My biggest boy is having a birthday! Hayden turns 13 on Friday - hard to believe! He is such a blessing to us and we are so proud of him.
Many people who know us now don't realize that he had a bit of a rocky start 13 years ago. Hayden was born at a whopping 2 lbs. 10 oz. and was 10 weeks early. He was a twin, and his identical twin, Nathanael, passed away before birth. It was a crazy time of having an 11 month old at home (yes, you read that right - Haley was not quite 11 months old when they were born), celebrating that Hayden had been born, being worried for his health and future, and grieving for Nathanael. I had no idea what to feel at any given moment. Hayden stayed in the NICU for 37 days and had what would be considered a pretty uneventful hospital stay. (I would NOT have said that at the time, but the Drs. who deal with it every day did!) He came home at 4 lbs. 4 oz. on April 26, Haley's first birthday.
Since a young age, Hayden has always been a tender-hearted, caring boy. He loved to pray even as a little guy, and I have always felt like God spared His life because He has a plan for him. When he was about five, he would evangelize the kids in the neighborhood, and tell them the story of Jesus. One day I looked over as he was shaking a little playmate by the shoulders and saying, "Do you believe, Max, do you believe?" Sweet boy just wanted everyone to know Jesus.
This boy loves all things basketball - loves to play, loves to watch, loves to talk about it, and knows more statistics than I can wrap my brain around. If he could remember to put away his clean clothes like he could remember b-ball stats, we'd be in business! He is in heaven during March Madness, although disappointed that his Illini didn't make it in the NCAA this year. :( Basketball is definitely his favorite, but he will watch any team, any sport, anytime.
We are proud of the young man Hayden is becoming. He's responsible, funny, hard working, and smart. He maintains that sweet spirit he had as a young boy.....this year his #1 request for a birthday present was to donate money towards an organization that will help someone learn how to teach the Bible. He told me it was because he knew that the most important thing someone could do in their life was accept Jesus as their Savior.
We are a family of ten...striving to live the lives that please God...getting it wrong a lot of the time, but trying nonetheless. We have eight beautiful children...three were given to us through birth and five through the miracle of adoption. We feel blessed to be living the life we've been given.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
~ One in ten children die before their first birthday ~ One in six children die before their fifth birthday ~ 44% of the population is under 15 years old ~ 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition ~ The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years old ~ 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world) ~ There are roughly 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia ~ Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa ~ Half of the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. ~ 88% will never attend secondary school ~ Coffee prices (Ethiopia's only major export) declined 40-60% from 1998-2002 ~ Ethiopia's doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000 ~ Severe drought struck country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)