"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkins, Pools, and Trick or Treating

Yep, busy weekend at our house.

Friday night we carved pumpkins. Auntie Teresa and Uncle Jeremy helped, but I do not have a single picture of either one of them? My only excuse is I had my eyes on 5 kids with knives! (OK so not all had actual knives, but don't tell the little ones.)

My contractor husband decided a saws-all would be a much faster way to open up these big pumpkins.

He was right!

Saturday morning Jamison, Chad, Teresa and Jeremy joined in on pheasant hunting at Grammy's. Joshua, myself, and the girls slept in and caught up on a few chores.

Saturday afternoon we took Joshua swimming in a pool! He did not understand the concept of a pool. He kept asking where oh where is the boat as we packed up to go swimming. He had only ever swam in a lake! Auntie Teresa and Uncle Jeremy had rented a room for fun - so we crashed the party and had some fun!

Joshua is a water bug! All the kids are, but Krissy was in charge of photos and I guess she only had eyes for her littlest bro.

Today, of course was Trick Or Treating!

Joshua was one cute cowboy!

Brenna was a pioneer girl. Grandma Donna sewed this dress and bonnet!

Sierra was a "mad scientist!" She hopes to be a chemist some day. Krissy did her hair. Would believe an empty Coke can and A LOT of hairspray is holding it all up like that?!

Also check out that puking pumpkin... all Uncle Jeremy's idea - crazily enough we had MANY people snapping pics of it. And there were 2 sweet little girls that kindly told us they thought our pumpkin got sick. They were truly concerned! I love kids!

Joshua was NOT a fan, of trick or treat at first. His bucket was empty quite a while

We hung our with our great friends the B family.
Cameron and Brenna

We started the evening at a church party (not our church). Eventually Joshua thought the games were FUN! He has quite an arm but his accuracy is a bit lacking - so remember to duck!

One of his prizes was his very first can of pop. Yep... he liked it!
As you can see, by the end of the evening, Joshua was all about trick or treat! He insisted on walking every step of the block we went around upon arriving home. (Thanks Brenna, Cameron, Sierra, and Drew for being so patient!)

And, just in case you were as worried as I was, Sierra's hair dye mostly washed out!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Daddy eats Ethiopian

Last weekend we had the opportunity to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant. I was very excited for Joshua to get to eat injera again and for Chad to try Ethiopian food. It ended up being a very memorable experience.

We arrived at the small restaurant in a poorer section of town at about 7PM. It was not the sort of place we would usually go to, but my sister in law had checked it out through friends and it had good reviews, so in we went.

We found a couple of tables sit at and they promptly brought the menus. My husband scanned the menu and quickly asked, "Where is the MEAT?" At that point my sister in law got the giggles and confessed that she had "forgotten" to mention that it was a vegetarian Ethiopian restaurant.

Needless to say the guys were not happy! (Which by the way was why Emily did not mention it. I suspect she knew they would NOT go if there was no meat, so she left that piece of information out so Joshua would get to go!)

At this point there is a bit of grumbling going through our group. New food is one thing but VEGETARIAN food, oh man!!!

As I try not to giggle, Joshua grabs my face and says, "Mommy Joshua hungry! Chickeny food please?"

Yep - I laughed out loud. When I told him we were not going to have chicken, he responded, "Pizza? Corn dogs? Pleasie?"

I was rolling at that point and his daddy was not! Neither of my guys had a CLUE WHAT THEY WOULD EAT FOR DINNER.

So we ordered pretty much everything on the menu. It came looking like this:

We all grabbed some injera and decided to taste a bit of everything. Joshua soon found his favorite and was eating as fast as I could feed him. Emily, the teen-agers, and I enjoyed quite a few of the dishes.

Meanwhile, Daddy looked like this:
Not too happy! Chad can and will eat most anything and there was NOTHING that he enjoyed on the platter. After popping a really hot pepper into his mouth and turning a stunning shade of red, he stopped eating all together.

By the time we left he was seriously upset. When we got in the car I finally figured out why when he confessed, "Alicia, I do not think I can ever go to Ethiopia."

Then I got it. He was not really all that upset about paying for as meal he did not enjoy. He was worried that he would never see the birthplace of our son. I quickly reassured him that we could fill a suitcase with freeze dried meals. He will get there someday. I am sure of it!

After stopping for this:
he felt much better!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

So, what does Joshua think of snow?

Yesterday looked like this:

It was cold, it was blowing (seriously blowing like gusts of 60mph), it was snowing. No travel was advised. Winter entered with vengeance!

And my little Ethiopian was pumped! He proudly tromped around the house in his new snowboots. He practiced making snow angels on the livingroom floor. He begged and begged for me to "pleasie hurry and take you Joshua outside!"

