Sunday, August 29, 2010

Happy Birthday M.!

Yesterday was M.'s 4th birthday. Sadly, we weren't celebrating it with him, but we were celebrating it with many, many awesome friends. What better way for us to not think about the things that we didn't have than to think about all the things that we did have?! On Saturday, we had a lot of great friends surrounding us, loving and caring for us, supporting us, and giving to us. They are amazing!

Several weeks ago, our dear friends Paul and Connie called and said they'd like to hold a fundraiser picnic to help us with our travel expenses. We were so blessed by their offer because with the addition of the second trip, finances were going to be quite a stretch. They sent out invites and planned a special day for us. They asked guests to consider making a donation to our travel fund as a birthday gift to M. and a show of love for us and support for our adoption.

The weather was absolutely beautiful! A perfect day for a picnic. A few weeks before the picnic, Paul met a man named Marv Hampton, who is a "Neil Diamond performer", and he offered to come and perform at the picnic for no charge. He was great and those who like Neil Diamond loved him. Those of us who don't like Neil Diamond so much, still loved him - for his heart and the nice atmosphere that it provided for the picnic! It really added to the day and it was so nice of him to come and perform for free when he didn't even know us.

Connie and Paul ordered a very yummy cake with M.'s sweet picture on it. We displayed all the pictures that we have of M. thus far so people could finally see his sweet face. I put together some informational posters with pictures from fellow adoptive parents who have recently traveled so that our friends could see where we'll be going, where we'll be staying, where M. is currently living, and where M. spent the first few years of his life. I made some Ethiopian food - Yemiser W'et - and ordered some injera. I also gave instructions on the proper way to eat it - even if some people preferred to eat it their own way! (Carol!) :-) Connie made lots of great food and everyone else brought tasty things to share as well. There was certainly no shortage of food. Seemed that every time I walked by the food table, I had to eat more because there was something new that I hadn't tried yet! The kids were all wonderfully behaved, as always (ha!) and had a great time playing croquet, climbing Paul & Connie's tree, and playing touch football. Aside from poor little 4 year old Adam breaking his collarbone (for the second time in a month!!), it was a perfect day!

(I'm sorry for the hearted-out faces, but I still can't post M.'s picture!)

We are so very grateful for everyone who attended, who donated to our travel fund, who laughed with us and listened to us babble on and on about Ethiopia or M., who brought their aluminum cans for our recycling fundraiser, who tried my Ethiopian food, who prayed for us (and continue to do so), who support us, and who, just simply, love us. Thank you for everything! We love you and we appreciate you so very much!

When the picnic was over, we came home, sat down together, and opened all the beautiful cards and read your sweet words of encouragement. Together, you all gave us $1265.21 to put towards our travel expenses - more than enough to cover the cost of one of our plane tickets for our first trip! Thank you so very, very much. And, I have to add how much I love that the 21 cents was put into the box by sweet little Grant (Daniel's friend) and that the two pictures hanging on the glass door were drawn by Olivia and Max (our neighbors' kids who are also friends with Mackenzie and Daniel but weren't able to attend). How very sweet that even the children in our lives are supporting us and can't wait to see M. come home!

One last blessing of the day was that after we were home & opened the cards and got Daniel to bed, I checked my email and got 2 new pictures of M. from his friend's new parents who recently returned from Ethiopia. The pictures are from their new son's farewell ceremony. M. is wearing a green t-shirt that has a picture of 2 robots (how perfect for Daniel's little brother and Eric's son!!). One robot is big, the other is little, and they're holding hands. The shirt reads, "Small but Intelligent". :-) So very cute and perfect for this family!! PLUS, there is video of the ceremony too which the other dad will be sending along once he figures out how! Oh, how I can't wait to see little M. in motion!! And, oh how I hope he enjoyed his birthday as much as we did!!

Happy birthday, M.!!
We can't wait to bring you home so that you, too,
will be surrounded by all this love!!