Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Reuniting, part 2

The second part of our trip to southern Ethiopia took us to the Hadiya zone and the tiny village of Sewore.  This is where Feyissa Thomas was born and where he lived for the first four years of his life.  It is the village where virtually all of his extended family still lives.  Thomas began to get excited as we passed through the town of Bonosha and near to Sewore.  Suddenly he sat up straight and said excitedly, "There it is...this is it!"  

Indeed, it was.  There was the cluster of simple picturesque huts that Thomas remembers as home and which we recognized from the video provided by our adoption agency.  There was a crowd of people near the road, but Thomas had eyes only for one...his birth father.

The entire village was there to welcome home their boy.  Not just his family...an entire village.

The pictures tell the rest of the story.

We arrive.


Thomas and his birth father.



Soccer with his brothers and other village kids.


A proud dad watches his son.


Family



Brothers


Home


Neighbors



Friday, May 30, 2014

Reuniting, part 1


We have embarked on a trip that has been over a year in planning...traveling to Ethiopia to visit the littles' birth families.  Our first stop was Nazret, Ethiopia.  We visited the twins' great aunt whom they lived with for most of their life in Ethiopia.


The twins' birth mom surprised us with a special request:  that we take the twins to visit their half brother.  Although Tom and I knew of this boy's existence, it was our understanding that birth mom was not in contact with him at all and we never expected the twins to meet him.  So...it was a little awkward telling the twins that they have a brother whom we were now going to visit.  Fortunately, they took it all in stride.  The family resemblance is striking.


Following our morning in Nazret, we traveled to Ziway where the twins' mother lives.  Many, many friends and relatives came to visit with the girls and enjoy an abundant and delicious meal.  The girls also got to meet their maternal grandmother.


But the best part of the visit was seeing the girls reconnect with their first mom.





Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fledglings

Two of my chicks are preparing to leave the nest.  Emily and Anna are moving into a nice little rental house in Lincoln with two of their friends.  Emily will be taking up residence this weekend.  Anna is going with us on our trip to Ethiopia to visit the littles' birth families, so she doesn't officially fledge for a few more weeks.  

Mother hen that I am, I feel quite anxious.  It will feel strange to have all three bigs in my house only as visitors.  It's the natural order and what we raise them up to do:  be independent and make a way in the world.

It still makes me sad.  Fly high, little chicks.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dessie, Ethiopia...Because Every Mother Matters

                          

Visiting one of my sponsored mamas, Worke, and her family.  I am so happy to see them healthy, well-fed, and looking forward to a brighter future.  Worke has accomplished so much, and has plans to do so much more.  Gobez!  (Good job!)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Melkam Fasika! Happy Easter!



This Easter, we had colored eggs.



We had fancy clothes for morning Mass.



We had marshmallow Peeps and chocolate bunnies.



We had homemade noodles for dinner.  Noodles say "holiday" at our house.



But this is what makes this particular Sunday Easter...thankful today and everyday for Jesus.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Paper chase

Here is the first update on our latest adoption:  we are making progress in finishing up our paperwork.  All of the documents for our home study have been completed.  As soon as the home study is finished, we can apply for immigration approval.  When we get immigration approval (I-171H), we can get all of the dossier documents notarized and state certified.  After that, federal certification and off to Ethiopia.

Yeah, it sounds like a lot...but we've gotten a lot done!  Here is the photographic evidence of our first completed documents, our Indiana birth certificates and marriage license.







Wednesday, February 26, 2014

We have room


Who are we to dispute Mother Teresa?  

With happiness and some degree of trepidation, I am making the announcement that we have signed on the dotted line to adopt again.  We are welcoming into our family another son, a five year old boy from Ethiopia who has lost both of his parents and is in need of the love of a family.  Our family... whose members are anxious to love him back.

I expect I might lose some friends over this announcement.  I know many think you can't have an ethical international adoption these days, to which I respectfully disagree.  As parents who have been around the block a couple of times in the Ethiopian adoption neighborhood, we are aware of the pitfalls and know to proceed with caution.  After thoughtful consideration, we believe this is right for this child.  That is all that will be said on this topic.

