Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008

Farmboy and his brood



YIKES! Kume gets a real kick out of these guns. Hey, honey, remember you have Barbies over there, and an American Girl doll, and a purse, lip gloss....Seriously, I get a kick out of it.



We do have to admit we have the kids trained well. They KNOW we are night owls, and have no morning bird qualities whatsoever, so they do a decent job of waiting to start the festivities. Starting the late-morning fun....



Yeah, I know. I said we would NEVER get a game system in our house. But everyone says that these truly are family friendly, and not too addicting. We'll see. The kids are THRILLED I got talked into this one by sweet Farmboy.



Wii Boxing... ages 5 and up:

video

Okay, if you don't know what these Perler beads are, you must get some for your kids. Our kids have spent hours and hours and hours making these, all the kids. From age 12 to 5, they enjoy them. Our downstairs tree was almost completely decorated with their creations. Jambo got about 11,000 more, since we have gone through the first 15,000 to 20,000. Just DON'T spill them.



HAPPY NEW YEAR May we all be open and available to step out of "safe" to whatever God is preparing us for this year. Like describing Aslan of Narnia, God is not safe, but He is good.

Z in concert

Z makes us smile. She is such a free spirit, and definitely marches to the beat of a different drummer. She also is developing her piano skills and is becoming such a treat to listen to. I think she got a major charge from the comments of several people after the concert. They called her "phenomenal", and that she "blew them away." We are proud of her, and both like to claim dibs on where the musical talent came from (although I'm pretty sure we ALL know it's really from me....).

Addition to the post - Farmboy style:
Upon request... Here's a video of the Mad'ster performing at the elementary school Christmas program. Yes, we still call it the Christmas program in our town (not the ~Holiday Festivus gala event~) and we sing Silent Night and all that. I wonder, even in the wonderful little conservative community we live in, how long that will last. The music teacher allows anyone daring enough to play their instrument (maybe 600+ in attendance.) Sometimes you get a third grader plinking out "Joy to the World" with a single finger. It's fun to see the kids progress. Here's Mads [Z] 5th grade performance.


video

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let it snow and snow and snow....






So, as we are currently under a blizzard warning, I am pretty confident we will have a white Christmas.

Usually we all LOVE snow days, but this past Friday was the kids' last day of school before Christmas break, so besides our middle schooler, who no longer has parties, the kids were all excited about the big shin digs, and DID NOT want a snow day. The twins were having a Pajama Christmas party, so were pretty jazzed to wear their PJ's to school and Zgirl and Action were excited about the pizza and sub sandwich parties, plus all the cheap, pointless trinkets they get to bring home and dump on the floor. But, early Friday morning came with a dumping of snow, so alas, we had a snow day.

Thankfully, Saturday was clear, so Farmboy and I got to hit the mall, along with everyone else in West Michigan, and get almost all of our shopping done.

I was looking forward to Sunday, the last Sunday before Christmas, a time to sing some of our favorite Christmas caroles and just be with other believers, as we all truly get the awesomeness of this season and feel so privileged to spend some time honoring our Lord at this time. Well, we got another dumping last night, and ALL today, so our church, and pretty much all the churches in West Michigan, were cancelled. Bummer....

Okay, tomorrow I have a hair appointment. Short hair gets "puffy" and quite unattractive when not taken care of, so....the storms better be calming down by then, because this is serious stuff.

Finally, the twins had their first Christmas concert at school. They stood next to each other, but by the last song, Kume was there, while Jambo was somehow behind her. Knowing her, she just may have been attempting to steal all the limelight. They had a blast.

MERRY CHRISTMAS
Everytime I think Third Day is just too cool, they go and blow me away again with more awesome stuff.

THIRD DAY - MERRY CHRISTMAS:



Here are the lyrics if you are interested:

There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Crying for momma's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town
There the forgotten are

But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white,
Make angels in the snow

But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears
And hope that heaven's angels come to carry you here

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

Christmas is a time to celebrate the holy child
And we celebrate his perfect gift of love
He came to earth to give his life
And prepare a place for us
So we could have a home with him above

It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms
And I'll tell you from my heart, and I'll you from my heart
I wish you Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Paperwork FUN

Really, I am serious, this is kind of fun. I am a list maker, and SO enjoy checking things off my list. So this kind of stuff is just made for my personality. For those of you who have adopted, you know what the paperchase is all about, but for those that haven't, it is a list maker's dream. Gladney has been careful to make sure to give us many, many, many lists to check off, recheck, rip up, make a new copy, spill coffee on, lose, make a new copy, check off some more....

