Friday, May 29, 2009


Rosie has been home for six weeks now. Boy is that girl growing! She has gained 3 pounds, 2 inches, and gone up a shoe size. Her hair is growing, too. She was so excited when we managed to get 2 little pony tails in last night.

She's growing so much that several of her little dresses are too short. So, I took her to the mall to check out the clearance sales for size 4 clothes. She LOVED clothes shopping! We must have tried on 80 outfits. She had very clear opinions on what she liked and didn't like. As I would take a dress off the rack, she would either hug it shouting, "Yes, Mommy, Rosie", or she would look at me like I was crazy and shake her finger, saying "No, Mommy, No". The dressing rooms were hilarious. She would try on each outfit and then twirl to see if the skirt was full enough. If she liked it, she would dance and sing and there were nearly tears when I had to get it off of her. But, if she didn't like it, she couldn't get it off fast enough.

Her English is progressing, too. She understands much more than she says, but what she says is coming along. We have 1-10, the ABC's, colors and most of our body parts down. We also have yes, no, please, thank you, excuse me, welcome, hello, good-bye, night night, tomorrow, Sunday, church, baby, bear, cat, doggy, I love you too, See you tomorrow, bath, shower, brush teeth, let's eat, breakfast, supper, hungry, drink, water, potty, mud, flower, bow, Let's go, come here, be nice and I'm sorry down pat.

Unfortunately, be nice and I'm sorry have been a mainstay of her week. She has set out to prove that she is definitely a female toddler this week. Hence my absence on the web for most of the week. She is struggling to share and to not hit when she doesn't get her way. The last couple of days, she has struggled to obey at all, let alone the first time. And, I know when she knows better, because when I walk into the room or she catches me looking at her, she drops what it is she isn't supposed to be doing and says, "Sorry". People ask how things are going, and the answer is still great. Rosie is a toddler. She's doing what toddlers do.

While on the phone with a family member last week, I mentioned how much I was longing to be able to start the adoption process again and wondering if we'd ever be able to afford to. Their reply was, "Maybe you should try to get a baby next time". I was NOT impressed. Yes, Rosie is high energy and we deal with some bad behavior from time to time. But, so does every toddler. Rosie is doing what toddlers do, and even though I don't like it and it's hard work, it's also re-assuring that she feels secure enough in her position in our family to be naughty. And, she's grown so much. She might still get mad when she is disciplined, but it doesn't last for more than a minute or two, and when she is done, she comes for hugs and kisses and to tell me, "Rosie, be nice".

Doing the right thing isn't always easy, but it is much easier to parent her because we believe that God answered our prayer when we expanded the age range on our home study and asked Him to provide the perfect child for our family and that we would be the best parents for. Seeing just how well she fits into our family, how could I ever doubt that parenting this toddler is the right choice? Even on the rough days, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

A Favorite Recipe

One of the boys favorite things is to have breakfast for supper. I'm not sure why, but having breakfast food at suppertime just feels like a huge treat. I hadn't done it for a while, and the boys had spent most of last week asking for it. So last night I surprised them with blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage links, fresh orange juice and fruit salad. It was a big hit, and I was definitely the boys' favorite person for the rest of the evening!

They were good, no, they were great. So good, that I think I'll share the recipe so you can try them for yourself.
Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes
Syrup: 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 cup water, 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in water. Add blueberries;bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.

Pancakes: 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk, 1 cup sour cream (I usually end up substituting at least half blueberry yogurt to intensify the flavor), 1/3 cup butter, melted and 1 cup fresh blueberries

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Add milk, sour cream and melted butter; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. our batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Cook until the 2nd side is golden brown. Serve with blueberry topping.

Honestly, I love them best with butter and a little maple syrup, but the blueberry topping is good, too.

There weren't many left over, but we put them in the refrigerator and they were great leftover, too. Rosie doesn't really like cereal or most American breakfast foods, but she loved these. I think I'm going to make another batch just to keep in the refrigerator for an easy already-made breakfast option.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Just because I love this picture

Overheard at Our House This Week

Except for the hours of the night when the children are deeply asleep, it is pretty much never quiet anymore. In fact, I think that if you could put an audio clip into the dictionary next to the word cacophany, it would be a clip from our house. This gives plenty of opportunity for aggravation, but it also provides plenty of opportunity for laughter and a great window into my children's world. Here are just a few of the things overheard at our house this week:

Rosie singing "Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah. Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah. Hallelu,Mommy. Hallelu, Daddy. Hallelu, Jesus. I love you, Mommy. I love you, Daddy. I love you, Jesus." She sang this for like 20 minutes straight.

