Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our New Digs

We're here now. The dust is still settling, but we're in (and so is all of our stuff). I have LOTS to share...but I'm lacking the time to do it right now.

Christmas was wonderful. The boys really enjoyed the visit to "Tractor" Grandpa and Grandma's house, and especially loved the visit from Santa. Jellybean said he got everything he asked for...and Peanut said that he got ALMOST everything he wanted. ;o) His birthday is coming up pretty soon, so maybe mom and dad can make up where Santa was lacking.

The move to our new house was complicated by bad weather. What could we expect in December? The first day of our move we had really icy road conditions...and Zack had to do some serious work to get the truck into the driveway. It was dicey for a while...but thankfully no one slipped and fell on the ice. The second day of the move, we had snow to deal with (though, thankfully the snow didn't get heavy until after the truck was unloaded).

If it weren't for my friend Josh, we wouldn't be in our new place (or at least all of our stuff wouldn't be here). Our helping hands fell through (also pretty expected during the holidays) so Josh was our only extra set of hands. And to be honest, I was pretty useless for loading the truck since someone had to entertain the small boys. Once stuff arrived at the new place, I pitched in. So...thank you Josh...we owe you.

On top of moving, we had our readoption hearing yesterday. All went well and now everything is totally official and finalized. Whew!

We've been thinking a lot lately about what we were doing last year at this time. Zack is especially longing for Ghana...he totally fell in love with the country and since he was in Ghana at this time last year, he is feeling the tug to go back. Last year Zack arrived at Eban House on Christmas morning (wearing a Santa hat and bearing gifts, I might add). He arrived back home with the boys on January 6th. During the time he was gone, I spent time finishing the boys quilts and hanging on every word that Zack emailed me about our sons that I had never met, but who I loved so much already.

My what a year its been!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Normal (or something)

For those of you who don't know...we're moving. Finally. We are buying a house and moving out of our current place. Its a terribly exciting time, but also very stressful. After all...we're moving...over the holidays...and its winter. So not fun. You'd think we would have thought that out a little better.

For the past week or so, we've been slowly packing up our stuff and piling up the boxes. This means that we're living in even more cramped space than normal around here; as the boxes cut into our living space. I've been making tons of phonecalls trying to set up new daycare arrangements, getting our utilities arranged, and preparing our sons for the new house and a new school.

This morning as we were sitting down at the breakfast table (you know, after I moved the boxes off the table and put them in the middle of the living room floor so we could eat) Peanut declared, "Mommy, I just want everything to be normal!"

Hmmm...me, too.

Hopefully life will get back to "normal" relatively soon. And don't worry...once we close on the house, there will definitely be pictures! Though, it may have to wait until after the holidays when we are moved in...and we have the internet hooked up.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Why I'm so Busy

There's a new post HERE about why life is unusually crazy around here lately.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Peanut Funny

This afternoon we had to make a quick run to the laundromat. Yuck. Our dryer died again and I didn't have it in me to find a place to put two loads of laundry to dry. I loaded all the laundry, two kids, and a few toys in the van and headed off to the big, bad laundromat. Thankfully, Monday at 4:00pm is not exactly a busy time. I got the laundry going, had the boys sit down at one of the tables with their toys and let them entertain themselves. Not long after sitting down I hear Peanut singing

"Jingle Bells, Tinker Bells, Tinkle all the way..."

I think we'll have to work on the lyrics just a bit before Christmas.

Memory Lane

When I was a senior in college, I decided to take advantage of the great travel abroad opportunities available and headed off for a month-long trip to Tanzania. My advisor was leading the trip and I knew it would be the trip of a life-time. The course was "Natural History of Tanzania" which meant I would be spending a month on a camping safari in the African bush. I was beyond excited. It was the first time I was leaving the North American continent...it would be the first time I'd ever see the ocean...and my flight from Minneapolis to Amsterdam on my way to Tanzania was my first-ever commercial flight.

The trip more than lived up to my expectations. It changed my perspective. It changed me. It is fair to say that my journey to adoption began during that trip to Tanzania.

I met some of the most incredible people in there. People who had so little, but who were willing to give it all to make this group of American students comfortable. People whose lives were hard, but whose smiles were the broadest I've ever seen. People who had so much to do, but who stopped their work to help us learn more about their culture.

One of my favorite people was our driver, A. He worked so hard making sure all of us had everything we needed, that we had the most comfortable ride possible, and that we got close enough to all the animals to get the good pictures. After driving all over Tanzania, A became a hero to many of us (those of you who have traveled on African roads will know why). He was an expert...and he always wore a friendly smile.

A few years after the trip, I re-connected with my college advisor and got caught up with news from the friends I made during my time in Tanzania. It was during this catch-up session that I learned that A had passed away; a victim of AIDS.

I was surprised to hear this news. A was a fortunate person in Tanzania; he had a good job with wonderful employers, and he made a relatively good wage. How could A have died of AIDS? Couldn't he afford the medicine he needed? Couldn't he have asked his employers for help? Couldn't he have asked some of the wealthy safari travelers he befriended for help if he needed it?

The truth is, the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS was so strong he couldn't admit to anyone that he had it. He couldn't ask for help. He knew that if people knew he had it, his family would suffer the consequences. So he suffered and died because of the stigma attached to HIV in his culture.

If A became a statistic of this disease, then what hope is there for the millions of children who are victims of this epidemic?

We have to be their hope. Did you get that? We have to be their hope.

When I think of HIV/AIDS, I don't think of a collection of faceless people who live somewhere else. I think of A's wide smile...I think of the beautiful faces of the children who have been adopted by friends...I think of stoic faces of birth parents who have surrendered their children to orphanages with the hopes that they do not have HIV and can have a life full of hope and promise with a new family...I see the faces of children who look just like my Jellybean and Peanut.

These faces are the faces of real people. People who deserve to have hope. People who deserve to be loved.

Please remember them today (and every day).