Happy 11th Birthday Boo. My heart overflows with love on the day my sweet baby boy was born. We had a great day, yesterday. Well, great AFTER all 6 kids had physicals 🙂 and the torrential downpour. I had to wake him up because our appts were so early. We got him a basketball and for all the kids, a basketball goal. He was SO excited. We got all ready, did our thing at the doctors and then came home so I could get some stuff prepared for supper.
Off to Paducah, we went. We went to eat at Olive Garden (which is my favorite place to eat). He quickly learned that I was cheese heaven. He ordered mac and cheese, pizza and he devoured the breadsticks. So sweetly, he told me that he was a “beginner” gentleman. I was telling him what a good gentleman would do/say to the waitress and how to properly pay the bill. He did beautifully. Finally, he said that Olive Garden was his *most favorite* Italian restaurant. Love….love love love him.
Heading to Jojo and Papa’s
After lunch, we went to visit Jojo and Papa. That is always fun to pop in on them and get some grandparent love. We headed to the pet store to check out all the critters and then we went to the bookstore where he picked out 2 books. I love that my kids love books. Makes me smile.
He had some birthday money burning a hole in his pocket and I had to go to Walmart anyway, so we headed there to get what we needed and he picked out a couple of things to get, leaving him some money to stay in his wallet. “All men need a little money in their pocket.”
Next off, we had to go and pick up his cake. It was a “Spy” cake and my friend, Teresa, again outdid herself. It was so cool and SO good. Then I promised him ice cream, so we did that too. Headed home and started cooking his meal o choice. He wanted fried chicken, mac and cheese, and I wanted potato soup.
After a bit, my MIL came, then my mom and my other mom and my dad came. It was so much fun. He enjoyed every minute. As we were ending the day, he said: “mom, this was the best birthday ever.” Ahhh, success.
Here is Another Successful Birthday. Woke up to the prettiest 14 yr old girl EVER waking me up. Jumping up and down…today was the day she waited her “whole life for”….she is 14, an even number..not 13 anymore, but 14! My goal (because it is supposed to be all about me), was to lay in bed and have the kids funnel food/coke under the covers, but Peach had a whole different thought. She was ready for me to be up and ready for our day.
Getting Ready for our Date
Got up, got rolling, got moving, rocking, rolling and shaking….we headed out the door by 9:30. Off we went to the BIG town of Paducah 🙂 First up, heading to Jojo’s house for some love. We were blessed to have my other mama there, Susie 🙂 Got to love on both Jojo, Susie and Papa it just doesn’t get better than that, but it did. My sweet great niece was there all full of snuggles and hugs. Happiness.
Eating All the Things
We left there and headed to eat at Peach’s choice of Ryan’s. Blessed again, cause my biggest sis joined us for lunch. Such a nice time talking, laughing and thoroughly enjoying each other’s company. After lunch, we headed to Books A Million to sift through the “million-o-books” that they have. Next door is the pet shop, so we went to love on the cats and look at the slimy things. You can’t see slimy things without thinking of nail polish, so we went to the dollar store and picked up a pretty color.
Request from Daddy
Daddy had a request that we go to the local Christian bookstore to find the “chick basketball” movie that was on sale. Alas, it wasn’t there, but I got a couple of good movies. We stuck around there, chatted with the employees, cause they are the bomb diggity and they all know me by name LOL. Once our time was up, we ran next door and picked up her birthday cake from the most FABULOUS cake maker ever (Teresa Thompson who runs Teresa’s Sweet Tooth Confections..find her on facebook). It was a dog inspired, tie-dyed cake and it was yummy!
Bug Kick Starting Supper
We rush home and start supper. Thanks to Bug, she had most of it done and the kids cleaned up the house, for me. My mom and dad, other mom and MIL came for supper. So blessed to have family who we enjoy being around. So fun. It was WILD but good. She has a friend over, spending the night, the kids are fixing to go to bed…so am I.
She had a great 14th birthday and it was pure joy to spend the day with her. Happy birthday, my sweet blue-eyed girl!
Reclaiming my Life. It has been a ROUGH 2 yrs. I tell Big Daddy that this adoption has, easily, shaved 10 yrs off my life. It was well worth it. Forever is my son is worth it. However, it took a toll on my life and the life of my family.
