Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Week in Pictures

Last Sunday I got a "date" with my two bigs.  We went to a local play of Narnia, and Renny had a class mate, who happens to be a boy, starring as an "Ankle Slasher."  It was a little bit worrying to see how smitten she was at spotting him and talking to him.  Ayy-yaye-yaye.  Heaven help us!

Half of my readers know EXACTLY what this is for.  The other half - well, consider your ignorance absolute BLISS!  Yes friends, a year and a half later, we are still wondering if our little bug brought home some little (as of yet undetected) bugs.  And if my pediatrician uses the words "normal toddler diarrhea" one more time, I might just put it in a paper bag and light it on fire on her porch.

Grandma had a girls-only sleepover one night, and then a boys-only sleepover the next night, leaving us with only two kids two nights in a row.  This gave me the opportunity to do all those fun kid activities I used to do all the time but just seem too overwhelming with two toddlers.  They all loved the extra attention, and both chose a "baking day."  I love how Zoom holds his tongue out when concentrating, exactly like his dad.

I was in charge of snacks for Zoom's school Thanksgiving party.  Nearly by accident, these apple dippers turned into turkeys before my very eyes.  What in the world did we do before Pinterest? 

I've never seen a little guy look so cute in footy-jammies, but dang it if he didn't hate every second of them and scream until they were off.

And some of my gorgeous family on Thanksgiving ...

my man really gets into his sports ...

This cute baby boy was born just a few days after Mr T and I got married.  Geesh we're getting old!

Considering how much we were missing a certain little boy, we did have a great Thanksgiving, taking gluttony to a whole new level.  Oh how we wish we didn't have to go through another holiday without him, but it's looking like that will be the case.  Of course, nothing is impossible with God ...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday's Menu - Shiro

Shiro Wat is definitely my kid's favorite Ethiopian menu item.  It's fairly easy to make, but requires a trip to an ethnic market as Shiro (a dark yellow crushed bean/chickpeas) cannot generally be found in regular grocery stores.

Shiro Wat
1/2 cup oil
1/2 large onion, chopped very fine
4 cloves garlic, minced fine
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp tumeric

Cook above ingredients over medium heat until garlic and onions are tender.  Then, add ...

3 cups water (bring to boil), add
1 cup shiro.  Stir well, mash shiro against the side of the pot until it is mixed well (mush out all lumps)

Cover, slowly boil for ten minutes.  Salt to taste (quite a bit - 1-2 tsp?).  Serve with injera.

When I've had Shiro in Ethiopia, it had berbere added and was more red in color (versus my dark brown-yellow) and it was spicy.  My Ethiopian friends taught me to make it without the berbere, and my kids prefer this way as they are fairly big wimps when it comes to spice.  I like it both ways.

Semi-Feral Mama - I hope this is the recipe you were asking me to post because next week it's crock pot Sega (beef) Wat, and I know you won't be interested in that one! 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Change the World Wednesday - Linkup Party

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." ~Anne Frank

Today's post is all about YOU sharing your good ideas.  Are you naturally good at raising awareness, raising money?  Because I am not.  I am actually the opposite of that.  But, I have witnessed some of the most creative fundraisers in the last few weeks, ones that involved more than just asking people to write a check.  And somehow it seems wrong to keep all these good ideas to myself.

Click on the button below and link away.  Have you done/seen a cool fundraiser lately?  This could be anything from a rummage sale, puzzle fundraiser, idea of how to volunteer, wine tasting event, making jewelry, putting a book on the internet you thought no one would ever buy but you decided 'what the hay' and it ended up raising over $1000.   For those of you who have struck on a really good idea, share it with us.  I have to believe that a good portion of our people want to help, want to make a difference and change the world, but they just need a good stepping off place.  Will you help them/us?

I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. ~William Penn

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On The Bright Side ...

