Wednesday, July 6, 2011

And Silas Makes Four

For the past two weeks, Gabe, Stevie, and I have been here in Ethiopia with our newest family member, Silas. On Monday the 27th we picked up our sweet boy from his home and took permanent custody of him. We've been spending a lot of time getting to know him and this beautiful country that gave him to us. He is a quiet little guy, loves to eat, and is learning english and this new way of life quickly.


So far, we have traveled to the Djibouti boarder for some kayaking, eaten a lot of interesting food, visited the home of an Ethiopian friend, shopped at the Merkato (largest african tent market), visited the zoo, and frequented the playgrounds. It's rainy season here so we spend the afternoons in our hotel room to stay dry.


Stevie is loving Ethiopia and her new brother and they are loving her. She is the object of a lot of attention here. White people are already a very rare and interesting sight in Addis, throw in a blonde, talkative two year old girl and we can draw some crowds. It has become very normal to her that everyone has to touch her hair and kiss her hands. She doesn't mind at all.


We have spent the past few days focusing a lot of attention of Silas' attachment and bonding. He was very excited to be with us and maybe even clingy for the first week. This week has brought along some new challenges. Challenges that we very much expected and prepared ourselves for. Children with attachment issues (most adopted toddlers and older children) often times throw up a defense when they feel themselves becoming attached to someone. After being shuffled from his first mother, to a caregiver, and then to another, he knows all to well how hard it is to be abandoned by someone he loves. It is a natural response for him to assume that we will do the same.


There are two reasons we wanted to let you know that we are facing this hurdle. First we would covet your prayers. Pray that we would love him with the endurance and patience that we have been loved with. Pray that his heart would be at peace with this transition. Second we wanted our friends and family to be aware of our strategy to make this easier on him. If you are around us during our first few weeks home, you may notice that Silas is being very affectionate toward you and less than interested in Gabe and myself. It would not be a first if he called you mommy or daddy. While this can be flattering, this is an unhealthy way for him to detach himself from us. This is his subconscious way of telling us "these people are just as much my parents as you are". Don't be surprised or offended if we need to take him into another room to regroup. We know that he is not doing this because he doesn't love us, but because he is afraid to let himself love us. Another part of our transition plan is to be intentional about, only us, meeting his needs. While we are so excited to have visitors and hugs and kisses, it is important that we do all of the parent jobs. Feeding him, taking him to the restroom, putting his shoes on, wiping his nose, etc. This reassures him that we really are going to take care of him.


I hope that doesn't sound like a lot of rules or like we are dealing with some crisis. Silas is a very happy, healthy little boy. There is nothing natural about taking a three year old away from everything he knows. There is nothing easy about two strangers calling themselves your parents after your mother gave you up. While there is nothing natural or easy about it, it is still perfectly within God's plan for him and us. We are honored that the Lord chose us for this journey. Thrilled that He chose Silas and Stevie from different lineage, nations, and circumstances to be our children. We are beyond excited to see how the Lord uses this part of our story for His glory.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

God is good.

That is probably the title you would expect from me when we are finally on the way to get our son from the other side of the world. However, today that isn't the case.

Today we are waiting on a couple of papers to make their way to Ethiopia, so that the embassy will find us fit to pick up our baby. We are watching the UPS tracking on these papers as they sit in Kentucky for well over 24 hours.

Today we are grieving the loss of a friend. The last blog I wrote was about some of our closest friends. Friends that we consider family. Last night they lost one of their own. We are shocked and devastated by the death of such a talented, handsome, young, and brilliant man. However, we are thankful that Dr. Ben Wadsworth is resting in the arms of his Creator.

God was so good when Sterling Davis became tumor and seizure free last week. He was so good
as our business plans fell into place this month. We just celebrated the past four amazing years of marriage where God poured out His goodness on us.

But in the midst of waiting and longing, grieving and weeping, He is still, so good. He has claimed victory over death. He has plans for our Ashley to prosper. He hasn't forgotten one detail of what is to come.

