My Awefull Life » A Pilgrimage of Wonder

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In the hours when my words run dry while my desperation deepens, it is often the prayers written by those desperate in days gone by, I turn to to give breath to my own. David lived many a desperate day, prayed many a desperate prayer and offered many a desperate song. David’s song has become my song. And I will sing. Every desperate hour, I will sing.

Psalm 103

Of David.

Praise the Lord, O my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits—

who forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit

and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness

and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,

his deeds to the people of Israel:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse,

nor will he harbor his anger forever;

he does not treat us as our sins deserve

or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,

so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,

so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

for he knows how we are formed,

he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass,

he flourishes like a flower of the field;

the wind blows over it and it is gone,

and its place remembers it no more.

But from everlasting to everlasting

the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,

and his righteousness with their children’s children—

with those who keep his covenant

and remember to obey his precepts.

The Lord has established his throne in heaven,

and his kingdom rules over all.

Praise the Lord, you his angels,

you mighty ones who do his bidding,

who obey his word.

Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,

you his servants who do his will.

Praise the Lord, all his works

everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, O my soul.

  • Jen Scoggins - Beautiful. Thank you, again, and always for being willing to share your heart. And for being willing to risk loving with your whole heart, the way you are. The last few times I’ve read your updates, I’ve thought of Ps 56:8 and the fact that every tear matters to Him. None are wasted and none are forgotten. Your quiet perseverance during this adoption season has spoken deeply to me….more than I have words to say right now. We love you guys. And cannot wait to hear the beautiful news that the time has come!ReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - Thank you friend- love you guys and am so excited for your family and all these days are presenting.ReplyCancel

We received another piece of good news yesterday, bringing us one small step closer to being reunited with Lulu. After months and months of bad news or delays, receiving positive news two days in a row has put unanticipated wind in our sails to sustain us over another holiday closure today in Ethiopia and the weekend ahead. After receiving the request from the Embassy Wednesday for some more information, our agency staff confirmed with us yesterday (Thursday) that the documents were resubmitted to the USE. This one day turn-around may not seem like much to celebrate here in the land of texts, emails and instant, but given the pace and logistics of African life, it is a small miracle for sure. One for which we give thanks and recognize as the hand of God moving in response to the prayers of so many faithful friends. Our specific prayer now is the USE has all of the evidence necessary and will clear us to travel on Monday. I am encouraged and hopeful, and yet always asking for wisdom in where to guard my heart from any further disappointment. Today, I have to believe and choose to invest 100% of that belief and hope into knowing our rescue is near. If you have been following our blog or journey for any length you already know, if Monday comes and good news eludes us, we will ache and cry and transparently share that with you. For we cannot invite you on a journey without acknowledging the obstacles the road presents. But our honesty, while it may scare some people, has never been solely about the emotion for we have Truth to ground us when the winds swell. Without the daily footing of Truth, the emotional windstorm would have toppled us over long ago. So, yes, I am 100% praying and hoping for our rescue to arrive while we sleep Sunday night, and I can tell you this with transparency, because if Monday is not our appointed time for such a rescue, we will still stand face into the winds of emotion, grounded in the promises of Truth.

I realize we have been so ardently focused on getting Lulu home, while attempting to maintain some normalcy for the minis already home, that I haven’t shared much of our experience from the first trip to Ethiopia. As we grow closer and closer to going back, many of the memories have filled my thoughts, even during those few pockets of sleep. One of the sweetest of which came about on our last day in Addis when we were forced to do what we had been dreading for the year and and half since we began our process to adopt- leaving our daughter and saying “see you soon.” On that afternoon as we squeezed and kissed and cried over that sweet baby, we walked back to the nursery to place Lu back into the very capable, very protective arms of the nannies who have been caring for her since June. Since June. She was three-months-old then, and these incredible Ethiopian women have been the representatives of love, family, a mama, for the large majority of her life thus far. Given that, they are obviously protective over those babies in their care and for the first few days of our trip Rob and I laughed at how we felt we had to “win over” the nannies. They had all been polite, yet guarded with us each day when we would return Lulu to her crib at the close of a visit. And with the language barrier, there wasn’t a whole lot we could say except smile and thank them and rush to the waiting van taking us back to our guest house, all the while hearing Lu’s cries from our departure. On that final hand-off back to the nannies, my normally hyper-observant-of-my-surroundings-self was distracted with a heart I could literally feel breaking and the flood of tears escaping my eyes. Rob would relay what happened next to me later. He said as I was handing Lulu over to one nanny, another saw me and my emotion and with compassion made a gesture and a few small broken words of English to Rob recognizing the hearts of Mama and daughter were connected, tied together. He nodded in an agreement and a “very much so,” and we fled down the stairs to the van. As we stood in the courtyard waiting on the others who were riding with us, we looked up to see the nannies had come back outside and were holding Lulu up for us to see and waving goodbye to “Mama and Daddy.” We waved and blew kisses through our tears, and then in the next moment they were standing before us in that courtyard, surrounded by hanging laundry and playing children. They had brought our baby girl to us for one more round of kisses and whispers of “I love you,” and all I could understand them saying were the sweetest words, “Mama,” “Daddy.” And in the next instant we were loaded into the van and driving away from our baby girl still in those capable, protective, albeit “won over” arms of a beautiful Ethiopian nanny.

