Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
At this very moment a year ago I found myself here in our study. I wasn't sitting at this desk typing on the computer but instead down on my knees in the floor. David and I were literally wailing as we cried out to God on behalf of our son and daughter who were half a world away.
~Today Geremew's middle name is Nicodemus after our friend Nicco. I look forward to the years ahead where Geremew can understand just how selfless Nicco has been for him and his family and I pray that Geremew will follow in his footsteps to care for the needs around him daily~
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Monday, November 29, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
There is a song that I have been listening to the past few days that is a constant reminder of the task ahead of our family. A song written by an adoptive son to his mother thanking her for giving him life. It is a constant reminder to me of the journey that Tia and Garrett's birth mom has traveled (which I can't begin to imagine) and more than where she has traveled where she is heading.
Into your arms
I'm gonna run
And when you look in my eyes
You can see my whole life
See who I was
When they took me from your arms
I'm sure I must have heard you say goodbye
Lonely and afraid had you made a big mistake
Could an ocean even hold the tears you cried
But you had dreams for me
You wanted the best for me
And you made the only choice you could that night
You gave life to me
A brand new world to see
Like playing baseball in the yard with dad at night
Mom reading Goodnight Moon
And praying in my room
So if you worry if your choice was right
You gave me up but you gave everything to me
And if I saw you on the street
Would you know that it was me
And would your eyes be blue or green like mine
Would we share a warm embrace
Would you know me in your heart
Or would you smile and let me walk on by
Knowing you had dreams for me
You wanted the best for me
And I hope that you'd be proud of who I am
You gave life to me
A chance to find my dreams
And a chance to fall in love
You should have seen her shining face
On our wedding day
Oh is this the dream you had in mind
When you gave me up
You gave everything to me
And when I see you there
Watching from heaven's gates
Into your arms
I'm gonna run
And when you look in my eyes
You can see my whole life
See who I was
And who I've become
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Some days are long and hard, others full of fun and everyday we laugh as a family. Tia and Garrett both have very funny personalities that seem to fit very well into our family. We do have long periods where life is not so fun and easy. Neither Garrett nor Tia like to be told no or being corrected at any level. They both shut down (almost completely) anytime David or I have to tell them no, ask for a change in their behavior or correct them in any way. These periods of time are very hard for our family yet we had read enough and received help from professionals long before we encountered these situations to know to expect them and how to deal with them when (not if) they came. As hard as these moments are I love holding Tia and Garrett while they cry and whispering to them that I will always love them.
Most of the time you can find both Tia and Garrett playing either outside or upstairs in our playroom. Garrett learned to ride a bike in less than 3 minutes- Literally the first time he got on the bike he took off- and has only had a few minor accidents (only one broken helmet so far). Tia loves to play school, tea party and dress-up with Lindsay. Lindsay and Tia have personalities much the same in that they love to play with each other but they also love to play alone. Many afternoons I will find the two of them in the playroom where Tia will be playing with the doll house and Lindsay will be playing a game.
The twins are doing very well in our local public school. I have been amazed watching their progress. I often think back to three months ago where they knew very little English as I listen to them read out loud to me. Garrett is reading on the level that most first graders come into first grade reading and Tia is just a little behind him. They are both in the same classroom this year and I love their teacher Miss King. She has been amazing with them and we couldn't have ask for a better teacher to help them adjust to American education. Tia and Garrett spend at least an hour a day with the English as a Second Language teacher and they seem to be progressing with her as well. Both do very well in math and they only have six kids in their math class which has been very helpful.
I had a parent teacher conference this past week with Miss King and I had to laugh as she shared with me that Tia is a social butterfly at school. She said that when Tia goes out to the playground that all of the other first graders chant for her and want her to come and play with them. She said that Tia knows more first graders than even she knows. She must get that from her dad!
