October 25, 2007

A little too much time on my hands

I meant to post this picture a while ago. Ella's best buddy donated her long locks to Pantene to make a wig for a child with cancer. Her new haircut was adorable, and very short. Ella immediately wanted the same cut. Unfortunately, my daughter is a sweaty little thing. It would seem (to the unexperienced) that short hair in the summer is a GOOD thing, but you would be wrong. Short hair gets stuck on sweaty foreheads, and forms little sweat encased ringlets that turn into teeny weeny snarls. I know because we have done the short-hair-during-the-summer thing. It started getting cooler and one afternoon everyone was busy but me. So I slyly asked Ella if she wanted a haircut. We went upstairs and I got busy. Not 10 minutes later this is what emerged...

The next picture is a perfect example of taking a craft too far. We just finished studying "Vikings" and made papermache helmets. I won't go into the details of this, because I would seem like a crazy homeschool mom, but suffice it to say, these helmets took some time. After all of the work the kids decided to "play Vikings" and I asked them to pose (because these helmets, even though they were a lot of work, may not last too long and we need a picture for posterity). Everett belongs on broadway, he has a flair for all things dramatic. Here is the "Viking pose" and following is his lesson to Ella on being a Viking dog (because her "Viking pose" did not suit his tastes).

Now we are off into the world of knights and castles...that should bring some interesting photo opportunities!

October 23, 2007

Surfing the Web

I received an email this morning from a friend of mine detailing some kids who need families. Like me, she's a mom to a child with limb differences. Unlike me, she's on several forums and listings for moms to kids with limb differences. Occasionally, she gets news of kids who need homes. She usually sends them to me and I sit staring at photos for most of the morning, feeling torn apart at the plight of these kids. This particular email was from a site dedicated to finding homes for special needs kids from all over the world. The site also has a blog associated with it--this is a great example of families who travelled and saw the needs of these "forgotten children." Regular, everyday, normal people like you and I making an impact on eternity.

If you have some free time or know someone who might be interested in adopting a child with special needs--please pass the address on.

On a lighter note-a family adopting through America World posted this website today. It looks like a fantastic way to incorporate Amharic and Ethiopian culture into our children's lives. I've been on the lookout for something like this--thanks, Davids!

October 20, 2007

Dying Cats and other Expensive Endeavors

Seth went out of town this weekend for work. We had planned to go with him, because-why not? Then I remembered that we couldn't go with him. Because of my cat. I have to force feed her every two hours. Because...well, I am not really sure. Either she wants to die by starvation or wants to live but doesn't feel like eating. Either way its a long story and I have some time on my hands (seeing as I'm not in the Big City visiting my husband) so I'll start with the most logical beginning--the day my microwave broke.

One morning my microwave started making a weird noise. When I opened the door it sort of growled at me. Strange as it was for the microwave to growl, I decided I'd put my cold coffee in anyway (maybe it growled because I was waking it up early, maybe I needed to drink some coffee so I wouldn't be imagining a growling microwave--either way it seemed a good idea to me). When I turned on the microwave it started buzzing and growling. Even in my early-morning-drinking-cold-coffee-state I recognized that this could be hazardous. So I unplugged the microwave. Then waited and when Seth came home I tried it out with him. He immediately clutched his chest and started wailing, jokester--he had me going for a millisecond. So we threw the microwave in the trashcan. We priced microwaves but thought that we should probably put the money into our adoption account. Then...

The next week we went on vacation (which explains how we got along without the microwave for so long). See previous posts on Moby and ditching our "old" van in Alabama to get the picture on that ridiculous story. We incurred a car loan and bills from nights in a hotel, eating out, and buying a new van but saved money by dumping the old van instead of fixing it. Then...

The week after we got home Seth had a dental appointment. He had to have some dental work done. This is never good news, especially to Seth because he's only ever had one cavity. They didn't have to use novicane on that one little cavity. They had to use novicane this time, and it didn't work. He was in pain and the bill was high. Then...

Ella has speech therapy twice a week. It's a good deal, but our insurance doesn't cover a tiddle of it. We get billed by semester and the next week I got the bill. Was expecting it sometime, but the timing....well, not so good. Now, I get to the cat...

The next week I noticed our cat was acting strange. She's a peppy 3-year-old, but was lethargic and seemed to be skinnier. So I called the vet and brought her in. Not good news, she had lost four pounds (she was quite a big cat, but not that big) and they would need to keep her overnight to figure out what was happening. Four days later, and by my estimates not any better, the vet told me the prognosis was not good. They were force feeding her, had run tests on her and couldn't figure it out. But basically, she was dying. So would I like to have an ultrasound done, because they may be able to see something wrong with her gall bladder and perhaps perform surgery to remedy this? I asked them what our expenses were this far. And you won't believe what they said. Make a guess...I'll give you a second, because this will really blow your socks off...$713 for four nights, an IV, and some bloodwork.

And my cat was still sick and they had no idea why. So I said I'd be there to pick her up. But in the 15 minutes that it took for me to get there; I somehow accrued another $80 of debt and the scorn of everyone working there--since I was essentially taking the cat to die. I tried to redeem myself by explaining that I worked at a vet's office for years in high school and college (when the prices were evidently MUCH lower and ethic standards higher). My cat looked horrible, and I had to sit in my kitchen floor and just cry. Partly because the cat was dying and partly because I just shelled out $800 for them to tell me that.

