this new year. We need hearts that are firmly set upon not what WE have planned for ourselves and our family, but what HE has planned for us. Hearts that desire not to use but to BE USED.

I can't express what we feel nearly as well as a dear adoption/bloggy heart, Kristin Lunceford did in her Christmas letter.

"The momentum of hope that began our year and that continues to wake us each morning is the same momentum that will push us toward a new year, a new child, and a new perspective on what it means to be used by a God who has so very much for us to do. Though closure eludes us on the adoption front and the world is still holding onto one orphan too many, our posture remains expectant as we are made more faithful in the waiting and certainly in the hoping."

Still in the hoping business. Happy New Year.

Kim, Chad, Devon, and soon...Micah David

SO CRAZY!!!

If you heard all of the stories of delays, mix-ups, etc. that go along with adoption, you'd STILL think this one was wild!

So, today my dear friends Bethany and Holly were to have court dates for their kiddos in ET. However, last night the MOWA representative that was to sign off on their adoptions in court today was ARRESTED. That's right, friends, he was arrested and so (funny enough) did not show up for court. This means their cases were not heard.

Bethany Taylor was rescheduled, by some miracle, for Friday.

Holly Sapp, however, was rescheduled for January 16th, two weeks and a few days from today. If we all pass, this would put us in the same travel group. I am so sad for the delay but so ELATED that we might get to travel together. I really love her and her sweet daughter is beyond beautiful. The thought of being THERE when they are united gives me goose bumps!

Sometimes it's tempting to doubt God's sovereign control over this crazy, unexpected, unfair world. Each time I do that, however, I give a little of my faith away, something my sons and heart cannot afford.

So, today I am choosing to remember the God of Daniel and the Lions den. Surely if our God can shut a lion's mouth, He can preside over some paperwork in Ethiopia.

A Blur of Tears and Blessing

Hey~
Today marks four weeks since we failed court and were not able to travel to bring Micah David home. As the title intimates, its been a blur for us. We have shed many tears, screamed many "whys" and begged for answers. We have also found smiles, joys, and blessings in this hardship.

Today, it has become so clear to us this journey is not as we expected it, it has become so much more.

We began this journey with desires centering on us, our family, our desires, our dreams. We have come to a place of "otherness" where our desires center others, on Micah David, on the older children at the transitional home, on our dear brothers and sisters who are also waiting on their children.

We thank God each day for the gift of adoption, for the joys and, yes, for the sorrows that it has brought into our lives. Never have I felt so many ups and downs. And yet, never have I felt so surrounded by the love of God and others. Our hearts are so strongly united to those we have not and may never meet in person but who understand the unique blessing and calling that this journey is.

Thank you to all my dear friends who have taught me what faith, friendship, and hope mean. Sherry, Becky, Holly, Bethany, Patty, Kari, and so many others who have made this experience so much more.

Monday, December 29, 2008

To My Micah

Sweet baby man,
How can I begin to tell you what you have meant in my life over the past years. You begun as a whisper in my heart that grew louder and louder. " I felt God tugging me towards you, not knowing who you were but that you WERE.

This has been the longest, most exhausting journey of my life. I am at times overjoyed, at times broken at the empty space in my arms, the lack in my home, the longing in my soul for you. Do you dream of me the way I dream of you? Do you hear my voice in every breath the way I hear yours? 

This December has been so long, so loud because of the silence. The voices that fill this house are lacking in one, a silent child who fills each corner and yet none. Our heavenly Father sees all of your smiles, takes snapshots in HIS book. I cannot wipe your tears, but your Great Daddy places each in His bottle. 

Micah, I have shed my skin for you, the skin of pride and faithlessnes, the skin of sorrow for a skin of hope. I am becomming a new heart, full of faith and a willingness to follow a God who has led me down a winding and beautiful path. Each night, I raise my hands and plead for you, not just for you to come home, but for your spirit to LONG for us as we long for you. For your hear to long for your Lord as our hearts do. 

