Friday, December 28, 2007

WEEK 9

Okay, so we finally have arrived on the other side of Christmas and we are definitely ready for the "hustle and bustle" to settle down so we can catch our breath! Like I have said before, the waiting hasn't been as bad as I thought it would seeing as we have had many distractions with all the holidays! I am counting this as another blessing that we tend to overlook because it seems small but since we have a lot of "waiting" under our belt, I definitely see these holiday distractions as a blessing!
And like last week, the kids found it hard to make a number "9" so I just used week "6" and flipped it around! Whatever works, right? Maybe next week, the number "10" won't be so challenging for them. We may even have to get Daddy involved since we are entering the double digits!!!

There have been lots of referrals lately all matched with quick court dates so we are hoping the whole process is speeding up! We are still praying for our little sibling pair in hopes the Lord will reveal them to us very soon!! We are content in knowing that the Lord will bring our family together in His perfect timing as we continue to trust in His faithfulness! He is our Strength!

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." Isaiah 26:3-4

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Time is Here

Christmas was so much fun this year as the kids are getting older and truly getting excited for all of the Christmas festivities! We had Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning at our home this year. Then, had Christmas lunch with Brad's family and Christmas dinner with my family, so we were able to see everyone this year. All the kids watching Isabella open her Marshmallow shooter!

My precious little nephew, John Isaac, all bundled up in his "little bear" suit while watching the fireworks and the kids sparklers! (I loved his blue bear suit so much that Brittany went to The Children's Place and bought one for our babe in Ethiopia!)

Isabella and Elijah on Christmas morning (see Isabella's shirt that says "glamou(RED)" given to her by Aunt Brittany on Christmas Eve, and she loved it so much, she wore it to bed!)Elijah and Daddy with their walking sticks from Mommy engraved with the words, "Walk with God". They loved it!The kids were so excited to give Daddy his blanket they made especially for him!Brittany got more (RED) products for our kids: This for one of our little ones in Ethiopia (that I really wanted badly!) .....
....and this warm sweater hoodie for Elijah that says "bo(RED)" which is perfect for him because that is his new saying when he doesn't want to do something I ask him. He whines, "Mommy, you are making me too bored!"

And I received some really special gifts relating to Ethiopia including this precious little boy figurine named "Eubie" from our family friend, Peggy. I just love him!

This necklace is so special to me because it is an pink Ethiopian stone carved into an Ethiopian coptic cross that Brad gave me.

And he gave me this Ethiopian girl figurine and her name is "Sadaka" which means "precious gift"! I love her too!

I love that Brad always tries so hard to find really special things to give me on my birthday and holidays and this Christmas was no different. This year he tried to find things that were unique to Ethiopia but since most of his research came from the internet, he found out the pictures given on the internet are difficult to see the true size of anything. He was so excited to give me this necklace because he thought it looked small but a little "sparkly" and would help remind me of our children in Ethiopia. Well, Brittany warned him that she wasn't sure about it but he ordered it anyway thinking it was perfect for me! It came in the mail and Brittany wrapped it without Brad ever seeing the real necklace. When I opened it, I was shocked! Yes, it was definitely "sparkly" and HUGE! We started laughing so hard because it is literally the size of a coaster! But what was even funnier is that at the bottom of the box, it said, "Hip Hop collection"!!!

We have decided to keep it because it is too funny not to and to use it as an ornament on our tree where it can really be "sparkly"! Have I mentioned that I am married to Clark Griswald?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Gospel of the Kingdom

With Christmas upon us, I felt this was a great quote to think about:

The Gospel of the Kingdom
“The kingdom of God is the new and final age that began with the coming of Jesus. His kingdom is not part of the present age — an age where the flesh reigns; where people are divided, relationships are broken, and suspicion and competition dominate; where money, sex, and power are abused; where leaders are first and servants last; where behavior is controlled by laws, and identity is defined by race, gender, or social standing; and where gifts and resources are used for the advancement of oneself.

Rather, the kingdom of God is the new age. It is the age of the Spirit (Matt 12:28). It is the age of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). The Kingdom of God is about the renewal, restoration, and reconciliation of all things, and God has made us a part of this great story of salvation.

This kingdom is about the restoration of relationships, justice, and equality; about freedom from every lord except Jesus; about reconciliation, forgiveness, and the defeat of Satan. It is about compassion for the poor and powerless, about helping those who are marginalized and rejected by society, and about our gifts and resources for the advancement of others. It is about new communities and the transformation of society and culture, so that race, gender, and social class no longer define identity, nor are they used to control and divide. For Paul, to preach the gospel is to preach the kingdom, is to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:24-27).

