Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good Morning Blog World.............

I am writing to you from my favorite spot and time on earth, the early morning a.m. all curled up on my comfy couch. I really have nothing of any major importance to say but I have a few more moments of silence before the day begins and since I can finally (to some degree at least) pick what I want to do with it instead of what I "have" to do with it, well I most certainly pick you. Life is for sure becoming a bit more normal around here. Please know I am still adjusting my definition of normal so if I get on tomorrow a.m. and cry my eye balls out, please have grace for me, I am just adjusting, slowly but surely. From 1 to be honest, I didn't really give this step a whole lot of thought. For the most part my goals have been revolving around getting Mercy here for so long that what-on-earth life would look like past that was just too obscure to plan. We are coming to the end of our third week home and I think all in all, God is doing a great miracle because I am not sitting in the floor sobbing all day. (Again, if you are reading and you are doing that just know I have been there too.) My Cross man IS potty trained, praise be to Jesus! God is helping me overcome my anger and I am seeing my little strong willed tot love on his sister more and more everyday. They are attached at the hip already that is for certain and it blows my mind to think that God had all of this ordained and I tried to fight it.

I think, however, that I am still trying to get in the groove of this whole mommy thing and it is happening very slowly. I mean come on, almost 3.5 years in and you would THINK I would have gotten a bit more adjusted by now. I don't know how to explain all of my stay-at-home mom emotions. I KNOW it is an honor and a blessing and I think because I know that I fight mounds of guilt when I struggle with it. Another part of me knows that I grew up in a single parent home where my mother always worked so I don't have a lot to draw from. It is like I am a woman, who has always wanted kiddos, and yet I have no clue what on earth to do with them. I didn't have any younger siblings and the little girl that I baby sat during my high school years I now know just didn't count in experience per say because she was literally a complete and utter angel. I do have a nephew whom I L O V E dearly but I am/was only around him once every few months so I really have had the ultimate shock of my life.

The one thing (really there were many) the Lord did so graciously allow was a mentor in North Carolina that had herself a wild, all boy, strong willed little man and I thought he was the cutest fella on the planet. Cross at the time wasn't even walking and I literally think I said something as crazy as "I sure hope Cross is all boy just like that one day". I don't even know what to say to that statement today. Praise Jesus God gave me his wonderful godly mama to turn to, even to this day I call her asking what on earth do I do. Here are a few examples of my mentionings, it takes every amount of will power that poor child has to take a bath without soaking and I mean soaking my (sometimes clean) bathroom. He knows one speed, full. He wakes up ready to rock and roll and we have been going to bed in a big boy bed for well over 400+ nights and he STILL gets out of bed, I would say 9 or 10 out of 10 nights. He is that kid that you see running through a hallway followed my a frazzled mom and you think to yourself, lady, you need to learn how to control your kid. Mercy girl on the other hand, she got out of bed once, got in trouble, now she barely sits up in the bed. If she splashed in the tub with her fullest of force, a drop would probably never even hit the floor. She "jumps" when she gets excited. Her feet barely get off the ground. And often times, she and I literally just look at each other when Cross is doing extreme boy and we almost shrug our shoulders after our eyes refocus from bulging out and we silently agree, he is crazy.

Boys are just another breed and I WANTED one first and I guess honestly it has helped. Heaven forbid if I had Mercy first and then Cross, it would be a much greater shock that I will say. I know Mercy is NOT perfect, she is a sinner, she is just a quieter, calmer one. I really DO want my boy to be all boy, but not always at the expense of my aching flesh. I wanna know when to let him romp and when to teach him self control and have him sit. I want him to sprint after Jesus but some days my goal is simply to make it until bedtime. The other redeeming fact about this now very sad sounding blog post is that I love that little man more than life itself. He can be tearing through the house and I do mean literally and I could squeeze those now Thomas the Tank Engine butt cheeks right off his non-existent rear. I pray that at the end of my life, he will be one of my "well dones". I pray that I always (or ever really) embrace their radical differences because there really could not be any greater, two extreme opposites on the earth.

