Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I absolutely love skyping with them, but I’m never satiated, at the end of each call I immediately want to hop on the next plane headed to Ethiopia. I don’t know how to describe these interactions…they’re interesting. What did we talk about? Nothing and everything. The same thing you talk about with your kids.
I learned that B bites his nails (a Moore-family habit). That put a smile on my face, but not as big as the smile I had when I saw him pull out the (disposable) camera that Sam & Wendi gave him and begin to take pictures of me on Solomon's computer screen! Um...I am no longer sure that he isn't biologically ours.
Sometimes I learn things by observing and reading between the lines, but mostly I ask a lot of questions. I learned that the boys at Kolfe are fed three times per day – bread and tea for breakfast, injera and shiro (bean dish) for lunch and the same for dinner. They are rarely given fruit and only get meat 2-3 times per year. Solomon said that in the eight years he has lived at Kolfe, he has never seen an egg.
Their world is so incredibly different from ours.
So I had this idea to interview Solomon via Skype so that you all could see what it’s like to talk to these sweet boys. Solomon was game. So…what do you want to know? Leave a comment and I’ll ask the question. I’ll post a video of the discussion here in the next week.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Here is a slice of life through their eyes:
Bug in a bucket
Friday, December 25, 2009
I remember telling Dirt that I didn't want to visit Kolfe orphanage while in Ethiopia. I knew that older boys lived there and I didn't know what I'd say to them. Wendy and I were practicing balloon animals for our trip - for little kids. What would we do with 180 young men?
When we got to Ethiopia, I heard that Kolfe was home to boys "from 10 on up". The "on up" was given a definition: men as old as mid-twenties can sometimes live there. You see, in Ethiopia, orphans have no where to go once they "age out" of orphancare. There is no money for college and there are no jobs available. The orphanage lets them stay on campus just to keep them out of crime/jail.
I had no interest in going to such a place.
When the trip to Kolfe got pinched off our busy agenda I was secretly happy.
But God had a different plan.
At the last minute, Tom decided that we were going to go to Kolfe. I happened to have been sitting next to him on the bus and mentioned how I really didn't want to go. He replied, "Oh, you'll love Kolfe! ...these boys are amazing...everyone loves Kolfe".
Nine months later, on Christmas day, I am skyping with a Kolfe orphan who I call son and who means the world to me.
I left Kolfe that day with a piece of a child planted in my heart. And every day since I have been trying to find a way to get back to him.
I checked the computer throughout the day, waiting for an opportunity to Skype. Then it happened! It was dark and difficult to see at first. 2pm here is 9pm there. Solomon was the perfect host...we chatted and he told me that someone was getting B, who was sleeping. There was a huge audience of Kolfe boys behind him, all watching and listening in.
And then I heard "here's B" and there was a shadow of a boy blending in with the night. Shy. Groggy. I think some boys had to literally push him in front of the computer.
I am perched with all three kids in front of our computer and we say "Hi" with big smiles. He says "Hi" back. Then we talk through Solomon. B understands us, but it not confident in his English, so Solomon translates. For the next hour and half, no one really knows what to say...but no one wants to hang up either. I ask a lot of questions about life at Kolfe and B is content to give one word answers. Just like Avery. Solomon fills in many of the blanks. After he warms up, he says things like "Mom, what is your favorite movie?", and "When are you coming to visit?".
I tell him that I am praying about it and asking God to open a door for me to come soon. I tell him that I will let him know when I have an exact date.
He smiles at Amaya, who is also a little camera shy. She recognizes him and whispers "B" to me.
He likes to watch Tom and Jerry. So does Avery.
Dirt comes down and says hello to everyone.
We show him the Christmas tree and talk about what an important day today is. The day Jesus was born. I show B his Christmas present: an astronomy book. Then I see the smile that melts me.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I think I just had a mild panic attack....Christmas is next week.
This leaves me with two big questions:
1) Um...why didn't anyone tell me?
2) How did Christmas get so sneaky and stealthlike?
I am so embarrassingly unprepared for Christmas. I feel awful. Our tree isn't up, Christmas gifts aren't bought, decorations aren't hung, Christmas music isn't being played.
What the heck has happened to me?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Santa's workshop. All the mommas wrapping those awful shoe boxes (we had saved up all year). It probably wouldn't be so bad, but you are required to wrap the lids separately...which is a real bummer. Aside from shopping for the goods (which is fun), wrapping takes the longest (and is not fun).
[there are no pictures of the actual packing because it was a flippin' frenzy. We filled 32 boxes in 14 seconds flat]
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Thanks to Xerox Corporation you can send a Christmas Card to a soldier serving in Iraq again this year. Just go to this web site, you can pick out a card from many that were drawn and designed by school children from across the country and add your own personal message to it.
