Monday, December 29, 2008

Pictures of Bayoush!

For those of you who have followed our blog I can imagine you were anticipating finding out whether we were successful in getting pictures of our kids mother for Christmas. We were not...Our wonderful friend Carla went all the way to Asela and gave it her best shot but the family had no pictures in Asela and would have to travel to grandma's house to get them. It just logistically didn't happen. The good news though is that the Great Grandfather was given pictures of our kids and they all know we are looking for a picture of the mother. So we are hopeful. We also just want to thank Carla who was there to pick up her kids. She adopted two gorgeous children and is settling in with them as we speak....I still am hopeful that one day we will receive a picture and ask that all keep praying for us to be successful one day...

First Christmas as a family of 8!

As you can see from the multiple posts we had a busy first Christmas together. A year ago we spent a bittersweet Christmas longing for the kids to be home. We had failed court 5 times and didn't hear until after Christmas that we had passed court. We had prayed and prayed for them to be home by Christmas last year but it didn't happen. Still God gave us a blessing. When we laid eyes on the adoption papers when we were in Addis in late January we saw that they were stamped 12/25/07. Our children officially became ours on Christmas day last year. I had received a note from Grace when she was still in Ethiopia. She said "Don't worry mom we will have many holidays together." So, this year was special. Last night the girls and I went to see the Nutcracker with the African Children's Choir sharing auditorium seats with us. At one point Ella looked up at me and said "This is not TV?" I had told her it would be real people dancing but it took her until almost the end of the first act to figure out that this was real. They laughed at the men in tights (saying they looked naked). And thought it was funny when Clara's brother was spanked on stage....We also spent time with Aunt Debbie in Asheville and had a nice visit with Aunt Denise and family at my house. The girls said "Mom all your sister cook." They have spent time with all 3 of my sisters and enjoy them greatly. We had 5 children's parties at school. Two school programs. One church program. One visit to Asheville to see the gingerbread houses. A few parties, a few Christmas movies...too many cookies, christmas cards, Italian Christmas eve dinner, turkey Christmas day dinner...two large Christmas trees and 4 small ones (two in front of the house with lights), the kids will say there were too many church services....It was special and one we will always remember....I am so at peace knowing that my family is complete and that we can rest knowing that we have been obedient in adopting these children into our family,....It is loud, noisy and still the kids are out of school (it has been almost a month)...but it truly was Merry...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kings Park International Church Christmas Program!

Amazing Grace!

African Children's Choir!
Matea's favorite friend Miss Sarah!
Jared trying to figure out what he is doing in a sea of children!
Jared doing the hand motions!
Gorgeous Miss Ella with her hair straightened!
Ella loves to sing!

We are so blessed to go to such a perfect church for us. Our kids get to go to sunday school with the African Children's choir. These pictures were taken from our Christmas program! I just was in tears during the program because I couldn't believe that my dreams and prayers had been answered. I remembered praying the year prior for them to come home and watching last year during the same program just imagining what it would be like to have my kids singing with the other kids during this program. I was so thrilled and touched to really be witnessing God's miracle just before me.....incredible.

Trip to Asheville to See the Gingerbread Houses, Aunt Debbie and Uncle Peter!

Grove Park inn with the kids...
Andrew and Jared in front of the gingerbread houses
Trying out Aunt Debbie's makeup

So we visited Aunt Debbie and Uncle Peter. I took the youngest 5 who are tracked out for a month to Asheville to see the Grove Park Inn and the gingerbread houses. We also made cookies with Aunt Debbie and the girls played in front of the vanity. At one point Matea came out of the guest room after placing gobs of gel in her hair. She has no clue that her hair is not the same as her african sisters and is constantly greasing up....the last picture here will give you an idea of how crazy it was to have 4 kids and myself in one room. Matea is jumping on Uncle Peter's back.....

Rudolf lost His Antlers!

Pictures from our little angel Matea's christmas show. When she wasn't biting her nails she was trying really hard to keep her antlers up. It was really funny....They just would not stay on and she was determined to keep them on during the song but to no avail....

Santa and the Burnt Cookie!!!

On Christmas Eve day we made cookies. We used an old sugar cookie recipe and then planned to decorate them...Well my sister Denise and I forgot that Ella left a clump of sugar cookie batter on the cookie sheet in the oven. We all started to smell something burning and then found Ella's "special" cookie. This was the one she had reserved and created specifically for she was very upset and then I told her that sometimes Santa likes the ones that are overcooked. Ella decided to write to Santa to explain...and then she drew him a picture. It was really funny. Jared and Matea kept eating the frosting with the food coloring. So Jared's teeth turned green. We had fun with cousin Dominick and Aunt Denise and Uncle Dave. We really enjoyed Christmas..Here are some pics with the famous cookie...Santa came and ate the cookie and said it was his favorite. Ella woke us up around 5:45 am to show us the note that Santa wrote about the cookie.....It was an incredible first Christmas with the family in tact...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Child is Born in Rockford

I had been wanting to come out of the closet on an issue on this blog for some time but was really reluctant and waiting for the right time. I know this is an adoption family blog but one of the reasons my family is so incredible to me is because I had an abortion at the age of 19. I sat down last year because I felt led to write a book about adoption and my family. During prayer time the good Lord made it clear that I had to tell my whole story. So I wrote a book about the miracle of my family and God’s incredible outpouring of love, forgiveness and grace in my life in the form of my children. There is a whole book called TO BE A MOTHER getting formatted now and will be ready probably in February or March if you are interested in hearing the entire story.

This time of year has been difficult for me throughout the years. I always knew that the baby would be born in the middle or end of December. There was so much I wasn’t sure of during that confusing and difficult time in 1981. But even though I had an abortion when the baby was only 8 or 9 weeks I had somehow known the baby was a girl and her name was Aubrey. I had the abortion in May and had named her prior to the abortion. I fell into deep despair after the abortion. In December of that year as I was making the bed the radio alarm clock went off and the song “AUBREY” by the band “Bread” mysteriously started playing. As I heard the words “I never knew her but I loved her just the same” I became unglued and had a hard time even continuing with the singing job I had at Disneyworld. Eventually I couldn’t even work and quit my dream job from incapacitating depression.

Years have gone by. I have gone through therapy. I have been healed. I have given birth, adopted my children and been blessed with a fantastic marriage. I am genuinely happy and praise God for bringing me out of that awful unexpected abyss post abortion. I have a passion now for chatting with other post abortive women who may need healing. I have also just finished a healing bible study called “Tender Mercies” written by a Christian Psychologist. The class is over but the one thing I have never done is had a memorial service for Aubrey which is recommended in this class. I know to some it sounds really strange to do this. But surprisingly in the past month my grief has been very close to the surface. Just the thought of the service this January 7th(there will be two other mothers there too) brings me to tears to the point of sobbing. So, the other day in the car I was just thinking that I wanted her to have a middle name. I thought about Aubrey Faith and Aubrey Hope because of the significance of both of the words to me. But then I decided to give her my name as her middle name. In aborting her years ago I lost a part of myself. In denying myself that child a part of me died but I have faith that Aubrey Deanna is in Heaven where i would long for us to be together one day. I pray that having my name as a part of her name will guarantee that although a part of me died the eternal part of her lives forever and we too are united forever….I could go on and on but that is what the book is for.

I always knew that if I had given birth to Aubrey we would have moved back to my hometown in Rockford Illinois to get our bearings before deciding what to do next. But unfortunately I made a choice that I would regret and never moved back to Rockford with a baby daughter in my arms. Still, God has been extremely loving and extravagant to me. The reason I am telling you this today is because something miraculous and sweet has happened today. Sometimes things happen that are like little secrets that you have just between you and God. They are small little miracles where you feel like He is smiling down on you and just saying “I love you so much.” I have a cousin named Diane in Rockford who had all boys. One of her boys ERIC and his wife Felicia gave birth to his second daughter today. Diane and Eric haven’t read my book and because I have been in the closet she doesn’t know my story. Very few people even knew about Aubrey or that I named a baby I would never see. Eric is married to a sweet woman named Felicia. Tonight I received this email on what could have been the birthday of my daughter who would be a younger cousin to Eric.

Hi Deanna, Diane called this morning and Eric and Felicia had a 10# baby girl yesterday and guess what they named her? Aubrie Hope.........



I don’t believe in coincidences but do believe God loves us immensely. A child has been born in Rockford named Aubrie Hope who has blessed a cousin in North Carolina merely by taking her first breath and sharing a name with a Heavenly cousin. I just want to celebrate her life and know that God is great and His forgiveness and sweetness is available to all. I pray that Eric and Felicia can feel the joy that their new little ‘noble and bright’ princess will bring to them. I promise not to make this a heavy, controversial or depressing blog but wanted to share my personal story, today’s miracle and show you why my enthusiasm for my magnificent family is so great. They are truly a gift from a forgiving and extravagantly sweet Father who knows how to gently surprise his daughter on earth by whispering a precious "I love you..look at my new miraculous creation. Merry Christmas!".

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Grace is better!!!

We had a long day in the day surgery hospital. We waited for 3 hours and then the surgery took 3 more hours. Grace is well and we are home. When we came home the kids made cards for Grace. Jared not knowing what else to say handed Grace the card and said: "Happy Birthday"...He is really sweet...her birthday is in June. The other day the girls were teasing Samantha after she had taken a nap in her sweats..They told her she looked like a grandma and went on and on saying "messy hair" "no makeup" blah blah...Jared came up to Sam and said very sweetly: "Samantha you are beautiful!" Both Sam and I said "AWWWW how sweet." He has a fever child healthy and done with surgery and now he is not feeling well...another day in the life...

Blog Award!

This blog award came from my friend Beth (I am heading toward my destiny)...Thank you Beth for my first blog award. I am so proud and I think my mother is going to add this to the scrapbook.

From what I understand, this comes with a seven thing Meme. Here we go:

1. Pitched a few no hitter in softball!
2. Breast fed two babies for over two years.
3. Worked for the Grimaldi Family in Monaco (Prince Albert).
4. Went Parasailing over the mediterranean...
5. Went to India on my Honeymoon.
6. Was recruited for Arbitrage...
7. Was a model in a German hair magazine...

1. Writing a book and blogging
2. Advocating for adoption and life
3. Can cook an excellent Turkey
4. Juggle tasks and my family
5. Can carry on a very confusing conversation in Spanish
6. Freecycle
7. Mother 6 amazing kids

1. Swim or exercise every day
2. Write more songs and record a prophetic CD
3. Finish the CD we are currently working on.
4. Be able to afford to take my kids to Disney
5. Pay off my mortgage and live not worrying about it.
6. Watch as my children are married and have kids
7. Encourage women through books, speaking and song.

1. His forearms
2. His talent.
3. His commitment to our family.
4. The fact that he is an excellent father
5. His sense of adventure
6. His sense of humor.
7. His passion for me and the family ( Ithink I said that).


1. Clean up this mess
2. Hurry up.
3. Put on your shoes
4. Do you have to go pee pee?
5. Stop it or you will fall/hurt yourself/die/hurt someone else
6. I love you
7. 5 more minutes and we leave

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Face of a Mother!

Many of you know that my Ethiopian children do not have a picture of their mother who passed away 4 years ago. Her name was Bayoush. When we met their grandmother in Ethiopia she said she forgot to bring the picture. Grace says there are many pictures of her mother at her grandmother's home. Ella cries because she was so young when her mom died but seems to be grieving the most. One day a few months ago Grace stood frozen at the California Pizza Kitchen because she saw a woman that reminded her of her mom. If you think back to when you were 4 or 5 you have these memories of your mother but many of the memories were of experiences and feelings, if you didn't have the pictures you may forget. Ella is afraid she has forgotten what her mom looks like. Jared was a baby and doesn't know or remember any other mother but me and his grandmother whom he called Amaya. It makes me so sad to think of what it would be like to try really hard in your little memory to remember her eyes, her lips, her hands. Ella can remember very vividly the day her mother died. She was there. I hate to think that the most striking memory of her mother is remembering how she coughed and then didn't wake up again.

We are determined to get pictures and an angel friend of mine...CARLA is going over to Ethiopia to get her sweet children. Follow her trip through the link called CARLA'S BLOG on the side. She also feels compelled to travel the distance and spend one of her days going over the meadow, through the woods, past dusty african villages, without a cell phone, without much information but armed with a ton of faith to Grandmother's house to try to find a picture of Bayoush for Ella to place above her bed. Please pray for Carla this week. Please pray that God moves mountains to accomplish this task. I know if it doesn't happen this time we will try again. But it just warms my heart to know that someone would be willing to rough it to try to make a dream come true for these kids. I am not telling the children that this is happening but want to ask all of you to pray with all of your hearts and souls for Carla and Morgan (her daughter) to have a safe trip and that the Holy Spirit and many angels accompany them. Carla is also being an angel to some of my other friends. She is delivering formula and visiting other orphanages over there too.....God bless her....and ANDREW IF YOU ARE READING THIS ...if you tell Ella, Jared or Grace about this Santa will leave a big hunk of coal in your stocking......

Caught Up In The Rapture....

I loved this Anita Baker song in the 80's "Caught up in the Rapture." Mark and I used another Anita Baker song as our first dance "Sweet Love." This morning was the first day of the evil Wake county concept of 'track out'...this means that because my kids go to school 'year round', they also now are in that period where I get them to myself so I can go crazy for 3 weeks...because it is Christmas i will have them for almost 5 weeks....I woke up late this morning 8:00...woo hoo...sleeping in....and then got out of bed in my gorgeous flannel pajama pants and bundled in a very long and unattractive sleeping shirt with a long sleeved hooded pink sweatshirt with a coffee stain on it ( it was clean just stained)..I put on my furry slippers and reluctantly got out of bed knowing that in a mere few minutes the kids would be telling me they are bored because of track out....

So, I head into Ella and Grace's room. The day before I had been given a free King James version of the bible with a font size of about 3....This bible was not intended for anyone older than the age of 20. I mean when you reach 40 or so you start to realize what those cheap reading glasses are for...So, I cannot read this KJV bible but Andrew found it and was reading it as if it had a 22 font....He found the book of REVELATION. And since he enjoys Harry Potter, Sci Fi and any kind of books with scary things in it he has decided it is really interesting reading. So, I walk into the girls room. There is Andrew in the pink rocking chair with the girls around him as he reads the bible...I am stumbling around in my 'not tonight I have a headache" pajamas, and I am greeted with three little voices that say ..."MOM JESUS IS COMING." I say..."Huh???" Ella then says "I'm scared." Andrew looks up from the bible and says "is the church of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania?" I say "do you want waffles or a bagel?" Ella says "Is Jesus coming tomorrow?" I say "Is Daddy up?" Andrew says "Will our bones all go up to Heaven too? What about people who get cremated?" I am really wanting my coffee....Matea comes in and says "i don't want my bones to go to Heaven." Ella says "How do the bones get up there?" Grace says "It's magic" Andrew says..."Hey when they talk about Him coming through the clouds does it mean it will be on a rainy day....?" Then he says.."there are some creepy animals in the bible." "do you think he'll come during track out?" I am thinking "I hope so."

I finally dodge the bullet because I am not that well versed on Revelation because it totally scares me too. I love Pslams and Proverbs, Matthew and all the nice happy stuff...I finally am able to make the coffee. The army of intensely christian soldiers with the King James Version follows me....we all come downstairs....Grace is having ear surgery tomorrow (all please pray for healing..). She has to get a hole in her eardrum covered with skin graft. So, her greatest fear is not eating. She is pigging out tonight because as of 12 she can't eat anymore and has surgery at 9:30 tomorrow. So Andrew is still reading KJV of the bible and then Grace says..."Hey my mom say when we were hungry in Africa if you read bible you no longer hungry." I thought this was so sweet because many people currently are struggling to find food over in Ethiopia. So, Grace says tomorrow I read bible eat...I say that is a good idea and start to hum "oh oh oh caught up in the rapture of love" as I pour myself some coffee in my unsexy but warm get up.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"I'm a mess...SQUEAK SQUEAK!"