She sleeps right side up, on her back, under the covers. He sleeps wrong side up, on his tummy, hates the covers, to this DAY I still have to go cover him up at night so he is not numb by morning. She pets the dog, ever so gently, he squeezes the living day lights out of the dog if she is ever unlucky enough to get caught. She rubs your arm, he hits it. He does laps around the car even though we have told him 1,000 times "go straight to your door", she stays right by my side. He doesn't like chocolate fudge rounds, she knows they are Heaven. He chugs his milk, she sips, he wakes ready to conquer the world, she wakes and it takes a princess a minute to get movin. It really is kind of the cutest thing ever if you are not the one doing the chasing. She is chocolate and he is vanilla in about 101 different ways but I really do love them both. He has been the wreck of my "perfect little life", but I know deep down just how bad it needed a wreckin. She is my blessing for obedience and he is my test of time. But at the end of the day, there is neither of the one that I can get enough kisses from to satisfy this mama's heart. I am SO thankful for Beth Moore's messages about her two opposite children and the privilege to watch them from afar now both follow Jesus. You have no idea the encouragement that brings to this tired mother's heart.

With that said, the time is drawing near, I must depart and embrace this calling I have upon my life and do it with great vigor and determination. Cross actually goes to school today so 2 sweet teachers will get the honor and privilege of raising him and this little mama is going to TAKE HER BREAK! I love you all dearly!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mercy Girl Re-Adoption Raffle............

Hey Everyone, we are literally down to the last step...Mercy's re-adoption in the states. That last step comes with a not-so-lovely fee of $1,300. A very generous couple has donated, so we are down to $850. We are going to do a $10 raffle because we want you to get back for all that you have given.

The raffle is easy. It will run through Friday, April 1. The first 25 people that give will get their choice of a free CD or a set or earrings. With each $10 that you donate, you will have a chance to win one of these awesome prizes below. The Scentsy warmer will go to the highest donor.

The way to give is to donate using PayPal on the left side of the screen. After the raffle has ended we will contact you to let you know if you've won and we will mail your prizes to the address listed on PayPal.

Just think, with 85 facebook friends and blog friends we would reach our goal! Thank you all so much for all you have done. There is no way you can't win something!

Free Gifts............

Gifts to win...........(the Mercy t is a 4t)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Random Tidbits.............

People have asked us great questions along the way so here are some answers and other random thoughts that I figured I would share before my poor brain forgets them. I saw a new mom the other night that had left the house with her flip flop "house shoes" on and no jewelry and I laughed so hard inside, it is really a wonder we make it out somedays dressed even. My brain is on much higher alert than ever a day spent in banking. It is done, so here is my pitiful attempt at a random thoughts post....

1. The readoption and her birthday change. Our adoption IS final but most agencies suggest that you do something called a readoption once you have the child in the states. This is basically just a formality of paperwork (that costs ANOTHER $1200 bucks btw, geeeez) and it will help down the road when she needs a passport, etc. It is also the time when we officially change her name, currently her name is her given name and then Jeremy as middle and Bullock as last. Also, this is when we change her birthday. One of the saddest things to me is that the mothers do not know their actual children's birthdate. It is just not a cultural thing, possibly because they are way too poor to plan super fun birthday parties with presents, balloons and silly hats. The birth mother DID know that Mercy was 2.5 and that was what we had thought, at least 6 months younger than Cross and from what we can tell developmently that is very accurate. There is a way to have some testing done but we are going to bypass that because we feel like we are close and I don't even want to fathom the price tag. The problem came in when the court in Ethiopia randomly assigned her a birthdate that put her at almost 3.5 which would have made her older than Cross and that was a biggy to us, to keep him as the oldest child, the big on April 7th we get to go to Montgomery County Court and have another judge say she is yours! That never gets old! Ok, hope that makes sense.....

2. The next question we get so very often is does she speak English and the answer is no. Her native language is Amharic (not a lot of schools offering that as a foreign language these days). She has been around VERY little English. Each time we have been in Ethiopia we have had a translater for everything. She does know how to count to 10 and kind of ramble off her ABC's but other than that she has picked up a lot already and probably more than we even know because her words are still hard to understand becaue of her accent. For instance, she can't say the "sh" sound and although her tongue can roll an r, she has trouble with tons of sounds we make frequently. Her main list that we run down about 100 times daily is mommy, papa (that is what she calls J in the most high pitched little voice ever), Cross (rolled r, SO darn cute), Mercy, and then Snick (her new bff) which sounds more like sa-nick. Oh and she is also saying "I love you" that is more like "I woof you" and it will just about melt your heart in two point two seconds. She will go around all day with a little bag packed and say "bye, I woof you". hahhahaha So we are are working on English, but relishing in her little Amharic chatter that fills the home as she is playing. I BARELY passed all my foreign languages (I am just betting so did J) so we aren't great parents in that department, but God's grace is covering it. There is a lot of pointing and repeating words in toddlerhood regardless so it has been very natural and very easy to communicate. One time she was asking for a tissue and I didn't know what she was saying and finally she just swung her little hips around and marched to the bathroom and got the thing herself! hahhaha

