Saturday, February 28, 2009

A week in review/ UNC Charlotte! Fevers and hair!

So my week started by performing at the Breakers in Palm Beach flying back on Sunday. Wednesday I went to Pinehurst for a site inspection for a wedding and yesterday and today I was in Charlotte checking out UNC for Samantha.

Ella made Mark breakfast today. I was still in Charlotte. She chose to make celery with peanut butter and chopped pecans...Mark hates vegetables as well as nuts...he ate it anyhow...

I have been busy. I am so excited for Samantha but already experiencing a little sadness in having her leave. I totatlly have mixed feelings. The campus at UNCC is gorgeous and everything is located on 1000 acres. There are several brand new buildings. She will be studying PR and Journalism. Charlotte is a thriving city as well and I am really happy for her. Still, watching my first child head off to college is a bittersweet thing. I am so proud of her and simultaneously aware of how much I am going to miss her. In the meantime, I have 5 more kids at home. All of whom are volunteering to take her room eventhough I intend on keeping it for her. Ella and Grace say "Okay but when she gets married when she is 20 we want her room" To them everyone gets married at 20..

Matea has had a fever for three days. She also seems to be getting more intelligent as she called Andrew a nuissance (I had to put the spell check on for that one)...she also wanted to know what 'guts' were and can write her name and when I asked her "Habla Espanol Matea?" She yelled at me " I don't want to speak Spanish!!!"

Tonight our friend Yemi braided the kids hair (will add pics later)...I am attaching a picture of Ella with all of her hair prior to braiding...

My book is in to the editor now. She will start working on it in March. Work is slow so worried about income but keeping perspective. We are all healthy overall and happy..

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cry of the Orphan!

Great source for global stats: Reprint below...

Global Orphans

  • Over 130 million orphans and waiting children under the age of 18 have lost one or both parents.i
  • Over 13 million double orphans under the age of 18 have lost both parents.ii
  • Sub-Saharan Africa, with 48.3 million orphans, has the highest proportion of children who are orphans at 12%
    • Asia has the largest total number of orphans with 73.7 million orphans, which represents 6% of all children
    • Latin America and the Caribbean has 10.7 million orphans, also representing 6% of all children.iii
  • Over 15 million children have lost a parent due to AIDS, and that number is expected to rise to over 20 million by 2010.iv
  • Without AIDS, the total number of double orphans in sub-Saharan Africa would have declined between 1990 and 2010. AIDS, however, will push the number of double orphans in the region from 9 million to more than 10 million by 2010.v
  • Orphaned children are much more likely than non-orphans to be working in commercial agriculture, as street vendors, in domestic service and in the sex
  • Orphans are more vulnerable and at risk of becoming victims of violence, exploitation, trafficking, discrimination, or other abuses.vii

Domestic Orphans

  • More than 500,000 children are in United States foster care.viii
  • Over 120,000 children in foster care are waiting to be adopted.ix
  • Only around 50,000 children, or 18% of those waiting in foster care, are adopted every year.x
  • On average, children in foster care wait over 2 years to be adopted.xi


  • Over one-third of Americans have ever considered adopting, but no more than 2 percent of Americans have actually adopted.xii
  • 48% of the people who have seriously considered adoption indicated that they would first look to a house of worship (church) for information or advice about adopting.xiii

When Your Heart Breaks for the Orphans!!!!

