Monday, December 12, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
After marveling about his choice of words, and loving what comes out of his mouth sometimes I began to think about it more.
Do I have a party in my heart? I WANT a party in my heart.
I of course had to post his funny on FB, and my dear friend said he must have gotten it from me because she thinks of me with a party in my heart.
I have to be honest, I haven’t felt much like a party lately. The pain of leaving behind my family, friends and boys in Ethiopia has really taken it’s toll on me this time. I was afraid it would happen this way… I would go over and it would be harder this time than any other to come home and it has been. Not home to my family, but back here where things are……different.
So this morning as I pondered the partying heart I read this scripture, “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.--Psalm 28:7”
Sounds like a party in someone’s heart to me!
Think God’s trying to tell me something? Yeah me too… like stop being sad about leaving… start being happy about being there.
I began to envision my heart being so full of love both from and for so many people that how can it be anything but joyful and thankful? How many people GET to be loved by and love so many diverse people? My chosen family rocks! I GET to go to Ethiopia and love and be loved. I am privileged to have a heart that has been overrun with love for people here AND there.
It’s a privilege to have my heart broken for the children in Koreh, the students in Lafto, the momma’s with hiv and the children still waiting for families. This is national adoption month and on National Adoption day while others were here spreading awareness, I was WITH orphans, loving on them and praying over them and sharing with them how special they are…. What is sad about that?
It was a gift that my family here allowed me to leave them for a week because I missed my family there. That my husband held down the fort and said…”Go”
So today I chose to believe the ache that is in my heart as I yearn for those so far away, is really just an ache from it being stretched so far out of place because it’s so very very full.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Me and AM, my friend and driver...great guy!! Recommend him to anyone who is looking for someone to take them around. He knows where everything is, and speaks great English!
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Just got back from Ethiopia and am trying to re-acclimate!
Yep, I went to Ethiopia. Nope I don’t have boys with me.
The last couple of months had been an exercise in wait training yet again. We sent our Dossier to ET in July and are still waiting on paper work for the boys to get collected so that we can get submitted to court.
While waiting I was playing with airfare prices and times and came across a great rate at the beginning of November. I prayed, then asked family for an early Christmas present, and …. was rewarded.
So October 30, D drove me to DC to catch my flight to ET all by myself!
Seriously, I was scared to death…but SO SO stinkin excited!!!
Got off the plane greeted by my little brother AB, my friend and driver AM, as well as AB’s sister … it was a wonderful reunion!!! Off we went for our adventure week.
The boys were in school during the day so I had time to get things done during the day and then visit with each of them in the afternoons.
Turns out only 7 days in country isn’t enough…. I needed another 7.
I visited friends, played with babies, played Uno with my boys and AB and AM. That was the most fun game ever! Watching the 2 men I love like family, play with my boys and interact and enjoy themselves totally filled my heart. I think it also helped the boys to relax and enjoy themselves with me.
I also got some fun quality time with both boys just me. A is a lover. He is content sitting next to you holding your hand. He’s tiny and in 7th grade. He had some tests while I was there, and says he did well. He likes to color and do word searches. But likes to share the coloring as well. We spent a fun quiet afternoon coloring and chatting quietly.
B on the other hand, while sweet and loving is a mover. LOVES to play soccer, would rather not sit still and color for any length of time. So…I watched him play soccer. He’s really really good! Great little foot work! And he’s so stinkin cute! He kept looking up to see if I was watching, and would just grin. He’s gonna be a lady killer… and perhaps a professional soccer player!
I had so many firsts on this trip…Walking through the Merkato for 2 ½ hours with AB. It was a blast, never would have thought I would be able to do it… but I never had any fear. When we were there 5 yrs ago to get N we weren’t allowed out of the van, and told it was very dangerous. This time… I was alone with AB and had no issues. Even had a blast.
Then went to eat at local joints just me and the guys, or with AB’s wife and baby girl. Places where I was the only Ferengi.
Went to the Sheraton for the first time. It’s like going to another country, within Addis. Watched a band play with AM, and learned that old white drunk guys seem to be the same in any country. Had a great laugh at that.
Ate Kitfo for the first time. It's usually raw meat, and a luxury for them... mine was cooked!! And it was really yummy!
Laughed more this past week than I think I have in a whole year.
I visited my brother T at his new church and the Pastor N, who hugged me and wouldn't let go. Had coffee ceremony with them.
Had movie theater popcorn...with out the movie.
Learned that we aren’t a ton closer to getting our court date, but was able to talk to the lawyer for our agency and he noticed that there were somethings that needed to happen that had not. Praying that he’s going to now work a miracle and get these pieces together.
I have new family, expanded and strengthened in a way I could never have imagined.
Today my heart hurts.... is pulled in directions that I couldn't have foreseen before I left. But I am full to the brim with love, respect, and joy at all the ways God has blessed me.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
I don't post as often I guess because it would really just me whining and complaining because I REALLY want to be in Ethiopia... or have 2 little Ethiopians here with me. :)
I will spare you this time though.
News on the home front. We got a new dog. Did I tell you that? Didn't take long huh? Our Buddy dog really just is not a single dog kinda guy. He was laying around, not eating or drinking and wouldn't go outside. We were getting worried.
So we went to the SPCA and rescued the most laid back dog ever...lol He is part American Bulldog. HUGE head and snores like you would NOT believe. We have had to have him sleep down stairs because he keeps waking me up with it. :) He's so sweet though, and loving. Love him so much already.
Our boys are adjusting to school.
N has been having issues with getting used to being in a new place. We have already had the teacher ask for a conference. I then went on the Bryan Post site and watched a webinar about kids, defiance and fear. Oh my goodness... it's a concept I had heard some of, but listening to this conference was an eye opener.
It talks about kids with trauma back grounds who are defiant are scared. And the defiance comes from a place of fear. N is defiant in a way that is impulsive. I have written several times here that if there is a button he will push it, a line he will cross it and a rule he'll break it... but he's not doing it in an ugly way...it's like a testing. When listening to the fear being the driving force behind the defiance it was like a light bulb. :) So I am a little slow on the uptake. He had also been having issues on the bus with getting up and kids not liking to talk to him.
So, the next morning I sat with him and asked him if he were scared of school or the bus. The thing is that I knew he was nervous but actually asking him to verbalize it and then talk about the bus it was also like a light bulb for him.
