Foster to Adopt ~ International ~ Intrafamily Adoption, Large Family Happenings

Hunter is 6!!!!!!

Hunter is 6!!!!!!

Hunter is 6!!!!!!

I simply cannot believe that my baby is 6.  For real!  Hunter is 6!!!!!!

I was looking back on my Facebook memories and this memory came up:

“February 12, 2013, at 1:53 PM · My uterus is hurting…..Lord, help me be content in all things and where You move or want me…I will move and go.”

Who knew, a day later, my niece would give birth to her third child and my seventh child. Who knew that 21 months after his birth, he would officially be mine.

Amazing how God prepares you for things that are not on your radar. I’m so thankful that Paige gave him life and then gave him to me to raise 21 mths later.

God is good.”

Amazing Me Daily

He inspires me every day.  Overcomer.  Warrior.  Tough as nails.  This is the baby that was not wanted, in the beginning.  Also, this is the baby that had his life turned upside down when he got sick.  This is also the baby that a doctor told me that he would “succumb” to his condition.


He runs.  Never stops moving.  Honestly, never stops talking.  He can now feed himself.  His brain is always learning something new.  He went from 3 letter sounds in one week to learn 19 sounds in another week.

This child is BRILLIANT.

I am so thankful that the Lord put that desire in my heart 1 day before this baby was born.  Also, I am incredibly thankful that my niece was able to raise him for the first few months of his life.  Then, I’m really thankful that he was safe during a period of his life.  God is so good.  I would not change raising this baby for all the coke and cheese in the world!  He has my heart and then some!

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Today is my Birthday

Today is my Birthday

Today is my Birthday

Today is my Birthday. I am a blessed woman.  If you wanna be humbled, ask those you love to give you 5 things (kind things) about you.  Here is what my crew had to say about me.  I must say, I cackled at a couple of these.  Ah, to see me through my family’s eyes.  I never knew.  Here is to year 47 in all its glory!

Big Daddy:

  • Trustworthy
  • Honest
  • Loving
  • Compassionate
  • Loyal


  • Loving
  • Protector
  • Takes no BS
  • Always there when I need you
  • Best mom ever


  • Blunt
  • Resourceful
  • Devout
  • Compassionate
  • Driven


  • Wise
  • Compassionate
  • Good Cook
  • Loving
  • Stubborn


  • Outgoing
  • Luminary
  • Spunky
  • Kind
  • Loving


  • Loving
  • Caring
  • Kind
  • Trusting
  • Amazing


  • Loving
  • Caring
  • Faithful
  • Joyful
  • Kind
  • Smart


  • Loving
  • Caring
  • Knowledgeable
  • Kind
  • Respectful


  • Very Happy
  • So Famous
  • Sing Pretty Well
  • Funny
  • You Watch Movies with Me

Ending My Day

My family decided that they would cook me dinner tonight!  Yay me!  We had steak and baked potatoes.  There was very little whining by Big Daddy or Ben.  That, right there, is quite a win in my book!  I wrangled Bug for one game and Boo for another game and we played Euchre.  Forgot to mention on Tuesday night, that Peach took me out to dinner.  Sadly, she had to work today but last night was fun!

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This Child is 13

This Child is 13This Child is 13

I simply cannot believe This Child is 13.  He is 13.  As in he is 13 yrs old.  I met this precious soul 9 years ago.  His sweet picture.  The video with his sweet face and voice.  My heart could almost explode at the thought of it.

I Dreamed a Dream

For those that do not know, Jude was a child I had dreamed of since I was 10 yrs old.  I distinctly remember thinking that someday, I would adopt a child from Ethiopia.  The child I had pictured was a boy that was a bit older.  I did not want a baby.  For me, I wanted the child that no one wanted.  In my mind, and sadly it is true today, older black boys are just harder to adopt.  Sad.  I know.


To this day, I have not looked at one video or one picture from our time in the country.  As much as my heart explodes with love and joy…this was a time of great trial for our family.  Our story is one that can be read throughout this blog if you search “Ethiopian Adoption.”


It is bits and pieces of snippets of joy and great sadness, uncertainty, pain, and trials.  There are about 15 mths that I simply have blocked out.  I cannot remember many things that happened during those months.  The depression was palpable with everyone that I came across.

I shut my whole world down and just cocooned in darkness.  As Anne Shirley says I was in the “depths of despair.”  As I type this, my body is literally shivering.  One day, I will write fully my heart…today is not the day.

Humbling Myself in Thanksgiving

Today I humble myself in thanksgiving to the Lord for allowing my dreams to come true. For bringing us through what he called us too.  I give thanks for his sweet mom, brothers, sisters, and family that he left behind.  Our greatest joy is Tadelech’s greatest sorrow.  My heart aches for her on this day.

Happy Birthday, My Son

~He can sleep anywhere.

~His smile lights up a room.

~Loud.  The child is loud.

~My only single-sided deaf child.

~Says he looks like me.

~Sports Fanatic.

~Meticulous Cursive.

~Flat feet.

~First name is Israel.

~Loves to eat.

~VERY competitive.