Prior to adopting Matea from Guatemala I couldn't eat or sleep just longing to do SOMETHING for the 143 orphans that are without parents globally. I thought that I would find total peace after adopting her. Then the burden was intense as I learned more and more about the plight of orphans in Africa. The burden to adopt then was so heavy. I would cry and cry out to God asking Him to please use us to help. Once we adopted our three children there was relief in knowing they were home. I really do feel peace in knowing that (as far as our plans go--God could always change things) our family is complete. But with all of that being said my heart still breaks for the children that are left behind. Some beautiful HIV babies that could live long lives here in America will die in Africa simply because they don't have the appropriate medicine or nutrition to sustain their healing. When these children are adopted they thrive in their new families. There are children over 5 and up to 16 that have less of a chance of being adopted because of their age. Believe it or not, many people that adopt are so afraid to adopt older kids (even 5 year olds). They are especially afraid to adopt children that are pre teens or teens. When my kids came home they told me of how they were praying and praying for a family. The first letter I received from them as they were waiting for the paperwork to be completed was a plea to ask my friends to come and adopt their friends. They also asked me if I could adopt their friends. Once those friends found a home we received other notes from other friends that had been waiting three years for a family .This was a group of 3 gorgeous girls ages 11-15. My life is so amazing. My family is incredible. Adoption has blessed us in ways we could not imagine. I have another passion in advocating for the unborn with pro life causes. Still, on certain days when I take a minute I can cry almost instantaneously when I think about the children that are left behind ...waiting..praying...and hoping for someone to come for them. Grace and Ella tell me they would look up to the sky and see an airplane and wonder if one day they would fly away from the orphanage into a place of their own where they wouldn't have to worry if they would end up on the street one day....Today somewhere on this planet little children like my Grace, jared, Ella, and Matea are looking up to the sky praying...somewhere there is also a little tug in someones heart who longs to adopt...that person will either say to themselves 'maybe someday', 'we can't afford it" or "yes..i hear you and mommy is coming.." I pray that these potential parents can hear the prayers of the orphan children and say "I will be there please don't give up hope.."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love (times 7)! Happy Valentines Day!

This morning Jared hands me one of those heart shaped candy valentines. With my 40 something eyes I have to wave the thing around to get to the right place to even read it. It says "be mine." So I said "oh Jared that is so sweet." And then I said "you know what i have to do now." He looked at me and said "no what?" I figured he would react like most six year olds when I said what I was about to say. I imagined he would run away from me screaming like I had just threatened to tickle him...but then I said "I am going to have to kiss you." (most of the times little boys run away laughing while saying "ewww".)..He looked at me and said "YAY" and then grabbed me for a big hug. So I kissed him and just enjoyed the moment.

It has been a year and 11 days since our kids have come home from Ethiopia. Our lives are so full of love. Our oldest is almost 18. Our youngest is almost 4. But there is a 6 year gap between Sam our 17 year old and Andrew our 11 year old. When we had Samantha we couldn't imagine loving one other child or that our hearts could grow, and grow and embrace 6 kids. It just wasn't in our plans. When Andrew came I was struck by the expansive nature of love. I also totally understood what people meant when they said we would love our second one just as much. It just didn't seem possible to love anyone as much as we loved Samantha. The amount of love we have for her has increased as the love for everyone of our children has expanded 6 fold. We have learned to be more patient, more understanding and mostly to never underestimate God. We also have learned to never say never....while we can't imagine ever having another child we also know now that we will honor God's plans over our own. And it is a good thing because our lives are so full and much better when we follow Him...

When the kids came home from Ethiopia they didn't speak much english. Now they are having a hard time remembering their Amharic. The first week we had to teach them to put toilet paper in the toilet because it wouldn't clog up the system. We had to teach them not to throw crumbs or apple cores on the floor inside because unlike their families hut it isn't so simple indoors to just sweep the crumbs out of an adjacent doorway from the mud floor. Even this week I had to remind them not to fan the flames on the stove top or blow into the flames because unlike an outdoor fire you could actually ignite the fire more and set something on the counter on fire. I have watched Grace who did not feel comfortable in close proximity to Mark alone grow to love and trust her Dad. Last night I quietly watched as she put her head on his shoulder and grabbed his hand to ask him a homework question. I have watched Ella who was so angry and sad when she came home turn into a laughing giggling uncontrollably happy girl. I have seen Jared the boy who was so angry and confused that he would pull the curtains down from the walls turn into a sweet and loving child that is so excited when his mom wants to kiss him.

