Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cute little sayings by Nahome

So--- I'm sure one of your questions for me is this.....

so really---how's the adoption going????

WELL---- here goes-- I'll fill you in on the scoop around here concerning the adoption transition.

Adoption is a new experience for us and it has been such a growing and learning time for all of us. We've adapted to life with 5 kiddos over the past 6 weeks--- it's really going well-- not much different than having 4 kiddos as far as my workload-(laundry, dishes, cooking) goes, it's just a little louder and outings are a little crazier than life with 4 kiddos was! Madilyn, Jackson, Hannah and Joel Daniel have been super sweet, loving, and accepting of our new addition and are adjusting well. No jealousy issues. No anger issues. They all have their "moments"-- but that happened pre-adoption, too-- so I don't think that it's really adoption-related issues but instead we just have normal "kids and siblings" kinds of issues! Joshua is also very loving towards everyone and really enjoys playing and learning from the other kiddos. They do fuss over toys quite often but again--I think that's pretty normal for all siblings! I really should wear a black and white striped shirt every day as I do tend to play the role of referee, quite often!!

Joshua Nahome is overall physically and emotionally very healthy. He has attached emotionally to us (Thank You Lord!!) and also really became comfortable and very loving towards our extended families (which was super fun to see while we were visiting them again last week!!!) He did come home from Ethiopia with a stomach bug called Giardia and he has lovingly shared that little bug with the rest of us, but we're all going to be treated for that as of Monday! It hasn't been bad as we are not camping out in the bathroom at all-- our stomachs just feel "weird" and no one is really hungry!! This could be really great for me-- I would love to loose that 10 pounds that will never go away!! Maybe the Giardia Diet will do the trick!! HAHA!! Anyway--- back to Joshua Nahome's transition.....

He gets super, super excited when I go to the grocery store and bring home his favorite things (like cereal and bananas)! It is really fun to bring home groceries because he goes crazy laughing, clapping and dancing around like it is Christmas morning!! It is hysterical and makes me realize how much we take for granted every single day. I just wonder how long his excitement over cereal and bananas and milk and yogurt will last..... Unfortunately, I'm afraid he'll be "Americanized" way too soon.

He is learning English very quickly.....he understands TONS and is already speaking in 3 and 4 word sentences and is a little sponge for new words. He has numbers down pat to 20 and we're working on colors now. Learning colors has been hard for him.....maybe he's color-blind....I'm not sure. We'll keep working! He is very fascinated by all the different names for our foods, especially foods that are similar, for instance.... BREAD PRODUCTS..... he'll ask.... "this is injera? this is bread? this is bun? this is roll? this is tortilla? this is biscuit? this is pancake? this is cornbread? this is injera?" etc. etc. OR another example.... DRINK PRODUCTS...... he'll ask...."this is water? this is soda? this is juice? this is lemonade? this is milk? this is tea? this is coffee? this is Koolaid? this is water?" etc. etc. It is very interesting to watch him and listen to him as he learns. He is still so amazed at all the options available here in "MERICA", as he says it.

He also says lots of funny things as he's learning English....... here are a few of the phrases that he says that I hope I don't forget because they are just adorable.....

when Joshua Nahome says,

"this is LUMMY." real translation--- this is yummy.
"Nahome is angry" real translation--- Nahome is hungry.
"Nahom es tummy growing" real translation-- Nahome's tummy is growling. (btw-his tummy can't possibly ever growl- he eats every 30 minutes or so!! hahaha!!)
"The End" real translation--- I am done going potty now.
"Joshua's tessarow." real translation--- Joshua's turn.
"Photos Tigist" real translation--- I want to look at my pictures of Tigist.
"I want chicken" real translation--- I want a granola bar. hmmm. -?-
"I want snackies" real translation--- I want a snack.
"Panties too beggus" real translation-- these pants are too big for me.
"Time for sleepies" real translation--- Time for sleep.
"Gimme beg hug" real translation--- I want a big hug!
"Comeon Mommy" real translation--- I want you to lay down with me mommy.
"Comeon Joel" real translation--- I want Joel to lay down with me too.

and when he says, "I love you" --- the real translation is.... I love you.

The biggest lesson I've learned through this adoption so far has been about the depth of God's unconditional LOVE for ME. Throughout scriptures we are all called heirs-- adopted sons and daughters of Christ but I've never really understood or "gotten" that meaning until now. Through this adoption, Joshua Nahome has done nothing to deserve my love, yet we love him. He has done nothing to earn my love, yet we love him. He tests me daily, yet we love him. We love him and want the best that life has to offer him.

What God has shown me in a very real way over the last several months is this.......

I DID NOTHING to DESERVE Christ's love for me, yet He loves me.
I DO NOTHING to EARN Christ's love for me, yet He loves me.
I SIN and test God daily and yet, He STILL loves me.
I know above all else, He loves me and wants His best for me.

I am so unworthy of God's love but at the same time, He's shown me the Depths of his love more than ever before through the adoption of Nahome. I love my biological children in a special way as they came from my body .....I love my adopted child in a special way because God laid him on my heart.

What a blessing to be the recipient of unconditional love! What a blessing it is to give unconditional love to our children. This has been such an amazing and humbling experience! We're growing in Him every day and are very thankful for Christ's unconditional love for every single one of us.

Blessings today,

Ephesians 2 :4-7 "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in sin-- for it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show us the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

1 Corinthians 2:9 "But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Catch Up

Hello!!! We've just been back home to El Paso a day or so and the unpacking, grocery shopping, laundry, yard work, etc. is finally under control so now I'm going to try to CATCH YOU UP on my blog!!! :)

Last Monday, the kiddos and I made the 12 hour drive "home" to East Texas to visit our families. Yes, the solo drive with 5 kiddos in tow was hard but... it was worth it. It was a really nice treat to spend time with our families and I am pretty sure that it was very therapeutic for us all!! To be totally honest and transparent here, after the last 6 weeks of challenges and speed bumps there was lots of stress and unsettled turmoil in my heart and it was nice to escape away for a few days and re-focus. Joel worked very hard all week and then flew to meet us for the weekend and was able to make the drive back with me on Monday. I just love those cheap southwest one way tickets!!! :) I'm thankful for the time of rest and re-focus! It was good for all of us!!!

The kiddos are doing really well. They loved their fun days on the farm with Mama and Papa Carr and also their individual "special-spend-the-nights" with Mommommy and Poppy! The big kids started their new year of homeschooling today with what I call "warm up days"......we're just doing a very light week worth of work to get back into a routine and work out our schedule for this year! They are definitely ready for the "new normal" to kick in around our house!!

The hardest transition that I've been facing is actually our army move. It's been a tough time for me and the kiddos. The logistics of our move went well and we really love the city of El Paso....but we are just ready to plug in here and feel like we belong to a family of friends. Joel went to work right away and immediately became acquainted with his co-workers and "plugged in"--- but the kids and I have had a harder time meeting people here and honestly, it is just lonesome. We are homesick for the friendships that we had in Kansas and New York!! We miss you all so much!! :) We are still searching for a church family and I know we'll feel much better when we get "plugged in" to a family of believers also!!! I am VERY thankful that the kiddos fall activities and sports start here this next week as well as the Ft. Bliss Homeschool Group Co-op and PWOC Bible Study. Hopefully, the kids and I will be able to truly "plug in" over the next few weeks and finally meet some friends!! Please pray for us as we are in the middle of a city of 1 million people yet we feel so alone!

I'm reminded of this scripture that I've clung to during previous Army moves that were hard on me emotionally and it's so comforting to know that I am not alone, that God is with me.....

Genesis 28:15 "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."

and here's one more that has lifted my spirits recently and renewed my hope in Christ...

Romans 8:37-39 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 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."


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Praying Big for Ethiopia

We are praying big for Ethiopia! We are specifically praying about the coordination and planning of possible mission work in Ethiopia in the future. God has strategically placed people in our lives and in our paths during our adoption journey that we know are NO coincidence. While we were visiting Nahome's homeland, we were deeply moved-- truly changed. I don't know that I'll ever be the same.

Since we've been home.......I have had lots of trouble sleeping. I lay in bed with visions of all of the little children with sad eyes that are living on the streets or if they are lucky, in orphanages-- longing for a mom and dad. Hungry for food, hungry for love.
I have this picture of the little boy with scabies and oozing sores all over his head and no means by which to get medical care imprinted on my heart.

