Tag Archives: adopting a relatives baby

Reflecting on Contentment

Reflecting on Contentment, 4 years later.  Content a 7 Letter Word that I do not like so well.  On October 14, 2015…..I remember sitting on the pot (yes, my revelations come in the bathroom) and contemplating life.  I have always yearned to have more children.  Big Daddy and I took that matter into our own hands and chose to “get him fixed” when Noah was about 2 maybe 3….at the time, he was 14.  I was looking up at a picture that my kids had made.  Each one had done their handprint in yellow and decorated it.  My frame was full….literally and figuratively.  We even traded in our suburban that, easily, fit 9 people for a smaller minivan.  Yep.  My life was complete.  Next up:  Grandchildren.

Been There, Done That with Adoption Avenues

Ethiopia was closing.  Foster system…..yep…..did that.  We couldn’t really afford any other type of adoption, so I just sat there, praising God for the children that I have and I uttered the words “Lord, I choose to be content.  I am content.  My kids are getting bigger.  I have more freedoms.  Life is good, and I’m thankful.”  I am thinking He was sitting on His heavenly throne, eating popcorn, and laughing hysterically at me.

The very next day.

THE.  VERY.  NEXT.  DAY.  Bart was home, and it was the tail end of fall break.  I was on cloud nine.  I felt like a thousand elephants had jumped off my chest and I was excited about letting go of a dream and moving forward.  In moving forward, we decided to throw caution to the wind and take 5 of our 6 kids to the movie.  Our oldest daughter was working.

Surprising our Kids with a Movie and Lunch

We were all getting dressed and almost out the door when the phone rang.  Normally, since most of us were in the van, I would ignore the phone and go on…I didn’t for some reason (or a God reason), and I looked at the caller ID, and it was my oldest sister.  A little mini back story about my sister and I.  We come from a very close-knit family, and when one of us is hurt or threatened, we surround that person and become a barrier of protection and love.
Yet…my sister and I were never really close.  She is close to my oldest brother, and I’m was super close to my sister 2 yrs older than me.  K is 6 yrs older, and my brother is 10 yrs older.  We loved each other….that has always held true, but that was about it.

A Little Backstory

About a year before this event, I had an appt with my number 6 child.  That trip took me close to where my sister worked.  I ran by there to say hi.  Also to get an update on her kids/grandkids.  Lastly, I wanted to give her an update on my family.  I suggested that we go to lunch together.  To get to know each other and to figure out who we are, as adults.  To my surprise, she said yes.
Faithfully, for a year, we met for lunch once a month.  It came to be a time that we both loved, and we didn’t want to miss it.  We started calling each other….texting each other….having jokes…solving the world’s problems.  I would now consider her one of my best friends.  My sisters are my strength, and they hold me up with love, consistency, prayers, devotion, honesty, and fussing at me when I need it.  When we told our other sister what all had transpired between us, she just cried.  She said that is what she had been praying about for years.

Always Answer Your Phone

So when I saw her name, I picked up the phone.  I knew she and her husband were out of town, so my first line was “what is wrong.”  I heard the panic in her voice…..she kept saying “can you go and get the babies.  Go and get them.  Mom is out of town.  I’m out of town.  Daddy is with them but can you get them.”  Uhm…..YES, I can.  We all loaded up and headed to town and when we pulled up tears and chaos surrounded us.  I will not go into detail because first, I do not have my sister’s permission….second, it is her and the babies stories….not mine to share.

Adding 2 Kids for the Weekend

We kept the babies that weekend (by babies they were 5 and 2), and she picked them up on Sunday.  I remember thinking “God, I have helped the least of these…may You bless them and protect them during this journey they are walking on.”  Then, I went to bed cause I was tired LOL.  I have not had a little one here since Daniel, and he was 2 1/2 when he moved in.  Jude was 5 when he came home.  To thrust me into little people clothes and diapers…..no thank you…I am good LOL.