Noah was outside playing with the little girl from across the street while I was weeding the garden. They were playing pirates and burying their "treasure" in the sand pit. I wasn't paying much attention until I heard him say, "You know, Ella, we're just pretending, but the Bible tells us we really should be laying up our treasure in heaven. Our treasures are the things we do that please God, how we act and what we say and the people we tell about Jesus". Ella replied that her treasure was at home in her house. Noah then said, "Well, you know, it's only going to get eaten up by moths and get all rusty. If you store up your treasure in heaven it will last forever. Here, maybe this song will help you understand", and then he proceeded to sing her the song we learned from Matthew 6: 19-21-Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

And, last but certainly not least, an offering from Nathan. Usually when Nathan gives me kisses, they are very puckered up, small kisses. But last night, he was feeling super affectionate and I got a very big kiss that ended with him smacking his lips and then declaring, "Huh, that was a good one. I got you with both of 'em, didn't I?"

Never a dull moment, friends. Maybe that's why I'm so tired anymore, but it sure is fun.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

House Resolution 45

Update: I have stopped comments on this post. One of the joys of having a blog, is that it is somewhere to record my thoughts, beliefs, feelings, etc... As such, I attempt to be careful with what I put on it to be an accurate representation of truth and what I believe. So, I will keep what I said, and in this instance, feel absolutely no guilt in removing the ability of others to disagree using my blog. Don't like it? Use your own blog to advocate for a society without guns where the criminals and crooked bureaucrats hold all control!

For those of you who care anything about The 2nd Amendment, you really should check out house resolution 45. (My personal favorite site for keeping up with what Congress is up to is Now, I recognise that you might not figure me as your typical "right to keep and bear arms" kind of girl, but I do feel passionately about the principles our country was founded on. And, I also believe that with guns we are citizens, without guns we are subjects.

Consider these facts:

* In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated. This doesn't include the 30 million that the governemtn starved to death in the Ukraine.

* In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

* Germany established gun control in 1928. In 1938, the Nazis extended that control to ban the possession of military style weapons and to outlaw the sale of any weapons without government approval. (This sounds a lot like some of the current gun control efforts being pushed for in our country today.) From 1939 to 1945, the Gestapo & SS killed millions of people unable to defend themselves.

* China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up & exterminated.

* Guatamala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up & exterminated.

* Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up & exterminated. The total dead are said to be 2-3 million.

* Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, 1-2 million "educated" people unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

* Defenseless people rounded up & exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million at a bare minimum.

* During W.W. II the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED.

Admiral Yamamoto, who crafted the attack on Pearl Harbor, had attended Harvard University from 1919 to 1921 and was a Naval Attache to the U.S. from 1925-28. Most of our Navy was destroyed at Pearl Harbor, and our Army had been deprived of funding and was ill prepared to defend the country. It was reported that when asked why Japan did not follow up the Pearl Harbor attack with an invasion of the U.S. Mainland, his reply was that he had lived in the U.S. and knew that almost all households had guns.

* Gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results: Australia-wide, homicides went up 3.2 percent; Australia-wide, assaults went up 8.6 percent; Australia-wide, armed robberies went up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent). While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady DECREASE in armed robbery with firearms, that changed drastically upward in the first year after gun confiscation... since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed; There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults on the Elderly. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort & expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.

Hmmm, see a trend here? Care about the erosion of our personal freedoms? Then allow me to suggest that you should check out what this bill has to say. It's scary stuff, including giving the right for any home where a gun is owned to be searched without warrant or prior notice to ensure compliance. Check it out for yourself. Then, how about contacting your representative to let them know, you want to be a citizen not their subject!

* These statistics were obtained from While I cannot guarantee their accuracy 100%, my research last night found them to be in agreement with the statistics available to us through modern history books.

Just because I love this picture

A Boy and His Dog

When I looked out the window yesterday, this was what I saw. Nathan had "invented" a leash by taking the old net off of his basketball hoop for the collar part and then dis-assembling the jump rope for the lead. He was having a great time! Inky seemed to enjoy it, too. He spent ages walking her around the backyard.

