Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An ambulance for them; adoption funds for you!

Because Every Mother Matters is raising money for the community of Mareya in Ethiopia. This vehicle will help save hundred of lives and keep families together. Since the bulk of the women involved with the BEMM board have adopted children, this is very dear to our hearts. Now, BEMM would like to encourage currently adopting families to help us out... and by doing so help yourself! Click on the logo above to read about how you can have a chance to get help funding your adoption by giving a $20 or more donation... or you can donate to help out an adopting friend. Time is limited so check out the site now by clicking on the logo!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Failure dreams

I dream very vividly, and I have many recurring dreams. Some of them are kind of funny, like the one I have where I'm on a flying scooter. Or sometimes I dream that I can jump or leap so high that it's almost like flying. I have this horrible recurring nightmare where I am in college and I just realized I never went to a particular class, I never dropped it and I don't even know where the room is located... and it's finals week. I've gone to several different colleges, and features of all the campuses show up in that one. Sometimes I dream that the pet mice we used to have have multiplied and taken over our basement, and I'm trying to cover it up. Plus the traditional "whoops, I'm naked in public" dream occurs in my brain fairly frequently.

Lately I've been having these disturbing dreams that I have decided to call "failure dreams". In these dreams, I end up in some situation where I have some impossible task to fulfill and I just can't do it. For example, in the one I had last night, I was somehow back in competitive gymnastics, only as my 48 year old self. I am informed that I need to learn all of the level 7 skills before such and such a time. In the dream, I'm pretty sure I can do the beam skills (back handspring in a series... huh?!) but there is NO WAY I am going to be able to get the bar routine. This sounds funny, but I am so stressed out when I wake up, it's horrible. Another one I have had involves me planning several party/fund raiser events and losing all the information but assuring everyone that it's FINE, and then there is one where I have to find my way home, on foot, from the farm my grandparents lived on in Indiana when I was under the age of seven.

Whew. Obviously, I have a lot on my mind. Psychoanalysis, anyone?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday night lights

One of the things I really love about living in a small town is how much the whole town gets behind the high school sports teams. Friday night football games are packed with people young and old and every home game is a major social event. The first home game of the year is also the game where all the elementary school girls who participated in the summer cheer and dance camp get to strut their stuff with the big girls. We were also excited to share the magic of high school football with Thomas!

Before the game I snapped this blurry sibling photo.

Anna (second from right) and the
"real" cheerleaders doing their thing.

The cheerleaders are joined by the little girls.
Anna is on the far right.

Sarah cheering with cheerleader Mallory and a friend.

Candace and bestie Ava... I promise they were actually having fun.
Also, Candace did have pants on.

Bluejays (in blue) in action.

Marching band at half-time... it's a small school.

Little girls performing with the dance team at half-time.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pictures I love

This picture is from the mid-nineties when we lived in California. I don't know what we did that day while Grandma Spears was visiting, but it must have been exhausting because Emily and Anna sure look pooped out.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to school!

School started this week! In preparation for the big day, I took Sarah and Candace to the nail salon for pretty painted nails and then they went for a much needed trim to their hair. Here is Sarah rocking her blow-out and her Tacky For Africa headband:

Next up, back to school night to see the new classrooms and meet teachers. Candace is trying out her desk. She will be sitting by Jeris, who was in her preschool and kindergarten class also. I think they are destined to be together.

This Thursday was the big day for heading back to class for the twins. Thomas and I waited for the bus to drop them off at home after school, anxious to hear about their first day of first grade.

Finally, today was Thomas' turn! He was so eager to go to his afternoon preschool that he could hardly wait until lunch was over so he could go. Here he is posing in his new classroom! (Please ignore those extra arms he appears to have sprouted.)

After preschool we went and picked up the twins from elementary school. The young scholars posed for me on the front porch steps before running off to ride their bikes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Why, God?

I am a cradle Catholic, raised my whole life in the Catholic church. I have raised my own children in the faith. For the last several years, I have been trying very hard to devote more of myself and my daily life to God and listening to his calling; praying daily for discernment, for aid and to praise Him. I have rejoiced when I could see the answers to my prayers blessing myself and others.

But something has happened which is challenging me... I just don't understand how this could be God's plan.