The gospel sums up the whole message of good news that he brought to the nations — particularly to the downtrodden and powerless. And since it is good news, our response to the message of the kingdom is to be one of repentant faith (Mark 1:15).”

- Neil H. Williams, Gospel Transformation, 2nd Ed. (Jenkintown, Pa.: World Harvest Mission, 2006), iii.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Week 8

It is almost Christmas and we have made it to another week! The kids gave up on making the numbers with their bodies since making a number "8" would have been easier if they were noodles! So they improvised and decided to make an "8" with the first thing they saw....socks! There are always socks lurking around our house, mostly without their mates, so for today we have finally found a purpose for "mateless" socks! I think they did a pretty good job!
Today has been filled with more cooking for the holidays! I love to cook and the holidays make cooking even more fun with all the festive recipes! The kids love to make sugar cookies at Christmas, so they are really looking forward to this weekend! We are going to try a new recipe for Christmas this year that is an actual African recipe. It is called Malva Pudding and it is similar to bread pudding, so we are looking forward to enjoying that and hopefully it will become a tradition in our home!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kolfe Orphanage

The radiant faces of the boys and young men at the Kolfe Orphanage, ages 12-18, would never reveal that they are the poorest of the poor and have lost their parents and families. These orphans haven’t been absorbed by friends of relatives and now the only family they know is the one comprised of the 185 other kids at the orphanage. Unfortunately, this kind of thing is all too common throughout Africa. Poverty, AIDS, and malnutrition has left a devastating wake of 4.7 million orphans in Ethiopia alone.

The one affected most by the orphan crisis are the older kids that don’t have a chance to be adopted and are forced to spend the majority of their life in poorly funded and understaffed orphanages like Kolfe.

These young men have been placed in this facility with the hopes of attaining food, medical care, shelter, and an education. Unfortunately, budget constraints have severely limited the capacity to which Kolfe can provide these basic needs. The clinic is void of proper medical equipment, the recreational facilities are limited to one dirt patch used for soccer, and the basic structure of the majority of the buildings are completely dilapidated.

Gladney is trying to help by bettering the conditions in which they live. Others are giving of their resources to raise funds to help these boys. Here is a video of the boys and their situation:



"And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me." Matt. 25-40

Friday, December 14, 2007

One Lord

Wow! Another post from Of First Importance, but I must say it has really been teaching and encouraging me lately!

One Lord
“‘One Lord.’ Ephesians 4:5.

The Lord Jesus is the one Head, as He is the one Foundation, of the Church. All believers are chosen in Christ, blessed in Christ, saved in Christ, preserved in Christ, and in Christ will be glorified. The work of Christ is the one resting-place of their souls. They rely for pardon upon the same blood, for acceptance upon the same righteousness, and for sanctification upon the same grace. One in Christ, all other differences and distinctions are merged and forgotten: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’

What a uniting truth is this! Jesus is the one Head of life, light, and love, to all His saints. He carried the transgression of all, He bore the curse of all, He endured the hell of all, He pardons the sin of all, He supplies the need of all, He soothes the sorrows of all, and He lives and intercedes for all. To Him all alike repair, it is true, with different degrees of knowledge and of faith, and from different points; yet, to Jesus, as to one Savior, one Brother, one Lord, they all alike come.

Oh! what a cementing principle is this! The body of Christ- the purchase of the same blood, loved with the same affection, and in heaven represented by the same Advocate, and soon, oh, how soon, to be ‘gloried together’ with Him. What love, then, ought I to bear towards him whom Jesus has so loved!”

- Octavius Winslow, Morning Thoughts (March 23)

A short bio on Octavius Winslow:
Octavius Winslow, 1808-1878, descended from Edward Winslow, a Pilgrim leader who braved the Atlantic to come to the New World on the Mayflower in 1620. Octavius?s father, Thomas, an army captain stationed in London, died when he was seven years old. Shortly after that, Octavius?s God-fearing mother took her family of ten children to New York. All of the children became Christians, and three sons became evangelical ministers. Octavius later wrote a book about his family?s experiences from his mother?s perspective, titled Life in Jesus. Winslow was ordained as a pastor in 1833 in New York. He later moved to England where he became one of the most valued nonconformist ministers of the nineteenth century, largely due to the earnestness of his preaching and the excellence of his prolific writings. He held pastorates in Leamington Spa, Bath, and Brighton. He was also a popular speaker for special occasions, such as the opening of C. H. Spurgeon?s Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1861. After a short illness, he died on March 5, 1878, and was buried in Abbey Cemetery, Bath. Winslow wrote more than forty books, in which he promoted an experimental knowledge of the precious truths of God. Several of his books have been reprinted recently.

