Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Gifts with Ethiopian Flair

If you're an Ethiopia adoptive family (or know one and want to give them an themed gift)reading my blog, you might want to check out these sites for gifts this season.

I have this one - it's a necklace with "Enat" (which is Mother in Amharic) on it. Super cute.

Here are some t-shirts that are super cute. Especially check out these ones, of which the proceeds go to the organization Project Hopeful, who work to promote positive awareness for children living with HIV/AIDS.

A great tote sold here raises funds for AHOPE for Children, an orphanage in Addis Ababa which serves children living with HIV/AIDS. I have been to this place once and was forever changed by it. It's worth supporting. Oh, and World AIDS Day is coming up December 1, so that's another reason (as if we need it) to take notice of this crisis in our world.

Another unique idea is to get some of the primary spice used in Ethiopian cooking, maybe along with some recipes. It's called Berbere. Here's one place I know you can get it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Good food and hard questions

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture BEFORE we dove into the huge platter of Ethiopian food at Abyssinia, so the AFTER picture may not look very appetizing...ok, actually the picture is even grossing me out, sorry. It was, however, absolutely yummy. If you're a Memphian, I urge you to go try this very unique type of food just for the experience. The owners are just wonderful, friendly and helpful if you don't know what to order.

This time we went with our friends Nick and Jesse, who are in the midst of adopting a child from Ethiopia themselves and also lovers of Ethiopian food.

In other news, now that the new Disney princess paraphenalia has debuted, the princess who happens to have brown skin (finally), I am debating on whether to buy into the hype. And if so, I will be buying this nightgown which is just too cute.

On a much less Pollyanna note, I have been reading some adult adoptee blogs lately. These are difficult to read because as an adoptive parent - and parent in general - you are always fast-forwarding your child's life to that next phase and fearing when what/when/how the impact of facing her own adoption story hits home and she has to deal with the true loss she has experienced. Even though most of these bloggers love their adoptive parents, they use their blogs as a way of working out their feelings on the journey they are on to self-discovery. If you are an adoptive parent, I think we have a responsibility to read, learn, and listen to these voices. I HOPE that I can do some things better because of hearing these voices. My kids may never feel the way some of these adoptees do. But if perhaps I will be able to give them the space they need when and if they ever do need it.

Reading these always reminds me the importance of language, for example. I know it's annoying to some, all the PC this and that, all the time, everyone has a soapbox, blah, blah, blah... But listen to the voices of adult adoptees and you might think differently.

As a Christian who chose to adopt, I especially feel that I have to tread very carefully. Our language can be some of the most offensive to these adoptees. When we talk of God's leading, God's will, God's plan bringing us to the child who is meant to be ours... I have said all of these things at some point by the way... can be really ME-centric and not very child-centric and definitely not very wholistic. I do not believe that God made bad circumstances happen in someone's life on the other side of the earth so that my child could be raised with me in America. Has He brought amazing good from the bad in our world, yes. Does he still work in a world that is so broken that some people live in mansions and some live with not even a roof over their heads and only dirty water to drink? Yes. AND I do think He is calling some of us down here to adopt, obviously if you know me I am very proadoption. But adoption in and of itself is not a solution to the problems that create the need for adoption in the first place. I digress, oops, but back to the language question -- I feel such a burden to share with Sophie as she grows up how she came to be in our family, and to include the way our faith in the Lord played a part... but as we do so to be clear and as precise as possible with our language. Here's an example of an adult adoptee blogger who was dealing with this question in a post about "things I wish I'd known": *please don't go write hateful things on her blog after reading it. I don't know this person and I want to respect the person's right to share his or her views.*

That I didn't have to be confused by the myth that it must be God's will for me to lose my mother, family, identity, and original life so I could be "adopted". To gain my new family, life, love, and blessings. I grew up trying to force this idea into my head & heart, but it was completely in congruent with life, truth, and the adoptee's reality. I lived with extreme guilt and feelings of disloyalty, wondering how I could say I really loved my adoptive family if I had these feelings of loss and longing.

I was so relieved to finally "wake up" and realize that, like Joseph, when he was reunited with his original family, concluded, "What the ENEMY meant for evil (separation, loss), God has turned for good."

I didn't have to be fearful and distrusting of God anymore because it was impossible to understand (what adults had told me for their own benefit) how God PLANNED and WILLED for me to be adopted. He didn't orchestrate it.

It comforts me to know He didn't want me to lose my mother, family, identity so I could fill the role of someone else.

I don't have the answer to this one, but I wanted to share the journey I am on to do the best I possibly can by my precious child. I am so grateful to know a God who brings good from bad and beauty from ashes.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Family Update

Haven't posted in a while. Once I read on someone's blog about all the blogs they write in their heads... I totally relate to that. I'll be driving along and think of this thing I really want to put out there on my little blog and by the time I have a minute in front of computer, with no distractions, I am a total blank.

Maybe that's a good thing, though, because I'd rather be bouncing a ball with Sophie or rocking her to sleep, than writing interesting tidbits for others to read, I suppose...

Things going on of late are many. We've had a busy fall as usual, but it seems like even more than usual. One thing that's kept us busy was a marriage workshop we have been a part of. It's called Dynamic Marriages, lasts for nine weeks, with one meeting a week. There's a book to read, homework to do in a workbook, and lots and lots of discussions to have. It has been a lot to take on with everything else going on, but it has been worth the effort. We have learned so much about each other, especially the top "needs" each of us has. One thing he learned was that my top need is conversation. That means I like to talk, just to talk, not for a purpose or as a means to an end, just TO TALK. Crazy to some, but for me it's how I relate. And I learned some ways I could meet his needs better too. It's been a growing time for us. Thankful for our families who have kept Sophie on Thursday nights so we could go and do this. If you want to know more about this resource, here you go.

I think it's been a good foundation for us as we begin to think about his future job options. This has been a long time coming - he has been in school since the summer after we married nine years ago, working full time and going to school actually. In the last year or so he has been able to be a full time grad student (still with two part time jobs, however). And though he is not at the very end of his 90-hour masters yet, we are beginning to ask God to show us if it's time to take the plunge. So I'll ask you to pray, too, as we consider this question and seek His leading in our lives.

Our baby girl is not much of a baby anymore. She is really into her own baby doll now, talking her to softly, rocking her, changing her diaper, tickling her. She is so tender with her. She is into playing pretend anything - especially pretending that" there are alligators in here!", singing and dancing, and playing jokes on her mommy and daddy. She is so affectionate and we kiss and hug all the time. I can't believe we are coming up on her third birthday! She seems really tall so I am looking forward to seeing about that at her pediatrician visit in a few weeks. Her hair is SO long and just beautiful. I recently took her to the hair salon for the first time. There are some great pictures of that on my Facebook. Here's a link to it.

That's what's new...