Sunday, April 19, 2009

Drawn from Water

I just stumbled upon this organization a few days ago. In Africa there is a tribe that believes in superstition and they kill children when they are considered to be taboo to the community. For one, if a child's front teeth come in before their bottom teeth, they will kill that child.

The Drawn from Water ministry rescued the first children from this 200 year cultural practice. They have set up an orphanage for these children and plan to continue rescues. There is a family from CA who is moving there in 4 weeks to run the orphanage for one year.

Since this is a very new ministry, which began in January 2009, they have a lot of needs. Please check out the website and consider helping in any way you can.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

HaPPy BirTHdaY AVERY!!!!

Our sweet Avery is SIX today!!

Just a few facts about our girl:

  • She has a smile permanently planted on her face about 95% of the time, even when she is sleeping!
  • She loves music and would play CDs all day long if she could. She will try to play songs by ear on the piano.
  • She gets carried around a lot! All she has to do is raise her arms in the air and there is always someone who can't resist picking her up.
  • She has a beautiful voice and loves to sing!
  • She is easy going and easy to please.
  • She loves posing for pictures.
  • She remembers people's names, their siblings, parents and last names too. We will be sitting in church, someone will walk in and she will say, there is so and so. I barely know so and so! Her memory amazes me. After the first few weeks of school, she could name the first and last names of each child in her class.
  • She loves to snuggle, hug and kiss!
  • She is a girly girl. She loves to dress up, wear makeup, jewelry and hair accessories.
  • She gets mommy all to herself on Tuesdays. She loves to put puzzles together, help with laundry, help in the kitchen and play outside.
  • On Thursdays, while mommy is at Bible Study, she gets time with her Grandparent's where she will play store, dress up and make cookies.
  • She knows how to get what she wants. There is something about her sweet personality that is so irresistable.

Funny stories:

Yesterday during the girls' violin lessons, I sent Avery and Olivia to den of our teacher's house to read a book. When I went to retrieve Olivia for her lesson, they were watching TV. It was on a commercial and Olivia jumped up and turned it off. Avery asked to turn it back on because she was right in the middle of a show. I asked what show she was watching and she said, she was watching the Dr Phil show! She said, "it is really good mommy - he's talking about people on drugs and stuff like that." Huh!!??! I thought, Oh no!! My baby now knows about drugs!!!" I of course had a little talk with both Olivia and Avery.

She loves American Idol (a family favorite) and offers her opinions. She will make comments like, "Paula, get some clothes on!" "Danny's on, shh, I want to hear him." "Adam has fingernail polish on?! Huh?!" Oh, by the way, she knows each judge and contestant by name. I can never remember the new judge's name but she could tell you.

Today Avery brought cookies to school. She told me that she had enough extras to give to all the teachers in the school. But she didn't give any to the janitor or the cooks because their hands are too dirty.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Difficult week.....

This should be a post telling you our exciting news about our referral. We did get a referral this week. The call came on Monday just before 4:00 p.m. We celebrated for a couple days. We were thrilled to finally after all this time to have a referral. However, yesterday morning we received devastating news and it became clear that this child will not be joining our family after all.

This has been a great loss to our entire family. This is the worst loss we have ever experienced as a family. We are grieving. This is painful.

We had pictures of this sweet child. The girls each brought pictures to school to show their friends. Steve left for work one morning this week with his picture in his hands, like a proud father to a new son. We thought this was our son and brother. We began making plans for him. His picture still hangs on our refrigerator. We studied each part of his body from the top of his head down to his cute little feet.

I started to have visions of watching him go down the slide, taking a stroll around the neighborhood, running in the back yard, playing with the neighbor kids.

Then we got the news yesterday. We were not willing to give up at first. Maybe there was a mistake. We held out hope through a heart wrenching day utnil late last night when it became very clear.

We have been waiting for a very long time for this referral. I don't know why God put us through this experience. Why did we have to suffer so much? Why did my girls have to learn about this kind of loss and suffering?

Through this experience, I learned how weak I really am. I kept thinking about the verse when Jesus says, "when you love the least of these, you love me too." I was so confused.

Now, in the midst of grief and suffering, I'm starting to understand why. I am weak, that is true. But God strengthens us through our weakness. It's hard to see the joy in this experience but I know that God is using this experience to prepare us even more. God will reveal his perfect plan for our adoption, when the joy of all this will come. But for now, we are overwhelmed with sadness.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We may bring our girls to Ethiopia

Steve and I have talked quite seriously lately about bringing the girls on our trip to Ethiopia. When we first started the process, we had not planned to bring them. We thought that if they didn't come, we could focus more on our new son.

We started to change our minds when our oldest, Lauren asked if she could come along. I never imagined any of the girls wanting to go with having to get shots and all.

Then, it dawned on me that they will have to get some of the same shots anyway even if they stay home. This was news that wasn't very well welcomed by the girls by the way. But we already have survived the first Hep A shot, so they will survive the rest as well.

We are thinking how neat it would be to have our whole family experience this part of the journey together. I want our girls to see where their brother was born, the sights and smells and flavors of his culture. Stepping foot in the birthplace of their brother's country is not the same as reading about it in a book or looking at pictures.

Also, I have read that including the entire family on the trip is good for attachment. If the girls don't come, there will be one extra attachment step to encounter when we return home.

I would like to bring the girls along regardless but it does depend on a couple things. For one, financially this would be a stretch for us. It would cost us up to $6,000 more in airline tickets alone. But then again, I can't think of any better time for my girls to go. So, regardless of the extra cost, we could just bite the bullet and make it work.

Secondly, I don't care to pull the girls out of school for 2 weeks. Our decision to bring them will be much easier if we are able to travel this summer. In order to travel before September however, we would have to receive our referral very soon.

Despite a few challenges, today we are leaning even more strongly towards bringing them after a phone conversation I had with a friend. After being out of town all weekend, I returned home with a phone message from a friend who is a missionary in China. She was visiting in our area for a short time. She is an amazing woman who has so many interesting experiences to share. I admire and trust her wisdom. Our conversation quickly went by and lasted for one hour!

Anyway, I told her about our thoughts of bringing the girls. She said, "if you can do it, bring them." And then she recalled a time talking to a girl from China who was adopted by Americans. This American family brought their entire family to China when they picked up their daughter. The little girl told my friend with a big smile on her face that "her whole family came to get her." My friend said, "how neat it would be if your son could say that and how much that would mean to him."

I told my friend that her story brought tears to my eyes and she said it brought tears to her eyes too.

I was convinced. Now, we need to pray for confirmation from God.