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

Friday, April 29, 2011

Many Hands Make Light Work

In an attempt to maintain my sanity at the end of (for some unknown reason) a hairy, frustrating day yesterday, I decided to make supper prep a family affair. Involving the kids in what we make (and clean up!) is so huge in their development, appreciation of the effort that goes in to each meal, and their enjoyment and understanding of food in general.

A couple of weeks ago at lunch time, I told Noah I just didn't feel like making supper that night...did he want to give it a go. After looking at me as though I'd just grown a second head, he asked me if I was for real. I was indeed. So he "made" supper that evening - with a bit of help - and enjoyed it more than usual, I would say. Last night I thought another round of do-it-yourself was in order.

I found a great simple recipe which was awesome at including the kids and somewhat healthy...and most definitely a favourite around here: chicken strips.

{did you know a rolling pin mades an excellent substitute for a mallot?}
I didn't have any chicken breast but do enjoy a challenge so I simply skinned and deboned a couple thighs, we threw 'em in ziplocks and hammered away at them. Then I sliced them. Following that, we grabbed a handful of crackers and they each had a go at whacking them into crumbs. The kids each then took several turns flouring, egging, and finally cracker-coating our strips.

{it works better when you stick out your tongue}
They were described by one small five year old child as "better than the real thing, Mama!". Hmmm, glad we can make them better than store bought...healthier too. Our "fries" were homemade sweet potato fries which are hands down a huge hit every.time.we.have.them around here - and oh so good for growing boys.

Oh - and as far as bickering (the theme of the day yesterday) we conquered that, too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Heart Wrenchingly Gut Achingly Horrible

I contemplated posting on this. It's more touchy for me than any other media published lately, by a landslide. I'm certain many are in the same boat. It's interesting, when other articles came out about the amount of money squandered and laundered and simply put: stolen, I had pity on the life these former Imaginers will now lead...and the quality of life they have been leading since July 2009.

Truthfully, however, there was no feeling of anger or "good, they got theirs" sense of revenge boiling in my veins. I think I had let all that go, months (years?) ago. It wasn't worth it. Money isn't worth wasting my energy over. It was a significant amount but it's just money. I read the articles...scanned them actually and the buck stopped there. I realize that had the money not been stolen, we'd likely all have completed our adoptions ages ago...but I am trying to take it from a monetary perspective. None of us were physically injured. Emotionally and mentally, yes without a doubt - and that pain is often worse than any physical agony we could ever endure. Yet we all had each other, we were alive and not at risk of starvation, malnutrition, or being cared for.

But I read this the other day and couldn't get through it without feeling my heart and my stomach invading my throat. I couldn't breathe. I finished the article, took a deep breath, and that's when reality of this kick in the gut really took ahold of my heart. Because the children were hurt. The lives of these innocent, naive, pure, small orphaned children were jeopardized.

“We knew it was bad,” Giesbrecht said. “There were allegations of food running out. Liquids running out. Certainly money had run out long ago.”

I've heard stories. I had been in the know about some of "how bad" it was, but there were parts of the story (as I'm certain there still are) about which I was completely oblivious. I heard via one parent that she will never share just how bad it was when she arrived immediately following the announcement of the near-tragedy to pick up her child(ren). I think dire would be an understatement.

It was that bad. That sickening. That evil. That wrong.

Employees of the home were bringing their own food to keep the children from going hungry, but were really in no position to do so because the agency hadn’t paid, he [Geisbrecht] said.

[...] The home had $31,000 in unpaid bills for food, rent, hydro and remuneration to staff.

And, while I am still trying to get my mind around the ability of one (or two) people to allow - no! to catalyze - this situation to become so grave that an organization in Ethiopia is out by $31,000 canadian dollars (!), I still feel only fear for those children.

I can attribute my (lack of) sentiments towards S Hayhow as numbness and a sense of apathy. I don't feel anything. What her life has morphed into is tragic. And I would say there's nothing any of us could do or say or feel to make it any more deplorable.

And so I am comforted in the knowledge that those children - all of them - made it out. They are home. And more are coming. And when our child is home, when she is in her bed, in her room, beside her rambunctious early rising older brothers, then and only then will I feel that we conquered the evil that nearly re-routed the path of this family.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Easter weekend was great. Lots of project time...perhaps a little too much for the little people but we have been able to get an absolute ton done...and we even enjoyed the sun to boot. All in all, a success. Now, if we could only completely eradicate whatever virus seems to be plaguing one of the little people, life would be fab. It's not hugely awful but won't go away and just down right annoying.

I love that our kids both get the true reason for Easter. They each have slightly different versions but they are both based on fact and the level of understanding at which they are at.

