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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

So I didn’t get a post in for two days but I must say I am doing much better than the previous months, right?

Saturday I got to go out  shopping (had a few free item coupons at Bath and Body Works, and we hit the huge Scholastic Books warehouse sale, and took back a few things I bought black friday) with a friend of mine, who, by the way, is adopting from Ethiopia, through the same agency. Her little girl will even be from the same orphanage.  I am so excited that we will have another family in our little town with a child from Ethiopia.  Check out her blog ….her baby girl has a court date in Ethiopia today (they are 11 hours ahead).  This court appearance will make her officially their child and they will soon know when they can go pick her up.  Things have been changing in the Ethiopian adoption system, the government has added a few other steps and papers to the process, and so some families are not making it through courts the first time around.  So pray with Amy and her family that their sweet little baby girl would make it through court and be unite with her family soon.  The waiting is so hard.

Also, on Saturday we went to Brandon’s office Christmas party… it was fun… stayed out way too late.  Luckily, the boys were at our friends house who were also at the party, being watched by their daughter… who got them to bed and asleep by 8, so we just stayed the night there.

All in all it was a fun and busy weekend.  Brandon is out picking up some bunk beds and mattresses that I found on Craigslist.  This is our first time buying anything off of the site so keep your fingers crossed with us that it is successful.  The boys are so excited to get the bunk beds (we won’t set them up until next week when we move into our house) but Sloan has already asked if we can put Christmas lights around the bed….He said that it would be awesome if we could.  Yes, he used the word awesome….

Here are a couple pics of the boys…

november-081  Our little cheeseball.  Before hair cut.

november-109 Post haircut… if you ask Eyob where his hair is, he will say, “Heather did it!”  We cut his hair on a long awaited visit down in the Portland area with one of the couples we traveled with to Ethiopa.  They adopted a little boy one month younger then Eyob.  While we were there we decided that dealing with his hair and all the pain and stress it causes between us was not worth the cute hair do.  So Heather shaved it off.  Thanks Heather!  It has been a wonderful relief to not have the nightly screaming as I tried to comb through his hair. 

november-111  It has been so fun to see these two really start to get along.  They are so close in age that for a while there I was concerned they would spend the rest of their lives  driving each other and us crazy with their fighting, but as Eyob really begins to settle in and become part of the family, Sean is becoming so much more accepting of him.  We have been talking to him a lot about how he is Eyob’s big brother and it is his job to take care of him and protect him… all the things that we have said and still say to Sloan about Sean and Eyob. Many times over the last few weeks, Sean has referred to Eyob as his special little brother….Seany is so loving and stinky at the same time.  We have prayed and continue to pray that the Father will bind our boys together for life.  What a force they will be for Him.

november-123  Sean and Canyon Paul (my brother Brad’s son)on Thanksgiving.  They are about 4 months apart and look so much a like to me.  Both of them have the cutest shaggy hair and boy are they mischevious. 

november-115 We had 4 boys 4 and under at our little Thanksgiving partyand I’ll be honest we did resort to a little Veggie Tales that day.  We needed a little quite.

november-128

november-127 And we can’t forget the little lady of the year….Sage.  Isn’t she a doll.  Not sure why Seany is in so many of these pics… it’s weird.. although he is so darn cute I could just eat him…those cheeks….yum..

november-095 These are all the kiddos from Thanksgiving with Brandon’s family.  At one point they were all running a loop from the livingroom and around through the kitchen. I don’t know if they were playing tag or just acting crazy, but one by one, they got “hot” and took their shirts off.  Arent’ they cute. 6 boys 6 and under. 

Well, I’ll let you to… till tomorrow.

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Traci sent this email to us (her parents) and asked me to put it up on her blog, so here it is:

So we made it with ease on Saturday morning.  All of our bags made it in one piece.  Brandon only knocked over the huge pile once.  The Ethiopians thought it was pretty funny.  Brandon didn’t think so.  The drivers met us at the airport and took us to the Union Hotel and then on to meet our kids.  The hotel is wonderful., much nicer then I expected.  We met two of the families that are traveling with us on the airplane and we have all hit it off.  There is something bonding about this experience.  We are having an amazing experience with each other.  I am so thankful that God saw too it that we would have such great traveling partners. 

