Thursday, December 2, 2010

For those of you who haven't heard already.....

For along time now, I have pictured a fifth child in our family.  A cute little Congolese baby girl.  To adopt again was in my heart and I thought it was what God was calling me to do.  Jamey and I had both decided that we had two biological children and although we love them to death, we do not feel the need to bring anymore children into this world.  We both strongly agree that we should be taking care of those already in this world.

So, you can imagine our surprise when I found out I was pregnant!  Surprise really doesn't explain it.  Jamey was so happy he was glowing continuously!  But I was....in shock.

I just keep asking God "Why?"    I don't understand,  I am happy and eager to adopt.  There are those trying desperately and paying lots of money to get pregnant and I am the one who gets pregnant!?!  

It's not that I don't love the miracle of pregnancy.  It was one of my favorite times of my lives.  Jamey still doesn't understand this.  All he remembers is me worshiping the toilet and all the pain of labor.  But I remember the miracle of the little one moving inside of me.  The amazing experience of nursing.  

I cried when I signed every adoption document.  I felt I was signing away my chance to ever experience these miracles again.

When I was pregnant with Livia and Parker I thought that they were the most wonderful babies in the world.  That they were so much more special than any other baby.  They were all I could think about.  

Today, I feel guilty.  As I do not feel this way anymore.  I have grown and I realize all of God's children are so very wonderful and the child growing inside of me is not any more special than a child across the world that I do not know.  I do not find myself joyfully thinking of the little one growing inside of me.  Instead, I find myself thinking of all the children in the Lisanga orphanage.  I wake up in the middle of the night with their faces in my heart.

I have now realized that adoption is such a miracle.  It is just as miraculous as pregnancy.  Something I selfishly yearned for a few years ago, has now been given to me.  I know I should be thanking God for this wonderful gift!  But all I can see are the tears running down those beautiful babies' dark faces.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Recovering Monday

Today I am recovering from our very busy weekend and all the sugar!  First there was trick-or-treating!  We had to squeeze this in on Friday night.  Saturday, Parker had basketball practice, after that we drove almost two hours to the State Marching Band Competition, then we shopped and ate.  (There are three high schools in our small county.  All three made it to State Finals!  Being a previous band geek, I am so proud of these students!  I know how much time and committment it takes to perform like they did.)  Sunday we had  church and the kids were surprised by a bouncy and the older ones were able to do the rope course in the woods behind the church.  We left from there and went straight to Bedford for two of Parker's games.  Then did an early celebration of Parker's birthday with some of Jamey's family at Mr. Gatti's. Then Parker and I shopped for some shoes, which we did not find : (

So, today I recover, not as in resting (how I wish).  But picking up everything that everyone just threw on the floor as we ran from place to place and of course LAUNDRY lots of LAUNDRY!  I am on my 4th load and still have a few more to go.

Here are some pics of our busy weekend:

Friday, October 29, 2010

"I have BIG hair! Looks like Cotton Candy! Yummy Candy!"- Chad Ona Sullivan

If only I had a dime for every minute I spent on hair and skin care, I'd adopt another child!  I never imagined how much time I would spend on hair care for my boys.  I guess I should be more specific Chad's hair.  Ian still has fine thin baby hair.  Hopefully one day it will grow in, but for now I am enjoying the ease of Ian's hair.

Chad on the other hand....he has the kinkiest hair I have ever seen.  I am still absolutely in awww of how tight it is.  Just look at this.  That little black circle is Chad's curl.  It is almost 4 inches long if streched out staight!

I know it would be much easier on me just to shave it down.  But the back of his head is really really flat and he looks so much cuter with hair.  And I just love his hair!  Unfortunately, I was not using the right products for his hair until recently.  His hair was hard and dry.  I didn't know this wasn't normal until I felt the hair of one of Chad's new friends, a fellow adopted Congolese girl.  (Yeah, I am the ignorant white mom).  Her hair was soooo soft.  So, I began to rethink our hair care products.  The products I was using seemed to work for  most afican american children, but my boy has A LOT more african in him!

I asked one of the more veteran OFA parents, Cami.  She gave me a list of products from Miss Jessy's.  I about had a cow when I saw the price of these products!  But I do not want Chad to be known as the "poor little black boy who has a white mama who does NOT know what she is doing with his hair".  So, I bought shampoo, conditioner, Rapid Recovery Treatment, and Baby Buttercream.