The eggs and the hunt were fun too. Highlights included seeing the older little person exit the bus Wednesday with his basket in hand, eggs inside.

"How many did you eat?" I asked. Prepared to hear that while there were four chocolate foil eggs and two jelly beans left, there must have been at least double that to start.

"None, Mama" he solemnly answered.

"What?! Are you telling the truth?" I inquired. Not that my kid would purposefully lie...but you know...he's five...and we're talking chocolate here.

"Yes!! I gave one to 'so-and-so' on the bus but I didn't eat the others because they have sugar and I don't want to get sick."

Bless his sweet sweet heart.

Sunday morning as I peered over the landing at the top of the stairs, I could see one blonde mop top fiddling with eggs right around the area I'd already hidden a stash for their hunt. Upon confirming with him that he was not, in fact already starting the hunt - it's a family affair around here and starting early wouldn't be right - he replied that he was hiding his, "for you and Daddy".

Melt my heart.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Thoughts at Thirty One months into this wait...

  1. For goodness sakes!!! (Sorry, I had to rant and now that I have it out of my system I'll be a little more rational about the whole thing...but I'm only human people and thirty-one months is a stinking long time to wait...actually, I think we may be near the top of the longest waiters. Not that I'm looking for bragging rights. No sir. I'd gladly pass that achievement onto someone Takers??)
  2. A friend reminded me ever so kindly and oh so gently the other day to take heed..."so I sent messengers to them with this reply: "I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?". Yes, my heart needed that. Thank you friend.
  3. It's Easter. I'll say it again, it is Easter. Four days of family. Eggs (urg - too many darn eggs). Projects (oh! the projects we are getting done around here...more to follow). Sun (for this we are so very grateful). But it's so much more isn't it? Those are the little things. The worldly details. "Mama, do you know who loves you?" one small four year old whispers as he holds the world's biggest secret in the sweetness of his breath. He cups his hands around my ear and ever so gently whispers, "Jesus loves YOU!!". With such joy he divulges his secret and with such purity in the words, he wants us all to know. It's Easter.
  4. Our Homemade Fruity Marshmallows can be found here. I would highly recommend beating them longer than the recipe calls for. Oh - and they'll keep forever. This isn't tried, tested, and true but I'm quite certain that with that much sugar they will definitely keep. I still can't believe we made them. It was more for the activity than the product.
  5. Specifically speaking, I need to ask you to pray. Yes again - or still. The details need not be known here and we know God's timing is perfect but we ask again, will you please please pray for His perfect timing. There are some things, on the cusp of this great journey which will come to a head soon and in His time...we will possibly see them through, hiccup free. (Ha! you say...hiccup free?! You must be pulling my chain.) We hold fast to His will and sovereignty through it all, yet continue to ask right now for His Perfect Timing.
There are some thoughts at thirty-one months of waiting for one small, sweet child to enter in and change our family in ways which we can not even fathom, regardless of how hard we try.

I can't wait.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ever Made Marshmallows?

We have.

They're good.

Ummmm...we have each had one. It's our weekly rationale.

They have as much sugar when homemade as when store bought. I'm certain.

Next time we'll make something healthier. So, you know, we can have more than one a week.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Extreme Couponing...

...okay, perhaps not extreme, but we start 'em young around here. Plus, it was a fun "reading" through a picture book.

{the lindt chocolate bunny...the kid's got fine taste}

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's Just That There's Nothing To Say

I want to post.

I want to write a good long truth-filled, anticipatory-emanating novel on this here page. But truthfully I don't have much to say.

Not in a bad way.

Not in a good way.

There's just nothing to say - though there is much going on.

Life's going along day by day. Field triping and preschooling and summer prepping and furniture redoing, and living. Lots of living. Laughing. Much praying. Yes, there has been lots of that.

But adoption-wise, journey-wise it's been as silent as the night. That's hard.

As a certain four year old sings random words in the background about, "if you live in Ethiopia...and you want to ride in Ethiopia...then hop on and we'll take you's the mission of the day", as he plays with his recently created chick (or is it a duck?)'s difficult not to wonder: When Lord?

Oddly, as one gets (seemingly) closer to a referral the wait is immensely and intensely more difficult. One realizes quickly that life must continue. Feeling tied to a phone, (whether a landline or a cell) and being loyal to that inanimate doesn't make the call come faster.

And, though crucial and critical and necessary, prayer doesn't even make it faster. It will happen in due course. In His time.

This is a very hard pill to swallow.

But, one must also be reminded that it is all truly in God's time. She's not ready yet. He's not done preparing her. Respect and reverence for the Lord's timing - yes, these are lessons set forth each and every day. Learned and re-learned.

