Friday, September 30, 2011

Thank you for Injera!

Injera and wot. The boys and I love it!  The rest of the family ... not so much.  So, it's often lunch since it is just the little guys and I at that time.  We've been working on praying before our meals.  Thought I'd share...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beyond the Gate

It's a beautiful day here today and the boys and I played outside all morning.  Fall is a beautiful time of the year!  After playing in the sand, swinging, going on a walk and having Injera and wot the little guys needed a bath before we could settle in to milk, rocking and napping.  I just left their room.  They are snuggled together with their blankets and teddies.  The house is quiet and I pulled up Levi's blog from Bring Love In.   After reading it, I had a very vivid memory.

Our boys stayed at our agencies care center for about 2 months.  They arrived just before we went to court and stayed there until after our second trip to Ethiopia to pick them up and bring them home.  Before they were at our agencies care center they spent about 1 year in an orphanage.  In fact, just as we were starting the process to adopt they were relinquished to their orphanage.

Here is the memory I had after reading this blog post.  We were allowed to bring the boys outside of the gate that they looked at every day and walk about one block to the other guest house.  The street was overwhelming to the boys and they seemed scared of the outside world at first.  Even though we were really still strangers to them, they clung on to us as we walked in the street.  After a few walks down the street had passed the boys started to really enjoy walking out of the gate and into the street.  The best word I can use to describe what it seemed to mean to them was freedom.

Now, I have to say that I was amazed by the staff at our agencies care center.   They all did a great job taking care of the kids. But, it is not a home.  It is transitional place - a place that kids stay between the orphanage and their forever family.

By the end of the week, our little guys would stand at the gate and try to peek out of the little tiny cracks between the doors.  Any time the bell would ring they would run to the guard and want to answer the door with him.  They looked like they were going to bolt out of the place as the door opened and let in whoever was out there.  The guard would hold them in and close the door and they would be sad.  At times, Solomon, one of the guards lifted Issac up high so he could see outside the gate.  Issac begged for him to keep doing it.

Here is a photo of the boys with Solomon.  The green double doors behind them is the gate - you can see above the doors glimpses of the outside world.  That is where Solomon would lift Issac up and let him peek outside.

So you see, as I read this post I could not help but let my mind wander back to when our little guys sat on the shoulders of the guard at the care center to see the world outside the gate.  Today, they played outside for hours.  They are our sons.  But, there are children waiting to have a forever family.  Many, many children.  Adoption is one way that children find a forever family.  It is not the only way.  I'm so thankful for families like the Benkerts at Bring Love In who are creating forever family's for so many orphans and widows right in the country they were born in.  They indeed are not letting the gate close behind them and not do anything about the orphan crisis in Ethiopia.  I encourage you to go to their site and check out what's happening at Bring Love In.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


We are a few weeks into school.  The five "big" kids (I'm sure my 17 year old loves to be called a "big kid") are all into the swing of things.  We are at three different schools this year, which makes life interesting.  It's all going very well.

The little boys are a bit confused where their brothers and sisters wandered off to.  They are usually not awake when the kids leave, so when they get up ... it's just me and them.  We go through the list ...  "Daddy? ... Zachary? ... Amanda? ... Hannah? ... Grace?  ... Greta?"  They repeat the names over and over ... then they add "at school" at the end of each name ... Let me know that daddy is at work and we move on to breakfast.  I didn't realize how much those "big kids" helped me out during the day.  Besides an hour for nap time my little guys are running full speed and need to have mommy around.  I'm thankful for that, but it is exhausting.  A diet coke with a lime sure does call my name at nap time.

