Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dream Come True... Almost

I am absolutely devastated. No, there is not a tragedy in my family or anything horrible, don't panic. It's not that big.

Today I found out that the Wheelmobile is coming to Memphis (ok, actually Tunica) to find contestants! This is only bad news to me because I have the HYG retreat that weekend. So I can't figure out how I could get there for the tryout. I have been checking the Wheel of Forture website for years, trying to figure out when they would be in Memphis. I have joined the "Wheel Watchers Club" so get the latest updates. And, now, my big chance. Completely blown. I am so disappointed!

I have been loving the Wheel of Fortune show for years. My dad and I would always watch it and I can usually get the puzzles with only a few letters showing. Not to brag, but we all have our gifts. Looks like I won't be on the show anytime soon, friends. But someday...someday, it will happen.

Halloween Crazed, Updated

I told you they weren't finished. Don't you wish you could trick or treat at this house??? You can if you know where I live. Just go to the house right across from me!

Seriously, I am thinking about telling the news, so that they can win some kind of award.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Halloween crazed

Has anyone else noticed that Halloween is the new All-American commercialized holiday? Wow. I went to Target yesterday and noticed there is a ridiculously huge section dedicated to the pagan holiday. Everything you could think of related to Halloween, including strange trinkets in the $1 Spot aisles. Every church in Memphis, I think, is having a Pumpkin Carnival or a Trunk or Treat. I also have noticed that the number of people who decorate their homes for Halloween has risen in my neighborhood. I posted a picture of my across the street neighbor's houses last year and thought I would do it again. I regret to tell you that if the SUV was moved you could see the whole little graveyard that has been set up. Don't miss the little ghost children holding hands in a circle on the left side of the picture. Oh, and there will be more by next weekend I'm sure. I, on the other hand, have one pumpkin on my front porch, and might get some candy to hand out. Probably will go to our church's Trunk or Treat, but that's it.

I am just not that into Halloween, never have been. How about you?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Madonna, Angelina, and me

With all the news coverage on Madonna these days, and the last few years' about Angelina, everyone is suddenly talking about whether adopting these kids from third world countries is really good for them. I would like to post here a short article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune today that is written by a mom who has adopted from Africa.


Kind of a hilarious post. It's true that when I say Ethiopia, people say Angelina or Madonna. But it doesn't really bother me. I think it's pretty obvious I am not modeling my life around them. I do hate the bad publicity the media is creating about the issue. Here's the thing. There are 4.5 million orphans in the sub saharan region of Africa. That's right, 4.5 million. Adopting all the children isn't the answer to the problem, I know that, anyone knows that! There is a bigger issue here that the whole world needs to pitch in and help with. Funds for Africa, drugs for Africa, relief for Africa, these are the ways to possibly help the problem at large. I am not, nor do I think that celebs or any adoptive parents, think that their one adoption is saving Africa or whatever country they are adopting from.

Also I do not think people who are adopting from these places are trying to have a "token" child or something cute for their family picture, nor are they seeking to bring them to "God's country, America" as if children can't have a wonderful and blessed life unless they live here... You don't bring a child into your family (not to mention go through the red tape, saving up, anxiety, etc.) for petty reasons like that. People who have adopted (that I have encountered) are motivated by one or more of the following: (a) wanting to be parents, (b) wanting to give one child loving parents since he/she doesn't have any parents, (c) wanting to do something to help with the orphan crisis, particularly in Africa. Perhaps these celebs are motivated by these same reasons.

Some may criticize us, asking why would you choose Ethiopia? There are so many kids here in America to adopt, they say. Yes, this is true and I would love to do that at some point; by adopting from Ethiopia does that mean that I do not see these kids in our cities who need homes? Oh and by the way, have you adopted any children from anywhere? (Oops did I say that out loud. Sorry.) There are children in every country in every continent around the world, should I adopt one from every single place? These criticisms are just not rational. I like the anonymous quote I read recently:
"Adopting a child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will

{stepping off my soapbox now}

Sunday, October 15, 2006

P.S. please

If you think my blog is turning too "mommy" for you, sorry. Witty and ridiculous posts of random topics are still sure to turn up, so don't worry.

Ok, now please read below. :)

Announcing the newest Ray...on the way

So, some people have asked me if they can tell other people about our adoption. The answer, if you're wondering is yes. The start and end dates are more vague than the traditional "pregnancy" so it's been kind of weird figuring out when to announce to everyone... When we start the home study? finish the home study? are approved by our agency? are approved by the US government? Who knows, really, but its definitely time, I think. I announced this to my elders - who are technically kind of my bosses, since I work for a church - tonight and they prayed for the new addition to our family. If I haven't called you and you're our friend, please don't be offended. We're not ignoring you! I will eventually contact you, or just email me!

I have been working on my answer to all the questions "why are you doing this? why ethiopia? etc. etc. etc." blog for a while now, and now I think it is just too much to put into one post...So I am considering opening a second blog, which will focus only on the adoption. What do you all think? I visited a blog today of a couple who is adopting and I feel like the thoughts and feelings I have about this adoption are nearly echoed by this family. It felt so good to read the way they came to their decision. You may find it interesting as well.


