Saturday, December 31, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The private blog. It is temporary, I think. I needed a place that was safe for just a while. Kevin and I have been under attack recently, unfortunately by members of our own family who have feigned support for over a year now. About six months ago I was blindsided by one brother and two weeks ago, blindsided by another. Much to our surprise, they do not agree with our adoption processes. One equated letting his children play with ours to letting "his kids play outside in a lighting storm." The other said that "we are adopting our children to gain attention for ourselves." We were also told that we are doing a disservice to Esen and Marissa by adding more children to our family. This coming from people who have never taken a moment to get to know them, who have found Marissa to be too overwhelming and too difficult - not worth their time. They have passed judgement, blame, charged us with tearing our family apart when it is actually they who have opted out. It is my job to advocate and educate, but I cannot cure ignorance. I am at a place where I need to surround myself with people who can provide genuine love and support for us and for our children.
We have a motto in our home - "Families are Forever" - It's a book we read often and anytime anyone's sad or worried, Esen repeats this mantra. I intend to keep this motto going and I won't subject my children to the negativity and ignorance of others. If people choose to isolate themselves, it is they who will miss out!
So, I needed to limit access to our family's story, to our childrens' stories, but I didn't want to stop sharing and I didn't want to stop chronicling our journey. I feel like I have an important story to tell. This blog isn't written for entertainment purposes. It is first and foremost a journal for my kids. It has also morphed into a support system and educational forum. I have never forced anyone to read it, but I guess they couldn't help themselves and were frequently offended by the content. In an effort to spare them, it'll be private for just a while. For those who have stuck with us, Thank You!
Our time in Ethiopia was totally amazing. I can't convey what it was like to be there, to experience the country, the culture; to see and meet and touch the people. Simply telling you about it doesn't really mean much - you have to experience it. I was talking with a friend about our experiences today and what I said to her was that we were long overdue for a life-changing trip. We had one in Kyrgyzstan nearly 5 years ago and I didn't fully realize the backslide that had occurred in our lives until we went to Ethiopia. Again, we have been reminded what life is truly about. Our tiny, overpriviledged, little corner of the world is so insignificant in the whole scheme of things. We met some amazing people, held some amazing children, and a piece of my heart will forever stay in Addis Ababa. You will hear more in the coming weeks about some of the children we met there. I have committed to doing more for them.
This Holiday Season, we have been unbelievably blessed by the generosity of some very kind-hearted souls who have supported our adoption through financial gift and prayer. We are grateful beyond words. There are times when "Thank You" seems so inadequate and we have had several of those moments lately. I am continually amazed by the selflessness I see in others. You know who you are - you have to know that you have changed the course of our lives and of our childrens' lives and we are and will always be eternally grateful!
I think that's it in a nutshell. Merry Christmas to each of you. I hope the Holidays bring you peace and love, happiness and strength. I hope you all have good health and take the time to remember what is truly important.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
We currently have a need to build a 12-room expansion to our existing school, in order to reach more children like Beza. We have been blessed, by the generosity of a donor, to be able to MATCH all donations to the Ziway and Adami Tulu Schools between now and December 31st... up to $130,000!!!
mug, Gobena t-shirt, andGobena tote bag. This basket is worth over $250!
*To commit via check, please send an email to email@example.com. Make check payable to Lifesong for Orphans, indicate 'preference Hope Ethiopia: 100' in the memo.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Without further adeu, we're so proud to introduce the two coolest kids
in Addis Ababa: Bamlak & Hiwot!
Today was a very emotional day to top off what has been a roller
coaster ride of a past week and a half. I'm going to keep this post
strictly adoption related, although I will say there's been a ton of
really heavy stuff going on that has just compounded our stress
Last Wednesday, we received a call from our agency coordinator.
Actually, I got an email and a message on my cell - both stating that
she wanted me to call her as there had been an "interesting
development" in H's case. I don't have to tell anyone experienced
with adoption that this is NOT something you want to hear, especially
4 days before boarding a plane for your children's court hearing.
My stomach turning, I called her and got some pretty shocking news. I
won't share it here as it is H's story to keep for herself, but it was
very difficult to get on the plane and go through the first couple of
days here not knowing what was going to happen. Needless to say,
things have worked out the way they were intended and here we are,
parents to two more amazing, beautiful little miracles!
Our court hearing today was less than five minutes, our coveted MOWA
comment was there and the hearing concluded with those four glorious
words: "Congratulations, they are yours!."
