"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:3-6

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Prayer Requests and Flight Info

If you would like to pray for us while flying, here are the specific times and places we will be:

Depart Phoenix April 4 @ 11:20pm
Arrive in Charlotte April 5 @ 6:10 am (3:10am AZ time)

Depart Charlotte April 5 @ 7:30am (4:30am AZ time)
Arrive DC April 5 @ 8:50am (5:50am AZ time)

Depart DC April 5 @ 11:00am (8:00am AZ time)
In the air for 13 hours and 30 minutes!!! 
Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 6 @ 7:30am (9:30pm on April 5 in AZ)

We would ask you to pray for comfort for us and our children, Raelynn and Declan, who will be staying in the US as we depart from Phoenix tonight.  We'll be getting to the airport around 8:30pm.  Please pray for our safety while we are in the air and in country, but also for our children who will be back here with their grandparents.  We pray that God would keep them safe and there would not be any sickness (although Declan has an ear infection right now!) and there would not be any emergencies. 

April 9 is our court date in Ethiopia.  We have not been told what time it is yet.  It will probably take place while America is sleeping.  We ask prayer that the judge would have favor upon us and allow us to adopt Elliana.  We do not foresee a problem, but you really never know what could happen.  We praise God for the smoothness of the process so far and pray it continues that way.

April 12 we leave Ethiopia, which means we leave Elliana.  Please lift us up in prayer specifically that day, as it will be so so hard to leave her.  Our flight leaves at 10:15pm on April 12, which is 11:15am April 12 in Arizona and 2:15pm Eastern Standard Time. We'll be in the air 17.5 hours and arrive back in DC at 8:30am on Saturday, April 13. We get back home for good at 6:00pm.
We know separation is only temporary, but it does not lessen the pain of being separated.  We know we will leave her in God's hands and trust that he will protect her and keep her until we will be united again forever.  Please pray for her health and safety until we can bring her home.

We lay ourselves down at the thrown of grace and are ready and willing to be changed.  We know this experience is something that is going to change us forever and we pray that God would give us open eyes and hearts to see what he wants us to see and be open to how he wants to use us while we are there and in the future.  We never did this for us.  It's all for him and for his glory alone.  Our ultimate prayer is that God is glorified and that others would be drawn to him through this.

We would love encouragement through God's word that you would like to give us.  His Word is the rock that we can stand on and his faithfulness and steadfast love endures forever. It is living and active and will be the help and encouragement we need.  We stand on every promise of His word because we are his adopted children through the blood of Jesus Christ!

Can we all just be on the same continent, please?

Today has arrived.  The day we have been waiting to come for so long.  It's all so surreal! Maybe once I'm actually on Ethiopian Airlines it will hit me.  It just doesn't seem possible!

Today is hard day.  So many emotions have been going through my body.  My entire body! Because I feel nauseous. I think it's a mix of butterflies to travel to Africa and leaving my two babies here in the USA.  I really can't let myself think too much about either because I have broken down into tears a couple times.  And yes, one time was in Walmart.  :)

I went to Walmart to grab some earplugs, cheap flip flops for the shower, batteries, wipes, and A&D ointment for the Transition Home.  West Sands posted on facebook today that if anyone could take any over, they needed it.  A seemingly harmless trip to Walmart, right?  Well it sent a gut wrenching reminder that I am buying these supplies and bringing diapers for Elliana, but then we have to leave.  They don't even have access to diaper rash ointment.  And even if they did, that wouldn't make it any easier to leave her there.  But the fact they don't--that definitely does make it harder.

I'm trying my hardest not to look ahead to next Friday yet.  Is that just me? or maybe a woman thing? Why am I already dreading the worst part!?  I pray that I will be able to soak in the moments we have and will be able to enjoy them to the fullest.  I don't think I'll have a problem doing that once Elliana is in my arms:)

Another factor into all this emotion are these two little cutie pies.  Come on, I know you can understand why I'll have a hard time leaving them!