Well, I stalled for quite some time. I tried to explain that this snow was yucky, later the snow would be more fun. He was not convinced.

About midmorning I decided to venture out to Wal-mart. I had not bought a winter coat for Brenna yet, and she absolutely HAD to have one so off we went.

I loaded Joshua up in my SUV, which was parked warm and cozy in the garage. Joshua was so excited to see snow everywhere, but remember he had not yet felt it!

When we pulled into Wal-mart I asked him if mommy could please carry him.

"Joshua walk!" was his response.

It was seriously yucky out, but how do I deny this excited boy his first chance to step in snow?

We got out of the SUV. It was cold, but my truck was blocking most of the wind. Joshua said, "It cold!" and grinned ear to ear as he heard the fun noise his boots made in the snow.

Then we rounded the corner and he experienced the full force of the wind and sleety snow gusting into his face. He stopped in his tracks, threw up his arms and wailed, "Mommy hold you!"

I grabbed him, buried his face in my shoulder to protect him from the painful sleety snow, and raced into the store.

When we got inside, it took a minute for him to catch his breath. He truly did not know how to breath in the combination of cold and windy air. As soon as he could speak he told me quite seriously, "Mommy snow NAUGHTY!"

I could not agree more!

I am not a fan of snow, but my two littlest kids sure look cute in their new coats if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Orphans in America?

Do you realize that there are 120,000 orphans in the United States of America?

In America we do not house our orphans in orphanages, and we use kinder softer words for them like foster children, but kinder and gentler terms do not make their pain any less.

I am going to shoot some statistics at you right now...
  • 127,000 children in the US are hoping to be adopted
  • 20,000 children every year turn 18 and thus age out of the foster care system, most of them have no support and no where to go
  • 54% of children in the foster care system graduate from high school
  • 2% graduate from college
  • 70% of youths in state operated institutions came from fatherless homes
  • 30% of the adults in America have been in the foster care system at one time or another
The orphan crisis is not just in poor developing countries. It is here in America, too.

I can not stand the thought of children waiting to be wanted, wishing for a place to call home, hoping someone will identify their potential. It is cruel. And it happens in the lives and hearts of millions of children every day.

I dare you to check out this site Adopt US kids. I dare you to look into the faces of the children that are profiled there. I dare you to feel a little bit of their fading hope. Can you imagine what it would feel like to have someone take cute pictures and write an "add" about you? Can you imagine reading what some social worker had written about you and praying that it would convince someone that you are worthy of a place in their home?

It brings me to tears.

In our state there are 2 boys waiting for families. They are both 13 years old. They have names - Marcis and Andre. There is a really good chance that these boys would be a handfull at first. I bet they would have their guards up pretty high until they realized that you would really, really stick around and really, really love them. I am fairly certain their transition home would be difficult.

BUT can you imagine their life if NO ONE steps up to the challenge?

The statistics are not good, but even if they beat the statistics and graduate from high school and then college... Where will they go for Thanksgiving? Who will they call when they think they are falling in love? Who will be the grandparents to their children? More importantly, how will they know how to be fathers when they have never had one? Most importantly, how will they be able to understand the love of their Heavenly Father with out experiencing the (nearly) unconditional love of a family here on earth? (I say nearly because let's face it, only God truly loves us unconditionally.)

Many, many of the waiting children in the US are teens. Hard ages, oh yeah! Cute, not so much. Worth our time and energy, of course!

If you think about it, adopting a teen is just a few years of "in the home" investment. Maybe you are an empty or nearly empty nester that God is calling back into the trenches of parenting. Maybe He wants you to golf and travel a little less for a while. Maybe He is calling you to invest time and love and structure into one more child. It would be inconvenient. I know you worked hard to get to where you are at, but maybe - just maybe you could invest another 5 years and make all the difference in the life of one of His kids?

(OK. I know that paragraph was pushy. It is not directed at anyone in particular. I just feel like these teens that are waiting need parents with experience. My heart tells me there are empty nesters that God is calling out of retirement to serve His teens.)

I also tell you that I totally understand dragging my feet about adding 5 more years to parenting. Just when we had all our kids off to school, God called us back 5 years. Back to me officing from home. Back to naptime. Back... when the American way to to go forward.

I get the struggle. I get the fear. I know these teens have most likely been through a lot. But that does not mean they should be left waiting.

Father God, please move in the hearts of Your people. Raise up parents for Marcis and Andre and the millions of other waiting children in our world. Guard Marcis and Andre's hearts so they do not lose hope. Protect them. Show them your love, peace, and joy.

