April 28, 2009

One Year Ago

One year ago today we met our children.
We didn't know if it was "gonna be alright." We prayed. We hoped. All we knew was that God had given us these children and we had to trust Him. The last year has had it's moments, but it's been so much better than 'alright'.

April 25, 2009

Sending Shoes to Ethiopia

After our day without shoes we had a chat after dinner. I had been thinking about whether being shoeless for the day actually made any difference in any one's lives. Curious about what the kids were thinking, I started a conversation--a day without shoes debriefing... "So, we went without shoes for the day, but what came from it?"

Some blank stares, some thoughtful looks--then this reply from Elijah. "Welllll, we all got really dirty feet and Jojo got a splinter."

Yeah, I guess that sums it up pretty well. Kids are so literal. So I pressed a little more, wondering if they would come to the same conclusion that I had. "Right. Do more people in Ethiopia have shoes because we went without shoes for a day?"

All heads are shaking. Elijah, again, is ever so helpful, "Why don't we buy some TOMS shoes so that they can send one pair to Ethiopia?"

"Great idea, except I counted my shoes and I'm ashamed to admit that I have 44 pairs. So I don't really need another pair. And I'm pretty sure we could buy lots of shoes for the price of two pairs from TOMS. What else could we do?" I'm totally leading them, but want them to see where I'm coming from.

Lots of ideas including sending our extra shoes to Ethiopia and (from Eli again) eating only baked beans to save money. I latched onto the latter idea. Sort of. I've told the kids that if we ate less expensive food, we'd have more money to give away. Joking I once told them that if we ate rice and beans everyday we would save tons. Which is true. Eli loves baked beans so he put his spin on the money saving bean eating idea.

After further discussion we all agreed that we would start saving money by making better choices and doing extra chores. I will put the saved money into an envelope for shoes. I'm going to send the money to Jill's sister, Katy, who will buy shoes during her month in Ethiopia this summer. It seems, to me, to be the most efficient way to bless shoeless people in Ethiopia.

April 18, 2009

Drawn From Water

My view of the world changed the moment a hurting orphan became our hurting child. Sometimes, it's a comment by a stranger that sets me off thinking. In this case, it's a hard-to-watch video. It's hard to watch because the images from Ethiopia are still so raw. I'm living comfortably with my healthy (somewhat), happy (most of the time) children. Why can't I let it go? Haven't we done enough? It would seem that upon returning home, supplying children with love and care, providing medical attention, and a generally easy going middle class cushy American lifestyle that we could just let it go. We did our part. But it doesn't go away. I have vivid images of the children we met at Kids Care. A year later, some of them are probably still. there. waiting. They are older children and have little hope for being adopted.

So, watching a video of children who have literally been rescued from death can be pretty hard. I see the faces of children I've actually met. I see the faces my children. Then I take a deep breath and turn the video off. To all the world we've done 'our part'. Secretly, I know that we haven't. If pressed, I would admit that I feel a terrible burden for orphans all over the world. I would also admit that I use my children as a great excuse for being complacent and disconnected. Will they grow up with a burden for others or be controlled by their desire for success? How do you teach compassion? Only by living it and I fear that we are falling short.

I admire the family who goes to Ethiopia, sees the children, and decides to do something. Please watch this short clip that explains their story. If you skip all other video suggestions, do me a favor and watch this one.

Drawn from water is the blog for the organization.

Kramer No More

That massive pile on the left would be "The Kramer" that I removed from Josiah's head. I picked his hair and couldn't believe I had let it grow so long. Six inches high seems a smidge out of control. I grabbed the scissors and went to work. Oddly, his head seems to have grown bigger. Maybe it's always been this big, but just looked small in comparison to the woolly animal residing on his noggin.
Our baby has officially left babyhood behind!

April 15, 2009

One Day Without Shoes

We are doing it. Will you join us and leave your shoes at home today?

Watch this video. Or this video. Then rethink your answer.

I talked to my kids. We decided that we could go without shoes for one day. I'm always looking for lessons to teach my children that require some action on our part. Before you scoff and remind me that I homeschool--we will leave the house. We will be in public. We will be cold because it's 40 degrees outside right now. No matter, we don't have to walk to get food, to go to school, or to get medical attention. We drive EVERYWHERE. So take off your shoes, tell people why you are walking around barefoot, and, if they strike your fancy, buy a pair of Tom's shoes so that a child in Ethiopia won't have to go shoeless.

