Its been awhile since I last posted (whats new, right Aaron?) so I thought I would give a brief overview of whats been going on here since moving to Topeka and in with the in laws...
*house is still for sale...we may forever have this vacation home in Bolivar Missouri. :)
*Maddie is loving school. She has made lots of new friends and apparently already has a few boys crushing on her...Seriously? Thats crazy to me...she's in kindergarten!!! Needless to say, Daddy was less than thrilled to hear that from her teacher :)
*Zemma is also doing well and hasn't even seemed to notice that she is going on her fourth home in the past 6 months. She is busy busy busy, never stops moving or talking and I seem to be the only one who can translate most of it. Her happy little resilient self flirts around from thing to thing and I just sit back (well not really sit) and am amazed at the Lords faithfulness in her and our lives. She is absorbing language and skills by the truckload each day, and hers and Maddies relationship is really starting to grow as well. I love to see them play together, learn together, and yes - I even enoy the fighting between sisters (some of the time).
*And now on to (big sigh)...Lukey...My dear sweet husband who is truly struggling in this new job of his. He is exhausted as he is pouring everything he has into a very demanding school district. And - basketball season is right around the corner... So pray for him as he adds his season into an already full day. Pray that he would be able to see God's hand - and not only to see it, but to actually feel himself being upheld by it. We know that the Lord has us in Topeka, we know that it was a part of His plan for our lives. I am praying that Luke would find joy in trusting in that plan and not focusing on the difficult circumstances that come with it. And also that God would be glorified there at Topeka West -because of a man, emptied of self and filled with Christ. We would love it if you all would join us in praying too!
* As for me...I feel like the Lord is teaching me a lot. Life in Bolivar was always so comfortable for us. We had our friends, our home, our church. Now that he has taken me out of that life, I can feel Him calling me to find new ways to serve Him - ways that might not always be so comfortable. I'm not completely sure what that means yet, but I'm excited (and scared) to find out! My prayer lately is simply that I would be intentional about everything that I do. That I would seek Christ in every situation - even if I'm just going to Target (which, by the way I am loving my new proximity to :). Anyways...we can all feel the Lord stretching us here in our new home (basement), sometimes its painful and sometimes its scary but we trust in the Lord and what he has for us here in Topeka Kansas.
Today was Maddie's first day of kindergarten...I am holding it together amazingly well :) I have been praising God all day for His timing of bringing us Zemma. Without her I would feel as though I had nothing to do...or, even worse - I would have had to find a job....Thank you Lord for Zemma! :)
We are now officially Kansans...except for the fact that we still own a home in Missouri. Pray that our house sells. For now, we live in Luke's parents basement...Here are some pics of our new - temporary home.
There is a lot going on in the Brosius family right now...new daughter, and now new job...new city....new house (or basement for now - we're living with Lukes parents for awhile...)! We found out right before our vacation that Luke has been given the head coaching position at a 5A school in Topeka. Needless to say, he is pumped...and overwhelmed/intimidated :) So, in late July we will be packing up and heading to Kansas! We are excited to see where the Lord brings us from here on out. We are looking forward to being near to so much family. But we are also mourning this life that we love and are so comfortable with. We will miss our friends, and my sister and brother in law who live right down the street, as well as our church. But we are confident that this is where the Lord is leading and trust that He has us in His hands.
Zemma, Madelynn and I had the opportunity to go to Mexico this past week with all of Lukes family (except for Luke, unfortunately). We had a great time, and are so thankful for such a great gift from Lukes parents!
Unfortunately, being a single mother on the trip didn't allow for many pictures :(
For those of you traveling to Ethiopia in the future, and are looking for a guesthouse to stay at I strongly recommend Morning Coffee Guesthouse. It is affordable, clean, and has excellent service and food! More than that though, I would stay at this guesthouse because it supports a greater good. Birtukan is the owner of MCGH. She is an amazing woman who serves the Lord selflessly. She started Morning Coffee, not for herself but because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of ophans living in Ethiopia. Her ministry (Yezleminich...not sure how to spell that) includes caring for children who have parents but are unable to care for them due to poverty. They have an orphanage for those children, but at the same time they train the mothers to make livings for themselves (jewelry, roasting coffee beans, and selling spices) so that someday they can provide for their families. In addition to that, they have started a sponsorship program (kind of like compassion). We absolutely enjoyed our time with Birtukan and her family. She taught us alot, and was an encouragement to us in our spiritual walk.
These are the words that I wrote in my journal for today:
Today is our last day in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. It has been an amazing experience being here in Zemma's home country. The people here are wonderful, the culture is rich. I hope that we will be able to keep Zemma's heritage alive after we leave here. It is something that she should always be reminded of and carry with her. Maybe someday we will return with her, to remember, and to serve her people.