Well, I was absolutely AMAZED by the difference in Chad's hair after one use of these products.  It was so soft and it was so much easier to pick through.  Which was a blessing, we spent I am guessing at least 20 minutes a day picking this boy's hair out.  If it was not done twice daily, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to pick out the next day.

Here is a picture of some twists I tried a few months ago.  I made the twists to big, so they only stayed in for a few days.  I didn't like them well enough to have them lock.

So, Megan introduced me to the NUDRED.  You have to watch the video. I really wich I had known about this product before I spent 3 days twisting Chad's hair!  If you haven't noticed, Chad does not like to sit still!  So, I twisted while he ate  and even while he sleeped.I have done part of Chad's hair with it and it is a real time saver!  If his was shorter, it would be breeze to make little twists!  To most of you all's suprise Chad's hair is close to 4 inches long when it is stretched out!  But I am thinking of getting it cut just so I can use the NUDRED on him with ease.  I apologize the music is REALLY annoying, but it is amazing how quickly this guys hair transforms in front of your eyes!

Today, I tried something for the first time.  I used Missy Jessy's products and blow dried his hair combing it out continuously.  This gave him a little Afro.  The pictures don't show it very well.  I should have spent a little more time blow drying it out.  As some parts are much longer than others.  After, I finisheded, Chad looked in the mirror and said, "I have BIG hair!  Looks like cotton candy, yummy candy!"   And well, it did.

So, his hair is somewhat under control.  Now we have skin issues : (   I thought we had his skin under control, but now he has this dry skin rash on his face.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with african skin, it takes a lot of work to keep it healthy.  Last winter, we would apply a lotion and then a vaseline type product on top of it THREE times a day.  Yes, they were greasy little boys.  I had greasy hand prints on all of our windows, but without doing this their skin would get ashy gray and dry.  With two babies, I felt like this was and changing diapers was all I did!

So, all you mothers of african babies out there, what are you using on the skin?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

In Our Arms for ONE YEAR

Wow!  It was a year ago that we arrived in Kinshasa.  How time flys by!  So, much has changed since then.  The boys were so small!  Chad weighed in at 17# and Ian at 11#.  Now the are 38# and 22#!   We have seen amazing physical growth this year.  But even more amazing is watching them open their hearts to us, to trust us.  This seems like a simple task to most people.  But it was the hardest thing Chad has ever had to do. To open his wounded heart back up.  I proudly say today that he has finally adopted me.  I am very honored to be Chad and Ian's Mama.  I thank God everyday for these boys.

I am celebrating our Family this week.

Here is a post that I wrote a few days after we arrived in Kinshasa.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

First, I apologize to all of those who have been checking my blog.  I simply have had no time to write!

Well, Sunday night was the hardest day of my life.  Leaving Livia and Parker was so hard.  They are so excited but just did not want us to leave them.  I didn't want to leave them at all.  I was very mad at myself.  I really wished one of us would have stayed home with them.  We have called home several times and of course they are doing fine.  But we all terribly miss each other and we can't wait to get home!

We arrived in Kinshasa on Tuesday around 2:00.  Pastor Loma picked us up and drove us to the guest house.  The boys arrived a few minutes after we did.  I was so overwhelmed with emotion!  My boys were right before my eyes!  I could actually hold them.  I held myself back for a few minutes and talked to them.  Ian came right to me.  He is so adorable.  I then passed him on to Jamey were he fell asleep.  I decided to spend all of my attention on Chad.   Chad would cry everytime I looked at him.  I believe they had been preparing him for this day.  He knew what was going on and he did not like it.  My heart broke for him.  Pastor Loma and his family stayed with us for probably 45 minutes.  I finally decided to hold Chad.  He did not cry and hasn't ever since.  When I finally gave him to Jamey, he fell asleep too.  Daddy seems to have the magic touch.

