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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One Month Post Placement



I just sealed the envelope containing our written one month post placement report. It feels good to have a month under our belts.

As I was reading through all the adoption papers we received in Addis I couldn't help but recall, all too well, the many nights I sat fretting over our dossier checklist feeling desperate for some paper or another to add to the pile while wondering just who our child to be was, wanting desperately to jump ahead in time to cross the finish line. Now here we are with Jonas asleep in his room. He's real. He's our son. It's finished. Well, mostly. There's still the post placement reports to file at 3, 6 and 12 mos and then every year until he turns 18. Oh and we still have to readopt him here in the state of AZ. But we're mostly done, anyway.

As far as adjustment goes he doing remarkably well so far. Every day brings with it new joys. Lately he's taken to patting our backs when we hold him and even more recently he's been rubbing my back or my side with his hand when I hold him to feed him. He grabs onto us for hugs and seems to snuggle in just a bit more when we squeeze him.

I cannot fathom life without him. One month might as well be eternity at this point. Only in hindsight can we recognize what was the giant Jonas sized hole that was in our family prior to his homecoming.

Health Phenomena

No one really knows what's wrong with me lately. I followed up with my primary care doc to see about some of the other symptoms I've been having. He wanted to start with the "simple" stuff as he called it. Ultrasound my thyroid and whatnot.

He thinks it possible that I have Raynaud's Phenomenon which could explain the freaky colors my hands and feet were turning. I have a cousin younger than myself who was diagnosed with Raynaud's. I wouldn't be jazzed about being diagnosed with a "phenomenon" but I suppose knowing what were working with is better than leaving it a mystery.

I follow up with the cardiologist this week. And I'll finally get the heart monitor off! Yahhhh Hooo! That's something to be happy about.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My BIG FAT MOUTH

I'm telling you a secret. It's just between me and my blog buddies because I plan on making sure Julie keeps my "oopsie" moment which was caught on tape on lock down forever. But, I know you enjoy laughing with at me so I thought I'd share with you.

So yesterday was our video adoption testimonial taping session. We are a part of a ministry at church that is all things adoption and the purposes for the video is for various promotional and informational uses. I've never done a video session before. Dustin neither. Truth be told I've secretly known I was meant to be in front of a camera since I was about 7 (funny, it's suddenly occurring to me where Rienne gets her theatrics from.) though as soon as I found myself there I realized I prefer hiding behind blogging much more. Apparently I only feel challenged to be BOLD in my pj's at 1 a.m. by the glow of my high resolution computer screen.

Dustin does NOT like public speaking in any form or fashion and making a recording which will then be shown to the general public is just the same as standing in front of the crowd live in his book. He was nervous. But it didn't show. He was very articulate. And, he spoke much more than I expected he would. He's passionate about this topic, so that helps. He even mentioned my favorite line, "It almost made me cry!" (you have to read through the comments of this post to understand the humor of this phrase)

Julie kindly mentioned we would be taped in high definition moments before we were set to begin. WHAT!? Are you kidding me? Had I known that I would've exfoliated and maybe put on some foundation. And probably, I would have worked harder to cover the bags under my eyes. WHY OH WHY did she do this to me? Ignorance would have been bliss. Truly.

So there we were, apparently in HD, and then Julie also mentioned that if we say something and it doesn't come out right we ought to just pause and make a normal face and then continue saying it all over again that way they can easily edit it in between and not have to work to cut that portion out with us making strange faces, etc. Instantly I thought of all the wretched faces I make constantly while talking and I KNOW this is going to be tough for me. I imagine a splice where I go from having my mouth wide open and my face contorted to me suddenly having my mouth shut and a blank look on my face in the next frame. Too funny.

Anyway, on to the "oopsie". There are many things, in hindsight, I wish I would have skipped saying or feel I could have done a better job of expressing but the biggest regret of all has to be the comment I made where I was referring to how Dustin and I are unsure if we ever would have adopted had the Lord not used experiencing the loss of two miscarriages in our lives to point us to the loss orphans must feel. I was referring to how daunting some of the aspects of adoption seemed to us as compared to having children by birth. And that's when I said it. I actually said, "It just seemed easier to lock the bedroom door at night and try the old fashioned way."

