Archive for June, 2006

stolen post idea

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2006 by Avery

Have you ever gotten to the point that you just loose all steam? Something happens and you can’t even cry anymore, you are numb, flabergasted and tired. I’ve hit that point. For MONTHS we have been waiting on the Kidhene Mihret Orphanage to sign our paperwork releasing our kids for a court date. Yesterday they announce that they will not work with our agency. I have a peice about my kids, I know that they will eventually be home, but I wasn’t prepared for this obstacle, we were so close to being finished, and now, now I don’t know where we are. Adoption Limbo.

So I had all these cute and funny post for this week, I was actually going to do a post a day, but yesterday I kind of lost that steam. I kind of lost the motivation to be funny too, but I did want to put some stuff out here, so I am stealing Mary’s post from today and showing you a little into our home.

When we bought our house the upatairs was finished with that fake wood board that is used in single wides from the 70’s. Makes sense as the upstairs was finished out in the 70’s. There are 2 bedrooms and 1 bath upstairs, and that’s where our kids stay. As you can see from the photo , the wood was pretty drab and boring for a kids room.

So we ripped up the carpet and found beautiful hardwood floors that cover our house and we painted the kids rooms. Instead of compromising on the layout and design we settled our stylistic differences by letting Heather paint Kaitlyn’s room, and I painted Lucas’s room.

Heather decided to go with a family theme. She wanted something that looked “kiddie” kind of like a kid’s picture that is made for art class.

Kaitlyn’s only real request was she wanted 3 crosses in the corner of her room on a hil. So of course we gave her her request. She is a great kid, and understands a lot in her simple way. She would write “notes” to Jesus and tape them to the cross. This is before she went to school so there is no way I can tell you what she wrote, and most of the time she would forget by the time I would ask her.

Now for a while Lucas and Kaitlyn share a room, hers, as we had a roomate live with us in Lucas’s room. In fact we have had a couple of boarders that have lived in Lucas’s room, including what our kids call their Magic Sister Nikki. She is “magic” because she appeared overnight and was alredy in her 20’s when she appeared. Now she has promised to post comments on my blog, and she has posted comments on my wifes blog, and maybe if I start talking about her here on mine she will live up to her word.

Now you can’t see it that well, but behind the bunk bed you can see some stick figure people, that is our old family, sans 2 of our kids. They were under the end of the rainbow showing the true treasure that can be found, called our family.

So I took on doing Lucas’s room. Think what is Carles Shultz was a Dead Head, and there is his room. You can see my family cartoon, Lucas was on a ski behind the boat flying through the air, but of course the photo has him cut off as well. I know I have decent photos of the walls and all the pictures, but for some reason I can’t find any of them this morning. Unfortunatly with all the boarders we have had, Lucas really got gipped on his room, and although he has always known it was his room, he has spent most of his life sharing his sisters room. And now, well now our house is up for sale and his room is a grey-green and Kaitlyns room is an white-pink. Very “sellable” colors. We gave up on it being “our” house a long time agoa and have focused on making it a ‘sellable” house. Got $89,000?

So if you can’t tell I went with a sea theme for his room. The idea was eventually I was going to paint each of his grandparents in the windows on teh yellow submarine, but I never got around to it. In fact I never actually “finished” his room. The crab and the octopus were still incomplete when we painted over them.

Speaking of the painting over. As cool as this all looks, you wouldn’t believe how hard it was to make it look good when we painted over it. In fact if you look at the right sections of the wall you can still see the ridge lines of certain objects. It was fin, but it’s a LOT of work. And if you have any thought that you MAY move out of your house, it’s not worth it.

So there you go, and if you are wondering what we sleep in here you go:

we were turned on to “co-googling” by one of our dear California freinds, thanks B

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7 years

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2006 by Avery

Where to start, where to start….

I have a bunch of stuff for out here, but I want to take it one event at a time. I guess I’ll go with the more recent for the first post.

We have now been married for officially 7 years!!! Monday was our anniversary but we celebrated on Saturday, as we could get an overnight sitter then.

So I spent the morning and switched my bike setup over to the 2 person configuration, it makes a very uncomfortable ride for me, as my seat SUCKS in this set up, but no one in their right mind will ride on my gunslinger seat that I use every day. I also put on the windshield and saddle bags for our ride, and it would turn out I would be very glad I did.

