Sunday, April 15, 2012

Are you new?! Nope...been coming here for a long time...

I honestly enjoy meeting new people but I know this isn't the case for everyone. Raising my kids, I've tried to teach them that there should always be room in our hearts for a new friend.

When there is a new kid in their classroom, I'm nosy and ask my children to find out more about that person. Where did they go to school before they joined their class? Do they go to church? If so, where? Has anyone included them in their circle of friends? And so on. Often, my children have answered most of my questions with "I dunno!" But I still encourage them to find out...but more importantly, to be kind to them and to invite them into their circle of friends. Sometimes this works out well and new friends are found all around. Sometimes they find out that a new friendship is not possible due to personality conflicts. But I would hope that everyone feels like they did something to make the other feel welcome. If a new friendship is formed, then everyone wins. And if not, at least they tried.

Awhile back, there was a child who we got to know and invited to several outings. At first it seemed to work out as the kids hit it off well. But a few weeks later, this child made other friends and my child was not included in that circle. Now, years later, my child has realized that new friendships aren't always possible. Sometimes the other child can be hard to get to know. Sometimes they form their own cliques where others aren't included (which turned out to be the case with this child). At least that child did not enter a new environment & feel invisible or bullied, as so often happens when a child changes schools.

As a parent, I'm not comforted by the closed circles of friends I see at my kids schools. Those groups that have been together since Kindergarten and appear to be exclusive. The ones that do not change from year to year, yet new kids come and go. Do these kids know what they are missing out on? Do they know the heartbreak that many classmates go through when they are not even thought of when birthday parties are planned and invites are given out? Are they taught to care? Isn't it our job as parents to encourage our children to be more like Christ, accepting others and opening up our lives to include them? Is it a lack of tolerance? Maybe we're so busy, it's just easier to go through the years without going out of our way.

So what about adults? Are we exempt from including others? How often do we have our comfortable circle of friends and we're very content in the closed familiarity of it. There are book clubs, coffee outings, Saturday lunches, even prayer groups that seem exclusive. Besides waving hello or small talk in passing at the grocery store, when is the last time we truly visited with someone we don't usually hang out with?

Don't get me wrong. It's important that we all form lasting, nurturing bonds and have lifelong, best friends. I think it's healthy & pretty wonderful. But I also think it's incredibly close minded to not give others a chance. We can't leave it up to someone else to make the first move. We might be missing out on someone pretty amazing. We might be missing out on a lifetime of friendship.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Paper Prayers

(Paraphrased from the book Adventures In Prayer by Catherine Marshall)
When bringing our prayer requests to the Lord, write them on pieces of paper. Ask outright what the request is. Pray over the pieces of paper, asking Jesus' mind on them, sifting out anything superficial or selfish until we have reached the kernel of the Spirit's hopes and dreams for this particular person or wish. Then, insert each piece between the pages of your favorite Bible, even specifically in between the pages of your favorite texts - Signifying that you are leaving them completely in God's care & keeping.
It is wonderful to go back sometime in the future and find these slips of paper & see how the Lord had blessed and answered each prayer.
(I actually did this in 1990 when Andrew and I had broken up while we were dating. I was so broken hearted. I knew he was the one for me so why did God allow him to dump me?! We were broken up for a year...After making myself sick with doubt, worry and heartache during that time, I followed these steps and completely left it up to God. A few years later after we were married, I discovered that Bible and the pieces of paper I had placed there...21 years of marriage later, I see how God was always in charge...I just had to let Him do what He needed to!)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bring "N" Home

Since dropping off on my blogging for sooooo long, I know I've also lost a lot of readers. Or maybe it's not about me at all...we are all very busy. Raising our children, working, playing, stressing about daily life, fundraising....Yep. Fundraising.
When we were in Ethiopia 3 years ago, we met the most incredibly adorable little boy. He was 4 years old and a complete lover. Each morning he would run into my arms, cover my neck with kisses and hug on me like we belonged together. The last day we were there, I inquired about this child's status. He had been abandoned and was HIV+. I cried. The secretary at the orphanage cried. I felt like I was going to leave behind my child! It was heartbreaking. THIS CHILD IS UNIQUE BECAUSE HE'S SO MEMORABLE. Out of an entire orphanage, he was the only child gregarious enough to seek us out.Each.And.Every.Day.

Over the past 3 years, I've thought of this child often. I've held him up before God in prayer. I even asked some of my Ethiopian contacts to check up on him and was able to get reports a few times per year...just making sure he was alive and healthy. HIV+ children do not get adequate care in 3rd world countries (if they receive medicine at all) and the older a child get's, the less "wanted" they are by potential adoptive parents, no matter what they're health status is. Knowing that little "N" was now 8 years old, destined to be in orphan care until his early teens then likely released onto the streets to beg was what he was heading for.