I'm sad to say that we are hearing less and less Amharic and Sidama language from the little boys.  We are hanging on to those words we know, but since we are not fluent in either language we can not teach the boys any more than they already knew.  And, actually ... we've made our own language around here.  Buche and Burka are starting to mix words together.  For example; a car in Amharic is a "mekina".  They now say mommy's "mecar".  We live on a lake.  The word for water in Amharic is "wuha".  They look our our window and say "wuha-ater"  I love it.  And, we read our cute little English-Amharic book that our sweet driver took us to get from Book World in Ethiopia.  Who knows if I'm pronouncing any of the Amharic words correctly, but it's a fun thing to do with the boys each day.  They boys are understanding more and more English.  When they come to me whining for a drink... to be picked up ... to eat or whatever it is they need at the moment I say "What do you say?" trying to get them to say "please" rather than whine.  They used to always say back to me "What do you say?".  They repeat everything.  Although that does still happen sometimes their response is "please" these days instead of "what do you say?".  And, even better yet ... sometimes they come to me and say "please wuha-ater" instead of whine.  So sweet.

We've added a few pets to our family.  Two fish have been adorning the island in our kitchen.  Grace has a science project going on.  And, a sweet family wanted to get rid of their horse.  Yes, we now have a horse.  Grace has been praying for a horse for over a year.  We thought it would be impossible.  Well, we were given a 18 year old mare named Montana.  I've never seen miss Grace smile for so long.  Better yet, Ryan's sister and brother-in-law have horses, so Montana has joined their herd.  And, Grandpa is also close by and keeps an eye on Montana for Grace.  Thanks Shannon and family for blessing our Grace with Montana and thanks to the grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins for taking such good care of Montana when Grace is not there.  I think you will be seeing a little cowgirl around quite a bit. It really is amazing how God works things out and answers prayers and It has been neat to watch our little girl see God in the story of waiting for a horse and now having Montana.

Buche and Burka went to the dentist last week.  They sat so good and actually had a great time.  They didn't learn that from me.  Although I love our dentist, having my teeth worked on is not at the top of my "fun things to do" list.  Not only did the boys like the dentist, their teeth look great, so that makes for a happy day.  Actually, I went to the dentist a few weeks ago.  I had to have a filling taken out and a new one put in.  When my dentist got the old filling out he realized the decay went deeper than he thought and had to grind deep down in my tooth.  He said that the chances of him hitting a nerve in my tooth, or even the decay that was there damaging my nerve was quite good.  If that happened it meant a root canal for me.  I would know if the nerves were damaged until my tooth hurt - and that could happen in a day or week or 10 years from now.  There was no way to tell but to let time pass and see if I developed a tooth ache or not.  My thoughts about a root canal scream "Nooooooo - please Noooooo". Not only does it sound very painful, (isn't there a saying "that was about as full as a root canal"?) it is not a fun way to spend money in my book. Well, the when the Novocaine wore off my tooth hurt terribly. I spent about a week pretending it didn't hurt.  Then Ryan one night prayed for me.  He prayed that my tooth would stop hurting.  Maybe I was a bit crabby.  I think he needed my tooth to feel better so he didn't have to listen to me complain.  Guess what.  My tooth has not hurt since he prayed about it.  How's that for answered prayer.

Hannah had an art project.  She needed models, so since the twins are adored by all their siblings, they usually get to do the jobs like that.  But, it didn't go so good.  It is very hard to get two little boys posed and smiling for a photo.  Here's what she managed to get.

Not sure what her art teacher will think of her project, but I think she had the cutest models ever... not that I'm biased or anything.

