21 Aug 2012 7 Comments
Ok. So, here is the deal. We have started potty training the twins. With 3 other kiddos, I have to admit that we have not spent as much time as we probably should have so far getting them to sit on the potty. However, we are making progress. Here is the thing though. EVERY night, and I do mean E.V.E.R.Y. night, Samuel will take off his diaper in his crib. Pants and all. It is about to drive me to drink. (just bein’ real) . When I go into the twins’ room to get them in the morning, they are both happy as clams, jumping up and down in their cribs shouting, “Mommy! Mommy!” with one of them buck naked covered in his own pee. Sweet.
With 4 boys in the house ages 6 and under anyway, there is a lot of pee around. Just sayin’. I think we have ode de pee pee down pat in our house. I can’t even count the number of times Kindred or I just blurt out during the day, “Why does it smell like PEE around here?!?!” Maybe that fragrance will make it big someday. Then we will have it MADE!
So, back to my question. Any mommies (or daddies) out there ever duct tape a diaper on one of your kiddos at night to keep them from removing it? That kind of seems like a cruel and unusual option, but I don’t know what else to do. Pretty sure the little guy won’t be able to get out of a diaper duct taped around his bottom……..
Happy Tuesday everyone!
**Please remember: BUY A BOOK, CHANGE A LIFE!
Thursday, August 30th (all day)
60% of all royalties raised via Amazon.com sales of the book Cavemen in Babyland: What New & Expecting Mommies Should Know About New Daddies (So That They Won’t Kill Them) on that day will go to support Clinic at a Time (30%) www.clinicatatime.org and Cobb Street Ministries (30%) www.cobbstreetministries.com.
Please take a minute to check out these amazing charities, and help us promote the event by helping spread the word. We all know someone who either just had or will soon have a baby! This book makes a fun gift and supports some great causes as well!
13 Aug 2012 Leave a Comment
Today was the first day of school for the 3 “bigs.” What an emotional rollercoaster it was for mommy! Carson is entering Kindergarten, William 1st, and Emerson 4th. This is a new school for Emerson and Carson as well. (William is the “old pro” at Kemp!) Although transferring schools has been a little difficult for Emerson, it will be fun for her and her brothers to all be in the same school together. (Last year I had kids in 3 different schools last year…talk about nuts!) Here are the big 3 walking to meet their teachers during the Open House last week….can you GET any sweeter?!?! Melt.My.Heart.
Meanwhile, the twins were home watching Sesame Street
William’s big news is that he has started playing football. Seriously. He is SIX! It is the cutest thing watching these kids “play football.” They look like little bobble heads running around the field…it is so sweet. Check out my big man:
Lastly for today- I wanted to quickly address my hubby’s last blog post about his amazing talk with Amanuel, Samuel & Asher’s birth father in Ethiopia. It is so hard for me to wrap my brain around his life, and at the same time be living mine everyday. It is just hard. The 2 worlds are so different, it is nearly impossible to try to “mesh” them in my brain. We have had such an outpouring of love and support from people who were moved by Kindred’s post. It has touched us deeply. Obviously, figuring out ways that little ole’ us can help to impact and improve maternity care in Ethiopia is a huge passion of ours. SO, here is what we are wanting to do. Hubby has written a hilarious and heart-warming book called Cavemen in Babyland: What New & Expecting Mommies Should Know About New Daddies (So That They Don’t Kill Them. It has gotten great reviews on Amazon.com, and makes a great and unique baby shower/new parent gift. (I mean really…..do they really NEED any more onesies?!?!)
So, we have declared Thursday, August 30th “Buy a Book, Change a Life Day!” On Aug. 30th, my hubby is donating 30% of all of his royalties from book sales on Amazon.com to help support Clinic at a Time, an amazing non-profit devoted to providing life-saving medical and maternity care to impoverished mothers and children in Ethiopia. In addition, Kindred will be donating another 30% to a local Atlanta ministry that houses and mentors homeless and battered women and children. Won’t you help us? It’s not often you can buy a great gift for someone, help 2 amazing charities, and truly change many lives in the process…
Please, I humbly ask you to mark your calendars now. Anytime on August 30th just go to Amazon.com and buy a copy (or 5, or 10!) of Cavemen in Babyland. Spread the word. And know that not only will you get a hilarious read, but you will be impacting many lives in the process.
