Friday, March 26, 2010

We Are Singing a New Song!

There is new music in our home and I love it! From the first day that we met, Sunshine and Little Buddy have been singing. The songs are beautiful praise songs to God. They have taught them to us and we are all rejoicing with them. I hope they never forget these songs from their homeland.


video

Sweet Momma

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fun Pictures!

This is Sunshine showing the twists I put in her hair. I like these better than the last style. They stayed in for about three days. Her hair has a looser curl and these types of styles don't stay in too long. She looked adorable. And she loved the butterfly clips!

Making breakfast
Big smiles for my latest Ethiopian attempt. This is Doro We't. It is a chicken stew. It was very easy to make and the smell in our house took me right back to Ethiopia. It did the same for my little ones. They came running down the stairs saying, "Oooooh, smells good!"

While eating dinner I asked Sunshine where she had eaten Doro We't in Ethiopia. She said, "No Doro We't in Ethiopia." I was dumbfounded. How funny! Little Buddy said that they had eaten it there and I actually found a picture to prove it.

I think it is a special meal for a holiday or the like. They thoroughly enjoyed it. I found Sunshine sucking on the chicken leg when the meal was over.=)

Making breakfast on another day.
What a ham!
We are definitely settling in around here. I don't understand why I am still so tired. :)

Little Buddy has decided that he is completely in love with Stand-Up Dad and I. We are so glad! Many times during the day he comes up and snuggles in and says "I lub you!" Kisses and hugs follow. He goes off to play for a little bit and is right back to repeat his affection.

It makes me want to cry. Adoption is such a beautiful demonstration of God's love. This little boy had no idea who I was four months ago and today he is living and breathing my presence. Isn't that how it is with God? His love is so great that He is with us each of us each moment whispering in our ear that He loves us.

For this I rejoice!
Sweet Momma

Monday, March 8, 2010

TeenPact!


Here is Elsie with all of the students from her Civics class at our homeschool co-op.
They were part of a group of 90 students at TeenPact.
Sweet Momma and all of the siblings went to watch Elsie during a Mock Legislature
and were able to see her graduate from her week of training.
Hi! Elsie here! I just finished an awesome week learning about the government. TeenPact is a Christian homeschool event designed to teach young people how our government works and how we can have an impact on the choices that our leaders make.

To attend TeenPact, there was some homework that I completed. One of the assignments was to write a bill on a serious or funny issue. The first day, we watched a hilarious skit about how a bill becomes a law. Immediately after that, we read our bills and they assigned our bills to committees. Within our committees, we elected a chairman and a secretary. I was elected to secretary in my committee.

In the evenings, we stayed at a camp about fifteen minutes from the capitol. Every night all the students ate dinner together, then had worship and a message. A very special part was when later in the evening we split into small groups to discuss our day.

On the second day, we went on our first field experience, drafted bills in committee, and participated in a Mock Legislature. Field Experiences were when we did prayer walks around the capitol and learned about our government. Soon after, we broke into committees to work on bills during lunch. As the secretary for my committee, I was the one who read all the bills out loud and wrote down all the changes we made. My favorite part of the day was Mock Legislature, where we took the bills we had passed in committee, and debated on them. We used Robert's Rules of Order and voted on every bill.

Day number three was filled with speakers, elections, and final field experiences. In the morning, Lt. Governor Brad Owen came and spoke to us about respecting our leaders even though we may not agree with them. At TeenPact, we elected a governor, and three representatives. I ran, but did not make it past the primary elections. One boy from my co-op was elected to representative. The elections were very fast-paced and exciting.

The final day was very memorable. We had our final committee meeting, participated in a game to test our knowledge of the Constitution, and finally graduated. Previous to the last day, my committee had been very official. Being official in itself is fine, but it was getting pretty boring. Since it was the last day, we decided that we would have some fun. To begin with, every bill has a clause that reads "All laws or parts of laws in conflict with this act are hereby repealed". One of the guys in my group had the brilliant idea to cross out the "in conflict with this act" so that it now read, "All laws or parts of laws are hereby repealed". We knew that if this bill got on the dock in Mock Legislature it would be hilarious. Soon following we played "Constitutional Power Grab" which is a game where they give us a scenario having to do with the government. Then we would have to look up the section in the Constitution that shows why it is unconstitutional. During graduation, parents got to see us participate in Mock Legislature. Surprisingly, my bill that I had written came up on the dock, and I went on stage to speak on it. While I was on stage, people in the audience asked me questions about my bill. If I did not want to answer a question I didn't have to. As we were about to end our TeenPact legislature, they brought up the last bill- the bill that we had changed in my committee. When they read "All laws or parts of laws are hereby repealed", confusion broke out. Everyone was asking questions while my committee sat there laughing. Strangely enough, we did end up passing that bill. Finally, I went up to receive my certificate of completion of TeenPact Leadership Schools.

