He’s here!

Sorry for the silence. It’s been a little busy around here.

You know, with a trip to Africa and all.

Oh, and this guy:

The first photo I took of our son! May 29, 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, there is one less orphan out there! Ephrem Pierce Mapendo Shows is home!

 

Playing in the Guest House Day 2

 

Smiles for momma!

 

Our super star Aunt Robin!

 

Mom & E at the Congo River! (He’s actually quite happy despite the face in this photo…)

 

In the SUV and ready to brave Kinshasa traffic (with a very tired little boy)!

We flew two 8-hour flights and then a “short” 2.5 hour flight. With the layovers, it was nearly 30 total travel hours. He was a CHAMP. He slept during most of the first flight to Europe and then charmed the fellow passengers on the flight to the U.S. Then he slept for the third flight (because it was past his bedtime Africa-time).

After two 8-hour flights, we finally landed in the US! (Yes, I’m as tired as I look…But ecstatic to be in the US with our son!)

Kisses from Momma as we waited for our final flight to Florida!

We were met at the airport by Daddy and some of our close friends and family. It was a beautiful moment.

First family photo – all on one continent!

Since we’ve gotten home, it’s been all about E and attachment and bonding. We’re learning each other and he’s a sweetheart.

Morning 1 at home…after this photo, we learned that he does not, in fact, like to be spoon fed anymore thankyouverymuch.

 

E and Pippin are learning to hang out. Pippin has been around the “little humans” before and knows that they drop food often (and sometimes let him lick their fingers when mom isn’t looking). E has learned that Pippin has a fluffy tail that is fun to pull (not fun for Pippin…).

I’m sure we will have a ton more photos to post. We’ve been blowing up the Facebook feed with new photos like obnoxiously proud parents. We’re not even apologetic.

To everyone who helped us to bring our son home – friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, granting organizations, and everyone that I can’t remember – THANK YOU. For so long “Baby Shows” was this idea, this photo, this little person whom we hadn’t met living on another continent. Now he’s our son. Now he’s home. Now we’re a family together at last. Thank you for being a part of our story. Thank you for helping us become a forever family.

We are so incredibly blessed.

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One for the widow. One for the orphan

To be honest, I thought I knew what James 1:27 meant. I really did. I visited orphans in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya. I mean, I thought I got it.

But then April 28 came. April 28 was our Both Hands project. We had a team of 35 volunteers to help us serve a local widow and fundraise for our adoption. We spent 7 hours working on a yard desperately in need of some TLC and painting a bedroom for a very special woman, still trying to reorient her life after losing her husband of 52 years. On April 28, suddenly, I really “got it.”

Because James 1:27 is about both the widow and the orphan. God’s heart is right there. He is with them, even when the rest of the world has forgotten the widow and the orphan.

But April 28? April 28 was a day that we celebrated and remembered two individuals to whom James 1:27 belongs – Joyce Blizzard and our son.

Even as we drove home, tears filled my eyes. This whole adoption journey has been incredible. Simply amazing. But no part of our son’s story has been quite as beautiful. We get to tell him about this very special woman and 35 amazing volunteers who came together for Both Hands – one for the widow, one for the orphan.

So for those of you who have followed along our adoption journey, we want to share this day with you. Check out the video about our project. Thanks for your support as we live out James 1:27. We hope you will be inspired to make a difference in whatever corner of the world you reside.

 

If you would like to sponsor this project and help us bring our son home, you can find more information about how to donate here: http://bothhandsfoundation.org/evan-and-carla-shows.aspx.

And the winner is….

Well, today’s the day!

Drum roll PLEASE….

The Random Number Generator says…

And who was lucky number 101 according to the spreadsheet?

Wooohooo, Monika! Congrats and thanks for your support! (Shoot us an email and we’ll get your stuff to ya!)

