Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rice Krispies....Nickleback....Pinterest....

Here I am... standing in the kitchen, slinging my purse over my shoulder heading to work when Tedi says,

"What snacks are you bringing to my Halloween party?"

Let's be honest....That question really means "are you as cool as the other moms?"  At least that is how it felt.  I was able to get out of work early and run to the store.  I thought...well I had seen these things are on Pinterest, I surely could make this.  "This" being these little things....

So cute, right?  Thank you Pinterest for again making me domestically incapable and a maternal failure!  I appreciate it.  When cooking, I need specific" Let them cool for X amount of time before rolling them into pumpkin-esque shapes."  Well, in my haste after work to get from work to the store to "baking" (if making rice krispies really is that) and then to Chernet's doctor's appointment and trick or treating, I did not realize that I was not able to allow for cooling time.  Thus, every time I attempted to roll these, they fell apart in my hand....  So I laid it all out on the pizza tray and realized...I will just turn this into a pumpkin and let the teacher cut it.... and this is what we got...yes, a bit more scary than the happy Pinterest version.....

I wish it got easier from here.... So I throw their costumes in a bag as well as an essential diet coke and somehow got into the car.  As I pull onto 6th Street, I realize this d%$n pumpkin was sliding off the tray in my seat, wax paper and all.  So here I am, driving with my left hand and with my right arm in full extension, quite uncomfortably, holding this pumpkin in place.  Then, Nickleback comes on the radio.  I realize they are one of those groups that you don't like but know every song....but I can't change the channel without sacrificing my car or the pumpkin. I then realize it is not Nickleback but in fact 3 Doors Down...same difference right.  I keep going and finally catch a stoplight.  I change the station and am left the decision....Do I listen to Pink or Katy Perry's divorce music? I chose Pink....why wouldn't you?

I get the pumpkin delivered and the next kid picked up and blood drawn and trick or treating done.... I sit down to post this blog in hopes of making people laugh because seriously, it is funny.  It really is.... the left over rice krispies are in a pan in the kitchen.  My lovely husband walks in and says:

"Dear, you know how toilet paper and ketchup are on the list of things you shouldn't buy generic? Well, can I add rice krispies to that list?  You can spend the extra 30 cents."  I could have smacked him in the face!!!!   Tedi, however, told me they were "AWESOME" and this was the best Halloween EVER....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Month of Change

 November is orphan awareness month..... This is the perfect opportunity to for those of you who want to do something to make a difference, help kids around the world, but adoption is not where you are at in your life right now.  This is a great way to teach your kids, if you have them, that even the smallest about of change can make an impact.

Eyes That See, which I have talked about before, runs an organization in Ethiopia where they help provide education and a meal each day to 200+ school children.  They have a child sponsorship program (we sponsor two of their children, one named Chernet). They also run The Keziah House....
"The purpose of the Keziah House is to rehabilitate women who are living in prostitution by providing a dormitory living space with intensive counseling and life skills. This program includes five months of accredited job training."

In November, Eyes That See does a project called Month of Change....You save your change for a whole month and at the end, you send the amount to Eyes That See that will go to support their programs in Ethiopia.  Despite our use of plastic money, we are doing it here.  I even asked people around my hospital to participate and I have many fellow residents, PICU nurse practitioner friends, PICU nurses, the hospitalists group....all are stepping up.

If you are interested, email me or email Eyes That See ( We would love to have as many people participate in their homes/jobs/wherever....Just make a jar/cup/container and start saving!

Next Weekend: OCA and Orphan Sunday

I know you are all shocked that next weekend, when JT is the keynote speaker at the OCA (orphan care alliance) and is speaking at Living Grace Church in Campbellsville, Kentucky, I work on Saturday and am on call Sunday.  It makes quite sad... I was hoping to give the seminar on HIV and adoption, but JT will do that and the keynote at OCA Saturday morning.  Then Sunday, he is taking the opportunity to speak about adoption and orphan care to the church were our best friends, Emily and Jason, led the way in orphan care before moving to Phoenix.  I am so blessed to be married to a man who loves orphans, will speak out and advocate for them, is great at laundry and can rock Bel Biv Devoe.

