Friday, January 8, 2010

Sweet Chocolate

Tonight after Selamnesh and I sang our songs, prayed, and asked God to Bless everyone we know.... She noticed the picture of herself on the shelf. Above her crib, I have a shelf with different framed photos. We looked at each one and talked about them. 1st a picture of herself at her second birthday party in a Princess frame. We talked about how that was her birthday party, and that she was 2 years old..... Then a framed photo of me holding Selamnesh at the airport introducing my mother to her newest grand-daughter. We talked about the day I was SO happy to bring home my little girl from Ethiopia. And lastly, a framed photograph of myself and Bizunesh, taken by Lauren a few hours after we met. Both of our eyes red and puffy, both of us with very somber faces, but with our arms around one another. I asked Selamnesh who was in this picture.... She looked at me...."Mommy" and pointed to me in the photo. I asked who this was, pointing to Bizunesh. She looked at me, then the photo, back at me, then the photo again...."Mmmmmm" I helped her, "Is that Bizunesh?" We talk about her often and pray for her every night. "Bizunesh" She said with a smile. I told her how that was the day that Mommy met Bizunesh and how she grew in Bizunesh's tummy, and how much Mommy loves Bizunesh... Then my sweet, beautiful, baby girl said, "Bizunesh...Me...Bizunesh...Me, same." as she rubbed her sweet, tender, skin on her arm. As I choked back the tears and kissed her repeatedly, telling her how much I loved her, I knew that she realized that she was the same color as Bizunesh. My heart broke and sang at the same moment.............

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Christmas Letter

Christmas letters.... What a joke??? You never get a Christmas letter that says that their first born is in jail, the second got a girl pregnant, and the youngest just dropped out of school. Christmas letters are a way of telling the world how wonderful your children are and bragging about all of their achievements during the year.... I never thought I would write such a letter...........but here I am...

First I want to wish everyone God's blessings on them and their family. I pray that God blesses your family as much as he has ours. We are truly blessed beyond measure!! This has been a hard year with the economy for my work. Sales is always better when people have more money and they are secure in their jobs. But God has something big that He is planning for us, yet it's still unknown, He is teaching us lessons that we wouldn't be able to learn otherwise.

Lauren is now a junior in high school. Looking at colleges for pre-med. A Doctor in the family would really be a plus!!! Lauren is on high honors in school, so hopefully 13 years of college will be fun for her.... :) She plays the clarinet in concert band and pep band. She also is a beautiful pianist. She plays classical and pop. Most often in passing the piano she will stop, and play theme songs...most common lately is the theme song to "The Office", as wonderful of a song it is..... Tristan and I are a little sick of it. But she is very talented and it is beautiful to listen too. She also had another Prom and Homecoming dance.. But this is the biggie... Junior Prom!!! Lauren is also involved with Community problem solvers. A group through school that works to improve the community. This past year they finished the town park and this year are working with the Veterans. Hostessing dinners, interviewing them and what they recall from years gone by and having fun events with our Veterans. Lauren is a worker when it comes to helping people. Lauren is very involved with our church. This past summer Lauren wanted to be baptized in the same lake that she attended Bible camp at for years. It was a very special day!! Also this past summer she did street missions, and this summer she will be going on a Missions trip to Ireland. While there, they will be doing community service and street missions. What a wonderful young woman she has become!!! I couldn't be more proud of her!!!

Tristan is in eighth grade and well beyond his years. He is the student council president. And went to Leadership Camp this past summer. Tristan has a politicians personality. Everyone loves him!!! I joke and say that he got all of the girls votes for student council president and a few boys and he had it easy.... Tristan is so easy going, and well liked!! After coming home from Leadership Camp, I had to remind him who ran the house.......... Tristan has been playing the French Horn for the past number of years, although he tells me that he won't be playing the French Horn for a living, so he might not take it in High school. Tristan was chosen to go to Milwaukee School of Engineering for a Hydro Power Challenge with school. He went for one full day for learning, and then competed just a few weeks ago. Although they didn't come home with the gold, it was a very good learning experience. Tristan has always been a challenging child. He talks about thing...I have no idea about. Just the other day he was talking about...big this and little that.......only to find out he was talking about the names of the bomb that were dropped on Hiroshima. What?? Tristan is also very involved in church activities. This past summer he also was baptized in the same lake that he went to Bible camp at for years. Nothing make your heart swell than to see your children make a public confession of faith. He will be going to Ireland as well. He will also be doing street missions in Milwaukee this year. Tristan has a heart of Gold!! He is loving and caring and really cares about people. He will do amazing things!!!