My mama says that I’m a lot like my daddy. I have an “emotional closet” and I go in there, put my emotions on the shelf and then shut the door. Then she stated that “one day, your shelves are gonna fall and we all need to look out.” My simple phrase is “I don’t want to talk about it.”
I do that to everyone, including Big Daddy and it irritates him and my family. I don’t mean to irritate, but I don’t want to sit and think about the things that have happened and rehash them. To me, it doesn’t do anyone any good. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m told I’m wrong all the time LOL. That’s okay. I’m gonna try and work on that.
Yielding to Him
My shelves haven’t fallen, yet. But I am aware of the emotions that I have put on them. Through my Wednesday night girls class, I learned that I have everything in me that I pray for. Wisdom, patience, kindness, strength, etc. It was given to me the day I accepted the Lord as my personal Saviour. So there really is no need to pray for God to give me these attributes. I just have to ask Him to help me dig them out of the concrete because He who lives in me, already gave them to me, years ago.
Working on my Relationship
Armed with that knowledge and being aware of the emotions I have stashed on the shelf, I am setting out to live as I should. To be the woman that the Lord has called me to be. To be the wife, the mother, the daughter. I have it in me. I do need the Lord’s help and guidance, though. Digging into the Word and maintaining constant communication with Him is the key to growing. I want to grow in Him. I want to be able to shake the dust off my feet, in certain areas of my life, and walk with my head held high.
This is exciting, it is an exciting time. I’m excited. I’m ready. Maybe it is my age…maybe it is that God has finally chipped the scales off my eyes. I don’t know. However, I just know that the past is just that, the past. I can’t redo anything or change anything. Tomorrow is not certain, He may decide to break through the clouds tomorrow and claim what is His. I must live for today. I must make today count.
Here I am Learning New Things and Reflection. Every day, Abinet is learning new things. He is learning about safety. We don’t go and play in the road, we don’t stick our fingers in the outlet. The stove is hot, the oven will blow steam in your face HOT HOT HOT, food is hot (please blow on it first).
He is also learning to try new foods (he loves everything but hotdogs, chocolate, and chicken noodle soup). We found out, last night, that he loves carrots 🙂 Who’d a thunk that one. Veggies aren’t his favorite, but he will eat at least a tablespoon full. He loves bread and chicken nuggets. Mashed potatoes, he had to learn to love. I believe he thought it was for babies until he realized we were all eating it and saying “yum yummy”.
Learning from a 5 Yr Old
He has learned how to use safety scissors, copy shapes and he knows most of his colors. I am learning things, through his eyes and seeing how “cool” things look for the first time. I was blessed to be able to have biological children and to see new things from a baby on up…this is different. Watching a 5 yr old experience life, unlike he has ever seen before, is amazing.
Joy In Laughter
I find joy in hearing the laughter of my kids…all of them. It is organized chaos, around here and I’m loving every minute of it. I feel, that at moments, satan tries to steal my joy. I feel like I have this little mini-crisis’ around me. When, in reality, they aren’t crisis’ at all. They are satan coming in and stealing my joy.
I will stand firm and I will claim His promises and believe His promises. I will, with the guidance of my Lord, learn how to put things in their proper places and realize, that this time last year, I felt I couldn’t walk another step and this year, I’m watching my kids play outside…laughing and enjoying the Lord’s creation.
We’ve had quite the start to the new year.
It is almost comical the things that have happened, but I must find my joy in the Lord and run my race with perseverance and not look back. Keep my eyes forward. That is hard to do, for me. I internalize so much and I overthink things too much. I need to stop that and line up all things according to Scripture.
Isn’t that what we are supposed to do, anyway?
What lines up with the Word is Truth, what doesn’t is not the truth. That sounds so simple when written, but so hard to do when girly emotions get in the way. Strength has been given to me, it was given to me when I asked my Saviour into my life. Now, I must dig down deep and regain the strength that I feel I’ve lost over the last couple of years. Focus on my family and making sure their needs are met and growing in my walk.
To God be the glory, great things He has done!
He has brought home, my son. Also, He has fulfilled his promise that He placed in me when I was a child. He has given me a home and a wonderful family. We are healthy and can freely worship. There is so much more…..it is He who deserves all the praise and the glory. Without Him, I am nothing.
It is a Happy Happy New Year!!! I’m SO happy to see you. The last couple of years have been….challenging….that is one word, I can say a few more, but due to the fact that I must be careful of what I say, I choose to say “challenging”.
