Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting ready

We are busy, busy getting ready for Baby Reno. Since he is our first, we have much to do. Here are pics of our first trip to BabiesRus.

We were able to send a little care package with the Wistrom family when they picked their 2 boys. Thank you Wistroms! We sent our picture, a super soft blanket, some clothes and Isaiah and Aaliyah contributed some drawings. The Wistroms delivered the package for us and took some pictures of our little guy. Right now I am looking at a picture of him holding our picture. Yes, we realize that he isn't totally cognizant of what he is holding, but that's ok.

Left to Right: Chris, Me (holding baby), Aaliyah, Isaiah and Isaac.

Isaiah signed his picture "love Isaiah cuzit" I'm assuming he meant "cousin." So sweet!

Our superintendent and his wife gave us a very cute crib that is almost brand-new. What a blessing! I had been endlessly searching on Craig's List for a nice, used crib that I liked. And now my search is over! Thank you Steve & Cheryl!

And...last, but not least...I finished the top of my first baby quilt. The squares are little off in a couple of places, but my sweet hubby and my sweet neighbor say it is cute nonetheless. I just want perfection for my boy! ;) But, yes, it is quite cute. I am going to attempt to sew satin around the edges (yikes) and then start on the batting and the back. I will post some pictures when I am finished.

We still don't know when we will be traveling...10-12 weeks from November 19th...pray for our court date to happen quickly!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just for Faith...

After posting our fun, crazy, exciting, joyful news, life got exponentially crazier for some reason. This is my excuse for not posting more news. But we really don't have any more real news yet. Conjecturing can make me crazy, but I am conjecturing that we will travel to pick our handsome little man around the end of January or beginning of February. Of course we are hoping as early as possible, especially as we look at his picture before we go to bed.

Part of the craziness of life recently (fun and blessed craziness) is entering into "baby world." There are soooo many things to buy (or so the mighty retailers want you to think). Praise God that I have many dear, wise, thrifty, gracious mommies in my life who have traversed this path before me. I have been asking for much input lately about what is "necessary" and not so necessary. Registering has been fun, although I know many people (including myself) don't use registries for baby gift shopping. If you are curious about what this first time mommy registered for, you can visit our registries at Amazon, BabyRus and Target.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

We got the call!

We have some wonderful news to share !! Yesterday morning at 7:40am we received a call from our family coordinator telling us that a baby boy is waiting for us in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!! We received a picture and his name - he is too cute! For legal reasons, we can't share his picture or name until the Ethiopian courts approve our adoption. Please pray for this happen soon, because we cannot travel to pick him up until it does. We should be traveling in 8-12 weeks, depending on when we pass court.

In the meantime, we will be receiving updates from the orphanage and hopefully more pictures to stare at! Please be praying for God to protect our little guy, keeping him safe, healthy and loved.

Thank you so much for all of your support, prayer and friendship through this whole process. We have definitely felt loved!

So I just reread this post and realized that it totally does not communicate the absolute JOY that we are feeling right now. I don't words or exclamation marks can quite express our emotions at the moment or communicate the various WONDERFUL responses we have received from our dear, dear family and friends as we have shared our news. Many tears, hugs, and shouts. Thank you for celebrating with us! God is good!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Still waiting...

...word on the street is "before the end of the month"...but who knows?

God is good and we are still waiting.

Friday, November 7, 2008

In a daze

For some reason I have been quite out of it this week. Maybe the election, maybe the weather, maybe the overwhelming kindness of our friends and family, definitely waiting to find out who Baby Reno is.

We did not get our referral before Nov. 1st but God is still good and still in control and will still provide. My friend Tawny and her husband sent us a financial gift and the most encouraging note last week...before we even knew if we were going to have to pay extra. I was so encouraged and so blown away and so amazed by how God works in unexpected ways. And THEN when Chris and I came back from Tahoe (we spent the weekend with my family which was great) the Johnson family gave us another gift. Crazy! It was almost as if God was reassuring us that fulfilling our desire to bring our baby home is a priority.

These gifts from these dear people brought to mind all of you who bought t-shirts and gave towards our adoption. We are so thankful for you! It is a glorious mystery to see God's people give and give freely and without being forced to give.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The clock is ticking...(and this one is for know who you are)

We are still praying that our magic phone call comes this week. My heart has started to race every time the phone rings, even though I know the call will probably come toward the end of the week, if it comes at all this week...

Our DTE buddy (DTE = dossier to Ethiopia, this means their paperwork was sent to Ethiopia in the same package as ours), Alisa posted a bit about why we have to wait longer for our referall and why fees are going up. She explains the situation so well, so visit her blog if you are interested.

