Once upon a time....

Flash back to 1999, we were a family of four. Happy in our new roomy house and comfortable in our ways. A few years later, the Lord blessed us with an additional little package, little boy #3. Now we were a family of five and sure that would be the end. As time moved on, so did we. The Lord used the time that passed to open our eyes to His will. Several years ago, Bob and I individually heard the call to adoption. It has been a long "pregnancy", but during this incubation time, the Lord has brought us to where He wants us to be. Spring 2010, we traveled to Ethiopia where two little angels were waiting for the Lord's timing - to become our children. Now we are home and can't imagine life any differently! What a blessing to be in His will.

Galatians 4:5 says "God sent Christ to buy freedom for us, who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as his very own children." We are just following his model. A Perfect picture of salvation.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just a glimpse...

There have been a number of happenings that would have been easy to become discouraged by...
  1. This summer there was a BIG investigation into abandonment cases in Ethiopia. This took all summer to resolve.
  2. Once this issue was resolved, we filled out a "we are interested" form on the girls. Another family was already "reviewing their case".
  3. Typically prospective families are given 10 days to "consider" what information is available. They took almost 21 days!
  4. Once we were given the chance to "review" their 2 pages of information (not much!), we accepted the referral - almost overnight...Then the courts closed for the "rainy season" (about 6 weeks).
  5. We received a court date...November 17th...no delays there. Our agency requested that their medical testing be started before the court date, but due to "regulations", the testing couldn't be started until we passed court. Which means that from the court date it could be as much as 9 weeks until we could hear if their testing is clear.
So, you can see how these events could have caused frustration... but the Lord has allowed us to see Just a Glimpse of what He is doing. It has come to our attention that if we pick up the girls after January 4th, the policy will have changed and will allow us to "skip" a step. So, we are reminded that Trusting in the Lord always yields the best results!

Praise the Lord - For He is GOOD!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Blind Side

Ok - a little change of pace on the topic....
This is a little about adoption and a Lot about being "selfless". We went to see the movie "The Blind Side". Fabulous Movie!!!! You can check out the trailers and see the commercials, but to really get the big idea - see the movie! I can't say enough about how this REAL family went outside of their comfort zone to help another person. Real people showing real love. Based on a real story! You MUST go and see this one!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Here's the picture - the newest Koning Family members!

May I introduce....(drum roll please).....Betelhem and Nardos Koning. Ages approximately 7 and 5 years old. We should be able to go and get them somewhere around the Mid-January time frame! Praise the Lord!!!!


It is a bit unusual to have one court date and pass the first time....so PRAISE THE LORD!!! I am in shock! I want to cry...I think.... Ok, the thoughts are all jumbled up....

Anyway, as far as Ethiopia is concerned, Betelhem and Nardos are Konings! When I get home, we will post the picture that we have of the girls. For now, just imagine the sweetest little faces in the world!

Audra and Bob (parents of five!)

Not yet.

I woke up, well, several times last night. Honestly, it was hard to tell the difference between my dreams and my awake times. When I got up this morning I realized that as I was starting my day, they were wrapping up their day of court in Ethiopia. Due to Daylight savings, they are now 10 hours ahead of us. I flipped on the radio (K-love) and they were playing Michael W. Smith's "A New Halleluia" which features the African Children's Choir. It couldn't have been more perfect. So, now we wait. I am praying for good news that our appointment was not delayed and that our paperwork was in good order - that we were granted the adoption and that we can continue to move forward. Check back later for more conclusive info!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Time flies ...

It seems like it should be farther away - I guess that comes from forcing myself to not get caught up in the "how many days" trap. I just kept telling myself that I couldn't just sit around and wait, so I have busied myself with other things. Yet, here it is, tomorrow is the day. If there are no complications, our girls will be born into our family on November 17, 2009...Tomorrow!

Today I attended the funeral of my friend's father. Truly it was a celebration of life! The truth was shared - he is no longer physically here and because of his faith and acceptance of Jesus as his savior, he is with the Lord in Heaven!!! What an amazing transformation that must be. As hard as I try, I cannot fathom the miracle that the Lord has orchestrated that brings us from one life into the next. Do we fly? Do we travel in a mist? Is there a light at the end of a dark tunnel? Are the angels singing? Are we greeted by loved ones that have already passed? Or do we instantly know everyone and so the welcoming crowd is indeed people we know...does that even make sense?

