Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tell me about Korah...

I don't know much about Korah, but I am learning.  I have never been, but I hope to go.

I do know that Korah is in Ethiopia.  I do know that it is a place that no human being would choose to live in if they had a choice.  Here are a few facts that I borrowed from another blogger's page (she recently went to Korah and has been forever changed).

A few facts about Korah:
  • Korah in Amharic means "cursed".
  • 75 years ago the Ethiopian government moved everyone with leprosy to this area of Addis Ababa.
  • Approximately 100,000 people live in the slums of Korah - the "outcasts" of society.
  • The city dump is located in Korah.
  • The people, both adults and children, spend their days digging through the dump searching for anything to eat or sell.
  • God is alive and well in Korah thanks to Pastor Sammy Liben and Project 61 Ministries. They have started an education sponsorship program for the children of Korah.
(To learn more about the history of Korah, you can go here.)

    So yesterday, for some reason, Korah kept coming to my mind.  I have seen several of my fellow adoptive parent bloggers writing about this community in Ethiopia.  Today, my favorite blogger and friend, Kari Smalley Gibson, is spending time in Korah.  I have a feeling she will be writing more about her experience once she gets home, so stay tuned.  What I am learning is overwhelming.  You may also know that Wes and I have been praying about how we might make some lifestyle/financial changes in our lives in such a way that impact the world for God's Kingdom and His Glory.  Well, when Wes came home yesterday, out of the blue he says, "I want to sponsor another child."  Ummmm....okay....random.  Or maybe not.  ;)  We already sponsor a little girl in India through Compassion International.  Compassion is a wonderful sponsorship program that I recommend everyone look into.  If you ever wonder if you make a difference through sponsorship, just check out this video.  Warning:  Excessive crying may capture you by surprise.  In a good way, of course.
    So, anyways, back to my point....Wes mentions that he wants to sponsor another child, and that very same day I am looking at this website asking for sponsors for children in Korah.  Ummm....yeah...I think we have a winner.  I told him about Project 61 (well, the little I have learned in the last couple of days), and after about a second of thinking about it, we were both on board.  We have already been praying for ways that God can use us to further His Kingdom, so we didn't really feel like we needed to pray more about it.  This was one such way.  So I encourage all of you to check it out, and ask God if He is asking you to stretch yourselves financially, in order to make a HUGE impact in the lives of children in Ethiopia and beyond.  It might hurt a little, but I think God wants us to go beyond what's comfortable.  He wants us to live radical lives for Him.  If you haven't already, start asking Him what being radical looks like in your lives.  Be prepared, though.  If you ask, He will answer, and you better be prepared to be obedient.  That's the hard part for us human beings.  ;)

    If you want to learn more about sponsoring a child in Korah, go here.
    If you want to see a little more about life in Korah, please watch this video.  It might just rock your world.
    And one more thing...If you have been to Korah, and want to tell me more, leave me a comment, or even email me at mullinsadoption@gmail.com 
    I want to know more! 

    Sunday, July 25, 2010

    One Life. One Love. 2 Months.

    So yesterday we hit the two month mark.  2 months ago yesterday, our dossier arrived in Ethiopia. The first month felt awful.  The waiting sucked.  This last month hasn't been too bad, but I think this was due in part to the insanely busy schedule we have had shooting weddings this summer.  It has been crazy, but it has kept my mind fairly occupied. You may have noticed that our blog got a little bit of a makeover.  I had that picture of that beautiful Ethiopian boy up there for quite a while, but I keep thinking about how nice it will be to have pictures of our own angel(s) up there some day.  So anyways, I thought it would be appropriate to kind of put one of the themes of our lives up there:  Chasing After Love.  That phrase is kind of all encompassing.  We desire to spend our entire lives chasing after our one True Love, Jesus Christ, who has given us everything and more.  For the last 5 years we have been chasing after one piece of that love:  a child.  Off to the right of our header, you'll see, "One Life. One Love."  That pretty much says that we have One Love, Jesus, from whom every good thing comes, and we have One Life on earth to go hard after that Love in every way.  This includes adoption.  We may have hit some bumps along the way (and no doubt, more will come!), but we continue to run the race.  We will not quit.