Week 7

Today marks seven weeks of waiting and if you can see the expression on Elijah's face, you can tell they weren't too thrilled with making the number "7". At least it is one more week down, and who knows how many more to go!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Luke 2

Brad teaches at a private school here in Kingwood and the music teacher had asked him back in the summer if Isabella could memorize and recite Luke 2 for the school's Christmas program. We asked Isabella if she would like to do this and she agreed. I began teaching it to her a little at a time and she quickly memorized it and was so exited to say it to anyone who would listen to her! As December rolled around, we had taught it to not only her but decided to also teach it to Elijah (who already had memorized most of it just by listening to Isabella say it all the time!). Yesterday afternoon, we went up to the school to rehearse it with the music that was playing in the background as she spoke. She was uncharacteristically shy and nervous, so I began to think she might not go through with it, but after the rehearsal this afternoon, with all the people, lights, animals and other children, she did amazingly well!

So, tonight came and she was so excited to say her verse! She was at the very end of the program, so she had to wait a long time but then it came time for her to go up on the stage with Daddy! She was smiling and you could tell she was very excited! Here is a snippet of her because as I was recording her, my batteries died! Thank goodness, the school recorded it so we will have a copy!



She got a little nervous, and forgot to say some of the verses, but continued on like a pro (so well, that I don't think any knew she had forgotten anything)! Afterwards she was so precious asking me why she didn't say some of the verses and when I told her she did great and the Lord was pleased with her for knowing His word, she smiled and said, "Okay! Now where is my surprise!?" Children are truly resilient! Here she is after the performance with the flowers she received from Mommy and Daddy!
And here she is with the music teacher from the school:
But the best part of this is when she told me tonight after we got home, "Mommy, I am so glad I got to say my verses to all those people because now those people know about Jesus!" The Lord truly looks at our hearts and loves the faith of children!

Childlike Obedience

This quote from Of First Importance really encouraged me today:

Childlike Obedience
“God has declared in the gospel that whenever we come to him, we are to call upon him freely and openly as our Father, who has adopted us as his children. If we do not have this assurance, the thought of serving God will make us grind our teeth.

If, however, we are persuaded that God looks upon us favourably; if, though we are weak and can do nothing worthy of his approval, he accepts us in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we will surely be filled with courage.

We will be like a ship’s sail that has been stretched and filled by the breeze! Thus, our hearts will run to obey him, like a ship driven along by its sail, when we know that God delights in us and accepts our works, not wanting us to be compelled into servitude. He is happy for us to be his children, and that we desire to obey him.”
- John Calvin, Sermons on Galatians (preaching on Gal 5:1-3)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

You Raise Me Up

This video is from last season's American Idol on the Idol Gives Back show where Josh Groban sings "You Raise Me Up" with the African Children's Choir singing in the background. These kids are so precious!



I could watch this hundreds of times (and probably have!)

Inspi(RED)

I went into Hallmark today amidst all the busy Christmas shoppers looking for the new Hallmark (RED) ornament since they have now become part of the (RED) campaign. I looked all over and couldn't find it so I asked for some help. The lady was unpacking inventory they had just received next to the display that the ornaments were hanging. I was disappointed that the ornaments were hidden behind all the boxes as I guess they wouldn't be selling many of them. While I was checking out, the lady looked at the ornament, then said, "This is the first of these I have sold and yet it is so pretty!" She had no idea what is was and when I explained it to her and that we were adopting from Ethiopia, she was so thrilled! She said it made her day and that she hopes we are united with our children soon! Hopefully now that they know a little more about the (RED) products they are selling, they might just put them in a more viewable place!

Immediately when I got home, I unpacked my little treasure and placed it right in front of our Christmas tree! It is beautiful and I love it!

Friday, December 7, 2007

WEEK 6

Today marks six weeks we have been on the wait list for a referral. There are so many other families who have been waiting longer than us, so even though six weeks seems like a long time, we know we have more waiting ahead of us. There are several Gladney families who went through court yesterday, and some of them did not make it through apparently due to some missing paperwork (not on their part or Gladney's part). I guess I didn't realize that some families don't make it through court for some reason or another. Now, their travel dates have been pushed back and they have to wait through another court date to clear before they can travel. This process is truly about waiting on the Lord and trusting in Him. I really don't know how you can go through this process without knowing Him and trusting His provision for your life. We are all waiting anxiously for them to get cleared through court! Once cleared through the court system, the child(ren) are officially and legally adopted! We are praying for quick court dates!

