Help Us Adopt Eshetu

God has made it clear to us that there is a missing piece to our family. While we were not actively looking to add to our family, this is the path he has us on.   So we are now announcing our puzzle fundraiser! In honor of our journey to add this extra piece, we have chosen a puzzle of Louisville. For every $20 you donate to our adoption, we will write your name on the back of one puzzle piece. (This means, if you give $100, we will write your name on 5 puzzle pieces. ) This 400-piece puzzle will hang in the boys’ room as a reminder of those who helped us bring him home. We want Eshetu to be able to look at all of the names on the backside of the puzzle and know that he was loved by a great community before he ever even arrived.   In addition to helping us complete the puzzle, for each amount of $20 given we will enter your name once into a drawing to win a brand new iPad Mini (16 MB, Wi-Fi, White/Silver) or a photo session with Dalila of 1986 Photography, www.dalilaof1986.com. (This means, if you give $100, your name will be entered five times to win a prize). We will randomly select winners after the fundraising ends, and other prizes may be added to the mix along the way. If you have already donated toward Eshetu’s adoption, don’t worry, your name will also be added the appropriate number of times to both the puzzle pieces and the giveaway.

If you want to donate, you can give in person or through the mail, or you can do PayPal. This must all happen very quickly because of the short timeline! He could be home within the next month or so. We appreciate your generosity!

Here is the breakdown of what we estimate to be our expenses:

Homestudy: $1250

Agency Fee: $3500 (Grant Received)

Lawyer Fee’s: $2500

Travel, Forms, etc*: $1500

*Please ask if you want to know what etc* incudes.

Here We Go, Again.

Two years ago, our family of four became a family of seven. (Seven!) It was not without difficulties, but it was clear that it was God’s plan for our family. As time has passed, we have found our fit and experienced great joy with our blended family. We praise God for what he has done in our lives!

Five kids is a lot, right? (The answer I am looking for is, “Yes, Miss Hannigan.”) Of course, we’ve learned to function in this world of “more”: more seats at the table, more mouths to feed, more clothes to fold, more passengers in the van, more minds to educate, more birthdays to celebrate, more late-night, heart-changing conversations, more joy. But we’ve never, ever, said, “Hey, you know what we need? We need more kids.”

It shocked us when we learned that God was saying this to us.

It’s been nearly two weeks since we saw Eshetu’s face and knew that he is our son. I can’t fully explain it. I’ve seen plenty of kids who need homes. I’ve read many sad stories. This time, though, was different, so we checked into his story.

Eshetu is a seven-year-old boy, who was adopted from Ethiopia three-and-a-half years ago. For reasons we don’t want to share publicly, his adoptive parents could no longer keep him, so he has been placed for adoption again. (I would like to be clear that given what we know of his story, we have no reason to fear that he will physically or sexually harm our other children.) This will be a domestic adoption, rather than an international one.  We have spent many hours praying about adopting Eshetu and have asked a few people who are part of our lives for wisdom and to be praying, as well. We have come to the conclusion that he is our son and we have to pursue him.  Here are a few things about Eshetu that fit well with our family:

1. He has some food sensitivities. We have learned to cook for various food sensitivities over the past two years, including gluten/wheat, dairy, eggs, yogurt, and black pepper.

2. He has a vision problem. He will need vision therapy just like Abigail went through last Fall. It helped her immensely and it can help him, too. This particular type of therapy requires that an eye doctor be specially trained and certified, and so it is something that is not available in every city. But we are only about 15 minutes from the Louisville office.

3. He would do best being homeschooled. Which we already do.

4. He has anxiety. I do wonder if this could be a reason why I have dealt with anxiety so much over the past two years, so that I could understand and identify with a child who is suffering from it. I get it. I really do. (Mine was related mainly to my thyroid not working properly and food sensitivities. I personally have not had a panic attack since last October and have had a great deal of joy again since we made some major changes in our life back in March.)

So we completed an application. We found a home study agency. And Eshetu could be coming home within one to two months!

We are not naïve. We are being educated. We are bracing ourselves for the difficulties. But imagining the coming difficulties does not mean that we can be disobedient to what God has called us to do. We want to walk in faith and not fear. We are reminded almost daily of our family verse:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” –Joshua 1:9

We are nervous and excited, but we are not frightened and we are not dismayed.

He is with us.