 

So….. Eyob is beautiful, much smaller than I thought and they shaved off all of his hair about a week ago.  He was at the front gate when we got there but I didn’t recognize him.  I have to be honest… this part of the trip has been really hard.  Eyob is SOOOO bonded with two of his special mothers (who love him) and the guard Tomie.  He yells Ta, Ta (Tomie) anytime we take him away.  I cried when I held him for the first time and so did he and he really hasn’t stopped around us since.  We are taking it slow and trying not to take it personally.  We take him with us when we go out but he won’t eat or sleep with us.  It is really hard, but we know that God has planned this boy for us.  Please pray hard that he will accept us preferably before the ride home.  It breaks our hearts to see him so sad, but Almaz (the amazing director says)  while these people love him this is not as good as a family.  He is meant for us.  Almaz keeps assuring me that I am the perfect mother for him.  Don’t worry…. About us…. I have decided that I am just going to enjoy the trip, love on kids and spend time with the amazing families that we are here with , and hold Eyob when he will let us and not stress about the bonding.  It will come.  I can’t ask enough for prayer for him… he is grieving….. and so are the people here who love him.

 

All in all we are having a fabulous time.  Please give my blond boys big hugs and tell them that we love and miss them.  We are dividing  and sorting the donations it is like Christmas around here.  We gave each of the kids a match box car from Sloan and they are all outside playing.  It is like one big family here.  Big kids helping little.  So precious.  Everyone…. There are more than enough kids for all of you….. 19 babies alone at HH.  Adopt people…..

 

When we know more we will post it here.  We have had no phone calls as yet.  Thanks for praying for them.

Linda and Greg Scandrett

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He’s Ours

eyoboct3.jpg

 Eyob Mark Armstrong

What a truly amazing day yesterday was……  Let me tell you the story….Yesterday was a pretty big MOPS event and so all morning I was busy  coordinating it.  At noon when the boys and I were finally on our way home, I noticed that Brandon had texted me a couple of times, “CALL ME!!  So not thinking anything I called, half expecting him to ask me what was for dinner but…… the first thing he said is, “We have him. We have a date.”  At first I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about. Then he said, “Julie called and we need to be in Ethiopia on the 26th.”  I was totally shocked.  “What??? You mean Eyob is ours!?” I yelled into the phone.  Anyway… God miraculously got us through court at the end of last week or the beginning of this week and they were not going to tell us until they found out if we could travel with this next group.  And we can.  We just bought our plane tickets.  We travel from SLC to Wash. DC on Nov 22, stay over night and then we leave from DC on November 23 to Addis Ababa (with a quick refuel in Rome).  We will return on December 1st. 

Since the middle of last week I have been trying to rest in the knowledge that God’s plan is perfect and I had really let go of my need and desire to have Eyob home by Christmas and was prepared to wait until Janurary or longer if that was what God wanted. 

I am overwhelmed with God’s timing.  I wonder if he wasn’t just waiting for me to truly rest in His will before he let anything else happen.  Anyway, we are rejoicing today!  Pray with us as we have soooo much to do in what amounts to 2 weeks.

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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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I’m back…… Really I didn’t go anywhere.  Maybe crazy.  Actually I feel like I have been a little crazy the last month and a half.  Once we got baby E’s referral I feel like our life has been an emotional roller-coaster.  A good thing followed almost directly by a bad thing (or at least what I consider a bad thing) and on the heels of the bad another good….. it is so weird how God allows things in our lives to move us, shape us, mold us, bend us.  I feel like play-dough that gets played with by kids and left out for a few hours.  About the time it starts to harden/dry out someone, probably mom, notices and puts it back in in it’s container.  It’s like I have been molded, pulled apart, squished and then put back together again.  I just start getting use to life as is and probably getting a little dried out spiritually because I am complacent, when all of a sudden God decides ENOUGH already and starts molding me again.  Using uncertainty and fear to draw me to HIM.  I usually respond but only after kicking and screaming that I want things my way (like the play-dough that is stuck in the carpet and as hard as you try it doesn’t come out).  OK enough with the play-dough metaphors…… Anyway, life has been crazy. I will spend the next couple of days trying to catch you up. 