We talked about the bus and how we can't stand up and why. He seemed to get it. So that very afternoon his bus driver made him stop before he got off the bus and said to him "You had an excellent day today, do that tomorrow" Huge accomplishment for him and confidence booster. YAY!
Then his weekly report from the teacher was also improved, and specifically said improved. Progress...just in acknowledging his fears and asking him how he might be able to help himself feel better about his fears. Still work to do, but on the right path.
He's also decided that he loves running. They have a running program at his school, apparently he chooses to run laps and gain miles instead of playing recess with the kids. Even when they 'tempt him' to play :) We will look into a track program for him I think... we shall see :)
Our Ethiopia Mission Team will be presenting tomorrow to the church. I am so looking forward to it! It's always so bittersweet to see the pics and talk about it... makes me miss it more. Praying about a visit trip at the beginning of November. There are some super cheap flights outta DC...anyone have an extra $1000 I could use? :) I would be forever grateful!!
Well, that's about all I have to say right now... hope your weekend is good.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
All is well. Just working through school beginnings and figuring out how to live the new schedule.
Z started his sophomore year in college and a new job at the same time. He's working for a mortgage company. And so far loving it.
S started her senior year... be still my heart. How did she become a senior already??!! Where does the time go? She is really focusing this year... better late than never I guess huh? Planning her extra curricular and tests that she will need to get into her college of choice, which happens to be close since it has a great PT program.
N started his new school, and so far I think he loves it. We have to get him on the bus at 7am since its a special school that draws from the whole city he has to ride it with kids from all over the place not just our zone. They have a contest in the school to see who can run the most miles. So far he has said he's run more than 10... not sure that accurate but then again... it very well could be!! He said last night that even tho the kids tempt him to play during the recess time he just continues to run. That's my sweet little Ethiopian!! Perhaps he will be a marathoner? :)
E started 1st grade! He has the least amount of change. Same school same hours :) He's loving it too and has some friends from last year in his class. It's so fun to see him come home confident and happy with life.
We still have no word on the boys about court. Apparently B's paperwork is ready, A's is still being collected. I guess there are 2 documents they haven't been able to get. But the word is that they can't be submitted to court while it's closed so this is a little reprieve I guess. They have the time to look for it. Although they are running out of time and it will be opening in a few short weeks.
We have been able to send them some care packages and have another one on the way today. We sure don't want them to think we forgot them. I hate it for A who was having such a hard time about not having a family. :( I don't want him to be sad any more. And I miss B's light and bright smile!!!
I am having MAJOR Ethiopia withdrawls this week. Could be because my friend is heading over with a bunch of stuff for me and I can't go. :( I have been seriously trying to work something out to get over there... but haven't been able to make anything work. Even if just to visit the boys and let them know we love them and miss them. There are some great air fees at the beginning of November. I am praying about that. Depends on when our court date is set. Pray with me?
We are presenting our Ethiopia Mission recap next Sunday and planning yet another trip over... I can't stand it. It will be so much fun to get back there. Probably late next year.... wanna come? :)
I will leave you with pics of the first day of school... well except for Z. He missed out. ;)
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
This fundraiser is a win win!
Check out the info below, and if you put our names in the donation line we are in the pile to possibly receive some funds to help with our travel expenses.
THE CURRENT PROJECT: raise $20k for a 4 wheel drive vehicle, that will save mother's lives, and prevent further orphans from entering the world.
THE BENEFIT FOR ADOPTIVE FAMILIES: If you or anyone you know donates $20 for this cause, you will be entered to be gifted 25% of what we raise thru this initiative, up to $10,000. You could be given up to $2,500 toward your adoption!
if we reach the $10k mark, the rules change a little bit for the remainder of funds... for every $1k we raise, you will be entered to be gifted 50%! if we make our goal of $20k, that is 10 families who could be given $500 toward their adoption!
That is 11 chances to win!!!
WHAT IF I AM NOT ADOPTING? CAN I STILL GIVE? absolutely! if you are not adopting but know someone who is, you can donate the $20 in their name, and they will be entered for the $ gift. if you don't know anyone who is adopting that is fine too, you can still donate toward the ambulance!
FUTURE PLANS: we at BEMM are all about helping mamas. there are women, in ethiopia who need our help all the time. if this campaign is successful, we will do adoption $$ give aways on a regular basis!!!
CONCLUSION: the more $$$ raised, the more $$$ going toward the ambulance, and the more $$$ going toward bringing home a current orphan! it is a win/win for everyone!!!
spread the word! tell your family, friends, co-workers, teachers, barrista, whoever! you only have one more week to enter!!!!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Yesterday we here in the good old state of VA, had an earthquake…that we felt! It was the oddest thing! I know all you folks on the West Coast are saying it was merely a tremor but it’s not something we ever feel here! I have lived here almost my whole life and haven’t ever felt one.
I now also know why people die in buildings during them because if you haven’t felt one, you have no idea what’s happening. I was sitting at my desk thinking I was getting dizzy, then my walls started shaking, then the guy in the office next to me let out and expletive wondering what was happening, then we were all standing around looking at each other trying to grasp the fact that the world was indeed moving under our feet!
Because my job requires me to monitor twitter, I had tweet deck up on my computer and was watching people in Richmond, New York and places all over the East Coast talk about having an earthquake. I think that was scarier than actual quake because it seemed so wide spread that people so far north and south would feel it. It was one of those surreal moments when I thought perhaps the rapture had happened and there I was still standing… oh man!
It ended up being a 5.9 on the scale… which seems like it would have caused more damage. But there was nothing even really out of place in our area.
Several people stated they were watching the news about the hurricane that’s barreling towards our area and they felt the tremor…talk about a surreal situation!
Irene, the hurricane, is slated to come on land just South of where we live as a Cat 3 storm. That’s kinda worrisome. But those storms have a mind of their own it seems, so we shall see… the best case scenario would be that she would bring the rains needed to put out the huge swamp fire that’s about 20 miles from us and causing air quality to really be awful on some days.
Fires… Earthquakes…Hurricanes… oh my!
There is still no real word on our case in ET. The big picture is that all dossiers have been translated and ready for submission or have been submitted to court. The individual news is still nada.
