You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2010.

I’ve mentioned my super amazing friend Shonah before.  We got to spend a day at The Morton Arboretum with them a few weeks back.  Our kids are so close in age, and our little Habesha princes were roomies back in Ethiopia!  WE love playing with them!  My kids are always so excited to hear if we’ll be seeing them.

Playing in the toddler maze

If you live in the Chicagoland area and have never been to the Arboretum, you really should go.  They’ve got a fantastic kids area, with plenty of hands-on fun.  There are crafts, water areas, things to climb, and plenty of gorgeous foliage.  Our boys really liked the big maze, and the challenge of finding your way to the center.  It’s actually difficult!  Shonah and I had a few panic attacks over the kids running too far ahead of us, then coming to a fork in the path and having no idea where they went. 

And can we talk about how next time we go, I will just put the kids in their bathing suits and bring extra outfits for everyone?  Yeah.  LOTS of opportunities to play in the water. 

Creating a rock dam in one of the fountain play areas.

I also just love the fact that Myles and Esu can be friends even after being born across the globe.  I doubt they remember each other from Ethiopia, but they’ll grow up knowing that they can talk to each other about their shared past.  It  is such a gift, and one I’m so happy he has.

The boys. Stick a fork in them, they're "done" when this was taken.

Thanks to our friends, for sharing life and family with us.  You guys are awesome!

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I was made aware this morning of something so horrific, so disturbing, that I just have to comment.  London has finally released their Olympic 2012 mascots. 

Now, before I reveal them, I’d like to say that London, and Britain at large, has given the world so many wonderful things.   In the genre Rock n’ Roll alone, we’ve got The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, The Who, Elton John, David Bowie, The Clash, the list goes on and on.  And actors?  Oh my.  Ewan McGregor, Kate Winslet, Robert Pattinson, Emily Blunt, Jude Law, again, the list goes on.  How about authors?  Of course there’s Shakespeare, Carroll, Dickens, Austen, etc. but there’s also J.K. Rowling who inspired kids across the globe to read the adventures of young master Harry Potter and now is filthy rich.  Not to mention the Royal Family.  I mean, where else can you still have a queen and her family doing royal British things AND be on every single British scandal mag?  Delightful.  Pip pip cheerio and all that sort of thing.

This is good stuff people!  Then why, oh WHY, do you give us this???

  I’m horrified.  What are they???  I showed them to my 4 year old daughter and she cried.  I am not joking.  She CRIED, and asked “What are those guys Mommy??  Stop it, my eyes keep looking at them and I can’t help it!”  Again, I am not joking.  That is exactly what she said.

So who chose the people who came up with these?  I mean, I would think something more classy would come from such a lovely and royal country.  But maybe I’m expecting too much.  Maybe we should just accept that Britain can do music, literature, and royalty well (amongst other things), but when it comes to beloved kid-friendly characters, they are horribly imcompetent.  I mean, after all, they did give us the Teletubbies.  *shudder*  

(Oh yeah, and in case you were wondering, Winnie The Pooh and Paddington Bear are exceptions to this rule.)   

Oh.  My.  Word.  Today is an ELT day.  ELT stands for “Every Little Thing”, and that is what will set off my youngest on these days.  Not just the big stuff, but Every.  Little.  Thing.  Good gravy it grates on my nerves.

Normally my little man is quite sweet and easily placated, but not on an ELT day.  And seriously?  It seems like we are having more ELT days than not as of late.  It wears on me, people.  It makes me not like him very much.  I know, what a horrible thing to say.  But so very true. 

On an ELT day, I can give him his favorite food for lunch and he will sit there, take a few bites, and then just wail.  Then a few minutes later, he’s fine and eating again.  But wait just a second….Oh!  There it is.  Wailing again.

On the really bad days, he can just be standing in the middle of the room and he’ll lose it.  I will literally be watching him and am an eyewitness to the NOTHING that has just happened, but there he stands, screaming and crying like someone just punched him in the mouth and called him a cootie head.  It’s enough to send Mommy to the bottle.  Or the chocolate. 

Oh yes, did I mention “the lip”?  Oh my yes, the lip.  He will stick that lower lip out so far I swear if I pulled on it, I could wrap it up over his entire face.  I love this boy with all that is in me, but holy crow these days are the hardest.  I know a lot of you out there feel me on this…so feel free to send some love my way and we shall commiserate together over our ELT children.

Okay, so here’s the official post on my experience at Summit VI.  The Christian Alliance for Orphans put on another amazing and life-changing conference this year. 

The General sessions were inspiring!  It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I know that I was particularly moved by Mary Beth Chapman, who bravely shared her experience with losing her adopted daughter, Maria Sue.  She said she hates speaking in public, but she spoke so eloquently, so genuinely, it felt as though we were guests in her family room, and she was just telling us her story as we sat together over coffee.  The way that she and her husband, Stephen Curtis Chapman looked at each other, winked, gestured, as she spoke…it was so adorable.  We could feel the love between them, how this tragedy in their lives, brought them together, made their bond even stronger.  What an amazing testimony.

I was also profoundly affected by Stephanie Fast.  She was adopted at the age of nine, from South Korea.  Her story is tragic, and she has every reason to be a shell of a human being, completely broken.  She remembers being abandoned by her mother, placed on a train and just sent away.  She remembers desperately trying to walk back to her village, following the train tracks from the direction she came.  She remembers the atrocities she faced, that no child should ever have to face, experiencing evil in human form, hiding in holes dug out by soldiers in the hills during the war, shunned by everyone she comes across because she was mixed-race.  She is now 53, a woman who is strong, confident, and in my mind, the poster child for why adopting older children is an awesome thing, and how beautiful and amazing things can come from it.  She knows that her ability to overcome all that was stacked against her is only due to God.  Despite the horrific tragedies she faced, the hand of God is so clearly evident in her life.  As she spoke, I was so moved, I was choking back sobs.  Tears streamed down my face, and I was trying REALLY hard to avoid going into the “ugly cry”.  You know the one.  Catching my breath, hiccups, gasps, burps, ghastly noises, snot….oh yeah.  The Ugly Cry.  I managed to avoid it, but oh, how my throat hurt!  Blech.