After having an abortion as a teenager I never imagined that I would or could be a mother of one child. I misunderstood who God was and thought I should be infinitely punished. I sat back and watched as God made my dreams come true and expanded my heart from a woman who believed she knew best how to plan her life to knowing that God's plans are so much more superior to my own plans. Love multiplies immensely sometimes when we think we don't deserve it. Love multiplies way beyond where we think the balloons of our hearts can expand without bursting...I Praise God today and honor Him as the ultimate lover of our souls and my eternal sweetheart ....THANK YOU FOR THE HEART THAT HAS EXPANDED TO LOVE MY HUSBAND AND SIX KIDS....


A few days ago Matea asked me what a 'victim' was. She is three but people have thought she was five since she was about 18 months old...So I tell her "it is a person that is hurt by someone else or in an accident." So two days ago Ella comes into the house crying because she had fallen on the pavement while playing basketball. I had to put two bandaids on her. Then yesterday Matea starts screaming at me (not crying)...She shows me her finger and then says "MOMMY I am a victim." I said "What happened?" She says "look at my finger, I have a paper cut." I am a victim and so is Ella for falling on the driveway.....

Forgetting Pajama Day!

Okay...remember a few posts ago titled "Multitasking at its worst?" I mentioned how I accidentally mixed up the pajama and comfortable clothing notes and sent Jared to school with pajamas for FAMILY MUSIC NIGHT. He was the only child in a crowd of 400 kindergarteners and their parents in pajamas. I was acting cool as some women who strangely think I am very hip because I am a NY singer said "Wow what a great idea...I should have chosen to have Zachary in his pajamas"...I tried to act like a hip 'soho ish artist type" trend setter just knowing I totally messed up my calendar. Well yesterday as the kids were going to school I noticed that Grace and Jared were both in their pajamas and Andrew and Ella were not. I knew that Grace had pajama day because she is older and totally on to the fact that I forget things...She has been telling me for a week that her class had pajama day that day. She even went so far to request a pink robe and had her outfit strategically placed out about 4 days in advance (she is very efficient). Well I didn't recall receiving a note from Jared's class..We asked the other two kids who were not in JAMMIES...both of them knew it wasn't an official pajama day...So both Mark and I turned to Jared and said " isn't pajama day for everyone. Go and change out of your superman jammies and put some clothes on..." He said "But mom"....we both said "Go change..hurry the bus is almost here." Jared said "AW MANNNN" and went to change...Well later that day as I was getting the kids at the bus stop after school I noticed that all of the other kids from Jared's class had their jammies on....I just couldn't help laughing at myself....I must have laughed for 20 minutes..Jared is so happy and funny....Grace said "Mom Jared only person in his class with no pajamas." I kept laughing...and Jared said "Mom not funny....can I play with my friend Rager..." Truly God has to have a sense of humor in the way he keeps us humble. AND the people at the school must think we are total wear pajamas at full school public events but decide NOT to wear pajamas on the actual pajama day....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gorilla Balls!

So Matea keeps asking me "can i have gorilla balls?" I look at her perplexed. "GORILLA BALLS" what is a gorilla ball? I am thinking maybe it is some kind of candy or trendy thing that I don't know about. So, she keeps pointing to the cabinet.."mommy gorilla balls". I finally put two and two together and open the cabinet and see what she is looking for ....granola bars.....HA!

Other fun things...Andrew is now officially taking growth hormones. He is being very brave...we are so proud of him.

Grace can now hear perfectly out of her right ear but may have a eustachian tube blockage. Her left ear still has hearing loss and a hole in the drum that we need to fix eventually.

Now that the kids have been home a year the weekend birthday party schedule is something really hard to manage. But what an amazing thing to see everyone just thriving.

Conferences: Andrew is in 5th grade doing 8th grade math. Samantha is going to UNC CHARLOTTE next year to study PR (excellent choice for her). Grace is behind academically but the teachers are all extremely impressed with the progress and intend to promote her. Ella same thing...they told me it was to be expected. Jared is on target academically and mis behaving in class while at the same time the most popular child in the entire school.....Matea is a precious pre schooler with a new short haircut and is enjoying her gorilla balls at the kitchen tabe.....