Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Things we all know but need to hear again and again...

Have you ever been somewhere and you meet someone that you know you were supposed to meet? These meetings are so random yet later you see that they were supposed to happen. A divine appointment if you will. Something that takes place to push you, to jumpstart you, to move your life along... Sometimes these seemingly chance encounters even take your life to another level.
We just returned from a 17 day trip across the country. We were blessed to be given the use of a beautiful house in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. We drove out there in Vincent Van Go, our new, state-of-the-art limosine somewhat crammed, 12 passenger van and we stayed there 10 days. We traveled out there via the North of the country, staying with great friends and cherished relatives and later, we traveled back home across the south in order to experience a bit more of the US.
While in Colorado, we were the ultimate sight-seers, fitting everything we could into our trip. We headed into Utah, going to Needles and Arches National Parks. We drove to Four Corners, out in the middle of the bleakest of deserts, just to say we had all stood in 4 states at one time. We took in rodeos and county fairs, we tubed down hot springs and stopped at interesting places everywhere we could. This was a truly great trip. Not without its trials, I mean c'mon, life is life and nothing can be Griswold-free with a family like ours on a journey like this one, but overall it was truly great.
So my chance meeting happened this past Sunday, on the final leg of our journey home. We were in a beautiful area, gorgeous horse country with farms that would rival Southfork. Winding down the country roads a couple of the kids began to complain of full bladders. There was nowhere to stop. After another 1/2 hour of complaints we finally saw a Food Lion grocery store. We pulled in and everyone quickly headed towards the restrooms. But as I was walking in a lady stopped me entering the store. She asked me if the van in the parking lot was mine. "Yes", I replied nervously... She told me that she loved my bumper sticker (yep, I love it too!)
and she thought my family was beautiful. She told me that she has been thinking of adopting because she has been so inspired by a woman who writes a blog. She told me that the woman had given up her dream of being a farm girl in order to adopt children. We talked for another moment and then I rushed to the potty with Marin... It was a chance meeting. A sweet meeting.
But then today I had a chance to check out the blog she mentioned - That chance meeting led me to this blog that led me to this video that brings it home to me once again how God uses adoption to further His kingdom and sadly, how not enough Christians out there are doing it.
People often see me with my 8 children and say, "oh, we wanted to adopt but it was too expensive", or, "we thougth it was too hard to do", or "we were getting too old"... Please, none of that matters. What matters is that there are at least 147 million children in need of you and your home right now! You don't have to adopt from Liberia or Nigeria or Ethiopia or China. The good Lord knows that there are certainly children here in the US who need loving homes!
And maybe, just maybe, you linking into my poor, neglected Irishopian blog was the chance meeting God wanted you to have today. Please, watch this video and reflect.
I think He is calling many, many more families to open their hearts and homes. And to drive big vans.

Friday, June 22, 2012

ich bin hundemüde

I can't even believe it is now June 22nd. Where has the time gone? I don't know about you, but I am feeling life buzzing past me at hyperspeed lately...
Lots has obviously been going on in our little world. Our Irishopian family has been busy with so much.
Let's see, here's a bullet list of what I remember since my last post 6 weeks ago.

*All 8 of my kids got their teeth cleaned.
*3 of our boys did 6 weeks of altar servers training. Only 2 decided to actually commit to doing it.
*Marin and Kieran made their 1st Holy Communion. A weepy day for me...
*I worked with a friend to hold a fundraising yard sale for my ticket $ for our medical mission trip to Ethiopia. We didn't do near as well as I'd hoped we would :(
*Finlay was awarded the outstanding Catholic youth for our area.
*We attended the senior awards dinner where Finlay was awarded some very special awards and a scholarship.
*We attended the class of 2012 Baccalaurete Mass where Finlay lectured. (Man, am I glad I always made my kids participate in our annual Public Speaking contest)
*My god daughter/neice had major surgery on her spine. She is thankfully doing well.
*Finlay graduated and won 2 special awards at the graduation. It was truly incredible! I literally gasped when they called her name the 2nd time.
*Fitsum and Besu had annual check ups where I learned that in the 18 months they have been home they have both grown 6 and 7 inches and gained 25 and 30 pounds.
*We had a small party for Finlay's graduation.
*We went to court for the in country re-adoption and had Besu's date of birth changed by 2 years.
*Fitsum and Rory were promoted from the 5th grade.
*Seamus was promoted from the 8th grade.
*My dear old dad turned 70.
*I helped take 50 kids to a 3 day youth conference. It was awesome but exhausting!
*Liz finished her year with us and moved to another family. We miss her like crazy.
*Finlay went to Germany.
*I got my first speeding ticket in 26 years. "Awesome" (said sarcastically).
*5 kids started day camp which will finish up today.

So I think I have caught all 1 or 2 of my still loyal readers up to speed :)
I head off the meet my Finlay in Germany next week so I will be sure to post some pictures once we get home. I am really looking forward to this trip. Time with my soon to be college girl is precious and I am excited to show her where I used to work many moons ago in southern Germany, before her dad and I were even engaged...

Here it is, the hotel where I lived and worked when I was 20 and 21. My room was the top left 2 windows. Yep, it was kind of like an attic but the views were magnificent! Most days you could see the alps off to the right and we watched the ferries come in from Austria everyday. The Swiss border was a 10 minute walk away and being young, incredibly naive and stupid, my friends and I would hitch hike throughout the European countryside whenever we had a few days off. Thank God, we always met truly kind and gracious people who would put us up and take care of us. It was a wonderful experience, though not one that Finlay is allowed to repeat!

Images of Steigenberger Inselhotel, Konstanz

I hope you are all having a safe, cool and blessed summer dear readers. God bless you all wherever you may be. And no hitch hiking please!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Prom pics

Here are my babies at their prom this weekend.
See, Finlay did go with a short doo, just not any from the website that led me to last weeks post...

Finlay and her sweet friend Mikal

Finlay and Reece together

I love that they are best friends!

Reece and his girlfriend Mallory:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spring Doo's and Don'ts

Wow happy May!

It felt like a long winter, don't you think? Now though, all of our thoughts have turned to spring! Yay, in our house, spring means spring sports and spring events. We've got a lot coming up with a high school graduation, an 8th grade promotion, 2 1st Communions, a college orientation, flag football, rec soccer, travel soccer, etc,.

This weekend is the prom for my high schoolers. Finlay is going with a good friend in a group of about 28 kids. Included in that 28 is her sophomore brother, Reece, who will be attending his 2nd prom. This year it is with his sweet girlfriend who is a junior. Last year, as a freshman, he went with a great senior friend... Lucky for us Reece fits perfectly into his grandfathers tuxedo! My boy loves to be social!

Sick of long hair that she has a hard time working with, Finlay has decided to go short. So tonight Finlay and I were googling short hair cuts, looking for something special that would go great with her gorgeous prom dress. We stumbled across a website with some really great ideas... what do you think of these?

I kid you not, there are 200 + shots of "hair styles" like this - want a good laugh, check out

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ignorance is not bliss, it's just ignorance

I wasn't sure how to write this post. I mulled it over for a while. Nearly 2 weeks actually. It just bothered me and I couldn't write about anything else until I addressed this ridiculous-ness. Maybe it won't seem like a big deal to you my readers, but to me it has been HUGE! It has been Somewhere-a-village-is-missing-a-true-idiot-and-I-know-where-to-find-her-huge... I know this person didn't mean her question to be insulting, I know her question was asked out of honest ignorance but however, it just made me so mad! It brought home once AGAIN, how people honestly do not see my family as the family we truly are. Some boneheads see us a boarding house. They give me credit for "taking in those kids and raising 'em" but, they don't see my Ethiopian born children as OUR children. It sucks. And, it is hurtful quite frankly. I think my children and ALL ADOPTED CHILDREN, deserve better than that.

Here is the conversation as I remember it:

"So, when Marin and the boys get older, do you think, (and here I am expecting something like, do you think they will want to go back over to Ethiopia? Do you think they will want to find any of their biological family that is still there? I mean, those are reasonable questions right?) do you think they might get married?" So immediately I am thinking well gosh, I hope they get marri- hey, she means married to each other! Ewww! What the heck?! I responded that "eww, no, of course not, that would be absolutely disgusting because they are brothers and sister." TO WHICH SHE REPLIED, "well, not really, right? I mean they aren't really related".... Ugh.

If you think about it, this question is actually wrong on a number of levels. It's not only anti adoptive family, it's also racist! So my black skinned children could only marry the other black skinned children? Duh... I mean, c'mon! It is 2012. We should "get it" by now. We should be doing far better than this, shouldn't we?! The ignorance that exists sometimes does me in... Just when you think you have conquered stupidity and opened the eyes of the narrow minded and the bigoted, proven to the world that you love your children, all of your children, the same way, etc., etc., you are slapped with the reality that there are still idiots out there who will never see you as a "real" family. I have had enough! My children are my children and whatever way they came into my life matters NOT A BIT! I don't care about their color. I don't care that I got some at a later age, they are STILL MINE and I AM STILL THEIR MOTHER.

