Friday, October 31, 2008

Adopting from Ethiopia - a double blessing

We began talking about adopting from Ethiopia in 2006. We knew we wanted a little boy, but something in me told me we should consider two children. After much discussion, Bill and I agreed that we would be open to a sibling group - we began the official process in September of 2007. It took me three months to put all of our paperwork together. We sent off our dossier on January 2nd. On August 19th of 2008 we received a referral for two beautiful children, a boy 4 years old and a girl 6 years old. His Ethiopian name is Meheretu - this means "The Lord's Mercy". Her Ethiopian name is Yenenesh - this means "You are mine". These are beautiful names that their birth parents chose for a reason - we will be keeping these names as their middle names. We want them to know that their birth parents loved them very much and those names are special. Likewise, we love them very much and want to give them a name special from us. Meheretu will be Carter Meheretu Gamble - Possibly Carter Jace Meheretu Gamble. I really like Jace for two reasons - 1st - It means the Lord is my salvation, 2nd - I like CJ as a nick name.

Yenenesh has a bit of a story with her name. It was August of 2007 - You see, before we settled on being open to two children, I had a dream. Now mind you, I generally dream about crazy things that make no sense at all, so when I have a dream that I can understand, I pay attention to it.

So picture this - An African woman is leading me into a room in an orphanage, and the dream starts up with her speaking to me mid sentence. She says "and this is your daughter, her name is Maraya and she is five years old." Well, I had never heard of that name before, so I googled it first thing in the morning - It means The Lord is my Teacher. From that moment on I knew God was telling us that we had a boy and girl waiting for us. Here is the kicker - It was one year later in Aug of 2008 that we received the referral for a four year old boy and a six year old girl - When I had the dream in Aug of 2007 - She was five years old - just like the woman in my dream told me.

Her name will be Maraya Yenenesh Gamble, Possibly Maraya Grace Yenenesh Gamble.

We were expecting to have our court sometime the end of Oct 2008 or beginning of Nov 2008, but we were so blessed - we received a phone call this week that we passed court and they asked if we could travel early. We were not scheduled to travel until 11/29, but we are now leaving 11/15!

Our Journey to Zoe

Well, after going through all the surgeries and getting back to a normal schedule, we decided to begin the adoption process.

Here is a link to the blog I did for our adoption of Zoe.

You can go back to the first entry entitled Introduction.

Although adoption was always something I knew I would do - (the subject was even a topic while dating - if they weren't on board - they weren't for me) It was after this adoption that I really began to understand the need that these forgotten and discarded children have - children all over the world and in our own backyard. Our church asked me to oversee an adoption ministry, which I do now - it is called Orphan Aid and Adoption. I meet privately with couples to help them understand the adoption process, how to make it more affordable and help guide them to reputable agencies based on their desires.

I also do bigger seminars and conferences on both adoption and orphan aid to help all those children who will never be adopted.

How Jackson Riley Gamble became our Miracle Baby

It was October of 2001, Madelyn would have her 1st birthday in a month. Bill and I started to talk about beginning the adoption process for our second child. Knowing it could take a while we wanted to plan the the time between our 1st and 2nd child to be 2-3 years. We decided on an agency, but thought it best not to begin any paperwork until the first of the year, as the holidays are always so busy.

Well in November of 2001, I was having "that feeling" and asked Bill to buy a pregnancy test - (I don't know why it is that he always bought the tests). It was negative - not a disappointment, but it was a surprise.

We traveled to North Dakota to visit my family - I still was not well. In December, I asked Bill to buy another test - he thought I was nuts. This one was so positive - it changed before I stopped peeing on the stick - and I did it in the afternoon.

Since I already knew the answer, I let him go in and check on it. Sure enough - we were having a baby! By the time I finally got into the doctor, we found out that we were pregnany all the way back in October - Before Maddy was even a year old.