Then I dried my tears and asked myself what God was trying to teach us from this. Within a few weeks we had paid out over $1000 dollars in bizarro expenses. It clicked for me right then that we are now in a position to completely trust God for our money. We had been in a "trusting" place--trusting the excess of Seth's salary (along with being thrifty) and a few "gifts from God" to give us the $25,000+ that we would need. I finally saw that we weren't really trusting Him as much as we should have. We are better off financially now than we were 3 years ago when we adopted Ella. We had yard sales, got second jobs, and sold fundraiser cookbooks to scrape together the money. It would NOT have been possible to have made it without God's blessing. And the people we met, the story we told...it was amazing. One couple who heard our adoption story and the financial aspects of it, came to us after we spoke at church and said, "We've always wanted to adopt but thought we never could. We just don't make enough money." Now there is a baby in Alabama with a family because they saw our faith and decided that they could step out in faith too.

How much faith does it take to watch that paycheck roll in every month? And what kind of amazing story of provision will we tell? "God gave Seth a good job, we saved our money." I'm thankful for that, but what does that do for the people who have good jobs, but don't have that little bit extra to tuck away? It isn't very encouraging for them, but now we have joined their ranks. How excited I am to see God work this out and then to share the story. I'm not expecting our savings account to miraculously show deposits, but I am praying that God will bless our efforts. Does this mean pancake breakfasts and selling crafty things? I don't know, but I do expect that there will be a double blessing--we get to share the wonder of adoption with people as we work to build up our adoption fund.

And all of that because of a broken microwave and sick cat. Speaking of, I think it's about time to feed her--she's overcoming the odds and still alive, by the way.

Referrals, Referrals and more Referrals--not ours though!

Yesterday five more familes got calls from America World. It was exciting to read posts this morning. I was a smidgen sad though, because I'm still waiting. You may notice the ticker (that I hate and should remove because it mocks me) says that we have been waiting just shy of five months. I'm happy for the families (10 in all) that got referrals this month, but just barely a smidge sad because the reality is finally hitting home. These are the families with whom we paperchased, watched dossiers fly to Ethiopia, and waited. They are planning for their children and we are waiting.

We will be waiting for a while.

There I typed it...even as I clicked the period I had a thought of "What do I know, we could get a call in a month--why am I typing that? But then we could still be waiting until March." So maybe I should write:

Will we be waiting for a while?

I'm going to drive myself bonkers! Well, at least I'll be blissfully bonkers as I watch my internet-America World-Ethiopian adoption buddies getting courts dates and travelling. Congratulations to all of those who got referrals! You can watch them too here and here.

October 19, 2007

Shameless Plug for My Sister...

My dear baby sister is an not-so-starving artist. A wonderfully gifted, but lacking work, artist. She recently joined a crew of ladies who get together to encourage each other to use their artist talents. She was prompted to make herself available to people far and wide via...the internet, of course. My question is, What took you so stinkin' long?

So, ever the fabulous, encouraging, big sis I decided to link her blog and portraits right here to give her a little boost. Go visit her sites and tell her how fantastic she is and order something from her (then tell her that she needs to charge more and give me a percentage of sales for my marketing skills).

I'm not all self-less though, she NEEDS to do a portrait of Ella for me (if you are reading this Danica that would be a hint).

This is an oil painting she did for me years ago for Christmas. Such a cutie!

Last Night

Before my kids drift off to visit the Land of Nod; we pray. When they were really little, their prayers consisted of a list of "Thank Yous" rattled off to God. Listening to their prayers is an incredibly sweet way for me to end my day. Now that they are older, I get a glimpse of what is troubling them and what they are excited about. Last night Eli's prayer was so startlingly simple I had to swallow back tears as I kissed him goodnight.

He prayed, "God, I really want to meet my baby brother before Christmas. Amen."

October 11, 2007

I saw what I saw

This video is on just about any Ethiopian adoption blog I've visited recently, so I didn't feel like I needed to post it here. Then I thought about all of you guys (are you out there?) who don't bounce from one blog to another checking into the lives of other adoptive families--in a nutshell my family and friends.

I first encountered Sara Groves after stumbling onto her cd at the library. I enjoyed it, but alas, she was what we were listening to before we abandoned our old van in Alabama. I remember asking Seth (as we furiously chucked things from old van to new van) if he got the cd out of the player. He assured me that he had put it into a bag somewhere. Now, weeks later, with a heavy library fine, I've come to terms with the fact that the Sara cd is in an auctionhouse in the boonies. Maybe she'll be a blessing to the guy who scrubs the interior of the van after he buys it.

I hope this song is an eye-opener. Since we decided to adopt from Ethiopia, I've been realistic about how this trip will affect us. I'm approaching our travel with trepidation, afraid that what we see and who we meet will change our lives forever.

October 9, 2007

When it rains, it pours...

Our agency had a busy week. Our family has been visiting my parents and grandparents (Happy 80th Birthday, Grandpa!) so I just found out last night about all the referrals that have been given. Before we left, I knew about the Carpenters and the Davids. The Carpenter's news was extra-thrilling because they requested two children. Though they have been waiting for a while, it is encouraging to see them finally get a referral and know that "our line" is moving too. Then I found out about 3 more families that have news of their children. All of these families have every reason to expect to travel before Christmas to get their little ones--which is very exciting. Congratulations to everyone--praying that you get news of court soon and that the referrals continue to come!