"Every child deserves a home." --Harry Holt

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Day ON More Than a Day OFF

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! I haven't given as much thought as maybe I should have about this man, this topic. Having a snow day today gives me the opportunity to think about how MLK Jr. and the other civil rights leaders, in essence, made it possible for my family to conceivably adopt an African child. Mind-blowing, right? While I've always considered his works for equality through non-violence an amazing work and life, I've not been as grateful for it as I feel today. The goal of today should be to at least reflect and make a plan of action about what acts of service can be done to honor this life and his work.  If you need a little extra inspiration,  I'm posting the "I have a dream" video below, but I also picked out a few quotes from him that I really connect with, and show his brilliance.

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."

"Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but your refuse to hate him."

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?"

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

"That old law about "an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind."

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character- that is the goal of true education."

"The Negro needs the white man to free him from his fears. The white man needs the Negro to free him from his guilt."

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

"I have a dream that on day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

"And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"


Friday, January 14, 2011

Today's Headline--Miracle Baby (Kailey) Goes HOME

I could shout it from the mountain-tops, but I don't live near any, so I guess this will have to do! After 133 days in the NICU, my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and 7 year old niece got to bring the miracle of all miracles HOME today (on the shared birthday of mom and older sister no less!). So HUGE! If you want to know a little more about the LONG journey they have already been on, you can read about it HERE and HERE. A long and blessed journey for all of them. Ms. Kailey has a long journey ahead of her, but if there is one thing we've learned about her...she never gives up. Is it too late to suggest that her middle name be Tenacious? So, excited for all of them.

It is a mix of emotions to realize that while we are all excited and joyous that she was able to finally go HOME, her twin sister, Breley beat us all HOME to be at the feet of Jesus. We all miss her, but know she is exactly where she should be. God is good ALL the time. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Melkam Genna- Ethiopian Christmas

If we were in Ethiopia tonight, we would be celebrating Christmas Eve. Not only that, but it is Christmas eve 2003 there! Crazy, right?! They follow the Coptic calendar (New Year or Enkutatash is celebrated on September 11). I'm always telling kids that in order to master a subject, they should explain or teach it to someone else. Well people, in my head the calendar difference makes sense, but it gets all twisted when I try to explain it so I linked to a wike: HERE- best wishes in deciphering it :)

Admittedly, I didn't know too much about Ethiopian Christmas or Melkam Genna (in fact, I'm not sure I'm spelling that 2nd word right because I've also seen Gena?) So, I did what I do best...I used google! I know, I'm a product of my generation. I don't even own an encyclopedia. I wasn't able to find as much as I would like, but I did (probably not legally) copy and past a little explanation.

Christmas is a major holiday in Ethiopia. More than half of the population of Ethiopia is Orthodox Christian. The celebration occurs on January 7, the Feast of the Epiphany, instead of December 25...

On Christmas Eve, January 6, the city is crowded with pilgrims and tourists from all parts of the world. The people remain outdoors all night, praying and chanting. On January 7, the Ethiopian Christmas known as Ganna is celebrated. The word Ganna is used interchangeably with the word Christmas, to mean the birth of Jesus Christ (leddat). This celebration takes place in ancient churches carved from solid volcanic rock of that day and also in more modern churches that are designed in three concentric circles. Men and boys sit separately from the girls and women. People receive candles as they enter their church. After lighting the candles, everyone walks around the church three times, and then they all stand throughout the church service which may last up to three hours. After the service, the rest of the day is spent dancing, playing sports and feasting.

The preparation of the feast is an important part of the day in Ethiopia. A typical Ethiopian feast for the Christmas meal includes a main course, such as doro wat ( a spicy chicken stew), injera bread (Which is a flat round bread) and homemade wine or beer. The injera bread is used to scoop and eat the food, thereby replacing ordinary utensils. Gift giving in an Ethiopian Christmas celebration is a very small part of this ceremony. Children, if they receive gifts, usually receive simple presents such as clothing. But, a very important part of the celebration is a sporting event called gena. This game is a form of field hockey in which sticks with hooks at one end are used. The game is played by having two opposing teams trying to outscore each other hitting a ball with their sticks. Usually, the sticks and balls are made from locally grown trees. In Ethiopia, the opposing teams often represent certain regions and the rivalry in these games can be intense. According to tradition, shepherds celebrated when they heard of Jesus’ birth by playing this such game...