**For the record, I do not know Marcis or Andre. I have simply been praying for them since I dared to look into their eyes through their on-line profiles. They are not my sons, but perhaps they are yours? Please join me in praying for them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Hope is Fading – Orphan Sunday from Allan Rosenow on Vimeo

I watched this yesterday and it will not leave me. Still stewing - maybe more like simmering or contemplating- as I think through all that it has churned up in my heart. I need a little more time to articulate those thoughts and feelings. I will get back to you with them, but in the mean time, I hope this video causes you to stop and stew a little too.

Monday, October 25, 2010

And the winner is...

Tasha and her husband live in our area. They are just beginning the process to adopt an infant from Ethiopia. They have been actually been WAITING to begin WAITING! You see they are newlyweds who long to adopt first and their agency wanted them to be married a while before beginning this crazy process!
I am very excited for you Tasha! I look forward to seeing just who God will place in your home!
And everyone else thanks again for your comments! I loved them!

Road Trip

We drove over 2100 miles this weekend as we traveled to Uncle Reed and Auntie Emily's house. The kids did super with all that driving. Joshua decided he liked Mommy's Ipod. It has toddler TV shows loaded onto it. He thought he was BIG stuff getting to use Mommy's Ipod. He suggested that mommy needs to buy him one... maybe not quite yet!

We left at noon Wednesday and drove half way to stay in this very fun hotel room.

It actually had 1 queen size bed, 2 full size beds, and 2 twin beds in one room! Joshua was very proud to sleep in his pack and play right next to me! We found this room on-line for $138 which included a yummy breakfast. It was a wonderful stopping spot!

This road trip was the first time Joshua had heard my GPS "talk." He was so excited that Auntie Emily was telling us how to get to her house. When the computer would speak, Joshua would giggle and yell "Auntie Emily helping!" I have a feeling our GPS will be forever called "Emily!"

We finally arrived at Uncle Reed's house about 6PM Thursday. It was so, so good to see them!

The teenagers spent most of the weekend jumping on the trampoline, watching TV, and eating junk food.

Sierra learned to flip!

Jay did too!

This is our nephew Tyler. He is about 6 weeks younger than Krissy. Jamison really misses having him close by!

This is Brenna and our nephew Kaden. Kaden is almost a year older than Brenna. They get along really well! The BEST part about cousins is that no matter how long it has been since you hung out together, you can pick up right where you left off. Cousins are instant friends, almost like siblings but WAY less annoying!

Reed and Emily have an empty lot right next door, so Uncle Reed cut in a secret door for Kaden to escape and play in the wild! How totally fun is that? Here are the youngest three kidos peaking through the secret door.

We do not have any trees so my kids think raking is FUN!

Here is Kaden showing Joshua how to hide in the leaves. Oh, my is he cute!

Oh, my is he cute, too!!!!

We got up at 2:45 yesterday morning and drove like crazy people to be home last night around 7. The kids all did totally awesome and really did not grumble or bicker until about 10 minutes from our house.

So Reed and Emily, thank you for a super weekend! We loved all the relaxation, seeing your home, catching up, and eating Reed's yummy cooking! We will not wait another 5 years before we take another road trip to your neck of the woods!

(We did eat Ethiopian food... but that story deserves a post ALL of its own!)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gebeyehu naughty!

We are preparing to go on a road trip. A long roadtrip... 1000 miles each way! It should be interesting!

As we have been packing we have been trying to explain to Joshua what will happen. We will drive and drive and drive and stop to eat. Then we will drive and drive and drive and stop to sleep. I have told him about Uncle Reed, daddy's brother and his Auntie and cousins that we will visit. I also mentioned that mommy wanted to eat Ethiopian food on this trip.

Bad idea!

Joshua told me he would not be going to Ethiopia. Joshua will stay with mommy, daddy.. pleasie. Those words hurt my heart, can you imagine how much more the insecurities hurt his heart?

So I of course went overboard reassuring him, "No Joshua Ethiopia. Joshua stay with mommy, daddy, Krissy, Jamison, Sierra, and Brenna. Only eatie food like Ethiopia. Joshua stay with mommy. Joshua always stay with mommy." He snuggled in, sucked his thumb and considered my promises.

Later that day he say this picture.

It was the second photo we ever say of him. He pointed to it and said "Gebeyehu."

I said, "Yes that is Joshua Gebeyehu."

He pointed to himself and said loud and near tears, "NO GEBEYEHU! JOSHUA!"

I asked him where is Gebeyehu?

He said, "Gebeyehu, Ethiopia. No (point to chest) Gebeyehu! Joshua! Gebeyehu naughty!"

What??? I am thinking? Joshua can not stand the idea of being naughty. Why is Gebeyehu naughty.

