Thursday, November 29, 2007

What's in a nickname?

The kids have been talking about what nicknames Merkeb and Filemon will have. It's so funny because everyone in our family has nicknames. Jeff = Doo Doo (don't ask why... Gina = Mo Mo, Jack = Chuck (as in upchuck), Jordan = Jo Jo beanhead, Justine = Hollywood and Beavis, and the ever changing nickname Jaiden = Missy Mae Mae, Mae, Mavis, Marvolo, Me, Meemer. I could go on and on. Nicknames in our family are a sign of importance, of inclusion. To have a good nickname is really important in life. You can't make it happen. It's just like love, you can't force it. It just happens when it's right. If you try to force the nickname, it just won't stick. Just as it will take time for us to get to know the kids and for them to get to know us, it will take time for them to be "crowned" with a nickname. We'll let you know when the nicknames are official. Do any of you have nicknames for yourself or your kids? Please share...

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Starfish

Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf's edge and and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide. The man was stuck by the the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf. As he came up to the person he said, "You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference." The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, "It sure made a difference to that one!"

It takes a village

I just have to write about this...someone my mom knows said (in reference to our adoption fundraising) "If they don't have the money to do it, they shouldn't be adopting." Because I guess most people have $25,000 sitting around with nothing to do with it. Now, granted I don't know the context this was said in, or who it was said by, but I do have to make a comment on that one. How many times have I participated in fundraising? If this were the attitude of most, I guess people sending their children to public school would have to rethink that... I can't tell you how many times I have bought things for those fundraisers to support the schools my children don't even go to, who already get a big whopping amount from me in taxes. And the boy scouts? The girl scouts? Dance troupes? Band trips? Missionaries? I could go on and on if I weren't sleep deprived and ready for my bed. Numerous other groups have come knocking at my door (a complete stranger) to beg for money for fundraisers. I guess we should tell the boy scouts that if they don't have the money for their jubilee (or whatever), they shouldn't be in boy scouts? I am so thankful to my friends and family who have donated to our cause. I can't even begin to tell you how thankful. Most of all, I'm thankful you care enough to know what's going on, that you keep in touch, and let us know that we're important to you. I admit, I'm a proud person. I have difficulty asking and receiving help for ANYTHING. Ask Jeff, it makes him crazy that I can't ask for help. But I have asked, and I have received. God has put people in my life who have been very generous to us. It is very important to me that Jordan get to experience this with us, and this fundraising has allowed me to take her with us. Her life will be forever changed, as will ours and Merkeb and Filemon's and just about every other person who will come in contact with them for the rest of their lives. I guess Hilary Clinton was right about one thing (I'll give her just one and that's it!) It does take a village to raise a child. At least it takes a village to get to the village to get the child to raise it. Thanks for all that you do! You guys are the best!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

World Vision AIDS Tour

We found out tonight that our church is hosting the World Vision AIDS Tour at Remington's in March. They take 2500 square feet of Remington's and change it into an African village and tell the stories of 4 young children who are AIDS orphans. There are 6,000 children who are made orphans EVERY DAY. We are so excited about it. (The Tour, not the fact that there are 6,000 new orphans every day) We are going to do whatever we can to be involved in this. I have already emailed Crystal to see if she would be interested in participating. Wouldn't a booth with information about Adoption be awesome after experiencing the World Vision AIDS Tour. I can't tell you how many people have said "I've always wanted to do that (adoption)." Sometimes all we need is a little visual. The purpose of the tour is not adoption, but awareness and sponsorship of the orphans. Any little bit helps. I know I can't help them all, but I can help two. I will keep all of you informed about the World Vision AIDS Tour as I know more information. World Vision AIDS Tour may be accessed at www.worldvisionexperience

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Thank you so much for keeping up with our adoption news and for being as excited as we are about our little victories every day. I don't suppose the Ethiopians celebrate Thanksgiving as we do, but we certainly do have a lot to be thankful to them for.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

3 weeks and counting

Well 3 weeks (OK 22 days, 1 hour 55 min and 27 seconds) until December 13th, but who is counting? As we head into the Holiday season, may we all remember all the wonderful gifts that God has bestowed upon us. Last year I started a tradition on Thanksgiving involving a white table runner and magic markers. Everyone was invited to write what they were most thankful for and the date. I have to find what I did with that table runner. I don't even remember what I wrote last year. But I certainly know what I'm going to write this year! My goodness what has changed in 1 years time. I am so thankful for my family and friends, all of my children, my job and for two Ethiopian parents.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Keeping in Truth

Well our debute on television wasn't bad. I was expecting to cringe at the sight of me and my voice, but you know what? We sounded pretty good. We got our point across and sounded somewhat intelligent. I'm so glad! God is good! I hope that someone saw that show and it made a difference to somone. Leave a comment if you saw it. Leave a comment if you want to see it. Leave a comment if you're happy and you know it...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Can you spare a picture please?

