Monday, April 28, 2008

Boys 2 Men 4 Christ

My husband started this Ministry back in L.A. (when we lived there) at our church, Faith Community Church in West Covina. It started with a Grandmother coming to David numerous times asking for help. Her daughter was in jail often and the grandson was left with his Grandma quite a bit. She cared for him deeply, but was saddened by her daughter not being there for him. The father of the child was nowhere to be found.

David came up with a solution not only for this little boy and his Grandmother who had been raising him for over a year, but for every single church to start this program to help these fatherless boys. A program for young boys with no Father in the picture. Fathers who were incarcerated, deceased, drug addicts or just plain out of the picture.

They met at our church every other Friday, just boys and men, the Moms had a night off. About 30 boys and 12 men would show up and spend time together. They learn scripture and how it's applicable to their lives and do what boys and Fathers usually do....eat pizza, throw a ball around, hug them, tell them how much they are loved and that God has incredible plans for their life. Some boys just needed hugs. Some just needed to see what it "Looked" like to be a man! To be a Christian man! These men were "modeling" for these lost boys.

It's different than the Big Brother program as it is where the boys get together at the church and have some MAN time. It is a Christian program.

I am PROUD to introduce my husband's incredible ministry to you. Please view this video.....





The PROBLEM...

The number of boys being raised without fathers keeps rising at an astonishing rate. With generation after generation of boys being brought up with no male role model in the home to model fatherhood, there seems little hope for the next generation of fathers.

It’s an unbelievable fact that today an estimated 24.7 million children in the US (36.3%) live absent from their biological father.

Fatherlessness contributes to...

* 63% of youth suicides
(U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
* 85% of all children with behavioral disorders
(Center for Disease Control)
* 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger
(Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.)
* 71% of high school dropouts
(Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)

The solution was put into a program that he wants all churches to start. It's called "MINISTRY IN A BOX" and any church can have this program by going to his website.....


The statistics are shocking and unacceptable. Please feel free to pass this website on to your church or any pastor! No city is without this problem...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nothing new...Just waiting for a Court Date.

The court date is the next important and vital step in this process. "T" is in our hearts and minds and prayers EVERY day, actually most moments of the day for all 4 of us here. But, until then, I'm reminded by my agency ("A", you know I'm talkin' about you!! I kid! ;) that anything can happen between now and the court date. I am prepared for that, but will PRAY fervently that NOTHING stands in the way. Should I know or find out that her mother/father was there and healthy and can raise her, that would be a better choice for "T", but highly unlikely is that to happen and so therefore I pray only for the BEST possible situation for this precious little girl who God has amazing plans for and loves dearly.

Her name translated is quite apropos. (Unfortunately I can't post it....googling is way too easy these days.) But, you'd agree with me that the meaning from Amharic to English is ironic. Each time I see her picture, my heart yearns more for her. I see her face and those eyes looking back at me, it's as if she is waiting patiently for us to come to her. When you see her picture you'll know what I mean. She's not smiling, but she's not frowning...she's just looking. Another parent with our agency said that her picture (on our agency's private site) looks as though she is "wise". I thought that was a very insightful description. She really does. She does not look babyish, she does not look sad, just really sweet and strong. I said in my last post that that phase of this adoption was the hardest, whereas most parents consider this part the hardest. I still feel that way. Now I know who she is (and I am well aware that ANYTHING can happen and she could not come to us), but I am at peace with the waiting and know that she will get here when she's ready. If you know me, you'd know that if there was anything I could do to speed this process, I'd be doin' it.

So I wait for our Dossier to be approved, then a court date that our facilitator will go to court on our behalf. As soon as we "pass court", we will be notified shortly thereafter and celebrate yet another milestone. Very, VERY important step...passing court. Then she is "legally" our daughter and we can exhale. Evan has moved into Brandon's old room, so "T" can have Evan's old room, which is a little bigger for her to have some toys and play in. It's in shambles at the moment, but this is the fun part, creating a place for her that is FEMININE. Those old boas that we use for Karaoke, are now in her room hanging on her bedpost. David and the boys are going to shine up the old swing set in the back, so she can build memories with her brothers up on top of the "fort" area before sliding down.