I was a little concerned when we brought Inky home that the boys would get tired of her and find that owning a dog wasn't all they thought it would be. But, almost one year later, Nathan still loves Inky. And, I think the feeling is mutual. She always acts pleased to see him, puts up with him sitting on her, and humors him by walking round and round the yard on his leash.

My little boy is getting so big. I can't wait to see the man he grows up to be, but part of me aches to think that all too soon he'll be too big to spend his days "inventing leashes" and finding adventure in walking the dog in his back yard.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Mother, Another Child

Mother's Day was extra sweet this year. How could it not be? Not because it was celebrated with breakfast in bed, jewellery, perfume, flowers or any of the more traditional ways to celebrate Mother's Day, but because it was Mother's Day with these 3 all home together. I am still in awe of my beautiful family and just how naturally Rosie has become part of our lives.

I don't think that Mother's Day will ever be quite the same for me. Because as I reflected on the privilege and responsibility of being a mother, my mind went repeatedly to two people half a world away, one a mother and one a child.

I am so proud to be Rosie's Mother, but even if I wanted to, there is no denying that I am not her first mother. Half a world away, there is another Mother, a first mother, who gave birth to her, loved her, was there for her first cries, first smiles, first steps, and then as she became so ill that she could no longer see her daughter, feed her or care for her, made the choice that no Mother should ever have to make, to give her daughter up so that her daughter would have a chance at life. I used to wonder how any woman could give up a child if she truly loved them, but now I no longer wonder. Instead, I am in awe of the love of a parent who would choose life for their child, knowing that doing so would mean losing them forever.
I am grateful for Rosie's first Mother. Grateful for the sacrifice she made for Rosie, grateful for the chance to be Rosie's second Mother, and grateful to be a part of a little life for which God chose two Mothers.

Then, my thoughts began to stray to a child in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her name is Meron. She has just turned 6. She is my child, too. Not biologically, not legally, but a part of our family none the less. Meron is our child through Compassion International. Meron has only been a part of our family since the beginning of this year, but already it is amazing to see that relationship begin to grow. Sponsoring Meron is about far more than just helping to provide food, medical care and an education for her and job training and support for her Mother. It's about being involved with an Agency that works through local churches to help them meet the needs of those they are surrounded by, providing much needed physical support, which gives them an opportunity to share the love of God in word and in deed. And, it's about an opportunity for our family to be a part of sharing God's love with her. Sponsoring a child through Compassion International is an investment not just of your money, but also your prayers and your time. I love to hear my boys begin to pray for Meron. We used this last week at school to study more about Ethiopia, and as they begin to understand more about where Meron comes from, it is obvious from their prayers that they are listening and beginning to understand. And then, when we sat down to write to her together, it was so much fun to hear what the boys wanted to tell her and what questions they wanted to ask her. I can't wait to see the relationship grow. What a privilege to be a part of this precious child's life from half a world away, to play a small part in what God is going to do in her life, and to be able to be part of a relationship that will help her to see just how special she is to us and to God, even when the difficult circumstances around her might tempt her to believe otherwise.

So, for today, my number one recommendation for those seeking to live out the caring for widows and orphans part of James 1:27: consider sponsoring a child through Compassion International ( or just click the button at the top of my blog). It will change their life, and it just might change yours, too.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Ethiopia Chronicles-Visit to an Orphanage

Having just re-read what I've written, I recognise that I have rambled, the sentence structure isn't great, some of the spelling is probably less than perfect, and it isn't eloquent. But, I'm not going to try to fix it. This was what has been on my heart and in my head, and I think I'm just going to have to be content that I've finally gotten it written down. I hope you'll overlook the poor writing and instead look at the content. So, here it is:

Thursday arrived, and I was excited. Rosie seemed to be doing great with me overall, and we were due to spend the morning at Kids' Care Orphanage, lunch out at a pizza restaurant, and then on to Gelgela Orphanage before a visit to the Lepers Hospital. But really, the excitement was all about the orphanage.

I love kids. Spend any time around me, and you'll figure that out. I always have. I think I got it from my Grandma. We had heard great things about the orphanages from previous families who had travelled, and I was excited to go and love on all of the kids. And, to be completely truthful, I was a little nervous. How could I go to Ethiopia and only bring home one child in need of a home? It was a question I had been asking myself and Gareth for months. I knew all of the reasons why we couldn't/shouldn't try to right now, and I knew the timing wasn't right, but I wondered if my mind and my heart would both manage to deal with that when confronted up front and personally when surrounded by children without a forever family.

