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Archive for September, 2007

Eyob's Feet

I want to post pictures of baby E, so you can all see how beautiful he is, but rules are rules. However, I don’t think a glimpse of his little hands and feet could hurt. So here is our little man.

While we are on the subject of Baby E I wanted to post a few prayer requests:

Please pray with us for:
1. E’s continued health and safety.
2. Our case to be processed quickly through the courts. Courts open tomorrow (October 1).
3. the judges and court workers…. that they would be motivated and refreshed after their break and ready to work quickly on behalf of the children waiting for their families.
4. the money to be there when it is time for us to travel.
5. Sloan, Sean and the grandparents who will be here in Utah waiting for E and us to get home.
6. Safe travel for Brandon and I.
7. the bonding process when we see baby E for the first time and as we bring him home… that it would be smooth.
8. Our three boys to love each other.

I don’t think it is ever to early or late to pray. I also, truly believe when we pray together, God hears us. Please join with us.

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I’m here at the MOPS convention being held at the Gaylord Palms Hotel in Orlando, Florida and I am having a wonderful time.  I need to give a big thank you to my wonderful husband and fabulous mom for taking over my mothering responsibilities so that I can be here.  So here is a big THANK YOU! 

I left SLC at around 12:00 on Wednesday and arrived here in around 8 that evening.  It was a long day of travel, but honestly I thoroughly enjoyed the time by myself, even though most of it was spent in an airport or airplane.  Don’t get me wrong I love my kids and my life, but those of you who have little children or have had little children understand what it is like to leave it all behind for a little while and how good it feels.  That evening I was able to paint my toenails without the fear of little hands knocking over the bottle, change the channels as much as I want, and eat whatever non-healthy food I want.  It was fabulous. 

I am staying at the Gaylord Palms Resort, where the convention is being held and it is beautiful. Already, I have heard fabulous speakers like John OrtbergLisa TerKeurst and Elisa Morgan (CEO of MOPS) who have spoken to heart in various ways that I will share when I get home.  I have had the priviledge of listening to and worshipping with Matt Redman, who has written songs like Blessed Be Your Name and Better is One Day.  He describe worship to us as breathing in God’s goodness, mercy, grace, love, greatness, forgiveness and breathing out His Praise. Doesn’t that just hit you?????

I got to hear an awesome concert by a group that I had never heard of before, Salvador. And Sarah Groves was here as well.  She was wonderful and so real. I just got back from a concert by a group called Go Fish!  They were way too fun.  If you have little kids or “big” kids, you need to check them out. They state that they are on a mission to make great kids’ music that won’t drive parents nuts!  Check them out.  They have songs like the Ten Commandments Boogie, Jammies, and The Mom Song.  You can here a couple of their songs on the site.

So far, this has been a wonderful, relaxing, thought provoking, and spiritual time for me.  I can’t wait to see what they have in store for me tomorrow.

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I don’t want to get in the habit of censoring my blog, nor do I want to feel like I have to respond to comments that people make in defense of myself.  However, this time I am going to.  This is MY blog, MY heart being laid out, and MY life that I am writing about.  This blog is for no other purpose than to stay in contact with my family and friends and to write……   This is not a platform or stage for anyone else’s agenda.  SO on that note I am going to make a response to what seems to have been a very touchy subject.

We are not taking a mother’s child away from her…… she made the decision, free of coersion many months before we even knew about baby E.  When I said we don’t know the birthmom’s whole story that is true.  I have not sat down with her and talked to her personally.  I hope to do so with the help of an interpreter when we go to pick up E. I do, however, know much of her story and because of legal reasons am not allowed to post any of her person information.  Besides the legal reasons, we are choosing to keep our son’s personal history between us and him.  If he wants to tell her story someday he will, but we will not be sharing it with other people. So please, those of you who think you have it all figured out, don’t judge.  There is a story, we do know it, and it is hers (E’s birthmom).  My post the other day was to say that I had been selfish in my reaction to her and God showed me that. 

I believe that God is ALL about family, but sometimes, through many reasons, the families don’t look like the one’s we want them too.  Family isn’t always a mom and a dad, but sometimes it is.  In our case, E along with our two other boys will have a mom and a dad.  In other cases,  it is a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, a family friend or a foster family.  In Ethiopia, it can be a sister or a brother standing in as the mom or dad.  We are all brothers and sisters in Christ and have an obligation to love one another.  That was my point.  Because of circumstances, some out of E’s birthmoms control, and some choices she is making, she and I will be forever tied together because of our son.  That was what my post was about.