Oops, We Missed One

Fast forward just a little bit to November 2015.  See, K and J had a little brother, Hunter.  He was living with, whom we thought was his father, but in reality, he was not.  His mom, my niece, was living in the streets wheeling and dealing and drugging.  Broke our hearts.  My heart broke for this little dude.  I knew my sister and her husband were working full time and had a toddler and a 5 yr old who are both dealing with PTSD and severe trauma from their beginnings.  Could she take on a baby who was 21 mths old?  Yep….would she go bald and run down the road naked screaming at the top of her lungs?  Yep.

Yielding

I talked to Big Daddy, my kids.  Also, I spoke to my other sister and my mama.  Then, and only then, did I talked to Kim.  One of the rawest, difficult, blessed events that have occurred between us.  We cried.  She agreed.  Niece agreed.  Judge agreed.

What On Earth Am I Thinking

So here I am, just turning 43 yrs old.  One out of the house, one almost in college, one in high school, one in middle school, two in grade school and a baby…..a baby who wasn’t rocked that often.  My life consisted of standing in the baby aisle crying because I didn’t know what he needed.  Sippy cups.  Diapers.  Baby toys.  Diaper bags.  Smooshed up foods.  Car seats.  My van didn’t accommodate everyone.  Oh.  My.  Stars.  What have I freaking done!  I have a BABY!

So Much More to this Inter-Family Adoption

There is SO much more to this story.  Sadly, there is still so much fighting and many days in court.  There have been many tears.  So many “thank yous” from my sister and her husband.  Also, so much therapy and so many hospital stays.  So.  Very.  Much.  You can read, from my sister’s perspective here on her blog Mom By Proxy….and God’s Grace.  We “officially” adopted him right before Christmas, last year.

Reflecting on Contentment

Through It All…His Eyes Were On You

Through it all…..God knew what He was doing since before He created the Earth.  He knew how my family would be shaped.  That my relationship with my sister would be healed.  Also, He knew that I would be in my 40s still raising babies.

Straight Up Joy

This boy……..this baby………he has bound my crew together.  He has changed one of my daughters.  My little dude has his biggest brother wrapped around his little finger.  He is loved so deeply and completely.  His laugh, smile, and “I love you, mom.”  The fact that he says “daddy you are my favorite.”  Also, that “Mamaw is my girlfriend.”  His imagination, drive, and determination is to behold.

He is my joy, the calm in the storm.  That little dude is my baby and he melts me.  Am I finished with babies?  I don’t know.  Grandkids are in my future…one day….but so may a little one who needs a family.  We shall see what God wants.  Till then, I will NEVER utter the phrase again “Lord, I am content.”

 

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Miracle on November 17, 2011

Miracle on November 17, 2011

 

HE IS COMING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is my Miracle on November 17, 2011. Praise be to God.  We are so thankful that our eyes are opening, our hearts are willing, and our minds are preparing for adopting an older child.  What a journey we are fixing to embark on in the coming days.
Yesterday, I got a call at 9:15 am, and it was immigration.  The officer said that she received our addendum, the mother’s birth letter (blessings and prayers for her) and PART of my income verification, but not the one part that they need.  Ugh.  I told her I was on it.  Next, I called and was blessed to speak with the same person I’d been talking to for the last few days.  It was then that I explained, again, the situation, she transferred me to her supervisor and her supervisor was on it like white on rice.  It was sent.
Finally, I got another call from immigration stating that the documents that were in hand were too faded to read.  In addition, the officer asked if we had the originals.  Sadly, we did not have the documentation in original format.  I told her that I was on it.  At that point, I called my agency, Sheila called her right-hand person (Angela)…and Angela began to work her magic.  She made all the documents bright and shiny, rescanned them, and got them sent to immigration.

Final Confirmation

I called immigration to confirm that everything was sent and I actually spoke to my officer (which is not so easy a task).  She has been WONDERFUL with our case and our family.  I asked her if everything was received and she said: “yes, your packet is done.”  I just kind of sat there and said: “what packet, I don’t understand.”  She stated that it was our APPROVAL packet and that we were approved.
I just sat there, then I balled…it was loud and really really ugly.  All I could say was THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.  She was pretty pitiful too.  She kept saying “Oh, Brandi, please don’t cry….please don’t cry, your son is coming home, please don’t cry.”  I couldn’t get out any more words other than “must go to my husband.”

