Monday, February 11, 2013

Time Flies

Tomorrow we celebrate Ollies Bday, her third one here in America!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas No. 2 in America

What a difference a year makes!  Olivia has been stitching up a storm as she makes beautiful presents for her family, teacher, grandparents and friends....


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Looking back....Looking forward....a little over a year.

It has been a year this month, since Olivia came to America and joined our family.   After 27 months of waiting in an orphanage, from the time of our all that is forgotten.
She is a fun, loving, beautiful, smart and wonderful young lady!      Olivia Hywot...we are so blessed that you are in our family and so honored to help you become the wounderful woman you will be!

Celebrating you!


Monday, November 29, 2010

six months.....

 it is hard to believe that Olivia has been home six months....  Did I REALLY wait two years? 

She is a beautiful young lady.   We are ALL still learning how to be a family.   Changes bring the need for more changes in the way we interact and relate.  But I am happy with our little family, and each of my precious children.

Olivia loves school, is learning quickly, loves to cook and help at home.  She told me this morning, momma, give me work, lots of work, every day.  lol...Never heard one of my kids say THAT before. :) 

She is enjoying each special holiday and discovering life in a totally new culture.   She dances, sings, laughs and loves to tell us stories.  

And she misses what she use to know.   It is an amazing journey we are all on together.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I recieved this via email, from Empowered to is written by Lisa from A Bushel and A Peck. So much in here spoke to the journey I am in the middle I wanted to share it. The color highlights re mine.

Walking Humbly

Posted: 31 Aug 2010 04:46 AM PDT

By Lisa Qualls*

Recently, a friend and I leaned against my kitchen counter, watching our children play in the backyard. As we sipped coffee we chatted about a young couple in our church that is in the process of adopting two children. We reminisced about the time when we were in their shoes, recalling how little we truly knew and understood about the road that lay ahead. My friend and I agreed — we wished we could share all we have learned since that time about adopting children from “hard places.” We wished that someone had done the same for us.

As we talked, I realized that much of what we have learned along the way might be helpful to more than just this couple. They are good lessons and timely reminders for all of us who are on the adoption journey, no matter how far along.

I would encourage my friends to give up their pride and their desire to compare. I thought I was a fairly humble person, but adopting my children has brought me to my knees when it comes to thinking highly of myself and my capabilities as a mother. My oldest daughter was a hard baby and a challenging toddler, but once I got on the ‘Christian Mommy Discipline Train,’ she shaped up pretty well. That doesn’t mean I never had a child misbehave or throw a tantrum in public. I won’t even mention the time that four-year-old Noah pulled the fire alarm at church and the congregation had to evacuate the building. There were embarrassing moments to be sure. But this…this kind of parenting brings a different sort of humility.

In my first 20 years of being a mother, before adopting, I was never so stumped or so completely empty of wisdom as I have been at times in trying to be a good parent to the children we have welcomed into our lives through adoption. I never read so many books, pored over so many websites, or called so many experts in search of help. I never took my child to a therapist or felt that I might need one myself. I never called my husband home from work because a child was so distressed or out-of-control that I couldn’t keep everyone safe—and not just once, but many times. And as someone who was a passionate homeschooler, I never had to seek out alternatives to homeschooling because it wasn’t working. I never thought about acronyms such as IEP, RAD, or PTSD. I never sent an email to my friends telling them I couldn’t manage the summer on my own, and asking if they would be willing to help.

Based on my years of experience as a successful parent, I thought I had it all figured out, only to find out that as we began the adoption journey I was, in many ways, completely starting over.
But I quickly learned that there were many other things I did not know from my previous years as a mother. I didn’t know the indescribable joy of watching a child fall in love with me. I didn’t know the beauty of holding a child in my arms and fiercely loving her even though I had only met her weeks before. I didn’t know the agony of waiting for a child who was 8,000 miles away, or seeing her turn her face to me for the first time and come into my arms. I didn’t know the hope I would feel when I saw sad and tender tears on my child’s face for the first time, after months of anger and frustration. I didn’t know how incredible it would feel to hear my child say, “I love you, Mommy. You are the best Mom!” when I knew this was truly a revelation to her.
To those who are considering adopting a child from a “hard place” as well as those who are already traveling this journey toward healing, I say: be ready to lay down your pride and abandon yourself to love.

It will be different than you think—better in some ways and much harder in others. Find a few people you can trust, friends you can call at any hour, friends who will understand and love your children even when they seem unlovable. Don’t pressure your child to become like your other children who have been raised with loving guidance and discipline since birth. And do not, under any circumstances, compare your newly adopted child with your friends’ children. You will live to regret it. Rather, give your child time and permission to heal, and become a committed and active participant in that healing. It won’t be easy nor is it likely to come quickly. This healing will take a great deal of your time, energy, and finances…but give it all away for your child’s sake.