Oh the joys of the holidays....TWO CHRISTMAS PROGRAMS today....First I have to say that our 6 kids scheduling has totally gone awry....two days ago Jared came home from school and said "Mom...all moms and dads come to no there." OH NO...It totally didn't make the there was one that 'jumped the shark.' Then I get a call from SAM on her lunch hour..."MOM you have to call about my graduation pic or I won't get in the yearbook." Almost missed that one too....but salvaged a potentially serious parental gafe....then as I am driving around after an errand I hear a horn beep and look in my rearview is Monica from down the street. I missed the deadline for Andrew's teacher's $10 christmas gift contribution. Monica was coming to collect. Luckily at the bottom of my purse was an envelope that had stayed there for two weeks that had Monica's name on it....I had to pull out 3 MacDonalds toys, a camera, tissue, brush, maxi pad and church bulletin to find it...I pulled off the lint and hand ironed the envelope and gave it to her....I made it this morning to Matea's christmas show...her reindeer head band ears kept falling down as she sang Rudolf biting her nails and with her glasses at the edge of her nose....Sitting next to me were first time parents...their daughter had manicured red and white fingernails, hair with a white bow, black mary janes and a perfect red velvet christmas dress...She waved to her family...Matea was too focused with her wilting reindeer ears in her pink christmas dress and wildly messy hair. We had a quick pizza for dinner and then we had to go to Ella's performance of "THE MITTEN" (we were supposed to donate a pair of mittens...I hadn't read the fine print) without Mark and Samantha. THis meant it was me, 5 kids and a sea of 400 other children...try to find your super hero wanna be boy in the crowd...not easy. So, we go to the concert...I have lost Jared again...put all the kids in a designated spot while everyone wants to hold court with me as my eyes cross in a million directions looking for Jared Super boy who is more like FLASH from the incredibles (ethiopian children are extremely fast)...finally I see a teacher who knows all the runaways are mine...she has Jared on her hand and brings him to me...another father is embarrassed because he assumed the African American person next to me was the parent of my other runaway child....So, then we go to hear Ella sing...Ella sings "I'm a mess squeak squeak...I'm a mess squeak squeak." Grace agrees that she is a mess because Grace is like Felix and Ella is like Oscar and they share a room..I tried all week to teach Ella to sing the word MOWWWSSsss..instead of mess...we would practice ..I would sing "I'm a mouse squeak squeak." She would sing..."I'm a mess squeak squeak...." I just decided to let her sing the 'mess' song instead..the truth is that I was really the mess."SqUeAK SQUeAK""

This is a PIG!

I made bacon this morning for breakfast. Andrew my resident expert on almost everything decided to make sure my Ethiopian children knew what they were eating....SO, he starts to say. "You are eating pig." Then the girls scream...Ella starts to gag...and then he talks about how they take pig meat and first make ham and then hot dogs with pig garbage and that bacon is pretty much the same... the girls look at him totally perplexed. Jared could care less and would like "more bacon please!!!" And then the girls rush to me saying "Mom no...not pig." I say "Yes Pig." and then Andrew makes a point of also letting them know that burgers are COW....(one of Grace's ethiopian pets was a cow named Shibir). And all the while I am trying to pack 4 lunches, sign permission slips and finish scrambling eggs....Oh well...typical entertaining and funny morning in our household...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Honestly I usually don't think about all that I am doing but I had to laugh today when I had a minute to look back on how the day progressed:

wake up..make 4 lunches, 5 breakfasts, get the kids dressed and to school, come upstairs wake up baby, clean a load of laundry, bathe baby and shower simultaneously while watching 3 year old through glass shower, Dress 3 year old, scramble eggs and bacon for is now 9:30. Go to downstairs office while putting toddler in front of TV. Talk to NY client on contract, talk to another NY client, put press kit together , send 3 emails, make travel arrangements for 15 people to florida in Feb...send invoice to client, create holiday cards for family as well as New Year's card for band. Talk to someone online about Prolife issues....Edit book...simultaneously become inspired to write a christmas song called "Not so Very Merry Christmas" while going to target to buy vitamins, salsa, apples...feed daughter lunch. Get laundry out of machine put into the dryer,,,,put away dishes....send fedex to client. Pick up kids from bus stop, do homework, make dinner, talk to doctor for kids appointments, put basketball uniforms on two kids...clean spilled milk, do dishes, put one of the kids in the corner...answer email and voice mail...complete bible study due tomorrow...get kid out of corner, separate 2 other kids, put kids in bath...look through their yearbook for oldest daughter....put clean sheets on bed ...put new table cloth on table....negotiate TV time with teenager.....put kids to bed....CRASH.....