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Archive for December, 2008

who’s counting?

The past four days have been filled with countless memories. Good times celebrating Christmas with family, brief visits with friends, and. . . the sickness.

*I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been puked on.
*I don’t remember how many times I’ve changed my clothes and K’s clothes and immediately rinsed them out.
*It’s difficult to estimate how many loads of laundry have been washed at our house.
*Three: the number of loads of laundry that have been washed during the night.
*One: the number of times we have totally stripped our bed in the middle of the night because everything was either covered with or smelled of puke.
*Five or six: the number of times I’ve cleaned vomit from the carpet.
*Two: the number of times G has disinfected a bathtub.
*One: the number of times that I have disinfected a bathtub.
*One: the number of times I have disinfected the toilet, sink, and bathroom floor.
*Who knows?: the number of saltines that have been consumed or left untouched in bowls around our house.
*Fifteen: a rough estimate of how many messy, VERY messy, diapers that I’ve changed in one day.
*Countless: the number of times I’ve prayed that I would PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE stay healthy enough to take care of everyone because SOMEONE in this house has to be well enough to function.
*Countless: the number of times that I’ve prayed that this sickness would pass.
*Ten: the number of hours we have traveled in the car without anyone puking.
*One: the number of days we delayed celebrating Christmas with our kids.

Hope your Christmas was fabulous!

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happy birthday, Jesus

This was taken last Christmas. And, yes, that’s K in the manger.

And this one was taken about a week ago.

How far we’ve come in just one year. Thank you, Jesus, for a wonderful, healthy year. Happy Birthday to You, and Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family.

P.S. We made it back home!

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Our second attempt at our trip to WV was uneventful. The kids were great, we remembered to bring the dog, and we arrived with fewer stops than anticipated. We had a very busy two and a half days trying to see both sides of the family and celebrating Christmas two times. We had a nice visit and were all packed up to head back home this morning at 7 AM. K had other ideas. During the night, she got sick, several times. We decided to sleep as long as we could and see how she was in the morning. About 9 AM we decided that she was acting tired, but not sick. We were finishing up our packing when she got sick again. So, here we are, another day in WV. G is starting to feel a little dizzy. M and I are fine, but we could be here even longer if this sickness doesn’t pass. This is not what we had planned, and we hope we can make it back home tomorrow before Santa comes. Looking on the bright side, we’re glad we actually had a day where we could stay home all day and relax.

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If you live in Michigan, you know we just got pounded with snow. M’s last day of school this year was a snow day (so sad to miss her first holiday party), and we weren’t sure if we could continue our plans to make our way to WV this afternoon. We watched the weather all morning, G went out and tried out the roads in town, we looked online for the latest weather reports, and at 1:00 we decided to try to make it happen. We got on the road around 2:30 for the start of our estimated 8 hour road trip. We decided if we could make it to Toledo, then we’d be OK the rest of the way.

It was a bit dicey on the way to Toledo, but sure enough, the highway wasn’t too bad after that. We got to Bowling Green, OH (about 90 minutes from home) when G looked over at me and asked, “Where’s Macie?” Stunned silence followed. Oh. my. goodness!!!!! We left the dog at home!!!!! A cat would have been fine for four days, but not our dog! We had to turn around and go get her. Looks like we’ll be getting on the road early in the morning, this time we’ll make sure we have everyone!

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dear santa



M wrote this letter to Santa this year–all by herself. Priceless.

“Dear Santa I hav bin a good grll in 2008. Mare Krismis Santa I wud like a fr rel puppy and a weden brby and inethog Hello Kitty. love, Melia
P.S. I am 5 1/2 yrs ld.
_________________________________________________________________
Melia’s sistr has bin a gud grll. She wos ineting Elmo. Love. Melia. Mary Crismas Santa.
PS. My sistr is 1.”

**Message decoded**
Dear Santa. I have been a good girl in 2008. Merry Christmas, Santa. I would like a FurReal puppy and a wedding Barbie and anything Hello Kitty. Love, Melia
PS. I am 5 1/2 years old.
Melia’s sister has been a good girl. She wants anything Elmo. Love, Melia. Merry Christmas, Santa.
PS. My sister is one.

