Dec 14, 2011

Women Wednesday: The Great Debate

The Hero and I had a really hard talk two years ago when we brought home The Angel and The Dinosaur. I'm sure lots of other couples have had the same one.
"To stay at home with the kids or go back to work?"
There is a part of my femininity that may be missing, because this wasn't a difficult question for me to answer. I practically ran back to the office. I had been practicing law almost five years when the kids came home, and I was good at it. Law school wasn't cheap and I amassed more student loan debt than The Hero's mortgage on his first house. There was no way we could afford for me to stay home. Spending three weeks away from the office also revealed another horrible character flaw: I am a work-aholic. I love it.
This may be why making and keeping new girlfriends has always proved challenging for me. It's hard for me to admit that I like being at the office. That my brain lights up and ignites best when legal theories and paperwork abound. And also I think many women I meet would only judge this career choice as a character flaw. They might believe that because I work outside the home, that I am not a good mom. And let's face it, I don't need any help beating myself up about my faults.
I also have much guilt over this new personality development. I often lament my failures as a mother, sometimes on an hourly basis. Maybe we all do. Most days as I pull away from daycare, I groan that I couldn't give my kids a better mother. One who hadn't spent most of her twenties vying for grades and racking up debt. But in my spirit I know that staying at home with The Dinosaur would leave us both unfulfilled and unchallenged. He needs WAY more social interaction that one mama can give him. The boy is busy and the more kids around, the more he loves it.
And you know what?
That's ok.
It actually feels good to say that out loud (or in print).
I may never stay at home.
But that doesn't mean I don't adore my mama friends who stay at home. Most of the time I want to constantly immulate them.
And that doesn't mean they don't love me, even trekking it to the office every day. Even when I don't return their phone calls for a few days.
Some times ladies, I think the debate about whether or not we are good enough, or doing a good enough job in motherhood and life in general, doesn't happen between us women,
It happens within ourselves.
Here's to learning to embrace the creatures God created us to be, with the love that He shows us, no matter where He calls us to spend most of our days.

Dec 13, 2011

I was going through old pictures a few days ago,
getting ready to put together a collage for The Angel and The Dinosaur.
It's their second Christmas with us.
I never believed time gets spent this fast.
As we were looking at birthdays and holidays
and pics of funny faces,
this one appeared,
out of place in my digital file of pictures.
It is from a Christmas past.
Three to be exact.
This face wasn't yet my daughter.
She was still an orphan.
And she was watching a friend leave for her new home.
With her new family.

The Angel looked at the picture.

She smiled and just said

"I remember that day."

"That was the day my last friend left Africa."

Tonight as I tuck my daughter into bed,

there are millions just like her all over the world.

Maybe some even in our neighborhood,

who are standing at the gate,




for their turn.

Their chance to have a home.

What are we going to do about it?

Dec 9, 2011

Christmas Carols

I love Christmas music.
It starts playing Thanksgiving Day and I am the annoying person who leaves it on until sometime
after the New Year.
The kids and I sing them every morning on the way to school.
But this year,
I can't sing this one without choking up.
Can you?

Our precious Thai bab(ies) we are missing you this Christmas.
But The Maker of stars is guiding our paths together.
And we are headed straight to you.
So that He will receive all the glory.

Dec 6, 2011

Last Christmas

For the last couple of years, I've kept a list of awesome gift ideas that give back.

I tried really hard to coordinate another list this year.

But I can't.

It's not really a time constraint, but more of like a heart constraint.

Between The Hero and I, I think we've bought five gifts this year.

We've bought the kids a couple of things, but they don't really care about toys.

And clothes are really boring.

As I think about our kid(dos) across the globe in Thailand,

I doubt he/she/they are thinking about toys, or snow (i know they aren't thinking that)

or how many different candies they will eat on Christmas.

I'm sure that my child(ren) are thinking about whether this year will be the year

they will get a family, a safe place to call their own.

And it devastates me that for Christmas 2011, they won't.

Our home study isn't completed.

Our dossier isn't yet submitted.

Our referral hasn't been given.

And so we wait.

For another Christmas.

