Monday, January 31, 2011

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face~one year later

January 31, 2011

One year ago today, I awoke in a hotel room in Dubai, UAE, with the anticipation of seeing our son and daughter for the first time. It was not a definite, as we were told Sundays are “family days” and our drive may not be available and the orphanage may not be open to visitors. So with a prayer in my heart to see them on this day, we set off for Ethiopia. We landed four hours later on a runway surrounded by fields and random people standing at various places throughout the fields. I have not a clue what they were doing. I never even thought about them until now. It was such a surreal moment. I fully expected to land in Ethiopia and feel an overwhelming surge of familiarity, but it did not come. It felt foreign, just as it was, some 7,000+ miles from home.

We piled out of the airplane and went through the paperwork in the airport. The Ethiopian woman behind the desk was annoyed with a dignitary in front of me for some reason. There was a problem with his paperwork. On one hand, I was glad she wasn’t allowing just anyone to pass through, but on the other, I knew he was getting frustrated and angry and I was already feeling a bit out of my comfort zone. We got through the paperwork and getting our luggage and finally met Sintayew, our lawyer.

I asked someone if they knew him, as we missed seeing him holding the sign. I think he overheard me and came over. He said he was standing there holding the sign and we missed him. Anyway, we were off to the van, after tipping some men for “helping” us with our luggage. We met Ephraim, who would be our driver for the week. He didn’t speak much English, but we didn’t speak any Ahmaric, so who could fault him. He was a sweet man.
As we drove to the guest home, Sintayew asked if we’d like to see our children. I immediately said, “YES!”. I don’t even remember hearing Jim’s reply. I took a deep breath and settled into my seat. All was well-I would see my babies today.

We settled into our rooms in the guest home. It was a beautiful place. We had two bedrooms and a bathroom. We had two cribs waiting for our children. I don’t remember much of the wait, except for the things I managed to scratch in my journal. We were told Ephraim was ready to take us to the orphanage.

We got our first taste of the roads in Addis. There are no road signs, no stop lights, and few if any lines on the road. Interestingly enough, it didn’t really bother me. It reminded me of being in Guatemala City a year prior, and I loved it. As we drove down the road, I saw the “Toukoul” orphanage sign as we approached. We turned onto a dusty little road, waited for an animal to move (I think it was a goat.) and were ushered through the blue gate of the orphanage. Once inside, we were taken to the guest room for our first meeting with Kibrom and Feven.

While our friends prepared the video camera and regular camera, we were pretty much overwhelmed. There were so many emotions zipping through our bodies. Again, a surreal moment. Much like Jim coming to my workplace and telling me about our referral. Much like getting the phone call that we passed court. Much like landing in Ethiopia. And here we are. This is it. The moment we’d been waiting for. Our eyes stayed glued on the door through which they would enter with our babies. And then it happened.

Two nannies entered through the door with our children. Words can’t describe it. Only through our photos do tears and stunned looks of amazement allow one to imagine what we were feeling. We each took one into our arms. Now, for months prior, I had coached myself on how not to cry when I met them so they wouldn’t be scared. Well, as soon as I held Ana/Feven in my arms, hot tears poured down my face. I couldn’t believe I got to be the mom in this moment. I couldn’t believe God chose me. Why me, Lord? Thank you, Lord-I whispered in my heart.

Jim and I took turns holding each one. Our friends graciously stood back, took video, and watched this family grow. The both smiled and laughed as though they’d been waiting for us. It was amazing.
Feven’s/Ana’s hair was straight. She was wearing a yellow outfit. She was so tiny and so cute. She was small but mighty. She could army crawl and roll over. She loved my tree pendant on my necklace and played with it every time I held her in Ethiopia. She had sad-looking eyes when she wasn’t smiling. I actually asked Jim if he thought she might have Down’s Syndrome. Looking back now, it is only by God’s grace that this little girl smiled. From this moment on for many months, every time she met a stranger or went to an unfamiliar place, she stuck her hand in her mouth and froze.
Kibrom’s/Gabriel’s hair was curly. He was wearing a pink outfit. He was skinny and tiny. He didn’t do anything but sit in your arms and look cute. He smiled and laughed, despite a very raspy cough.