I am angry with myself that I did not take more medicines, antibiotics, food and gifts with me when we visited the rural villages. I am disappointed that I didn't stop the car when we were driving and saw that 6 year old little girl tending her family's goats with only a dirty tshirt on. She was wearing no pants, no underwear.....why didn't I stop and give her one of our extra set of clothes in the backpack?
I am ashamed that I saw real people drinking brown, muddy water out of ditches and I didn't share my bottles of clean water. This man was getting water out of the sewer line at the Mercato.
I'm frustrated that we passed HUNDREDS of people walking miles and miles for water and to sell sticks at the village markets and we did not stop and offer anyone a ride.
I'm coming clean folks--- my heart aches for the poor and oppressed people of Ethiopia.

My biggest regret about our trip to Ethiopia is that I didn't love, share, and give more to the hurting people there. We didn't help those that needed help as much as we could have, we didn't share as much as we should have but we are thankful that God planted some amazing seeds in our hearts and allowed us to connect with other like minded Christians that are seeking to serve God in a BIG way in Ethiopia!

We are now PRAYING BIG for Ethiopia and we want to do more to share God's love with these needy, spiritually lost and hungry people!

I really don't know what capacity He has for ME in this ministry effort, it may be no more than the networking, praying, and coordinating the connections for the ministry team--but whatever it is......we are praying that God continues to use us even though we are truly broken vessels...... even though we are sinners and don't even come close to deserving God's love for us.

Please pray BIG for Ethiopia and that God's plans for mission work there would be clear to us and please also continue to pray for our family!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Silver lining in the storm clouds

God is really at work in our hearts friends and I am praying that He continues to make His will clear to us. It has been a wonderful but also very hard few weeks for us. Honestly, I am emotionally exhausted.

I apologize for my lack of blogging......I've just had to take some time off as I really have struggled with sorting things out in my heart and mind, not to mention that downtime for me is in short supply right now! BUT--- God is really at work in our lives and you better believe that Satan is also trying to steal our joy and really attack our family. We have really really been under attack. I'll list a just a "few" of the obstacles we've been facing, not to whine and complain, but so that you have an understanding of why I've almost abandoned my blogging efforts these last few weeks and also so you can PRAY specifically for our family. This is the scoop.....

1)Joel's truck DIED during our move. 2) We then had no way of hauling our camper the rest of the trip to our new home and we had to consign it at a RV dealership somewhere in the middle of west Texas. 3)We then had to buy a new truck for Joel--- financially, it really wasn't great timing. 4) Our sewer lines in our home were clogged and the first day home (with mounds of laundry!!)we had a massive yucky drainage back-up into our laundry room. YUCK!! 5) My car had to be inspected before July 31 and it did not pass inspection due to emissions problems. $719 later we finally got my car inspected. 6) Two days later, my oven stopped heating correctly and 7)my vaccuum cleaner also died. 8) Joel Daniel's bicycle's training wheel broke and this really is a crisis when you have two ~3 year olds wanting to ride one bike!! HAHA! :) 9)In the meantime, Nahome started having a toothache which led to $577 dollars out of my pocket for major dental work (OK folks-- I do have to say that his precious smile really is priceless-- so this one didn't bother me too much--- but combined with all the other speed bumps! AAAGH!!!!). It's not over yet......10) my air conditioner in my car stopped working correctly a few days later--- it's all or nothing baby--- all the sudden that dial works on OFF and on HIGH but nothing in between (don't forget we live in the desert now!!) 11)and 12) Twice now, while driving down the road in heavy traffic, my car has completely lost all fuel power and just died. Talk about scary! Have you ever pushed a car across 4 lanes of on-coming traffic with your 11 year old at the steering wheel to get your broken car off the road? It was really scary and now I'm having "trust issues" with my suburban. 13) I "repaired" the training wheel on the bike only for the brand new ones to not work correctly and shortly thereafter, fall completely off. oops. 14) The boys were still fighting over the "other" good bike until it got a FLAT tire yesterday. This is actually a praise. I have decided that having NO bike is much better than having only 1 bike for 2 young children! ;) 15) We got our first water bill yesterday, it was a whopping $368. dollars for one month.....when I called to inquire about the excessive bill, they said they "think" we might have a leak.....hmmmmm. 16) After checking all the water sources of our home..... we found that YES, we do have a leak--- it's a very quiet and sneaky, leaky toilet. 17) My sweet mom is in the hospital and I'm 12 hours plus 5 children away from being helpful-- the diagnosis is unclear but the symptoms are VERY concerning. 18) My dad is not feeling well either and is facing an upcoming back surgery in the very near future, also. 19) I know just a small handful of people here in El Paso and I really miss my friends. Life has been very lonely for me since we moved away from all of our great homeschooling friends and church family in Kansas. 20) Joel is back in a tactical unit now and is not in his very comfortable schoolhouse job anymore. His work hours are LONG, and we're not getting to spend very much time together right now. :(


