Part 3: On the way to Soddo we saw…

(Sights completely normal to people living in Ethiopia, but unusual and charming to this Idaho girl.)

SoddoDrive (5)

  • No stop lights.  Not one.
  • Exactly two stop signs, complete ignored by everyone. (This total includes many miles of driving in Addis).
  • Goats and sheep and cows walking down the road, driven by children spinning ropes.

STA_2447

  • A dozen or so people daubing mud on the walls of a house.
  • Gaggles of Muslim girls clad in long dresses and scarves that were all the colors of the rainbow.  ( The girls say this following photo is of Oromo girls.)

Walkers

  • A farmer plowing a field with a ox and an old-fashioned plow.

SoddoDrive (1)

  • A boy balancing precariously on the back axle of a horse-drawn cart clutching the cart for dear life with one arm and and cradling a chicken in the other.
  • Preschoolers standing on the sides of highways, some with no mommas in sight.
  • A lady walking with a  tray of injera balanced on her head.
  • A man walking with a potted plant balanced on his head.

SoddoDrive (3)

  • A girl walking along in a long skirt and a head scarf and wearing a striped shirt emblazoned with “Obama” in huge letters.
  • Kids riding flat-bed donkey carts while standing– their own personal chariots.
  • A bare-bottomed baby riding on his momma’s back.  (“Do the mommas get peed on?” I asked Sophie.  “Yup.”)
  • Heavily loaded donkeys trotting purposefully down the road with no owner evident.

SoddoDrive

  • After many, many miles of swerving around people walking on roadsides, a sign warning of people walking.
  • After many, many miles of cows everywhere on the roads, a sign warning that there were cows ahead on the road.

And finally a few words from Emily and Julianna about driving in Ethiopia.

SoddoDrive (4)

Emily: In Ethiopia people walk in the road as much as they do on the side walk  and People honk all the time and they tail gate but we  haven’t see very many cars dents so they must be really  good drivers.  I am just over joyed that all of my driving will be in the US.

Julianna: I was having a great time but my sister Lidya was not. She was holding on for dear life.   Our driver was swerving around people walking in the road, and around other cars.

Mary:  Our driver, Dawit, is excellent, and much more cautious than most. But still often you need to pass goat herds and bajaj‘s and slow moving trucks. I did a lot of reminding myself that God is in charge of our lives, and not the driver of the oncoming truck.   And we made it safe to Soddo!

Here’s the view out the front door of our guest house, which is on the grounds of the Soddo Christian Hospital compound.

SoddoDrive (9)

Part 2- Thursday in Ethiopia

We arrived in Addis last night around 9PM, right on time.  Always when you get off the plane after so many hours of travel, you’re  soooo ready to just get to the place where you can lay your head for the night.  But there are hurdles.

First you wait in line to get your visa, or permission to stay in Ethiopia for 30 days.  This consists of a piece of paper glued inside your passport.  One visa times 5 people takes a bit of time.  Then you shuffle into yet another line to pay for those visas–$50 a person currently.  I have yet to understand why the same worker can’t do the paperwork AND take your money.  But on the bright side, our visa paperwork took so long that by the time we were finally done, the line to pay was  almost non-existent.

Next on the agenda was changing some  US dollars into Ethiopian birr, which can be done on the other side of that same big room. At that counter, while I was filling out that form, an American lady came up to me and asked how I’d gotten then to change my birr into dollars, which of course the opposite of what I was actually doing.  Turns out they wouldn’t take back her birr, and as she was leaving the country that evening, she was a little distressed.

By that point, I was already in the middle of my transaction.  But Lidya and Zeytuna, who also wanted birr, were able to trade some of their dollars for some of her birr.  So we were able to help her situation out a little anyway.  Ten minutes after we left that counter, she was still standing there earnestly discussing her predicament with the bank person.

The next airport line was to get your passport stamped.  It was by far the longest line, and snaked through the whole center of the big room.  By the time we got to the front of that line, it had been a good hour since we’d landed.  Then it was on to the luggage carousel, where we happily discovered that all 6 of our bags had made it to Ethiopia.  Hooray!

We flopped them onto a luggage cart and made our way out to the parking lot, where, just as agreed upon, the GT guesthouse driver was there holding up a sign with “GT” written on it.  He flumped our luggage efficiently into the back of his van and we were off, zooming our way toward the guesthouse.