It was during this pregnancy that we found out that Jackson was very sick, one of his kidneys were not operating and had not developed properly and there was a problem with his other one as well. We had ultrasounds 2-4 times a week everyweek.

Additionally during one of my visits we found out that I had cervical cancer - not something you want to hear, but certainly not when you are pregnant.

I was able to carry him to term. He was born July 16, 2002. He had a kidney removal surgery at nine weeks. He has since had 3 more surgeries and is doing great. I had to have a hysterectomy to cure my illness. But all is well now.

Praise God that we had Jackson when we did, had we not - he would never have come into this world.

We welcome Madelyn Darlene Gamble

On November 10, 2000, we welcomed Madelyn Darlene Gamble into the world. I will save you all the nasty details. Let's just say that an 8 pound, 4 ounce baby coming out of a woman that was just under 100 pounds before pregnancy was not pretty - especially when the doctor said - "we won't let you deliver anything over 6 1/2 pounds - we think she will be less than that". Boy were they wrong!

Everything with us seems to be so fast and busy

So, we left off with May 1st, 1999 - we were married. Four months later we broke our apartment lease and bought our first home. A month after that we decided to start our own internet company. It was to be more of a hobby for me really - so that once we had kids, I could stay home with them and do a "little" work from home.

Bill started writing the code for the website in Oct of 1999. In January, I was eager to start a family - I asked Bill when we could start trying - he really wanted to wait for at least another year. That was fine with me.

Valentine's day came around. Bill got us tickets to a movie, although I was not feeling my best - (can you see where this is going?). In fact, we went to Red Robin for a bite before the movie started, I couldn't even eat the french fries.

He returned the movie tickets and we went home. After a few days of, what I thought was a nasty sinus infection, I called my doctor - she suggested a pregnancy test of all things. Well I thought she was nuts, but Bill went out and bought one.

I took it the next morning. When the timer went off, Bill and I both walked as slow as possible from the bedroom to the bathroom. Everything was going in slow motion, we inched closer and closer to the counter, looked to down to see that yes indeed we were having a baby!

How we became "The Gamble Family"

Being that this is my first blog entry on our family blog - it seemed appropriate to briefly cover a bit of history.

My name is Justine Gamble - this is how I met my Husband - Bill Gamble.

In September of 1997, I began looking for a church home. I had recently moved back to Oregon and had not attended church since being back. Needless to say - it was time to return.

My first visit to a church, was acutally to a college retreat with Beaverton Foursquare Church. It was getting late, most people had gone to bed. Seeing as how I am not the most social person, it was great timing - far less people to socialize with. (I need to preface the upcoming info with the fact that anytime my Husband tells the story of how we met, it is grossly exagerated - I will tell you how it really was)

I sat down at a table full of people playing cards - a game called speed, which I had never played before. I joined in the next hand and tried to keep up, when all of a sudden the word sh** came out of my mouth. ( Did I mention before that it was time to return to church?) Anyway, the game quickly went from speed to freeze. The person to my right was my future Husband.

Flash forward. April of 1998 - I had been attending Beaverton Foursquare Church for about 6 months, making lots of friends and keeping options open for "Mr. Right". Another retreat was coming up - It was the perfect opportunity to get away from everyday life and pray about what it was the Lord wanted for me, instead of what I wanted for me. The first night of the retreat, I asked the Lord to remove any desires from my heart that were not what he wanted for me and replace them with what he did want for me. Do you know that the very next morning I told my room mate that "I need to get to know that Bill guy better". She was pretty surprised, and to be honest so was I. You see, I tended to date men that were not on the tall side, as I am just barely 5 feet tall, and just under 100 pounds. Now Bill on the other hand, 6 ft 6in and 260ish pounds at that time.

Well that was mid April of 1998. We had our first date on May 1st of 1998 and by Fourth of July weekend that year, we were having a ring made. Now this is not something I would like to hear from any of our daughters, but it was what the Lord wanted for us. We were married one year from our 1st date on May 1st 1999.