Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Aching Arms and a Little Girls Closet

The other day I was at my office, The House of Hope, and went to check on things in the 'Mommy Store'....there was an adorable little dress that had just been added to the wall and immediately I thought, "Oh, goodness! That would be adorable on our little Aamina-Kate!" With that thought came a literal, physical ache in my arms. It was an overwhelming feeling of the need to hold her. I have never felt something so strong in all my life. I did my best to fight back tears, but they finally broke through. Since then, this feeling has visited me over and over.
I've started to work on preparing her room and her closet is becoming quite full. I have lots of sweet friends and family who are giving us things from their daughters, I've been chasing down garage sales, clearance racks and consignment shops getting little things here and there in all different sizes. Since she could be anywhere from birth-24 months when we bring her home and no telling what size, I'm getting everything from 2T and down. When we finally get home we will be spent from paying the final adoption costs and won't exactly have a bank account ready for a shopping spree. Besides, I'm really having a blast doing this shopping now, and it is helping time pass a little quicker while we're waiting.

When I'm having a particularly difficult day missing her, I go into her closet and shut the door. Surrounded by all of her stuff (that she has no idea is waiting for her) somehow makes me feel like she is closer to home than she sometime seems. I day dream about where we might be going when she is in a specific outfit, I match hair bows to outfits, imagine her in all those cuddly pajamas and pray over every toy, blanket, softy, onesie, little shoe and dress. Sometimes this all feels like a dream that will never come true, but then we sit in on a conference call or get an encouraging e-mail and we're pinched back into reality: Someone in Ethiopia knows of the Millers, and they are searching for our daughter...it is all a matter of time until she is ours! What an honor! It really is amazing how much you can miss someone you've never even met! She's stolen our hearts already!
Stay tuned for pictures and updates about her little room and expected arrival! Please continue to pray for America World Adoption Agency and Staff, Ethiopia, ophans and their care takers. Please pray that more and more Christian families will open their hearts and homes to these children. Thank you for your specific prayers for our family and our Aamina and thanks so very much for reading.

Monday, May 3, 2010

another 5 months

So here it is 5 months later...have I mentioned that I've never blogged before? Apparently 5 months between blogs is becoming a pattern! How pathetic! I want to post so much more than I have, but between getting into the habit, fighting for the laptop and making time to sit down and write, I have failed miserably! Here's where I'm going to try to play catch up...well, maybe. Right now we are simply waiting...our dossier is safe and sound in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We were able to send it off in February...which surprisingly turned into a very emotional day for me. You would think that I would be more than ready to hand that thing over but it was hard to let it go. I had spent so, so, so much time going over every little detail and studying that check list, then double checking, and triple checking, again and again....that when it came time to mail, I had a meltdown. I knew it was complete and ready to be sent, so I took it with me to work that day, I printed the address and drove myself across town to Postal Plus. I got there with a huge lump in my throat, made sure that it was in the perfect type of package and filled out the address forms, the clerk asked me if I'd like insurance on it and bam....out came the tears! Poor girl...she had no idea what to do with me! I did my best to explain how priceless this package was and she almost cried with me! I managed to gain some composure, pry the box out of my sweating hands, pay for shipping and get to the car...where again, I cried! This was the beginning of a whole new phase...where no longer would anyone be waiting on us, we were pretty much finished, this was out of our hands. The dossier would now be looked at by people who don't know our family...had I done the best I could in telling them who we are? They would read about why we wanted to adopt...did I convey that well enough? They would look at pictures of our home...did I capture how much love is in it? They will ultimately be matching us with our daughter...oh my...our Aamina! Do they know how much we already love her? This was a big day and I'm thrilled to have experienced it. I'm trusting God with all of the above questions, we know that He has been and will continue to be at work in this adoption. We expect to recieve our referral (the name, picture and history) of our daughter sometime this fall. We found out in March that Ethiopia has changed the adoption laws, so now after we recieve our referral, we will travel to meet her and appear in court then come home for 2-3 months before traveling back to bring her home. So our hopes are: referral this fall, travel this winter, homecoming this spring! (if not earlier!) Thank you for your continued prayers. There is so much more to share, but I'm hoping that will help me post something sooner...God bless!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

So...it's been how long??