In contemplating this transition into the spiritual world - of which we have little information, it brings to mind the multitude of questions that our girls must have - or will have. How do we get there? Who are these people? In a city that is so big and yet so globally small - how do you describe the fact that they will travel halfway around the world??? How many 5 and 7 year olds do you know that have a concept of how BIG the Earth is??? Imagine leaving everything you know, the language, the only home you can remember, the first/only bed you ever had, the people that took you from the streets and fed you, loved on you, and found you a family. One that lives in....America? Will they be scared or be amazed in wonder? Will they be excited or timid? Will they let us hold their hands, help them, love on them? Will they like the things we are bringing to them? Will they miss their friends? Of course! Will they find comfort in each other? So many questions and suddenly I am feeling VERY unprepared. Trusting in the Lord is the only sure thing!

So, tonight I will try to sleep. I will pray for them every time I wake (and I am sure I will do LOTS of that!) and hand it over to the Lord. That's one piece of this that I think people don't get. Sure I think about the process, I feel overwhelmed and I intentionally hand it over to God. In the Bible (Psalm 37:4) it says "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." So I turn it over to the Lord. I trust Him to complete this process - A journey that he planted in our hearts- to watch over every detail and to bring our girls home.

Blessings and Sweet Dreams!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

When will they know?

Ok - the count down....today is Saturday....our Court Date is Tuesday....they are 9 hours ahead of us....ARGHHHHHHH! I can't do all that math.....it will probably be about 3 full days - 72 hours - before we hear any word on the events that are set to occur on our behalf that day. I am filled with excitement and awe...and yes Butterflies!

It has been our understanding that the girls won't know that they have been matched and that we exist -- waiting here on the other side of the world -- until we pass court. That is so difficult for me to understand. I know that it has to do with the uncertainty of life and about not telling them something that is not in concrete -- legal. Once the court has put their stamp of approval on the whole deal -- they are KONINGS! I can't imagine what that conversation must sound like...will they believe what they are hearing? Will they be shown pictures of us (from our legal paperwork) or will they be given much information at all? Will they be excited? Will they be scared? Will they ask a million questions? Questions that the informing adult may have no answers for??? Do they know the Lord and will they have someone telling them that the Lord has ordained this family -- that He put us together and although the transition will be rough, the union will be perfect!?

A dear co-worker of mine just "lost" her father today. He knew Jesus here on earth and now he knows Him face-to-face. But to consider that loss, that feeling of missing someone dearly, has resurrected the vivid memory of my own mother's passing into eternity -- almost 2 years ago. This coming Tuesday -- if there are no delays -- we will have our "day in court" and two sweet little girls will have a passing of a different kind. They will pass from an orphaned life to one of belonging. It brings to mind the orphans all around me...co-workers, friends, family...who are orphaned here on this earth. They long to belong. They have not yet been told -- or have yet to accept that Jesus went to court for them. He faced the Judge on their behalf and told the Judge, "I want them to belong to MY Family!" He was found blameless - without fault. No flaws in his "paperwork" and we were granted Adoption into His family. The most amazing family! A family that will be separated from each other for a time, but the Reunion will be INCREDIBLE! A Holy Reunion in Heaven with golden streets, a crystal lake, angels singing, a feast!

I pray that I can take the picture of Adoption and make it real to the orphans all around me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A new kind of Expecting

I really thought that the wait wouldn't be a big deal. I am plenty busy at work (as a Special Education Employee in a Public School) and with three kids at home -- the homework keeps us moving. Add in the daily management of a household (Praise the Lord for the wonderful husband he yolked me with who has taken on most of the evening meal preparations) and I really thought the time would pass quickly and without anxiety. With one week and one day to go until our official appointed Court Date, I am a nervous wreck! It's like a due date of another kind!

Years ago I participated in a Bible Study written and presented by Beth Moore. In that study, she described the word "hope" as a type of expectant waiting...knowing that what is hoped for is expected to occur! That perfectly defines the type of hope that I have for the events that surround the "birth" of our girls. I wait...expectantly. I long to meet them and get to know them and for them to get to know us. So many people ask us about how much English they will know and if they will go to school this year....so many unknowns. I have great aspirations and a rough draft of a plan, but in reality I really don't know them. I don't know if they will feel safe being apart...will they adapt quickly and easily or will the process seem to never end? So many folks that we have counseled with that are at the other end of the adjustment have shared such positive experiences. We are hopeful. We wait Expectantly! Please Lord, in your timing, in your way, bring this hope to fulfillment!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Countdown!

We are about 10 days from our appointed court date in Ethiopia. We are blessed with multiple distractions that keep us busy...work, children, house chores, general busy-ness. But the reality of it all is that God is in the midst of us - doing a might work - shaping the miracle of a different kind of birth...adoption. When we stop and think about, our only response is to pray. Pray for patience, endurance, understanding and love. To love those of which we have only a picture and a page of statistics. To envision a future for them, with them. What a beautiful picture the Lord is painting. I can't wait to see it!