"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What a great surprise

The woman who originally placed our kids for adoption and my main point of contact throughout our adoption process recently returned from Ethiopia. She took pictures to Mesalech (our kids mom) and sent me these... Enjoy!

This picture is of Mesalech. She kissed EVERY picture we sent! From what I understand it was a very happy time for her.
This is Bereket with Mesalech. It is Bereket's phone we call when we call Ethiopia. He is a neighbor and good family friend and works with their church to help the widows and orphans.
This is (from left to right) Beniam who is about 2 1/2 or 3, Ashenafi who is around 5, Emanuel (a cousin whose parents recently died) who is around 9 or 10 and Mesalech. I wish you could have heard the kids when they saw these pictures. Jacob started telling funny stories about "Ashie" and they laughed and laughed about how much "Binnie" has grown up. Marti was the most emotional about all the pictures and enjoyed having time to just look at them and pray for them. I am so thankful for these pictures and the contact Michelle made - we will be getting a letter from Mesalech this week - I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Morning of Perfection

OK... so it is not actually a PERFECT morning - but somehow it is very nice. I got up at 6 to go do sub plans (Addy has a fever). When I came home I found Lilly and Addy running around the house 'fighting' with the Lipe Savers(Light Sabers). She really doesn't seem sick. I woke Joseph up early so he could finish his diarama for Animal Farm. Last night we made a windmill out of Knex and found all sorts of farm animals that range from the Little People pig, the pony from Lilly's Barbie and a couple other random animals. Joseph finished by filling the box full of dirt and green construction paper ????????? It is now in the car and he is quickly getting ready for school. Jacob, who has been dying to make lunches, fulfilled his wish today by making lunch for all 5 kids. :) Marti is unloading the dishwasher and Danny is loading stuff in the van to take it to the storage shed... What am I doing you might ask???? (But before I tell you please know that I was up until 11 packing boxes and getting ready for the carpet cleaner guy) I... am sitting here drinking my first cup of Keurig Coffee from my fancy schmancy new coffee pot that the kids and Ben bought me last night... LIFE IS GOOD!!!

We have decided to list our house and pray that it sells. We do not have a new house yet... we will wait until we get a good solid offer and if that means we live in our little camper trailer for a while (OK it would probably be an apartment) that is fine too. I just don't want to get my hopes set on the perfect house and have our offer fall through because we couldn't find a buyer for our house.

So would you pray that if it is indeed God's will for us to move - then our house would sell... if not, help us to continue to find contentment in the home we have. I am so excited to see what happens! :)

Have a great day!!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Cry of the Orphan

Cry of the Orphan

Global Orphans

  • Over 130 million orphans and waiting children under the age of 18 have lost one or both parents.
  • Over 13 million double orphans under the age of 18 have lost both parents.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa, with 48.3 million orphans, has the highest proportion of children who are orphans at 12%
  • Asia has the largest total number of orphans with 73.7 million orphans, which represents 6% of all children
  • Latin America and the Caribbean has 10.7 million orphans, also representing 6% of all children.
  • Over 15 million children have lost a parent due to AIDS, and that number is expected to rise to over 20 million by 2010.
  • Without AIDS, the total number of double orphans in sub-Saharan Africa would have declined between 1990 and 2010. AIDS, however, will push the number of double orphans in the region from 9 million to more than 10 million by 2010.
  • Orphaned children are much more likely than non-orphans to be working in commercial agriculture, as street vendors, in domestic service and in the sex trade.
  • Orphans are more vulnerable and at risk of becoming victims of violence, exploitation, trafficking, discrimination, or other abuses.
  • Domestic Orphans
  • More than 500,000 children are in United States foster care.
  • Over 120,000 children in foster care are waiting to be adopted.
  • Only around 50,000 children, or 18% of those waiting in foster care, are adopted every year.
  • On average, children in foster care wait over 2 years to be adopted.
  • Over one-third of Americans have ever considered adopting, but no more than 2 percent of Americans have actually adopted.
  • 48% of the people who have seriously considered adoption indicated that they would first look to a house of worship (church) for information or advice about adopting.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Just In Case You Are Wondering

When we began the adoption process - there was a moment when Ben and I panicked. Big time. Were we doing the right thing? Had we REALLY heard God right? The doubts began swimming and so did the negative comments from worried friends and family.

In the midst of our panic I posted to some friends on an adoptive parents web board. My question was... "Tell me the good things". And the good things came pouring in. And I felt better. I was reminded again that following this path was not going to be easy -- but I would survive it and my kids would be fine.

So tonight it is my turn to tell others the good things. We have 2 different sets of friends who are beginning the process to adopt. And they too will doubt that this is the right choice for their family. So G and T and Rob and Kimberly... and all those others who are starting this process - this post is for you.