I'd like to start with an apology...I'm so sorry it has been so long since my last post! I can't believe it...July??? This is January, a whole entire new year! How sad! I've blogged many, many things in my head since July, the thoughts just never made it to my fingertips and out for the world to read! I'm so very sorry. I can't explain how much it encourages me that you are all reading this and supporting us on our adoption journey. These past (let me count)5 months have been difficult. The truth is that things haven't moved much with our adoption since the homestudy was finished this summer. You see, once that was done, next on the list was to complete our dossier (dossier:a collection of papers containing detailed information about a particular person or subject - in this case: The Millers) We started working on it, praying that by the time we finished we would have the $8,000 needed to submit it. Well, I accomplished as much as I could in our dossier and the money wasn't there...so I started worrying, and doubting, and worrying...you get the picture! We had some money in our account, but not near enough to move to the next step. So, with a lot of God given ideas, energy and inspiration, I started making jewelry to help us raise money. I called it "Aamina Jewelry" and every penny that I've made so far has gone toward bringing her home...more blogging to be done on that subject later. Anyway, this took up all of my time and I rarely slept...but in many ways it was quite helpful. The $8,000 made our baby feel very far, far away, but with every piece I worked on and sold, I felt like I was inching closer to bringing her home. It was hard for me to become inspired enough to blog...when I post things here I want the words to be positive...but I was outta "positive". That mountain was a big one and I was very depressed. To be honest, I haven't even looked at this blog since early August...it just made me sad to think about it. I regret not pouring out those feelings now, because it is part of the journey. I wrote in journals and letters to Aamina, but I should've shared more...I'm sorry for not doing that.

So, since I'm finally blogging you must be wondering what "positive" things I have to say...well, here goes: THE $ FOR THE DOSSIER IS IN PLACE AND WE'RE ONLY 2 DOCUMENTS AWAY FROM HAVING IT READY TO PUT IN THE MAIL!!!! Our prayer is to have all documents in hand, state certified within a week. Then they are off to America World for final inspection then on their way to Ethiopia!! After that the wait will only be 9-11 months (more blogging on that subject later also)...so we're praying for our Aamina to be home with us this year! This year...2010!! Please pray that all of this will happen smoothly. That all the paperwork will check out...there are SO many papers! Here are a few pics of me in distress...and a picture of my "adoption bag" as I now call it and the "adoption binder"...if you see me with any of these things in tow...I'm a busy momma on a mission!

As I close, I'd like to send many, many thanks for all of the prayers you've said on behalf of our family and little Aamina! We know that God had a purpose for the 5 month stall and we know that He has our baby girl in His hands. As we work to get much accomplished in the next couple of weeks, please join us in praying for the dossier submission process...

Did I mention that there was A LOT of paperwork?

God bless you all and I pray that 2010 will bring you many wonderful blessings!

In Christ Alone,

Rachel Miller

Monday, July 27, 2009

Her Name

Many of you have heard me use it a thousand times or you've read it and asked me how to pronounce it...but there is so much about her name that I want to share with you. In our bible study last week we were discussing names, their meanings and how they were given. I've always been fascinated at how people choose the names of their children...there are some names that make me wonder if parents give much thought to it at all, then there are others whose names are deep and rich in family tradition, some names testify to their parents faith and others are trendy or old-fashioned. Each time I was pregnant a name was one of the first things we decided on...I can remember Scott and I choosing Canaan's before I ever even comfirmed the pregnancy. Well, now were expecting another child and her name has been chosen. Upon her adoption her name will be "Aamina _______ Miller"...pronounced (ah MEEN ah). Her name is arabic for 'safe or safety'....also in swahili it means 'let it be as the Lord has said' or 'let it be so', how we say amen. We've known her name much longer than we've known this adoption was going to happen. When we first considered adopting from Ethiopia, long before we filled out even the first application, we did a simple search for Ethiopian names and found it...and when I spoke it and it's meaning I'm certain my heart skipped a beat. Aamina...'safe'. I'll never forget that moment...I was sitting in Scott's office with my sweet sister-in-law Becki...somehow I knew I would be speaking this name for the rest of my life. I believe God planted a little seed with her name and since that night He has revealed many ways it applies to the plans that He has for this precious girl in Ethiopia. We don't know if she may already have a name, if she does we may choose to use it or part of it as her middle name, but her first name will be changed. As God changed many names of His children...hers will be changed as well, for she will be "safe" at home with us. When God changed a person's name it was usually to establish a new identity. He changed the name Abram to Abraham, meaning "father of multitude". (Gen. 17:5) He changed his wife's name from Sarai to Sarah "mother of nations". (Gen. 17:15) God changed Jacob's name to Israel "having power with God" (Gen. 32:28). Simon's name was changed to Peter meaning "rock" (John 1:42). Upon adoption Aamina will have a new identity too! She will no longer be alone in this big world without a home or a family...she will become our daughter...she will be a little Miller. She will not only gain an immediate family but a multitude of family and countless friends! And the Lord will continue to work His beautiful plan and purpose for her life...HIS precious Aamina...'let it be so'. Amen.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Prayers for Aamina