I guess with courts closed no news is to be expected.
This is another of those lessons in God’s timing. My dear sweet helpful husband is fond of saying things like “It’s in His hands” “It’s in His timing” “You can’t rush God”…. Yeah thanks honey… helpful. Really. I usually do something really adult and stick my tongue out at him or stomp my foot.
GOOD NEWS is that I am traveling tomorrow morning to finally meet for the first time in person my dear friend Cindy!! We met almost 5 yrs ago online while going through our first adoptions. We have been online, text, FB, phone call friends ever since and tomorrow I am flying to Wisconsin to meet her and her family and hang out. So yes I will be leaving my family to dodge the hurricane without me….well who knew?!
So... that's life as I know it for now. Be back Tuesday to share about the weekend and hopefully some real news! :)
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
We learned about faith, patience, joy, humor, and hiv about g-tubes and medicine and trusting God.
When we first saw his little face on the DVD we were taken with his tiny little self and funny little shoulder shrug (not so funny when we got home and realized what it means). Nothing could have prepared us for the wonderful little guy he is now.
E-man loves him some daddy! Thinks daddy hung the moon… He’s taken to randomly just saying “I love you daddy” He’s always repeated I love you when it’s said to him, but now he randomly and frequently says it to daddy. He still wants to work with daddy when he grows up and still wants to be with him when he’s home. I often wonder if he would be the same if still in Ethiopia? Would he be a daddy’s boy there too?
He has also found himself a new hero. The same one as me, and didn’t even tell him!! He has found that he thinks pap pap created the moon. :) It’s been a joy to see how he reacts to my grandfather when he’s around. He wants to be next to pap pap. When getting food, he wants what pap pap has, when doing almost anything when Pap pap is around it must be the same. I can’t tell you what that does to my heart since I pretty much feel the same way. Yesterday he was playing outside with some airplanes he’d gotten from Pap pap and was telling his friend where he’d gotten them and who from. He repeated it a couple of times just to get the point across that it was important stuff!!!
He’s fun and funny and stubborn and indecisive and creative and just a cool kid!
He LOVES Legos and can build almost anything from scratch.
His new thing is to do headstands, but with his feet tucked in, or legs bent and odd angles…. all those things that require MAJOR core strength. It always seems like a miracle to me to see him do things like that. Thinking of the day we met him and wondering what he would be able to do with himself as he grew? We had so many “if’s”… yet he’s surpassed everything we wondered.
He starts 1st grade in a couple of weeks and I can hardly believe it. His fear right now is that he can’t read. We’ve tried to tell him that he will learn. But he’s concerned, so we work on that with him.
He loves to play, he would rather do something creative or be outside than on electronics…almost the opposite of N. :)
His lab numbers are all good, and in fact at this past ID appointment they didn’t even draw labs because they felt he was doing so well they didn’t need to. The funny thing is that this time most of the people in the office were commenting on his growth and how amazing he looks and is doing. I just smile and say a quick praise to God.
Psalm 68:5 He sets the lonely in families…
My little E that wasn’t the favorite, wasn’t the cutest, wasn’t the best liked, was teased because of his molescum and waited more than 2 yrs in an orphanage has blossomed, grown and now shines! He’s the favorite of most of his teachers and is loved by everyone. He’s even won over my brother who wasn’t ever going to have anything to do with him because of his hiv.
I LOVE how God works, I LOVE that he gave us E, I LOVE that we were given this opportunity…and most of all I LOVE my E.
P.S. No news on the adoption front…apparently my agency isn’t giving anyone any word…so not sure what’s going on? Prayers would be appreciated!!!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
These last few days have been incredibly hard. It's hard to fathom the pain of losing a loved one. The thing about dogs are that they are unconditional in their love for their people. People often liken the love of dogs to that of God....lol Not to be all sacrilegious or anything. But I think it's true.
Gabe was a lover. He wanted to be with his people. If he was sleeping in a room with you, and you moved, he moved with you. He loved sitting on the couch. Yes, he backed himself up and sat with you on the couch. People who came over and witnessed that were always surprised.
He loved popcorn and his Kong toys, they were the only ones that wouldn't disintegrate in his giant mouth.
He was always there to meet you at the door, and would follow you around until you settled.
God loves us the same... only like 1000x more. He's a lover. He wants to be with his people. He wants to be part of every part of your life, even sitting on the couch with you. He wants you to notice him and enjoy being in his presence, just like he enjoys being in yours.
I don't have a clue if God likes popcorn, and I am pretty sure he doesn't need a Kong...LOL
I was feeling especially sad yesterday afternoon and I got an email from my friend T in Ethiopia, telling me about his graduation from college. He was so excited about his accomplishment, and at the same time I was listening to the song by Meredith Andrews called What it Means to Love, a song that speaks to my heart about what I have seen in Ethiopia.
It was a moment that God used to remind me that He wasn't gone. That He knew I was hurting and that He still has a plan.
I didn't think He had changed it, but I felt so off kilter from Gabe's passing. That sudden loss and sense of the rug being pulled out from under you can mess with your head... or maybe just mine.
I will miss my big love forever, but it doesn't diminish the fact that I still think my God is amazing and awesome and can still move mountains.
Monday, August 8, 2011
This post won't be adoption related....it will mostly be me just being sad. Just a forewarning.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
As I broke the news that there were 2 more on the way AND that they were both around 11 yrs of age, I got the usual response, ‘YOU’RE CRAZY’ (yes she pretty much yelled it)
Now this response doesn’t really bother me, perhaps a little annoyance pops up every once in a while when we hear that, but for the most part it’s not a big deal. I get it, MOST people nowadays have 2.5 children, a dog and a white picket fence right?
Honestly 5 years ago, I WAS that person. I had 2 kids, 2 dogs, and a house with a picket (not white) fence. I was perfectly happy with life as we knew it. Our kids were almost teens and we were relatively, comfortably, living. We were not honestly thinking about building our family.
God had other plans.
This plan can only have been from God.
Some people don’t agree with our adopting again. There’s old standard, “How will you pay for college for the other kids?” “How will S afford to go to college?” “You are ruining S’s life by adding another child and taking her chances at a good school, and giving her a forever school debt”
I find myself over correcting and stressing about the behavior of my children with our families trying to make them and us something that we aren’t …and end up looking like a stress ball…because I want to be the ‘perfect’ parent so that our family will stop judging. (This one is backfiring on me since I end up looking like a stress ball …not a great fashion statement) I work on this one daily.
