Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What would you say?

I am so happy to report that I had another skype conversation with B and Solomon yesterday. This time it was just the three of us and B was more alert. He wasn't shy, but he still wasn't all that talkative.

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

Kid Cam

I finally got around to putting some batteries in the kids' camera. I love seeing what they find photo-worthy. Usually there are a ton of self-portraits; apparently they find themselves very photo-worthy. One time there were several photos of a dead bird. You just never know what you're going to get. Whenever I download pictures from their camera it's like opening up a treasure chest.

Here is a slice of life through their eyes:

Bug in a bucket

Crazy sister or self-portait?

Big sister.

Chocolate-flavored baby cousin.

lil Avery? Who knew? At least he comes in peace.

She's crazy, but we'll keep her.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Miracle

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.
Amelle makes faces in the camera and we all laugh.

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.

Family moments.

Merry Christmas.
**I just read Eileen Mestas' blog (also coincidentally titled "A Christmas Miracle") - read how Solomon joined her family's Christmas eve celebration via skype...and what he wrote to her afterwards. If you are interested in becoming a Kolfe mama, let me know. It definitely is an emotional investment, but the dividends are amazing and the rewards are eternal.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is it time to start Christmas shopping yet?

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

Better Late than Never

I took these photos at Thanksgiving...

How cute is Dirt with his parents?

...and the kids with their grandparents...

...and on an unrelated note...

is proof that I can't take a decent photograph of my kids.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Having a ball

Some families are football families...

...some are hockey families...

...some are soccer families...

...some like baseball...

WE are a basketball family.

Game ON!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

You Down wit OCC - Yeah You Know Me

...I know that was completely uncalled for. You'll probably have that stupid song stuck in your head all day. hee hee.
Operation Christmas Child (OCC) almost didn't happen this year...well, at least at my house. I heard about it at church two weeks before the boxes were due and I didn't think I had enough time/money/energy to pull off another big event. At first it was ON, then a week later after not having done anything to prepare, I decided it was OFF. Then 4 days before the deadline date, Monica (my beloved colleague) saved the day by convincing me to do it "smaller scale" than last year.
This translated into not inviting anyone, but filling more boxes.

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]

Then my helper tagged all the boxes.

I love my helper.

Then my other helper, the big black hairy one, loaded all 32 boxes into the trunk and brought them down to the church. I love my other helper too.
Yay Operation Christmas Child - thank you for delivering these to children who have so little! What an awesome ministry, I feel so blessed to be able to contribute.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Christmas is for Heroes

Send A Christmas Card to Our Soldiers In Iraq

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


I have been thinking a lot about pens lately. Yeah, pens. I know it sounds obscure, but you've had weirder thoughts.

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. )