Friday, December 28, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
This is me building up the courage to do my snow angel....
Sophie loved the snow...more each time we went out. I think her paws got used to the cold after a while and she ran and jumped and stuck her face in it. Fun to watch. Yes, she's wearing a pink coat. Now, don't think we're "those kind of people". She did not like it at first, but when you live in this climate, a pink heart quilted jacket is a must to go outside for extended periods. It really keeps her warm...thanks Mom! Our friends brought their pug Rambo and he sported a manly argyle sweater. Sophie loves Rambo.
I did it....I dove into the snow and waved my arms and legs....note to self: next time, lay down carefully (and not in jeans) as to not get snow up under my coat which results in a wet bottom....for a few hours.
On the adoption front: We hoped for at least a referral and some pictures of our children by now, but it was not to be. So we're holding on, praying and trying to, dare I say, enjoy the wait. I'm confident that the new year will bring some action our way. Some days it's easy to get frustrated and wonder why in the world we have to wait so long, but then I'm reminded that God is indeed in control. Now don't let that fool you...I am not a super woman without a care in the world. It can be overwhelming to be so in love with children on a different continent and no way to know who they are...yet. I think when all is said and done, we'll be able to look back and see at least some of the details of why we waited.
I'm dreaming of what next Christmas, Lord willing, will be like. No sleeping in for these Coens.
Merry Christmas! And remember....
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 8:11
I'm off to make our birthday cake for Jesus....more photos to come!
Friday, December 21, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
That's all for now. :)
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Ya'll I have to be honest.....I'm getting discouraged.....I've been getting discouraged. Feeling like there is no end in sight where the adoption is concerned. Just being honest. If I can't be honest on my own blog, where can I be?
I'm impatient and I admit it. I know God's timing is perfect. I really do. I just want to know who our children are and I want to get started being their mom. I feel like we're soooo close but sooooo far away from a referral and then a court date (lately the courts are backed up and many are having trouble getting through) and then an embassy date and then a travel date.
Lord, You are in charge of this journey...I want to enjoy it with You!
So in the midst of my pity party, I thought I'd be constructive and make over the blog. Hope you like it!
Ok, enough about me. Let's talk about the Lord and me.
I can't have a public pity party without also sharing how good God has been this year. He has kept me so close to Him, throughout each step we've taken. He's taken me to new levels in Him and I am grateful. I will always look back on 2007 as a year of such mercy, growth and change. May next year be even more exciting as we continue this journey together, me striving to be more like Jesus, and the Lord loving me just as much as He always has....even in the midst of an ugly pity party.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Eleven weeks under our belts and not sure how many more.
Praying today that the court appointments for the first group of 5 families went well. I'll update when I know.
We are now #9 on the main list as a family accepted a referral for a waiting group of 3 siblings. Praise the Lord for bringing this family together! Isn't this adoption stuff exciting?! I sure think so. I feel really privileged that God has called us on this journey.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wow! We have so much! Stuff that is. I was talking with a good friend today about simplifying and then I came across this video.
Since returning from my missions trip to Ethiopia this summer, I find it hard to forget the everyday amenities and conveniences I enjoy. Brushing my teeth with clear, running water, directly from a faucet. Taking showers (without flip flops) that last entirely too long because the water is so wonderfully hot and clean. Walking barefoot in my home, not scared of what's on the floors. One towel for my head and one for my body. More food than two people can eat yet I find myself at the grocery store a lot because we have no food in the house (what?). Too many pairs of shoes to choose from every day. Standing in front of a closet jammed pack with clothes, saying that I have nothing to wear. Dusting a bookshelf with an entire shelf full of Bibles....what translation do you need? Carrying big sacks of plastic bottles out the the recycle bin because I've had a lot of fresh bottled water to drink, as if the water from the tap isn't good enough. Medical and dental care within walking distance. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
We are so blessed with so much. So many don't have the very basics that we sometimes take for granted. Six months after the missions trip, I'm still trying to figure out what to do with that experience, with what I saw, heard, smelled and tasted. Praying the Lord will show me a tangible way to do SOMETHING meaningful for Him for His people.
Here is the Scripture I took away from Ethiopia:
Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him? James 2:5
And here is something for us to wrestle with:
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:15-17
"The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 24:40
I believe the Bible makes it clear that we are called to tangible ministry to others. Hope you'll chew on this with me....
Sunday, December 2, 2007
So we did get some news last week. Sounds like we shouldn't jump every time the phone rings for a while. I'm not totally complaining because I said before that any news would be good, as long as we knew something about what was going on. So...
Two sets of familes (5 each) got referrals in October. The first set has a court date on 7 December. The agency won't ask for a court date for the second group until the first group successfully goes through court. They won't be giving any more referrals until both groups get through court.