TeenPact was an amazing experience that shaped my faith in God, my character, and my knowledge of our government. Before gong to TeenPact, I saw government as something that I read about in newspapers or watch on television, but has no real effect on me. I saw it as something in the distance, not meant to be grasped. TeenPact changed that. I now realize that I can and should have an effect on my government, because not only does it affect me, but it is my duty as a Christian to "always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within me".

For more information about TeenPact go to www.teenpact.com

Elsie


Monday, March 1, 2010

Home Three Months!!!


This past weekend we had the privilege of being invited to a YWAM Adoption Ministries Ethiopian Dinner in Seattle. We did not adopt through YWAM, but our dear friends, the Averill's did. The group from YWAM included families who had completed adoptions, those that were in process and YWAM staff. I was able to meet a young man who will be leaving soon, for six months, to work with YWAM in Ethiopia. God continues to do a great work among these beautiful people. We had such a great time and are so thankful that we were allowed to attend.

Here is Sunshine holding her precious chicken leg. The chicken is part of an Ethiopian stew called Doro Wat. I have not made this for her yet, but it is next on my list of recipes to try.
Our four biggest kids are absolutely loving Ethiopian food. They are thrilled to enjoy the food that make their little brother and sister so happy.
At home we encourage healthy portions each meal and will hold off on second or third helpings if we feel that they may be over eating. At the restaurant we let them eat till they were stuffed.

After dinner there was a bit of a program and a coffee ceremony. During the coffee ceremony I looked over and Little Buddy was looking at me and his eyes said, "Can I have more?" I smiled and told him to go for it. His tummy had enjoyed a ten minute rest and was ready for more.
I cannot believe that three months has gone by. I prayed to be 'here' in those first weeks home. I knew that time would heal a lot of things. It has.

Stand-Up Dad and I were talking the other night about this process and I was pleased to say that I am feeling like they fit right into our family. This adjustment process is hard for everyone involved. I have definitely felt the attack of the enemy, trying to stir up problems and bringing feelings of hopelessness at times. But our God is bigger than those schemes.

He has been faithful to help me comfort a nine year old little girl as she cries and she doesn't know why except that her heart hurts. He has been with us as we prayed for extra grace and love for the new ones in our home. He has provided much and I am so thankful.

I am soooo tired and I don't know why. It seems as if things are going so well, but it still is exhausting. Sunshine and Little Buddy continue to share more and more about life in Ethiopia. At times I am so overwhelmed over what they share with me that I just hold them and cry and tell them that I am sorry that "it" happened and that I was not there to help them. All of this sharing helps me to understand more about who they are and why they function the way they do. It also gives me a huge respect for the strength that they have.

We have life so easy here in America. We don't even realize how the rest of the world lives. We don't see the struggle to get through each day. How can we rely truly on the one true God when it is so easy to get through the day on our own strength?

Sunshine continues to amaze me as she learns more english. She is so smart! I know I keep saying that, but she surprises me every day with some new information learned that I know she only heard once. This past weekend we were all outside and she and Sweet Pea were playing in the tree house. They were playing pretend. They gathered weeds and things outside to make "soup." Sunshine ran over to me and said, "Sweet Pea is a good sister, I like her." To that Sweet Pea said, "I am so glad that I have a sister that likes to use her imagination like I do." Stand-Up Dad and I smiled. Praise God!

Little Buddy is definitely a blessing in our home. His smile is quite captivating and his hugs quickly follow. Both he and his sister are feeling more comfortable in our home. The reason I am sure of this is that they are beginning to show some behaviors that I have not seen before. You know, the normal behaviors that often require a consequence. I am glad that they feel comfortable enough to be 'real' in our home.

Last night we watched Little Buddy and Pumpkin begin the nightly ritual of tackling each other. Pumpkin is so glad to have another little boy to wrestle. They both love to run, chase and tackle. This continues until someone gets hurt or until I put a stop to it because the noise level has reached a pitch that I can't handle.

As these little ones learn language we are surprised at how similar some of our english words are. They may not seem similar to you, but to a little one who is learning proper pronunciation things sound a little different. It has been quite funny. Here are a few words or phrases that they have yet to master:
chicken/kitchen restaurant/restroom May I be excused/Merry Christmas

Please continue to pray for us. We are doing much better than two months ago, but I still feel the line between "OK" and "overwhelmed" is rather blurred at times. I am struggling daily with patience and God is giving me many opportunities to practice humility as I continue to fail and must seek forgiveness from those around me.

My greatest joy is the knowledge that His grace is sufficient!
Sweet Momma


Here is Sunshine all dressed up to match her baby doll. Notice the matching headbands. Also notice the loss of one more tooth up top. So cute!
Her dolly's name is "Desta" which means "happy" in Amharic.