Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Post Wherein I Disclose Some Plans

It is a smoggy, busy day in Addis Ababa. From our guest house's rooftop balcony, we have watched three buildings rise a little into the sky each day. The men carry bags of concrete mix over one shoulder, a bucket of water in one hand, a shovel in the other. They climb five to six stories on scaffolding made of tree limbs.

These are not OSHA approved situations, I assure you.

But, they work. Constantly. They start early in the morning and the sounds of hammers and saws and loud shouting in Amharic go on long after the sun has set behind the hazy clouds and mountains west of the city. It seems like just a few hours before the mosques on that far mountain are broadcasting the mournful morning prayers.

I've had many hours of laying quietly in the bed, looking across the night stand at Adam and listening to him breathe the relaxed breaths of sleep. I've had many hours to think and ponder some of the things that God's done in my heart during this adoption process.

The first plan that I'm disclosing is the idea of blogging weekly regarding about 27 things that I look at differently since going through this process. So, there's plan 1!

The second plan is not so warm and's just hard and practical. However, I anticipate that it may hurt some feelings. This is not my goal. Please don't let it hurt your feelings. This is a way that you can help and support us during a major transition in our lives and home.

Perhaps I should start off by apologizing.

I feel like we haven’t done a good job preparing you all for what will happen when we get Adam home.

Children that come from hard places are often in need of a long transition time, in which attachment to the adoptive parents is the ultimate goal.

One of the most effective ways of reaching that goal is a method called “Cocooning.” This just means that we are going to “lay low” for a while. We are going to spend the summer doing things as a family, with our family.

Our main goal is going to be getting our family into a predictable, comfortable schedule, providing consistency and comfort to a young man whose entire existence is radically changing.

So, for a while, even though we will certainly want to, we won’t be going to parties or events. Even harder, we won’t be having any visitors (other than our families). It stinks, I know. However, it will be best for all 7 Daigles as we settle in.

He’s excited to come to Texas and meet everyone. You are more than welcomed to come meet us in the airport and say, “Howdy.” We cannot wait to get home and to see everyone!

But, starting the next day, we are going into hunker-down-mode…not because it sounds like a blast, but because it is what is best.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:
·      He doesn’t know you! You have been kept up to date with Facebook and emails, and you know a lot. But, he doesn’t know you. Act like you are meeting someone for the first time.
·      We are trying to establish that Larry and Colleen Daigle are Dad and Mom. Please don’t give him anything. He is learning that we are his caregivers/providers/parents. He’s been cared for by a string of people in the last few years. It will take a long time for him to completely understand that we are his parents and we are going to care for him and provide for him. If you want him to have something, you may give it to one of us and we can give it to him at an appropriate time.
·      His English is quite a bit farther along than we expected. He understands a lot! So, please, be careful about what you choose to say around him.
·      We still need your prayer and support! This has been a hard few weeks, as Adam and I have been thrown together in a sink-or-swim type of situation. We are doing great…sometimes beautiful strokes…sometimes desperate dog-paddling…but, we are doing well. Pray for Larry, the boys and I as we all get ready to jump into life together.

I applaud those of you who’ve read all the way through. You love us, and I know it.

We love you, too!

Colleen and Guys

(Larry, Joseph, Gideon, Jeremiah, Caleb and Adam Dagnachew Daigle)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Post Wherein We Reschedule the Fundraiser

DaigleDodgeball is rescheduled to May 31st, 2014. It will still take place from 10am-12Noon in the Gym at First Baptist Church of Conroe.

We are so very excited about the reason why we need to reschedule.

While we would love to be playing dodgeball on the 24th, we are even more happy to be traveling to Ethiopia that weekend!!!

We have a court date in Addis Ababa on May 27th, where we will become the proud parents of an 8 year old boy.

Larry will travel back home and be here in Conroe with the boys.

I will stay in Addis with the newest Daigle until all of the paperwork is completed and the US Embassy issues a visa for him. We expect this to take 4-6 weeks.

Here's what happens after our court date.

