Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Keeping Families Together

I've had a sick little boy yesterday and today.  It's made for lots of cuddle time with my little man and thinking time for this momma.  So, today I'm going to share a few of my thoughts with you....

I'm thinking back to 18 1/2 years ago.  We had just experienced the birth of our first son.  It rocked our world.  It changed our world!  We had to carry a diaper bag, buckle a sweet babe in a car seat, find private places to feed the baby and felt like sleep was a thing of the past. And, just when we thought we had things all under control and explosion happened.  An explosion that required a complete clothes change for the Zachary as well as a bath if possible - and if we were really lucky it didn't mean we needed a clothes change as well!  Then 15 1/2 years ago we were about to deliver our first daughter.  My honest thoughts at the time ... "how can I possibly love someone as much as I love our first child."  We just loved, loved, loved him so much.  And we still do.  But, the moment we laid eyes on our beautiful Amanda we were in love again.  And, of course I loved her just as much and was embarrassed that I could have even questioned how we would love another child as much as we loved our first.

God blessed us with three more girls that, yes, I love, love, love just as much as the first two.  That brings us to 20 months ago.  God gave us twin boys.  Burka and Buche didn't come to us the same way that the first five did.  And, I will be honest - the "feelings" that we have experienced since we started the adoption process have been different than the "feelings" that we experienced through my pregnancies of our first five children. It was a different journey to the same thing ... our children that we love.  I love, love, love our sixth and seventh children just as much as the first five.  I'm amazed at how God creates families.

When children come to us through adoption, there is always a story that started before we were in the picture.  Bittersweet.  It's a word that means something to me more today that it ever has before we brought home our sons from Ethiopia.  You see, our sons have a beautiful story of life before we knew them.  They also have a story full of pain.  A story that one day I hope that they will be able to share with others in the light of what God did with both the beauty and the pain. Since we have learned of their story my thoughts are never far from their life before I was blessed to call them my sons.  Their story is now part of our families story and it is forever imprinted on my heart.  And, their story is one of millions of stories of children, orphans, little ones that are living in poverty and all that goes along with that.

God indeed creates families in all ways.  I love adoption.  I believe in adoption.  It's biblical.  I would do it again if God called us to. It is a beautiful thing.  The fact that this little boy sitting on my lap wants nothing other than my comfort ... his mommy's comfort today when he doesn't feel good melts my heart!  God has healed much for my whole family through the adoption of our sons.

I also feel that God calls us to help keep families together.  I can not image having to experience things like mom's all over the world have experienced.   Stories like finding myself living behind a dumpster trying to take care of my baby with nothing.  And, I also can not image having to give up my child because I had no way to provide.  Heart. Breaking.

I can help.  You can help.  Take a minute to go over to Embracing Hope Ethiopia's website. and see the many things they are doing to keep families together. We can help the mom living behind the dumpster so that SHE can work to provide for her baby.   We have visited Embracing Hope Ethiopia.  It is an awesome place.  God is indeed at work.   It is located in a slum area called Korah. Korah is known as a forsaken place.  It began as a leper colony and is the site of the city trash dump.  Embracing Hope Ethiopia is working on filling up open slots of families that need sponsorship.  You can read about a few here.  This is where we can help.  Just check it out.  Don't feel pressured by me if you've read to this point in this post.  Don't feel pressured at all.  But, if you feel lead with a joyful heart to help, do it.  You will be blessed!  You will be a blessing!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Christmas Star

"When they saw the star they were filled with Joy".  
Matthew 2:10

This Christmas I am so thankful for so many things.  It seems like just yesterday we were waiting for our oldest son to be born.  Now that's been 18 years ago and we are coming upon his graduation from high school and thoughts of college and moving out of our home are surfacing.  

It seems like just yesterday that we were then waiting for our baby girl to be born.  She is now a beautiful young lady.  In 10th grade.  So grown up.

Then again, it seems like just yesterday that we were waiting for our next baby girl to be born.  She is now in middle school, playing volleyball and is such an amazing young lady.

Yet again, it seems like just yesterday that our next baby girl was to be born.  Literally, she has a January birthday and I was so ready to see her this time at this time of the year.  It was still a wonder if she was a girl or boy at this time of the year, but we found out shortly as our third princess entered this world.

