Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Honestly, Frankly, Candid

I must say this first... Praise the LORD, we are home with our baby girl, Ufayse!!! He has been so faithful and we are forever grateful. Psalm 34 has been a salve to my soul for the past several months and weeks leading up to our quest to bring Ufy home. Verse 1 "I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes is boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!..."

We were greeted at the airport by our beautiful family with signs, hugs, kisses, laughter, and tears of joy! We would have hugged anyone at that point after the grueling 20 hours on the plane with our precious toddler. She was frightened and inconsolable at times. God's grace got us through yet again! Then on to see more family (my sweet sister had lunch fixed for us.) And finally home sweet home where we were welcomed with an immaculate house full of groceries, gift cards, flowers, balloons, signs, and might I add a nice bottle of wine for mama. Ufayse immediately began exploring her new home. She seemed happy and ready to settle in to her new home and bond with her new family.
May I be honestly, frankly, candid for a minute:
We knew coming home would be a wonderful blessing and it is; however, it is not the fairy tale ending as some may perceive it to be. We knew this would bring a new phase of challenges as our little Ufay "nee nee" and Kylee and Marcus adjust to the "new Kuykendall home." Greif, fear, feelings of displacement, loneliness, anger, frustration, loss, are just a few of the feelings associated with this change. (as a family feels similarly when a new child is born into the family) Don't get me wrong: there are many sweet moments of loving laughter and snuggles. Progress is happening! We do not feel we have made a mistake! But if you have heard our cries of frustration please don't think, "Oh my, what have they done, or I could have told them this was a bad idea." Life is hard! Jesus said it himself "In this world you will have trouble" But Thank God he didn't stop there: "But Take heart I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33) We have experienced a new dimension of God's grace. So, as we continue this journey we are so thankful for our family and friends who have supported us and continue to encourage us and love us and hold us!!!
This morning I was reflecting on all of our many blessings and as I read Jen Hatmaker's blog on How to help families throughout the adoption process I was inspired to share with you ways to help!
(this is national adoption month by the way)

There are so many families that God has called to adopt or foster.
When families are adopting, while they wait or after placement, here are a few ways to support and encourage them:
1. Please try not to tell them to "be patient and wait" or "Trust more" especially if you've never been there, but rather please pray scripture with them, for them, over them.
Thanks to all of you who have done this! I received so many texts and emails with scripture and prayers that have encouraged us. We have had friends and family stop what they were doing and just pray scripture over us. This reenergized us and gave us hope to continue the arduous journey.

2. Allow them to feel what they are feeling! If they need to laugh, cry, or scream. Allow them to go through the emotions!
I'm thankful for my family-you have allowed me to be me (you make me laugh)! Thank you to my girlfriends for putting up with my neurotic emotional state of being! Thanks for the gno's! Thanks for the brisk walks and talks! And thank you for the hugs and tears you've cried with us! (those of you who received random texts or emails with some not so appropriate language thanks for your graciousness... I did ask the Lord for forgiveness and for desire and strength to walk in the Spirit) Ross, thanks for calling Mark at just the right time and allowing him to express his true feelings! Thanks to all the pastoral staff...You guys are the best!

3. Dinner...provide meals, fill the pantry, give gift cards. We have been so blessed by friends and family allowing us the time to give more cuddles and wipe away more tears rather than scrambling to throw a meal together (including not having to brave the grocery store with 3 kids I can not begin to tell you how much this helps!

4. Please take the other children for a quick get away! Kylee has had more fun and she feels so loved by so many of you who have taken the time to wisk her away, or take her to school (aunt Fa,) or allowed her to come play (Sweet Annie)!
5. Call, text, email, or come over for a short visit. This time can get very lonely! Don't stay for long periods of time, but right after the kids go to bed or during nap come for a short visit with a Starbucks, glass of wine, or chocolate cake.

Thank you for allowing me to be honestly, frankly, candid.
At the heart of it all is the gospel! I've been reminded of the passage in Phillipians 2 where we see Christ's example of humility, counting others more significant than yourselves, he made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, for the glory of God the Father!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Please Join Us

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We are asking for prayer for our situation with traveling to Ethiopia to bring our daughter, Ufayse, home. We have felt we are at the final stages for several weeks now.

Friday, September 30th is a major day for us. The US Embassy has been asking for paperwork which we have submitted and the final step (we hope) is an interview with the birthmother. Once this is completed and the US Embassy is satisfied we should receive a travel date. This is very important for several reasons.