A family has waited for their son from Ethiopia for over a year. They finally go to court in March. They leave believing they have passed that hurdle. After coming home, they receive the news that they in fact did not; more paperwork is required by the court. They wait. They wait some more. One by one, all of the other families in their group pass, but they are still waiting. Some of us pray and pray and pray. Finally, months later, they pass. Four days later, a massive orphanage closing goes on in Ethiopia, throwing all kinds of doubt into the process and shifting children around. I, however, am convinced that by the hand of God, they passed in the nick of time and all will be well. I am SURE all will be well. No matter that the new orphanage will not release their child to the agency transition home; it is surely a paperwork glitch and all will be well. I confidently share my opinion with the family that all will be well.

All is not well.

This family was told today that the regional MOWA in Awassa has indicated that they will not be releasing their child to them, ever. I don't know why. I don't know how this can even be. I don't know what will happen to this little boy. I am horrified, saddened and heartbroken. I am wondering how this can be what God wants... how is this part of the plan?

My faith is shaken. I am shaken. I feel like a sham; having shared my fruitless words of comfort, only to have this terrible outcome occur anyway.

The funny thing is, though, I don't know anything else that I can do. So I will pray. Pray for understanding, pray for healing, pray for comfort... pray for this family. Pray for my own faith.

Postscript: I found out later today that this situation is faced by five families of CHSFS. I know three of the families personally. The regional MOWA officials are planning to place the children back with birth families "if possible" and otherwise the children will be institutionalized. All of the families have valid court decrees from the Federal First Instance Court.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Running with the big dogs

We are a pet loving family and we currently have two dogs and two cats. Our dogs are Boston terriers, which are rather on the small side. We also think they are too untrustworthy to be allowed down by the lake. So, it was quite a novelty this week when our good friends Heather and Abbey brought their very well-behaved dogs over to swim in our lake. Sidney is a lovable Newfoundland and Mabel is a goofy yellow Lab. Yep, these are big dogs!

Candace is a little nervous, so Abbey gives her a lift.
(That big stick in the foreground was the fetch toy!)

Abbey introducing Sarah and Thomas to Sidney.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Water park fun

Summer isn't officially over for a few weeks, but it's winding down now... school starts next week. This week we put in a late summer visit to the very nice water park at nearby Mahoney State Park.

Thomas and Anna playing in one of the fountains

The girls enjoying the wave pool

Thomas in the fountain



Ways to help!

My friend Carmen and several other adoptive families have set up a great site to take donations for the Horn of Africa famine crisis. Aid organizations include Children's Hope Chest, Doctors Without Borders, World Vision and World Food Programme. Donations of $25 or more qualify for some neat and unique gifts too... TODAY ONLY! So hurry, click here to find our more and make your donation!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Horn of Africa drought 2011 HELP TODAY

The Horn of Africa region, including large parts of Ethiopia, is experiencing the worst drought in 60 years. This is leading to wide-spread famine. I like this YouTube video because it has the great map at the beginning showing how large the affected area is. Please consider giving... go to the aid organization of your choice and make a donation today.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dark Girls Documentary Trailer

I found this trailer on the blog "Whatever Things Are True: The Good, The Bad and the Beautiful of International Adoption". As the mother of two beautiful dark skinned girls from Ethiopia, I found it thought provoking, disturbing and really sad.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Different feet; same hearts

I was looking at the littles' feet the other day and thinking how there is no way that those feet look anything like mine:

My feet are vein-y and bony with weird shaped little toes. The twins' have long, narrow, almost elegant little feet. Thomas has feet like little planks... their sturdiness makes me laugh when I look at them. They're wide with short little toes.

Even if our skin matched, these feet would give us away.

But as I was looking at these feet the other day, I was thinking how it didn't matter that we don't share a single gene... my heart doesn't know the difference. And this is truly the miracle of adoption. There are lots of hard things surrounding any adoption under any circumstances. But there is also this miracle of love and the heart's boundless ability to love more and more. Our hearts can grow to love as much as we want them to.

Even if our feet don't match.

Monday, August 1, 2011

One month

Thomas has been home with us one month today. And may I just say... it has been easy. We so deserved this after the twins! Everyone is getting along well and the stress level is fairly low. For comparison purposes, you can read this. Or this. Or even this.

It's just been a whole different ballgame this time around. We so hope and pray that we maintain this course, but... we are ready if we don't.

Sarah and Candace with their little brother Thomas, aka "Mr. Cool".
(Accessories selected by Thomas)