Ohhh....so many things to ponder. God loves it when we shake things up! Here's to us...shakin' it up!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Our Referal Update....a Twist of Fate!

This is the post I've been waiting so long to write...

Here is what has happened in the last 48 hours. We received the medical for "T", which is how I'll refer to her as I talk about "our pending daughter" to be (must say it that way as she is not ours yet). Her medical looks really good and we have accepted her as our referral. At this time we were told that we have to either accept her alone as one and move forward or wait for 2 more referrals to come along, which has been harder than we thought. Our agency has been keeping an eye out for 2 girls between the ages of 2 and 4 for us since January.

We had been waiting for 2 weeks for her medical just to confirm her health status all the while falling in love with her every day. So yesterday, when we were told that we accept her and move forward with one girl, or wait for 2 girls (who knows when that will come) and let "T" go, David and I talked for hours and then spoke with our boys about our new situation. We've always known that things could become complicated and that adoption can be unpredictable. It was SERIOUSLY discussed and we decided hands down that we have fallen in love with this little girl and want to bring her home. This has been a difficult decision to decide on one child rather than two. But we are at peace with this decision and are actually very excited about this phase of the adoption. As of tomorrow, our paperwork will be back in process in Ethiopia and move forward. It has been on hold for a few weeks while we were waiting for this referral so it is nice to have that moving along.

"T" is adorable, is about 2 1/2 yrs. old, has little to no hair, has a really fantastic "pout" in her picture and big beautiful eyes. We love her name and plan to keep it as her first name. If this is the name her mother gave her, we can't imagine taking that from her when that will be all that she has...literally ALL that she has to call her own. Can you imagine? We will be able to post her picture when we pass court in Ethiopia and she is legally our daughter. We wait anxiously for more pictures from another family that is there at her orphanage now. "T" was left in a safe place and found by police I think about a month or 2 ago. I have no details, only a picture. We can't wait to get more info on her.

Ethiopian Coffee Culture

I love this description of the "Coffee Ceremony". When we were recently at our Ethiopian friends' home for lunch, Genat did this for us. Insense and all. It was so lovely and I love the reason for it....to share news and gather together. The elders are served first, then others.




Ethiopian Coffee Culture

Also, a MUST see of these fantastically captured photos of a Coffee Competition and of Ethiopia people. These photos are simply gorgeous.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Letter Every Adoptive Parent Should Read!

This letter is about loss. It gives you a very realistic idea about what a child must be experiencing as they go from parent to orphanage to nanny at orphanage to director to new parent and the new environment. I knew that there are transitions a child goes through, but I never thought of it quite like this.

I highly recommend reading this so that you as a new adoptive mother and father and sibling can fully understand what would have been going on in the mind of a precious little one.

Just click below here...

http://www.babyhoffman.com/lossletter.asp

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Waiting Post...No News...So I Write About Stuff!

This is where I met my husband...Venice Beach, California. I had been going there every Sunday with just my little ol' self and my roller skates for 15 years. I guess you can say it was my "church" day since I didn't go to church back then. I'd park at Santa Monica Pier and skate 2 miles down to Venice.


Venice Beach, CA

I would always hope that "Ben" was there with his boom-box, which was run by a car battery for hours providing us with music until the sun went down. I would look for Gil Borges and his art easel set up so I could sit on his bench and sit for a while just to hear him talk...a thick as can be New York accent with a few words of profanity thrown in for good measure. Gil was about 70 and an incredible caricaturist. He's drawn me with my skates and friends for years there and although by now he's passed away, I still have all of our pictures and drawings that he did. I was single, no kids, no huge commitments except to see how much fun I could have all day long. It was good, clean fun and I cherish those days. I had met some of the neatest people there...one of which I've been married to for 20 years!

But really, for many years I was "waiting" to meet the man closest to my written dreams as possible. I had a description of a guy in mind, but after many failed and hurtful relationships, I was wondering what I would end up "settlin" for. My happy ending had come...Mission "Dream Man" accomplished!


Sidewalk Cafe, Venice Beach, CA.

I would eat breakfast at The Sidewalk Cafe where the line wound around the building with people waiting to be seated, but I would always be let in without waiting as I was a regular each Sunday morning.



Ben showing me some moves...

