Monday, September 26, 2011

Choosing Jesus

Etienne had a choice between a skeleton necklace or our Savior on the cross during a weekend shopping excursion. Without any prompting and with little thought, he chose Jesus. When asked why he made the decision he made, the answer was simple... "because it makes Jesus smile when we choose Him."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bird

I don't care for birds rationalizing that anything that can s*** on my head is no friend of mine. However, even I cannot deny the beauty that some fowl encompass. Thankfully, the kids don't share my phobia and as a result, spent close to an hour feeding this lucky peacock lime flavored popcorn during a recent trip to the zoo.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Loaded Letter

Each night Sophia and Charlotte sneak out of their beds and write up a little note for AJ and me. Most evenings it's a hand-drawn picture with the simple words "I love you," however last night it was a little bit more...

To fuel any curiosity, when I lifted the paper, there was indeed a giant green booger. The shocked face illustration about sums it up... Those are our girls sweet and sick all at the same time, just like their parents.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Care Packages

We have been so fortunate in connecting with other families at our agency and even more so, these same families have offered to take over some care packages to our little guys for us. Sophia, Etienne and Charlotte have pretty much taken full responsibility in putting everything together and the result is a loving display of how much Laurent and Nicasio are already adored by their older siblings.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Fight

I'm fighting myself in a battle that cannot be won easily, but yet I continue to throw punches. I am a fallen sinner given the chance to live again through the death of another, however I've lost sight of my foundation. From a place of vulnerability I admit that life has been difficult over the past months and weeks which seems counterproductive given the fact that we have at long last received referrals for two precious baby boys. In honesty, days have been long, endless in sight, and although it may appear that I have everything managed, my grasp is weak and my will to push on is at times fleeting.

I know that this brawl is worth the agony but I'm feeling worn, bruised by experience and almost ready to collapse. I believe that I've finally reached my limit and at this point everything that has taken place throughout this adoption has culminated, while the influx of it all weighs me down with intense anger, unrelenting exhaustion and pessimistic distress. From the agency that didn't trust to the one who didn't do their part. From the lies we were fed to the funds that were lost and everything in between, I am broken.

Where do I go from here? Do I give up and run away, sink into my own self-consciousness and disappear into the 'problem' or do I withstand the pain? How do I overcome what has been to embrace what will be? I've walked this road before, the angst was greater then and I proved victorious; stronger as a result. I trust that the same path is before me I just have to jump into motion and continue the fight, not for me but for them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Orphanage Mates Need Help

As many of you know we finally, after years of waiting and dreaming, know who our children are. We breath a sign of relief at this, fully understanding that our journey is far from over yet further along than where we began.  While we wait we feel called to help and support  in any way that we can, especially when it comes to any needs associated or directly related to the place in which our boys are. We feel fortunate to be connected to an agency that actively calls its families into action to help and support, especially in crisis situations. One such situation has presented itself and is explained below through the words of a fellow adoptive mom and active volunteer  for Adoption Avenues. If after reading the following letter you desire to help in any way, whether it be via prayer or financially, you're efforts would not be wasted...


Friends and Family, 
As many of you know, as Addia's mom I am passionate about staying connected to Ethiopia, Toukoul Orphanage, and Adoption Avenues as they are each part of Addia's adoption story.  Each has become part of who I am and part of what and who I love.  As such, I have performed a few volunteer roles for Adoption Avenues over the past few years to assist them with other families going through their own adoption process.  Each time I've been asked to assist and each role I have played has been truly a privilege and an honor and I have walked away better and wiser than I was before!  I've been called upon again in a way that I feel even more privileged than before, but this time I can't do it alone. 

Recently Radu, the director of Adoption Avenues, informed me that Biftu Orphanage, one of the three orphanages that they work with, was approved to begin taking in children who have journeyed from drought stricken, southeast Ethiopia in search of food and assistance. They all have been diagnosed as severely malnourished. The Biftu staff is thrilled to have the opportunity to improve the health of these children and they are relieved to know that they've at least made it this far, yet they now bear the large burden of providing adequate food for them.  Dr. Nasser, primary physician for Biftu, reached out to Adoption Avenues for assistance with carrying this load and Radu reached out to me.   