Yes, our agency does everything they can to keep families together.  She has not been coerced.  She was offered aid.  As Nat, said, there is a sponsorship program, there is counsel for the birthmoms, many of whom are giving up their children because they are dieing of AIDS, starvation, TB and such. Our agency provides relief and takes an active role in trying to leave the country they are in a better place.  But have you read Ethiopian statistics. If not here are a few:  Keep these in mind when you are choosing to be critical of me for “taking” a child away from his birthmom.” One in ten children die before their first birthday• One in six children die before their fifth birthday• 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old• 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition• The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years• 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)• 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone, and there are 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia.•   E’s mom is making a decision to save her child from being one of these statistics.  Does that mean she wouldn’t love to keep him?  I honestly don’t know, but I imagine that every Ethiopian wishes the circumstances in their country were different.  The more we know about Ethiopia, the more we fall in love with the people.  Because our son is from there and because we feel like God has placed a calling on our lives for the people of Ethiopia, who knows maybe we will go back there someday.  All I know is, that for now, this is what God is calling us to do. 

I have no idea the pain that goes into giving a child up for adoption, for whatever the reasons….. however, I am a “birthmom” too.  I do know what it is like to give birth and to love a child beyond anything you can imagine.  I know what it is like to want the very best for my child.  The only thing that seperates me, as a mom, from E’s birthmom is that I can only imagine the pain she is going through to give her child up.  I didn’t have to make that choice, but I can understand her pain.  My husband and I are following God’s call on our life to love a child and we can’t wait to bring him home.  In bringing him home we also realize what he will be leaving behind and hope to always be able to share that with him.  

I feel like I could go on and on in response to some of the comments being made, but may be less is more.  It is obvious, that some people commenting do not have the whole story.  Thanks for reading.  We will move on to a lighter subject tomorrow.

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We have gotten some new picture of our Baby E, or as Natalie calls him Mr. E, recently.  First, Natalie, our new friend from Washington, went to pick up her beautiful, Ethiopian beauty in August and while she was there she also met Baby E.  She took lots of pictures and sent us a few.  It is amazing how much you long for pictures, when that is all you have to connect with.  I probably look through our little collection of pictures two or three times a day.  Natalie told us that “E” is shy around strangers, but when he warms up to you he is as friendly as can be.  She also said that all the caregivers just treat him like a prince.  The same trip that Natalie traveled to get her baby, a few other families traveled as well and each of them had a few pictures to send me when they got back.  They all know what it is like to want a picture of your child so everyone who goes takes pics of all the children to disperse to families when they get back.

On Sunday, a woman I have never met, Suzi Redman, but who is a friend of Natalies sent me pictures of E that were from her trip at the end of August and boy has he changed.  She too, got to spend quite a bit of time with him while she was there and said he would just light up the room with his smiles.  I was so excited to hear that, because he isn’t smiling in any of the pictures we have. 

Yesterday, we received another batch of pictures from Julie, our case manager at All God’s Children.  One of the pictures in the group was a picture of E’s birthmom.  I am so ashamed to say that my first reaction to seeing E’s mom holding him was not one of sympathy and compassion, it was one of fear.  I instantly though, “What does it mean that she is there?  Does it mean she wants him back?  Does she see him all the time?  What does that look like for the future?”  I was almost paralyzed by fear and yet again (you’d think I would learn), I didn’t take my fear to the Lord, instead I emailed Julie and asked her, “What does this picture mean?”  She politely responded that while anything can happen, E’s mom doesn’t visit often and she made her decision to give him up a long time ago.  So don’t borrow trouble, she said to me.  I read the email and tried to just enjoy the pictures of our little man and in preparing for todays first day of MOPS I actually didn’t even think about it again until this morning as I was walking.

This morning while I was walking and praying for MOPS, God brought to mind baby E’s birth mom, just out of the blue.  He gently reminded me of the pain and suffering that she must be going through to give up her child.  To know that she can’t take care of him.  He ever-so quietly reminded me that her pain and sorrow are the reason that I am going to experience such joy and that if I can do anything to ease her pain I should, even if doing that hurts me.  He told me, that for E’s sake, I need to embrace his birthmom with all of my heart, so that I can speak about her with love not jealousy and fear.  E will need to know from me that it is ok to love his birthmom and to know about her.  He will need that permission from me.  I was humbled yet again.  I haven’t had an experience like that during prayer before.  One where I could actually feel and hear the loving voice of my Heavenly Father telling my where I had been wrong and guiding me in the right direction. 

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MOPS

We had our first MOPS  meeting today, with me as coordinator, and it went great (thanks to all the wonderful people on the Valley Breeze MOPS team). 

Let me back up a little.  MOPS or Mothers of Preschoolers was the first “event” I attended here in Utah.  Jenn made me promise when I left Washington to find the nearest MOPS in Utah and join it.  She new how nervous and honestly scared I was about leaving my comfort zone, my place of safety to come to this “foreign” land.  So I followed her advise and found a MOPS group at South Mountain Community Church, went to my first meeting, and met some people who invited me to another moms group.  Anyway, MOPS has been the place where many people, with children in the infant to preschool years, to find, support, friendships, and much more.   After a meeting or too I knew that if I was going to really “meet” anyone I would have to get more involved.  SO I let the coordinator know that I would be willing to help and that led me to the role of Publicity.  I did newsletters and stuff like that.  Well, at the end of last year I agreed to be the co-coordinator for one of the goups (our church has two groups with 60+ women attending).  As the year came to an end it was evident that we would be needing a new coordinator for one of the groups, and, I think, out of sheer desperation they asked me.  So here I am….leading a totally new group of women, most of whom I have met only recently (in order to take this position I had to leave the group that I was with last year and all the people)  and stepping out of my comfort zone to get up in front of 60+ women twice a month. 