3. The next is "how is Cross doing" and the answer even today is SO much better. It has been hard for our poor little guy at times. I am thinking he probably at some moments thinks it was more fun when we were just talking about her and then at some moments he is literally squeezing the life out of her but IN LOVE. He has been an only child and it shows but it is good for both of them (and I am certain good for us). We have swung to both ends of the unhealthy pendulum, too much over compensation and then wanting to choke him, and now we are trying to land in a heathly center. Sometimes I have to tell her to wait and she wants all the attention as well so sometimes I just want to not hear mommy four million times a day but it is getting so much better! Last night we had a kissy fest and they were both on cloud nine so there is grand hope. She nags at him too much and he rough houses her too much but I am certain that is with every brother and sister, theirs was just an instant instead of a gradual transition. I have laughed so hard and thought to myself (as a reminder for me) honey, boys just don't need two mama's. She will get that finger going and say "Closs, Closs" and I can see it in his eye, he wants to snap that finger right off! hahhahaha The good moments are when I can laugh about it all, the bad moments are when the play room is filled with screams and mommy's and then Cross' "I hit her", well at least the kid is honest! So as you can tell, better keep praying.

3. Her eating habits. We kind of had a plan going in that to some degree we would just raise her on Cross' diet because it would be easier all the way around. Their tummies have a lot of recovering to do from parasites in the water and such so we thought his bland diet would work great and so far so good. One thing that I didn't think of that has been odd is that she has not had a great variety of food so she is a little weirded out by say- a strawberry. I am making her try everything just because she would probably assume just to have peanut butter crackers 24/7 (she is still a two year old at heart) and for the most part she has liked pretty much everything. This is just a funny/random thing. In their culture they mainly eat with their hands and they kind of (I am not really sure how to explain this) take their thumb and first three fingers and work things into like a paste???? Well anyways, the other day I had given them a nutragrain bar, you know, you can just bite the thing and be done. Well I had walked away and I heard Cross say "look, Mercy is making a messy" and I turned around and sure enough that kid had turned that nutragrain bar into a crumbled mess but she was carefully pasting it together. We are trying to teach her how to BITE. That has given us a 1,000 laughs.

4. And then a biggie of course in toddler world is "how is attachment going". One thing that people often don't think about is your mother's anxiety on how YOU will attach. And I know some people who have adopted and are still struggling and working through all that and if you are reading now, keep begging God for a miracle. I was worried about that because when I went in December I know for sure that I had a huge "what if this all falls apart" wall up but when we has passed Embassy and she was for sure ours in March I kept telling myself "you don't have to leave her again, you are NEVER going to have to give her back". Within a week or so of being home it was all washed away and that was MY BABY GIRL. I have that mama bear instinct and when she looks up at me my heart literally MELTS. Sometimes yes I wanna scream still because she is two but I love her literally just like I love Cross and that is a miracle that I can ONLY attribute to Jesus! As far as her attachment goes, I know she loves her mama and L O V E S her daddy. The thing we are still concerned with is her ZERO stranger anxiety. This has been hard but certainly reiterated the fact that we really cannot allow people to hold her for several more months. She will literally walk into a room of total strangers and stick her arms out for someone to pick her up. Early on we went to Jump Zone just to get out and let Cross romp (and romp that brave boy did) but she almost walked right up to a total stranger that we hadn't even spoken to and sat in their lap. I had to apologize and explain to the people but it honestly scared me half to death and showed me just how strict we have got to be. You almost have to laugh instead of cry but for this mama it was not funny. It is hard, especially with our family, but everyone has been wonderful and more than understanding. We have put her and are starting to put her in childcare a little bit at church and at Bible Study because she gets SO sad when Cross gets to go and she doesn't (Jeremy keeps reminding me that she was in a orphange with TONS of kids all day long). We are sending her in with STRICT instructions that no adult is allowed to hold her (trust me, she will put those arms up quicker than I can explain) and then I am trying not to be gone for any longer than hour or so just to make sure she doesn't start feeling "left". So in a nut shell, maybe a big one, that is us and attachment, all and all miracluous if you ask me! If you saw us out, you'd never know we hadn't all been together forever.