We received some not-so-amazing news today.  Our case has met another delay.  Apparently MB's age is wrong on our Ministry letter, which means this letter needs to be re-issued by the government in Southern Ethiopia.  If you know anything about the politics of Ethiopian adoptions right now, your butt cheeks just tightened.  No idea how far this will set us back (weeks, months?), but we do know this to be the final nail in the coffin of our dream to have all five kids with us for Christmas or any of 2011.

We are both bitterly disappointed.

But, on the bright side ...

We have been mulling over the idea of taking The Eldest and Zoom with us to Ethiopia for our Embassy trip.  Mostly, I think it would make MB's transition so much easier.  Children have a language that transcends spoken words and they will be able to show him what a family is and how a family operates better than any words we could say (assuming we even spoke the same language - which we don't).  And, for my two oldest to get to experience Ethiopia, the beauty and the pain - can I even begin to describe how priceless this would be for them?  Sharing experiences and love for their brothers' homeland and being able to talk about Ethiopia with the boys as they grow up.  Oh, priceless.

I took them to get their travel shots yesterday.  We still have not told them they might get to go.  It took a lot of code talk, note writing and kids sitting in the hall while I answered the (grumpy, impatient, non-understanding) nurses questions, but I think I pulled it off.

So, what's the bright side you ask?  If we had been submitted to embassy this week (as we should have been), there was a decent chance we would be traveling around Christmas, a week when airfare is SKY HIGH. Though we would have gladly shelled out the cash to go anytime, it would have made taking Renny and Zoom somewhat impossible (for a math lesson, multiply $3,000 by 5 and that equals somewhat impossible).  And so, it looks like we won't be traveling before January, which makes it much more likely we will get to take two extra kids along.  Hoorah!

I will admit that I am just a little bitter about the fact that this error likely could have been identified weeks ago, bringing us 3 weeks closer to our son.  But, I am supremely confident that my God has not forgotten nor forsaken, his hand is on this situation, his arms are around MB and his grace is sufficient for even me.  And so I will not be afraid.  I will not be afraid.  I will not be afraid.  (repeat it enough and surely I will come to believe it, right?)

The best news - some families I love, families I have mourned for and prayed for, some of them received the very best news today, and hope emerged.  Words can't describe how much I am rejoicing for them right now.  Shoot - I may very well be traveling with them.  Only God knows ...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday's Menu - Atkilt

A friend recently suggested I publish my favorite Ethiopian recipes here on my blog. I'll start with Atkilt, one of those recipes which sounds and looks somewhat awful (cabbage - need I say more?), but surprisingly ended up being one of my favorites.  It's also really easy to make.

1 cup oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots
1 head of cabbage, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1.5 tsp tumeric
1 jalapeno pepper (optional)

Heat oil in large pot.  Cook onion and garlic over medium heat until tender.  Slowly add ingredients in order listed (except for jalapeno).  Cabbage will cook down, just keep stirring and cooking on medium/low heat, covered.  You do not need to add any water.  When potatoes and carrots are tender (20-30 minutes total cook time), slice jalapeno pepper and add at the end.  Salt to taste.  Obviously, serve with injera.

As with all Ethiopian recipes, alter the recipe to your particular taste/food supply.  If you really like onions, but not carrots, adjust accordingly.  I usually cut the oil in half to make it less fattening, so for this recipe I probably only used about 1/2 cup of oil.


Does your family have Ethiopian food often?  We shoot for once a week around here, though sometimes laziness gets the best of me and frozen pizzas win out.  I'm trying to expose the kids to Ethiopian food as much as I can so they can learn to truly enjoy it before MB comes home.  So far we've progressed from tears, to compliance and we're almost to enjoyment.  So far their favorite is Shiro Wat.  What's your favorite Ethiopian dish?

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wine to Water

This one definitely falls under the category of Change the World Wednesday.  My friend Tesi is one of those women we all hate:  beautiful, young, skinny, funny, perfect family, super patient, great hair, great mom and killer legs.  As if we weren't jealous enough, she manages to throw the party of the century, raising over $10,000 to bring life-saving water to third world nations.  Because I wanted to soak as much of her up as possible, I drove 6 hours to "help", though I did little besides buy art and taste wine.