I am seriously exhilarated to be making some progress in this process. And, yes, so far the rumors are true: Second time around is easier. We are just about Gladney approved. Honestly, if we weren't approved this would be one ticked woman. But, we will jump through whatever hoops to bring our little one home. We are also hoping Gladney/Natalie approves our homestudy, like, yesterday, so we can submit the thing to CIS to wait some more.

Oh, and the twins got their first taste of snow. Loved it, but keep wondering when it is going to get warm again. Yeah, me too....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gladney

So during this tediously slow process, we have gone full circle. We will be using Gladney to facilitate this adoption, after weeks of thinking otherwise. There will be some twists and turns that are unfamiliar to us and Gladney, as we both blaze a new trail, but I am excited to be a part of that.

I am also actually excited to finally start the paperwork process. Others have promised that it is much easier the second time around. Sure hope they weren't playing some cruel joke (coffeemom???).

So, I am thankful for so many things, but now have an added thanks that we and Gladney are again walking down this road together to bring our child home.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Plug for Peder Eide

Okay, so the concert was Thursday night, and it was so well done. Peder Eide has a wonderful adoption story, and such a passion for adoption and orphan awareness. He is the father of 5, three bio kids and two adopted, the most recent one, a beautiful little boy from Ethiopia. My kind of guy!

So, if anyone out there has thoughts about doing their own benefit/orphan awareness concert, I would definitely recommend contacting him. His music is great and he is a ton of fun. Lots of kids were at the concert, too, and if our own kids are a measuring stick, the kids love him. We got 2 of his CD's and the kids have been singing his music all over the house for the last 2 days.

Peder Eide's Compassion video:



Hey, on a side note, if you have a spare minute, you are welcome to swing by and help us rake up our leaves....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

concert and stuff

This Thursday, we are part of a benefit concert, that is all about orphan awareness and adoption as an option.

Cool coincidence. The concert organizers, Michelle and Chris, were dreaming and throwing out concert ideas, when they went to a concert on the waterfront at one of our beach towns this summer (seriously, you must visit Michigan in the summer, the beaches and big lake are truly spectacular). Michelle told her husband, Chris, she thought he should approach one of the artists about singing at our concert. Chris said, basically, not unless he got a clear nudge from God. Then the artist, Peder Eide, shared a little of his own story, and that he just returned from adopting a little boy from Ethiopia one week ago!!! Uh, Chris, I think that's your nudge. So, now Peder Eide is going to sing and share his story. Michelle then called us about a day after we made our decision to adopt L'il B, letting us know that she heard it through the grapevine we might be adopting again. Hey, that is one amazing grapevine. So, we are one of five local families in the process of adopting from Ethiopia that are part of this event. I am getting excited, but have to be honest that Farmboy and I are wondering if 20 or 1000 people will attend. We'll see. Ah, another place to trust God. He is ALL about that, I am learning.

On the home front.


We painted CJ's and Jambo's room and the twins had the opportunity to sleep together during the painting. Isn't the drool spot just darling? Oh, and this is a double bed, but they certainly didn't need it.



The twins are now 5!



Can you just imagine how beside yourself you would be if this was your very first birthday celebration EVER and you were old enough to really get it like these two??? They already had two chances to endure, I mean celebrate, a sibling's birthday and were SO ready for their own.



Zgirl just turned 11 and I had the privilege to take her and her 3 friends to the mall and to High School Musical 3. A friend went with me, to make the evening fun for all. This is her own work of art.





Halloween -- Farmboy and I greatly appreciate all the hard work the kids did to supply our sweet tooth when the little ones are in bed. Is this how it works in all families, because I do sometimes feel a tad guilty for all of our sneakiness. Sorry kids, I just really don't understand where the Reeses and Hershey's went, but there are still plenty of smarties, suckers and jolly ranchers.... You kids are SO lucky I don't like Snickers.

Friday, November 07, 2008

more waiting....

I thought this time around, the waiting would be much easier. I mean, we actually kind of like the time to continue adjusting while we get ready to bring another little one into our home.

But there are different waits this time.

We wait to get L'il B into a new orphanage. The new orphanage is the best place for her while in Ethiopia, but there are a couple paperwork glitches, so she can't move there yet. This we have been waiting on since Oct. 1.