Telling Big Daddy and my Children

I wanted to be so coy about the whole thing and attempt not to let the girls know till I told Big Daddy first. Well, that plan went out the window.  I stood at the top of the stairs…screaming for them.  They blew up the stairs asking what was wrong.  Finally, I screamed WE ARE APPROVED…there was lots of yelling, crying, praising Jesus, and hugging going on.
My next thought was  “he needs undies and socks…we have none.”  It is amazing what can go through a person’s mind.  I told them to get dressed, we were going to daddy.  That drive took FOREVER.  We finally got there (no coat and flip-flops for one girl; no socks or teeth brushed for another girl, and I looked like I had been run over by a train).  I got into HR and asked to see Big Daddy.
The girl behind the desk said “this must be an emergency…you look really upset” LOL.  She even escorted me to a conference room.  Big Daddy walked in…I told him…it was beautiful.  We have a tentative flight schedule, tentative keep the kids’ schedule, and Big Daddy bought my boy some undies and socks 😉

Theme Verse

Yesterday’s verse of the day was Phil 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  This verse has filtered throughout the last 13 mths.
It was first told to me by a precious lady, in my Wednesday group.  She would say over and over that what God brought me too…He will be faithful to bring me through.  The night before we got our approval…another wonderful friend emailed me stating the same thing.  Before approval, I went to post something, and that was my verse.  I knew yesterday would be the day for a miracle.

God Changing Me

In the end, God has changed me…He has begun the healing in our family.  As well as, He has revealed that shortcuts are not His will.  Also, that I need to be patient and wait on Him rather than try and control the situation.  God has revealed to me that all things come together for His good.  He is good.
God is good….now off to pack.
Blessings.
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More Sadness on October 25, 2011

More Sadness on October 25, 2011

 

More Sadness on October 25, 2011.  Sadness, on a really gorgeous day.  Another day with no word from immigration on our newest paperwork submission.  I’ve been praying, daily, that it will happen.  Yet, today and there is still nothing.

Discouraged

Well, that’s one word.  There are several other words that I have, but none need to be aired out on the internet.  Most words, however, are not Biblical so I should not even type them out.  It is hard to see, day after day, posts/emails/etc. about successful adoptions that have little to no issues.  We have worked so hard, we’ve learned so much, and yet our son is still not home.
I’m not sure what the Lord is doing, but I pray that He is working this all out for His glory.  Somewhere inside, I *am* happy for these families.  I just wish this story was our story.  I’ve distanced myself from people to guard my heart and my sanity.  I sincerely hope they understand.
First, I feel like I hear a family say, “we’re adopting.”  Then, two days go by, and I hear “we have a referral.”  Next, two more days go by, and I hear “We were approved by immigration.” Lastly,  two more days go by, and I hear “We are traveling next week.” Finally, before you know it, the child has been home a month.  The same family is doing this all over again.  They do this because it was “so wonderful” the first time around.

Our Story:

We’re adopting.  Then days, weeks, and months go by.  Finally, we have a referral.  Next, days, weeks, and months go by, and we get word that we are traveling for court.
Adoption is finalized.  The day after we get home from this international adoption, a letter from immigration.  Sadly, immigration says ‘we need more stuff from you.’
Another set of days, weeks, and months go by, and we hear “we are intending to deny you.  You should’ve never traveled in the first place.”
Shock.
Oh wait, more days, weeks, and months pass on by, and we get our first (of many) denial.
After even more days, weeks, and months saunter by, and we hire an attorney, find a job for me, life change for my kids, new home study agency, and new home study.
Then we wait another few days, weeks, and months.  The home study is done, and now we are waiting for an attorney.  Which takes, you guessed it, days, weeks, and months…crickets…
Still, waiting on our attorney.  Our attorney sends us and immigration more paperwork, and because of that, we fork out more money.  Then, in one week, immigration wants more evidence.
Eventually, we get evidence sent off again.  Over a year later…..WE ARE STILL WAITING.

