Thursday, December 20, 2012

Whats in a name...

One thing I have always been fascinated with is names and their meanings. I was so excited to learn that names, who gives them and what they mean, are a high priority in Ethiopian culture. Because our boys were both "found" and not relinquished, we don't know who named them. What usually happens is the one who finds them or the police officer who does the paperwork gives the babies a name. Our boys names that they were given are Filipos and Mesfin.

Soon after we were married, Ryan was reading the word and said, 'Hey, lets name a son Josiah. He was an awesome follower of God who chose to follow at a young age.' I had always liked that name, so before we even knew anything about our little boys, we had a dream that we would have a Josiah. The meaning is "God will Save". How absolutely perfect that God DID save him... He caused his mother to put him in a place where he would be found, and God showed His power by saving him.

We realized that we might been given two boys, so we needed to come up with two names (we have a girl name, but that one we will save until God blesses us with a little girl someday!). We thought through all kinds of options and finally came to pick Daniel. Ryan has a Grandpa Dan, and he is a godly man who has served the lord through his lifetime, and its an honor to give that name to our son as well. The Daniel from the b;ble was also one who chose to follow God at a young age and so both of us sons have stories from the word about making a choice to follow G when they were young. This is our pra-yer for their lives as well.

Daniel Ryan sounded good and it seemed appropriate to give one of them their daddy's name. Then when we got his referral pic, his Ethiopian name was Mesfin. yes, I laughed. If you would have told me a few years ago that I would have a son named Mesfin, i would have not believed you! haha! While in Ethiopia, I asked around to find out what Mesfin means. Turns out it means "In the Kings Family." Ryan also means "Descendant of the King" WOW! So we kept all three names. And we really started to like Mesfin! The nannies LOVE him... and say "Mesfin, MESFIN!" all the time, so when we were with them, we started nicknaming him "Messi". But Baby Dan is our favorite name for him!

Josiah James also sounded good. James is my brother Philip's first name (which he does not go by), and so it seemed like it would be giving him a family name too. Then his Ethiopian name is Filipos! so the Ethiopian version of none other than Philip! Again, WOW! So it would just be right to keep Filipos... such a cute spelling of the name too. When I asked what this name means, people would just say, "oh, its a b;ble name." I knew that! haha! It could mean that whoever found him was Orthadox. I love thinking about the story of Philip and the Ethiopian who just needed someone to explain to him the truth and Philip was there at the right time. I hope our little Filipos will want to serve G in that way too. We like to call him Joshi (with a long O sound) It seems to fit him!

Since the moment I saw these little faces, I have just been overwhelmed with the grace of G to save such perfect little men, and that he is entrusting them to us!!! Ryan asked me when was it that we decided that we wanted two kids instead of one... He looked back at the emails sent to our agency, and turns out... it was May 21. That's the day that we think Josiah James Filipos was born. WOW! And Daniel was born a few weeks later on June 6th... and that night G woke me up to pr for our baby, even though I didn't know what I was really pr-ying for, G worked in amazing ways to save our boys, and I am so honored to be a part of their lives. More than any name we could give them, we want them to always know that their greatest identity is as children of the King. We are called by HIS name and that's what makes our worth.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

shared suffering...

I was touched by a quote today, and I just had to blog about it. The professional singer, Aaron Ivey, said it in a sermon:

The call of orphan care is not a call to simply "save the orphan". The call of orphan care is to share in the suffering of the orphan. It's to intentionally position yourself, your family, your community, to suffer alongside the orphan. To say, 'Your suffering, is now my suffering. Your story, is now my story. I willingly position myself to suffer alongside you.'

(the whole sermon is worth listening to if you have time)

But I have been sitting here thinking about our "suffering" because of the fact that we can't be with our boys right now. They are a thousand miles away, and although I feel them right in my heart, I can't feel their little hands holding mine. I hear their little laughs ringing through my memories (and on our videos of them) but they don't hear my voices saying "Momma Loves You". It is all because of sin. That makes adoption hard. Some people ahead of us have done horrible things and it has forced more "hoops" to jump through to protect the kids. We have gladly done all that was asked of us, knowing its just what is required. And really, the joy they bring outweighs the pain it causes!

And this is just the beginning. Because they are so small, they will have less "baggage" than some kids who have been in more difficult situations. They will not remember when they were abandoned, but I don't ever want them to worry that it might happen again. I want them to know that we will ALWAYS love them and we were called to stay with them in a forever family. Their suffering... being alone and confused.... is our suffering. Waiting to be united. They may not realize there is anything going on! They know us, but not in the way that we know them. We care for them deeply and LONG to be with them, and they are happy to simply eat, sleep, and play. We know that ahead is lots of fun and the blessings of family and all that entails, but they don't have any idea what that will look like. It's the same with the love that God has for us. His love for us is SO fierce and yet gentle. It stands through the worst storm, and reaches out to undeserving sinners like us. We can't imagine this kind of love... even though He tries to show us, we often don't listen and like a proud child, assume we can figure this life thing out on our own. We don't care for Him like he cares for us... But he chose to suffer not only with us, but FOR us. Our story is forever HIS story.

We will have things come up as the boys grow... they will know from the beginning how much God loves them and that we were blessed that he chose to give them to us... but there will be days that the differences in our skin color or heritage confuse them and they will wonder why did their birth mom not "want" them. This will be part of Ryan and my story. We will tell them HOW MUCH GOD LOVES THEM... and that they were birthed by a woman who loved them enough to have them, and then to leave them in a place where they would be found by someone who could care for them... and God wanted them to become Rainbolts! He wanted to put some lonely boys in a family (Ps 68:6) and to fill our home with children (Ps 113:9). Our story is not written by me... It is written by the author of history and creator of the greatest love story every told, and I can't wait to see what the next chapter holds. I am forever grateful that our story includes a cross, an empty tomb, a loving family who told me about HIM, friends who keep me going when I am ready to quit, cross-cultural daily life and all that comes with living in India, a husband who keeps life full of laughter, and two precious Ethiopians who have stolen my heart and made me a momma. What a joy to serve a God who can write THIS kind of story!