17 Jul 2012 8 Comments
BLOG POST FROM HUBBY:
“Hello…..Amanuel?” Those were the only words I understood of the conversation that took place between my new friend, Mesfin, and Amanuel, the father of my adopted twin sons, Samuel and Asher. Sitting outdoors at a Starbucks last week, all I could do was marvel at the sight of Mesfin casually leaning back in his chair, talking in Sidamigna on his cell phone to my sons’ birth father in rural Ethiopia with the same ease that my wife calls me to say, “Don’t forget to pick up diapers at the store.”
When Meredith, Emerson and my father traveled to meet with the twins’ father in his village in Dec. 2010, it was a joyous occasion. Amanuel was very hospitable and overwhelmed with gratefulness that they had come to visit him bringing pictures of the boys and our family and a letter from me promising to be the best dad I could to his sons. As a Protestant Christian, he was thrilled that we were Christians too and that his sons would learn the Bible. Before Meredith left, Amanuel’s mother hugged her and, through translation, told her, “Now I know their mother will rest in peace.”
Followers of this blog know that the twins are now happy, healthy, and have had an amazing first two years of life. In just 14 months they went from severely ill and dying to appearing with Jennifer Lopez in a movie and walking (or should I say “toddling”) the red carpet and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Not too shabby. It’s been an inspiring story, and one that has focused more attention and publicity on our family than we could have ever imagined.
Recognizing that we have been given a platform we didn’t expect, Meredith and I have done a lot of praying, talking, and pondering. We both feel deeply that the twins’ story should be told for the purpose of somehow inspiring those who read or hear it to ask, “What more can I do for orphaned children and to help provide more medical resources in developing countries so that women like Samuel and Asher’s mother not only survive but thrive?”
As a writer, I decided to embark on the challenging but worthwhile project of writing a book about the boys’ journey thus far. But to do that I needed to know more. I had not been to meet Amanuel and the twins’ family, and Meredith, in an effort to be sensitive, had not pressed for too many details. If only there was a way I could talk to Amanuel myself, I thought.
Then, a few weeks ago, Meredith found a piece of paper she’d acquired in Ethiopia. On it was the phone number for the twins’ grandmother, written in her own hand. To be honest, we had forgotten we had it. Meredith and I sent an email to the director of the orphanage to let him know we would be contacting the grandmother soon, and he quickly responded that he actually had Amanuel’s phone number if we would like to contact him.
Fast-forward to last Wednesday. A few weeks earlier, some friends introduced Meredith and me to Mesfin, a young man of Ethiopian birth who is fluent in English, Amharic (the national language of Ethiopia), and Sidamigna (the regional language of Sidama, where Samuel and Asher were born). Always eager to help others, Mesfin agreed to act as my interpreter. So we met at a Starbucks and gave Amanuel a call.
“Hello, Amanuel?” Mesfin was off and running, rattling off words in Sidamigna that I had no way of understanding. For all I knew he was saying, “Hello, Amanuel. I’m sitting here with this creepy white guy who’s raising your children. I wouldn’t let this guy feed my hamster; what were you thinking letting him adopt your kids?”
After a few seconds, we got cut off. Bad reception. “Amanuel said that the reception is bad,” Mesfin told me. “He is going to higher ground. But he is very excited we called! All he kept saying was, ‘Oh my gosh! How are the boys? How is the family? Tell them that I love them all! I am so glad they called. This is a blessing!’ He wants us to call again in five minutes.”
We refilled our coffee while we gave Amanuel a few moments to go to a place where he would get better reception. Then Mesfin dialed again. “Hello, Amanuel?”
Through Mesfin, Amanuel and I conversed for nearly ½ hour. I told him that the boys were fine, that it was an honor to speak to him, and that we talk and think about him and his family often. He asked when we would come to visit. I told him that we are hoping to be able to come within a year or 2.