At least we know, that's all I keep thinking. Sure, I'd love to see my kids' faces before Christmas and jump on a plane to meet them. But we can relax and trust the Lord that our time is coming.
Let's pray for the families that do have pictures of their children and want so badly to get through this last step. I hope December 7 is a day of rejoicing and another court date will be quickly set for the next group.
Also pray for the families that are soooo close to referrals, as well as those who feel so far away from their glorious phone call.
We're number 10 on the list (but there are several "lines": single child, siblings, unrelated, unspecified gender, etc). We feel so very close to seeing those sweet faces.
My heart is a little sick, but I know this wait it worth it. And the way the Lord is piecing this all together will just get Him more glory. I'm all for that!
As always, we ask you to pray for the Coen kids and their parents who are waiting expectantly to love them with all of their hearts.....and then some.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Speaking of the number 10.....we need ten more teeshirts to complete our order! So, Christmas shopping anyone? You can order to the right of the screen and let me know the specifics of your order through email.
The fifteen shirts already ordered (and those that ordered them) would appreciate the company. :) And we always appreciate the support and are excited over the awareness of adoption and Ethiopia they will bring.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Our home study agency, Adopt Abroad, Inc., also an adoption agency, has an international program in Guatemala. I was looking at their site today, finding some information for a friend interested in adoption. I clicked on the Guatemala page and this is what I found:
http://adopt-abroad.com/guatemala.htm (please check it out)
Here's the thing....this is time sensitive! They are looking for a family who are "paper ready", meaning home study complete at least. Because of changing rules in Guatemala, the process must begin immediately.
Also, if no adoptive family is found soon, the baby will have to be turned back over to the birth family.
Search your hearts, pass this on. Who has their paperwork ready to go and wants to give this precious baby a forever family? Contact me and I will put you in contact with our social worker.
Above all, pray that the right family will get the word and find this beautiful girl!
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families....Ps 68:5-6a
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
So much to be thankful for...I could go on and on. And that's another thing to be thankful for...to have so much to be thankful for. See, that's why I'm not going to even attempt a list here. :)
Praying this is our last Thanksgiving without our little ones. Only the Lord knows when that referral will come. Is it bad that I wish He would tell me? If He tells me, I won't tell anybody, except for Marshall. Please, Lord?!? And Marshall won't tell because of all that confidentiality stuff he's sworn to.
Just teasing...but I was a little discouraged today. I so wanted to know something by now. I'm dreaming of little boys in footed Christmas pajamas...you know, the ones with the trap door and skid-proof feet. Do they even make those anymore?
Turkey day is over in the Coen house and the Christmas decorations are up. What fun!!
We pray that this day found you well, warm and with plenty to be thankful for.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
We did receive some good news this week from our agency. The transitional home in Addis is up and running with trained nannies and necessary equipment. The first 13 referred children were moved there this week. That is where our children will go after they are referred to us and that is where we will go pick them up. I'd like to just go move in now. :)
It was so uplifting to get the news of the transitional home's opening. Sometimes is frustrating (in my flesh) when I can't know everything that's going on behind the scenes. I KNOW the Lord is at work, so it was a blessing to get word of evidence of that.
Boys, we are faithfully waiting to be united with you. When this part of our journey is over, I hope that you will be proud of our dedication to you. We are steadfast in our pursuit of you....both of you special little guys! We love you like crazy!!
Lord, lead us in our wait. Thank You for what You are constantly doing in our lives and for giving us a glimpse into behind the scenes. Protect our little ones and give them Your peace, deep in their hearts. We love You like crazy too!!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
This picture is in honor of my precious husband and his love for football. ;)
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I have seen this on some other blogs and decided to copy.
We have been waiting for our boys' referral for 5 weeks now. In the grand scheme of things, this is no time at all. But don't get me wrong....we're ready. :)
Praying for more activity this week! And for the families in the new waiting stage for court appointments and travel plans.
Thanks for checking in!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
We are still taking orders. Let me know if you'd like in on THE t-shirt of the season. It's getting cold, you say? Well, layer that bad boy up! That's very IN, you know!? ;)
I'll keep you posted!
Friday, October 19, 2007
It's amazing how happy I feel for these families I have never even laid eyes on. How am I going to act when we get our referral?
Hopefully I can let you know soon. ;)
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
"Dad - just wanted you to know - we've decided not to put any racial limits on the adoption..."
In a calm voice on the phone earlier this spring, my youngest son was telling me that he and his wife simply could not restrict their adoption to "white kids only." They were willing to adopt any race.
I have to say that I took a deep breath. What were they thinking? What could possibly have motivated them to face a lifetime of strange looks and unasked questions from unthoughtful people? Why would they be willing to face the possible rejection of two cultures while trying to provide a loving Christian home to one child? Didn't they know the risks?