5. Potty Training, yes Mercy is PERFECTLY potty trained, even at night. Diapers really aren't a commodity over there so I guess you just learn out of desperation a little more. MY MAN CROSS is also rocking and rolling this week! I am praising Jesus for sure!

6. And finally, Mercy's eyes, she really does have some of the most beautiful eyes (and eyelashes) you have ever seen in your entire life. Jeremy's grandmother said "her eyes talk" and that is true for certain. Just a cute thing that has overwhelmed me and reminded me constantly where she has come from has been to watch her eyes as she sees new things. She is here and in her cute clothes and basket full of bows and it is easy to forget the other children, the "other" reality but it is real. When we walked into a grocery store for the first time I thought she was going to die. She screeched her way through every aisle with eyes as wide as they could get. The other thing that almost sent her over the edge was the sunroof opening in the car. I laughed so hard I had to stop driving for a second. I can only imagine what that little girl was thinking. She knows her parents are really really rich, her parents just have to remember that for themselves.......

Love you guys!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Bullock Family................

is very thankful for that 77! What I have learned these past two weeks is this...I needed God to move a million mountains to get my baby girl home, but I have also needed Him to speak to me about a million times over once she got here. These past two weeks have been a roller coaster to say the least, but the Holy Spirit has proved faithful and beyond personal through the entire ride. From what the heck to do about Snick and Mercy to how on earth I would repent of and deal with my anger towards my sweet son as he rough housed my girl. (It is easy to get just darn right angry at someone for being mean to your baby girl but what on earth do you do when it is your very own son?) God has spoken to me constantly today as I have been potty training Cross and He has given me 4 videos over these past two weeks that spoke to my empty heart like non-other possibly could without divine intervention. He has given me meals for two solid weeks and then when it was supposed to be all said and done I got a call today from a sweet lady who had us one more. Do you know how encouraging it is to know that Jesus sent you a dinner when you have cleaned up 8 accidents before 9:30 a.m.?? (How is it even humanly possible to pee and poop that much so early in the morning?) He has literally reminded me this week that I am nothing without Him and that I can do nothing without Him, especially raise these babies. But what was even more amazing than that revelation was that He showed me just how much He would come along side of me and help, even in the tiniest detail of the "smallest" thing. He is there! He is able! He is so worthy of our praise!

So what do the Bullocks think about all of this, we think we couldn't be more thankful to have the King of Kings whisper in our ears and tell us what on earth to do next while at the same time giving us glimpses of the future and what these kids could really become if FIGHT tooth and nail to cling to our Savior and raise them His way! Mercy is now always prompting us to pray. She repeated after me the other night a perfect prayer (the most she has ever repeated in English) and I could hardly get through the thing without sobbing. I didn't want her to be even more confused so I refrained but I came back in the living room knowing the entire day of battling satan's lies had been worth it. He has put me through the ringer this week and with my shields down I have been hit from all angles and without energy to war. But because His mercy's are new every morning, I kept hearing Him say, "just start today, fight today, everything in life worth having takes a fight and these babies are worth the war". I have wanted to give up, give in and get the heck out of dodge, but by God's great grace I have won another small battle in the war called life and I have overcome another day.

So thank you for your prayers. They are needed! We DID by God's grace have a "dry" potty training afternoon so that was a win of all wins. The Lord is faithful to give us hope, even in the midst of a ton of crap (sorry I just couldn't resist). So I am off to take a shower (better late than never). I am going to ignore the rest of that coulda/woulda/shoulda get done list and I am going to try to get a good nights rest so that I can beat those kids to the punch in the a.m. and get me some Jesus so that they will be proud to call me mom instead of wanting to run for the hills. You guys do the same, we all have something in life we are being called to tackle that is just too big for us to do without Him, He designed it that way. So if you are like me and feel like you are failing miserably, be encouraged, He is just waiting for you to admit it! He will handle the rest!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Whatcha really want............