I know, I know, they probably won't even know we are gone.  Raelynn totally gets it.  For months she has been saying "Airplane.  Africa.  Elliana.  Mommy.  Daddy."
Then she started saying "Elliana home later." and that was the sweetest thing ever!
She knew Mimi would be coming to stay with her so it's all becoming very real to her as well, since Mimi is now here and our suitcases are now packed.
So, to make her time away from Mommy and Daddy fun and give her something to look forward to every day, I made a few things for her:

A card for every day with a variety of stickers, candy, coins, and activities in them
Everyday, Raelynn and I always get the mail.  While we are gone, I have left the cards for Mimi to leave in the mailbox for Raelynn to find when she gets the mail with Mimi.
I know, my grammar is funny here.  But I realized it after and really didn't care:)
Raelynn loved the advent calendar at Christmas and loved opening the resurrection eggs at Easter each day, so I thought she would like a little 'countdown' until we get home.  There are little treats behind each box

Mimi arrived on Tuesday, April 2.  Raelynn is already having so much fun and wants Mimi to do everything with her, so I think she will be just fine!  And how much fun that Mimi will get some great time with her granddaughter she doesn't see very often!

These two make my heart burst.  I will be sure not to wear mascara to the airport tonight.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Everyone Needs to Cuddle

We have the privilege of taking hand sewn blankies to the children of the West Sands Transition Home and possibly some of the orphanages we visit.

Leigh's Blankies is a local organization that donates blankies to kids around the world.  Everyone needs to be able to cuddle up to something! These children are without a family or have not yet been united with their family and they need something to hold and to cuddle.  We are so thrilled for the generous donation by Audra and her team at Leigh's Blankies.  A big thanks to Ashley Frazey who heard of the organization and wrote in a nomination for us to be selected.  I was even able to take home a kit to make some of the blankies to be donated to someone in the future.  If you have a sewing machine and are interested in a take home kit, check out their website and contact Audra!

Raelynn chose the blankie she wanted for her sister.  It was no surprise she chose this zebra print because she has a blanket just like it! So now they will match:)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Elliana's Song

I've been singing a song over and over out loud and in my head.  all. the. time.
The song has had a very special meaning since December 28, when we knew we were going to have our little girl.  And as I am singing along, I thought I should share it with you! I may be a little biased, but I think it's a great song to have stuck in your head.

A little background on how we chose the name Elliana:
I had heard the name Elliana from a friend of my sister's little girl and loved it and had planned it to be our second girl's name. (Side note--really funny thing is that her Eliana also has a sister named Raelyn! But that one we came up with on our own! And they both spell them differently than us;)
At the time I heard it, we had already started the adoption process and I had recently found out I was pregnant. We didn't know the gender of either baby that was on the way, so we just decided that the next girl that was to come into our family would be named Elliana.  We found out I was carrying a baby boy and so the name Elliana remained on the shelf for a future daughter.  We did not make a specific request of gender for our third child, but I have to say, something in me way down deep may have hoped just a wee little bit that it would be a girl so we could name her Elliana:)  Three reasons:

1. It sounds beautiful and is a unique name, which we like:)

2. It means "God has answered my prayer" which I think fits perfectly into our adoption story:)

3. Have you heard this song? It is by a group that I love (had one of their songs sung at our wedding!) and now their song is pretty much perfect for our baby girl.

So have a listen or just read the lyrics:

Elliana's Song
By: Watermark

Listen Here

Baby woman, tiny in stature now
But your heart is a treasure
Little princess come follow behind me now
I am reaching for you

Elliana, God has answered my prayers
Elliana, God will conquer my fears
To mother a daughter, to look you in the eye
To know that I had everything, to walk with you in life
To give you to Jesus that He would impart
The wisdom that I'm longing for to mother your heart
Elliana, God has answered my prayers

There will be others to lead and to guide you girl
But only one you'll call Mother, the honor is all mine
To show you what a woman's like
I'm so glad you're mine


Tenderness of God is twirling around
In our living room tonight
Lighten up your daddy's eyes
And know that he just wants to freeze you in time


They Are ALL Our REAL Children

As we have progressed through our adoption journey, the understanding of our own adoption into God's family has taken on a much greater meaning.
We are God's children because He chose to adopt us. As Ephesians tell us, " He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." What a wonderful truth. God's plan all along was to adopt us into His family. We are his OWN! And, we thank God for that truth. Adoption was not God's back up plan, or last resort, adoption was His intention from the beginning. How much sweeter this truth has become has we get closer to bringing our little girl home.

