"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."
-Anonymous

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One Year Ago Today We Met Hiwot...


"A little child enters your life and fills a special place in your heart. A place you never even knew was empty!"
-unknown

One year ago today, we met "Hiwot"...she was so tiny. She was so quiet. She was so cute! It was one of my favorite days EVER. We had so much fun spending the day at her orphanage and meeting the wonderful people that cared for her. Again, it is strange to say, but I wish we could be there right now and experience the entire day again...There is nothing like meeting your three year old for the first time. I would love to see all of the beautiful children, nannies, and staff members again.
Grace "Hiwot" June 28, 2010
Grace "Hiwot" June 28, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Adventure...

Exactly one year ago today, we were on a grand adventure...We were in Ethiopia and were just starting our amazing trip. We were just starting to get to know the awesome friends that we would make (Ethiopian friends and fellow adoptive parents who we were blessed to spend the week with).
Oh how I wish I could be sharing the same meal with the same friends tonight. It was so much fun. The excitement that we were all feeling was surreal. We had yet to meet our children and were able to spend the night at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant...we couldn't begin to imagine what was in store for us the next day. It was impossible to describe the feelings we all had- we were all adopting "older" children and we knew that when we woke up the next morning, it was going to be time to meet our children...they were kids-old enough to be aware that we would be coming for them...what were they thinking? Were they as excited as we were?
Our friends, the Harrington's, JT Henderson, and Endres.

Here we are driving through the streets of Addis. We were still a bit shocked at what we were seeing throughout the city of 3 million people...a city that, although obviously impacted by poverty and its harsh realities, is a place where I would love to be today...


"There is a rawness and a wonder to life. Pursue it. Hunt for it. Sell out to get it.

Jesus says the options are clear. On one side there is the voice of safety. You can build a fire in the hearth, stay inside, and stay warm and dry and safe.

Or you can hear the voice of adventure—God’s adventure.

Instead of building a fire in your hearth, build a fire in your heart. Follow God’s impulses. Adopt the child. Move overseas. Teach the class. Change careers. Run for office. Make a difference.

Don’t listen to the whines of those who have settled for a second-rate life and want you to do the same so they won’t feel guilty. Your goal is not to live long; it’s to live.

Sure it isn’t safe, but what is?"

Max Lucado

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Look at this little cutie. It's crazy to think that, last year at this time she was part of the following statistic...

WHAT DOES 143 MILLION ORPHANS LOOK LIKE?
All the orphans could stand side by side around the 10,913 mile parameter of the United States 4 times.

If all 143 million orphans stood single file, they could wrap around the Earth 2 times.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's All About Timing...

Unlike many adoptive couples, my husband and I never talked about adopting before we got married. In fact, we didn't talk about it at all until about four years ago. At first, it was just a little something I would mention. I know that God placed Ethiopia on my heart. I did not know anyone who had adopted from there. The only thing I knew about Ethiopia was what I learned from Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson singing "We Are The World" in the 80's. So, about four years ago I began to spend a lot of time on the computer learning about adoption and reading blogs. About three years ago, I started to seriously follow blogs of adoptive families that were traveling to bring their children home. I began to share my heart with my husband. It is fair to say that he had what some have coined "reluctant husband syndrome." I understood that God had not yet begun to break his heart for Ethiopia. I was steadfast in my belief that Ethiopia was where our daughter was. I prayed a lot. I even remember feeling frustrated and praying that God would "please take away MY desire if my husband's heart was not in the same place..." The pain of not being able to act was so hard.
Now that Grace Hiwot is home with us, it is so obvious why I had to wait and pray for so long. She was not ready to come home to us yet. She was still with her birth family. I have no doubt that God knew all along what He was doing...I'm so thankful that He didn't answer my prayers a second sooner!

Here is Grace the first time I met her. She looks so scared and confused. She was thinking about and processing so much that day.
Three years ago when I was on my mission to get my husband "on board," I used to email him inspirational quotes every day. I would send him these quotes along with a cute picture of some adorable Ethiopian little girl (just so he could picture a little one in his life).
I recently came across the document that I have that had all of the quotes I had sent to him...I thought I would share them with you all over the next few days...who knows, maybe some of you may use this approach. I wish I could tell you that it works, but I think the real "work" was done by someone with a little more influence than me...HE was in control the whole time.
And now, I can use my own pictures of an adorable little Ethiopian girl...


"God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called..."
-unknown

"The will of God will never take you where the
Grace of God will not protect you."

and the quote that really struck a cord with my husband...the quote that appears on the top of my blog every single day...

"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."
-Anonymous


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Random Things That I Wish I Knew When We Decided To Adopt...

