Welcome to Rob and Candy's Blog

We are going PINK- we are adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. We'll be sharing our journey to adopt our daughter!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Two years...

Time has flown by.  I can hardly believe two years ago today we met Henry for the first time.
We love you sweet boy!! Happy Meetcha day!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Caramel Corn

This weekend I made gallons of caramel corn to fill orders placed last week.  I will be making another large batch this week.  If you want your caramel corn to arrive by Christmas with standard shipping, please place your order on or before Tuesday, Dec 14.
Merry Christmas!

Christmas Parade

Every year we attend our town's Christmas parade.  Igor loves the parade.  His favorite part of the parade is watching the Fire engines and police cars go by with their lights flashing and horns honking . This year Igor has a different memory of the parade.  He was in the parade with his scout troop!  He was so excited to not only be in the parade BUT to ride on the float. 

Here's Henry waiting for the parade to start-

Thursday, December 2, 2010

An update on Igor

Igor has been participating in the Neurogistics Children's Program since the end of August.  He has been taking their supplements for 3 months.  Several people have e-mailed asking for an update.
Igor is doing great.  He is still the Igor we know and love.  He remains very intense however, his excitability level has decreased.  He is able to better control his anger.  He still gets mad, frustrated and irritated but he is able to deal with these emotions in a more healthy and positive way.  He sleeps very deeply and longer now.  His overall "Agitation" level is lower so I am very pleased with his progress.  For now, we continue on the supplements and look forward to the Christmas season.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gotcha Day!

Today we celebrate Igor's gotcha day!  Five years ago today Igor became our son. 

We have a special plate for good days, rainy days, great hair days...   Igor used the plate today for his gotcha day celebration. 
It's not a celebration unless there is pizza, cupcakes and ice cream- all of Igor favorite foods. 
Happy Gotcha Day Igor!  We love you. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

adoption and birth order

We had a comment on our blog questioning birth order.
Do you have any resources or other advice about it...it's probably just prayer. Our oldest is saying she wants a sister her age. She is 4 but has been saying this all year. Should we listen to her?

I'm not a social worker I'm a mom so these are my opinions based on my family and my mom experience.   
I think parents should take a good look at their family and their child(ren) when deciding whether to break birth order.  Start observing and understanding your child when they are around other children.  Talk to your social worker, speak with families who have broken the birth order successfully and unsuccessfully.
Our son Igor was an only child and acted like a first born.  When other children were around, he'd organize the games, assign seats for dinner, and make rules.... he was a leader.  We knew early on that he needed to be the oldest child in our growing family.  We talked at length with our social worker about birth order.  Our social worker had observed Igor in Post Placement meetings and other settings.  She did not think Igor would adjust well to being in any other birth position than oldest.
For this adoption we thought Henry could remain as the baby or do well as a middle child.  Henry is very laid back, he loves being the baby but does very well with younger children.  After discussing birth order with our social worker she approved us for a child between 18 months and 5 years old.  With this age range Henry may be the baby or may become the middle child.  I think in either position Henry will thrive.
We did not talk about twinning Henry in our social worker meetings.  Our agency doesn't recommend artificially twinning but has done it with mixed results.  I have talked with families were it has worked well but in some families it has been a difficult adjustment.

If you are considering going out of birth order or artificially twinning talk with your social worker.  Ask your social worker to connect you with families who have done it successfully and with families who have struggled. 

Here are some articles and blogs on the topic:
http://www.creatingafamily.org/adoption-resources/adopting-out-of-birth-order.html
http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/articles.php?aid=814
http://fost-adopt.adoptionblogs.com/weblogs/adopting-out-of-birth-order-not-for-me
http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?p=15238660
http://www.ehow.co.uk/facts_6916552_birth-order-adoptees.html
http://www.cwa.org/blog/index.php/kathys-corner-2/
http://www.examiner.com/transracial-adoption-in-national/you-re-out-of-order-when-adopted-kids-arrive-out-of-birth-order

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To twin or not to twin

Before I start I would like to be clear.  This is our story and we reached the best decision for our family.  If you have made a different decision for your family we are delighted for you.  In no way should anyone read this post and think we are judging other families who come to a different decision.

Our agency called on Monday to ask if we would be open to a girl age three- she is probably 3-6 months younger than Henry.  In the adoption world this is called artificial twinning. 

What is artificial twinning?  It is generally defined as unrelated children (different biological-parents) born very close in age; less than 8-10 months apart, being raised as siblings by the same adoptive parent(s).

