Thursday, January 31, 2008

Anna joins the family


Through the adoption process, there are a few days that really stand out. Today is one of those days. A long ways off in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Anna went before a judge and officially joined our family. It sometimes seems to me that I ought to think it strange to have a family member that we have not yet met. It does not seem strange to me, however. In fact, it seems natural. There is a child in need of a family that can care for her and so she is getting a family.

Now that Anna is officially our child, we can post a picture of her. The above photo is a shot that was sent to us when she recieved a photo album that we sent to her. She is looking at the pages with pictures of the kids.

The next step for us is to hear when our US embassy appointment will be in Ethiopia. When we hear that date we will be able to plan our trip to Ethiopia to bring Anna to our home.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

12 Kids Underfoot

Ever wonder what it would be like to have lots of kids living in your house? Have you adopted once and wonder if you will end up with a bunch more because you won’t be able to kick the habit? Well, we got to see what life would be like having 12 kids from 5-12 years old for a few nights when good friends of ours traveled out of town. It was an enlightening experience. Here are some of the things that we learned.

It takes a lot of food. CrazyMom whipped up a box (that is a whole box) of pancake mix for pancakes one morning and they ate it all. For supper one night we had spaghetti and meatballs. CrazyMom cooked a 3 lb box of spaghetti, added 3 jars of sauce to some meatballs, opened up 4 cans of green beans. They ate it all along with a whole gallon of milk. Try to picture what they would eat 7 years from now when they would all be between 12 and 19 instead of from 5 to12 years old. Here is a shot of 10 of the kids at lunch one day.


There are crazy moments and then there are calm moments. At one point the kids were all over the place. There were kids everywhere and it was loud in the house. Nobody was doing anything they shouldn’t be doing; it was just a lot of kids. CrazyMom and I slipped away to the office in the back corner of the house for a little space from the noise. After talking for a few minutes we realized the house was completely quiet. Struck with panic we set out to find the kids. All twelve were in one room quietly playing (or watching) a game of Monopoly.

You can’t go anywhere without people staring. We decided to take the kids out to see an African children’s choir one night. It is pretty bad when you own a twelve passenger van and you still have to take two cars. Well, you just can’t walk in anywhere these days with twelve kids without people staring. Everyone acted like they have never seen a large family before.

It takes a concerted effort to make sure you connect with each child during the day. You interact will kids all of the time, but that does not mean that you are interacting with each kid. If you only have six, you think to yourself, “Gee, I haven’t seen Buddy in a while.” You then check in with him and catch up on what he is doing. With 12 kids it is easy to lose track of who you have seen and who you have not seen. You need to keep a list of the kids names so you can look it over now and again to remind yourself of the names of kids you might not have seen around recently.

Messes happen fast. No sense in trying to keep the house picked up during the day. Messes just happen too fast.

Many hands make light work. So you have a massive mess in the house. Not a problem at all when you have a dozen kids to pick it up. When the time comes you simply announce that it is time to clean up and within minutes the whole job is done.

It takes a big couch. We bought one recently when we finished the basement and boy, did it come in handy.



When people would hear that we had 12 kids at out house they would just shake their heads. But it was actually a great time. The kids had tons of fun and CrazyMom and I did too.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another Adoption Update

We were hoping that Anna would officially become a part of our family on Wednesday, but it did not happen. The case went to court and was continued again. It seems that in a country where many people don't have an email address, a phone, or even a street address, it can be hard to get the word out on when people need to be at court. While we were disappointed to have another setback, things are looking very promising now for next Thursday, January 31st. Please keep Anna in your prayers.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Vignettes II

The last vignettes post contained different scenes involving the kids. Here are a few involving CrazyMom and me.

Secret Pow-Wows

A normal event is that I come home from work and there is all of the hustle and bustle going on with all of the kids. CrazyMom catches my eye with a directional nod indicating that we need to have a secret pow-wow back in the office. We slip away, close the door, and hurriedly discuss the pertinent topic in the two minutes we have before the kids rout us out.

Dates

CrazyMom and I gave Miss Bookworm her first official I-am-in-charge event and we went out for coffee. It took a long time to work through touching base on each child and how they are doing. When we were done with that, we focused on family procedures. After a rousing discussion on the ins and outs of doing laundry, we adopted new procedures for the laundry routine. No date gets any better than that.