Then Xerox will print it and it will be sent to them. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services. It is FREE and it only takes a second. It's a wonderful way during the Christmas Season to them know we are thinking of them, and thank them for what they are doing. Please take the time to pass it on for others to do also. We can never say enough thank you's for what they do for us.
This seriously takes all of 2 seconds. Get your kids involved!
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
My recent preoccupation with pens stems from Biruk's letter. When you ask a 12-year old orphan who lives in abject poverty what they need, you don't expect the answer to be "pens". "Pens, books for school, shoes, clothes". I have been a parent for 10 1/2 years and never, not once have my kids ever asked me for any of these things. These things fall under the category of "given". It's a given that they will have these essential items, they don't have to want for them or even ask for them.
This has struck me so hard because when I sent Biruk a package, I gave him papers and envelopes so that he could write to me - but no pens. I didn't even think about it; I guess I just assumed he would have access to a pen. Stupid American I am.
The reality of how little my new son has, is revealed through his wishlist. These kids have nothing. NO THING.
After I shared Biruk's e-mail with Eileen, she said this: "They only get one pen and pencil per boy and they treat them like gold. They need them for school and if they get lost or used up they can not get another one."
But God is so perfect because my dear friends Wendi & Sam Henry are headed to Ethiopia next week and I received this e-mail from Wendi this morning: just wanted you to know how intrigued I was by the 1 pen/year tidbit you shared...we are now taking 3000 pens with us to Ethiopia. Hugs, Wendi
3000 pens! Yay!
(in the above photo you will see my sweet son's shoes - the soles worn through to the ground, his truck where everything he owns is kept, and many other sweet boys at Kolfe who are living with unmet needs. )
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
You probably remember "B" from my many posts...his sweet smile has been plastered all over my two blogs, my office, and my house ever since I met him last April.
On Monday I received awesome news from a woman who also has a son at Kolfe - she informed me that she had her son Solomon set up an e-mail account for B. I was so excited that I quickly fired off an e-mail to him tellling him who I was and how much I love him. I asked him if there was anything he needed that I could help him with, I told him that I was sending him a package soon, and I told him to study diligently. Mom stuff, really.
But I have to be honest, it sort of felt like when I was 12 and wrote to Michael Jackson. He seemed so unreachable and I felt that chances were slim that I would actually get a reply. This wasn't my first attempt at trying to reach him.
But God is so much bigger than my doubts.
Today I woke up to the greatest e-mail I have ever read:
How are you doing? I’m so excited to hear that someone thinks about me every day in America. Wow how GOD plan is awesome!!! This is really amazing. Erin I remember you very well. I have still the poster that you give for me. I thought that you are forgetting about me before. I didn’t know that I have a place in your heart. I couldn’t believe when I read the message you send for me. I am so excited God because of God chooses you for me. I didn’t have an email address before. Solomon got for me this email address. Even I didn’t know why he did this before. I want to thank him. He is such a good young man. He is Just a role model for all kolfe boys. If he didn’t get for me this email address how can I found you?
Erin can I call you mom? I want you to be my family forever. I need clothes and shoes, exercise books. And pens for school. These are the problem I have but primarily I need some money that I pay for the Internet. There is no internet connection in Kolfe. I use internet café by paying 20 cents for one minute. I am a student so; I don’t have any means of income. Even I wrote for you this message by the help of Solomon. He prints your message for me and gives for me the money to write for you. I need to talk to you at least twice a week. What do you think?
Erin school is going too very well. I am study hard to get good result than before. Thank you for your advice. I want to grow by God words and also Good student that proud his family. Erin know that you also a big place in my heart and I love you vey vey very much. R doing very well. I told about you for her and she is very excited. She also sends for you her love. I love you and miss you so much. I will talk to you soon until then the grace of our savior Jesus Christ be with you and your family.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Since it was a beautiful fall evening, we loaded up the truck with our bikes and decided to take our time.
It was likely going to be the last time we visited our favorite spot until next year.
Mind you, this thing is twirling around at the speed of light.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Seriously though, how cool is it that you can buy something cute from Etsy AND help someone adopt at the same time? Yep, pretty darn cool.
Tracy at JunkPosse makes amazing necklaces. She is currently donating 30% of the profits from a select group of necklaces to the Bottomly's Ethiopia Adoption Travel Expenses. Here are some of the necklaces.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
"....those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I missed zumba yesterday morning and thought about going this morning. We didn’t have the kids; I was thinking that Dirt could sleep in and I could just scooch over to zumba and feel good about having worked out today. Sure, I’d miss church, but that’s okay, there is no mandate that I have to go. We didn’t have any commitments at church and I was almost positive my favorite pastor wasn’t going to be preaching anyway. And so it was, a quasi-plan.
