"We are all handmade people created by a God who is not safe or small." Rend Collective Experiment

Monday, May 29, 2006

Renee's Reports~~

Tonight I am inspired to do a Renee's Reports as inspired by my friend Robin of Robin's Reports http://robinsreports.blogspot.com/ If you visit her Blog you will see as she and her family as SERIOUS "fisherpeople", and we are we definitely are NOT :o)

Mary Poppins I will post Part 3 tomorrow! Thanks for your interest! You are very sweet!

Monday's Fishin' Report:

Jim casting out into the Great Lake err.. I mean pond. He is using the greatest bait known to man..white bread.

There is great excitement among the crowd.. err I mean our children. There is chanting of "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!" Our 4 yo is exclaiming, "We are going to have fish tonight!" Little does he know the Dictatorship we live under err... I mean the Home Owner's Association allows us to catch the fish but we have to throw them back. Not that we would want to eat these fish. Eww!

These are no ordinary fish. These fish are highly intelligent and tricky. They somehow keep managing to eat the bread off without getting hooked.

This causes the menfolk to evaluate their choice of bait. Perhaps these fish are as repulsed by processed store bought white bread as we are. They must be into whole foods. The men begin digging for worms.

The crowd in an effort to keep spirits high engages in a series of "Ring Around the Rosie".

Alas, the one skinny worm that is sacrificed falls off the hook "somewhere" in the great pond...

BUT someone has brought in the catch of the day!

I encourage my fisherman that there will be other fish and other days.. but now we should head to the pool. I assure him it was the little boys throwing sticks in the water that scared the fishies away . He packs up his gear and we head to the pool where on the sidewalk the children spot a big, fat, juicy, worm... you can see the wheels spinning in his head..... one last shot at a fish..but he heads on to the pool. For the sake of the children.

I keep thinking back to Memorial Day Weekend last year. We had just had our court date for our first two Ethiopian Boys. We clebrated with a trip to Orlando Flordia and a visit to Animal Kingdom. Now we have three sweet boys from Ethiopia as our sons. God has been so good to us!

I enjoyed watching our 3 yo son this weekend, especially. When he first came to us he was so afraid to try anything new. Watching him leap off the side of the pool with joyous abandon was such a blessing to us. It may seem like such a minor thing but for him to have come so far is huge. God has given him courage and security. What a mighty God is He!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Day 2~

After our flight departed for Addis we settled in and fell asleep. Ethiopian Airlines is a wonderful Airline to fly. They are constantly feeding you and offering beverages. The hours until Rome were just a blur of sleeping and being awoken by the beautiful Ethiopian Airline Flight Attendants to eat or drink. There was such a sweet spirit on the flight. Most of the people were Ethiopians returning home for a visit, a handful of people traveling on to the Congo, and there was a sprinkling of Americans. The Ethiopians' excitement gave the flight a certain electricity. They were all so happy, and eventhough they didn't know each other, it was like a big reunion with Amharic flowing through the airwaves.

The pilot came on and said quite a long piece in Amharic and then a brief sentence in English. This is how it always was and I told my dd that we just get the "Cliff Notes" version, but no matter, we were landing in Rome, Italy! We landed and all of the people on the plane erupted in a huge cheer for the pilot.

My dd slept through most of the Rome stop

and I decided to try and use the restroom (on International Flights I have learned that there is ALWAYS a line for the restroom). While in line I met another American lady. Our conversation was so careful.. "Have you ever been to Addis?" and then gently "What will you be doing in Addis?" Well, it turns out she was from South Dakota and adopting through CHSFS! She was picking up a 3 yo little girl named Bereket. Then as I headed back to my seat I was stopped by a "group" of American Ladies who asked if I was adopting through AAI. It was Shelly (and her friend and neighbor) and Maribeth (with her sil and neice) who were adopting Tamrat and Addis and Mekdes and Zinnesh! What fun to spend our Rome layover fellowshipping with families who were going to Layla House too!