So I sat in Chick-Fil-A with our children and receive the potential referral call only days after we receive the "on deck" e-mail.   Naturally my head is spinning, should we?  shouldn't we? and Rob is in a meeting.  I was able to speak with our social worker and another adoptive mom who has has successfully twinned which helps me process it all.  Soon Rob and I are able to connect and talk about the potential referral. 

Part of us is delighted that we could have a referral and move to the next step - waiting for a court date!! but we slow ourselves down and think about it.  What would it mean to have 2 preschoolers about the same age?  How would Henry adjust to a sibling who is his age?  Would they become friends or Frenemies? (Friend/Enemies) And what about this little girl?  How would she adjust to a brother the same age as her? Would they have healthy sibling rivalry or an unhealthy one? The questions go on and on.... Part of me thinks this little girl must be our daughter because Tom and Lori will be at the Transition Home in a few days.  Karen will be there in November.  Both families met and took pictures of Henry for us in 2008- of course they would meet our daughter before we would!  Can this be a coincidence?

I contacted some dear mamas- Heather and Nikki and we begin to pray - what is the best thing for our family and this little girl?  Rob and I pray as a couple.  As we go to bed Monday night neither of us have a gut feeling or know what we should do.

That night I had one of the most vivid dream I can recall having.  I was in Ethiopia, at the transition home with Duni, our agency's Africa Director.  Duni introduced me to the little girl.  In my dream we had already turned down the referral.  I knew the moment I meet her she was not meant to be our daughter.  While I was at the Transition Home I met the family who was adopting her.   It was a very sweet moment in my dream for they were delighted to have her as their daughter and it felt so right.

When I woke up I told Rob about my dream.  He asked me how I felt about it and I said we should not twin Henry- this is not our daughter.  I've never had God answer a prayer through a dream but I am certain this was a dream from him.  My mother-in-law was overwhelmed that God would speak so clearly to me and assure me that this little girl has a wonderful family waiting for her... and it's okay that it is not us.

During our first Ethiopian adoption we lost our first referral.  I have occasionally looked back and thought about why it happened.  On Tuesday I was grateful we went through that experience.  It gave us the assurance that God has a plan for our family and it is not always linear.  Looking back it is clear to us that our first referral was not our son and we received Henry's referral two months later.  Part of our heart will always care deeply for that little boy but he is where he belongs and that place is not with us.  We know this little girl has a family waiting for her and it's not us.  We are totally at peace with our decision.
So we are back in line waiting for the next call.  Like last time, we may watch other families who submitted their dossiers after us go before us... I look at our sweet, joyful Henry and know he was totally worth the wait and so is the wait for our daughter.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Back by popular demand- Caramel Corn- adoption fundraiser

I have had several people ask if I was going to make Caramel Corn this year as an adoption fundraiser.
The answer is YES!!
Back my popular demand- Caramel Corn*. 
For those of you who have never tasted my caramel corn, it is my grandmother's recipe and it is sooo yummy. It's similar to the caramel corn sold at Garrett Popcorn Shop in Chicago.
I guarantee you will love it! Here's some comments from previous years:
E said- This is the best caramel corn I've ever had. We put in a big order & we all love it. It's very yummy!
S said- WE LOVE IT! That is the best stuff! We are addicted!
Pricing
1/2 Gallon $10
1 Gallon $15
To ensure freshness, I will make the caramel corn after I receive your order.
*Ingredients: White Popcorn, White Syrup, butter/margarine, brown sugar, salt, baking soda

If you are local, please e-mail to avoid the shipping charges.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Update!


We are more than one-third of our way towards the goal of providing 700 meals for the children in Kombolcha! We appreciate you all spreading the word about the books. We are looking forward to reaching the halfway point soon! Please keep sharing our blog with others!  We need your help to spread the word.

Fall has finally arrived. We have visited the pumpkin patch with the boys.
Igor wanted to decorate the front yard with spider webs.
 My parents arrived last week!  We had a great time while they were here.  Igor and grandpa completed a 500 piece puzzle in two days!
Henry and Nana enjoyed coloring in Henry's Thomas coloring book.  Henry also enjoyed showing Nana what was in his pocket.
My parents gave us a HUGE gift- their van.  Now I've always said I would never own a van BUT with the pending arrival of daughter we need a larger car.  Our current car will not fit two cars seats and a third child so my parents graciously gifted us their van.  On Tuesday we titled the car in our name and today we received and e-mail from our agency which said- America World anticipates that your family could receive a referral within the next one to three months.  I'm not sure why but I felt a little panicky.  I think it's because our other two referrals were a surprise so knowing the call could be coming is nerve racking!  However, we are excited. 
LifeSong  is still accepting tax-deductible donations to help us bring our daughter home.  Click here for all the details on how you can help!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Out live your life!