At my request, Mesfin asked Amanuel if I could ask a few questions about his life and the day the twins were born. Amanuel graciously said yes, affording me the opportunity to learn more fully all that he had experienced when it came to the twins and what his family had lived through.
I asked Amanuel what he farmed. Corn, beans, and ensete (false banana) were the answers. Sidama is actually a region rich in coffee (Ethiopia’s primary cash crop) as well. But Amanuel, it turns out, does not grow any.
I enquired as to whether all of his farming was subsistence or if he grew any for market. Amanuel responded that he rarely could grow enough to feed his family, much less any to sell. When I asked what he did for income, he told me that at the time the twins were born, he would use his donkey-drawn cart to transport people from one village to another in exchange for a birr (Ethiopia’s standard currency—equal to 1/16 of a dollar at the time Meredith and I visited the country). However, since our visit, Amanuel’s donkey had died, leaving him with no way to pull his cart or make money. Humbled and embarrassed by my own tendency to think that I face financial challenges, I elected not to press him further on his means of income.
Most personal of all, Amanuel shared with me the details of the day the twins were born. Prior to their birth, Amanuel’s wife, Martha, had given birth to six previous children. The first were twins. Only one, Amanuel’s daughter (now 10) survived. Next, Martha gave birth to a boy who died at birth, then a second set of twins, both of whom died. She then gave birth to Amanuel’s oldest son, who is now 8. Finally, came Samuel and Asher.
Mothers in rural Ethiopia usually give birth at home with only the help of local women. But given Martha’s history with childbirth and her great level of discomfort, Amanuel and his wife agreed that he should fetch a trained midwife. With the donkey wearied from days of work and unable to make the journey, Amanuel walked for two and a half hours to the home of the nearest midwife, convinced her to come with him, and walked two and a half hours back.
I could see Mesfin’s face fall as Amanuel continued, “When I returned home, the twins had been born, and my beautiful wife had died giving birth.”
Hearing Mesfin relay to me all that Amanuel was saying, I felt my heart both breaking and filling with admiration for this young Ethiopian father. My heart broke for the unimaginable pain he had endured at the death of his wife. And yet I was in awe of him and admired him deeply for his strength and the dignity with which he continued to love and lead his family.
Amanuel shared how the days that followed were hard. Over 300 people “not counting the women and children,” turned out to mourn Martha at her funeral. She was buried just yards away from the home where she had loved and served her family.
For four more days after the funeral, Amanuel attempted to tend to and take care of his new babies. But, even with his mother’s help, the twins were dying. All he had that they could digest was water. There was no one to nurse them. At his mother’s urging, and with great sadness, he did the only thing he could do. He had his mother, his uncle, and a member of the Red Cross take the boys to the orphanage.
I wrote frantically as Mesfin relayed to me all that Amanuel was saying. But as I wrote, my mind was racing. A spectrum of emotions ran through me as I tried to process all I was hearing. Some of it I already knew. Some I could have guessed. Some was harder than I ever could have imagined.
Towards the end of the conversation, I jumped on the phone. I wanted to hear Amanuel’s voice myself. I would imagine he probably wanted to hear mine as well. “Hello, Amanuel,” I said.
“Hello,” he enthusiastically responded. That was all we could say that we both could understand.
For all the young farmer had been through, all I could detect in his voice was joy and gratitude. He was joyful that his sons were doing well. He was grateful for me and Meredith and the fact that we had contacted him. And he was faithful to God, believing that God had always been good and in control.
Talking to Amanuel, I felt blessed and elated. But I also felt small. Through the words and life of this brave, faithful man, I was confronted with my own selfishness. Here, in middle–class America, I have it so easy. For all the troubles I have, I have never once worried where my children would sleep, what they would eat, or whether or not they would even survive childbirth. I watched my wife go through 3 c-sections, never once doubting that she would be okay. And yet, I can lose my faith so easily. At the slightest financial challenge or change in circumstance, I can get out of sorts, wondering “Why me, God?”