Megan, Kaylee, Lindsay and Jacob seem to be adjusting well to having two new siblings. There are times of frustation for each of them but the fact that they spent the summer in Ethiopia and saw the great need there has helped to lessen the frustation. They have each stepped up to help Tia and Garrett adjust in their own way and it has been neat to watch each of them use their gifts to love their new siblings.
Jacob has been a great big brother. The biggest battle for Jacob is that Garrett loves to have a light on when he sleeps and Jacob likes his room pitch dark to sleep. This causes issue because they share a room but Jacob and David build a fort each evening over Jacob's bed to block out the light and that seems to work for now. Garrett now knows how to play "American Football", kickball, four square and many other games that Jacob has be patient enough to teach him. As for soccer, they don't play much together because Jacob is smart and knows that he would probably get beat by his little brother.
Megan has been very patient with both Tia and Garrett. She has the hardest time when they get upset and she always wants to make things better for them. Just yesterday it was precious for me to watch Tia read a book to Megan and see how proud Megan was of her. Megan is very motherly with the twins and it is fun to get a small glimpse of what she will be like when God blesses her with children MANY years from now.
Kaylee has always been the organizer of our family and that has continued as we have increased our family size. Yesterday she filled out our monthly calendar and as always packed lunches last nightprior to bed for the entire family. I am so thankful for Kaylee because neither David or I are organized and so as much as we drive her crazy, life wouldn't run as smoothly without her keeping us all in line. Kaylee loves Garrett but he gives her a run for her money. Kaylee loves to pick on people to have fun and Garrett picks right back which Kaylee is not yet use to. Each day at least once the two of them are picking on each other- sometimes both laughing and sometimes both crying!
Lindsay has really stepped up and is very helpful with Tia and Garrett. It is fun for me to watch her help them both with their homework. I can see the pride in her as she teaches them something they didn't know. We taught Lindsay prior to the twins being here with us that when she needs alone time with either david or I to just say, "I need some Mommy (or Daddy) time". This has worked out so well and I think her knowing that she can always ask for alone time with us has made the transition easier for her. She loves Tia and Garrett and is so glad to be a big sister by a few months.
Logistically around our house things have had to change some as well having eight people live here. I won't bore you with our schedule (however a few of you have ask me- I will respond privately to those) We do laundry everyday and sometime a few times a day because of soccer and football. The kids have chores that help keep things in order to some degree (Tia is very good at setting the table and Garrett loves to sweep). It really is amazing how fast eight people can clean off a table after dinner or how fast four kids can clean a playroom. Backpacks, lunch boxes and homework were challenging the first few weeks of school but now we have not only a routine but an organized place for all six backpacks, lunch boxes and papers for me to fill out and so life is running much more smoothly both in the afternoons and mornings.
Lindsay, Garrett, and Tia are all three on the same soccer team. They all three are having a blast playing together. On Saturday Garrett made a pass to Lindsay and Lindsay scored. I got so excited watching Garrett run over to Lindsay and high fived her saying, "Good Job Lindsay!"
Garrett is a very good player and he usually scores several goals each game. Tia is a fast runner when she wants to be and so she has wonderful days playing and sometimes she would rather just cheer for her teammates. It has been so much fun watching them play together with David helping to Coach with a friend of ours.
This past Saturday after the game Coach Brent passed out soccer trophies. He would pick up each trophy, speak about the player and then hand the player their trophy as he shook their little hands. When he got to Lindsay I was so proud of how good she has played this year and it was such a joy to see her huge smile as she received her trophy. Then he spoke about Tia and to watch my daughter walk up and get her trophy brought such joy to my heart knowing that she had never received an award before. When he spoke about Garrett tears started streaming down my face. I was shaking so hard that I couldn't even get a good picture.
Garrett had just shared with our family last week that on the island he had made a ball once out of a piece of plastic and some old fabric scraps.This was the only ball he had ever had. To think that our children had come from using that kind of ball to them receiving a trophy with their name ingraved on it was simply overwhelming- As I watched my three youngest gaze proudly at their trophies I thanked God that when He whispered to us to add to our family by caring for the fatherless that we said YES!