Since this is my first official blog, I'll start by introducing myself and my family since this blog is entirely about our family and how it is soon growing with the addition of our daughter, Aamina, from Ethiopia. My name is Rachel Miller, I am the proud wife of Scott and mother to Lane, Logan, Camryn & Canaan. We are all very anxious to meet the other little Miller on the other side of the world and this blog will be a simplier way to update you all on the process as well as look back on how God is working. I appreciate you all being with us on this journey...your support, encouragement and prayers will forever be remembered and you will always have a special part in our family and in the life of Aamina. She is blessed to already have you and so are we! I wish so much that I would've started this sooner, but the thought of setting up a blog intimidated me and to be honest, I was to busy chasing papers all over the state of Oklahoma to sit down and work on one. But, over the past two weeks I have felt a change in my heart...a deeper emotional connection with our daughter and I want to share her and our story with you. So here I am a year into the process...starting this blog. As of today, we've recently finalized our homestudy and are beginning to work with immigration while finishing up dossier stuff, getting passports, making family photo pages, saving money, taking online classes and daydreaming about our daughter. God has been so amazing through this whole process, leading us all the way, the fact that we are even this far is a testimony of His providing and faithful hand...to Him be the glory. As I mentioned earlier I have recently had a deeper connection to miss Aamina...the best way I know how to describe it as a mother is kinda like during the second trimester of pregnancy. You know...during the first trimester you're sick, pretty tired, not yet showing, can't feel any little kicks from inside your tummy, your baby looks like a little spec or maybe a peanut in ultrasound pictures...you understand that you are "pregnant" but the fact that a baby will be joining your family and forever changing your life still seems pretty distant. Then during the second trimester you start to feel better, you may start showing, your getting little random nudges from time to time, you have an ultrasound and realize, that "yes, there is a little person in there and she is patiently waiting to meet you!" Reality sets in and your in full "mommy mode"(...I think this is when those "mom haircuts" occur.lol) That may seem weird, but it's the best way I can describe where I feel we are now in this adoption...I've chased at least the majority of the papers down and they are in my hands, we've paid almost half of the fees and although there are many more hurdles ahead, I feel like we're actually getting somewhere...like I've peeked out from under this pile of papers, laid the worry about money and fees aside and locked eyes with a sweet little African doll, OUR little African doll - somehow that "mommy mode" has set in. This is no longer a dream, reality is setting in and I know she is mine, that soon she will be coming home to live with us. I find myself imagining our meeting and tears fall faster than I can wipe them away. I long to hold her more than I can explain...but I trust the Lord is doing that for us. We don't know where she is now since we have requested a baby up to 24 months old and we still have an estimated year to wait she could be already living in an orphanage, abandoned somewhere, safe in her mother's womb or not yet conceived. This part brings me to worry quite often...the other day I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion as I was driving to work. I hadn't been thinking of anything in particular when all of the sudden the Lord brought her to mind and I wondered why. I thought "Is this day anything significant in her life? Could she be born today? Abandoned today? Found today?" The questions went on and on...and for now all I can do about those questions and fears for her is pray. There's no way I will ever know...but I'm praying to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit during this time of waiting. I don't ever want to be so busy to not give attention to a time He brings her to mind. Please join me in praying for her often...pray for her safety, for the ones taking care of her, for her adoption to move quickly and smoothly, for her health, for her biological family, for her country. Thank you again for caring enough to read this blog...I will do my best to update as often as possible.