Friday, March 11, 2011

Ruby's 3rd Birthday...

March has entered with quite a few surprises. We've had an amazing amount of snowfall, school closures because of it and several birthdays...not to mention Andrew and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this coming week! Whew.
My beautiful mother turns 75 tomorrow. She doesn't act or look a day over 60. She is a true inspiration. Always active and still walks about 5 miles every day...even in the 10 below weather of South Dakota! I wish she was here so I could help her celebrate...but she would say that I should be there instead because she was here last! That's my mom!

Our precious Ruby Kalkidan turned a big 3 years old yesterday! My what a grown up little person she thinks she is! Only with a lack for words when she's in public, our little dynamo had the whole birthday thing figured out. She asked all week when she would get her birthday cake and she asked for candy for her special supper. We had gone to a birthday party earlier in the week and she asked why everyone hadn't sung Happy Birthday to her instead! She even said that the gift we were taking to that birthday boy was hers and he was going to give it to her at the party! When March 10 finally arrived, she knew she was 3 years old and that she would get presents, cake and she was really hoping for candy. That last thing really cracks me up considering she doesn't even really like sweets! It's the whole glorious idea of it, I think. All the pretty colors, shapes and mystery of it all!
GrandmaRee sent her a wonderful little tea set, exactly what she wanted! Daddy got her a kite...again, something she's been begging for! I got her a couple of things she can take apart and put back together. She loves her toy drill and the tools it comes with. She also likes her toy cash register and money. But we have to keep the money away from Roman or else he will destroy it or put the coins in his mouth! Still working on that one!
Ruby also got herself something! She is almost done with diapers! YAY! A few accidents here and there but basically only wearing diapers at nap and bedtimes.
I'm getting payback big time...My 2 1/2 and 3 year olds still in diapers! ICK...when my older two were little, I so prided myself (and yes, gloated) over the fact that my kids had been PT'ed since they were under 2 years old. Heck, they were easy little trainers! I probably didn't hardly contribute to it. They just didn't want to be in diapers anymore...but the second time around?! NOPE! Ruby and Roman both have been pretty content to potty in their diapers and not tell a soul.
Roman is finally saying a lot. He tells me to 'sit down', 'what happened?!', 'what are you doing?', 'Where are you going?', etc. Most of what he says is still intelligible but he's making huge strides. Of course, his favorite word is "NO!" But he is the most polite little person I've ever known. He also will say (appropriately and after each time he gets something) "Thank you" and usually ends it with that person's name..."Thank you, Mom!" "Thank you, Dad", etc...He also says "Your welcome" and a favorite around here "I love you!" He is totally MY boy. I always tell him there's nothing wrong with being a mommy's boy! I am loving it!
To celebrate (and just get a break!) our glorious 20th anniversary will be spent in (sunny??) Southern California at Disneyland without kids! I think we are going to totally rock the park for 2 days! We'll have a romantic dinner and just relax and enjoy the time...but it will feel strange!
I have to say though, I've totally been needing a break. Having 4 kids, feeling like I'm being stretched in every direction but my scenery never changes is weighing on me! Honestly, my very precious toddlers are definitely acting 2 & 3 and giving me wrinkles! My teenagers are causing my hair to turn grayer with each passing moment. If I had to list each individual thing that my 12 year old says he "hates", it would take all night to type this! Thank goodness he has the ability (and uses it!) to change his attitude rather quickly! Just the thought that my 15 year old will soon be driving, dating and leaving the house sooner than I can blink just gives me slight panic attacks. I got married at age 20. That is just five years older than she is. WOW. I've been married now for half my life! My daughter says that is "just weird!"
SO, yes...I need a little break from mommy-hood and am gladly going on a Disneyland trip with my honey minus the kids!
Keeping up with this blog is almost useless! I wish I was more diligent. I feel like there is so much to share but when I sit down to type, the words are just not there...or they don't come out as eloquently as I'd like.
I guess it's just a heart weary week...The Ministry Of Womens Affairs in Ethiopia has decided to only process 5 adoption cases per week and this will sadly ensure that orphans and institutionalized children will stay in orphanages years longer than what they would have under the old plan. Some site that the work load was too great so they made this change...others say that this will help cut back on anything unethical. I just know it will hurt waiting families and hinder the cases already pending. Families will not be able to bring home their children that they already have seen pictures of and even possibly held tight in their arms. This will not allow children to find their forever homes, whether in America, France or elsewhere.
In a perfect world, each child would be raised by their own loving biological family...when that isn't the case, government officials need to create a healthy balance of what is BEST...and making these children wait in orphan care, without loving parents, proper clothing, basic necessities and food is a shame. I believe that Ethiopia has made some wise choices in the past for the parentless children of their country. I pray that they will review the decisions they have made this week and over turn them. I believe that Ethiopian orphanages for the most part are some of the most caring in the world. In general, they love the children and only want what is best. They nurture the children as best as they can and try to provide some form of education and work ethic. None of these things can compare to a family that they can call their own, though!
Japan had a massive earthquake, followed by an almost instantaneous tsunami which has most certainly killed thousands. Putting myself in that situation...thinking of the unimaginable. Just breaks my heart. I am broken, yet why?! I should be rejoicing that I am so very, very blessed. I have my family, my health, financials in decent order and a very comfortable life...
I am comforted by the beautiful text out of the Bible. John 14: 1-4 says:
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in Goda]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” AMEN!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Photo of Andrew and I after counting the donations! See below for full text.

