Saturday, February 26, 2011

We Got Our First REFERRAL!!!!

Finally! We have been waiting and waiting and waiting some more! I can't believe that yesterday, February 25th, our life was forever changed!  After 7 months, 2 weeks and 3 days we have a REFERRAL!!!

And now for a play by play of my day (even minute by minute).

I got a text from Michelle saying that her and Brian were headed to the hospital in Portland to see Lisa, who is one of our high schoolers who has cancer. They swung by the office to pick me up and we had a great visit with Lisa. She is an amazing girl. She spoke at DYC last weekend for part of our Saturday morning session and got crazy applause from everyone and then we all gathered around her to pray, much like the way they prayed around us Sunday morning. You can read more about that here if you missed that post.

When I woke up Friday morning I was thinking through the day and wondering if we would get our call. I knew I had a premarital counseling appointment with Eric and Chrystal at 2 and thought, "If we get our call today I may have to reschedule that appointment." As we were headed back from the hospital I suggested we go eat at Moe's and Chele, Brian's wife, was going to meet us there.

We were on I-5 and crossing I-205 when all of a sudden my phone rings. Not just any normal ring, but my special ringtone! (MercyMe's Won't You Be My Love) AND it said Dove International Adoptions on my screen!!! I know my face had a crazy look of shock that Michelle saw in her rearview mirror. I answered and said hello. It was Tami. She put me on hold to conference in Jeanne-Ann. As she did this I pulled out my Flip cam that I have been keeping in my jacket pocket for the last 2 months and started recording. I wanted to capture every moment. I have been practicing this moment for months in my mind. It was out so fast that I think I actually beat Brian to the punch of recording as he had pulled out his iPhone to record it too.

Screen capture from my phone. BTW, Babe and Jeanne-Ann are both the same person. Just in case you were wondering.

The video is pretty uneventful as I just sat in shock and listened to what was happening and tears started coming.  We told Tami we didn't want to know anything except if it was a boy or a girl. The rest we would wait to find out together with our kids when we all got home. Michelle pulled up to the office and her and Brian  went in to "run interference" as I grabbed my laptop and shut things down in my office. I was not ready to tell anyone until we had all seen the pictures together as a family. I ran out to my car and just said "see ya" to Mike and Lisa.

I am not going to lie, I may have broken some laws on the way home. Except for a few times when the "fast lane" was only doing 62 in a 65!!! Don't these people realize I had a small window to get home? When they called Jeanne-Ann, she had just finished up with her morning Kindergarteners and had about an hour break until her afternoon Kindergarten class would show up. I would get less than 30 minutes with my family until school was done. I had to get home fast. (younger readers, please don't do as I did. Obey the law. Don't speed.) After crossing over a limit that may have had an 8 and a 5 in it I finally made it home. :)

Jeanne-Ann had picked up Kynzi and Karston from school and they were home waiting for me.  We hugged and then opened up the computer to see the email with the pictures and information. Kynzi and Karston videoed us as we opened up the email and then we videoed them as they looked. There, right in front of our very own eyes was our beautiful baby BOY! I am going to have another son!!! He is amazing! I can't even believe it. He was born October 4th, 2010 and is almost 5 months old now.

Jeanne-Ann and I have already laughed at ourselves because when we got the call, I was crying and she did not shed a tear. Not that she is not overjoyed, we just respond differently to things. The really funny part is that as we were videoing Kynzi and Karston it is clear what cloth they are cut from. Kynzi is me...all the way. Karston is Jeanne-Ann...all the way. That is clear from the video as you will see. Karston thought it was cool, Kynzi couldn't hardly breathe in between her sobs of sheer joy.

After we looked at the 2 pictures of our son (we can not share pictures until we have legal custody, so it will be quite a while for that. Sorry. =) We called all the Grandparents. Three phones, all on speaker, and 4 Grandparents on the line ready to hear the news. There was a lot of screaming and tears of joy. At one point I said, "OK, all grandparents have to be quiet. No questions until we are all done because you are all talking at the same time and you are all getting confused." It was actually quite humorous. So we told them all the information about their newest grandson, and then emailed  pictures to them. Our son, like Kynzi and Karston, are quite fortunate to have loving Grandparents like this. Thank You Jesus for them all!