Selamnesh.........what a growing girl!! It is so amazing that just a year ago we were hoping that she would take her first step on Christmas. And so like her personality... she did just a day after Christmas. Selamnesh has a smile and personality to melt your heart!!! But a strong willed child she is also....much like her older brother and sister. She is almost potty trained..... She will go when you put her on the potty, but really doesn't care if she is wet or has a dirty diaper. And you can't make someone not like something...... So unlike Lauren and Tristan who were both potty trained before 2 years old. She will do it when she wants and how she wants!!! Just a few days after Christmas she will be 2 years and 7 months. And a smart whipper snapper she is... She knows all of her colors, counts to 10, sings the ABC's, sings songs, likes to gallop around the house like a horse.....Just all the things she should be doing!!! Selamnesh is such a blessing to our family!!! She changed our hearts so much more than we changed her life....

So... What is going to be happening in the next year for our family?? Lauren and Tristan will be going to Ireland with our church this June. August Tristan will be doing street missions in Milwaukee. Until then they will be raising the funds to go on the trips by themselves and with church activities. In June of 2011 I am organizing and taking a group of people to Ethiopia for missions. We will be doing general work for the orphanage Selamnesh came from, and building a playground for the local school there; since they don't have anything for the children to play on or with. If you are interested in coming with us, please let me know. I also got my Foster care licence. We are waiting for placement...although Tristan really wants a boy...we are open to whatever God has for us.

May God keep your family close to his heart,
In His Grip,
Anna, Lauren, Tristan & Selamnesh

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!! I pray that God will bless your family as he has ours this past year. This has not been the easiest year........maybe the hardest. The economy has really hurt our "normal" way of life. But I almost enjoy this new normal better. I really feel that God is preparing me for a life with missions??? My heart really is missions. Someone asked me the other day how I came to love missions.......I don't know, I think it is just how you react when you hear of people in difficult times. I have always had a heart for the needy. Always had a heart for Africa. But when I went to Ethiopia to adopt Selamnesh, I didn't go wanting to change people's lives or even help them. I went for ME! I went to adopt a little girl who I wanted so badly!!! And when it came time to board that plane to come back home...I stood there crying my eyes out!!! I thought about putting my teenagers on that plane and staying there in Ethiopia. I didn't mean to fall in just happened. We have had such a wonderful year!! Sitting around the dining room table today saying what we are thankful for, my step-dad said, we are all thankful for Selamnesh. So true... she has bonded our family in ways that we just couldn't experience otherwise.

Some funny things lately..........

Selamnesh talks and talks and talks..... I love it and have never told her to be quiet, other than, when mommy is on the phone we need to wait.

Today she said that she was thankful for Mommy. Awwwwhhh

The other day she passed gas.... someone asked, did you toot?? She replied, "Me no toot, me fart!"

Selamnesh is working on potty training. I'm really not ready for her to grow up, so with's fine if she is in diapers. But she now has a stool that she has next to the big potty. She climbs up all by herself, turns around, and goes!!! Just the other morning she pooped. We are talking a big log!! When she got off the toilet she looked in and said, "Ma-ma, me BIG poop!" I agreed with her that I was so proud of her. And said, "ok, you can flush now." she.."No, me no flush!! Picture!!" Me..You want me to take a picture of your poop?" her.. "Yes, picture poop" So, I ran out to the car, got my camera, took a very nice picture of the poop, and she was happy.... She looked at the picture I took and said, "Nana, Sissy, Brother, picture poop." and she flushed the toilet.

She loves daycare, and so do I!!! She learns so much!! She counts to 10 sings the ABC's, knows her colors, she tells you what kind of weather it is outside, she is just so smart!!! She loves to play with her Duplo blocks and make towers with them.

And every night we rock and sing songs... Jesus loves me and Amazing Grace. We pray together and asking God to bless everyone. When she prays whether at meal time or night time, she bows her little head and pinches her eyes closed and really prays!!! Sometimes in the dim light when I lay her down I can almost see the face of Bizunesh.

Yes, we have so much to be thankful for... May God Bless You

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Selamnesh's 1st year home

One year ago tonight we stepped off the plane. Home forever with our Ethiopian Princess. I thank God for such a blessing to all of our lives. I thank a country, and a culture for changing my life forever.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One year ago today............

