Thursday, March 24, 2011


 A few weeks ago we visited a piece of our families history and future. Why is this place of all random places so important to us? It is a place that God spoke to us so loud and so clear that it was as if for a brief moment time stood still. 

It was a spring day in 2009, Magan and I at the time have the privilege of sharing Friday's off as a family. We had been waiting to hear news of a child that would we would get the honor of bringing into our family and loving. The adoption roller coaster is so joyous and wonderful yet so painful and tragic at the same time. It is an emotional adventure but charged with closeness to God, trust, and compassion. It is the process of fusing your heart with a loving God that desires to see all children placed into a family. The waiting is a time of refining, a time of trust, a time to cry out.

At the same time we wait we are very aware that somewhere thousands of miles from where we are there is a mother making a decision that is heartbreaking. If we fail to factor that in we fail to really let orphans change our story. If we fail to yearn to understand what drives someone to make the ultimate sacrifice then we really don't know this child's story. This story is an irreconcilable paradox. It is something we carry with us as we raise our daughter.

I can remember looking out a Puget sound as the clear water was lapping against the dock. The conversation was about waiting and being refined and how it makes you a stronger person. It was about being sick to our stomachs waiting for the phone to ring for a picture of a innocent child in a world that we know nothing about, it was a wait for heaven to come crashing into earth. Earlier that day we had talked with our social worker, jokingly asking her is she wanted to join us in Seattle. Asking her if she in fact possibly had a match for our family. We were by no means serious but at the same time we knew it was only a matter of time.

On the way back to the car from our hike Magan said she was going to give up. She was tired of feeling this way, of course as a loving husband I said "there is not much you can do about it". Followed by it is all in God's hands", infinite wisdom from a clueless husband....right.

We get in the car driving towards Seattle and the phone rings. Magan says Mike is Cathy! For those who have not walked down this path it is so surreal and supernatural and wonderful that no words can do it justice. When someone tells you they have a picture of a child that is to be your child to Love to protect to pray for to stay up at night worrying about them, to tuck in at night and to have them hold your hand and look at you with unconditional love and say things like "Daddy I just love you".

Time stops, your heart leaps around inside you. Looking around for the nearest point to access email to get a glimpse of what the future holds. It is an amazing feeling one and a feeling that takes your breath away. At this very moment you could literally feel God rearranging the DNA the fabric of who you are.

We roll down the window to the stranger doing yard work. We were going to ask her to use her computer for a moment but instead asked for the address to the nearest library. She said "about 100 yards behind you". Before she could get the complete sentence out Magan yells thank you and we float over to the library. I say float because I don't remember getting to the library I just remember walking in the door looking at the bank of computers. We see an empty computer and rush to the counter asking for a guess pass.

We login to our email and look at each other with tears in our eyes. The picture begins to load on our screen and we are never the same. From that moment forward our lives on this journey have become something we never thought possible. From that moment our hearts began to fuse with hearts thousands of miles away.

Two years are about to pass from that day. It is really hard to imagine as I see this amazing little girl playing with her doll house what can happen in two years. As we wait for our second child we go back to that fire to be refined, they say waiting is the hardest part. Waiting is the part that defines you, waiting is what makes who we are. Without waiting we might never get to become the people who we are.

Friday, January 14, 2011

3 things you DON'T(get) say to adoptive parents

There are so many misconceptions about adoption and really it stems from a laziness to do the real research. So many parents of kids born of the heart put up with questions that people have no business asking. As our children get older and become more aware of some of the things that make them unique it gets to be a more sensitive issue. As we head into this next journey there is really an elephant in the room and I am have not really not heard of it being addressed. In all fairness this blog post is a little out of context but I really hope you read it and share with people who you have heard say things like this.

So I wanted to post a blog on the top three questions, and answers to the question you think you should ask but you really shouldn't. Now there are always exceptions as we have found many people we meet are actually asking the questions because they two have a little stirring in their hearts to follow the path of adoption. This is some free advice if you have talked over adoption in your family and see a family with an adopted child start the conversation by saying: "Hi we are the INSERT FAMILY NAME HERE your DAUGHTER/SON is so beautiful, we have actually been researching how our family might go about adopting a child, can you help us answer some questions." 

On to the questions you don't get to ask! 

Q1 - I am not sure why people think they can ask this but guess what, stop asking it!

     "Where are his/her real parents?" awkward silence "are they still alive?"

This has been a question that believe it or not people have been so daring to ask. Luckily they have not asked it while I was standing there or they might have been punched in the face. I really don't have anything more to say about this question other than what is the purpose in knowing this? The short answer is we are the real parents!

