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!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Kayaking Into Smallness

We were in Emerald Isle at the beach enjoying a week of amazing weather, surviving body jarring nautical wipe outs, searching for shark teeth like four leaf clovers, eating crapola galore and watching more TV than any human should be allowed to watch.  It was such glorious indulgence before we return to our year in home schooling and busy schedules involving all fourteen members of our family.

This year we did something different.   We rented for our family two kayaks, one single and one double.  I have had the opportunity to kayak in lakes only to fall hopelessly in love with the hobby / sport.  So much so, that one of my dreams is to own a family's worth of kayaks to ride atop our passenger van in route to all the great lakes around us.  Every time I have kayaked, I have been in awe of the sheer perfect beauty of God's creation.  It is easy to worship inside a kayak on a beautiful lake.  Add a gentle warm rain and salvation can't be too far away.  Really.

If kayaking on a lake was this awesome, then surely kayaking in the ocean would bring on convulsions of worshiping pleasure.  I couldn't wait and I was kept up the night before with visions of levitating into spiritual one-ness with my Creator.  Of course we can not forget the soulful whale songs that would surround me as I reach my hands towards heaven in absolute surrender to His beauty.  Don't look at me like that, could happen.

The waves had calmed from the previous day and were beckoning with promised gentleness.  My son decided to accompany me and was able to bypass the the breaking waves with ease into calmer waters.  I was salivating and started my first experience of ocean kayaking by gracelessly dragging my kayak into the water.  It was then that I looked up to see that my son had paddled himself right into the middle of a pod of about twenty dolphins.  Within the first two minutes, my son was having an experience for which some people wait a lifetime.  Unbelievable.  Overcome with amazement and jealousy, I whooped and jumped up and down like an over zealous football fan.  This was enough to thoroughly embarrass my flesh and blood near by.

Still lugging the kayak through the breaking waves, I decide I had an opening to hop in the kayak and paddle like mad.  I should have decided differently as a rogue wave came out of nowhere and pummeled the crap out of the kayak.  This sent me flying only to have the kayak narrowly miss my head.  Regaining my composure, but looking disheveled and inexperienced, I continued to act as if I knew what I was doing. I finally make it through the waves and jump into the kayak with the finesse of a penguin jumping belly first from water to ice.  In other words, no awards would be handed out for grace.  I paddled into a stillness that there are no words to explain but I will lamely attempt to anyway.

What I thought would send me into a peaceful spiritual revival, sent me into a sense of vulnerability that snuck up and stole my breath and courage.  Maybe I would not have felt this had I been with others braver than I.  I was completely alone as my son had gone back to shore.  I could see my children in the distance playing on the shore with no noise except for the slapping and gurgling of the water on the side of my craft.  And like a breathing giant, the ocean heaved me slowly up and down.  The only feeling I can compare this to, is the feeling of hanging my bare butt over a dank porta-potty hole in Mexico.  I just never knew if there was a poop eating Sasquatch hiding out in the sludge hole that could potentially come up and make a meal out of my rear.  If you haven't picked up on it yet, I was feeling vulnerable and very unsettled.  And in all honesty, watching the movie JAWS at the ripe age of eight did nothing to help matters.  The vastness of what I was paddling into was overwhelming.  There was never a time that there wasn't an urge to turn the kayak around and head back home.  Thoughts of the unknown below me kept me vigilant.  Anything as big, or bigger than me, that had the least bit of interest in my h'orderve-like shape, could come and "tap" me out of my vessel of false safety.  I felt so small and there would be no lifting up of hands praising my Creator as I had fantasized the night before.  Not that He did not deserve's just this side of Him instilled in me such immense respect and fear. If this vast ocean is only one of the things He created, then what must He be like?  This ocean in which I was floating was oozing with power.  I was but a flake of fish food on the surface of something so great.  I now have an inkling as to why people die when in God's presence.  It's just too much.   And with this thought, I stiffly paddled further out trying to shake off the fear and the feelings of such tininess.  I was being ridiculous., no I wasn't.

And I turned the kayak around and headed back to the shore where my life was tethered,  now knowing that I really had no idea or concept of how great and powerful our God really is.  It took me floating alone on one tiny drop of His creation to realize that I have severely limited Him in my life with my intellectual and emotional understanding of who He is. And the biggest mystery that will always plague me is why, as awesome and powerful as He is, He should have such interest and love for mankind......much less, for me.

 I would venture out a total of three more times in the kayak, and wipe out another four, just for the sheer thrill of repeatedly freaking myself out.  I feel the disturbing stirrings of a potential adrenalin junkie.   This was better than any bible study or was a real physical experience of even the tiniest part of who God is....and an unsettling realization of how much smaller I am compared to what I once thought.  It is sobering to know that the very foamy fringes, the weakest part of this great expanse of water, can lay me out flat in one surge.  To be honest, at times, I struggle to find any worth at all in my "grain of sand" like existence. 