Another shopping season that no one will remember next year,

let alone next month.

I saw a woman post today on facebook about this girl.
Her name is Shannon.

Shannon is 13.

She'll be 14 in two months.

She is a waiting child from China.

And Shannon has a Christmas wish:

A family.

You see, this is Shannon's last chance.

Her last Christmas wish for her heart's desire.

Someone to call her their own.

In China, once she turns 14, she will never have the opportunity to be adopted.
Her two best friends were adopted not long ago and living in America.

Shannon begs for them to find her a home.

And she only has two more months.

So while we are all making our lists and checking the Internet for great deals,

Shannon is on her knees, begging that her Mommy and Daddy come soon.

Tonight, I'm on my knees for Shannon too.

My shopping list would be to find her a family.

It's her last Christmas.

Please repost this and share her story.

If you know anyone who is home study ready and even better if their LOA is logged into China,

please direct them to Kelly at

My friend Lindsay posted an amazing post with links to

gifts that give back and you can check that out here.

Christmas is Two Days Early This Year

On November 29th, 2009, my sister and her husband relocated to Phoenix

for a new adventure in their life.

On November 30th, 2009,

The Hero and I began a new adventure of our own:


Laura had barely pulled in her new driveway when I called

to tell her about our referral.

It was the oddest moment of elation and devastation of my life.

While I couldn't wait to get the kids, Laura and I both wondered

how my kids would ever bond with someone who lived a 1000 miles away.

The next time I saw her, I was getting off the airplane in OKC

with two kids.

Jetlag, exhaustion, and acclimating to our life at home

would have been unbearable if she and Brian hadn't been there our first week.

They did the laundry, the grocery shopping, the rocking for nap-time,

while I tried to pull my head out of the whirlwind of the last two weeks.

Coming face to face with motherhood and abject poverty for the first time

took a toll on my heart and my brain.

At the end of that first week, The Angel knew she had a mother.

And an aunt.

Whom she adored.

Aunt LaLa was all she wanted for her first birthday home.

Our first Christmas was amazing.
There were lots of smiles.

LOTS of laughs.
(I think he looks like the seamstress from The Incredibles :)

Too many gifts that neither of the kids remember a year later.
And while every one was amazing and made their first Christmas perfect,
it was definitely noted that there were two presents missing.
We skyped the entire Christmas morning, letting LaLa and Papa Chu
watch each gift being opened,
each toy being played with and
watching The Dinosaur terrorize us all with his dump truck.
At the end of the day, Laura sent me a message,
telling me that 2010 would be last Christmas my kids were small
that she wouldn't be sitting in my living room.
I told her I was going to hold her to that,
but wouldn't tell the kids.
So as we made our lists this year for what they wanted to unwrap,
The Angel again requested her favorite thing:
and maybe, just maybe if he was good,
she'd let Papa Chu come along.

So for Christmas 2011,
I waited for as long as I could to tell the kids.
About two minutes after I knew.

So while they won't care about presents.
And some fat man squeezing in our fireplace doesn' t mean anything.
Santa and his entire magical entourage could carry
Laura and Brian's bags from the airport,
and The Angel and The Dinosaur wouldn't notice.
There will be popcorn,
and probably costumes

there will be giggles,
playing ball in the house
and breaking all of Mommy's rules.

There will be late nights,
pillow fights,
sleeping in late
and cereal for dinner.

The Angel is beside herself.
She is so excited that she has turned her
paper-chain, Advent calendar from school into a
"Countdown to Aunt Laura coming".
But I haven't told her they will be here on the 23rd.
I want to see the look on her face:

Christmas comes two days early this year.

Dec 5, 2011

You Think She Wants A Sibling?

Last Wednesday was our home study.

We had been talking about it with The Angel and The Dinosaur for weeks.

Because those of you who have adopted before know that

once a social worker steps foot in your house,

your children know one thing:

You cannot kill them.

We seriously could entertain the entire House and Senate at our dinner table

and The Angel and The Dinosaur would behave normally.

But the level of heathen behavior at the Andrews' household is

paramount when we have a post-placement visit.