Hebrews 10:23 "LET US HOLD FAST THE PROFESSION OF OUR FAITH WITHOUT WAVERING; (for he is faithful that promised.)"

Romans 5:3-4 " And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience brings experience; and experience brings hope."

Proverbs 23:4-5 "Labor not to be rich; stop leaning on your own wisdom. Will you set your eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings and they fly away as an eagle toward heaven."

Genesis 28:15 "And behold, I am with you, and I will keep you in all the places that you go, and I will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoke of."

Psalm 32:7 "Thou are my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance."

We do have joy in the midst of these trials and have been super blessed in many other crazy ways......There was an additional deposit in our bank account to cover our recent move expenses and yes, that REALLY helped when we were hurting!! Nahome is doing GREAT! His language skills are really progressing quickly and he is super happy. He's not testing me as often and he is not melting down as often or as intensely now, either. His teeth aren't hurting anymore and he is sleeping like a champ. He's learning so much, so quickly. It's amazing to witness. My AC in the car still works on HIGH! Our sweet landlord came over today and offered to pay for the excessive water bill since the toilet was leaking and it was our first month here. Amazing. Joel is enjoying his new job. There are other kids in our neighborhood Jackson and Madilyn's age. I do love our new home and our yard is great-- it's a neat place! The kids are READY to start school-- excited about a new year and looking forward to getting their new books in the mail in the next few days!! We have been going through some tough times but God has me in the exact place I need to be..... I am relying on HIM and I am trusting Him to work it all out and in my many weaknesses, HE is strong and has shown me HIS love and is carrying me through the dark storms, and looking back over the last few weeks-- I do see lots of silver lining!

God is good, All the time.

Blessed, (even through the stress)--
AMY :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Our family meets Israel

Last night our family was honored to meet many new friends here in El Paso! I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to finally introduce my family to Israel last night and God also richly blessed us by allowing us to meet many of Israel's friends (lots of Ethiopians!!) and also his family here in El Paso!

Who would have guessed that there is a group of Ethiopian Americans in El Paso Texas??? Can you believe it?? YEA! We are thrilled that we now have friends that share Nahome's heritage and culture and have even been invited to an Ethiopian dinner party in a few weeks!! :)

I'm not sure if you remember Israel, but you can read about God's divine appointment for me to meet with Israel here... Israel, the Ethiopian man that God sat in the airplane seat next to me on my flight house hunting in El Paso about 6 weeks ago, invited our family to attend his son, Gideon's 1st birthday party yesterday!!

When we arrived at the park, we were delighted and very surprised to also meet about 20 Ethiopian Americans that also live in El Paso. It was precious to watch them converse with Nahome in Amharic and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting them all. We loved getting to spend some more time with Israel and his family. We were able to share lots of stories about our trip to their homeland, Ethiopia, and the kids were having a great time at the park. Unfortunately, it began to rain (yes-- it really did rain in El Paso on a Saturday afternoon in August!) so the party initially dispersed only to be moved to Israel's wife, Angie's family home. I was super impressed because 30 minutes after that downpour began, the ENTIRE birthday party-- the cake, the grill, the tables and chairs, chips, drinks, onions, I mean- EVERYTHING, was relocated to Angie's family home about 20 minutes away. These people know how to host a party and they were incredible and in no time flat, I was enjoying a really yummy grilled hamburger at the home of our new friends!!
Nahome learned to sing "Happy Birthday" yesterday and now he won't stop singing it!! It was really cute for about the first 20 minutes, but really--- that song can get really old, really fast!! HAHA! He also really LOVED his slice of Gideon's birthday cake! He continues to transition well into our family and every day has been easier and better. He's been such a blessing!! Here's a picture of him enjoying his first piece of birthday cake yesterday!!!