I suspect I won’t ever forget that day or the kindness shown to us by those caring for our daughter until the time we can. And in some ways it feels as if this was the moment I became Lu’s mother, and she my daughter. Even though we had passed court legally the day before, or had fallen in love with her photo months and months prior, and dreamt of her for years beforehand- it was this moment of acknowledgment from one mother to another, of hearts divinely entwined.

xo,

-Sarah

  • Stacy - Well put, my friend. We had a very similar experience in our moments of goodbye. Even without words, the nannies clearly expressed that they knew how hard the goodbye was for us and that they would take good care of our daughter. Praying for Monday for you!ReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - How I pray we can be sharing our reunion stories with each other very soon friend!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Fields - Sarah, thank you for sharing. Praying for God’s timing and that he fills your heart during this stretch of time. He is working it all together for good. Those precious nannies have seen your heart and God doesn’t waste anything.ReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - Thank you so much Elizabeth. I hope you are doing really well.ReplyCancel

  • Beautifully Welcomed Chaos » The Richmond Family Adoption - […] palpable peace surrounding her transition. My heart is breaking thinking about taking her from the nannies and her friends at the House of Hope. Please pray for their hearts as Lulu departs from their […]ReplyCancel

Hi everyone – just a quick update to let you all know after another night of waking every couple hours and fumbling for our phones to check email, we received an email this morning from the Embassy. They are requesting a phone number for one of the police officers involved in Lulu’s case, most likely so they can conduct a phone interview with them. There is also a document that contained a translation error that is being fixed and needs to be returned to them corrected. This is something we caught a couple of weeks ago, so we are hopeful it is already fixed and can be taken back to the Embassy very soon. Specifically we are praying for all the necessary pieces of information to be gathered and provided to the Embassy by tomorrow (Thursday), and for any phone interviews to take place without delay. We are praying these bits of information will provide enough evidence for us to be cleared to travel as quickly as next week. We continue to get caught in delays from the holidays, as the Embassy was closed Monday for MLK day and they will also be closed on Friday this week for an Ethiopian holiday. These holidays on the heels of the Christmas/New Year holidays, on top of the time difference between here and Addis, has us digging deeper and deeper for patience and trust than ever. We are so so ready for some positive news, and are incredibly grateful for the small steps forward today. We will update as we know more – and I apologize for the hasty, unedited post but wanted to keep you all up to speed so we can be unified and timely in our prayers. If you are a night owl and think of us, please pray tonight (around 11:30/midnight CST) as the Thursday work day begins in Ethiopia.

Thank you and Love to you all,

-Sarah & Rob

  • carmella white - Hi Sarah i try to keep up with Betty on lulu i will say a prayer tonight as i have included you in my daily prayers good luck to you bothReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - Hi Carmella! You are the best – thank you so much for checking in on us and for your prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Spencer - Praying!!! I know at the end every HOUR hurts, much less days. Love you guys and agreeing with you in prayer.ReplyCancel

  • Jeanie Davis - It is 11:20 pm and I am praying for a move of the Holy Spirit in a BIG way! I am standing and believing with you and your family :)Much love,
    JeanieReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - Love you Jeanie and recall your prayer over us before court almost daily. Thank you for being a vessel of encouragement and confirmation for us!ReplyCancel

It has been two weeks now since our case was submitted to the Embassy, and we know little more at this point. We did receive confirmation from them yesterday that our file is in line for screening, but has not been reviewed yet. It seems from the research we have done, the historical timeframe of a ruling on your case within 7-10 days of being submitted to the Embassy, is just that, historical. We understand we are hitting backlog and delays due to the holidays, so we just have to go with the flow to some extent. Any bit of news is welcomed, although to say I wasn’t disappointed to know no one has looked at our file yet would be a lie. Given the time zones, we know any communication from Addis to us will arrive in our inbox overnight, so sleep is scarce at this stage. Following another night of staggered rest, I sat at the kitchen island yesterday morning, waiting on brewing coffee with my head in my hands and the news that there is really no news pressing down on my chest. On his way out of the door for work, Rob, observing my posture paused placing a hand on my slumped shoulder. An act thereby rendering me unable to speak through the lump in my throat and tears stinging those tired eyes. He momentarily tried to help me find words with no success before one more shoulder squeeze and a ‘guess I’m leaving now.’ I understood his uncharacteristic haste in leaving me there collecting tears in my empty coffee mug was merely a move of survival than insensitivity. For the frayed edges and nerves are non-exclusive, and both of us are fighting the effects of the twenty-some months we have spent on this obstacle course. It was…a low point. But a point, is just a point, and not the whole. That is, unless we allow it to be. And as low as we may have been for that point, we also walk with the experiential knowledge of how covered in peace the whole has been. I fully believe it is the constant, honest prayers of our community that allows me to say with all resolve what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” For in my life I have walked through far less with far more anxiety and fret than these past two years have presented, proving to me the essential piece a community of exhortation and intercession plays in our lives. Adoption or otherwise. To all who have and continue to pray from your desks, or while driving car pool or when a certain song reminds you of our family- we may not fully be able to express our gratitude this side of heaven but some day your eyes will meet the gigantic brown depths of Lulu’s, and you will see the fruit of your faithfulness to us. And together we will celebrate the gift of this beautifully afflicted life.