Father this life is yours to give and yours to take away. We know that now more than ever. In and out of season, we love you Jesus.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Our Schluchters

Today we said goodbye to our best friends. It's not the last time we will see the Schluchters before they leave in a couple of weeks, but tonight was their going away party. Time set aside to let them go.

Misty has been, no doubt, Silas Rosser's biggest cheerleader. She is also Stevie's "other mommy". That's what Stevie calls her at least. Gabe and John work together. They don't have to work together, they choose to. Our kids love each other. Big time. Having a bad day, excited about something, mad as hell, who do you call? Misty. Well, I do.

The good news is, none of that will change. Ya hear that Misten, none of that will change!

The Lord has great things in store for this family and we will settle for nothing less for them. God's best for them, is in Omaha, Nebraska. Not Zimbabwe or India... Nebraska. Sometimes when God calls us out of our comfort and into radical abandonment(which He has), it's not somewhere as sexy as Africa. None the less, they are headed away from everything they are used to, in order to fulfill the Great Commission.

We are beyond sad about all of the little things we will miss by not living close to each other. But they are just that, little things. Things that eternally, make no difference at all. With only a short time on this earth to make an eternal impact, these really aren't big sacrifices.

But right now, it feels like a huge sacrifice. Huge. We are going to miss our friends.

We love you John & Misty. You make us proud. Don't find any new best friends.




Thursday, April 7, 2011

Go ahead... ask.

Sorry that I'm so late to write about our good news, but YAY, we have good news! We passed court in Ethiopia on March 24th because of the amazing intervention of sweet friends in high places. Now that our adoption is complete we are trying to get Silas' visa so that we can go get him. I hate to throw out a time frame, but if I do, just don't hold me to it. Every time I have guessed about time, I've been very, very wrong. If I had to put money on it, I would say that we would be heading to Ethiopia at the end of this month. Then again I thought we would have this little guy home in October, so please don't get angry with me if I'm wrong.

On a slightly different subject, I've been reading a lot of adoptive mom's blogs lately, with a reoccurring subject, that I can't help but address. The blogs are entitled something like "What NOT to ask an adoptive mom" or "Offensive things to say to a transracial family". They proceed by listing several questions that the writer has deemed inappropriate. For instance...
"Which of these children are your real children?"
"Why did his REAL mother give him up?"
"Could you not have children of your own?"

or one of my personal favorites...

"What an amazing thing you have done by accepting a child like this into your home!"

These are a few examples of questions that, I must admit, make me cringe. However they also include questions that I have personally asked of an adoptive family...

"What country is your daughter from?"
"What made you decide to adopt"
"How did your extended family accept a child of a different race?"

What do all of these questions have in common? Ignorance & curiosity. Bring it on.

This IS what I want from someone who doesn't understand our family. I want them to ask. I hope to view these situations as opportunities to share about Silas' adoption into the Rosser family and (more importantly) our adoption into the Kingdom. What would Silas and Stevie learn, if every time someone asked a difficult or poorly worded question, I got offended and upset? They would learn to be easily offended. They would learn to thrive on peoples opinions of them. We have to teach them that they have a beautiful story that is worth sharing. One that God has so clearly given us for His glory. If we keep it to ourselves, no one would know!

I wrote this down because I want any of you to feel comfortable asking and saying things that are on your mind. About anything. But in all truthfulness, I wrote this as a reminder for myself. In a year or two, when I am sick of the looks and opinions of strangers, I can look back at this blog as a reminder that I have been given an opportunity. One more chance to share this story of grace. This grace that has been poured out on me. To answer one of these remarks...

What an amazing thing the Father has done by giving us the gift of this child.




Friday, March 18, 2011

It's just not that easy.

As you've probably heard, Gabe and I had a court date today that was a bit disappointing. We are still missing a letter from MOWA that is needed for us to pass court. We are hopeful that our letter will be written sometime next week so that we will instantly pass. If it is not ready next week, we will apply for another court date, which would be in one or two months.

Here's an honest look into my mind during this adoption.

