My Awefull Life » A Pilgrimage of Wonder

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Lulu is 18-months-old already, pretty wild to think about. One of the many things she enjoys spending time doing (besides finding tiny particles of dirt on my floors to snack on and climbing tall, treacherous furniture for giggles) is dancing with her siblings. Of late she has really started to perfect her own Ethiopian version of the moonwalk and Tennessee Rocky Top stomp.


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  • Anne - This is one of Ephrem’s three favorite songs to dance to! (I’m too embaressed to share here what the other to are).
    He LOVED this video, we’ve watched it ten times in a row now, and he points to Lu and laughs and dances along with her 🙂ReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - of course it is – love him! 🙂ReplyCancel

This past weekend I had the opportunity to get away (Thank you Rob!!!) and meet up with four other adoptive moms for two days of encouragement, friendship and junk food. It was one of those sweet times where whenever I found myself alone I couldn’t help but whisper, “thank you God!” for the experience. We came from Maryland, Minnesota, Kentucky and Tennessee, with most of us never having met in-person before but all bonded deeply over the adoptions of our children. We have spent much of the past year praying for, crying with and cheering on each other in our various stages of the process. These women truly are some of the bravest people I have ever known and as I drove away Sunday evening, the word benediction came to mind, specifically Numbers 6: 24-26:

The Lord bless you, and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.


This was my hope and prayer for each one of my friends as they left our setting of serenity and headed back into life’s trials and triumphs.

While I was putting this post together I was reminded of a Franciscan benediction summing up so much of the heart of our weekend and our friendships with each other as well as with the many other adoptive parents within our community. May it bring you encouragement, conviction and direction as it has me.

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships,
So that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness

To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done,
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.


Thank you Cadell, Amber, Amy and Donna for your friendships, honesty and integrity of heart.

All my Love,


I have not done a great job keeping up to date on all our summer happenings around here, and now here we are at the first day of school for our oldest. I’d like to say my lack of posting has been the result of living every last moment of summer fun to the fullest, but the more realistic answer to my absence would be I have been consumed with surviving every last moment of said summer fun. Most days I feel grossly ill-equipped and outnumbered for this incredible job of motherhood. I don’t anticipate that ever fully goes away, but I plan to keep chipping away at it best I can. Overall, we have some great times and so many victories along the road of transitioning home with Lulu and finding our new way as a unit of five. And as much as I dread the alarm clock going off at 6am every week-day from now until May, I am actually hopeful the new swing of things brings us some structure and routine to help round out some of our free-fall style of life right now.

One of my projects to tackle in the coming weeks is to rename and rework this here blog. When we began our adoption process, we almost didn’t even set up a blog as I felt I wouldn’t use it much. I already had a blog for my photography work and some of my writing, and our adoption blog came to be originally more of an announcement HQ for fundraising and updates. Obviously naive to all that journey held for us, I never imagined becoming so invested and connected to not only our supportive community of friends and family via this blog, but also the larger adoption community. Even now having been home with Lulu for nearly five months it feels we are still very much in the middle of the journey and it would be incomplete to stop recording it now. So continue on I plan to, just with a slightly different name and angle. My goal is to eventually merge both blogs into one with various sections or pages. I am mulling over a few ideas for a new name, but it could be fun to include you all in it – so feel free to leave any creative suggestions in the comments. 🙂

Okay, so back to the original intent for this post – the first day of school! Emma began second grade today, and she could not be cuter, toothless and all. This is our third year at her school and every August I am more and more grateful and honestly overwhelmed by God’s goodness towards us, allowing our family to be part of an amazing school family. I sat in the parking lot for a few moments this morning after dropping Emma off, just thinking through some of the answered prayers Emma, at age 7 has been able to experience. Last August she started first grade with prayers for her baby sister to come home. As the months went on and on, her prayers and pleas intensified along with our own and before long her entire class was daily praying for Lulu’s homecoming. Those six and seven-year-olds prayed their hearts out and stood on faith that can still bring me to tears. What a sweet gift and response to the faithfulness of Emma and her friends for God to orchestrate Lulu’s homecoming at a date and time when many from the class could be there to see us off that plane in late March. I sat there in the parking lot this morning and cried over the relief I still feel being able to breath fully having Lulu home. And as those prayer warriors filed in for another school year, I cried for the role they play in the story of Emma’s life and that of our family.

To think of those prayers and tears shed for much of first-grade, and then this morning taking our annual first-day photograph on the front lawn with the crew below, hand in hand, is a humbling reminder of how far He has brought us. We love you Emma and are so so inspired by the girl you are and the woman you are becoming. You are going to ROCK some second grade sister!


*airport photos courtesy of Jen & Chris Creed Photographers

We have rounded the four-month mark since arriving home, and every day when new (or sometimes old) challenges arise I have to remind myself of the little victories littering our journeyed road. Lulu clearly understands most everything we say to her in English, and generally shows us so by doing the exact opposite of what she has been told. 🙂 Typical toddler mayhem, with attachment and bonding factors thrown in, make for incredibly stretching days from a parenting standpoint. Every hour I am humbled realizing the expectations I had placed on this process, these children, and how unfair and unrealistic those were. Poet Alexander Pope said, “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” I find this season we are in has pushed and tested my personal journey to live in the present, every minute with gratitude. And with perspective I still count the struggle a gift as it draws me closer to who I truly desire to be, but in the mire of tapped-out patience and child-rearing setbacks, I grow heavy under the weight of simply surviving this present transitional storm. It is in this place of treading water and holding fast to each other until the winds die down, where the small victories are the life-preservers keeping us going. In the days and weeks full of new-sibling challenges, undetermined medical issues, and a mother’s heart desperately waiting to recognize love flicker in the eyes of her beautiful child, it is the smallest of things sent our way keeping us afloat. It is but a tiny whisper of “hi” that can count a day a win. And I suppose that is the beautiful side of expectations – once they are adjusted we can be met with gifts of victories over disappointments of defeat.

xo friends,