We all slept together in a king size bed surrounded by mosqito netting. Using a flashlight, I felt like we were camping.  Couldn't help but think that Livia and Parker would really like it!  Wednesday we took the boys to the clinic.  It was probably only 5 miles away, but took about 2 hours to get there.  The boys were wonderful.  The trip was a very long one still.  With no air, high tempeture, high humidity and 11 people in a  mini-van it sure was hot and sweaty!  The boys only got blood drawn and will have a thorough examination next Monday.  They had a very hard time finding a vein on Ian.  It was very hard to see him in pain.  But he was over that very quickly.

Ian has bonded with me very quickly.  He wants to snuggle and give me kisses all the time!  Yesterday, he would fuss if I was not next to him.  He would cry and stop as soon as I picked him up.  He is a very happy baby!  He laughs and smiles and coos a lot and sings a lot too.  He is also very active and jumps on me non stop.  He's sort of hard to hold.  He is very strong.  Jamey found a scale here at the guest house and he weighs 11# and Chad weighs 19#.  We aren't for sure how accurate the scales are, they appear to be very old.  But they both are very small!  Ian has been wearing 3-6 month clothing and some 9 month old.  The clothes I packed for Chad 18-24 months  have been big on him and he has been wearing Ians 9 month old onsies.  I have a feeling both of the boys will be growing very quickly.  Ian takes lots of formula and Chad is eating all of mine and Jamey's meals (at the guest house we are served our meals and only a small amount is prepared)!  We are so excited that he has such a good appetite.  He had been eating mostly bread.  So, I am so pleasantly suprised that he likes green beans, greens, chicken and meat.  He just will eat anything so far.

Chad hasn't cried at all.  But he is not himself yet around us.  When we are with Pastor Loma he lights up and his personality comes out.  He smiles and talks (French and Lingala)!  With only us he still talks, unfortunately we cannot understand him.  He is much more subdued.  It is such a big change for him and he has been through so much already.  But he does love to snuggle!  Will stand and try to walk with assistance.  But he tires very easily.  He had Malaria and I don't think he has ever recovered his full strengh since than.  Well, they just rang the bell so I've got to go feed him some lunch.  I will try to right more the next chance I get.

Well, I am back.  Well fed happy babbies!  They are both so easy.  They never cry.  Ian cries only when he is hungry and has as I mentioned cries when I leave the room.  But he has started being fine with Jamey today.

 Oh, and did I mention how cute they are!  Here are some pictures! 

Chad looking at a book.

Ian giggling!

Ian kissing Stori

Ian and Stori

Chad asleep on Jamey

Monday, October 18, 2010

Three Boys on a Log

Chad's face tells the story.
Guys, quiet, here she comes.  Be calm. She'll never know what we are up to.
Mom, we aren't doing anything.  Just three boys sitting on log.
Guys, don't make eye contact.  She'll figure us out.

Oh crap.....Ian is going to let the cat out of the bag!

See Mama, we are just your three precious boys sitting on a log.

Mommy is guessing from the following pictures that you boys were up to something!

Got to Love My Boys!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Praise, Praise, Praise the Lord!

I am giving much praise this month!  Chad has made some really BIG steps!

First, I should probably explain, because this is a topic that I didn't share with most people.  Not even the details with my husband.  I felt there was something wrong with me.  I didn't want to people to think that our family was a failure.  Maybe I thought if I didn't say it out loud it really wasn't the case.  But anyway, I know now that was all very silly of me to think.  So, now I share the details.

The day I first saw Chad.  He looked me straight in the eyes, screamed and cried hysterically.  I felt like he had seen the devil.  His foster parents had showed him pictures of me and had told him that I was his new Mama and he would be leaving them to live with me.  This was something he did not want at all!!!  My heart ached for this little guy.  I knew how scared he was.  The next few days, Chad was limp.  He had no expression and didn't talk.  After a few days he slowly started opening up.  And one day we found out he had those gorgeous dimples : )

He bonded with Jamey pretty quickly.  Actually, it seemed like he bonded with everyone very quickly, except for me.  He wanted no part of me.  It was hard for me, but I understood, he had lost his Mama and he didn't want to risk losing another one.  So, he would rather not have one at all.

When we returned home everyone was greeted by the most loving child ever!  He snuggled, kissed and hugged everyone he saw.  Well, except for me.  As I heard everyone say how sweet he was, my heart broke.  How could I ever tell these people how Chad was when they left.  You see when there was no one else around and he was stuck with me, he would start to love on me and then he would stop himself and either bite me or scratch my face, aiming for my eyes.  It was so hard to take, day after day after day.  I finally expressed my concern to Jamey.  He thought I was a crazy or jealous of their bond.  He never saw this side of Chad.  Because when Jamey was home, Chad had someone to cling to and he was able to ignore me.

