The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Best Guess

Due to several recent inquiries I am going to throw myself out there and take a wild guess. This is a very unprofessional shot in the dark. This is based on current observations and is subject to change at any moment. It's not set in stone and heck at this point, I wouldn't even write it in sand...

If I had to guess...and that's all it really would be...I would hover our timeline and The Call to take place around May. Could be longer. Could be shorter. Of course on a hope and a prayer I want to say sooner but I need to be realistic. And though you may call me pessimistic I am calling my timeframe pragmatic. If referrals seem to currently be averaging 20 months...

All that to say, sit tight and hold on to your hats people. It's gonna be awhile - but it'll be a wild ride when we get there.

Friday, January 29, 2010

More Love

Last night. Our pre-party, party. The first third birthday party. The cake to top all cakes - we say that each time though. An afternoon of cake decorating comparable to Gingerbread House Decorating.

It was awesome. The cake maker extraordinaire outdid herself again (I repeat, we say that each time)! The detail like non-other, we had fun, we smiled, giggled, I "let go" (well, in as much as I can), and after supper we all indulged.

How on earth will I ever measure up for the second third birthday party?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Snacking, Eating, And Kiddie Food In General

It's no secret I'm a healthaholic (is that a word?) when it comes to our kids. They recently learned the word Ketchup, though they couldn't identify the taste. They may have had Jam once in their lives...but I'm not sure. They don't have sugar or honey during our afternoon tea time. And it's not uncommon to hear us say "stop eating the veggies and have some supper". Ironic and a little twisted, I know.

But snacks (which are often raisins and almonds/walnuts/hazelnuts) can be boring - more for me than them. I like to switch it up but often the simple grab-and-go is easier than brainstorming. I'll often make banana-berry muffins (usually with frozen blackberries/blueberries we picked in the summer). They're good and ingredients include: bananas, eggs, flax, oil, flour, baking soda, berries. That's it.

A recent snack (actually, it's more of a Friday Night Movie Treat) includes the following...a homemade concoction which is sweet but fairly healthy and you can fill it with all the things kids love...and you can pick and chose what you'd like to include:

Honey Butter Snack Mix

Popcorn (freshly air popped...a couple of cups)
Pretzels (if you wish)
Almonds ( least 1/2 cup)
Shreddies (at least 1 cup)
Cheerios (at lesat 1 cup)
Walnuts (whole/ least 1/2 cup)

Melt 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup butter (the real stuff...marg is crap, right?!) together in a pot. Dump your choice of above ingredients on a pan and pour warm honey/butter mixture on top. Stir it around and try not to munch as you prep. It's reeeeeaaally hard. Bake for 15mins at 250 degrees then stir and bake another 15 mins. Just watch and don't let it burn. Fatal mistake, people. Movie night will tank if you burn the snack.

The above recipe, full of protein (and omegas) you kids will surely love. Well, mine do.

Otherwise, I absolutely love the above idea of chucking your choice of kid-loved snacks in your muffin tray first thing in the morning. Pop it in the fridge and as the hunger pangs kick in, you don't have to give a second thought to "what do I get them now". Lessen the amount of "not so good" stuff and eventually they'll get to the "I don't love it cup". When they're hungry, they will eat. Oh, will they eat.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Love

You'll remember my Craft Hope for Haiti post a few days back.

Among my couple purchases was a pattern for the most adorable Bebe Mary Janes.

Well, pattern received, (downloaded actually) cut, crafted, and sewn.

I'm in love.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Proof that Imagine is truly back.
That it is better than ever.
That it is stronger and more progressive.
That it is transparent and more supportive.

Proof that all us parents are more strongly united.
That we support each other more than ever.
That we know each other more than ever.
That we are more encouraging and excited than ever.

December 16 the first several referrals were realized.

Sometime last night while we were all sleeping, a birth mother in Addis Ababa relinquished her parental rights and a judge ruled in favour of this little girl's new parents in Canada.

Our first Imagine family passed court.
They passed on the first try.
They are parents to one beautiful little girl.

Proof that Imagine has risen.

Proof that family is being created.

Proof that we can do this.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Grab A Kleenex...I'm Going To Give You Shivers

The family who shared this story has agreed to allow me to share it here. They were referred their son on January 14...he was 2 months old. I have seen his picture (he's a doll) and can tell you every word they share is truthful, encouraging, and inspiring for those of us who go through days of wondering "will it ever really be my turn?".

The name we had chosen for our son was always to be Gillis. It means "lamb". Throughout this
long wait and through the bankruptcy, it often appeared that we may never have our little lamb but we held tight to the son we knew in our spirit and in the promise that we believe God had made to us that we would someday have a son from Africa. When his referral pictures arrived, he was semi-wrapped in a green blanket in both of them. Embroidered on the blanket and directly over his head in the referral pictures was a little lamb. His close-up shot is just his face with the lamb prominently just above his little head.[...]

The moral of the story is that despite the delays and the hurdles, it always ends up that you are matched with the child that was meant to be yours. [...] Any international adopter will profess that this is true. The child who is meant to be yours is the child you will end up matched with. All the obstacles just lead you to your child. Someday you will be glad that things happened as they did because it all just leads you to the child that was meant for your family.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

16...And Snapshot Saturday


Sixteen months.

We have been waiting sixteen months...ten more than we were originally estimated. I wonder what would have happened, had we been able to foresee these past many months. I wonder. All I know is this path and journey we are on, this is where we are meant to be and what we are meant to be doing. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

From the ashes of the phoenix, people.

From the ashes of the phoenix, we have risen.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Over $20,000 Raised For Doctors Without Borders!

As mentioned the other day, I planned to make one of our donations to Haiti via this Etsy Craft Hope site. So, last night I popped on over to purchase The Quilt Pattern. And while there, these caught my eye. What's a girl to do when a (second) pattern catches her eye...a pattern for sweet Mary Janes at that!

Well, she's just got to purchase it of course.

And both patterns were sitting in my inbox this morning. I love getting mail. Especially the kind where I don't have to bundle the kids up to drive to the post office and open our box. (I told you, we live rural.)

The Mary Janes originate from here. (And there's a whole host of other make-it-yourself patterns. Plus, her online store can be summed up with one word: Fabulous.)

The quilt originates here.

So, here I am with two sweet, sweet patterns, (the Mary Jane pattern offers sizes from 0-3mths up to 18mths, so we are set people) and a bit of time on my hands alone today. Plus, I do have a bunch of fabric from all the random thrift store runs, she has been teaching me to take.

Sounds like a recipe for a great day, don't you think? (I'll post my results some time down the road when they're could take awhile.)

Oh - and this Etsy Craft Site that I think rocks? They've raised over $20,000 for Doctors Without Borders serving in Haiti.

Seriously, head over and check out their stuff. The site is added to daily and the rotation and selection is incredible. It's not just patterns either.

All quality.

All handmade.

All benefitting Haiti.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Helping Haiti

I find that at times such as this one, I feel completely and utterly helpless. To the point to which I do nothing because I fear that my individual actions simply will not make a difference. I know I am wrong and there are many things each and every one of us can do to make small, individual differences add up and actually see change.

I need tangible ways to offer help. Maybe you're like me. You and I need to physically see some sort of result or be confident that the things I am doing are truly going to bring aid, quickly.

I've heard lately of several families in Canada who have children in orphanages and their adoptions are either complete (waiting on Immigration) or very close to it. My heart breaks for them...and I have been elated by success stories.

I have also heard of action being taken by a couple other countries, to help children. They are being moved to safety - with or without Visas, they are being permitted to leave the country and flee to safety - with safe, loving families who want to ensure their well-being.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) -- Slashing red tape or ignoring ordinarily required paperwork, officials in the United States and the Netherlands have cleared the way for scores of Haitian orphans to leave their earthquake-ravaged homeland, according to officials from the two countries.[...]
(Read it all here)

Locally, I know of several families who are actively seeking to open their homes (as they hold current homestudies and are waiting to be matched or to bring home their own children from countries other than Haiti) to orphans, temporarily. What an incredible action to take. What a life changing decision to make and a wordless action like none other. Think of the volumes this speaks to their own children.

Another easy way to help is through organizations such as Kiva. I received a reminder today that many of the small business entrepreneurs supported through this organization were either located in Port-Au-Prince or have to travel there frequently to pick up merchandise to sell. Many of them were either killed, are missing, or may not (likely!) have the means to pick up and start again. With the help of Kiva supporters, however, they do stand a chance.

Kiva currently supports borrowers in Haiti through our field partner, Esperanza International. Esperanza is based in the Dominican Republic, but has an office and provides loans in Haiti. About 1/3 of the loans Esperanza posts to Kiva are for borrowers in Haiti. In addition, a large percentage of the loans posted from the Dominican Republic are of Haitian migrants who still have family in Haiti. Esperanza has told us that as of now, Esperanza staff are safe though they have several employees with family in Port-au-Prince who have not been able to contact their families and are very concerned. Esperanza’s clients are located in the North, while the earthquake struck the capital in the south. Most of their clients live close to their offices in the north. However, many of them have businesses that require them to travel to and from Port-au-Prince to buy merchandise to sell in the main markets. Their businesses may have been affected and it is possible that some of them may have been in Port-au-Prince at the time and been injured.

It is impossible for Esperanza to give us any exact figures at this time as information is only slowly trickling out of Haiti. As Kiva learns more about the effect of the earthquake on Esperanza and their Kiva borrowers we will update lenders.

So, if your current Kiva loan is close to complete repayment, if you have even a few dollars sitting in your Kiva account, or if you've been contemplating lending a Kiva loan but just needed a kick in the butt, do it now.

Do. It. Now.

You can change the life of a person, a family, and perhaps a village with a few dollars.

**Alternatively, this is an incredible way to help support Haiti. And think, you could purchase something and advertise a simple way others could support too.
I think I'm going to go for this. I was contemplating a Rag Time quilt for our daughter - to be started once a referral is realized - but I think this could be a very very cool alternative. And what a story it will tell. Perhaps not the most costly item (or most financially beneficial) on the site, but isn't it more important to purchase something for less and not find it in a wasteland in the near future simply because I "had" to buy?**

Dear Via - I Love You

Dear Via,

I love you.

Yesterday you made the day do-able. Your real coffee tasting powder made it okay for the day, to overlook the fact that you are neither Certified Fair or Direct Trade. I will overlook it. This one time. At 8am our power had been out for 6 hours and we had another 6 1/2 hours to go...unbeknownst to us.

Rural living rocks.

Via, my kids thank you too. I was a better Mama because of your caffeine composition. I was a happier being because you gave me that daily kick-in-the-butt I need. Yes, need. Combined with the water boiled in a pot, atop the wood burning stove - you were a lifesaver. Ok, maybe not quite a lifesaver but at least a life-enhancer.

Oh - and thanks honey, for the perfect Christmas gift. I know you enjoyed it too.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

While We Were Out

We were away this weekend...a Staff Retreat with the Camp. It was a kid-free weekend in Parksville...the 5th annual - which in itself, just seems unreal. It was good but always tiring. Honestly, I went in with a poor attitude I would say. I came out of it with a slightly renewed sense of purpose. A better minds eye of the bigger picture. But did I mention I'm a bit tired?

I digress.

I returned home to find that BDO has posted minutes recently from their January 7 Board Meeting. It's odd. I remember checking their site each day in hopes of some sort of new, updated, encouraging information. And yet, up until today I can honestly say I can't recall the last time I checked it.

The news was exciting though. Check it out. It's great. What a way to end a weekend and look ahead to the upcoming week.

You know what else is great?


Thursday, January 14, 2010

List Received**edited

...placement in line. Well, it's not so much a line as a wonky make up of overly excited (and rightly so!) PAPs. But I'll take it.

I don't feel that I need to share specifically. If you must know and you aren't a part of the Yahoo Group then pm me and I'd love to share.

I'll say this, it's better than we had anticipated. There are 201 files currently in Ethiopia. I think coming in just after the summer did us a favour as lot of people took off during the summer and files therefore weren't streaming into Ethiopia. That's my very personal, unprofessional opinion.

So now we wait and watch as the numbers dwindle and creep closer to ours. There's no real order to the list. We could be referred at the same time as August folk or October arrivals. Only God knows. Truly.

It's real though. It's real.

**...okay okay. I can't hold it in. Of the 201 files in Ethiopia we are number 51.

Yes, 51 people. Nearly the top quarter. And, I just found out about a referral today which puts us at "50" so yes we are in the top one fourth.

Thank you for that.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Soft Roll Out

The List is being - what I will call - softly rolled out.

Imagine is sharing which number we are in the list of all those requesting single referrals. The number doesn't indicate specifically when we will get The Call but it will at least give us an indication. We could receive It before those whose files arrived before ours or after, as well.

However, due to some technical difficulties they made it only to number 10 or so today. I am okay with that. Another day or two of waiting won't kill me (especially when I've jam packed our days) and it's not going to change the end result. We will know by Friday at the latest - barring any more unforeseen technical difficulties.

I'm excited to have a feel for when this will all happen.

They are working so hard and for that we are so grateful.

It's all becoming so real, isn't it?!

Tragic Haitian Earthquake: 7.0

A massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake has struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti.

The extent of the devastation is still unclear but there are fears thousands of people may have died.

Haiti's worst quake in two centuries hit south of the capital Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, wrecking the presidential palace, UN HQ and other buildings. here to read more.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

It's today.

I really appreciate what Jason posted via the HELP blog.

It's touching. It's tragic. It's so real. And it needs to end. I don't know how but it has to.

Here's an excerpt.

It’s a day that we can stand-up and say, “Enough already,” to this evil that exists in our world.

As I was processing what HELP is going to do as an organization; asking questions such as, “What is our mission?” trafficking was front and center. It’s hard to fathom, but it’s true, modern-day slavery is alive and well, thriving as an underground business model. I wanted to start an organization that would help fight this evil.

This is why we desire to rescue orphans, restore their hope and renew their community. Because orphans are some of the most vulnerable opportunities available to those who traffic.

If these kids are rescued from streets, fields, parks, and dumps, and are placed in a loving community, led by spiritual leaders, their chances of being trafficked are much less. This is how HELP fights trafficking.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Just Want To Have More Fun

I woke up this morning with a raging headache. And a couple emails in my inbox I did not want to deal with.

Ugh. Too much undesired, passionless (?) responsibility.

Hello Monday.

I blame the headache on weather change, stress from last week and upcoming, and the fact that I was hunched over for quiet some time yesterday while finishing off some cute little requests by the boys. (That part was really really fun! Just not good on the ol' neck muscles.)

Mostly I blame it on stress though and unnecessary requests by others. I should have thought through some stuff and perhaps done something about the other stuff.

When does life stop being fun? I know I'm all grown up and stuff now and with that comes responsibility (duh) but truly, when did life stop being fun? And, why do we let this happen?

I actually think it happens sometimes during those seasons of life. Bit by bit, we accept too much - pile our plates too high. Perhaps it's the thrill of the moment, or it's seeing so much we want to change that saying "yes" just feels like the right thing to do.

In. The. Moment.

But one thing about which I am constantly reminded is that this is our only shot. We only go 'round once...well, unless you're a Buddhist or something I guess - then you'd better watch out, unless you've been saintly. (I'd likely return as a worm or an ant or something. No particular reason other than I'm not a saint.)

I digress. Life, as a general principle should be fun. Life has to be fun - really enjoyable at the very least. I don't mean every part of every waking moment should be filled with gut-aching-laughs. But there needs to be a time we can set aside each day or each week, when we can look back and say honestly and truly that more of our day was spent in enjoyment than not.

If it's not, then what the heck is the point?

I realize bankruptcies, tough decision making and life's sorrows are seasons during which it won't come up all rosy. These are the times that help shape our character. They help us become better people.

But as I look at my kids and wonder why they never want to go to bed and why they can't wait to get up in the morning, and why they want to run out in the rain, and why they incessantly want to go to the slide park near our house and why they love chasing our dog around the's because they are having fun. They don't know enough yet, to know otherwise. Sadness, unfairness, inequality is short lived. Their days are filled with smiles, doing what they enjoy, stearing clear (whenever possible) of that which they are not passionate about.

So, here's to saying "no" more often.

Here's to embracing those things in which I find passion and a longing ache to change and make better - not just in the moment, but each day.

Here's to seeking the best in people.

Here's to colouring The Man With The Yellow Hat blue, and George purple.

Here's to mix matching the playdough colours and it being okay.

Here's to dancing in the rain and playing at the wet, soggy park.

Here's to taking a more childlike perspective whenever possible.

Here's to not wasting parts of life on negativity but rather having fun.

Here's to doing what I say I'll do.

Here's to gripping responsibility with a passion and sucking it up to see that which I do not enjoy to completion.

Here's to growing, if only a bit, each day.

Here's to looking up, looking forward, but not ignoring the here and now.

Because just because I'm all old and stuff, doesn't mean I should ever stop having fun.

I read about someone the other day who, in a couple of months will pick up her life, her kid and she is moving. She's decided to go east for awhile. Not permanently (I don't believe) but just for now. At first I thought "wow" amazing. Then I thought, why not? She wants to. She has the ability. So why not. Life is what we make it.

It would be shameful to look back at the end of my long, long life (and longevity does run in my family) and wish I'd smiled more, laughed harder, and played with everything I had to give. I'm not necessarily a live-in-the-moment kind of gal, but in our own way we can each find fun, peace, passionate fulfillment and more enjoyment.

I'm sure of it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Am Mama

When Noah was young - one and a half or so, he still hadn't really spoken. It wasn't a concern, he'd said his first word ("deet" = dirt) proving he was, in fact 100% boy. And eventually, soon after Tait was born he said Daddy...he was about 20 months or so. For the life of us, we couldn't get him to say Mummy though. I tried not to take it personally but you know, I did only spend pretty much every waking moment with him. I was the hand who fed and the cuddle who embraced.

Around 21 months or so he finally said it, not Mummy but Mama. At first I wasn't sure but after thinking it over (and later on hearing the word Mummy come out of his mouth) I realized how much I adored (still do!) being called Mama. Ironically it didn't sound as such when it came out of the mouth of others but when Noah said Mummy it just sounded spoiled and whiney. (If you know me, you'll know those are pet peeves.)

So Mama I was.

And Mama I remain.

And I love it.

I found out just recently that Mama means Mummy in Amharic/Oromo.

I'm not trying to sound super profound or like it must have meant something or that it's a fluke or it's fate or anything.

I just think it's really cool.

I am Mama.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Write It Down, Baby

I remember the day Noah was born. I was induced (on his due date) because of what turned out to be an unnecessary concern. He was 6lb 11oz and the whole ordeal was over and done within 1 1/2hrs, mostly drug free (well, a little painkiller via IV which made me loopy more than anything). But, I remember what I did that day and how it proceeded.

The day I was induced was warm and sunny. Ben took part of the day off and it was relatively relaxing as we hung out mostly at home.

I remember the day Tait was born. I was induced again, also on his due date. This time I was induced because a week prior to his due date I sat crying in my Dr's office because I had bruises showing on my lower back because he was such a big kid. 40 minutes after being induced that time, he was out and again the whole process was over. It was quick. He was 8lb 9oz. Solid for me. (I hover at a whopping 5 feet and jog, 4x a week so I'll let you do the math on my size.)

The day I was induced (it happened in the evening) I remember we were shopping for a new fridge. Ours was from the stone ages and it was using power like it was going out of style.

I remember the details.

And here's the thing. I am going to remember those days until my final days. And, I will remember our referral day until my final days. But I won't be there for the birth of our daughter. I won't know how it went. I will likely never know if it was fast, slow, if she was big or small (my guess is small). I won't ever know her specific birth weight or time of birth. I won't know if she had a head of hair or is she was completely bald. I won't know if her birth mother was present, if she was surrounded by family or if she had to endure it alone. Will her birth mother's mother be there? Will a Dr be present? A nurse? Anyone with medical background or training?

Simply put: there are dozens of questions I have answers for, for our boys...and I take them for granted.

And there are dozens of questions I will never have answers for, for our daughter.

The "elusive list" is coming out by the end of the day, January 15. This is the list we will look at and find out where we fall, compared to all the other PAPs whose files are in Ethiopia. Our placement on the list will be based on the date our file arrived in Addis Ababa. However, it doesn't mean that we will be referred based specifically on that date. Details such as our gender, age, and health requests will play a part. Specifics such as whether or not childrens' parents requested a family of faith, a single/married couple, etc will also play a role. However, the list will give us an idea of where we sit.

I was out for coffee with friends the other night and one of them asked if I was excited about this list or nervous. Would I rest more comfortably, having at least a clue of where we rank or would I be more uneasy, looking at all those names ahead of us?

Good question.

Great question.

I had always thought I would be excited...peaceful, knowing approximately when it would be Our Turn. Our Call. But the question caught me off guard and for a few moments I contemplated if it actually would put me more on edge. After all, it is more of a guide than a list. And while I will get a black and white idea of how far down the list we are, I will also have to look at all those families ahead of ours.

I still don't have a good answer. I would say I am hesitantly excited.

And I know I will never ever forget our referral day.

But I will not be there the day our daughter is born.

So this is what I am doing. I am grabbing my pen and marking on our calendar what we were up to. Whenever we have activities, events, or outtings from now until our referral day I will make sure to take note. Because I have to be able to tell our daughter, when she is old enough to comprehend, that on the day she was born what we were doing. It is my responsibility as her parent.

I'm off to grab my pen and write it down, baby.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Good, The Bad, And The Sort Of Ironically Funny

The Good
The Bad
  • I just found out this morning that our school is one of 12 in our district implicated in the new full-day kindergarten starting Sept 2010
  • while most families likely think this is great, I do not
  • Noah starts kindergarten this Sept and while you probably think I have rocks in my head for cringing in frustration at the thought of having full days with one less kid at home, I am here to tell you that this will result in one small boy pushing himself beyond what I feel will be healthy, because he is just such a pleaser and achiever. Instead of being thankful (? is that the right word) I am concerned for the well being of my child. Don't take that as over dramatic. It is what it is
  • it will take 2 full years to roll this out throughout our entire district and after looking in to it a bit, I am quite sure I will not ever change my opinion. I know, I know, never say never
The Sort Of Ironically Funny
  • a couple of months ago I was grabbing a few things from Wal-Mart at decided to throw my name in a box (draw) for a gift basket full of baby/toddler item. My rationale (as I never do stuff like this) is that a bit of hope wouldn't hurt and I never ever win these things anyway so why not use 5 seconds of my time to fill out a ballot
  • a phone call at 8am this morning proved me wrong
  • I won
  • thankyou friendly Wal-Mart people for lifting my spirits at the end of a very challenging week at home
  • I can honestly tell you I don't recall what is in the gift basket but it will be a cute reminder of the fact that one day, one day it will be our turn
  • if I were superstitious or something I might take it as a sign that we are just that much closer than I believe. But, I am not superstitious
  • was a great way to start a Friday

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why Adoption Isn't Secondary

Sarah shared what I feel is an excellent post the other day. From the feedback in her comments, I'm obviously not the only one.

I empathize, as do many of us who have chosen adoption as a route to create and complete family. Though we have been blessed to give birth to two of our kids, this choice to follow a different path to family has been questioned many times over. Not by good friends and close family but by those who perhaps don't know us well, who are ignorant to the orphan crisis in the world, or who simply don't "get it".

I came across another phenomenal post, I believe, which articulates quite well what I (we) often feel while pursuing this rocky path along which we have been led. If you want to read it in it's entirety, head over here. Otherwise, I'll highlight that which hit home the most for me.

We are committed to life. For our entire marriage we have supported many pro life causes. But we always felt that if we were going to encourage unwed girls to give birth to their babies, then Christians should be in line to be ready to adopt those who would be given up. It was our way of “putting our money where our mouth was.
We are committed to the helpless and disadvantaged. James (1:27) makes it clear that one of the evidences of our faith is how we respond to the “affliction” of widows and orphans. Taking care of these two groups is time consuming, messy, and sacrificial. But it is a central part of the Christian life. We wanted to make sure that our family was heavily invested in this important admonition.

We are committed to the nations. Not everyone is called to international adoption but the result is a reminder of God’s love for every “nation and tribe and language and people.” (Rev. 14:6). Every week the Lord adds people to his church and tells you and I to love them. They may not look like us, smell like us, have the same socio-economic background as us, or talk like us. But that’s the beauty of the Gospel. Twice we have brought into our home children from another country and told our other kids, “they don’t talk like you or look like you, but here’s another one, love them.” It has been one of the biggest blessings in the whole process for us and has dramatically shaped our view of the whole world.

Maybe the next big decision in your life will involve a vacation house or a boat or a car that you don’t need. Maybe it will involve trying to sock away even more money for that early retirement you have been hoping for. It might even involve contributing to a monument or building with your name on it. Or just maybe it will involve an old elevator in another country with your mind in a whirl, your heart racing, adrenaline rushing, and your lungs struggling inexplicably for their next breath. And in making that decision, it might not even cross your mind that you already have kids.

So, when making the decision and following this path less chosen I would stand...I will stand...and say Adoption Isn't Secondary. Adoption is a choice. And, there is always a choice. It is a choice we made which has changed us. We look at things in a different light. We support things we never would have known of before. We are meeting people who are making us better people.

We are learning what it means to create family...first and foremost.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"So, In Like A Christian Way Do You Kind Of Hate Her?"

That question was asked of me by someone from whom you would not expect to be asked that question.

And I am glad it was.

It was around October...after the proposal and before the first $2000 was due.

I have thought about hate or anger or dislike or frustration (or whatever other euphemism you so chose) a lot.

A. Lot.

And through "it all" based on nothing that my own sentiment, I could honestly say no, I didn't (don't) hate her. I don't really have any sort of animosity. I would say ambivalence sums up how I feel about the former Executive Director of Imagine Adoption.

My response to the individual who asked me this question, without giving it much thought at that particular moment was, "No, I don't hate her. Honestly I don't have the time of day to hate her. It would be a waste of energy and it wouldn't get me anywhere. She, unfortunately is the master of her own demise."

I still hold those words. Nothing has changed.

I'm not trying to stand on my soapbox. I'm not trying to seem "big" about it. It's just the truth.

I also don't hold her completely responsible. I firmly believe she is an individual who started out with the best of intentions, saw a lot of money come in and was sinfully taken by greed. We saw her interviewed on 100 Huntley Street and that interview was truly one of the reasons we went with Imagine. She had passion, heart, and seemed to have great character.

I believe she was completely cognizant of her actions. However, she was responsible to a Board of Directors. A whopping 3 of them. I hold them responsible also. She was accountable to them...and they were accountable for doing the right thing. Neither did a great job. Apparently. (And by the way, the new Board Of Directors rocks.)

So, while I don't hate her, there is talk by some of a (class action) lawsuit. I say no thanks.

Even in this particular season of frustration I seem to be having; When the wait seems eternal; Though I feel that we've been on this particular journey since forever and a day; And when there seems to be no end in sight; I don't hate her. It serves no purpose. There is nothing I could feel that likely could be worse than how she has felt for some time now.

It's odd to think of someone who has taken over $12,000 of your hard earned money, not to mention your time, passion, and energy, and not get worked up. It's hard to smile each time someone asks "how's the adoption going," and keep my head held high - knowing that had greed not taken over, our daughter would have been home (or very close) by now. It's hard to look in the closet and see the same clothes hanging there that have been hanging there for months and will continue to do so.

But I know this is a plan. It's the plan. And I just have to suck it up and enjoy the time we have now. Before the present is the past and the future is the present, I want to enjoy life. My life. The way it is. As I look over at the huge "just because" bouquet beside my computer, and I listen to the shrieks (mostly good) of my kids in the background, I am reminded that "no, I don't even hate her in a Christian way." Even though we're not all here yet, I am blessed. And though our dreams have been delayed a bit, she hasn't been taken away. She's just not ready yet.

I have it way too good to waste my energy on hate.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Yoga Meets Business Head On

You'll remember her from here.

Now she's here.

How can we be from the same gene pool. That's not a question. It's more of a statement of sorts. How in the heck can two such different people be from the same genetic background.

Mailman's kid. I still stick with that story.

Me, not her.

Anyway, she's gone and done it again.

She gone and become all famous on us.

Look her up. Pass her name around. Spread the yoga-esque word to your friends and other yogees. (I'm pretty sure I just made up a bunch of words - you see...night and day.)

She never does anything half-way, so I am here to tell you it'll be worth your while.

Monday, January 4, 2010

These Shoes Were Made For Walkin'...

...oh, and they were made in Africa by Africans using only African materials...ah Ethiopia by Ethiopians using only Ethiopian materials. (Liberian rubber in 2010.)

Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

I was super pumped to have received these on Christmas Day. (Yep, mine are even purple.) I've talked about Oliberte before and I am just more and more impressed each time I deal with them. I say each time, as the president (yep, Monsieur Le President) contacts me quickly any time I have a question - Tal Dehtiar is just a great guy.

Oliberte is just a great company.

They are green.

They are social justice minded.

They are globally aware, sensitive, and pro-active.

Need proof? Here you go.
  • The morning of the 25th, I open the most beautiful Oliberte shoes ever made. No I am not biased.
  • Low and behold they are likely a smidge too big. Ironic? Nope. I am like the pickiest person on earth. Seriously. The joke at our wedding reception was that I am anal enough that I need to have my socks folded together a certain way. Okay, maybe I've loosened up a little over the past nearly 7 years, but I am still the same old girl.
  • So, I email said President and explain the situation: "Not sure, but think I may need a smaller size."
  • Did I mention I sent this email mid-afternoon on the 25th? In case you've lost track through all my rambling this is Christmas Day, people.
  • Keeping with the 48hr reply policy, Mr Tal emails back before midday on the 27. And, in case you don't have your 2009 calendar in front of you, I am here to tell you this was a Sunday.
  • The long and the short of it is that there is no charge for them to ship me a new pair of shoes, while I keep the old pair to compare the two side-by-side. Seriously.
  • I will then ship back the pair I decide aren't "perfect".
On January 6, Oliberte will be on Dragons' Den. They're up first, I believe. Yes, they'll enjoy several minutes of fame - and skeptical questioning from the dragons (and a special guest). Now, keep in mind that this show was taped in May 2009. I have to say, I watched a preview and dragons, you're missing out. I was disappointed at what I saw not in the product or the company but in the dragons' reactions.

I had to remind myself, however, that they are financially, "worldly" minded. I think they missed a major marketing strategy and getting in on a corner of the market itself, which is this: people are starting to think about and strive to support those in developing countries. I realize this is a blanket statement but it is fashionable now (for lack of a better word) to seek products which have been made by those with less. Call it Global Responsibility. Call it Social Burden. Regardless of how you cut it, I think the Dragons missed it. And it's a shame.

However, Oliberte has gone on (since this May taping) to supply some big names with their shoes. With their comfortable, well made, quality created, one-of-a-kind, cool kicks they are really getting around!

My shoes? My shoes are made as follows:
  • upper leather: from premium Ethiopian cow leather...cows who have lead a long and healthy life
  • inner leather: from premium Ethiopian goat leather...goats who have lead a long and healthy life
  • soles: from the rubber (traditional crepe leather) from Liberian Hevea trees (I believe mine were Ethiopian - as Liberia is now the country of choice, as of 2010)
  • suppliers, staff, contractors, farmers: paid fairly for their work and treated responsibly
This is the first company...these are the first shoes to be made in Africa using 100% African materials.

I would encourage you to check them out.

And, if you need a new pair of shoes I can tell you, these shoes were made for walkin' and that's just what they'll do...