We wait to start working with our new agency, AAI out of Washington. Yes, we LOVE Gladney, but AAI is also a great agency and works specifically with the new orphanage, so we have to make the change. But until L'il B is at the new orphanage, we have to wait for AAI to officially begin working with us. So no dossier paperchase, yet. Hey, maybe that is a good thing....

We wait for our homestudy to be completed. Our homestudy worker injured her arm, so can't type right now. Hmmm, I'll type it for her, and give a glowing recommendation.

Well, the best waiting to do is . . . . waiting on the LORD. Really, what else can we do?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One Two Three, Not it!

My poor wife, Sweet Buttercup is tired. Alas, defiant - convinced she is above the trivial and meaningless blogism that makes blogs, well, blogs maybe. Tagged, ignored, tagged again, nothing. Hmmm, what's a Farmboy to do... "As you wish."

I tag me to share 7 random (although selectively chosen) things about ... Buttercup. Wouldn't be fun to talk about a poor farmboy.

1) Buttercup is not her real name... it's hmm, nah. Even though I'm convinced everyone knows it anyway, we're still holding fast to the illusion this IS an alias. I will share this tidbit though... Buttercup has no real middle name. Parents suggest even to this day that her first name is SO beautiful she didn't need a middle one. Well - maybe so.

2) Buttercup is smart. Like 4.0 smart. Salutatorian at a big suburban metro school. Legend even has it that she WOULD have been valedictorian if Dominic Stupido or whatever his name was didn't transfer in his senior year. Actually if I had a nickel for every time I heard that story I'd probably have well, maybe like thirty five cents or something like that. That Dominic Stupido!

3) She does NOT like Pop. Get this... the bubbles hurt her throat. Ouch. Ok, I'm laughing at her. On the other hand, she'll drink pickle juice straight from the jar. I walk in the house. fridge wide open, head back like a "got milk" add, only it's sweet pickle delight. UGH.

4) If you sell something that is free after rebate, she will buy it. Seriously. Now the adoption tax credit was totally NOT the reason we adopted, but I tell yah, her eyes did light up a bit when I told her how it worked. We have not paid for toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, shavers, or extension cords in YEARS, in fact my father actually told us to STOP putting them in his stocking at Christmas. Our cup overflows... We have conversations like... "you know, I think I would actually pay for this one" while getting ready for bed. The best is when she actually makes money on purchases. "Oh my WORD, what is this?" "Ahh, nothing... I made a dollar to buy it." ...Stocking stuffer.




5) Apparently she stalked me for the greater part of a year before we actually met. I was a college senior while she a tender sophomore. I can honestly say I do remember getting strange phone calls that went like this. "Is Farmboy there?" "This is Farmboy" ...click. Girlsgonemild-Calvin College style. We did meet at a toga party, actually. Tan girl in white bedsheet at keg with beer. Yeah, I'm in love.

6) Neither of us grew up with a heart for adoption or any life long indication that we would adopt. Neighbors of ours adopted just 3 years ago, and my honest reaction at that point was - Huh. God has though, before and since that date put some people and events in our life that planted us at exactly this point. One notable event was housing Mohamed Farmboy Jr. Salem, a boy from Western Sahara, Africa, in our house for 2 summers through our church and later for a 3rd time indefinitely. OUR plan was to bring him to America and educate him in the states for the remainder of his schooling, 7th grade on. He grew homesick and, just like that, went home. Weird. I'm not sure we adopt if he stays. GOD knew where He was headed.

7) This woman is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ with an insatiable appetite for adventure. Believe me, I don't need to go looking for adventure with the catalyst for it sitting next to me. I am the fear to her GO. She has a gift of wisdom, passion for prayer, appetite for HIS word, and a little bit of dynamite thrown in. Since you asked, I will let her share more herself.

When I TAG her to death. Tag, Tag, Tag, Tag, Tag, Tag, Tag. All 7 baby... You're it.



Don't be mistaken... this one was scripted by the one called Farmboy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oops

Oops, we have been home as THIS family for 6 months, and I think I just sort of let it pass right on by. I'm pretty sure it was a good day, though. Seriously, we are blessed.

Okay, here is embarrassing....

We decided to use a different home study provider for our post placement reports (long story) and she is great. She came for the 3 month visit and all went smoothly. Well, to save time and money, she came to do our 6 month post placement and our new home study update all in one visit.