I cannot believe I actually said that! I am so embarrassed. I think if I could watch the tape I would see my face turn instantly red. I know I put my head down in utter shame. Dustin tells me the "video guy" as he is affectionately called (as if he has no name) giggled a bit behind the camera. Oh NO! Please don't let this get out around our church. SERIOUSLY.

Thankfully Julie has creative control of the project, so I am told. And, I feel I'm in pretty good with her so I think she'll be sensitive to my request.

That's good. I'd hate to have to hunt her down!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Adding My Voice

I enjoy jody r landers' blog. She turns thirty today. I turn thirty this year too. I'm calling it a combined birthday gift for the both of us.

Water.

Read about her new project 300 voices.

Write a Letter

Daiquiri brought this to my attention. I wrote my letter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Help Us Choose A Destination

Okay friends. I need you to put your thinking caps on for this one because I am seriously seeking your advice. Dustin and I are desirous of your suggestions for the destination of our tenth wedding anniversary get-away. (Can you believe TEN years this August!?) It can be anything, anywhere...... but it's got to be good.

By good I mean not snooty but also not trashy. Adventure is a possibilty but not danger (say like hubby's first suggestion of Israel. You mean during it's current conflict? Ha! I think NOT!). It can be urban or rural, outdoorsy our indoorsy. Anything fun. Oh, and romantic would be a plus (And no matter how hard he may try to sell it there will be no mixing of the celebration of our marriage vows with guns or other such weaponry. No. Matter. What.)

It would be awesome if you could give your tried and true testimony or at least one you've heard first hand from a trusted source but if you don't have that to share just tell me about your dream trip. Where would you go? What would you do?

No country is off limits (provided it's not currently engaged in an armed conflict) nor is the nearest neighbourhood B&B so long as you truly believe it would rock our world.



So, I'm counting on your help. Wow me people!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What to Post?

I've not been wanting to post about what's truly been going on in my home. Truth is I am still battling illness. While my cousin Christine was here I had to take a trip to the ER again.(I can ASSURE you that I don't have time for this kind of drama in my life and that the LAST place I wanted to go was the ER)

Good news is they discovered an underlying infection I had no idea was raging on inside of me. (hmmmmm Maybe that's why I've felt like total JUNK!) Now that I am taking antibiotics I feel I may have turned a corner. I am praying this undiagnosed infection was the cause on my continued heart palpitations, etc.(that's not just wishful thinking BTW I was told this type of infection, if left unchecked, can cause heart issues) and that once the round of antibiotics is finished the other symptoms I've been dealing with will have disappeared. I am still following up with the cardiologist this week for a cardio treadmill stress test. And of course the fashion faux pas that is this heart monitor is still hanging around my neck for another 2 weeks.

I've never been one to be sick often. Aside from seasonal asthma I've always been a very healthy person. To suddenly have my strength and vibrancy challenged in such a direct way has been difficult to say the least. I want to thrive in my days not merely make it through them. I want to be lively and playful with my kids not lethargic and sedentary. It's been HARD for me. I've been praying and crying and begging and praying some more. I don't pretend to understand the timing of all this or the significance. I've been brought low. Humbled. (but a little humility never hurt anyone, especially me!)

Aside from physical challenges my husband is under immense stress at work. He and I sat on the couch the other night and wondered what the heck we'd done to bring on such an onslaught of terror (okay we were being a little bit overly dramatic). We feel so blessed by the fact that Jonas is adjusting so well and is is truly the only thing which could be classified as "easy" about life right now which is quite the opposite of what we expected. We expected major hurdles. Behavioural challenges and distress on Jonas' part. That's not to say he doesn't have his moments but overall he's just a genuinely open and receptive child. Ready to give and receive love. He is learning to rely on us and is, so far, transitioning beautifully. Miraculously, really. But the rest of life is not without it's bumps. Not that we should be exempt from life's usual challenges but we kinda had a fairly tale land envisioned where our homecoming with Jonas would be the only thing we'd have to focus on for some time. We dreamt that life would be about family quality time, attachment and not much more than that for a few months. But, it was not to be.

