Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Give 1 Save 1

I met Jenny at Created for Care in January. We shared a brief hello and that was it. It wasn't until after we returned home that God truly connected our hearts. Adoption made us acquaintances but it was the restlessness, the undying love for a child you've yet to hold in your arms that made us friends. Jenny, her husband Dave and their boys Nathan and Ben are the featured family of Give 1 Save 1.  

The whole premise of Give 1 Save 1 is to donate one dollar to save one life.  It's that easy! This week Give 1 Save 1 is officially joining with Pure Charity (another awesome organization - you need to check it out!  Seriously, sign-up with Pure Charity, shop online and earn money in your account to donate to a cause of your choice.  Cool stuff, I tell you.) and the Marrs family is kicking off the partnership.

 Watch their video, hear their story and then if God is leading you, donate a dollar. Or more!


Each and every dollar donated is going directly to their adoption agency to help defray the costs of bringing home their little girl.  Their little girl is absolutely precious and needs to be home with her family that is anxiously awaiting her.

And to add just another link to this post, take a peek at Jenny's blog and meet her family and read about the amazing things God is doing during their wait. 

Monday, April 29, 2013


Gabe doesn't like sweets.  He doesn't like cookies, candies or even chocolate!  Gasp!  I know.  Occasionally he'll eat a few bites of ice cream but other than that, nothing!

While he doesn't like sweets, he's always very interested in what's cooking in the oven.  While making chocolate chip cookies for an adoption fundraiser, Gabe was enamored with watching the cookies start as balls, melt thin and then grown.  So enamored that he asked to eat one!

He ate all of one bite before handing the cookie back to me and going back to watching the cookies bake in the oven.  Never fear though, the cookie didn't go to waste! 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Break Part 2

What's better than a Spring Break trip to the IX Center? 

A spring break trip to an indoor water park!

It was a little last minute so all of the "big" parks were full but we found a little water park at the entrance of Cedar Point that was perfect for us! Rain Water park connects to a very clean, very affordable Comfort Inn (maybe it was a Quality Inn...).  On site there was also bowling and laser tag (for a nominal fee) and a great complimentary breakfast. 

Seriously, a clean room with four wrist bands to the water park was just under $70 a night is a great deal! 

The water park itself was on the small side but perfect for Gabe.  And even more perfect for parents with many small children because there's not too many places for kids to escape too: two slides, a good sized wading pull filled with water spouts, buckets and squirt guns. 

The air was really moist and water was flying everywhere so our water park pictures are limited to these:

Bowling provided a few more photos but the last minuteness of the occasion caused me to forget my camera.  All pictures are courtesy of my phone and not of the best quality due to the dark lighting in the bowling alley and the constant movement of my subjects [smile].


Gabe's cousins had fun bowling, Gabe loved watching the balls thump down and roll down the lane but the real competition was between my dad and brother, Michael.  Competition is not only in the male DNA but runs in the Thomas genes and was hilarious to watch!
Good food, water park fun, bowling, Gabe enjoying time with his cousins: splendid end to Gabe's nonexistent Spring Break! 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lifesong for Orphans

Have I mentioned that I've joined Lifesong for Orphans blogger network?  No.  Well, I've kind of slacked since I first joined but received this email and just knew that I had to share. 

From Lifesong:

What would the world look like if each of us made it our responsibility to see one less orphan without an education...one less orphan without a growling hunger... or one less orphan without a bleak future of poverty?

In the next 45 days, our goal is to find a sponsor for every single child who has yet to be sponsored at our school in Lifesong Ethiopia. (Gulp! That's a tall order! See below how YOU can help.) We are asking for an investment of just $19/month that will result in a future leader for the renewal of Africa from the inside out.

Invest in a life of a child. Invest in self-sufficiency. Invest in bringing hope to one more orphan.

Together we can get EVERY child sponsored! Will you help us?