From the beginning of this journey I have had this desire to paint a different, more positive picture of the adoption process. I think I had the same goal with my pregnancy with Stevie. I had heard so many expectant mothers complain for 9 long months about the burdens of pregnancy, only to end in a horror story of their dreaded labor and delivery. I wanted people to see our pregnancy and note what a blessing and miracle children are, and the way the Lord brings them into the world. Thankfully, I had a wonderful pregnancy, followed by an easy delivery. I had several people tell me that they now were excited, instead of afraid, about becoming a mother.

Mission accomplished.

Now with this adoption, I had hoped for the same outcome. We wanted people to follow our journey and see what a wonderful process it can be. This is the main reason we started this blog. We wanted people to be encouraged to add to their family through adoption after seeing what a delightful experience we had.

Fail.

Today marks a year of our pursuit of our little boy. If you know us well, you know that it has been a year full of sorrow, disappointment and quite a few let downs. It hasn't all been bad. This year we met our son, fell in love with him and have met many new friends that share our passion for orphans. However it has not been the joy ride that I had hoped to portray.

This is not the picture that I wanted you to see, however, I am certain that it is the picture that the Lord had for you. If adoption were easy, it wouldn't resemble His pursuit of us, His adopted children. If it didn't cost us anything, it wouldn't reflect His sacrifice. Adoption is a beautiful, painful picture of God's love for us. We can look at this and delight in His desire to be our Father.

One day I will be able to tell Stevie about her birth. How I carried her for months and in a seemingly unnatural way, helped her come into the world. What if I had no story to tell my son? "I sent a few bucks to an agency, asked for a brown child, and you arrived at our door a few days later." The story that our Father has given us, much more accurately exemplifies our longing for Silas.

We hope that this is still an encouraging story. And to be honest, we hope it's over soon. Thank you for praying for our family. Please don't stop. We will try to update you soon with some better news.

"He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will"
Ephesians 1:5

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Quick update...

We have hit, yet another speed bump. Our case will have to be reviewed again in Ethiopian court on March 18th. We will not have to be there, but our case will go to trial again. Hopefully everything will be in order and we will pass immediately. As long as that happens, we will apply for Silas' visa and go get him in a few weeks. It appears that most adoptive families are having this same delay in Ethiopia.

Please pray that MOWA (ET government organization) would work efficiently on these children's cases so that they can all come home.

We are thanking the Lord constantly for our two healthy, precious children.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ethiopia


Before leaving for Ethiopia on the 8th we promised many of our friends that we would faithfully update our blog while we were gone. Well, we've been home for four days and I'm just now writing a blog. Sorry. This is partly due to poor internet connection in Ethiopia. But only partly. So here is how our little trip went...

As many of you know, we took 3 day layover in Rome on the way to Ethiopia. If any of you are considering doing this on your way for an adoption, we would urge you to reconsider. Don't get me wrong, Rome was lovely. We visited the Trevi Fountain, saw the Colosseum, climbed the Spanish Steps, toured the Vatican, spent way more money than we intended to spend, and have nothing but pictures to show for it.






So what do we regret about this trip? The whole time we were there, we were wishing we were in Ethiopia. Several times a day we would say "48 hours before we leave to see our boy... 36 hours... 24 hours"!

Another reason these two destinations didn't jive for us, is that luxury and poverty don't mix. The lavishness of Rome and the devastation that is Ehtiopia, made us sick. Sick. Oh, to take the thousands of dollars spent in Rome and give them to the helpless mother sitting on the side of the road with her dying child. Or the orphanages overflowing with children that need medical attention but may never get it. There are millions of people in this beautiful country that are hungry, homeless, and helpless. We knew this going into our trip. We saw pictures, read statistics, and felt urged to invest in this beautiful place and it's people. But until we stood in it and looked them in the eyes, we didn't understand.