The highlight of our day was definitely our visit with the kids. They
sang "Mommy...Daddy...Mommy...Daddy..." for the entire three hours we
were there. They rarely wanted to be put down. We're starting to see
their personalities a little more and it's interesting to imagine how
they're going to fit into our family. We can see that food will be an
issue, as will sharing toys and attention - those things all to be
expected. They are both incredibly smart and pick up on things very
quickly. We're still pretty surprised at how tiny they actually are.
The measurements they give us each month correlate to Esen and
Marissa, but in person, they definitely don't match up. H is wearing
a 2T and B is wearing a 3T. Guess I should've held onto some smaller
There's another very sweet family here from Tennessee who are adopting
a sibling group of three from the same orphanage, H's best friend and
B's best friend among them; so we've enjoyed spending time with them.
We're enjoying the restaraunts, shops and went to the National Museum
this afternoon. The only thing we're not enjoying is the pollution -
my sinuses and lungs are truly hurting.
Tomorrow is a light day as all the "business" is done. We see the
kids, have lunch, visit another orphanage and probably do a little
more shopping. I love it here, I can't imagine leaving B & H
behind. I can't imagine that final goodbye, but at the same time, I
miss Esen and Marissa so much. We Skyped last night and it was so
hard not to just scoop them up and hold them. Soon, very soon, I
hope, we will all be together.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
I hope that I'll be able to update from Addis, but I'm told the internet connection is sketchy at best, so I'll try. I think I'll at least be able to email some posts in and hopeful I'll even be able to include a picture or two!
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
So will you take the leap with us? Could you do without 1 dinner out, 1 less present under the Christmas tree, 1 less latte if it meant that two children could be saved? It would mean the world to us and to them.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Surgery is NEVER without risk - I know that, we ALL know that. Little bodies are fragile and you just never know how they are going react. Still, we go into each and every procedure hoping that all will go as planned. For sweet baby S, things did not. He suffered a hemorrhage and unable to be stabilized, he passed away in the arms of his family.
Not a day has gone by since Wednesday, February 3, 2010, that I have not relived Marissa's third hemorrhage. I know every single event of that day. I can close my eyes and see it playing out in slow motion, I can see what people were wearing, I can smell the smells, hear the sounds, everything. Call it a solid memory, PTSD, whatever you want, but I don't think it will ever go away. When a person walks that line or their child walks that line - the line between life and death - you don't get to forget. The thing is, we got our daughter back - we got to take her home. She has had 35 surgeries, THREE brain hemorrhages, yet she has survived and we get to go on with our lives as a family. For Baby S's family, they were robbed of their chance to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas together, to watch their son grow. They will bury their baby and that is just plain wrong. I know they will never get that day out of their minds and I know there is absolutely nothing anyone can do or say right now to ease their pain.
I have survivor's guilt. I have no words to provide to them. How do you wrap up what you want to say to someone in a sympathy card? How can you say anything to someone who has just lost the most precious thing on Earth? How do we just forge ahead knowing that they have been left behind?
Saturday, November 19, 2011
What is your holy discontent? What is your God-given passion on this earth? You know, that one thing that MOVES you to action, that brings you to tears, and causes you to lose sleep? We have a passion, a yearning to see justice for the fatherless!
"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." - Isaiah 1:17
2011 Gifts of Purpose from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.
- Help a child break free from gripping poverty.
- Give the love of Jesus through Christian mentors.
- Give a future to an orphan's caregiver.
NOW, for even more exciting news....
In Ethiopia, children need an education to break free from gripping poverty. Public schools are lacking, so kids are left behind without the HOPE of an education or future. Our current Lifesong school is not only giving by teaching these children about Jesus, but also feeding 350 hungry children 2 meals each day. We currently have a need to build a 12-room expansion to our existing school... please join us to make a difference in a child's life.
As of last night, we have a generous donor that has stepped up to MATCH all donations to the Ziway and Adami Tulu Schools in Ethiopia between now and December 31st... up to $130,000!!!!!! Can you tell I'm excited? What a GENEROUS way to make the most of your giving and bless the children and families in these communities! Let me tell you first hand, these schools NEED to be expanded... these children NEED an education... they NEED to be fed each day... they NEED to hear about Jesus! Lets give HOPE to these precious children in Ethiopia!
Would you join us in prayer as we seek to make the need known?