How can YOU help each child find a sponsor:
  • PRAY: Join us in praying for the 587 children who are unsponsored in Ethiopia. Pray for the thousands that will be given the opportunity to sponsor--that hearts would be open to helping a child in need. Pray that God will raise advocates to help spread the word!
  • ADVOCATE: Maybe sponsoring a child isn't an option for you at this time but you have a platform and a voice to let the need be known! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram and share the One Less campaign with your friends & followers.
  • SPONSOR: Commit to sponsor a students at Lifesong Ethiopia School long-term for $19/month to help ensure that they get the incredible education, spiritual mentoring and food that they need to break the cycle of poverty. To see the children yet to be sponsored, please visit: www.zatproject.com/oneless
To learn more about the Ziway + Adami Tulu Project and details of sponsorship visit www.zatproject.com.

From me:

Growing up here in the "land of opportunity" we don't think about how access to education makes all of the difference in the lives of our children because in America education is free.  Of course parents have the choice to pay to send their children to a private school, but for most children, K-12 education is provided free of cause.  That is not the case in most developing countries.  Not only do most parents worry about how they are going to provide for their children's intrinsic needs of food, water and shelter they also have to figure out how they are going to pay for them to go to school.  Going to school will provide their children with better opportunities than they have and honestly, isn't that what all parents want?  For their children to have a better life than they do? 

Please consider the different ways you can help 587 Ethiopian children find a sponsor and find hope. 

Friday, April 26, 2013


...nothing is impossible when you're going up against the will of a determined little boy.

MVI 2189 from Meredith LaGorga on Vimeo.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing that Gabriel can't accomplish. 

He is strong willed, determined and stubborn.  Attributes that can lead to some challenging parenting moments, they are the reasons that have allowed him to overcome.  He's overcome medical diagnoses and predictions.  Gabe has shown the medical word that nothing is going to hold him back.  Combine Gabe's tenacity with his all-star support team (seriously, we continue to hit the jackpot in physical, occupational and speech therapists), and he is taking the world by storm. 

Climbing up onto furniture may not seem like much to the rest of the world, but for us, it rocked our world! 

I have a video that was taken in January of Gabe walking, I'll have to take a new one because he is rocking that walker! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Favorite Pastime

It has been too cold and rainy to go outside and enjoy America's favorite pastime so Gabe and his daddy enjoy it in the house.  Gabe loves sports.  Basketball is his favorite to play, but to watch; he loves them all!  Currently, each night he asks to watch baseball on the television.  Gabe's daddy likes to watch baseball as well. 
Little does Gabriel know that very soon summer ball will start up and he will have lots of fun watching his cousins play baseball weeknights and weekends alike.  There is a lot of baseball watching in Gabe's future.
And hearing Gabe yell "throw it" when the pitcher winds up, well it's almost as good as when he yells "stuff it" when he's watching basketball. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Psalm 27

One of my fellow AGCI-waiting mama's posted this last week.  I asked her if I could steal it!  I've already ordered a print of it and plan to hang it somewhere I'll see it everyday... by my stove!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Break Part 1

It's true that Gabe isn't in school and doesn't necessarily have a spring break, but his cousins and Nonny did.  And even Matt had a few days off!!  After PT one day, our little family of three and three of Gabe's favorite people in the world headed to the I-X Indoor Amusement Park.  See?

We had a slow start as it took Ethan, Jacob and Sam a little while before they remembered they liked fair rides.  Once they tried a few out though we had a lot of fun.  Matt sat with Gabe while I did a few of the bigger rides with the other boys. 
On a side note, I am way too old for crazy fair rides.
And scattered through out our riding fun Matt took Gabe on his first Fun Fair Slide ride.  Gabe absolutely loved it!  So much that after the 'last time' we went one more time when his sweet little lip started to poke out.  I get so much joy from him being able to do things other children his age do.  So much joy!  

My favorite part of the day was a tie between Gabe's love for the slide or when Sam was riding with me on the shuttle ride and right when it started going high, he broke out in song singing "I believe I can fly."  That boy cracks me up!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gabe say what?