Then, in the past month, I started having very strong feelings that I needed to check on "N" again...I was filled with a sense of urgency. So, each day I brought him before the Lord, asking what I was supposed to do. What was expected of me? Why was I having such a strong desire to look him up again. Were we supposed to adopt him? Were we supposed to start some kind of non profit to help him and others in his same situation? I just didn't know, so I began to pray and ask God to show me. To open whatever door was His will...but just as importantly, that WE be willing to heed the call, as scary as it might be.

A call to the agency we used to bring home Ruby and Roman brought the news that "N" had been matched with a waiting family...but I had already gotten "solid" confirmation from a friend in Ethiopia that "N" was not matched and he was available for adoption. Conflicting reports made me just want to dig deeper because I had to know for sure this child's status. So I posted a simple paragraph on one of the Facebook message boards asking if anyone knew this boy and what his status was. Within a few minutes, I had my answer. I was amazed how quickly someone responded...actually, several people responded. This child had touched the lives of so many others! A lady by the name of Hannah said that yes, indeed, her family was waiting to bring "N" home...I was delighted! After a few private messages back and forth, and validating her authenticity of their pending adoption of "N", I told her my story & the bond I felt with "her" little boy...She did not respond for a couple of days. You see, I had freaked her out a bit!

When we talked again, she said how she had been feeling guilty about holding on to a child when someone else might be able to get him home sooner. She had been praying that somehow God would show her direction. Funding was standing in the way and her family had exhausted their resources. When I assured her I was in no position to adopt "N" & I was merely trying to figure out how best to help her, we realized clearly what we could mean to each other.

With this little boy's best interest in mind, we have set up a fund to raise money to get him home to his waiting family as soon as possible. At this point, money is one of the biggest factors standing in the way. Of course, there is paperwork and court dates still to be passed...but anyone in the adoption community knows that the almighty dollar is the hardest thing to come up with, and usually, a lot of it needs to arrive. At this point, we are hoping to raise about $14,000 more to complete little "N's" paperwork, court dates and Hannah & her husband, Rob's travel expenses.

If you are in a position to help in any way ($1, $5, $10...anything helps), please click on the link or copy and paste, go to the site we've set up at

This child is not getting adequate meds for his HIV status and the orphanage that he's living in is also under pressure from the government. There have been fears expressed that they will be shut down. It is our prayer that he gets home as soon as possible. Please join us in this prayer. If you feel impressed to give, we humbly thank you in advance!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Swinging from the rafters

I'm battling a cold. My two youngest are stir crazy and completely bored from staying indoors this early Spring. My oldest is getting very poor grades from playing catch up from our 2 vacations this school year. I'm feeling overwhelmed and frankly, exhausted.
A few hours ago I caught my little ones standing on the dining room table, pulling the ceiling fan chain over and over, practically hanging from it. Zing, zang, zing, zang...O yeah. It's one of those days. These are the kinds of days/weeks where I say to myself "Self, there is a little boy in Ethiopia who is waiting for his family. Are you his mommy??!!" At to which, I answer often "Yes, I am!"..."No, I'm not!"..."Yes, I am! Oh Dear Lord. Am I? Show me the way"...
We met this little boy 3 years ago when we were bringing home R&R. He fell in love with me and of course, I reciprocated his warmth & affection. I was smitten. He took pieces of my heart and I hope he still holds them like I do his...but he was only 4. I must remind myself that he probably took to many mommies and daddy's over the past few years. He is now 7...where he is I do not know. Prayerfully I hope that he has actually found his forever family. Prayerfully I hope he hasn't so he can come home to us. Prayerfully I ask "What is it I really want...oops, but more importantly Lord, what is it that YOU want for me?!"
My thoughts and emotions are swinging from the rafters it seems. At this point, these idea's are mostly all my own. My dear hubby does not share in the notion that we should have another little mouth to feed. I know that if we open our hearts and minds, anything can happen...and I am open to...anything.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Giving Up

Yesterday I started what for most people is Lent...for me, it's inspired by Lent, but since I am not Catholic, it is a personal journey to getting healthier, losing those 6 holiday induced pounds and getting mentally out of a little funk I've been holding on to for a few months.
For the next 39 1/2 days, I am giving up all beverages except coffee and water. Yes. It is going to get hard for me at times, I'm sure. Especially eating at restaurants. But, I know through prayer and the support of my family, I will persevere.
One of the pastors at my church sends out a weekly message via email entitled Worship Thoughts For Busy Parents. Her thoughts are always so inspirational and uplifting. I always gain a true blessing by her devotionals. Please read this weeks message:

For many Christian faith traditions, this week marks the beginning of Lent. Lent, in church history, is typically the 40 or so days before Easter. The idea is to sacrifice something in your own life so as to better identify with what Christ went through (specifically with his 40 days in the wilderness leading up to his ministry).