I told him, "No Gebeyehu naughty. I love Gebeyehu! I love Joshua! (point to his chest) Mommy, I love him Joshua Gebeyehu."

He gave me a big cuddle and after a time responded, "Joshua Gebeyehu?"

"YES!" I told him. "Joshua and Gebeyehu! Mommy I love him!"

He relaxed some. "Joshua Gebeyehu no Ethiopia? Stay with mommy?"

Big hugs! "Yes! Joshua Gebeyehu stay with mommy. Mommy Joshua together all the time. Mommy! Mommy no leave. Mommy love you!"

I am so thankful for these conversations, painful as they are. I am so thankful for the chances to reassure Joshua Gebeyehu of our love and of his secure place in our family. As I type he is cuddled up on my lap, head tucked under my chin, sucking his thump and humming.

I am thankful for every hug, every kiss, every giggle. I am thankful that his eyes shine with joy so often now, and his laugh comes from deep within.

We do continue to pray for his heart to fully heal. We call this song, "Joshua's song." He begs us to play it for him on the computer. I think you will love it as much as we do!

Have a super weekend. Next post will announce my blogiversary give-away winner! And by the way, I have been so touched by your comments. What a blessing to have such special friends. Love you all!

***Have to share quick... Joshua sat on my lap while I proofed this post. He pointed to the "Gebeyehu" picture and said, "Joshua Gebeyehu!" big smile too. I pointed to his chest and asked, "Who is this?" he responded with a squeal, "Joshua Gebeyehu too! Mommy I love you Joshua Gebeyehu!"

We all know the answer to that one!

Monday, October 18, 2010

What's it name?

For the entire months of July, August, and September the most frequently asked question by our little son was, "What's that?" It was truly steady. At each and every new object he came in contact with he would point and say, "Momma! What's that?"

While it was so exciting to watch him soak in vocabulary, it also got a bit tiring. He would truly ask this question many times a minute in a new place. (Kristen, I know you are laughing now because you are experiencing this too!)

It was also embarrassing at times - like when he pointed to a woman whom I assume was going through chemo. (since she was bald.) Joshua saw her and asked, "Momma what's that? Man?" Loud. While pointing. I responded with what I hope was a loving smile toward both my son and the woman and responded, "No Joshua. That is a lady. See her pretty pink hat?"

Once in a while it was frustrating - like when I was driving and had NO IDEA what he was pointing at from the backseat, but he knew when my responses were incorrect! "No momma not the dumpy truck! What is that?!"

Well... all this asking has given our son a very specific vocabulary. He did NOT wear pants today, he were jeans! Mommy does not have a car, it is an SUV! He does not wear shoes, he either wears boots or faster, faster shoes (aka tennis shoes)! He does not play with tractors, he plays with backhoes, skidsteers, payloaders, etc... He has even started learning what the parts on the machines are called - like buckets, doors, lights, and hydraulics. Sometimes people think I am exaggerating until they listen to him, I know Auntie Teresa was surprised at lunch today.

The BIG news is not his amazing vocabulary though. The really BIG news is that he (finally) has a new favorite question!!!!!!!

What it name?

Sometimes change is soooo good! "What it name" is significant because Joshua has realized that (for example) mommy is a title. Mommy's name is Alicia. Once that totally clicked in his brain, he began trying to discover which words he knows are titles and which are objects. It is a really exciting turning point to me because I was really tired of answering "what's that?" constantly! But more importantly his learning titles vs. object/personal names will really help him understand relationships better.

For example today he asked me, "What Teresa's name?" I explained that Teresa is Joshua's Auntie because she is daddy's sister. His next question was, "What Ashlee name?" I explained that Ashlee is mommy's friend, but her name is Ashlee. He reminded me that," Ashlee is Drew (Joshua's friend's) mommy." I asked him if Ashlee was Joshua's mommy. He told me, "NOOOOO! Mommy (point at my chest) Joshua MOMMY! Ashlee no Joshua's mommy. Ashlee mommy (&) Joshua friend!"


(In case you have not noticed, this child makes my heart sing!)

*** On a different note, my husband, whom I adore and who is an occasional reader of my blog says he is not so sure he wants to enter in my give-away! He would like to know when the trip is, and what he would be doing. If you have the same concerns, check this out:

Wonder what you would actually be doing IF you win a mission trip to Ethiopia? You can read all about it here.

He is also not too sure he wants to go on any mission trip (this IS the same adventurous man who told me to go find our BOY!) alone! So if you agree with him. You can introduce yourself on this post and I will still buy you a t-shirt if your name is drawn, but I will give the trip (should you win) to my most wonderful husband! (Only kidding!)