I have emailed Crystal to have her beg Shimellis, on my behalf, for a recent picture of Merkeb and Filemon for Christmas. I know he's still in Africa, but when he gets back, I MUST have a new picture. That will be the best present I could ever get! I'll let you know how that works out for me...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Red Thread Adoption Fairy Tale

My mom bought me the best, most awesome book in the world. Those of you who know me know that my two favorite things in the world are books and children. Children's book are over the top. This fairy tale is about a king and a queen who have an aching in their hearts and no one they know can fix it. A man gives them spectacles to put on and when they do so, they see a red thread coming out of each of their chests, combining to be just 1 thead. The thread is all over the place and they can't see the end of it. They even try to cut the thread, but can't. So the king and the queen leave their kingdom and follow the red thread. Their journey is long and hard. It takes them to a foreign country where they finally find the end of the red thread. Their two threads are tied to both ankles of a baby. I love this book. I am posting a link to Amazon where you can purchase the book for around $10. If you know of anyone who has adopted, this would be a great Christmas gift. Thanks. G

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sleepless in Springfield...

Well, we've kicked it into hyperdrive. Jeff and I went Christmas shopping last night. Our goal is to have everything done for Christmas before Dec 1st, so that we can entirely focus on travel details. We did pretty good, I think. Several years ago, we decided that our kids would get 3 gifts each, just as the wise men gave to baby Jesus. This has worked out really well for us. Christmas was getting so out of hand, and I believe everyone (kids and parents alike) were forgetting what it was REALLY about. So it takes a little while longer to shop because you have to make sure that those 3 gifts are really what they want. It was our first time to shop for 6 kids. WOW! I think the people at KMART thought we were a bunch of freaks. Then of course we had to get 6 new sets of pajamas - a tradition from the time Jordan was little. Everyone gets to open 1 present on Christmas eve, which I conveniently get to choose out - it's always pajamas. That way they look good for Christmas morning pictures. I think traditions are so important for families. I'm always looking at ways to implement or continue traditions. The kids really notice things like that, and it's very comforting to them. So back to my story, we got home and everyone was in bed (mostly asleep). Thank you babysitter Jordan. Jeff and I laid awake until past 1:00 am tossing and turning. Occasionally one of us would say "We've got a court date" and that would begin a rash of giggling and more sleeplessness. Man, I think we both are feeling that today. We are both dragging today!

Fasten your seatbelts, keep your arms inside the car at all times...

Our blog should come with a warning label. Do not read our blog if you are emotionally fragile, homicidal, suicidal or allergic to drama....So sit down and take a deep breath. I received a phone call today from Crystal. Shimellis called her from Ethiopia and said that the courts are so backed up, they are working day and night to get all of these court cases in, and get all of the paperwork processed....SOOOOOOOOOOOO We are not going to be able to travel to get the kids until the middle of January. :( If we went before verification that all of the documents were complete, we could get stuck there for a month, or worse yet have to come home empty handed and go back (like I could pay for that) later to get the kids. So I took this a lot better than I thought I would. I didn't cry, I didn't fight, I didn't question. God gave me the peace to know that all of this is in his plan. The lack of excitement I had yesterday was due to worry for the kids about coming into this mess at the time of Christmas. Can you imagine everything completely foreign and new to you? living with people you don't know? traveling for 30 hours? and getting off an airplane to tons of people with gifts and trees and Christmas tree lights. Sounds a little overwhelming, don't you think? Another good point is that our airfare will be a lot cheaper than right at Christmas. So we will keep holding on and keep waiting and prayer for our kids. I am curious to see how many Ethiopia children are adopted each year. I will have to research this tonight. TTYL, G

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ethiopian Embassy

Well, I'm on with hold as we speak with the Ethiopian Embassy in regards to our VISA applications.....OK, our Visas have already been processed and have been sent out. So the hold up? Perhaps the good old United States postal service. Perhaps we will see them today in the mail! I would feel so much better to get my passport back into my hand. There's just something about that going through the mail that really makes me feel vulnerable. I'll let you know when it gets here!


We got a court date! It's December 13th. It's a wee bit later than we wanted and all the airfare is about twice as expensive, but we got the court date. The rest will work itself out. The most important thing is that as of Dec 13th, they're ours! YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! We are searching right now for airfare. We want to have them home for Christmas!