Perhaps we are crazy?
Maybe what we are doing is going to cause S to have debt. Maybe the boys won’t go to college? Maybe adding to the family will mess with our finances? Perhaps things will be really really hard?
Or… maybe in the stress, and hard, and debt, and lack of college (Hey my parents…the biggest college complainers, didn’t send ME to college) will be growing experiences?!
Perhaps the 2 new boys will enrich our lives in ways we never could have imagined just like our other 2 sons?
Perhaps we will grow more, see more, feel more, love more?
So, call me crazy if you want to… I am crazy about God and this is His idea, so I think I will consider it a compliment. :)
Thursday, July 28, 2011
We are SO excited! Seriously it’s so much fun to be able to say that we have a referral for real. Although there was never really a chance that they would be someone else’s once we committed to the agency that we wanted them.
It’s one of the things I really like about our agency. They aren’t lenient by any stretch, but if a family commits verbally and begins paperwork for a child specifically they do not encourage other families to pursue them. We had originally asked about one boy, but he had a family already working hard to get their paperwork together for him specifically. I can totally respect that and appreciate it. And can see how God orchestrated the plan so that we would be able to accept one of the other boys. He’s so cool!
So now we wait. Our Dossier should be in Addis now.
My prayer is that the translators are QUICK! And that we are able to get the paperwork to court before it closes. I do not anticipate getting a court date before they open again in September, but sure would LOVE it if they did…lol I guess it’s a possibility that they will still assign dates while they are closed …for when they open again, but I am not holding my breath.
We got a wonderful surprise in the mail the other day. B sent us all individual letters. What a sweet sweet gift! He’s so stinkin cute! We are putting together a small package to send with a family that is travelling in August. Sure wish it were us!
Cool side note, one of the women that came on the mission trip with us was able to meet her 2 sweet boys while there. She was expecting a fall court date, but left YESTERDAY to go to court for one of the boys. The other has a more complicated case, but God is taking care of that too.
Our boys at home keep asking about our boys in Ethiopia, when they are coming home…what they might be like. Last night we were headed out for some ice cream with the littles and my oldest, Z. Z was being silly and N says “Z is the weirdest brother ever…… but I guess I might not be able to say that for long. B or A might be more weird.” SO cute!!
Oh I am missing them something fierce… and so many others in Ethiopia. In a separate post I will be sharing a bit about what our church’s ministry is doing and what is coming next…can you say…another trip?! ;)
Friday, July 22, 2011
There is a sweet little girl named Teri Lynn... seriously, how precious is that name?!
My friend Adeye has worked to raise money for her adoption, and the Lord has provided in a HUGE HUGE way... what's missing is her family.
You cannot look at her pictures and NOT want to go scoop her up. I cannot fathom the sadness that must permeate the place where she is now.
Please pray for Teri Lynn... and more importantly pray that her family finds her. I know they are out there somewhere....
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The ministry focus is shoes for the children of Korah that go to the church we partner with.
We got some money out to give the boys to take in to help buy shoes. Then asked them to go to their piggy banks and get some of their own money. So they did. Got them out, dumped them and headed for the coins.
I sat down and explained the situation again. Telling them that each pair of shoes was 8.00. Daddy and I had given them each 10.00 so since they each had at least 6.00, together that would make 16.00 and therefore buy 2 pairs of shoes each!
N looked at me and the .60 in his hand and said “I don’t want to give 6.00, I want to give .60.”
Insert whooshing sound of wind blowing out of my sails.
I instantly felt like a failure. I tried the whole kids without shoes thing…trying not to make him feel badly about his country or take ownership for it…but to get him to see outside of himself. He didn’t want to budge.
E then poured his bank out and since his birthday was recently he had more money. N was over in a shot with his money and encouraging E to give ALL his money. Stinker…lol
I explained the whole extra 6.00 thing and asked him what he wanted to do. He handed it right to me.
So, the boys both gave 6.00 to the shoe fund to buy 4 pairs of shoes.
On the way to work I began to think of the morning and the total sermon demonstration that it was!
Geez how often are we the same way? How often do we do the exact same thing? I mean we were only giving 10.00 per kid today. Not even close to the sacrifice that it was for my boys to give up 6.00 of their own money.
I called D and told him about the morning… then said I think we need to work more on the giving aspect of life. I think we missed a step somewhere? Although my kids have come from a place of need, we so need to show them that there is always enough, and we must still share from that need. But man is it a lesson we have to learn ourselves!!!
So… N gave me a lesson in giving this morning. Thanks babe!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
It's always fun to talk with them, and to share because then we get on these great tangent's about what we can do, and where this ministry can go and how big it can get. But they are guys...and they have a different brain....lol so I need another chick to help me reign all that testosterone in... but I digress.
So we were sharing our trip, mostly about the guys in Korah that we love so much, since that's where we plan to focus our ministry. While we were talking T shared about his realization that the men who run the church, are the least of these...helping the least of these.
These 9 men share responsibility. They each have their own ministry focus. The do what they call "Distribution of Duties" and each has his own place to minister. There's a children's minister who knows all the kids and knows where they live and which need the shoes the most and who can wait a minute. (None of them can really wait)
There's a women's minister, men's minister, an HIV+ minister...each had a binder with the people they minister to and knows the needs of each.
You know what's more amazing?! Until the last month or so they had no outside monetary support. These guys don't have jobs...they can't...they are in full time ministry! So they supported their families by living and working in the dump. They now have sponsors...I don't know if it's enough to sustain them, but it's something!
Seriously?! Guys who could have left, could have gone to get jobs and live 'comfortably' chose to stay and minister in the leper colony.
While we were sharing and brainstorming over lunch, we had this crazy idea to see if we might get 1 or 2 of them over here so that we can have them share their stories in person. To help gain support for them and to have people come on board with us to help support them.
Then we thought of our church…as generous as they are… in comparison to their church, and thought perhaps we shouldn’t bring them.
We love our church, we really do! But it’s almost embarrassing to see the wealth and splendor in it…and think of them. We are spoiled and over-indulgent and grossly greedy with our time and money.
