Monday, January 12, 2009

new year. new dream. new crazy.

"But, I trust in You, O Lord. I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in Your hands." Psalm 31: 14-15a

Happy New Year! And welcome to those of you who just discovered our blog after receiving our New Year's card! In an effort to save paper (and time), we didn't go into all the 'news' on our card...but wanted you to be able to hear what God is doing in our we sent you blog-land! Blogging is still quite new and different to us, but seems to be a good way to keep everyone updated on the latest happenings.

Now, for the news...

new year...2009 will see the Hamilton family grow (in heart and in numbers)

new dream...God is sending us to Ethiopia to bring home TWO children!

new crazy...did you read that last line? 'nuff said!

So, there it is...crazy...amazing...incredible. We are still in awe of God's hand in our lives this past year and can't wait to see all that He has planned for the days to come. If you want to read about our journey...there are several older posts that explain much of how we arrived to the decision to pursue adding to our family through international adoption. "The Journey" dated November 2008 and "Welcome to Our New Crazy" dated October 2008 will be the most helpful in catching you up. Just keep scrolling down until you find the one you want.

For those of you who aren't new to our blog...or who just want to hear the latest... here it is:

Our Paperwork
We have finished our home study (hooray!) and are awaiting the final draft from our agency. That should come this week. The home study will then be sent to USCIS/Dept. of US Immigration for approval. This could take 6+weeks. During that time, we will finalize all of our documents for our 'dossier' which is a fancy word for the paperwork that Ethiopia (or any foreign country) requires for us to be approved. As I understand it, once we receive USCIS approval, our agency will send our 'dossier' to Ethiopia and we will be officially 'on the waiting list'. The wait time has been quoted as anywhere from 3 to 12 months...based on the availability of children who 'match' our request. We are prayerfully asking for two children (not necessarily biological siblings): a boy (aged 6-8) and a girl (aged 2-4). This is where our hearts are today...but certainly God could 'tweak' the details as we go along. We feel confident that He will bring our children to us in His perfect it's a matter of trusting and waiting to see His amazing plan unfold.

Our Hearts
Soft. Malleable. Excited. Scared. Overwhelmed. Amazed. In Awe. I think we've felt every emotion imaginable on this journey and if you happen to bump into me on any given day and I look like I've been crying...I probably have! My tears come unannounced and at unpredictable times...more evidence that God has literally taken over my heart! Yesterday, during communion at church, our pastor's daughter (who is white) was holding the precious 6-month old daughter of an African couple (I believe they are from Kenya...and students at UT) who attend our church. I looked up, took that beautiful sight in...and the waterworks began. I simply cannot believe that God would trust ME with the privilege to love on these precious ones who are coming from such a broken, hard place. And I continue to believe with all I am that in sending us to 'rescue these little ones from their hard, broken place', God is in fact, rescuing us from our own hard, broken place of self-focus, busyness and spending ourselves on things that will not last. "See, I am making all things new!” Rev. 21:5 And in case you are tempted to think we are ‘great people’ for doing this…you MUST know…this is ALL God…100% His work…for His glory…not one ounce of “us” made this happen because without Him we are too selfish, too busy and too lazy!

Our Children
For those of you praying for our older children (ok…that sounds weird!)…THANK YOU! God has been working in amazing ways in their lives as well...MSH is 110% ready for his brother to come home…(I keep reminding him there is a sister, too…). And his servant heart is coming out, too…he has offered to sacrifice by staying home from school when the children come to teach them English! (Of course, I’m sure this has NOTHING to do with the fact that he hates school …hee!hee! What a smart boy! :) ) But, seriously, he is ready and excited about our family growing.

Our sweet MGH’s heart is softening, too. We have given her great freedom to express her true heart…no pretending allowed…and she has (as usual) taken us up on it. Her response this summer when we first discussed the adoption plans with her was certainly honest…”I think you should do what God is telling you to do…but don’t expect me to like it!” I LOVE HER HONEST, REAL HEART! God is going to use that girl in amazing ways! Recently, she did say to me that she is ‘kinda getting excited about it’ and there is no doubt that she is excited about making the trip to Ethiopia. (She is definitely going with us…we are still praying about MSH making the trip.)