In other news, all adoptive parents must complete 10 hours of training before traveling to their child's country. Training has always been a part of the process, but because of the Hague Convention, they instituted new rules for the training. So, last night, Gladney offered a free live stream workshop on "The Institutionalized Child" that Brad and I watched. It was a little over 2 hours and very informative. It is one of the required training topics for Ethiopia families and they offer a live-stream video every several months for free! In order to complete the rest of our hours, we will need to purchase them in DVD format or purchase to view online. I am anxious to finish these training hours so I will be a little more educated on adoption in general and so we will feel like we are one step closer to receiving our little blessings from Ethiopia!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Toothless and Tired

Today, Isabella had FIVE teeth extracted at the dentist's office. She was supposed to have six extracted but we pulled one last week that was loose! She was very nervous but never cried about the procedure. When we arrived at the dentist's office, they gave her some "silly juice" to drink to relax her and then we had to wait 20 minutes for it to take effect on her. She was totally fine until about 5 minutes into it, and she became incredibly smiley, wobbly and relaxed.
Brad had to carry her back to the chair because she was just like dead weight! They put a monitor on her little toes and then, put a mask on her giving her nitrous oxide to relax some more and she quickly faded into her "happy place"! It was time for us to leave, but I quickly got emotional leaving her alone when she seemed totally unresponsive to me. It reminded me of what we went through with Elijah during his surgery mishap and I became unexpectedly very nervous! The lady explained that they do 4-5 extractions every morning which calmed me some, but I couldn't stop the tears even though I kept thinking, "Seriously, Kimberly! They are just pulling her teeth!" It was over fairly quickly, and they carried her out to us good as new, just with 5 less teeth!
It was hard to see what she looked like because her mouth was stuffed with gauze to stop the bleeding, but I still thought she looked precious! We drove home and Daddy made her a comfy place on the couch and then went back to work. A little later, Granna came by and brought her a gigantic balloon that sings a Christmas song, some pretty flowers and some Christmas M&Ms!
Showing Granna "all the holes" in her little mouth:
And even Elijah got some M&Ms!
She is doing well now and sound asleep! Now, let's hope her top teeth will come out on their own!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Starfish Story

I do not know where this little story came from but it is one I have heard many times. It trult resonnates with where we are right now....in the midst of "making a difference" in a child's life. Believe it or not, I have had several people ask me if we are trying to save the world or tell us we can't make that big of a difference with just our family. This simple story is so perfect!

A little girl was walking along a beach that was covered with thousands of starfish left dying in the sun by the receding tide. Seeking to help, she picked up a starfish and tossed it back into the ocean.

A man, assumed by her action, said to her, “Little girl, there are to many starfish. You will never make a difference.” Discouraged, she began to walk away. Suddenly, she turned around, picked up another starfish, and tossed it as far as she could back into the sea. Turning to the man, she smiled and said, “I made a difference to that one!”

The man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing the starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined and all the starfish were saved.

Friday, November 30, 2007

WEEK 5

Pretty uneventful today unless you count the kids trying to make the number "5" with their bodies! Even though it has been the hardest so far for them to make, I think it looks the best! (Even better than their #1)!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Loose tooth!

Isabella started getting a random tooth growing behind her other bottom teeth so we took her to the dentist to check it out. He told us that she has a little bitty mouth and little bitty baby teeth that are significantly smaller than her incoming adult teeth. Even though her adult teeth are a normal size, they are 1 1/2 to 2 times larger than her little baby teeth which are already very crowded, so we have to go back in early December to get SIX of her teeth pulled on the bottom to make room for her adult teeth. The good news is that a few of her bottom teeth are loose, so we are supposed to "vigilantly" wiggle those teeth to see if the loose ones come out before he needs to pull the rest of her teeth...that brings us to last night......
See the pained look on her face? She was excited to pull one of her loose teeth until we went into the bathroom to pull it! That is where our little "drama queen" made the performance of a lifetime...she is so funny when she is dramatic but when she sees herself in the mirror, her performance deserves an Academy Award for sure! Here is the video before we actually pulled her tooth: (When she speaks of Dr. Jai...it is her dentist)
video
After I turned the video off, I bribed her with peppermint ice cream. She quickly smirked and asked me if I could try just ONE TIME to pull her tooth. I did and out popped the tooth! Here is her proud moment after her tooth was pulled:
video
She woke up this morning screaming that the Tooth Fairy came and left her a quarter for her tooth and even left a "pixie dust" trail to her bed!! She then proceded to tell me that she thought the Tooth Fairy left a dollar for each tooth! I told her that she had a special Tooth Fairy who only gave out silver coins, and as her eyes got bigger, she smiled and said, "WOW! I have a COIN Tooth Fairy!"