The guesthouse was a 15 minute drive, the last bit of which went down what looked to me like an alleyway, but was actually a (probably pretty normal) residential street, with lots of high fences and gates and greenery on both sides.  In Addis there appears to be very little zoning.  It is completely normal for a nice hotel to have tin-roofed shacks living in its shadow.

At the guesthouse gate, our driver honked, and the big metal doors screeched open.  Inside was a nice big courtyard, and the entrance to a big weloming building, where Lewam, the owner of the guesthouse, soon welcomed us.  Lee grew up in Ethiopia, but spend enough time in America that she speaks perfect English and also has a good understanding of how to help us finicky Americans feel comfy and at home.

The guesthouse is just lovely! Our apartment was on the second floor and consisted of not one, not two, but three bedrooms and bathrooms, along with a kitchen, and a nice sized dining room/living room.  There was even a balcony where we could look out over the neighborhood.

Greeting us in our apartment was my sister Sophie who had arrived earlier in the day, and was just as thrilled with the accommodations as I was.  The apartment allowed Emily and Julianna to sleep in a big king room with me– an additional bed had been added to make that very comfortable.  Then Lidya and Zeytuna got the second room and Sophie the third.  All in all it should work well.

We got our bags stuffed into the appropriate bedrooms, had a quick phone call with John, and headed off to bed. The girls were all asleep practically instantly, and we all managed to sleep pretty well, considering it was broad daylight Idaho time.

The next morning the guesthouse ladies brought us breakfast around 9:30, and several of  the girls had to be awakened to come eat. We had french toast, scrambled eggs, firfir, fruit, bread, and injera.  They even made special gluten free (teff) pancakes.  And of course fabulous Ethiopian coffee and chai tea.  There was lots left over, which we tucked into the fridge for later in the day.

Once breakfast was done, it was errand time.  One of our six big suitcases actually wasn’t ours– we were delivering it to a missionary living in Addis.

When we called to talk about where to meet him, he mentioned a hotel to Sophie that turned out to be literally visible from the guesthouse.  Talk  about convenient.

Since we had several errands that day, we’d arranged for the services of Dawit, a driver who had also helped us with several other visits.  It was fun to see him, and to find out that he now has a wife and a baby daughter.

It was raining pretty hard on the drive to drop off the bag, but the rain let up just a bit when we handed off the suitcase full of goodies to the young man, and he was thrilled with the care package from home.

The next stop was the grocery store–  a rather American-style one called Bambi’s where somehow I managed to spend $90.  It should  be enough for at least 4 meals plus some car snacks for half a dozen people, but I was still rather surprised at how fast that bill added up.

Some of Kibrom’s family lives here

Next on the list was a visit to the family of Kibrom, the man who owns the only Ethiopian restaurant in Idaho.  He has many brothers and sisters in Addis. We had packages to deliver to them from him, and they very graciously invited us to lunch too.

Kibrom’s family with my sister and daughters

We were a dab intimidated thinking of trying to converse with people we’d never met before, but they turned out to be delightful.  Two of his sisters are nurses and his younger brother is half way thru medical school.

His beautiful sister and her baby

 

We had a lovely Ethiopian meal together, followed by a coffee ceremony and then some chai tea and more bread.  We felt incredibly spoiled, and blessed to be invited to their home.

Coffee

Another lovely sister roasting coffee. I wish I could share the wonderful aroma with you.

It rained off and on all afternoon complete with thunder and lightning, but again by the time we had to be back outside, the rain let up and we barely got our feet damp as we made our way back to the van.

By that time, it was nearly 5PM, so we headed on back to the guesthouse to relax for the evening.  We were all feeling the effects of jet lag.  Lidya and Zeytuna got a nap in before dinner, and Julianna and Emily got inspired to make french fries in our little kitchenette and make some videos.

Want a little tour of the house where we are staying?  Check out this videothat Emily did.

GT Guest House Tour- Addis Ababa from Mary Ostyn on Vimeo.

I am hoping to share more pictures tomorrow, if the internet in Soddo cooperates.  But for now I am off to bed.    We are driving to Soddo in the morning!

Part One | Part Three

Part 1-We’re off to Ethiopia!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

Here we are this morning with our 6 checked bags and 6 carry-on items. Yikes! So much for packing light. However, 2.5 of our checked bags are things we’re delivering for other people, and there are 5 of us, all girls, traveling for 16 days. I think we could have done worse.

