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, November 20, 2013

Eight years!

Igor has been home eight years!!  He wanted 5 Guys for lunch and mac & cheese for dinner.  We celebrate 8 years with you as our son.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

it's been a while!

This summer was so much fun.  Here are a few memories.
Igor's first sleep away camp

Merone's gotcha day!

Igor turns 11 yrs old!

Merone turns 4 years old

Merone's first bike ride!

pool time with aunt Christy

fun at the lake

fun at the lake

Henry's first solo kayak trip

fun at the lake

Merone loves sand

Igor loves the waves

Henry tries skim-boarding
and now school has started... here's my poem for my children as they drifted off to sleep:

Twas the night before schools starts when all through the house, 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; 
The school clothes were hung on the closet door with care,
In hopes that the school bus soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of new I-pads (school provided) danced in their heads.
School starts tomorrow, it is all bitter sweet... 
welcome 2013-14 school year, I hope it's quite neat.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Thank you God, for my Daughter

Rob wrote this post:
Merone had a sad look on her face - we disrupted her world pretty dramatically when we adopted her and she was powerless to voice any kind of opinion. Even the language she had was taken from her. This look on her face is a good teaching tool for adoptive parents. We do something good - give orphans permanent homes. But in doing it, we have to acknowledge the trauma they have been through, the extreme losses they have suffered. We adoptive parents bring hope to them, but it must be a hope that is willing to take time, be patient, and honor the pain they are in and the pain they've been forced to endure. I see all of that Merone's sad eyes, in June 2011.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Two years ago...

Guess who has been home for TWO YEARS???  We celebrated with Tibs and Doro Wat.

Look who turned 11 years old

Happy Birthday Igor!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Kombolcha reflections

Here is the next installment of reflections from sponsors who have visited our care point in Kombolcha.   Their experiences have deeply moved me over the last year.    I hope you get a better sense of the journey, the transformation of sponsors and the children from these updates.

This is from Les who went on the March 2013 trip. 
This was my 1st mission trip internationally, 1st trip anywhere I think without a construction element of some sort.  I was going to spend time with the children, play some games, show them and tell them that they are loved by me, by us and by Jesus.  I had prayed over the decision to go, sought God in the time leading up to the trip, there were many conference calls to discuss the trip.  I was ready, or so I thought.  There were tests of my patience (long lines, crowds, delayed luggage, no water at the hotel), but what overwhelmed me was the joy and love of the children once we got to the care point.  They didn't care what we were bringing, they were simply happy we had come….and happy is such a weak word to describe it.  They wanted to spend time with us, sit with us, hold on to us, play with us, laugh with us.  I share with you, some of the many memories that remain with me, burned into my soul.
When we first arrived, I remember the kids surrounding me, 10 or 15 or more.  All wanted my attention.  We played some simple hand clapping games, laughed, shared hugs.  Emotionally exhausting but physically energizing.  Sitting with them later that day they wanted to hold my hand, touch me, be near me.  They were curious about the hair on my arms and laughed at the sweat pouring off my head.  Another memory is Matthew, Derek, I playing keep away with a volley ball.  We'd toss it to each other high above our heads and the kids would jump on us to get the ball.  I decided to lift the kids above my head so they could get the ball, soon they all seemed to be around me, pointing to say "me next" until my arms ached.  The games we played were simple - bean bag toss, jump rope, hop scotch, pin the tail on the donkey - and we had labored to pick the right games.  But the kids didn't care what games we were playing.  Again, they only wanted to spend time with us, to feel special, to say without words "look at me, watch me", to be loved.
The last day was tough.  The kids were more clingy.  They knew we would be leaving, we knew we'd be leaving and each of us were trying to steal extra minutes together.  The week had gone by so fast.  Hugs lasted longer, tears were wiped away only to be replaced.  For me the tears were knowing I'd miss the children's smiles, laughs, knowing they were returning to their daily existence and I mine….each sad in its own way.
By worldly standards Ethiopia and its people are poor, lacking what the rest of us define as necessities.  The children we saw running along side the bus, the children we spent time with at the camp, the children you / I sponsor, though had a beautiful, simple joy that week, something I am poor in.  Part of me is back in Ethiopia playing with the children, sharing a love that breaks all language barriers.  Part of Ethiopia is here with me, I didn't declare it through customs though.  It exists in my mind, heart and soul, changing me.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Two years ago...

Two years ago today we sat before a judge in Ethiopia. She granted our adoption of Merone!  
What a sweet day.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Two years ago....

On May 13, 2011, we met our daughter for the very first time. 
We love you Merone.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Eight years ago

It's been an incredible 8 years since we first met this little fellow. He's not so little now!  
Time Flies.   

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Scholar? Say what?

When I saw the invitation from the National Young Scholars Program addressed to Igor I thought there had been a mix up.  Don't get me wrong, our son is smart- kids from the neighborhood come with LEGO emergencies, he is a fabulous artist and has an incredible imagination. He does not like school because it is boring and he is a horrible test taker.  His grades do not reflect  "Scholar" written in blue on the invitation.  Until I looked up scholar in the dictionary
1. a pupil...
hmmm... he is a scholar after all!  His teacher nominated him for the program. When I spoke with her she said Igor was a very bright boy and he shows great leadership skills at school.  She thought he would be perfect for the program.

For those of you who have followed Igor's journey over the years you know this huge for Igor!!  It's been a bumpy seven years with our son and he still has challenges ahead.  We are delighted to say one of those challenges will be an exciting challenge- studying forensic science and building his leadership skill for a week via the National Young Scholars Program (NYSP) this summer.  That week he will staying in a dorm room with 3 other boys. Our son is growing up quickly.

Igor is paying for a portion of the NYSP tuition by mowing lawns, spreading mulch and selling note cards with his original artwork.  Check out his note cards at his Etsy shop!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Over the next few weeks and months I will be sharing stories from sponsors who have visited our care point in Kombolcha.   Their experiences have deeply moved me over the last year.    I hope you get a better sense of the journey, the transformation of sponsors and the children from these updates.

This is from Joy who went on the April 2012 trip.  

I'm a little bit of a clean freak. I'm the one who always carries GermX, you know the type!  While at our care point, having hundreds of little dirty faced kids kissing me every day was a different experience for me to say the least. I would sneak into the school building, use hand sanitizer and occasionally wipe my face with baby wipes. I loved the kids- they were precious, but I was having a problem.

I should back up and tell you that I got to meet my sponsor child while I was there.  I visited her little hut then went back to my hotel room and sobbed uncontrollably for about an hour. I was overwhelmed by the poverty, the living conditions and more.

The kids became familiar, their kisses more welcome, to share all that happened in my heart that week would take many, many pages so I will focus on one memory. 

Hayat, my sponsor child, grew in my heart until I thought it would burst.  How would I say goodbye? The last day came.  Hyat came to give me a hug and we said our goodbyes as best as possible with the language barrier then she went on her way into the sea of children. I stood there sort of numb.  I thought, well that wasn't as emotional as I thought it would be. Then I saw her, through the crowd on her knees bawling. Tears were soaking her face.  I ran toward her calling her name. I hit my knees, she came and lunged into my embrace. We sat there, her face in my face, my tears mixed with her tears. The taste of mingled tears was in my mouth. Dirty faces and hands didn't matter anymore. My heart was forever bound to her heart and it was snow white! I cried for weeks when I got home trying to work through the feelings of wanting her with me and not knowing how. God has helped me to see that I can help her and love her right where she is. Weeks later, Rahel, our wonderful translator, the children’s discipler, sent me a the pictures attached. What a blessing to have this memory captured in a photo. My memory of Ethiopia will be THAT embrace and the taste of mingled tears!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sew important

A big THANK YOU to all the ladies who helped make Sew Important a success this year!
Here are a few photos of the items that arrived in the mail. Do you sew? We'd love for you to join us.  E-mail me- mblueberry.madamblueberry@gmail.com we are going back to Ethiopia in October!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Visiting our carepoint

The team left last Saturday for Ethiopia.  It is not easy getting to our care point.  First, the flight to Ethiopia is 12.5 hours from Dulles airport.  Then there is a nine hour drive (on a good day, with clear roads) from Addis to Kombolcha!  Some people wonder why we go.  One of our team members, Carey, wrote yesterday:

today we washed the kids feet. They washed ours, the Care Point leaders washed each others. It turned into a way to honor one another. It was beautiful. Then we painted toe nails and the party got wild with Ethiopian music. After that we face painted. Ben was clever and started painting the Ethiopian flag on the boys cheeks. They loved it all. We had the feast- traditional Ethiopian food. Shiro, lentils, cabbage and potatoes along with lamb on injera . After that came giveaways and goodbyes. I've cried more this week than I have in a long time. It wasn't because I was sad. It was because this trip has been one of the most fulfilling things I've done in my life. The beauty of the heart is beyond measure.

We go because we care. We go because we are called.  We go to love and be loved.
I cannot wait to share the stories and the pictures. This smile says it all.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sew Important!

For the second year in a row I am blown away by the number of people who joined us for Project Sew Important.  I received an e-mail from you, your friends, your daughters, friends of friends, even your grandmothers asking about the project!!
I have been overwhelmed by the number of women who wanted to help. God was behind it all so I should not have been surprised but I was.

Because of your support we have enough kits for our care point, and for many of the girls at two other Children's Hope Chest care-points!!

Project Sew Important will continue! We will continue to provide vulnerable girls with feminine protection.  Many are still sewing and we are receiving items for the kits.

Thank you all for caring for the girls in Ethiopia who miss many days of school because they lacked protection. I love how many came together to be the body of Christ and serve.

If you are still working on your kits, no worries! We will be going again in October for our Medical Mission trip to Ethiopia.
The bags are packed and on the way to Ethiopia.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Patterns for Sew important!

Here are the pattern links for Project Sew Important:
Draw String Bags
Tri-fold Liners
Shield pattern

Each kit needs two shields, 8 Tri-fold Liners and two Shields.  We need everything so if you can make just bags- great!  If you can only make liners or a few shield- no problem!  If everyone does a little bit we will have plenty!  If you do not have a snap machine- send us your liners without them.  We have a snap machine and will happily snap your shields.
Please e-mail me if you have questions!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Project Sew Important

In March and October of 2013, we are going to our Children's HopeChest Care point in Kombolcha, Ethiopia.  We will be serving 168 children, 96 of them girls.

Last year I debated about posting about Project Sew Important... should I share or not share... because it's sensitive, maybe taboo... not everyone is comfortable with the topic and I wasn't sure if I wanted to share this publicly.  But after I shared we received very positive feedback and women all over the country joined us. 

The girls at our care point are vulnerable economically.  Many of the girls are orphans and receive their only meal at our care point.  These girls are in school because someone has cared enough to sponsor them so the required school fees have been paid. But they are still at risk.... Some girls miss school up to 4 days a month.  They miss the lessons, the practice time, the homework, the exams and if they have a part time job they miss time a work/income because they cannot afford hygiene products.  It happens every day in impoverished communities all over the world... it was happening at our care point. 

We changed that at our care point and two others in Ethiopia.  We want to ensure our girls and young ladies have their own sustainable, effective feminine hygiene products. 

We've started up "Project Sew Important" for 2013.  If you sew and can help, please join us!  We have two patterns options provided by Days for Girls.   Please e-mail me at mblueberry.madamblueberry@gmail.com for all the details.  We have a snap machine so we can finish off the products for you.   

Thank you for making a difference in young women's lives.