I have come to learn that it is precisely this kind of adoption journey – a journey of humility, selflessness and sacrificial love – that God called us to when He called us to adopt. I suppose Eby’s vacation Bible school verse says it best:

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you? But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. — Micah 6:8


*Lisa Qualls has been married to her husband Russ for 26 years, and is the mother of eleven children who came to her by both birth and adoption. As she winds her way through the challenges of attachment, trauma, healing and life, she shares what she is learning in the hope of helping other families. She earnestly believes in the power of God to heal children’s broken hearts and is privileged to participate in that process with her own children. Her life is a journey filled with moderate successes and some brilliant failures, all covered by the grace of Jesus Christ. Lisa also writes about her life and family on her blog, A Bushel and A Peck.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The journey continues!

Now that we are home.... I will be closing out this blog......I plan to make it into a book for Olivia (see here: Blog Books).

If you would like to follow her journey as part of our family can check in on our family blog from time to time.

Thank you for all of you who have prayed, cried, commented, encouraged and just been there....

God is good and now our lives Him.

Blessings to all!

Sisters: Mary and Olivia

Working: Nick and Olivia building wire shelves

Cheering: Life in the country!

(I still need to get a pictures of Taddy and Olivia!)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

In Pictures...

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Oh what a glorious Morning...

We got home late lastnight...and stayed up late. .... Friends and family were at the airport to greet us..which was so special! Olivia ran to hug Mary and Anthony...Nanny and Papa...and friends with signs and balloons welcoming her home. (Thank you Donna, Heather and Joe)... and a big banner at our house..that we did not see until this morning.

I woke up at 6 am this morning, just pinching myself. :) all my kids home under one roof! I made a little breakfast....and we all sat down, with peaceful worship music on. It was a glorious morning. We went to church, even though I thought we would not, but we were all awake.

Olivia loves to read the words on the big screen in English, and I could hear her singing "Even so, come Lord Jesus Come." She told me, "Mom, me Orthodox." :)

She went to children's church with her brothers...and I sat next to her. then we went home...Olivia and I were both so tired...we took a 5 hour nap!!!!

But we are home...and our life starts....and I am so thriled. I just want to help any family on their let me know...if you have questions and I will tell you the little I know.

I will post some of our photos...I went back and added a couple to the post before...and will add another post later tonight, of just check back.

Thank you to everyone who prayed this one through for us...from beginning to end..... after my photo post...I plan to just keep up the other blog. I am going to print this one out, for Olivia to keep...but will not be updating it, I think...since she is NOW part of We are Family!!!

Blessings to girl is HOME!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Our Last Day in Ethiopia

All is done, visa and passport in hand, and we leave for the airport in 3 hours. Nick is feeling better (had a fever yesterday) and I cannot praise our driver Melke enough...he is truly a Godsend. Today we went to a hair just can't imagine it....a tin building...where women come out lovely. As another mother and I sat whiler our daughters had their hair done, a herd of water buffalo or some type of long horn cattle were herded right by the window along the dirt, rock road. Truly a complex and diverse country,
So My girl has an opinion of her own, DEFINATELY. ON clothes, food, hairstyles...oh MY! I wanted her to get braids, hoping it would last awhile. she said she wanted loose curls they use a curling iron on...I said ok...after an hour in curlers under a dryer, she sat in the chair and they straightened her hair (temporarily) with a flat iron!!! After one strand, I said, wait, is that what she wants....and she said yes!

So, even though I did not like it...I agreed. She looks lovely....but very much older than her age! EEEEEK! But as she looked in the mirror with smiles, showed our driver, showed her brother back at the is worth it. Not a style I will like her to have all the time, but for now...her first salon visit...she is happy and feels pretty.

She is wearing a bright "California" shirt....and is ready to get on the plane! Her first plane ride.

I am so blessed with God's care for us and blessings. It has been an interesting mind shift for me this week, to shift from who I thought I wanted to daughter (a young little girl of 8 or 9), to seeing who this is that God has given me care of....a beautiful girl/lady...with a life and way all her own...He has entrusted me with the second half of her "childhood" and I am now aware, my job is not to make her my daughter, but to see the blossoming girl she is and nuture her on her path to adulthood. What an honor.

She loves playing with another little girl, about Mary's I am sure she and Mary will be fast buddies.

I am not looking forward to the next 24 plus hours...23 of them on a plane and 10 of them sitting in airports...but we will be home soon enough.

Thank you all who have prayed ...during this trip and for the 2 years previous. We are on the home stretch!

Next post will be from the good ol USA....after a bit of sleep!
At the airport..our last goodbye to dear Telefich. (sp?) they were good companions! Telefich and Dagem and family, Ben and Sue, were off to Montana.
First stop on US soil. Washington DC airport.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

We Made it!!