Although adopted, Elliana will be our OWN child. She will have no less privileges as a member of the Frazey family because she was adopted. Its a funny thing when you hear others talk about considering adoption but wanting to have their OWN children first.  Their intentions are probably not to sound as if they are creating separate classes within an adopted family, but that would be the result of such a statement. "I could adopt, but I need to have my OWN children first." As if the adopted children are any less your OWN. What constitutes one's OWN children? Is DNA structure the only thing that matters? Its not that the sentiment offends us, but it does sound rather naive when we think about adoption in light of our adoption in Christ.
More than having a different DNA structure, we hated God. We were at enmity with him, and yet, as His adopted children, we are His OWN. We are "heirs of the promise." We are viewed as sons & daughters.
Now obviously, we do not think there is anything wrong with having biological children. Or with desiring to have biological children. That isn't the point. We also are not upset about this, but we feel the need to educate a bit:) 
When we hear the statement, "We have talked about adopting, but want to have our OWN children first,"  Do they mean our daughter, who is adopted, will be less our OWN child than our biological children? Will our daughter be any less our REAL child?  Of course not! Yet, isn't that the result of such a statement? It sounds silly, when it is put forth that way, but that is the logical conclusion of such a statement. Children with our DNA structure are more our OWN children than those who do not share common DNA? What hypocrisy! Hopefully, anyone who calls them self a child of God would not make such a statement. They realize that all children, whether adopted or not, are our OWN children. Our real children. Just as we are all God's OWN children because he adopted us. Yet the statement, "We want to have our OWN children first," makes the assertion that certain children are of more importance or worth than others. Without explicitly saying it, that is how that comment is interpreted by parents with adopted children. 
We pray that Elliana and any future children God has for us never has to hear those words. We want to shield them from such ignorant statements. We do not want Elliana to think that because we adopted her she is any less our OWN child or that we value our biological children more because they are our REAL children. She is our OWN daughter because we chose to grow our family through adoption as a response to our command in scripture to care for orphans and the fatherless. We chose to have a child share in the blessing of being a member of our family with the same standing and privileges of all our children. 
This brings us back to our standing before God. God views us, who were adopted, "as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." We share in the blessings of the Beloved because he adopted us. J.I. Packer helps to summarize the importance of adoption when he says, "
 “…adoption is…the highest privilege that the gospel offers: higher even than justification… That justification- by which we mean God’s forgiveness of the past together with His acceptance for the future- is the primary and fundamental blessing of the gospel is not in question. Justification is the primary blessing, because it meets our primary spiritual need. We all stand by nature under God’s judgment; His law condemns us; guilt gnaws at us, making us restless, miserable, and in our lucid moments afraid; we have no peace in ourselves, because we have not peace with our Maker. So we need the forgiveness of our sins, and assurance of a restored relationship with God, more than we need anything else in the world; and this the gospel offers us before it offers us anything else…And as justification is the primary blessing, so it is the fundamental blessing, in the sense that everything else in our salvation assumes it, and rests on it- adoption included.
But this is not to say that justification is the highest blessing of the gospel. Adoption is higher, because of the richer relationship with God that it involves… Justification is a forensic idea, conceived in terms of law, and viewing God as judge…Adoption is a family idea, conceived in terms of love, and viewing God as father. In adoption, God takes us into His family and fellowship, and establishes us as His children and heirs. Closeness, affection and generosity are at the heart of the relationship. To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the father is a greater."

We are loved and cared for by God the father. He loves us no less because we are adopted. In fact, the very reason He loves us is because we are adopted. We are his OWN because he adopted us. When we consider the marvelous truth of adoption, we realize the naivety and ignorance in making comments about having our OWN children first. DNA structure is a byproduct of having biological children, but it does not mean that biological children are any more important than adopted children or any more your OWN. So, before making any such comment about 'your own children first' or separating children of an adoptive family into two categories, consider your own adoption and rejoice that God calls your his child because you were adopted.

If you want to grow your family through the blessing of children, we encourage you to be open to God's plan for your family.  Maybe you will have biological children.  Maybe you will adopt children.  Maybe you will do both.  It doesn't matter the order. But regardless, the bottom line is that they are all your children.  Declan has two sisters.  Raelynn and Elliana. He doesn't have one real sister and then the one that was adopted. Both of these girls are our own and real daughters.  They are all real siblings.  Yes, really. wholely. completely.