Gabe says some of the sweetest and sometimes the funniest things.  I just had to write (and share) some of these down.  He changes so quickly that I know, shortly some of these conversational quirks will be things of the past.

  • Gabe is still working on learning proper pronouns.  Whenever he needs help, he says "help you," instead of help me.  This one is fading fast as he has slipped in a "help me" occasionally.
  • When Gabe is having fun with his Daddy or Nonny and I interrupt, he says "see you soon."  It's his polite way of telling me to leave the room.  On the other hand, if he says "see you soon" when he's by himself... it generally means he's up to no good!
  • Whenever Gabe leaves us or we leave him, he says "be right back."   Just a little verbal reassurance that we aren't leaving him for good and that we'll pick him up from church or Papo's house, or that I'll still be in the waiting room after therapy.  It is hilarious when he's walking towards the door at therapy and repeatedly says, err yells "be right back, Mommy."  He also say "be right back" at bed time, again, to assure himself Mommy and Daddy are there. 
  • Another way Gabe reassures himself is by saying "It's okay."  Whether he has hurt himself, hears something scary (mixer, vacuum, roller coaster) or on the occasion, does something he's not supposed to do, he always responds "it's okay."  It's mostly sweet, but a little sad when you hear him say it with a little quiver in his voice.
  • "Oh yeah"  Whenever Matt's home there's always a little random "oh yeah" heard in conversation.  The last thing Matt say to Gabe at bedtime is "oh yeah" as he's leaving the room.  Gabe loves this game and can hardly contain his excitement to respond back with an "oh yeah" to Matt.  Be it bedtime, right when Daddy gets home from work or a million other times a week, Gabe loves to say "oh yeah" with Daddy.
  • Speaking of bedtime, when I tuck Gabe into bed I say "I love you sweet boy" and just recently he started saying "I love you sweet mommy."  Melt my heart. 
  • Gabe loves Toy Story; specifically Woody and Buzz.  Every night at bed time, Gabe asks Matt "Woody off?" and when we leave the house for therapy we have started leaving Buzz at home (c'mon, how many things am I supposed to carry around - Gabe needs to bring his own bag for all the items he wants with him all the time!) and as we pull out of the driveway he says "Buzz home on the couch." 
His language and conversation skills just keep growing, so I'm sure there will many more sweet and funny Gabe-isms. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

19 Months Waiting

Resting today in this:
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay."
Habakkuk 2:3
Although the wait is difficult and it is nearly impossible for your faith not to waiver, your heart not to grow weary... we know that one day, the time for our family to grow will come.  And that will be a glorious day.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Afternoon Dance Parties

After yesterday's heavy stuff, I figured I'd share a smile. 

It's a little bit embarrassing to admit but what's a blog good for if not for potential future black mail? 

Every afternoon, I mean every single afternoon, Gabe and I have a dance party.  There is one song that always starts it off, that gets me dancing and his little bottom shaking and his head bobbing...

You want to know right... okay... I'll admit it, I'm a One Direction Groupie and this song, just makes me well, want to dance! 

I'll admit it.  At eh, 30 years old I'm a little bit of a boy band groupie.  And I'm okay with that. 

This may be a true story, maybe not but after a meeting at church a couple of us mama's may have been videotaped dancing to this in a hallway.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Heavy stuff.

My heart has been so heavy lately.  Multiple times a day I have to blink back the tears that seem to always be swimming up as my heart tries to process what my brain keeps taking in.    

In March we received news that the family that our sweet little A was placed with would not be able to bring him home.  Circumstances no one could imagine arose (that will remain private to protect his story) and this little one will remain in Ethiopia indefinitely.  My natural instinct was to hop on a plane and go get him.  Our love for him is deep and forever, but as we learned on Tuesday December 4 (one of those dates you'll never forget), he does not belong in our earthly family.  In my heart, he will always be our second son, our first Ethiopian boy.  It's hard to process that two families could love a little boy so much but for certain reasons, for now, the best life for him is in a safe place in Ethiopia where he is being loved and cared for.