It was a VERY hectic day. That morning, I left early for a conference all day (a rare occurrence, but....I need to maintain my social work license), so sweet Farmboy got the kids off to school. Once I got home at 5:30pm, even though I wanted to just get some sort of fast food for the family for dinner, in order to be prudent with our finances as we are on our new adoption journey (plus we ate out a lot in Chicago), I had planned to make something at home, so quickly pulled a dinner together in the kitchen. This was done FAST, and cleaned up in a hurry, as our home study provider was expected at 6:30pm.

She arrives, she is SO nice. We have a nice time in our all-cleaned-up living room, kitchen and family room. Two story houses are nice that way. She shocks me. She wants to see the rest of the house, since she is actually doing a home study update, too, and she wasn't our initial provider, so needs to take a look around. Uh, yeah, I know you are tracking with this. Now I do like a made bed, but remember, I was the first out the door that morning. Nothing was done. Not even in our room. Nothing. I felt like such a slacker.

But really, what does a made bed and picked up room matter? Our home study provider appeared to care less, but this self-professed neat freak felt otherwise. I know, I know, you think I'm exaggerating. I just wish I had pictures to share of Zgirl's and Kume's room (yes, Mom, it looked just like that). Now they are slackers.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A weekend in Chicago

Oh, what 2 days away can do.


I got to go away with my best friend, Farmboy, for 2 days!!!


Thank you, thank you, thank you, mom and dad, for watching the kids for us so we could spend some time as, well, just a couple.


And all the kids did fabulously. The twins have adjusted very well, and we thought they were ready. But you can never tell, for sure. Yea, they were thrilled to have grandma and grandpa spoil them to dinners out, games, extra snacks....


In an effort to bore you to tears, and stop yapping about adoption for a minute, I am sharing some of our trip.

We took the commuter train into town. LOVE doing it this way, since there is no stress with parking and traffic downtown. Farmboy is waiting for the train and he has a satisfied smile on his face, since we stopped at our favorite restaurant -- Taco Bell (not really, but it ranks up there in junk food fare) before we got on the train.






Another FAVE spot. We LOVE Ghirardelli, even though the samples this week were chocolate/peanut butter squares. Let Reeses stick with that, and give me a pure piece of chocolate any day. The sundae made from their yummy chocolate is scrumptious, though.







Farmboy and I were made for each other, really. Here we were, staying on the Magnificent Mile, and neither of us wanted to shop. The extent of our shopping was the Hersheys store. So much for spurring on the economy. Instead, we hiked along the lake shore and strolled around Navy Pier. Our kind of day in Chicago.







I am NOT a sports fan, but it sure was fun visiting this stadium. Man, the Cubbies fans are loyal. You should have seen the neighborhood surrounding the stadium. Maybe one of these years, they will finally get theirs.







The Broadway musical, Wicked. Go see it! I almost didn't go because of the name, me being a good Christian girl and needing to shun anything "wicked". But this is all about the REAL wicked witch of the Wizard of Oz, and she IS NOT wicked. Misunderstood. Now, that rascal wizard, well.... If you do go, get the CD of the music first. I enjoyed it SO much, knowing the songs ahead of time. Farmboy can vouch for me, I was a super geek at the show, giddy over the whole thing. I guess I haven't gotten out much lately.

Of course, we take countless "out of towner" pic's while walking the busy streets. Maybe we should have worn an orange triangle on our backs or something.


And upon returning home, the only pressing thing we have to get to is getting Zgirl's glasses fixed. Apparently, they just broke on their own, with no one even touching them. Weird.



Thursday, October 02, 2008

do ken, one moe time

Yes, it's true.
Crazy true.



After weeks of indecision we are jumping in with ALL our feet. 16 feet to be exact. We have received no additional information regarding the specifics of "L'il B" other than she is 2 this month. To say this was easy would be flat out a lie. I can't help but blame sweet Buttercup on this one. Couldn't you have named our blog weTALKofFaith.blogspot.com or ourwalk inthepark? Cutsie2'tsie.blogspot.com was taken?TwoKiddosNoIssuesThankYouVeryMuch or 8isTOOmuch.com not available?

Ahh, our walk of faith. If I'm ever going to be accused of being flat out CRAZY, can it be for something like this? Why not....

So, too many stories to share how we have clawed our way through this one, but here's a nice one. I'm reading the Bible one night, directed to a passage by the better half after we were praying for a clear sense of direction. 2 Cor 8: 10-12. "And here is my advice for you in this matter (gulp): Last year you were the first not only to adopt but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have."