And...some families met their children for the first time yesterday. Get ready for chills and tears. Reading about and watching what we are about to experience is crazy! I am so thankful and so happy for these families. The Lusse family was full of encouragement for those of us still waiting. These are the other families picking up their sweet ones: the Redfern, Schmidt, VenWetten, and Wempe families.

I have been reading Romans in the morning when I come to work, before the girls come out from their rooms. Some of it is pretty heavy reading at 6:30am, but I press on. Last week I read this passage:

Romans 8:24-28 "For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. "

...and it could not have been more timely...yes, I know, when Paul was writing Romans, he wasn't writing about the Reno family 2000 (?) years in the future waiting for their referral call, but regardless, the Holy Spirit used these truths to comfort my heart and mind. God is good!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Time to Pray! (again)

Ok friends and family, it is time to pray, pray, pray, pray...we recently found out that our adoption agency is raising some of it's fees, starting on November 1st. This is all for good and above-board reasons. No, they are not trying to squeeze more money out of us. It is genuinely needed for several reasons, including keeping our kiddo and the other sweet ones at the orphanage and Transition Home clothed, fed, healthy and loved.

So, please pray that we receive our referral before November 1st, not only because of the fee situation, but also because we are so ready to bring this baby home!! There is a decent chance that we won't recieve our referral before the end of the month and also for good and above-board reasons. If we don't, then please pray that God would provide the extra $4000-some. Yes, a lot of money, but He brought us the first $17,000, so we are pretty sure He can pull this off.

In the mean time, visit these blogs...they are families who just passed court in Ethiopia and are traveling within the next 4-8 weeks to pick up their long-awaited exciting!

the Nunez family
the Britton family
the Laughner family
the Hammond family

Also, please be praying for the Forrest family, who recently found out that the little girl who was referred to them passed away.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

In case you were wondering...

I almost forgot our adoption update...notice that our little ticker at the top of the page says that we have been waiting 7 months for our referral. So it is about that time...the predicted wait time is 5-7 months. There is a group of 4 families that are next in line for a baby boy, and we are one of those families! I found that out last Friday as I was rushing out the door to an English Dept meeting at school. Of course, I had to check the Yahoo Group one more time for any referral news. Needless to say, I was quite breathless by the time I found Chris to tell him the news (lucky guy - he was on lunch duty).

Anyway, we could receive our referral anytime now...I think...Crazy!

So let's just pretend...

...that October didn't just begin today...and that I am not 2 months late posting some additional summer adventures with TeamReno. I guess it is my blog, so I can operate according to TeamReno time.

Here is some of our early summer produce. The squash grew bigger as the summer went on and the larger tomatoes just began to ripen a couple of weeks ago. My hubby and I are throughly convinced that fresh garden tomatoes are just about the tastiest part of summer (and bbq) ...with some olive oil and vinegar - yum!

Towards the end of the summer, we took a trip to northern California to fish and relax and write some thesis (that didn't quite work out). The fishing was great - Chris caught a couple of large trout, and I caught my first fish on a fly rod!

The fam came over for some slip slide and bbq...

That's all for now!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Update from crazy land

I can't believe it has been over a month since my last post. School started 2 1/2 weeks ago, so that is a decent excuse, right? Our life is craaaaaazy right now - but great! Chris is teaching, which is something we have praying for for a long time. Yes, we prayed for this chaos, knowing full well that it would be chaos. Chris' days are a bit more chaotic and exhausting than mine, as he is teaching 3 different subjects in 4 different classrooms. But he loves it!

Chris and I are absolutely loving having a normal schedule (6:30am-6ish as opposed to 3:30pm-12am). We get to eat dinner together at home - what a novel concept! Sitting down together in the evening over a home-cooked meal, thanking God for our busy, tiring day, adds an amazing amount of stability and peace to our lives.

On an adoption note - did you notice that we have been waiting for our referral for 6 months? And we are in the "Top 10," which is a list that some uber-organized ladies in our Yahoo Group have put together to keep track of where we all are in this crazy process. I don't think I have thanked them yet for taking the time to do this – so, if you are reading this, thank you!

This means is that we will most likely (dangerous words to use) receive our referral by the end of the month or early October. We will see...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Saying goodbye

Graduation is always very bittersweet for us. 2 1/2 months of unscheduled time are just around the corner. But at the same time we have to say goodbye to the seniors who are moving onto the next phase of life. Keep in mind that as deans, we spend almost every day of the school year, 8 hours a day, sometimes more, with these kids. We are a strange melding of teacher/parent/friend/brother/sister. As Chris says, we get to see them when “they let their hair down.” We watch them grow (and hopefully mature) from little freshmen to almost grown men and women. Crazy! This must be a bit how parents feel. It is also just part of the chaotic, difficult, joyful, fun adventure of working with high school students. The changes that take place between 9th and 12th grade are mind-blowing. Our hope is that the kids grow closer to our Savior as well as in stature and knowledge.

