Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My handsome boy and chicken love

I think he is going to be a golfer like his daddy.
Joanna still loves her chicken "Slushy"

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Today we got to see our baby in a 3D and 4D ultrasound. Wow - it was so amazing to watch it move and open its mouth and try to suck its thumb. Once it even scrunched its eyebrows and scowled. We were so thankful for this opportunity. A fellow adoptive mom asked if we would be interested in being a part of a "sanctity of life" calendar. It shows baby before and after birth, and is used for fundraisers for pro-life organizations like Crisis Pregnancy Centers etc. We of course were excited to have our baby be a part of this since we are so passionate about children, born and unborn alike and we probably never would have gotten one of these ultrasounds if we had to pay. Did you see the little foot up by the head in the first picture? And the sweetie ready to pop its thumb in its mouth in the second picture? It has hair and big lips - like our babies always have. What a treat! Thank you so much Harmony!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pregnancy update

That little sweetie doesn't know that soon he won't be the baby anymore. I have about 12 1/2 weeks left. I am not sure whether to celebrate or cry :). Pregnancy is hard on me, especially trimesters 1 and 3, so I am always anxious for it to be over. I also LOVE giving birth - so if it was up to me, I would just skip to the end. In my opinion, there is NOTHING better - birth and snuggling/smelling my newborns. On the other hand, I have 3 toddlers or should I say "tornadoes"! I will have 4 kids that are 3 and under. I am guessing I will still have 4 in diapers - even though Jeremiah and Josiah do great potty training as long as they are nak*d. So YES - I am scared. I am already exhausted - so it will be overwhelming. My sanity and peace comes in knowing that my joy does not come from my circumstances. I must preach the truth daily to myself that my joy is in Christ alone and that the diapers, messes and tiredness are circumstances that will pass. My joy is in loving Christ and the GREAT mercy and grace he has shown me. I am a sinner that deserves nothing short of God's wrath, yet He has never ending love and grace to give me that I do not deserve. These children are jewels in my crown, gifts, blessings, not burdens and I will rejoice in the children He has chosen to bless me with - oh yes - and I will rejoice in caffeine too :) J/K

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Julia's surgery

Yesterday Julia had surgery to get her tonsils and adenoids out. My mom stayed with all the other kids all day and then traded shifts with me after dinner and stayed the night with her. She was released this morning. She has been a trooper.

Here is the update I sent a friend last night:

It went well. She had a much harder time than I thought with the pain when she first woke up and at that time I was by myself with her and my tears were running, not being able to do anything – thinking I have to stop crying so she will stop crying. Then once they gave her a narcotic – things were great the rest of the time and actually she was hilarious – we all got some good laughs from her dopey, repetitive questions. Now Grandma took over and Janae went to visit and they were having so much fun together that I let Janae stay the night too so they could have a slumber party. They were getting all the ice cream and treats they wanted and movies and board games. Julia kept asking where Janae was when she was loopy – so it was sweet and I think just was so comforted to be with her. It is good for Janae too, who needs breaks just to be a kid and have fun because she is all too serious much of the time and has so many responsibilities.
Thanks for the prayers – I kept thinking “God is perfectly good even if she doesn’t wake up – but please Lord, let her wake up!"
We are thankful for our Jules and are really hoping this surgery will help her breathing and sleeping - so that she will be able to feel rested and refreshed after a night's sleep for the first time in probably 8 years.

Our son, his birthday and the future plans - part 3

This is the latest picture we have of Ephrem. He is wearing the soccer clothes we sent him.

Here he is on the top right and Tamara's son, who just graduated this last weekend (Emnatu), is in the pink shirt and tie.

Here we are at church with Tamara and her family in our Kolfe shirts that Tamara designed. They say "Forgotten no more (map of Africa w/heart on Ethiopia) The boys of Kolfe Orphanage Addis Ababa, Ethiopia" On the back is James 1:27.

Since Ephrem wanted a "J" name, we chose Jonathan or Joseph and let him choose (because our kids were arguing which one he should have). He chose Jonathan. He immediately changed his name to Ephrem Jonathan Diaz - I think because he had such a longing to belong and have a place in a family - an identity. I suggested he also keep his dad's name - Kibru, since that is an important part of him too. He just loves to hear the details of our life and our family. He always says to imagine that he is here eating with us or at the parties with us or swimming with us.

He is homesick for a home and family he barely knows. I keep telling him that here, the kids work A LOT cleaning and taking care of little ones etc and there is A LOT of noise and crying and very little soccer on tv and that mom and dad get mad sometimes and have a lot of rules (so he doesn't think it is a dreamland here). Of course he says he doesn't care - he just wants to be with his family some day. For the first time in 5 months, we skyped this last weekend with full video and sound on Javier's laptop. This meant that we could show him around. He watched some of the kids swimming, he could see Janae and her Grandpa working on her garden, he could see the table we eat meals at and the bedrooms etc. He loved it and we had a lot of good laughs. We also heard his voice for the first time - which was really fun.

July 21, was the date that we decided with him for his birthdate. We recently celebrated via skype, messages on facebook, and a video of the kids singing happy birthday to him. We also made him a cake. He pretended to eat it on skype and said it was sweet - LOL. It has been fun to see how the kids were so excited to make his cake and birthday card etc. Ministering and loving people cross culturally will always be natural for them. They know nothing different and I am thankful for that as I remember what kind of adults we aim to raise.