And so, until then - until that very moment - we will continue to live as four. Happy and content as four. Embracing the laughter, the odd four-year-old singing, and the pace of our days.

We also continue to pray fervently that soon, there will be much much more than "there's nothing to say".

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Little Peace And Quiet

I think a little quiet may present itself for the next while. Not because there's anything to share or needing our time to process, but rather the opposite. There's not much to share at this moment and a break can be good.

We're all enjoying the comforts of home - a washer that cleans our clothes, a stove with more than one burner, and a regular sized fridge - and being back is always good. Mission Of Tears officially took over Imagine's clients' files yesterday and while all is quiet on the western front, we're praying that the transition - regardless of how it is currently perceived - is smooth. Yes, there'll likely be hiccups and bumps as new hands and minds undertake all.these.families. Yet we are trying to remain calm, patient, and prayerful as we await our moment.

Our time will come. There are so very many details imminent to occur prior to, as well as after our life changing, blink-of-an-eye, preeminent call. And awaiting those - the unknown of it all - makes my stomach churn. Nevertheless, through it all we must remind ourselves that He is sovereign and that our moment, our wait, our details, our lives are all under His control. And we must rest easy in that.

Easier said than done...but we must rest safely, calmly, easily in His grip.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Last Leg...We Made It

By the skin of our teeth we made it home.

{a timed shot...positioning the camera on the hood of the car apparently makes for an angled result}

Not that the driving was horrific, nor the weather, nor the traffic. All that was actually drastic in contrast to our drive south two weeks ago.

{who in their right mind would ever leave this? oh right, people with jobs}

No, this time it was the little people. They make life very very interesting, don't they!?

The day started at 8:30am as we departed Palm Desert and left the Target parking lot one last time. (Sniff Sniff.) An hour in, the coughing started. It was chesty coughing to begin with. Soon thereafter it was a deep gurgled cough followed by vomit.


Ironically (or mercifully) our often not-super-dependable borrowed Tom Tom (okay, that's not fair..."she" and I had a love-hate relationship) told us to take an off-ramp which we shouldn't actually have taken. At that exact moment one small four year old, (while still insisting he did not need a bag) was chucking all over himself and his seatbelt. (Yes, the car seat caught some of the mess, too - because I know you were wondering).

Ah, and all this with only 23 hours left in the car together.

We pulled into a parking lot, stripped the small child down and then re-clothed him. Grabbed a few plastic shopping bags (the one time I'm okay with harming the environment with the use of plastic) and headed off.

An hour or so later the deep coughing recommenced. We had a bag already positioned nicely under his chin but Ben turned around to ensure the aim was bang on.

"Do you want me to pull off as soon as I can?" I asked. (The I-5 is a tad busy as you approach LA at the tail of rush hour on a Friday, ah hem.)

"Drive baby. Just drive," he replied.

(Insert the absolute need to laugh hard and out loud - both of us. We were in one of those well-what-can-you-do-?! situations and trying to make the best of it.)

Music to my ears. All we wanted to do at this point was get the heck outta Dodge and back into a country, our country, where medical care would be readily available and

Did I mention the other little person had not been himself since the moment his eyes opened that morning? "I feel pale Mama," were the first words out of his mouth. We were hoping nothing else would come up and out of his mouth to confirm that statement.

Long story (very long story) short, we drove until 4am...found a hotel and were checked into our room by 4:30am. We joked that we should have asked if they would charge out by the hour. A slight jaunt down the road and we could have, I am certain, found a seedy Roach Motel and lived out this bit of humour.

I digress.

By 5:00am I was finally asleep. At 6:30am after a whopping hour and a half one small five year old started ranting, nonsense talking, and singing in his sleep. Then, he rolled out of bed. Then, he couldn't walk straight or focus his eyes. Then, he couldn't answer all of our questions coherently. Then, we felt his flushed face and he was burning up.

Concern rose and we gave him tylenol.

Another long story short, we were on the road by 8:30am after a sad excuse for a breakfast and a quick stop to purchase some Pedialyte (about which we will forever rant and rave and for which we will forever be grateful). I have never given it a second look at the store but am now a fan.

We made it home after several hours of more driving, an uneventful border crossing (we had another female border guard which is, in itself often cause for concern), and an uneventful ferry crossing.

{just goofin' around...noah actually really enjoyed using his and we were able to deflate it to a perfect size}
I have never slept so well in my own bed.

And today it was a tad chilly for my liking.

But the sun shone.

And we're home. And we're feeling much better. All of us.

And for that we are so very thankful.