Indeed, she does!

Ethiopia Program Update

We received this update today from our Ethiopia program directors:

Due to the backlog in cases left over from the court closure during the rainy season, 4 families will be traveling this month to pick up their child/ren. We hope to see many more families traveling in the upcoming months. Congratulations to all of our families who received referrals and families who received court dates recently! Our Ethiopia Program families are continuing to grow every month, and we are excited to be working with all of you!

We are also excited to announce that we recently hired 2 additional staff members for our in-country team.

Travis and Joanna Norwood and their 2 children will be moving to Ethiopia in mid-November to assist with the in-country team (which already includes Belay Tafesse and Ryan and Abby Brown who adopted little Enoch and now their daughter, Marta!). We are glad to have them on board!

Also in-country, to better monitor and maintain the children's health, a full-time nurse has been added to the infant foster care staff, and a pediatrician will soon begin making regular visits to the foster care center to check on the children.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Could it be that simple?

Recently, Shaun Groves and his brother-in-law, Brian, (who is in the process of adopting a child, maybe siblings, from Ethiopia) traveled to Ethiopia with Compassion International and attended the graduation of Compassion's Leadership Development Program. While they were there, they were able to capture wonderful images and video footage of their time there as well as spend time with some wonderful Ethiopian people. This excerpt is from Shaun's blog speaking of his time in an orphanage there. His words are convicting and ever so true:

"Adoption, like marriage, I think, is a living breathing metaphor for God’s love of us. I felt that today. I felt God in me wanting to hold these strangers, kiss them and sing to them, take them home and raise them as my own.

Later, as Brian and I processed what we’d experienced together in the orphanage I became convinced of something Brian tried to teach me long ago. We really do make God’s will too complicated. I do. I wring my hands and analyze and worry, discuss and think, think, think. I pray and beg God to speak. “What is your will for my life? What do you want from me?” I ask. And he’s silent. Or is he? As Brian says, maybe God’s will is found wherever my ability and someone else’s need intersect. Does apathy sometimes come from good intentions - from waiting and praying for instructions we don’t really need after all? Is God speaking already and constantly to us through our ability and excess and the world’s pain?

There are over 800,000 orphans in Ethiopia waiting for parents. There are over 100,000 children in Compassion programs waiting for sponsors. That is need.

We are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit that raises the dead, gives sight to the blind, repairs all that is broken on this side of Heaven and even teaches us how to parent. We have hands that can hug, hearts that can love, stoves that can cook, refrigerators full of food and more living space per person than the citizens of any other nation in the world. That is ability.

Are there 900,000 American Christians asking God to announce his will to them right now when he’s already speaking through their bible, their spare room and their bank accounts?

Could it be that simple?

Compassion International answers "Why Ethiopia?"

Again, this video and explanation was taken from Shaun's blog during his trip to Ethiopia. Dr. Wess Stafford is the President of Compassion International:

After the diplomas were handed out at the LDP graduation ceremony a couple days ago, Wess and two other Compassion leaders washed the feet of three of the graduates. It was the final lesson taught: leaders must humbly serve. Wess was to wash the feet of a male student and a female leader was to wash the feet of a female graduate but at the last second Wess knelt instead before the young lady and washed her feet. No one knew why he made this change in the plan until yesterday.

Yesterday we went to church with the LDP graduates and then joined them for lunch and a few hours of “fun time.” At the end of our afternoon together the Ethiopian Compassion staff asked us to make a large circle, as if we were gathered around a camp fire. One by one we sat in the center and told our story. And answered questions from those in the circle.

When it came Wess’ turn he told us his story and then he told us why he washed a woman’s feet at the graduation ceremony, and why Compassion came to Ethiopia.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

We decided to do something a little different this Thanksgiving, so we went out to Pasadena to have Thanksgiving lunch with our extended family and then headed over to Moody Gardens in Galveston. It was great to see everyone at Thanksgiving and of course, all the wonderful comforts foods of the holidays were delicious as always! The kids had a great time with all their cousins and I tried to take some pictures in their "Thanksgiving" clothes.
Then, we changed all the kids into their Christmas clothes since my aunt and uncle's home was already decked out for Christmas to take pictures for Christmas cards. It was very similar to taming the beasts at the circus, but I thank we got some cute pictures!

Isabella, Poppy, John Isaac, Elijah, David, Granna & Rachael


Right before we changed them out of their Christmas clothes, the cousins all began to dance with each other and it was precious!