So upon arrival in Ethiopia, late Saturday night, we settled into our hotel room at the Panorama (will stay there next time, and the next, and the next) and tried to make ourselves go to sleep amidst the excitement. We woke up the next morning anxious to go to Hope and meet our sweet boy. We were told by Hope that we could see our boy all day everyday while we were there. We went down to the hotel lobby to call the Hope manager in Ethiopia to tell them that we were coming and make arrangements for our driver. After hours of calling to no avail we decided to find our own driver and go see a few sights in Addis, until we could go see Silas. The hotel found us a driver named Ashew (I know, I know... God bless you). We will not be surprised to find out one day that Ashew was an angel! He spoke english wonderfully, drove cautiously, and knew the city well. After a trip to the National Museum and Ethiopian Orthodox Church, we went back to the hotel to call again. We finally got in touch with Hope, only to find out that they were closed for the day. Boo. He said we could come by on Monday morning. So we made the best of the night by going to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant.




The next day we arrived at the Hope transition home (where our son lives) at 9am. However, we did not know he lived there. We thought that this was the office and that we would go to the orphanage where Silas was later. We quickly realized that this was not only the Hope office but also where the children being adopted through Hope live. We sat in a little office waiting on the manager to get there. All of the sudden, without any warning at all, our little boy walked around the corner. We laughed, cried, and scared our sweet baby to death, I'm sure. He sat in our laps, a bit uncertain of who we were and why we cared so much for him. Soon after, two other adoptive families arrived from their court date and we all had a traditional coffee ceremony together celebrating our new families. Silas warmed up to us in a matter of minutes. He is very shy. Super snuggley. And almost instantly a daddy's boy.

We stayed there, just holding him until lunch and nap time, when we let him go and do his thing, while we went and got ourselves some lunch. We came back in the afternoon to play with him and the 4 other big kids. In the transition home there were 5 big kids and 6 babies. We brought a few toys with us (a ball & some plastic animals) and you would have thought that we brought bicycles and ponies. Everybody had a great time playing and we can't wait to show you pictures of our fun afternoon.

That evening one of the Hope employees came to tell us that the next day was a national holiday and we would not be able to go to court. After I had a 5 second panic attack, he said we would be able to go to court the next day. Thank goodness I booked our flight on the night of the 16th and not the morning!

The next day we were excited to spend the day with our boy since our court date was delayed. However, Hope neglected to tell us that they would not be open for this extremely important holiday, that no one remembered until the night before. So we spent another day with our precious driver and tour guide, getting to know this awesome country that gave us our son. Although we were sad that things didn't go the way we had expected, we considered this a blessing. We felt like this time away from Silas helped us prepare for leaving him the next day.

Wednesday morning, our driver took us to the court house. We were nervous that we would not pass court that day, because other families from our agency had been missing paperwork and not passed earlier in the week. Little did we know, many more things were waiting inside that would cause us even more heart ache. Our attorney from Hope was an hour late. As the judge started calling people back, we knew we would be turned away if our attorney was not there. Thankfully we were at the end of the list and he made it there in time for our hearing. Also while waiting on our hearing we had the amazing, unexpected honor of meeting our son's first mother. No one had told us that birth families now attended court the same day as adoptive families. The story of our time with her that day is one we will cherish and save for Silas. He deserves to hear this story first and tell it to whom he choses. She was a precious lady who loves him very much. She loved him enough to give him up. I wonder if I can say the same of myself with my children.

Then we went into court. It didn't go as well as we had hoped. The judge asked us a few expected questions, and then said "As soon as I get the one missing paper, he's yours". I could have gone for just a plain "he's yours". So we will hopefully have passed sometime this week. At that time we will be able to post pictures of him.

We were able to spend the rest of the day with Silas. Playing. Coloring. Snuggling. Heaven.



We then had to say our goodbyes. This wasn't as hard as we expected. His home there is very nice where he has lots of good friends and caregivers to take care of him and love him. Before we left, Silas called us mommy and daddy and told us that he loved us (in amharic). We will hang on these words until he is back in our arms.

Now we just have to get his visa appointment and go back to get him. Hopefully that will just be a couple of weeks, but could be as long a two months. While we are ready to claw our way back to him, we have learned even more on this trip that our Father's timing is perfect. If we had ordained this trip, it would have been much different, but we would have missed out on God's best for our family. Thankfully He who placed our family on different sides of the world, has ordained the day that we will be together. Thankfully His ways are not our ways. They are much higher.