The day was HOT, somewhere in the 90’s, and you could see clouds here and there, and this is North Carolina, so you know it was raining somewhere, but it was hot and dry where we were, so we decided to head out on the bike. Now I was in the mood for Ethiopian food, and Heather was game so we decided to head down to Raleigh to try out the Abyssinia. We have eaten at The Queen of Sheba before and we love it there, but we wanted a shorter ride, and wanted to know if we liked the other restaurant as well.

We have a better camera this year than my camera phone from last year, and I wanted to grab a few photos before we left to document our trip. Now Heather was in one of her moods and wouldn’t let me take a nice photo of her, so I am using one of the photos I was able to take, I hope she likes it. She kept playing with her grape ICEE and wouldn’t cooperate, but that is a true representation of what I have to deal with on an everyday basis. Plus I think she is cute when she is being ornery.

So we opted for the slower “country ride” and went down the back way. Now I could see a bad storm to the north of us, it was actually quite beautiful to watch it from the miles between us. Unfortunately the storm moved into our path, and we rode right through it, and suddenly it became quite ugly. 20 minutes of a summer thunderstorm on my bike, and I was suddenly very glad I put my windshield on the bike. My only though in putting it on was to knock some of the bugs out of the way on the way home. 2nd year in a row we have gotten caught in the rain for our anniversary.

The funny thing is that by the time we got to the restaurant we were dry. That’s North Carolina for you. For those that are wondering, I had a t-shirt in the saddlebags for when we got there, I’m not that big on tank tops really.

This means we have now eaten at all 3 Eastern NC Ethiopian restaurants, even got to do Blue Nile pre and post divorce. I can’t say I’m any sort of expert but I know my preferences.

Between the 2 that are still open, Abyssinia and Queen of Sheba, the food is on par with each other. Honestly I think the Queen of Sheba has a better variety, a lot more in the vegetable range to choose from, but the cooks at both are EXCELLENT!

We sat at one of the baskets, and Abyssinia has the traditional Ethiopian chairs to go with the baskets, well, they are about 4 inches too short for a 270 lb 6’1″ dude, but I survived the 4 hours we spent there. You see it was a “off” night, for a few hours we were the only people in there, so the owner came out sat down with us while we ate and talked to us about growing up in Harare, the dgebo’s (hyenas), the persecution, his living as a refugee for 5 years, his coming to America, and to top it off he hooked us up with a Ethiopian Coptic Church that meets in Raleigh on Saturdays at a Catholic Church.

He told of about growing up, where friends and family were executed for being Christian, how terrorism is nothing new for Ethiopia and how he is confused about the Americans response to terrorism. For him, it is just a part of life, something to be expected. He told of his childhood games of hiding a piece of meat and throwing it into the pack of dgebos to watch them fight. Harar is famous for the dgebo problem there, and they simply walk the streets at night, looking for scraps from around the tannery (the primary business in Harar) He also told us that as an Ethiopian he learned to have pride in Ethiopia while he was still a doctor at Chapel Hill, and when American patients would tell him all about his rich cultural history. He was ashamed that he didn’t know as much about his own people as his patients, so he began to study his people and read every book ever written on Ethiopia. He spoke to us on how much he misses the community aspect of Ethiopia, and how he sees so many of the problems in America linked to the lack of connectedness between people. And he bought us some coffee and cheesecake to celebrate our anniversary and ate with us as we talked to him and asked him questions about Ethiopia, and even raising his Ethiopian children here in America.

I would say that one of the HUGE plusses of Abyssinia is that it is just a few blocks down the road from Pullen Park, get together’s at Pullen Park are always fun, the kids love the carousels, boats, trains, and the park is just laid out to be family friendly and relaxing. Then to be able to go right around the corner and eat Ethiopian food, very cool.

On the negative side, the Buna Ceremony is so very, very important to Ethiopia and Abyssinia doesn’t offer it. Therefore you need to go to Queen of Sheba, especially if you are trying to give someone a cultural experience. The ceremony is such a beautiful thing and is so needed.

Also if you want spices or cooking supplies, or even the cooking class she offers, Queen of Sheba is the place to go. Although we did buy 3 lbs of cooked injera (about 10 sheets) for $6. Abyssinia doesn’t cook the stuff, they buy it from DC. According to the owner for every 100 Ethiopian women that come through his store only 2 will know how to cook injera, and even less than that will know how to make it work every time. It’s my understanding that Freysha at Sheba cooks her own, and I know she teaches it at her class, this, and this alone is worth the money to take her cooking class. With it being so rare for Ethiopians to be able to cook a decent injera, how much of a jewel will it be to be able to pass that on to our adopted children, something that we can honestly say to them that their birth parents would be so proud of them for learning. This and the Buna Ceremony are started at the age of 8 for girls, this is a tradition that will definitely stay in our family. Now I know to become a man you have to kill a lion, I wonder if shooting a bobcat with a .38 will count?

We were very moved to dig even deeper into the Ethiopian culture and lore and to make sure we pass on the important aspects of Ethiopian culture to all of our children. We are a blended family and it’s not just the children that we adopt that need the cultural influence, it’s our family as a whole.

By the time Monday rolled around Heather was in the mood to cook something Ethiopian, so we invited my best friend and his wife and kids over. Well Heather likes them all too, but I’m trying to set the table for you. We use the injera we bought, but it was old and dry, and didn’t have the spongy feel that was needed. It’s OK though, because it tasted the same and worked for us. Heather created her own recipe for IAB, using ricotta, cottage cheese, lemon juice, basil and a few other things, it tasted spot on for what we had at Abyssinia, but I like the iab at Queen of Sheba better. We actually had a wonderful night, and wound up playing 90’s trivia pursuit until 11pm.

For those that are wondering, for our anniversary Heather bought me a small copper oil incense burner from a Rasta store and some dogwood oil. It smells great and looks very cool too, and it uses the small votive candles so there isn’t a huge risk of burning down the house. I bought Heather a dragon war trumpet from Nepal. It’s made from copper and Heather collect ethnic instruments. We loved the gifts we had for each other and our son loves my wife’s new horn, and walks around the house announcing he is going to kill something. Yep, he is a boy.

We are now in week 39 of waiting SINCE we got our referral. We are still waiting on the Nun to sign our kids papers releasing them for a court date. MOLSA is done, Region 14 is done, America is done, and all we are waiting on is a little old nun and then our kids can come home. I was hoping to spend our anniversary in Ethiopia, but obviously that didn’t happen. There is a small dream of being there before the courts close, but all I even hope for at this point is that my agency is capable of bringing my kids home in 2006. We have been in this process for 2 years now, I can’t imagine how hard it is for the families that have been waiting even longer than us.

I digress though, there you have it. Our anniversary, 7 years. Fun.

one year ago…….

Posted in Uncategorized on June 21, 2006 by Avery

So last year we were well in process with the adoption, expecting to travel by the end of the year, afraid to spend any of the little money we had and afraid to use any of the vacation due to me. So we decided to tour the outer banks and see all the lighthouses for our anniversary. I would pack up the bike with everything we would need to camp for one night and we would camp at one of the many outer banks camp sites.

So we took the bike and headed out to the southern ferry to go over to Ocracoke, we would get a 3 hour “cruise” on the free ferry (if it wasn’t free it was next to it, you hardly ever pay anything for a motorcycle, you even get free VIP parking at the Alltel pavilion if you go on a bike) The ferry landed around lunch, and we planned on camping at Ocracoke Island. The brochures said there were over 300 camps sites on the island, and we never assumed they would all be full. Of course we also never assumed 250 of those camp sites would be covered by brand new condos either. For an island that had no contact with the outside world until the 70’s and where you can still find old timers in the village who still have a British accent, they have really built a vacation city in a huge hurry. And lost so very, very much if you ask me.

So we jaunted over to see the lighthouse and then decided to head north, knowing there was a huge camp site in Manteo if we made it that far. another “cruise” on the northern ferry, and we met another nice biker couple and a adoptive family on the boat. His boy loved the bikes. We took our time and stopped at each of the lighthouses on our way.