At the airport this morning

As I write this, we’ve made it all the way to Houston. Julianna was getting a bit stir-crazy by the end of that 3 hour flight, so hopefully she will survive the next two flights, each of which is 9+ hours. Wow. I am very much hoping for seat-back TV’s to broaden the entertainment options. We also have some movies on my tablet, which should also help.

So far the only hitch we’ve had is that I managed to forget the plug that lets my Fitbit download onto my computer, which means that although it will still count my steps each day, it won’t tell me how well I sleep each night. (Sob.) Such a first-world problem. John wanted to go back and get it for me, but I decided I’d rather get to the airport 15 minutes sooner. And it turned out to be a good thing. The Boise airport was hopping this morning, and the security line was longer than I’ve ever seen it.

Anyway, we’re off! Next time I update you, we should be in Addis!

Technorati Tags: ,

We’re off tomorrow!

After years of wishing, and months of planning, and days of packing, we are finally ready to set off on this great adventure to Ethiopia. We leave Tuesday morning, which is a ridiculously few hours from now. We’ve got meals planned for the guys at home, and hotels planned for the girls who are going, including, blessedly, my sister Sophie who has lived and worked in southern Ethiopia for the past five years. It will be such a blessing to have her there to translate and share her experience, and just hang out with.

Soddo

I’m really excited to finally be able to see Soddo, the place where two of our girls were born.  Soddo has also been Sophie’s workplace for the past five years, where she has cared for many pregnant women, offering them medical care that they might not otherwise get.   She is closing that chapter in her own life now, but her friend and fellow nurse Jody Ross will continue on in that important work.  (Sophie and I would both love it if you’d support Jody in continuing that work, if you feel so moved.)

Sophie

 

We’ll also be visiting Harar, one of the most ancient cities in all of Africa, and the place where two other daughters were born.  Some of our girls will be visiting extended family on this trip, though I will only be sharing as much about those visits as our girls are comfortable with me sharing.  Harar

My sister has warned me that internet access will likely be spotty, especially in Harar, and possibly even in Addis at times. But I will be writing as much as I can each day, and taking photos of all that we’re doing, so that I can use the internet whenever and wherever it happens to be.

Be praying for our family when you think of us during the next two weeks, will you?  For safety and peace of mind for all of us when we are apart from each other, that we can be a blessing to the people we meet along the way, and also (most of all!) that this trip will be a blessing to our precious girls and their extended family.  Doubtless this trip will stir up many emotions in us all.

Inside Out

This week we took Emily and Julianna to see the new Pixar movie Inside Out (trailer here).  It’s a movie that goes into the head of an 11 year old girl during a time of turmoil in her life.  She and her family have just moved to a new city, and she is struggling to find her place in this new life.

InsideOut2Although this movie is an animated film, it explores deep concepts.  It shows the wrestling match between all the feelings that exist inside every human during times of loss and challenge.

The five feelings voiced in this story are anger, fear, disgust, sadness, and joy.  They were shown as manning the switchboard of Riley’s mind, each taking a turn at control. As each feeling was shown, I couldn’t help but think which of the feelings in my life, and in the lives of my children, are most often voiced, and which are shoved aside, and not allowed expression.

Inside OutI’m one of those Pollyanna people who is most comfortable with Joy, often to the exclusion of all other feelings.  Joy is my comfy place.  And yet there are other feelings down deep, of course, feelings less comfortable, less socially acceptable.  Feelings that I don’t even want to admit.

But as much as I could identify with this movie because of my own internal life, it hit me even more deeply on behalf of my adopted children, some of whom have experienced great loss in life. I’ve struggled so much to help some of them break free of anger and sadness, and find their way to joy.

Before me on the screen was a vivid and compelling description of the way loss can make anger and fear and sadness take over a person’s soul, causing all joy to flee, at least for awhile. At the peak of her struggle to settle into her new life, Riley became almost a different person.   It was only after she found a way to voice all her feelings that she was able to come to a more balanced place, to embrace her new life, to appreciate the richness that even the hard feelings add, and to find joy again.