~Loves to fix my hair.

~His laugh…the best thing ever.

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Happy Birthday Daniel

Happy Birthday Daniel

Happy Birthday Daniel

Happy Birthday Daniel.  Today is his 15th birthday.  I do not know what time he was born.  That hurts my heart.  I wasn’t there to hold him or snuggle with him.  For the first part of his life, I couldn’t keep him safe.  That truly hurts my heart.

His Entrance into Our Family

He came into our lives at 2 1/2 years old.  His eyes were lifeless.  There was no expressive and little receptive speech.  He was quiet.  Withdrawn.  Sad.  Soon, though, life breathed into him.

Safety.  Contentment.  Snuggles.  Hugs.  Love.  Protection.

Where We Have Been

It has been a hard ride with him.  I thought he came unscathed into our lives.  What I didn’t know was the deep loss, grief, pain, and hurt he was struggling with.  I didn’t know that he was Dyslexic until he was 8.

This quiet boy was filling with rage and at certain moments, he would release that rage.  It would take over his body.  He began acting out, hurting himself, lying, manipulating, gorging…self-preservation.

Where We Are Now

Not gonna lie…the last year has been a struggle.  We make 3 steps forward and 12 steps back.  He is beginning to understand his state of mind.  The realization that he is not quite like his peers is becoming evident.


He loves Jesus.  His heart is kind.  He loves old people and can listen to them for hours with great interest.  History and wars…he is brilliant.  He tries so hard and sees a goal and masters it.  His cursive is impeccable.  Honestly, for a Dyslexic person that is a feat!  He has an infectious smile when he smiles.  His laugh is loud when he laughs.

Happy Birthday Daniel

15 is gonna be a great year!  I am choosing to believe because I choose to believe in you!

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Happy 85th Birthday to my Lady

Happy 85th Birthday to my LadyHappy 85th Birthday to my Lady

Well, it is a rejoiceful Happy 85th Birthday to my Lady.  My goodness.  I can’t believe that it has almost been 2 years since I have seen your face or heard your voice.

I miss your face, your voice, and your presence.

This picture was taken on her 81st birthday.  She decided that she wanted to go and eat fish with me and her boyfriend.  Her boyfriend was Big Daddy.  Their relationship cracked me up.

Oh, how she loved him and he loved her.  She may be the reason we are still married.  I firmly believe that Big Daddy would have gained “custody” of her in a divorce settlement LOL.

Ramona & Stacey

In the end days, I became Ramona.  Still not sure who Ramona was in her life, but I took on that name.  She, more often than not, referred to herself as Stacey Cox.  Also, she spoke fluent and correct German.


She was my person.  My mentor and best friend in the whole wide world.  What started out as a Titus mentorship twirled into the best friendship and then settled firmly into me being her caretaker.

Life Lessons

I would not trade my time with her for anything.  She loved me even when I was unlovable.  The wisdom, tears, joy, prayers, lessons she taught me was invaluable.  I am truly a better human for having her in my life.

Still Blessed

The fact that I can still see your Doug, Chelsea, and the rest of that crew.  Also, the friendship with Joe, Esther, and Devon.  I love how you loved them.  Such a devoted wife, mom, and granny Jo to your HUGE crew.

Getting All Up in my Feels

Gonna stop because I’m going to start feeling my feels.  I know you say that crying is healthy and I need to do it more often.  Today, I may not stop crying.  So why even start that mess.  You know I hate to show emotion.

I think I’m going to go and eat fish with your boyfriend.

I love you, Lady.  You are one of my favorites.

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My Boy is 18

My Boy is 18My Boy is 18

I just really can’t even go there.  My Boy is 18.  How did 18 years fly by so quickly?  I mean, he has facial hair.  More than me, so that is definitely saying something.  His voice is deeper, his Adam’s apple is all visible and such.  The hair on his legs I could probably braid if he would let me.

Today, at lunch, we talked about the fact that he is graduating high school in May.  Also, the boy is starting college in the fall.  How is this possible? He was my first son, the first birth I allowed anyone to witness (besides my husband). The first child to be blessed by both sisters.  In fact, he was the first, and only, grandson on my husband’s side.  The only grandchild named after my father.  He has the most birthmarks (in the strangest places) of any of my kids.

I cannot even accurately describe how much I adore this child.  He is so fun to be around.  Honestly, he chiggers me to my core, but in a good way (most of the time).  I dread the day that he moves out because I struggle when any of my kids have left. Thankfully, that has only happened once and I have survived LOL.

He is a beacon for Jesus.  I pray that he always follows the leading of the Lord.  That, as he continues to grow and move on, that he is able to lead, provide, and protect.  He is my treasure.

Happy Birthday, Boo!  You are loved.

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Happy 21st Birthday Alyssa

Happy 21st Birthday Alyssa

It’s A Happy 21st Birthday Alyssa

Happy 21st Birthday Alyssa!  You are an odd number on an odd year.  I know that irritates the crap out of you.  I also am aware that you are a “legal” adult.  In fact, by the 8th of March, I will officially have more “adult” children then I do little people.  That’s a gut punch for a mama.