One year ago today I met Bizunesh. Selamnesh's birth mother is a small frail woman about 5 feet tall and maybe 100#. She was the same size as Lauren when we went, about a size 0. Lauren has grown in the last year and I wonder how Bizuinesh is doing. How often does she think about Selamnesh?? How often does she cry for her baby?? Has she moved on with her life?? Is she married?? Have another child?? I love you Bizunesh, you have given me the most precious gift. I love Selamnesh more than any other mother in the world. There is no difference in giving birth to a child and adoption. I have more time for Selamnesh than I did my other children. I am older and wiser. God has gifted me to be a loving mother. Thank you Jesus.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Working or Vacation in Marquette, MI

Last year I took the kids with me to Marquette, MI while I worked. I love Marquette so much!!! It is such a beautiful town!!! So we went there for a working vacation, I can work while the kids sleep in, go swimming, or entertain themselves, then when I'm done working for the day.....WE PLAY!!!! Lauren drove most of the's so nice to have a 16 year old!!!!

Selamnesh loves the water!!! She would jump off the side of the pool, be dunked by us, or just want to swim or float!!! Of course Lauren was her main playmate!! Tristan was diving, swimming, floating or just plain having fun!!!

What do you do with a 2 year old for 2 and a half hours while everyone is painting pottery??? Let her color on what ever she wants.......... We went to Hot Plate. It is the coolest paint pottery/make glass jewlery place I know of!!! Lauren made two glass fused necklaces. She layered pieces of glass on each other, they will fire the glass in the kiln and it will melt all together. Lauren is so detailed!!! Tristan made a beer mug....hummm..... But it was the coolest beer mug I have ever seen!!! He is just so creative!!! He even made it look like it had foam around the top rim of the glass. It was so cool!!! While visiting Bizunesh in Ethiopia, I asked her what she would like me to get Selamnesh as a gift from Bizunesh, her answer... warm pajamas and a bowl of her own. I made Selamnesh a princess plate from Bizunesh. We had a great time!!! I think it took longer that we expected it too, but it was fun!!!

We hiked up Sugarloaf Mountain!!! Lauren did not want to go!!! She isn't the most outdoorsy kina girl....she is more of a Princess than she lets on!! Tristan was all Gun-hoe!!! She volunteered to take Selamnesh and show her how it was to be done. After Lauren got going she desided that maybe this wasn't so bad and took a few paths of her own......

Once we got to the top... everyone was happy!!! I carried Selamnesh the way down, which was more difficult than you would think......but imagine carring a 25 pound bag of potatoes on your front while you were trying to make a correct that you both don't FALL down the mountain.........

After the hike, we were driving back into town when Tristan exclaimed, "Look!! Waterfalls!!!" I slammed on the brakes, and turned sharply into a small driveway/parking lot. The water was ice cold!!! The water flowed strangely in odd directions. The rocks that it ran over were black, flat and dull looking. It was breath takingly beautiful!!! No photos could take the full scope of the magesty of it!!!

I introduced the kids to Little Ceasar's $5.99 pizza!!! What a huge hit!!! Lauren couldn't believe that a whole pepperoni pizza was only $5.99!!! What a hoot!!! Selamnesh LOVES pizza!!! Tristan and I would have prefered sausage pizza to pepperoni but... oh well... So we sat at the beach eating a whole pizza and Crazy bread, another HUGE hit!!! Also.. Lauren taught Selamnesh to say, "Bus driver, bus driver, open the door!!" While she is pushing her cheeks together!!! They have such a great time!!!

Lake Superior is Cold!!! But Tristan was determined that he was going to go swimming!!! And of course... Selamnesh had to follow him in!!! She wanted to bring home every rock, stick, and piece of garbage she found.....after coming home... I realized that Tristan brought back a bunch of stuff from the lake.....

We had a wonderful time......oh, how I love vacationing with my children more than anyone else in the world!!! They are my world..........

Friday, September 4, 2009

Selamnesh's First County Fair

The County Fair came to town once again......and we were there to celabrate Selamnesh's first county fair!!! She LOVED the animals!!! A very nice woman took out her goat for her to pet. Lauren and Tristan would introduce her to every new was so adorable!!! She wouldn't even stick her hand in the cage and she would pull it away and squel with laughter!!! She had her first Merry-go-round ride and LOVED it!!! She had her first corn on the cob and we couldn't take it away!!! She sat and chewed on the cob!!! There is something just so special about the County Fair.........