We encouraged The Angel and The Dinosaur to mind their manners,

don't scream at one another and generally attempt to act as if we

are trying to teach them to be upright, outstanding citizens.

(Our last two post placement visits,

The Hero and I were convinced The Dinosaur might sprout horns and

The Angel had a megaphone inserted into her lungs.)

Sure enough, the door bell rings on Wednesday and the kids fling the door open.

Completely forgetting "Stranger Danger."

But things started to go badly when The Dinosaur brought down his piggy bank.

Remember, it wasn't two months ago he swallowed copper?

He dumped his entire savings on the floor, and began swimming through them.

And immediately became bored.

As The Dinosaur did cartwheels off our furniture,

The Angel quietly sat on the floor between our social worker

and The Hero and I.

And only interrupted to ask me to take a picture of her new creation.

She's good.

Real good.

And she's ready for a sibling.

Dec 4, 2011


It poured here on Saturday.
Biblical rains started immediately as we entered Target.
It didn't stop by the time we checked out, even though we drug ourselves through
the entire store to try and beat the drench.
The Hero offered to get the car while the kids and I waited.
When we all were secured after The Hero's valiant gesture,
true to form, The Dinosaur had a question
"Why Daddy get the car?"
Mommy: "Because daddy is a gentleman. And that is what gentlemen do."
Dinosaur: "Why is Daddy a gentleman?"
Mommy: "Because Grandma raised him right."
A minute later.
Dinosaur: "Mommy, can Grandma make me a gentleman too?"
The Hero and I wondered if The Dinosaur was already doubting our parenting skills and just wanted to skip right over to Grandma's house.

Nov 29, 2011

Twas The Night Before Homestudy

Some comic relief for you tonight:
Twas the night before home study
and all through the house.
Every creature is whirring, even a mouse.
The laundry was thrown about without care
even knowing a social worker soon would be there.
The children were spazzed bouncing on their beds
while visions of a new sibling danced in their heads
With mama in her headband and dad in his cap
had just geared up for a long nights'
When out in the kitchen, it arose such a clatter
Daddy sprang from the couch to see what was the matter
Away to the compactor, he flew like a flash
tore open the door and threw out the trash
The two day old mess at the bottom of the can
gave a putrid smell to the entire Andrews clan
When what to our watering eyes should appear
but a collection of garbage that should incite fear.
With a gag and a hurl that came fast and so quick
We knew in a moment it might make us sick.
More rapid than eagles his commands they came
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name
"Come Angel Come Dino bring cleaner and spray"
"bring comet bring clorox, let's get the smell out the way"
To the top of the can to the bottom of the bag
now dash away dash away, we scrubbed with a rag
So out of the house top the kiddos they flew
with the bag full of trash and the nasty smell too.
I heard them explain as they went out the front door
"No smelly trash in the house no more."

Nov 28, 2011

Date Set.

We got a call a few days before Thanksgiving from our home study agency.
We have a home study date.
November 30th.
Two days from now.
One more step down
one step closer to Thailand.
We are ready!
I also love that it is the exact same day as our referral-aversary
for The Angel and The Dinosaur.

Nov 15, 2011

National Adoption Month: Meet Ilyssa

Such a cutie pie!

Meet Ilyssa.

An adorable Ukranian princess who has HIV.

A manageable, controllable condition,

which if maintained through medication and love,

will mean that she grows up just like everyone else.

Ilyssa is being advocated for by Reeces Rainbow and

you can find her profile here.

Who wouldn't be blessed to see those pigtails bounding around their house every day.

Nov 9, 2011

National Adoption Month: More Siblings

It seems my heart is stuck on siblings for this post again.
I couldn't help it though.
This is Alex and Vitally.
Look at how precious these brothers are:

These little Ukrainian angels are being advocated for by Eli Project and
you can check out their profile here.
One of these babies is HIV+.
It doesn't matter which one.
Because HIV is a controllable, manageable condition.
And these boys are too precious to spend their lives
worrying about their condition.
They need to be worried about their next soccer game
or monster truck race.

National Adoption Month: Sibling Set

It's not a secret that The Hero and I have a soft spot for siblings.

