Monday, January 30, 2012

Live and Become

We watched the movie "Live and Become" last night.  

I'd recommend it even though it was very hard to watch.  It is a display of such hurt and devastation for Ethiopians, specifically a Christian Ethiopian boy who is released from a Sudanese refuge camp to Israel in 1984 during Operation Moses. The perseverance of this boy and those around him are amazing.  As I look at my life and see how I struggle with discipline to do things like eat healthy, read my bible, keep my house clean, play with my kids ... the everyday things of life I am in awe at lives like this young Ethiopian boy.

This young Christian Ethiopian boy's mother was alive and was with him at the Sudanese refuge camp.  She sent him away with the Jews that were allowed to be airlifted from the Sudanese refuge camp to flee to Israel so he could live and become. A heartbreaking sacrifice that makes me cry.  She told him to pretend he was a Jew.  He was adopted when he made it to Israel. His adoptive mom loved him dearly.  I don't remember the exact words used, but one of my favorite parts of the movie was when someone told this young boy that he has "so many mothers that love him".  Movies like this really hit my heart.  They are not "just another story about other people" anymore. I get the privilege of  being called "mommy" by these two little guys.  It's hard to put into words the hurt, sacrifice and amazing resilience and perseverance that is seen as my heart has been drawn to a country on the other side of the world.  A beautiful country.  A country that two of my sons are from.  

 The journey to be Buche and Burka's mommy has changed my heart.  It has put life in perspective in many ways.  


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Haiti Team

Six of my friends are going on a vision trip to Haiti this week.

Will you join me in praying for them and all those that they will come in contact with while they are traveling as well as their families that will be waiting here at home for them.  The team will be visiting a few places, but their main focus will be an orphanage.  You can follow their story here.

A sweet friend of mine today sent me a bible verse.  It was just what I needed to hear today.  And, it will be one of the things I will be praying over this team as they are in Haiti, too.

"It's not by might, not by power, but by MY spirit says the Lord of hosts!"  Zechariah 4:6

I'm praying that the Holy Spirit will guide each and every step, protecting you all along the way as you venture out on this journey that the Lord has you on, friends!   

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy 11th Birthday, Grace!

11 years ago today I started my day by doing an "easy bake oven" with my three oldest kiddos.  Then, I called home my husband, called my mom to come over and went to the hospital.  Things timed out just perfect for our doctor to come from the clinic to the hospital over his lunch hour and deliver our precious little Grace... and then head back to work at the clinic.  Really folks, that's how I remember it.  Everything went so smoothly and quickly and the joy of a new precious baby is what I remember most when I think back to the day my little Gracie was born.  

I'm so very thankful and blessed to be this little girls mommy.

She's a sweet, fun, compassionate little girl.  She keeps us on our toes, literally. We went to a barn dance this fall and she had a blast dancing with her daddy. 

Happy Birthday Grace.  You are indeed a gift to us!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How old are they?

"Oh, they are so cute ... How old are they?"  That is the question.   We get told this statement followed up with this question many, many times!  That's not a bad thing.  It must just be how many people think ... a conversation starter of sorts.  I don't mind that.  The problem is, I've struggled with how to answer the question.  We really don't know how old the boys are and honestly, we are 100 percent okay with that.  We knew this was a big question when we first read the boys' life story.  It really doesn't matter ... until it comes to things that we do here in this country, like preschool and school for starters.  Then later in life things like going through adolescence at a completely wrong given age and driving a car.  Just like everyone seems to ask us "how old are they?" these later questions are the ones that we ask ourselves over and over again as we ponder the thought of asking for the boys' legal age to be changed.

We are currently feeling like we need to get the paperwork done to legally change their age so we've been thinking about all these things lately ... here is what we know.  The birth date that we have for the boys makes them just over 4 1/2 right now.  We were told by the staff at our agencies transitional housing, the the hopsital that did Buche's cast and people that lived in the village that the boys were born in that they were probably around two (2) to  three (3) years old, not (4) years old like they were then.  So, they were telling us that the boys were about one (1) to two (2) years younger than listed on their birth certificate.  Although they are creditable people, that is still a guess.

When we took the boys to the dentist we were told that they have all their teeth for a 2 year old, but that accessing age on how many teeth they had didn't matter after two till they started to get 6 year molars in, which is typically when they are around 6 years old.

We just had a bone scan at the clinic to assess bone age.  Many of you have asked about that.  The boys' had an x-ray picture taken of their hand.  The results were giving one boy the age of 1 year 6 months and the other boy  2 years of age.  We know malnutrition plays a role in this test and that is why we waited until they had been home for 6 months to do the test.  We also know that one of the boys were more malnourished that the other and that can help us understand why the results came back not at the same age. But, we have heard that a bone scan is not very accurate.  We asked our Dr. about that, and he agreed that we could not take it with complete accuracy. The boy's did not reach the 2 year old growth chart when we came home this summer.  They are just now reaching that chart today. With all that in mind, our doctors hunch is that the boys are around (3) years old right now.  Again, it's a hunch.

So, we've been trying to pay very close attention to the details that we know.  One of the boys decided about a week ago that he was going to wear "underwear" like his daddy and has had just a few accidents since. I believe we have the "potty" training thing licked with him.  My other little guy could care less about going potty in the toilet.  Now, "kahkah"... that's a different story.  They trained them both in Africa to go "kahkah" in the toilet.   They both have done that since they came home.  They are speaking in full English sentences and they didn't know any English 6 months ago.  They both love to do puzzles and one of the boys is better at it than the other.  And, yesterday while we were coloring they surprised me at how they are really starting to care about coloring within the lines. I'm not saying that they do it perfectly, but they are proud when they do it.  They care and try.  One of the boys is an amazingly fast runner and has really good large motor skills.  The other boy has more difficulty with large motor skills but can dribble a ball like nobody's business.  His fine motor skills are better then the the other little guys fine motor skills.