Before we knew it we were off and on our way to Addis. On the flights they have screens which show exactly where you are and I marveled as we flew over Egypt. I was reading my Bible and glanced up and saw we were right by the Red Sea! Wow! How awesome! We flew over the Nile, over the Sudan and then suddenly our little blip was in Ethiopia!

Our flirst glimpses of Ethiopia from the sky were so beautiful.

We marveled at the Mountains and my dd pointed out one Mountain she had read about and was the tallest Mountain in Ethiopia.

We were soon on the ground and once again the plane erupted in cheers and much uvulation.

I was so happy to see the airport was layed out JUST the way the AAI's instructions said. We got our Visas, exchanged some money, and then headed to baggage claim. Baggage Claim took a LONG time. There was so much luggage and for a time it looked like ours was not going to be among them but finally there they were our black suitcases that look the same as every other travelers' luggage :o). We collected our luggage and then had it x-rayed. Then we went out to head into the main airport and I just stopped dead in my tracks. There were hundreds and hundreds of Ethiopians staring at us as we exited baggage claim. They were looking for their relatives (Gail later said for every one Ethiopian to come home 10-15 family members go to meet them at the airport) coming home for a holiday. I notcied the sun had set long ago, and it was now dark outside.

We made our way through and found the sign for the Hilton Shuttle. The man told us there was another gentleman coming and it would be a short wait. As we were standing their we were apporached by Jamal the AAI driver! What a sweet man he is! He asked if we were an AAI fmaily and then who we were adopting. I told him "Baby John", and he was so excited. "Baby John is a miracle! Baby John, he go to America and he will be famous!" I told him we had adopted Yohannes and Eyassu too and he was so excited to see their pictures. He said, " I never see Yohannes look like this! I never see Yohannes smile. He always cry, cry, cry." Then he looked at me very seriously and told me "Thank you for adopting from Ethiopia. There are rich Ethiopians but they don't adopt. It makes me very sad." Now Jamal had made me cry, cry, cry!

The Hilton man signaled it was time to go and grabbed our luggage from us. As we reached the bus a boy of about 12 came up. He was on crutches and was missing part of his leg. He wanted money but I couldn't get to my money it was on the bus and then a man came up and started yelling at him. This still makes me sad.

We boarded and were off on our first Ethiopian driving experience. Now, I have read the stories but until you have ridden it you just can't know.. The drivers tear at break neck speeds only to slam on their breaks inches from cars or pedestrians. Lane changes are quick and without warning and horns are always blaring. I had been assured over and over that while the driving was intense there weren't any accidents, but we saw one right of the bat. It didn't look as if there were injuries, thankfully. The most amazing thing, to me, was the amount of people out and walking and walking.

We arrived and headed up to our room. It was downright "Groovy" with it's decor inspired by (or was it leftover from) the 60's.

My dd headed to the shower and I headed to call Gail and let her know we had made it. I called the cell # AAI had given us twice and both times got a rather aggravated Englishman who had never heard of Gail. Oh dear, I called her home number and got through on the 4th try. Her dh Yonas answered and said she was in the shower and would call me back.

I started unpacking and the phone rang and it was my dh! Yippee! He was happy to hear we had made it. We chatted briefly and as we hung up I realized it was late and I probably wouldn't hear form Gail until tomorrow.

That night we went to bed comtemplating whether or not Gail would be off for the May day Holiday the next day and whether we would be seeing our babe the next morning or in 2 days..We were also praising the Lord for bringing us so far.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Journey To Baby Boy ~(Day 1)

It has taken me too long to write about our trip!

Day 1~

This was the day we were to begin our long journey to Ethiopia to pick up our baby. It did not start out quite the way I had planned. I awoke with a fever and a very sore throat. Our 3 yo was recovering from Strep and I knew I now had it too. In the way only God can work, our Dr. had mysteriously given us mega amounts of Augmentin for our trip. Thank you Lord! I started on those and the 9 of us headed to the airport.

As we said good-bye to my dh and the kiddies I started to tear up, but thankfully, the kiddies didn't shed a tear. That would have been so hard! The plan was for us to go from our little city to Atlanta (Delta is our major air carrier here and we always have to go through Atlanta. There is a joke around here that after you die you go straight to Atlanta before you head to your final eternal destnation) to Dulles in DC to Rome for refueling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We had a 2 hour layover in Atlanta followed by a 4 hour layover in DC (where I was to meet my sweet little neice for the first time). Sounds like a good plan , doesn't it?

