She is Ours!!!
"For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!" Isaiah 64:4

ASTER is officially OUR LITTLE GIRL!!

Yesterday we spent the whole day on the beach, enjoying the moment we were in and trusting God for all that He was accomplishing far, far away in Africa. Since Ethiopia is seven hours ahead of us, by the time we went to the beach it was the end of the day in Addis.

During our picnic lunch we got the call!!! Susan from A.A.I. called to tell us all of Aster's adoption paperwork was completely approved yesterday in court!!! She is ours! How sweet of God to have brought us to this place - not only spiritually but physically. That we were all together on a beach where we have made so many family memories was the perfect setting! We will never forget the day, the time and the place our lives changed forever. And there will be one more of those when we travel to get her - hopefully in late September or early October.

Aster came into our lives just over 2 months ago when we got a call on June 9th telling us that there was a baby girl who could be ours. This was a big shock since we had planned to adopt an older girl (4-8) or two. BUT GOD!!!

Here are photos of Aster we've been dying to sha
re with you! God has done great things and we are filled with JOY!!!May 1, 2009 - The day Aster got to the orphanage. She was 6 months old and weighed only 8 lbs. She is so thin, so lethargic and very malnourished. We saw this frail child as evidence of a loving mother who couldn't bare to see her baby die. I can only imagine her sorrow as she searched for help and sacrificially found for her baby the love and care she needed, that she as a mother could not provide.

May 26, 2009 - Only 25 days after Aster came to the orphanage she weighed 14lbs! My doctor didn't believe at firs that this was the same child. But we were thrilled to see that she was already thriving. In just over three weeks she had almost doubled her weight.

June 25, 2009 - Hope TerKeurst holding Aster during a visit to the orphanage while she was on a 6-week missions trip to Ethiopia. It had only been 10 days since we accepted Aster's referral. To read more about Hope's visit click here.

July 11, 2009 -Isnt' she beautiful? There is another amazing God-story about how we got this photo. I'll share that one next week!

As you can see, our baby girl is doing so well - thriving in so many ways. Our favorite photo is the one at the top of this post where she is smiling so big. We've been told she is very sweet, calm, healthy and happy. Now what more could we ask for? (Although we did just find out she was treated for bronco pneumonia August 4th so please pray for her to be completely well and healed from that.)

Thank you friends for your prayers and your part in our little miracle. And THANK YOU my sweet Jesus for Your favor and grace. I am humbled by all that you have done, are doing and will do!


Blogger Dana said...

WOW! God truly is amazing! She is such a beautiful little girl!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Renee, as I sit here and read this I am crying...tears of joy. She is beautiful and God is so good. I can not wait to read about when you go and get her. Just want you to know that at 5 am this morning (Fri) I woke up with Aster on my mind. I got up and lifted up to our Father. Thank you for sharing her and your story with us.
Angela T Ramsey

Blogger Just me~ Bobbie Jo said...

WOW! She doesn't even look like the same baby! I am just thrilled for all of you! God is good!

Blogger Amy Carroll said...

Amazing to see Aster going from malnourished to beautiful dimples and baby rolls. Can't wait to see pics with her in the arms of her mom, dad and brothers!


Blogger Marybeth said...

Thanks for sharing all these photos-- even though I knew the story I hadn't seen the progression as represented in these pictures. Wow! She has come so far yet the real journey of her life is just beginning!

Anonymous Lynn Cowell said...

What powerful pictures. Congratulations over and over again!

Blogger Holly said...

Beautiful post my friend! So happy for you...can't wait to see the journey God is just beginning to lead you on -
love you

Yeah God! You are gooooooodddd! Thank you for going before and behind the paperwork. I hope you live in joy uncontained!

She's gorgeous. I bet you can't wait to kiss her precious cheeks!

Rejoicing with you. Praying for you all.

Blogger Jill said...

Renee, I was so touched by your story and all that God has done! Wow, He is amazing!! So neat to think how this is all unfolding even to the point of where you received the news! His ways are wonderful - thank you for sharing with all of us. The prayers will continue, Jill

Blogger Lindsey said...

What incredible news, Renee! I'm sitting at my computer with tears in my eyes. So excited to hear this.


Wow! That's all I can say. Wow to the move of God. Wow to you and your family opening your hearts. Wow to such a beautiful baby girl! I'm sitting here typing ... amazed!

God Bless You!

Blogger Bonita said...

Praise the Lord!!!

Blogger God's Grace said...

Praising God! She is beautiful! Terry

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations--I am so happy for your family. The love of God shines through Aster's beautiful smile. What a blessing!


Blogger Joyful said...

Oh Renee...these photo's were worth the wait. I feel like I've just received another gift!!!! What a blessing. She's absolutely ADORABLE!!! What a precious little girl.

How I've enjoyed visiting with you tonight and reading your past 3 posts. So much fun. So many blessings. So much PINK!!!! :)

May the Lord continue to lead and direct each step of the way until your daughter is safely home in your arms.


Blogger Kimberly said...

Rejoicing with you! She is so beautiful!!!!

Love and continued prayers,
K :)

Blogger Micca said...

I don't know if tears are good for my key board or not, but they are flowing BIG TIME!

Loved the prayer post!

It's like watching God work right before our eyes!

I can't wait to see all He has planned for Aster and your family. Thank you for saying "yes."

much love,

Blogger Rachel B said...

It just goes to prove that God IS interested in every detail of our lives. He is soo good to us!

Aster is BEAUTIFUL, Renee! I am so excited about what God is doing in your family.


Oh, Renee!!!! I'm so happy for you. I love the journey of adoption. I just love it.

And I feel so honored that I was one of the few who got a sneak peek of those pics before they went public.

I love you friend!!!

Blogger Debbie said...