One month from today

I think it has just hit me that I will become a mother again 1 month from today. I think I was in a state of shock. I'm somewhat disappointed in myself that I wasn't screaming or freaking out when I got the phone call. I was so wanting it to be earlier... Now that I've had some time to think about it and let it sink in, I am in awe. It's absolutely surreal. And you know what if I'm traveling over Christmas or I spend more money than I had planned on's OK. We can have an awesome Christmas when we get back. I really am hoping that we can get back by Christmas, but if we don't, I'm sure everyone will wait for us...won't you?


2 out of 3 ain't bad...

Today has been a good day...a really good day! We just got 2 of our passports back. Jordan's is in limbo, but Jeff and I got at least we know they got them and they're in the mail! Man that prayer request page I made has really worked! Thanks everyone! PS All of my items I bought (retail therapy) on ebay for Merkeb are starting to come in. They are so cute. I will try to post some pictures. I know really weird, but they're so cute and when I look at them, I see her in them.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Visa Applications

Well I am still trying to track down our Visa applications and passports that were sent to Washington DC at the end of October. It is supposed to take a few days turn around and we are past 2 weeks. I have called the Mail box it place because my fed ex tracking number didn't work or wasn't found. They were supposed to find out when the package was received by the Embassy and get back with me. Of course they haven't done that yet. I attempted to call the Ethiopian embassy myself today, but they're closed for Veterans Day. Which means I won't get any mail today, which means I will have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to see if our stuff comes. I also attempted to email the Embassy for verification of receipt of our documents. Of course their email address came back as a failure to deliver. OK, I am going to just have to relax about this a little bit. From what I am reading on other adoption blogs, the MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) is way behind. I know of some families who are still waiting for court dates who received referrals on Oct 3. Ours didn't even get to the country until Oct 24th! OK I promised I wasn't going to get all wrapped up in all the details, so I'm going to stop this ranting right now.

Wave of Sorrow by Bono

Check out Bono's interview about this song about Ethiopia: You can find it on the Music and Video page. Heat haze rising ~ On hell's own hill ~ You wake up this morning ~ It took an act of will ~ You walk through the night ~ To get into day ~ To bring your children ~ To give them away ~ Oh, oh this cruel sun ~ Its daylight never dawn ~ Cruelty just begone ~ To make a shadow of everyone ~ And if the rain came ~ And if the rain came now ~ Souls bent over without a breeze ~ Blankets on burning trees ~ I'm sick without disease ~ Nobility on it's knees ~ And if the rain came ~ And if the rain came now ~ Would it wash us all away ~ On a wave of sorrow ~ Wave ~ On a wave of sorrow ~ Without the Holy cities ~ Where the ancient Holy scrolls ~ Where now emperor Menelik ~ And queen of Sheeba's gold ~ You my bride, you wear her crown ~ And on your finger precious stones ~ As every good thing now been sold ~ Son, of shepherd boy, now king ~ What wisdom can you bring ~ What lyric would you sing ~ Where is the music of the Serephine? ~ And if the rain came ~ And if the rain came now ~ Would it wash us all away ~ On a wave of sorrow ~ Wave ~ A wave of sorrow ~ Wave... ~ Blessed are the meek scratching the dirt ~ But they shall inherit what's left of the Earth ~ Blessed all the kings that left their thrones ~ They're buried in the Valley of Dry Bones ~ Blessed all of you with an empty heart ~ You got nothing from which you can't part ~ Blessed is the ego ~ It's all we got this hour ~ Blessed is the voice that speaks truth, truth speaks to power ~ Blessed is the sex worker who sold her body tonight ~ You had used what you got ~ To save your children's life ~ Blessed are you, the deaf cannot hear your scream ~ Blessed are the stupid who can dream ~ Blessed are the tin can cardboard slums ~ Blessed is the spirit that overcomes ~

Ivan and Eugenia

Those of you who know me well know that several years ago I wanted to adopt 2 children from Russia. You will remember months of me whining about Ivan and Eugenia. It wasn't in God's plan for us to adopt them then. We didn't have the money, we weren't ready...But I have never forgotten Ivan and Eugenia from Russia. I continue to pray for them all these years later, that they found a home and are OK. I guess my point is twofold: Sometimes what God has planned for us is not what we hope at the time. I prayed and prayed and prayed for Ivan and Eugenia, but it wasn't meant to be, even though I thought it was. My other point is that even with all of my whining about papers and school and illness (blah blah blah), this is absolutely my dream come true. I have wanted this for as long as I can remember, and it's finally coming true. I'm in heaven!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Did you know?