OK, you're all searching your concordances... it doesn't say "adopt" it says "give" but the rest is exact, word for word.

Same night, while still reading I start pulling alphabet pretzels out while eating. I grab a handful and start trying to spell something. I eat anything broken, just ~dinking~ around, and find myself with RUST. I dig through the remaining handful and find a Y. Cool... RUSTY. Oh wait, it's a T. TRUST. no kidding. same night. God would never speak to me with a handful of pretzels, would He?

Can you imagine:
Peter: "Paul, check it out... messing with that guy down there."
Paul: "Alphabet Pretzels?"
Peter: "yeah, it's so sweet how they make those little things... "



TK tries her best to make me a tagline for the post. "Do again, One more time" is hilarious, is it not? Yes, she's that cute all the time.

video

So off we go again. Unified, on ourwalkbyfaith. All the kids are pumped. I will NOT hesitate to remind them of THAT when Lil B is driving them nuts later in life.

Hey, it's CRAZY true.

Posted by Farmboy, father of... dare I say it... Six

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We're still here

Ah, yes, in case there is anyone out there still reading....

We are still here.

We have been in the midst of the most difficult decision-making time of our lives. As we wrestle back and forth, we just got some sad, difficult news about the twins' sister's health status. Oh, the reality of life in Ethiopia. So we pray some more.

But, life goes on and the twins are now in pre-Kindergarten and loving it so far. That means a couple of days a week, all the kids are out of the house. Wow, I got to go to Panera Bread with a group of friends while the kids were in school and I couldn't believe how relaxed I felt. I had no idea how busy and overwhelming it really has been around here, until I got a couple hours to myself.

Also, another feat. I am now walking again with a dear friend. The twins both learned how to ride a bike without training wheels, so they have been riding for 3 miles, while my friend and I walk and talk. Good thing, because the double stroller I have is a major workout for my arms, and I'd hate to get too buff....


For a while, they refused to put on their Ethiopian garb.
Finally, they were ready to take some pictures,
although apparently only corny ones.



Labor day weekend, the weather was absolutely glorious. Grand Haven is always one of my favorite spots, and as long as there is ice cream involved, the kids are pretty happy, too.

School days.

CJ leaves before everyone else, since he is in middle school.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

BIG decisions/little decisions

OK, so we are still TOTALLY praying about our big decision (see previous post), but let me tell you about a little decision we made.

We decided it would be fun and cute to have dread locks put into Jambo's hair. Hey, I am a busy mom, and dreads look so maintenance free and kinda fun. So, after growing his hair out for 4 months, Tuesday was the day. He sat for over an hour, as they twisted and gelled, and with relatively little crankiness. Then, $44 later, the stylist let me know we would have to bring him in to retwist about every 2 weeks, at about $30-40 dollars a pop. Um, I don't spend that much on ANYONE in our family. So, we leave the salon and his head looks like it has little rabbit turds all over it. I am thinking it will look much better later, once we get home and it is really dry. I went to work that evening and shared with an African American friend my experience, and she then informed me that dreads are actually very expensive and time consuming to maintain well (what???). And she said it all without even mentioning what an ignorant person I can be sometimes. Well, at least it was going to look cute for a couple of weeks. And me, being known to stretch as much as possible, figured I could stretch him needing to get retwisted for at least a month. So, once it surely got cute, we could enjoy the things for a bit. Um, not so much. The rabbit turds remained and Farmboy and I both agreed this was just a little lesson we learned. I was told we would have to cut the dreads out once we were sick of them (in this case, almost immediately), so was all prepared for that in a few weeks. So this morning, I gave the twins a bath, poured water on his hair, and -- POOF -- the dreads were gone. TWO DAYS. That is how long he had the "do". Ridiculous. I didn't even get a good picture before they were gone! I just shaved his head down to a number 2 on our clippers and he looks marvelous, with no more rabbit turds.

Lesson learned. But, hey, I did get my eyebrows waxed during his "dreading" and the woman did a fabulous job.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My children's mother died yesterday.