Amanuel is a man whom the world looks at and sees as impoverished and in need. I see him as my brother and friend. Speaking with him I realized that he is in many ways a stronger and better man than most. He has faced and continues to face challenges in life that would crush most men. Yet he not only survives them, he overcomes them with joy, faith, peace, and an undying hope that most could only wish for and many could not even begin to fathom.
Before getting off the phone, I thanked Amanuel and assured him that we would call again soon. He was excited and said that he could not wait to hear more from us and stay updated on the boys. He has given me so much in both my sons and more than one spiritual lesson. I pray that I can make him proud in the way I raise Samuel and Asher. Until the next time Mesfin and I say, “Hello….. Amanuel?”
11 Jul 2012 3 Comments
Wow! I can’t even believe I am writing the words that I am about to write…but guess what? My hubby is on the phone RIGHT NOW with the twins‘ birth father in Ethiopia!!! WHAT?!?!?!?!?!? Can you believe it?? Amazing.
I am sure you are wondering how in the world this happened (as am I, honestly!) so here is a little background:
In a previous post I had written about the mini-documentary that is being done about the twins’ amazing journey to our family. (Filming is complete for that…. she is now in the process of editing etc…. will keep you posted on that as well!) SO, in an attempt to provide them with as much info as I could, I started rifling through a huge bin I have of items relating to the adoption, including newspapers I have from Addis Ababa on the day we took custody, receipts from the guest house where we stayed, and on and on. WELL, in the process of sorting through all of that, I came across a wrinkled slip of paper that had the twins’ grandmother’s name and phone number on it! I had TOTALLY forgotten that when we met her in her village, she wrote down her phone number for us! (Not sure how I could have forgotten that, but I must say that travelling to the birth father’s village to meet him and his extended family was pretty surreal, so I think it was just a matter of hardly being able to take everything in).
I don’t quite understand it, but it seems that most people in Ethiopia either have a cell phone, or have access to one. Maybe someone can enlighten me on this. Both the grandmother’s home (where I visited) and the birth father’s home (where we shared a meal with him) were your typical Ethiopian rural dwellings. No running water. No electricity. NONE. So, I am guessing the people travel (usually on foot) to the nearest city with electricity to be able to charge their cell phones? Anyway, don’t know the answer to that yet…but back to our story.
SO, I found the grandmother’s phone number. Then it all came back to me…..she had written it down for me after we picked her up in her village on our way to meet her son (birth father). I didn’t quite know what to do with it, because she speaks Sidamigna and we don’t. However, I guess I was holding onto it in the hopes that we could use it someday. Fast forward to last month- we were at a dear friend’s house with our kiddos. They also had adopted 2 children from Ethiopia-who had stayed in the same orphanage as our boys. As we were talking, I mentioned that we had the grandmother’s phone number. WELL, it turns out that our friends actually KNEW someone here in Atlanta that speaks both Sidamigna AND English! Are you kidding me?!?!?
I emailed the orphanage where the boys had been to let them know that we would be calling the grandmother soon, and if they had anyway to give her a “head’s up” that would be awesome. I got an email back saying, ” I understand that you have the phone number for the twins’ grandmother and that you would like to speak with her. However, I have their father’s phone number if you would like that.” Our jaws dropped! We couldn’t believe it!
SOOOOOO……Kindred and Mesfin are at a Starbucks in Atlanta right now speaking with the twins’ birth father in Ethiopia.
Unbelievable. Will post more soon!
09 Jul 2012 1 Comment
in Uncategorized Tags: 2 year old twins, 5 year old, adoption, American Idol, Babies, birthday, ethiopia, Ethiopian Twins, Family, Hollywood, Home, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Lopez Adoption, JLo Spot, Kindred, Kirk Jones, Marriage, orphan, relationship, twins, TWINS Magazine, What to Expect, What to Expect When You're Expecting Movie
My sweet Carson turned 5 today. FIVE. Where does the time go?!?!?! It is so hard to start “letting go…..” he starts KINDERGARTEN this year Ugh. Although, I have to say he has promised me that he will NEVER marry. Really. He wants to live with me forever. When I asked why he doesn’t want to get married, he said “because I don’t like kissies on the lips.” That’s what he associates marriage with, so I guess Kindred and I have done an ok job, huh?
Here are a few pics from his big day. My sweet, sweet boy. We love you, sweet Carson!!!
Oh, and check THIS out!! My awesome hubby wrote an article (featuring guess who??) in TWINS Magazine this month…. I thought he did a phenomenal job. Here is the link:
*He got a little shout on on the front cover, and there we are at the LA premiere in the Table of Contents, with our friend Kirk. Cool, huh??
22 Jun 2012 4 Comments
in Uncategorized Tags: adoption, Alex, Asher, Caleb, ethiopia, Ethiopian Twins, Family, Holly, Hollywood, Home, J-Lo, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Lopez Adoption, JLo Spot, Kaleb, Kindred, Lionsgate, Twin, What to Expect Movie, William
Well, HELLO everyone!
I can’t believe it has been a week since I have written one of my earth-shattering, life-changing posts. How have you all made it without my wonderful words of wisdom??!?! (totally kidding!)
It has been quite a week. Lots of summer chaos with all of the kiddos running around, and lots of sibling fights. Yahoo!
This is really cute, though- last weekend, I set Sammy & Asher in the stroller to take them for a walk so they could look for “doggies” and “cars” (and, truthfully, so mommy could clear her mind for a moment and think!) We ran into this adorable gaggle of girls…. they recognized the twins from the movie. They asked if I could take a picture (or 5, or 10) of them with the twins, and one of the girls (thanks, Gabby!) emailed me a copy of the pic. Can you stand this cuteness?? (the twins AND the girls?) BOYS…..I have to say….I think this will be what Heaven looks like for you when you are teenagers, no??
On a serious note, though, Kindred and I have spoken with several great non-profits in the last week who provide maternal care for mommies in Ethiopia. It has been encouraging to see so many people with such amazing hearts! Hopefully we will have a big announcement in a week or so…..I will tell you one thing. We want to change the world. My boys and their story WILL change the world. I just believe it. How can it not?? I think that when people are made aware of needs that exist, most people’s response is to want to help. To make a difference to someone else. Because at one time or another, we have ALL been that person who needs help. And we will again. Just the nature of this wild ride we call life.
Totally changing subjects here, but William and I were working on a project tonight. I have these wooden letters that spell out all of the kids’ names. (Actually, I bought them after we accepted the twins’ referral, but before they were home with us. Yes, they have just been sitting in the closet. For 1 1/2 years.) I have these great creative ideas, but then it seems like I don’t ever have the time to execute them, you know?? Well, William and I decided to work on them tonight. They have NO hardware on them to attach them to the wall, so we bought these brackets that we thought would work. They have the TINIEST little nails!! It was pretty hilarious watching us work at this. We decided to get tweezers to hold the tiny nails in place with hopes that then a hammer could do the trick. Nope! We have had little, tiny nails flying all over the kitchen. Oh well. It was a bonding moment with my oldest son. Some Mommy-William time. And, maybe ONE day, these letters WILL be on my wall! (And, yes, that lovely pattern on the black drawers behind William are courtesy of Samuel & Asher….didn’t even notice it until my flash went off on the camera….they smeared Danimals Yogurt Drink on my furniture. Yay.)
15 Jun 2012 Leave a Comment
in Uncategorized Tags: 104.7 the fish, adoption, Babyland, Cavemen, Dan Ratcliffe, ethiopia, Ethiopian Twins, Father, Fathers Day, Footprints, gift, J-Lo, Jennifer Lopez, Kevin and Taylor, orphan, Parent, radio, What to Expect When You're Expecting Movie
Well, duh. Had I not been previously so engaged with all of my “Mama Drama” this summer (see last post) it would have occurred to me to send this post earlier in the week. Nothin’ like waiting till the last minute, huh?
ANYWHOO, I have an awesome gift idea for FATHER’S DAY!! My wonderful hubby is an excellent writer and a phenomenal father. Combine those 2 traits and you get one hilariously funny book that makes a great gift not only for new daddies, but also new mommies as well (yep..missed that holiday altogether).