Oh, Renee, I have heard you speak of this desire to bring a child home from Ethiopia for so long...I also have tears on my cheeks with your amazing news. BUT GOD has called your name to be this child's mama. How awesome...

Blogger Chaos Cottage said...

Oh what a beautiful little girl. I did not recognize her in the first photo. How much she has changed and how chubby she has gotten. I know you cannot wait to get her home and love on all that chubbiness! I am so happy for your family. Our God is an awesome God!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

After meeting JJ and the boys we can totally see how God perfectly prepared your family is for Aster. We cannot wait to hear and see more! Ashley & Rob

Blogger Chef Diane said...

She is so beautiful Renee. Praise God for how healthy she has and will make her.
Thanking Him with you,

Blogger Oh Dear said...

She is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!

Blogger Mari said...

I am crying tears of joy for you. She is so beautiful and God is so good! Maybe she can make a cameo appearance at She Speaks next year so we can see/meet her in person! Congratulations again!

Blogger BE STILL GIRL said...

I am so excited for you and your family. Aster is so blessed to have you and I can't wait until you are able to get her and bring her home. Praying for you and rejoicing in God's goodness!

Blogger Julie Gillies said...

Oh Renee, Aster is absolutely beautiful! What a precious, precious face she has. I'll bet you cannot WAIT to go get her.

I LOVE the shower pics below this post. SO much to be thankful for!

"Lord, thank you for completely healing Aster of pneumonia. Make her lungs clear and healthy, and protect her while she waits for her mommy and daddy to come get her. In Jesus' name, Amen."

Blogger Lelia Chealey said...

OH Renee...How exciting! Now to put into writing what God already made official long before Aster was even born. She has always been a Swope in His eyes. May He bless her biological Mom as she gives up a part of her heart. How precious our God is to let you know that adopting an older girl wasn't in His plans for you today as Aster needs you now. And how precious your hearts to adapt to His Will and not yours. Love your example of Humble Willingness Renee. Something I've been working on. :)
Love you...and get that baby girl home before your Iowa conference! I'm working on getting there.

Blogger Amy L Brooke said...

She is beautiful. So glad to get to see pictures!

Blogger nms1 said...

That's not the kind of post that I should read sitting at my desk on a Monday morning....I just knew deep in my heart that I would open up the computer and there would be good news.

Congratulations - you truly never know what God has planned for you :-)

Anonymous Kristen said...

I met you at Camp Berea in NH last fall and I spoke with you about your Ethiopian adoption. I hadn't checked your site in many months but the Lord put in on my heart tonight! I was so delighted to hear your news! Your baby girl is PRECIOUS!!! Congratulations and praise God!

Blogger Nadia said...

From one adoptive momma to another,congratulations! What a beautiful little girl! : )

Blogger Runner Mom said...

Oh, Renee!! How awesome!! I am thrilled for you all!! Whoohoo--happy dance!!THose pics are amazing! God is sooo good! All of you continue to be in my prayers.

Love ya!

Blogger Wrinkled Shirts said...

Renee, thanks so much for sharing this with us. She is beautiful. I am so happy for you guys!
Paula G. <><

Anonymous Karen said...

Thank God, you and your family are so blessed with such a beautiful baby! I have enjoyed walking and praying through your journey to get Aster. Best wishes and prayers for you and your family!! I know you can hardly wait to get your hands on your new little gir

God Bless You

Anonymous Melanie said...

Yahoo!!!! I loved looking at the transformation in her pictures on your blog - and I think of how much more she'll transform with your love poured into her! Love Mel

Anonymous Erin said...


I wish that there was a way to make fireworks explode across this email or make a little person do cartwheels all the way across!

I'm so excited for you guys and for that sweet little punkin!!!

love you lots!

Blogger Leanne said...

Yay!! So happy for all of you!! Congratulations!!

Blessings! Leanne :)

Blogger B His Girl said...

Wow Renee! Thank you for sharing your blessing with us. I pray for the day she is with you and the boys. She is adorable. Thank you Jesus for choosing this family to care for Aster. B

Blogger Judith Hernandez said...

Congratulations Rene. She will be bring a lot more joy into your life and your family.

Blogger Hokie Grandma said...

Congratulations on your new little girl! I have 2 little (29 yrs old)girls and they are so very special. I found your blog by way of many others and will continue to follow your journey. I noticed your son wearing a VT jersey in the shower photos. Are you all Hokie fans of just him? Our daughters and son-in-laws are all graduates so we are huge fans. My name is also pronouced Renee but spelled Rena'. I will be praying for God to continue to bless your family.

Anonymous Esther said...

Aster is absolutely beautiful!
Such sweet blessings for you and your family :)
God bless you all!

Blogger Melinda said...

I know I am a little late here, but wanted to say Congratulations on Aster passing court. She is beautiful!!! Praying for a quick embassey date and that she will be in your arms real soon!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! You are blessed!
from, Sharon

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi renee. you might want to consider the following article written about another family who adopted from ethiopia. it highlights the challenges of adopting interracially.

Blogger Renee Swope said...

Dear Anonymous at 11:07 am, right before me. Oh my goodness, that article totally blessed my heart. We've been praying and thinking a lot about Aster's hair. We don't know what it will be like but we already decided we'd start budgeting for what she needs to feel beautiful and like she fits in with other girls. It's another way we can love our little girl.

Can't wait to share this with JJ, my husband. What a beautiful picture of a father's love!!!


Blogger Paula (SweetPea) said...

I guess I've been away from your parts here in blogland too long as I had no idea of the very upcoming adoption.

Yes, the first pic is the best. I do love to see the transformation of unhealthy girl to blossoming healthy girl.

She is a cutie for sure!!!
She's going to grow up to be beautiful like her mom! :-)

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