1) We have been 9 months without of daughter in our home
2) Our fingerprints expire on October 15th
3) This birthmother has now had to travel to Addis Abba twice which is a major commitment for her

Please pray this with us.

  • US Embassy will be able to conduct the interview and be satisfied
  • We will receive a travel date before October 15th
  • Our fingerprints will not delay us any longer
We thank you in advance for your prayers.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Praying the WAITING is almost over

Monday, September 12, 2011

It is hard to believe that it has been almost a year since we got the blessed news that we had a daughter waiting for us in Ethiopia. In January of 2011 (8 months ago) we got to meet Ufayse for the first time. Then a painful 6 months of WAITING went by and on Friday, July 29 around 11am we received news that Ufayse was official ours. I can still remember Marla calling me on the phone weeping tears of joy. But on Monday, September 12 we still find ourselves WAITING.

We are WAITING now for clearance from the US Embassy to travel to Ethiopia to begin the process to bring Ufayse home. We have hope that the fantastic news that we can travel back to Ethiopia will come soon.

We have a few things that we would like to ask you to pray for:
1) That the Embassy would receive the paperwork they are requesting this week and that we would know our travel date soon.
2) That we can travel and return back home before our fingerprints expire mid-October.
3) God would prepare our and Ufayse's hearts and spirits for this transition.

So we wait and pray and hoping only in God to move the mountains still before us. Thank you for your prayers.

Deo Duce (God is our leader),

Mark, Marla, Kylee, Marcus and Ufayse

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mark is the blogger of the family. I've always wanted to blog, but you see I put on this rather large PP sign that says "I'm a people pleaser. and what would they think if I mispeled a word? or yet even worse what if I make some sort of grammatical error." well, today at this moment I am "taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ." Who cares if I meSs UP. I've got at story to tell! so here goes!

As most of you know, we started the process of adoption for the second time in 2008. We were never more excited about a calling than we were at that moment. Having been through the process once before and watching God work miracles, we were pumped and ready for anything! He led us to pursue adoption in Ethiopia, we began the months worth of paperwork, financial fundraising, and the slow and steady education to our family and friends.
We felt completely at peace with the direction God had led us and waited with great anticipation the referral of our sweet little one. As we began the wait I became very ill. Thinking I would have to have some sort of major medical overhaul, due to a very serious diagnosis of endometriosis, we wondered if it would cause any delays in our adoption process. Well, sure enough, it was going to delay us 9 months plus! I was pregnant...after 13 years of infertility, 3 IUIs, 2 failed invitro attempts, God said... "here you go!" What? Ok, fast forward, beautiful healthy baby boy, a hormonal mom recovering from HELP syndrome and an appendectomy, and the rest of the family picking of the pieces. So, baby boy was doing well and I quickly got back on my feet and hit the ground running.
And then it hit me... we have an adoption on hold. So, now what? we had invested so much time, money, and energy, I hated for it to just go to waste. I began praying like a good Christian should. "Lord, do we continue? We know adoption is a beautiful thing. We believe in it, love it, and are so thankful for adoption. However, we now have a beautiful daughter and handsome son and they each have their own room. My husband is a pastor and you know what they make. We must be reasonable when planning for the future, right Lord? Well we want what you want. Okay? Okay!
At this point we had just a few months to make a decision.
Haggai 1:9 "You looked for much, and behold, it came to little, And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house." "BAM!" there it was! Marla, "Consider your ways. Consider your ways." What are your priorities? To make sure each child has their own room, all the toys and clothes they could want, and a good education? I have said " 'Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.' And for you that means let me finish what I have started!" So, Mark and I both said, Yes, LORD!
9 months later we had our referral!
I've never seen such eyes as when I saw my baby girl. Eyes that told a story of deep love and loss. I began to long for the day to look into those dark eyes and say, "Daddy and Mommy are here to take you home."
January, 29, 2011, we boarded a plane, resting in our Sovereign Lord! Already exhausted I subsided in my seat, with my sick 17 month old, my 8 year old, my very ill husband, and my dear dear friend to travel the 18 hours for a glimpse into those beautiful eyes!
God truly rocked my world from the moment I stepped off the plane with a deep-rooted love for Ethiopia it's people. I cried as I was hugged, and kissed, and greeted by all of our precious BJoe girls!
On Monday, we arrived at the Gladney Foster Care home, were given detailed instructions, and headed into the room. The sight of naked babies bathing in the sun melted my heart, and they calmed my anxious heart a little. We then walked through the door to a room full of energetic toddlers dancing, singing, and playing. Most of them came bounding up to us to see what type of treasures we had brought them. And then in the crowd of bubbly children I spot those beautiful eyes. Reserved, and yet, curious. As I cautiously approached her, to offer her a sticker, she slowly held out her smooth, beautiful brown, hand. Oh how I wanted to grab her in my arms and hold her close! After three more days of brief but precious visits, a positive court hearing, and many more sights to take in, we boarded a plane to head back home.
We were hopeful to receive a positive opinion fairly quickly along with a return date to bring home our "Joy." That however, was not the case and with many obstacles in our way and after months and months of nothing, we began to plead with our Creator to move the Mountains in our way! We knew that He is Faithful to complete what He has started! We knew He holds the universe in His Hands! We knew his mercies are new each morning! And with all that we knew He began to reveal even more and drew us into His arms as we cried "Abba, Father." On our knees, through dozens of tears, we bowed humbly before our Holy God requesting that she be officially our daughter before rainy season hit and the courts closed. Family and Friends and even strangers were also pleading with God on our behalf as well. And then, it happened, exactly one week before the courts closed, our caseworker called and said it is done! She is yours! "Praise God!" I squealed and then began to weep for "Joy!"
We are still today praising God while we anxiously wait for an embassy date. Our story is not complete yet, but we know and Trust our Redeemer as he places us on the plane to travel the 18 hours, drive to the foster care center, pass the naked babies sun bathing, enter the white room filled with cribs, and look deep into those beautiful dark, eyes and say,"Daddy and Mommy are here to take you home, Ufayse, our "JOY!"
We covet your continued prayers!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Meet Ufayse Ana Kuykendall