April 9, 2009

Post Placement Visit

We just had our 12 month post placement visit from our social worker. I'm assuming all is going well since she left the kids in our care. It may have been the wildest visit she's ever had. I can't pinpoint what may have made it seem crazy. Maybe it was the baby climbing on her as she took notes. Could have been the puppy careening through numerous times. The bigger kids were only in and out 32 times during the hour she was visiting. I vaguely remember the phone ringing. Then it was all over. She's such a nice woman to put up with us and our chaos. That was our last visit with her. Sniff.

Until we adopt again.

Only kidding, folks! Here are some pictures for our post placement report.

I confess that both pictures of me in every post placement report have been staged. As in, "Quick, grab the camera and take my picture we have our visit this week!" The above photo was taken by Eli the day before our visit. I was directing him on how to take a picture and glanced over to see what the puppy was into when he snapped it. Seth wasn't involved in the photo choosing and was a *tad* upset upon viewing the pictures. Something like, "Yeah, look at what you got vs. me and Sally." I thought it was a great shot of goofball Sal entertaining her daddy.

I needed that

Josiah pulled back the shower curtain today. Then he pointed at me and said, "Bahnmrh bhayy mmmmphhh!" and laughed. Two things came to my mind immediately:

What in the world does that little butterball think is funny?

Perhaps it's time that he doesn't come into the bathroom with me while I'm showering. He can run around unsupervised downstairs if it will save me some embarrassment.

Later, Sally asked me why I have such big bunions. 'Bunions' is the term Eli coined for our hindquarters. Not having a very good reply for this I muttered something about being a mom and getting old. Probably should have muttered something about chocolate and poor exercise regime instead.


April 8, 2009

Blogging Funk

There is a stain on the carpet in the boy's bedroom. It's urging me to blog.
Reminds me of the time Sally puked on my legs just as we were going to the Creation Museum with the Dragovich family. That was pleasant. Well over an hour from home, no change of clothes, and I'm covered in vomit. What's a gal to do? Pull out the wipes, the antibaterial goo, and head to the women's restroom upon arrival at the museum so that you can half-heartedly rinse the vomit out of your shoe laces while no one is looking. We lost Ella and Sam for a while that day. Good thing it was just us and a busload of Mennonites. I even made all of my kids wear red shirts so they would be highly visible. I don't know how those two slipped away.

Shari is soon to be adding two more to her clan. After hanging out with me for a few days I honestly thought she would have called the agency and told them to just forget about it--no referral call needed. She's a brave lady.

Though I haven't posted in a while, life is still screaming along. My mind can't seem to be still enough to generate a single interesting thought. I guess the highlights of our past week would go something like this:

Seth was gone for five days. I can't imagine being alone all of the time. That is all.

For the first two weeks on the market we had five showings. They managed to time themselves just about every other day. It was unpleasant. We haven't had a call since. Life is more pleasant, ie. less mad dashing about to clean and bake goodies that mask the smell of five children, puppy, and a guinea pig that refuses to kick the bucket. Have I ever mentioned that none of the kids EVER flush the toilet? Chocolate chip cookies are good comfort food after learning that the house is still ours--but they aren't the wonder house staging item that you would expect. The hope of being united with Seth in our new and exotic destination is dying quickly.

Three of the five children have been sick. Everett has an overactive gag reflex (read: he pukes easily). Combine that with a weak stomach...remember that scene from Stand By Me? His worst nightmare. He'd probably throw up just watching the movie. Not that I would ever think of letting him watch it. While I'm on the topic, why do kids always wait to get sick until the middle of the night? I can't think of a time that any of my children just up and vomited in the middle of the day. Always at night. Without warning--they always eat a nice big dinner and then wake up and retch. They must have been feeling a little 'off', but never mention it until AFTER the nastiness.

Everett started coughing and expelled a chocolate milkshake on his bed and the creamy speckled carpet in the bedroom. When he saw the mess on his hand and then stepped into it...again, remember that scene from Stand By Me? Seth was the first to the bedroom, and immediately deemed himself unable to manage anything. I think he's missed most of the puking that has happened over the past year. Just by chance. He's out of practice and it's made him WEAK. (Stuck that in for you, dearie). He did get me the cleaning supplies and garbage bags. And he started the dirty stuff in the washing machine. As I was finishing the scouring of the vomit stained carpet, he returned from the laundry room and said, "No offense but I can still see an awful stain on the carpet. And it smells pretty bad up here." Thanks so much, my dear. Did you happen to notice on your way up here that IT'S THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT and there are two other boys asleep in this room? I'm not breaking out the steam cleaner. The stain is still there, by the way.

So I don't blog for three weeks and this is what I come up with. I'm so sorry. I've been living in a homeschooling, feverish, children and animals everywhere bubble. I have serious topics gurgling around, but I. Cannot. Go. There.