Hudson is so thoughtful. Look what he left on the kitchen counter for me to find!! He found it out in a field yesterday. Got to love 9 year old boys......
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I have been thinking for days that I wanted to write about my recent trip to El Salvador. But every time I set down to type, I can't find the words. My heart and my mind are so full. I am still working to process all that I saw and experienced. Following is a copy of something I wrote on the third night of our trip:
Friday, September 24, 2010
Disclaimer: I have NO idea why the pictures are like this?!?
Hudson's 9th birthday this year is one that we will certainly not forget. The weekend prior to his big day we celebrated at our house with 10 of his buddies, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins. This was his first big "sleep over" and we did it right!! They played football, basketball, spotlight tag, and wrestled. They ate pizza, cake, popcorn, and lots of soda! They went to bed way to late (sorry parents) and got up the next morning ready to do it all again. I think the party was a success!!
On the night of his actual birthday we decided to go for ice cream after church. He was in a mean game of chase with his siblings and cousins when he decided to leap off the play set. I knew by his scream that something was really, really wrong. As soon as he rolled over we saw that his right forearm was disfigured, disgustingly disfigured. We knew immediately we were headed for the E.R. and after a few X-rays we were told he had snapped both bones in his right forearm, in half!! At 6:00 a.m. the next morning (couldn't do it that night because he had a full belly of Snickers Blizzard) they put him to sleep and set his arm. He is now in a cast for 6 weeks.
He is enjoying "slacking" on his school work and jobs around the house. He is loving having his big sisters take care of some of this for him!?
As we set at the hospital that night I remember being overcome with gratitude that we were there for an arm that would heal. The E.R. is a sad place to be. I set with my son behind a curtain and listened to the sounds of people that were in some desperate, lost, very sad and difficult situations. Young, single moms with sick children. You could see the hopelessness on their faces. There were senior citizens that were very ill and alone. There was one man beside us that was biting, hitting, yelling and spitting and was being sent to a Mental Facility. Late that night an ambulance came in with a drunk driver injured in an accident that was his fault. I remember praying for these people as I would hear their voices and see their faces. I hugged and kissed Hudson's head and held him tight. That is certainly not how we wanted to spend the night of his 9th birthday, but the invaluable gift was the reminder of all that our family has been given.....and to remember "that to whom much is given, much is expected."
(Hats off to Aunt Renee and Uncle Brandon who were with us at Dairy Queen to take care of our other children and get them home when we raced off to the E.R......they are an "invaluable gift" as well!!)
The first picture was in our referral information packet we received in January of this year. He looked sick, sad, lost, hopeless, and miserable. It broke my heart every time I looked at it. I remember not wanting our friends and family to see this picture because I didn't want them to worry or question what we were doing. I was carrying enough doubt and anxiousness on my own. I remember asking myself, "Can we do this? How can he heal? Will he let us love him?"
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Well, summer is officially over here at the Stivers' house. Gone are the days of late night movies, swimming, sleeping in, late afternoon trips to Dairy Queen, sunscreen, and trips to the water park. "His Call" Academy has now officially began it's 2nd year of school! We are reading, writing, and "arithmaticing". We are doing everything from learning our colors to Pre-Algebra.....please pray for the students (and the teacher).
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Fireworks at my in-laws.
Happy 4th of July from Harper!!
Friday, July 16, 2010
My girl is 11!! I can't believe she is 11!! We had a great time at Venture River with some sweet friends. We spent the day sliding, swimming, and floating!!! This 37 year old mom was worn out keeping up with these girls but we had a wonderful time.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
(Pictures in reverse order)
Monday, May 17, 2010
As our week in Ethiopia was drawing to a close, we were able to visit two very special places. On Wednesday night we had a traditional Ethiopian dinner at Yod Abbysinia. This was a wonderful experience. While we were eating our dinner we watched a beautiful display of the Ethiopian culture, lots of singing and dancing. A.J. danced right along with the performers and that was so fun to see. The food is "shared" with others out of a large, center platter. Lots of different types of meat, rice, spicy stew, and sauces. Everything is eaten with injera, a thin, spongy type of bread....just tear some off and scoop it up with your fingers. A.J. loved it!! (By now I was really craving a cheeseburger and fries!?!)
On Thursday all 23 of us (adults and children) crammed into a 16 passenger van and went to Bethzatha, named from the Pool of Bethesda in the Bible. This is the home A.J. was in before going to Hannah's Hope. It is run by Samuel (see picture), a Ethiopian man that walked away from his lucrative career to serve the Lord and help the orphaned children in his country. He was amazing and it was a joy to hear him speak of his experiences. I could not fight back the tears as we toured Bethzatha. The conditions there were not as good as Hannah's Hope. It broke my heart to see the children with severe special needs. The dedicated staff had no washer and dryer for their laundry (there were 66 children). The food was cooked in a concrete shed. But, you can see the precious faces of the children. Their eyes begged for love and attention, and as you can see Jody was happy to give it!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I have been very impressed with our adoption agency, All God's Children International. I was even more thankful for their work after spending a week at their transition home in Addis where A.J. has been living for the past several months. Here are a few pictures of some of the Ethiopian women that have been caring for him and the 60 or so other children that live there.
On Wednesday we got an "extra special wonderful terrific" visit from my cousin Charis, her husband William, and their newly adopted daughter Hannah Fevin Brown. Words can't describe how comforting it has been to walk this adoption journey with the Browns. I remember Easter of 2009, standing in my aunt's foyer, talking to Charis about the possibility of us both adopting children from Ethiopia. Never in a million years did I think that we would travel on the same plane (adopting through different agencies) one year later to bring our children home. There is no way we could have planned it this way. Isn't God awesome!!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Our third day in Ethiopia with A.J. was "heavy" for me. I remember pondering all day what it is to love an adopted child. As a family we had been praying for months that God would prepare our hearts (and A.J's) for what was to come. I had explained to the kids before we left that it may take time for them to "feel" like he was their brother. I didn't want them to feel guilty for not having instant love for someone they had just met. We talk often about loving others as yourself and how this would apply with our newest family member.
Monday, April 26, 2010
We were so glad to arrive in Ethiopia Sunday evening. We were exhausted, but overjoyed to be so close to A.J. We got to the hotel around 9:00 p.m. and unpacked all of our things. I have to say how proud Jody and I were of Sydney. She was a wonderful traveler and we truly enjoyed spending so much time with her on the plane (lots of quality time on an 18 hour plane ride). We fell into bed around midnight and were up early Monday morning to meet Almaz in the hotel conference room. (Jody filling out paper work above). Normally we would have already had A.J and would have spent the day with him before we headed to the Embassy. However, the volcano had disrupted our entire schedule and we rushed out of the hotel after this meeting and headed to Hannah's Hope to pick up our children. I remember praying on the way there, "Lord, I pray that he feels safe. That he can sense how much we love him." I was so nervous! As we pulled into the gate I heard Jody say "I see him. There he is." Of course, all of the parents were glued to the windows, each waiting for that first glimpse of their child. I hate that we were rushed, but we had to leave shortly to make our American Embassy appointment. I remember stepping out of the van and Afewerk running into my arms. I couldn't even look at his face because he was covering my cheeks with the most precious kisses. I remember feeling great relief. I remember thinking he was smaller than I had envisioned. I vividly recall thinking he was beautiful. I was so grateful and my heart was full. Unfortunately, we literally had to jump back on the van and go. That was the first time Jody got to hold him. He received the same wonderful greeting (pictured above.)