Monday, April 27, 2009

He's Ours!!!

Introducing Malachi Wesley Butler!!! We just got word that we passed and will be traveling sometime around May 25th. More later, but we thought we'd let the blogging world see his picture. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Orphans in Ethiopia

As we anxiously wait for everything to be finalized with our adoption, we've been tracking this week with Tom Davis of Children's Hope Chest. I've had the privilege of having lunch with Tom and am grateful for his heart, vision, and passion for orphans. He left last week on a vision trip to Ethiopia as they look for more orphanages in need of support and sponsorship and has been posting stories and pictures on his blog all this week. Please take some time to read through a couple of the stories from his trip to better understand the plight of orphans there and the needs both for more families to adopt as well as for followers of Christ to care for orphans. We've not all been called to adoption, but we've all been commanded to care for widows and orphans.

Here are the two posts that have moved me most this week.

And I join Tom in praying this morning, "Come, Lord Jesus!"

Jesus said, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Good News and Bad News

Good news first-
Our case went to court today and all parties(the judge and MOWA) seemed to approve of the adoption

Bad News-
His aunt did not bring her identification with her, and the judge could not rule without her having it. She was instructed to come back on monday with her id and the judge would make a final ruling.

We are bummed, but hopeful and thankful that we don't have to wait for a brand new court date to be scheduled.

Thanks to all of you who are praying for us- we appreciate it so much!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One Hurdle Down, One Day to Go

We said today that no news was good news, meaning that MOWA (Ministry of Orphan and Widow Affairs) in Ethiopia could stop the court date today before it started if they didn't have everything they needed/wanted and that we would hear from Gladney in all likelihood today if that was the case. Well, it is now 5:15 and I hope that means its safe to say this will be a no news day.

So, pray for tomorrow, that the judge would rule in favor of our adoption, that our little boy's aunt would have a safe trip to Addis and sign the appropriate documents and that Brandy and I would be able to breathe/sleep in between now and when we hear something tomorrow. Praying for good news and a travel date in a few weeks.

One fun thing from today is that we got our monthly update and got a new picture of our little guy wearing an outfit that Josiah used to wear and that we sent over with some folks a few weeks ago. Can't wait to see him in person!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Where to stay?

This week has been a whirlwind of activity! The to-do list is long, but we are trying to slowly get to all of it, and we continue to pray that court will go smoothly on Wed. Today I spent the morning searching garage sales for a dresser and the afternoon painting two twin beds.

Tonight I am researching different places to stay- we know we want to stay in a guest house, but there are so many choices! I would like to have our own bathroom, but other than that, I don't have any major preferences.

The ones I have looked at are-
New Flower Guest House
Oziopia Guest House
Addiskidan Baptist House
Ayat Guest House
Sidama Guest Lodge
Z Guest House
Weygoss Guest House

I am sure there are others- anyone have any experience or recommendations?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Never a Normal Adoption: Ruining the Grading Curve

You know that kid who always ruined the grading curve in class with their more than above average test score? When it comes to adoption, I'm pretty sure Brandy and I are that kid. Through our first two adoptions (see one of the first posts on the blog), we've had to tell people, "Our story is not a good example of normal" and once again it looks like that might be the case.

We got word today that we do have a court date set, which was a little early but not unheard of to hear something three weeks after our referral. Then they told us the date. Average time to wait once court date is set is anywhere from 7 to 12 weeks, but not for the Butlers. Our court date is set for a week from tomorrow, April 22nd!!!!!! We're in shock. There's always the possibility that we won't pass court and will have to wait for another date, but if we do pass, we'll be traveling to pick the little guy up sometime in the month of May.

We're stunned, but excited. Please join us in praying for those involved in the decision making process there, for his aunt who will have to be at the hearing on the 22nd to sign the needed papers, and for our little guy to get to come home very soon. Grateful for all of your prayers and support to this point. We'll update you next week when we hear something.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Building the Church Through Adoption

My daily reading through God's Word usually encompasses about three different sections of Scripture. Right now I am working my way through Job, the minor prophets, and the Gospel of Matthew. Some mornings that results in a handful of lessons learned, but every once in a while, the Spirit generously lines things up just right and it all fits together like a beautiful puzzle. Today was one of those days. Job 31 is one of Job's rants in the midst of his suffering and is, to a certain extent, a distasteful self-justification. However, the thing about the book of Job for me is you have to pick out the redeeming statements in the midst of a context that is less than ideal (in this case, showing that you deserve better from God because you do good things . . . not recommended). Nevertheless, here is what Job said in vs. 16-23 of chapter 31: "If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary, if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless -- but from my youth I reared him as would a father, and from my birth I guided the widow -- if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, or a needy man without a garment, and his heart did not bless me for warming him with fleece from my sheep, if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, knowing that I had influence in my court, then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint. For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of His splendor I could not do such things." Despite the context his statement, I was struck by the noble pursuit of Job to see the needs around him, to see his own provision from God, realize it wasn't his but God's and then give it and himself away to the fatherless, needy, and widow.