This went on for probably 5 months and then this summer he began to get much better.  This summer he started having very few of his "attack mama" spells.  Certain things triggered it, such as our Our Family Adoption reunion.  My heart was so broken when I couldn't pick him up for a week without him attacking me.  We had made so much progress and I felt we were back at square one.  But he soon stopped the attacks again.

In September I took a much needed weekend getaway with my two besties.  I was somewhat worried about how Chad would act when I returned.  To my surprise he acted like I hadn't even left.  But then the day after I returned,  Chad came running into my arms, looked me in the eyes and said as happy as he could be, "Mama always comes back!"  Yes, I do Chad!  My eyes were so full of tears.  Tears of joy that he realized this, tears of sorrow that he had a past that had made him doubt this.

So, here is the BIG STEPS I am giving PRAISE for:

Chad loves to look into my eyes now.  This was something he always had avoided.  

Chad loves to run into my arms.  Unfortunately, I still find myself crinching as to protect myself when he comes to me with his mouth open, but I always get a kiss now.

Chad yells for MAMA when he gets hurt!  This child would go to any stranger in Walmart for comfort before he would come to me.  Yes, it is quite embarrassing when your child walks ups to a stranger with tears, clings to their leg and begs to be picked up.

Chad wants to be with me when he is scared.  He used to sit alone with big terrified eyes and would push me away.  Now he wants to be in my lap with his head snuggled in my neck!

Chad has actually cried or fussed when he knows I am going to leave and does not want to go with anyone else.  He previously would walk out the door with anyone.  People would jokingly say that they would love to take him home.  And he would cry because they did not take him home!

I hope this gives some of you hope out there that have been dealing with attachment issues.  And I hope this might prepare some of you that are in the process of adopting.  It will be hard not to somehow blame yourself.  It will be hard to always want to hang in there.  Please find someone who has been through this or is going through this to talk to.  I would never have made it through this year without my great friend Megan. This is one of those new friends that really gets my life now!

I am not naive, I know that we are on the top of a mountain now and we will fall back into many valleys along our path together.  But I am so PRAISING the Lord that Chad finally knows he is home in his Mama's arms.  He knows that he is greatly loved!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. . .And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Faces in the Cherries

We had a great time today.  The kids, me and the neighbors, Jon (better known as Daddy to his kids and my two youngest) and his son Jonathan went to my mom's (Tatu's) and picked cherries.  I can't imagine a day without my neighbors.  It is such a blessing to have them!  My kids sort of have two sets of parents and four sets of grandparents up on our hill.  Add that to the 80 acres of woods and trails and you have the perfect place to grow up.  It sort of makes me jealous of my kids!  I would have loved to have grown up here!

Anyway, back to the cherries, there were tens of thousands of beautiful red cherries on my parents' cherry trees.  I have never seen so many cherries.  I love being able to pick anything straight of of a tree or vine and eat it right away.  It just tastes so amazingly better than anything you could buy, even at farmer's market.  So my basket was not filling up very quickly.  But my belly was!  Thankfully, Livia and Parker were picking away!  I hope to be able to make a few pies and maybe some jam this weekend.  And definately some cherry cordial!  It is like drinking cherry pie!  Unfortunately, it takes over a month to make.

Here are some pictures of the picking.

My beauty in the cherries

Jonathan all smiles!

Chad climbing up the ladder, trying to get to.....

Parker up in the tree

Ian hanging out with Grandma Tatu

This is how Ian finished his day...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdoms

Today I FINALLY learned how to get Ian to take a long nap!  (I just pray he's not actually getting sick)

He was feeling extra snuggly today and wanted me to carry him around everywhere.  So, I got out my handy K-Tan sling.  I love this sling!  I haven't had it out for along time because he has become much more independent.  I put it on and he loved it.  It felt so  good to have him snuggled into me so closely.  He fell right to sleep as I cleaned the kitchen and I slid him and the sling off of me together.  He remained all wrapped up.  He has slept for 2 1/2 hours and is still snoozing away!  Usually he sleeps 20-30 minutes.  This might top the list of things I have learned this year!