These are just random shots of our trip and our return. I knew you guys wanted pictures so I thought I would share even if there is no particular order involved.

This is Mercy as we landed in the states. She obviously did AMAZING on the flight, better than we did really.

This is Mercy girl and her Daddy! They are both IN LOVE, can you tell?

This is the boy we sponsor from the dump who is now in boarding school. Proof a few dollars can really change a life. We love him like he is our son and we were so thrilled he got to meet his sister. Pray for this sweet young man; Thomas is a good American name for short. He is an absolute gentlemen of gentle men. Pray he continues to follow hard after Jesus.

Here is Mercy on the day we picked her up, opening her Valentine from her Granny.

This is just a bit of loving while we were there. I still cannot stop kissing her!

This is a shot to show you just how tiny she is and just how big our boy has gotten. He is only 6 months older but towers her in size.

This is her first meeting with her Granny.

and her PopPop

And this picture says it all, precious moments here!

And then finally, our welcoming home.......

Thank you guys so much for your prayers. Every single day is getting easier and more normal. I think we are finally caught up on our sleep. (I am awake so that is proof.) We have several big things this week so two prayers are insurance and readoption. We have to take the paperwork in to apply for her to be on our insurance, obviously pray they say yes. And then we are meeting with a lawyer (possibly a few) to get details about what we need to do to readopt her in the states, change her birth date, etc. Thanks again, this has been a dream and a miracle, all wrapped up into one unbelievable story we get to call life!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Week (almost) In.......................

Hey gang, my two tots are out for the count and my sweet hubs is at Bible Study so I thought I would get on and say hello while I am sitting in the glorious peace and quiet of my very own home. I think there is nothing I love more than that these days. It is nice to have quiet any way you can get it, but in your very own house it is most glorious. I wouldn't turn on that TV if you paid me a million dollars (ok well I would but you know what I mean). Silence is my greatest commodity these days.

So one week (almost) in, where to start? In the middle of my types I am icing my eye bone where my sweet son clocked me today. The good news is, he was being sweet and we were playing. The bad news is, this is a bit symbolic of how I feel at moments. I'll start with the not so good and we'll end on a high note, how about that. Cross is struggling but it is ONLY a week (almost) in so I am not worried at all, just tired and tired and patient are rarely related. We have also decided that we have two children who span the great extremes on the personality profile. She is calm, smiley, helpful, smiley, and her version of running through the house is like a light prance. CROSS IS A WILD BOY (I wanted to say heathen but he may read this one day). Jeremy's mom encouraged me last night that Jeremy was JUST like him and he obviously turned into a fine young man. And my precious doctor reminded me that Cross will know he needs a Savior, Mercy might think she is perfect without one. Tell me that's not a good word for us all.

It is almost as if this new sister thing has put his boy nature on steroids. Hence the probably black eye on my part and the horrible reality of comparison that I just can't seem to shake already. So pray for Cross, pray for us, pray Mercy doesn't get physically harmed (too bad at least) in all of this. Cross LOVES her most moments, sometimes just a little too much. She thinks it is all hilarious until he pushes too far and then she calls for back-up. This is a good time to mention that Cross had also grown a foot and 10 pounds in the short week that we were gone and he towers over her and frankly me as well. Another problem lies in the fact that I think I have been over compensating. I felt like every time I even glanced her way I needed to pay him a compliment and my dear friend set me free of that by saying that it is NOT a bad thing that he is not the center of the universe anymore. I just needed to hear that it was okay, okay that he had to share basically everything, that in the end it would make him a better man. Honestly the only other bad is our 4-6 a.m. wake up sessions. I feel like I have a newborn for many reasons but this sleep thing is killing me. I wanna have one full night and thus break away from my Diet Dr. Pepper obsession. I hadn't had a "coke" (that one's for you Delilah) in months and now I wake up thinking about my ice cold $1 Diet Dr. Pepper and today I remembered Sonic has $1 drinks in the a.m. Oh sweet Jesus if I go on talking about it I'll never be free again.