I noticed Dirt reading something in the bible during the offering and asked him what he was looking up. He told me that this morning, in the Dunkin Donuts drive thru line, he was behind a car with a license plate that said, “FAITH”. They also had a license plate holder that had two scripture references, Isaiah 40:31 & Hebrews 12:1-3. It was curious because it was obviously “custom”. Dirt was curious about what they were, so he was looking them up.
Church was good; good worship and good preaching. I was pleasantly surprised that my “favorite pastor” was preaching. I didn’t think about my earlier, thwarted plans at all. I never even mentioned zumba to Dirt – he didn’t need to know my unholy intentions.
After church a woman approached me and introduced herself. We had met once before. She had actually given the mother’s day message – which was pure perfection. She was a woman of tremendous faith, which resonated through her message. She encouraged women to support one another and to link up with a spiritually mature woman who can be sounding boards and support to us as we go through life’s trials. She told us about her special someone who challenged her faith and supported her through the loss of her teenage son years before. I remember looking over at her husband as she spoke, he quietly wiped tears from his eyes. I was wowed.
Just last week I was reflecting on her message and I expressed to Dirt that I needed to find a spiritually mature woman to “adopt me”. I don’t really have anyone in my life that I can go to about Christian stuff. I have Dirt, but he can only give me so much. First, he’s my husband, so he’s in everything with me, which doesn’t always lend itself to the best perspective, and second, he’s not a woman, a wife, or a mother. I need a Christian woman who is all of those things. Someone who can speak to me with biblical wisdom. But where do I find one of these?
I suppose I could actually go to one of the women’s events at church and hope to meet someone. There is no shortage of women’s conferences and bible study offerings. But I never do. I'm not real social, I guess.
So when this woman came up to me, put her hand on my back, and suggested that we get together for lunch some Sunday after church, I smiled and accepted. I couldn’t believe it. It was the Lord.
My eyes welled up the way they always do whenever I see God doing things in my life. I smiled as we settled in to Sunday School. Then something else really cool happened. In the middle of Sunday School we looked down at the handout and saw it in black and white: Isaiah: 40:31. This was the same sentence that Dirt had seen on the custom license plate holder an hour prior.
30Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,
This was His message to us this morning.
Wait for the LORD.
So we wait for Him, but not alone.
Thank you Lord.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
That's not to say that there aren't days that get so heavy I throw my hands up in the air and say "I want out!". I want to forget what I saw, I want to forget that there is an orphan epidemic and go on living my life in ignorance. But that's when my Father steps in and wraps His arm around my shoulder reminds me that they're His children, not mine. And I remember how much of a privilege it is to be a small part of His mighty work, and how much I have learned about Him and about myself through the eyes of these little ones, and I feel thankful that I'm walking in obedience, even though it hurts my heart.
Of course I am thinking of BAM today, he has taken up permanent residence in my heart. During church this morning, I begin to miss him (sort of an odd feeling because I have only met him once - but I think most adoptive parents can relate to loving a child whom they have not met. The heart is powerful). I don't really know what to do with these feelings, so I look over at Dirt and tell him that I'm sad that BAM doesn't live here with us. He already knows this, and he knows that he can't do anything about my sadness; it's in the hands of the Lord.
Today I'm working on putting the final touches on a package that I'll be sending to BAM, via my friends Sam & Wendi Henry, who are going to Ethiopia next month. I so wish I could go with them. Some days it takes every ounce of willpower I have to not impulsively purchase a ticket. (Christmas gift idea alert, hint, nudge: RT plane ticket to Ethiopia) ;-)
I am kind of stumped about what to pack in an envelope to send to a son who is so far away. The envelope seems so small, and I want to send him everything. Of course the mother instinct keeps prodding me to toss in a pair of clean underwear and socks, but that might be awkward. So I revert back to things I think he'll like. Though the envelope is filled to capacity, what I've put inside it hardly feels sufficient.
There are millions of orphans in the world, will you do something this week to help one of them?
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Sunday, November 01, 2009
The weather was pure perfection, and a flag football game was the ideal activity to get everyone outside.
What a blast! I just went through all 400 photos that I took and every shot depicted people smiling and enjoying themselves.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I know, we're a week early...but who's complaining?
At work, I have this teambuilding activity that I facilitate, where teams of professionals try to build the tallest freestanding structure using obscure materials. We usually give them PlayDoh, post-it notes, paperclips, clothespins, and some other random items.
Um...yeah. NOT recommended. A little awkward. It turns out that the other materials are actually CRITICAL.
The kids were wondering why the adults were laughing so hard. Needless to say, this child won the contest.
Though it was rainy, Maya got an opportunity to take her new ATV for a test drive. She's officially unstoppable.