In Ethiopia... Did you know that in Ethiopia... ~One in ten children die before their first birthday ~One in six children die before their fifth birthday ~44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old ~60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition ~The median age in Ethiopia is 18 years 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world) ~720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone ~Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa ~In the 90s the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%) ~Drought struck the country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals) ~Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school. ~Coffee prices (Ethiopia’s only major export) fell 40-60% from 1998-2002. ~Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000. ~In 1993, after 30 long years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation leaving Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports. ~Ethiopia has approx. 4.3 million orphans and the country is twice the size of Texas.

Friday, November 09, 2007

What's in a day?

I'm sorry I haven't been blogging much lately. I have been trying to get my life under control before I become a mother again! School is going better; I'm almost there! 1 more HUGE paper in 1 class and 2 more papers in another class, and I will be done with my 2nd semester of grad school. Unbelievable. I am beginning to feel better and my kids are actually getting their school work completed in a timely manner (for the most part) So I have been feeling somewhat philosophical lately as we wait for the news from Ethiopia. What's in a day? As each day passes, we wait and wait and wait. I think of all the things in my life I wish I had more time in each day. A homeschooling mother wanting to do more and more and more, I wish there were more time. A now 17 year old daughter counting the days until college... I wish I had more time with her at home. My kids are counting the days until Christmas...when will it be here? Sooner than you think! My friend pregnant with twins, each day those babies stay in utero, the better, I'm sure she counts the days both until she becomes a mother and counts the days that her twins are safe, protected and growing inside her. Each day is a victory for her. Our friends buying their first home, counting the days until it's official and they can move in. We all live in this time warp where we want things to go faster or slower all the time. When we are suffering, we just want time to hurry up. When we're anxious, we just want to get it over with. Yet there have been moments in my life when I think, "I don't want this moment to end." My goal is to have more of those slowed down, cherished moments in life than the "I just want this over with moments." While I absolutely cannot wait to meet my new kids, I also know that all of this is in God's time and when I am CONSTANTLY saying "hurry, hurry, hurry", God may just be saying "Wait patiently and enjoy the ride". So that's what we are going to try to do. We are going to do our best to enjoy this time that we have right now and I'm looking for ways to make those really great moments. Thanks for listening to my ramblings. I know you all probably think I'm losing it... just don't tell the Ethiopian government.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I'm beginning to think this entry is just not to be. I have attempted to write this 4 times now and something always happens. This will be the last attempt. I STILL have not heard any news from Ethiopia. I do not know when we are going, where we will be staying, or when we'll be back. I spoke with Crystal today. She has sent Shimellis a few E mails, but has not heard much back from him. She thinks he's still in Ethiopia. I am going to a meeting tomorrow with the board of directors of Adoption for Families about their Shop to Adopt fundraiser they're having in a few weeks. I have been fighting this awful cold, headache, cough, green snot...I know more than you wanted to know. I guess I should be glad to get it over with now and not when we're traveling. I have a feeling we will be hearing about our courtdate this week. I don't know why I feel that way...I have been nesting all week...scrubbing toilets and bathtub jets with a toothbrush. I rearranged the schoolroom last night and reorganized all of our books. Our house is actually clean right now, for the first time in I don't know how long. I still have 3 HUGE papers to write for school, which I am going to start on right now...well OK in a little bit. Talk to all of you soon. I promise when we have a courtdate, I will let EVERYONE know!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Packing Already?

I am beginning to buy stuff for our trip to Africa. I have made an extensive packing list on Excel and I am still working on it. Yesterday I bought a little document holder thing for our passports, VISAs and yellow fever cards. I also bought a new, smaller accordion folder to take all the paperwork we need to take with us. I bought all of us fleece travel blankets to pack in our carry on bags. Merkeb and Filemon's are nicer, fluffier and cuter though. I bought crayons and journals for their backpacks. I have been making a list of things to take to the kids at the orphanage. Jeff is getting a lot of deflated soccer balls from Jeff at Play it Again Sports to take. (We're taking a hand pump and needles to blow them back up) I also thought bubbles would be fun for them, paper, pencils, crayons and color books, baby dolls?, card games. They can't get batteries, so if has to be good old fashioned toys (I like it better that way anyway). Jordan wants to make them foxtails to play with (with a baseball and some nylon fabric) Plus the diapers, and meds. It's getting to the point where it feels real. We are really going to be going soon. Perhaps in as little as 1 month. I was hoping we would have heard from Shimellis by now about how things are going, when our court date might be...God tells me to be patient.