They both had scabies and diarrhea, which really wasn’t a big deal, except for the blow-outs on the plane ride home.
We studied them and wondered over them for a little over an hour. It was time to go back to the guest house and decompress. We had met our children.

Meaning of Their Names
God clearly showed us their names in November of 2007. At the time, we only knew Gabriel John and Anna. Over time, God gave us Grace as a middle name for Ana. Feven and Kibrom are their Ethiopian names. We chose to spell Ana's name with one "n", as this is how it's spelled in Guatemala. We met a little girl in Guatemala whose name was Ana and God drew my heart to hers.

When I looked up the meanings for the first time, I was amazed at what I found. It was clear that God had a plan for these two little ones.
Ana~ Grace
Grace~ Favor
Feven (given Ethiopian name)~ brilliant
Gabriel~ God is my might
John~ God is gracious
Kibrom (given Ethiopian name)~ Our pride
I recently read that God doesn't call us to a thing, that is, a mission, an occupation, adoption, whatever. No, He calls us to Himself.
We praise you, God, for who you are and inviting us in.
We praise you for your Amazing Grace.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Year Ago...

On January 29, 2010, we flew out of JFK, headed for Dubai, UAE. We were filled with all kinds of crazy emotions.

On January 31, we landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and were taken to the YGF Guest House. We were finally in Ethiopia. It was a surreal moment.

A few hours later, we headed for Toukoul Orphanage to meet our son and daughter. We arrived at the orphanage and were ushered through the blue gate.

After waiting 10-15 minutes in the guest room, we met Gabriel John Kibrom Laubach and Ana Grace Feven Laubach for the the first time. (Gabriel is in pink. Ana is in yellow.)

Finally, we have our children in our arms. Two of our children remain on the other side of the world. Again, it was a surreal moment. No words can express the emotions that run through your body. Praising God for His goodness and this indescribable gift of family.
He indeed sets the lonely in families.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When Feelings Don't Match Loving Actions

For the most part, my feelings match my actions. I've pretty much muddled my way through life following my feelings. I learned a few years ago that this may not be the most reliable way to live. I'm learning to trust in the One True God, rather than the god of feelings.

Today my feelings did not match what my daughter needed.

She cried. I pushed away. Not with my physical actions but with my emotions. I wanted this morning to be a place of quiet rest. I wanted it to revolve around me. I wanted to sit and drink coffee, read my bible, write, whatever...just a brief mental vacation. But my daughter needed something different. I tried to placate her with books, random toys, and such while I typed. Nothing worked. She just wanted, Me. Her mommy.

What do you choose in these moments when you literally feel as though you can't, but your head is telling you, you must? I'm not sure what others choose in these moments. I can't say I really thought through it, but I sat down and cried. As I cried, I started to tell God all the reasons I can't. I told him that my feelings did not match what Ana needs right now. I told him I'm totally dependent upon him for strength. I told him I'm a horrible excuse for a mother.

As I sat on the floor with tears streaming down my face, Ana and Gabriel came and sat on my lap. Gabriel brought a book. I thought it might be a book relevant to how I was feeling. Nope. It was a Barney book. But as we sat and I read and Ana traced my tears with her fingertip, I thought back to our time in Guatemala. I thought about sitting in Casa de Los Angelitos, the baby house, surrounded by 20 babies wondering how in the world the house mother does it. God showed me at the time that I can only ever do the next thing He puts in front of me. I repeated to myself, "Just do the next thing." It's really not that hard.

Yes, I realize this sounds so selfish. It is. I am selfish much of the time. I should be thinking about the needs of my children and what the Lord would have me do, rather than my own needs. Without Jesus, I can't even imagine what I'd be doing right now. I am so thankful that He never changes as my feelings and moods and actions ebb and flow. Thank you, Jesus, for being the rock. My refuge. The author and perfecter of our faith. The only one who is able.