Q2 - This is by far the easiest question to find an answer on quickly but for some reason people are to lazy to take time away from updating their facebook status and google it. Here we will make it really easy for you -

     "How much did he/she cost?" 

I realize that you are reading this asking yourself does this question really get asked. This is not directed at you but you likely have a neighbor or friend that actually would ask something like this. Forward them this blog post so they can have a clue. Also if you want to know the government gives a large  tax credit for adopting so regardless of the answer if you pay your taxes you technically paid for the adoption.

Q3 - We realize that this is the age of technology but there is something that hopefully remains sacred. The status of your personal health. I am not sure I have ever uttered the words how is your BMI? or do you have any diseases I should know about?

     "Was he/she sick when you first met them?" or "Did your child have HIV?"

Hopefully you read that and your mouth is hanging open. Hopefully you have never asked this to an adoptive parent or well really anyone. I am not sure what someone would like to hear the answer to this question to be? If you really want to know about some of the diseased in a the world, one place to start doing a little research is -

The facts listed on this site from across the globe should concern us all. Treatable ailments that we have eradicated in this country are still plaguing countries across the world. The most amazing thing is we can actually get involved! We can help build wells in Africa for clean drinking water, buy nets to keep children protected from Malaria!

The most important part of these questions is they do hurt. Our daughter like so many of your children or children you know is unique. We tell Mikah that we would have swam the ocean to know her, that we would have given up everything we have for her to be our daughter. We by no means worship our daughter but we know with everything that we are, that this little girl was put on this Earth for a purpose and there is a plan for her. We hope by reading this you think about a child you know or a family you know that might think about asking these questions. Please help them to think before they ask.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

yOur Adoption Story

This time of year means so much more than just Santa Claus and watching Elf.For our family this time of the year represents what we have in common with our daughter. For we have something in common that runs much deeper than blood. We have something in common that changes everything and it all started thousands of years ago in a far off place in the most insane circumstances.

On Christmas we celebrate adoption! The adoption of our family and your family and everyone you know by a God that desired to see his creation restored.I know why it has turned into a marketers dream the story of the nativity is hard to take. A virgin birth, the king of the world entering the world as a baby! It makes not one bit of sense, at the same time it makes total sense. This is the story of adoption it is upside down it is counter culture it is the opposite of this world. Which is how God operates.It is the first is last, it is love your enemy, it is putting others first.

The story of Christmas is a story of our family, it is the story of your family. It should be a chance to stop and stand in awe of a God so humble and so in love with His people that he sent heaven crashing into Earth. It is the story of our adoption by a God so in love with his people (us) that he send Jesus his only Son to set things right.

We cannot help but think without the Love that Jesus taught us Mikah might not be a part of our family. The love of Christ prompted a couple in Eugene Oregon years ago to plead with Congress to allow international adoption. The Love of Christ empowers nannies and social workers in remote villages to sacrifice everything for the chance to care for an Orphan. It is this Love that take comfortable middle class families and wrecks them for the least of these. This Compassion show to us in the filthy cow trough in Bethlehem thousands of years ago shapes the very fabric of who we are. For this is our Christmas story and what we celebrate on this special day.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Son Forgotten

Mother Teresa said  "Today it is fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them."

 There is a piece of me that still lives in Ethiopia. Sometimes at night I look up at the stars thinking about a child, waking up in the morning on the other side of the world. As a family we made a promise not to simply bring children from Ethiopia into our home but we made a commitment to bring our home into Ethiopia.

We believe strongly that in order to raise children that love others first and desires to care about people the way God cares about them. We must first act in a way that models this love. As a family there is a boy that is the age of many of our nieces and nephews that lives in a remote village in the north of Ethiopia. Every month we send a practical gift of financial support to him and his family. In exchange for this support he writes us letters, and shares his heart with us. We know that in this region education, food, and the basics of life may not be within reach of a family without some outside help. It is a harsh reality but something that we only understand after visiting Ethiopia. It is not because his family is somehow different from us it is simply because his family was not blessed enough to be born in the US.

A few months ago he wrote me a letter and asked if I would be his father. Earlier in the letter he had explained that his Ethiopian father had passed away a few weeks ago. In the very next sentence he said all is well because now God has brought me a new father. While reading this letter I began to get tears in my eyes as this boy became the head of the household for his family. While he was asking me to be his father I know that he was struggling with the reality that he in fact was become the father to his siblings.The possibility of having to give up school to run his families small farm. The reality that the survival of his family may rest on his shoulders.

His story hits home in our family. We are fully aware that our little girl if still living in Ethiopia might be in a situation much like this one. We know by encouraging him through letters and emails (yes emails) reminds him that he can still be a kid in a grownup world. This is not a story to get a pat on the back but a call to get involved. A story that is one of thousands happening or waiting to happen.