I.  Am.  Tired.

I’m tired.  I have a little fight left in me.  There was one friend that said that due to us having “so” much trouble, that must mean that God doesn’t want him to be in our family.  Every ounce of me wanted to smack the taste out of her mouth.  That kind of negativity is not needed.  I need prayers, regardless of the outcome.  I eat, sleep, breathe, work with my son’s face in my head.  Praying, daily that God will show us all the way and for a person to say that, well, they needed to be smacked.
What God has brought us too…He will be FAITHFUL to bring us through.
I cling to that.
Until then….we wait.

Watching and Waiting September 25, 2011

Watching and Waiting September 25, 2011

Watching and Waiting September 25, 2011.  It is a blessing…it is also hard…


I received 8 new pictures of our son, whom we have not touched since Oct 2010.  


He is 1 yr. older and amazingly, he is *so* much bigger.


We are watching him grow up, in pictures.  His booboos are healing, through pictures.  There is no mama to kiss them and make them better.  Also, we are watching his smiles and giggles, through pictures.  Sadly, there are also tears and illnesses that we see, as well.  I am so thankful that we see him play and are able to watch him grow, all through pictures.

Please join us in prayer.  For our son to come home.  Instead of watching his triumphs, milestones, and booboos through pictures, we can see them in person.  

Thoughts (from 2018)

Adoption, International Adoption, Older child adoption, Special needs adoption is not easy.  It is the hardest thing, I have ever done.  The Lord has refined me, strengthened me, and enabled me through it all.  For example, my marriage is stronger.  I learned that Bart is a rockstar of a husband.  When I could not function, he functioned for both of us.

There are many things I do not remember about this time, sadly.  He rarely talks of it because I see the pain in his eyes.  Bart shouldered more than any man should.  Easily, he became the mom, dad, advocate, parent, breadwinner, and so much more.  I cannot express my gratitude enough for how he carried us all.  He is my person, my best friend, and the one whom my soul loves.

Related Posts:

Ethiopians and Codeine Warning

A Priest, A Deaconess, and a Baptist: September 21, 2011

A Priest, A Deaconess, and a Baptist:  September 21, 2011

A Priest, A Deaconess, and a Baptist: September 21, 2011.  We all work together at the store, and we seriously write our own jokes 🙂
When we, as a family, decided that I needed to go back to work, it was hard.  I cried, A LOT because I’m a creature of habit.  I’m one that needs routine, and when it is shaken, it rocks me to my core.  Controlling?  Maybe.  I just know that I like what I like and change is not one thing that I want.
My whole world changed.
My kids went back to PS, my oldest was still being homeschooled, but our whole life turned upside down.  I was blessed when I got my job…I was trained by THE SLOWEST WOMAN ON THE PLANET, but she is definitely the sweetest thing…ever and she is genuine, honest and stable.
When I got assigned my department, a regal looking gentleman with kind eyes and a radio-worthy voice, caught my eye.  I wanted to know who he was because he happened to work in my department and frankly, I needed all the help I could get, not knowing anything from anything.
Priest
I introduced myself and quickly learned that he was going to school to be a deacon in his local church.  To my credit, I didn’t realize there was a “school” for a deacon.   So I went ahead, took the plunge and blurted out my thoughts (completely unsanctified thoughts).  The question came up about where he went to church.  My sweet priest stated that he was Catholic and that they were going back to their Biblical roots of positions in the church.
Enthralled is one emotion I felt and I wanted to learn more.  I began asking questions like “so, what’s up with the Pope?”  “What do you do and why do you kneel/stand so much”  “explain the hierarchy of the church and their positions.”  He answered each and every question, and he still does, to this day.  He is very tolerant and understanding of my ignorance.  It is clear, he knows God, he knows Jesus, and he loves them both dearly.
I am blessed.
He sees me when I’m having an “off” day and tells me to get busy before I break down.  Frequently, he hugs me when I need it.  After one particularly difficult day, he told me to get busy.   He walked up to me and said with love in his eyes “this means more to me than anything and I’m giving it to you for peace.”  It was a beautiful rosary.
I knew the magnitude of this gift, but he explained the prayers that you pray using the rosary.  Finally, encouraging me to pray.  He has walked through the aisles, at work, and prayed over me.  Also, he has sent me emails of prayer.  A precious soul, this man has been to me.
Deaconess
Now, onto the Deaconess…she hasn’t been working with us long, but she is short, black and a firecracker.  She is completely and utterly in love with the Lord and her family. In fact, she doesn’t see working at our job as a “job” she sees it as a mission from God.  Looking at every opportunity to witness and let people know her faith.  Amazingly, she is an encourager, a protector, a friend, a confidant and she oozes grace and dignity.
She is not shy about her faith.  For example, she has laid hands on me, with customers waiting and prayed over me.  Also, she held me when I cried, she has cried with me.  She has told me more than once “speak it into existence.”  It will be.  Watch your mouth….don’t let that negative stuff come out, don’t speak negativity into existence.  I’m continually saying something and then catching myself because I think she will hear me and whop me outside the head for expressing negativity.
Be positive, wait on God.
During the trials of this adoption…I have learned that it is okay to cry. That I can be mad, that I can be sad, that it is okay to talk to people.  I hold so much in.  I don’t like to burden people or feel like I’m regularly playing the same tune on the violin.  Between my Wednesday night girls, my Deaconess and my Priest….I’m surrounded by love, prayers, and understanding during my hard times and there have been so very many.
Our trial is soon coming to an end.
God will bring my child home before the year mark is up.  I’m speaking that out, in the Name of Jesus.  I’m so thankful that during this time, God has seen fit to bless me, at work with such influential people of faith.  He has blessed me with a strong family of faith and a strong church of faith.  When your daughter sends you messages at work that says “mom, I love you and remember to CLAIM IT.”  I know that God is working and He is showing my family and me His grace and mercies throughout this challenging year.
The year is coming to an end…..my son will be home by next month.  I’m choosing to believe.