Over the last 21 years, you have broken my body, my heart, my mind, and my spirit.  You have also given me much joy, happiness, excitement, and laughter.  It has been a journey in raising you because I feel like I am raising myself.

You take such pride in looking like your daddy but acting like your mama.  What you don’t know is that you very much have my younger self-tendencies.  Lucky for you, I usually know what you are doing before you do it.

I have let you fall a few times…just to see how you get up and dust yourself off.  That has been hard on you and on me.  As a mama, I want to protect you in all that you do.  I want to keep you safe even if that means keeping you safe from yourself.

My prayer is that you continue to grow in the light of the Lord.  That you remember who you are and Whose you are.  I want you to know that you merely breathing brings me such joy that I cannot explain.

This is the year you will probably move out and start living your life out from under our roof.  Please be mindful of your self-worth.  You are a treasure and never let anyone steal your Light.  In fact, never let that Light dim because you can do anything you set your mind to.

You are loved.

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Happy 18th Birthday Grayce

Happy 18th Birthday Grayce

Happy 18th Birthday Grayce

Happy 18th Birthday Grayce.  Another large family celebration of a child’s birthday.  Today, she is “legally” an adult.  She has definitely made life interesting.  There has been a lot of sanctification that the Lord has done on me with this child.


She is my first adopted child and only adopted daughter.  After all, I believe she is the oldest child we adopted (she was 6).  Literally, I have cried more tears, yelled at God more, clung to the cross more with this one.  Sadly, Grayce figures things out the hard way.

Listening to wisdom comes second to what she wants.  Eventually, usually, years later, she figures out the lesson.  However, once she learns something she typically does not forget that lesson.  This year is no different in our large family birthday celebration of her life.  I mean, she is a legal adult now.  Gasp.

Marching to the Beat of Her Own Drum

She has a lot of lofty aspirations for life.  I hope and pray that she achieves them all.  Also, I pray that the Lord is her constant Guide and Companion throughout her years.  She is a living, breathing testimony of God’s faithfulness and protection.

Grayce enjoys family time and large family celebrations.  In contrast, she has the tendency to cause a little havoc during those times.  Sadly, there are many times she has to be redirected or step away from things.  She gets “overly” excited, as she puts it.  However, when she is in that state of escalation, she chooses to do things that are not wonderful.

In the light of things, once she calms down, she is able to safely and kindly enjoy the events.  Birthdays are hard.  Living in a large family is hard, as well.  Therefore, celebrations are even harder.  By the same token, I hope and pray that she overcomes these tendencies.

Happy 18th Birthday Grayce

May she always be aware of that and use that for the rest of her life.  With this in mind, Happy 18th Birthday Grayce to our third child.

Happy 21st Birthday Alyssa


Large Family Happenings

My Baby is 23

My Baby is 23.  How is it possible that my little girl…the one who made me a mommy for the first time…went from this:

My Baby is 23

Happy Birthday, Bug

To this.  I just don’t understand.  One time, just one time, I blinked and this happened.  This child brings me more joy than I can even describe.  It should be noted that there are not enough words in the dictionary to articulate the love I have for her.

She is beautiful, brilliant, talented, giving, kind, honest, a bit weird, and can make pies like no one’s business.  Ironically, we have decided that Determination is her middle name.  For example, she sees something she wants to do, sets that goal, and meets it.

She loves Jesus.  Oh, how she loves Jesus.  Without a doubt, He created her to be so uniquely perfect.  When He looks at her, He is overjoyed.  I’m SO thankful He chose to give her to me.  That I was allowed to be on this journey of life with my precious girl.  For that, and so much more, I am beyond grateful.

Happy birthday, Bug.  Additionally, today, you are my favorite!

**Edited to note my other kids will see this, eventually, tomorrow, I will have a new favorite but I will like you a whole lot!  Make me a pie!**

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Happy 12th Birthday Jude

Happy 12th Birthday Jude

Happy 12th Birthday Jude

Due to the fact that we are jamming to the tune of Happy 12th Birthday Jude, here are 12 Fun Facts.

  • First name:  Israel.  (Named by Noah)
  • Middle name:  Jude  Second middle name:  Abinet.  (Named by his birth mom)
  • Brothers:  Tibebu, Ephraim, Noah, Daniel, and Hunter
  • Sisters:  Victoria,  Alyssa, Grayce, Tinsae, Tamenech, and Birtukan
  • He will be home 6 yrs in December
  • Sports (and cards) #beast
  • Loves to watch me cook
  • Smile:  Lights up a room
  • Preciousness:  Unmatchable
  • Single-Sided Deaf
  • BAHA surgery
  • Smart and Talented

This child was prayed over by more people than I can even imagine.  His adoption story is one of sanctification.  It humbles me to even think back on our journey.  We are blessed.

My sweet boy.

Happy Birthday.  I love your face off.  One day, I hope to take you back to your birth country.  I hope that you can see your family again.  My hope is that you can hug all their necks.  I want to hug their necks.  The beauty of your country should be honored and loved.  You do love it and we try to keep your heritage alive as best as we can.  We love you.

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