I was in a meeting last night with someone who was speaking of the feelings of a ‘generous patron’ being hurt because they couldn’t vote on something because he wasn’t on the board.
I am guilty too… I have not sold everything so that I could live with them. I haven’t given up my cell phone or cable tv or internet. My kids have a Nintendo Wii and we can eat out at restaurants …not nightly but more than we should. We are RICH by comparison and it’s embarrassing to say I don’t give more of my time and money.
So… do I think we should all become poor so that we all need help? It would seem that way wouldn’t it? I believe that God blesses some so that they can be a blessing. I believe we can all do more. I believe we can all skip a meal or 2, have less stuff and share more.
It’s such a tough spot to see what I have seen and to know what I know… and not want something to change.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
We are currently waiting for our Dossier to get into the country.
Our fingerprints were done on June 3.
The new cool thing about working with USCIS is that you can email them...and even call them and they RESPOND! ok so it's not new to alot of you, but when we adopted N there was no way to contact them easily.
So about a week after our prints were done I emailed them to see if we had a worker and to see if it were moving. The answer was nope, but you are in line.
Ok then, I called on the 15th of June and asked the same question, I left a VM with our case worker that had been assigned. I went to lunch and came back to an email from this worker that we were being sent a letter of intent to deny.
As it turns out a past indiscretion of my husband's wasn't noted so they thought we had lied.
The state of VA says that you cannot put in a Home Study past issues if they aren't barrier crimes so it wasn't even noted. It just said there wasn't anything to keep us from being able to adopt. Which is technically true...but USCIS gets FBI prints that show a little somethin and it looks like we didn't tell them about it.
I called our HS agency told them about the issue...and explained I was LEAVING IN 2 DAYS! and that this needed to be fixed immediately because I was supposed to meet my sons and if this wasn't fixed they may not get to be my sons! ok...yes I was a bit in panic. ;)
They were great, they had their paperwork, I went to the courthouse to get the paperwork USCIS wanted and was able to Fed Ex it all out on the 16th to USCIS to arrive on Friday the 17th!
When I am a woman on a mission ...get out of the way!
Our approval letter was to us by the following Friday! The very day the boys were brought together to be told that not only did they have a family, that they were going to be brothers and that Mom, S and I were there and would be there to meet them in the next several days! Ain't God cool?!
We are waiting for the Washington approval, signage stuff and then it's on to Ethiopia.
So... now we wait.
We may be able to get a court date before the end of the year...PRAY and then we pray we have them home before Feb since that's A's birth month.
Pray with us that I don't forget it's in His hands. So far while I REALLY want them home, I haven't been obnoxious about the timeframe. ;) I know it will happen when it's supposed to.... My true prayer is that they are HOME before the end of the year... He's a BIG God, right? He can move that mountain right?!
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
We are back from our mission trip, we arrived in the afternoon of July 1, after that very long and tiring flight from Addis.
I have been trying to get back into life here and as I have said a couple of times, figure out how to navigate life here with only half my heart.
This trip was special, in that we were able to reconnect with people and make some amazing new connections and of course meet our new son’s.
First to tell you about the trip: We arrived in Addis the morning of June 19th to beautiful sunny skies. We met our drivers and went straight over to Korah for their church service. What a joy to start the trip worshipping with some of God’s favorite people!
We rested during the afternoon, separated items to go with us to Nekemte and Gimbie and then went to bed again as we had a very early morning and LONG ride ahead of us.
The trip to Nekemte isn’t for the faint at heart that’s for sure! The first 2 hours or so to a little town called Ambo are beautiful and paved…then… comes the unpaved. So for 6 or so hours it was a very bumpy ride! Gorgeous scenery though so it was kinda worth it…lol
In Nekemte we had a wonderful little hotel, with great staff. We gave our little waiter guy a run for his money…literally the dude RAN everywhere! But as you leave Addis and travel to outer cities you find that menus, like road signs, are merely suggestions. We were amused at the amount of items not available but the items that were. So fun.
We worked on the orphanage there by painting the courtyard fence, the nannie’s room, and the bathroom. We had the kitchen repaired, hung curtains and cleaned up. It was a great time.
Then on to Gimbie where the menus really are a waste of printing…lol but fun to try to figure out what we might be able to eat. Here is where one of our team members got to meet her son’s for the first time and we were able to meet a wonderful woman named Monica that has been a volunteer here for more than 2 years. What a witness!
We found our team’s core here in Gimbie when we ran into a crisis of faith that allowed us to truly turn to and trust God. He is always faithful!
We returned to Addis a day early… and I contracted my first bout of travelers belly… ugh!!! Thank you god for Cipro and Phenergan!
In Addis we were able to visit Korah and our friends back at Mesenge Church. These guys are truly amazing! Nine leaders that distribute their responsibilities and help to lift each other up. Truly an inspiration! We were able to buy teff flour, coal, sugar, salt, soap and other items as well as buy real sturdy shoes for 50 of the orphans of the church. These are some of my favorite people ever!!!
We went back several times to help with some other projects including help with fixing the walls of the gym for the men. Seriously these guys have made weights out of car parts and rigged up a lat machine and are using this area as a ministry to the men of the community. They know that the men need extra encouragement and this is a way for them to work on frustration as well as their spirits. LOVE it!
We took a little trip out to Adama to visit our friend Tezera and the kiddos there, as well as see the new orphanage there… oh my word! Talk about dreaming big! God is amazing!
We fell in love with our driver Agegnehu (Again-yo) we had a boys van and girls van. Agegnehu got stuck with the girls, but I don’t think he minded. He was great fun and such a fun sense of humor.
And in the midst of all of this …. I met my boys!!!!
What a precious day!
We arrived at Layla… a little late as we were on other people’s time :)
B was in his room and one of the kids ran to get him. He came around the corner took a look at mom, S and I and made a bee-line for me. And just wrapped his arms around me! Oh be-still my heart! He is so happy and joyful, and LOVES electronics! He knew how to work all the camera’s and my iPod and S’s ipod Touch :)
We were waiting for A to arrive so he showed us around the compound. He is obviously well loved by the nannies!
Then as we were walking in came A! Again right into my arms… sweet sweet little soul. Man the difference in personality. A is just quiet and sweet and shy and sad. Leaving him was the hardest part! S was really broken over leaving him. The SW even said, B is the light of the orphanage, many will miss him, A is ready to leave!