And, it seems like just a few years ago that our fourth little girl was just a newborn baby at this time of the year.  Such a sweet bundle we were able to share with our family as we celebrated Christmas that year.

And, it seems like just yesterday that we were waiting, wondering what God was going to do to show us our child that was waiting for us in Ethiopia.  It was on December 23, 2010 that God showed us our SONS that were waiting for us.  

God has blessed us beyond what I could ever dreamed of with each of these children.  He has continually shown us His faithfulness and love with each of these gifts. 

I have to admit, at times many times I have wondered what God was up to.  And, in the time that has passed since we have brought home our twins from Ethiopia has been a time of wonder.  A time of watching God knit together our family in an amazing, awesome fashion.  A time on our knees asking God what we are supposed to do with what He has shown us.   I think that's a good place to be.  If God had laid out my whole life in front of me before I "lived" it I think I would have been overwhelmed. 

This Christmas I am so very thankful for the Christmas Star and JOY.   Just like the wise men that were following the star to find baby Jesus - the Savior of the World - I am so thankful for the guiding hand of the  Lord.  I'm so very thankful that I can look up and see the star AND when I see that shining star that I am filled with JOY.  It is my prayer that you too look up and see the guiding hand of the creator of this world and feel His JOY this Christmas and whole year through.

Merry, Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Embracing Hope Ethiopia

It's been a long time since I've posted.  Not for a lack of things going on in this household, but mostly for a lack of time to work on a blog post.

I feel like I need to post some pictures of my little guys.  They are getting so big and have changed so much over the last year and half.  It's CraZy, really.  We love, love, love them to pieces!

But, I just needed to share this with you...

Remember when I shared with you about this family that we visited while we were in Ethiopia for our Embassy appt? We visited the Shannon's at  Embracing Hope Ethiopia over a year ago now, but have not forgot about our short visit or the sweet faces of the children that were at the daycare that day.

I am very excited to say that I get to help out on the US side of their store.  And, it's a really neat store.  The store is stocked with handmade jewelry, baskets and other items that the mom's that Embracing Hope Ethiopia serves hand make.  These mom's are paid for making the items that you can now buy!  Your purchase helps a mom in Ethiopia support herself and her child(ren).   A mom that now can be proud of her work and be able to support her child(ren) rather than resort other means to simply live and keep her child alive ... such as begging.

Check it out.  Think about your Christmas list.  And, for the next 11 days you can get in the Pre-Order Sale on Apparel, which is new to the store.  You can now wear your very own Embracing Hope Ethiopia shirt.  It will give you an opportunity to share with others what Embracing Hope Ethiopia is all about.  Not all clothing items will be available after the Pre-Order Sale or will the prices likely stay the same.  Plus, right now you get a an Embracing Hope Ethiopia decal with your T shirt order.... and free shipping!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A day to celebrate!

It's been a year!  One year ago we landed in MN with our sons.  Our friends came to get us - on their anniversary - and drove us home.  Happy Anniversary, Steve and Tammy!

Travel was finished.  Our family was all under one roof.  We all were able to sleep in the same house for the first time.  Life was good.

So much has changed in the last year. 

Last June we were dealing with this cast after Buche broke his leg in Ethiopia.

Communication was different.  I showed Buche and Burka this video of Burka this morning.  Today he said "What is Burka saying??" 

I love to hear him sing!  He has a beautiful voice.

Looking back over the past year I'm amazed at what the Lord has each of our hearts.  God is indeed good.  We are indeed blessed.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

This news about a disruption in the Sidama Zone in SPPN came out this week.

Our boys are from the Sidama Region.  I have been in contact with a friend in Awassa.  There are indeed things going on there.

Not long ago this would have been sad to me, but I do not believe it would not pull on my heart strings like it does today.  Ryan and I spent a few days in Awassa last year June.  We have friends in the Sidama Region.  We have family in the Sidama Region.  

While we were in the Sidama Region although we saw a rich heritage in the lives of so many amazing people we also saw so many people struggling with poverty and all that comes with that ...  disease, starvation, death, lack of medical care, lack of housing, lack of schooling ...

Today, this news of something happening on the other side of the world moves me to tears.  Breaks my heart for the people going through this disruption on top of the life that many already lead.

Please join me in praying for the people in the Sidama Zone.