I can't imagine having The Dinosaur without having The Angel.

I know my own life would not be the same without my siblings.

Sometimes in adoption, staying together is not an option.

But imagine your chances if there were 7 of you!

Even staring at their picture makes me overwhelmed.

Imagine the laundry.

Imagine the meal planning.

Imagine the LOVE!

The laughter!

The smiles at knowing they were all staying together.

This amazing group is currently in foster care awaiting their forever family.

They want to be adopted together.

Do you blame them?

I wouldn't give up my sister either.

Nov 8, 2011

National Adoption Month: Meet Destini

This cupcake had me had first sight.

Meet Destini.

This 10 year old princess is currently in U.S. foster care in Washington state.

Just waiting for her new family to shower her like the diva she is.

Total preciousness!

She is being advocated for by WACAP, which is the adoption agency

we have signed for in order to take us to our new family member in Thailand.

Remember to pray for the kids you've seen here

and advocate for them by using your facebook, twitter and blogs.

Nov 7, 2011

National Adoption Month: Meet Nicholas

Meet Nicholas.
This precious Ukrainian boy is in perfect medical condition,
except for one thing.
He is an orphanage because his mother broke his heart.
Nicholas suffers from a burned scalp,
which from his profile states was at his mother's own hands.
She sat his hair on fire when Nicholas was three.
He has received no restorative therapy or surgery to deal with the scar tissue
but a hair transplant may be an option.

Nicholas is being advocated for by Eli Project.

You can go here and read this sweet boy's profile

pray for him.

donate to his adoption fund.

advocate for him.

ask if Nicholas is your son, grandson, nephew.

Nov 6, 2011

Orphan Sunday

Today was Orphan Sunday.
A day set aside for remembrance, prayer and advocacy for children who have no family.
We hadn't talked about Orphan Sunday at home.
We didn't even mention it today.
Usually, questions about adoption, birth parents and/or Africa are elicited by The Angel.
But for the first time ever in the car today, a question came from the Dinosaur.
We had just been answering his questions about the blue car next to us, when we were met with:
"Yes, son."
"Our first dad died before in Africa?"
The Hero and I just stared at each other for a moment.
I didn't know what to say for a minute.
In her perfect, adorable way, The Angel beat me to it.
"Yep. Our Ethiopian daddy died after our Ethiopian Mommy did. That's why we live here."
The Hero and I made a brief, forgettable statement after that and The Dinosaur
went back to jabbering about the cars on the road.
Even in his precious three year old mind, my son knows that we are a hybrid family.
While I am thankful and selfishly want to believe that God planned our family since the beginning of time, that is only my selfishness.
Adoption is only God's perfect plan when it regards us being adopted into His family.
Adoption here on earth is a very messy, imperfect plan, not even close to plan B.
I believe that God placed our children with The Hero and I by weaving our lives together.
And for that huge gift, we are forever grateful.
But the original design was for The Angel and The Dinosaur to live with their birth parents.
Being orphaned in a fallen world changed that original design.
Many people have questioned why we are adopting again.
They ask things like:
"Are you worried how it will affect The Angel and The Dinosaur?"
"Why more kids, you guys were so lucky to get to great kids the first time."
"Are you sure that you guys are ready for that?
These questions really just piss me off, and I don't believe they deserve an answer.
So now that you've been warned, please don't ask.
Our answer is simply this:
The Hero and I believe that God sets the lonely in families,
not in orphanages,
or group homes,
or foster care.
While adoption is not a perfect plan, an orphanage or being in foster care isn't acceptable.
And until He returns in His glory,
and there are no more kids who need homes,
The Hero and I never want to look back and wonder on an Orphan Sunday,
"I wonder what our family would look like if (insert a kid's name) hadn't been with us?"
And really, who wouldn't want these kiddos sitting at their table:

Orphan Sunday is not a day to celebrate,
it is a day to we should attempt to abolish.
I believe I have a calling in that challenge,
and I believe so do you.
I don't believe it is only through adoption.
Sponsorship, financial giving, advocacy and adoption are all a part.
Excited to hear how you all are striving to end the orphan crisis.