My 40th Birthday Bash!!

My 40th Birthday/Fundraiser for Ethiopian Orphan Relief

After my husband, Andrew, informed me that I would indeed have a 40th Birthday party against my wishes, my controlling side took over and tried to accept it.

Informing him right back that the idea of a surprise party absolutely made me cringe and the thought of a kazillion gag gifts was an even worse thought, he “allowed” me (tongue in cheek) to plan and direct my own party. Recalling the huge gift bag of black and white ‘over the hill’ gifts we still had from his 40th last year, I knew my party had to be different. The waste of money going into such things just disgusted me…and yes, I planned his surprise party.

Recently, we were delighted and surprised with pictures in an email of our daughter, Ruby’s birth mom. Something we did not know existed! This really touched my heart in ways I cannot describe. Looking into the face of a woman who selflessly gave up her infant child so they both could have a better life, made my heart ache in good and bad ways. I knew we have to be more than just parents to Ruby and Roman. We have to be accountable to the children still there. The faces that may never see a forever family. (“Whether You Turn To The Right Or To The Left, Your Ears Will Hear A Voice Behind You Saying ~ This Is The Way, Walk In It”. Isaiah 30:21)

I did think of several ways to usher in my big 4-0. Just nothing really interested me. I even considered a rousing Bunko night but something just didn’t really click. After reading about my favorite charity, Ethiopian Orphan Relief (EOR), holding their annual auction in May, I knew what my party would be about. Now, just convincing my friends and family to join in! I started by creating an open event on Facebook and inviting pretty much everyone on my friends list to my birthday party/fundraiser for EOR. I had a goal of $440 that I hoped to reach in donations. A lot of people who RSVP’d said “no” and there were a lot who didn’t even respond. I was really dismayed and prayerfully took it to God, asking Him to show up to the party and bless the attendee’s and the donation pot. At this point, I didn’t even have a place to hold the party. Not knowing how many people to expect was difficult to plan for. My very dear childhood friend offered to have it at her home and this was the first blessing of many to come.

Andrew planned a raffle, selling tickets for $1 each. The prizes were $100 certificate to Galeotti’s Restaurant in Battle Ground, $50 gift card for Barnes and Noble book store and $30 to Bernie’s Southern Bistro in Portland. These items were all graciously donated. Another blessing!

The night of the party, I was still pretty much in the dark about how many people would show up. We provided appetizers, beverages and birthday cake, of course. We hired a wonderful young pianist who goes to school with my daughter, Cody Shearer to play piano as our live entertainment and everything had come together just beautifully. Friends started showing up here and there until the house was full. I was just overwhelmed with joy and the outpouring of love from everyone. The raffle bag was filling up with tickets and the donation jar was getting more and more green stuff and checks with each family. It was truly a birthday celebration I will never forget…the best one ever. Not just because people gave money but because they cared enough to support an idea. Did my friends need to donate in order to attend? NO, but anything helped and YES, we did accept pennies, dimes and nickels. At the end of the night, not only did God show up, but He had brought a flock of Angels with Him! When Andrew counted the donations there was $702 in the jar! I had passed my goal by $262.00! I was overcome with emotion and cried in sheer joy. I really was speechless and those who know me know that doesn’t happen often!

Throughout the following week, donations continued to come in either online or by people stopping me in the parking lot when I’d drop my 7th grader off for school.

At this writing, we have over $1100 in donations and another $100 pledged. The company my father in law works for has agreed to match a portion of the donations, bringing another $700 to the pot! God Is Good All The Time!!

The donations will go to a program EOR partners with called Children’s Heaven. Children’s Heaven is dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned girls who have lost one or both parents to the AIDS epidemic. It gives the girls a safe environment, meals, education, basic needs, and spiritual guidance, among many other things. You may read more at

If you would like to support Ethiopian Orphan Relief, please donate online at . They have an excellent site where you can get a tax deductible receipt and designate what program you want your dollars to go in to.

YES! Happy Birthday To Me! 40 is an excellent age and I can only imagine what the next decade holds. Bring it on! I can't wait to see what God has planned!

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