So, thank you again and we would continue to ask for prayer as God forms and reforms our hearts and our family!

If any of you are praying for our children in Ethiopia…please pray for protection, comfort, food to sustain them and above all, the peace of Christ…that they would know deep in their little hearts that God has a plan for their good. I weep now…as I always do when I let my heart think of them. I am sad for their loss. What they have already lost and what they will give up…even in coming to the comforts of America. I weep for their birthfamilies, if they are alive, and for their caregivers…I pray they will know their children are not forgotten, but SEEN by the God who made them and that He is caring for them…even now. I know more than ever that THIS…caring for the ‘least of these’…truly is at the center of God’s heart. And though it is hard and painful to look at…it is beyond beautiful.

So thank you for ‘listening’ and for making the journey with us. We cannot go it alone. Your prayers and words of encouragement are gifts we cherish. I will try to keep updating the blog…but as you can see…I tend to get a little long-winded…so I often procrastinate getting started! We’ll see how it goes…

Until then, I hope you will enjoy these pictures (and one piece of artwork) from our Christmas…

MSH's drawing of his Ethiopian brother!

Gift I gave my husband this Christmas. His old watches that represent all the places he has worked, plus the watch I gave him as a wedding gift (20 years ago!), plus a watch with Ethiopia on a timeline form...with the verse at the beginning of this blog..."My times are in Your hands." Psalm 31:14-15a Totally a Holy-Spirit inspired idea. Pretty cool, if I do say so myself!

The kiddos with cookies and milk for Santa!

MSH and Daddy trying out his new BB gun!

MSH watching over Daddy's shoulder while he opens gifts.

Yes...Santa brought a cell phone. She's been VERY responsible with it so far
...and Mom and Dad are loving texting with her!

Just a little Christmas wrestling...where is your brother?


Anonymous said...

Wow Beth, Carmen and I are so excited to hear what our God is doing. It is extraordinary! We will check back to read your next blog. Love from the Texas that pink texas t-shirt!

The Hulens said...

Mike, Beth, Madison, & Matthew,
How exciting that Jesus is taking you on this crazy journey. Thanks for sharing your blog with us. We will check in regularly.

Anonymous said...

Love the photos of Christmas! Did you really post them at 5:58 am?! You are the Proverbs 31 woman! Thanks for making so me, the old woman who can't figure out technology, can leave you a comment.
We love the Hamiltons!

Donna said...

Beth! It's Donna Clark :) I don't have time to read everything, but HAD to get on your blog today to check out your news. Something told me it had to do with another adoption, not sure why. Ethiopia for TWO! I have another online friend who just brought home her 2 from Ethiopia, and another considering. How wonderful that God is bringing such blessings in your life. Can't wait to read more. Check out our blog, too. We've been blogging for 3 years, watch out, it's addicting!

Anonymous said...

Dear Hamiltons - Love watching the journey the Lord has your family on! Great job on the blog, too :) We are praying for you all! Love - The Dennings

Haute Mama said...

Mike and Beth...Wow WoW WOW! I am humbled and inspired at the ways in which GOD works through YOU! I am excited to watch your journey (via blogland) to meet the two newest Hamiltons!

I love that you blog. I have kept a family blog for over a year. It's a great way to stay connected with family and friends. We miss our UT family so much! And what did you do with Madison and Matthew? I can't believe they are the same two kids I met back in 2000! You have a beautiful family and we miss you so much! I also love reading and hearing about the awesome job Mike is doing for UT! said...


My good friend Floyd F directed me to you blog and I am excited for your family's new additions. My wife and I are in month 17 of a rollarcoaster adoption of a precious little Mayan girl living in Guatemala. I would love to talk. I am the senior pastor here.