The Good Things
  • Going into check on the boys at night and finding Danny and Jacob sleeping together in bed snoring with their arms wrapped around one another.
  • Watching Lilly hold Joseph's hand while they walk home from school. She tells everyone how much she loves her big brothers.
  • Listening to Marti and Lilly sing the songs from their American Girl CD... "I want to be an American Girl" and watching them dance around their tiny room together.
  • Watching Marti carry Addy to her room and cuddling her along the way.
  • Hearing Danny say that 2008 was the best year of his life.
  • Watching Ben with the kids - he loves being a dad to 6 (even if he is going to get gray hair soon)
  • Watching Joseph as he works so very hard to learn English, get good grades and embrace the education opportunity he has here in America.
  • Hearing Joseph sing in English (he has a beautiful voice)
  • Knowing (without a single doubt) that THIS is the BEST life I could ever imagine.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bedtime Funnies

OK... in 10 minutes this will be funny...RIGHT NOW it's not...

Before you read the transcript below you need to know that I USED to be a total stickler about bedtime. Ben and I believed firmly in letting babies "cry it out" and all 3 of the kids were sleeping through the night by 12 weeks. But now that there are 6 babies bedtimes are not so strict and not so structured and at times are downright chaotic.

On a GOOD night we say prayers as a family (all cuddled in my bed) then send the kids to bed to read.

Tonight is NOT A GOOD NIGHT!

Ben is tired (he has had 6am basketball practice all week). Lilly is worn out and recovering from a tiny cold. Joseph is cranky (too little activity for his growing body) and Danny and Jacob have been banned from the Wii for not putting the games away properly. Marti is missing basketball practice and wanting more computer time. So... everyone is a little off.

So here is a slightly edited version of bedtime.

Ben: Girls (Lilly and Addy) go to bed.
Lilly: We didn't pray.
Addy: I am thirsty
Danny: (Whispering to Jacob) Ha! The girls are going to bed we can read.

Joseph and I are trying to play this Wii game my sister left - Raving Rabbit or something like that. So 5 minutes later (when I think the girls are in bed) I feel breathing on my head and realize that Lilly is still there and Addy is watching from the stairs.

Me: Girls GO TO BED!
Girls: We didn't pray. I am thirsty. Will you tuck us in? Can we read? We didn't brush our teeth.
Ben: Girls get up here!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girls go upstairs. I hear praying.

Joseph and I keep playing (we are bonding).

Addy comes back down to tell me she has had a bad dream (she has been gone for 2 minutes).

Ben yells for Addy to come back.

We need Ben's help to 'throw the cow' on the Raving Rabbit game.

Ben comes downstairs... followed by Addy, Lilly, Danny and Jacob.

We all laugh at Ben while he tries to 'throw Daisy 60 meters'.

The girls go back upstairs. The boys go back upstairs.

Addy comes back downstairs to get water and spills Danny's juice all over the counter.

I tuck the girls in and come downstairs to blog.

Joseph yells that he is victorious in 'throwing Daisy'

Uh Oh... the girls are crying about something... I gotta go.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

CWA Hope Project

Our adoption agency Christian World Adoption recently started a new website dedicated to finding families for siblings and special needs children. I would love it if you would take a moment to pray for these kids and ask God to bring them a family. I am forever thankful for the families who unknowingly prayed for Ben and I - prayed that God would open our hearts to the future He had planned. These families prayed for the kids for more than a year before we even knew about them... praying that God would bring them to America - to their forever home.

So, will you join Ben and I and the kids as we pray for these children... that they might know the indescribable joy in being told that they have been chosen?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Danny Boy

My sweet Danny turned 8 yesterday. Where did the years go? I remember so well the 27 hours of labor and the moment when they handed him to me. I remember watching him roll over the first time and as I was calling Ben on the phone he rolled across the room. I remember watching him play with friends and thinking how good God is to give us such an amazing young man. I remember cuddling him and wondering how I would ever be able to love another child as much as I loved Danny.

Thank you Danny for teaching me to be a good mommy. For being patient with me when I made mistakes and for laughing with me over the silly jokes we share. I will forever be thankful for you, my sweet Danny Boy!

We celebrated his birthday with 10 of his classmates and friends. Since his birthday is in February it is really hard to have a party that is both economical and sane. This year we chose to have games at home and roast hotdogs. It turned into a hotdog roasting campfire song birthday and was truly my favorite party ever! We spent less than $40 and the kids all had a great time! Ben led the kids in some super fun campfire songs and then the kids each ate as many smores as they could. It was a perfect was to celebrate Danny's big day!