Friday, September 28, 2007

Labor pains!

I am in my NY apartment tonight. I am thinking of how blessed we are to have had this place for a couple of years but we are not renewing our lease. So by November 30th we have to get all of the furniture down south somehow. This place has truly been a blessing to many though. Tonight I came in to find a dozen white roses, amazing chocolates and a CD that the Suzanne Nelson from the African Children's choir had left here. Suzanne had stayed here for a few days. We also have had people from our NC church Kings Park here, Renee Swopes from Proverbs 31 ministries and my new friends the Mestas. My friends Wayne Graham and his wife Linda also stayed here ( I just saw them at the Raleigh airport on their way to Argentina).

I totally feel as if I going through some kind of spiritual labor. I am crying at the drop of a hat. But it is not because of some regret but because of my realization of how blessed we are. I have a great husband, great kids and great "soon to be" kids. And I have a wonderful, mom, dad sisters etc. And many amazing cousins, friends. Life is so sweet ....and eventhough I wake up in the middle of the night frequently very scared about things I am also reassured in knowing that there is not doubt in my mind that this adoption, house is all a part of God's plan for our family.

So i am observing that I am introspective....humbled, teary and so grateful.....I am truly in the midst of practicing faith right now...the unknown is terrifying but feeling God is indescribable. I cannot wait to see these children and start out our lives together as a big family. I cannot wait to pray and help them to heal. I cannot wait to see Sam, Andrew and matea embrace their siblings. I cannot wait to hear I LOVE YOU from the lips of our new children. Mostly, if we can fill their hearts with joy and laughter than I truly believe that we have done our job. And if we are blessed to see our kids married, grandchildren...I will remember that their mother in Africa never had that opportunity and just the luxury of living a peaceful, healthy life will be an answer to her prayers....thank you GOD!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ejigayehu's letter..

I just reread the letter we received today from Ejigayehu and have to type the words to show you why it made us cry...I am not correcting grammar or spelling:

Dear My Family,

how are You, I am Good> I am so happy to have you as new family. I am excited to you come to Ethiopia. I pray avery day to God and I believe God. My favorite color is Blu, Rad, Yellow, My favorite subbject in school marh and English. My favorite food is ice cream and cake. My favorite sport is jumprope. I have best friends at Layla house. They are sisters. There name is Matha and melkam and I want adopt them and I don't have any nicknames? I want nickname. I love you VERY much...Love Ejigayehu Falchook

Then there is a big heart with GOD IS LOVE in it and another heart with LOVE IS GOD in it and a flower vase with I LOVE MY FAMILY on it...on the back is a giant heart with LOVE IN IT...around the heart it says..." I love my mom and aI loe my dad and sisther and brother....

GULP...I am undone....what a beautiful day this has been.....

I am beggin anyone reading this to not stop at GO to adopt older children....

My Amazing Children....and plea for two orphan girls.

Today was a special day. We received our letter from Ejigayehu. She is so precious. THere were about 5 letters in the envelope. I felt like it was valentines day. She told us she loved us and " I pray for you avery day"...there were drawings of hearts with I LOVE YOU in it and a cross with ILOVEYOU in it ...what a blessing she is already. Ejigayehu is requesting a family for her two best friends Marta 9 and Melkem 11...two sisters. It touches me so much that in her letter she took the time to look out for her friends. So, if anyone knows of anyone looking to adopt two sweet children...let us know. Mother Hubbard's cupboard is full here in the next best thing is advocating for them.

I had a date with my gorgeous son Andrew tonight. I had spent some time individually with the girls but needed a date with him. We went to the movies. We went to the dollar store to save alot of money on candy...brought water from home and paid for one popcorn. On the way out of the dollar store he told me to go outside...I said WHY...he said "just go"...I did and then asked him why...he said he found a quarter and thought I would be mad but he kept it. I slightly scolded him but he insisted no one was there and the store owner said it was okay. We saw the WORST MOVIE EVER EVER EVER... "Mr Woodcock" we left the movie early. As I was leaving the movie Andrew pulls out a ring from his pocket and says "Here mom, I got you a ring." I started to cry because I realized he had used his money at the dollar store to buy me a cheap but shiny ring...AWWWW..then he pulled out three dollars he had been saving and then had us get our pictures taken together...I told him it was the best date ever....GOD IS SO children are all amazing....

Dad's 80th BIrthday week!

Just returned from a sweet time in Rockford for my Dad's 80th birthday. All of my sisters showed up and my sweet baby Matea also came. We had cake in the Methodist church in Steward, Illinois. And counted 53 guests. My dad also sang "I dream of Jeannie"...he has a beautiful tenor voice (That's Dad's sister and our beautiful Aunt Pauline who is extremely talented, playing piano). My wonderful cousin Nora had to stay behind on Saturday because of a giant kidney stone issue(but look at how beautiful she is with this picture with her and her friend Greg the day before THE ATTACK OF THE STONE). We are praying for her. Loved seeing all of my wonderful cousins and relatives who traveled far to see my Dad. But it was all too short. Here are some pictures.

And here we are with my mom. Debbie, Denise and Donna...myself and baby Matea.

Here is a Pic of all of us with Dad

Sweet picture of cousin Pam and my baby Matéa. Pam looks like she could be Matéa's mommy.

Tried to post a picture of my day with the Schneider family but couldn't figure out how to rotate the pic. I am still a novice BLOGGER......

Monday, September 10, 2007

Letters and pictures! AND school at the Orphanage!

We are so excited to hear that we will be receiving a letter from Ejigayehu in the mail soon. On e of our new online friends was in Ethiopia and is sending one to us. I am thrilled. I will be in Illinois when we receive it but am just thrilled. We have sent several letters their way. The last one was sent to them with 6 self addressed envelopes in hopes of a letter to be returned to us from them.

Also last week we received some very sweet pictures of the kids....So things are going well. We are doing some last minute cleaning to get our house ready to be on the market in two weeks.

Our new house is coming along but still hasn't gome to dry wall yet.

I am cutting and pasting this information on our kids school experience while they are at the orphanage. Yared and Kidist are in two different kindergarten classes. Kidist's class is a little more advanced than Yared's. Ejigayehu is in a first grade class. Sound like an excellent program considering it is an orphanage. Here is the info:

"There was a question a couple of weeks ago about the Layla School and I asked
Ivy, who coordinates things at Layla House, to write about the school for you.
I want to add one comment, that is that Julie Hehn has been working for the past
year and a half to upgrade the school, suggesting and bringing cirriculum,
providing training for teachers helping with things like establishing files for
the kids and improving the reporting. The school has come a long way since it
was held in a narrow dirt floor lean-to with no lighting at the old Layla House.

Here is what Ivy wrote:

School at AAI Layla House

Many parents/potential parents have expressed interest in learning about the
school at AAI Layla House. Julie Hehn is the curriculum consultant for AAI and
has put together quite an impressive school at AAI Layla House. We have a staff
of 11 extremely well qualified and dedicated Ethiopian teachers that teach a
wide variety of subjects. The school curriculum was created with the knowledge
that the children will soon enter into the American school system, therefore
classes are taught with that goal in mind. Subjects include: English, Math,
Science, Library, Music, History, Geography, Amharic, Computers, Sports/P.E.,
Crafts, Family, Ethics, Health, Religion and America Class.

Currently, we have 2 kindergarten grades and 6 elementary school grades. The
elementary school grades are not necessarily grouped by age, but more by
academic ability and school experience of the child. The school runs throughout
the year because of the transient nature of AAI Layla House and runs on a 3
month semester schedule. The school day starts at 9am and ends at 3pm with an
hour break for lunch. All classes are 45 minutes long, except for computer lab
and crafts which are 1.5 hours long. All classes are taught on the Layla House
compound with the exception of computer lab which is just down the road from
Layla House.

English and Math are scheduled every day. Library, music, crafts and physical
education are scheduled twice a week. Other classes are scheduled once a week
for each grade level. In computer class the students get hands-on experience
using a computer and running software programs. They use special software
programs designed to teach them English and other programs designed to teach
basic computer skills, including Rosetta stone.

One of the unique classes at Layla House is America Class. This class is
currently taught to the older grades (maybe others in the future) and is taught
by our American volunteers. In America class, the students are taught many
different topics dealing with American culture such as what a school day in
America would be like, going to doctors in America, safety issues in America,
family life in America, recreation activities in America, etc., anything the
volunteers come up with that will help the students get a feel for what American
life will be like.

We've recently started a scheduled games class where the children learn to play
with games such as puzzles, legos, play food, dishes and utensils, dolls, match
box cars, cards, and board games. This helps them learn to play together,
share, and put the toys away in a neat and orderly fashion. We are fortunate
that many games and toys have been donated for these activities.

After school we have set aside an hour for homework, tutoring and reading. The
children all sit together in the dining room to do their homework, read library
books, get tutored by the volunteers, and attend math club or English club run
by the tutors.

At the end of every semester, the students are tested and evaluated, report
cards are written, and the students are promoted to the next grade if warranted.
We also have an awards ceremony where the top 3 students from each grade level
receive a certificate of achievement and a gift acknowledging their hard work
and good grades. This serves as incentive for students to continue in their
academic studies and strive to become the best students they can be.

Before a child leaves for America, he or she is given an exit exam. The exit
assessment and report cards are designed to assist parents and the future
American school system place the child in the correct grade level.

AAI is dedicated to teaching our children and to help them be successful in
their new life in America. We strive to create a great school system and are
constantly improving our curriculum and classes to reach our goal of successful
integration of our children in American society.

We would like to point out that most of the school supplies, many many books,
craft supplies, computer and programs, teaching supplies, and other items that
are needed by the school have been donated by adoptive parents and carried to
Ethiopia in luggage. We are very grateful as these items enhance the learning
experience greatly."

Ivy Dash

Merrily Ripley
Adoption Advocates International
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