We left Pasadena and headed out to Moody Gardens where we met up with my parents, my sisters, my brother and his family. We all got settled into the hotel and got bundled up to see the Festival of Lights around Moody Gardens. It was a very long lit path of Christmas scenes in lights with sounds and music! The kids loved it as they could run and be free and explore all the beautiful lights. Of course, Elijah did a little exploring of his own and saw a gigantic lit toy soldier and went running towards it but didn't see the cable supporting it and was totally "clotheslined" and fell to the ground. We also went to see The Polar Express 3D and we all loved that! The next morning, we had breakfast in the hotel and we went to the ice skating rink.

They had all just entered the rink, so they huddled together I guess so they wouldn't fall!

None of the kids had ever ice skated, and they all did such a great job! They had little metal "walkers" for the little kids (even though some of the adults used them too!) and they helped the kids from falling so much!
Elijah and Aunt Reagan

Daddy & Isabella
Isabella gave her walker to Elijah, so she just scooted along the ice but with great balance and hardly ever fell! Elijah used her walker and literally was running across the ice with such speed and no fear!

WEEK 4

Hooray! One more week down but we have no idea how many more weeks to go. I am guessing that we will possibly receive a referral sometime within our 12-15 week. I am hoping for much sooner but I am giving myself plenty of "stretching" room so I won't get disappointed if a shorter guess comes and then goes with no referral. With that 12-15 week guess, it will put us at sometime between January 18th- February 12th. WOW! That seems so close but yet, so far away! They have told us that sibling pairs in our age range (0-3 years) is harder to come by than placing a single child, so our wait time is not set in stone. We are praying for the Lord's perfect timing.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Free Rice!

This website called "Free Rice" has combined a little vocabulary fun with do something purposeful! They post a word and give several choices of what it could mean and you just click on what you think the definition is of the given word. For each correct word meaning, they will donate 20 grains of rice through the United Nations in an attempt to end world hunger.
Warning: This is very addicitive and you just might learn some new words!

Friday, November 16, 2007

WEEK 3

This day has come and gone in a flash for some reason. I feel like the wait is flying by (even though we are only at week 3!) I guess it is good to be waiting during the holidays since they seem to be so busy, your mind is not constantly thinking about waiting. Again, I am sure I will be eating my words soon enough!
Here is the kids best #3:

(I know, Isabella's hair makes it look like a #3 with a goatee, but it certainly adds character!)

It would seem that the #3 would be a piece of cake, but believe me, it is definitely not! I hope we don't make it to week #13 not only because that is a long time, but also because I can't take the stress of making another THREE!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Red Campaign

I knew the Red Campaign involved Africa, Bono and helping raise funds but I had no idea how they all came together. Ever since deciding to adopt from Ethiopia, the information we have received about the conditions of the people are staggering. Basically, many companies (although Gap has been the front runner) have agreed to create products that reflect the (RED) logo so that the proceeds will go to helping those in need in Africa to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. To better understand what exactly what being done, I went to the (RED) website and found this:

MEASU(RED) RESULTS
The Global Fund has selected established grants with sound performance to receive money raised through (RED). To date, of the $49.8 million received by the Global Fund from the sale of (RED) products, $30.8 million has flowed directly to Global Fund financed grants in Ghana, Rwanda and Swaziland. In these countries this money is helping to finance comprehensive national HIV/AIDS programs led by the ministries of health, to provide antiretroviral treatment for children and adults, to assist in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, as well as essential counseling and testing activities to reduce the overall risk of HIV transmission.

Additional contributions of funds will continue to be made to these programs as they achieve tangible, measurable results in their lifesaving work. Additional amounts of money are sent by the Global Fund to (RED) grants according to the grants’ own requests to the Global Fund – usually every 3 to 6 months – and additional amounts are sent once results have been reported and verified.

To read Impact Stories about beneficiaries of (RED) money in Africa, click on http://joinred.blogspot.com/.

The Global Fund
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was established in 2002 with the support of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the world's leaders, to dramatically increase resources to fight three of the world's most devastating diseases. Since its creation, the Global Fund has become the dominant financer of programs to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, with $8.4 billion invested in 136 countries.

The Global Fund is an innovative partnership of governments, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. It is not an implementing agency -- the Global Fund relies on local ownership, planning and expertise and enables countries to design and execute their own programs, but provides funds only on the basis of proven results to ensure that funds are used efficiently to create real change for people and communities.