But after about the 4th campsite we pulled into to find out they were FULL we had this fear that we were going to have to sleep in the swamp camp with the geese in Manteo. Oh we had stayed there before all right, and we swore we would never sleep there again, the camp is in the middle of a swamp and they have geese that walk all over the place, and yep, crap all over the camp too. Campground after campground was GONE. And they were building new Condos in their stead, and the few camps that were left were full. When we made it all the way to the Boddie Knoll Lighthouse we asked one of the workers for a phone book so we could start calling ahead.

This is where we found out our anniversary falls on the official “opening weekend” to the outer banks.

I had already decided we would wait till it was dark and pitch our tent in one of the half built condos at Kitty Hawk, the worst they could do would be to arrest us, and at least then we would have a place to sleep for the night. But this was our anniversary, and I had a secret stash of cash to take my wife to be best restaurant in the OuterBanks, Argyle’s Piano bar and Grill. We had discovered this place when we were on a free condo tour and found out that on a Friday night in Kitty Hawk they are the only place still open serving food at 10pm. When we walked in the door the first time several years ago, he saw our state of affairs, saw the kids and took care of us, he told us to give him $5 for each of the kids and to order off the menu for us, and he would cook some tator tots and chicken nuggets he had for his grand kids in the kitchen. You can’t beat his food either. So this time we walk in in full biker regalia, yes even Heather wears her leathers when we ride, and the owner comes up to us because he remembers us… don’t ask me how. I tell him when we were there before and he honestly does remember us, and he congratulates us on 6 years, and gives us each a free glass of champagne. I ask for a phone book, which leads to me telling the story of the day, with an explanation that if we could find a legal place to stay we were going to crash in the horse reserve in Duck. He tells us he knows most of the owners of the camps and a lot of the hotels and he will be back in a few. He spent over 30 minutes making phone calls for us to come back and tell us there wasn’t a place anywhere in the OuterBanks with a single vacancy. He then proceeds to tell us how because he didn’t know the Daytona 500 was going on the same weekend his wife and he were traveling to see his brother in Florida that he had to spend the night 100 feet out in the wood at a truck stop in Daytona, and his wife was none too happy with him either. But Argyle came to the rescue again for us, he told us to pitch our tent in the grassy area next to his parking lot. I’ll never forget that dinner. Heather had the pistachio crusted chicken and I had the antelope medallions. We sat there all night listening the piano man play his piano and laughing at how our tent was set up next to this 4 star restaurant.

You might be a redneck if you go out to eat at a 4 star restaurant and wind up pitching a tent in the parking lot.

The next morning Argyle came in early to open the place just for us to have a place to brush our teeth and get ready for the day. He even brewed some coffee for us and let us graze on some of the stuff from the kitchen. This guy was just too awesome! So I packed up the bike and it started drizzling. We had seen every lighthouse except for the one in Duck, we were going to be wet anyways, so we set north.

We saw the lighthouse, and then headed south to 64 to head home. Half way through Duck the bottom let out. The water got to the point that it was over my boots and we were soaked to the bone. We pulled over to try to wait it out, but there was no letting up on this monsoon. Heather wrapped herself in a garbage bag, well several, and a couple of blankets and we headed towards home. The rain continued in this down poured for the next 2 hours. The just as suddenly we drove out of the rain and were in sunny blue skies and 40 minutes from home. By the time we pulled into our driveway we were DRY!

It’s an anniversary we will never forget. And to my surprise, Heather suggested that we do it again this year, of course this time we are leaving the tent at home and she wants to go somewhere to the WEST of us that we can actually be home on the same day!

the family…. minus 2

Posted in Uncategorized on June 21, 2006 by Avery

So my wife went and got herself a blog, she has spent the last few months making fun of mine, but the jealousy bug finally took over and she is showing her narcisism now. Personally I think it’s hysterical, and since she is posting photos of our family, minus two, out on her blog and I link to hers, there is no real reason to not post the pictures of my kids here.

Please check out her site. She really wants some people to come over and comment on her blog. Of course I get over 20 hits a day (the counter is only supposed to show unique users although I know it messes up depending on your ISP) and I can’t get too many responses to my post here. Of course I’m not a “mommy blogger” so I don’t fit the mold for 90% of who comes through here.