I apologize to all those parents that I had once thought were awful when they would say that they treasured nap time.  I remember when I was pregnant with Livia, I seriously thought that I  would never want her to go to sleep.  That I would want to spend every second with her.  Well, I soon learned everyone needs a break.
Yes, nap time is cherished in this home!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Already Six Months or Only Six Months

As I was reading Chelese's blog and reading the words six months, it just hit me that our boys have been home for six months!  Part of me reacts, "WOW!  Six months!  I can't believe they have been with us for half of a year!  Time flys!"

But most of me, is like, "What?  They have only been here for six months?"   I just feel like they have always been here.  That they have always been a part of our family.  It is a different sitiuation for me to be a mother to a 14 month old and 24 month old that have only been with me for six months.  I knew this was going to be the case when we adopted.  But honestly, I like so many had doubts about how I would actually feel about my new boys.  You know the question everyone adoptive parent has but never talks about until after they have adopted and proved themselves wrong.  "Will I love the boys as much as my biological children?"  I was so afraid that my answer would be No.

So, I often find myself laughing out loud at my thoughts now.  I will be thinking something like.....how Ian got his long finger like toes from me and how Chad got his lively personality from Livia.  I have to actually remind myself that I did not give birth to these children!  (Which adds to the long list of things that really makes me feel like I am losing it!)  I mean I am pretty darn pale!  I think it would be quite impossible for someone with such beautiful dark skin to come out of me.  But that does not matter.  Chad and Ian are still my beautiful boys and I am still their mommy.

So, to me, it still seems strange that they have only been home for six months.  It seems strange, that over 1/2 of Ian's life and 3/4 of Chad's life has been without me.  Yes, I knew that would be the case all along.  I just didn't expect that they would feel like they were mine.  I didn't expect myself to forget that I adopted them. 

I have to thank God for letting these two grow in my heart way before I met them........they have been with me all along.

Here are some pics taken today of the two little ones.  We are loving the weather!

First, we picked some strawberries from our garden.  Yummy!

Then we played in the pool.

We ate.

We shared.

We had lots of fun!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Blogger in the Family!

Livia has started her own blog!  She is really into it.  I am really glad, because she is taking lots of pictures that I wish I was taking and journaling about our everyday!  I am anxious to see if she continues to keep up with the daily blogs posts.

Check her out at  Livi's Life!  I am sure she would really enjoy some comments about her blog : )

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom

I have learned this year that when you add two kids to your family of four and make it a family of six, you end up at the hospital, doctor's office or ER very frequently!

I always thought we were a really healthy family.  Other than an occasional strep throat test at the clinic, we gladly stayed away from health care. 

I expected all of the lab work and vaccinations with the Chad and Ian.   Just not all of the other stuff that has happened in the last few months. 

Livia became our first child to ever have surgery.  She had her tonsils and aednoids removed.  This was such a blessing.  We didn't realize how much her sleep was being affected.  We used to have to scream, " Livia it is time to get up NOW!"  several times every morning.  Now the girl is up before we are full of energy!

Ian had a visit to the ER.  His upper airway was narrowing.  I was scared to death he had something lodged in his throat.  He still wants to put everything in his mouth.  He had to be admitted.  He thankfully was breathing fine the next day.  We have no idea what caused this.  But X-rays showed it was not due to any foriegn object in his throat.

Chad had a useless visit to the ER.  His foreskin had apparantly started closing up and he had extreme pain and could barely urinate.  After an hour drive to Louisville and two and a half hours in the ER the urologist refused to come in, stating "it wasn't a true emergency."  So we went home without any treatment what so ever!  Yes, we were very ticked off!  I can't help but think it being DERBY weekend had a lot to do with this.  He was relieved temporarily the next day by a wonderful urologist, who told us to bring him in right away.

Parker cut his leg on his bike chain.  He is a drama child when it comes to pain.  So, when he came in the house and said he cut himself without any tears.  I told him to take a shower and then I would look at it.  Well, a few minutes later Jamey told me to go help Parker (Jamey can't help in these situations or I would be cleaning up vomit too!).  So, to my suprise he had a cut I could lay my whole finger in!!!!  Yes, this kid was in shock, he was shaking and sweating.  So, off to the ER we went again!