Maybe you're not like me. Maybe your stomach didn't tighten up when you read that. Maybe you had a different initial thought. Aww... No. What? Oh.... You may have already come to a complete grasp of the dark reality of the life of the adopted. Amidst the frenzy of all the, well, frenzy, I think I may have missed this. ALL the grief. tragedy. injustice. This time it wasn't 143 million or billions of this or that or a pandemic. This time it was simple enough. Adada, the biological mother of our twins just died. We met her 100 days ago. She definitely looked tired. old. beaten up. I think she was 40. She made the trek via cab to Addis Ababa to complete the greatest gesture of love I think a mother could ever make, and with grace. I still wonder how she did it. IT. Give your kids to someone else so they could have a chance at a better life. And IT. Sit in a room and not scream out in anger at the cold harsh reality and injustice of a sick widow from Africa, staring over the table at a couple of clean cut punks with nice clothes, fair complexions, and only quietly tear up while handing them off. Beyond that, she was grateful.

The reason Jambo & Kume were an answer to OUR prayer is because their Dad DIED. Jambo told me the other night: "He's up there. He close eyes." That's what I heard. Their mother "was sick and unable to care for them". I ripped through that sentence on the referral bio in about 2 seconds. That means a little more to me now.

So we just got "the call" from Natalie. One on the home phone, another on the cell. We are not waiting for a referral. We are not, not, not . But . . . Jambo and Kume have a sister, almost 2 years old. Today an orphan. Soon to be in Gladney's care. Would we consider??? This is something we can't do. We can't have 6 kids. Not yet. We can't do a 2 year old. We can't afford $22,000 more. We're still adjusting. We're not ready yet. We are already stretched and exhausted. We can't consider this. We can't NOT consider this. This was not our plan.

We don't know.

GOD has a plan here. We don't think it's us, but we are not able to thwart the plans of the great CREATOR, nor would we want to. Is it us?

We don't know.

Here's our request. We hope you would pray for the right family to be lifted up, to be open. This was not our plan. God knows. But He just wants us to lift this child up and trust HIM. Trust in how He will set this child into her family. And be open if His plans are not our plans.

We don't know.

by Farmboy (glancing around and wondering how we would fit a high chair around the table...)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

our CONSPICUOUS family

So we just returned from a couple weeks of camping and it is becoming very apparent that our adopted kids are human magnets! People are CONSTANTLY approaching us about the twins and we had many, many conversations about adoption. I am sure that most families with an adopted child of another race get a great deal of attention, too, but I do believe the attention our family has gotten in the past couple of months has been well beyond the norm. My bet is because of their fascination with the twin factor. I saw several other families at the campground that had an apparent adopted child or two, but these children were not "famous" at the campground. The twin thing appears to peak lots of curiosity, so has moved these 2 to a different level of attention. Friends we were camping with informed us that campers on other loops of the campground were saying hi to our kids and calling them by name. Each time the twins would fly by on their bike, campers would hoot out "HI!" Huh??? Who were all these new friends? Maybe we should be more attentive? Um, nah. Also, when I would meet new people, they would basically say, "Oh, you are the twins parents." I think we have lost our own identity for a time, and are now appendages of our twins. It is fun, sometimes a little exhausting, but also an awesome responsibility to share what we feel the heart of God is for adoption.

I guess God thinks we are up for the challenge.

Some pictures of our summer happenings:




The twins LOVE coffee (just like their dad, with lots of cream).





I didn't think I had the energy or time to teach Jambo how to ride a bike. CJ did!






My creative husband helped the boys "create" the Holland pier. They didn't win first prize this year, but Farmboy is insistent that was because they joined the fun late and ran out of time. Otherwise...




At Muskegon State Park, I had the chance to read the superb book, Someone Knows My Name. Now this is camping at the beach.



Here is our Calvin College offspring. After talking about tuition costs, not sure any of us will be able to afford sending them to our Alma Mater. Better start finding some lawnmowing jobs, kids.



The Calvin College gang: Believe it or not, sometimes we almost fool ourselves into thinking we look "just" about the same as we did back in college (about 20 years ago).


And for our next camping trip to the Conference Grounds:

Jambo and Kume -- uh, sidewalk chalk is actually for, well, the sidewalk. Kume also wrote several "elaborate" T's, the first letter of her (oh, so secret) name.



Sweet Farmboy and Zgirl, staying in the shade, because, believe it or not, in Michigan, some weeks there is actually full, hot sun all day long. We were blessed with a couple of those weeks, and our poor sun-starved bodies can only take so much.





Action and the twins on the wagon ride. So fun to see the twins thrill over all their new experiences. Don't buy that you will miss all the "firsts" if you adopt older. There are MANY, just different.


Enjoying the Michigan surf with some popcorn.