Global Results
In five years, the Fund has achieved substantial results. As of September 2007, Global Fund financing has provided:
1.1 million people with treatment for HIV and AIDS
9.4 million people with voluntary HIV testing
1.2 million orphans with basic care and support
2.8 million people with treatment for tuberculosis
23 million people with treatment for malaria
30 million families with insecticide-treated mosquito nets

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Al Mohler Radio Program

The Albert Mohler Radio Program has two segments posted on his website on adoption. One aired on July 26, 2005 and was guest hosted by Russell Moore and Randy Stinson called "Adoption and the Gospel of Jesus Christ". On July 5, 2007, "Is Transracial Adoption Nothing More Than 'Abduction?" aired and was guest hosted by Dr. Russell Moore and Elizabeth Bartholet. Here is the short review on the latter:

While Madonna and Angelina Jolie have made headlines for their adoption of children from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, there is an ongoing debate regarding the ethical dimensions of 'transracial adoption'. Is it nothing more than a form of cultural imperialism and institutional racism? Dr. Moore considers this debate on today's program and is joined by Elizabeth Bartholet, professor of law at Harvard University.

Waco bound!

We left yesterday to visit my younger sister, Brittany, who goes to school at Baylor University. Since she will graduate in December, we decided to go see her one more time before she graduates! It was a quick trip as we drove up Friday and came home tonight late but so much fun! Since we have been buried with all the adoption paperwork lately, it was nice to get out and celebrate being on the waitlist....if even for just 2 weeks!

When we walked into her apartment, she had this precious sign to greet us:
That is Brad with his Benadryl (he is allergic to everything!), me with my 64 oz. water jug (that I rarely finish in a day!), Isabella with her favorite stuffed horse called "Enchanting", Elijah with his favorite dinosuar, "Rex" (T-Rex) and finally my sister saying "Woo-Hoo!" with her little black poodle, "Beaux"....so cute!
Here are the kids at the fountain in front of a new building at Baylor. It has been so long since I went there that so much has changed and had been built, so we walked around to see all the new things there!
Aren't they precious?! I have no idea what is behind them, but it is a beautiful building!

Friday, November 9, 2007

WEEK 2

We have now been waiting two weeks for our referral.....we are constantly wondering how many weeks until we are given a glimpse of our precious children!

This picture took a lot of time and patience for sure and I am not sure it looks like much because Elijah kept flipping over so he could make an "E" (for "Elijah")! Like I said before, they LOVE to make letters (and now numbers) with their bodies and they have gotten quite good at it!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I am His

I stumbled across this site called Of First Importance that each day provides "one quote to help you live in the good of the gospel." This was listed in the "About Us" section of the blog:
Josh Etter, Fred Eaton and Bart Byl who are three brothers in Christ whose friendship is rooted in the gospel. All three are members of Crossway Community Church in Surrey, BC, where Fred serves on the pastoral team. Crossway is part of the Sovereign Grace family of churches. We’ve all spent far too much time looking inward instead of upward (Col 3:1), only to futility and despair. This blog was born out of our own need to live each day in the good of the gospel.

Their blog started back in July 2007 and has some wonderful quotes based on Scripture. This quote was from today called "I am His":

“I am His by purchase and I am His by conquest; I am His by donation and I am His by election; I am His by covenant and I am His by marriage; I am wholly His; I am peculiarly His; I am universally His; I am eternally His.

Once I was a slave but now I am a son; once I was dead but now I am alive; once I was darkness but now I am light in the Lord; once I was a child of wrath, an heir of hell, but now I am an heir of heaven; once I was Satan’s bond-servant but now I am God’s freeman; once I was under the spirit of bondage but now I am under the Spirit of adoption that seals up to me the remission of my sins, the justification of my person and the salvation of my soul.”

- Thomas Brooks, Heaven on Earth

Friday, November 2, 2007

WEEK ONE!

Today marks WEEK ONE that we have been waiting for our referral! It is a little weird (but exciting!) to be saying "week" instead of "month" since that is what we were counting when we were waiting for a referral from China. Speaking of China....when we were counting the months we were waiting for China, I took pictures of the kids holding the corresponding number of months we had been waiting. The kids are a little older now and get a kick out of trying to figure out how to "make" numbers and letters out of their bodies, so........the challenge is on to see if they can successfully make each number of weeks we wait! I am sure we will have to get creative but when I asked them how they were going to make all the numbers, they looked at each other and both screamed, "TEAMWORK!"

I just LOVE my kids!!!
(this picture cracks me up!)p.s. I must say that during the "shooting" of this picture, "TEAMWORK" went out the window and they both ended up fighting on which way was better! (HELLO! How hard is it to make a number one!?) We have a long road ahead of us......