  • As soon as we have a copy of the court decree, the in-country staff of our adoption agency begins the process of getting him a new birth certificate with the last name of Daigle.
  • Once the birth certificate is obtained, an application is made for his Ethiopian passport.
  • Once the passport is received, we see an embassy approved doctor for a quick check-up.
  • After the check-up, the agency will submit all of the documentation to US Embassy Adoption Unit for approval.
  • Once the embassy reviews the case, we will receive an email from the embassy requesting an appointment. Since I will still be in Ethiopia, I can be there as soon as possible...without having to arrange flights, accommodations, etc. 
  • After the embassy appointment, it typically takes 2 days to have the visa issued.
  • When we receive the visa, we go to airport, we fly home. Then the major adjustment, transition, and the rest of real life begins.
We know that this is not a fairy tale. We know that our little guy has been through a lot and will go through a lot in this completely altering process. We know that there will be some profoundly tough days ahead.

Please pray for us. We are happy, excited, nervous and chomping at the bit. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Post Wherein we have a fundraiser!

Who's ready for some dodgeball?

Here's some info:

Who: Anyone, whether you would like to play or not...Any age, there will be a kids bracket and a teens/adult bracket.

Where: First Baptist Church of downtown Conroe, near Montgomery County courthouse. Go east on Hwy 105 (East Davis) and turn left onto Main St. The church will be right in front of you. Park in the west parking lot and enter into the Gym doors. We will have some signs out.

How much: $10 per player...There will be some other opportunities to support, but it's just $10 to play.

What to expect: There will be some teams that are short players. So, if you don't have a team, don't worry, we can match you up with one. We will have a very casual bracket...this is not professional dodgeball. We are going to have fun and play and be happy. Feel free to call out and challenge another group!

Cool Stuff: We've begun to have donations given for door prizes and give-aways. So far, we have passes to The Grand Theatre on League Line, dinner for 2 at The Cracker Barrel, free dessert from Montgomery Bakehouse. More to come!!! (And, if you have any suggestions/connections for giveaways, let me know!!!)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Post Wherein We Start Getting Super Excited!!!

Dear one,

I know that you have no idea what's going on in this process.

You know who we are.
You know that we are adopting you.
You have received our care packages.
You probably don't know that we've applied for your file to be reviewed by United States Citizenship & Immigration Services for pre-approval.
You probably don't know that the application has gone through MUCH faster than we were told that it would.
You probably don't know that other families that are just a few weeks ahead of us are starting to get court dates and make travel plans to meet their new children.
You probably don't know that we are starting to consider ways to scratch together those last minute travel costs.
We pray that you know that we love you.
We pray that you know that we are coming.
We pray that the Lord continues to guard over you and comfort you until we are there to wrap our arms around you.
We pray for you.

We love you. And, we are coming as soon as possible!

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Post Wherein We Send a Package

Dear one,

I have to tell you that I’m nervous. I sent a package recently to another family that is adopting through our agency. They have agreed to deliver it to the in-country staff when they travel to Addis Ababa to pick up their new daughter. The in-country staff will then deliver this package to you!

I received word this morning that this sweet family has received clearance from the embassy and will be travelling right away.

Honestly, I’m a wreck.

The first time that your new brothers actually saw me and your new daddy, it was in a hospital room through eyes smeared with an antibiotic ointment.

I was a wreck then as well. My sweaty face was framed with damp, frizzy hair, pulled back into a ponytail. Through the process of each of their births, that ponytail worked its way off to one side. I know that I roll around a lot in my sleep, and the side ponytail proves the habit comes also in labor.

With you, this first tangible interaction will be so very different. You are older. You will remember this package.

We prayed, as we have every step of this long process, over what to put in the package. It is not a lot, for we needed to respect the family that is so graciously delivering it. They have baggage weight/space constraints.

Among other things, it had

  • A small photo album…
  • A picture of you…Have you ever seen a picture of yourself?
  • Pictures of each of the brothers, with their names…
  • Pictures of myself and your daddy…
  • Pictures of your new grandparents…
  • Pictures of our home…
  • A Houston Texans baseball cap, which I am now wishing I had replaced with a Houston Dynamo one. You, like the rest of the non-American world, prefer soccer. Next package, I promise…
  • A card game that requires no English and no reading…I bought one for us at home, too…Will you feel comfortable seeing something that you might have played while at the orphanage or Transition Home?
  • Hot Wheels cars…You will certainly have a chance to play with similar ones here. Your Pa, my father, likes to pick Hot Wheels cars for each of the boys’ stockings at Christmas.

In fact, choosing those items was a bit like stuffing a Christmas stocking. You don’t know what a stocking is, but you will. And, you already have one. It has hung on our mantle for three Christmas seasons.

The nerves that I feel come with the realization that this is my first time to interact with you. And, there is no blur of eye ointment this time. There is no buffer of years too early to remember.

Sweet boy, I’m praying that you receive that package and that you are not disappointed. I’m praying that the time between now and our first hug is short. I’m praying that all of the paperwork and clearances and appointments go smoothly. I’m praying for wisdom. I’m praying for patience and protection. I’m praying for grace and mercy in this process.

I’m praying for you. I’m praying for us.

I love you,

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Post Wherein We See a Picture

In December of 2011, we bought an extra stocking for the mantle. That stocking symbolized a decision to adopt. It hung on our mantle, like a public display of the beginning of our adoption journey.

We had no idea how long the journey would be. We still don’t know.

In December of 2011, we hung that stocking and said, “We are adopting a little boy.”

In December of 2012, we hung that stocking again. It was a bittersweet time. The entire process of adoption from Ethiopia was slowing down, in every agency, in every case. Secretly, in our hearts, we had been hoping that we would be much closer to having that little boy home for Christmas 2012. As the holiday came closer, we knew there was just no way. The monthly conference calls with the adoption agency began to seem like waiting pep-talks, sprinkled with warnings to be ready to wait even more. We still didn’t even know who the little boy was or where he laid his head.

In December of 2012, we hung that stocking and still said, “Maybe we will have him home next Christmas.”

We usually decorate for Christmas right after Jeremiah’s early November birthday. This year, I could barely bring myself to do it.

But, we did.

And, it was fun.

A few weeks ago, we hung the stockings…all seven of them. 

With eyes glassed over and teary, I hung that stocking and said, “Maybe we will know who he is next Christmas.”

We’ve been praying for our little boy, for the documents needed to allow him to be adopted, for his birthparents, living family, caregivers… 

We’ve been praying.

Still, in December of 2013, I sat on the couch in the living room, staring at the seventh stocking. Another Christmas without knowing anything would be tough. Not unbearable, not hopeless…just tough. The Lord worked it out so that my daily devotional would include Habakkuk 2:3 (NET).

"For the message is a witness to what is decreed; it gives reliable testimony about how matters will turn out. Even if the message is not fulfilled right away, wait patiently; for it will certainly come to pass--it will not arrive late."

We prayed and prayed that God would work on our hearts as we waited. We prayed that He would help us wait patiently. And, we thanked Him for the assurance that it would certainly come to pass…and for the reassurance that it wouldn’t be late.

This past week, we received a call from our Family Coordinator at America World, then emails, then calls, then more emails.

This week…

This week of December 2013…

We saw his picture!

We prayed

We read his given name!

We prayed.

We cried over the great losses that he will grieve over the rest of his life.

We prayed.

We know who he is!!

We continue to pray. 

We are praying that we will have him home next Christmas!

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Post Wherein the Berbere Arrives

Dear Micah,

Today a package arrived, brought by a delivery guy. It was light, bearing just one pound of contents. Within that small package was 16 ounces of berbere spice mix.

Sweet boy, you're going to want something familiar when you finally get here. There won't be any single thing that will be comforting to you. New place, new people, new language, new family, new, new, new.

You will come with so much to deal with. I don't yet know your history. I don't know what tragic events have caused you to be considered an adoptable orphan. We can't fathom the losses that you have endured at such a young age. And, because we will begin our lives together with a significant discrepancy in our communicative languages, I will want to try everything that I know to bring you some form of comfort.

So, after reading Yes, Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson, (a famous chef who was also adopted from Ethiopia) I decided to start using berbere spice in my cooking.

 So, I added the distinctively Ethiopian spice to our meatloaf today. I started introducing it to your new brothers with just a small amount. But, I will gradually add more spice to more dishes. I want to be able to fill the house with a familiar smell for you. I want it to be familiar to your brothers by then, too.

I cannot wait for all of you to run through the door after playing outside together...I cannot wait for your faces to all light up with anticipation of a yummy dinner because of the smell of berbere in the kitchen.

I hope that in some measure, we can bring you a sense of comfort and a feeling of being at home.

We love you, Micah. And, we are cooking with berbere and thinking of you.

Love, Momma

***Note: a recipe for Homemade Berbere Spice Mix and for Crispy Berbere Chicken with Ethiopian Lentils (pictured above) can be found at Feasting At Home.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wherein we have nothing to report

It's been a long time since I last posted.

Would you like to know why?

Because there is nothing to tell you.

Absolutely nothing.