Nov 5, 2011

National Adoption Month: Sibling Adoption

A lot of people questioned The Hero and I when we decided to adopt a sibling set. As first time parents, there were always questions about how we'd go from no kids to two and what our adjustment period would be like. Believe me, The Hero and I did question it a lot, but over and over again we felt as though if the Lord was calling us to it, He wouldn't leave us in the middle. Since both The Hero and I had siblings, we knew we would eventually adopt again; why not bring home a sibling set?
It definitely wasn't always peaches and cream. Having two new personalities in the house was challenging at first, but seeing the bond between The Dinosaur and The Angel is priceless.
Every country has different requirements and standards for adoption. At the time, Ethiopia had a rule that siblings were not allowed to be separated; which meant the couples open to sibling sets were dramatically reduced, therefore lessening their probability for adoption.
After coming home with The Angel and The Dinosaur, The Hero and I promised that we would continue to advocate for waiting children and sibling groups.
Meet Chrystyna and Karen.
Chyrstyna and Karen are siblings living in the Ukraine. Karen is a 15 year old who is a typical teenager who is waiting for her new family. Chrystyna's medical charts state that she has some developmental delays but provides no specifics as to her needs. These adorable princesses are ready for adoption immediately, as Karen will soon age out of the Ukrainian system and will be on her own.

The girls are being advocated for by Reece's Rainbow . If you go to Reece's website, you can donate to the girls' adoption funds and read more about their profiles. Also, consider signing up for Reece's Warrior program, where you can use your blog and social media to raise money for a child who needs a family this Christmas.

Nov 4, 2011

National Adoption Awareness Month: Meet Sergey

Happy National Adoption Month! I'm going to try and post each day about a family whose adopting or kids who are awaiting being adopted.
Meet Sergey. Look at those eyes!
He is a Ukrainian teenager who believed that there was a family coming to adopt him, but at the last minute, the family had a change of plans. Sergey is being advocated for by The Eli Project and currently has a $1000 grant towards his adoption. You can go here and read his profile.

Nov 3, 2011

National Adoption Awareness Month: Meet The Horners

I'd like to tell you that I am a faith-filled person.
While I believe I have my moments where I step out of the boat,
at the first sight of water, I begin screaming and heading for dry land.
It is very hard for me to simply close my eyes, hold out my hand,
and walk towards Jesus.
I need constant reminders that this life is not my own
and I will not always be in control.
I learn a lot of these lessons from my friends.
Lately, I've been taking daily notes by watching my friend Alecia.
Let me introduce you to the Horners.

This precious family lives in our town.

They own one of our favorite family hangouts, The Cupcake Lounge.

Last year they traveled to the Ukraine to bring home

what they thought would be two kids,

a boy and a girl.

The Lord changed their plans and they arrived home with their teenage son, Adrian.

But the desire for a sister never left their hearts.

They pursued for months a girl, Anatasia.

They prepared the documents, began raising funds, advocated for their daughter and

planned to make a place in their home for their newest addition.

The Lord changed their plans.

They were heartbroken to know Anastasia had been adopted by another family,

only weeks before they were to leave for Ukraine to bring her home.

Alecia and her husband Brian decided to travel any way, and seek the daughter

they knew was waiting for them.

Meet Tanya.

This adorable princess was exactly what The Horners knew God was asking of their family.
And then,
He changed their plans.
Tanya has a brother.
A younger brother.
An unexpected addition.
One they had not anticipated, expected or believed would be asked of them.
But they again said "where You lead Father, we will follow."
The Horners flew home for a few weeks to finalize their paperwork in the Ukraine
and spend time with their kiddos here
before returning to the Ukraine to bring home Tanya and Misha.
They have a lot of funds still to raise.
$11,160.00 to be exact.
Brian and Alecia are so convinced that God will provide their adoption needs,
that they have booked one-way tickets to the Ukraine.
They don't have the funds to book return flights home.
They leave on Monday.
Four days from now.
That's CRAZY faith folks.
Let's celebrate National Adoption Month today and donate what you can
to two people who are showing us all that God puts the lonely in families.
You can go here to donate directly by going here or if you need a tax deductible donation,
go to and add "Horner family" to the memo.
If you live in OKC area, go The Cupcake Lounge 304 Telephone Rd in Moore,
buy some amazing cupcakes and/or cakes and
don't forget to leave a BIG tip.
Even if you can't donate funds, will you please post this to your social media?
Let's spread the message and raise some money and bring home some angels.
I love you guys and gals!