Two of the best friends a girl could have, willing to follow me into my craziness and looking so cute trying the chicken wing technique.  I was so excited to have such great company for the long trip, though I had ulterior motives.  I'm totally trying to talk Shiloh into planning one of these fundraising parties in our town because she would be sooooo good at it.  Everyone should pop on over to her blog and give her the peer pressure encouragement she needs to set a date.  Go do that now.  I'll wait ...

 could this be anymore beautiful? 

 small sampling of the art that was up for auction

 Yours truly happens to be the proud new owner of this beautiful blue pitcher

the transformation of this plain, empty space into this kind of classy elegance is no short of amazing

doesn't this picture look like it belongs in some uppity city loft magazine?

 and the musicians ... man, I wish I had just an ounce of that talent

 Tesi might have had to bawl out some men about a non-working elevator shortly before go time.  What that girl won't do for water.

 oh the sweets ... 

And the funnest part of the night was definitely the after party.  I don't remember all their names (because I am horrible at remembering names), but Tesi has some hilariously funny friends, starting with this guy (thanks for wearing more than a loin clothe, by the way):

and this girl had me laughing all weekend

 I don't remember this guy's name, but he will forever be remembered as "the running man" 

We got to stay at "camp," which was so beautiful it had me rethinking my opinion of Iowa

Shiloh was pretty freaked out about sleeping in this great big lodge in the woods all by ourselves. I *might* have tried to organize some midnight pranks to scare the Bejezus out of her, but was too sleepy to execute them.  (you're welcome Shiloh)

This dinosaur disguised as a dog had us trapped in our car in the wee hours of the night.  Despite Tesi's assurances over the phone that he was very gentle and wouldn't hurt a soul, we waited until she got home to exit the vehicle.  Shiloh was prepared to sleep in the car all night if need be.

It was truly a fabulous weekend, and I cannot believe how blessed I am to know such inspiring people and have such amazing friends.  This party, which raised enough money to dig two wells and potentially save hundreds of lives, it is an example of something just about anyone can do.  Don't get me wrong, Tesi and her people worked their butts off.  But, it started with an idea, watered by a dream, fed by compassion, and matured into something tall and mighty.  I'm venturing a guess that not very many of you reading this are millionaires.  But, do you have an idea?  Can you make phone calls, send emails, hang Christmas lights?  God may be calling you to something amazing.

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

Stay tuned for tomorrow, next week, whenever I get time? where I'm going to try to force my non-techy brain to figure out how to do a link-up party of everyone's good ideas for charity fundraisers.  Have you organized a successful fundraiser in the past?  If so, send me your good ideas.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top 12 Things Not to Say

I posted my thoughts on this subject about a year ago.  It's one of those posts which I have had a ton of response from, good and bad.  I know this will be a shock to a lot of my readers, but everybody on the planet doesn't necessarily eat, sleep and breath all things adoption (gasp) and so it's perfectly normal that all people might not intrinsically know appropriate adoption semantics.  I honestly believe that most of the following questions/comments are 100% well-meaning.  If you've asked them of me, this is in no way my passive-aggressive way to get back at you and I don't have a voodoo doll stuck full of pins with your name embroidered on the sleeve (probably).

Another disclaimer:  In no way do I speak for the entire adoption community.  There's probably countless adult adoptees as well as adoptive parents who would say I'm totally full of crap, and I'm fine with that.  Some of the questions/remarks that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end wouldn't necessarily bother another mama.  And, the reverse is also true.  Honestly, I have pretty thick skin and I would say it takes a lot to offend me, especially if I know you and I know your motives to be true.