Happy Monday... almost Tuesday but who needs sleep?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's my "Blogiversary" and I have a gift for one of you!

One year ago today, I created this blog. Oh how time flies when you are being stretched, stressed, and blessed!

I have enjoyed blogging - much to my surprise! My kids actually insisted I start it because "everyone who is adopting has a blog." I agreed both to pacify them and because it did seem like an easy way to include many in our journey.

The ONLY thing I have not enjoyed about blogging is that I have NO IDEA who actually reads this! Every once in a while someone will tell me they have been reading my blog and I will be shocked because I had no idea! That is OK. I know I read lots of blogs that I never comment on, but it makes me really curious about who exactly reads this thing. So I have come up with a plan... some may call it a bribe.

I would really appreciate it if you introduced yourselves. Just leave me a comment and tell me who you are, or how you found my blog, or why you read it, or something that has challenged you , or encouraged you... basically tell me anything! And I will enter your name in a drawing for this:

My Crazy Adoption is giving away 2 fully paid mission trips to Ethiopia. In order to enter you have to buy one of her t-shirts. The profits from the t-shirts will actually pay for the mission trips! How cool is that? (To read more about her giveaway or to see the t-shirts, you can click on the mission trip giveaway button above.)

Since I love to buy t-shirts and I would really,really love to send someone on a mission trip, I decided to use this giveaway as a way to (hopefully) discover who reads this blog.

So, if you leave me a comment "confessing" that you read all about my life, I will enter your name in a drawing for one of the My Crazy Adoption "Simply Love" t-shirts. I will purchase the lucky winner the t-shirt of their choice, thus entering them in the drawing to win the mission trip. (If you do not want to go on a mission trip, introduce yourself anyway! You could choose to give the mission trip to someone else.)

Now some of you have been followers and commenters for a while. To reward your faithfulness, I will give any current follower of my blog with 3 entries if you comment below!

If you choose to become a new follower and comment below, I will enter you twice.

If you choose to only comment or to comment via text or email instead of on the blog (I do understand not wanting the whole world to read your thoughts! It still freaks me out a bit that I bare my soul on-line!) I will enter you once.

Now the way I figure it you have very good odds to win a t-shirt as the most comments I have ever had on a single post is 6!

You have from now until October 24th to enter my blogiversary give-away. I will announce the winner on my blog on October 25. Good-luck and thanks for your support and prayers this last year!

Friday, October 15, 2010

5 AM is NOT morning!

It has been a wild and crazy week at our house. We have had activities to go to each and every evening. I am NOT a fan of a lot of activities. I know some of you always have multiple events to run kids to each and every evening. That is just not for me. We are a stay at home family! In fact, we pretty much insist that one day each weekend all the kids do NOTHING, but hang out with the family.

But with a family of 7, some weeks just get crazy!

Monday was piano and I went out to dinner with a girlfriend, alone.
Tuesday we had conferences with Brenna and Sierra's teachers.
Wednesday we all went to church.
Thursday we had Jamison's final football game at 4, the grandparents over for dinner, and then Krissy's choir concert at 8. Seriously!
Tonight we will be at church enjoying pizza with some friends.

Every activity we had was something important, but it has been A LOT! This morning driving home from school drop-off I told Joshua I thought we should go for a stroller-bike run and he almost burst into tears. He said, "NO! Stay home! Mommy and Joshua, we stay home!"

Mommy and Joshua being able to stay home has been the glue that held him together this week. Since our evenings were so packed with activities, many of them being new experiences, I made sure we had a lot of quiet mommy and Joshua time during the day.

To make even more sure he gets enough quiet time with mommy, Joshua has been waking up at around 5 AM all week... for the day! For the last several months if Joshua woke up before 6:30 I would pull him into our bed and he would nestle in and quickly fall right back to sleep. Not this week!

This week he wiggles and kicks and cuddles way too close making sure I am right there. This morning Chad said to me, "What is up with Joshua this week?"

And it the answer finally occurred to me.

Last Saturday I got up really early to make Jamison breakfast before he got on the bus for his away game. Joshua was in bed with Chad and they both were sound asleep, so I decided to drive Jamison to his school. Because sleep has been SO hard we have been really careful to make sure that I am always within earshot of Joshua first thing in the morning. I knew it would damage his trust in me and over all feeling of security if I was not there right away upon waking up, so I have not ran in the early morning hours once since May. (That sentence is dripping with self-pity! I do adore running in the silence of early mornings. The payoff though was the most wonderful 2-yr-old snuggle sessions I have ever experienced. The benefits definitely out weighed the cost.) Saturday I decided to risk it. It was a short trip and he was with his daddy. It took about 7 minutes round trip - but in those 7 minutes Joshua woke up. And his Mommy was gone! He was pretty panicked when I returned, but he settled down pretty quickly when I held him close. We had a great day and my morning absence has not been mentioned since.