Nov 1, 2011

Another Year

First day of November.
Time to start carving up the jack-o-lanterns
to make way for pumpkin pie.
Time to start listing the things we're thankful for and
making trips to the grocery store to gorge our families again.
Time to be reminiscent of memories passed and
gathering those still with us together to make more memories.
As I sit here looking over my "I'm so grateful list",
at the top, of course, is my children.
This month is adoption awareness month.
Did you know?
I almost forgot.
Last year, our church did a big presentation on Orphan Sunday.
We had The Waiting Heart Gallery of Oklahoma bring photos
of adoption ready children, currently in foster care.
Over 90% of those children listed last year were adopted.
Now if you go to their website, you'll see something like this:
Thank you Jesus! Orphaned no more!

Family found for this sweetie.So much is changed by the power of that little red heart attached to those pictures.
It means "you are loved" "you were chosen" "you belong".

But just about the time my heart was soaring about how many kids had found homes last year,
7 faces kept staring back at me.
For 7 of those precious faces,there is no red heart attached to their picture.
For them, it is another Thanksgiving of waiting, another bedtime in a strange bed,
another morning of uncertainty,
another holiday longing for a family all their own.

So instead of spending this month of things I'm thankful for,
I'm going to be blogging about a new face, a soul,
a heart who is longing to add to their "Thanks list" only one word:

Meet Elmer.
His profile stuck out to me a year ago.
Just look at those eyes!
He specifically picked out his Sunday best for his photo.
Dressed to impress a family; his family.
You can go here to read Elmer's profile and learn more about this adorable boy.
You can also head over to and search thousands of kids
currently in U.S. foster care who are ready for adoption.
So this November, let's spread the word about as many children as possible.
I want to highlight a specific child or program each day this month,
so help me spread the word.
Let's not let any more precious kiddos like Elmer spend another holiday alone.
This Sunday is specifically Orphan Sunday.
What is your church, family, organization doing?
I'd love to hear it.

Oct 30, 2011

The Staircase

The Hero and I came home from Ethiopia early on a Saturday morning. The following Friday we closed on a new home. It seems as though it has taken forever to get moved in and unpacked (which we are still not finished doing). While Daddy and I seem to be consumed with unpacking toys, clothes, and our 7 years together of mess, the kids are consumed with one thing:
the staircase in the new house.
It has been a slide, a launching pad for throwing a variety of items, and a stage.
Yesterday, The Angel and I were playing paper dolls, when The Dinosaur came running through the living room like this:
Yup. You guessed it. That is a plastic Halloween bucket on his head. He headed to the top of the stairs, holding a plastic baseball bat, sliding down the stairs on his belly, squealing with delight.

After the third time, The Angel's interest was sparked, and I was left holding the paper dolls and searching for my camera.

For almost an hour, they giggled and slid and added "flair" to their sliding uniforms.

I cannot wait to see what the staircase becomes next.

Oct 29, 2011

So How is She Doing?

Ya'll will probably remember that we had to talk about the dreaded "R" word with The Angel last year after 1st grade. After much discussion and tears and debates and teachers' meetings, The Hero and The Angel cried about it. Mama blogged about it and we all prayed about it. In the end we all agreed that it was the right move to retain The Angel in first grade.
So how's she doing?
This mama is glad you asked.
She has 1st grade by the horns and is wrestling it to the ground!
It's like having a different child in the house.
Where before there were frowns and grumps about school, she bounds for the door every morning, is restless waiting for school even on Saturday.
Her scores are off the charts.
Vocabulary is above average.
Reading is through the roof.
Homework that use to take us hours to complete each night, is done now a matter of minutes.
She loves reading so much that she and I even started reading LONG chapter books together at night when The Dinosaur goes to sleep.
I am very new to this parenting thing.
Don't even have 2 years behind me yet, but I can tell you that retention has worked for us.
I am so proud of our baby girl I could burst.