We could not be more excited to finally introduce you to our new daughter, Ufayse (O-Fi-Say) Ana Kuykendall. We want to share a little about our new pride and joy.
She was born December 10, 2008, in the southern region of Ethiopia. Her name means JOY and HAPPINESS. We were able to meet her for the first time this past January, and she is already changing so much. We are told she is the "Princess" and everyone caters to her. She loves stickers, bubbles and baby dolls. She is very reserved and cautious towards new faces. We are eager to acclimate her into our family.

We are currently waiting on submission to the US Embassy in Ethiopia. We are told this process will take about 4-8 weeks. We are hoping to travel back to Ethiopia sometime in September.

We want to thank everyone that has been praying and supporting us during this whole process. We have learned much about ourselves and our sovereign God. We can't wait for her to meet you all.

HOSEA 14:3

In you the orphan finds mercy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Best Valentine's Gift

Valentine's Day is a special day for our family. Over 8 years ago we stood in the San Antonio Courthouse and finalized Kylee's adoption into our family. So every year we celebrate "family day." Well this year Kylee surprised us with a gift. Inside a box was a home-made spa treatment (very aromatic we might add) and a letter to us. Neither one of us could get through the letter without shedding tears of joy.

Here is what overjoyed our hearts.

Tonight is a very special night. As you open your present do one thing. Read the story here.

"Once upon a time there was a little girl 2 days old who was out in adoption.
There were two parents that wanted a baby.
They got married at age nineteen and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed.
They trusted God to give them their wish.
Then finally they got a call saying they had a baby girl.
That's our story. I love you."

Love Kylee

We could not be more blessed as parents. I think our favorite part is that she said this is "our story."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Some Great Memories, People, Places, etc. from Ethiopia

Some of our favorite photos. Sorry but we can not publicly share photos of the children.

Kylee and Marcus in Frankfurt Airport

BeJoe Guest House

Hand-Made Silk Factory

"Marcos" - yeah he's pretty cute

Kylee and her new friend Margo

Aunt Cha - was a God send on this trip

True friends on a journey together - Marla and Cha

Solomon our driver, friend, protector and so much more

Holy Trinity Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Lion Zoo
Quality Family Time

Kylee and her Bubba

Our new friends and BeJoe House mates

Local market

Pure Strength - 12 - 40 gallon barrels

Beautiful Entoto Mountain

BeJoe Girls - oh how they took care of us

Blein and Marla

Genet and Marla