    So, in the midst of the craziness that is life, this weekend was a much needed time of rest.  NO work.  And we celebrated being that much closer to a referral by going to Cincinnati, seeing an opera, staying in a nice hotel, and going to Ikea (my favorite!).  For those of you that know Wes and I well, you know that we kind of enjoy a hodgepodge of things in this life.  On the one hand, we could sit at home and watch a great movie any day of the week.  We might spend a Saturday hiking through some national forest.  And then sometimes we go to something a little more snooty, like the opera.  A couple of years ago we decided we wanted to go to the world renowned Metropolitan Opera of New York City.  So we flew to NYC (this is when Wes worked for the airlines and we flew for free...oh how I miss those days of free travel!), and saw Fidelio at the Met.  It was awesome!  Well, when I saw that La Boheme was coming to Cincinnati, I knew that we had to go check it out.  So that's just what we did.  We got all dolled up, and first made our way over to Over the Rhine, a hugely historical area of Cincinnati, and has more recently gained a reputation of being the most dangerous part of Cincinnati.  BUT, there are great developments on the horizon here, and changes are being made to invest in the futures of those who otherwise may have had no other opportunity.  One such development is the restaurant, Venice on Vine.  According to their website, "Venice on Vine is an employment education program of Power Inspires Progress, a non-profit organization which offers paid, on-the-job training to inner-city residents."  At first, I had thought we would treat ourselves to a ritzy Italian meal at one of the upscale restaurants in the city.  But as I was looking up popular restaurants, I came upon this one.  When I realized this was a restaurant whose purpose was to invest in the lives of the poor, to give people a hope and a future, I knew this was where we should go.  
    Wes making an order at Venice on Vine.
    Sporting my hodgepodge outfit (calvin klein dress, with tank and pants), in front of Venice on Vine.
    So, with all that said, Wes and I still got all dolled up in our Sunday best.  Needless to say, we looked a little out of place as we walked down the street toward the restaurant.  I felt a little conspicuous to say the least, but I'm so glad we didn't let that stop us.  Since this is a training restaurant, there are always employees learning the workings of the restaurant.  But everyone was friendly, helpful, and honestly, it is a quaint little place with lots of character.   The pizza was delicious, and I would definitely go back.  It's nice knowing that your money is going into rebuilding people's lives.  Loved it.
    From there we headed over to the opera house.  
    Okay, so this little video above is completely unedited.  We are complete dorks, but I think that is what is most charming about us.  *wink, wink*  And FYI, the Gay Musical quote is from the IT Crowd, a hilarious British comedy that we fell in love with this year.   
    I have always heard incredible things about La Boheme, so I was really looking forward to this.  It did not disappoint.  I loved it much more than Fidelio.  Although I must admit, I still have a hard time when story lines include two people falling in love after 2 seconds, but hey...it's the opera.  I had a couple Pretty Woman moments when the singing became so powerful that tears came to my eyes.  So good.  Here's a little snippet from the opera we saw.  These are the actual singers from the version we saw, playing Mimi and Rodolfo.  I know not everyone is a fan of opera, but you can't deny that there is beauty and power in those voices...
    Awww.....we're just like the couple on the cover. ;)

    The view from our hotel room.

    And finally, on Saturday, we headed over to Ikea.  Admittedly, my entire family is full of Ikea-freaks.  We LOVE it.  Of course, my mother is from Norway, and Ikea is a Scandinavian store (well, it's actually Swedish, but we try not to think about that terrible flaw).  When they first started popping up all over the States, we kept hoping we'd find an Ikea (pronounced "ee-kay-uh" in Scandinavia...pronounced "eye-kee-uh" in the States) close to us.  Well, about 2 years ago, Ikea popped up in West Chester, OH.  Okay, so maybe it's about 2 hours away, but that's nothing to us because it's....IKEA.  :)  Oh, and if you have one close by, but haven't gone yet, it's a must.  Be warned, though.  You might fall in love.  AND....it may take hours to get through it.  It is huge and awesome.  :)  Okay, maybe I'm a little bit obsessed.  Don't judge me.
    So there's a little taste of our weekend away...celebrating 2 months of waiting to see a picture of our future son or daughter....celebrating a time of rest....celebrating the One Love we have while we live this One Life.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Nepal is Not Forgotten....

    Oh Nepal, Nepal. How I love you Nepal. I haven't spoke of this wonderful country in quite some time. In March, after a dream or two, and some obvious government delays in Nepal, Wes and I made the very difficult decision to switch programs from Nepal to Ethiopia.  We lost several thousand dollars, but we felt the switch was right and timely.

    I've actually been on this lake.  It was the most peaceful retreat ever.  When we looked 
    out our hotel window, those mountains were our view.  So so beautiful.
     On the very day I was going to send in our official letter stating that we were no longer going to adopt from Nepal, the director of our agency called me.  She said that they had been talking about Wes and I, and our heart for Nepal and our special connection to it (remember I lived there for 4 months, and Wes visited me there).  She felt that since we had already paid for our dossier to be in Nepal, we might as well keep it there.  She said it would probably be quite a while until we ever got a referral (Back in March I believe that there were around 500 families across the globe waiting to be matched with a child.  And those were just the 2009 families.  We were a 2010 family.), so why not just leave it sitting there in Nepal?  First of all, I was overwhelmed by the fact that they had truly considered our heart for Nepal.  All of a sudden, we weren't just a number on their list of adoptive families, but we were a couple whose names and hearts they prayed for.  SO cool.  Second of all, I said, "Okay!"