We have so many pictures from graduation, I can't possibly post all of them...but here are some!

Mother's Day

Yes, I know, Mother's Day was a good 2 months ago, but I forgot to share our Mother's Day happenings.

I traveled to Oregon to spend Mother's Day with my mom and the rest of the family. My mom and stepdad are building my grandma a "granny cottage" behind their home. Almost all of my grandma's kids were there to celebrate the ground breaking. My grandma's house was always my favorite place to be growing up. She made oatmeal sweetened in every sense of the word with lots of brown sugar, whipped cream and butter. She made the best cinnamon rolls. She and my grandpa played the banjo. She and my grandpa (who passed away unexpectedly last summer) had a pool. She gave great hugs and knew how to fix almost any owie (sp?) under the sun. My grandpa had a serious sweet tooth and a "secret" candy stash that all the grandkids knew about. I love my grandma and miss my grandpa very much.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the fam. enjoy!

My mom, Grandma Marita, Uncle Rob and Uncle Howie.

The girls.

2 of Chris' favorite things - his wife and the Smith River.

Me and mi madre.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lazy Days of Summer??

I think it has been over a month now since I have posted anything. I am hoping I can assume that all of my faithful (?) readers have been putting their precious time to good use instead of checking to see if the Renos have posted anything new.

We have been keeping very busy writing a thesis (Chris - my job is make sure he eats and doesn't despair), working in the dorm (Anna), starting Pilates (Anna - love it!), spending time with family, gardening, reading, etc.... I also decided to start my spring cleaning in July. Maybe the realization that school starts in less than a month motivated me to attack the accumulating dust bunnies and spider's nests.

Anyway, here some pictures that I managed to remember to take along the way...

Aaliyah's First Catch

They are having a good time, despite appearances.

Chris' first Father's Day card.

Believe it or not, I think he is trying to smile.

The Baers came over for dinner and surprised us
with their ukulele and banjo playing skills.

Chris' parents were so kind and took us to SF for the weekend. I saw so many parts of the city that I had never seen before. This was at a coffee shop near Union Square (I think) that made coffee using a vacuum brewers. The shop looked very much like a science lab (MJTarr would have enjoyed, I think).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Maybe halfway there?

Well, halfway to referral at least. We have been waiting for our referral for 3 1/2 months. The time has flown by.

We just received new info from our family coordinator that the wait is now 7-9 months from sending our dossier to Ethiopia (which happened 3/3/08) to receiving a referral. This means we may receive our referral between September and November. Also, the new time frame from referral to travel is now 8-12 weeks, which means we may travel anywhere between November and February.

But we have to remember that this is international adoption, which is very unpredictable. So we are just waiting on God's timing, which is perfect. I do have my moments when I want to a mom NOW, but thankfully I have a husband who is so kind and so loving and so encouraging, so these times of impatience don't usually last very long.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A heavy thought

I have just started emailing back and forth with this kind, kind lady. This post she wrote about the AHOPE orphanage broke my heart. Chris and I have talked about adopting an HIV+ child and each time have been overcome with the heaviness of the thought. But we both know that God can do much more in us and through us than we think possible. Not that we are ready take such a step yet. For now we are sponsoring a child with HIV who lives in the AHOPE orphanage. He wants to be a professional soccer when he grows up.

School is out!

Chris is still at the dorm cleaning up a little but should be home soon. We are trying to think of some inexpensive way to celebrate, but I think he is really wanting to sit down and do some thesis work (which consists of reading 2 of his favorite authors - Flannery O'Connor and JG Hamann).

I will be working in the dorm for summer school, but just a couple days a week. And...I may have to teach summer school (I hope not!) if the teacher is called in for jury duty. The extra income would be helpful, but cramming many weeks of Biology into one class period does not sound fun to me.


Some good news and not-so-good news (depending on how you look at it)...

First, it has been raining in Addis Ababa for the past couple of days. Praise God! We do need to continue to pray for the food shortages in Ethiopia - many, many children are close to starvation in several areas of Ethiopia.

Second, it looks like our wait for our referral is getting longer. Instead of 5-7 months from March 3rd, it is now 7-9 months, which means at the earliest we would receive our referral in September and would travel 6-8 weeks later (October/November). This is all in God's hands. I've mentioned before that Chris needs to write/finish his thesis over these next 6 months and he is teaching next school year, so this will all work out for our good. But we are definitely getting antsy!

Several families in our agency received referrals in May - families who have been waiting a loooong time. I think since October. And, also very exciting, several families are traveling to Ethiopia sometime this week to meet their children.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Catch up

It is the chaotic last 2 weeks of school so blogging is not at the top of my priority list. Yes you read right - 2 more weeks! And then we have Sundays off until forever, God willing. This summer will hopefully hold much thesis-writing (Chris - not me), fishing, camping and catching up with family and friends.

