...Our Family...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Paperwork Update-PLEASE PRAY

As of today, all looks well and is moving forward. Duni has been able to get the necessary paperwork together and expects to petition the courts for a new court date. This date could be anywhere from mid February to mid April.

Please pray that the judge would be lenient and give Micah and the Semlow children a favorable court date sometime in February or early March.

We are still standing on His goodness and love despite the crazy turn of events that He has given us to handle. He must think so much of us!! ;0) We can't wait to have a firm court date and be looking ahead to travel (we really HAVE TO PASS this time!!).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2 Teeth for Micah

A traveling family whom we LOVE, the Taylors, wrote a little update on Micah on their blog today. Here's what it said:

"Kulp Family- my parents loved on your boy for a long time. They were determined to get him laughing! And they sure did! All the baby nannies commented that he was so smiley while they were playing with him! He also recently cut 2 bottom teeth. So cute!"

All we want for Christmas is to see those two teeth...

Monday, January 26, 2009

4 Month Referralversary- WHAT WE KNOW!


4 months ago today we saw our youngest son for the first time. It's unbelievable to us and those who know this process that we would be at this point, over 16 weeks, without a court date.

People keep asking us how we are "doing" and how we "feel." Do you have a few hours? ;0)

We are exhausted. We are clinging to the ROCK as the waves continually batter our bodies and souls.

We are stripped bare, flesh exposed, and soul weary.

Jesus said to gain our lives we must lose them. So, we have laid down our lives at God's feet for this child, for God's better plan and will in Micah's life. We thought that was enough. But it wasn't, isn't, and never will be.

Now we know that we have to LAY DOWN THIS CHILD at His feet. How do you let go of our child in order to save him?

This has been the most radically painful and exposing experience of our young lives. And He's not done yet.

Our feelings have exhausted us. We have no energy left for what we feel- for the loss, the grieving of 3 extra months (at least) that we are losing with our son; for the pain of the holidays without him; for the whys and whens and hows and whys and whys and whys...

So, we've discovered that, while our feelings are valid and important, they really don't help. If anything they confuse us and convince us of rights and justices and conclusions that take us further from the truth.



"The ROCK is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in LOVE."

"The ROCK is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made."

"The eyes of all look to the ROCK and he gives them their food at the PROPER time."

"The ROCK satisfies the desires of every living thing."

"The ROCK is righteous in all His ways."

"The ROCK is NEAR to all who call on him in TRUTH."

"THe ROCK fulfills THE DESIRES of those who fear Him, the ROCK HEARS their cry and SAVES them."

"The ROCK watches over ALL who love Him."

The ROCK has been merciful, loving, kind, compassionate, loving, faithful, and good throughout this process. JUST NOT IN THE WAY WE DREAMED OR EXPECTED OR HOPED.

We have no energy to lift our heads from the ROCK and see these benefits. So, we are STARING unwaveringly at the ROCK. He is our benefit, or blessing, our hope, our salvation from the waves.

Better is one day on THIS ROCK than a thousand in Ethiopia.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blessed Be His Name- We Did Not Pass

God is still faithful, still good, still loving.

We did not pass court again today. Though our paperwork was "perfect" the government agency that approves adoptions did not write our recommendation letter. The process has begun to switch Micah's paperwork to a different orphanage. We are praying that we will get a court date as soon as the paperwork is completed.

Please do not ask questions at this time. We are heartbroken and can't imagine another 8 weeks without our baby. Pray for us, for the paperwork to be completed quickly and for us to receive a court date as soon as possible.

Micah David is the miracle. He should not be alive, he should not be coming home to us. BUT HE IS COMING HOME TO US, in God's perfect and PAINFUL timing.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Today is so unbelievably hard. We are trying to believe with all our hearts that God is going to work a miracle tomorrow and change "M"s heart. We want this more than we have wanted anything in our lives. We are desperate for this miracle, desperate for God to intervene, desperate for our baby.

As I type this tears are streaming down my face and my heart literally HURTS in my chest.

PLEASE KEEP PRAYING FOR A MIRACLE TOMORROW. God holds each of our hearts in the palms of his hands. He can certainly open "M"s heart to the cries of our children and make her release them.


He loves them even more than we do and He is crying with me.

Saturday, January 17, 2009



This is the passage we are claiming today for Micah David, Isaiah, Josiah, and Lydia.

Isaiah 59
1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
or his ear dull, that it cannot hear...

15 The LORD saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no one to intercede;
then his own arm brought him salvation,
and his righteousness upheld him.

Isaiah 60
1 Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
2For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
3 And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.

4 Lift up your eyes all around, and see;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from afar,
and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.

5Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and exult (in Hebrew, made to grow),
because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you...

Friday, January 16, 2009



The representative at the ET government has "changed her mind" about writing our recommendation letter because of a license issue with the orphanage Inf***. For us to have a hope of passing on Tuesday, we will need to see God work a miracle in this woman's heart.

We are so brokenhearted. We want to give up but we can't. We NEED YOUR HELP TO FIGHT THIS BATTLE.

Micah is our son, that has not changed. There are back-up plans in place if a miracle does not occur. We are not discussing these as we believe God can change "M"s heart and work a miracle on our behalf.

Thank you and we love you all. This journey is so paralyzing. We are so glad to have you walking beside us and can feel your strength and love.

We are trying to take hold of this verse for Micah David.

Isaiah 46:11b

Indeed I have spoken it;
I will also bring it to pass
I have purposed it;
I will also do it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nerves, Jitters, and Prayer Requests

So, this house is getting pretty antsy and nervous, as you might imagine! We are less than 1 week from court and are continually being told all looks "favorable" from our adoption agency. But, there's so much to worry over. We are trying not to let our minds wander over the many variables that must come together for us to pass court, but it's really hard not to think about it all the time. This date is a long time coming and is our one shot to bring Micah David home.

Instead of worrying, we are praying and asking everyone to pray with us about the following "worries."
  • That ALL of the paperwork from Enf**** the orphanage will come in and be correct.
  • That the proper representative from Enf**** will show up for court, safe and sound.
  • That court will have power and be in session and that all necessary members will be in attendance.
  • That we will have a kind and favorable judge who has a heart for adoption.
  • That the judge will accept all of the paperwork and not require anytime more.
  • That we will pass court and travel as soon as possible (possible the 30th, we're praying for a miracle!!!).
It is indeed a miracle when families are connected through adoption. PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR MIRACLE BABY TO COME HOME!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

One Week To Court

The water is wide,
I can't cross o'er.
Neither have I
Wings to fly...

Today, the water seems so wide and the flood is rising. We can see Micah David on the other side, we are so close, but we can't reach him. The water is too wide, too wide...

We need wings that we do not have to cross the wide space between our hearts.

God says that He can raise us up "on wings of eagles." We BELIEVE this.

Please pray for wings...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I Can Only Imagine

I never imagined my young life would be characterized by loss. But I can't tell you how many times I have heard "you've had your share." Tonight, my heart, my mind, my hands find themselves unable to pretend that I am not terrified, more like paralyzed by what has been and what might be. 

I never imagined...

I never imagined I'd watch my fiance bury is father; watch a family fall apart.

I never imagined I'd bury 4 grandparents in 4 years. 

I never imagined I would bury, my Daddy, horrifically and unexpectedly, at 23.

I never imagined having a child would be so hard, would take 4 years and be so painful.

And I never, ever imagined we'd bury Chad's baby sister, our heart, our Joy, Alana the day after my birthday when she was only 19. 

I never imagined I'd lose so much so young. Proverbs says it is good to bear the yolk in your youth. This yolk is so heavy to bear this evening. I am tired of a young life that has been defined by such loss, such pain, such sorrow.

Tonight, I am very aware of what I have lost out of fear of what I have yet to take hold. Only once in my life have I begged God for anything in such desperation and fear as I am this evening. I have found myself, again, begging for a child I have not held and do not know but LOVE to my core.

And yet, in all of this fear and sadness and sorrow, I can see His plan, His blessing, His love in ways I never imagined.

These are my stones in the Jordan River, the blessings I never imagined. These are His benefits to me.

I never imagined I would survive 2 brain tumors as a child without a visible scar.

I never imagined I would have a mother who could uplift beyond abuse and truly love an unexpected child with such ferocious protection and yet gentle care.

I never imagined God would replace a father who dug holes in my heart with a step-father who was made to fill them.

I never imagined I would find a man to love me at my most unlovable, a man who would stay.

I never imagined the rape of a woman I have never met could turn into such love in my heart for a child. I never imagined God could bless, could heal, could REDEEM out of such horrific cruelty and pain. 

I never imagined my heart could learn to love beyond sin and sadness and sorrow,  beyond itself on a rainy Saturday in March.

I never imagined that a child from Trenton could heal the wounds of an entire family.

And I never imagined that 3 years later my heart would stretch again, would tear and bleed and scar from a dream yet fulfilled, from a child so far away.

I never imagined I would LOVE so richly, so boldly, so painfully. 

And yet I realize, it is because I am loved so richly, so boldly, SO PAINFULLY that I can imagine LOVE at all...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Josiah!

The sweetest-lipped 4 year old at the TH, Josiah Semlow, has a birthday today! We so wish we could sing to you ourselves, sweet Josiah! Your Aunt Kim just can't wait to kiss those lips, no matter the consequences.

Sherry and Kevin, you WILL see God's in the land of ETHIOPIA and have every birthday for the rest of his life. May your hearts REJOICE today that your sweetie is healthy, loved, and coming home soon.

Happy Birthday Sweet Josiah from your extended family in PA. You have no idea the amount of love that's coming at you!!! May you feel our well wishes and prayers this day.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Peace...Sweet Peace...

Yesterday I prayed this over and over again:
Psalm 143
1 O LORD, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief

7 Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

While yesterday was a day of panic and sadness, this morning brought word of God's unfailing LOVE for me and for our precious Micah David in the form of peace. My heart was at peace. I can't explain it other than to say I no longer fear court (at least in this moment!).

Today we were told that Micah's paperwork in in order and our agency has "every indication and belief that we will pass court." This news came AFTER the peace in my heart.

Psalm 144: I will sing a new song to you O God..." Today we are singing praises of peace to God, not because we are SURE we are going to pass court, but because we are SURE that whatever comes our God will carry us through. We are BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN AND DESPERATE, exactly where the Lord wants us.

And we are finally at peace...sweet peace.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009



Today is Christmas Day in Ethiopia (they are on a different calendar). (Go to simplyloveproject.blogspot.com for sweet pictures of Miss Zoie in a traditional ET dress).

While I should be happy, my heart is quite heavy. While I should be rejoicing that I have a second holiday to be thankful for the birth of Christ, I am instead drawn to thoughts of my son.

Today I am sad to not be holding my Ethiopian son and wishing him "Ye Ganna Baal." My mind wanders to his day and the events. Did they dress him up in the reindeer outfit we sent him for Christmas? Did the nannies dance around with him and sing him Christmas songs? Did they give him extra kisses, extra hugs, extra love? Did they give him special Christmas clothing as a present? To not know these very fundamental facts about my son make me feel helpless and inadequate.

Mostly I am wondering if they told him of his Father who loved him enough to send His son to earth for us all. Did they whisper in Micah David's ear how loved he is by His heavenly Father? Did they show him a manger scene and tell him the wonderful good news? I ache to know these things about my Micah David.

My arms ache today as they did on our Christmas because of stories untold and truths unwispered into the precious ears of our Micah David.

So, "Ye Ganna Baal" sweet son. We miss you and love you more than you will ever know. You are a dream yet fulfilled, a present yet opened. May all of your Christmases from here on out be with your forever family. Know that I carry you in my heart this day and the weight of not having you seems unbearable. If not for the baby celebrated in Ethiopia this day...

Thank you, Father, for your Son who enables us to walk this rocky, mountainous journey with faith and hope.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


These past three days have been days of thought, prayer, and movement in my heart. Prompted to be in a constant state of prayer for Micah David and the children in our Ethiopia program, I decided to fast until noon each day and to give up sweets entirely until we pass court. I thought this would be easy. It has not been.

Each day I wake up aware of my hunger. I never used to be hungry in the morning. Now, when I awake, my growling tummy is the first thing on my mind. And so I pray. When I make Devon his breakfast I long to take a bite. And so I pray. When my mouth salivates as I watch Devon eat a cookie in the grocery store, I pray. I have been doing lots of praying.

My momentary, minute hunger has taught me a few things. First, it has taught me to appreciate each meal. It has also taught me to be thankful that my belly has NEVER been hungry for longer than a few minutes. It also has made me feel helpless. Hunger is not a feeling that you can push aside. It remains, despite all efforts to forget it.

My hunger has also brought me closer to the hunger that Micah David and his birth mother must have felt each day until he was relinquished. This hunger is what she still feels each day. It is because of this hunger that she gave up her child. I cannot imagine what she felt during the days that he was with her as she watched her son starving to death unable to help him, unable to meet his needs, unable to keep him alive.

I was MOVED by the most recent post at the following blog.

This family adopted their son Levi through our organization. This is what happened when Levi saw a photo of an African orphan.

"Levi became so upset. He said, "Oh, no, oh, no--baby hurt!" over and over. So, to comfort him I told him that we can pray for that baby. Well, he stopped right then and stood in front of the picture, folded his little hands in prayer and began praying from his 20 month old heart for the child in front of him. He prayed, "God, baby hurt--give daddy...and mama...and AAAllle (Elle) and NaNa (Nash) and MattMan (Nash's friend, we love as our own). And he prayed that over and over, then he said, "No starvin God" and threw his arms in the air "Amen!"

It never occurred to me that Micah David might remember his time of struggle. Levi does and will always remember hunger.

My prayer is that we will all respond as Levi did to the hunger problem of this world.


Monday, January 5, 2009


Our Yahoo Group (well some of us!) fasted and prayed this morning for the Ethiopia program. We specifically asked God for favorable court decisions and more referrals.

Well, God answered, in a matter of HOURS!!!

The Semlows and Us were told today that our case looks "favorable" to pass court. This is no guarantee, but we were told they are doing all they KNOW to do to help us pass.

The REALLY BIG ANSWER for today was 4 baby referrals, including two girl referrals in one day! The girl line has been moving at a rate of 1 referral a month so this is BIG news!!

We are praising God tonight along with the following families.

The Crowell
s- Our local friends who received a referral for an infant boy! We can't wait to hold him! Happy Birthday, Megan. What a gift!

The Lunceford Family (after waiting an eternity!!!)- a sweet baby girl!

The Bowman Family (also waited an eternity for their FIRST baby!)- a sweet baby girl!

The Koby Family- an infant prince!

What a wonderful day this was for our program and yahoo group! We are going to continue to fast and pray standing firm in the belief that our God will bless the children of Ethiopia richly.

Fasting and Prayer

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 ”Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-12 NIV)

Today, our yahoo group will be fasting and praying for the Ethiopia program. Please join me as we pray that God would remove stumbling blocks that stand in the way of children passing court and being referred to families in the US. God tells us to ask and promises us good gifts in return.

Please pray for the following after you are done reading this blog entry. If you don't know how to pray, just use the words below!

Father, you promise to give us good gifts when we ask you. You command us to ask, seek, and knock. We are asking you to remove those hurdles and stumbling blocks that stand in the way of the many children waiting to pass court, including Micah David Kulp. We ask that you would gather all of the necessary paperwork and guide those who represent these children in court. Help MOWA to be favorable in choosing to connect these families with their forever families. We also ask that you would enable more children to be referred to waiting families. Smooth this process and help it to move more quickly than it has in the past.

We ask this in your name,

We believe our God can move mountains and is mighty to save.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Faith v. Fear: Adoption's David and Goliath

"Fear is the opposite of FAITH."

Our sermon today was on faith and desperation. Pretty fitting, huh, given my recent temper tantrums, pity parties, and general faithlessness.

It is impossible to have faith when your heart is full of fear. Faith comes from a place of ACKNOWLEDGED desperation and emptiness. We NEED God but cannot COME TO HIM when we are filled with fear and ourselves.

Ok, Lord, we were listening. We need more faith but can't muster it because of our fear.

So, how do you reconcile such a strong, God given desire (for Micah David) with the reality of our separation from him? How do you let go of your fear and take hold of faith when you haven't the energy to breathe much less pray? When the very thought of what you fear the most makes you tremble and want to concede? When you DON'T want God's will if it means your arms will continue to be empty.

How do you approach a savior who requires faith when you have none?

"Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come."

