Sunday, June 26, 2011

Whispers in my Ear

Tonight we came home from a fun night out with friends and as I was picking the kitchen up, Etienne came out naked, saying, "ready for bathtime, Mama." I didn't think a lot of it but told him to please get dressed, it wasn't time yet. A few minutes later, I noticed a very large, wet stain on my red couch. I asked the crew, including my fab husband, if something spilled. E said, "Maybe from when we went swimming?" I still didn't think much of it. Long story short, Etienne peed his pants and than deliberately lied about it to Ryan and I. At length. You can guess that this was followed by a lot of discipline and tears.
I was really angry. The same old lies. Peeing his pants. Ugh. But I knew the RAD response to this was exactly what I didn't feel like doing. So I began to pray with E and than rock him (grudgingly). Then, without prompting, Etienne apologized for lying. We rocked and I sang to him and told him I forgave him. E than asked, "Sing me that song that Jesus sings." I really wasn't sure and asked him what he was talking about. He said (word for word) "When I was in that orphanage, Jesus whispered in my ear at night. He said 'I will take care of you.'" Those who know Etienne know that he is loud, funny, and loud again. He isn't much for make believe or story telling. I soaked in what he said as we rocked and rocked and cried and cried some more together. Again, Etienne told me how Jesus whispered and sometimes he sang about taking care of him. He said he didn't see Jesus that much, but he could feel and hear him. "It was dark at night, Mama."
FYI for skeptics. Everyone in the Home of Hope wore a habit. And they were women.

Friday, June 24, 2011

My husband is hot.

"And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” -Malachi 4:6 (NKJV)
The head of our household is a man of God. He puts up with chaos, lots of vegetables and an unusual amount of half dressed kids. He prefers to sleep in but is usually awoken early by singing. He gets a lot of random Trivial Pursuit questions from Molly and referees a fair number of wrestling matches. Ryan also attempts fun projects, usually with E a half step behind, undoing them.
Ryan is abnormally patient and excellent at tuning out the unessential. I think this is because during the school year, he is surrounded by adolescents. Either way, it makes parenting the boys a little easier for him. I love that he isn't phased by our hectic household and that he always thanks me for making dinner (he prefers meat/potatos yet he married a woman that could enjoy vegetarian-ism). He is home all summer, and although he isn't ready to tackle story time alone with the entourage, he easily manages the park or Home Depot.
Did you know that developmentally,when boys are ages 4-6, they begin to identify gender differences? They prefer their daddy to anyone else? This is so incredibly true, especially with Etienne. E has always preferred his father, and I am so thankful that his father is a man of integrity; fun yet strict, patient and tolerant. Below is the fort Ryan built the kids. I think he was shooting for my popular dad on the block.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Even before we adopted Etienne and Zeke, we hard a lot of comments regarding siblings and adoption. "I just couldn't love them enough as my own children," or "Adopting would really effect our kids that we have." etc. etc. etc. That is true. Adoption has TOTALLY changed Molly and Blake:
-They have empathy. Molly and Blake cry for their brothers when we talk about the orphanage. They are sad by Compassion commercials. Blake offers money (ours!) to the man on the corner.
-They are more patient with every other kid they meet.
-I can not remember the last time I had to tell them to share.
-Molly and Blake initiated, sponsored and filled 4 shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse (
-They prefer to share their room, their bed, the pillow
-My kids will not say "that's not fair" because they know now what really isn't fair in life. It's easy for us to remind them of the injustices in life.
-Both Molly and Blake believe adoption is the standard. They plan to adopt when they are "grown up."
-Molly says "it's always entertaining around the house" We don't need to make plans, schedule events or spend money to have a full day.
-Blake is the first to say God gave him his best friend "that is also my brother"
Yes, adoption changes a biological kid. Sure, Molly may have had to learn to wash her hair by herself sooner than she would have if it was just her and B. Yes, Blake has to share most every toy. We never have boredom, don't know what it's like to have nothing to do. Don't remember silence. And someday, when Molly and Blake are grown, have have no doubt that their character will be loving, patient, empathetic and totally knowing the depths of God's grace.

What more could a parent want?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

reflecting on our ties...

We are just recovering from the first annual Rwanda Family Reunion, and it is a little sad around here. This Memorial Day weekend (and hopefully every), we were blessed to gather for the weekend with the families of 13 other kiddos from the Home of Hope in Rwanda. It was hectic, exhausting, joyful and surreal.
To the outsider, it may seem similar to the reunion of a classmates or a family; to us there aren't words to describe the connection we share. For me, every other child from the Home of Hope is a piece of my boys' family tree. We have so little facts on our children's beginnings but we can hold on to the common thread that began each of our families.
I also know that there will be a day that Etienne is angry that he is different. I know that at some point, Zeke will want to know more about the scar on his arm. And there isn't a lot that I can do to prepare for those days, but I can keep them close to the other children that will share those feelings and struggles.
When we adopted the boys, I lost a lot of friends. It is just a fact. Our life got messy and I got real. The blessing in this is that although I lost a few old friends, I gained an extended family. That is why this weekend was so special to us. I was able to hug, for the first time, girlfriends from across the country that I have cried and prayed and worried with. Etienne got to wrestle with Moses, his buddy that came home when he did. Zeke got to blow bubbles with at least 6 other children that shared the same cribs in the same room as him. We can't tell E and Zeke what it was like the day they were born. I can't share with E his first word or Zeke's first tooth. So we have this. It isn't the same but maybe just as valuable to their identity.
P.S. The siblings of our Rwandan kids are AMAZING. I can't count the number of times I saw a big brother or sister holding, playing, pushing on a swing, feeding or generally loving on another younger kiddo. The general public probably has a perception that siblings suffer from the dysfunction that comes into a family with adoption. Not so. These siblings were clearly a group of thoughtful, empathetic and patient kids. My heart is full.
The link below is some photos my father-in-law took of the weekend.