Of course, I didn't say anything to betray my true feelings - it just might have revealed something very ugly within me...and I knew it. Instead, I just mumbled some supportive comments, while selfishly wondering what lay ahead for all of us.
My son (an engineer, not a pastor) then proceeded to give me a theological lesson that I will never forget. He patiently reminded me of the extraordinary thing God has done in His adoption of His own children.
Ephesians 1:4-5 tells us that "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world...He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will..." (NASB).
There are several important things about God's adoption of us here. First, His choice is "free." No one coerced Him into adopting us - He did it because He chose to (Eph 1:4). Second, His adoption of us was "purposeful." He adopted us in accordance with "the kind intention of His will" (Eph 1:5). Third, His adoption is "permanent." There are no strings attached - once God adopts, the child is forever His. It's part of His will and purpose. Finally, His adoption was "prior"; that is, using Bible words, God "predestined us to adoption." This means that He did this before creation, before we ever chose Him.
Much of this is true with human adoption, as well. Adoptive parents freely initiate the legal arrangements, they have their own purpose in making this happen, and their decision is permanent. Unlike God, however, adoptive parents can't know much about their adoptive child beforehand. In contrast, God knew us completely when He made His choice - and He adopted us anyway!
This is what God did for us, and my son and his wife understood what they had to do in response. Talk about being humbled...through this two-pronged example of adoptive love, God showed me the wickedness of my own self-centered heart. How can we withhold love from potential adoptive kids when God has not withheld His love from us?
May God move couples desiring children and birth mothers considering abortion to unselfishly give the gift of life through adoption, regardless of race. We are grateful that this is what the birth mother of our newest grandchild, Joshua David, did on June 12, 2007...this is real love!
Monday, October 15, 2007
This verse was written on a note enclosed with a monetary gift we received this week. The Lord is truly blessing us through the generosity of others.
On this journey, we have to wait on a lot of things. One thing I can't wait to do with the boys is tell them how loved they are. They are loved by God, their Mom and Dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, people we have never met, and the list goes on and on.
These two little ones, coming from a land that most of our community will never visit, have already captured the hearts of many. Mostly mine.
No news on the adoption. The activity of referrals for those five families and the hiring of two personnel and a transition home was so encouraging.
I emailed our family coordinator EVERY SINGLE phone number we have, written as you would dial it from the US and told her not to worry about the time of day that she called. We'll be ready. Thanks Laurel, for putting up with us. :)
Teeshirts should be coming soon. We are steadily building up and order for batch number 2.
That's all for now. Thank you for your continued prayers and support!!
Saturday, October 6, 2007
The not knowing was a great lesson for me.
Thank You Lord, that You are working. We can't always see what You are doing, but you are ALWAYS at work.
Five families will welcome home six of Your precious children. How that must make You smile!
Lord, watch over our children. Let them know, deep in their little hearts, that their mommy and daddy are ready for them. We have been preparing a place for them like You are preparing a place for us. We don't have a house with many rooms :), like Your Father's house does, but we have a safe place full of love for them to call home. We do not want our hearts to be troubled, but we desire to trust in You. (See John 14:1-4)
Your timing is perfect. Your plan is perfect. Sustain us Lord! Protect our little ones, that are first and foremost Yours.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
What does that mean?
Our dossier is in the right hands and we can be matched with our children.
How long will it take?
I wish we knew. Please pray for us as we wait.
Now we knuckle down and draw closer to our faithful God who is in complete control.
Thanks for your prayers!!
Monday, October 1, 2007
We have some wonderful friends, family and strangers. :)
If anyone else wants to order, I'm starting a new spreadsheet. I love me some spreadsheets!
Thank you and I'll keep you posted...
And nothing new, adoption related. Our dossier is in Ethiopia, but still at the FedEx office. That's understandable though....just running over to the FedEx office in Addis is not an easy task.
Please continue to pray in the wait!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
We should be able to tell when Girmachew, the in country representative, picks it up.
I think I'll print this page for the baby's and the big brother's books.
A note on the t-shirts...thanks to the PayPal button to the right, we have the money in for the first 12 shirts. As soon as the payments for the next 12 come (I know some are on their way, via mail) we will put in the order. Thanks for all of the support! I know I've said that a lot, but I want to keep saying it. :)
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Also, thank you so much for your response to the T-shirt fundraiser! I added a PayPal button to the right where you can pay for them instantly and email us your order. We have to have the money for at least 24 shirts before we can put in our order. Hopefully that will be very soon!
As much as the t-shirts will help us financially, our hope it that as you wear them in your communities, it will bring more awareness to adoption and the need in Ethiopia. Thanks!
That's all for now......ciao!