In Adventism we don't adhere to a liturgical calendar. Lent is not mentioned in the Bible and is not necessary for a faithful life with Christ. The spiritual discipline of fasting (giving up something for a period of time, whether food or some other life-regularity), however, has unfortunately been lost to many of us.

In the gospels, Christ refers to the life of following Him to be challenging. Specifically He says: "... If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:23, 24). When I look at my life as a Christian, I see lots of blessings (which are wonderful and I praise God for) but I don't see a lot of sacrifice. It is so easy for me to live comfortably as a Christian. Maybe too easy.

Fasting isn't about focusing on myself or about working to earn God's favor. For me, it is about recognizing that God has blessed and that so many things I consider "needs" are really "wants". My life is God's, and all I have belongs to God. What do I need to give up in order to truly appreciate? What have I been hoarding that needs to be turned over to God? I know from past experience that when I do finally give what I have kept as "mine" to God, God does more amazing things with it than I could ever have even dreamed of on my own.

Have you ever fasted? Beyond giving up food, is there an area of your life that is in excess that God is asking you to give up control? There is another way to look at fasting as well. Giving negative mental habits is a form of fasting. Pessimism, negativity, self-loathing, judgmentalism (just a few things I am too often guilty of) can be given to God as a form of fasting as well. For the next few weeks, maybe you need to give up feeling unloved by God? Give up being hard on yourself? Accept that you are the beloved child of God? I don't know what it is for you, but as we are coming up to Easter, think about what you can do to give your life more fully to the God who came to earth and gave His own life for you.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor Jana Lee

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blogging issues!

Ugh. Don't know why but my blog is having issues and as you'll notice by my recent birthday tribute to my sweet 16 year old, the font layout is wierding out!!!

16 years ago...

There was no snow on the ground but weather people were predicting it was coming. I was 39 weeks pregnant & scheduled for a routine exam by my amazingOB, Dr. Nakamura.

My mom and I headed into town for my exam. On the way, it started snowing. During my appointment, it snowed so much that Dr. Nakamura decided to admit me into the hospital because he didn't want us to venture home in that weather. Besides, that little baby in my tummy was trying to come out 10 days early!

After being admitted, Drs. orders were to WALK, WALK and then WALK some more. Throughout the course of the day, my mom and I had discovered every inch of that hospital as well as the mall across the street, which had access to the hospital via a winding tunnel. By late afternoon when Andrew could get off work, I was so through (!!) with walking and just wanted to sleep. That sweet little girl nestled inside of me was also worn out and wasn't moving much, but enough so that I was dilated to 8.

During the course of my day, I made plans to meet up with my best friend and her husband for ice cream. It sounded like a great idea at the time...But good thing my smart Doctor kept me at the hospital. I was dilating and effacing all over the place and doing all that gobbily gook that you do when about to give birth to something that should not come out of such a small space. Just before my BFF walked through the door, the nurse had broken my water. In walks BFF and hubby as I stood up...and KERSPLATTTT!!! There went this massive flood, all over the floor.

I truly almost barfed from embarrassment. What was this new and fairly horrifying experience? I'd heard once that if you are in a supermarket and your water breaks, grab a jar of pickles and throw on the floor. Nobody will know it was you. *(Except they'll all wonder why you pee'd your pants, too!!)

The Epidural was an EPIC FAIL and the anesthesiologist decided to go home and not tell anyone he had a patient in active labor (how did he get away with that??). My memory gets foggy after that. I think the pain was so unbearable & I vaguely recall the Dr. saying that “everyone poops during delivery, even if they swear they did not”.

Finally the time came to get that kid outta there! After what seemed like forever (and a TON of pain), a tiny, very blue, goopy baby arrived! Dr. Nakamura told my husband, "If you're going to cut the umbilical cord, DO IT NOW!!" He pulled the cord gently and quickly from around her little neck so she could breathe easier. Her daddy cut the cord and was surprised at how difficult and strangely rope like it really was. The nurse rushed that baby girl away and helped to get her coloring a bit better (spanked her?? LOL j/k). Apgar was a 2, then jumped miraculously up to an 8. It was only then that they told me her cord had been wrapped around her neck twice!

When we got to hold that precious baby girl, her daddy took one look at her and said "Yes, She is Our Chloe Drew!!" (He had been against that name for months but agreed it was better than Ann Drew, which my sister had suggested!). God gave us the most miraculous and wonderful first baby we could have ever asked for. She is a joy and I can see great things in her future. Happy 16th Birthday to our first born. She makes us very proud. ~The it just the beginning?

Welcome to our site! We hope you enjoy the information we share during our adoption journey. As we document this wild ride to bringing home our Ethiopian children, we hope you'll fall in love with this beautiful country as we have.

Washington State, USA

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa