Tuesday, May 31, 2011

4 Months

I know when Laura feels strongly about something - because she writes a blog post for me! And Meron? Well Meron just looks crazy... Laura summed up today PERFECTLY below. Check it out...


Today is exactly 4 months since our court date. 4 months since I silently walked into a judge's office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, fully knowing we would not pass court and be the legal parents of our daughter, but secretly on the inside I was praying for a miracle to occur within those 2 minutes. That miracle did not come.


Today is 4 months since I entered that courthouse with my mother and one of my best friends, but that day I entered without my BEST friend -- my soul mate, my partner, my Camp Leader. I faked bravery that day like I have NEVER done before and had the migraine to prove it. I sat in the waiting room, scared, shaking, desperate to have Tymm beside me. On the outside I gave small smiles to many as I looked around the room at other families waiting for the same moment that I longed for -- the moment they become parents. That moment did not come for us that day, and has yet to come.

I wanted Tymm there to help me deal with the impending heartache of not passing court. Why would it hurt so badly even when we knew it was coming? But it did. We did not get those famous words, "She is yours." Again, we still don't have those words.

So here we sit, 4 months later, with the same desires as we did on January 31st. Our arms long to hold our sweet girl as she continues to grow and develop. She is no longer the tiny toddler we saw on September 9th, 2010. Our hearts yearn to see her smile fill our home and to see Meron and her sister together at last. But the day has not come.

Am I sad? I would be a fool to say no. Am I hurting? You bet. BUT, please know, God has stretched me (and our family) in ways I NEVER expected or could have dreamed. Without this season, we would not be who we are today. He has continued to knit this beautiful story that starts with the aching of 2 people longing for a daughter -- and a daughter with no one to call her own -- into a story of redemption, beauty and perfection. Not perfection from man, but the kind of perfection that can ONLY come from Christ.

Camp Hoffman is better for this wait, and as hard as it is for me to say it, we'd do it all over again in order to be faithfully standing at the foot of the cross with our arms lifted high to our Savior handing over our lives to Him.

Only He knows the end of this story, but we are thankful He is writing us into it.

So in the words of Stephen Curtis Chapman:
"Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
and we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
For we know, joy is coming in the morning..."
Camp Hoffman is READY to do some dancing...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day


I have been to a few other countries in the world and I believe we live in one of the best countries on this planet... no doubt about it. Today - we are super thankful for those who have given their lives for freedoms here and abroad. It's a big deal... and unfortunately we take it for granted a lot. So heres a BIG THANK YOU to anybody who has served and risked or given their life for the freedoms we enjoy.


We celebrated pretty low key today. It's like 7 billion degrees in Atlanta so we spent some time at a local fountain getting soaked.

Then we spent the evening grilling out and hanging out with our cool neighbors...


There was chocolate cake (2 bites for Meron to match the 2 bites of dinner she ate... SIGH)...


and LOTS of disciplining (Chrissy - Meron doesn't even seem remotely threatened or worried about you!)...


After dinner we busted out the wagon full of water balloons and the lines were drawn...


It was parents...


versus kids in the cul-de-sac...

It was a short-lived battle and I think it was a tie. Rematch to be had soon...

Thankful today for brave soldiers, cool neighbors and a country where we are free to act as crazy as we do...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Water, Horses and Trains

Life's been hectic around here lately. Mostly an internal struggle against control as we try feverishly to sit faithfully in His will while we wait for LH3 to come home. I ain't gonna lie... it's been tough.

We needed a break. A breather, an interruption, a lull, a recess. A respite or a rest. A discontinuance, some downtime, a lapse or a suspension. Maybe a hiatus. Heck we'd even take a time-out.

This weekend our good friends Kelli and Scott offered to host our buddy Clay-Bear (we didn't wanna leave him home alone) while we got outta town for a day.


Wow - was it needed! We hopped in the car and headed to Chatanooga. We stayed in a hotel with a pool so Meron could warm-up her gills for summer time (I swear she's a fish). We spent plenty of time in the water.

Then we decided to leave the camera at the hotel and just had some awesome family time. We had a great dinner outside in downtown. We took a fun carriage ride around Chattanooga with Desi the horse. And we headed back to the hotel and stayed up late falling asleep to the TV - Meron thought this was the best!

Next morning we got up and swam some more in the indoor pool (before breakfast even!). Meron loved it and when asked what her favorite thing was she said:

"Mine's best was swimming."
Awesome! Mine's too Meron... Mine's too.


Next it was off to the Tennessee Valley Railroad for a ride on a real steam-engine train. Our engine was built in 1904 and had been completely rebuilt. Very neat.


It was crazy hot...


But we chose to sit in the car with open windows and no AC.


Cuz we wanted to be able to hang our heads out the window!


And somebody had NO problem doing just that...


At the turn around spot we were able to get off the train while they spun the engine and as our luck would have it there was a Thomas engine there in their service barn. Meron was SERIOUSLY concerned about him (his face was covered) and I made the mistake of telling her he was sick which worried her even more.

She finally looked at us and said:
"I want to ask the worker-man why Thomas is sick."
It was the cutest thing ever - she is usually super shy around people at first and won't ask anything but she boldy asked the conductor (aka "worker-man") what was up and he explained that Thomas wasn't sick at all (whew!) he was just resting...

Nice save worker-man!


On the way back we went through this super long, super creepy tunnel that was PITCH BLACK! I fired off a picture with the flash to see what I'd get...


And this is what I saw... birds of a feather...


This was our girl on the way home after a super fun, super packed, super fast 24 hours.

I think it's safe to say that LH3 was never far from our minds at all - we're ready to be making these memories with our entire family on the same continent (we're already planning those vacations!).

Thanking God tonight for the blessing of a quick getaway and momentary escape...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friends


Friends have been such a big deal in little Miss Social Butterfly's (aka Meron) life. She loves her friends. She prays for them by name and talks about them... A LOT.

I look at this picture and can't help but long for the day when another outstretched arm is draped over the shoulder of LH3. Soon. I know it will be soon.

But ya know how cool God is? He has allowed us to not only meet some of our girl's friends in person but to actually create friendships with their families. One of them will be coming home to GA to live with her forever family. The others are scattered around the country but if the ocean can't keep us from our daughter... what's a little road trip or plane ride to hang out with friends?

Thanking God for the abundance of positives in our life today...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dancin' On the Ballfield

A couple weeks ago Meron visited the baseball fields to watch her buddy Cooper in his final ball game. Afterwards, she hit the field with Cooper's brother Reece to pick up some of the fundamentals...


Stare intently...


Break it down something proper...


And then split...

Watch out Fall T-Ball... Meron has ya in her scopes...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fun, Friends and Formula

We got to do one of our absolute favorite things in the world tonight - meet up with a family that is in the process of adopting. This is such a cool thing to do because these guys just get it... it never ceases to amaze me how we're able to jump right into real talk when we share something in common like adoption or Africa...

As expected - it was a great time.


Meron made quick friends...


And then promptly sat on her new friends...


Oh - and did I mention they brought us a bunch of formula for Brighton Their World? Well they did...

Thanks a TON Seevers for battling the rough weather and taking time out of your vacation to stop and hang out for a second AND for your incredibly generous and kind donations of formula!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Incomplete...

There was some movement today in the Ethiopia program at our agency. We got the email. It just wasn't in our favor. And that made today just... well... just hard.

Sucky actually.

Oh we were happy for the families who got favorable news. We were - I promise. It's just that... honestly... we struggled today. We were selfish. I was really selfish and self-pitying and in that moment I allowed myself to be angry with God. And even though I don't think He minds that - it caused me to work outside His will for me. And the thing about it - I felt it almost instantly. I KNEW I was outside His will.

Needless to say my prayer run tonight had a lot of forgiveness requests in it. I wish when we became followers of Christ these stupid human emotions went away... but they don't.

And right now we just feel... INCOMPLETE.


I love this picture cuz I absolutely ADORE my family. But we are missing somebody.

257 days ago when we accepted our referral we became the mommy and daddy and sister to a precious little girl. And she should be here with us.

We have stared at her picture every day.


Believe me - I can not WAIT to show you the girl in this photo.

We have prayed our minds out for her daily. We know God is running this. We really do. He loves her more than we do (if that's possible!).

But today we struggled. Because our family weeped a little for missing her.

She should have been next door at our neighbor's house playing in the swimming pool with Meron and her friends. She should have stayed up past bedtime with Meron tonight... and I should have had to sneak into TWO rooms after my late run to hug and kiss my girls good night.

Parenting from a distance is hard. So hard. And today we let our guard down just a little bit. And it sucked.

God... help us keep our guard up because we're in this to the end. But I think we need some help.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Just Like Avery

Meron is definitely a lover of the "big kids" - no doubt about it. And it was no exception when we went out to visit Team Alexander in TX a couple months ago. She loved every one of those Alexander kids.

For some reason - the image that stuck in her head about Avery was pajama bottoms and a t-shirt. Hilarious!


After bath time tonight as we were getting ready to throw on the PJs - Meron yelled:

"Daddy! Get out my Moody shirt - I wanna look just like Avery!"
You got it Meron...