My friend, Tamara (also a Kolfe mama), and I hope to visit our boys soon. We still have no date, but we are waiting for some details to work out (I actually want to visit my boys' birth cities and I need to track down some important adoption paperwork to complete our readoption here in the states -errr).

Many people ask if we will bring him here. We do not know what the Lord will do. He is too old to be adopted. Maybe he could come on a student, work or visitor's visa in the future - none of which are easy to obtain. We don't know what the future holds, but we know that we are here to love and cheer him on whether we live near or far from him.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ephrem - part 2

My sister took this picture when she visited the boys in April
This picture is of Ephrem showing us the shirt that we sent him in his first care package

Ephrem immediately was excited to hear that he had a boat load of siblings. He went from no family, to having one of the largest families on his campus! Here are parts of his second and third letters. We did send a small photo album with my sister in April that had everyone's photo with a 3x5 card with their name, birthdate and fun facts about them so he could get to know each one better. He has ALWAYS been so attentive, caring and curious about his siblings. He never misses a birthday (either emailing or skyping) and he remembers everything that is happening with them (illnesses, parties, events etc). Jordan and Jacklyn especially seem to love him a lot. They ask when he can come live with us or when they can see him. Jordan tells everyone we have 9 kids - always including Ephrem as the oldest.

"Hi mama, I am very happy because I was haven’t any brother and sister but in this time I get brother and sister. I want to know about my family more. you can do this? What is our family name? I feeling so bad by I live in the campus because there is not mother and father .there is servant but they are not just like family they assuming is so bad about us. Say hi to my brother and sister and also tell them I am very glad by I have brother and sister.

I don’t know when is my birth day date but you can choose to me. We eat in our campus day to day injera and bread but we have once a week macaroni. (no meat, fruit or vegetables except for 3 times a year) I don’t like our campus food because it is not good but we eat because we have no choice. I also like the same as you chocolate and fruit, from fruit I like to eat banana. How is my dad doing what state do you live and also how is the weather?

I pray to (for) you and to (for) my family always to God give you health and peace. All things are doing by God with out God life is nothing. God wants our heart so we must give our heart to him and he doing every thing for us if that is necessarily. God is the master key of every thing so we must believe him. I am so proud by you want to send to me a bible. This is a good idea because I will be learning what the bible says.



your son"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our Son - Ephrem Jonathan Kibru Diaz - and the email that changed our lives

This post seems overwhelming for me to write. There is so much to say and share, but it is hard to convey in words. Most people think Ephrem is like our sponsor child. But that isn't accurate at all. He has truly become our son and brother in our hearts and lives, although not legally. But the Lord has seen fit to bless us with this boy and God is not confined by legal adoption.

Originally, we were assigned a different boy, but never heard back from him after trying to contact him, so we requested the boy in this picture. We took this picture back in November 2008 when we visited Kolfe orphanage. I don't remember talking to him, but he was one that followed behind quietly. He seemed reserved, but friendly and he was not trying to get all the attention - I liked that. Well, in March 2010 we got our first email response from our son Ephrem Kibru (Kibru was his dad's first name) and the rest is history.

We heard the amazing testimony about how having a mom, completely changed the life of Solomon Mestas. You can see their story here. After following his story and hearing that many more boys longed for a mama and family, we knew that this was one more way that we could care for the orphans. We knew this was a long committment and was something much more than "sponsorship". This was adopting him in our hearts. Jordan has always desperately wanted a big brother, and now he has one. We email him 1-4 times a week and skype him every once in a while. We send him care packages and chose a birthday for him and recently celebrated his first birthday ever. He also noticed that we all have "J" names and said he would like us to give him a "J" name to be part of our family. We share scripture with him, pray with him and dream about the future with him - all things he didn't have parents or anyone to do with him before.

Oh, amazingly his English is very good. Some of the boys can not speak English, others are in between. Those that can speak English just help translate for the ones need help.

Over time I will share some of his emails with you. He has given me permission. Here is the first one we ever received. Do you see how hungry he was for a family?

"Hello mama, how are you doing?I am so fine to hear. I am very happy by you are my mama I was haven't a family but in this time I born again by you
I haven't any family.my father died when I was a little boy he was a solger and he died by war but I don't know by what war he daid my mother also diad I think when I was a 8 years old. she was sick but I don't know by what disease is she but it like TB.I am 16 years old and I live in kolfe for 8 years.Iam a grade 11 student and I like maths and english but my languge is not perfect but I always try to become a perfect in my languge and I am a medium student and also I like a soccer I like a club of Arsenal it is an england club.
mama I miss that day to see you again in Ethiopia and in our campus. I hope one day it become true and I see you in our campus and Ethiopia.
I don't know how to you pray for me but pray every day for me and I pray every day for you and my family at when I sleep and I weak up. say hi to my family.
your son Ephrem"

Wow - this first letter really surprised me at how open he was and how he immediately called me mama. Stay tuned for some other special posts about our son.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Flying High

This is our entertainment whenever Daddy or Uncle John are in the pool. We just roar laughing as we watch all of the funny expressions and poses in the air. Jeremiah and Elizabeth can really fly because they are so tiny.

PS- Check back the next few days for Part 1, 2 and 3 about our son Ephrem in Ethiopia.