While this website is dedicated to our story of adoption. It is important to know that adoption takes on all shapes and forms. If you would like more information on becoming a child's sponsor please email  me at

If you have a story of your own and how a family you support has changed your life please share. We know we are not alone.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Starting Points

We have known so much joy since Mikah has come into our lives. We are still amazed that every family we talk to that has adopted from Ethiopia has a unique and amazing story. Children from far off places in worlds we will never know brought into our lives. Each child has a story of rescue of redemption of what the world looks like when things are simply broken down to two essential things. Love and Hope.

Our adoption story begins again. We have just finished our initial paperwork to begin the amazing journey to provide a family for a child who simple needs those two essential things Love and Hope. This is our families story a story of becoming a family knit together, a blend of 4 families. A story of being a part of a plan, a plan that we know little about. A plan so much greater than we can ever imagine and one that we would surely mess up if we knew the full details. 

We have learned a lot from Mikah and from Mikah's birth family. It has made us the people we are now and it continues to shape our character. For this love is not a love that you and I will only see on our brightest of days. For this hope is the hope we will only see when we look up to the stars at night knowing that it is a reality there is something greater than us looking back.

Bringing Home Baby Byrd second edition starts here. We hope you will join us once again on this journey, in praying, hoping, and waiting.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Holding Patterns - The End

It has been a little over twelve months ago that we first learned that we would be parents. It will be twelve months ago that our view of the world was forever changed by a little girl on the other side of the world that needed a family.

Where we are from and our experiences shape so much of who we are. It is so important to look back at the past and never forget what God has done. In the Summer of 2008 we were a family that was broken and hurting. We had been trying to reconcile why we were not having a biological child. When you looking at what you want as so many of us are very accustomed to doing it is so much like standing around a campfire, oblivious to the world around you. When the doctor's told us we could not have children without the help of science to be honest our marriage was at a crossroads.

We would like to say that adoption was our plan A, we are so amazed that is was God's plan A for our lives. What I think so many people fail to realize is that these weights that we think we must carry are not ours to be carried. So we began the process of giving God our weights our insecurities our human shortfalls and started this journey to far off places.

A beautiful tragedy sums up adoption. We announce with this very blog that we will start the process of adoption and we hear so many wonderful things. Our family our friends are excited and waiting for this story to unfold. Thousands of miles from us a mother has very much the opposite story, adoption is a paradox of irreconcilable proportion. To think that 150 MILLION mothers will experience what Mikah's mother experienced is heartbreaking to say the least.

We wait and wait impatient with the process, thinking of what it might be like to be parents. The phone rings, time stops, hearts race, reality hits. The next few hours are really a blur but somehow forever recorded in our minds. We rush to a computer to see our daughter for the first time. Something about this picture was so surreal the way the light hits those big brown eyes the way her little hands grasp the little blue plastic chair as if to say can you come right now and get me I just need to be held.

What happens for the time that we wait to travel to meet our child is something that cannot be explained well in words. The closeness you feel to God during this time is really surreal. It is the feeling of trust and the feeling of overwhelming joy that is a mix of complicated wonderful emotions. It made sense after all God tells us in the bible over and over his love for the orphan, the widow even going as far as saying “Whoever receives a child in My name, receives Me.” Matthew 18:5. It makes sense we would feel that love grow inside of us.

Another milestone hits in May 2009 the high court in Ethiopia has approved us to adopt this little girl. We wait for travel dates and start making plans to meet Millennium. We board a plane in Portland landing in Addis Ababa Ethiopia our first trip out of the country as a couple and one that would change our lives forever.

Tears well up in our eyes as we think about the family we left behind in Ethiopia. For we thought that we were just simply adding one sweet little girl to our family but really we added so much more. Ethiopia is hard to describe and is really something that is felt. The people the warmth the hardship the joy the range of emotions make a quality of people that is amazing. We pray for Mikah's family she left behind in Ethiopia never taking their sacrifice in vein.

We have been keeping a record of our journey to Mikah for some time now. This blog was really a way to record our thoughts and family our journey. That journey has come to an end and a new story will soon unfold. We thank you, those that still check this blog or get our updates. Thanks for your prayers, your support, your kind words.

Lord willing sooner than later it will be BHBB #2 but for now we enter a holding pattern with regards to adopting a brother or sister for Mikah. In the interim we hope you join us at - THE PHILADELPHIA PROJECT - we are in the process of writing a book and Lord willing so much more. So follow the link, bookmark it, sign-up, THE PHILADELPHIA PROJECT blog.

The End

Sunday, February 7, 2010