We have come to the place in this journey where we are working, living, existing on the strength of our God. Whatever FAITH you see, hear, or feel from us is NOT from us, it is from God. We have found ourselves UNEXPECTEDLY, TERRIBLY, WONDERFULLY, PERFECTLY DESPERATE.

And we are finally beginning to get it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Travel Preparations and Court Fears, AGAIN

Hey Everyone,
Two weeks and a few days until court, again. Four weeks until possible travel, again. Packing, again. Finding airline tickets, again. Seeing doctors for travel, again. Human resources for insurance, again. AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN!

What am I getting at? We've begun to prepare to travel to Ethiopia, for the second time in 2 months. There is a gnawing fear in both of us that we will fail court again and all of this thought, preparation, packing, etc. will be for nothing, again. We have tried to keep that at bay while remaining positive and praying through our fears. However, we're really drained.

To be honest, we are SO DONE with international adoption right now. We're not emotional wrecks like we were, or frustrated anymore, or even as sad. We are just TIRED and worn out from this journey. Each day we pray for strength and endurance knowing that we might be at this for another few months. We are ready to be a family, to be cleaning up formula spit-up, jockeying for room in the bed, explaining to Devon why sitting on Micah David is NOT safe, etc. We are done with the distance, done with the questions, done with the "ifs" and "whys" and "whens."

I'm not going to lie, this is torture. I have stopped trying to hide it by using phrases that I KNOW are true but don't feel like "it's all in God's timing" or "He knows best." I don't have the energy for that anymore. I just hate this wait, just plain hate it. I am learning in it, I am growing spiritually and emotionally, I'm practicing the fruits of the spirit and hoping that they stick. But I hate it, all of it. Good Christian adoptive mother, aren't I! ;0) Perhaps that's why we're still waiting...

I'm done being his Mommy from afar without the benefits of having him in my arms. Unless you've adopted, you can't really understand this. It's sheer torture of the worst kind.

So, we're in the thick of the preparations, trying to keep our heads down and dodge the fears. We will be going to the city where Micah David was born, a very rural but beautiful area, so we will be getting yellow fever and typhoid vaccines as well as treatment for malaria next week, to the whopping tune of $500! God really enabled us to do this, however, as we will be getting a refund of around 300$ per airline ticket as our last flights were so expensive and the new tickets are that much cheaper. This will cover the medical costs and RX's that we will need to take with us. What a blessing!

We've also been packing up donations and the MANY just in case items we will need for ourselves. This hasn't been as fun as I thought it would be. To be honest, I just want to get there and be home already! I am praying that passing court will give us a renewed sense of excitement to travel. Right now, it seems like that many more hurdles in our way keeping us from Micah David.

So, if anyone is reading this ;0) please pray for the following.

-BEG God that we pass court on January 20th (we're WAY beyond asking at this point!). I'm not sure begging is Biblical, but I'm being real. That's where we are!

-Ask for a HUGE measure of peace, endurance, and grace for us as we are really hitting rock bottom with this process and it's taking its toll on our marriage and family.

-Please pray for Devon. He is SO CONFUSED about his brother. He keeps asking "Where is he?" Then, he'll see pictures of him being held by others and say "Is that his mommy/daddy?" This really tears me up and is an unexpected reaction.

-Pray for little man Micah David as he is waiting for us. Ask God to BIND our hearts together as a family and for health and safety while he is there.

We really love you all and want, more than anything, to share our youngest son with you. What a day that will be!!


Friday, January 2, 2009

Fekadu and Tigist Taylor have a FOREVER FAMILY!!!

Congratulations to my great friends Bethany and Josh Taylor as their kiddos passed through court today! We are rejoicing with them. They will be traveling with the Violette family in a few weeks to bring their daughter and son home forever. They are first time parents adopting older kids, my heroes for sure!

WE LOVE YOU TAYLORS!!!! I can't wait to see you holding those sweet faces in your hands (and holding our Micah David too!)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Meti has a FOREVER FAMILY!!!

Today, Meti Joy Violette passed through Ethiopian courts and will join her forever family in a few weeks. This girl is AMAZING and has been loving on and caring for all of the kids at the transitional home for almost a year. She is a sweet spirit who brings so much joy to all who meet her.