Saturday, May 8, 2010

End of our Blog

I have been thinking about closing out our blog for some time now.  It has become more of a have to than a get to.  Life is very satisfying, full of joy, and yes very busy again with yet another West baby in the family.  With tonight being the eve of baby dedication at our church, where we will give our precious new daughter back to God who gave her to us, I think this is the appropriate moment.  The West Family Adoption Journey is over.  God has fully grafted her into our family now, she is not our adopted daughter, she is simply our daughter.  We are still amazed at every chance we have when pondering these past 2 plus years at all the wonders God has shown us.  God is truly love.  I can not find the words to express his glory.  We hope that somewhere along the way you have seen God, please know that it was truly his great work that he has done.  Our prayer is that you all will come to know him as we know him, seek him, he will be found if you do.

And so we have come to the end of our journey.  I think the best way to end it is to simply add one last photo.  Its image and its message was in the heart of God long before we ever knew where he would lead us.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I saw this poem on the Ethiopian adoption group we are members of.  I thought it very good and wanted to share it.

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life.
But those who make their journey home across time and miles,
growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them.
Are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us
by God's very own hands.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Three month in home meeting with our home study agency

Last week we had our 3 month meeting, we had one at 1 month and will have one at 6 months also.  We will also be doing annual reports until our little bundle of joy is 18.  Our social worker said she has obviously attached to us and is doing well.  One interesting bit of information we learned is it takes about 1/2 of the time your child was alive before they entered your home, to become completely safe and secure with their new family.  Our daughter was 13 months, so half of that is 6.5 months so we are about 1/2 way there.  This is just a rough guide they use.  It breaks our heart sometimes when we dwell on how she may be feeling when she has a bad time or a bad day or night.  Its difficult for others to understand all of this, but we just have to keep on loving her and showing her we will always come back to her.  We are just crazy in love with her and cant wait to see what God is going to do in her life.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

God at work

My best friend goes to church with a man who is a grandfather to a young girl who has moved to Ethiopia on a mission for one year.  I believe she has been there for just over 6 months now.  Recently on her blog she posted about seeing God at work.  How often we miss it because we either dont ask God to open our eyes to see it, or we simply arent looking.  As I watch my daughter each day, I know that God is at work.  His amazing love, and his faithfullness is a daily reminder to me when I simply hold her in my arms, watch her kissing Lisa, or playing with my other children.  Know this, God is always at work!

If you would like to check out the blog I mentioned go to:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Security tank / Love tank

Since our daughter has been home we have discovered something about her, something she is lacking and she needs desperately.  Security, or maybe its just good old fashioned love.  Lisa tells me almost every day as I am away at work, how Lillibet will cry even if Lisa goes into the other room for but a brief moment.  Lisa loves that she needs her so desperately, of course at times it makes it very difficult to do anything much at all, and Lisa can get mildly frustrated.  Mostly though Lisa patiently loves her.  I told Lisa a few weeks ago to think of it as just filling her love tank that needs filling.  I have been staying with Lillibet on Wednesdays when Lisa and the girls are at church, this past Wednesday I experienced the same thing. Lillibet would cry loudly and come crawling towards me desperately trying to find me.  I took her for a walk in her stroller, I noticed about half way through the walk she began looking up to see my face every few seconds, she wanted to know I was still there and had not left her.  Sometimes its difficult to even think about all the transitions she has had in her short life.  She is only 15 months old, but she was with her mother for 6 months, at an orphanage in Southern Ethiopia for 4 months, and in the Care Center in the capital city for 3 months before coming home with us these past 2 months.

Someone recently commented, after watching Lillibet for just an hour or so, that you can tell she really gets a lot of attention.  Lisa said that yes she has 4 siblings and a mommy and a daddy, plus her doggie at home to take care of her.  As we thought of that comment, we thought of how misunderstood Lillibet was by this person.  How her deep need was not clear to this person, this person was not aware of her brief history here on Gods Earth.  At first it upset me and I wanted to say something, try to explain how deep her need is and what has happened to her in her life, to share her deep need.  Then I began to think of how much I misunderstand when I look around at others.  Had I not walked this adoption path for over 2 years now, read all the books and other information that I have, how I would have had the same perception.  I wonder how much we all misunderstand?  Who do we judge based upon our experiences not understanding the deep needs of those around us.  Maybe, just maybe we all should take a deep breath, stop assuming we understand what others have gone through in life, and just simply try to fill their love tanks.  Let them know we will just be there for them, no matter what.  So that when they look up from that stroller every few moments, they see that were still there, still walking with them.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blessed with a burden

