November 19, 2011


My schoolroom in the weeks before leaving for Ethiopia. Blankets cluttering my busy room as they wait for their long trip across the ocean. A daily reminder of work that needs to be done.

I roll blankets while Sally reads aloud to me from Frog and Toad. I call out spelling words as Eli helps me tape blankets up. Everett tapes boxes closed as we talk about his grammar lesson.

Mommy guilt sets in that evening as I think back on the day. Many blankets were packed up and mailed. Lessons were taught. My attention was not on our children as I went through the motions of teaching. I was counting and mentally checking lists. I wasn't looking at their faces and listening to their questions.

Guilt. They can't learn this way.

As I lament, I hear footsteps on the stairs. It's late and everyone should be asleep. Wondering whom it could be, Everett peeks around the corner. My first reaction is to be upset, as we tucked them in nearly an hour ago. Then he says, "Eli and I were talking. If we put our allowance together, we could sponsor another child in Ethiopia."

My heart breaks. Their allowance? If they pooled their money they would have $40, enough for sponsorship...barely.

He continues,"We were just thinking that we don't need to buy the stuff we save for. It would be better to sponsor another child."

I kiss his forehead and thank him for redeeming my day. What they are learning is much more important than grammar.

November 7, 2011

Three Days and Counting

Today was a cold, overcast day. I had a long list of things that were double and triple starred. Teaching grammar and history were not on the list. So, I scurried around getting nothing done (history included) until the guilt of being so disorganized motivated me to call a family meeting and get organized.

Errands seem to take longer and the gray clouds were a constant reminder of the impending winter. By evening, I had only marked a few items off of the list, but threw together a dinner I've been craving. Curried chickpeas--good stuff for a yucky day. Then the mail arrived! It's a big deal around here, the dog begins barking ferociously, kids scramble to see who can open the mail slot and rip the mail out. Envelopes scatter as a search for interesting mail ensues.

It was a very good mail day at our house.

The little photo books for our sponsor children were there.

A box arrives filled with blankets--that were already ROLLED UP AND PACKED. I. Could. Have. Cried. I love the beautiful blankets that have passed through this house. I am excited to be a part of bringing them to the children in Ethiopia. I am so done with rolling them up and packing them. I could have just let the tears of joy flow.

Nestled in with these goodies was something I have been hoping would arrive before I left this week. You other adoptive parents will understand my excitement. The IRS finally decided that we did indeed really, truly, adopt our children. We took a few steps in the wrong direction earlier this summer in the middle of the audit, in which they decided to go back to Ella's adoption in 2004 (yes, really) requesting receipts. They finally saw the light, and it only took seven months to convince them! They are actually shorting us $1400, but I'm just jumping for joy that we got where we did. My husband, glass-half-empty-man, will pursue the extra moola. I. Am. So. Done. With. The. IRS. Seven months of wondering and digging through files and copying was seven months too long for me.
After such a busy, frantic day filled with trip preparations, our evening turned out to be quite delightful thanks to a pan of chickpeas and the mail carrier.

November 2, 2011


She had a winsome smile as she handed me a large white envelope. A scribbled note on the back read, "Apryl do not open until later." I thanked her and answered a few questions about our upcoming trip, then slid the envelope into my Bible.

A believer listening to the quiet voice of the Lord.

When I opened it later, it was full of twenty dollar bills. Just enough to pay for another piece of luggage, if we need it. This envelope seems mysterious to me, as by my count we have the luggage 'taken care of' and all 500 blankets will arrive in Ethiopia.

It was an unexpected gift. The week before another woman chased me down, because she didn't know how to spell my last name. "God laid it on my heart to give you this. When I heard you say that the blankets were all taken care of, I decided you didn't need it. But I couldn't shake the feeling that the Lord wanted me to give this to you. So, I'm writing this check, use it for luggage, for food, for whatever. I have to give it to you."

Another woman I have only just met, listening to the quiet voice of the Lord.

I saw the Lord's hand in this, but didn't expect that he would bring another woman to quickly hand me this envelope. I can only wonder what needs we may see in two weeks that will be met by this gift of obedience.