The Angel,
For all that you have accomplished and all that remains to be conquered,
you are one of my heroes in life.
There is no goal you cannot reach and I am
humbled to be your mother.

Oct 26, 2011


The Hero and I have been home from Ethiopia for a month now.
There are days it feels like ten years.
Others, I can still feel the African dirt inside my sandals.
Re-entry is always challenging.
Processing the experiences while being bombarded with the disparity of here vs. there.
Ethiopia is always beautifully tragic for me, but in some ways it is easy.
I feel at home. Helping people is not a "good deed for the day."
For me, coming home is hardest.
I struggle with how to mesh the woman I am on one continent,
with the one I'm expected to be on another.
I've spent my fair share of days sobbing in the shower,
crying out for God to make beauty from the ashes in my heart.
I've struggled with patience with family members,
co-workers and friends.
But I've struggled the most with The Angel and The Dinosaur.
Being around so many children who have nothing,
it is easy to lose my patience with two who have everything.
Toast with just enough jam,
strawberry oatmeal instead of peach,
and huffs if their favorite dessert doesn't follow dinner.
But I've also noticed that it has given The Hero and I opportunity
to have some discussions with our kids that we didn't have before this trip.
While I want my children to know that they are the center of my universe,
I need them to understand that they are not the center of the universe.
There are days I yearn for the simplicity of Ethiopia, but I am learning
that sometimes the hardest part is to continue to be a light where we are:
in the car pool line,
at the grocery store,
at The Angel's soccer games with ridiculous, screaming parents.
Some days are harder than others.
Some days I feel like I'm not a light, but a stubbed out candle without a wick.
But He is faithful.
When I think I'm at my breaking point, He fills me up.
And there are days I'm sure I exhaust Him with my requests.
Again, Father. Again.
Yep. There are days I long for Ethiopia.
But I am learning that He has a plan for me here and I am
reminded often that His plan involves an Angel and a Dinosaur
and how the intertwining of our lives with continuously glorify Him.
It's not about our geography, it's the location of our hearts.

Oct 25, 2011

Being a working mom is stinky most days.

I feel like I run from task to task.


Soccer practice.




But more and more often, I'm reminding myself that the laundry will always be there.

The house will never be clean enough.

They'll never remember what I made for dinner in a week.

And that this face won't be little for much longer:

Praying you stop and take in a small moment of your own today.

Oct 24, 2011

Ethiopia Trip Recap Day 8: Our Ethiopian Network of Love

Our last morning came too quickly. I had told K all night the night before to be sad tomorrow. "Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Let's be sad tomorrow."

Tomorrow was upon us. When he opened the door to the guest house, he immediately burst into tears. I was able to swallow mine until he hit my chest. I'm sure The Hero and Yemamu loaded the car. I know that we drove to the airport with the entirety of our team, but I don't recall any of it. My final moments in Ethiopia were full of tears, spilling on the face of the eleven year old, laying his head in my lap, rotating between telling me that he was "no happy" and singing "I have decided to follow Jesus."

We were a mess.

He asked me if I would ever come back.
I promised I would.

I asked if he would be a good boy.

He promised he would.

There we were. Standing outside the gate, snapping final snotty, wet pictures and hugging good-bye. The Hero grabbed our bags and squeezed my hand and drug me through security. I really thought if I dug my heels into the sidewalk, I would sprout there and stay forever. It didn't work.
I cried all the way through security, checking in the gate and onto the plane. I stopped long enough on the way to Dubai to swallow some dinner, but as soon as The Hero asked if I was okay, the tears fired up again. They stopped when we hit Atlanta.

I'm still not sure after three years, why God put K in our lives. We know adoption is not available now and although I cannot imagine our lives without K in it, I often wonder if seeing him once every 18 months is breaking his heart and ours. But isn't life better with even one more person one your team? Someone else you love and who loves you?