My wife and I today watched the movie "Freedom Writers" which is a story about a teacher who helps change the lives of many inner city kids who live in a area where gangs and violence are part of everyday life.  It was a touching story of how one person really impacts the world.  There is a part in the movie where her father and she are talking.  Earlier he had told her that her work at the school as a teacher was just a job.  After seeing the changes in her kids over a 2 year period, he tells her a different story.  At one point he tells her that she has been blessed with a burden.  A burden that kept her inspired through all of the tough times during the 2 years she was teaching her kids.  As I heard him share those words, my mind shifted to the burden Lisa and I have for the children of the world.  How it kept us inspired through all the ups and downs during our adoption journey.  There is just something about an inspired passion, a burden, that keeps you pushing forward.  As I type this my mind now wonders to those of you reading these words.  What burden has God blessed you with?  What need has he called you to meet that he made you and planned for you to meet before you were ever born.  I cant answer that question for anyone other than myself, but what I can say, without hesitation, is that while the burden he gives you will at times seem overwhelming, the blessing you will feel, the joy you will experience, while you are in the work he called you to, will far outweigh cost of the burden you will pay.  The best analogy I can think of is labor pains during child birth.  Once that child is in your arms, all the pain is long forgotten and only the joy remains.  So let me ask you, what burden has God blessed you with?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New procedure to adopt in Ethiopia

We just heard today from our agency that Ethiopia has changed their procedure.  Families now have to travel twice to Ethiopia before they can take their child home.  We are members of a Yahoo group and we are seeing many families really in turmoil over this.  Many of them are so close to seeing their sons or daughters and now they will have this delay, and also obviously a greater expense involved.  Please pray for all of them that the money will be there and the delays wont be too long.  Its a shame the kids will have to wait longer now to come home.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

There is no me without you

I  recently finished reading a book titled "There is no me without you" by Melissa Fay Greene.  Its a book about a woman who ends up starting on her own an orphanage for kids in Ethiopia.  Perhaps because we just returned home from over there, and we now are the parents of a blessed gift from God, who was born in Ethiopia, the book overwhelmed me.  I actually told Lisa I found myself grieving the closer I came to the end of the book.  It truly moved me.  I would like to encourage everyone who reads these words to get the book.  I checked it out of the local library.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A story of adoption from the Haitian Earthquake

This story is from Dr. Albert Mohler's blog...

Arno was inseparable from Mr. Penguin. The little Haitian boy was almost three years old, and the plush penguin with the word "love" inscribed upon it was his most treasured object. The orphan and his penguin were always seen together.

The boy had been given the penguin just after his birth. A Dutch couple was in the process of adopting him almost from the start of his life -- they had been matched to him when he was only two months old. The penguin represented a promise.

The process of adoption took two years -- the length of time considered adequate to determine that no living relatives might claim him. According to official estimates, there were over 50,000 parentless orphans in Haiti before the earthquake came and orphaned many thousands more.

Richard and Rowena Pet were the young Dutch couple who wanted so badly to be Arno's mother and father. They had struggled with infertility for years before deciding to adopt. As they awaited the adoption of Arno, Rowena became pregnant. Last August she gave birth to Jim, who was left in the care of relatives as Richard and Rowena flew to Haiti in January to claim Arno and complete the adoption process.

The story of Arno's adoption is movingly told by reporter David Charter of The Times [London]. As he reported, "Arno was shy at first but within 30 minutes of meeting his adoptive parents he reached for Rowena’s hand and took the Dutch couple on a tour of the orphanage in Port-au-Prince where he had spent most of his short life. He began to call them Mummy and Daddy."

Richard had shared their joy with a friend in an e-mail:

“We got to the orphanage feeling a bit strange. We went around a corner and immediately saw Arno walking towards us. He was OK until he was about half a meter away, but then he panicked. The woman from the orphanage helped out and half an hour later he took Rowena’s hand for the first time. I’m sorry but I can’t help crying at the moment as I type this. Arno has been showing us everything in the orphanage. He showed us an old car they have for the children to play on. He was holding a birthday card we sent for his second birthday.”

According to Charter, adoptive parents often stay at the Hotel Villa Therese in the PĂ©tionville district of Port-au-Prince. That is where Richard and Rowena took Arno. That is where they were when the earthquake came. And that is where they died together.

David Charter tells the story, with comments by Chris Spaansen, the friend to whom Richard had sent the e-mail:

Dutch TV cameras were on hand during the frantic search by an international rescue team with members from the Netherlands, Britain and Canada. . . . Lying there amid the rubble was the unmistakable blue and yellow toy bird, Mr Penguin, marked with the word “Love”, that went everywhere with Arno. “That toy helped them to make their first contact with the little boy. It had a really special place in the family. It was a very emotional moment for all of us,” Spaansen says.

Then this:

What the cameras did not show were the three bodies, found intertwined together, as if Rowena and Richard had tried to put protective arms around Arno as the masonry began to fall. The disaster cruelly destroyed the new family, creating its own orphan back in the Netherlands. Jim, just five months old, will be brought up by Rowena’s sister, who already has her own three-year-old boy.

The bodies of Richard and Rowena and Arno Pet were taken to the Netherlands together, just as they had been found together in the rubble of the Hotel Villa Therese. They had been a family for a few hours, but a family all the same. Arno had a tragically short life, but he ended that life in the arms of a mother and a father.

Who can read this account without heartbreak . . . and a heart warmed? Is there a heart so cold that it does not feel the pathos of this report, and sense the sentiment of this family's tragedy? At the same time, this is not a tragedy in the classic sense. The love of Richard and Rowena and Arno Pet transcends tragedy. That is why The Times published this report, and why it stays with you so long after you read it.