So, I've been trying not to write anything that is too complaining or too self pitying (I'm not sure that I succeeded). I've been tempted to roll around in that mire lately but despite my attraction to all that self centered mess I consistently hear the Lord calling me back to a passage He made so alive to me some months ago. Isaiah 58: 6-11. I feel him challenging me to step outside of my own desperate need for healing and restoration and look out into the world with His eyes, to see His children who are suffering alongside me and pray for them. I feel as though by letting go of my constant prayers and petitions for myself and genuinely praying for the needs of others God is asking me to release my health and well being into His hands. It's almost a statement of faith akin to "You got this. And because I trust that you love me and are taking care of me I don't need to obsess over it. Instead I can use my time to prayerfully lift up someone else in need."

This has not easy for me to do. Don't think for a second I am that noble!! I AM SO NOT!

But I'm being really honest when I write you and tell you that I think this is what God is asking of me right now. So far I've been only minimally (we're talking on a microscopic scale) successful. But it's my goal to be completely obedient.

(Okay so I was really tempted to ask for you to pray for me just now but had second thoughts wondering if asking for prayer in that regard would constitute making it all about me once again? hahahah Oh, I am such a mess!)

Anyway. That's the truth about where I really am. right. this. moment.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mission Accomplished?

I wanted to have the house clean for tomorrow. Didn't happen. I'm just to tired to care. I don't feel well either. But I did manage to get a lot of laundry done. And, the living room is clean. That's something. Maybe I can keep her in that single room all day.

Okay at this point I'm just happy my cousin will have clean sheets to sleep in.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Kind of Day I Had

Today is an eat chocolate buttercreme frosting straight from the tub kind of day. And, that is exactly what I am doing as I type. Not one of my finer moments but I don't really care!

My day today actually began at 12:45 a.m. with a screaming child who was sweating profusely with a 103.7 temperature. Jonas. He had a hard time being comforted. What was pretty funny though is our little glass half full sweetheart couldn't stay mad at me long enough to reject me entirely. In between being spitting mad at me for not knowing how to make whatever was ailing him go away he'd play a little pat-a-cake and give a smile and snuggle back into my chest.... then remember he was really not feeling well and get mad all over again.

Here's my day:

I call the pediatrician's office as soon as they open (9am) and am able to get an 11:45 appointment. It takes me the whole morning to get myself and the four kids ready for the doctor appointment and for the ice skating lessons the girls would have that afternoon since we won't have time to stop back home for their gear. Also, I spent more time than I would have imagined was needed looking for the right outfit to camouflage my heart monitor. I arrive at the office at 11:45 on the dot. I find the nurse to be... uncheerful. Next, I get my first "Are they all yours?" Wow. How did I not see that one coming?

The Nurse Practitioner introduces herself to me by asking why my kids aren't in school. "We home-school." I replied. I notice the smug little look on her face but chose to ignore it.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Even arrogant ones. I am pretty young to have as many kids as I have. People just don't understand that I am a genius- a home schooling genius! How could they? And certainly they must not comprehend the insane amount of self sacrifice it took for me to venture out into this strange, new-to-me world of home education. They couldn't understand the pressure I feel from choosing to take on so much responsibility for our children's educational foundation. All of this is joyful but that doesn't mean that I've got it all figured out. They don't understand how sometimes all the challenges that come with this lifestyle can make me wonder if I've got what it takes. And, how more common than uncommon the questioning attitudes are that wear on me so. They have no clue how often I pray over this decision for the kids' sake.

No, she's not going to put herself in my shoes today. She only wants to stare down her glasses at me. And ask me if Jonas is adopted. "Yes. He just came home from Ethiopia."

"Oh," she says turning to the girls, hand on her hip, "And what do you all think of this?"

Blank stares and crickets chirping.

"They really are such wonderful big sisters!" Pause. LONG pause. "It's very different having a baby in the house, huh girls?" Again the crickets. Can I at least get a little help from my kids please?

She probes for more information. Wants to know his history. And not his medical history.