Ok, on to the good, let's change the subject. First off, thank you tons for your prayers in regards to sweet Snicker girl. After some glorious wise counsel from another adoptive mom, Snick and Mercy are now almost officially BFF's. She chases Snick and tries to pet her and she feeds her and she tells her bye-bye when we leave. She did let out a blood curdling scream this a.m. when Snick woke her up by jumping in her bed but other than that she has done perfect with the dog. Her behavior has also been very close to perfect after the first 48. I am praying we just had an early testing of the boundaries and now we understand that there are some but I am still trying to stick with zero expectations to be safe. Outings have been good, the few we've done. She is good as long as we are right there. She is a far from being able to play freely with adults though, that is certainly obvious. She just has ZERO stranger anxiety which is not healthy so we are still asking people to please just say hi and then direct her on to mommy and daddy. That will probably have to go on for several months but it is the only way we can actually have a life and still do what is best for her. It is just so hard because she is SO darn cute but that also helps with Cross' behavior because he doesn't feel threatened which good or bad certainly makes for a more pleasant visit.

And then finally, just because my brain is tired and my thoughts are random, I have a few things that people have asked me over this journey (either directly or indirectly) that I think are questions I would ask and want to know the answer to, especially in terms of adoption. So I think while we are all happy and I need to make myself stay up until at LEAST 8:30 I'll just take this moment to share. The first is Jesus, Jesus told us to do this, He told us to name her Mercy, He told us she was "in Ethiopia and to go and get her now". WHAT IF WE HAD NOT OBEYED? That is probably the greatest sobering fact for me right now. The first few days I did feel a bit like I was babysitting, but already I can NOT even fathom life without this sweet girl. Thank you Jesus for giving us the grace and wisdom to obey, Your ways are always best. The second is the topic of infertility. I do not for one second want anyone to think we chose this path because we tried for a few short months to get pregnant again and did not. That topic is so touchy to me because there are somewhere in the vicinity of 163 MILLION ORPHANS out there and if we only adopt because we can not get pregnant then that is a sad day in Christianity if you ask me. We adopted first because God told us to, but secondly because I got to see first hand the need. When I walked into that first orphanage in Ethiopia (which was Mercy's orphanage btw) and I went in a saw that baby room, filled with sick, starving babies, I literally thought I was going to throw up everywhere, sprint out of the building, and find a way back to the airport and back to the United States. It was literally more than my heart could bare. But then I heard these words "oh yes, all of them are adopted already, all of these babies have homes". It was like a ray of Jesus sunshine showered down into that room and God was saying to me, "see, those families are bringing hope to a hopeless situation".

Guys, YES sometimes God does use infertility to nudge people to adoption and even for me, certainly if I had gotten pregnant over those few months I would have never even gone to Africa, but we have got to understand that there are enough children out there that need homes that no one needs to step to the side "because you can have your own". Well my man is almost home so I am going to leave you tonight with a little blurb from my BFF in the adoption world's blog. She put it perfectly so no need to rewrite the written. I love you guys. Thank you again for your prayers. God knew before the foundation of the earth that Mercy was to be ours. It is not a chance, she is a chosen child of ours. We are so honored God entrusted us with her and that He led us through each and every detail of the process and footed the bill to boot.
"The numbers are now at 163 Million so our Adoption Memory shirt is just that... a MEMORY of how many Orphans there were. Now there are MORE. And there will be MORE tomorrow. We need MORE families to step out on their faith and say YES!
Did you know that 34% of Christian Families have considered adoption, but only 1% actually do it! Did you know that if we could raise that number to 7% that there would be NO ORPHANS LEFT IN THIS WORLD??? That was a statistic, shared by Katie Davis that SHOOK ME to my core when I was "just reading" her blog. We had no intentions to adopt, I was just reading her blog, but that statistic haunted me.... After I read that, everything began to change and I began to ask WHY NOT US? We had the room, we were capable of loving more, we had plenty to share with someone who had no one and nothing.... There were many tears shared over that quote.. I so didn't want to be a member of that 1%!
I promise you, that if you SAY YES, it will be a blessing beyond blessings. I only wish that ALL of you could experience the JOY and the LOVE that we feel each and everyday with our little guy! We can't imagine LIFE without him!"

Well said Gina, I t-totally agree!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mercy's Home Update!