So when I think of all of the different waiting periods you go through in adoption, this particular one is the hardest for me, personally. For me it's the NOT knowing "who" our daughters are and "when" they will be revealed to us that is the hardest wait. For some, the hardest is once they know, they want to GO!! But for me this is the hardest.

While I am in this waiting period, I'm reminded of years ago waiting for my husband to come home from traveling the country. He had been out literally "touring the world" with musicians such as Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston...doing American Music Awards and Grammies with Diana Ross, etc...


Michael Jackson, Greg Phillinganes (the Music Director)

We had no children and I ached for companionship while he was out. Taking on a tour like that is a commitment of a year and a half, with him having 2 week breaks at home now and again and me flying out to be with him where ever he was on the road. The traveling I did during these 5 years was incredible because I knew that the likelihood of me going to those places in the near or far future was slim. So I appreciated all of that travel and everything it had to offer. We lived in Hollywood, we were newly married and excited to start our new life. I worked at BMG Music Publishing copyrighting our clients music and licensing it out to people wanting to use it.

So while he was out I started hanging out with this really fantastic girl. She was tall, short blondish white hair and just the coolest girl, I thought. As we continued to hang out, I suddenly realized while on the back of her motorcycle that I didn't know what she did for a living. So I asked. She hesitated to tell me until I asked again. Well, my good friend turned out to be what she referred to as a "H i g h Class C a l l Girl". Her alias was "Brigitte". I didn't believe she was a hooker until she showed me some things in her apartment. I was so bummed cause she was a "hoot" to be around, but at that moment I realized the fun was over. I was sad to lose her as a "hang out friend" while David was busy flying around the country, but I was more sad for her and her lifestyle. I didn't see her for a while, then bumped into her at Ralphs Market....she looked drugged out and sad. So sad for her.

Well, still alone at home waiting for my husband to come off the road and still no friends nearby to hang out with, my mind started it's race to fill that void with something fabulous. So I decided that I wanted a horse. Of course...a horse in Hollywood...who doesn't do that! As I explained this to David on the phone he very calmly ... freaked out! We didn't even have a place for it, we had a 1 bedroom studio apt. in Hollywood where we lived for 5 years. He thought I was ridiculous. He's such the practical one. I hate that! I felt offended. But the truth was I was emotional and lonely by myself and he out on the road traveling the world. He's out seeing the coolest cities in the best countries, never having to make his bed, money put in his hand every week to go to a movie, or walk thru a mall, or visit Big Ben in London...but all I wanted was a horse! How dare he think that was ridiculous, I thought, but it was ridiculous and I just needed to talk to him more often. So we talked more often, and we compromised. And when he came home, he was surprised, but pleased that what I had in fact acquired was a kitten and not a horse.


Max and I in our Hollywood Apt.
David was out on the road somewhere.



Max's sleeping spot

A gorgeous pure white, blue eyed fluffy Persian kitten. When he did tours like that, he would commit to a year and a half and he would come home in between and I would go out and visit him where ever he was. But Max, ohhh, he was my new fluffy companion. He made me happy and it was someone to cuddle and love while my husband was away.

So here I am today, husband home, but waiting once again for something more amazing than I could ever have imagined. Two daughters who are to be revealed to us at any moment. Literally, any minute. Whenever the phone rings, my heart skips a beat and I take a deep breath. This could go on for another month, but I will still panic every time the phone rings. This waiting is very hard, very strange. My husband is home and got himself off of the road and that lifestyle way before we had children. It sounds like it may have been glamorous, sometimes it was, but the truth is, although the experience was a once in a lifetime for someone with no children, some of the stuff that goes on in the process is nothing to yearn for. It was everything that my husband is not and that rubbed him the wrong way. Since then he has built his own company over the last 13 years and has provided for our family amazingly. I am in awe of his abilities in all areas of our life. It has allowed our family to blossom in ways I could never have imagined and to now be waiting for this expansion of doubling our children in the course of 9 months is just too much to take.