I politely explain that we have no medical history to share (that should have been in his file since I covered all that with his physician) and that we have limited personal history for him. Then stare her down in silence challenging her to go on and ask me something personal about him again. That shut her up. Pretty unprofessional, me thinks. I;ll just go ahead and file that one in the Con column for this office. Right under being asked every time we go there if I am his mother by every new nurse that sees us. (Would someone please make a notation that "mom is white" in his file!?) It's a good thing I LOVE LOVE LOVE the doctor. He's the best. I don't want to give him up. Even if some of his staff leaves a bad taste in my mouth lately.

So we leave the doctor's office and head to lunch. A treat. Mom's day out with the kids. I figure since we have a good amount of time to burn while we're waiting for ice skating lessons to begin I'll take 'em to lunch. I'm feeling brave despite that small little voice in my head warning me that my first major venture out in public with FOUR kids shouldn't include a child with a double ear infection. Oh well. I can do this! This ain't my first rodeo anyhow. The old me would have panicked if, say, the baby would have knocked his head into the table and split his lip open 5 seconds after sitting down. But not me! I don't mind a little blood. Even when it's floating in my ice water after I share my glass with the baby in hopes that the chill would help stop the bleeding. It does. Crisis averted. Man I'm thirsty. Haven't had a drink ALL day. Que decision to drink from same cup I watched traces of blood dissolve into. Yea, I know I'm gross but thirst will do that to you. It makes a gal desperate. You just gotta put your mind over the matter. Does this mean that maybe I could hang on Fear Factor as contrary to my previous assumption?

Baby back in high chair happily enjoying his first taste of french fries. Something I never would have let the oldest child do before her first birthday. Enter annoying waitress telling me "Boy you got your hands full today!" ( This statement triggers an imaginary laugh track in my head. You know. Like the ones they use for a sitcom. Only this one sounds like warped vinyl)

"Today and everyday" I say with a smile. (Note to self: try not to feel compelled to explain that your not babysitting your son to every Tom, Dick or Sally you meet. Get over it! And if you simply must speak come up with something better than that. Goodness sakes. It sounds kinda depressing. Is that the image you want to convey?)

Oh look at the time! We better get going. I still haven't really figured out how I am going to get the girls dressed and their skates laced while holding the baby. My quick mental calculations tell me I'll need at least 30 minutes.

30 minutes later I realize I hadn't taken into account the baby having a blow out and the girls getting fully dressed (tights and all) before realizing that peeing before they hit the freezing rink might be a good idea (despite my telling them so). Ooops. Someone had a little accident. I do understand. It's hard to get all those layers off (especially those dern tights) when your in a BIG hurry. I wonder how chilly that hiney will get when she hits the ice again. Oh well, she's only slightly damp. (Question to self: does this make me a terrible mommy? That I would sent that child right out in slightly peepee panties because I really don't want to undress her completely to get at them and then have to re-lace those ice skates one handed? Again. On second thought, I will address this deep maternal dilemma some other time....)

Okay the girls are on the ice and the baby is only half delirious from not having any nap at all today. Enter loud mother walking up beside me to startle him just as he was drifting off. She's "talking" to her her baby, "Would you hurry up and go sleepy already!" Funny, I think to myself, that's just what my kid was trying to do. She turns to me and kindly points out that I'm wearing my sling wrong. "See here and here." she embarrassingly calls to my attention, what must have been to the rest of the world, my obvious sling incompetency. "Thanks." I offer. Truly could I be any bigger a goober today!? I think not.

"I was in a rush and I just needed to get him in it so I could have my hands free." At this point I can't tell if the look that crosses her face means that she is identifying with me or thinking I am a complete.... well, you know what.

After the circus that was getting the kids out of their gear we finally left the building and loaded into the car. More accurately I feel like I slinked out of there. A little voice in my head asked me. Did I think I was super woman? What made me think I could do this? Again with the self dialogue: "Oh great now I gotta fight the battles in my mind too. Great!"

The car ride home was oh so special. The two int he back were trying their darnedest to wrestle while buckled. Several threats later I remind them that I am "SUPER SERIOUS!" about what's about to happen to them when they get home.

Pull in the driveway and send the two littles to their room. For. The. Night.