They have so many similarities to N and E it’s amazing! LOVE how God does that!!!
Only really bummer part of the trip was that I lost ALL the pics I took. Here’s my PSA of the year, if you have a SD Disc in your camera, DO NOT FORMAT it! Ok if you are saying Duh to me right now …just zip it. :P
Friday, June 3, 2011
This has been truly disturbing him since he found out he would be going there. We have had many conversations about it, and how he's had to say so many good byes...and how in some cases he didn't get to.
So Wednesday morning he looks at me with a lone tear rolling down his cheek and says, "Momma, I still have hundreds of people to say good bye to, what if I don't get to them all?" I hugged him and said, that it really wasn't good bye, just see ya later because E was still going to the home school and he would see the kids.
The blessing was that we were able to go to a walk through, just for the kids, of the new school that very same night. He was very nervous. He was quiet and reserved (this is how you know he's nervous...cause he's NEVER quiet and reserved). We walked into the school and upon signing in were informed that a young lady from his class was going to be coming to the school as well, and would be on that very tour that night. Thank you GOD for small blessings. He perked right up...could have been the blue lollipop as well. ;)
So as we are waiting for said little girl I recognize the name... I ask him "I? The same I from your class? The I you were 'going out with'?? ...tee hee hee my boy the Romeo. He rolls his eyes and says "Yes mom. But I dumped her... but it was ok because she wanted to dump me any way" Insert mom eye roll.
So she shows up and they are so very happy to see each other. the tour was great, the tour guide was excellent in sharing what the kids needed to hear to get excited. So the N on the way home was a different kid. He's excited and working hard on getting through those 100 good byes.
So that brings me to the time line:
Today was USCIS fingerprint day!!! YAY! Can't tell you how goofy it is to be so very excited about getting finger prints done. :)
But then I spoke to our agency that said that at this point unless we are able to get our Dossier into ET before the beginning of July then it's not probable that the boys would be home before the end of the year.
Ok this is where I need you all.... I need your prayers! I need us to all stand together and pray that the Lord not make my boys...or any of the other children for that matter wait any longer than need be to come home!!! NEXT YEAR?!
So pray with me folks, that the Lord touch those that need to be touched so that the paperwork is done well and done quickly and that we are able to move through the system in a manner that brings our boys home. PLEASE?! Thank you!! :)
Friday, May 27, 2011
Recently we were given the opportunity to see miracles happen in our boys….ok these miracles could be construed as a braggin momma post…just a forewarning…
First miracle: My N.
He was relinquished to an orphanage at the age of 2 yrs old. He didn’t live in the best circumstances and had been rather ill. We brought him home at about 2 ½ yrs old. He learned a new language, had to endure the trauma of separation and then adjust to a new life…he was then overcome with grief at the arrival of a new little brother with terrible medical issues. He’s had a less than optimal start.
The miracle is his brain…it’s exceptional! His little brain is always working, always moving, always ahead of everyone else…and sometimes himself. It’s a struggle a lot of the time because it tends to make him impulsive and he forgets to think things through as his brain is always about 5 steps ahead.
Our school district has schools that are designated for children with ‘gifted’ brains. There is much testing and parent and teacher input to be able to be approved to go to this school. Guess who got accepted??!!
Yep! Our N! It will allow him to be in a school with other children that understand how his brain works…and teachers that like those brains and can help them reach potential! We are so excited for him. Trauma could not hold him back… he has defeated so many odds and is flourishing, growing, maturing, accepting, and becoming all that God intends!
Our next miracle is E.
Now he’s a living medical miracle all by himself. Seriously, if we hadn’t been able to get him here, he would be hanging with Jesus right about now. But that’s not the miracle I am referring to here.
When E was in the hospital in ET, he was in a coma; we were told that the type of illness he was experiencing could cause cognitive and other mental delays. There was no way to tell. I will admit to being scared of what that entailed. It wasn’t a deterrent, but when you are given news you aren’t prepared for, you gotta adjust. ;)
He has had a tough time learning to speak and has had some learning comprehension issues. He’s one smart cookie, but there are some places where his brain doesn’t seem to make a connection. He knows what he wants to say or do but recognizing letters and numbers has been a struggle for him.
This year he was accepted into an all day kindergarten program and speech therapy.
The miracle is that the other day as I sat with him to do his homework, I watched him think of, spell out and then write for himself 3 sentences that included his spelling words!!! THEN completed a math worksheet that included addition problems!!! At the beginning of the year he was still having issues comprehending most letters and couldn’t count past 11…and usually got stuck on 8.
Seriously, when you do all the pre-adoption training there is a ton of emphasis on brain development and how it’s damaged or altered because of less than optimal circumstances. And we have seen some of that…but the miracle is that we have seen the incredible gift of healing as well. The healing of bodies, and hearts and minds!
My children are miracles…and I am blessed every day that God chose us to parent them!
Monday, May 23, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Watching what He is doing in our lives has me up early this Saturday morning because my brain is just flying with thoughts of joy and blessing.
It's funny how when you can see the blessing and the ways God is working in your life, all those things that would normally bring you down or make you sad no longer have the same effect. There are still rough patches and hard places here, there are still misbehaving children, and grumpy people around...and yet the light of the Lord is shining so much brighter.
Last night (Friday) we had our last big fundraiser for our mission trip. It was a rap concert at our church. There is a local group that offered to come out and play for us. Rap isn't usually my thing...secular rap isn't something I choose to listen to, however these guys are a Christian group (good thing since they were singing in our church huh?) We sent out flyer's and requests, put it on the radio and talked up all over FB and Twitter.
We were asking for a suggested 5.00 donation at the door and were planning to do a love offering for them during the show.
At 7pm we had the first 5 pews of the church ...middle section... full. It was supposed to start at 7pm. There was no one there.....
My partner who set this fundraiser up, was freaking out. We were looking at about $100 for us and feeling really awful that the band wouldn't be feeling a ton of love. At 715 we decided that we would just pray with them... OH MAN WHAT A PRAYER!... and then start about 730. I think we were hoping a bus full of angels would appear. ;)
The funny thing is that through it all I was calm... I know that God will provide all that we need, I knew He would show up. I felt His hand on this. I was feeling badly for the bands that had come out and spent their time...but knew God would bless them too.