It has been a couple of years of lots of pain, lots of trials and lots of searching. Searching for the truth. Trying to believe what I’ve been taught and have learned throughout my life, as a Christian. I can now, with no uncertainty, say I know what it means to have faith the size of a mustard seed.
An Explanation of our Journey
I was asked to explain, one day, in Sunday School, the journey that I have taken with our adoption. My pastor (also my Sunday School teacher) asked if I could verbalize the highs and lows. I’m one to stifle emotion, the best I can. I have always felt that crying was a sign of weakness (thanks to daddy for the policeman mentality). That it is better to keep things to myself rather than “share.” Honestly, I’m not a sharer.
My Black Sunshine
I was sitting, in class, next to my black sunshine. At that moment, I could feel the emotion coming up from my toes. I looked at Big Daddy and I knew that I was fixing to lose my composure. He touched my hand. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye, but I looked at my son. My highs, the child sitting next to me, hands down.
My lows. I tried to explain it this way, in my head, it made lots more sense. Honestly, I’m not sure how it came out of my mouth. Simply I stated that had it not been for my husband, sisters, and mama. Also, those who prayed for me diligently and the love of my children. Oh, let’s not forget the knowledge and love of my God that I would not be sitting in that chair, at that moment. Period, the end. That is hard to admit.
I guess I didn’t realize how low my lows were and how much they affected every aspect of my life. I do know, however, from hearing other people explain my disposition, that I wasn’t very good. That saddens me. I know my strength is found in the Lord, but I didn’t really know where my Lord was. I thought He had left me, but then there would be a glimpse of His presence and of Him working. That small glimpse, of Him, kept me going, even just the shell of me. I could get out of bed and function.
Wisdom of a 13 Yr Old
I now know that He didn’t go anywhere. It was me that went. I veered from His path and I learned that that is not the path I want to go down. It was very dark and lonesome. It was hard and dry. A very very sad place to dwell. I let life pass me by. Sadly, I let my kids pass me by.
Truth be told, I worked on autopilot…just enough to get by. I would hear Peach say “mom, you don’t smile anymore.” That cut me to the core, but I understood what she was saying. For a long while, I had lost my smile and I didn’t know where it was. I would get voice messages and texts from Peach (who is 13) that stated “claim it, mom…believe it. It will happen.” The strength of a child carried me.
Guilt on Good Days
Also, on this journey, I found myself feeling guilty for having a good day. I felt like I needed to stay in the pit of despair over our journey and to have a good day, I was somehow slighting Abinet. What a lie from the pit of hell. Wow, the fact that I fell for that, wow… As my sister pointed out, his life has not changed one bit.
He gets up, he eats, he plays, he naps, he eats more and then he goes to bed. This was his life. He now knows different. I do because I’ve been to his country and then I’ve been home… 2-way different places and I knew what he was missing, but he didn’t. He was happy, healthy, loved and well taken care of. I’m very very thankful for that.
Loving Through Pictures
Another “low” and “high”, at the same time, was getting pictures of him. I loved seeing him, but I didn’t like seeing him grow up through pictures. Seeing bumps, bruises, scars, rashes, tears, laughter, joy, happiness, I was missing all of that. Sadly, I missed him losing his first 2 teeth. I missed a very long time because of the choice to follow self instead of allowing God to do His will. There were many moments I interjected my will. It was the natural consequence to me being selfish.
I have praised His Name, every day, for allowing Abinet to be in our home. I praise Him for the easy transition. Also, for the love that he shows us and for being able to love him freely. I thank Him for being healthy and funny. For eating and sleeping, for simply breathing and being. He completes our family and why the Lord allowed us to wait for 22 mths, is beyond me.
So Much Went Wrong
Why every single thing that could go wrong, went wrong. He has a reason, He has a purpose and His ways are higher than mine. I may never know, this side of Heaven why this all happened. By the time I get to Heaven, I won’t care. Right now, I sit in joy, I sit in peace, I sit with a smile on my face to have all my children under one roof.
So Much To Learn
I still have so much to learn and I’m anxious to learn it. I’m anxious to see what tomorrow brings and what this new year brings and then I’m reminded of this verse that pierced my heart so many years ago.
This is my go-to Scripture for this season of my life. So, here’s to the new year and being anxious for nothing. Happy New Year! I hope that you consider adopting a child either from the foster care system or international adoption. Please consider adopting an older child adoption or a special needs adoption.
And Then There Were the Monkeys. There is a resort…in the middle of nowhere. It was beautiful. There is dirt, mountains, and sugar cane growing. Then there is a gated area, where you can’t have glass bottles or food. You pay your fee and enter this garden of Eden. Betty told us to hold onto our bags of bananas, tightly. She said this is because the monkeys would grab the bags and run. Uhm, okay. The only monkeys I have ever seen have been in a zoo. The shock and awe of seeing baboons, on the side of the road, was enough of a thrill.
Little did I know.
We got out of the van and were armed with a bag of bananas. Then, we were instructed to break them in half. Finally, to be prepared. Uhm, okay. Then, there was Betty. I wish I could’ve gotten a picture of her sitting on the sidewalk with her twig. I asked her why she was sitting there, with a twig and she simply stated that she didn’t like the monkeys and the twig was to fend them off. Okay, again 🙂 I couldn’t imagine what we were going to be around, but if she had a twig, it couldn’t be too bad.
Blue Balled Monkeys
Then she said, “they are coming”. I looked up and oh.my.goodness. There were monkeys everywhere! Giant ones, bitty ones and medium ones. There was one GIANT male monkey and Betty asked me (while the monkey was sitting behind her) if I knew the difference between a boy and a girl monkey. Well, having been married for a while and having 3 sons, I told her that the boys had testicles and the girls didn’t. She laughed and said, “yes, they do have testicles and they are blue.” I turned to see the GIANT monkey and his balls are totally blue. Like they were dipped in kool-aid. We laughed and laughed. Then she shooed the monkey away with her twig.
We had the most fun. The monkeys loved to eat and were thrilled that a bunch of people were there to feed them. We got some great videos and some great memories of Betty and her twig. Also, Betty and I talked about how I could help with Hope Arising and how I could make a difference in the lives of these children. Hopefully, my big mouth will help raise awareness and money for these families.
Dhera Part 3. The next family that we visited was a mentally handicapped mom, dad (who was at work) and a baby, who was pretty sick.
That baby didn’t like me one.little.bit LOL Mama did, though, isn’t she pretty!
Another family was a mom of 4. The mom is in the center. She is standing in front of a wood “table” with a giant bucket on top. Water fills the bucket. On the bottom, there is a spout. This is where the rubber hoses connect.
The irrigation houses are placed on the ground. They are in each row of the vegetables. That is the new irrigation system to help get water to all the plants and to be successful in their crops. The more grown, the more to eat, the more to sell for money for things that they may need.
This pretty, young lady, is a single mom with a child about 2, maybe. She is HIV positive and she never stops working. Her garden was beautiful! Her house was clean, there was a calf, that looked really good and a ton of hay stockpiled for it. She had saved the manure patties for fertilizer and wow…can this girl work circles around me. Did you see her garden? WOW. Thanks to Hope Arising for supplying her with money to buy her calf and begin her garden to help feed her son.
Our day didn’t stop, here. Once we were done looking at all the wonderful things that Hope Arising is doing and loving on all the children that came our way…we were off, again, to Woudneh’s mom and dad’s house. Not too sure what to expect there…..it shall be in the next post!
This is a list of What He Knew Versus What He Has Learned. It is fun to read this list. Sweet memories are invaluable. Ethiopia holds a special place in our hearts. Yet, having him home is the best feeling ever.
What he knew
Eat with a fork/spoon
Chew with your mouth closed
Lift the seat when using the bathroom
Counting to 20 and up with help
Learning the days of the week
Also, learning the months of the year (minus September for some reason)
Dhera Part 2. The next place, we stopped at, was an older lady. I’m not sure if she lived alone, or not, but she was GORGEOUS! You could see the story of her life in her face. I wish I had a picture that would do her justice, but nothing could do her justice.
Hope Arising had given her some money, to buy an animal and begin her garden, which is an irrigation type garden. I will explain the whole garden thing, using another picture that better explains how this system works. Her garden looked nice, but not as nice as some of the ones that we saw.
Betty told me, when we walked in, to watch where we step. As we walked through her house, there was obviously a goat nearby. This goat seemed to enjoy sleeping in the bedroom. It was a 2 bedroom mud house and in the back was a place where the goat was supposed to be staying. The goat listened as much as a regular kid would LOL.