*Side Note: This is a random happening, not an every day event in our home. I often get emails from people after I've shared the harder part of mothering and adoption, saying how sorry they are for my difficulty. Please, please, don't be sorry. There are so many moments of pure joy in mothering. So so many. Please feel free to pray for me and all mothers, as well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

They Found Him!

Davids' (I believe his name is Davids, not David.) family found him.

You can read about it HERE

We praise you, God. We praise you for who you are. We praise you for allowing this family to welcome another child into their home.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Urgent Need for Family to Find Him

You can read the post here about this young boy whose family needs to find him.

Friday, January 7, 2011


God is the creator of feelings.
But, "Feelings make a better caboose than an engine."
(taken from a sermon @ Freedom Fellowship church)

Who Leads-God or My Feelings (Me)?
I often choose to lead with my feelings and allow my worship to follow. My initial feelings when starting something new are fear and doubt. I fear failure. I doubt who I am. I doubt who God is. When fear leads, the sure destination is the bottomless, ugly destination of self. God never intends for fear to lead a work He's predestined. There is no fear in love, He says, and God is love. He Leads. He sees it through, for His name's sake. When God leads, the destination is life. Fresh and Cleansing, Breath-Giving Eternal Life and He receives the glory.

Pulled From an Ash Heap
1 Samuel 2:8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap...
When God pulled me out of the ash heap and I accepted this free gift, I was not only accepting salvation, but I was accepting to worship him with all of my life, all of my being. If I truly understand what he has done for me, I will not try and barter with God to see how much of me he receives. I will fall down on my knees and lavish everything I have on Him. My alabaster jar. My two coins. Everything.

Our feelings, words, and actions may show otherwise, but Jesus calls for total devotion. In Matthew He said, "If anyone would come after me, he must take up his cross and follow me." And he said, "Anyone who loves his son or daughter is not worthy of me." And, "whoever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it."

Paul reminds us that our lives are now hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3) Are you wondering the boundaries of how much of your life God seeks? All of it. Every. Single. Bit of it.
No leftovers. No crumbs. All of it.

God is Unchanging-We Stray
Our hearts are prone to wander. We stray like cats in the night, looking for our next meal. But God. God is unmoved. He is unchanging. He will not be swayed by our fickle feelings or prideful attitudes. At the point of decision-in determining who I will worship-I often want God to move. It's as if I want to stand on my pedestal, feet firmly planted with chin raised high. Oh, how prideful I can be. Oh, how we should praise God for his grace and mercy, his patience and endurance, with his rebellious children.

God Knows We Will Fear
As God told Joshua, He tells us over and over again: Fear Not. Be of courage. This often is not a rebuke but an encouragement. It's as if He beckons to us in grace: Move forward. Go beyond your feelings of fear and doubt. You'll find me, right here, waiting.

Can You Trust Fully Trust God?
For His name sake, Yes. It's not because of anything we can be or do. For His name's sake, He will accomplish all that He desires.
In His grace and mercy, He has shown me the danger of not following Him. Not loving him. Not worshipping Him with everything He has given me. To live without him is death.

You Were Made For This
Ephesians 2:10 says He predestined the good works He's set before me. Whether it be marriage, children, singing, playing guitar, writing, whatever it may be-He has predestined it. I need not fear failure. I will not be perfect in any of these things, but Christ, He is perfect. He will do it for His name's sake, not mine. And the purpose of this work is not my accomplishment of a task. My purpose in the work is to glorify Him. His purpose is to glorify Himself in the work, not me. In glorifying Him, I receive joy. I receive the pleasure of knowing more and more of Who He is. He gives me Himself.

Have you ever wondered why God created you? We were created to glorify Him. In living for God's glory, not my own, I receive my deepest satisfaction, my deepest joy.

I pray that we choose to move past our feelings of fear. That is, fear of man, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, and choose instead to Fear Him, the One True God. To fear this wonderful creator, author, and perfecter of our faith. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Father. Thank you, Holy Spirit. Amen

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

His Family Found Him!

Yes. It's true. He's found his family, or more accurately, I should say his family found him.

We praise you, God. May it all be for your glory, alone.

Check out the post here.