As far as adoption news goes - we may receive our referral in July or August, which may mean travel in November. Key word being "may" as in "maybe" as in "God is in complete control but I really hope we travel sooner but it will probably be later." But really, we trust in God's timing and we know that God hears listens to the prayers of the saints, so....Please pray that we would be able to travel at least before the end of the year!

One thing you can pray for: Ethiopia is experiencing a drought right now and is in desperate need of rain. Because of this the government is enforcing rolling power outages, which is making life for Ethopians very difficult (more so than it already is) and is slowing up the process for adoptive families (b/c gov't offices are closed due to no power). Please pray for rain for Ethiopia!

Also, if you are interested, World Vision is taking donations for both the Chinese and Burmese (Myanmarese??) disasters. They are a very trustworthy, Christian relief organization.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

God's work is unceasing

As we continue to explore and learn more about international adoption, Ethiopia and Africa, I continue to be amazed and blessed by the creative ways God's people are reaching out and spreading the Gospel, in word and in deed. AHOPE and CALM Ministries are 2 organizations that I have come across.

AHOPE runs orphanages in Ethiopia for children with HIV. Chris and I just tonight signed up to become a sponsor for one of those children. Here is their mission statement: "The Mission of African HIV Orphans: Project Embrace is to offer a two-pronged approach to the devastation caused by the AIDS virus in Ethiopia.
  • Provide a nurturing, stimulating, loving home for infected children orphaned by the disease
  • Provide comprehensive, accurate education to families, staff, and the local community regarding AIDS prevention and care of infected loved ones."
CALM (Christian African Leadership Ministry) Ministries is based in Rwanda and is run by a Rwandan couple. They are "committed to glorifying God by enabling and equipping people to do the work of ministry and helping needy people to help themselves." This includes taking in orphans and running an orphanage that our adoption agency is working with.

Please visit both websites to learn more.

Friday, April 18, 2008

As iron sharpens iron

So my thought-provoking friend Mrs. Schwager is not letting me get away with posting a thought-provoking piece of news without actually posting my thoughts. In a comment she left on my previous post, she said, "but the question is: what are your thoughts on this? do you immerse your child in as much ethiopian culture as you can? just talk about it a little as interest dictates? not talk about it at all?"

We have been thinking about this and the myriad of other issues that come with international adoption. Our greatest challenge has been to think about these things prayerfully, through the lens of Scripture.

Through this adoption we are bringing a piece of Ethiopia into our family. In Scripture it is clear that ethnic heritage is an important part of who we are, not THE most important part, but still important. We would be silly and blind to the creativity of God if we ignored our child's ethnic heritage. The most important culture in our child's life will be our family culture and because we are bringing Ethiopia into our home, Ethiopian culture will unavoidably become a part of that. We are not sure exactly how, but I don't think that is something we need to figure out completely right now.

Any other thoughts??

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Another "Dappled thing"

In the Hopkinsesque vein of things: this is pied beauty spoken through the flesh of a Colorado Cutthroat Trout

Rippin' Lip

Devin O'Donnell and I (Chris . . . just to make things really clear since my wife does most of the posting here) took a quick little five hour trip up to Redding to fish the mighty Lower Sacramento River. Although we only had a few actual hours of "pree-me-yum" fly fishing time, we did manage to net this beautiful native rainbow trout. The sucker was huge. Unfortunately, as I was pulling him out of the net to take the "trophy shot," I straight up dropped him. I could sense God asking me, "Are you going to thank Me even without the ego image?" Praise God for the gift of fly fishing with a blessed bru and the beauty of creation . . . exquisitely sung by G.M. Hopkins below:

Pied Beauty (1877)
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise Him.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Where are we?

We haven't really posted anything about our adoption in awhile, mostly because we are still in that 5-7 month waiting period for our referral (match). We have been waiting about a month now.

It is exciting watching other families from agency get their great to see families who have been waiting and waiting finally see a picture of their long-awaited little one(s).

Meanwhile, we are keeping busy with working in the dorms, tutoring (me), preparing to write a thesis (Chris), praying for a teaching position for Chris next year, getting addicted to Lost (we are on Season 2) and generally really enjoying being married.

We are also wondering what chaos may await next year with Chris writing his thesis and possibly teaching and us having a new baby. We will need much prayer.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I am on a blog posting frenzy tonight. It would seem as though I have lots of time on my hands, except that I need to go workout and make muffins for a baby shower.

But first, here is my first experiment with growing things from seed. Hopefully, I will be posting pictures of the "fruit" of my labor, or rather our Creator's handiwork. All I have to do is make sure they have plenty of sun and water, and I can't even take credit for those essentials.

He is Risen!

Some pictures from Easter with the Reno fam.