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African Market: A Wonderful Night

Last weekend I hosted an African market stop & shop to benefit three of my friends who are adopting: the Shubins, the Masers, and the Waulks. It was a wonderful night--so fun to hang with old friends and meet new friends as well! My goal was for it to bring in $1,000 total between all three families...and we're not far!! I need your help to finish it out!! The items that are left are all available now through my blog--you can see them here. These items were purchased in Ethiopia and are beautiful bargains, each one unique and most handmade. They will only be available through the end of this week. Be sure and check them out to see if you would like to be a part of supporting these wonderful families!

For now, here are some pictures from our night:

a bit of the decor

shopping, shopping

some of the merch

new adoptive momma friends from Tampa!: Sarah & Elizabeth

finally met Ashlie and her boys!

one of a kind: our Ms. her so

Barbara and Danielle dressed for the occasion!

Erica, me , Melissa, & Christy

I love these gals. They have become dear friends and I can't imagine having gone through the last year and a half without their love and support and friendship. Their husbands all serve as elders in our church, and serving in ministry together as well as adopting at the same time has bonded us in a unique way. They have been by my side each step of the way in bringing home Abby, and I will be standing beside them...until they're all home.


African Market: Now you can shop, too!

This past weekend's African Market was a blast!! We had so much fun!! I will post more pictures from the event later this week. But since many of you long distance friends asked if you could shop as well (and some of you locals just couldn't make it), I am listing the items we have left below! I will have this shop open here THIS WEEK ONLY. If you see items you want to purchase, email me with your selections and I will let you know the total cost with shipping and make payment arrangements via check or paypal.

scarves $15-20

wooden beads $10
Braided beads $15
Bronze $12
Leather $12

Nickel crosses $20 (individual pictures here)

Crossbody purse $20
Small girl's purse $10

Purses $20

Traditional Ethiopian Coffeepot $15.00
Ethiopian coffee $10.00

Ethiopian Tea Spice $5
Stone Coasters (set of 6) $15.00
Ethiopian Berbere spice $3

Hand embroidered
tablecloth and napkin set $25.00

Hand painted
drum wall hangings $15.00

Large Elephant banana leaf print $20

Large Zebra banana leaf print $20

Medium hut banana leaf print $15.00

Small hut banana leaf print $12.00

Wooden puzzles:
Large $15
Small $10

Wooden cutout Christmas ornament $10

Handmade bookmarks $3

Handmade cards $2 each or set/6 for $10

Rose headbands
(made by my girls & modeled by Abby)
$12 or 2/$20

Black Africa banner $20

Erica also had her shirts, hats, and beads for sale. They are still available on her blog. Her daughter Nichol had beautiful beaded jewelry available here.

Melissa had her necklaces as well, which are still available here. Her Ordinary Hero shop will open next month--stay tuned for those details!!

If you order from them as part of this market, please let me know!! I want to keep track of how much we raise!

email me if you are interested in any of these one-of-a-kind items.
First come first serve!!
When they're gone, they're gone!!
And ALL profits benefit the adoptions of the
Shubins, Masers, and Waulks!

Happy shopping!!!

Sneak peek: Africa Stop and Shop--this Friday!

I am so excited to be hosting an African Stop & Shop THIS Friday in my home! All the profits will benefit the adoptions of my three dear friends: the Shubins, the Masers, and the Waulks (The Waulks are adopting domestically a baby girl due in the next week or so!). I have tons of goodies I brought back with me from Africa that I will be selling, with most items under $20!

Erica will also have her tshirts, hats, and Ugandan necklaces for sale; and her daughter Nichol, will have her beautiful paper bead jewelry. They will also have the beautiful quilt that she is raffling out for you to see and purchase tickets.

Melissa will also be selling her necklaces as well as Ordinary Hero shirts to benefit their adoption! (Have you seen these--they are soo cute!!)

You are invited!! Come for a glass of wine, some appetizers, and a night of SHOPPING!

Please stop by for a bit, bring a friend, and get a chance to get unique, affordable items while supporting adoption. You can view the details on the evite here.

If you're not local,
but want to be a part of this special night, you can participate in one of several ways:

  • If you see something in the pictures that you like, email me and I'll give you the cost and details. We'll figure out the cheapest way to ship it to you.
  • Shop off my merch page here. I have crosses, banners, and aprons, as well as tshirts.
  • Shop Erica's tshirts here, or enter her raffle for the beautiful quilt.
  • Shop Melissa's necklaces here.
  • If you'd like to give a gift to go towards these adoptions, you can give via PayPal to the right, and I will distribute it with the other proceeds.

I hope you will join us and be a part of this fun night, helping bring these kids home to their forever families!! Here's a sneak peek at some of the goodies I'll have for sale:

And so so much more!!! Hope to see you there!

Until they're all home,

One month home

Abby has been home for one month. I can hardly believe it--it's been a bit of a blur.

And how's it going? In a word, great. Not that it has been all roses and buttercups. I don't want to sugarcoat it. But I also don't want to emphasize the hard parts and make it sound worse than it is. Overall, we feel very blessed that Abby seems to be doing really well. We know there could still be bumps in the road ahead. And I also know that just because this is my experience does not mean it will be everyone's. But I'll try to share a little to give you a glimpse of what this month--for Abby and for us--had been like. There's so much to share, that I'll probably do it over several posts. But I thought I'd start with our biggest focus thus far--both for Abby and for us, and that is her independence and out attachment.