Today is Nick's birthday, 12 years old! and We completed our embassy appointment and all the paperwork is DONE!!! YEA! We are ready to come home.

Yesterday we went to a restuarant outside, rather than at the hotel, called Blue Top. It was very nice with flowers and Olivia loved a chocolate Sunday for dinner, her choice. Afterwards, we had to wait a bit for our driver, so we played in the courtyard,..silly games, and i saw Olivia laugh at her funny brother for the first time. Since then she has laughed alot.

She thinks it is funny when Momma tries to speak Amharic. She can read in English very well...speak a little. We bought some Amharic children's books which she loves to read.

We are all sleep deprived, but happy. God has blessed us richly. Unless you have been here, in Ethiopia, or somewhere like it . you do not realize the blessings we take for granted every day. the way of just have shoes and a meal....amazing.

Gonna keep this one short and not profound...but we are doing good! tomorrow is a hair appointment for Olivia then homeward bound with our 22 hour flight.

Thank you everyone for prayers.....we so appreciate it!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Endurance is the name of the game

.....or is it perseverance. :) So we are united. When we got to the orphanag yesterday morning, a lovely young lady, Hiywat, was waiting for us in the office. All smiles and hugs..... :) After hugging Nicky and I she asked where Mary and Anthony were! :)

She took us on a tour of the orphange. each and every room as she said good bye to all the caregivers. And we took lots of photos of kids, passed out lolly pops. One little boy took Nicks video camera...a baby, and tried to tape! Nick really enjoyed all the children.

The school age kids sang to Hiywat and I think I was the one crying. :) We then left the orphanage, stopped at a store and went back to the hotel..

Olivia Hiywat enjoyed going through her backbpack of goodies, and all her clothes. She immediately changed...and I picked the right sizes! YEA!

So both Nick and I were exhausted, feeling sick, me a headache, but we were now united. We colored, drew pictures, Nick played card tricks...a good first day.

And now, Wednesday morning, we all feel better. Olivia has the most beautiful hair...I tried to help her with it...but she knows far more than I. We are like two strangers in a room calling each other family. But we are family and we will grow into it.

About every two minutes, I hear this lovely accent say "mom"...:) Her teachers at the orphanage gave her an English/Amharic dictionary, and she understand and reads more English than she can speak.

So we are all happy together...and looking forward to making the trip home on Friday.

Abba is wonderful to us. Olivia is a wonderful daughter.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Go with the flow....

I know in my life I have had some hard 24 hour periods...but...I think none too much harder than the last two days.... 22 hours on a plane...cramped plane..... well. I am on a no whining that is all I will say. on then two in 1/2 hours in the airport lines getting our visa and going through customs....BUT we are here!

We met a sweet couple on the plane in the seats across from us, Susie and Ben from Montana. They are adopting a little girl and boy from Hope too!! And she had even read my blog and had her husband ask me if that was me! lol. I am a celebrity in Ethiopia. Well not really... but fun to have another family to do this all with. We kept together through the long lines at the Indiana Jones ride lines on Spring Break at Disneyland...but NO fun ride at the end. :) We are at the same hotel, too, with five Hope families, but have not met them all yet.

Oh a hot shower last night felt like heaven in droplet form. This morning I woke at 3 am...and lay awake.....thinking. praying. This is the day ....June 1, the day we have waiting to long for.

I am so blessed that Nick is here with me ..truly...such a companion and helper...thank you Abba, that you arranged this.

Praying for my loves back home...Mary Beth...Taddy...Nanny and Papa...and Bella and Kitty too!

God is good! I could hear roosters crowing this morning, and the early light showed haze and smoke on the skyline of Addis Ababa.... I will write more when I can.....

and pictures, perhaps. I hope.

Thank you all for your prayers....and please DON'T STOP NOW!!! 2 hours until my girl!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The night before EVERYTHING changes....

Tomorrow we board the plane for Africa! At long last.
I am looking forward to the long flight with 22 hours of NO TO DO LIST, and books, snoozing...praying....:)
Such a blessing that my eldest, Nick, gets to go with me and have his 12th birthday in Ethiopia.
I wonder if Hiywat (Seen it spelled many ways)....Olivia.... knows we are coming...or will Tuesday am be a big surprize for her?
Would you pray for our safe journey? For SMOOOOTH final paperwork with no issues? For safety abroad, for our meeting with Olivia....for my children and pets staying home, my parents......all of it.
I have a friend helping to post, hopefully, when I send her update by email..... so stay tuned!
Blessings to all who have walked this journey with us in prayers and tears. I know you are out there.

Monday, May 24, 2010

One day closer to you.....