The blessings, my dear son, are in the pain. The joy, sweet angel, is in the sorrow. That we will see your life SAVED in true, physical form is more than a blessing. This is the hope we all long for and dream of, our lives saved by His grace. A God who tied a string to the heart of a mother in Pennsylvania to the heart of a starving child in Ethiopia. This cord will never snap, dear son, for it has been knotted by God with a bow of everlasting love.

You are a miracle child and you have changed us all.  

Court Tomorrow for 3 Families

Hey All~
The following families have court over the next few days. I long to be with them but know it's not our time yet.

The Sapp Family
The Taylor Family
The Violette Family

Please PRAY EARNESTLY for these families to pass court so that they can travel to pick up their kiddos. They are all adopting older children, children who have been waiting for Mommy and Daddy for a long time.

I love you three!
Kim

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Photos, News, I HEART THE BURKS!!!

My wonderful friends, Becky and Michael Burk returned from ET yesterday and have SO MANY pictures of Micah. Honestly, I bet there are at least 50 photos of Micah! We are so blessed to have them as friends and for them to have held and kissed our son in Ethiopia. 

Micah David looks perfect. He's filling out and looking too cute with very curly clown hair. He's even wearing the outfit we sent in his first care package in a few of the photos and boy does he look great in blue!

There are a few pictures of Micah and their son Ezra, too cute! They are going to be best buds, I'm sure of it. In one photo Michael is holding both babies, looking quite comfortable with two. He really loved Micah and held him for much of the day. Thanks Michael! 

The best photos are of Becky and Micah outside where Micah is just smiling away. She took him out of the house, where its dark and kids and nannies are everywhere to get some alone time with him. He opened up and just became the happiest, most responsive little guy. 

Thanks girlie! I adore you!

Kim

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Kulp House

Enjoy! Excuse the bottom half, the kid really hates wearing pants! Devon called his daddy (in the same room, hense the echo) and sang him a Christmas Carol. Merry Christmas! We love you!




video

Monday, December 22, 2008

GREAT NEWS!!!

So, as I was typing my email below, Becky Burk posted a HUGE entry that included much about Micah and his case. Let me tell you, we owe that girl a major "thank you" and more than a few hugs.
First, the paperwork!! "While we were at lunch I asked Duni about E*** (the orphanage that messed up our paperwork) and the Kulp's and Semlow's court cases. She told me that she actually sent some America World staff down to Awassa and they are staying there to go through all of the paperwork with the orphanage to make sure that they have everything done properly by court! I know this bit of info put my heart at ease and I hope it does the same for you guys. I stressed Kim and Sherrie just how devastated you guys were and she is WELL aware that this is unacceptable. I know she felt terrible already but I really make it a point to say how devastating it is to know that failed court can add 3 months onto a wait time."
So, it sounds like there is staff IN AWASSA until the problems are fixed. HOORAY!!! I feel really confident that we will pass on January 20th.

Second, Micah's Weight (yes, my girl put him on a scale! I LOVE her!):
"Kim, I weighed Micah and he weighs *** kilograms so what ever *** X 2.2 = is his weight."

I can't post his actual weight, however, I can tell you HE's AN OFFICIAL CHUB! He's also officially on the charts! Keep eating little man. We LOVE fat babies!

Third, and best for my heart: "We kept Micah with us as much as possible. He actually cried when Michael put him down b/c we had to leave ;0) We would get quick little smiles out of him but once you show him the camera he would get serious again and stop smiling. So I think it's a camera thing and not a personality thing. Granted he wasn't giggling, he would still smile. He doesn't seem to have changed much physically (meaning since our last round of photos). I played him your card with the message but will have to take pics of him in his Christmas outfit tomorrow b/c we ran out of time. He is held often by the nannies (he and Ezra have the same main nanny."

Just to know that my dear friends held Micah all day warms my heart so much. I dearly love the Burks and can't wait for Ezra and Micah to be great friends!

So, now I must go and try to get work done after all of this great news. I felt great joy for the Burks earlier today and now feel great joy BECAUSE of them. What good friends.!