Thursday, November 1, 2007

National Adoption Month

This was one of the recent posts on the Gladney site explaining National Adoption Month:

The Gladney Center for Adoption has much to celebrate. November is National Adoption Month - a time to remember families created through the miracle of adoption. The Gladney Center participates in this celebration by honoring the 27,000 children placed with loving families through the agency's comprehensive adoption services.

It is appropriate for National Adoption Month to be positioned in the month of November celebrating a time of thanksgiving. Using white ribbons to raise awareness, National Adoption Month celebrates families touched by adoption, honors birth mothers for their courageous choice, and remembers children who still need permanent homes.

The Gladney Center for Adoption offers many personalized and comprehensive adoption programs. Each program is custom-tailored help create a bright future through adoption. Birth mothers who make adoption plans through The Gladney Center for Adoption may live on its Fort Worth campus or can live at home while participating in the agency's Community Service Program. In either case, dedicated social workers will help her make a personalized adoption plan that is best for her and her child. Gladney offers birth mothers openness and flexibility in the adoption process, private medical care, counseling, an in-house legal staff, education opportunities and lifelong post adoption services.
Gladney's International Adoption Programs have successfully placed thousands of babies and young children in homes throughout the United States. These programs offer adoption opportunities in Eastern European, African, Asian and Latin American countries. Not only does adopting internationally assist families in achieving their dream of parenthood, but also fulfills the dream of children in orphanages and foster homes who await the love of a forever family.

The Gladney Center for Adoption extended its commitment to children and families in 2000 by creating the New Beginnings Program. The New Beginnings Program provides two adoption options. The first is assisting the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in recruiting loving adoptive homes for children currently waiting in the State's foster care system. New Beginnings also places medically fragile children in loving and caring homes.

White ribbons that are worn during the month of November will remind people of the lifelong benefits that adoption offers to young women experiencing unplanned pregnancies, children in need of permanent homes, and families built through the miracle of adoption. Adoption directly impacts the lives of millions of people. Please join us in raising awareness about the miracle of adoption through the celebration of National Adoption Awareness Month.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

No costumes this year :(

There seems to be a pattern this month...."a month without (fill in the blank)" Like I have already said in my pumpkin carving post, Halloween has never been a big tradition in our family. However, I have always dressed the kids up in costumes since they were infants. There is nothing cuter to me than to see little babies and children in costumes! Since they have never even been "trick or treating", Brad says it is a complete waste to buy them costumes, but I keep telling him it is all about the pictures!!! But, this year is the first year I didn't buy them costumes. It did seem like a silly expense when we are saving money for the adoption and really, it is just to look cute and take pictures for their scrapbooks I haven't even started! Plus, this year Halloween fell on Wednesday night when we have church and the kids ended up being sick anyway, so there really was no need.

So instead, I dug up photos of their costumes in the past and that satisfied my desire for costuming this year. Every year, they seemed to get cuter!!
2002-Isabella at 4 months old as an adorable little elephant
2003-Isabella at 16 months old as the cutest cow ever...Moooooo!
2003-Elijah at 2 months as a precious little jester
2004-Raggedy Andy and Raggedy Ann (my favorite so far!)
2005- Beautiful Snow White & a cute & mischievious little monkey
2006-Bozo the Clown and a little party clown

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pumpkin Carving!

Halloween has never been a very big deal in our family, although every year we DO carve a pumpkin or two. The kids absolutely love it and surprisingly enough, they both love to reach inside the pumpkin and pull out the "guts"! We carve the same looking pumpkin every year and Mommy always marks the pumpkin face and Daddy cuts:
  • (2) hearts for the eyes showing the love we have for Jesus
  • a cross for the nose showing the love He has for us

  • an icthus for the mouth showing our faith in Him

Obviously, we then put a candle inside and set it on our porch. Except for this year......

This picture shows how far we went with the whole "pumpkin carving" thing until it got ugly! And don't let these precious little smiles fool you either!

Shortly after this picture was taken, they began fighting over whose pumpkin had more "guts" and before we knew it, it had escalated to the point that Elijah reached into his pumpkin and fiercely (not playfully) threw his "guts" at Isabella. So, she threw her "guts" on him as my jaw hit the floor! Daddy swooped in and showed his "guts" by shutting down the "pumpking carving booth", giving them baths and sending them to bed pumpkinless! Needless to say, we told the kids they would have to wait until Aunt Brittany came in town this weekend to finish the pumpkin carving (because she wanted to do that with them!). When she came over to carve the pumpkins with the kids, we lifted their lids and they were rotten and disgusting! So.....no pretty carved pumpkins this year, so here is a picture of our typical pumpkin from 2 years ago (since I can't find the picture from last year). So cute!