This past 18 months has been a bit tough with our recent move to Denver from So. Calif. and some unexpected outgoing expenditures as well as losing a big client. And although I've been waiting for this year to come for a long time, we will not be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary quite like I wanted to. I wanted to GO BIG and had grandeur plans for this celebration. But we'll tone it down significantly in exchange for something we just cannot put a price on....2 daughters! I'll take that any day of my life!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Up Close and Personal ... with Joe Satriani

Wow! Yesterday the boys had an afternoon that they'll remember forever! We had learned a couple of weeks ago that a well known guitarist Joe Satriani was going to be at our local Guitar Center...Since David and the boys (not I) are guitarists, we absolutely had to be there.

At least it took my mind off of the YOU KNOW WHAT that I'm waiting for!!!



Joe Satriani



He did a "clinic" at Guitar Center



Man...this guy can play and talk!








He was explaining to the crowd that you have to find the "sweet spot" on the stage because there is so much feedback and interference that you have to find the "sound" that you're looking for.






Brandon (13) and Joe Satriani
The boys were in heaven being there. He signed their guitars in silver sharpie so it looks so fantastic on the black guitar.




Evan asked him how old he was when he started playing....he said he was 14.




Funny... I was just flossing my teeth too this way today with MY guitar!!




This guy is amazing. There were over 500 people in line by the time it opened at 6pm and just take a guess who was FIRST in line....uh huh! Yes, it was us. On our way to church yesterday, we drive by the Guitar Center to see if anyone would be in line, but of course at 11am there was no one. The boys were jumping out of their skin to be the first in line and I wanted them to be the first in line cause it would just be so cool to sit right up front as Joe plays only 5 feet from our eyes. So I dropped the boys off with chairs, food, guitars and their cell phones and I went back home and cleaned, picked up Evan's friend to stand in line with him and took them some more stuff I printed out on Joe Satriani... all his facts and bio for them to read.

So, I could write pages of how cool this was, but after waiting 7 hours in line (worth it, what else were they going to do all day...besides ditch church for Joe...sorry God, you understand when you hear him play) it was worth it. I got so many great pictures of him. This was a "clinic" so between each song, he would talk about how he came up with the song and how he plays the way he does. Then he anwered 4 questions from the audience and both Brandon AND Evan got their questions answered by Joe. Then we were FIRST in line again to get their guitars signed and get a picture with him.......I just looOOOve being first!! Evan's friend Omar just bought his first guitar the day before and then to have Joe sign it was just way cool.

Yesterday was really great. Mostly because my 3 mens were happy...and that makes ME happy! The only downfall is that I didn't get to check my email for 8 hours...I kept wondering if I'd miss my agency sending me a referral!! But nothing yet!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Last Adoption Class Completed!

We had our last adoption class today. It's nice to be done with everything like that.

No news on the medical for our possible 2 1/2 year old and no news on a second referral yet. The wait feels like forever and the phone rings are always hopeful that it's our adoption agency calling with good news. There are several couples from our agency at different stages and it's nice to see us all moving along....feels like at a snail's pace...but moving along at any pace is good.

Last week we went to our Ethiopian church. I volunteered in the toddler class as usual and David sang songs to all the classes. Pastor prayed feverishly over a picture of our referral in hopes of good news very soon and that should she be our child, that she would do great things when she gets older and gives back to her community back in Addis Ababa. I thought that was so beautiful.

And last night, we were privileged to have Mesfin and his family over for dinner. If you recall, they are our new friends at the church. What a lovely family. We had wonderful conversation throughout the night about many things. Fascinating to get to know people and their lives which have been so different than how I grew up.

My friend Shere' from So. Cal who has been waiting for 2 1/2 years for her daughter from Vietnam is on the plane at the moment to finally hold her daughter in her arms for the first time and bring her home. That is a long process. Another gal at our agency (Leah) is hoping to pass court today for the 3rd try .... and I wait for my news.

That's it for now.......

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I'm A Little (Lot) Excited

I must say, since this is a "journey" and those of you who have blogs and those who don't that just like to follow the journey, I don't think it's the best journey if we don't share everything along the way. And, I can't stand not saying anything...

I hesitate to post that we might have one of our girls! We were referred a child on Friday morning and are waiting for medical on her, but she could very well be our daughter. This is thrilling news for us and want to confirm this as soon as we have more info on her. I know there are so many prayers going on out there for us and I know that God hears them all. I feel a bit tentative about getting too excited because we are still waiting to accept the referral. Can I tell you how many times I've looked at her picture and studied her face? Too many! Can't count.