So, what are we doing to celebrate? Honestly, we are going to work, and then probably going to bed. I think I'm fighting something off...(I don't have time to get sick!?) Hopefully, next year we are able to mark the occasion as a family and make some Ethiopian food (read: try) and play some games together! 

We received an update from our agency yesterday. There was a lot of information that will affect all of the families in process. At this point, I'll spare you the details, but will say that it most likely means more delays. We have been in this process for over 10 months and have been waiting for our referral for 5. We knew that things had slowed because when we originally started the process, we were told to expect a 3-6 month referral wait, but most families were not waiting too much over 3 months. We would appreciate your prayers for our family, our child (who is out there in Ethiopia! We also ask that you pray for his/her birth family. A longer wait makes me want to puke in my mouth a little, but then I think of what the wait means for our child. He/she is the one enduring the hard stuff, and I still get to sit in my comfy house with my loving husband, typity typing on my laptop, eating all the food I want (even though I shouldn't do that last one!) Hey, it's still Christmas somewhere!

Talking myself into being a little more like that crazy (in a fun loving way) guy, Paul...
"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." -- Philippians 4:11


Tuesday, January 4, 2011


We are feeling a little stuck in adoption Never Never Land these days. So, I took some of my own 'advice.' (Counselors don't give advice ya know, but I never was a very good rule-follower)...

When I have a student that relates to music (and most kids/people do), I have them pick 2 songs. One song is meant to help them connect to the emotion, and the other is to help connect to a more positive emotion. Does it work for them? I dunno... but it works for me (the true research-base for a technique)...

So, here is my song for feeling sTuCk in adoption Never Never Land:

and, here is my uplifting song...I love Dory!!!!!


Book Recommendation- "Choosing to SEE"

The first book I finished in the New Year...

Admittedly, I started reading this book a few months ago, but I wasn't in the right place mentally or emotionally, because it would leave me breathless. It is a heartfelt, emotional memoir about the Chapman family's loss of their 5 year old daughter, Maria in an accident. Heart-wrenching and beautiful. I whole-heartedly recommend the book. 4 thumbs-up, er stars? Happy reading to you (but, you will cry through this one if you are like me).

Holt Explains its Work in Ethiopia

Once we decided we would pursue the international adoption process, we put forth many hours of research into the agency we would work with. We read books, blogs, articles and we talked with people who had gone through the process. The agency name that came up time and again when it came to ethical practice was Holt International. In the end, Holt was the perfect fit. Holt's headquarters is in Eugene, OR which is not near us, but there is a branch office closer to us as well as a Holt Social Worker even closer. It all seemed to line up. I get asked by friends and family how we chose our agency, and so I thought I would include a link to Holt's website and their explanation of their work in ET. This can be found: HERE

Happy reading!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Year in Review in No Particular Order

Kevin graduate with his MBA. Finally both done with school! Can't believe it has already been a year...
Packing up to move!!!! Love having a backyard!
We finished our dossier! Let this year be the year of a referral, court and embassy date!
4th of July photo shoot with my cRaZy siblings
Glenwood Springs, CO and whitewater rafting with my cRaZy family
Omaha zoo with friends and lemurs
White Sox vs. Twins in Chi-town. Twins win! Ignore the shirt...
Breley and Kailey are born! We miss you Breley, and we are looking forward to Kailey getting out of the hospital!

Fun times with Mya Rae!

Happy 60th Anniversary G-ma and G-pa! Love them...
The Salvation Army should really consider doing this in the warm summer months...brrrrr
 I should have downloaded the rest of my pics from the last few months. It was a year full of ups and downs. We are so excited for all of what 2011 promises to bring. Clearly we are hoping that next years post includes lots of pics of an expanded family! Patience is a virtue, blah blah blah...

Many Blessings in 2011 to you and yours!


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