You know what's coming next. The teacher from Charlie Brown. What's her name? We'll the girls start channelling her.

"Yes you can have dinner."

(inaudible whining)

"You'll be dining in your room."

(inaudible yelling)

"I assure you this is not child torture. It's actually saving your lives at this point!"

.....Que chocolate buttercreme frosting.

Meet Another Blogger

I've been reading her blog for a long time and have been meaning to direct you to her for a while. jody r landers. You're gonna love her.

This post stirred me today and rather than reposting it here I thought you should head over to her place.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Part 2 of The Trip



So I've been struggling with what to write regarding the trip to Addis. There's so much to tell and I'm so inadequate to tell it but still I feel compelled to keep trying.

I guess I have to move on chronologically. I touched on the issue of equality in the first post I wrote about the trip. The issue of equality is probably the truest theme of our visit with Hope for the Hopeless. I'll tell you what experience drove the point home for me personally. A trip to the Cardiac Hospital in Addis.

In the interest of time I won't go into all the details of my symptoms leading up to the decision to go. If you want a taste of what I was feeling read this post. It was pretty much the same though my hands weren't as purple. I will just say that as I lay on the bed that first day after we had arrived I thought to myself that 14 days might as well be eternity. I was scared for my health. I listened to the sounds of the Guest House neighbourhood outside our window begging God for a way out of this experience. I felt so vulnerable to be so far away from my comfort zone, all that was familiar to me AND (big AND there) Western medicine. I needed help. I told Dustin, "That's it. We gotta go. I can't do this for the next two weeks. I can't stay here feeling like this. We gotta go to a Hospital." It was terrifying to have to come to that conclusion.

Dustin had to carry me down the stairs and a taxi was hailed while I waiting lying on the floor of the Guest House entryway. The wonderful staff at Ethiopian Guest House was terrified. One of them rode with us to the Korean Hospital. The cab ride would cost us $45.00 US. The whole ride there I lay head tilted back listening to the music the driver had playing which was indistinguishable to my ferengi ears while the warm African sun warmed my face through the back window. Bumpy roads and noxious fumes mixed with prayers from the bottom of my heart. "Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." Habakkuk 3:19 the amplified version was on repeat in my brain. I recalled the time not too many months ago when I was driving our kids home from the pediatrician and I was trying to wrap my head around the doctor/patient ratio in Ethiopia and trying to imagine what life would be like as a mother in Addis. I tried to imagine being in need of an ambulance and not having one be available. The irony was not lost on me. Believe me.

Aki, Mark and Julie were already there when we arrived (they had been out shopping around town and met us there.) As soon as I walked in I was whisked straight back by Aki (our dear friend Aki) and didn't even notice the fact that there would be no waiting to be seen for me, despite a waiting room full of dark eyes following me as I walked straight back to the triage room. It wouldn't occur to me until later what had just happened. But I am getting ahead of myself.

I was told there was no cardiac specialist at the Korean Hospital. We would have to go to another place. Amharic words passed between Aki and the Australian nurse and we were off to the next stop this time in Aki's taxi. A short drive later we pulled into the gates of the Cardiac Hospital. A woman lead me past an old woman sitting in a wheel chair in a dark corner wailing in pain, beyond a curtain to an examination room. No waiting for the rich woman. Again.

I surveyed Addis Ababa's finest Cardiac Facilities with a keen eye. It is here that I find I struggle for the right words. I would NEVER wish to degrade the facility or the fine people who work there. I never want to be a snob. Only accurate. The walls were plaster and painted about 3/4 of the was up with gloss paint. the rest was flat. There was no trim around the floor. Just rough edges where the plaster ended and a gap between the wall and the floor. It was dark. There was an EKG machine. A huge (oxygen?) tank and some other piece of equipment which I don't recall it's use. I was led to the staff bathroom to leave a urine sample. I won't even begin to describe the conditions there. Let's just call it different.

We prayed with Mark and Julie. The woman relentlessly moaned through her pain. A young man who loved her tried to soothe her in Amharic. "Ishi," (okay) he'd say and whisper other quiet words to her. All I could think of now was Psalm 20:7 only I adapted it and added "and others in doctors and Western hospitals" after "horses".