***You can use the link above to make a matched donation OR select any of the Hope Ethiopia options below.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Please go to Linda's site and check out the amazing Scentsy products. The photo here is my scentsy warmer, a gift from Linda, and it lights up my kitchen every single day. The Holidays are fast approaching - you could not only help Kamila find her way home, but brighten someones day with a beautiful gift from Scentsy.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Now the real race begins. I wish I had something incredible to give a way. I wish I had some great contest to host, but I just don't. We have a long ways to go to raise the ransom to spring our kids and a very, very short time to raise it. Please link us, like us, pass our family's story along. We have lots of ways people can support our adoption. Our kids really want to come home!!
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
|This photo slideshow customized with Smilebox|
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Forty people have pledged to take a pie in the face this year, yours truly included, which translates into Christmas and a year's worth of vitamins for 2000 Kyrgyz orphans! Kamila has benefited in the past and once gain, this year, she will spend her FOURTH Christmas in an orphanage, away from her family. Folks, orphans don't get a day off; they don't get to 'forget', they don't get to turn off their loneliness; but for one day, the Wrights will bring them Christmas joy - they will be part of a family. Better yet, for an entire year, they will receive life saving vitamins!
Please consider going over to the Wright's blog and making a donation in my name so that I can reach my goal of $500 and earn a pie. I would be so grateful, but don't just do it for me. Do it for Kamila, do it for the 2000 orphans left without families who will benefit, and do it for Esen because what 5-year-old doesn't dream of throwing a pie in their mommy's face?!
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Yesterday we had a chance to meet H and B, they are both so adorable!
They were in school when we arrived, so we waited about an hour for
them to get home and they were really ready to have fun when they got
back. We found it so sweet how all the kids shared together without
any direction--older ones helping the younger ones open candy and
sharing toys. All the kids really seem like a big family. We didn't
know much about (the orphanage) before visiting, so the small number of
children there seems to give them all lots of attention from the
When H first came in from school she ran in with her friend S.
jabbering away and greeted us. They both had to go change clothing
and came back dressed in pink. H seems so happy, she loved
looking at your photos and naming who you all were (enat, etc). As
she cuddled her baby doll she sang this sweet little song to it--very
precious. She was very patient and looked through her whole gift with
such excitement!B was basically a bundle of energy--he ran into the room and
started kicking the balls around. Our driver helped call him over and
his eyes lit up when he saw the truck. He was off playing with it
quickly--racing it across the floor and laughing. He would sit still
for short bursts of time to view the other things, but really the
truck was just so exciting for him. He did come over by H and
look at the family book together and they chattered away in Amharic
for a bit.
Then of course he rejoined the boys playing ball and zooming his truck!
Both very sweet kids, it was great to meet them!
I can't tell you what it means to us to know that they have a piece of our family with them, that they know they have a family waiting for them. We are entering the second week since their court case was opened and could hear any day now when our court date will be. I'm on pins and needles - can't wait to meet them! Of course, I'm also extremely stressed about how in the world were going to raise the rest of the funds to actually be able to get down there, but I know it just has to work out.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
With the new children coming and even more medical issues to address; Marissa older, stronger, and more stable; I decided to return to work in a more permanent capacity. I considered staying with my current employer and explored the possibility of a part-time position. Unfortunately, staying with them would not afford us the luxury of choice when it came to health insurance coverage. See, it is critical to me that each of our kids are covered at AFCH - aka our second home. Marissa receives all of her care at AFCH and sees all UW doctors. Esen has a UW pediatrician and sees some UW specialists. Going with another health insurance plan would mean giving that up and I decided that there was no way I could do it.
So, many months ago I began searching for the perfect job. I wanted 20 hour weeks with inexpensive, full-coverage insurance that would allow the kids to stay at the UW. I knew changing employers meant taking a pay cut, likely increasing my commute and starting over, but for the right insurance plan, I was willing. Well, I found it and was so lucky to find it within one of the top health care organizations in the area. The job itself is something totally different from what I've done before, challenging, and really enjoyable. The people I work with are great and other than the commute, there is nothing I don't love about it. I also kept my fill-in position, so I really have the best of both worlds!
That brings us to now (and here come the excuses) - the last month, I have been training - full time. I'm also keeping my part-time hours up at my other job. I'm trying to manage the house, the kids' schedules, Marissa's therapy and doctor appointments, working on three adoptions from two different countries, and desperately trying to fundraise. Then, there was the stomach flu of the last week - I'll spare you any further details on that. I also sit on the Patient Family Advisory Council for AFCH and I'm participating in several upcoming events - The Patient and Family Centered Care Conference - where I'm sitting on a panel of 4 parents talking to over 400 participants (yes, me who can't stomach public speaking) and also this Wednesday's Child Health Advocacy Day at the Capitol. I have an annual post placement report to write, AVON books to assemble and get out, and of course tons of stuff to do around the house.