After everyone was home from school, we needed to get a hold of the rest of the family members so we could start getting to the point of making this all public. I know how hard it can be to hold onto exciting news, even if it isn't directly your own news. We talked to Jeanne-Ann's siblings in North Carolina and Guatemala and to my siblings in New York and Ethiopia. We called Nina and Wes on their Ethiopian cell phone (they are over there with their twins, Alex and Eliana, waiting to bring them home). They got on Skype and we video chatted with them to share the news. Then they ran up to get Josh and Bex and Mercy on the camera so we could share with them. What a fun moment that was!! It is crazy that we live in a time where I can get on my laptop and SEE them and TALK to them in ETHIstinkinOPIA!!! Sooo fun to share this with great friends and family and especially with them actually being there. We are hoping that they will be able to go visit our son soon!

Then off to Outback! We had a celebration meal with a group of our dearest friends. It was amazing to sit in a restaurant and feel like the 15 of us were the only ones there. Even though it was packed, it felt very intimate. We laughed, we cried, we ate, we thanked Jesus. It was so good. God is good.

So there you have it. I am blogged fingers are tired of typing. I'm tapping out for this post. I will update you when we get our next call. I will post the videos later. I need to go do some running/training with Karston and I want to get this post out right away.

You might be wondering about our 2nd baby...we are too.  Hopefully we will hear soon.

We will share our little boy's name in a later blog post.

It was quite a day. We are thankful. We are overjoyed. We are ready for our adventure to begin...or continue...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sooooo Tired!

The last night of DYC I stayed up REALLY late. I was working on a video that I wished I had done before DYC even started. It was a song I had recorded doing just my voice and mouth. It was inspired by Mike Tompkins and his version of Dynamite. (video to come next week or so. I want to touch it up a little) Anyhow, I was up super late and got up early too.

When the event was all over we started packing up all the's a lot! Mike kept telling me I was needed by different people. You see, he knew that I had a torn rotator cuff and that I needed to not lift things like I was. After we ate lunch I finally listened to Mike and went into the suite where all our staff ate our meals. I laid down on the bed for just a moment to rest.

As it turns out I was REALLY tired and fell right to sleep. Next thing I know there are screams and about 8 people or so jumping on the bed. I sat up and had absolutely no idea where I was, what day it was or what was going on. I was sooo gone it took me a bit to figure things out. Check out the video.

Have you ever been so tired that when you woke up you literally didn't know where you were? I have had that several times when I have traveled, but it has been a while.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Being Prayed For

This past weekend we had our biggest youth event of the year. It was a pretty awesome weekend. The themes was "Consumed" based on Deuteronomy 4:24 which says, "For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." The whole concept is that God loves us so deeply and desires our love back. When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, he replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40). 

We had four speakers throughout the weekend. Ronnie Harris, one of our youth pastors and former NFL player, spoke on loving God with all your heart. Amanda Holste, who attends one of our churches in Oregon, spoke on loving God with all your soul. John Stumbo, my former senior pastor, spoke on loving God with all your mind. John Chang, a church planter, spoke on loving your neighbor as yourself. They all did a fantastic job. 

Sunday morning, John Coats and I lead a prayer service. I did not expect it. It was pretty amazing. I had shared that one way you can pray for someone is to visualize God's best for them. God knows our thoughts and can see what we are thinking. It was something my friend Morris had shared with me years ago. Well, near the end of the service, Jeff Brown came over to me and said that his wife Kara had come over to him and said, "When Erik said that I pictured him and Jeanne-Ann with their 2 kids from Ethiopia." He said, "Me too." They felt like they should have everyone pray. I am not someone to get in God's way, so they did. 

Jeff got up in front of everyone and shared a piece of my story and asked people to come around me and pray. He also asked if Jeanne-Ann was in there. I never saw her. It turns out that when Jeff said her name she was walking past the doors to the meeting room and heard her name called. She came in and got about 20 feet from where I was. People got around us and prayed for us. It was amazing. I was overwhelmed. They prayed we would get our call for our referral soon. I had to give announcements after and was blubbering my way through them. That part was actually pretty funny.

I am so thankful for people who listen to God and for your prayers. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

Usually Valentine's falls over President's Day weekend. The problem? Well, you see, I run a high school conference over that weekend every year and we often have to celebrate on a different day. that is a score for me, because I get stuff at half price and don't have to wait ridiculous amounts of time for a restaurant. Sunday, I was talking with my small group guys and mentioned what they were supposed to remember for our meeting on Monday. One of them said, "Are we meeting on Valentine's day?" Whoops. "No, we are not."

I then had to start putting a plan into motion. I know Jeanne-Ann does not always like surprises, so I gave her some options. I went out and bought steak and some other food and I was going to cook it up...or we could go out to dinner somewhere. Then we could go out after that. She wanted to stay in for dinner and then go to one of our favorite date places we haven't been to in a while...Borders. We like to go and grab a book or two and sit down with a drink and just enjoy some books together. That was the plan.