STUNNING



I absolutely love sunsets. I do believe God is totally showing off for us at these times. He is awesome!!!




Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Obedience = Adventure

Our hearts crave adventure. We were made that way. So, we often spend tons of money and time trying to grasp that elusive, amazing, deep-down-in-the-gut satisfying feeling we get when in the middle of an adventure.



But . . . . to be obedient to God is THE beginning of being part of His great adventure. When we are truly obedient and have our hands open in surrender, He never fails to call us to something that is truly an adventure that our hearts were made for.



Such is our adoption.



Adventures are not easy, otherwise they wouldn't be called adventures. They would be "rides", I guess, with not much effort for us to have to put in. But adventures are hard work and often scary, mixed with exhilaration, exhaustion, joy, frustration, fear and just plain silliness and fun (yeah, throw some impatience, anger and grumpiness into the mix, too, honestly). Thank God we are not called to an adventure on our own, but instead to walk next to GOD! How cool is that.



Such is our adoption.



I hope to keep stepping out in obedience no matter what. I hope to keep my hands open in surrender and ready to embrace whatever God puts before us. I hope to be obedient in the daily things, spending time with God and also stopping my own jabbering and being quiet before Him so I can hear HIM, and trust that He is good and that the adventure He calls us to is also good, no matter what. Are you with me?

OK, here are some pictures for those of you that don't read my post, but just like the photos.

These shots are from a recent camping trip we went on with several other families who have adopted or are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia in West Michigan. What fun! And what a privilege to have a group like this to support each other.

Here, you can see our new Beagle, Bo, in the background. Things are going ~pretty~ well with him. Wish he would figure out the electric fence better. What was I thinking???




Here is some of the group enjoying our time at the beach.

Jambo (no longer his name, but unless you come visit us, mum's the word) totally exfoliating in the sand.

Kume (again, her nickname) drawn to water at a pump like any typical kid.

About their names, we wondered how long it would take older kids like them to embrace their new names. Well, the answer in our case is about 2.5 months. We paired both their names together all the time, with a few slip ups here and there, and they easily slid into their American names, and now call each other by these names.

Also, since lots of people comment on their language development, just wanted to let you know they have spoken up to 8 word sentences. Genius? Boy, I hope not, we wouldn't have a clue what to do with that! We are enjoying it, though.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

old/new . . . . big/little

Yes, sweet Cheyenne is gone. Yes, I told the kids we would probably get another dog sometime next fall. Yes, we just got a Beagle named Bo. We got him Friday from a wonderful friend in my prayer group. I was sharing our grief over the loss of Cheyenne at my prayer group (an incredible group of women I am SO blessed to do life with) and hours later I was bringing home Bo to "test drive" him with our family. I am such a sucker.

Also, we are on to another layer of attaching. The past couple days the twins have been wondering about breast feeding. I have a feeling they nursed up until they had to say goodbye to their Ethiopian mother in December. My first response as they started to reach for me was "sweetie, that is private" until I recognized this was probably a bonding layer as they feel more connected with me, so I have been pretty open to them. I informed them that Mommy's milk is all gone, then yesterday Kume cracked me up when she hit the nail on the head. My dear daughter ultimately declared, "Lots of milk -- BIG, milk all gone -- LITTLE," using both her voice and hand gestures for emphasis and clarity. Okay, okay, they're little.

Kids . . . say . . . the . . .darnedest . . . things.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Cheyenne the dog - April 28, 2000 - June 9,2008

After a couragous battle with liver disease (and the end coming much more quickly than we expected) . . . we put our sweet, sweet dog Cheyenne to sleep today. She was a very good dog and despite her lack of interest in playing fetch (unless there was peanut butter on the ball) she was just perfect in so many ways.


Just last week, we were enjoying a hike in one of our favorite parks.
She started getting sick a few days later.









I came across this some time ago... I thought it was creative, and true in a ridiculous sort of way.

15 things we can learn from dogs:
1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
2. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
3. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
4. When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
5. Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
6. Take naps and stretch before rising.
7. Run, romp, and play daily.
8. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
9. Be loyal.
10. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
11. When someone is having a bad day, be silent. Sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
12. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
13. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
14. When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
15. No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout…. run right back and make friends
16. Delight in the simple joys of a long walk.




Our eldest may have taken it the hardest... He stayed up with her until midnight, then slept with her in the bathroom her last night with us. Ahh, a boy and his dog.



We will miss you, you sweet, lovable old girl.