We spent today at a golf course. It was beautiful, green and had flowers all over. Here are some pictures from our last day:
Day 3 (Tuesday) of our trip was our embassy interview. On the way there we stopped at a Christian bookstore to buy Bibles and CD's. I bought Zemma a childrens Bible, a side by side Amharic/NIV Bible, and a worship CD. The music is beautiful! We then went to a nice restaurant for lunch...where we mostly just chased Zemma around and around because she does not like to sit still for any amount of time (really looking forward to the plane ride at this point! :)
The embassy interview was the last stage in the adoption process for us, so it was an exciting day! They just basically asked us a few questions about Zemma's birthfamily and the way that she was relinquished. It was such a joy and relief to know that Zemma Leigh was now officially ours! Day 4 was shopping day! Enough said. :)
After shopping though, we had to go back to the orphanage for Zemma's farewell ceremony. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to the unknown of how our little one would respond to going back to the place where she was abandoned. It was fine though. She was excited to see her nanny, but came back to mommy with open arms and a big smile on her face!
Day 5, according to my journal was a really good day with Zemma. I wrote that she seemed to be listening better, and a little more calm. We had a nice, quiet day visiting with our new friends at our guesthouse. Then we went to another farewell ceremony at a different orphanage, and to our agencys office to pick up Zemma's Visa.
(This picture is of some of the other families traveling with us, as well as our guide, Abel and our guesthouse hostess, Birtukan.)
Our second day in Ethiopia was a Sunday. The woman who runs our guesthouse (an amazing woman who I will write about later) took us to church that morning with her family. What an experience! The building that holds their services was small and old, but has been added on to what looks like multiple times. Even though we could not understand a word that was spoken or sung that morning, it was obvious that the people there were truly thankful for their salvation, and their Savior. It made me think about how unthankful we are as Americans. We have everything, yet we long for more. These people have nothing - materially - but lay it all down to worship their Lord. They freely worshipped without worry of their neighbors. They danced, clapped, and sang loudly...and even let out what sounded like tribal calls - something I have never heard in my church! It was an unforgettable morning.
As we waited to leave that morning, Luke held a very sleepy Zemma. She fell asleep in his arms, and remained asleep throughout the entire service. So precious!
Our third day there was spent at our agency's office filling out Zemma's Visa paperwork, and meeting with Zemma's social worker and nurse from the orphanage. It was very obvious from meeting with these ladies how loved she was while there. They told us a little bit about her time there and answered our questions. I cried as I gave them their thank you gifts. We are so thankful for the people who cared for our daughter during the past few months!
Well I had great intentions to blog while in Ethiopia...However, dial up internet quickly changed my mind! I did journal though, so someday I will be able to tell Zemma all about it!
The experience of being in Addis Ababa was life changing. The culture is rich, the people are amazing, the land is beautiful, the poverty was eye opening, and the food.....well.....
I hope to write later about more of the experience but for now, I will start with the day we first met and brought our daughter home.
We arrived in Addis on Friday night. We were of course exhausted, but estactic to be there. Unfortunately we had to wait until the next morning to get Zemma, and it was only our pure exhaustion that allowed us to sleep.
The orphanage was only a few minutes away from our guesthouse, but seemed like forever when we left Saturday morning. As we pulled up at the orphanage gates, I remember feeling like we were walking through a dream. I had butterflies in my stomach, and felt like I was going to jump out of my skin from excitement.
As we pulled through the gates there were children all around. The driver pulled forward, and I looked out the window of the van. Outside there were three or so children running along side of us. One of the faces looking up at us was the sweet face of our Zemma. Her smile stretched from ear to ear, and as I made eye contact with my daughter for the very first time I was overcome with emotion. She was so beautiful, so full of life, so...right there!
We had to wait a few minutes before we were able to get out and actually meet her. When we did, they brought us into a little room and we waited for her nanny to bring her in to us. The moment of actually meeting her was mostly what I expected. She didn't jump into our arms or run to us yelling "Mama, Daddy". She was quiet, and made little eye contact. I cried, and was unsure how much contact was appropriate. We held her though, and whispered in her ear how much we loved her. Then they sent us off on our way with this child that barely knew who we were.
As you can see from these pictures though, it didn't take long for this smiley little girl to warm up to us. By the end of the night Zemma was all smiles, and even gave a night night kiss before bed!
Luke and I met while in school at SBU. We have one beautiful daughter Maddie, who is 5. Currently we are beginning the process of adopting a child, or children from Ethiopia. The Lord has blessed our family in so many ways and we are forever thankful.