Most days I feel like I don't know whether I'm coming or going. I feel like I'm not being a great mom, wife, employee, volunteer, or anything else. I kind of feel like I'm just getting by. My 'to do' list is a million miles long and there is so much that needs to be done around the house before the kids come home. I know it's going to get better. November will bring a somewhat calmer schedule and I know it doesn't really matter if Kevin and the kids have to eat Mac n Cheese a few more times or if the papers lay on the counter another couple of days. Knowing it doesn't make it any easier to tolerate, though.
So, there you have it. That's where I've been - nowhere really. Just working and living and getting by. I promise to update and each of the kiddos soon.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The purpose of this update is two fold. A lot has happened recently with regard to our pending adoptions so I thought a detailed update might be in order.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Today, we were in the drop off line of cars (about the fourth back) and Esen decided that "Mama, you should probably walk me in, today." I pulled out of the line, parked and we walked up to the drop off door where the outside TA was waiting to shuttle kids into the Gym. We started talking to her about the process so he'd be ready for next week. I had my camera in hand so I could get some pictures of him in front of school and walking off into school. Then, his buddy arrived and they RAN OFF into school together. No tearful goodbye, no pictures, nothing. I guess I have to be happy that he's well adjusted and confident, right?
His first day went really well. He was happy and exhausted! I absolutely cannot believe he is off to school already. It really doesn't seem possible.
|Heading to Orientation|
|Testing out his seat|
|Ready to learn.....I think?|
|First day as a Kindergartner|
|Special "First Day" after school snack|
Friday, August 26, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Many months back, I made an announcement here that Marissa was named as one of 40 recipients of an iPad through a 'contest' hosted by another blog. Without drudging up all of the ugliness that has ensued over the past several months surrounding this 'contest', I'll just say that the promised iPad was never received. I have no idea the real circumstances and although I have my own personal feelings and suspicions on the subject, I'll keep them to myself because I am no more qualified to act as judge and jury than anyone else.
Anyway, back to the purpose of this post. Some other contest 'winners' decided to take it upon themselves to right some wrongs and single-handedly restore the faith of the special needs community as a whole and created Mission iPossible. This group of folks is truly amazing and took on this task with nothing to gain for themselves. They had no idea how they were going to do it or how long it would take, but decided that their mission was to get an iPad into the hands of every kid who was promised one and whose family still wanted to proceed. Selfless - yes! Compassionate - yes! Crazy - totally! Ken, Heather, Maureen and Darcy have given birth to something big and I don't see it ending with these 20 iPads. Recently, they have also partnered with The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, another incredible organization dedicated to improving the lives of others.
Honestly, I didn't expect to receive an iPad for Marissa, at least not for a very long time. Not because I didn't trust Ken and crew. I just couldn't imagine four people getting together on a whim and making this happen. Heck, I know how hard it is to raise money. I know how hard it is to try and convince people that what you're doing is worthwhile and important. It's nearly impossible. Truthfully, being a small part of this mission (as a recipient), watching iPads land in the hands of deserving children has meant so much more than getting something. It has given me a renewed faith in humanity. It has reminded me that goodness still exists in the world. TRUE goodness - you know, people who not only talk the talk, but actually walk the walk! Those people are hard to find nowadays. I have 'met' some truly amazing new friends through this experience.
Well, this week, it was Marissa's turn! I've pretty much been speechless since I got the email from Ken that funds were secured and Marissa's iPad was due to be purchased. We all know speechless is something that I'm usually not. It's "just" a computer, right? To us, it's a door opened for ALL of our kids. When I think of what this piece of technology might be able to provide for Marissa, Esen, Kamila, B & H with all of their unique needs; it brings tears to my eyes. This is not something we would ever have been able to justify spending money on so it is truly an incredible gift! I will admit, I'm a wee bit frightened of it - after all, we still live in the land of the free flip phones and yes, there is still a walkman hanging around our house. No, we don't have an iPod, MP3, XBox, or any other type of gadget; heck we just finally bought a laptop less than a year ago! But, we're eager learners and I'm pumped to find an 'app' that might just do the laundry for me!
So, on to the million dollar question - how do you properly thank someone who has changed the lives of your children for the better? I don't have the answer yet, but knowing the Mission iPossible team, I think, for now anyway, this will suffice just fine:
Friday, August 19, 2011
support of those who “get it,” we WILL complete this leg of the journey.