We continue to wait for the child God has planned for us to adopt. We continue to wait for that sweet boy's case file to receive the necessary clearances. We continue to wait for the clearances to make way for a referral to our family. We continue to wait for some movement...any movement.

We continue to wait.

While we are waiting, we are living. I don't want to whine or complain.

The boys continue working on jiu jitsu.

The boys continue getting cuter.

Larry continues to go on mission trips.

I continue to work on course work for a BS in Nutrition Science.

We continue...

We continue to wait.

We continue to wait and continue to miss a little boy that doesn't know we exist.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Post Wherein We Celebrate 6 Months DTE

Yesterday was March 6, 2013. It was a time to reminisce. It was the fourth anniversary of Larry's father's passing. As the time has passed, it is becoming easier to focus on the fun and lovely and silly memories than on the struggle of his last few months. So, much of yesterday we thought about "Grandfather" and what his take would be on some of the issues we have faced and are currently facing.

One thing that we know...Grandfather was excited about the idea of us adopting. Caleb was born just a few months before Larry's dad died. Just prior to finding out that I was pregnant with Caleb, we had filled out initial paperwork to adopt a girl from China. Our pregnancy put that process on hold...Really, it wiped the idea of adopting out of sight for quite a while. However, before Caleb came rolling down the pike, we had shared with Larry's dad our plans to adopt.

"Let's go get her!" 

An unabashed, unwavering, uninhibited, unhesitating endorsement of the Daigle family adopting.

It is a priceless memory.

It wasn't "Are you sure?"

Not, "Have you considered ______?"

Not even, "Well, if it makes you happy."

There have been so many supportive, encouraging, loving words spoken over us during this process so far. So many that I can't begin to count them.

Still, we miss his words. But, we know that he was for our adoption. And, that is so very fortifying.

Fast forward four years...

Today is March 7, 2013. We have been officially waiting on a referral for 6 months.

I mentioned in an earlier post, that I planned on making a different type of cookies each month on the 7th to try to make our wait a celebration and not a dreadful date on the calendar.

This month the boys requested Peanut Butter Cookies. Strange, I thought that a new type each month would be fun...they want a 20 minute, whip 'em up, standby. Oh, well. Easier for me!

Caleb was my helper and we worked to have warm cookies on the table when the boys got off the bus.

He had fun helping make the criss-cross pattern with the tines of a fork. However, his favorite part was sprinkling sugar.

This next one is an awful picture, but I had to put it in there to show my family that I am a carrier of the gene for the Burns' Chin!

Peanut Butter Cookies...great choice, boys!

While the first batch was in the oven, a delivery fan pulled into our driveway. Since Larry's been working from the house, we receive packages pretty frequently. However, this was from a local florist! What?!?!?! Did Larry send me flowers while he was out of town?!?!?! Alas, no. (No pressure, Babe!)

Another source of constant encouragement has been my sweet friend, Regan. I don't deserve her friendship! She sent our family a Happy 6 Months DTE balloon bouquet!

The boys were so excited! It was the perfect celebration, complete with balloons and cookies!

Even more reason to celebrate, there was a referral ahead of us in the unofficial waiting list. From what I can tell, this moves us to #19! We are out of the 20's! Yay!

Today is March 7, 2013 and...
"since my youth, God, You have taught me, and to this day, I declare Your marvelous deeds." Psalm 71:17

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dear Micah, Melkam Ganna!

Dear Micah,

Today is January 7, 2013. Ethiopian Christians are celebrating the birth of our Savior on this very day. They call it Ganna. And, little boy, you have been on my mind, my heart, all day.

Today, I wore all white because that’s what mommas in Ethiopia do when they celebrate Ganna. It was a white shirt, white pants…even white shoes and socks. I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I did it for you. I did it for you and your momma. 

Today, I prayed that someone was telling you what happened in a Bethlehem stable so many years ago. I prayed that someone would read Luke 2 to you. I prayed for your momma and daddy, that they know or knew Jesus.

Today, I prayed that you were already in the Transition Home. I prayed that you were eating injera and wat. I prayed that you were playing with the children there and that some other American momma would be picking up or meeting her new child. I prayed that she would see you and give you a hug. 

Today, I thought about all that I have learned about adoption through these past two years. I thought I knew a lot. I didn’t.

Today, I thanked God for adopting me.