ETA: I just looked at the FedEx tracker. Paper Baby made it to Frankfurt!! Got there this morning...it's sort of back home. It is now in transit. Keep going, baby, you're almost there!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Because of the response to the previous post, we've decided to go for it with the Ethiopia Adoption T-shirt fundraiser. The front of the shirt says Mission Threads: Ethiopia Adoption Project and the back includes John 14:18, 'I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. The artwork is on the previous post below.
We are asking for a minimum donation of $20 per shirt.
Let us know the size you would like as well as Mens, Womens or Childrens. The ladies shirts are a little slimmer cut with a shorter sleeve then a regular mens' tee. The mens' shirts are the regular t-shirt cut.
So please, tell your friends and neighbors that you know a family that has been called by God to adopt two precious boys from Ethiopia, Africa. And you have a way to help them bring those boys home! We especially appreciate your prayers even if a t-shirt is not your cup of tea (and if it is!).
We'll keep you posted through this blog. Thank you for your support!! Feel free to forward this on. Send requests/orders to firstname.lastname@example.org . We can give you our address to send payment after you make an order. Don't forget to give us your address too, so we can ship those cool shirts right to your door.
Love in Christ,marshall & jill
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The other thing we have done is set up an account with our adoption agency that allows people to give directly to our adoption through them so you can get a tax receipt and claim your gift on your taxes. That works out well for everyone. We are limited in the amount we can raise through that account. Any overflow goes to other families in need. We can raise up to $4000 more through that avenue (that would benefit our family), so if you're interested in that, let us know too through the same email. Easy squeezy!
Most of all, we appreciate your prayers through this journey. We continue to need them as we wait and our boys continue to need them as they are not home yet. Thank you for your love and support!!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
So, nothing really exciting around here.
Several people have asked how long we will wait now that we are officially waiting. That answer varies. It could be a couple of months or several months. We are praying that it is before Christmas that our boys come home. Will you pray with us?
All I want for Christmas is my two sweet boys....I may have to write a little song....
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Our dossier will be couriered next week for authentication. Our family coordinator said that it usually takes the embassy a couple of days to process and then she will let us know when it's on it's way to Ethiopia.
As soon as I have more news, I'll let you know! :) Please continue to pray for us as we wait.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
It came, it came, praise be to God, that "one last piece of paper" came today!
I forwarded that email with the attachment to our family coordinator at the adoption agency to let her know we were one step closer. She was excited for us and said that actually we could print off the emailed I171-H and have that notarized. (Actually we will keep the original and take it to Ethiopia with us. The notarized document will be a copy of the original.) I got so excited and screamed and leaped around so much that Sophie tucked her tail and jumped into Marshall's lap. Poor thing.
So, Lord willing, we will have that copy notarized in the morning and mail the dossier off to the agency on Monday.
Thank you for your prayers. Please don't stop! The Lord hears our prayers and He always loves to hear from us.
My head hurts from all of the excitement....
Monday, August 20, 2007
I've emailed the Consulate multiple times to try to figure out where the I171-H is. They said it was mailed on 6 August. That was 3 weeks ago today. Now I can't get anyone to respond to my e-mails. Frustrating.
If you sense a little discouragement in my voice, you're right. But I'm holding on and trusting that this is all part of God's plan for us and our boys.
Hopefully, soon I'll be able to tell you that that "one more piece of paper" came in the mail and we are mailing out our dossier. Please continue to pray for us!
Monday, August 13, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Well, your prayers were answered, as well as mine, and I did it! And survived!
Here is some proof: the smile in the first picture was for the sake of the camera....never let 'em see you sweat!
that's me in the middle with my PWOC backpack on.....representin' in Ethiopia! :) A literal mountain top experience! We were standing in a cloud. Thank you Lord!
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Takes some pressure off.
We do need your prayers. We should know more when our family coordinator gets back, but as of now our agency has changed a rule that could affect our request for 2 unrelated children. Ultimately God is in control and we will adopt the boys He wants us to adopt. There is such comfort in that. Please pray for clear guidance in decisions being made, that they will benefit the children of Ethiopia....that is most important.
I am praying without ceasing the my desires would be God's desires and I know the Lord is preparing our hearts and our children's hearts for our union as a forever family.
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes 5:16-18
I typing this verse, I just realized that I should, because it's God's will for me, be giving thanks in the turmoil. Forgive me Lord! I do give thanks! Which brings me to Psalm 94:11: When my anxious thought multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.
And Isaiah 55:8, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
All this to say, God is in control and I just want to be closer to Him with each step.
Who knew He would speak to me through a blogger post. We serve a creative God!!!
I hope this speaks to you too. Have a great day and open that Bible....it will take you places. :)
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
the place behind their building where he and his dad threw the baseball
in front of the chapel sign