The doctors involved feel that there are two avenues to pursue to provide the necessary food for these children-Formula F100 (or "catch up" formula) and Plumpy Nut.  Plumpy Nut is a product that was created specifically to feed severely malnourished.  It is used by Doctors Beyond Borders. Unicef purchases over 90% of the product produced.  It has been labeled a "miracle food" as a 6 week supply dramatically improves the health of the child consuming it. With 90% of the product already spoken for, getting my hands on it was not easy!  Therefore, it is nothing short of a miracle (and the assistance of my dear friend Colleen) that I've been put in contact with one of the members of the founding team of Plumpy Nut who put me in connection with this person and that person and the next person!  Finally I was connected to a person who was able to and who has committed to helping us help these children.  What's even better is that this company produces the product in Ethiopia and will NOT CHARGE us for delivery inside Addis Ababa!   

So here are the facts.  One box of Plumpy Nut contains 150 packets and feeds one child for 7 weeks, or one full treatment for severe malnourishment.  One box costs $55. Currently there are 40 children (ages 10 days to 4/5 years) who have been taken in as a result of the drought.  Another 20 are expected in the next few days.  And in the coming months they expect to be able to take in hundreds.  WE NEED HELP!   

Adoption Avenues is a non-profit organization and has agreed to collect the funds from adoptive families and friends of adoptive families.  I have called out to all adoptive families and now am reaching out to you.  Attached you will find Adoption Avenues Non-Profit 501c3 form and the commitment letter from Hilina Foods (Please email me at j_gumieny@yahoo.com if you desire to view these attachments prior to making a donation and I will be more than happy to forward them to you directly).  If you are able to make a donation towards this cause all involved would be humbled and incredibly grateful. Donations can be made payable directly to Adoption Avenues via check (please indicate on the subject line Zimmer-Plumpy Nut).  If you are uncomfortable with that, you can send the donation to me (Please email me and I will send you my address or Jenna's email/address in order for you to send us your donation and then we will forward it on to Adoption Avenues) and I will get it to the right hands.  They will provide receipts for the donated funds and will use those funds solely for the purchase of Plumpy Nut for these children.  Hilina Foods, the processing and distribution plant in Ethiopia, will provide me with a receipt for the products purchased, thus completing the paper trail should you desire such documents.  

There is a real opportunity to greatly impact the lives of these children. I hope you will consider joining me in this mission. Any assistance that you can provide towards this cause is greatly appreciated!

The little ones being cared and in need of life saving intervention, as mentioned in the above letter, are in the same orphanage (Biftu) as Laurent and Nicasio... Obviously our hearts are heavy and hopefully after reading this your hearts may be touched as well... 
Donations can be sent directly to AA or as stated above:
Adoption Avenues

9498 SW Barbur Blvd. Suite 305

Portland, OR  97219

Phone  503.977.2870   or   503.977.5067

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of Preschool


Charlotte has officially begun her school career and literally could not be more excited. She picked out her own clothes (a flowing princess dress), requested her nails to be painted (a sparkly shade of pink) and asked for a rhinestone encrusted Mickey Mouse clip to be placed in her hair. This girl knows what she wants and what she wants is more school. With her backpack and lunch bag she trotted into class and almost didn't notice our less than stealth like departure. To summarize, our baby girl is growing up, exploring her 'independence' and as her parents we couldn't be more proud of the beautiful little lady she is becoming.

Side note: We received our second referral today... Another little baby boy who was born just days after we received our referral for Laurent back in July. He is beyond words adorable and we are in a state of disbelief and thanks as we finally know who our TWO little men are. More to come later when time becomes more of a luxury and less of a race.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

First Day of School



Etienne is a first grader, Sophia is now in second grade and I'm 33 years old. The first day of school is always bittersweet for this mommy as I let go of 24/7 contact with my littles, entrusting them in the hands of another, and age a year older. With that said, the kids LOVED school and my day was perfectly spent with my man and Miss Charlotte ending with a surprise birthday dinner with friends and family at one of my favorite restaurants.

Life is complex, neither calm nor serene, but a blessing beyond comprehension. To top it all off it's  just been confirmed that we are going to officially be adopting two little guys from Ethiopia. Our sweet Laurent and another tiny one waiting, whose name is yet to be determined. The first day of school may be bittersweet but an event that is inevitably going to be a part of my life for many years to come (Insert smile here)!
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