Avery - you got one serious fan club member here in GA!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Water + Soap + 3 Year Old = FUN

What do you do when it's too hot to go jump on the black trampoline that has sat in the sun all day? That's easy - you just put some water and some dish soap in a pitcher, toss in some bowls, add the Meronator and watch the fun!


She literally amused herself with this for like 45 minutes... I was inside hiding from the evil sun.


Who would have thought water, bowls and some spongy things could be so entertaining?


Man - I pray she never outgrows the simple joys in life!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Just Like a Little Ethiopian...

I was getting ready for church this morning when Meron cruised into the bathroom and said:

"Look at me daddy! I am gonna look just like a little Ethiopian!"
When I spun around to look - I saw this girl:

Adorable! I mean A-FREAKING-DORABLE. And I didn't bother to tell her that she IS a little Ethiopian and that she looks like one every single day. Cuz she was just way too cute looking...


On my run tonight I just couldn't shake her cute little image outta my head and I got to thinking "What did I ever do to deserve this incredible gift?" The answer came quick:
"You didn't do ANYTHING to deserve this gift Tymm. Not only did you NOT do anything - but you really don't even deserve it. I gave her to you anyways because I love ya that much..." - GOD
And ya know what? He's right. Parenting Meron is an honor, a privilege and a gift that I pray I NEVER take for granted.


Extra thankful tonight for our "little Ethiopian"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Playground Heatdown


Man - that weather from last week was just a teaser. Way too good to be true. Now the real stuff is rolling in and probably taking up shop for the next 5-6 months. It makes life no fun and I truly hate it...

Case in point - a little playground fun becomes almost impossible.


The first one we stopped at you could have easily cooked half-a-hog on the sliding board. In minutes...


Our second attempt found us a covered playground that worked out great - but still... come on Mother Nature - can't a kid catch a break?


Heat aside - I LOVED family time at the park!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Our Little Wildflower


It's hard to hide with that gorgeous head of hair Meron!


She had a blast walking through the fields at Serenbe.


Something about little girls and fields full of flowers - she was amazed!


Then she broke some Serenbe rules and picked a few!

Sorry guys - we owe you 3 wildflower seeds next time we come back!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yard Princess


Much like it's cousin the garden gnome - the Yard Princess is an elusive and fantastic little creature that is rarely captured on film.

I was in the right spot, at the right time tonight and whadda ya know?

Yard Princess Photo!

I may be biased but I think my yard princess is one of the most beautiful I've seen...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Here We Go Droppin' Science...

Meron is gonna be in a music video for a song on my friend Jahah's new album. The first shooting day was this past weekend - and she had a blast...


She brought new meaning to the phrase "diggin' in the crates" when she came flying up on the scene with her mobile crate of vinyl...


It didn't take long for her and the rest of the posse to start jumping around...


Everybody was representing old school style...


In the end - an hour is about all ya can get out of them before the much deserved trip to Yogli Mogli.

I don't wanna give anything away - so I'll just say this: AWESOME!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Remembering Harry Space Peanut

Camp Hoffman lost a soldier today. One of our beloved 4-leggers left earth and left us with one of the suckiest Tuesdays EVER.


Mr. Harry Space Peanut Dirte - better known as "Peanut" - came in to our lives over 10 years ago - before we were even married. Back then - Laura wasn't much of a dog person - but Peanut straight up stole her heart and won her over. He was her dog through and through.

This morning - after showing no warnings or symptoms at all - Peanut wasn't acting at at all like himself. Our vets were awesome but Peanut simply didn't make it through an emergency surgery. Our hearts are heavy here tonight.

Peanut came from a ROUGH place (found thrown away in a trash can) and let me tell ya - it took him a LONG time to learn to trust. But we waited him out. And trust he did. In the end - I think he loved Laura, Me, Meron and ClayBear more than we will ever know.

So in memory of our boy - here a few pictures in no particular order...



























The hardest part of this - and what I feared most - was telling Meron. After school she started asking about Peanut. We were nothing but honest with her. We sat together as a family and we cried and we hugged and showed her that emotions are okay.

She pondered it all for a bit - and I am sure she will have a bunch of questions around it this week. Her first one came not too long afterwards, when she looked at us and said:

"But... Mommy... when will God send Peanut back to us?"
Whew... the lessons we get to learn together as a family will grow us, shape us and make us stronger...


Meron was a little extra protective of Clay tonight. She hugged on him.


Sprawled out on the floor with him.


And kissed him. She even went downstairs with him just to "make sure he eats all of his food."

I love her gentle heart towards these guys. Simply love it.


Peanut - you will be forever missed. I hope you are running somewhere pain-free, chasing a cloud or barking at a neighbor's truck. When we think of you - we will eventually smile and not cry...