Monday, November 29, 2010
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
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
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
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 hotel...it 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 age...so 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!
Thursday, June 3, 2010
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 life....to 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
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
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 fast...so 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 airport...like 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
Monday, May 24, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
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!
Check them out here: http://147millionorphans.com/uganda-necklaces/ugandan-magazine-beads
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
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 months...as 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
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I have seen the burden God has laid on men.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.
That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.
I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him." Eccl 3:1,10-14
With my excitement on filing for a court date for Mame....I have started to think about timing. WHEN will it be that I would actually travel over to Ethiopia to bring her home? All along I had hoped it could be at the edge of summer. Between family care leave and vacation time I have saved up, if it was at the beginning of summer, I could take the whole summer off with my kids to help Mame acclimate to us (not to mention the money I would save without paying for summer childcare). Oh the fun we would have in our new country home with the whole summer off for all of us??!!!
But after 730 plus days of waiting to date, what are the chances that it would work out to be at the beginning of summer?
So I had to ask my homestudy agency how long our local USCIS it taking for the 171h extensions. I am worried, what if I passed court, but could not go, because I was still waiting on my new 171H? Their response was six to eight weeks. Two months????
So then I had to ask my international adoption agency how long are court dates being scheduled from the date we file for one? Their response"Right now, I am seeing court dates taking up to two months from the time we file." The same time frame...
Then I know my embassy/travel date is about four weeks after I pass court. So the timing of all this would be court in late April (maybe my birthday??) and embassy travel in late May!!! The edge of summer!!! The last day of school is May 28th.
Now I know that there are many things that could impact this imagined timeline...but wouldn't it be awesome!!??? I am open to whatever timing God has...but I giggle just to think about it!