The first act was a mime/dance group... GOOD stuff! Then we played an amazing video made of our pics from the last trip and I shared what we were doing...then another 2 guys got up to sing... also great stuff.. I am still singing "Do Something" :)
Last was our headliner group, Raiderz of the Lost, 2 brothers rapping for Jesus. Their biggest concern other than sharing Jesus is that you understand them. :) We could and they did!
Not only did they share Jesus they took a love offering for US. They didn't want the money they wanted to raise the money for us, they wanted to share Jesus and the love of God with US. And man did they ask well!!! :) God annointed the night, annointed their asking and we made over $900 in that evening with just our small group of people!
Do you love God?! Yeah me too...
Thursday, May 5, 2011
--1 Chronicles 16:24
What does that mean? The Mountain of S?
Well my S...my baby girl has had the hardest time with our adoptions from the beginning. She was the baby of the family, and for all intents and purposes an only child because Z lived with his father.
So the addition of another child, much younger, and in need of so much attention really rocked her world. She loved him eventually...but she felt...replaced.
Then came E-man. She wasn't vocal about her concern, but she wasn't pleased that we were adopting again. Especially after we got home and our world was turned upside down with his medical needs and all the issues. That first 8 months or so were a kicker for ALL of us.
We have had many a conversation about it. Talking through her hurts and her sadness. We relied on her alot to help care for the boys in the beginning which didn't help ease her resentment.
But as things have settled. The boys have found their places in the family, we have found our places together, and we have eased her responsibility considerably when it comes to them. Life has become ...well... good again. She is in love with the boys and they love her. She posted on FB the other day how great it was to come home to her brothers shouting her name in excitement just because she's home.
The other night she and I were out together and were discussing our new boys. She said to me, "Mom, I am really pretty excited about this adoption. I really just can't wait to have them home!" If I weren't driving I may have fallen over. She went on to say that she had told a friend that as well...and the friend was also very surprised.
She is coming with me on this mission trip, where we pray we will have the opportunity to visit with the boys... and she's so very excited for it all.
This is HUGE!
God has worked this adoption in such amazing ways...some that would seem small to others...but so very huge in the scheme of life.
God is SO cool!!! :)
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
This past week we have been working with our local police station to get a clearance letter for hubs. He has a checkered past...nothing that would preclude us from adopting (ya know since God used us to change that law ;) ) ...but we needed a police clearance. At first we were told no, then we were told we could get a modified version which wouldn't have been acceptable. D was ready to just take it as it was... and I said, "No way! We have 2 boys that need us. We have 2 boys that need us to fight for them, and I am not settling on what these people don't understand."
We asked friends for prayer and specifically for Lieutenant W, as he was the guy that had the ability to do it or not. He had no clue how many people were praying for him specifically. ;)
This morning I got the email from him that it was done and would be waiting for us at the station!!!!
Yep! He still moves mountains!!!
We have been raising money for the mission team which has been a teeter totter in and of itself as well. We have our last fundraiser this weekend and we are going to be at goal! All $21000 will have been raised...and I believe we will be over our goal. To quote a friend of mine "Ain't God Good?!"
God is honoring our fight for our boys. He is honoring our efforts. We keep trusting Him and He keeps coming through. Oh I wish you could see their faces. :) I wish you could be with me to meet them in June...praying that it's in God's plan that we are able to do so... I believe He will move the mountain that will prevent that! :)
How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them.
What mountains can we pray to be moved in your life?
Friday, April 29, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
God has provided the funds to rent the house but she needs to be able to sustain it.
She has some amazing Haitian items to give for your donations.
Please go check it out!!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Our Home Study has taken forever! Mostly format and information issues. Our SW is very sweet, and we love her, but she's not been informed of some of the changes that need to take place and information that needs to go into a home study that meets Hague requirements.
Then our agency has also been very busy and they both work part time...so it was like a perfect storm of events to make this HS last for 3 months!
It is finally for real complete and ready to go to USCIS. Mailing it tomorrow!!!
It also means we were able to see the files on the boys that we would like to make our own. I was SOOOO excited to get those files, it was like getting a referral! :) Erin emailed me first, knowing that I was waiting. We were able to see the file of A who is the older of the 2. I tell you what, if other's had seen his file before they would have snatched him up in a heart beat... and while I hate that he's still waiting after all this time, I am grateful that we will be able to be the one's to parent him.
Then came B's file. In love yet again!
We didn't think there would be anything in either file that would make us run screaming.... and there wasn't. It was just a confirmation that we were going to be their parents.
So this morning I emailed and was able to tell the agency that we would like to commit to these boys. The next step is that we must complete the Dossier paperwork.
When they have the Dossier we can finally be officially committed to the boys, but at this point we are the family on their files. :) YAY!!!
I was so very excited yesterday... I was texting my friend 'YAY' all day long... :) I know I am a dork. I felt like I was pregnant, and wanted to shout it from the roof tops...but couldn't here at work. :) SO I shouted in text. :)
I know there's a ton of waiting to do now, and everything is mostly out of my hands. But I am so very excited that we will be parents again!
Monday, April 18, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Yes there's an owie... his face and the sidewalk had a fight, the sidewalk won... dern concrete
Doesn't he look so grown?!
Look Ma no hands...
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Then I paused.
I long for a leper colony in Ethiopia?
How did I get here???
Most people do not understand that longing, most people kind of get a glazed over look as I excitedly talk about our upcoming trip.
How did I get here??
I have never been decidedly selfless... :) Just read my last post. I have never been one to really like the uncomfortable. I don't like 'rustic'. I camped as a girl scout when I was little and hated every minute of it! I hated the out houses and the stink and the sleeping on the floor. Yet I long for a place that has no toilet, a place that has sewage in the streets, a place with of 100,000 people and only a handful of spots with running water.
I have one of 'those' noses, I smell every little weird smell, and can't stand most perfumes. Yet the smell of diesel, dust and spice that is the unique smell of Ethiopia is a most beautiful smell to me.
How did I get here???
As a baby Christian mission work and Africa were the scariest ideas to me. It's now the longing of my heart. If God were to make a way, we would already have packed our things and moved to this most amazing beautiful country.