Having said all of that, after another year of hearing just about every question/comment under the sun, here is my new and improved list of questions not to ask an adoptive parent/child/family:

  1. "Which ones are your real kids? (insert awkward silence or dirty looks from AP) ... Oh, you know what I mean."  Again, I don't believe people intend to insult or offend, but let's think of it from the kids' perspectives for a moment. Imagine growing up, and constantly hearing questions as to your "realness" or constantly feeling like you have to prove your place in your family. And, don't fool yourself ... kids are always listening. Parents are already fighting an uphill battle to instill adopted children with a sense of confidence and security. Don't make it harder for them by asking insensitive questions.  Yes, we know what you mean, but don't ask this question.  Along those lines, "are they real siblings?" I have mixed feelings on this question because I would imagine that my boys will be proud of the fact that they are biological brothers.  However, if they weren't, this question is just the first crack into a whole can of worms kids and parents would probably prefer to avoid in public conversation.  And again, they are all "real" siblings whether or not they share biology.
  2. "What a blessing your family is to this child/children." I know this is a well meaning comment. I've heard it so very many times, and it never fails to make me super uncomfortable. Let me tell you, I am a blessing (and a curse) to all my children equally. And, I believe wholeheartedly that I am receiving the greater blessing. So, if this is on the tip of your tongue, simply rephrase, "Oh, what a blessing this child is to your family," because this is certainly closer to the truth.
  3. "Oh, what an awesome thing you did. You are so amazing. You must be a saint." Honestly, I throw up a little in my mouth every time I hear this; and again, never really sure how to respond. Trust me folks, this isn't false modesty. I'm perfectly flawed and, just like most every other mama, I spend way too much time selfishly ignoring my kids and losing my patience.  Please don't say this anymore.  Ever.  This is one of the few statements that makes me want to totally avoid discussing adoption.
  4. "Oh, I hope he knows how much you've done for him when he grows up." I hate to break it to you, but generally kids don't appreciate their parents until they have kids of their own, and sometimes not even then. Why should we expect anything different from adopted kids?
  5. Please don't generalize horror stories and apply them to every adoptive family you know. Yes, some adopted kids grow up to be punks. Guess what, so do a lot of biological kids. Rest assured that any well informed AP is familiar with ten times the horror stories you are, and it is highly unlikely you will tell them something they haven't thought of a million times over.
  6. If you see a multiracial family in the grocery store, maintain a little bit of self composure. I mean, if you're going to stare unceasingly, at least follow it by a smile so we don't feel the need to watch our backs all the way to the car.
  7. Be sensitive about asking questions (even good questions) in front of older children. While some kids soak it up, not all children like being in the spotlight their whole lives. If you have a genuine desire to hear more about adoption, politely tell the parent you would love to know more, and do they have an email address or could you pick their brain sometime. Most adoptive parents I know LOVE to talk about adoption (myself included), but their first priority is the protection of their children, and being sensitive to their personalities.
  8. Don't leave out the bio kids. This happens to us all. the. time. I see strangers in the store, and they ooohhh and ahhhh all over the brown baby, completely ignoring the beautiful pink babies in the same shopping cart. I get it. He stands out (because he's brown, but also because he's gorgeous). But again, keep in mind the kids. You never know if that middle child isn't crying out for just a portion of baby brother's public attention.
  9. How much did he cost?  This question is wrong on so many levels, first and foremost being that children are. not. for. sale.  Comments like "you should just get two while you're over there" likewise are distasteful because they tend to devalue children, making them sound more like a commodity to be bought and sold rather than precious children created in the image of God.
  10. Don't ask about the child's history/relinquishment/story. If you saw an amputee in line at the grocery store, would you run right up to him and say "hey, I notice you are missing your legs.  Tell me all the gory details?"  No you wouldn't - because you'd realize that you'd be asking about one of the single most painful experiences of their life, and it's likely they wouldn't want to talk about it with a stranger.  Rest assured, it is no different with adoption.  When you ask how/why a child came to be an orphan, you are asking about the most painful experience of that child's life.  It's never a cute, cuddly story that causes our children to become orphans.  It almost always involves disease, death, shame and/or starvation and it always involves PAIN. As AP's, we have to keep this in mind when discussing our children's stories and be sensitive to each individual child.  Casually discussing it with Supermarket Sally while picking out produce is probably not a good idea.  (AP's run the gamut as far as being totally open vs totally private about their child's story, and that is their decision.  I'm just asking that you  understand the sensitive nature of these questions, don't ask them in front of the kids and don't be offended if we don't want to tell all) 
  11. "They must be so happy to be in America?"  Let's think about it.  It's likely this child has recently lost parents, siblings, friends, language, culture, food - pretty much everything they knew, loved and were comfortable with.  It may just be that they think America sucks and they are so homesick, scared and filled with grief that the thought of America makes them want to hitchhike back to Africa.  Don't get me wrong.  Plenty of kids come to America thinking it and their new families are the coolest thing since sliced bread.  This is just a possible scenario to keep in mind in order to be sensitive to a particular child.
  12. "Now that you've finally got your child home, are you just so so happy you can barely stand it?"  I have no idea what it will be like bringing MB home.  I wrote a little bit about my expectations here, but the jist of it is that I expect it to be really, really, really hard.  I will be parenting five small children, including two toddlers and one grieving little man who doesn't speak English, who has lived in an institution for the last two-ish years and probably has very little memory of boundaries, parents or never-leaving love. (For an idea of what a newly adoptive family might be going through, click here.)  I'm sure eventually I will get to that place where I will be so happy my toes will barely touch the floor, where I have everything all figured out and Karyn Purvis is leaving me voicemails begging me to speak at adoption conferences.  But if you ask this question within the first year-ish of being home, it's more likely that every inch of my tired soul will be dragging the ground.  Does that mean I regret it?  No, no and no!  Just know that this time might be really hard and having a hard time doesn't mean we have regrets.  It may mean that we could use your continued support, prayers, meals and Molly Maids!
After reading over this list, I fear I'm coming off as a hypersensitive craze-ball, making everyone scared to open their mouths.  That is the opposite of my intention.  Adoption is a beautiful, amazing thing, that is borne out of a lot of pain.  Let's talk about it. Never, never be afraid to talk about it. If I had to sum all of this up in one sentence it would simply be this:  Keep in mind that these kids come from very hard places, they have gone through more than we can even imagine, and so let's be sensitive to the fact that they are listening.