It is so hard to understand God's plans, God's timing when things like this happen.  It'd be too easy to stop trusting that His will for our lives is good.

Psalm 118:8 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

Trust.  Hope.  Faith.  Through a dear friend I had the privilege to "meet" a woman who embodies faith, hope and trust in God.  But as she trusts, people around her question why.  How could God be calling this beautiful mother and wife home to Him.  My heart is so heavy for my friend who, for now, has to say an earthly goodbye to someone she deeply loves and admires.  My throat starts to constrict as I think about a husband losing his wife, children losing their mother, my friend losing a family member.  And the reality of it is, none of us know what tomorrow may bring.

Psalm 56:3 , “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

Another friend is in the fight of her life for the safety and health of her child.  So many of us our praying for circumstances to change but for now a sweet little girl is in an unsafe place while the mama she doesn't even know does everything she can to protect her from a far. 

The friend of a friend and her family lost their referral because of UNICEF's involvement in southern Ethiopia.  Want to hear me get passionate about something?  Ask me about UNICEF.

Poverty.  Job-loss.  Homelessness. 

Lots and lots of heaviness, friends.  And my heart has felt so burdened for it. 

Psalm 55:10 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous be shaken.
This heaviness in my heart would be all consuming if not for two things.  One, my faith.  And two, the glimmers of hope I see around me every day. 
Dear ones pregnant, good friends getting their referrals much quicker than anticipated, God providing big (and I mean BIG) for an adoption, new mom's bringing their babies home from Ethiopia, Taiwan and even hospitals in Ohio [smile]. 
Despite what the world wants you to believe, despite how my heart feels, there is so much good in the world.  You just need to open your eyes and take it all in.
Psalm 27:14  Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.

Must Remember!

While Gabe's first time coloring eggs was a blast, using all natural dyes was a complete fail.  A 3 year old is not capable of waiting 10-20 minutes for blue, orange or purple eggs.  Dye tabs and vinegar are on the list for next years egg dyeing fun.

Monday, April 8, 2013

And the sun came out!!!

Yesterday.  However, seeing as we live in Ohio we may not be seeing that glorious ball of fire again anytime soon.  We took advantage of this mysterious sunshine and spent the day outside.  Playing in the grass, pulling up grass, using Daddy as a walker and playing basketball - could a Sunday afternoon be any more fun?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Organizing my inbox

Last night I was organizing my email inbox.  Putting emails in the folder they belong in, creating new folders, deleting old emails... it felt good! 

As I made my way to the bottom of my inbox I found an email from Matt dating back to June 26, 2009.    June 26, 2009 was one month and one day before we met Gabe's birth parents and were given one of the best gifts ever.

Matt directed me to Isaiah 54: 1-3.  I remember reading it and weeping; knowing deep in my heart that good things were coming.  

Sing, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.
Says the Lord.
"Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
don not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities.
I needed to read it again yesterday.  And I have a feeling that some of my adoptive mommy friends who are waiting need to read it as well.
I decided to check out other versions of these verses and while I'm generally not a fan of The Message, the easy terminology it shared Isaiah 54:1-3 in gave me such hope.
"Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby.
Fill the air with song, you who've never experienced childbirth!
You're ending up with far more children
than all those childbearing women"
God says so!
"Clear lot of ground for your tents!
Make your tents large. Spread out!  Think big!
Use plenty of rope.
drive the tent pegs deep.
You're going to need lots of elbow room
for your growing family.
You're going to take over whole nations;
you're going to resettle abandoned cities.
Adoption, waiting, loving a child when you have yet to see their face or hold them in your arms... it may be hard but it is so worth it.  Waiting for Gabriel was more than worth it.  Waiting for this next little one to enter our lives is more than worth it as well. 
One day, one fine day, our house will be as full as our hearts.  The Bible tells me so!!



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

March Numbers

Another month, another numbers update. 

Our new numbers:

boys: 43
girls: 58
siblings: 22