7 to go!
Things are coming together, all the puzzle pieces are lining up....
all the work tasks, and school tasks, and home tasks, and pre-travel tasks are all getting done.
It is ALMOST "get excited" time.... :)
What should I do in Washington DC with an 8 hour layover on the way home?
Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

11 days and counting......

Things are progressing. Ticket bought, hotel booked, Olivia's clothes packed, books,...
Arrangements for my kids staying here made.....
I have been working working working, to hand my work over to a back-up while I am out ALL SUMMER.
That, plus the end of school with all the extra field trips, awards assemblies, kindergarten graduation, teacher's gifts, piano recital, concerts....
Whew!!! I will be GLAD to be on a plane for 6, then 16 hours just to rest and read!!! Looking forward to it. I might even bring a NOVEL! lol.
Can you believe after so long, the time is just around the corner to actually bring Olivia home? And to experience Ethiopia???!!! I am so excited..and so blessed that my son Nick, gets to come with me. What a time we will have.
Please pray for our journey, my kids (and pets) at home, my mom who worries about us :), and our Olivia Hiywat.
Just 11 days.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gonna GO Get my Girl!!!

At last....a travel date! My embassy date is June 3 (which is also my Nicholas' 12th b-day) and Nick and I will be leaving for Ethiopia on May 29th!!
At last, at last ...our turn to go!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beautiful Beads...and a momma's hope.

So how quickly can you blow through $18? Seriously....five latte's or less..... not even a night at the movies with my kids.... maybe a Mcdonald's drive through run....
Well first....Read Katies blog Here (you MUST read it) I found out about these lovely beads..... Made by momma's in Africa to help feed their children........ Aren't they lovely??!!

And they are made from Magazines! Really! I just bought 10....some for myself and some to give as gifts....

Would you consider it? And help a momma far away!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I found out "Mame's" name on her birth certificate is spelled
Not sure how you pronounce it. I have been told that it means "life", which I am confirming that and the pronunciation.
We have thought of her as "Olivia Mame" for so long...this will be a mental change.
I have been told that many of the older girls being adopted want an "American" name too. So we will see her choice....
If she wants to be "Olivia Hiywot" or Mame, or Hiywot Mame or ?

Monday, May 3, 2010

How much notice?

I heard from someone else today of a family that got one weeks notice before travel for them embassy date..... EEEEEK! I guess I better just get ready and start ordering those hair products!!
I need to have plans set up for each week it could possibly be!
Can you believe I am really at this stage????!!!
I can't!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Planning for school.....

I am so excited, after all the wait, to think about Mame getting to go to Summit school with her new brothers and sisters in the fall. One of the teachers, is also an ESL teacher, and we are meeting next week to put together a summer plan for Mame....that I can do at home and help her be ready for the fall.

And then, when she starts school this fall, this same, wonderful teacher, is going to help and put together a program for her, depending on where she is and how much she has learned.

What a blessing.

These are pictures of Mame and her "school" time at the orphanage. I can see they learned a little English alphabet and some words....I cannot wait to talk to her face to face...or at least try. It is happy/sad to think that all the other children in these photos are home with their new families....while Mame has waited and waited.

BUT...her wait will be over soon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pictures during the wait....

Todays picture comes from April 2009. Not normally in a dress, I am assuming this came in some donations....

My lovely daughter....

Friday, April 23, 2010

If a picture tells a 1000 words......

Then what does a 1000 pictures tell?

lol. Well, not quite a thousand.

But in waiting two years for Mame....I have collected quite a few photos....about a year ago, I counted them ...and I had 400...and I have some new ones since then of course! I have made her a scrapbook, that is up to 99 pages already...and I have to finish...before I go.

So I thought over the next two I wait to travel, I will share of those pictures. And all those traveling families, who have gone before, you will recognize your photography. Thank you!

Today's favorite...Mame and her girlfriends....who have been home in the States for quite a while.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Finally, my daughter....

The journey of a 1000 days.....
......well actually 748! :)
Announcing my daughter:
Olivia Hiwot (Hewot?) "Mame"
as of APRIL 13th!
(I passed court 9 days ago, but no one told me..)
Jehovah be praised.....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

watching the.....

tick tock tick tock tick tock....
(one burden lifted, I was worrying last night about funds for the trip...and time off work, and I had forgotten about some stock I had. ;) Cashed in enough for the trip and time off. what a blessing.....God provides!)
tick tock tick tock tick tock...

Monday, April 19, 2010

The week that changed our lives....perhaps....

There are some weeks....days..moments...that we hold our breath, as we will never be the same.
I don't know if this will be one of those weeks.....I have had four or five of them in my lifetime.....
hoping it will.....

Friday, April 16, 2010

Where the rubber meets the road.....

feeling anxious....
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Phil 4:6,7

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Counter's back up....9 days.....

Maybe the news on April 22nd will be an early birthday present.....