I would love to hear your thoughts, even if they are that you think I'm totally off my rocker on all of this.  Is there a question you've wanted to ask an AP, but wonder if it's appropriate?  If you are an AP, what is the craziest question you've ever fielded?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Change the World Wednesday

Today's Change the World Wednesday is brought to you by my good friend Tamara.  She just returned from Ethiopia, volunteering for FOVC (Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children).  This city slicker doesn't really understand what she does for a living, but it's something to do with farming and dirt.  She's using her expertise to help train widows in Ethiopia how to manage their farms.  I'm sure her work is helping to prevent kids from becoming orphans, and I'm so proud to be her friend.  Here are some words from her about about what she saw in Ethiopia:

Starvation is Real

I got the chills just thinking about this post. Starvation is real my friends. A mix of emotions overwhelm me as I look at this face below:

This is one of the crops widows Joe and I were training for the week. Her name is Boltase. Upon meeting my crops widows, I greeted each of them with a hug. When I hugged Boltase, it was like hugging sticks. Literally. We use the term "skin and bones" with ease here. At least I do. But this woman, she was skin and bones with no body conditioning on her.

She looked rougher than the rest. As we interacted with each of the women, I kept an eye on this lady who just looked bad. When we talked of walking to a nearby widow's farm, Boltase informed me that she was too ill to walk with us. When we sat in the shade, she sought the sunshine. Something wasn't right.

Starvation is real. I knew there was a chance I'd see it up close and personal.

That night lots of things went through my mind. One was of Boltase. A woman I didn't really know. But a woman created in the likeness of God. A woman who walked a long ways to receive some training and hope. How could we let her down. I talked to Dr. Jo about her. First thing the next morning, I took Boltase to see the lovely Dr. Jo.