    So it is a little known fact that we actually have two dossiers out there in the world:  One in Ethiopia and one in Nepal.  So I guess we technically have a concurrent adoption going on.  Weird.  I really don't know if this will mean anything in the end, though.  Nepal is super strict about their guidelines for matching a family.  First, you can only adopt a child that is the opposite gender of the one in your home, meaning that if you have a son in your home you can only adopt a girl.  If you have a daughter, you can only adopt a boy.  If you have both a son and a daughter, you can't adopt from Nepal.  Weird, I know.  In addition, the Nepali child must be younger than the child/children you already have in your home.  SO, all that to say that when we adopt our little one from Ethiopia, we will have to change a lot of our paperwork for Nepal, because everything will ride on the age and gender of our Ethiopian angel.

    Now, with all that said, who knows what this will all end up looking like.  And while some movement has started up again (referrals are being made little by little for the 2009 families), because of the EXTREME slow progress of adoptions in Nepal, most of the Nepal adoption blogs out there have been pretty slim.  Many families have been very discouraged, and have written very little.  Well, yesterday I saw one family in my blog list that had recently updated their blog, and said that they found out they were #74 in queue for the 2010 families, meaning there were 73 families in front of them.  Hmmmm?  I thought that was weird.  We never received a number when our dossier was registered in Nepal back in April.  So I shot an email over to our agency asking about this.  Sure enough, she writes me back today and says that we are #6 on the 2010 waiting list.  That's #6 over all families across the world registered in Nepal!  She said that there were other factors that played into our place in line, such as age parameters, gender, special needs, etc. so #6 doesn't necessarily mean that we will be the 6th family to be matched with a baby once the 2009 families have all been processed and matched.  Honestly, I have no clue.  I just know that it's all kind of funny when you think about it.  You never know what God might have in store.  I mean, we might get a referral for a little boy from Ethiopia, and bring him home by Christmas, and perhaps get a referral for a little girl from Nepal in the Spring of 2011.  OR, Nepal may never work out.  There is just no telling.   BUT.....I am excited to find out.  :)

    So, no matter what, I am praying for my babies, no matter where they may be.  I am thankful to God for revealing His heart to me in so many way through this process.  If we had just gotten pregnant 5 years ago, I may never have gotten to know God's heart for the orphan.  I hope I would have, but you never know.  He knows me so well, and He knows exactly how to teach me, because I am His, adopted into HIS family, and He knows me inside out.  Wow.  I am SO thankful.

    So here's to the crazy things that might happen to our family in the not-so-distant future.  Cheers!

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    The Unit & Faith...

    It's been over 2 weeks since I last posted. Every time I come back to my blog I see the picture of Giraffe. The same picture has been there every day. What is there to do? What is there to write? Not much. I can't speed this adoption process up. I can't do anything else to make anything happen. I'm just....here.

    A couple posts back I mentioned that I was trying not to think about our son/daughter-to-be. Well, while I can't say that I've succeeded in that, it seems that I've been able to kind of put it on a shelf that is a little further back in my brain. Yes, it does help that I've been insanely busy with wedding season, and that I have been left with little opportunity to just sit and think about everything. Oh yeah....there is also the embarrassing addiction that Wes and I have to The Unit. I think we spent about 2 or 3 weeks staying up until 2am watching it. We spent every night shooting up bad guys in our dreams too, all for the sake of our country. And I don't know if we've been brainwashed by watching it too much, but we started to really find some good parallels with The Unit and our faith. The men in the Unit are willing to die for their country. They are ready to say yes to whatever mission they are given, no questions asked (okay, I know some of you politicals are ready to jump on all the stuff they do on the show, but stay with me...I'm not making any political statements right now). They are passionate for their cause. In the same way, we need to be ready to die for our faith. And our answer should always be yes, before God even asks the question. Such a good thing to remind myself of daily. Ah the great things we learn from television.... *insert sarcastic smile here*

    So, now we have finished all four wonderful seasons, and we are back to life as usual. There are no updates on where we are on the waiting list, because our agency doesn't tell us that. It could be a couple months or more until we get a referral. Who knows.

    So today, instead of writing about adoption woes and joys, I leave you all with one of my favorite commercials. It's a little aged now, but it never fails to make me chuckle. "I'm on a horse."