Along with the General sessions, there were also breakout sessions.  A decent sized list went with each session, offering some great choices for smaller, more intense information on adoption, foster care, or global orphan care.  I loved hearing Dr. Karyn Purvis, of Texas Christian University.  She specializes in children who come from “hard places”, i.e., any child who has experienced trauma, loss, or abuse.  She was AMAZING.  I also loved Michael and Amy Monroe, founders of Tapestry at Irving Bible Church.  Their ministry is such a great example for Craig and I to follow as we make our strides toward starting up our own foster care, adoption, and global orphan care ministry at our church.  They have provided a wealth of resources for us!

Finally, one of the coolest sessions was a panel of two adoptive moms and a handful of teeenagers.  The teens were all black and the moms were white, and the session was about raising a transracial family.  It was so great to be able to listen and hear from those who have “gone before”.  I realized that one day, I will be a mother to a black man, and I had no idea what to do about that.  It’s an awesome responsibility.  My son will face racism and the thought makes me sick…but how do I help him navigate that?  This panel was so helpful, encouraging, and insightful.  I feel so much better about the task ahead of me.

If you have any interest in going to Summit next year, GO!!!!!  It is SO WORTH every single moment.  To be around people who share this passion, is so uplifting and grounding at the same time.  I am inspired and equipped because of Summit.  THANK YOU to all who worked so hard to put it together.  Now I just want to know where it’s going to be next year!!!???

🙂

I’m a devoted reader of a few blogs, one of which is currently posting a giveaway.  And who doesn’t love free stuff, I ask you?  Seriously.  Who doesn’t?  If you know someone who doesn’t like free stuff, I’d like to know because that’s weird. 

So, with all sorts of hopefulness, I’ve entered Missy’s current giveaway.  She’s an amazing woman who faces life with deep faith, and an extremely hilarious perspective on things.  Thanks, Missy, for keeping me laughing and for sharing your faith in a very real way.

The spring of 2010 seems to be a major time of growth for me.  I’ve been doing so much in terms of making life changes and setting goals and actually following through!  I’m sort of really proud of myself. 

My committment to working out and running has yielded some lovely changes in my body and thus my confidence level.  I bought a few new pieces of clothing last week and literally jumped up and down and clapped in the fitting room (I know!  When does THAT ever happen???), when I fit comfortably into a pair of pants two sizes smaller than I wore before!  TWO SIZES SMALLER!!!  Yee-haw!

One amazing event in my 2010 spring was attending Summit VI put on by the Christian Alliance for Orphans.  It’s two days, intensely scheduled,  information-packed, emotion-overload conference on orphan care.  The program encompassed foster care, adoption, and global orphan care.  The conference is basically two days of learning about a topic that I am intensely passionate about.  I’ll post more on the conference later, because frankly, there’s a lot of stuff that touched me, that I feel God opened my eyes to, and I sort of feel like I’m on the precipice of something big here.

The experience was made even better because of the people who came with me.  A fellow adoptive mom, Shonah, a couple from our church (also adoptive parents), and a friend of Shonah’s who is only 18, and yet totally on fire for taking care of the world’s orphans. 

Shonah and I met at a Chicagoland gathering of families who had either already adopted, or were currently adopting, through our agency, Adoption Advocates International.  At the time of the gathering, she and her husband were in process to adopt, as were we.  They had two biological children, a boy and girl, pretty close in age to our own biological children.  Other than some wildly inaccurate assumptions I had made about her (I’ll tell ya about that later if you’d like to know, Shonah!  heehee!), we had a great time talking and exchanged emails.  We kept in touch throughout the process and when we were in Ethiopia bringing home Myles, we got to meet and spend some time with their little guy, who happened to be in the same room as our Myles.  Small world.

Anywho….I guess it would be a “well, duh” sort of statement if I said that spending four days with someone sure does allow people to get to know each other on a whole other level.  I feel like that’s what happend with Shonah & I.  I can’t speak for her, but I am so blessed by this woman whom I have the honor to call sister and friend.  She shares this passion I have for caring for the fatherless, and even if we didn’t click personality-wise, we would still be connected just through this passion alone.  But the bonus is we do click!  We had so many moments of hysterical laughter, the kind that gives you an ab workout and causes you to have to catch your breath.  We shared tears.  Oh so many many tears.  Like, ridiculous amounts.  But it was mostly me.  Shonah said that sometimes I was crying enough for both of us and that’s why she wasn’t crying.  I think I’m just an emotional basketcase sometimes.  We shared time of prayer together, sharing what God seemed to be speaking to our hearts – oh yeah, and more tears.  We shared the experience of worship and fellowship with our brothers and sisters.  So suffice it to say, it was a wonderful experience – and I feel like I’m saying the word “experience” a lot…oh well.   🙂 

I guess my ramblings come down to this.  The conference was awesome, but the bonus blessing was getting to know Shonah better and deepening a friendship.  I feel like that sort of connection is so rare, and frankly, really difficult to find and sustain as a woman and mother to young kids.  So thank you Shonah, for coming to Summit with me, and for all the laughter, tears, prayer and shared committment to speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.  You have made my life richer!