I stood there awestruck at what I saw. As I think through those minutes again, I feel a sickness in my stomach. Starvation is real. Even in Shanto, where FOVC exists to help many, they are unable to help everyone. Dr. Jo checked her out, asked her questions and treated her with medical care and love. In this picture below, Dr. Jo had to use a children's blood pressure cuff on Boltase because an adult one was too big. Her arm was literally the size of a two-year-old.

Starvation is real. I hate it.

In the words of my sweet friend, Dr. Jo, her patient was "so far beyond empty, I don't know how she's still standing". She was severely malnourished and severely dehydrated. Her kidneys had begun to shut down. She had no reserves left. Dr. Jo also shared at some point that in a matter of 2 to 3 days, we wouldn't have seen Boltase again. There was no way she would physically be able to move.

But there's good news. Boltase, by no strength of her own, made it to the FOVC campus. While there, she was seen by a medical doctor Can you grasp the weight of that? Literally dying. I know, I know you might think twice about it. But when you see it face to face, it's heart wrenching.

Pedialyte multiple times a day along with some other medical intervention and within 3 days I watched this person, who didn't even have the strength to smile, be able to raise her hands, worship and give praise to God for what we were doing for her.

Friends, it's so much more than a crops project. It's so much more than providing food to those facing starvation. It's giving hope. To those who supported my trip to Ethiopia with encouragement, prayer, and finances, I just want to say thank you. This woman is alive and smiling because of it.

With the happy news, please don't be fooled. Boltase has a long road ahead of her. With the lack of rain in Ethiopia, I saw crops withering. Without rain, their crops won't grow and that will only further impact the health and eating habits of Boltase and others around her.

Dear God, I know that You know. Let it rain Father. Let it rain!

p.s. Friends, if you donated to FOVC for MB's "baby shower" or purchased an Amharic Picture Book, your donation provided the necessary food and Pedialyte to save this woman's life.  We can't all be dirt experts, fly to Africa and teach widows to farm, but we can ALL do SOMETHING.  Don't let today pass without finding your something.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Meeting MB, Leaving MB

The moment we've been waiting for - that moment is here.  We walked into a large room crowded with children, and my eyes quickly scanned.  They darted over the heads of all the big boys, and my mama eye could not pick out my son.  And then, in what seems like hours but was probably mere seconds, a tiny boy was pushed from the crowd. Though he was half the size I had expected, there was no mistaking those eyes, because I knew them well.  I have been looking deep into their 2 year-old likeness for a year and a half, and longing to daily look upon two pairs of such beautiful eyes.

He was full of shyness and reserve, something I had not expected, but he slowly stepped forward and melted into our arms.  My internal soundtrack was busily chanting "don't cry, don't cry."  In true Ethiopian fashion, he gave us three kisses on each cheek, right, then left, then right.  The next few moments are sort of a blur.  I know we played soccer and he giggled, ran and panted as his new daddy refused to take it easy on him.  We sat down and poured over pictures together.

I don't know what memories he has of his baby brother, but he picked up his picture and kissed it over and over, repeating his name.  Using the Amharic words for mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa and friend, we introduced him to the people who have loved him from afar this last year.  He treasured the photos, wanting them safely tucked back into our bag after viewing, but asking for them a dozen or more times over the coarse of the day.  I had a very special picture of MB with two boys from his original orphanage, a picture taken nearly two years ago.  His face lit up, seeing his old friends, long ago adopted to America.  He told me their names and kissed their faces.  I am blessed to know the mamas to these two boys, and I cannot wait for the day when we can reunite them in play.

We brought two backpacks full of toys.  The first thing we handed out was balloons, and oh the pandemonium that created.  Most of the older children instantly stuffed the balloons in their pockets (or, where no pockets existed, somewhere into the recesses of their pants).  They would rather own their balloon than take the risk of playing with it.  This germaphobe shared buckets of spit with smiling children, as they brought me their slobbery balloons to inflate, over and over again. Our bag of 150 balloons was quickly exhausted, and the tears, punches and heartache that caused was enough to break the hardest heart.  God once again reminded me "this is not how I designed families."  We had lots of other toys but, given the scene mere balloons had caused, we decided to give the rest to the nannies as surely they knew much better than us how to handle this.

