This blog is a chance for us to tell our story and shine the light on the God who wrote it.

It is also a place for me to bring into the spotlight the millions of orphans around the world who are waiting for the Body of Christ to fulfill God's command to "care for orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27)

Soli deo Gloria... (All Glory to God Alone).

7.28.2014

So Grateful I Get To Be Your Mom

Beniam Ananya,

Six years ago today you became our son.







Ben, you bring so much laughter and joy to our home!  You love to make us all laugh and always surprise us with the funny things you say.  Someday I will write them all in a book and get rich.  You give the best snuggles and kisses... and always keep us on our toes.  I think you were three when you first tried riding the garage door all the way up and letting go.  And four when you pulled the fire alarm in the middle of Pastor Max's Sunday sermon. (It's all good because he worked it in as an illustration.  After everyone evacuated of course.  And at least that time we didn't have to pay for the fire engine coming.  That time.)


"How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?  Indeed you are our glory and joy."  1 Thessalonians 3:9


Today, Beniam, we celebrate six years since you became a part of our family.  And I don't know what else to say.   I am just. so. grateful that I get to be your mom.



(This post from 2011 shares a little more about the day we met Beniam.)

7.23.2014

What We Look Like Now



One day I'm going to change the header on this blog.  It's like three years old and well, a lot has happened in the past three years.  Like that bald baby with the impish smile is about to start Kindergarten.

But honestly, the header is an accurate reflection of how up-to-date I am in general.  So I am presenting an authentic portrayal of what you'd see if you came to our home.  I decorate almost never and the pictures on our walls are incredibly outdated (so is the paint).

And the last time we all got dressed up and took family portraits was... well, never.
Until last month.

Some sweet friends of ours offered to take some pictures and all the kids came and actually smiled.  Not simultaneously but really really close.





Being realistic here, it may be awhile before I change the header (partly because I have no clue how).  So I'll share these for now.  This is what we actually look like now.




Naw, I'm just playin'.  We only looked this cute that one day.  But I'm gonna frame it and call it my life anyway.




I think this looks... serene.

Much better scripted than the slightly more authentic Easter morning picture that I must throw in here because I honestly just cannot handle when everything looks scripted and perfect.  It just ain't real people.  This.  This is real.


If you had any idea how hard it is to get Beniam to be present in a family photo.  The irony of it all is that he has the best smile in the family, in my opinion.  His dentist calls it his "Hollywood smile".  (He also said to start saving now because "Hollywood smile" now means overcrowding and braces later.  Awesome).



One time in my goddaughter's three year old preschool class they asked the children "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  The answers were posted for all the parents to see at the Open House the following week.  Hers said "When I grow up I want to be ... Asian."

When I grow up I want to have Beniam's smile.



** Note- If you like the photos... They were done by some sweet friends who are working to build their skills in photography-- so they can do photos for other families for lower prices than the professionals.  So, if you are in the Gainesville area and want more info on connecting with them, let me know and I will give you their information.  Email me at haleyuf@hotmail.com.

7.18.2014

Eden's Ability

This is my daughter Eden.



She has Down Syndrome, which is usually described as a "disability".  When we began the process to adopt our daughter, there were those who wondered if we would be overwhelmed by her "disability".


The truth is today, four months into parenting our daughter with Down Syndrome, I can honestly say that yes, I am overwhelmed.  I am overwhelmed by her ability.



I sit on the grass at the splash park in the hot summer sun, and I watch her run through the water spraying up from the ground.  Her arms open wide to the sky, her head tilts back and she is taking this one moment and living it full and free.  She lives most of her moments that way.  And I am overwhelmed by her ability to embrace life and taste every moment.







Eden laughs exponentially more than any other person I've ever known.  And I am overwhelmed by her ability to find joy and delight throughout her day in all the little things the rest of us take for granted.

video



She wraps her arms around my neck and pulls me close to her.  We don't have too many words yet, but she looks right into my eyes and doesn't look away.  Plants a sweet kiss right on my lips.  She isn't afraid to love this way.  I am overwhelmed by her ability to love wholeheartedly and without the inhibitions most of us learn to wear over the years.


I am overwhelmed by her ability to go slow when all the world rushes around her.  My favorite writer says that hurry is a "sure mark" of an "amateur".  This girl's a professional.





I am overwhelmed by her ability to bring joy to those who are around her.  We visit friends overnight and I overhear my friend trying to describe Eden to her husband.  She's trying to find the word... "She's just ... just... delightful."  And I smile huge inside... God knew that was the perfect description for this child when he gave us her name.  Eden means "delightful".







I am overwhelmed at her ability to live freely.  She's not encumbered by worry or self-importance.  She isn't climbing any ladders.  It's like somehow she already knows the secrets about life the rest of us don't learn until we're eighty.



I am overwhelmed because when it's all said and done, Eden is able to do and be so many of the things I desire so deeply to embody myself, and yet never seem quite able to do.  Perhaps it is my disability.  I am often too hardened, inhibited, self-important, and cynical.

"At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.'"  Matthew 11:25 

Perhaps I am too wise and learned. 

There is this childlike-ness that Eden will probably always possess.  It is part of her "disability".  And I can only pray that I will have the ability to learn from her.
"And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven'."    Matthew 18:3


Thank you, Lord, for giving me a child with abilities that have eternal value.  As we journey through this life together, help me to overcome my disabilities as I learn from Eden how to live a life that delights you.