My treatment would be pay-as-you-go. Total for the services I received: $28.00 US. Seemingly so small a price. So far out of reach for SO MANY in Addis.

After I returned to the Guest House, the following day the staff member who rode with us to the hospital was thrilled to see me much improved. She asked if they took good care of me. "Oh yes! Very good care." I stated.

"It's the best hospital in Addis!" she told me.

And it is.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The New Normal

I wanted to hop on and update you on how we're all settling into life as a family of six.

We've been quite busy with various doctors appointments. First for Jonas and then for me. Next week we have more of the same with trips to the dentist for Rienne, the audiologist for Jonas and the following week I've got a followup with the cardiologist for some tests. That will keep our afternoons quite busy.

Jonas has been adjusting amazingly. I was concerned about his eating habits when we first arrived home. He seemed to be comfort eating often but since that time he's mellowed out. He's been eating 3 meals of solid foods daily which has helped normalize his formula intake. He was waking up every 2 1/2 - 3 hrs throughout the night (this is due to his schedule in the orphanage) to take a bottle but lately he's even been stretching out his sleep patterns to 5 hours at night and when he wakes he doesn't eat more than four ounces. Before he had been polishing off 4 ounces and crying for more. He'd eat 8 ounces and then spit much of it up proving ot us that he wasn't truly that hungry but either used to eating that much or eating until he could fall back asleep no matter how full he became. Needless to say, we are so happy that behaviour has ended!!

Dustin and I aren't as concerned about getting him transitioned off taking a bottle to fall asleep as we are getting him accustomed to our home and feeling safe and secure in it. Once we feel he's adjusted then we'll work and breaking those habits of his. We figure we gotta chose our battles wisely. At this stage it's all about attachment and bonding for us. We are working to transition him from formula to water in his naptime bottle since he relys on it solely to help him fall asleep. Hopefully after that we can just take the bottle away. For now, as soon as the bottle leaves his lips- if he's not fully asleep yet- he screams.

When we first got Jonas he wasn't able to grasp tiny foods between his pointer and thumb. Now he's doing a wonderful job of feeding himself his Yogurt Melts (his favorite snack) which he loves to mash between his two lower teeth and his recently split through top front teeth. This is generally a very drooly affair filled with proud smiles and head nods which seem to ask "are you seeing this!?"

Overall, Jonas is a giggly and happy child. His personality is such that he's always chattering or playing. One of his favorite games is to grunt and have us grunt back at him in a sort of "copy cat fashion. He really gets a kick out of it! Jonas enjoys sucking all over my face especially my chin. He particularly likes to make silly noises akin to elephant calls on my face. Apparently it's hilarious in his little baby world. He makes quite a mess but mommy obliges because well, she can't get enough of those baby kisses, and it's great for attachment. It doesn't end there, though. Jonas LOVES to BE kissed. I think he wouldn't mind at all if I just glued my face to his cheek. My boy certainly doesn't mind close contact! All of these things are such a testament to the loving care he received at the intake orphanage and the TH. It's a true answer to our prayers!!

Recently Jonas has taken to army crawling around the family room floor. If it's tummy time he's on the go. We can tell already that as soon as this kid is truly mobile he's going to keep us VERY busy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

How I Know the Trip Changed Me




This might be the first of many installments to come. Who knows? It's just that things are different in my heart and I don't even know the half of it yet. To try to put all this into words is nearly impossible for me right now (and that's saying a LOT for a chick who rarely finds herself speechless).

To be completely honest recovering from jet lag and finding my balance with a baby in the house hasn't been conducive to my hasty processing of our experiences in Addis Ababa. Tonight I experienced a moment of clarity via an unexpected burden.

Food.

Since we've been home our "family" at Palm Valley Church have been AMAZINGLY supportive of us. They have loved on us SO MUCH in a variety of ways but one outward expression has been the delivery of dinners for our family. Night after night we've been the happy recipients of delicious fare delivered to us by loving friends we thank God for. It's been such a HUGE gift to us.