Some friends will kindly point out our ages.  Yep, we're old.  I'm the oldest mom hanging out at the elementary school.  I'll be an even older mom hanging out at the high school in a few years.  But hey, did you know Halle Berry just had a baby?  She's 47, which means when her child is five, she'll be 52... two years older than I am now.  What does she have that I don't have?  (Besides fabulous beauty, obviously.)  I'm going to be old regardless, so I might as well be old and happy with what I'm doing.  I might as well get even older without having to say "I wish I would have," or "I wonder what it would have been like?".  

I know some friends think that anything over two is an excessive amount of children in a household.  Well, see the graphic above.  We couldn't disagree more.  Yes, we now have a lot of children, soon to be even more.  Yes.  It's a LOT.  We also have the financial resources to care for them through the college years, so I'm not sure why anyone should care.  And we have lots of some other things too... Love.  Laughter.  Compassion.  Hope.  Faith.  

And lets not forget pets.  We have lots of pets.  :)

Those things are worth a lot.  Probably more than the parent-funded college education and the awesome vacations.  

We have been richly blessed.  We have room for one more.


Friday, December 27, 2013

The Undocumented Christmas

We have had an even busier than normal December... gymnastics meets, school functions, a birthday party for Thomas and an out of town wedding on top of the usual holiday whirl.  As a result, a funny thing happened to this mom who doubles as the chronicler of family events... I got tired of carrying my camera around.  I grew weary of documenting the festivities and watching them from behind an electronic device.  I didn't write a family Christmas letter to include with the cards, which haven't been mailed yet (but they will be!).  So this will be a Christmas that lives on only in our memories.

And... that's okay.  Our memories can be a pretty rich canvas to display the events of our past.  I won't remember every detail of this Christmas, and neither will my kids.  What I will remember is that all six of my kids were home, the presents were fun, the food was good and there was love all around.  We have been immeasurably blessed by the Baby whose birthday we celebrated that day.

That's enough.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Birthday boy

Thomas turned seven years old today!  It hardly seems like anytime at all that we first saw his picture as a skinny three and a half year old; now he's the tallest of his friends and eager to take on all kinds of new challenges.  It's hard to do a birthday party right around the holidays... so hard to squeeze in a celebration during this busy holiday season.  Thomas is always so thankful for everything he receives and so accommodating... this year we decided to give him a super fun party and we went bowling.  He invited his two best buddies from school and his best friend who lives down the street.


At the alley and ready to bowl!


Thomas bowls with style.


Bowling was followed up with pizza and birthday cupcakes!


Presents!

A great time was had by all!

Friday, November 29, 2013

A happy Thanksgiving!

 We stayed home for Thanksgiving this year; just the immediate family gathered around the table.  I love big extended family gatherings, but I felt incredibly contented to just be with my husband and kids, all together under our roof.  We had a lovely traditional Thanksgiving feast and I even brought out the good china and crystal... I think for the first time since the littles have been with us.

God is good.  :)
My family... blessed by them every day!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Halloween Experience 2013

We started our Halloween "season" off with a trip to Vala's Pumpkin Patch, which is more like an Autumn Extravaganza of family fun.  Haunted houses, the pumpkin mine, Bunnyville, Story Book Barn, the corn maze... there is really too much to mention.  Also, there is a lot of food.

Danger at the pumpkin mine.


And a nice photo for mom.



Did I mention food?  Candace has a real way with a turkey leg.


Thomas with his pumpkin picked fresh from the field.



Candace and Sarah hang onto their pumpkins during the hayrack ride.



A neighbor dropped by with early Halloween treats... including these classic wax lips.

Next, we had some good old-fashioned pumpkin carving.  The kids were helped out by our very own Halloween-style black cat.

Candace 



 Sarah



Thomas



Lucy supervising.


The final jack o'lanterns!

Halloween Day brings the elementary school costume parade...

Candace the sassy samurai!


Ninja Thomas!



Hello Kitty nerd Sarah and friend.


... followed in the evening by the big event:  Trick or Treating!


Ready!


Posing with their jack o'lanterns.


 The haul.