WELL>>>>>> things don't always go the way they are planned!

The plane we were to take to Atlanta had to turn around half-way to our town due to a problem with the plane. Our flight was delayed for 2 hours. This was big for our little airport and the poor Delta woman's hands were shaking as she had to redo connections for over a hundred people. Everyone settled in for a wait. My dd eagerly dove into her new book. I tried to read but was too keyed up. Instead I listened in on the conversations of a group of older Southern couples headed to DC for some sight-seeing. The men were discussing how they could have driven faster than the planes were going to get us there and the ladies were talking recipes for pecan praline and divinity. I was getting homesick and we hadn't even left the airport.

Suddenly, someone noticed they had switched the time for our plane to arrive an hour later than before. This causes more mad scrambling as people try and redo their connections. The Delta people have had it at this point and say we can redo our connections, if we miss them, in Atlanta.

Finally, the plane rolls in a a loud cheer erupts from the waiting passengers. There is great relief on the Delta Employees' faces. We board the plane and are off.

As we descend into Atlanta I notice we are really going to have to move to make our connecting flight. Upon landing I see we have 11 minutes to get to the B concourse form the A. I tell my dd to forget any manners I have ever taught her and that we are going to RUN. We do , we tore through that airport caught the train to the terminal, and made it to the gate in 9 minutes. Just as we approach the gate they SHUT THE DOOR on us and a little Korean lady trying to make the same flight. I go to two other Delta counters and BEG them to get us on that plane but it is in vain.

They send us to the Delta "rejects" counter for a new connection. Looking at the flights and my watch I realize we are now in danger of missing our flight to Ethiopia. A very kind Delta lady gives us info on a new connection and tells me to pick up the "Courtesy Phone" and ask the person on the other end to book and check us in. I pick up the phone and give the lady the info and she starts yelling at me for mising our flight. I would love to say I was calm and collected but at this point I just started to cry. This alarmed the Delta people greatly and they gave us free vouchers for food.

I call my dh and tell him to cancel our Delta Fly Miles Credit Cards (Just Kidding) I ask him to pray that we make our flight. I don't know what we'll do if we miss it. They only Fly to Addis every other day and the flights are always full.

We finally arrive in Dulles and to my surprise we are met by my MIL, SIL and brand new neice! I had told dh that they shouldn't come as we won't be able to see them. They were there with food and took us right to where we needed to go. This was a huge blessing and we would have missed our flight without their help.

We waited in the amazingly long Ethiopian Air line

and went through security to board our plane.

Finally, I felt like I could breathe again. We really were going to get our Baby Boy!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Here is a little mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God, and the body in which it dwells is worth all it will cost, since it is abode of a kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mothers heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, to her most tender cares, to her life-long prayers! Oh how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blest!”
~ Elizabeth Prentiss’ Stepping Heavenward

Monday, May 22, 2006

What Goes Around.....

Comes Around! This is one of my Daddy's favorite sayings (his other favorite saying was "You give 'em the books and they eat the covers!" What this means, I surely don't know).

I have always taken a ton of pictures of my children. I love taking pictures of them. They are all of my favorite subjects. I love to document how they change and grow. I take pics of all of those first moments... first bath, first laugh, first time walking, first pottying, first trip around the block without training wheel and so on. They are used to being the subject of my camera..

Well last night one of them turned the tables on me..

The little three were asleep in bed and the older five were in their last minutes before heading that way too. I was laying on the couch contmeplating how my dh was going to explain to my parents that I died of morning sickness when they didn't even know I was pregnant... when suddenly I notice someone talking and clicking away..

It's our 4 yo. He has found an old disposable camera and he's taking pictures of my tummy. Or more precisely the baby in my tummy.. He is saying things to the baby "Like say Goo-goo-ga-ga!" and "Are you eating cake?" "Smile, just ONE more time!"