Then yesterday, our second surgery, Chad had to be circumsized to fix his previous issue.  My heart just breaks for the poor little guy.  He is in so much pain.  I am trying to survive having to hold two babies non stop as Ian is sick too.  And trying to survive Chad with a naked bottom all day.  It is awfuly cute to see but, he's not quite potty trained, so ...well, you can imagine!

As I have had all of these visits, I just thank God that this is all we are dealing with.  We have four healthy children!  And we live in a country where health care is easily found.  I remember how hard it was to have children who needed specialized medical treatment in the D.R.C.  It just wasn't available.  It was an awful feeling to have a child in pain and not be able to get in my car and get a diagnosis with some medicine for him.

Seeing my children in the ER and being taken away from me into surgery is so hard.  I feel so helpless.  I just wish it was me with the pain and not them.  It made me think of all the parents who have children who are really ill.  How do they do it?  I just can't imagine.  I have cried so many times these past few months for these families I have not met.  I pray that God blankets them with her comfort and supports them with his strength.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mama's Heart Just Melted

Yep, my heart just melted again.  Somehow it manageses to go back to solid stage again and again.

But right now it is melted.  And it feels so nice.

The cause of it?  Well, let me tell you.

It happened as I was putting Chad's shorts on him today.

I told him, "I love you.  I LOVE YOU SO SO VERY MUCH!!!"

He responded, "Thank you.  Thank you, Mama loving Chaddy."

Yep, I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy.

Thank you. Thank you Chad  for loving Mama.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdoms

It has been a long time since I have shared our weekly wisdoms.  Although, as always, wisdoms sounds way more important than our little learning adventures.  But here they are anyway.

Chad has learned he does not really like it when Pappy (this is what he calls his daddy, while he calls the neighbor "Daddy") gives Mama lots of kisses.  He has started saying, "Pappy, Mama is all done, Mama IS ALL DONE!"   But he sure likes it when he gets to give them to Mama!  This picture was taken to amuse him when we spent all day doing pre-op visits at the doctor's office and hospital.

Ian has learned he can stand up in the middle of the room all by himself.  He actually looks like a little surfer when he does it.  His legs are too far apart and bend and he sort of bounces with a proud look on his face.  But he has yet to take steps by himself.

Livia has learned to play the Sugarland song It Happens on the guitar!  She is going to be singing and playing it for her class American Idol Contest.  How fun is that!  I can't wait to attend the contest.  She has yet to play it for me.  She is to embarrased.  So, I am wondering how she is going to play it in front of a crowd.  Her instructor says she is doing great with it, so I am sure she will be great.

Parker should have learned by now to stay away from vines with three leaves.  But for some reason he hasn't.  This poor boy has had poison ivy nonstop!  The first day was the worst, we had to go and get a cortisone shot.  My poor little guy couldn't open his eyes.  And it was also on places he would prefer for me not to discuss on here!  Now he has a new batch on his chest.  The boy loves to climb trees and be in the woods.  So, I think he has just learned to deal with the itching.  He never complains anymore.  I think this is because he is afraid I will ban him from the woods.

Our dog Toby has learned that this is the safest place for him in our house.  You see, the boys used to be scared to death of him.  Not any more!  They LOVE him and want to pet, pull,  and squeeze him!  He tolerates this very well, but now prefers his little perch.  He reminds me so much of cat up there. But Unfortunately, for him Ian just learned that he can climb up on the couch!

I learned yesterday that frames can do wonders for artwork!  I cherished these paintings we bought when we were in Kinshasa, until recentley they had still been rolled up in a bag.  Now they are framed for everyone to enjoy and I absolutely LOVE them!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Chad!

I just cannot believe Chad is two!  Time has flown by.  We have had these two little ones in our arms for over six months!  And boy has Chad changed!

You can't really see how small he was in this picture.

When I was looking back at this picture.
 I first thought this was Ian!

I remember thinking he was maybe 6-9 months old when I first held him.  He was so skinny.  He couldn't walk.  He wouldn't talk.  He wouldn't laugh.  He wouldn't look at me.  He was limp in my arms.  This all quickly changed!

