On Monday (April 26) we celebrated Haley's 14th birthday! My mind cannot comprehend that 14 years have gone so quickly and we feel so blessed to have such a wonderful daughter!
Haley is our oldest child and much like her dad in many ways....she looks like him, and sometimes even acts like him. :) (when she is ornery or has a dry sense of humor!) She is probably the most reserved of our children, but what she has to say is worth listening to. She is mature and wise for her years and I would venture to say more responsible than any other 14 year old you could find. We try to make an effort not to take advantage of her because you can entrust her with much, but I have to admit it's sometimes tempting!
Her talents are many....she is a bright girl and school comes easily. She is creative and loves to bake (actually wants to sell cupcakes as a fundraiser for our adoption!), cook, make cards, and do crafts. She is a pianist and also takes tennis, both of which she enjoys.
What I have always admired most about Haley is that she is who she is. She is fine to be with a group of people, and fine to be by herself. She is not easily swayed by others and is true to herself. She makes good decisions and doesn't change for those around her. (I am thinking this is going to be a great teenage skill!) Haley knows who she is and what she believes, and while she may not be overly vocal about it, her actions speak louder than words.
Has it really been 2 1/2 weeks since I last posted?? Where does the time go? (well, I could give you a list, but it wouldn't be all that exciting or probably even a lot different from your list....so, I'll skip it and assume you can relate!)
I have formulated a post in my mind several times...or at least thought about writing it, but I never get around to it. Yes, part of it is time, but part of the reason why is because I'm not quite sure how transparent I want to be...
There is no better way to learn many of life's lessons than to experience the journey of adoption. I have wrestled with not having control over the situations and timing and all of the unknowns. I love a plan, love to know how things are going to play out, and am not the greatest 'waiter' you've ever met. I like to get things done, and do not love sitting around waiting for things to happen. Well, guess what? Adoption requires much of all of that!
But there is another area of struggle....another area not quite so easy to admit. It's ugly and the very nature of this struggle urges me to keep it quiet and pretend it doesn't exist. Wonder what I'm reffering to? PRIDE. Why is that so difficult to admit? Because my pride wants me to smooth it over and act as if I have it all together....
I have always been an independent person....and when I'm not, well, I usually pretend to be anyway. I'm not pretending on purpose, as if to 'lie' to people. I just have always felt like I needed to be self sufficient and do for myself. I'm the 'helper', not the 'helpee'. The role I am comfortable in is taking care of myself and my family, helping others when I can, and being the doer. I am uncomfortable having others do for me or give to me. From as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be independent. I fought against my parents for independence from a young age, and now that I'm older I have no idea why. I certainly didn't have a family situation where that was necessary - it was just the way I was wired, I guess.
Well, here's the hard part. We can't do this adoption thing alone. We are going to have to have help. We are holding fundraisers, applying for grants, and will most likely send a letter to family and friends asking them to partner with us in this adoption. We did all this the first time, and I swallowed my pride and did it because it was necessary and it wasn't for me - it was to bring our child home.
So, here we are, in the same situation, with the desire to adopt, and unable to finance the entire thing ourselves. We've already asked for help once.....really, God, do we need to do it again? I mean, didn't I learn my lesson by doing this once? Isn't that enough?? Surely, there's another answer this time. The independent (aka proud) part of me wants to run from this....I don't want to ask people to come to one more event, buy one more thing, or give one more donation. I just want it to be done.
But, here's the thing: IT'S NOT ABOUT ME. Apparently, I didn't learn this as completely as I thought I did. I want to have learned it well, but still I struggle. My husband seems to have such a good grasp on this. He does not wrestle with 'what other people will think'. (Really, it's true....remarkable, really.) He gets that this isn't about us and does not hesitate to ask people to partner with us. In fact, here's what he has to say about this issue: (taken directly from his Facebook - commenting on adoption and the expense) The way I see it is, I was bought at a price, we were all bought at a price, even though we were/are undeserving. It may/will cost us all something in terms of time, money, having to humble ourselves to ask for money, but it will all be worth it. Store up your treasures in heaven and when/if you have to ask others for help consider it a chance to allow them to do what they should do/be doing anyway. When we ask and give others the opportunity to do something to help us bring our children home we are giving them a chance to care for the least of these and to take care of orphans. When we answer his call sometimes we pay a price. We will all be dead in 40-50 years but the inconviences that we go through now will have Godly repurcussions for many generations. I look forward to all of our children coming home to our families and I also look forward to other people doing what we have done when we have led and shown them a good example. Despite the hardships we face, we will be blessed and our children will be blessed. God will not turn his face from us. (Don't you love him??)
So, I continue this journey, remembering that God has called us to it and it's about what He wants to do through us and the child He wants to bring into our family. I get emotional thinking that He might bless me with yet another child and am beyond grateful for that. Teach me, Lord, what you want me to learn. Even when it's hard.
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)