And it is here that I cling to His words, for it I don't, I have nothing at all..

Matthew 10: 29-31
 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[a] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Psalm 139:1-4
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 1:25
This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God's weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Doro WHAT?????

I am an adoptive Mom.
I am an adoptive Mom who can cook.
I am an adoptive Mom who wanted to "get down" with her Ethiopian boys by cooking their favorite dish.

It is really spelled Doro Wat....the national dish of Ethiopia.  "Doro" meaning chicken and "Wat" meaning "soup" or "stew".  Innocent enough.

However, I liken this dish to a quickie colon cleanse and a potential candidate for a food on Fear Factor.

Here is a picture of Doro Wat.  The white thingees you see floating there are not golf or ping pong balls, they are shelled hard boiled eggs. I am dying to know if the idea of this combo started out with a dare, with the dare failing and the dish becoming a national favorite.

One of the main spices of this ethnic dish is berbere.  Before I get started on this spice, let me go off on a harmless and point producing tangent.  In science, we learned how brightly colored insects and tree frogs are able to use their bright coloring to ward off predators by communicating their poisonous nature.  This doesn't work for humans.  Ok.....let's be honest.  It didn't work for me.

The color of berbere is a deep, dark neon red.  This was the first attempt of this spice in letting me know that it is nearly inedible and painful.   Here's a picture so you have an idea of what I speak: (It is the bottom one....surely you can see the smoke rise from it?)

I had looked up several recipes for Doro Wat to find different measurements of berbere being used.  One recipe called for 1.5 CUPS of berbere and another only called for 3 Tablespoons.  I compromised and used 3/4 of a cup.  Holy Mother of Pain, had I only known what I was in for.  My Ethiopian sons, seeing that I was making some of their favorite food, became quite excited and dipped their fingers several times into the flammable powder and licked it off their fingers like chocolate frosting.  Their reaction to berbere was proof to me that we were in for an incredible tasting meal! 

I'm such a good adoptive mom.

As the dish was coming along, I finally decided to take my christening taste.  Ahhhhhh, tender chicken in a flavorful broth.......absolute heaven.  Man, I'm good.  But after about 10 seconds, it became brutally clear that I had prematurely ascertained the heaven like quality to this dish.   Unexpectedly, I was violently slammed to the floor, mouth first, by a spice induced round house kick to my unsuspecting food loving arse.  Coming to, after having sucked down at least five glasses of milk laced with fire retardant,  I was convinced I had accidentally created the same elements that are inside the hydrogen bomb.  Why this boiling acid was not eating through my stainless steel pot only to spill and sear a hole through my floor, was a complete mystery to me.  In fact, I felt quite sure Al Qaeda would be calling me any minute for the recipe.....they would just have to text me because I feared my thousand degree pulsating lips would not be able to form intelligible words......ever again.

But this was dinner....and I had made a virtual butt-load of it with no time to make a back up alternative.  And I couldn't waste it.  What to do?  I am positive that there is a study somewhere out there that proved children didn't have fully formed pain receptors.  Well, this meal was going to put that theory to the test.  I would plan, like any good parent would, and have EMS on standby should any of my progeny start to exhale fire.....gotta save the curtains and the dog, you know. 

Sitting down for our meal, I sat and stared as my children potentially started their cremation process early.  Both of my hands were firmly placed on the fire extinguisher in my lap.  They were ready for the challenge and egged each other on to see who would wave the white flag of surrender first.  My Ethiopian boys stared at us and pretty much decided, instantaneously, that we were a group of complete ninnies and proceeded to eat the 1,000 degree Doro Wat like a bowl of cereal......and then got up to get seconds and thirds.  (I am convinced these boys could probably eat staples, stick pins and thumb tacks like Chex mix.)  Meanwhile, my other children were on their second and third spoonfuls with faces that mimicked the redness of third degree burns.  But because they could not let their siblings one up them, they continued suffering silently until they lost all feeling in their mouths and faces.  Wasn't this fun?  Eating together as a family is such a treat!

One of the few aspects of eating Doro Wat that I did not count on was the Draino-like effect this meal would have on my system.  Ask my husband and I am sure he will give you a play by play on how this all this played out.   No, on second thought, don't.  It wasn't pretty and I have my feminine reputation to uphold.  But I will tell you this; it involved running, cursing and clenching muscles I didn't know I had.  'Nuf said.

The other unexpected aspect was how Doro Wat would affect my breast milk.  Having a four month old, dressed in a pink dress, burp like a trucker and fart like a fog horn is carnival worthy, but my sweet baby Sarah found it hard to comply with the same humor we found in it.   My husband also had the grand idea of using some of my breast milk as lighter fluid for our evening grilling.  Funny guy.

All joking and exaggerated drama aside, it actually was an amazing meal and I plan on making it again for our family.  Except next time, I will use less berbere and let Anteneh and Ephrem spice their own dishes themselves to their little hearts' content.  The biggest and best part of the meal was to see their smiles as their gastronomical memories went back home for just one night.  By going over to their culinary territory, I had wanted them to know that I value, and didn't want them to forget, where they came from and that we are all in this together. 

Bon Appetite my sweet boys!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lest You Think I Forgot Her.....

My sweet baby Sarah.

Even though we have had two amazing boys join our family, not for one second was Sarah forgotten, pushed off to the side or thrown to the wolves.  It would be absolutely impossible to do this with her captivating and irresistible cuteness.  It's all anyone can do not to absolutely eat her alive.....she is that scrumptious.  She is now exactly four months old and I thought I would share some photos of her.

This is a photo of Sarah sleeping soundly in her bassinet.  As you can see, we have the world map up so that she can memorize all the countries before her counterparts. You know us home schoolers, we are a competitive bunch......Hooya!

This is the hilarious sight I see every morning.  No sound.  No cry.  Just these adorable peepers looking at me expectantly for her morning meal.

Ooops.  Note to self.  Don't take pics of Sarah while getting dressed.

In four short months, Sarah has gone.....

From this......

To this......

From this.........

To this.....

From this........

To this..........

 I am in love with this little girl that the Lord has lent to me.  I can not believe four months have passed as quickly as they have.  We all love you to bits little Sarah and can not imagine life without you!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pooper Scooper

One of the challenges when our boys first came was that of getting stool samples from them.  It was not my most looked forward to task with eight and ten year old boys whom didn't know me well nor knew any English.  I thought I had been thorough when I had our escort, Tsedey, AND a family acquaintance (each on separate occasions)  explain to them what needed to done and how.  I left folded & labeled gallon sized Ziplocs for them to "deposit" on the back of the toilet seat.  This would be a piece of cake. Now wasn't I the most efficient, on the ball, first time adoptive mother ever?  Yes, thanks, I thought so too.

Nothing happened.  And the bags remained a ghost town.

After one week, it became clear that they had no intentions of giving me anything to bank on.  So I called up my trusty escort, Tsedey, and updated her and explained the poop.  For once in my life, I was asking for a crappy situation to occur.  We both felt it would be better for the boys if, instead of using a gallon Ziploc, it would be easier for them to  do their jobs on a toddler's training potty.  Excellent.  I had about three of them hanging around our house since we had recently potty trained our three year old.  Tsedey then asked me to hand the phone over to the boys to explain again, in their native language, what needed to be done and why.  Both the boys' heads nodded in absolute agreement and understanding.  Ok, now I felt confident that we were now ready to rock.

For the next week my toddler potties remained sparkling clean and lonely.

These boys had not even the slightest desire to do this, and quite honestly, I did not blame them.  Crapping for complete strangers is not even remotely near the top of my "bucket list"of things to do before I die.  I called my pediatrician and explained to her the situation.  I was done, and unless I could figure out a way to squeeze them like tubes of toothpaste, nothing was going to happen anytime soon.

Several days later, my eldest son was begging for a job to do to earn some extra dough.  

Yes, my astute reader, you know where this is going don't you? 

I proceeded to explain to my unsuspecting victim, I mean darling son, that I would pay him a large sum of money per child if he could get them to poop their brains out for me......enough to fill nine vials each.  

As with any teenager, I had to lay down some ground rules like: 

You may not use laxatives of any kind. 
No substituions allowed AND 
You may not use any instruments that I cook with.

The price apparently was right and a glint in his eye appeared.

  He brainstormed and came up with the idea of a five gallon bucket, a glad bag and some heavy bribery that included the props of a Spider Man poster, a soccer ball and a jar of Nutella. 

 He then took both boys into the bathroom with him, where the Glad bag lined bucket was set up.   Here's the conversation I heard behind the closed bathroom door:

SamOk.  Here's the deal.  You guys need to crap.....a lot.  I 
           will give you a Spider Man poster if
           you poop in this bucket.  (Silence then ensues where 
           I  assume some pretty major Oscar worthy miming is
           taking place.)


Sam:   Ok.  I will give you your OWN soccer ball. (I hear Sam 
           slap the soccer ball for emphasis)

Anteneh:   (with heavy accent) mmmmmmm....maybe tomorrow.

Sam:   (Heavy sigh and sounding a little unsure.)  Well........
            how about a whole jar of Nutella?

Nutella was apparently the silver bullet for our reluctant poopers.  The crap-fest that began after this was almost more than I could handle.  Both boys watched me fill the vials and when they saw they hadn't produced the amount needed, they continued to go back time and time again until all the vials were full.  Needless to say, they were both pooped out and the proud owners of their very own jar of Nutella by nightfall.  My son was also very proud of his financial windfall as a result of taking a lot of crap from others..... (tee hee, I thought that pun was funny!)

So, to all prospective adoptive parents, my son, and self proclaimed "Poop Whisperer", has informed me that you can contract him out for this difficult task for a nominal fee.  

P.S.  The results of these tests all came back negative!  Thank you Lord!