Cavemen in Babyland: What New & Expecting Mommies Should Know About New Daddies (So That They Won’t Kill Them)
Here is a little blurb from the back cover:
New and expecting mommies STOP! Don’t beat new fathers to death with your breast pumps! Help has arrived. In Cavemen in Babyland, award-winning writer, public speaker, and professional marriage, parent, and family life coach Kindred Howard gives new and expecting moms the inside scoop on new dads. Compiled from his own “near-death” experiences, Kindred offers new mothers the insight they need to better understand why their significant others do and say all those mystifying things that drive women crazy. You’ll laugh, learn, and have more than your share of “Aha” moments as you read about what’s going through young fathers’ hearts and minds both before and after baby arrives.
Hilarious, right?? (And, I might add, as a father of FIVE he has had plenty of near-death experiences from which to draw inspiration. Just sayin.)
You can purchase a signed copy at www.cavemeninbabyland.com or find it on Amazon.com (And, as an added bonus if you live in and around the Atlanta area and purchase directly through the Cavemen site by midnight tonight, I will make sure the book is hand-delivered to you Saturday (tomorrow) in time for Father’s Day. As an apology for my tardiness in posting)
And, finally, Emerson’s good news~
We had a brief radio interview at 104.7 The Fish this week (http://www.thefishatlanta.com/). Emerson is a HUGE fan of Kevin & Taylor in the Morning so we brought her along in case they were in the studio. Well, guess who we ran into??
In her brief 9 years of life, Emerson has travelled to Ethiopia with us to bring home her baby brothers and met J-Lo. But, the highlight of her life so far? Meeting Taylor. Taylor you rock! Thank you for being so kind to our little girl!
Happy Weekend, Everyone!
11 Jun 2012 Leave a Comment
in Uncategorized Tags: adoption, Caleb, Duggers, ethiopia, Ethiopian Twins, Family, Jennifer Lopez, JLo Spot, Kaleb, Kate Gosselin, Mothers, Multiple Births, orphanage, orphans, Parenting, Reality television, summer, What to Expect, What to Expect When You're Expecting, What to Expect When You're Expecting Movie
Ok. So, I am sure this is not a news flash to anyone, but summer with 5 kids is H.A.R.D. Just sayin’..
I don’t have the hang of this yet, and I am not ashamed to admit it…..we need advice! (Any other somewhat large families out there care to lend some wisdom?!?!)
I thought I had this thing down… Last summer, honestly, was a piece of cake compared to the summer of 2012. The only thing I can figure is now those adorable 12-14 month old twins who could only crawl are now 24 months, and are R.U.N.N.I.N.G. everywhere.. YES, everywhere…..and, I might add—in 2 different directions. Every.Single.Time.(those who have seen us at the pool this summer can attest to this unfortunate fact). Relaxing at the pool?? I think not.
Okay – time for true confessions with Meredith Howard….. I have thought about buying those “leashes” for kids. Haven’t done it, but have sure thought about it…..how far I have fallen. Once a mom of one who thought parents who had their kids on a “leash” needed to be scorned. (yes, how quickly I judged!)….now to TOTALLY understanding (and even beginning to embrace) the need for them. I just don’t know how it is humanly possible for one mommy to keep up with twin toddler boys running in different directions, while keeping an eye on the other 3 (still young, I might add). When Kindred is with us, it is a no-brainer. It’s Man-to-Man Defense. He gets one twin, I get the other. Easy. But, by myself? Ugh. There HAS to be a better way…. (waiting for a response here from Kate Gosselin or the Duggers).
Anyway, as for our big announcement for the summer: The “Big Kids” and I are GARDENERS now! Yes, We have a garden!! Woo-Hoo!! (we have no idea what we’re doing, mind you..but we now call ourselves gardeners). Have you seen the movie, What About Bob? I love that movie. Maybe it’s the psychology major in me, but I love it. It reminds me of the scene where Bob is roped to the pole in the sailboat and gleefully shouts, “I’m a sailor! I’m sailing!!” That’s us…we’re GARDENERS! We’re gardening!!
