Saturday, August 18, 2012

May the voice of truth be clear.

I usually don't comment on these sorts of things.

I most definitely have an opinion. And I will not hesitate to share such opinions with you in honest and respectful dialogue.

But truthfully? I find so much of the words and "shouting" and boldness expressed on social networking to be counterproductive at best and more likely, damaging to the discussions.



As my amazing son is babbling about something in broken English, broken Amharic while laughing and jumping up and down (something about a fish and washing your hands) heart is heavy. Aching even.

Because when I watched the Pat Robertson clip that had been trending on my facebook, I was grieved by what I heard....the same way I imagine my Savior was grieved.

You see, it's not just that he simply didn't support adoption. Let's be honest, if all Christians supported adoption, it would be a lot less painstaking for adoptive families to fundraise. So my guess is that there are a number of Christians who don't support adoption.
Of course, that's another post for another day.....

My heart was grieved because as I watched that clip, I realized this poor man had no concept of the dirt and filth and sin that covered him with stench when Jesus came along with redemption. with salvation. with adoption.

Jesus didn't just send money and "pray" for the least of these, he brought them close to his chest in a warm embrace and said "Welcome to the family. Here you are dearly loved."

My son? Isn't perfect. He has his scars...and for now? we even still have some open wounds. But he is perfectly and wonderfully made. And regardless of what his circumstances were, God has something beautiful in mind for him.  Healing is being done as we walk with him through his grief and hurt. I am not confident in my own abilities to help him...but I am MORE than confident in Jesus.. I know without a doubt that He loves Marvel more than I could ever imagine possible.

And for me? I can't describe to you the intense emotions that grip my spirit when I think of the ways God has blessed my life with this little boy. I am filled with awe at having a glimpse of the way the Father walks with each of us through our own healing. I am overcome that --while covered in my own sin and filth and circumstances--God called me to Him saying "Come here, daughter, where you are dearly loved. Come close to me so I can bring you healing and show you the plans I have for you"

So when I watch a clip where adopted children are referred to as "weird" and families who are blessed with these children called "The United Nations", I am hurt and saddened by his small view of the Kingdom and by his damaging words to Christians worldwide about the redemptive power of Jesus Christ...

But, as loud as his voice may be...I am confident that the voice of truth will be even more clear.

So, to the person out there who was sexually abused. YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. To the children who were beaten and told you weren't worth anything. YOU are God's Favorite One. To the children whose abuse came before you even took your first breaths. God did not make a mistake with you.

To those out there whose scars are on your heart. God loves you wholeheartedly. You are valuable. To those whose circumstances caused unfairness and hurt. God is your healer. He hasn't left you or foresaken you in your world.

We are all weird. Yes, You. Our circumstances are less than ideal. There is not one of us who wasn't covered in sin and filth and  requiring death. There isn't anyone who earned their salvation. The only way we could be "saved" was through the death of Jesus Christ.  And when He finished what He came for, we--for the first time-- had salvation. A second chance. An eternal family. Adopted into the greatest family ever.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father."For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.  Romans 8:14-16

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.  Psalms  68:5-6 (a)

May this be the loudest voice of all.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..

Lately I've been trying to remember all the little things that are already disappearing.

The way he babbles in Amharic.

The way he thinks "are you sure" for some reason means "shower"

The way he wore that backpack everywhere.

And then my friend, Ashley, wrote a post listing all the things she loves about her sweet girl and I was inspired.

Dear sweet Marvel, I can not express to you the joy you bring me...even when I want to lock you in the backyard for a few hours.  You are such an amazing, special, smart boy and I am constantly torn by the joy and gratefulness I feel for getting to be your mommy and remembering there are people halfway around the world missing out on all your sweet moments. It is bittersweet and I will try to never take that for granted. Here are a few of the things that steal my heart these days:

1.  I love the way you say "Oooh Noooo!" about so many things. Sometimes perfectly in context...other times? not so much!

2. I love the way you give kisses, fist on the lips, then each cheek, then my forehead, then my nose and then back to the lips!! It takes a few minutes but I don't mind. I need the reminder to slow down anyways!

3.  I love the way you announce EVERYTHING: "Marvel, ka-ka", "Marvel bedroom", "Marvel bawkah!",  "Marvel outside".   It wears on my nerves sometimes, but I know this won't last forever and there will come a day when I may have to force you just to tell me hello!

4.  I love the way I can tell you "I love you Marvel" and you immediately reply with "I love you Mommy"

5.  I love the way you cuddle, right on top of me with your arms draped....

6.  I love the way you can be calmed by holding my hand at night and the way you hop right up in the morning like you've just been waiting for me to get up!

7.  I love the way you've starting putting words together into sentences "You like it!" (you really mean "I like it"), "Get Outta Here Moses", "Mommy, what's firest?" (you really mean "what's next"), "Close the door", "Closed mouth" (when eating). "Silly boy"... It's so cute and I am amazed every day by what new words you have added!