However, he has also refused to let himself sleep past 5:30 ever since that morning. I suspect that he is keeping himself awake early in the morning so that if Mommy has to leave he will be alert and ready to join me. Oh, yes! He really IS that smart and sensitive. He has experienced loss and his survival instincts are strong! (I know some of you all think I am crazy, but his daddy totally agreed with me so I really think I am correct on this one.)

Since Joshua has perfected "the nap" he has not been a bit overtired this week. I on the other hand am a bit sleepy!

Perhaps when I explain to him that mommy will be here in the morning he will sleep at least a little bit longer tomorrow?!?

***You have read a lot of "Philosophy BY Alicia" this week. Tomorrow is my "blogiversary" and I have something fun planned. I will be trading this heavy/introspective heart for a heart of joy and celebrating in a new-to-me way (at least for the day). Curious?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How did I "know?"

You may wonder how exactly I "knew" that God was speaking to me...

There are many books and seminars that can teach you (in a much more educated and articulate way than I will be able to describe) how to determine if what you are thinking and feeling is actually of God. I am most certainly not an expert! But because I learn best through examples people are willing to share with me about circumstances in their own life, I will share with you how I decided that the feelings I was having about finding Joshua were indeed the voice of God.

  1. I could NOT get the idea that we had a son waiting for us in Ethiopia out of my mind! It would just NOT GO AWAY! Not only was it front and central in my thoughts, my heart was broken. I was an absolute wreck as I felt my heart say" GO!" and my head say,"wait a minute... have you considered_____."
  2. Everywhere I turned God's heart for adoption was being spoken about (and it was not November... Adoption month). One day I turned on our local Christian radio station and they were interviewing Tony Dungee. Tony Dungee is the former Indianapolis Colt's head football coach. Jamison loves the Colt's and I was excited to tell him all about what Mr. Dungee had to say. Guess what he was talking about??? His heart for adoption and the children he and his wife had welcomed into their family. When I say I could not get away, I could not! It almost became funny.
  3. As I attempted to research and figure out logically if this idea were even possible, all my preconceived roadblocks were quickly and fairly easily knocked down.
  4. When I was doubting most God would answer with beautiful little signs. Like finding out Joshua, the name I kept calling out Ethiopian son in my heart, means Jehovah Saves. Waking with Bible verses stirring on my mind. Crying out to God that I do not think I could really have been hearing him and finding the video "Why Wouldn't I?" minutes later. Coincidences? I do not believe so.
  5. I had an absolutely unnatural ability to read and comprehend information about adoption. Seriously, I was getting through several books a week, plus on-line research. I love to read, but ordinarily if I would have tried to read that much my comprehension would have not been good. I was able to catalog it with ease.
  6. Chad and the kids were totally on board.

That last on is really, really important! I do not believe that God gives a calling for just one member of a marriage. While some callings may directly effect only one partner - say, I decide to volunteer at church - the other is always effected in some way by a loss of time, money, attention, whatever. If your spouse is not with you, I would slow down!

In our case if I had "twisted Chad's arm" to agree to Joshua's adoption it would have been BAD! If Chad had not been as called to be Joshua's dad as I was to be his momma the last months would have been horrible. Bringing Joshua home has changed every routine we had. We have a completely new normal, which includes an occasional bed partner. We have absolutely needed the support of each other.

Do NOT convince your spouse that God wants you to do something! Pray, share your heart with him, ask him to pray about it, but let the convincing come from God. It may take your spouse a bit to catch your vision, but God has it all planned out. He is choosing the timing. Trust HIM to break your spouses heart.

Until we received Joshua's beautiful picture I continued to doubt from time to time. I think doubting is going to happen. After all if God is calling you to do something the enemy is going to fight it! Discernment is hard.

I still have no idea why God chose us? I do not know how my heart was so completely connect with my Joshua. How did it even happen? Was someone near Joshua Gebeyehu begging God to find him a family? I had hoped to gain some answers while in Ethiopia, but that did not happen. So, I still wonder how, how, how? Only God knows!

If you want to read more stories of people hearing God's voice check this out. These stories are about adoption, but if you KNOW you are not called to adopt, read them anyway! The subject does not really matter, hearing and discerning God's voice does.

And if you are scared or doubting, sometimes YOU JUST HAVE TO DO IT ANYWAY! That is what faith and trust are all about.