Today, I thought about how we have been waiting on the list for 4 months. Yep. Today marked our 4th month on the DTE (Dossier To Ethiopia) List. We are number 20 on the Older Child list, but only 5 families ahead of us will accept a little 6-year old boy. So, we are hoping that it won’t be too much longer. Still, we feel like waiting is the worst part.
Today, I wondered if God felt like this: if He felt like He might never get to adopt me, like it couldn’t come soon enough. I wonder how He felt while I made Him wait.

Today, I made a cake. At dinner, we ate and then read Luke 2. We talked about Christmas and how we don’t really know what day it happened, what day Jesus was born. We talked about the Christians in Ethiopia and what they were doing today. We talked about you. We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and ate cake. 

Today, just like every day, Daddy and I prayed for you.

Melkam Ganna, Micah. (Merry Christmas!)

We love you so,
Daddy and Momma

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Post Where I Pick One Word

Mom and Dad usually give me a devotional in my Christmas presents. And, this year, just like in those past, I received Jesus Calling for Kids. I suppose they were trying to match my mental level. ***Grin*** 

They also gave me Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. Since I spend nearly every waking moment with kids, I skipped the devotional and dove straight into the book written by an adult. Another mother. One who also spends most moments with her kids. 

You can read the first chapter here…

I didn’t get far into the book until I had made up my mind to select a word to set my heart on for the course of the coming new year. I read of how her eyes had caught on a certain word and how it began to take root and change her perspective, her heart. I want that. New perspective. New awareness of what God is doing in my heart.

I began thinking of what word I could choose.

It had already been chosen for me.

The Sunday before Christmas, Larry and I settled into our Sunday classroom at the church and listened to our teachers, Wayne and Deb, speak of the angels and the shepherds. Our class just finished a series of lessons on different individuals in the Christmas story. It was the final lesson. I loved it.

Reading through Luke 2, in the class, I saw something in verse 15 that bugged me, intrigued me, distracted me for the next 10 minutes of the lesson.

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’”

I don’t know if this has ever bugged you before, but “this thing”? Thing? Really? I couldn’t stand it when someone called one of my boys “it”, as if he was some inanimate object.   

Why not say, “Let’s go see this King” or “this baby” or “this miracle?” Why “this thing?”

I really try to not get distracted in lessons or sermons. I’ve been informed by my husband that it’s dreadfully distracting to be teaching/preaching and to look out at your spouse, who sits with her brow furrowed momentarily and then plows through the back of her Bible…frantically looking up Greek and Hebrew words. It’s even more distracting when she digs in her purse for a highlighter and starts flipping back and forth between verses and a notepad, scribbling wildly. I try not to do it. I usually do okay. That Sunday, I did wait until after the lesson to go flipping through the references in the back of my Bible.

What made me so curious? I had also noted during the lesson that the same word translated as “thing” was used in verse 17, but translated differently.

“When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,”

The noun used in both verses is the Greek word, rhema. In verse 15, rhema is translated into “thing.” In verse 17, rhema is translated as “word.”

We see “word” in John 1:1, but that is translated from logos. Logos is typically indicative of the written word or the physical word, as in “the Word became flesh.” However, rhema seems to indicate the spoken word and specifically, words spoken to someone. It’s often used in such situations as “the word of the Lord came to…so and so.”

I spent another day pondering the difference between logos and rhema. I know that I’ve heard the differences discussed before, but it hadn’t been important to me at that point. I’ll admittingly chalk that up to a hard, unwilling heart.

From what I’ve been able to scratch up in the last week, God’s Word…the Bible…is the logos that I have access to in the written form.  It’s the Hebrews 4:12 word. The logos that is living and active. Sharper than any sword, it cuts down to the division of my soul and spirit and judges my heart and attitude.  It is of utmost importance. I need to be hiding it in my heart.

I need to be hiding into my heart and pondering these “things” in my heart. By the way, in Luke 2:19 all of those “things” that Mary pondered in her heart, were the rhema…spoken words of her son, The Son, The One and Only…The (Logos) Word became flesh.

I have the written word. I have a Bible in nearly every room of my home. I have it on my phone. I have portions of it on plagues and paintings. I am surrounded by the written word.

However, I don’t know that I give the Spirit the time and attention to listen to His rhema word. I don’t slow down and listen as He reminds me of the logos, just as Romans 8 and John 14 say He will. 

The shepherds had received a word from God. This "thing" that happened was worth spreading the "word." Rhema. 


This year, my one “word” is rhema.

I want to hear what God speaks to me. I want it to be so real that I'm stopped in my tracks. So real that I have to immediately share the thing and spread the word.