Max Lucado says:
These are difficult days in our world's history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? 

We have asked ourselves- How can we rock the world with hope??
We want to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable and orphaned children. We cannot  reach every vulnerable child  but we can make a difference in one child's life one day at a time.

Check out our new Campaign

It’s a simple concept. We are now selling two children’s books, Little Lion's Bedtime and Counting Addis Ababa, all the proceeds will feed children at the orphanage/drop in center at Grace Baptist Church in Kombolcha, Ethiopia. Both books are soft cover and about 11x8 inches.   If you have a child born in Ethiopia you will LOVE Counting Addis Ababa. 

Counting Addis Ababa offers full-page color illustrations that accompany each counting lesson (1-10) in English and two African languages, Amharic and Oromiffa. The beautiful illustrations depict scenes in Addis Ababa’s life such as women at the market, young children, chickens, donkeys, and more.
Little Lion's Bedtime tells the story of Little Lion who is creeping when he should be sleeping! Watch Father Lion gently put Little Lion to bed.

Each book is $10. Buy both for $17.95; shipping is included! Purchase a book and you will feed an orphan for several days! Buy both books and feed a child for a week. You CAN make a difference.
You can buy them here:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Get up and Go

I recently started a new bible study- Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer.
As I started the first few days of home work I read these verses:
Jonah 1:1-3
The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.

Have you ever had the Lord ask you to do something but you decided not to?  I have.  I looked at these verses and I knew I needed to get a refund on my own personal ticket to Tarshish.  I needed to do as I had been called but had put off.  Since coming home from my trip with Children's Hope Chest in December 2009, I have worked to find sponsors for the children in Kombolcha.  We have had events, raised money for kitchen equipment, etc.  We did many things but this summer I knew we were to do more.  What exactly, I was not sure but I knew I had to step out in faith.  One day God specifically called me to do something but I did not do it.  Why?  Every time I started well meaning Christians, fear, satan and a host of  interuptions caused me to pull back. When I read those verses I KNEW I needed to "Get up and go".  So I did.  I love  getting a second chance to make a difference.

The first step was the yard sale at church to benefit orphans at Grace Baptist Church in Ethiopia.  We had 5 or so items priced between $10-20- everything else was $1 or less.  Seriously, how were we to make money with the majority of our yard sale items priced at 50 cents?  I truly believe when we are obedient to God's call anything can happen.  We held the yard sale and now we are writing a $1,000 check to Children's HopeChest to feed orphans!  What a blessing!

In a few days we will be posting another way to make a difference in an orphan's life!   We cannot wait to share it with you!!  Check back in a few days to see what we are up too.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child in Kombolcha, Ethiopia please contact me at
Mblueberry.madamblueberry@gamil.com

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ethiopia get together

This weekend we hosted the third annual AWAA Ethiopian get together.  We had so much fun meeting new families and visiting with the "old timers".

Update on the children in Kombolcha

This weekend we had a church yard sale with the all the funds benefiting the children at Grace Baptist Church in Kombolcha, Ethiopia.  Our yard sale was a huge success!!   We are thrilled to announce that we raised $957!  We COULD NOT not have done it without our church family who donated so many things!

All the money raised will go to feed children at the drop in center at Grace Baptist Church.  While we have many sponsor families we still have children who need a sponsor.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child or making a one time donation to feed a child please contact me at mblueberry.madamblueberry@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Update on Igor

Igor has finished his third week on the supplements from Neurogistics.  Week one was awesome!  Igor was Igor without the edge.  He laughed more, he was much more relaxed and didn't melt down. He was happy.

Week two and three have been different.  One day it's Igor without the edge and then the edge is back.  It's a little bit unsettling because I don't know from day to day which Igor will be showing up.  I'd really like Igor's moods and emotions to be more regulated but they told us it would take 6-8 weeks to see a noticeable difference.  Obviously something is happening because we see glimpses of the relaxed Igor.. that is not someone we have ever seen before.  So, we continue with the supplements waiting to see what each day will bring.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What are Neurotransmitters and how do they affect our kids?

I have received  many e-mails asking about Neurogistics Corporation,  Igor, the process, cost, etc.  I am happy to answer any questions! 

If you want to learn more about the science behind neurotransmitters listen to blog talk radio tomorrow and hear from Pam Machemehl Helmly, CN along with Emily Roberts, MA, LPC
Sept 21 at 2:30PM.  Here's the link:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-family-coach/2010/09/21/what-are-neurotransmitters-and-how-do-they-affect-our-kids
I'll write more about Igor's progress later this week.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two years have flown by

Two years ago we received a referral and a picture of Henry.  His shirt said "Captain Chaos".  I wondered what we were in for.  Chaos means- a state lacking order or predictability.  Henry has been predictable in many ways- he is always an early riser.  As Rob and I slumber we often are awakened just before dawn by Henry clapping and singing in his bed.  99% of the time Henry is happy and delightful.
However, he is also full of mischief, drama and whimsy which keeps me on my toes!
We love you dear Captain Chaos!  We are so grateful and honored to be your parents.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Preschool excitment

Henry was so excited to go to preschool this morning!  can you see how excited he is?
It was a bittersweet day for us as Henry will not be returning to Ms. Joya's nursery school this fall.  However, Henry loves his new preschool.  I think it will be a very good year.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Neurotransmitters and Orphanage dust

In November we will celebrate 5 years home with Igor.  I cannot believe we have been a family for almost 5 years!!  Our son is smart and creative, we love him so much. However, we have faced many challenges with him.  Igor came to us as a 3 1/2 year old boy with many hurts and a laundry list of delays and emotional issues.  I would like to say that loving him "solved" all his problems but it has not.  Igor has worked very hard to learn emotions and social cues, to speak, to have fine motor control, etc... but some of what he endured in the orphanage has deeply wounded Igor.  It's as though he has a wound that will not completely heal.  Just when we think the anger, the rage, the orphanage dust has left... it quietly seeps back into our house and we must deal with it yet again.  Igor has often said that whatever is inside of him will never go away.  Some friends have suggested that we must accept Igor as he is but that never "feels" right.  So, I am always looking for ways to help Igor deal with his past and the emotions he is not sure what to do with.

We recently had Igor tested by Neurogistics.  They have done work with Karen Purvis (author of the The Connected Child).  I read this article and thought there may be hope for Igor.  I found this company through another adoptive parent.  I recently found their children's website-
http://www.balanceyourchildsbrain.com/Home.asp
After speaking with Rob we decided to have Igor tested.  We received an e-mail with the test results and Igor's levels were off the charts.  When Rob saw them all he could do is say, "wow".   I felt as though I was armed with a huge dust pan and a broom- I was ready to sweep out the orphanage dust forever.  Rob was, less optimistic.  After talking with Igor's therapist and consulting a psychiatrist in standard medicine, we were given the green light to move forward with the supplements recommended by Neurogistics. 
We were told that we could see a change in Igor within 6-8 weeks.  We are on day 3 and Igor is a different child.  Well, he's still Igor but without the edge.  The things that pushed him over the edge last week, and the week before and the week before that were not a big deal today.  Yes, we are in the beginning stages of the supplements and at any moment things could change but two days of a child without anxiety and anger has been delightful.  Rob, who wasn't very optimistic about the supplements is much more optimistic now that he has witnessed Igor without the edge.  I am filled with hope.  I will keep you posted on his progress.

Look who is riding a bike

Henry has only been interested in riding a scooter until July.  That is when he decided he wanted to learn how to ride a tricycle.  Henry rode the tricycle for a month then moved on to a bike.  He is no longer interested in the trike or a scooter.  Everyday he says the same thing to me- "ride my bike?"

video

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our family through the eyes of Igor

Igor created "baseball" cards for our family.  Using index cards, he drew pictures and listed a few facts about each family member.  When he presented them to me I was struck by what we looked like and what he wrote.  I laughed out loud when I read Henry's card. 
Dad   







His Mom and Dad live in another city.
Likes Michigan Sports.
He preaches at church.

Mom              

 She helps me clean my room and drives the car for me. 
She likes candy.
She likes to plant things. 
We play together.







Igor as a super hero

  (I was sure this was Henry until I flipped the card over)

  I like to play with my dad.
  I like to ride my bike.
  I like to play outside.
  I like movies.




Henry

  He's the youngest in our family.
He likes to play.
He wants to wake up everyone in the middle of the night.

 




Monday, August 16, 2010

Saturday night fun

We had Saturday night all planned out- I made pizza for dinner (the boys favorite) and then we were off the ride the new trolley in town.  There was an article in the paper about the proposed trolley route and there would free rides through downtown on Saturday night.  Except I got the nights mixed up.  
We didn't find out about the mix up in the days until we pulled in the parking lot, we were alone.  I walked to the store to pick up a paper to see if I had the wrong pick up spot.  Nope, we were at the trolley pick up spot... the trolley rides were FRIDAY not Saturday night - ugh.  
I walked back to the car to break the news to the boys.  I started to tell Igor when I saw a trolley driving by.  The boys rushed out of the car as the trolley stopped at the pick up stop listed in the paper.  I thought I was dreaming. The driver said the free rides were the night before but we could take a look inside.  The boys checked out the trolley, the driver could see how excited they were.  The driver said he would take us for a ride.  Really?  He said sure why not.  He was in town for a wedding.  He had a 3 hour break until he picked up the bridal party.
Henry wasn't quite sure if he liked the trolley while it was moving but Igor LOVED riding through town in it.  The driver was awesome, he even rang the bell for the boys.  Igor was in heaven.  As the driver approached the drop off point we said a ladder fire truck parked by our car. Our boys were delighted.  In Igor's word, "totally awesome".  We thanked the driver then walked over the the ladder truck only to see a pumper fire truck pulling in the parking lot. That was icing on the cake.
When I realized that I had mixed up nights I thought the night was going to be such a disappointment.  Instead, it was totally awesome.  
It reminded me that God's plans may look slightly different than what we prepare and plan for but His ways are so much sweeter.





Thursday, August 12, 2010

One man's view of our family

During the summer we often spend hours at the community pool.  The boys love it because they always have someone to play with and we like it because it is free!  Okay our tax dollars pay for the pool so it's not really free but we love that we do not have to join a pool.  The patrons at the pool are a diverse group of people- we've met people from Ireland, South Africa, Italy, South America, Spain, Poland, etc.  I especially like that there are people of every color under the rainbow at the pool. 
Saturday we took the boys to the pool.  When we arrived Rob and Igor went to the deep end to swim.  Henry wanted to go to the big pool to swim down for dive sticks.  His version - tossing the dive stick in the shallow end then sticking his hands and face under water and pulling up the stick.  Not exactly swimming but a great start! As Henry dropped in a dive stick a little girl (about 5 yrs old) approached us and wanted to touch the stick.  I asked her watch it as it sunk to the bottom of the pool to see the little bubbles come up.  When it was at the bottom I said she could pick it up.  When she picked it up she smiled.  She thought it was a very cool toy.  All of the sudden a man started yelling at her, telling her to put the toy down.  I said it was alright she could share with Henry.  The man said, "sharing is all good but she isn't going to play with that toy.".  He called the girl (his niece) over to him.  The man started using foul language while reprimanding another child.  I didn't feel comfortable so I decided to take Henry to the middle of the pool to play.
A few minutes later Rob swam over to the shallow end.  Henry and I walked over to him.  The man who spoke to me earlier said to his niece, "They are teaching that boy to be white."
Okay, deep breath, breathing, breathing....  I wish I could say I prayed but I didn't.  I was too busy forcing the mama bear inside me to stay inside.  I held my breath, I did not respond, I tried to breathe, this man was talking about us... our son.. and not in the 'Oh your son is adorable" way I am use to.
I wanted to say- really ??? what are you teaching him by being passive aggressive?? ah, but I bit my tongue.

The man was right behind Rob (seriously- they could have touched one another) so he knew we could hear him.  Rob said very calmly that he would like to talk to him.  The man said, "I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to my niece."  Rob said very calmly, "We happen to be the only white family here with a black child so I would like to talk to you about what was just said."  The man said, "You can't be disrespecting me like that, you only get one chance to make an impression."  Rob replied very calmly, "I'm sorry if you think I'm attacking you.  All I would like to do is dialog with you."  The man continue to go off on Rob.  I came over saying to the man, "He just wants to talk to you about what you just said."  The man said, "Now look, you've got your woman involved now."  At this point Rob and I knew there was no chance to talk to this man.   It's such a shame because Rob really wanted to hear what the man's issues were.  The man and the children left after the incident.  Thankfully we were able to talk to our neighbors and another friend who happened to be at the pool to witness the incident.  We were also thankful that Igor was off playing with another kid and Henry had no idea what this man was talking about. 

For the last few days Rob and I have talked about what happened at the pool.  I have wondered what has life thrown at the man that he was so full of anger?  Clearly the man did not approve of Henry being a part of our family but seriously- why would he say something in front of Henry... I know, I know, he didn't think about Henry, this man only wanted to share his views but passive aggressively so HE did not have to be held accountable for his words.
 

We thought we were prepared for any situation as it related to Henry but the pool incident caught us off guard.  A place where we have always felt welcomed didn't  feel the same.  Rob took the boys to the pool this afternoon and they had a great time.  So we prepare ourselves for the next time we meet someone who has a negative opinion of our family make-up.  However we know that we have been called to be Henry's parents and our family is a beautiful sight in our eyes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Car talk

Igor holds many things close to the vest.   Some days he freely gives information but most days getting him to talk is like prying open a clam with your fingernails.  I've noticed that being in the car allows for a little more information to be shared.
Today Igor and I were driving to his eye appointment and some how we started talking about work.  I asked him how he would feel if I went back to work.  All he said was -NO.
me- why not?  You are in school all day.
Igor- I like for you to be at home.

me- I use to work.
Igor- Remember when I was 3 and 4 years old and you went to work?
Me- Yes.

Igor- I didn't like it.
me- But daddy stayed home with you.
Igor- I know.  But I wanted to be with you all the time.
me- oh.
 Igor is 8 years old, this is the first time he has ever expressed his desire for me to stay home with him.  I guess I should never under estimate my work as a stay at home mom.  I think we should ride in the car more often.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The finances of adoption

We started our adoption journey for our daughter in January 2010.  We had used American World Adoption for our previous adoptions and we decided to use them again.  We were delighted when we received the phone call from AWAA saying we were accepted into Ethiopia program to adopt our daughter.

When we moved forward with this adoption we had close to the estimated amount of $18,00-24,000 it would cost to adopt our daughter. In March, we received news that Ethiopia changed their policies on adoption.  Ethiopia now requires a family to travel to Ethiopia twice in order to complete the adoption.  That meant an increase in our total adoption costs,  it will now be somewhere around $32,000.00gulp....  When we heard the news we stopped and asked ourselves should we continue to move forward or was this a sign to stop.  After several days of discussion and prayer we felt God's prompting to move forward with our adoption.  We have cut back on many expenses and eliminated others in order to save as much money as possible each month.  We need an additional $6,000 to bring our daughter home. 

In June, we applied for financial assistance with LifeSong for Orphans.  In July, we received the call saying we were approved!  Anyone who wants to be a part of our adoption journey is encouraged to:
  1. Pray for our family as we wait to be matched with our daughter.
  2. Pray for our daughter in Ethiopia, that she may be well loved and cared for until she is in our arms!
  3. Will you please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us pay for the remaining $6,000 to bring our daughter home?
Lifesong has graciously set up a fundraising account to help bring our daughter home.  If you would like to be a part of our adoption journey, you can send your tax-deductible gift between now and September 20th to the address below. Lifesong is a trusted organization administering the funds on our daughter's behalf, and will pay adoption expenses out of funds received.

You may donate two ways:

By check- Please make checks payable to: Lifesong.  In the memo section indicate our last name and #1417 Adoption. (*Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong which retains full discretion and control over its use.) Mail checks to:
Lifesong for Orphans
Att: #1417 Adoption
PO Box 40 / 202 N. Ford St.
Gridley, IL 61744

You may also donate via Pay Pal on Lifesong's donate page - click here..  In the purpose section please state our last name and #1417 Adoption.


We thank you for investing in the Kingdom through prayer and finances – it will be an investment with an eternal return! We’ll give you an update with a picture of our daughter and details as we receive them.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What gets ignored is translated as unimportant

I am way behind in reading blogs.  This morning I read Kevin's blog.  Growing up adopted in a transracial household, Kevin has thoughts all adoptive parents should read.
Take a minute to read his blog posting from June.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What is so suspicious about a young man sitting under a tree at the library?

I read an article in the paper about a young black man who reportedly had a gun across the street from a school.  The good news- the police got the "bad guy" and he is in jail.   That sounds great on the evening news or as a blurb in the paper  but that's not how this story plays out.  As a mom to a Ethiopian child (who is black) and a mom to a child who was diagnosed with institutional autism, this story breaks my heart on so many levels.  As I read more about the facts, I see the story is much more than reported. 
Here's what I read:
  • Someone calls the police saying they saw a suspicious man at the library with a gun.
  • Schools go into lockdown
  • police officers are dispatched
  • officer sees suspect and question him
  • Suspect gets irate, attacks officer
  • suspect breaks free
  • Canine unit finds suspect
  • Suspect arrested
  Okay- above is my abbreviated version. 


Click here for the complete story

 The part that wasn't in the newspaper:
  • Investigators never found a gun, and now say the initial caller never actually saw a weapon
  • The young man was waiting for the library to open (outside the library!)
  • The young man has autism
  • Schools are locked down because of false report
  • An innocent man is being chased by the police and hunted down by dogs
  • an officer is hurt
Someone saw a young, black man sitting under tree at the library.  This person assumed the young, black man was bad and had a gun.  The police were called.  Seriously?  This is 2010, why would you ASSUME any of that?  What made this person call the police?  If the young man were white would the call have been made?  Should this young man be in jail because someone reported he had a gun?
I wonder - what if this happened to Igor or Henry.  What would I be feeling as a mother and what should "justice" look like for all involved?
Here's the mom's version of the story

For more news coverage, articles and how you can help click here

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vacation

This year our vacation money is going toward our adoption.  We still wanted to get away so we vacationed at Rob's Aunt and Uncle's house and at Rob's parents home.... maybe we should call it Famcation instead of vacation?  We had an awesome time.  Here are a few pictures that summarize what we did all day

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer

Igor asked me if today was the first day of July.  I said yesterday was.  His reply- This summer sure is going FAST!
The boys are having fun this summer.  here's a few pictures

we are a foster family to a hermit crab












 
water balloons on a hot day
sneaking up on dad
 finding the perfect spot for getting others wet
 

Henry

Henry loves to wake up early- before 6AM.  Most mornings Rob puts Henry back in his room to play until we are ready to get up.  The other morning I went to get Henry and this is what I found
25 feet of Christmas wrap decorating the floor of his room.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Picnic anyone?

It has been so hot outside that by mid-morning I want to go indoors until the sun starts setting.  Henry doesn't seem to mind the intense heat and humidity.  The other day I started to make lunch and Henry walked into the garage.  I thought he was looking for a toy until I heard the garage door open.  I peeked outside and this is what I saw
Yes, my son wanted to have a picnic on the concrete in 95 degree weather.  I tried to convince him that we'd be more comfortable inside.  When that didn't work I tried to talk him into sitting under a tree.  Henry was not interested in options.  He wanted to eat in the driveway.  Yes, I know I am his mom and I could make him come inside... but he was so proud of setting up for a picnic, I grabbed my hat and the sandwiches.  He was waiting for me and we had a lovely picnic.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Igor turns 8

Igor celebrated turning 8 years old with friends.  The theme was a water party.  We had water balloons, water baseball, and more.  The kids had a great morning celebrating with Igor.




Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's not like you....

Edited... 
Someone called recently asking to sponsor a child at Grace Baptist Church.  I'll call the person Pat.  Pat is very excited to sponsor a child.  We talked through the process of sponsorship and about Ethiopia. As we were about to hang up Pat said, "You know sponsoring a child isn't like what you guys did."
me- What did we do?
Pat- You know you adopted.  That's much better than sponsoring a child.
me- (deep breath) You know Pat, in some ways sponsoring a child is much better than adoption.  Adoption removes the child from his/her culture, separates them from any remaining family, their native land, language, etc.  When sponsoring a child you are potentially keeping a family together, you are bring hope to a child through education, you are are helping bring up new leaders in their own country.
Pat- How much it cost to adopt a child in Ethiopia?
Me- between $24,000 and $30,000
Pat- Why don't you take that money and use it to sponsor 65 children for the next 10 years.

Me- I have certainly thought about it.

I have thought about this conversation many times over the last few weeks. In many ways I am conflicted.  Adoption is beautiful, a commitment, a way to bring a family together.  However, it is more complicated than that.  Many children become orphans because the parents or a surviving parent cannot no longer afford to feed or cloth the child because of economic hardships.  They are forced to choose to give up a child whom they love so that child will survive.  It's really heart breaking when you think about it.
Please do not misunderstand me.  Orphans need loving homes, adoption fulfills that need.  But I cannot help wondering if we can slow down the number of children abandoned or relinquished if we try to keep the family together in the first place. 
I know everyone is not called to adopt.  I am certain we are.  I know we are committed to caring for the orphans and widows.  We do that in many ways: sponsoring children, micro-financing, mission trips to help build infrastructure in communities, etc.  Sponsoring a child in a wonderful alternative to adoption or perhaps a "supplement" to adoption.  It is wonderful way to "pay it forward"  keeping a child with his or her family.  Please contact me if you are interested in sponsoring a child- mblueberry.madamblueberry@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Necklaces from Uganda

A big THANK YOU to those of you who purchased the necklaces!  We had such an amazing response that we will be selling them again in November (think Christmas gifts!).  We cannot wait for our shipment to arrive in October.  We have requested vibrant colors based on your feedback.
Sue was able to send us a picture of the woman who made all the necklaces.  Thank you for your support.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New wallpaper

We've updated the blog to reflect the up coming changes in our life- a daughter. I love the new pink wallpaper. It's such a dramatic change from the blue we have all over the house.

On the adoption front- our dossier made it to Ethiopia.
Here's what will be happening over the next few months:
Our dossier will be translated to Amharic.

We'll receive an "on deck" e-mail from our agency when we are getting close to receiving a referral.
We anticipate a referral in 5-7 months based on our family coordinator's best guess.
Once we receive and accept a referral we will wait for our court date to be assigned.
We will fly to Ethiopia for the court date and then fly home.
We will return to Ethiopia several weeks after the court date to pick up our daughter!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Igor's artwork

Igor's latest work is outside his comfort zone of oil paints but he is becoming more confident with water color when mixed with crayon.

Water color and crayon







Self portrait with ripped paper



crayon and water color

Friday, June 4, 2010

getting dressed


In May, Henry decided that he was old enough to dress himself. Every morning after breakfast he runs to his dresser to pick out his outfit and dresses in private. Almost every morning he comes downstairs dressed in shorts and a shirt that match. Last week he put on his shirt backwards. When I gently mentioned this to him he said it was okay. If he was okay with it, I was okay with it. My boy is teaching me not to sweat the small stuff in life.
After Henry gets dressed Rob and I say, "Henry, you look good!" Now when we get dressed Henry tells us we look good. My boy puts a smile on my face every morning.




My Friend, Riana's mother-in-law bought Henry a South African soccer jersey. Henry loves it. He would wear it everyday if it was clean. Last week he decided his jersey needed to be dressed up a bit. All day he wore his jersey and Batman tie. He is creating his own style.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Magnify

I have been thinking a lot about magnification lately. My eyes are going quickly. I cannot see many things close up without my, um, glasses. I started thinking about magnification and what it means as it relates to God.
Psalm 69:30
I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

I really hadn't thought about it until recently. What does magnify mean? What do I magnify?
A quick look in the dictionary:
Magnify- to
increase the apparent size of, as a lens does.
I'm suppose to magnify God- make him bigger than what He is? Is that right? When I step back I realize that God is always the same size whether I have my glasses on or not. I put my glasses on to see more clearly, to bring something into focus.

I'm not sure why it just dawned on me today but I am the magnifying glass. I become the magnifying lens that others see God through.
I should act in a way that makes God look as great as he really is. I am the lens which helps others see the character of God, His mercy, his grace, compassion and so much more. Do I do this? hmmmm... when I take a careful inventory, I see the magnification of the problem not the awesomeness of God.
If I want to walk
in the promises of God given in His Word, then I need to learn how to minimize the problem and magnify what God has done.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We have a secret,,,


Yes, we have been keeping a secret for some time now. We are in process to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia! Our paperwork has been accepted by our adoption agency so we are officially waiting for a referral!!
Our agency, AWAA, stated the wait time for a referral for a girl 2-4 years old will be about 5-7 months. We look forward to what the future holds for our family. At a minimum, I'm guessing it will include pink- something we don't have a lot of in our house right now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Time flies...

Life has been busy- We celebrated my grandmother's life. The boys enjoyed being loved on by many relatives. They also enjoyed the Zoo and the hotel pool.


We've been working in the garden. In March we planted spinach and beet seeds. Each morning we check the garden and water. We were finally able to pick beets!

Several members of our church hosted the Watoto children's choir.


The commuter challenge- to take the bus, carpool, walk or ride your bike to work- has started. We attended the kick off for our area. The boys rode in a rickshaw which they said was very cool. They tried out different bikes and were given free bike helmets.


We have a few necklaces remaining. If you are interested in purchasing one, please let me know.