I followed that up with reading the first chapter of the short book of Haggai and came across this. "Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 'Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?' Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.'" Haggai was appointed by God to stir the hearts of the Israelites to rebuild the temple, the place where God's glory was to dwell and pointed out their faulty use of resources to build their own homes, fill their own stomachs, and pad their own savings accounts.

The translation for today is this: God's temple is the hearts of His people, His church and as His church, His children, we are commissioned with this work of building His church. Yet we are prone to focusing our time and attention on establishing our own kingdoms known as comfort, ease, pleasure, and independence. What Haggai points out to the Israelites of His day, is becoming more and more clear for me today, that the Church is in desperate need of being built, so what must I sacrifice to build it. Adoption is not a cheap or priceless venture, and I'm not talking financially (although I could). It is choosing to bring another person into our home, to endure all that he will bring with him in the way of rebellion, selfishness, and pride for the sake of introducing Him to Christ and His ways that he might be one more brick in the glory that is God's church. How many more will we adopt? Not sure, but the Lord knows. What I do know is that those who call themselves the church should be on the alert for how we should support the fatherless, either through adopting ourselves or supporting Christ-followers who do so. The fatherless of today are part of the temple God is constructing for His glory and we must not be guilty of padding our lifestyle, feeding our faces, or stuffing our leaking purses while the temple is yet to be built. My takeaways . . .

This is consistent with a few sermons from one of my current heroes of the faith, Francis Chan that I would point you to and challenge you with. Go to and listen to Chan's messages from March 8th and 15th to be challenged along with me in this area. Well worth your time. And if you haven't read "Crazy Love" by him, you need to.

Praying you are challenged with me today.

Texas Bluebonnets

We had a great Easter weekend as a family. On Saturday, we spent the day driving down to Ennis, TX to enjoy the Bluebonnet trails there and get some great pictures. Here are a few of my favorites from the day.

Brandy and I both said at one point during the day, that as much fun as this was, we both felt a very real sense in which this wasn't the whole family and we missed the chance to share this experience with our little boy. We can't wait to introduce him to Texas bluebonnets among so many other things. It is a sweet sorrow!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Josiah's Historical Soccer Day

Last week our soccer game was cancelled again due to weather and Josiah cried like a baby. This week, prior to the game, Josiah declared that he would in fact score a goal this week. His predicition proved to be true, but a little modest. He did score his first goal this week and then proceeded to score 4 more!!!! 5 goals total. I got video on the camcorder of the first 3, but don't know how (yet) to transfer that video to the computer, so you'll have to take my word for it. He was so excited, and I was really proud. Mommy missed it due to our family's battle with a stomach virus this weekend. She cried.

Afterwards, I told Josiah that I loved watching him score all of those goals, but that my favorite part of the game was when he had the opportunity to score again and instead, stepped back and let one of the little girls on the team take the shot (she missed).

We're in negotiations with Gatorade and Nike this week . . .

God's Word and Donuts

We've made it another couple of weeks through our Bible verse challenge. This week was a pause and review week, so no new verses, but in the excitement of the previous week, I didn't post videos of the kids verses from last week. So far, Josiah has memorized 10 verses in 5 passages: Deuteronomy 7:9; 10:12-13; Romans 11:34-36; 12:1-2; Psalm 56:3-4. Selah has memorized 6 verses: Genesis 1:1; Matthew 6:24; Proverbs 3:5; Psalm 1:6; Isaiah 30:15; 43:5. Each week as we pray and thank God for our donuts, we thank God that His Word is far better than donuts and that having His Word in our heart is the real prize.

Here are the videos from the last verses they've memorized. This week, we'll be working on Psalm 62:5-8 with Josiah and Psalm 119:105 with Selah. Join us if you'd like.

Psalm 62:5-8 "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour our your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge."

Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

Here's the videos from the last few verses.