Sunday, April 21, 2013

What I Would Tell Her

There is an empty chair behind me as I type this.  I have stared at it for what seems like forever. And for several moments,  I imagined that Ephrem and Antenek's mother was sitting in it.  My pulse quickened because the very thought of this evoked such emotion inside of me that it was hard to keep the tears from coming.  This woman, although deceased, is a huge part of our family.

Mother to mother, what would I tell/ask her?

First, I would look at their mother and ask about the first time she embraced Ephrem and Antenek.  With goats bleating outside and rain pouring down in sheets, is it there, in a thatched hut, where they took their first gasps?  Did her heart overflow with awe or was she too worried about how she and her husband would provide?  As she examined them, did she immediately recognize in them the physical features that have spanned from generation to generation sealing her babes into their family fold?  Did she gaze in wonder at their tiny hands, tightly grasped around her index finger, as they took nourishment from her breast?  Or was she distracted and absent in heart and mind due to basic needs not being met?  Was she thanking God for these blessings or was she crying out to Him for help? Did she even know God?

From what I can tell, my (her) boys were loved very much.  They came with hearts and souls intact and I believe she protected her boys with everything that she had.  It shows.  It is evident with every hug they give, every rowdy laugh that wildly escapes and every tear that fights to eek out.  Somewhere along the line, someone took the time to love them very much.  It is obvious to me that God kept them securely tucked beneath his wings.

Starving for her answers, I would greedily take in every word.  I would consume the joy she had in them like a choice dessert.  I missed this part of my sons' lives.  I missed their first steps, their first words and their transformation from babies to boys.   I missed the part of their lives where they lost everything in a sudden flash.  The side by side grave markers tell of the tragedy, grief and their uninvited status as "orphan".  No one involved got to say their last good byes.  I missed being able to protect them during this.  Writing this makes me ache.

So, momma, I want you to know that your boys are safe and we love them so much.  I wouldn't want you to worry. I promise to take good care them.  Each hug I give them, I will remind myself it is a hug you would have wanted to give them too.  You are a part of this story and I will never forget your role in it.  I want them to feel free to love you and the memories of you.  You are my hero and I am so sorry you had to lose so much in this whole deal.  I am just so sorry. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Playdate With Stupid

I have to do it.  I have to post this for posterity so that when I am older, I will have documentation that this actually happened. I imagine I will pull this post out to read during one of my sons' wedding receptions just for the mere sake of taking all the attention away from the bride.  Because I am just that way.  Most of you already know the story because I could not keep it to was that unbelievable.

Home schooling was done and I was taking a breather upstairs in my 'pink-think' chair.  I was pondering folding the laundry in the basket on my bed when my four year old walked in crying and holding his head.  "They hit me with a ball, Mommy!"  I respond with the question of whether he was on the trampoline with his herd of brothers and the answer was a predictable yes.

 I then say "So.?"

Compassion International, I am not.  Unless you are spraying blood, unconscious, have bones bent into unusual shapes, turning blue or all of the above, my reaction will disappoint the majority of protective mothers.  I am ok with this and feel my method of triage is effective and saves me from going insane on a regular basis.  In our house, there is an understanding that if you enter onto the trampoline, you are taking your life into your hands.  If you come to me crying and in pain, it is usually met with a subdued "You knew you would get hurt.  Why are you acting so surprised?" 

Back to my four year old.  Not satisfied with my reaction (and rightly so, I might add), he exclaims, "Mommy, but bowling balls really hurt!".  Wait.  Rewind.  What did he say???  This little dude finally got my attention.  WHAT bowling ball?

Suddenly, my memory sprints back to about eight weeks ago where my daughter and a friend were at a friend's house sledging through and exploring the edges of their pond.  To their enormous delight, they discovered, and brought home, a neon orange, 14 lb beauty of a bowling ball that had been discarded by the previous owners of the property.  It was their trophy for the day. Apparently, as legend had it, illicit drug use inspired the desire to fling quite a few bowling balls into this treasure of a pond. The visual imagery of a couple of toothless, tank top wearing meth heads, aimlessly slinging bowling balls into a sludge pit, makes me very scared of the phrase "All men are all created equal".  After what my boys decided to do with this bowling ball eight weeks later, I am convinced there were still heavy traces of drugs still left on it.  This is the only explanation that stops me from ascertaining that my boys were flaming idiots.

The three-holed 14lb paper weight came home and was properly placed on our ball rack.  Why I thought it would remain there indefinitely, untouched and unfettered, in a household of seven boys, is proof that the residue of drugs, left on the bowling ball, had already gotten to me.  I am too prideful to suggest an alternative drugs it is.  You know me, one drug laced bowling ball and I am three sheets to the wind.

After my little boy mentioned the minor detail of the bowling ball, I raced downstairs fearing what I was about to confront.  I stood at my back porch door and yelled out to the trampoline.  "HEY!!  Do you guys actually have a bowling ball on the trampoline??"   In unison, they confirmed my inquiry with a gleeful, "Yes!!!" 

Let's stop here.  

Six boys.

On a trampoline.

With a 14lb bowling ball.  

Yes people, soak this sight into your mind.   This scenario is a virtual nuclear power plant of really bad judgement.   I am pretty sure that the expression of horror and disbelief had rendered my face anatomically incorrect.  Think Picasso.  My oldest, seeing that I was about to short circuit, tried to assure me that my four year old had ONLY been hit twice.  I think I started to twitch at this point.   ONLY TWICE??  With my last ounce of tolerance, sanity and courage, I squeaked out, "What. are. you. doing. with. a. bowling. ball. on. the. trampoline?"  And with out skipping a beat, he said proudly...........wait for it.......


Ok. I'm done.  I resign.  See ya.  Quitting.  I'm filing a complaint.   Who do I talk to about this?  Who runs this joint anyway?


I cringe at the thought that I am genetically linked to this chaos.  And I am thinking, "But, we home school!" Wasn't this supposed to immunize kids against stupidity?  Instead of hurling bowling balls at each other, shouldn't they be winning spelling bees, be concert pianists and wanting to be brain surgeons?  Nobel Peace Prize, anybody?  


I love these boys.  These crazy, crazy boys.

I know that their antics will not stop here.  And truth be told, and even though it scares me to admit this, I don't want them to.  Although I tell this story with great humorous drama....these events make parenting an adventure and worth the ride.  These are the stories that they will be telling around the dinner table when they gather as adults reminiscing about what it was like to grow up in this crazy mess called our family.  

So, here is my take away from this bowling ball story:

1)  Thank you, Lord, for cartilage.

2)  There should be stricter bowling ball laws.

3)  Young boys should never gather in groups of two or more for 
      more than two minutes at a time.....unless you want to end up
      writing a blog post similar to mine.

4)  Over protecting your kids robs them and you of much needed 
      laughter and medical bills.

5)  The words dodge ball and bowling ball should
      never be used in the same sentence.

6)  Every bowling ball should be drug tested.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Oh geez.  It's been a long time hasn't it?  Since August.  It's high time I resurface.

I am sure you are wondering.  Are things are alright?  Has the adoption gone sour?  Has she taken on more than she can handle?  Is she incarcerated?  Rehab?  Is she selling pipe cleaner tissue flowers at the airport?

The honest truth is that so much has happened that I don't even know where to start.  I've lost friends; I've gained them.  I've lost a church family; and gained a new one.  Our decisions as a family have come into question only to taste sweet exoneration in the end.  I've reconciled with a Father I thought was lost forever and feel the delightful loss of a burden that was much heavier than I thought it was. As a result, I have not typed one word at all.  I want to be thorough but I just don't have time to write a novel....not today anyway.

I'll hit the important points.

The adoption of my two sweet boys has, by far, been one of the best decisions our family has ever made.  There has not been a day where even the slightest doubt or regret has slipped through my tiny little head.  Antenek and Ephrem are amazing and continue to put me in a state of awe in regards to how resiliant they have proven to be.  I expected this whole adoption thing to be harder and full of moments that were hard won.  We were ready for the toughest cases when we adopted older siblings. Tantrums, lying, stealing, bed wetting and difficulty in bonding, yep, we were expecting at least some of this.  After hearing and reading other's experiences with adopting older children, I have come to the realization that age has less to do with the success of an adoption than I believed.  The ease of this adoption has scared me into thinking we had missed or neglected something.  It took me awhile to accept that it's OK for things to go well.  Thank you, Lord.  You have given us more than we always.  They both excel at soccer and have been given scholarships to play and train with a local Futsal team.  The are in their element when they play and I have no doubt this has helped both of them acclimate quickly after coming home to our family.  They are a little behind in their academic subjects but they are catching up at a quick pace.  Their English speaking.....well, it's amazing.  I almost forget that they came knowing not a lick of English except to say their names and what their favorite subjects were in school.

The speak very little of their former life in Ethiopia.

At first, I was so thirsty to know everything about where they had been and what their prior experiences must have been like.  Silence.  They know I am more than ready to listen....they just aren't ready to share.  They may never be ready to share and I have learned to be ok with this.  I love who they are now and they seem so happy.  Unless it is obvious that their pasts are limiting their ability to live their lives, I will not delve and I will let them be.  It truly seems they have accepted at a very deep level that we are theirs and they are ours.

My little baby Sarah is not so little anymore.  She just turned one and has decided she is the life and reason for any party thrown.  I make no secret of the fact that I consider her my "victory lap" baby since I was nearly 44 when I gave birth to her.  I have enjoyed this child more than I ever thought I could.  The whole family seems to join me in this sentiment and we seem to have unending patience for this charming little girl! 

The rest of my clan are doing really well.  Home schooling is going better than I thought and I am actually a lot more organized than I thought I could be with 12 kids.  How does that work????  God's grace and strength are the only answers I can give on this one.  With my "fly by the seat of my pants" philosophy, I am surprised I am not in a straight jacket and drugged with elephant tranquilizers.  Seriously.

Well, sweet friends, I feel that I could write forever, but I think I've accomplished putting forth the main bullet points of what has been going on.  I look forward to writing more frequently......I just need to.

Good night!