Monday, January 31, 2011

Lightening my load

When I was in Ethiopia, we saw many women loaded down just like the one pictured here. They are carrying firewood they gathered on Mount Entoto to take down the mountain and sell. All this work for a dollar or so a day. She carries this load because she has to in order to make a living.

I believe I have mentioned before that I am a fretter by nature. I carry huge mental loads with me all the time. Right now, I am burdening myself with negative thoughts about everything that could go wrong with our adoption.

I sat down today to do my Bible study, which this week covers chapter 40 of Isaiah. The theme of the verses we are studying is that we need to focus on God and put our trust in him over false idols, and one of the questions asked "what idols do you put before God in your mind, emotions and time?"

Wow. The answer came to me so quickly it was almost scary... the internet. Now, I don't think the internet is evil. But I do think that it's ability to help us find instant "answers" can be misleading. In my case, my anxiety over adoption issues has caused me to constantly check various internet groups and websites to see if there were any new rumors or tidbits of information for me to obsess over. Not good. Not healthy. In fact, more times than not, participation in most of these groups left me feeling out of sorts and cranky and filled with fear and doubt.

I firmly believe that God has called our family to adopt in Ethiopia... so why in the world would I let these groups convince me otherwise? Unlike the Entoto women, I can choose to lighten my load.

I had my laptop sitting right next to me on the kitchen counter. I went over to my group page and deleted myself from several different groups and hit "enter". The feeling of lightness and freedom I felt from that one simple click was amazing. I have resolved today to listen to God more and the internet less.

But I'm not giving up my blog anytime soon. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Snowy days, the high cat and a special surprise

I know I'm going to end up kicking myself later when I'm stumped for a post topic, but I just happened to have three great pictures to share today and I'm excited to put them out there right now. I can be impatient like that.

My original post for today was going to feature Tom and the twins enjoying some father-daughter bonding time while building a snowman. The girls were really excited to do this and we had some actual double-digit temperatures yesterday for them to play in... above freezing in fact, fortunately for Tom.

Then while I was getting the camera to upload the photos, Harry the cat started meowing at us from his favorite high perch. I have a theory that two cat households divide the furniture and other assorted territories into the "high cat" and "low cat" areas. Harry is our high cat. Our other cat, Lucy, would never venture here.

And the final photo for today, an extra special surprise via air-mail... a letter from the twins' birth mom, with her new post office box address in Ethiopia and a couple of baby pictures of the twins! Here they are in their youngest pictures yet; about eighteen months old. It brought a lump to my throat. We love you, Roman.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Two in one

Attachment challenged and strong-willed. Times two. No wonder I'm so tired all the time. Suggestions, anyone?

p.s. Don't be fooled by those angelic faces. Cuteness is a survival tactic.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We're going!

The tickets are purchased. We are going to Ethiopia in five and a half weeks for our court date! I can't wait to meet my son!

My friends from Because Every Mother Matters and doma will be traveling in Ethiopia that week too; I am hopeful that we can meet up in Addis Ababa!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It IS a good thing

I know I've been a posting slacker.

Truthfully, I have been in kind of an emotional slump about the adoption, and I didn't know what to say without sounding whiny. I guess I'm just going to go ahead and whine, so faithful readership (all five or six of you), bear with me.

I'm getting pretty excited about bringing my new son home. For awhile, I was distracted by other things going on at our house, but I've reached a point where I can kind of breathe and think about the future... we're getting a son! And I'm excited! And yet...

Why do I have this vaguely guilty notion about the whole thing? Well, I'll tell you why... because of the onslaught of anti-international adoption writing I have come across. Even in the so-called online "support" groups, it seems like someone is constantly lamenting the poor integrity of international adoptions, or the corruption, or the greed or the suffering of birth families... the list could go on and on.

Yes, those things exist. Way more than they should. Yes, every happy adoptive family comes at the loss of a birth family. But no, I don't think that makes all international adoption suspect. I think international adoption can be, and in many cases is, a good thing. I can't help but notice that frequently, the ones who decry the adoption process the most are people who already have their adoptive child home. It was fine for them, at the time they adopted, but now... sigh. It just bothers me.

I don't know anyone who wants an unethical adoption. I certainly don't. I learned a lot from our first adoption. I knew which agencies to avoid at all costs, and which ones were generally good agencies. There is no perfect agency. I knew questions to ask, things to look for, and I'm satisfied that the waiting child we are adopting has accurately been portrayed.

I also feel like a lot of people think my husband and I have just plain gone crazy. We have our hands full with five pets and five kids and Tom is just buying a small manufacturing business and why the heck would we do this adoption thing again? At our ages?

I worry a lot about orphans and widows and poverty in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, a country I have grown to love. I know that international adoption isn't going to solve the world's orphan crisis, or eradicate poverty. I believe that God put Ethiopia in my heart to show me that I can help make a difference there. I am equally certain that my calling from God is to nurture children, and that this child was put in our path for a reason. I am excited to welcome him home and to begin to help him heal his heart and love him as my son. I am excited for our family to experience the joy of a little brother. Won't you be excited for us, too?

Monday, January 3, 2011

An evening out

This evening, we went to dinner at the aptly named Ethiopian Restaurant with our friends, Coree and Roger and their three daughters Ellen, Libby and Emma. I used to coach Libby and Emma in gymnastics. They were having an out of town visitor, another of my former proteges, Skye.

Here I am posing with two of my favorite little gymnasts,
Skye and Libby:

And here, Skye and Emma amusing the twins
by pretending to be horses:

I can only hope that the very kind restaurant owner was equally amused. Thankfully, we were the only patrons still in the dining room at this time. :)