It was such a great reminder to me that we as parents need to show our children the way to that more balanced place, where they can safely express all the feelings, not just the pretty, socially acceptable ones.  In being open to all their feelings, we can love them more fully, more truly, and support the kind of balanced emotional health and well being that many people struggle all their lives to find.

Though the concepts were deep in this movie, they resonated with my 10 and 13 year old daughters, and we had some good discussion on our way home from the movies.  Have you seen this movie yet?  I’d be interested to hear what you think of it.

Other thoughts about this movie:

The Roots of Real Joy

The Inside Out of Grief

 


96% efficient?

One of the features of my new fitbit is that it evaluates the efficiency of your sleep on any given night. This morning the fitbit informed me that in the 8.5 hours during which I was in bed, I woke TEN times, which sounds absolutely horrible.  Except I still slept a full 8 hours, which the fitbit rated as 96% efficient. Nevermind the whole ‘awake 10 times’ thing.

efficiency-expert-cartoonI’m not sure how the fitbit sleep algorithm works– how can a good night of sleep include so many wakenings?  But it got my mind wandering to my own ‘efficiency rating’ as a mother, and how so often I judge my effectiveness as a mother by the last time I was impatient, or didn’t really meet the needs of one of my kids.  If there was a gadget to rate me as a mom, I’m kind of afraid  my efficiency rating wouldn’t be in the 90’s.  Some days I’d probably be an outright failure.

Except it depends on where I’m focusing, doesn’t it?  What if, instead of noting every failure, I was noticing every time a child and I had a good moment together, a point of connection.  Times where I guessed someone’s feelings, or validated them, or gave them a hug or a cookie or a ride home when they needed it.  Times when I prayed for them, cheered them, loved them well.

Too often I am way too focused on the ‘wakenings’ — the bumps in the mothering road–the times where I don’t get it right— so much that I am not noticing the times I’m doing well.  I know I’m not perfect, and maybe not even 96% efficient most days.  But if I can remember to notice the times I’m getting things right– instead of mentally tallying every oops in my little black book of mothering– most likely I’m going to have more energy for the things that I want to do more of.  More energy for the things that really matter.

Come to think of it– that’s probably what my kids need more of, too.  More focus on what they’re doing right, and less on the moments of ‘oops’– the wrong turns and the mishaps and the bumps in the road that we all have.

Grace.

Ahhhhhh.

the muddled middle

A few months ago I was doing that thing when the weather is foul where you look around your house and it starts feeling like bear cave. Everybody’s been inside too long and you haven’t found a place for Christmas presents yet, and all you can see is the clutter built up around the edges. 

That particular day I’d already thrown away three bags of junk from my laundry room and two out of the linen closet and I was about to start in on the coats in the front closet. That may not have been a strategic move considering there was a foot of snow in the front yard—but I was done with coat-chaos in the entry way! Thankfully logic prevailed. Instead of throwing away coats completely, I decided what would really complete my life was a new coat rack on the wall by my front door. 

So I did what any smart woman with an idea does—I looked on Pinterest for the perfect heavenly vision of what was in my head. Then I went to Lowe’s and picked out wood and coat hooks, and had a buff young man in a Lowe’s apron cut the wood for me.

I went home and started pounding nails into my trim boards. The first couple went OK, except then I couldn’t find the studs in the wall, which meant my boards were just stuck in sheet rock, and if anything bigger than a Barbie coat ended up on that thing, it’d all come crashing down. I gotta mention here — I have a husband who is a woodworker—he does gorgeous work—but Pinterest had me convinced I could totally whip this out myself.

I prayed for studs and pounded more nails. And it turned out my wood was that fake stuff that’s basically glued-together sawdust. Which totally works for folks like my husband who actually hit the nail every time. But that’s not me. And when my hammer missed both nails—the actual nail AND my thumbnail, then the hammer would smash into my fake wood and make a nice divot. 

Partway through the project it was looking pretty scary. My fake wood was all dinged up. A couple of the nails – the ones that had actually HIT studs– would NOT go all the way in no matter how hard I pounded. And by now my husband was only an hour or two from coming home. My inner two year old was bound and determined to do this thing BY MYSELF without any male help (well, except that cute young man at Lowe’s, but my hubby didn’t have to know about him).

Every now and then one of my kids would come over, look at the wall doubtfully, open their mouth to say something– and then notice the steam coming out of my ears and retreat.