***So, here comes my disclaimer for this post: If you are one of those loving and special friends who've brought us food please understand that this has NOTHING to do with you. This has to do with work that the Lord is doing in my heart and the heart of my husband and it just happens that the food you gave us is the tool He's used to prick our hearts. Please read the following in that light. And, know that we LOVE you and appreciate you SO MUCH!***

On to the gist of this post. I must begin with a story. One of the snap shots from our trip lodged forever in my memory. An infant. The sex of whom was unknown to me. Of the sort I'd only ever seen in magazines depicting famine. The kind I've cried over many times, only this time this particular child was real life to me. Before my very eyes, in a crib in room number 5 of the intake orphanage which was our son's first stop on the way home to us.

Room number 5, as far as I can tell, is for the healthier infants of the orphanage. This tells me that I must have met this child in an improved state which, to me, is unbelievable. This baby was SO THIN, literally flesh stretched over bone. The jawline nearly brought me to tears. And, I would have sat right down and cried myself a river but for the pride I had in the faithful women who serve the children day in and day out. It was their hard work keeping this baby alive. Cry babies need not apply for that job and they sure didn't need to deal with Jen being hysterical. Instead I just laid hands of that beloved child and prayed. Maybe for the first time I truly understood what Paul meant when he wrote about the Holy Spirit interceding when we cannot verbalize our prayers.

Then, there are the kids at Hope for the Hopeless. 2 meals a day. No meat. And we bring suckers. What!? That's a bandaid on severe laceration. Don't get me wrong. The kids loved the suckers. I've got nothing against suckers but I'm not kidding myself. I can't pat myself on the back for sending a bag of suckers to the needy kids in Africa and call it a day. As if that will satisfy God's desire for justice and equality.

Malnutrition. Starvation. I don't exactly know what to do with these things. How can I cope? All of a sudden I have this urge to preach to the world. (As if they need to hear me talk!? HA!) But, I do wish everyone could go to Africa and see what I saw. If only to help them understand me at this point. I know, It's my race to run, and they've got their own. I can't make their race be about mine. I can't force my burdens upon them. But I want them to know too.

So here I am. As the knocks on the door bring with them pounds of food my heart grows heavier. I am now freezing the leftovers because I DARE NOT LET A MORSEL GO TO WASTE.
I cannot help but feel like sometimes I've gotten things so wrong. It's tempting to think that because my stomach is full and I have abundance, that I am one of the blessed ones. I am growing fearful though. Abundance is truly a burden. A fact I've come to KNOW. We aren't intended to have more than our needs require. While we were in Addis Mark directed our attention to 2 Cor 8: 13-15

13Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed,
but that there might be equality. 14At the present time your plenty will supply
what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then
there will be equality, 15as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have
too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."
I'll have more to write on this subject later but equality was a word that kept popping up for the four of us often during out trip. The lack of equality was astounding. So stark a contrast and frankly embarrassing for us as wealthy members of the church universal. Where's the equality?

I've made it nearly 30 years without ever really seeing starvation face to face. That makes me a rarity on this planet. I saw starving people because I made choices to put myself in that position after following the Lord's lead but I could have EASILY chosen ignorance. Ignorance is a luxury (if you want to call it that) that the vast majority of the earth cannot afford. That's makes me royalty, really. I belong to the class of the elite privileged of our generation. I might as well wear a tiara and a sash. Scratch that. You know those few extra pounds around my belt line? Those are the jewels in my crown of abundance. A crown that is cockeyed and tarnished when I look closely.


Oh God, do not let me be one who just sheds a few tears and then goes on her way. The same as ever before.


Matthew 5
The Beatitudes
1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His
disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying: 3"Blessed are
the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are
those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5Blessed are the
meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7Blessed are
the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in
heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for
they will be called sons of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because
of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11"Blessed are you
when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against
you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in
heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before
you.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dinner Time

A friend was kind enough to bring a basket full of baby food by for Jonas. Mom and Dad were appreciative but Jonas didn't seem too impressed.
video

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Beyond the Silver Gates



I had better get this up. The family is clamoring for video and pictures of Jonas. Here's video of the first day we met Jonas in Addis.

video