I Can’t Save the World: September 16, 2011

I Can't Save the World: September 16, 2011

 

I Can’t Save the World: September 16, 2011.  Crap on the tiara….mess on the cape…..the world isn’t going to be saved by me.
What a crappy day filled with crappy drama and crappy people.
According to the dictionary “crappy” is an adjective or a describing word.  It means to be “nasty, humiliating, insulting or unfair.”  I would concur with that meaning and say that what was said about me was nasty, insulting and completely unfair (though humiliating doesn’t describe it at all).
I have am a “fixer” person.
I like to help people.  My favorite thing to do is to see people succeed.  To be all that they can be (no, I’m not in the army, though when people see me with my kids, they would beg to differ).  I want people to know they have every opportunity to dream and attain their dreams, even when they screw up.  There *are* second chances.
With everything going on in my life, with the challenges that my family has faced…..I have lost my fight.  I’ve lost my will to defend.  I’ve lost my ability to leave my emotions at the door.  On any given day, I deal with reactive attachment disorder, learning disabilities, girl scouts, church duties, volunteer work, my job, my home, bullies, bad grades, evolution issues, and the ever-present adoption nastiness.
Bread Analogy
You know, when those (crazy people) who like butter on their bread (I’m not one of those people).  Picture me as the bread and all the issues of life as the nasty, one molecule away from plastic, the cheap butter….the kind that merely will not spread no matter how hard you try.  You take your knife, dip it into the “reactive attachment disorder” butter and try to spread it out…the bread begins to flake.
With each other issue (adoption, learning disabilities, etc.) you continue to dip your knife in, in hopes of something good coming out of it and each time you *try* to smear it on your bread, more chunks come off and eventually you are left with giant lumps of bread all over the table and a broken crust.  That’s me…the broken crust.  My butter is not getting any softer, and my bread is in tatters.
Decisions
I’ve chosen to give up an important thing in my life and a not so important thing in my life.  One was a hard decision the other was an easy decision.
Comparing my issues to the Cross is a whole nother ball of wax.  Nothing I go through even holds a tiny flicker to what Jesus did on the Cross for me.  He died with my name on His lips.  He died to set me free, so I can be free and live in eternity with Him.  I’m so thankful for what Jesus did for me.
I really really wish, though, God willing…..He would, for once, give me some spreadable butter.  That’d be nice.