We soon found out he could talk!  He never shuts up now!  His vocabularly amazes me!  He laughs all the time!  Lucky us, we get to see those cute dimples all day long!  He began walking about a month after we brought him home.  Now he runs and climbs on everything!  And I guarantee no one thinks of the word "skinny" when they see Chad! 

He is a wonderful big brother.  He tries to protect Ian and teach him what he should not do.  I commonly hear Chad nicely saying, " No, no, Ian."  If Ian cries,  Chad is the first one there, to ask, "What happened?" and give Ian a kiss.

He is a wonderful little brother.  Everyday when we pick Parker and Livia up from school Chad runs to them tackles them!  Nothing makes someone feel better than to be greated with such enthusiasm!  He also loves to play Wii with Parker.  He will even stop eating (which is his favorite thing) if he hears Parker say he is going to play Wii.  He has no clue that he is not controlling that car on the screen.  He sits on the couch steering his car! 

And of course he is a wonderful son!  I believe right now my favorite thing about him is that he asks several times a day for "Mama Snuggles". 

Today, we spent a few hours at the town park.  Chad must have felt that he was older today.  He insisted he could go down the big slide by himself. 

He loved this spinning thing-a-ma-jig. 
 I have no idea what to call this.

And loved rocking with Ian!

In honor of his birthday, I am now giving a copy of AThousand Sisters to two lucky ladies Missy and Carrie!  This privacy thing benifited you ladies!  My blog is not nearly as busy!  Please email me your addresses.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Congolese Women

Everytime I see Chad's dimples, I wonder if his mom had such a gorgeous face.  As I snuggle Ian into me, I can't help but think of all their birth mom is missing.  As I have spent a bit more time thinking of my babies birth mother, I can't help but be completely saddened by the whole situation.  A mother should be able to care for her babies until they are old and able to care for themselves.  Sadly, this is not the case for so many Congolese mothers.  So, I have been thinking of all those women in the D.R.C.  Those who simply have no means to take care of their kids due to having malaria, AIDS, etc.  Those who have died in childbirth.  Those who work harder than anybody I know to be able to take care of their kids. 

Congolese women are very strong, determined, compassionate women.  They love children.  I could see this in their eyes and with their smiles at Chad and Ian when we passed them in the streets of Kinshasa.  The orphanages are full of children due to illness, deaths, war, and extreme poverty.  Not because it is a country of women who do not want to care for their children. 

Congolese women carry water several times a day to their family.  No, not little water bottles, I am talking big 5 gallon containers of water!  And I am not talking about carrying them across the street, I am talking about miles to the closest stream, which could be several miles away.  This makes me not so eager to complain when I have two gallons of milk to carry in from my van parked in my nice sheltered garage.  They also are the ones who carry other supplies their family must use to survive.  Sometimes they pack up to 150 pounds!!!  All for the love of their family.

Many women must relocate because their house has been burnt to the ground or it is simply not safe enough for her and her family.  They have no choice but to carry everything they have until they find safety.

But it is not the physical burdens that are the most stressful.  It is the emotional burdens they must live through.  Can you imagine seeing your children die of preventable disease? 
Seeing your sister or mother die in childbirth. 
Or even worse seeing your family violated
and then.....
burned alive. 

These women are very strong women.  With our help they can do great things.  I encourage you to read Lisa Shannon's book A Thousand Sisters.  It will surely inspire you to sponsor a woman through Women for Women International

If by chance you don't know who Lisa Shannon is, she is my hero!  Shortly put, she was sitting on her couch watching Oprah one day.  The topic was the D.R.C. the worst place in the world to be a woman.  She was so moved by these women that she got her butt up and began training to run 30 miles.  All to raise money and awareness for the women of the Congo.  She has now been to visit her sponsored sisters and many more.  You can read more about her here in a recent TIME magazine article: From Oprah to Congo: One Woman's Attempt to Save Thousands.

In the hopes that more people will be inspired to act and maybe sponsor a woman, I am giving away a copy of A Thousand Sisters!  All you have to do is write me a message and I will enter you in a drawing.  The name will be drawn on May 5th (Chad's 2nd Birthday!).

Now, I am going to go and write Simupate (my sponsored Congolese Sister, mother of 6 children) a letter and let her know that we care so much about her and all of the other Congolese women.