This is where we started becoming a sideshow. Behind me, was a fence covered in vines and through the fence, I saw a precious set of eyes. There was a sweet sweet little boy there, staring at me. Then, more came and more. They didn’t want anything, simply to look at and follow us.
These are some pictures taken while walking down the road….thanks to the Bambricks for taking pics when our camera died!
These were some of our followers. Are they NOT the sweetest kiddos ever!
Betty and I walking down the street.
Why She Brought Me Here
I asked Betty, as we were stepping out of the van, why she brought me here. This is not what I expected. I’m not sure what I expected. She simply said that she wanted me to experience all of Africa and that, Addis was way different than other parts. She wanted me to see the “real” picture of life, here in this beautiful country. Such poverty, kids and adults with no shoes, tattered clothes, riddled with bald spots, bloated stomachs and GIANT smiles!
So happy, so content with life. They didn’t have doors on their homes, no light, no windows. The love, of these people, touched my heart so deeply that I can’t even begin to imagine what the Lord will want me to do there. Raise awareness? Perhaps. Raise money? Perhaps. Go and build? Perhaps. I don’t know, I just know that there is no where like this place and I’m forever grateful to Betty for bringing me here.
There are other families that I will posting about, but for now, this is all. I have kids to tend too. I can honestly say, that the “honeymoon” is over LOL and I have to deal with chaos.
This is a day that I will NEVER forget. I have put off blogging about this because it was a very personal journey for me. One that is etched in my heart and mind, forever. The images, the people…beauty and sadness wrapped up into one.
We were greeted, by Abinet, first thing in the morning. Such a sweet way to wake up. We got up, got dressed and headed down to breakfast. Abinet had another drs appt, for his physical…the day prior was just for his TB skin test. We knew he would be gone, all day, so we didn’t hesitate to say yes to Betty in taking us to Dhera.
These are some of the landscape pictures on the way to Dhera.
There was a boatload of these little contraptions…..I must say, I want one in bright yellow!
Dhera is about 2 hrs away from Addis, but the drive wasn’t too bad. The weather was gorgeous and the traffic was lighter than usual. The people, who had come for George W was now gone (praise God). The scenery, along with the trip, was amazing. In the fields, you could see people laying down, some people were working, but there were people peppered everywhere. In lieu of other drivers, there were masses of cattle. Just standing the road. Some sheep herds and herders, a few donkeys and a couple of horses. This has been the most livestock we had seen.
This lovely man wanted his picture made in lieu of a pack of crackers.
As we were driving down the road to Dhera…Aschu pulled over and there were Baboons on the side of the road…just sitting there, minding their own business. Baboons! Like, not in the zoo! It was fantastic!
This is another way to haul sheep. There were wooden bars across the bed of the truck and the sheep were straddling the bars. There were several horse and “buggies” hauling everything from tons of people, to bails of hay to water bottles.
This is the market at Dhera
Betty works for an organization called Hope Arising (please visit their site at http://www.hopearising.org for information on how you can provide for one person 2 meals a day for a whole month for only $20). Anyway, Betty wanted us to see what these families have accomplished through the help of Hope Arising.
The first family was of 2 beautiful girls, 14 & 10. They lived alone because their father had died. Hope Arising came in and built them a room (made of mud) off the back of their little shanty house. The girls didn’t feel safe with sleeping so close to the main road where anyone could come in. Now, they can rest easy. These pretty girls make coffee mats for the coffee ceremonies.
These girls touched my heart. They are the same age as 2 of my girls. I look at my kids and I try and put them in the same situation as these sweet beauties. It saddens my heart to know that they are all alone, in this world. They have no family to depend on, no one but each other. One girl could possibly be placed for adoption, but the adoption of older kids is very very difficult. Everyone wants a baby or “youngest as possible”. I’ve never been that person. Maybe it is because God blessed us with biological children, I don’t know. I just know that these girls would thrive and be a joy to any family willing to step out of their comfort zone and choose the blessing of adoption of older children.
This is their bedroom…completely with girly-girl comfortable and pictures of boys LOL
Is she not beautiful! For $20 a day, you can make sure she eats 2 meals every day for a month!
This is the other girl and a neighbor boy…he was EDIBLE!
This is the “alley” where you get to the girls’ room.