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needed: a few more miracles

Another incredibly busy week is behind us. This year I am feeling the stress even more than usual. It seems having M in school has added a couple of extra holiday activities, and we’ve been working hard on the next step in our adoption paperwork at the same time. I think we’ve also done more “fun” things this year because we can actually get out and do things together as a family since K is older and is well enough to do things with us. All this adds up to being much busier than we prefer, but we’re making it. We’re looking forward to Friday when most of the stress will be over. Between now and then we still have a LOT to do.

This morning we drove to Lansing to get the state seal on most of our adoption documents. Now we wait for a few days for a couple more documents to make their way back to us from other states. We hope to send everything together to Washington DC before the end of the year. Each week feels like we are making a lot of progress towards finishing our part of the paperwork. Soon we’ll just be waiting (and figuring out where we are going to live in Nairobi, likely packing up our whole house, figuring out what we are going to do about M’s schooling, among other things).

Here are some miracles we would ask you to pray for along with us.

1. A House to live in Nairobi, preferably in an area where we would feel safe enough for me to stay by myself with the girls. (G will likely be traveling some by himself while we are there,) Our dream would be to be able to rent (VERY CHEAP or free) the home of a missionary who would be in the states for the exact time that we will be in Kenya. We would prefer a large place where we could house visitors as we are expecting several people and a couple of church groups to stay with us while we are there. That’s not asking for much, is it?

2. Someone to rent our place while we are gone. We have a strong lead on this one, but we have to be able to have cheap rent in Nairobi in order for it to work out for our possible renters.

3. Financial provision. We are going to check into applying for a couple more adoption grants when we have time and can meet the deadlines. We realistically can’t proceed with that until January, which cuts things really close. We are SO thankful for our full matching grant that will cover most of our next payment to our agency. Basically, after we pay for all the authentications and official stamps that we need, we will have about $500 towards the $6,000 we will need to take with us to Nairobi. (More on that in an upcoming blog). This doesn’t include money needed to pay for plane tickets or money to get settled in Nairobi. As you can see, we need God to come through again. Another grant would be SO helpful.

4. Future adjustment for our whole family. Things are going to be changing dramatically for the Austins in just a couple of months. We would love for you to pray that M and K adjust well to a very different lifestyle as well as the adjustment of adding more children to our family. Please also pray that our Kenyan daughter(s) will adjust to us with as little stress to them as possible.

It seems like this a time in our lives that we are taking big steps of faith and we need to see God come through in HUGE ways. Thanks for praying with us about this.

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adoption developments

Fabulous news, super-duper news, and a GIANT decision.

Fabulous news first…We are soooo thankful for our friends and family. Even in this tight economy, right before one of the most expensive times of year, several of our friends and family donated very generous amounts of money to God’s Grace Adoption Ministries to our matching grant. Now we have a total of $2,470 for our matching grant! Only $30 to go and two more people have told us they are interested in giving. This will help SO MUCH in our next payment to our agency. We are incredibly thankful for this grant and for all of you who so generously gave to help us match it. THANK YOU!!! It totally strengthens our faith even more. God WILL provide all that we need each step of the way! We will have what we need exactly when we need it.

Super-duper news . . .Our dossier is finished!!! On Friday afternoon we received the word that everything looks great with our dossier and we can proceed to the next step. We spent some time this weekend getting ready to send everything where it needs to go with the right payment. It really feels like we are making progress now!

A GIANT decision. . .G and I have been praying for clear direction on whether to ask Kenya’s adoption committee for one or two children. There is a LOT that goes into this decision which I won’t go into now. The biggest part comes down to really wanting to hear God’s voice in this matter. It directly affects the rest of our lives. This is the only time we will adopt, and we want to help as many children as we can, but what is right for the future of our family? Honestly, one of us is leaning toward adopting two and the other is leaning toward one. We both want God’s will above all, so please pray with us that we would know for sure how to proceed from here. We need to make a final decision in about a month. We are willing to takes big steps of faith and trust God to provide all that we will need if we adopt two, but we both want to be confident that is what He is calling us to do. We’re also very open to any input or thoughts that you may have regarding this big decision. Just email or call, but please pray for this life-changing decision.

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