Now booking for engagements of all kinds, as long as you don’t mind listening to “OK” musicians play Vineyard worship songs. Actually Heather performs all teh time, but I don’t practice nearly enough to really be any good as a backup for her. I mean when she pulls out a song tells me the title and starts playing, and I’ve never even heard the song before in my life, well that’s a sign that perhaps I need to practice a bit more. I love playing my djembe, but I really, really, really want one of those HUGE REMO djembes. The brown fiberglass ones that look like they were made from mud, that have 24″+ heads on them. Yeah the $300 ones……
Yeah, dreaming I know. Hopefully I will have my own acoustic bass guitar soon. I traded an old Kustom mini stack I had for my electric guitar for a acoustic bass with my neighbor. At least I think I did. He has the mini stack and was going to use it in his studio and fell in love with the stack, I told him what I wanted and he told me that is sounded good to him and the guitar is supposed to be at a freinds house a few hours down the road. I can’t play the guitar any more, a table saw chopped my finger in half and I can’t make any of the chords that require the use of that finger and the bottom 2 strings. I don’t know how to play a bass but I’ve played around on one and I think I can play a bass. It’ll be fun to play a guitar again, and It’ll give me more range in playing with Heather.

So long and farewell for now, and oh yeah, it’s a bit late, but did you see the hillbilly Hurricanes who live in a city that the only ice they see falls from the sky in golf ball sized hail, who beat the Oilers who live in a city that I don’t think the lakes ever really thaw (and to add to the glory it’s my brother’s new married into home country)!!!!! Not to mention they had to beat my brother-in-laws hometown team to get there. I’m doing pretty good with my teams….. I get something to gloat over the brother-in-law with and something to pick on the brother with…..

One last picture, just because it’s so cute before I go…

A Quick Quiz

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2006 by Avery

I could ask you his name, he is rather famous, but I don’t care if you know who he is.

I could ask you what he does for a living or why he is so famous for what he does, but once again, for the purpose of this quiz I just don’t care if you know.

All I want to know from you, please use the comments feature and let me know your answer to this very simple quiz, is to tell me what you would tell the police if you were asked to describe this man’s ethnicity.

That’s it, just tell me his ethnicity.

I’ll post the answer after I get some responses.

the prolouge (how it all began)

Posted in Uncategorized on June 15, 2006 by Avery

We knew when we began our dating experience that we were both called to international missions, specifically Africa. We also knew that we were going to work with orphans, but we assumed that because of my love for Kenya (it’s where I began my walk as a follower of Jesus) that we would be going to Kenya to run an orphanage. About 2.5 years ago some one asked me a question that made me take a hard look at my dream of returning to Kenya, and I was able to see that the call to missions was from God, but my desire for it to be Kenya and to be soon was man made. No sooner did I lay that idol down at the cross than God spoke clearly and distinctly to adopt. God moved on my wife’s heart, well at least she listened to it first, but she did not speak a word of it to me. It was when I brought up the idea that she told me what was in her heart as well. We thought we wanted a daughter, and we would adopt a son later, but that decision was purely for financial reasons, we would adopt all of the world’s orphans if we could. Through our research we kept coming back to Ethiopia, and the thought of Ethiopia quickened both of our spirits.

Now in the adoption world there is a lot to do and pay for and go through before you ever know who you are adopting. So we decided we would add the name Zoë to whatever daughter we wound up with and began our “MISSION 127 :Project Zoë” We did fundraisers, spoke about adoption to churches, scrimped and saved every dime we could, and sold everything in the house not needed to live. Amazingly, but not surprisingly God provided every dollar we needed to pay for the adoption, and the money we will need to travel and bring them home. At this current point the ONLY real need we have is a new vehicle (my motorcycle and my wife’s Echo are both shy of the seats needed for this new family of 6) And even with that I have assurance that Gods provision is there for when the time is right.

Now through this process our 4 year old son (3 at the time) would tell us at every chance he got that God told him that his sister had a brother too and he wanted to come live with us too. Like any good parents we told him, “that’s nice, pray about it and if it’s right God will tell us too.” We went through months of him telling anyone that would listen that he was getting a new brother and sister, and mommy and daddy were just waiting to hear from God like he had about the brother.