Joy Joy Joy for the BURKS!!!

All~
I awoke today with such joy in my heart. My dear friends, Becky and Michael Burk have held their son Ezra in Ethiopia! While I long to have been there to see this moment, I am so thankful to the Lord for them.

I remember the first time I held our first born, Devon. I felt such unspeakable joy. To know that they have FINALLY felt this same joy after years and years of waiting (just like us) brings tears of joy, thanksgiving, and blessing to my eyes. Our God has moved mountains for them and their sweet son, Ezra. What an amazing story of hope, love, and JOY!

Congratulations Burks! You are so loved!


Kim

Friday, December 19, 2008

Court Date, Update, Dates Dates Dates!!!

Alright,
It's been a while but I'm not convinced that many people are actually reading and relying on this silly blog anyway. ;0)

So, we received an update on Micah David this week. His head and height are at a good place, but he's still a little on the skinny side. That makes a mama worry but, what can you do? His picture was of him lying down, again. So, really, nothing new to report there.

We do have a confirmed court date of January 20th. If we pass on that day, we will travel in early February. So, 6 more weeks to travel and bring him home. We will actually be in ET for our 1 year anniversary of having sent our dossier to ET (DTE date). This hasn't happened for a family waiting for a boy yet. So, again, we are the trail blazers! Don't we just LOVE setting records!

On another note, we are SO UNBELIEVABLY IN LOVE with our son of late. He's like nothing we've ever imagined but still so amazingly ours. Sweet, cuddly, clown hair, biteable cheeks and all. We just adore every ounce that we haven't held, every sigh we haven't heard, every hour we've missed.

Oh buddy, if you only knew...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Broadway Baby! Devon's Christmas Program

This is too funny NOT to post! Sorry about the video quality, I was laughing so hard that I was shaking. The good stuff starts about 1 minute into the video.

Enjoy, we sure did!

video

Thursday, December 11, 2008

News

So, I wish this was THE news, but it isn't. However, it's good news! Today we received pictures of Micah that were beyond cute! He looks happy, FAT, and loved, which has been our prayer for so long. He has a buddha belly and rubber band wrists, all signs of serious CHUB! In two photos he was reaching for the camera, in one he had his arms straight up in the air. Daddy said he's a KULP, "TOUCHDOWN!" Football's in the blood, my friends! (Have you met our linebacker 3 year old?)

Today we received a little message from the Wistrom family who recently traveled. Karen said

"By the way - Micah looked healthy and happy!!! He was so responsive

and would smile back when I would smile at him. What a cutie!!!"

We are SO excited that he is smiling as we have yet to see a huge GRIN in his pictures. Let's hope we see one in person soon.

Kim

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One Week Down (well, 18 months and 1 week!)

Hey Everyone~
It's been one week since we didn't pass court. This has been a LONG week, let me tell you! I want to say, in public, that I could not have done this week without Sherry Semlow, my dear Sister whose sweet kiddos are also from E*** like Micah David. She is a wonderful counselor, friend, and companion on this journey. I am almost as excited to see her meet her 3 lovlies as I am to meet Micah David!

We received new photos of Micah David yesterday. He is SO FAT!!! His Buddha belly rivals that of Devon, which is saying a LOT as we named Devon BB when he was a baby! He has sweet little arm rolls and chubby cheeks. He's sitting up in the Bumbo seat quite well in the photos, which is nice to see. Before he was slumped over and looking a bit disheveled. We fall in love again with each new photo.

I have come to realize this past week that adoption is never what we think it will be. With Devon's adoption, we actually lost a child 2 months prior to his birth. We didn't believe that he would be ours until the car ride home from the agency when he was 3 days old. I remember all three of us, Mom, me, and Chad, BAWLING at the fact that we were finally parents. The process was grueling and very disappointing at times, but ultimately SO REWARDING.

This process has been SO MUCH HARDER than we ever expected. So much longer, so much more pain, so much more heartache...I said to Lisa Supplee and (that) Shannan Fodale (who gave me TRUTH that will always ring in my ears and heart, TRUTH that I have passed on!)