Dear Friends and Family, I am typing a blog because I am literally dying to call each and every one of you (that I know personally at least but even still I would wanna chat) and talk for about 3 hours and tell you each and every detail of our journey and hear any detail, even the smallest, that I may have missed about your week, even just the short one I was away. I am way too social for this shut-in lifestyle I am about to have to lead but I know it is what must be done so I will just have to suck it up and know that we will get lots of time in Heaven, please be there, I really do wanna hear and share EVERYTHING.

Ok, so our week, let me try to go quickly, Jesus rocked our world in Ethiopia. It was like His grace fell and never lifted. Two highlights (other than princess, she is a duh) getting to see the boy we sponsor at his boarding school who was living in a dump when I went in July. And two - seeing the look in my man’s eyes right now, he is plotting on how to get back and I am loving every second of seeing him sold out for Jesus and the lost and hurting. He now knows why I was a bit crazy after my return in July. See I did good, short and sweet. Now just think how many more details we could share in 3 hours, ok, moving along…..

*I have to add sharing Jesus with Mercy’s birth mom, I mean is there a high on earth that is better………….NO!

The airport party, sweet Jesus, for the ones of you who could come please know that your love, support, and the sound of those sweet kiddos singing “Jesus Loves Me” was just about more than we could bare. Someone asked me on facebook how I wasn’t crying and the truth is because I think if I had ever started I would have never stopped. And for the ones of you who could not come please know again we totally understand. We know you love us and are praying for us and we are THANKFUL more than you will ever know. I felt HORRIBLE there too not being able to chat with some of you. Some literally I am not even sure that I got to hug your neck and that is not how I like things done. But again, soon, very soon we will catch up, “worst” case in Heaven.

So for the here and now, we are almost 24 hours in, in the U.S. at least and I know everyone wants to know how we are going and after much debate I thought it really would be best that I told you. In the last 24 hours we have had some of the sweetest moments in our lives. Mercy L-O-V-E-S Cross (roll your “r” when you say it and it will sound just like her “Closs). And Cross likewise loves her. He has been the kindest gentleman of a brother and I have had moments where I wanted to just sit in awe of how Jesus has rocked our world. But because we live on this side of Heaven, I knew, somewhere deep down even, that the “fun and games” would probably have to come to a screeching halt. And they did, when we got home last night. Our daughter was sound asleep from the car ride home, I think she was still smiling even from laughing at her brother and then she saw her not-so-bff, Snicker girl. Snick was thrilled to see Mercy but Mercy was not so thrilled to see Snick. We knew that was a possibility because in Ethiopia dogs and pets are not really in the same sentence, especially not INDOOR. We had tried to prepare her with pictures but it was a disaster. An all night disaster, the kind where you think to yourself I am so exhausted that I am beyond the point of making rational decisions and you are praying for Jesus to get you through the night alive. So today, thanks to Jesus and my sweet man, we are alive, we have the house somewhat pulled back together, Mercy will now at least walk on the floor sometimes without even holding your hand but not often and everyone (but me and even Snick) napped. I had that same struggle when Cross was a newborn. I am so tired but I am listening to every single peep to make sure she isn’t crying so I am praying tonight I will get a nice 12 or so hours in and be a new woman tomorrow. This is real life, Mercy is a real orphan, she is from a third world country and she is experiencing joy like none other, but also fear and pain for certain. She is beautiful but she is also a sinner and a two year old one at that.

So as if you have not prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed, I am going to ask for some more. Pray that I know which battles to pick. That tern is almost always used for ones that you don’t pick but those are the “easy” ones. Pray for me on the ones I do have to fight and pray that I “win” in terms of her feeling more safe and secure. Pray for me that I have NO expectations, none, it just works better that way. Pray we lavish Cross with love during this time as well. That is a very hard balance but so far God is nudging us often in that area and I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit speaking, man am I thankful. And finally, pray for Mercy girl. Pray her mama isn’t selfish and stays home until she feels at ease. Pray she sleeps good, at night and at naps. She HAS GOT to be exhausted, especially considering she has been on a different time zone for her entire life. And pray she feels Jesus, even more than mommy and daddy, He is really the only one that can truly comfort.

We love you guys and we promise, if time allows and I am not neglecting my two, very small disciples, I will write as often as I can because there will be no shortage of stories that I am certain!