With all that being said I'm not sure if having twins makes it easier or harder to determine an age.  "Twins" can be an another whole post one day.  I find myself wanting to "compare" the boys since they are twins.  I know that is not okay ... they are individuals!  I feel like society will compare them with each other enough.  They are twins.  They are both boys. They have the same color skin.  They have the same color hair.  They have the same color eyes.  They are from Ethiopia.  As their mom I need to let them be who they are as an individual and help to make sure that others do that for them too.  More on that another time.

But they are indeed the same age and we are trying to figures out what age that is.  I think we've come to the conclusion that we will ask a judge to change there age to what would be 2 1/2 right now.

I'm open to opinions.  Any thoughts?  I know others out there have experienced this same situation as us.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr.

Dreams.  As I listened to Mary Beth Chapman speak a few years ago she said we need to start "adopting God's dreams."  As I thought about what to name this blog that I started as we began the journey to bring home our sons I knew that was it!  Adopting God's Dreams.  Of course I have dreams ... for my life ...for my marriage ... for my children.  Really, don't we all?  Some will come true, some won't.  But, as I journey through this life it is my prayer that my family strives to adopt God's dreams ...  because I know they are far better than we can even imagine.

This is a picture of two of my son's hands.  So very, very thankful!

"I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls."  Martin Luther King Jr.

Here are some other quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. that made me think today...very powerful!  I have much to learn to live this out fully.

"I have decided to stick to love...Hate is too great a burden to bear." Martin Luther King Jr.

"Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude."  Martin Luther King Jr.

"Only in the darkness can you see the stars"  Martin Luther King Jr.

"The time is always right to do that right thing."  Martin Luther King Jr.

"People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other." Martin Luther King Jr.

"Now there is final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies."  It is this; that love has within it a redemptive power.  And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals.  Just keep being friendly to that person.  Just keep loving them, and they can't stand it too long.  Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning.  They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they'll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them.  And by the power of your love they will break down under the load.  That's love, you see.  It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love.  There's something about love that builds up and is creative.  There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive.  So love your enemies.  (from "Loving Your Enemies")  Martin Luther King Jr. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

መልካም ገና! Melkam Gena! (Happy Ethiopian Christmas!)

It's Christmas Day in Ethiopia!  Christian's on the other side of the world will be celebrating the birth of our Savior.  We are celebrating with them in our hearts.

Jan 7th holds another special spot in our hearts.  Last year on Jan 7th, Ryan and I landed in Cancun Mexico.  It was the first day of a week long vacation for just the two of us.  It was an amazing week.   We relaxed on the beach, took naps, ate too much food, laughed together, cried as together we read Mary Beth Chapman's "Choosing to SEE" book and best of all ... we celebrated.  As we were checking into our hotel we received the much awaited call from Wide Horizons.  We were matched with twin boys!  On Jan 7th, 2010 we found out we were going to be parents of 7 kiddos!  Now that is one awesome Christmas present!

  መልካም ገና! Melkam Gena!  Happy Ethiopian Christmas!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6 

Friday, January 6, 2012

A big week

We've had a busy week here in our home.  The big kids are back in school.  The little boys miss them like crazy.  I miss them like crazy!  I love it when our family is all together, and honestly, it seems to be more times than not that all 9 of us are in the same place at the same time these days. 

Buche and Burka have had a busy week.  One morning they went to work with Ryan.  I had an appointment that I could not take them with me to.  They had to go and pick up some things from the UPS store and then went through the McDonalds drive through and ate and watched cartoons in the break room at our office.  Up to this point they tell me every day that "daddy is at work in his mercar" (what they call Ryan's vehicle).  I think they think that Ryan drives around all day.  Now, they think he eats McDonalds and watches cartoons.  :)

Then the next day we spent 2 1/2 hours at the clinic.  2 shots in each leg for each little guy and blood drawn was not fun.  
They played "hide n seek" waiting for the Dr. to come into the room.

I am simply amazed at how well they handle these things!  Yes, there were tears, but they ended quickly after hugs and kisses.... 

and a sucker.

  Burka has yet another double ear infection.  We have not had many ear infections in our home at all until now.  Tubes might be in our future... we'll see.  We also did a bone scan of their hands.  Their correct age has been a big question for everyone.  

And ... IT HAS BEEN JUST OVER 6 MONTHS SINCE THE BOYS CAME HOME!  In some ways it seems like yesterday that they came home and in some ways it feels like they have been forever a part of our family.  6 months home sounded like a reason to celebrate to me... so we went to have Injera, wot and an awesome cup of Ethiopian coffee at Faskia, an Ethiopian restaurant.  It was so yummy.  

And, not only was it yummy but the people that run the restaurant are so fun!  So much love in the air.  We got many hugs and kisses ... especially the boys.   And, I'm thankful to report that the boys were very resistant to those hugs and affection. As strange as that may sound it is a great thing that they clung to Ryan and I.  They know mommy and daddy.  Makes my heart smile :)
But, they did get many hugs, many kisses and much love from staff and customers alike.  And, to top it off we were able to buy Berber, Shiro and Yellow Split Peas right there at Fasika. 

Happy 6 months home little guys!  We love you like crazy and can not image life without you!