Tuesday, January 31, 2012


LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this little man!

 We are over the moon excited to announce that Ezekiel Aman Sterling DeVol is coming home!  We found out at 6:30 this morning that our case was approved in Nairobi and was being sent back to the embassy in Ethiopia.  According to the email we were to wait three days before contacting the embassy.  I waited about three minutes.  Usually I am a rule follower, however, tickets are buy one get one through today so I really wanted to get on that.  I sent an email to the embassy requesting a date of next week.  I was thrilled when they emailed me back minutes later to say that they had us tentatively scheduled for a visa appointment on February 8th!!!!!  So we are still working on flights but right now it looks like George and his dad will leave on Monday February 6th, have the visa appointment on Wednesday the 8th, pick up the visa on Friday the 10th and come home on Sunday February 12th!!!!  WOHOOO!!!!!

We'd appreciate your prayers as we plan and prepare and especially that our paperwork arrives in Ethiopia quickly!

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Name Game: Clue #1

This week at my doctors appointment my docs informed me that they will most likely deliver our little surprise at around 35-36 weeks.  That's in 4-6 weeks.  In early March.  That's REALLY soon!  So it's time we start letting you guess on this little guys name.  As always, I reserve the right to change my mind up until the birth certificate is filled out (because I can't commit to things).  Since we only have a few weeks we'll start with a big one:

Log your guesses in the comment section!

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Becoming Us...Part 1

 There are certain words that float around the adoption world a lot.  If you could check out the most searched topic among adoptive parents I bet you'd find the word "attachment" at the top of the list.  Upon hearing this word attachment and linking it to adoptive parents you might think it refers to the relationship adoptive parents have with their cell-phone and or online adoption group while in the forever long waiting phase.  You'd be wrong we refer to that as OCAPD or Obsessive Compulsive Adoptive Parent Disorder (ok I made that up but I think it could catch on).  Attachment deals with the forming of relationships between people.  There are many, many books, blogs, and websites devoted to explaining attachment and how it works.  It's deep people.  We're talking emotional, psychological, physical, and chemical reactions that humans have to each other.  I'm going to go out on a limb and give my own definition of attaching in adoption and assume that Karyn Purvis won't be reading (but if she is that's just cool).

Attaching in Adoption (as defined by one mom):  The process of forming a relationship with your child in which they eventually learn to rely on you as their primary care-givers.  The learning of trust, love, and permanency in relationships.

Attachment goes against the grain of normal parenting.  Typically when we parent a child there is a constant process of learning independence.  Think about it.  A child spends 40 weeks inside of its mother's womb completely dependent on her for everything.  As soon as they are born this process of becoming independent begins.  Sure mom still has to feed baby but now baby is responsible for swallowing.  Mom still does the diaper changing but baby has the responsibility of letting her know that baby is wet.  Each day, in little ways, a child is gaining independence as they grow.

Crying at the first meeting is actually a very good sign of a baby that has the ability to attach well given time and the right circumstances.
Enter adoption.  Here we have a child who already is independent.  This child has learned to take care of number one.  Grant it their ways of taking care of themselves are typically not healthy (physically or emotionally) but they are the ways they have survived the months and years of having no primary care givers.  Survival tactics at their best.  They are the tricks they have learned to either deal with unmet needs or have needs met by anyone and everyone.  For some adopted children this looks like a quiet child who just blends into the background.  To the casual observer this child appears polite, mild mannered and well behaved (the parent sees a child who can't trust and needs no one).  Or maybe this child is a terror.  Constantly screaming, throwing fits, and lashing out until they get what they want.  The casual observer sees spoiled brat (the well informed parent sees pain).  At the other end of the spectrum is the charming  child who smiles at everyone and lavishly gives out hugs and kisses to anyone and everyone.  The casual observer sees a sweet and loving child (the parent sees a child who can't distinguish family from friends, friends from strangers, and strangers from "bad guys")  All these situations are dangerous and not healthy for normal emotional and social development.

So what's an adoptive parent to do?  Simply (very, very simply) put, go back to square one.  Show the child how to be totally dependent before moving forward into indepence.  What does this look like?  And how does this affect you, the friend, relative, or church family of an adoptive family?

Well, that would just be too much for one post (I know I'm cruel to leave you hanging but trust me, you'll be ok).

Don't want to miss any exciting announcements? Sign up for my email list in the upper right hand corner of the page!  Don't forget to comment!  And thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Amen, The End, I'm Outta Here

Have you ever wanted to walk out of a sermon?  Just get up and leave because what you heard was enough and you didn't really want to hear anymore?  I had that experience this Sunday.  Now before you think our senior pastor must not be very good (he's great!) or that I'm a complete hypocrite let me explain.  Lately everything I've been reading, seeing, and most of all experiencing has been CHALLENGING.  Our Sunday school class went through the book Radical by David Platt.  Now we've moved on to The Whole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns.  At night I read Kisses from Katie to the girls.  The blogs I read are challenging and inspiring me to do more, be more, love more, give more.
Here's the thing:  I like to do things.  I want to be a part of everything.  I want to make a difference (ok lots of differences)  A little is never enough for me.  I'm always writing a plan to make myself better as a Christian, wife, mom, home-schooler, housekeeper, cook, blogger, friend, etc. etc.  Typically, I LOVE NEW IDEAS AND PLANS.  I love the challenge.  Normally, I thrive on this life but lately, I'm exhausted, phsically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Sweet, sweet rest

But I haven't explained why I wanted to get up and walk out of church five minutes into the sermon.