Well last September all of the paperwork got to the point of accepting a referral. Would you believe there wasn’t a single girl in the age range we had specified with no siblings? So we said we would think about a sibling set, tell us what was available in the 2 field (Ethiopia approved us to adopt up to 6). They gave us a few names and we prayed about it. As we were sitting in our living room discussing waiting vs. taking on adopting 2, the phone rang. Now mind you it was 10:30 pm. I know, because we were watching CSI, and I missed the 2nd half of the show because of this phone call. You see we were open to having 2 kids, we just had no idea how we were going to pay for 1 kid, much less 2 kids. The man on the other end of the line was a pastor of a small church, the father of a friend. His board of elders had met, and they decided they needed to give us another $2000 in addition to the $1000 they had already given. It was that late night phone call that made us tell our agency that we would accept a referral for 2 kids. When he told the board we had decided to adopt 2 not 1 they then gave us another $2000. This small church that we barely knew seeded $5000 into the life of these 2 children.

They e-mailed us 2 sets of photos. As my wife and I waited for them to download on my laptop my wife asked me how I would know. Her eyes. I had been dreaming of my daughters eyes for months, couldn’t explain it but I knew it was from God and that I would know when I saw her.

As soon as the photos loaded I took one look and knew I had my first photo of my daughter and son. The eyes I had dreamed of for months were now looking at me from this beautiful face and her handsome brother was there guarding her like a good son. I was in love, and I knew from that moment on my house would be empty until they were home.

That was in September of 2005. Since then my love for my children has only grown deeper and stronger.

God has also spoken to us very clearly through this process that our home is in Ethiopia. Our hearts are there, our dreams are there, our desires are there. Now it is just a matter of time, God’s timing isn’t ours as I would move tomorrow if possible. God on the other hand has told us to help start a new thing here in this season and this country. I know I have at least 5 more years with what God is doing now, but my heart is already on that day for when God says GO! Why is it the majority of the world would kill to live in America and I would kill to be in the 3rd world? They dream of the cities and cars, and supermarkets, and tv. I dream of deserts and mountains and villages built by hand out of cow dung where you have to walk to clean water and television is some myth if the ferengis. Where hamburgrs are made from Zebra meat and shoes are never required. I have to stay off flickr as i catch myself in my fantasy world where I already live in the photos of Ethiopia.

There is so much more to this story, but this is the begining. Now you know, and as GI Joe told me every day, Knowing is half the battle!!!!

the arsenals

Posted in Uncategorized on June 14, 2006 by Avery

A lot of my Ethiopian kids’ friends from the home have recently been placed with their new American families. This is really cool for them, and because of the wonder of e-mail we have obtained little glimpses into our kids that have been like nuggets of precious gold to us. One of these little nuggets is that my son’s favorite team is the Arsenals (soccer) and his favorite player is Jose Antonio Reyes. Well I thought I would pop over to the official website and order him a few little trinkets and what have you, but I discovered the only pricing on the site was in the English pound. Not that I don’t trust my math skills to do a conversion, but I don’t, I e-mailed the website contacts to see if there was an American vendor for their merchandise. Also I didn’t want to pay the shipping fees. I told them I was the typical American in regards to soccer and I don?t know that much about it, but I told them I was adopting a huge fan. Well his team has a huge heart, and they sent him an autographed photo of Reyes, an Arsenals banner to hang on his wall, several player stats cards (including the mascot of all things), an Arsenals scarf, a small poster of the team, the 2006 official team book, and a history of the Arsenals guide. Not to mention I had already purchased him a large Reyes’ poster and am framing it for his wall. I already feel good about my new favorite soccer team. In my e-mail I was looking for where I could obtain an autographed photo of Reyes and where I could find an American vendor for the merchandise. The funny thing is the first e-mail I received was one telling me how to use my debit card and to trust them that they would convert the cost for me, and to just trust them that the conversion would be accurate (and not know how much I was spending), and that they only send autographed photos to charities for fundraisers. Apparently I also hit a few secretaries though because I received a e-mail from one of the secretaries letting me know all the ladies at the office were grabbing little knick knacks from around the office and were sending it. Way too cool! I can’t wait for him to get here so he can see the stuff. It’s way too cool. And it makes me happy to see that my new favorite soccer team has such a good heart!