8.  I love the way I randomly catch you singing or humming songs; "Jesus Loves Me", "The Numbers Song", "The Olympics Anthem"'s a beautiful sound to your mommy's ears!

9. I love how you can't seem to grasp the concept of starting school but you get so excited when we go by the church! Good thing they're close together ;-)

10.  I love the way you love water, Spiderman and yellow! If I could, sweet one, I would build you a world filled with swimming pools, Spiderman and everything would be yellow =)

11.  The way anytime Daddy gives me a hug, you run over to join in! You LOVE family hugs and I do too!

12.  I love the way you try so HARD to be a good boy and do the right thing. The words "Sorry!" are often heard but you strive to do the right thing and I love that that is already grounded in your personality!

13.  I love the way you cover your eyes (and/or ears) when we watch or listen to something you don't want to. Its comparable to throwing a fit but its cute and short-lived (see above) so we can manage.

14. I love the way you ride away on your Big Wheels and say "Chow" to everyone as you drive off.  "Chow mommy, Chow Moses See you later alligator" =))

15.  Most of all, I love your bravery and fearlessness. I see many opportunities to channel that in the coming years but for now I stand in awe of your resilience and ability to love. You've had your world turned upside down no less than three times and yet your heart is soft and your bravery is unparalleled. 

I look forward to all the new ways you will bring me joy and all the things I will want to remember through the years.

I love you more, sweet one.


Don't mind my giant monster arms =)

Settling In

I know you're probably all wondering where I've been...

Just sitting in front of your computers lamenting over my lack of blogginess. ??

Wandering through life in a post-less fog.

Well, fear not. After 6 weeks....Life is settling in. 

We have a routine.

We're sleeping through the night.

And I am finally not hanging on by a thread day in. day out.

I'm no good without sleep. for real, ya'll.

So I am hoping to get back in the swing of posting all about our little life.

You know the easy, fun, lighthearted stuff.

Of course. Since that's what I's probably not what will happen.

But instead, brewing inside of me? Are those deep, real, challenging things. Those things that we try to bury and avoid until God boils the pot over and we can't ignore them any longer.

I'm hoping to pen them soon enough.

So, until then?  Here's my little man modeling an awesome shirt supporting our friends!

You can get one too by clicking HERE.  A shirt that is. That kid is taken forever. =)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

We Talk Too Much Anyways...


It's the basis of our community.

It's how we make decisions and come to consensus.

It's often the dynamite the blows up our differences.

It's central to our modern-day existence.

And it was my greatest area of fear when we were neck-deep in prayer and conviction to change our "preference" to adopt an older child as opposed to an infant.

"What about the language barrier? How will we communicate?"

And I scoured the internet for help.


Adoption Resources.

ESL and ELL teacher resources.

And I found? 

A couple of lists of useful Amharic words for adoptive families.

A couple posts talking about how quickly children learn/lose language (about 1-2 months for every year of life)

But overall? very little about this issue.  

Where were all the real pointers?

What about the practical tips?

So, I thought I would document what we have done.

Because, I can't help but think....If it was my greatest initial fear?

Maybe it's yours too.

But before we take one more step, I want to assure you of this truth.

LOVE? Is so much more essential than language.

We knew 15 words.

Marvel? knew zero.

Language is a pillar in our culture. No doubt.

But Love? Is the foundation.

Patience is pretty nice to have too.

All that being said, Here is a list of words we decided were important for us to learn.

Because --let's be honest--  it's completely ridiculous to expect a 4 year old to carry all of the language-barrier-weight while we get frustrated and impatient because we can't communicate.

Some other tools we have used to bridge the gap and make the language transition easier on our sweet little guy:

*Flash cards, flash cards, flash cards.  Marvel LOVES "point and name" which made going through a stack of flash cards a game in itself!!

* Word Puzzles. This was also FUN! FUN! for little Marvel! He learned a lot of "around the house" terms using these puzzles!
* Photo Albums. Here's a few lessons we learned about photo albums that you want to give a 4 year old: Laminate all photos. Use metal rings. Durability is key!  

The first album pictured is one we sent to Ethiopia after our first trip to meet Marvel. It's filled with pictures of us with him, the other children, etc... The second album was one The Husband made filled with pictures of foods, activities, airplanes, our home, cars, etc...This was our first "point and name" attempt! It was used a lot on the trip home and now is just carried around in his backpack ;-)

I think what surprised me most were the words he picked up on the fastest:

"Come on"

"Let's Go"


And the lesson for us was to go in with open hearts and allow our "preparedness" and patience lead the way.  

One month home? Marvel has over 50 words and adds new ones every day! Colors, numbers, alphabet, songs. 

This kid is definitely a genius child. =)

And I can confidently assure prospective parents not to let language dissuade them! It's far less important and critical to building memories than we think it is.

Truth be told? We talk too much anyways ;-)