Mantra: September 9, 2011

Mantra:  September 9, 2011

Therapist
Mantra: September 9 2011.  My therapist always told me (yes, I was therapized in my life) that I’m like a mother hen, I get my wings spread out and I gather all my little chicks under me to keep them safe.  I don’t like the unknown, I don’t like change, and I certainly don’t like being thrown into the fires of hell with nothing but a water pistol.
That’s okay, though, come Monday, I’m going to stop by Charming Charlie (if you have never been to this store….be prepared to stand in awe of all the things that sparkle.  I believe I salivated a bit when I first stepped through the doors).  At Charming Charlie, there is a back area…I think that it is a secret place where the only people who belong are those who have made friends with the “friends” in their mind (that’d be me).  Well, they have tiaras!!!!!!!!!!!!!  They are so stinking cute.
Fires of Hell with a Water Pistol
I want one to remind me that I may be walking through the fires of hell with my water pistol, but I’m also a princess of the KING, and He is standing in front of me, beside me and behind me.  He is letting me use said water pistol, because of my constant need to control….once the fire begins to consume me, though, I yield to His presence, and He takes over and stomps that fire out without even breaking a sweat.
My Cape
As for the “cape” in my new mantra….well, I’ve always wanted my life to be like a musical (i.e., The Phantom of the Opera or The Sound of Music)…the cool people *always* had capes; therefore I sense that I need one for posterity.  I tend to make songs up and sing randomly throughout my house when I’m driving (who needs a radio) and at work.  The kids, who I work with, love it when I work nights because come about 8:30, I begin singing show tunes……
It has been a long, long, long, long road since my last post.
Things are still up in the air with my son and when we can bring him home.  He remembers us, though, so that gives us comfort.  He is loved, he is fed, he plays hard…that gives me comfort.  I still want to be the one that comforts him.  I want to kiss his booboos when he falls, I want to fix his supper, I want to tuck him in at night, I want him to hear his mommy and daddy tell him how much he is loved and treasured.  How much we’ve prayed for him and for this whole situation to be rectified.
Fasting
I have devoted this week to do my first fast….can we say…UGH.  The things that steal the most time or that I love the most is to be given up.  I decided on giving up Facebook and coke…COKE.  Do you *know* how much I love coke?  I drink it out of the can, hot; I drink it in a giant mug with crushed ice; out of a wine glass; out of the fridge; anyway I can get it is how I drink it.  I.LOVE.COKE.  I love everything about coke.  I love that way the fizz goes up my nose, the way it burns when it goes down my throat…love love…coke.
Focused Prayer

 

During this week, I’m focusing on prayer and prayer of *very* specific things.
-for approval
-quick embassy date
-to travel before the end of the month
-B’s job situation
-healing within our family
-for Gigi to be completely healed
It is a big list, but I have a big God, and I’m choosing to pray to believe that giant miracles are headed our way.
So…..here I go, with my tiara and cape in hand (more like Bible and scarf) and I’m going to conquer the world 🙂
Additional Posts:

Save Me I’m Drowning

Details of our Son: November 3, 2010

Details of our Son:  November 3, 2010

Details of our Son: November 3, 2010.  After a whirlwind day, yesterday…today promised to be another day of great happenings!  The views of Ethiopia from our van was humbling, sad, glorious and beautiful….all at the same time.
So many heartbreaking scenes, yet so much beauty.
The women were modest, in their dress, and their eyes could tell a beautiful story.  The men (and women) were hard working and were very diligent in what they did.  There were a lot of unfinished buildings.  So many makeshift homes on the side of the road.  We saw so many people laying, asleep, in the median.
We all met, at the restaurant and had breakfast.
Instead of anticipation, we were elated and eager to share our individual stories with the other couples.  I believe we were all still processing the things that we had seen and heart and the touches we felt by so many children.  Once breakfast was over, we headed down the same path, as we did the previous day, heading to the orphanage.  The Monks’ safely headed back to Nazret to see their boys, and we loaded up the van, with the Veal’s to see our kids.
When we got there, it was a much different scene from the previous day.
There was a nanny there, who made the kiddoes tow the line.  We backed in, and all the kids were sitting down, on the curb, quiet as little mice 🙂  We walked up to Abinet and sat on the ground, in front of him.  He instantly knew that we belonged to him 🙂  His smile said it all.  He started looking for his picture book, so we tracked that down, and we sat and went through it, over and over again.
We played soccer, and he loved on us….we didn’t know that the slide was off limits, so we started to gather some children and play on the equipment.  Several little boys had the most fun…Mebrate, well she was a different story.  She had no use for that slide, at all 🙂  The stricter nanny informed us that we were killing the grass and going play elsewhere :/  Oops.
Luckily, the Veal’s brought bubbles, and WOW the kids loved loved loved them!  We were blowing bubbles, eating peanut butter crackers and singing Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord.  These kids are so loved and so well taken care of.  I’m so thankful for each and every nanny there!  As well as, Yonas, the director.
Speaking of crackers
As we sat, I got out my PB crackers.  I handed one to Abinet, and he was so gentle with it.  Like it was a great treasure.  He cracked it open and gently picked the peanut butter off of both halves, then gingerly, he ate the cracker.  It was so precious to watch him.  Once the crackers were gone, I introduced him to M & M’s.  He looked at it like it was some sort of foreign object.  Mebrate immediately said “chocolate” in her precious voice, with her dimples just shining.  She knew exactly what to do.
Abinet placed *an* M & M on his tongue and then proceeded to stick it out and show everyone…he had no clue what to do with it.  I ate one and taught him how to chew it…he started chomping like there was no tomorrow LOL.  On this day, he *knew* there was food in my bag.  After much loving, playing soccer and cuddling…he wanted some food.  I handed him a cracker and thought that he would repeat yesterday’s event of eating it.  Well, not so much 🙂  He shoved the whole thing in his mouth and laughed hysterically!  It was so funny.
Not Much Into Sharing
He is a gentle child when I’m cuddling him, but if gets up for a moment and someone else steals his seat….he grabs them by the collar and slings them out.  Then he reclaims his throne and just pats and rubs my arm.  He preferred us to be standing up and holding him, but he is so darn heavy that it makes it almost impossible.
We were able to stay and listen to the teacher teaching the children…what a blessing to hear all these kids singing praises to our God!  After school (which they let Abinet stay with us, so we could have some alone time), the kids starting cleaning up for lunch.  They would all, so diligently, wash their hands and then head off to the schoolroom, which was soon transformed into the lunch room.
Their Spots

 

Everyone had their spots and quietly waited for their lunch to be served.  There was no grabbing of food, there was merely patience.  They ate injera, and a type of red sauce on it and the kids ate every last bit.  If needed, they could have seconds.  It was a joy to watch all these children eat and be satisfied.
Once lunch was over, there was a short playtime.  The babies, stayed in their room (2 infants per bed, there were 7 cribs) and the toddlers went onto the bed.  The 3-6 yr old kids played some soccer and enjoyed the love the Americans were there to offer.  The kids were clearly tired because they were getting grumpy.  They wake up when the sun comes up (about 6 am) and they go to bed when the sun goes down (about 6 pm), so it makes for a long day.  They do take a 3 hr. nap, after lunch.
Everywhere We Looked
Everywhere we looked, there were kids on one of the many potty chairs that were scattered throughout the orphanage, or they were scrambling to pick up the prizes that they found (a pipe, a bottle cap, trash, it didn’t really matter), then they’d go and line up their shoes, by the door and find their spot.
Each child shared a bed with another child.  Abinet was no different from the other children…he did as he had done every other day for the last, however long, he had been at the orphanage.  Just like clockwork.  It was a sad joy to tuck him in because we thought that was the last time we would see him, for a while.
Lucy’s
When we were picked up, we headed to lunch at Lucy’s Restaurant.  It was like an oasis in the middle of the busyness of the city.  We ordered pizza, there.  We ate, laughed and ate some more!  After lunch was over, we walked over to the Ethiopian National Museum, where Yonas awaited us.  He was our guide throughout the 4 story museum.  I didn’t bore anyone with the pictures, I took a lot.  I really like museums 🙂
Back to the Crown
After all of that…we headed back to the Crown. We cleaned up and then we all met and chatted in the restaurant, for supper.  Somewhat, we were able to communicate with our families through the internet in our hotel.  We shared our events of the day and our nervousness about our court date the next day.  It was another gloriously busy day in Ethiopia…