Check out the official orphan care video below.... and if you want to hear JT speak at OCA, Saturday, feel free....he would love it!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tres Months....with a family

A couple of months ago I sat down at 4:22a.m. after a long ER shift that involved me slipping out of the emergency department to sit on the couch in the ICU call room and MAYBE tear up to my friend about how hard this adoption was.  Remember the Sarah McLachlan Post? JT may have kicked the shake and go Buzz Lightyear into the wall.  Then, most of August and September I spent feeling alone in Chernet's school we were chasing our tails and it would never get better...we would always be in the orange zone.... No flying for us.

He has been home THREE months.  It seems so fast but so long at the same time.  I am not sure what happened, but about 3 weeks ago, something clicked.  The orange behaviors moved to a couple of yellows and then blue.  Two weeks, ago GREEN snuck in there.  Then, he started speaking English.  Like, with inflection, this is what I want and I wish you knew what I was trying say English. 
He says "Cuse me, Teddddi Bear.  My turn talk."  and  "I want Happy Birthday for Chernet"  and  "I want score goalie" and he will tell us stories about school, even if there is no timeframe!  He thinks Tedi is the best thing in the whole cries if they are not together.  And Tedi feels the same way.  It really is a beautiful picture to witness.

Despite the immense progress, there are still struggles.  It would be a lie to say otherwise.  Chernet would choose his brother or dad over me 100 times out of 100.  He still shows affection indiscriminately and we feel like jerks asking people to NOT be overly affectionate.  And he does not listen well some days (I know that is many kids but sometimes it is with danger and is a learned behavior) ....But there has been so much progress.

Yet in the good and the bad, I would do it all over again.  I MAY or MAY NOT have said to JT tonight "can we have or adopt a girl now?"  If you are contemplating adoption, I will tell is not easy.  It can be really tough taking on the issues caused by someone else and loving someone through it.  Yet, it is worth it.  It is worth the pain and fights and work.... the love, the kisses, the baby steps and huge progress is soo worth.  It is by the far the most redemptive life-changing thing I have experienced.  Both boys have changed my lives in so so many ways.  Can you see the difference?

The Difference a Family Makes

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Eat Italian, Help Orphans

Okay local friends.... here is an excuse to eat out for a good cause.  My brother in-law, Daniel, is the kitchen manager at Rocky's in Louisville and in conjunction with his restaurant, he help set up a fundraiser for Eyes That See, one of our favorite organizations that works in Ethiopia.

When you eat at Rocky's Italian Restaurant (must be the Jeffersonville, IN location) ALL DAY on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 20% of your meal will be donated to help an organization called 'Eyes That See'. They run a feeding program, providing children with education and food, and teaching them about Jesus! Also, they provide education and job training for women formerly in the sex industry while giving them a safe place to live and worship. 

Just print out the flyer and give it to your server. Eat good food for a good cause! Oh, and the Henderson family (us ;-) will be there if you want to hang out! 

If you can't make the dinner, head over to and sponsor a child so they can continue their schooling. If you love our kids, love orphans but don't feel ready to adopt, stepping in this way gives you a connection, a face, and you are making a difference!

Weekends Away

Last weekend JT and I headed to Ann Arbor, Michigan so that I could interview for fellowship.  We spent a couple of days visiting friends after the interview and it was great time. The leaves were changing and the colors were magnificent.  I can not tell you how nice it was to sleep in past EARLY for a few mornings.  We owe it to my mom and sis as well as JT's parents.  Of course, Chernet hurt his finger and ended up in the ED while we were gone.  (He is fine, by the way.  Thank goodness my best friend Heather was working.)  We finished the weekend with trick or treating at the zoo with my friend Erin and her family.  While busy, it was relaxing and fun all at the same time......

At a cider mill in southern Michigan

Beautiful day

Loving the attention

Captain America and Venom Spiderman

With the boys

This past weekend we went the Gatlinburg, Tennessee with my in-laws and stayed at their time share.  My mom met us there.  The boys had a great time.  There was a huge water park and playground....they saw a bear while I was shopping and loved that as well.  It was neat for Chernet to see things for the first time.  Every other word was "Waz Dat?"