This is quite a "random" blog today.  Is this the type of post that is made for "Misc Monday" like I see some bloggers do?  It's Tuesday today, but honestly every day of my life just feels "Misc" and "Random". Just when I think I'm going to fold the laundry I end up running a little boy to the bathroom to go "kah kah".  Just when I think I'm going to make dinner, I end up putting a puzzle together.  Just when I think I am going to sleep I end up rocking a sweet babe that needs me.  I play with two sweet toddlers much of my day... eating fake food in the play kitchen, farm in the living room and build towers out of Legos in the family room.  Other than that I try to make a tennis match, soccer game or volleyball game fit in.  There have been some days that I think I should be doing more.  By more I mean ... working for a cause - a cause like starting a non profit to help raise funds for orphans and widows... raise money to help those starving in the horn of Africa.  Do more for the people that lay heavy on my heart.  Be at the kids' school volunteering time. Do more like teaching Sunday School or helping with youth group ... reach out more to friends with encouragement.  I do have lots of time to "think" about things because "farming" my living room carpet doesn't take much brain work.  I also have time to pray for friends and situations.  So, that's what I do today and see what happens next.   I love this season of "farming" in the living room and trust that God will reveal if I am to be doing more now, or if it is a season of waiting and the season to harvest some of those things that I'm thinking about will come later. I saw a rainbow in the sky this morning.  I do love the way my God makes promises.  I'm thankful today for his promise to never leave me.  I've learned that praying is where is needs to start.  I prayed for our little boys for many, many years.... they are now home.  Grace prayed for a horse (and I really thought it was impossible) for a more than a year which to her seemed like eternity and she now has a horse. Ryan prayed for my tooth and it has not hurt all week.  I know He'll show me what he wants me to do each day.  I'm learning to be content in this farming that I've been doing.  It's time to play.  It's time to pray.  Time to think ... time to think about how I spend my time.  And a verse in Hebrews reminds me that I need to be content.

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."  Hebrews 13:5

Okay ... I'm off to go cultivate the carpet dirt.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Isaac Buche

A name.  We gave names for the twins much thought over the whole time we waited for them.  Should we give them a new name, or should we keep their names just as they were given to them in Ethiopia.  I read lots of others' opinions on this subject, thought lots about it and prayed lots about it.  Although I think there is much wisdom in other peoples thoughts on this subject, I do not believe there is a right or wrong answer to the topic.  Everyone's situation is different.

Some of the thoughts that I had went like this...  The ONLY thing that my sweet boys will be able to keep from their county is their name.  It just didn't seem fair take them out of their country away from everything familiar and then tell them that their name is no longer what they have known it to be all of their life.  BUT, thinking ahead down the road, if God has us in the city that we live in right now still ... well, it is just not very culturally diverse.  As sad as that is to me, it is reality right now.  So, as the boys grow up I thought they might want the option to have a name that "fit in" better for a lack of better words.  

What to do...

I had a line of up names that I loved!  But, I felt very strongly that if we were to give them a new name that Ryan should pick them.  And he did ... He chose Buche to have the first name Isaac and Burka to have the first name Isaiah - at the last minute as we leaving Ethiopia with them (which drove many of our family members crazy that he was so last minute about it).  So, Isaac Buche and Isaiah Burka it is.

At first when we got home, we didn't even call them Isaac or Isaiah.  They had always been Burka and Buche ... not only to them, but to us too.  That is just who they are.  As time has gone by, we have started to call them by both names.   They answer to either but they still always call each other by their Ethiopian names only.  I am so okay with that - honestly, I hope they never make the switch when they are talking to each other.  It is sweet.  I'm sure our family will always use their Ethiopian names interchangeably with the names we have given them.  As they get older, we will let them decide what they want to be called. I'm at peace with that.

But, here's the neat thing that is happening with their names.

Our sweet Isaac Buche is a giggler.  He laughs all the time.  He laughs if he is having a blast, he laughs when he is nervous and he laughs when he is getting into mischief. After I have had to talk to him about something like ... say hitting his brother -I first have him tell Burka "I'm sorry".  He then gives him a hug and got it ... he laughs.  He laughs when he wakes up and last night as I sat up with him from midnight til 3 am he had many laughs for me.  Oy!  So, guess what we've learned the name Isaac means.  It is a Hebrew name that means ... LAUGHTER.  So fitting for my sweet little giggler.  Brings me such peace.  

I praise God for knitting my children together from the very beginning and caring about each detail of their lives! His works are so wonderful - I know that full well!