One more thing. Today at church Dr. Harold Hazelip, our former preacher and former president of Lipscomb University, preached his famous "Dream the Impossible Dream" sermon. I had not heard it before. He focuses on the Sermon on the Mount, and uses images from the story of Don Quixote as illustration. One thing that stands out to me he said was: [my paraphrase] God is calling us to a standard that we cannot possible live up to... but through His work in us, we can attain this impossible standard. He makes us what we cannot possibly be on our own.

This connected with me right now. I feel quite overwhelmed when I think about this latest calling that God has given me. The calling of "mother"- yikes, it scares me just to write it - is one that seems almost too impossible to live up to. I feel sure that God has led us to this child we are adopting, and that he intends me to be his/her mother... but I just don't think I can do it on my own. Will I attach to this baby who is grieving for its birthmother, and more importantly will he/she attach to me? Will I know what to tell him when he asks about his mommy and daddy in Ethiopia? And not to mention all the questions which I'm sure all new mothers ask, adoptive or not... Will I be able to raise my child to love the Lord and its fellow man? Will I be able to instill in my child a positive sense of self? Will I do the right ________ (fill in, discipline, food, education, the list can go on)? Can I really give my own selfish needs for this child? Perhaps I am just over analyzing this... but I think Hazelip's principle applies to me. I can't do this on my own. I absolutely cannot. But God can make me what I cannot be. I have to trust in that. And believe in that.

What's the latest dream God has for your life? What has God done in you that you absolutely could not be or do on your own? I'd love to hear your stories, friends.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Last night Josh and I spent several hours working through an online education course about adoption, called With Eyes Wide Open. One thing I think the creators of this course are trying to do is to try to visualize what it will be like for your child when s/he is thrust into a new environment with no notice. So it challenged us to do things that would simulate the child's experience, like what the child will hear at our home, what we will feed him or her, what type of bed he or she will sleep on.

I thought about how I turned my nose up to most of what was fed to me when I visited the Ukraine several years ago. I of course, ate it to be polite but I was NOT a fan at all. What if I was picked up by strangers, moved there, and fed beet soup or borscht for every meal??? I would not be very happy. Or the sleep thing. I am a pretty good sleeper in general but for some reason when I travel, I snore. (My deepest secret is out.) I would probably have a horrible snoring problem if I was suddenly sent to live in a new country/time zone/house. And about what you hear. If you have ever visited NYC, then you've listened to the noises of the city, the honks, the cars, the airplanes. If you have ever been to the middle of nowhere, you've heard the nothingness, except crickets and birds. Totally different from when I'm laying in my bed at home.

Our baby will be hearing sounds and voices he has never heard, sleeping in a place unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable for him, and eating foods he has never tried. And I kept thinking what an adjustment this will be for us, the parents, but it was good to put myself in the baby's shoes. It was fun thinking about our baby, who is probably soon to be born somewhere on the other side of the world.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Walking in Memphis

There is something I have been meaning to blog about. Last weekend, the day after the wedding, Josh and I and one of Jessica's bridesmaids and her boyfriend went to the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is in downtown Memphis and is at the site where Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot at the Lorraine Motel. I have lived in Memphis for about 12 years except time in Searcy and Tuscaloosa, AL, but I have never visited this museum. A lot of people in Memphis say that about Graceland but I bet a lot of them have also not been to this place.

So, we ventured out there with only about 1 1/2 hours left till it closed, but we thought that would be just enough time. As it turned out we could have spent twice that much time. It was really amazing. It is set up kind of like a timeline, where you start in the WWII era and move ahead to the day of MLK's assassination. The amount of information, pictures, documents, videos, is so much to take in. I highly recommend you going if you haven't ever been and live in the Midsouth area.

Several things that have stayed with me:

  1. It is amazing to see how much has changed in only 50 years. One generation above me (my parents age) experienced the effects of the Brown decision - degregation of public schools - and actually saw the first black person enter Ole Miss, an allwhite university - James Meredith. Two generations above me (my grandparents) lived in a completely segregated world - buses, bathrooms, water fountains. Many religious leaders even defended the idea that the white race is superior based on (a faulty use of) Scripture! Thank God we have moved beyond such unbelievable acts of inequality and racism. But the fact that it was such a recent change...that saddened me and embarassed me as I walked through the exhibits.

  2. It is amazing to see how much change is needed. As I look at world of today, it is obvious that racism is still alive and well. Look at most high school cafeterias. There is likely a black side and a white side. And, sadly, look at most churches. Most consist of only one race. Memphis, the city where MLK was shot, is still a city divided by race.

As Josh and I have begun to explore the idea of adoption, eventually ending up deciding on Ethiopia, I have had a good opportunity to analyze my attitudes about race. James 2:8-9 says (NLT) that:

The royal law is found in Scripture. It says, "Love your neighbor as you love
yourself." If you really keep that law, you are doing what is right. But
you sin if you don't treat everyone the same.
The law judges you because you
have broken it.

This is what I've realized. As a Christian, I have an obligation not to be neutral about this issue. God asks me to love every person in the world the same. The laws in our country have improved, and for that I'm glad, but its not enough just to follow the letter of the law.

Just like Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (click here if you need a reminder) encourages us to take the Jewish law and go even a step further. Don't just not murder, don't even call anyone a fool! If someone takes your tunic, give him your coat too! Don't just keep from cheating on your spouse, don't even lust after someone you're not married to.

In this same way, I think God is calling me to go a step further. Don't just tolerate, Don't just coexist with, but LOVE every other person in the world as I love myself. Not an easy task, but who said following God was going to be easy?