Saturday, October 13, 2012


I am glad I have waited several days to write this post.  Nevertheless, I am still harboring frustration FOR (not with) Chernet.  While I am mostly happy with his school, I feel like I am having to say over and over to myself and to others..."He lived three of his first five years in an orphanage with minimal rules. It was survival of the fittest and we do not know what behaviors he saw and felt were acceptable."  Do not hear me wrong.  I grew up with the motto of "Excuses are a sign of weakness."   I do not excuse Chernet's behavior when it does not fall in line with the rules but at the same time, I understand or try to understand its origin.  So when someone shoves him, he shoves back.  He continues a behavior, even if bad, when someone laughs.  He wants to hug people and hold hands with his friends because that is how he has grown up.  And I feel I am incessantly explaining little behaviors to people so they don't "label" him.  I feel like it is a constant little battle....

And despite this, he is doing so well.  Our NO FLY ZONE color has improved and even earned GREEN behavior two times this week.  That is the best he can get!  I let him pick a coloring book, his favorite thing, as a reward for his behavior on Tuesday.  I wish you could hear his English....the new language mixed with his Ethiopian accent.  He is telling me stories about school and sports and friends....though the stories are scattered from the weeks since he came home.  He told me all about playing baseball (albeit two weeks ago).... about someone hurting his feelings at school.  They are in broken English and hard to piece together.....but they are his.  And while he often still won't hug me or kiss me at will, I feel privileged to be privy to his random stories at bedtime.

I love this boy.  He is my boy and I will fight for his little stories and little life...Over and over and over again.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


We all do things in life and want someone to be proud of acknowledge our accomplishment(s) even if they are small.  Some will say "I don't need the approval of others."  No, we don't need it, but if we are truly honest with ourselves, we WANT it. 

This weekend Tedi and Chernet played in their weekly soccer game.  They both love it and are getting better each week.  Yet a pivotal moment for me came this week... I watched as Tedi dribbled (I used to think this only applied to basketball...I have been schooled to the contrary) the soccer ball down the small field.  He made the shot.  Standing with my friends Heather and Adam, Tedi turned and smiled at me.

"Smiled" is probably too small of a word.  Adam said "You are the first person he looked for" as Tedi made a bee line towards me as fast as he could and embraced me in a hug.  I hugged his little body that is inching closer to my height.  I told him I was so proud of his goal and his effort. 

I never imagined I could feel such an overwhelming sense of pride in anyone.....  He is a great boy and I have been so so changed by him. 


I have not blogged in a while. It was not a forced media hiatus.  I was not really on night shift and sleep deprived...or really anything.  Shockingly, I have had little to say or rather, a lot to say, but just did not know how to say it.

So I will start with randomness...I will write about our life recently, hoping to move me to write more and more posts as we approach Orphan Awareness Month in November...

I am watching Glee as I type this...JT would like to kill my friends Heather and Erin for convincing me to watch this.  Oh well, right.  Thank you, Netflix.  The boys have been busy busy with soccer.  They are on the South Korea team...random I know.  The two Ethiopian children are on the South Korean team :-)  Tedi is really starting to love it and dribbles very well.  Chernet is so stinking fast but still trying to wrap his head around the rules... I would love to see him score a goal....FOR HIS TEAM!  It is hard to get good shots of the game because they will not stand still!

I love fall.  October (and November really) is one of my favorite months.  I love pumpkin anything... I love jeans and sweats and football and leaves changes and festivals.  I am not really a Halloween fan but love seeing my kids happy.  I enjoying pumpkin painting and carving and apple cider.  .   In the midst of fall, I am finishing up my interviews next week in Ann Arbor and am glad to be finished. I hope the drive with JT will allow me to soak up fall.... I will find out in November, specifically the 28th.  Now, please hear much as I love fall, it has nothing on Christmastime.  As you can see, January through September suffer :-)

I was so happy this past Tuesday....My best friend, Emily, recently moved to Phoenix where her husband took a position at a church there.  She flew in on Tuesday with her two girls, Stella and Vivian.  Tedi was so happy to see Stella.  They adore one another and he even cried to the babysitter after she was gone.  It is nice to have friends who you can just not sit out towels and not tell them where your blow dryer is and who disciplines your children without you caring.