The Hero says it best. Of course he does. He says that K has a network of love of those he loves and who love him and who wouldn't want that in their life?

So here's to our Ethiopia network of love and my favorite pics from our trip:

May you all be as blessed by some one's presence and may they in turn be blessed by yours.

Oct 21, 2011

Ethiopia Trip Recap Day 7: Every Good Gift

Last full day in Ethiopia. The Hero and I wanted to pack it as full as possible. We got our wish. We drove early to the center to start preparing the afternoon meal. The thought of our first official meal being served this day was almost more than my heart could bear. What an amazing gift that God would allow The Hero and I to be here: for such a time as this.
As we arrived at the center, we looked out of Korah to the dump and saw a line of people. The Hero asked Sisay what they were all doing. He explained that the truck from the Sheraton hotel arrived and the people were waiting to go through it because the Sheraton always throws away the best trash.
My heart melted, but knowing that our kids in our program would not have to ever stand in line for garbage just spurred me to continue giving thanks.
If you look really closely, you can see the line of people and the white trash truck.

Our cooks prepared the meal and our team began sorting clothes we had brought, serving up plates of food and playing games with our kids.

Seeing all that food was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

We gave thanks and the kids sang praise songs while our team served the food. Glorious is one of the only words I can think of to describe those moments. Watching those babies eat was truly a prelude to heaven. Wow how our Father is Glorious!

Each kiddo received a full plate and a whole loaf of bread.

When each belly was full, our team decided that we needed to get the boys from the dump some clothes and some decent shoes to wear. Our team had been specifically praying on how to use the funds that were sent with us and we were burdened to care for the boys who live at the trash dump. So we loaded close to 20 people in a bus and went on a shopping trip.

The sales clerks at the shoe store were so appalled by the boys' appearances, they required the boys to put plastic bags on their feet instead of socks to try on shoes.

I've been shopping a lot but this blew all the others away. It was the first time ANY of our boys were bought anything new. You would have thought we had given them a million dollars.

I am convinced that there are necessities in life and their are pure gifts. Instead of feeling guilty about what we have, I think we are to gift to others. We had asked Yemamu and Sisay if any of the boys had ever been out to eat. They both laughed and said "never". Our team wanted very much to treat these boys to a restaurant and share a meal with them. Our team had treated ourselves the day before by a good meal and we wanted to pass it on.

So after HOURS of shopping (fitting 12 teenage boys is no easy task), we had socks, underwear, pants, shoes and shirts for each one of them, we headed to a restaurant. We ate outside so that our boys felt a little bit more comfortable. Since all Ethiopian food is eaten with your hands, Sisay explained and demonstrated to each of them the revolution of hand sanitizer.
The term "breaking bread together" had never had a more beautiful meaning for me.

I'd have these boys over for dinner every night of the week. Bilielu has my scarf because he earlier had argued with The Hero that The Hero may well be my husband, but B was my new boyfriend. :)

The cost of our shopping trip:

Twelve pair of leather shoes: $191.04

Socks and underwear: $11.47

12 pair of Pants: $140.00

Dinner for 18 people: $23.50

Twelve months rent for a house in Korah for the boys to leave the dump: $176.00

Total: $542.01

We drank Coke, stuffed our faces, danced and laughed until our bellies and our faces hurt. To say that our last day in Ethiopia was perfect would be too plain, too boring to describe it. It truly was a foreshadowing of what God means when He said He went to prepare a place for us. I've never longed for Heaven like I did that night when I crawled into bed.

While today was amazing, tomorrow would be heartbreaking. Every night, K had asked "I see you tomorrow" and every night I was able to say yes. Tomorrow my answer would be different and all the laughter from tonight would never be able to quench out the tears of tomorrow. As he crawled into the van to be driven home, I gave it my all, slathered him with Momma kisses and as he wrinkled his nose, he tried to tell me he was sad.

I kissed his cheek one last time and whispered "Tomorrow my son. Tomorrow will be our day to be sad. But tonight, let's choose to be happy."

He didn't approve, but he understood.

My prayer that night was simple:

"God please come back. Right now. I cannot face tomorrow.