IF I HAD KNOWN... I WOULD NEVER HAVE DONE THIS. I immediately felt guilt and shame for saying this, but this is how my heart feels lately.

When I got home, it occurred to me that the baby whose birth we are celebrating this month KNEW what He was being born for. He KNEW the pain He would suffer, He KNEW the heartache, He KNEW the trials, He KNEW the ultimate cost of his time here on earth. JESUS KNEW AND HE STILL DID... What an amazing truth to encourage those of us who are weary and heavy laden.

We are clinging to HIM and to His promises still.

Kim

Sunday, December 7, 2008

We're Still Here

Hey All,
I just wanted to say that we are still here and...waiting. No new news but we will hopefully hear something this week regarding the SIZE of the paperwork mountain before us.

This week has been beyond tough and I can't begin to tell you the range of emotions we are feeling from moment to moment. We are exhausted from this journey. As my wonderfully encouraging and uplifting friend Sherry explained, we know where we are going, but we have NO IDEA WHERE WE ARE! Wandering in the dark is an activity in insanity.

I wish I could say that it doesn't still hurt, but the pain is ever present. These verses are constantly on our minds as we continue to miss time with our precious Micah David.

Romans 8: 23-27
"We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Burks PASSED!

So, my GREAT friends Becky and Michael Burk passed court today. They will be with their son on Christmas, and with Micah too!

Just try and NOT fall in love with their sweet little man!

Miss you already, Becky!

Kim

The Impossible

"God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible. What a pity we plan to do only the things that we can do by ourselves." A.W. Tozer

Today it feels impossible; its a good thing God is able.

Kim

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Day After

I don't want to be writing this post. There are no words for our pain. It is beyond our understanding. God knows it and will help us through it.

Here's the breakdown of the situation.


We don’t have much information beyond the fact that E***, the orphanage, sent the wrong representative with the wrong info to court. Micah David, Isaiah, Josiah, and Lydia Semlow were the first kids to go to court from this orphanage. They never told us this could happen. We were blindsided.

The good- Duni, our program director, SWORE to Sherry and I that THESE WERE OUR KIDS and that no referrals would be rescinded. They are going to fight for our babies like they have never fought before. I truly believe this. Duni is THERE as of Friday to do this, not a coincidence.


MOWA, the government agency that is in charge of adoptions and orphanages, wrote our letter and approved all kids from this orphanage. This means that E*** has been checked out and is legit so they won’t need to be reaccredited.

The bad- the court refused to give us a make-up court date until Enfancia can prove that they can get it together. So, we are looking at January 20th as the EARLIEST date we could go back to court and Duni doesn’t have much hope for this date. This is the REALLY DISHEARTENING part of this, we have no concrete end in sight. This is SO painful. God chose this for us. I don’t like it, but I can see how he has set some things up to give us hope.

However, Duni did say that this was one of the biggest challenges that our program has ever faced. THIS IS AN UPHILL CLIMB but our children need us.

SO, what can you do? PRAY FOR A MIRACLE! Duni said it would take a miracle to make this paperwork issue go away quickly.

WE NEED GOD TRUSTING, OPTIMISTIC, HOPEFUL CHRIST FOLLOWERS PRAYING FOR MICAH, ISAIAH, JOSIAH, AND LYDIA. Pray for them by name (their future Forever Family names, not ET names). Ask for release, intercession, patience, ENDURANCE for our families.

Beyond that, LOVE US from afar as best you can. This hurt is like nothing I have felt before. Sherry and I are heartbroken for our children. Please pray for us as best you can, as often as you can. We are going to try and capture our thoughts and live faithfully with a hope.

Last night Chad and I read the following:


John 16:33


“I have told you this so that through me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble, but be courageous-I have overcome the world!"

Our Saviour has overcome this battle. We are trying to be courageous and trusting.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Explanation

So, here's what happened. Micah David is from an orphanage in Awassa, 4 hours South of Addis. They didn't have their end of the paperwork together. So, we didn't pass court. The judge wouldn't even give us a new court date. The earliest we could go is February.