How did I get here?... God. He shined the light on the path and I followed it. Thank you God for light that path!
If you would like to help us on our mission journey in June here is a link to our blog http://ethiopiateam2011.wordpress.com/. Perhaps you are only able to pray...that's ok!! Could ya add prayers for provision? :)
Monday, April 11, 2011
The cool thing is that it's been a really good lesson ...in some painful ways and in some really cool ways.
He's shown me that life is short and I don't have time to get my panties in a bunch over small inane things. I don't have time to be selfish and self-centered. And it's prideful to think that that my feelings are more important than someone else's.
He's shown me that my attitude is the only one I can control and it's not ever going to change. I can either choose to be happy or choose to be upset. I can choose to feel blessed or I can choose to see that life is still not what I would want.
He's shown me that my mission field does not only include those that I love in Ethiopia, but also those in my own home and in my circle of friends.
He's shown me that I can either get upset when other people don't live up to my expectations or I can realize that there ain't nobody perfect...and least of all me. Time to cut some people some slack.
He's allowing me to be 'ok' with the issues that keep cropping up with our adoption plan... I was initially upset with a recent set back...but have learned enough to know that it gets me no where to be mad ...just have to press on and give some grace.
He's shown me renewed joy in my children and in my life.
He's given me friends who share my heart, know my heart and get the things that break mine.
It's not about me....It's about Him. He loves me just the way I am ....but refuses to leave me this way... He love you too ya know. :)
Monday, April 4, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
So how do you deal with that? Not everyone understands adoption, not everyone is supportive of it, lots of people don't think it's a good idea. And that's ok, it's just sort of disappointing when your own family doesn't get it...even after you have already done it twice. I guess the interesting thing is the people who don't support it and why they don't. In some cases they have valid reasons...and in other's they are simply selfish points that they bring up because it makes them feel better.
N's transition when E came home was less than easy. We had terrible tantrums and out bursts. There were many issues in school and at home. N was set upside down and didn't know what to do with himself and we didn't know what to do with him either. We all learned a TON from that transition. Of course E was sick, hospital bound and needed months of extra care and attention which added to the stress of the situation.
It won't be that way this time. There are sure to be other issues, but at least we know that part won't be the issue to over come. Our new boys are both healthy. I would be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about the transitions. There are hard times sure to be had. However we are trusting God and His provision. It was a hard hard couple of months after E came home and I think we are stronger for it. We sometimes forget that we have to be intentional about our together time, however we get reminded pretty quickly.
Summer's are hard for us. When the kids are out of school we do run into issues with finding someone to care for them. Praise God for family that has stepped in and helped. But this is a concern for some family members that have been no help whatsoever when we needed help...so poo on them. :)
We aren't rich and our children may have to pay for their own college... gasp!
We aren't always the most patient, nor the most together family...however we are a family that loves. We are all pretty darn strong personalities and when those get together you can have some sparks... we are pretty sparky.
My kids know they are loved, they know they matter, and they know who loves them the most..God! They are strong and healthy and smart and beautiful.
We are a family that sometimes has to learn the hard way. I happen to believe that learning the hard way insures that you won't make the same mistake again. :)
So, we have extended family that doesn't agree...so what?
We are positive that we are doing what God asked us to, and that's really all that matters. He will take care of the rest.
"The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him he will be found by you, but if you forsake him he will forsake you" 2 Chronicles 2
Friday, March 25, 2011
So see the Badge over there on the right? ---> The one that says Ordinary Hero?
They are doing a matching grant today only... whomever sells enough to get the 100.00 matching grant recveives 200.00 today towards their adoption. How cool is that?! ok 200.00 isn't a huge amount, but it would cover fingerprint costs for USCIS. That's a great step! :)
So... Spring is here, there are some CUTE T's and bags and hats ...and even just a place that you can donate towards a family that you choose, if you aren't interested in any merch.
So click on the badge, choose your new cute wardrobe and when checking out make sure to choose our family as the one to get credit!! :)
Tell your friends...how fun!
Happy Shopping Friday to you!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
First the setback: Money...seriously I wish I could in the lottery (gotta play I guess) ...we found out today that we have to pay our post placement fees to our HS agency before they will release the final...to the tune of 1400.00. Ugh... The blessing is that we have been given a gift of 6000.00 towards adoption fees and this will be able to help offset the 1400.00... a huge PRAISE.
It does pull that money from the other fees we owe...so I guess we step up our fundraising opportunities... (see side bar for OH badge we get 40% of what is sold in our name. CUTE stuff!)
The HS has been done we've just been waiting on the CPS people to send the back ground responses, and then today the news about the fee was presented. I love our agency don't get me wrong...but this is a bit on the annoying side. :(
God has a plan.
Endings: We had a dear friend pass away last Friday after a hard, but short, battle with cancer. He was a young father (age 53 is young in my book!) of 3. We had the chance to visit him days before he passed and he wasn't lucid enough to know it was us. Which is ok... but sad in a way that we weren't able to say good bye for real. His older boys are my Big's ages...and the youngest is a 10 yr old girl. S and she had some time on Sunday to spend time together... that little gal needs some loving and attention. They are an awesome family, well grounded in faith, and she's hurting of course.
This brings me to perspective...
The youngest, J, is 10 yrs old. The age of one of our newest boys... seeing her and thinking of them breaks my heart. Our 2 at home have had to face so much of the same at such a young age that they really don't consciously remember it. These new boys will remember...will know... will have more new experiences when they come across the world to become part of our family.
I will admit that I am a tad bit nervous... will we be able to care for them properly? Will we be able to share in their grief and help them through it properly? The oldest, A, is almost a pre-teen...oiy! God... you sure are a funny guy...
The passing of our friend has helped me also to see some places in life where I had become complacent. Not taking the time to share with people...not appreciating them...not taking the time to get to know people better... Our friend was dear, but I didn't really know his family.
Sunday, S played with the daughter for several hours and I spoke to the oldest son for that same time ...just about mundane life things, and D hung out with the middle boy... they are great people...good kids with amazing faith...why didn't we know them before? Why didn't we get to know them better before?.... Just the way life is I guess???...
So now...we wait for money to come...wait for approvals, mourn our friend, praise his passing to heaven, love on our new friends...and remember that life is short and we must embrace it and live it....