Finally I got most of my nails pounded in and the coat hooks screwed in and it even felt reasonably stable. I got out the putty and filled in my mistakes, and slapped a coat of white pain all over the whole project. DIY coat rack

While I was standing back looking at it with my head cocked over sideways trying to decide if it actually looked OK, or it that was just my hopeful imagining, my daughter came up and stood beside me. I’ve walked through fire trying to love this precious one well, and on that long journey, she has been the one God has used most often to show me my own flaws and imperfection. So that’s the kid who came alongside me companionably.

And she tipped her head sideways too and she squinted at my project and she said, “It looks pretty good.”

I told her I’d been really doubting for awhile that it’d be OK.

She looked me in the eye and said, “Yeah, lots of projects look kind of messy in the middle, but they usually work out OK in the end.”

Do you know what it meant to me to have that child—out of all my ten– speak those words to me? It was as if God himself whispered in my ear, “It’s going to be all right in the end.”

As Christians we know it’s going to be all right in the end, right?

Then why, so often, do we judge our success as mothers by looking at the muddled middle of our child’s story? The muddled middle of our own story?

And– another thing–how often do we try to do this project of motherhood ALL BY ourselves even though we’ve got the limitless power of God RIGHT there? Totally forgetting that our Father in heaven loves us and our precious kids more than we ever can. Forgetting He has every resource at His disposal, and He’s working powerfully in all of our lives this very minute.

He’s even preparing a place called Heaven for us some day.

Never forget: Our God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or hope or imagine according to his power that is at work within us.

Do not be weary in doing well, for in due time – after you get through the muddled middle – you WILL reap a reward if you do not faint along the way. I think it’s the King James version that talks about fainting along the way and I really, really appreciate that translation because so often as a momma I feel like today might be the day I faint along the way.

But let me say it again: Our God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or hope or imagine according to his power that is at work within us.

It’s all Him. It’s all Him.

Walk humble. Love deep. Be faithful. Don’t lose hope.

He is mighty to save and He loves you and your precious children with an everlasting love.

Don’t be afraid of the muddle in the middle.

forest-cross

(Excerpted from Forever Mom: What to Expect When You’re Adopting)

Book giveaway: Every Bitter Thing

About three years ago at a blogger’s dinner for the Dot.Mom conference, I had the privilege of sitting next to Sara Hagerty with some time to talk for awhile. As a fellow adoptive momma, I felt an immediate kinship with her, and an understanding of some of her life. But the evening left me wishing I’d had time to visit longer, as I could tell that she is a beautiful person and I just knew there was a lot more to her story than we’d really had time to talk about. I had the sense there was lots more to know.

So when I heard a few months ago that her book had just been released, I was thrilled, and eager for this chance to know a little more about how God had been working in Sara’s family.  Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things  is a deeply thoughtful, sometimes heartbreaking, always truthful telling of Sara’s story through infertility toward adoption.  Whether or not you have experienced infertility or adoption, I think you’ll find her story to be compelling.

I have the privilege of giving away a copy of Sara’s book to one lucky reader this week.  I am planning on selecting a winner on Monday, and to enter the drawing, all you have to do is comment below.  Simply tell me you’re interested in the book, or if you’d like, share one sweet blessing in your life this week.

One thing I’m enjoying is my new co-workers at the hospital.  They’re smart and funny and energetic, and I’m looking forward to knowing them better.

If you would like an additional entry for this giveaway, share this post on facebook or twitter, and then come back to comment again and tell me you did so.  And as long as you’re in the giveaway mode, you may also want to go over to Copperlight Woods where Shannon is doing another adoption book giveaway, featuring her book Upside Down and my book Forever Mom!

Win TWO adoption books!

First off, I wanted to mention that if you like podcasts, I had a fun (and somewhat  rambling) conversation recently with the lovely Julia, from the blog Running on Om  which you can listen to right here.

Today I’m teaming up for a adoption giveaway with the lovely Shannon of Copperlight Wood.  We are offering one lucky reader a copy of each of our newly-released adoption books.  As you know, mine is called Forever Mom: What to Expect When You’re Adopting and Shannon’s wonderful offering is called Upside Down: Understanding and Supporting Attachment in Adoptive Families.

We decided to do this giveaway together when we realized how well our books complement each other.  Our messages are very much related, but each has a slightly different emphasis.  My focus is very much on helping families be better prepared for adoption.  Shannon also talks about this, but focuses in depth on the ways that friends and extended family can be prepared to be a strong support to families facing adoption challenges.