What Dreams are Made Of: October 30, 2010

What Dreams are Made Of:  October 30, 2010
What Dreams are Made Of: October 30, 2010.  Today was the day…the day that dreams are made of.  The day that I’ve held in my heart since I was a child.  The day that we meet our son. WOW!  We all met in the restaurant, upstairs and ate breakfast (they do make fabulous omelets).  The conversation was light, the nerves and emotions were on the surface of all of us.
Woudneh
Here comes Woudneh, ready to take us on our trip.  The Monks’ left with their trusted driver.  They had anticipated spending the night in Nazret, where their boys are, but due to some unforeseen issues, they were not able to spend the night, but they did stay all day long and enjoy the company of those sweet boys. Yonas, our rockstar driver, loaded the rest of us up and off we went.  He spoke very little English, but he has such kind eyes and a sweet, sweet smile.  He was an excellent driver!
Remain Calm
We all tried to remain calm, not knowing how long our trip would be.  We decided to take pictures of what we saw and video, but we were all so uncertain of this crazy traffic, that it was quite mesmerizing.  2 lane roads turned into 3 or 4 lane roads…I could touch the people in the vehicles next to me.  The cheap gas that was used caused a lot of exhaust and the fumes made for very dry lips, mouth and lungs…we were all coughing and snotting throughout this whole trip.
Visions
The people lying in the median of the street….homeless…barely clothed…no food…no shelter.  It was humbling beyond belief.  However, if we stopped, women with babies, children, and elderly would come up to the window.  They were begging for food or money.  We weren’t allowed to give them anything due to the strict laws forbidding it.  It was almost more than I could bear, having to turn them away.
At one point, not sure what day it was, I was looking out one side of the van.  In fact, began to notice this 8 yr. old boy, his mom, and her baby standing outside of my window.  They were politely waiting.  I turned, and their appearance surprised me, and I let out a bit of a squeal.  It scared them and me 🙂
I quickly apologized for frightening them, they were laughing at the mishap.  In fact, I couldn’t let them go without food.  In my mind, I was picturing Boo looking to someone else for food, and my heart was captured.  I gave them crackers all I had.  Before I knew it, there was a flood of beggars surrounding the van.  It was so sad.  I just wanted to bring them all home and feed them all.
Those images will be forever etched in my mind.

Not for the Faint of Heart: July 14, 2010

Not for the Faint of Heart: July 14, 2010

Not for the Faint of Heart: July 14, 2010.  I must caution all of those in the process of adoption or considering adoption. It isn’t for the faint-hearted. There are things that you just can and can not do. One, of which, is put your life on hold for your precious little one.
Things that Happen
Paperwork snafus happen, delays happen, lack of communication or miscommunication happens…..there isn’t a single day that I don’t think of my son. Wonder how he is or if he’s been hugged today. I found myself getting angry….why won’t you hurry up, what do you mean you need *more* paperwork, why isn’t this in the country, why don’t you call me back, I can’t buy that extra gallon of milk because I can use that money towards the adoption. All these things go in and out of my little head, more times than not.
Wise Words
As a wise woman told me (she’s an elderly lady LOL, love to you, T)…..adoption isn’t necessarily about providing a child with a home more than it is about sanctifying us in the process. All things happen for a reason, and God’s hand is all over my son and all the other little delays that occur. In addition to that fact, all things work together for good and to give Him honor and praise.
Please note, I do not want the glory of adoption, I want my Lord to have it all. All the time, I hear people say how impressed they are and how I’m saving a life. Reality is the fact that I didn’t save a life…God chose my family and me to bless our home through adoption, and HE saved our lives. This was His choice, not necessarily mine. I’m merely being obedient, and I’m learning how to be patient. That is a hard lesson to learn, for me. I’m not the most patient person in the world.
While I’m Waiting
For now, I have my pictures, I have a video, I have my thoughts, and I have tons of prayers. I’m willing to answer (or find the answer) to any adoption question you might have. I’ve adopted through our foster care system, and now I’m adopting internationally.
Sincerely pray and ask God how He might use you and your family. All you have to do is be obedient to His call, the rest, He will take care of. You will be in awe of how He works things out!
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