I watched a video the other day from our last day in Ethiopia, actually from when we were in the airport waiting to fly home. I was amazed at how different Abby seemed--just in how she carried herself-- even in such short period of time.
When we met Abby, it quickly became obvious to us that she was Ms. Independent. People who met her before we did, would write and tell us, "She walks around like she owns the place." And sure enough, she did. Her smile was magnetic, and nannies from all over the transition home would call to her in the courtyard to come over for a hug and a kiss. She would oblige them, flash her winning smile, and then move on to her next passing interest.
We watched her with the other children, and while we often saw her generously sharing her goodies, it was in a sort of patronizing way, enjoying the power she wielded with a ziploc baggie full of dum-dums. We saw her take charge of the group often, sometimes butting heads with one little boy who had a similar proclivity to boss the others around. (We nicknamed him "the Mayor".) On one occasion, it actually went fist to cuff, and Abby gave him a swift right hook for taking another kids candy away. (I was horrified...Joe was slightly proud.) Within the confines of her routine at the transition home, there was still alot of freedom for her to do what she wanted, how she wanted, when she wanted. Abby was used to being her own boss.
Joe and I noticed, too, that this independence was cultural as well. We saw many children enjoying freedoms we would never give our 2- and 3-year-olds in this country. Walking alone down the road, running around near fires set up for cooking, climbing seemingly unstable structures, shouldering responsibilities with chores we would think twice asking a teenager to do here in the's just different in Ethiopia. We were told a story about Abby, how when she was 2 years old, growing up in a rural area, she would walk--alone--into town and charm someone into giving her a free banana. Orphaned at @ 3 years old, she must have had to learn quickly how to take care of herself.
One of my most vivid memories, the first time we were with her, was her hitting her head--hard--on a chair. She looked stunned, and you could tell it hurt, but she didn't cry. She just scowled, stared down for a minute until the pain began to subside, and walked away. No tears. It was like she was not used to anyone caring, or having anyone to go to and tell she was hurt. No one to kiss her boo-boo or hold her until she felt better. She just did it on her own. Took care of herself.

It was clear to us after a couple of days with her that we would be in for a time of adjustment when she came home. She was open to everyone and yet attached to no one. We knew we had work to do, and we knew it would require us to parent differently that we had our securely attached biological children.

Most of what I read all seemed to lean in a direction of allowing her to maintain whatever freedom we could--so as not to disrupt her too much. To provide boundaries but provide her choices and control and compromises as much as possible. They said to say "yes" seven times more than you say "no". I admit, this made me feel a bit like my hands were tied at first. Like I needed to accommodate her will as much as possible, not correct her or direct her to my will. Maybe that was self-imposed and not the intent of the authors of what I read--but I felt like if I said "no" too much I'd be scaring her and asking more of her than she should have to give.

But after day 2 of having Abby with us in Addis, we both agreed: if we let this girl-- she will run our household. She loved calling all the shots and leading our decisions. But we were setting a stage for her that was unrealistic--it would never work in our home. So we shifted things a bit, and we began to say no.
And I realize there is more than one way to say no. You can explain and reason, and even make a child feel like they are winning when really, you are guiding them to your will. But frankly---all those things are hard to do when you can barely communicate! We had about 10 words in our mutual vocabulary...not alot to work with.

But one of the few things we could clearly communicate, that Abby clearly understood was "Aye"---NO. We began to say it alot. Frankly, we still say it alot. (I laughed one day because we'd gotten in such a habit of saying it, my son said it to our dog--"Aye, Gracie!" I reminded him, I don't think the dogs speak Amharic...) But when you are limited in your vocabulary, and you have a four year old reaching for your knives or pulling the dog's tail or trying to open the front door or hitting her sister or unbuckling her seatbelt---there's no way to reason with words. There's no explaining it or making it sound better--"Let's respect people and animals and treat them kindly." or "Instead of a knife, how about you play with a spoon?" or "I'll give you two choices: instead of opening the front door, we can play with a toy or eat a granola bar...which do you choose?" Uh, yea, NO. Too many words. I would've lost her at "Let's". So we said "No".

"No" means boundaries. And for Abby, I'm discovering, boundaries are her love language. Not the she loves her boundaries. Not at all. But they are communicating, like nothing else, that we are her mommy and daddy and we love her and are taking care of her. Hugs and kisses are not enough to do that---she got those often from countless nannies and visitors. While we shower her with affection and say "Awadashalo" (I love you) about 600 times a day---that is not what is primarily providing her with security and comfort. "No" is. Me being the boss--and not her--is giving her the chance to unload the burden of responsibility she has had to carry, and just be a kid.
And little by little, she is finding her place in those boundaries. She is seeing we have her best interests in mind, we are providing for her needs, and we are delighting in her. She is even taking initiative to do things and try things she knows are appropriate, demonstrating she still feels freedom to be herself and make good choices within the parameters we have set for her. This brings us great joy.
And, the greatest goal is happening: she is attaching to us. Each morning, when I hear the pitter pat of her little feet, and she runs into my lap to cuddle--I know deep down in my heart--she feels loved. She feels safe. She feels secure.

Our cocoon phase is ending. She is adventurous and curious--she wants to see the world, "suck the marrow out of life!", so to speak. We will venture out more, let more people into our daily life, and continue to let her life unfold as she experiences new things.
So there's a peek into our home. More to come. Also---If you have specific questions--things you've wondered about what this time has been like for us, or for Abby--feel free to ask in the comments. I'm happy to share and let it direct my posts in the future.

And now I'm off to play littlest pet shop. I hope she let's me be the turtle this time.