Here are a few pics of the master gardeners at work this weekend…..enjoy your summer everyone (and please feel free to give me some tips on how to make it through successfully!)
08 Jun 2012 1 Comment
in Uncategorized Tags: adoption, Chris Rock, Dr. Aronson, ethiopia, Ethiopian Twins, Foster care, Heidi Murkoff, Jennifer Lopez, JLo Spot, Kaleb, orphan doctor, What to Expect Movie, What to Expect When You're Expecting
So, I have had some people say my posts are too vague (ahem….Melanie Willenborg) …. I can’t tell you exactly why they are that way at this time, but trust that we might have something up our sleeves.
Anyway, wanted to share a guest blog post I did for a friend’s blog that tells a little more of our story and background on how we got to be a family of seven. (Her blog is www.mycrazyadoption.com and Kari rocks!):
In 2010, after the Haitian Earthquake, my husband and I decided it was time to pursue our long time desire to adopt. We had talked about it for years, but decided it was time to actually DO something…not just keep talking about it. We spoke with our 3 children (at the time ages 2,4,6) about wanting to adopt. As best as they could understand, they were supportive. We began pursuing an adoption from Ethiopia. Our “plan” was to adopt a little toddler age girl. No more diapers, we thought, and no babies. Been there, done that 3 times. During the process- at my husband’s insistence- we got certified as foster parents as well. He just really believed that if there were children in the US who needed homes, we should start there. Long story short, we got a call about our sweet foster daughter- Nancy- and had to make a decision in about 5 minutes (before meeting her) if we would want to be her parents. Birth parent rights were just about terminated. This was going to be a “done deal.” We said yes, and piled our 3 kiddos into the minivan to drive an hour north to meet her. She was precious. Our 3 bio children fell in love with her immediately. I ran out and rented Chris Rock’s movie “Good Hair” so I could learn to do African American hair.
After 2 months with us, and her calling my husband “Daddy! Daddy!” she ended up being taken away from us (that is a whole other blog post in and of itself!). We were heartbroken. BUT, in our heartache we knew this was the confirmation we needed to pursue international adoption.
In the fall of that year, an email went out from our agency entitled: “Family Needed for Twin 4 Month old Baby Boys with Possible Special Needs.” Well, crap. That was honestly my first response. But we wanted a GIRL! And just ONE at that. Ugh. But, these boys needed a home. Isn’t that why we wanted to adopt a child in the first place? To give someone a home who needed one? SO, we tentatively opened the email to learn more. The twins’ mother had died giving birth. One had survived meningitis, and the other was severely malnourished. We had their medical files reviewed by Dr. Aronson. Truthfully, she scared the pee out of us……but we still knew- no matter what may come, these were our boys.
On New Year’s Eve, 2010, we arrived home with our boys. They were so tiny- wearing newborn size clothes at 6 months old- and they could barely hold their heads up; but they were SO alert, and had the BIGGEST eyes you have ever seen! We began physical therapy, and went through the gamut of medical testing. They began thriving. There were NO signs of any tissue damage on the MRI we had done on Asher (who had meningitis). The boys were inching their way onto the growth charts….what little miracles!
In the summer of 2011, we got an email from a fellow adoptive mom who said there was a movie being filmed in Atlanta and they needed Ethiopian babies & children to be extras. Cool, we thought- what a great way to meet more Ethiopians! On a whim we sent in a pic. of the twins. Immediately 2 people called us from the casting company, and then the casting director himself called. “I am very interested in the twins,” he said, “Can you meet me downtown today at 5pm?” Well, THAT is strange we thought…but maybe that is how they treat “extras.” We had NO idea. We went downtown and he asked us to come back the next day to meet with the director, and that if all went well we would need to be back downtown the next day to “spend some time with Jennifer Lopez, so she could get to know our children, and they could become familiar with her.”
“We’re sorry,” we said,” What movie is this? You want us to hang out with who?” Seriously. That is how it happened. Told ya….BIZARRE.
You can see Sammy & Asher in theatres now making their big screen debut in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” as J-Lo’s son she adopts from Ethiopia. And that is the short (but a little more detailed) version of how our family came to become this: