Shine Like Stars

Shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of life (Phil. 2:15)
We're not trying to be rock stars but just shed some light on a sad and lonely world. Stay tuned for how God works through weak and tired, sometimes really cranky vessels.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I love this quote:

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

I find this concept to be true lots of areas of my life. In our adoption process we were completely blown away by the way "Providence" worked in amazing ways we were "bold" and stepped out in faith in the adoption process. In a year and a half we were able to pay what seemed like an insurmountable cost speaking financially.

"Providence" was even more amazingly shown in the baby that was placed with our family. She is perfect for us. She's got a huge personality, an awesome sense of humor, lots of love, and is a handful. Really, I often praise the Lord for the way that He's orchestrated the events of Melia Serawit's life and ours to form a family.

Back to the quote, I found it on this post on Melissa Faye Green's blog. She wrote the wonderful book There's No Me Without You. If you haven't read it you should. But first start by reading the post she wrote on her blog. In it she answers a lot of questions about Ethiopian adoption and says many insightful things. This is great....
Like many adoptive parents, I chafe at the term “biological” to designate only my birth children.  First because all children, of course, are the products of biology.  Second because aren’t my children by adoption also mine biologically?  We breathe each other’s air, prepare and share each other’s food, borrow each other’s combs and socks and pencils;  Helen sometimes falls asleep on my bed twirling her fingers through my hair.  Aren’t these somehow biological processes?  Aren’t our cells intermixing?  Haven’t the years of Berenstain Bears books I’ve inflicted on these children been immortalized as brain cells? 
While I'm on the topic of "biological" children, can I just say to those of you who aren't very familiar with adoption terminology..... When someone says "Your or their Own" children in reference to my biological children or about people who aren't interested in adopting -- That makes my stomach hurt and me bite my tongue so I don't lash out. I know that you have good intentions when you say these words and that is why I don't say anything. But I am now...

Here's my soapbox:
--My adopted daughter is "my own" as much as my children who grew in my belly. The reality is that they all belong to the Lord and He's entrusted me with them.
--Melia's young now, if you say the "own" word she won't know what you are talking about. But one day she will. This gives the impression that she doesn't quite belong to us because she's not "our own". But that's so wrong because this is where she belongs and she is so much our own!

I'm really not offended when people use this term, I just wish they wouldn't. So if we've talked recently and you've said that before, don't worry I'm not mad. In fact, I probably don't even remember because I can barely remember anything these days :)


Friday, April 16, 2010

We Are The Truth

The truth is that adoption--international or domestic is amazing.
The truth is that this sweet baby girl has captured the hearts of our family members.
The truth is she is our daughter!
The truth is that she is unconditionally loved by her earthly family and her heavenly Father!
The truth I cannot imagine my life without my Melia Serawit.

From the Joint Council on International Children's Services....

We Are The Truth

A Campaign and Call to Action

The outrageous treatment of Artyem by his adoptive family has rightfully resulted in outrage by the Governments of Russia and the United States and all who care about children. The tragedy has cast a light on intercountry adoption that says it is not safe, the system failed and adopted children cause insurmountable problems. The heartbreak of Artyem Saviliev’s abandonment has once again elevated a singular incident to a level which may result in the suspension of intercountry adoption. Suspending adoption, even temporarily, will only cause thousands of children to suffer the debilitating effects of life in an orphanage.

Please Click Here to find out how you can help!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The only way I can possibly bear Dr. Seuss books is to hear Nathan's sweet, scratchy voice reading it to me. He' turned into quite the reader these days and he loves reading. He definitely doesn't know this book from memory because I refuse to read these types of Dr. Seuss books. There are ones that are better like "Oh, the places you will g0." I like that one, but really these ones are painful.

Am I the only one that hates them? I mean we're parents, we're tired, when we get a chance to read with our kids we don't want to have our tongues twisted and brains boggled when we read. Right? It wouldn't be so bad if they weren't so stinkin' long. Do I need counseling or are these books irritating?

Vacation catch-up....
Now that we're home I'll never have time or remember much about our vacation, so here's what I remember so far:

We had an awesome time! The 18 hour drive really wasn't too bad and our kids were great in the car (most of the time).

The alligator farm.... I had a few controlled panic attacks. I just kept telling myself "I'm being such a good mom, the kids love this and they won't grow up with my fear." But really it was creepy and I've had some interesting dreams this past week.

We had a slight scare that Michael broke his foot. He kicked the side of the pool one day while trying to "teach" (really swimming away from) his son. We went to the beach later that night and he was having a hard time walking. I did a late night run to the store for med and we prayed. The next morning it was fine!

We packed up Friday night and when Melia woke up at 3am (yes this happens very often) we decided to leave. We had an awesome visit in North Carolina with my lovely sister, Jennifer, and her awesome family. Thanks for lunch, guys! We got back in the car and arrived home around 10:30.

We found out we found that someone else had been enjoying our home while we were gone. A raccoon had cozied up in our chimney and was dropping his poop pelts into the fireplace. We spent most of the day on Sunday unpacking and chasing him away with smoke and tennis balls. We like to keep it exciting over here.

Blogger is really annoying with uploading pictures lately. There's pictures and videos on this site:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 5- Beat down by the trolley

**Blogger won't let me upload pictures, I'll try again later**

Today we decided to take the trolley through downtown St. Augustine, check out the sites and stop at a few places. We're usually pretty frugal, but considering this was a 3 day pass we figured we couldn't go wrong.

At first it was really fun. The kids were so excited about riding on the trolley, we stopped at a museum where we met a really neat family who had adopted 2 boys, then we stopped at a fun park and ate lunch.

After that we hopped back on the trolley planning to get off at the Castillo de San Marcos stop. The boys and I have read a few books about it and they were really excited. This trolley started off pretty bumpy. Still we were enjoying the pretty sites. Then the driver made a quick stop and Melia's head hit the seat in front of us. She recovered quickly.

The ride just kept getting worse. Tom the trolley man was having issues. He had many false starts at stop signs. He'd let his foot off the break then change his mind and slam on the brake. Sitting with 4 kids on a trolley with this kind of driver was going to prove to be rough. He made a false start again and Caleb and Addie went flying of the seat and smashed into the seat in front of them. I watched the whole thing but I couldn't protect them because I had Melia in my lap. Then the crying started. Then the bleeding started. Then the bump on the head started swelling. Over the loudspeaker the driver stated he was sorry and he hoped everyone was ok. We gave no indication that we were because really our kids were screaming and it was hard to assess how they were.

We would have gotten off the trolley but at this point our car was far away and we just wanted to leave. I finally found a binky for Addie and she calmed down. She ended up with a big lump on her forehead, which is now a big bruise. Caleb had it much worse, his lip is really cut up on the inside and outside and his knee also took a beating.

So we decided not to get off at the fort and finally made it to our car. The boys were really upset that they were missing the fort so I dropped Michael and the boys off and drove around so the girls could nap. While I drove I decided to make some calls about getting refunded for our trolley tickets.

Let me tell you, the Old Town Trolley tour folks were very interest in our issue and very nice. First I called the customer service lady and she gave me the number for the local office. I called the local office and I explained our issue, the manager quickly got on the phone. He asked me to come and fill out an incident form and get this....he asked if there was anything else we wanted to do in St. Augustine. He said "I'm not trying to pay you off, I just want to make sure you have a good vacation." Michael and I have been watching (obsessively) Damages and this fell right in line with the themes on liability and lawsuits. Anyway, I knew I wasn't going to sue them I just wanted my money back and for the driver to learn to be courteous and offer to help. But I did mention that the kids had hoped to go to the Alligator Farm. I didn't mention that Michael said there was no way we were going to pay that much to get in.

Anyway, we ended up with a couple of bruised kids and tickets to the Alligator Farm and also some VIP tickets to the Trolley. We probably won't go on the trolley again. Although, tonight Caleb did tell me he would go again, but now he will just hold on tight the whole time. He also asked why Tom wasn't a good driver. It's sad that he got hurt but if one of our kids had to get hurt it's best that it was him. He has a high pain tolerance and gets over things quickly. If it had been the other boy he'd still be screaming and crying.

We had a fun night back at the condo, complete with an egg hunt and a lovely walk on the beach. Michael and Caleb had a special time of the reenacting the Last Supper (the other kids went to bed early) including foot washing and bread breaking. It was pretty cute. Caleb missed having Nathan share the experience and can't wait to wash his feet in the morning.

Tomorrow we're off to the Alligator Farm....hopefully no alligators will get lose and attack us. I'm also hoping I don't have a panic attack. I have a ridiculous fear of alligators, dating years ago when I had a dream alligators dressed in clothes broke into my home and forced me to get in a car with them. I was ten at the time so it wasn't as crazy as it sounds. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 4 - "Wow Mom, you're really red!"

This behavior is what causes
the poop problem.

I love these thighs.

I applied the sunblock to all four of the kids today, then I used the same exact sunblock on me. Well, I'm happy to report that they aren't sun burned but let me tell you Mama is! Seriously, my skin is so fair it's ridiculous.

The day started with more jack hammering (the condo complex is repairing the balconies by our unit). So the girls started their days with crying and screaming. So we headed to the beach around 10ish. We had a great time digging sand ponds, the boys boogie boarded, building (the boys) and smashing (the girls) sand castles, and Caleb made friends. I headed back up to the condo with the two girls so much sand they were like sugar doughnuts and Nathan. We thought that after a few hours the jackhammering would be done but not so. Girls were freaking out and sandy and crazy. Finally the incessant hammering stopped and we had a quiet afternoon.

Michael took the 3 older kids to the indoor pool. Nathan's officially a swimmer now. He's got skills! Addie on the other hand..... The pool has a ridge around the whole thing that catches the water. She loves to walk around and throw toys into the water for Caleb to get, fetch of sorts. Anyway, fetch went wrong and baby in pool head first! Michael was able to reach in and grab her quickly. But she was traumatized big time. She came back crying "I so scared of da wader!"

Today we also started our Easter celebration. Today was Gothro Palm Sunday. Having palm trees all around us came in handy.

Day 3

After 3 1/2 months we finally have a good picture
of all four of them. Thanks to the burst shooting
mode on our camera.

Lots of swimming in the pools, girls napping in stroller due to the jackhammering below our condo and our broke down car, begging people to jump our car, dinner out, family Walmart trip, visit to Shine of Poop....I mean Shine of Mendoza.

Poopy diaper....Please change me.

Daddy and Melia on the bridge.
Nathan's "I have to go potty and there's no bathroom" face.

We drove through Old City St. Augustine. It's one of the oldest cities in the Americas and there's lots of history here. As we drove through we saw a huge cross, a bridge and a nice park so we decided to stop and take a look. We of course didn't bring the diaper bag. Apparently it was a great poop spot for 3 out of 4 kids. There was no spot for Nathan to go so the poor kid had to wait a long time. The bucket of sand Melia ate at the beach the day before sure caused her lots of issues and Addie, well that's a whole different story. Any it was a really cool place, aside from the poop issues. Maybe we'll get a chance to go back.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 2

Awesome day in St. Augustine. The kids are loving it here. Lots of swimming and playing and sun. It's great!

I took this picture from our balcony. Melia was sleeping
and Michael took the older kids to the beach.

I love these boys!

Pretty, cute and Ethiopian!
Melia charmed a deck full of ladies this morning at the pool.
Seriously, 10 women were enamored with this baby!

Cute boy.
Don't worry his leg's not broken.
A little family tennis. (not the whole family, seeing
i was laying on the ground.)
Tennis Melia style.

Michael loves throwing her up in the air.
She's beginning to enjoy it too.

Too bad the photo's fuzzy.
She accessorized herself with a swim diaper hat,
goggle necklace and mesh floatie bag purse.
The boys are making books about our trip.
Nathan's entry today says: I went to the beach
and I had fun.
Both the boys got a little too much sun today. We'll be more careful with the sunblock tomorrow.

My favorite part of the day was my evening walk on the beach with Caleb and Nathan. They each held my hands and we walked along the shore. It was so sweet!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rockin' it Florida Style--Day 1

We made it. The drive took us close to 18 hours. Our kids were superstar travelers. Melia had some yelling bouts and Addie said many times "Ouch, Melia is hurting my ears!" To which I'd respond "mine too, sweetie." But all and all it was a good drive.

I'm feeling overwhelmingly blessed with this vacation. I was expecting the condo to be small and have lots of issues, but it's awesome. It has a great layout and it's OCEANFRONT. We got an amazing deal on it. We didn't have much time to explore today after we got here but I was able to take the older kids down to the beach while Melia watched the big game with Daddy.

Bubba helped us strap the stroller to the
roof the night before we left.

The boys have been so excited about the ocean.
They jumped right in and loved it!

Melia enjoying her siblings being back.
Our condo's on the second floor on the end.
Lovely balcony
Michael watching the game, ocean in the background.
Caleb's message in the sand.
I love you mom