The last three months have been filled with learning a completely new role, meeting new people, planning a leadership retreat, planning the year, and really relying on God for his guidance.  I am really excited about the year.  We are planned up and ready to have a good time.  So if you think about it pray for me everyother Thursday.

Also, I get to go to the MOPS convention, in Orlando, Florida, for 5 days starting next Wednesday.  I am so excited about that opportunity to get more ideas and leadership training and also the opportunity to “get” away and rejuvenate. Probably one of the last times I will have for awhile with the approaching arrival of our new little one. Please pray for Brandon and my mom as they will be taking care of the boys next week while I am gone.

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Mini-Miracle

Is there such a thing…… a mini-miracle?  I don’t know if there is.  Maybe all miracles are just miracles.  What constitutes a miracle?  What some people consider a miracle, I am sure others think is just coincidence or chance?  I have been thinking about the subject of miracles off and on for a while.  I guess as I focus more on the Holy Spirit’s movement in my life I am more aware of the everyday miracles.

So my miracle for today (no this didn’t happen today)……  In order to bring an orphan in to this country you must receive government approval.  The Citizen and Immigration Services is the agency that handles this and approval is called a Favorable determination letter.  Well, on June 28, Brandon and I went to our local office, where we turned in copies of our birth and marriage certificates, a copy of our homestudy and a few other documents.  Then we went and had our fingerprints taken ( think I talked about this on another post so I won’t bore you with any more details).  After submitting these documents we were told we would be waiting as long as 90+ days. So we hunkered down for the wait.  We didn’t feel to anxious considering we weren’t expecting a referral until October or November at the earliest.  Boy were we wrong… try the end of July.  Anyway, on August 2nd I got a babysitter and went up to the CIS office to check on the status of our FDL.  The lady behind the counter was really nice, but basically told me she did not have access to any of that information.  She said there was only one man in Utah who deals with the processing of these forms and that he was swamped.  She gave me his email address and told me that there was no way we were going to get our FDL before the 90 days and it might be even longer.  Well, on the heels of what was a pretty discouraging week already (we had some unexpected things happen) this was just another blow. 

I was emotional when I got home, frustrated at many things, and honestly, disappointed in God.  I kept thinking, “Why can’t he just work this out for me.”  Boy am I a selfish brat sometimes.  Listen to me.  I am embarrased to admit my lack of faith and selfish attitude.  Around 4:30 I went out to get the mail and honestly I was hoping I would find a lottery check addressed to me inside the box, but what do I see……. Yes!  An envelope with the CIS departments return address.  I ripped it open and started dancing around.  It had been approved 4 weeks to the day that we turned it in.  Once again I was put to shame at my lack of faith in God.  He showed himself to me that day in a way that was very profound.  It was a miracle to me.  I think God wanted to remind me that HE is still God even when I doubt.  (By the way, I do believe that He is still God even when I don’t get the things I ask for.)

On the flip side…… why isn’t God answering my friend Jenn’s ernest plea for her FDL???? I don’t understand and maybe I am not going to, but I am still praying for a miracle for her too. Would you join me?

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Sept07 005 (Click on the picture to be taken to the Flikr site for more “Shoe” pics)
When my dad was here a few weeks ago he suggested that I write about mothering stuff on my blog. So here begins Mothering Mondays…….. I will attempt to write down things that I am doing, noticing, and experiencing as a mom. Hopefully, you will find them interesting and helpful.

I am going to start with ……. Shoes

On Friday a friend and I took our boys to the zoo. Our two three year olds were runny around like crazy men and Sean was strapped into the stroller. We were going to go into the white alligator exhibit when I noticed that Sean had lost one of his shoes. They are the “fake” crocs from Payless and the only shoes he has. He loves them and enjoys the fact that he can put them on himself. So, I knew I had to find them. Leaving the boys with my friend I ran back through the places that we had been and couldn’t find them. Imagine… large zoo, small shoe. Turns out the shoe was nowhere to be found and we left that day with one less shoe. I don’t think Sean noticed, but I was pretty bummed and couldn’t figure out why.
Well, the next day I left Brandon with the boys and went in search of some new “fake” crocs. They were not to be found. I searched for almost an hour and all I could find were big boy shoes. I didn’t want big boy shoes!!!! I bought them anyway, took them home to Sean and guess what… he loved them. See pictures.
That was when I realized what was bothering me…….. he is becoming a big boy. While he doesn’t say many big boy words, he does tons of big boy stuff. He wants to be just like Sloan and I want him to be my little baby. As I put the shoes on his little feet and watched him proudly walk around the room showing them off, I realized that my job as a mom is not to keep them little but to teach them to be big, by providing love and boundaries that will help them grow into the men that God wants them to be.
                                          WoW! What a huge job mothering is……..

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