I so wish I could post pics of all three of my boys, but I can’t so you will just see Sloan and Sean pics tomorrow.  Keep praying for baby E.  I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

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Have you ever gone hungry for a day??? Whether deliberately or because of a lack of food?  How many times have you gotten passed lunch time and said to someone, “Boy! I’m starving!”  How many times have you genuinely heard your stomach growl?  Once or twice maybe.  Most of the time my stomach growls because I have missed lunch by ten minutes not altogether. 

As I have been doing research on Ethiopia I was struck by this statistic…….. In Ethiopia more than five out of ten children under he age of five are chronically malnourished and suffering from growth retardation.  That means that five out of ten children are so hungry everyday that their bodies are not growing.  I was reading about one persons encounter with severely malnourished babies on his trip to Ethiopia.  He said that the children were so chronically hungry that they didn’t even cry any more.  They just laid their, mouths open with no sound coming out.  They had completely lost all hope.  They no longer even expected food to be provided.  Another woman recounted watching as a nursing mom put her baby to the breast to feed her and was unable to get any milk.  The baby just laid in her arms and wailed.  Can you imagine, as a mother, not being able to provide with your body the one thing that your child so desperately needs?  I can’t. Having just finished nursing my child and taking it so completely for granted, my heart aches.  I am almost physically sick thinking about it.  15% of infants in Ethiopia are born with low birth weight.  This low birth weight is closely associated with maternal nutrition.  52% of children in Ethiopia are stunted, 11% suffer from wasting, and 47 % suffer from severe or moderate underweight. 

Ethiopia is ranked 170 out of 177 on the United Nations Development Programs Human Poverty Index.  Ethiopia’s is one of Africa’s poorest states.  45 % of Ethiopia’s 7.1 million people live below the poverty level.  Per-capita income is under USD$100. 

I tell you all this, not to make you feel bad as you eat lunch.  Or to guilt you into doing anything.  Mostly, I am just trying to educate you as I am educating myself.  I want to know where my child will be coming from, what his background is and what his story is.  And as his future family and friends I want you to know too. 

I don’t know what God is calling you to do, but I do know that he is calling all of us to live a sacrificial life.  There are so many people in this world with so much less than what we have and I am trying hard to figure out what that means for me.  Thanks for reading.  Enjoy the lunch, dinner or whatever it is that God is providing for you just be extra thankful for it today.  God is good!

 Here are some good websites if you are interested in finding out more(I took the liberty of quoting from these articles):

www.savethechildren.org

www.doctorswithoutborders.orf

www.jointheglobalfund.org

www.unicefusa.org

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A Child Dies

EVERY 3 SECONDS A CHILD DIES FROM THE EFFECTS OF EXTREME POVERTY…………………. EVERY 3 SECONDS.. THAT IS 20 CHILDREN, BABIES, TODDLERS, INFANTS EVERY MINUTE……

Let that statistic marinate in your head and heart.  Try to imagine what that looks like. Can you even grasp it?                                                      

How does that sit with you?  Does it make you a little uncomfortable?  Does it hurt your heart?  Does it overwhelm you?  Do you just want to tune out, shut off, or forget that you even read it?  I feel all of those things too.  Sometimes I need a little shake, a little wake up call, that life isn’t always about me and that I am entitled to so much less than what I have.  I need to be forced to think about what life outside of my comfortable South Jordan home is really like for millions of people.  It is hard.  It is ugly.  It is heartbreaking.  It is motivating.  I am forced to ask myself…. How does knowing this fact change me? 

Think about it….

That’s enough for now…….

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