The sermon this week was from Mark 6:30-40.   Having just returned from their first time being sent out to minister, the disciples return to Jesus.  His first order of business for them is to get them some rest after a busy and trying season.  Our pastor went on to apply this to us, the 4th commandment, and how God has designed us to need these seasons and times of rest.  If only I had had the energy I would have given a hardy "Amen!" and then gone home and taken a nap.  However, the sermon kept going and proceeded to tell us the other things we need to do to be effective "ministers."   During the second point is where I started to struggle.  While Jesus heads for rest with the disciples we see that they encounter people in need and interrupt their rest to minister to them.  Therein lies the crux of my problem  I feel the need for rest but I SEE the need for doing more.  How do I rest when their is a hurting world all around me?  How do I rest when my children need more?  I feel simultaneously pushed to do more and do less and ultimately find myself doing nothing but not resting well either.

So if you've been in this spot what are the ways you have found effective rest?  Is the season of rest something we seek out or do we just keep running on fumes (and by fumes of course I mean the grace of God) until God makes it clear that NOW is the time to rest?  Obviously my home is going to get MORE crazy so how can I seek out this emotional and spiritual rest while simultaneously preparing for the next season of craziness?  Please note that I've already tried: coffee, ice-cream, candy, and miscellaneous other treats to achieve this rest.  None has been successful yet but I will keep trying them just in case it takes some time for them to work.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Ezekiel!!

We wish he was here for his first birthday but are happy he has no idea what he's missing:)  And yes, the little stinker is walking already!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Once again thanks for the prayers!  (I'm thinking when we have these two little boys dedicated we will give out knee pads as favors:)  Everything went pretty successful.  He was a little bit of a stinker and had his eye right behind the umbilical cord where the needle needed to go.  It wasn't really a risk but the fellow doing the procedure wasn't crazy about having his eye right there!  After about 15 minutes of "aversion" (attempts to move the baby's position) she was able to get his face and head away from the cord and start the procedure.  From there, everything went great! 

We are also very close to having a name for him!  We reserve the right to change our name up until he's born but clues may be soon in coming!!!!! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


It's never simple with us is it?  That email we were hoping to get from the US Embassy won't be coming.  Today we received an email from them informing us that they could not process our case and are sending it to Nairobi.  Obviously, when things don't make sense clearly the place to have them sorted out is in another African country right?  Actually it has more to do with American policy.  In Ethiopia we had the US Embassy evaluating our case.  In order to issue a visa they must be 100% certain that a child is an orphan according to US law.  At first this seems totally reasonable.  We certainly wouldn't want to bring home a child who is not an orphan!!!!  Here's the problem: logic, common sense, and discretion.  Very few things in life are 100% certain.  The Embassy looks at a case like ours and says, "Everything seems to be in order.  We have no reason to to deny that this child is an orphan.  We are 99.9% sure"  Unfortunately 99.9% is not enough.  So the case gets sent to the USCIS (United States Citizen Immigration and there my mind blanks and I can't remember what the last "S" stands for).  The closest branch that deals with adoption is in Nairobi.  The USCIS only needs to be 51% sure (big jump right?!?!?!) that a child is a legal orphan.

So what happens now?  Well, the case is on it's way "express".  I was relieved to hear that "express" means DHL not fastest mule in the continent and our file should get there in 3-5 business days (so sometime next week)  Once it gets there we will get an email from them letting us know they have it and will review it within 30 days.  They review cases in the order they are received so hopefully they don't have many cases and it won't take the full 30 days.  After review the process is similar to the Embassy.  We will either get a request for more information or clearance.  If we are cleared we (George) can head back to Ethiopia and finally get our son!!!  If not, we continue to wait until they have conducted an investigation and clear us.

All in all we are looking at 4 or more weeks.  We are hopeful we will bring Ezekiel home in February.  We're pretty bummed that he missed his first Christmas and now we will miss his first birthday.  We're trying to trust that God's plan is perfect!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 A Year of !!!!!!!!!

I usually LOVE New Years.  I relish the idea of a clean, new starting place.  I like blank slates, blank pages, blank calendars.  I like life unmarred by my mistakes.  The chance to start over.  The dream that this year I will be the wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend that I've always dreamed of being.  I know that by weeks end, at best, those dreams will be faced with the harsh reality of being me but for a short time it's fun to dream. 
     Assessing the year is also a fun part of New Years for me.  I like to look back and say, "2007 was a GREAT year!  Weddings, babies, etc."  Or "2009 sucked!!!!  So glad that's over!"  My problem with 2011 is that I can't seem to categorize it!!!!  I'm not sure if it fits in the "Great Year" category or the "Crummy Year" category.  It certainly has no place in boring!!!!  The whole year was a series of really high highs and low lows.  I guess if I had to pick one word for the year it would be patience, or maybe trust.  The year was a series of trusting God that He really is working all things together for good and that His timing really is perfect (even when it just seems really slow or, frankly, just off:) 
     So I guess 2011 was the Year of Growth (not at all referring to my current girth:).  We grew as individuals, as a family, and as a couple.
     This year my only resolutions are to have two sweet boys in my family and to somehow finish second grade with Christin!
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