I had to smile and (of course) take a picture..

The latest member of the Paparazzi is born!

Friday, May 19, 2006

1Samuel 1:27

Our Wee Baby has been with us now for 2 and 1/2 weeks. He is changing so quickly! He is eating up a storm and today I was noticing the beginning of a roll on his little leg! He has learned how to sit up and this morning he PULLED HIMSELF UP for the first time!!! Part of me wants to say "Go Baby Boy!" and the other part wants to say "Slow down and stay little for just awhile longer!" Isn't that how it is with all of our children though? They grow so fast and it is exciting, but we yearn for them to stay little just a little bit longer.

He is a joy and is adjusting so well! He loves to snuggle in with me for his bottles and I love rocking him as he drifts off to sleep. Sweet blessings, sweet Baby boy!

For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: 1Samuel 1:27

Thank you Jesus for letting me be this sweet little one's Mama!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Blessings or Burdens?

"The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing.
But in our culture we apply for a curse and reject blessings.
Something is wrong with this picture"
Doug Phillips

Today Brianna has a great post on her Blog about children and how the Bible says we are to view them.. http://heldts.blogspot.com./ (sorry I don't know to do that cool link thing. If I did it would say "Brianna's Blog" and take you right there :o).

It reminded me of my favorite thing about Ethiopia. Ethiopians LOVE children. They cherish them and love them and make kissy noises to them and talk to them REALLY talk to them.

I began to notice this on the flight over to Ethiopia. We flew Ethiopian Airlines and I would say 98% of the passengers were Ethiopian. There were quite a few children on the flight. On a 16 hour flight even grown people can get out of sorts and understandably some of the little ones on the plane had "moments". What I found fascinating was none of the other passengers were the least bit bothered by this. They instead went out of their way to help the Mother or give her a word of encouragement. Complete strangers would take the little one and interact with them in a way to make the little one happy again. It was so sweet!

Then while we were in Ethiopia I was touched deeply by the love my children were shown by Ethiopians. So many people would engage our baby and give him kissies. They would speak with our 10 yo dd and were really interested in her and her life.

This wasn't just women but men, "important business men", would do this too!

The most amazing thing happened at the airport as we prepared to leave the country. We had to wait in many long lines (these were serious lines, made the lines at Disney look like well, child's play ;o) .. security, than Airline ticketing, then Immigration, them more security, then boarding the plane... what happened in EVERY line floored me... they would see me with a baby and a child and they would put me to the front of each long line. It was so touching! Finally as we prepared to board the plane I was hanging back not wanting to ruffle any feathers as surely these people had to be tired of me being thrust in front of them when several people sought me ought and pushed me to the front of the line.. "You have baby, you have child, you go first." So sweet, so touching.

I learned so much from the dear Ethiopian people and their love for God's little blessings.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day Blessings~~

What a BLESSED Mother's Day Weekend it was!!

Oh, and Robin I won the azalea at church :o) The pic is just for you :o)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Wee Baby Is HOME!!~~~

We made it home late last Sat. evening! I plan to write all about our trip in the coming days. I have been down with a "bug" I seem to have caught BEFORE we left for Ethiopia~~ in about 7 months I should stop feeling the affects of this little "bug" .... it seems as if eight will not be enough and we are expceting number 9~ :o) Morning sickness has waned for a moment (can you believe reading on-line makes me sick!?).. So I thought I'd share a quick pic and let you know how our sweet boy is doing!

He has now been in our arms for almost 2 weeks! He is awesome, wonderful, happy, and beautiful!!! He is such a blessing! He is eating more and more each day and his little face is filling out. He has learned to sit up on his own this week! He is so easygoing and happy. All of the children are crazy about him and the feeling is mutual. He is a regular ham. He knows who "Mama" is and seeks me out to make sure I haven't gone far. He loves his Daddy and chants "Da, Da, Da." This morning Daddy had him walking from the bedroom to the kitchen and back holding his hands. It seems Daddys always want them to grow and do and Mamas just want them to stay little for just a little bit longer.

God has truly blessed us with this little one and we give all the praise to Jesus for birthing him into our family!