Traveling Abroad

I would be pretty sure to say that Justin and I both love to travel.  Whether it's backpacking in the Allegheny National Park in Western New York, swimming in crystal clear water in Hawaii and letting Him introduce us to His endless creativity, even gathering around different tables where we learn that enjoying a meal with others can create a true sense of community, or settling here: in Budapest, Hungary and finding that a smile will speak a thousand no, rather million words and that the kindness of an older man helping me find my way back to the trolley are all moments when God says, "I'm here" [wink..ya, I think that's just how He does it].
-- it often leaves us speechless with faces of those who watch fireworks on a warm 4th of July night.  It's breathtaking.  It's beautiful.  It leaves us saying, "Wow God.  I can't believe that I could have missed out on this!".

This won't be a rather long post, but one that has more pictures.  Everyone looooves pictures ;)  I'm writing this from our hotel in Budapest, getting ready to go enjoy my last day here.   The decision to take this trip was, well, rather short notice, however, it's one that I cannot imagine not being on.  Justin's career requires frequent trips to Hungary for 2 weeks stents.  For us, that time cannot pass quickly enough.  After toiling over my role as a wife and wanting to create home wherever that may us, we decided that this trip I'd come along for the first half of it and be here for Justin when he comes home from work, to bypass the quiet evenings of dinner alone, to support him when the project gets tense, and to doll up the hotel room with flowers and sweet smelling things..... ok so maybe not that last part ;)  but you get the idea!  It's been wonderful and here are some pictures of this cool city and how I've spent my time while my hubby works so hard to support our family with integrity and drivenness.

Oh, and how could we not add:  the news on the adoption front line has become incredibly encouraging!!  Our close friends just received their referal last week of a beautiful, handsome, precious little boy!! We went over that night and had to meet his precious little face in the photos :)  WE ARE HEAD OVER HEALS for Eric, Ally & Sam--Congrats!  Isn't God awesome?!  This adoption is quite a roller coaster of an experience--thank you all so, so much for being along it with us!  Also, on another note, we just ask that you would all be thinking about and praying for our case worker at Children's Hope.  Two weeks ago she suffered a medical emergency while on vacation visiting family.  She's doing ok (thank you God!) but will be gone from CHI for a while as she recovers and gets the care she needs. This means we'll now be learning the rest of the team there at CHI while they adjust and shift around in Sharon's absence--they are all doing such an amazing job!  So, good good news in many different ways!

Enjoy this pictures!



Only Water

Today is a day for only water.  And only Jesus.

Justin and I, along with many many other families in the waiting process of being united with their Ethiopian child(ren), have received some very difficult news over the past 5 days from the Ethiopian Government.  In the attempt to protect their orphans, the Ministry of Women's Affairs (a branch of their government who is responsible for inter-country adoptions) has announced that starting this week, tomorrow: March 10, they will drastically reduce the number of adoptions to the U.S. by 90%.  Their reasoning is based on fact that there have been U.S. adoption agencies that are practicing unethically and providing child trafficking.  In effort to protect their childing, ET has pulled the cord tightly and in doing so, this means that we now face many months, possibly year(s) before we bring a little boy home.  We were planning on a referral (phone call telling us we have a son!) coming in the next 2-3 months.  It is now looking like it could be very long before we hear anything.

Without going into great detail (please understand and trust that we have been in contact with our agency and we are choosing to not share every detail with every one--it is exhausting to revisit over and over again and frankly we have very limited information right now that we can believe as true--there is a lot of information floating out there that does not have sound backing, just people's speculations.  We're choosing to receive our information through our agency, where they have people in Ethiopia who are able to bring facts to us as they learn all the details).  Please know that there are two things that you can do that would support us in so many ways.  

First, we believe in the power of prayer.  We are on our knees, bringing every aspect of this to Jesus, asking for His direction and providence over this decision.  Would you join us in praying, please?  Today, I (Kati) will be joining other waiting families by fasting to focus on these following prayer points that were shared with us from our agencies blog group
1. For God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.God is in control. For those of you who are facing being stuck, remember that God is in control.

2. For God to breakdown strongholds of the enemy.Every child deserves the right to grow up in a health family, and adoptive families provide that for thousands of children each year. Pray that God would demolish the strongholds that are set up against adoption.

3. For God to fulfill His promises.God defines Himself as the Father to the Fatherless. He declares He will set the lonely in families. He warns those who would interfere with His plan to bring justice and mercy that is due to them. Find the orphan scriptures, pray them to God, and ask Him to fulfill those promises to the children of Ethiopia now.

4. For the courts and judges and government officials making this decision.
Ask the Holy Spirit to permeate the courtroom and convict the hearts of the judges and other government officials. Bring the power of the Holy Spirit into these discussions and proceedings--not that we would get our way--but that God's perfect will would be fulfilled in these decisions.

5. For the children and familiesThat God would shorten their wait times. Fortunately, God is bigger than these obstacles. Pray that waiting children would receive comfort. And pray that waiting families would experience peace, grace, and love from those around them.

We are also asking that you would consider signing this petition on our son's behalf: 

We believe God has called us to Ethiopia for a reason.  We believe that there is a little boy over there who is waiting to be apart of our family and we believe that God turned our hearts with such passion and drive towards Ethiopia that our only response is to continue to trust Him through this rocky period.  Thank you, each and every one of you, for the incredible support you've shown us ever since our announcement thatwe're expecting.  As we find patience and peace, we continue to expect that God will guide our hearts towards His beautiful and best plan.

Phillipians 4: 6-7 (taken from the Message Bible)
Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life