Thanks to everyone who helped us bring Baby Shows home! We are soooooo blessed by your support! 🙂 (We kinda wished we had a Third Day basket for everyone…)

Thanks, especially, to these guys for supporting our adoption! 🙂

Using Ecclesiastes Math: 2 > 1

One of the biggest blessings of our adoption is how much our friends and family has rallied behind us. So a couple weeks ago, we started working on Baby Shows’ room. I was on Spring Break and had some “extra” time. I’ve done room projects by myself before, but I was feeling a little overwhelmed with this project. Evan was going to have to work more of the week, so it was going to be me. But I wasn’t flying solo. Two days, Evan had off and was able to help. Our neighbor, Brant, offered to help paint the ceiling and get the primer on the walls (and loaned us a ton of painting tools and equipment!). Then, our friend Stephanie gave up two afternoons to help me paint the walls (and one of those afternoons she painted in the room solo – now that’s love), while her incredibly patient almost four-year-old daughter hung out and watched Fresh Beat Band from my couch.

We are simply honored by our friends.

Whether through encouraging words, through donations our yard sale by friends/family/friends of friends, through helping us at the yard sales, through donations to our adoption fund, through prayer, through “likes” or comments on our Facebook statuses, you have blessed us. And more importantly, although he doesn’t necessarily know it, you have blessed Baby Shows.

Here’s our biggest testimony yet. Since March 1, we’ve had approximately $9,000 come in through donations and a grant from Show Hope. Yes, you read that right: $9,000. In 24 days. We are speechless at your faithfulness to God’s cause for the orphan. We are humbled by your generosity. We are overwhelmed by your love.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon uses common sense math. He says two are better than one.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Thank you for being our family’s “two.” Thank you for reaching out and helping. Thank you for helping us on this adoption journey.

We look forward to the day when we can pay it forward and share our family’s story because of you.

Thank you.

Grateful

Happy Thanksgiving! We are so thankful this year for our friends and family who have helped us raise more than $11,000 over the past year to bring home Baby Shows. Thank you for having a part in our story. This wouldn’t be possible without you. We are eternally grateful that you love us and our child. More than the financial support, we so, so, so grateful for how many people have encouraged us, asked how we are doing, and otherwise just helped us in what can be a difficult journey. Thank you for being you!

We are eagerly awaiting for the first holiday we get to celebrate with our little one.

Until then, we are thankful that God knows our child and is keeping Baby Shows in His care.

Priceless Pennies

Since we started saving for our adoption, we’ve been cognizant of every dollar we spend now because each dollar has the potential to contribute to the process of bringing our child home. It’s easier to give up lunches out (not that we did that very often before…) or movies at the theater (which now require the donation of a limb for admission) when there’s such a big goal in mind.

Two days a go, I found a penny in a parking lot. When I was a kid, this was a huge find and I would be very excited. Of course, a dime or a quarter was the big time, but hey, a penny is 1/100 of a dollar and I was cool with that. As I’ve gotten older, started getting a real paycheck, random pennies on the ground don’t seem worth my time. They’re dirty. They’re not worth anything these days. (I mean, really! What can you buy for a penny???) Most people throw away their change, especially pennies. I didn’t really blame them. It wasn’t even worth the calories I would burn to pick up the coin.

But now, now that a penny contributes to our adoption fund, I’ll pick it up. If I see that copper flashing in the sun, I’ll stop and grab it. In fact, my coin jar has a new and very special purpose. It’s not just a place where we dump our coins so they’re out of our way. It now contributes (even in the smallest way) to bringing our child home.

Suddenly, those pennies are priceless!

Not my actual jar of pennies - but a similar one!

If you don’t share my newly found (or re-found) affinity for small change, and would rather throw away your coins, let me offer to help! If you’re willing to keep a jar on your counter (or in your car if you drive around) for your small change that you would normally trash or otherwise not keep, I’ll provide a jar that you can use to collect those coins and contribute to our adoption fund. It may seem like an insignificant contribution to you, but believe me, we will consider it an eternal contribution to our family.