Children clamored for our attention, hugs, kisses, for more treasures, but mostly for love.  If I sat on the floor, I was guaranteed to have three girls removing my pony tail and fighting over who would braid my hair.  If I stood, I had children digging in my pockets or attempting to unzip my pants, sure I was somewhere hiding more balloons.

The agency's official stance had been that we would be introduced as "visitors," though I doubt there was any question in the kid's minds why we were here.  MB, likely being in this care center longer than any, probably knew better than anyone the reason.  He's probably seen 50 to 100 sets of parents come for their children.  And now, oh thank you Lord, it is his turn.  And he knew it.  I could literally see his chest rise up with pride that he finally had two big people coming just for him.

Over the next eight hours, God would break my heart for what breaks his.  When we traveled to adopt Taz, though spending the days in the orphanage was heartbreaking, it was comforting to know that those young children had, or would soon have, parents waiting for them.  At that time, Ethiopian adoptions were beginning to really get popular, and waiting lists of parents were forming for those young children.  But today, in this very different orphanage, these children, aged 4 to 10, have no long list of American parents waiting for them.  For most, there are no people at home buying clothes, decorating nurseries or attending baby showers in their honor.  These beautiful children; THEY are the waiting list, and some of them might never leave.  I don't believe adoption is God's plan A.  I don't think His plan A would involve disease, starvation or dying parents.  But, I do firmly believe that He has a beautiful plan B, and it IS us.  If there was just a way for his people to see this need, to share spit and play soccer with it, I have to believe we would respond.

And so, the clock soon approached 5, and the moment I've looked forward to for nearly a year is over, and the moment I have dreaded for just as long is here.  It is time to walk out of the room and off this continent without this child.  (I'm kind of blubbering like an idiot just typing those words.)  I insisted on finding someone who spoke English in order to translate to MB what was happening, that we WOULD return.  Eventually I found the pediatrician, and he spoke the words to MB; we had to go back to America, do some paperwork and wait for the government to give us permission to come back.  And, we would be back. Oh how I pleaded with God during those minutes and the days that have followed that we would be back, and soon.

As soon as the doctor began to speak those words, that we were leaving and that he was not, the stone face that is the hurt child's mask swept over him.  I think I would have preferred crying, kicking and screaming to this.  To see a child sink into himself, his self taught defense mechanism for pain - there's not many things more heartbreaking.  And so MB wrapped his arms around our necks with more strength than I knew he had, and he gave us each one last kiss.  I stood up and swiftly walked out the door, not looking back, hoping he wouldn't see the tears streaming down my face, my trembling lip or contorted face.  By the time we made it outside, I was sobbing with no ability to stop.  I knew this moment would rip my heart out, but somehow knowing it's coming had no power to make it hurt less.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ"  2 Corinthians 1:4

Friday, November 4, 2011

To Hold You Over

I promise, soon I will write all about our time in Ethiopia, what it was like seeing MB, spending a full day at the orphanage and court.  It was such an emotional few days, and I'm still struggling with what/how much to share about our time there.  Since I'm still suffering big time from jet LAG, I decided now was not the time to make that decision.  So, I shall tide you over with pics from our second full day in Dubai.

 the building and the architecture was amazing

The photographer at my sister's wedding told us that women should always hold their arms out like this for photographs.  Apparently it's supposed to make them look thinner.  I think it just makes me look like a chicken with my wing stuck out.

 (and all the girlies say he's pretty fly for a white guy)

 When we were spending time with MB, we were showing him pics on our camera.  There were lots of pics of Dubai, and MB's face lit up and he said "America?" in the cutest little Ethiopian accent you've ever heard.  I told Mr T that he was going to be bitterly disappointed, coming home to a Midwest winter if this is what he's expecting.

Coming soon ...

Meeting MB
Easy Steps to Turn an Adoption Trip into a Romantic Getaway for Very Little Money (though I think I need a shorter and catchier title for this one)
Ethiopian Court, and all it entails ...