By necessity, adoptive parenting is going to look a little different, especially when parenting kids who’ve arrived in your family at older ages.  And having experienced some of those challenges in our own families, Shannon and I both put our hearts into writing messages of hope and faith and encouragement for others also walking this sometimes-rocky path.

If you are interested in winning a copy of each of these books, you can enter this giveaway in several ways.  First, comment below, and tell me your interest in or connection to adoption, whether it be your own, or a friend whom you’d like to encourage with these books.  Second, for an additional entry, share this post on facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, and then come back here and comment again, telling me where you shared about this giveaway.

I’ll announce the winner of this book set next Monday.  And be sure to keep your eye out at Copperlight Wood as well, since Shannon will be offering this giveaway soon too.

Refreshed

Over the weekend John and I had a really sweet getaway to attend the Refresh Foster and Adoption conference put on by Overlake Church near Seattle.  It’s always a little nervous-making to leave the kids at home and take off for a weekend.  But with a combination of teens supervising and a variety of friend/grandma/adult sibling visits, and a few LONG phone calls home from me, everyone seemed to have survived our absence and not starved.

Blue sky over Seattle

Refresh was just as good this our second year as it was our first.  We love the church family there, and the chance to visit with old friends and meet new ones, and play a tiny part in encouraging other families.  Always when I am getting ready to share with a group, I become so aware of my own imperfection and inadequacy.  I so much want to bless others, but I feel certain that others could do it much more eloquently.  Which certainly is true.

Seattle SunshineBut you know what? The weekend I was reminded in many ways how important it is to reach out and connect honestly and share hard and offer hope to the ones God places before us– even when, especially when, we don’t have it all together ourselves. Even if our voices sometimes quaver as we speak truth.  Because when it comes down to it, it’s not about us speaking perfect words. It’s about allowing the light of Jesus to shine into the heart of another fellow traveler.  And certainly that happened so many times, in so many ways this weekend.  We really did feel the presence of Jesus everywhere.

Last fall I met a neat group of adoptive mommas at a tiny retreat on Camano Island.  It was a sweet weekend of bonding and refreshment.  At the tail end of that lovely weekend, Darlene shared a bit of wisdom that an older lady had once shared with her:  “We’re all just dumb sheep, but we have a really, really good Shepherd.”

We all laughingly christened ourselves the Dumb Sheep, and this past weekend we had the chance to reconnect. Thanks to Refresh, some of the husbands are getting to know each other too– so neat. I think that sometimes husbands have a harder time making connections with other men and the fact that the Refresh conference gives men that opportunity is a real blessing.

Refresh

The photo above is of some of the ‘dumb sheep’ Saturday morning at a breakfast where we chatted with a delightful group of earlybirds about nurturing passions and friendships amid the busy-ness of motherhood. (Toni, Tara, me, Jennie, Lisa, Darlene and Jen are in the photo.)  I’d never met Jennie before, but it was a pleasure to make her acquaintance.  She also did a fabulous job sharing encouragement and telling her adoption story in one of the general sessions on Friday.

Lisa and meI also had some precious visiting time with my dear friend Lisa, who recently lost her precious daughter Kalkidan in a car accident. Of course there is still much sadness in their home, but the light and strength of Jesus is also showing so clearly there in her whole family.  Her children shared at the conference and their precious sweet hearts were very evident.  Do keep praying for their family, will you?  It is a hard path they are walking.

A few other core highlights of the weekend:

~Relationship is central to this parenting journey– we need to keep reaching out to our loved ones even when, especially when growth is slow.

~God is the instigator of all growth and change, so we need to hold on and stay close to Him and trust His perfect will and His perfect timing, even in the middle of suffering, especially when the road is rough.

~Giving all our children voice is a powerful and important thing.  We need to keep checking in, keep connecting, to find out how they’re experiencing life.

~ Community is a gift from God– we need to remember the importance of reaching out to others, finding ones who are safe, and sharing honestly so that they can encourage us and that we can encourage them.  Yes, even in our weakness we can bless others.

~~~

Refresh next year is once again going to be the last week in February.  I’d encourage you to save the date and attend if you’re an adoptive or foster family anywhere near the Seattle area.  You will be blessed!