He has a plan for each of us. He is speaking to us daily. Hearing how he speaks to other people will help you realize when He is speaking to you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


One year ago today, I was broken. My heart was torn apart, smashed, totally - completely broken. In a moment I will never forget, my will was removed and HIS will took over.

Today is the anniversary of the day we signed on with IAN and officially committed to finding Joshua.

God had been speaking to me for a while. I knew what He wanted us to do. But fully submitting was so hard. I was terrified! Being scared was a new feeling for me. Sure I have been scared before, but never like this.

You see I "knew" what God wanted us to do, however I had NO proof. I am someone who makes decisions based on logic. I think in a black and white way. God was calling me to do something based on a feeling. Yikes! I felt like there was a child that needed my family to be his. I felt like God wanted us to find him. I felt like we needed to move quickly. But I do NOT make decisions based on my feelings!

So I researched. I made phone calls. I prayed. I talked to Chad and the kids and eventually the rest of our immediate family. I confided in a couple very dear friends. I wanted someone to say yes! do this because... OR no! do not do this because... All I got was "wow, you think there is a little boy God wants you to go find?" Supportive, absolutely. Concrete confirmation, nope.

But God was relentless. I was a wreck! Almost every thought I had was about a faceless little boy in Ethiopia, who was meant to be my son. I cried for this child every day, many times a day... and I am NOT much of a crier.

I continued to wade in deeper and deeper. Asking more and more questions, learning how we would go about finding our son, but my heart was always a little bit closed. Until October 13, 2009.

October 13, 2009 IAN told us they would be happy to help us find our son. At that moment I almost called it all off. I nearly choked. I became overcome with fear. The "what ifs" were too scary to face.

Thankfully, GOD broke through in a huge, yet simple way. He led me to a song. (You can find the link to it on my very first post) I wept from the depths of my soul as I gave up my selfish will, all my fears, all my insecurities. I was totally broken, totally His.

And I am so glad that HE loved my family enough to break through my hard heart. Could you even imagine our life without this beautiful boy?


So today I celebrate all I have learned. Being broken by the Master was an honor, a blessing above any other. It has been painful, but God has walked so close to me during this year. He has held me together. He has brought me comfort and peace. He brought my son home to me, just like he whispered he would a year ago.

So I challenge you today to choose brokenness. Ask HIM to break your heart for what breaks HIS. Follow His whisper. Trust His word. He WILL NOT let you down when you follow HIM.

***Please remember that where God led us in the past year was to our son. BUT following is not just about adoption. God's heart is broken for so many, many things. He wants us to be His hands and feet. He wants to use us to change the world. Are you willing?

***I also want to honor my husband in this post. In our home, I was the one who brought up adoption. I was also the one who was most fearful. Chad is a risk taker at heart. Following God on this grand adventure was a no-brainer to him. I told him what I was feeling and he said, "Go find our boy!" I asked him how we would pay for it and he put one of his most prized possessions, his first car, up for sale. He reminded me many times that we would never regret having more children - but we might certainly regret not finding this child. He jumped in with both feet! He trusted! He followed! While I wrestled and doubted.

By the way, our adoption expenses were covered without the sale of Chad's car. God is so good that way. You can never out give God. You can never trust Him too much either.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you NOT to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I just read about one of the most exciting parenting techniques ever. Time-ins!

We have all heard of "time-outs" and most of have used them as a way to correct our kids' behavior. The basic idea in a time-out is to remove your child from activity for a while, giving him/her a chance to settle down his mind and body. They are a reaction to inappropriate behavior.

BUT... do you ever think about WHY your child is choosing to misbehave? Many times it is because we are not paying enough attention to them. I have certainly been guilty of this! "Just a minute... Mommy is on the phone/folding the laundry/making supper/cleaning something/etc/etc" I am also guilty of this when I drag my toddler from one boring errand to another, expecting him to sit in the cart, sit in his carseat, sit on my hip or hold my hand all morning long. I think many times we as parents sort of ask our kids to misbehave. When they finally say "NO!" with their behavior, we tend to drop everything and pay very close attention to them!

OK so a TIME-IN is taking some time to interact with your child in a way that he LOVES, just because he LOVES it. For example, I might stop folding clothes right in the middle of a laundry basket, to play "get you, get you" with Joshua. I might pull into a park in the middle of my errands and play with (not talk on my cell phone) my son. I might stop in the middle of cleaning up dinner and read him a story.

A time-in is also doing something routine like getting dressed with intentional focus. Talking to your child, singing a song, etc... while you are getting him dressed rather than just quickly shoving his arms and legs into the right holes in his clothes.