There are so many things about adoption that you really can't understand until you experience them. As we come up on the one year anniversary of bringing Grace home, I am starting to reflect on a few of these things. The number one thing that I DIDN'T anticipate was just how much I would LOVE Ethiopia. I miss it terribly. I miss the beautiful, loving people, the kind and compassionate care givers we met, and most of all, the HOPE that they have. I didn't meet one Ethiopian that complained about a single thing. Coming home to the good old US is a huge blessing, but I can't help but think that WE are the ones missing out on so much. It's hard to comes to terms with our material blessings when I have met and seen so many people living without. I can't wait to go back to Ethiopia. Hopefully I will be writing a post about my return trip very soon!

The second thing that I didn't anticipate, was just how fast Grace would grow after we arrived home. Take a look at these two pictures. The first picture was taken a month after we came home. The second picture was taken ten months later...crazy...she is like a little girl now and not a toddler AT ALL. She has never acted like a toddler, but now she doesn't even look like one. She is still a little on the small side, but she has grown like a weed (and not just her hair ;)).

The third thing I wish I would have known, was just how much the kids would love having a little sister. I had nothing to worry about. They are so good to Grace. She is a lot of fun to play with and has become a mascot of sorts for all of our bio kids and their friends. I am sure it can get annoying at times (like when friends want to play with your little sister instead of you), but for the most part, the kids are so great with Grace. They have welcomed her and treat her like a regular old sibling- fights and all. Now if only I could get her to understand that she does not have the same rules, privileges and expectations that her older siblings have....
One of the most surprising things that I wish I would have known when we decided to adopt, was that is might have been nice to adopt a sibling group. It would be awesome to have another Ethiopian in the house. I doubt that I would have ever been able to convince anyone else in this house to do it though ;) I was goofing around with Bryce and Grace yesterday and I asked them if they would like to adopt another little one from Ethiopia. I was SHOCKED when they both said "YES!!!!" I sort of figured Bryce has had enough with the sharing, business of having four kids, etc., but he was totally on board (even offering to share his bedroom with a little brother). Grace surprised me as well. I figured she liked being the star and wouldn't want to share the spotlight, but she started begging for a little sister or brother. Ha! Well, it is NOT in our near future. I am sure my husband is taking a deep breath reading this post. No worries honey...by the look of our dining room table (and all of the miscellaneous papers and projects on it), there is no way that I could be organized enough to adopt again. I think adding a 4th child to the mix has made me well aware that the other thing I never expected through the adoption, is just how messy our house could get by adding one more person to it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Last Day of School 2011...How Can She Be Heading To High School?

The end of the school year is always a little bitter sweet...lots of good memories were made this year and it was hard to say "good bye" to great teachers and fun classes. This year was especially touching, because my little girl is leaving middle school and starting high school in the fall! How can this be?
It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating her princess birthday...
And now, she is dressing like a princess for the last day of 8th grade...
We headed to the middle school for a really nice 8th grade graduation ceremony...I have to admit, I got a little teary during the "ceremony." All of the 8th graders looked so pretty/handsome. They were so dressed up and it was a lot of fun to watch them and see how much they have grown over the years. For all of you with little ones, time really DOES fly by. I remember smiling and nodding politely when more "experienced" parents of older kids used to tell me that time flies and that I should enjoy every second of my kids while they are little. Now, I truly "get it." They were so right! It is hard to believe how fast the years are flying by.
Drew- last day of 5th grade
Bryce- last day of 2nd grade
Grace- last day of not being a "school kid"- she starts preschool in the fall!

Friday, June 3, 2011

11 Months Home...

I can honestly say that it has been an amazing 11 months having Grace home.
She is such a special girl.
We had our last post-placement visit a couple of weeks ago, and as our social worker was walking down our front steps to leave, she stopped in her tracks and said...
"You do know that you hit the jackpot, right?"
Grace is really the "jackpot."
She is so smart, friendly, social, talented, adorable, and loving.
We are so blessed.

AND...is there anything cuter than a little girl with "pig tails" in her hair? I don't think so.
If we asked Grace what her biggest accomplishment has been in the 11 months she has been in America, she would say...learning to "pump" on the swing. She thinks she is sooooo cool "pumping."
As we celebrated her 11 months home today, we were able to do some fun, spur of the moment things. Her friend Habtamu came for a little play date. "Habs" came home from Ethiopia a few months after Grace. She didn't stop talking about him all day. She told everyone that she got to see him and that he is "so cute." His mom and I decided that since arranged marriages happen in parts of Africa, we can keep that tradition alive here as well. They are really adorable together.


Tonight, we had another impromptu get together with Grace's BFF Kemily. We had a fun night out with moms and daughters...The girls loved going to a restaurant together and had so much fun hanging out, eating too many chips, and playing some silly games together.
I love little girls...they sat and colored for the longest time! How super easy and cute is that?
So, I guess it is just one more month until our we celebrate the 1st anniversary of our family being together...some call it "gotcha day." I'm not quite sure what we will call it. It's hard to say, because when I look at Grace and how well she has adjusted to our family, it seems like she's always been here. It doesn't really feel like a "gotcha" to me, more like a finally putting the last piece of the puzzle in the right place type of thing...