Each day is not easy but each day is more than rewarding. To know that two very lonely kids feel not only our love but the love of their Father helps to make the tough times all worth it! Life is busy, hard and full of joy and I wouldn't trade it for a secure, stable life for anything-
Is your life secure and stable? Maybe today you could take a risk and watch God work in ways that you couldn't begin to imagine- You will be so glad that you did!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Last year on this very day I found myself trying to have hope in a very hopeless situation. We had received word from our agency that Tia and Garrett were not adoptable but we knew that these were indeed the children that God had called for us to parent. After a few days of praying David and I very clearly felt that God was asking us to go to Ethiopia and be a voice for our children who had no voice. This was a very difficult task for us to both feel the need to go because we had always agreed that we would travel to Ethiopia one at a time while our children are still young. I knew deep in my heart that God was saying go yet I was wrestling with leaving Megan, Kaylee, Jacob and Lindsay here for a week and a half without either of us here.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Lindsay, Garrett, and Tia had a soccer game (football game if you ask Garrett) and so we as a family headed out to the field along with some friends who were visiting with us for the weekend. We got our chairs all set up and the kids started to play. Tia and Lindsay are really having fun playing soccer this season and Garrett is not only having a blast but he is a really good soccer player. This week was no different than the past few weeks Garrett started on offense and pretty quickly scored a goal. It is so much fun to see the joy on his face as he kicks and then watches the ball enter the goal- It never will get old watching his sheer joy when he scores!
Now Garrett is a very fast and somewhat aggresive soccer player from his years at the orphanage where all they had was one small ball to play with. He spent most of his days playing soccer on a small concrete driveway surrounded by four walls and many kids fighting for the ball. This comes out on the soccer field from time to time but it has never been an issue, he just plays hard and usually ends up with the ball.
This week during the game Garrett was playing hard and as he was playing hard he tripped a player from the other team. The referee blew his whistle and stopped play to allow the other team to kick the ball due to the violation. As the referee blew his whistle several of the parents from the other team started yelling, "Cheater! That kid is a cheater!" At first I wasn't sure I heard them correctly but about the tenth time they repeated themselves I knew that what I thought they were saying was indeed what they were saying. I then saw their coach say a few not nice things to the referee about my son and I knew that I must do something.
I very quickly got up from my seat and just knew in my heart that if the parents who were calling my son a cheater knew his situation then they would understand and quickly stop calling him names. I walked over to the four parents who were yelling and said very calmly, "Excuse me, but that is my son and he hasn't been with us very long. He spent the last few years in an orphanage in Ethiopia and he is continuing to learn the rules that we use here in soccer." Before I could even finish one of the fathers said in a very hateful voice, "I don't care where he is from, get him off of the field now!" As my body began to shake I turned and as quickly as I could and I walked back to my seat trying to hold back my tears.
As I sat back down I replayed what had just taken place. I looked beside me and our precious Megan was fighting back tears as she said, "Mom, I am going to cry. Why would someone be so mean?" I answered her by saying, "Megan, people aren't always going to understand. It is my job to stand up for Garrett in this situation but when people mistreat us we must turn the other cheek and be Christ like. All we can do is be nice and hope that our kindness will bring about change." Even as I spoke those words my shaking would not stop. My heart was breaking for my son that I love with all that I am.
As the game continued so did the shouting. It changed to them yelling things like, "Take him out", "Trip him" and many other very mean things. I sat quietly praying that Garrett would be protected from their ugly words and thankfully he was. He had no idea what they were yelling or even that they were yelling at him. He continued to play his very best and you better believe that when he scored the next goal I was on my feet yelling for him!