So, take note. Anyone out there who does not get adoption, it is time you try to wrap your heads around the concept that families are not "traditional" anymore. You must be willing to love them all in all of their glory. Embrace the differences and do your best to realize that adoptive families are only making things better. We with adoptive families are creating a culture that trancends color, racism and hate. Our children, (and yay, there are thousands of us), see everyone as equal, precious, deserving and loveable. I myself believe that is what our God wants of us. He asks us over and over in the Bible to take care of the orphans. He himself "adopted" us. Why should my family, why should ANY family, deserve any less??

Monday, April 2, 2012

16 months in...

He was a Tasmanian Devil of emotions. Grunting and squealing ugliness, hurt and grief. He seemed to spin around and around, like the Loony Tunes character, trying to get far away from everyone. He wouldn't look you in the eye. He felt unlovable, rejected, fearful. Unhappiness literally spewed out of him everywhere he went. He wanted to love but he couldn't, it hurt too much. He had lost everything and it showed. Nothing brought him joy because he could not trust that anything would last. He could not understand the people who brought him to his new homeland and out of frustration and anger he fought with anyone and everyone.

It was hard. I cannot lie. I wondered how we would do this, how we could go back to being a normal family, one I was happy to mother. I prayed nonstop but must admit that for a while it felt hopeless. Then around 6 months it began to get better. We started to see light in his eyes...

And now, 16 months later, it is different. He has learned to trust. He understands that when we promise him forever we mean it. He gets that he is loved and that no one will hurt him. No one will make him do things that frighten him or lay hands on him in anger. He loves to be a part of a family now. His family is his life and he lights up when we all scream for him at his soccer games or tell him nice job on his posters and projects. It is amazing what 16 months can do for a little guy and his family. This precious baby has changed over these months, weeks and days. He smiles all the time. He laughs and hums. His joy is a beautiful gift to us and to a God who is always faithful. This little man's heart of stone has melted. It has softened. It has healed.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oh the weather outside is...

... beautiful! Lots of sunny, breezy days lately that our Irishopian crew has been enjoying immensely! Kieran's rec soccer season has started and the first game is this weekend. Besu's in full swing with his travel teams. One he plays for all the time, one calls him to help out when they have tournaments. He's just that good. Seamus and Fitsum are both playing flag football for the first time and are loving it. Week nights are nuts but we somehow manage to get everyone everywhere. Maybe not always on time, but, they are there!
I have been swept up in the Hunger Game's frenzy. My book club chose to read it and though I was nervous about reading it, with such a gruesome premise, I loved it. I have now read all 3 and seen the movie. Highly recommend the books, the second was my fave. Not for kids under 12/13 though, at least not in my opinion!
Lenten preparations are in full swing here. We have been to missions, healing Masses, talks, etc., and I love it. Lent is such a great time of growth for me. Hope you are finding that too...
Besu is getting his sorry, rank, corroded tonsils out tomorrow morning. Poor boy. At around 10 years old, it will be a bit rough going, but it needs to be done! He is thrilled to no longer have as many sore throats!
My year of the friend continues. I have been going new places and hanging with new peeps. Guess what I did yesterday? Give up...? Well, I left all the laundry, dishes and dust behind and went to Chik-fil-a to play Bingo at 9 AM! I hate Bingo, but this was fun & free. There were just a few people there and we won lots of goofy, Chik-fil-a themed prizes. Well, actually, I didn't win but 2 nice "regulars" gave me some of their winnings! I got a travel cup that they will refill free any time I bring it, yay! I also got 10 free sandwich coupons and this cool apparatus .
I came home and placed this bad boy right into (cue Bob Barker voice) OUR NEW CAR! Yep, it's the nerd van we knew we had to break down and buy eventually. It's actually rather cool to be able to fit everyone in at once and to even have space, so we are loving this baby. We have named it Vincent, (for Van Gogh, duh!) If you see us out there, be sure to wave!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Today marks 4 years since our tiny baby girl stepped off an Ethiopian Airlines plane with her father and me and met her new siblings. When she arrived here she was wearing a size 2T and her shoes were an infant size 8. She was full of parasites. She was weak with no muscle tone and very timid.

My how things have changed!

Now my big ol' monster girl wears a size 10 pants and top and a size 3 shoe (or a women's size 5!). The pictures here show Marin with the shirt she wore home and the shoes she wore in the orphange, her first pair... When she arrived home, it took us nearly 9 months to knock the parasites out of our Marin, but thankfully today she is healthy as a horse! She eats like one too! She packs away more food than anyone I know. She has the greatest physique and this momma will admit to a bit of jealousy. She is toned and muscular and doesn't even like sports! She comes up to my chin in height, doesn't sound huge, but, look again at that top picture and you will see just how monumental of a feat that it. It is amazing what a difference 4 years, 1461 days, can make.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Just cause a few people have been horrified that I would even joke, that is not really my house in the previous post.... But my yard does look pretty bad!