The cool thing about time-ins is that they give a child what he wants and needs so that he does not need to misbehave to get it. It sort of "builds points." You know like when your husband calls to tell you he loves you in the middle of the day or sends flowers just because. Those kind, fun, surprising acts make you a little more understanding the next time he forgets to call and tell you he will be home an hour later than normal. Time-ins work just like that with kids. Typically, the more time and attention you give a child (without allowing them to be overindulgent and expect to be treated as the only thing of importance), the more cooperation he will give you in return.

They are also fun. And let's face it, few of us have enough fun!

The other thing I love about time-ins is that although I first read about them in a toddler parenting book, they really will be beneficial in the relationships I have with each of my kids... even my 14 year old. We all love to have someone pay attention to us. We love to have someone STOP what they are doing to invest in our interests. And when we feel loved and appreciated we have a much easier time going along with what someone else wants.


**The book I first read about "time-ins" is The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. The concept of intentionally spending time with my kids is something I have always believed in. I so love that Dr. Karp gave it a name. Having a name just makes it all the more important, official, and worthwhile!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Only Mommy's and Joshua's Song

The very first nights I tucked my Joshua into bed were not snuggly and sweet. They were sad and filled with tears. That very first night I walked my scared, grieving, confused son to sleep as he cried and cried. I did not know what to do so, I made up a song. I really had NO IDEA how to comfort him. I knew how much I loved him. I knew I would keep him safe. I knew I would (God-willing) never leave him. I knew... but, with the language barrier, I had very few ways to tell him.

So I walked with him in my arms. I kept calm, gentle, and patient regardless of his wailing. I held his sweaty, teary cheek next to mine, and I sang to him. I sang the only Amharic words I knew that made sense in this situation. I sang to the melody of the same song I sang to my older kids... Jesus Loves Me.

Ishee, Ishee
La ten ya
Ishee, Ishee
La ten ya
Ishee, ishee
La ten ya
Ishee, ishee
La ten ya


It's OK, It's OK
It's time to go to sleep

I love you!

Eventually he slept.

For a while after we came home, Joshua was so easily overstimulated that singing or even humming while I rocked him agitated him. So we rocked in silence or to the sound of "shhhh, shhhh, shhhh" as that was most soothing.

One night while I was getting Joshua into his pajamas I started to sing this first song. Joshua's eyes lit up and he said, "Mommy's and Joshua's song!" I was shocked and pleased that he had some sweet memory of this song. Especially since at that point, it had only been sung when he was in such distress. That night as I began to rock him to sleep he said, "Ishee, Ishee pleasie"

And thus a bedtime ritual came full circle. It began out of a desperate need to somehow comfort and connect with my son and has become comforting to us both.

As I began to realize that he did not understand ee-wha-de-halow meant "I love you." I changed the second verse to:
Momma loves you Joshua!
Momma loves you Joshua!
Momma loves you Joshua!
Mommy, Mommy's baby!
(He does not understand the words to the first verse anymore either, but I do not want to get rid of all the Amharic. Afterall that is where it began.)

Now that bedtime has become a time of sweetness and snuggles, this song has become a treasure. Joshua will let NO ONE other than mommy sing it. After all it is "only mommy's and Joshua's song!"

So Karri, my friend, you were so correct when you encouraged me (while I was half a world away) to sing to my little son. You said he would remember. You said he would be soothed. You were more right than I had ever guessed.

And Joshua Gebeyehu, Mommy does love you so very much! You are mommy's baby and I love to rock and 'nuggle and sing with you! I am so thankful that God chose me to be your mommy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

This Weekend We...

Krissy made this quilted pillow in her sewing class. It is so beautiful.

Friday night we had our first family movie night since Joshua has been home! (Well it was almost a family movie night... Daddy had to work late so he missed it!) Joshua thought eating pizza downstairs was totally fun.
While the rest of us enjoyed "Karate Kid" Joshua ran hot laps in the basement on his trike.

Jamison rode the bus and we all experienced out first football road trip to watch Jamison play football. (I confess I cried when I dropped Jay off at the bus Saturday morning. NOT because he has gotten so grown up, BUT because I am so blessed to be able to watch him grow up. It is truly a privilege.)

Joshua and Daddy waiting for kick-off.

Jamison's fan club!

That is my son at the bottom of that pile. Ouch!

It was a good tackle though! Joshua responded with his loudest, "Yeah!!! Football!!! Good Jobbie Me Jay!!! Whoo Whoo!"

Jamison caught this pass. Gotta admit I like watching him tackle much more than BE tackled! (He made a great catch - that was unfortunately called back for a flag.)

Sierra, Brenna, and I totally had a blast copying a craft I saw on several blogs this week.

We also did lots of boring stuff like clean toilets, mow the grass, and work-out. I will spare you those pictures!

Hope you had a great weekend too!