The Look

CrazyMom has a lot of different looks that she can give you. Each is rich and full of meaning. My favorite look from her, the one I hope to get on a regular basis from now until the day I die, is the you-are-currently-doing-something-of-which-I-don’t-fully-approve-which-is-funny-and-while-I-am-making-efforts-not-to-laugh-you-should-stop-right-now-because-I-think-this-could-corrupt-the-kids-in-some-way-but-I-know-you-well-enough-to-know-you-are-not-going-to-stop-and-I-love-you-anyway look.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Night with a New Camera

Tonight I was playing around with a new point-and-shoot camera that I got for Christmas. Here are a few shots.









Now I don't want you to think that the kids were sitting around reading all night. Trust me, there was plenty of other stuff going on. Here the kids are enjoying marshmallows for dessert. You don't have to worry about them eating too many when they chose this delivery technique.



Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vignettes

When I pause to think about what is going on in my life, here are some scenes that come to mind.

New Moms

CrazyMom is on her way out the door to pick up Miss Bookworm from violin. I come down the steps and find that Ed has assumed the role of Master Homemaker. She is standing at the sink peeling potatoes for dinner with Buddy’s spelling list propped up in front of her. She is preparing dinner as she quizzes Buddy on his spelling words. She has learned to multitask from the best and she is in her element.

Anticipating Anna

I come home from work and K.D. comes up to me and takes my hand and leads me to our kitchen table which has eight chairs.

“How much does this chair cost?” he asks.

“Um, I am not sure. Why do you want to know?” I reply.

“We only have eight. I want to buy a chair for Anna!”

I had to break the news to him that he did not have enough allowance money to buy a chair for Anna but that it would be OK. Mom and dad would buy a chair for Anna just like we bought a chair for him and F.G. before they came.

Radiating

When F.G. first got her hair straightened it was a big deal for her. I remember her saying to me, “Look, Dad! I can run my fingers through my hair!” Shortly after that I was sitting in church and the children were up on stage doing something. F.G. was wearing her favorite bright orange denim jacket which looks great on her. I can still clearly recall the picture in my mind of her up on stage. She was radiant.

Joke Telling

I have come to realize that a standard phase kids go through is the joke-telling phase. Buddy has been our most recent child to go through this stage. He reads joke books, tells us jokes, and makes up jokes.

“Hey, Dad! Why don’t seagulls fly over the bay?”

“Um. . . I don’t know Buddy. Why?”
“Because then they would be bagels. What is black and white and red all over?”
“Um. . . I don’t know Buddy. What?”

“A newspaper! What is round on the ends and high in the middle?”

“I think I got this one. A car gets into an accident and the axle gets bent so it is high in the middle but the wheels are round on the end.”

“No, Dad. Ohio!”

I was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with Buddy, which was a welcome relief but now it appears K.D. is entering the phase. CrazyMom told me that in the car the other day K.D. was telling her jokes.

Snuggling

Little Foot is our snuggler. Now some kids sit on your lap or lean their head against you when you are sitting on the couch or poke you with every pointy elbow they have when they are trying to get situated. Little Foot is not like that. He crawls onto your lap, turns sideways, tilts his head down a little and with a thumb in his mouth, snuggles in. He is a real pro.

Email Relationships

Miss Bookworm now has an email account and because of that we have a new way of communicating with each other. Email is my love language and I think it might be hers as well. It is great to be able to touch base during the day with an email even though I am at work and she is at home. It is almost like one-on-one time.

Just a few vignettes from my life.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Adoption Update

The next major step in our adoption is for our case to go to court in Ethiopia. Once this happens, Anna will legally be our child (according to Ethiopia). We would then travel to Ethiopia when we get a U.S. Embassy appointment which is usually 4-6 weeks after a successful court date.

We were informed in December that we were likely to have a court date in early January. Well, early January came and we did not hear of a court date. But then on Friday we received an email that told us that our court date had been on that very day, but it was unsuccessful because not all pertinent parties were present.

The next attempt at court will come on January 23rd. Hopefully everything will be in order on that day so that Anna can come to our home quickly.