As the game went on I started thinking about the words that had been spoken to me- The words........I don't care. I know that so many really don't care about anything more than themselves, their kids, and their own comfort. I see it everyday, yet I don't know that I have ever had another adult actually speak the words- I don't care. Most people really don't care and even if it is unspoken it is clearly seen by how they live their lives.
I hope that by the way I live my life people will know that I do care! Are my actions matching my words? I thought about that as my body continued to shake. On Saturday their words were matching their actions in a negative way but it made me stop and thing about my own life..........I do care and I want it to show!
What about in your life? Do you care or would others conclude that you don't care when they look at your life? Just a little something to think about-
In case you wanted to know.........Our team won and after the game a player from the other team came over and called Garrett a cheater...... Guess who that players parents were? Our kids are always watching and learning- Do your kids know you care so that they can follow or are we raising a generation who says- I Don't Care?
Monday, October 25, 2010
I am amazed again at what God is doing as we walk down this path of adoption that He has called our family to. Not only do we feel called to love these precious twins that needed a home but we have such a strong desire to love their extended family and friends that reside on the island where Tia and Garrett spent their first four years. The need on the island is great and as we have thought about and prayed about the enormous needs we sometimes feel overwhelmed but tonight as I sit here weeping I know that my God will provide ALL that is needed for the Zay people in ways that I would never have dreamed of!
After reading several of my blogs over the past few weeks where I have shared that my son Garrett wants to help his fiends and family who will forever live on the island, some of our very best friends started Garrett's Heart. Dave and Robin Laney who currently live in Nebraska hosted a very LARGE yard sale this past weekend and made well over $2,000.00 to help Garrett provide basic needs of food, water and medical help for those that he loves so much. I of course cried when I heard that so many people in Nebraska had given so much in order for this event to take place.
Dave and Robin are also partnering with a few churches and families by asking them to consider matching their water bill for a month and sending that amount of money to help build a well on Tia and Garrett's island. I am simply amazed that those who don't know Garrett or our family have been willing to donate items, give of their time and financially make sacrifices to help make sure that Garrett's heart can rest knowing that the needs of the ones he loves are going to soon be met.
Tonight I received this note from Robin, " I just heard tonight that one of my friends' daughters have just been approved by their private school to have a day dedicated to Garrett's Heart where the kids will pay to 'dress down' and have the opportunity to give even more as their hearts lead!!!! These girls (and their mom) read your blogs incessantly. :)" As I read this tonight the flood gates of tears that still will not stop started- Kids at a private school in Nebraska will give money to dress down for a day so a precious six year old boy in Charlotte, North Carolina will be able to provide for so many half way around the world! Our God is a BIG God!
If you want more information on Garrett's Heart you can go to www.garrettsheart.webs.com
Off to try to stop the tears as I praise the One who has known all along the greatness of the task ahead and has every step covered as we follow Him-
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Sometimes there are people who come into your life and they change you forever. In the photo above you will see a young man named Kediir who has made a huge impact in my life. I have only known Kediir for only a few years and I don't get to see him very often but he will forever hold a special place in my heart.
I met Kediir in the summer of 2005 while in Ethiopia serving at a soccer camp with Sports Friends and at the time Kediir was between 12 and 13 years old. Kediir was on my soccer team for the week and even though we didn't speak the same language I saw first hand him make a decision to trust Jesus with his life. He was from a Muslim family and so his decision to follow Jesus would not be an easy decision when he returned home after camp. It broke my heart the day he climbed on the van with the other guys from my team because I knew that they were all traveling back to their villages where life was going to be even harder than it already was. I cried and prayed for each of them as I knew that I would never see these boys again this side of heaven.
I was very wrong- The next day our team piled on a van and headed out to a few villages to visit a few of the guys who had just spent the week with us. To my surprise one of the first stops was at Kaddir's house. I was so excited to see him again and it was humbling to stand in his small village and meet his family. They were very warm and welcoming and as I hugged his mom I made a promise to myself that I would pray for this families salvation until I returned to Ethiopia the next time.
While we visited with Kediir that day he went into his hut and brought out a bracelet that I had been wearing the entire week at camp. It was a bracelet with photos of Megan, Kaylee, Jacob and Lindsay that my kids had given me to wear while away from them. I had forgotten that on the last night of camp we had a large bonfire and as we were dancing around I had given the bracelet to Kediir to put in his pocket so I wouldn't loose it. He had also forgotten that he had it and when he left from camp it was still in his pocket. He handed it to me and had a translator tell me that he was so sorry that he had forgotten to return it. I handed it back to him and explained that I wanted him to keep it to remind him that I would be praying for him each day. I knew that he would cherish that bracelet and enjoy it more than I ever would.
In February of 2006, David traveled to Ethiopia and when he visited Kediir he was still wearing the bracelet that I had left with him the previous summer. David had new and updated photos of our four children as well as a few photos of Kediir and I from our week at camp to give to him. David was able to spend spend time with Kediir and I was so excited for the two of them to meet each other. Kediir also shared with David that two of his brothers had accepted Christ and how excited he was to not be the only believer of Jesus in his Muslim family. God was answering my prayers-
Over the next few years David and I have continued to stop by and see Kediir and his family everytime we have traveled to Ethiopia. Now several of his siblings are Christ followers. Kediir and his family are always overjoyed to see us and they usually cry with delight upon our arrival. That was no different when we visited with them a few weeks ago.
It had been over 2 years since I had visited with Kediir and so while we were in Ethiopia this summer a visit with his family was very high on my priority list. I couldn't wait for Megan, Kaylee, Lindsay and Jacob (and my sister Carrie) to get to meet this young man that they had been praying for with me. I couldn't wait for Kediir to get to meet the kids that I had told him about on all of our visits together.
I was so thankful that our great friend (and hero) Nicco had some free time and was willing to travel with us to be our translator with Kediir. We weren't sure that Kediir would even be home but as we got close to his village I saw Kediir walking out on the road. Eskel our driver stopped the van and I jumped out to greet him. Tears filled my eyes as I was so excited to get to spend some time with this young man and his family that I pray so much for. Our kids filed out of the car and each hugged Kediir and it was another moment of disbelief that this was actually happening. A day I had dreamed of happening but never thought would be a reality.
We walked towards Kediir's hut and his family all came running out to greet us. They couldn't believe that we were there to visit. My heart broke as Nicco translated Kediir saying that he thought that we had forgotten about him.Nothing was further from the truth and I made sure that he knew that I would always be praying for him and his family .
We spent the next hour catching up with his family and all learning how to use a whip. (See photo above!) It was such a fun afternoon of laughing, playing and just enjoying being together. We even found out while we were there that this brother-in-law is an employee of Nicco at Nicco's new truck stop- What a small, small world! When it was time for us to go, Kediir went into his hut and brought out all of the photos of our family that we had ever given him. He shared with us how much they meant to him and how he thinks of us each day.
Kediir has recently started his secondary education and is very rarely in his village because his school is a few hours away. I was so excited that he was home that day and I am even more excited that this young man who knows Jesus has and will continue to make a huge impact in his community.
I am so thankful that a few years ago I spent a week of my summer in Ethiopia sharing God's love with a group of guys- I would have never guessed how much it would have forever changed my heart and life!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with ALL my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with JOY. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalm 28:7
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
For the past few days I have been wondering about several things and one of the things that I have been wondering about is if I should really write this blog. I say that to say that I know that so many of you reading this will not understand nor will you agree with what I am about to write. I am not asking you to understand completely (because I certainly do not) nor am I saying that you must agree with me but for whatever reason I feel that God wants me to share the battle that is being waged in my mind. I promise that sometime tomorrow I will give some fun, funny and somewhat tearful stories of the past week at the Henderson house but for tonight here goes-