We are heartbroken for us and for our son who is being held in a paper prison with no release in sight.

At this point, we are at the mercy of our social worker, Duni, who will be moving to Africa this week to work on our cases from Addis. She has promised me to work tirelessly with the orphanage Micah David is from to help us to pass in January. We are looking towards January 20th as our court date but no promises.

I need to go to bed. I am emotionally and physicall exhausted. I am trying to remember that I have another little boy to care for right here in my house right now. That needs to be my focus.

Please pray for us. We need healing and grace this day and in the days to come.

Kim

We Failed

January...

Nothing Yet...

We've put in Wall-E, popped popcorn, and are trying to forget about it all...wish there was more to say!
Kim

What's done is done~ So why can't I stop crying?

No one in our house slept well last night.

I should have known yesterday wasn't the day when we all slept so wonderfully Sunday night! We're exhausted in more ways than one. We so want to keep learning what God has for us in this end stage of the journey but our hearts and minds are too tired and wrapped up in the baby.

Chad has gone hunting for the last 2 days and managed to successfully find and (you know) a deer. I can't decide if this is him taking advantage of our last few days without 2 kids or an excuse to get him out of the house (both, perhaps!).

His wife cries at the drop of a hat lately (yes, I am crying right now!) which I am sure is not much fun to be around. This morning sweet Devon asked for a smoothie, which I made for him. When he wouldn't drink it, I immediately started crying, over a strawberry (which should have been orange) smoothie! Poor boys, I am trying!!!

Have I mentioned how ready we are to be AFRICA?

We are pretty sure today is the day. As I type this I am bawling out of fear, joy, apprehension, hope, etc. This is by far the hardest, most life changing, spiritually gut wrenching choice we have ever made.

I wish I already had news for you...trust me!

Monday, December 1, 2008

No News Yet- TOMORROW IT IS!

So, today was NOT the day (bah humbug!). TOMORROW IT IS! I am not sure how I feel about this. I wish it was over, either way.

Part of us is really disappointed, the other part relieved that we can postpone it one more day. I can't explain how it feels to have your hopes and dreams relying on those you have never met, don't know, and cannot understand. We just want it to be over and done with, regardless of the outcome. We so want to bring him home, but we are ready to hear the news and move on if that isn't the case.

Chad and I both are ready to just be EXCITED about Micah David, not concerned, apprehensive, worried, maneuvering, etc. as you are through the process of adoption. It will be so nice just to be EXCITED to travel. Packing might become my favorite new hobby!

We KNOW tomorrow is the day and, well, we are both very apprehensive. There is an air of anxiety and excitement in the house that is palpable.

Please continue to pray. Hopefully you'll see a video of our precious Micah David tomorrow and can enjoy the photos we have been staring at, obsessing over, loving for so long!

Kim

Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled,
and do not let them be afraid.

John 14:27

I woke up this morning with a profound sense of peace and praise. We have so much to praise our Father for God has moved MOUNTAINS in Micah David's life thus far, indeed in ours as well! This child was SO malnourished, he was given up, he thrived when others did not. Who are we to doubt the wonderful hand of God?

We were listening to the following song while driving home from the mountains last night. It really spoke to my heart and challenged me to ask myself "do I believe God does all things well?" If so, HIS plan for Micah, for our court date, for everything on this earth has been done well. Who am I to doubt this amazing God who WILL bring me to my son when it is right?

You Do All Things Well"

Mountain maker
Ocean tamer
Glimpses of You
Burn in my eyes
The worship of heaven
Fills up the skies

You made it all
Said, "let there be"
And there was
All that we see
The sound of Your voice
The works of Your hands
You do all things well
You do all things well
You do all things well

Star creator
Wind breather
The strokes of Your beauty
Brushed through the clouds
Light from the heavens
Touching the ground

Imagination runs wild
And breathes the breath of life
Across the fields
Across the miles


Across the miles our God is binding our hearts to our son. He WILL come home as God does ALL things well.