After a quick breakfast in our room, we grabbed our suitcases of donations and headed for the bus. After a short drive, we turned down a narrow street and our bus stopped in front of some silver gates.

The gates were opened for us, and we headed in. There in the courtyard were dozens of children, the youngest looking about 3 and the oldest looking around 12 or 13. They were all waiting for us, and everyone (our group) included looked shy and nervous. We said hi, and some of them waved, but no one moved. So after a couple of awkward seconds, I walked about halfway towards them, and then knelt down and asked the nearest little boy if he knew "High 5". With a big smile on his face he came over, gave me 5, and then there was a rush of little kids anxious to give 5s, get hugs, and tell their names. Several of the little girls gave 5s and then wrapped their arms around me, desperate for hugs.

Some of the other families had their candy out, and the whole courtyard was a beehive of activity with children getting candy, wanting hugs, and excited to have their pictures taken so that they could look at themselves.

This little girl in the red dress attached herself to us very early on. She really wanted to just sit and be hugged, but poor Rosie was very nervous at the orphanage and really was upset when I began to love on the other kids. So, it was a difficult balancing act, trying to reassure Rosie that she was not going to be left again, and that Mommy could love on the other children without loving her any less.

After awhile, some of the nannies began bringing smaller children out one at a time from one of the buildings, so that they could have a piece of candy. This building housed the babies and youngest toddlers, and there was a sign on it saying that photographs weren't allowed inside (this is part of Ethiopia's way of protecting the privacy of young children who are adoptable).

I made my way to the entry and was greeted by the sight of a little girl who obviously has some serious handicaps. She was very thin, her dress hung on her, and her hair hadn't all grown in quite right. She was shaking and spasming and obviously very agitated by being able to hear all of the noise outside but not being able to get to it. Her face was looking around, but her eyes weren't focusing on anything in particular. Rosie was very insecure and didn't want to be put down, so I just knelt there in the entryway and began to talk to the little girl. At the sound of my voice she began scooting herself across the floor until she got next to me. Then, her little hands reached out and felt until she found my leg. When she found my leg, she patted her hands up until she found my arms, and then traced my arm up to my shoulder and began trying to pull herself up. I couldn't take it anymore and set Rosie down right next to me with a promise that I wouldn't leave her, and pulled the little girl into my arms. She was so thin with a face that seemed ancient in comparison to her body. Her face had several bad sores on it. Her eyes did not focus and I realized that she was almost certainly blind. Her little hands were patting my body and then felt there way up to my face. She found my face and began to caress it with her hands. She pulled my head down until she could lay her forehead against mine, and then the spasming stopped as her body relaxed. She just wanted to be held. So I held her and whispered to her, as Rosie began to get more and more upset. Eventually, I found myself squatting on the floor so that I could put one arm around Rosie and keep this little one in my arms while I whispered to them both. Then, pulling Rosie up in my other arm, I managed to walk around the small room that held the youngest toddlers. Through that room there was a small closet where 3 more little ones sat, all crying. There were no toys, no soft blankets or cushions, just a plain floor where they sat. I tried talking to them to soothe them, but they weren't content with just being talked to.

My Mom came through and said I needed to go to the next room to see the babies. She was crying and obviously upset. So, I headed next door. There were a row of babies all laid together in the cribs. They were tiny and so cute. Then, turning to look at the row behind me, I saw the source of her tears. In one of the cribs was the tiniest little one I had ever seen outside of a NICU. The huge eyes and ears and the ancient look to the face betrayed the fact that this was not a newborn, but rather an older baby who was suffering the awful effects of starvation. An IV was running through his scalp in an effort to save his life. The nanny pulled back the blanket, and his tiny legs were no bigger around then one of my fingers. His little bottom was bare as they sought to deal with the terrible diaper rash, and his bottom was smaller than the palm of my hand.

About this time Rosie began to come completely unglued saying that she needed the potty,and so I reluctantly tried to pry the little girl I had been holding off of me. She wouldn't be let go, so I found my Mom and asked her to hold her.

I ran Rosie to the potty and then went to visit the rest of the older children, who were in their "cafeteria" singing for our group.

Then, the staff prepared a beautiful coffee ceremony for us while Aster, the beautiful lady who runs the orphanage shared with us about the program they have begun for some of the boys still on the street and showed us the shirts they were selling to try to help fund this program.

Having bought some shirts, I turned around when my Mom began to call me from across the courtyard. She was crying, and said that they wouldn't stop crying if she tried to put them down. She had one of the little girls from the toddler room in her right arm and the little girl I had been holding earlier in the other She was agitated and spasming again as her face desperately turned trying to hear the sounds in the courtyard. I began to talk to her, and her face turned to me and locked in on my position. When Mom got next to me her arms came out until she found my body. Finding my face again, she pulled it down to hers. And with Rosie still in one arm, I took her with my other, as her head found my shoulder and again she relaxed and quit spasming. She just laid there, stroking my face

with her hands and this time, I could not stop the tears.

I held her and cried until it was time to leave. Walking with her up to the entryway of the building she lived in, I squatted down so that I could leave her. The problem was, I didn't want to. I knew that even if I wanted to I couldn't take her away with me, but she obviously wanted nothing more than to be loved and held. As I knelt in the entry way stroking her and crying one of the nannies came to the door and put her hands on my head and begged me not to cry. But how could I not? This little girl is one of the "fortunate" ones. She will not starve to death on the streets. But, neither will she have access to the medical care and therapy that she obviously needs to be able to reach her full potential. Just a brief time with her showed that she needs excellent nutrition, a team of therapists, and medical and sight evaluations by a team of Dr.s that she will almost certainly never find in Ethiopia. But more than that, she needs the love of a family. I couldn't take her away with me, and I had no idea if I would ever be able to afford the expense of another international adoption. I was certain that if we ever did again, it wouldn't be in time for this little one. And given her needs, the chances of another family adopting her is almost none.

Now, don't get me wrong. Kids' Care Orphanage is an amazing place. The staff that I met there are among the most beautiful people I have ever met. There are a team of nannies caring for the children and others who sew and do crafts in an attempt to raise the money needed to feed and care for that many kids. The children who find themselves there are indeed the fortunate ones.

They are fed, clothed, have basic medical treatment, schooling and are loved by the staff. But, the statistics remain the same. Only approximately 40% of the children we met will be adopted. And that is wrong. Children need families. God set up families as his ideal plan for society. Children need the love of a mother and a father.

Now, I'm going to provide a disclaimer here. If you don't want me to make it personal, then you should stop reading now. I'm about to get very personal. Everyone who happens to visit my blog

is welcome to keep reading, but the rest of this is for my fellow Christians. Anyone else is welcome to read, it's just that this portion of the post isn't addressed to you. If you do read it, then there will probably be some of you who will happily use it to point out just how true and what hypocrites we Christians are. And unfortunately, many times you'd be right. But the truth is, we (me included) aren't perfect. We screw it up, get it wrong, ignore it, and mess up just like the rest of the world. The difference: we're forgiven. And, with God's grace, we should be growing and changing. Now, on to the point where I probably step on some toes.

Since we began our adoption journey, I've heard just about every excuse in the book about why people can't adopt. Mostly, from other Christians. I've never asked why, it's just something that's offered. It usually goes something like this: That's so great. You're doing such a wonderful thing. I'm glad God has called you to do this. It's just not something I've been called to do. Then, the reasons why: I'm too old, I have a job, I don't have enough money, I've already got a houseful of kids, I've heard about somebody who had a really bad adoption experience, I'm not sure my husband would want to, and on and on. From elder boards I have heard the excuse that if we allow this ministry, then what other ministries are we going to open ourselves up to.

And truthfully, I'm tired of hearing all of the reasons why people can't adopt. I've heard them all for over a year now, and until now I've just nodded my head. But, I can't anymore. Maybe that was the best thing that came out of my visit to the orphanage that Thursday. I know some people think we're a little "weird" for adopting. I've had people assume I'm infertile, that I'm afraid of being pregnant, that I just want to avoid labor, and a whole host of other reasons why I might have chosen to adopt as opposed to having a baby the "real" way. I've had strangers and friends ask me why? when they find out that we're adopting. And, I'm no longer afraid of being considered weird or of stepping on a few toes. Not intentionally, but if risking stepping on a few toes means that someone else might consider adoption, it's a risk I'm willing to take.

Here's why we chose to adopt: James 1:27 -Pure and Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

In light of James 1: 27, the answer to the question why adopt is, why not?

I wonder, why are our churches so good at emphasising the keeping yourself pure and spotless and so bad at noticing the first half of the verse? Why does the church no longer recognise its' God-given responsibility to care for widows and orphans? Could it be that today's church finds itself largely irrelevant because the world no longer sees in us the love that is to be our trademark? I think so.

Mahatma Gandhi has a saying that should cause every Christian to think twice and evaluate his life. He is quoted as saying: I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. They are so little like your Christ.

I never thought I would find myself quoting Gandhi, but I think he has a very valid point. Not that Christianity will ever be accepted by everyone. The Bible tells us that. But, the truths in God's Word might be a whole lot more appealing if those outside the church saw those of us inside the church truly seeking to live out the entirety of the Gospel. That's how we become relevant. Not the relevancy of ignoring the absolute truths and compromising what the Bible has to say about sin and death and hell and all of the other things that our post-modern society finds offensive, but the relevancy that comes through showing what the love of Christ in our lives and over-flowing into our actions looks like.

Want to show a watching world why Christianity is different? Show them God's plan for the widow and orphan put into action. I was asked last year by a non-Christian why if God is real and our God is love would He allow suffering, especially by orphans. At the time, I had no answer that could make him happy. But since then, I have wondered if one day when we stand before God and someone finally asks him why He didn't provide families for the lonely as He had promised (Psalm 68:6), if there won't be many of us who will be ashamed when His answer is, "But I did. It was yours. You were my plan for the lonely".

Want to find an effective way to share the love of Christ with a needy child? Adopt one and show them what love is, then you have an open window to show them the love of God.

Want to show the world that Christianity is relevant? Live it out in its' entirety.

Want to experience love in a way that you never have? Consider adoption.

Want to understand your adoption in Christ in a newer deeper way? Try adopting yourself. This past year has given me an understanding of what it means to be adopted by God in a way I never thought possible. And it's still happening. As Rosie bonds with our family and I am given opportunity to pursue her with my love, to love her when she's unlovable, and to watch her grow into our family, I can see a living picture in front of my eyes of what my adoption by God looks like. I am amazed by the love of a God who would pursue a relationship with me.

Now, I'm not saying that everyone has to adopt a child. That would be great, and I wish everyone could and would, but I also recognise that there are legitimate reasons why some people can't and maybe even shouldn't. Adopting out of a sense of duty or just because you feel sorry for orphans isn't enough. Adoption isn't easy. Even after all of the paperwork and waiting is done, it isn't necessarily going to be easy. If you do it, you need to be convinced that this is God's plan for your family. And so, I challenge you. Have you seriously considered whether this could be God's plan for your family? If not, then you should pray about it. Ask God to reveal His will to you and then set out to seriously explore whether He might want you to be a forever family for a waiting child. If the answer is yes, there are literally thousands of children both here in the States and all over the world, who are waiting for a family, waiting to be loved.

If not, there are still a multitude of ways that you can actively set out to obey James 1:27. I hope to highlight some of those ways in future posts.

Have I stepped on your toes? I hope not, but if I have, then forgive me, but I hope you'll use it as a catalyst to explore whether you can honestly say you are living out James 1:27 in its' entirety. If you aren't, I hope you'll take a serious look at adoption and pop back over the next several weeks to explore other ways of caring for widows and orphans.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I am working on a post to wrap up my time in Ethiopia, but it isn't easy. Thursday was our trip to the orphanage, and I still can't think about our time there without crying. So, bear with me for a few more days while I try to get my head around what I saw and what I want to say about it, but in the meantime....

We've established a new night-time routine at our house. With an extra little one to put to bed, bed time preparations seem to take so much longer. Used to, the boys and I had a little game called the "Kissing Fairy Game" that we played while going to bed. When they would hear me coming, they would hide under the covers. I would knock on their heads, and when they asked who it was, I'd reply that it was the kissing fairy with packages to deliver. They would send various of their stuffed animals out from under the covers to answer the door, until finally I would tell the last animal that I really did need to speak to Noah or Nathan. Then, whichever one of them was having their turn would answer my knocking by popping out from under the covers with a long explanation as to why they hadn't been able to come to the door right away, pretend to sign for the packages, and the packages of hugs and kisses would be delivered. It was a LONG ritual, and frankly after over a year of playing it, I was a little sick of it.

So, I was very pleased when Noah asked me if I had finished learning the lullaby of my CD and if I would sing it to him at bedtime. I bought a Fernando Ortega CD some time ago, and I love it. One song in particular has become one of my personal favorites, and I set out to memorize it. So often at nights my mind gets active, and it would make a good time to worry or fret. Instead, I memorized this song and use it to remind myself of God's care over us and His power over the events of my life. The words are just so good, and it makes a perfect prayer to close the day. Ends up, it also makes a great lullaby for the boys. Noah loves it, and it has given us some great opportunities through the day to talk about what the words mean. Evidently, Nathan loves it too. Last night after I finished singing to them, Nathan asked me if I would sing it again tomorrow night. I said yes, so he asked if we could sing it next week, too. I said yes, so he asked if I would still sing it every year from now. I'm not sure how many more years the boys will be wanting lullabies from Mommy, but for now I treasure those final moments of the day. Here's our lullaby:

Jesus, King of Angels by Fernando Ortega

Jesus, King of angels, heaven's light,Shine Your face upon this house tonight.Let no evil come into my dreams;Light of heaven, keep me in Your peace.
Remind me how You made dark spirits flee, And spoke Your power to the raging sea.And spoke Your mercy to a sinful man;Remind me, Jesus, this is what I am.

CHORUS:The universe is vast beyond the stars,But You are mindful when a sparrow falls, And mindful of the anxious thoughts That find me, surround me, and bind me . . . .

With all my heart I love You, Sovereign Lord.Tomorrow, let me love You even more.And rise to speak the goodness of Your name Until I close my eyes and sleep again.

CHORUS:The universe is vast beyond the stars,But You are mindful when a sparrow falls, And mindful of the anxious thoughts That find me, surround me, and bind me . . . .

Jesus, King of angels, heaven's light,Hold my hand and keep me through this night.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Ethiopia Chronicles-Embassy Appointment, Our First Meltdown, and a Sit-Down Bath

Wednesday in Ethiopia was our Embassy Appointment. After a leisurely morning at the hotel letting Rosie model all of her clothes and learning to work puzzles together, we had an early lunch and met our group for a trip to the American Embassy.

The Embassy itself was fairly like any other embassy I have visited: kind of gray, lots of x-ray machines and metal detectors, and very impersonal. We were the first group to arrive for our visa appointments and were pointed through to a room with a watercooler and a bunch of chairs. No air conditioning, but it wasn't yet unbearable. Over the next hour several other agencies' travel groups arrived with their children, and then all of the Ethiopian nationals seeking visas began to arrive. Soon, it was standing room only, so packed that you couldn't get through the crowd without the whole room feeling like it was jostling. It began to get very stuffy, as if there was only a limited amount of oxygen in the room and it wasn't enough for all of the people waiting. One of the ladies in our travel group headed outside for some cooler air, only to pass out once she made it outside.

Rosie did well with the waiting, and after another half hour we were called. The lady who was handling our interview wasn't very prepared. She asked me to raise my right hand, couldn't remember what I was supposed to swear so made something up, and then asked where my husband was. I reminded her that he wasn't travelling with me and that she had a copy of his power of attorney in our paperwork packet. She found it, and then it was on to the questions: Was this the child I was referred, How did she come to be an orphan, Had we met any of her relatives, Did I have any concerns about the adoption, Did I promise not to give anything other than a photograph to any relatives if I ever did meet them, and Was she healthy? (As a side note-Rosie's physicals, repeated TB tests, HIV screening, and vaccinations were all done as a requirement of the Embassy-why did they need to ask me if she was healthy?!)

Having answered all of her questions, she congratulated us and told us our visa would be available on Friday.

By this point, Rosie was very tired. She fussed most of the trip back to the hotel, and so I decided not to go shopping with the group and Rosie and I went back to our room for a nap. She fell asleep as soon as I laid her down. She slept for almost 3 hours, and then I woke her up. She was in a great mood, so we played volleyball with some balloons.

The happy mood, however, took a significant downturn when she asked for another balloon, having already got 2 blown up. I said no that we were going to save the rest for tomorrow, and she began to pout. I decided that taking her down for a change of scenery would be good for both of us. About this time Mom arrived back from shopping and said that there was a group getting ready to go out for pizza. So, we went to the lobby.

In the lobby there were some other families playing and Rosie went to play with one of the older girls who was being adopted. She was having a great time with her, so I decided we were good to go for pizza.

Unfortunately, as we loaded up on the van, I said that Rosie did need to sit with me. And, as we pulled away from the hotel, she chose to show me that she was still mad and didn't want to sit with me. Let the meltdown begin! No longer was I the fun person who played games and had great clothes and toys, I was the mean woman who said no, wouldn't give her everything she demanded, and then made her sit with me instead of allowing her to sit with someone else while she showed me just how annoyed she was with me. The meltdown was a full-fledged fit complete with shrieking, stiffening her body, and flailing. It lasted for the full trip to the restaurant-probably about 20 minutes. I just held her and whispered to her that I loved her too much to let her push me away.

When we arrived at the restaurant I was about at my wit's end. It wouldn't have been safe to sit on the bus by myself, but I couldn't very well take her in the restaurant like this. Robel (our guide and a fantastic guy) said that transitions were hard and asked to have her for awhile. I told him that we were struggling with being told no and then not being allowed to refuse to be with me. Thankfully, Robel took Rosie in his arms and gave her a good talking to. By this time I was crying, and he made her look at me and see that she had made me cry. He talked to her some more and asked her to give me a hug. She did, and then he told her that we were going upstairs to eat and that she had to hold his hand and my hand. This worked great, and by the time we got upstairs, she was back to her sunshine-y self and was content to sit next to me and color together until our pizza arrived.

When we made it back to the hotel, I put Rosie in the bathtub. But unlike on Tuesday, I told her we were going to sit down. I had made lots of bubbles, and she really wasn't sure, so I just picked her up, scooped her legs up, and plopped her in bottom first. The look on her face was priceless. It went from one of sheer horror to absolute delight in about .3 seconds. She spent ages pouring water over herself and scooping bubbles to rub on herself. The laughter in the room was absolute magic! The floor was absolutely soaking!!!!! That night has started somewhat of a bathtub addiction. The girl wants a bath every time we go in the bathroom.

After I coaxed her out of the bath (didn't happen until the bath water was completely cold!), I put her on the bed for some lotion. She saw that my pants were wet, got a horrified look on her face, shook her finger at me, and accused me of Shinty (wetting) in my pants. It took a while to convince her that I most certainly had not, but it was all of the splashing from her playing in the tub.

She fell asleep again really well Wednesday night, with no fussing involved and slept well through the night, only waking up and whimpering once.

View From My House

It's been raining this week-a lot!! I knew we were due for more rain today, but so far there had been no trouble with flooding around our neck of the woods. I left for our Dr.s appointment at 9:00. After the Dr.s appointment, I ran to Target to pick up a prescription. It started raining while we were at Target. We left and were headed home by 10:30. On the road in-between Target and our house, there were several spots where the road was covered in water. When I got within 2 miles of the house, I realized that the road was seriously flooded, but I was concerned about turning around and going back, as the roads behind me were continuing to flood. So, I pressed ahead.
Turning into our estate, the entrance road was covered in 4-5 inches of water, and the drainage system was obviously maxed out. But, no problem, we made it onto our road, only to discover that I was almost instantly in water up to the top of the grill of the van. Scary, scary stuff!!!!!!!!!! I made it to the driveway before the van started smoking and managed to get up our driveway, which was over half-way covered in water. I decided not to put the van in the garage until I was sure it wasn't going to explode or catch fire or anything like that, thanks to the abuse it had just endured. I hustled the kids into the house, called Gareth to let him know what was happening, and then went back out to see if the van was okay. It wasn't smoking anymore, so I tried and was gratified to find that it started right away. I put it in the garage and then did what any normal person would do-I took some pictures.
The cat was stranded across the road and kept calling for me to come get her. I called Gareth back and asked him how deep he thought the water was, at which point I was expressly forbidden from attempting to go and retrieve the cat or to investigate the storm drains to see if they were blocked.
When a big truck tried to come through, the waves actually came a couple of feet into our garage. So, it was back inside to start moving important papers, photographs, electronics, etc.... up high in case the water actually did make it into the house. Then onto moving bottled water, the flash lights, and the computer upstais before calling my Dad (I couldn't get back ahold of Gareth) to confirm that I should shut off the power to the house if flooding was imminent and double-checking that I knew how to do this.
And so on it went for the next hour. Then, the Cavalry arrived! The fire department arrived and began to pump water from the over-loaded storm system into the empty field across the road. The water in our yard receded about 8 feet in 3 minutes. Then, the guys who manage our estate arrived and began working on removing debris from the storm drains and the road started to drain. Hurrah!
When it was obviously not dangerous to cross the road, I put on my best "helpless female" face and asked them if they could rescue the cat, which they did. For those of you who know me well, you know that helpless female is not a role I play easily, but for Sophie, it was a price worth paying!
There is more rain forecast for the week-end and for most of next week, so we're praying for a break right now.