When I woke up in the morning I could smell the cinnamon rolls in the air. Jeanne-Ann made some yummy, gooey cinnamon rolls that were absolutely amazing! I had cut out hundreds of hearts and put them all over the floor and Karston decided he wanted to do that too, so he added his own into it. I had also used the poster board Jeanne-Ann got to write a poem on for each of the kids. Fun morning.

Then the rain came with a vengeance. It would not be optimal weather to grill the steaks outside that evening. So we ended up ordering in. Both the kids called into our local radio station to wish me a happy Valentine's Day (not sure why they didn't call for both of us, but I'm not complaining). We were able to capture Karston's call on video.

Kynzi had her first babysitting gig, so we hunkered down in the bedroom and started watching a King Arthur movie, but lasted only 20 minutes and we changed it out for Hitch. We both love that movie! All in all it was a wonderful day. More subdued than normal but a great time together anyhow.

How did you spend your Valentine's Day?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

7 Months

This is a post I NEVER thought I would make. This will be an honest post. I write this post with a heavy heart. I don't need a bunch of "God has a plan" comments. I know that. If you want to say something just let me know you are with me and that you care. Our adoption process has been quick. Everything about it seems to have gone at "record" or near record speeds. Fingerprints being turned around in just a few days instead of a few weeks, paperwork coming back faster than anyone expected...those sorts of things. So I thought that once we got on the waiting list we would not have to wait long on that either. Boy was I wrong.

Today we hit the 7 month mark. In what is touted as an average 4-6 month wait, we have passed the average. I realize you may think we are above average, but here I prefer not to be. (wah, wah). So today is a bit of a struggle. I also have the weight of our biggest conference of the year just 10 days away. There are plenty of details and small things and larger things to take care of yet. I roll pretty well with all of that, but it still weighs. I also am waiting on an appointment with an orthopedic specialist to find out if I need to have surgery on my rotator cuff, which is torn.

Each day I anticipate a call from Dove, our adoption agency. Each day that passes there is a piece of me that is sad for the loss of that day and not knowing who our children are. Last week I changed my ringtone for Dove from Cold Play's Viva Lavida to MercyMe's Won't You Be My Love. I originally had Viva Lavida because I just liked the song, but I have fallen in love with this album from MercyMe and this song has great meaning to me and our children. Take a listen to it on this video.

Now, there is plenty of good stuff in the midst of these occasional harder days. Being the nearly eternal optimist I tend to find the good stuff pretty easily. Take tonight, for instance. We have an adoption support group that meets once a month. Tonight was February's night. As we gathered around food, we shared, caught up, laughed and enjoyed just being together. We also talked about how we can promote "caring for the orphans" as Jesus calls us to, on a wider scale at our church. We each shared how the others could pray for us. Praying together is significant. It joins us. It draws us closer together and closer to God. It warms the heart of God to hear His children talking to Him together.

Then we received some unexpected gifts. From one couple, ready to journey to Ethiopia in just a few days, we got a book called "Jesus Calling." I am super excited to dive into this book which is a daily reading of words taken from the Bible to be read as if God is saying them directly to us. Just what I need! Then another couple handing us a check towards our adoption! What?! I am seriously blessed.

Riding home in the car I reveled in the moment. I tucked my kids into bed, did our normal good night routine and prayed with them. I thanked God for how He has placed our family together and for our other family members half way around the world.

So bring it February. Give me what you got. Does that include a phone call? I hope so.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Top 5 Superbowl Commercials

I do not watch a ton of sports. I love going to see them live, but I have other things to do and other shows to watch, it just doesn't seem like it fits. I do love to watch my Red Sox play though, especially when they play the Yankees. Yesterday was the Superbowl. I rarely care who is playing, unless it's the Cowboys or the 49ers. So when the Packers and the Steelers made it to the big day I don't have any strong urge to cheer for either one...except for the fact that growing up a Cowboys fan I learned to hate the Steelers. That was a long time ago.

Fast forward to today again. Superbowl Sunday is a day I love! A party. Food. Friends and family. And...commercials!!! So, that brings us to my top 5 favorite commercials of the Superbowl. Here we go.

Volkswagen - Darth Vader Kid

Best Buy - Justin Bieber & Ozzy Osbourne

Doritos - life

Pepsi Max - Love Hurts

Chevy - Tommy (Lassie)

Facebook friends view the videos here.

What were your favorites?
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