Thursday, January 31, 2008

Women in Burkina Faso

***UPDATE TO BELOW***

Dear Friends of Burkina Faso (and just friends in general!),
I want to share with all of you that the Lambs For School Project in Burkina Faso, for which we sought your support in December and January, has won one of the four international $50,000 awards through America's Giving Challenge!


With your generous support and networking, we were able to generate sufficient funds to enable close to 1200 girls (300 more than our initial goal of 900!) to enter school in northern Burkina Faso over the next four years ... girls who would not have had an opportunity to attend school otherwise.

I just wanted to make sure I posted this and to say thank you to anyone who took the time to donate. A few had asked, and although the contest is over, you can still donate to the cause. Thanks so much!

*****
Unfortunately, I just received this email today (which is the deadline). I figured that this would be the perfect place to spread the word - no pressure, but the possibility of getting these women an additional $50,000 for the cause. My Dad's cousin lived in BF for 20 years and it's therefore even closer to our hearts. Take a look if you feel inspired. Thanks!!

"Dear friends and colleagues, the following is a wordy message about a VERY worthy and unique project to help educate girls in Burkina Faso. Some of you know that I lived in BF for twenty years and this project is so very important to the development of the country and the efforts to raise third world country women to first class status. I can give you more information, but time is of the essence. A mere $10 will put us in contention for earning an additional $50,000 for the project but the deadline is Jan. 31. All (yes, all) the funds go directly to the education of girls...there areno admin costs. If you can, take a few minutes to do this...thank you! Terry"

Dear friend of Burkina Faso,

We've reached the final days of America's Giving Challenge! The contest deadline is Thursday, January 31, at 3pm EST and the Friends of Burkina Faso(FBF) is currently in 4th place. All of this is thanks to the positiveresponse from all of you and your fabulous networking outside of FBF!

But, it's not over yet, and the race remains very close! There are only 30 donations between 5th and 4th place- and we must finish in the top 4 in order to receive an extra $50,000 for the "Lambs for School" Project. This means that we must accelerate our efforts in these last few days of thecontest in order to be awarded the top prize. We are asking for your continued assistance during the final countdown!
Here is how you can help:
* If you have not already donated $10, go to the FBF web site(http://fbf.tamu.edu/), click on the link on the left-hand corner of our home page, and donate your $10. We've provided you with a template below. Friends, family and colleagueshave responded enthusiastically in the past week, enabling us to go from 125to 457 donors in one week. So we know this works and we think this is our key to being successful!

FYI, a maximum of two people (spouses, partners, and parents and childrenover 18) in the same household can donate with the same credit card and becounted as "unique donors" if their names and email addresses are different.

You can also follow where we are in the competition by clicking on "How is our project doing in the competition?" on our FBF home page. Reading the"Leader Board" is the most exciting part of all!

Our very sincere thanks for your support in this extraordinary endeavor!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Sophie!!

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you!! I can't believe that she's one! Today also marks the day that we have been together for exactly four months. Or another way to look at it is that she has been with us longer than she was in the orphanage and foster care, combined. And in 20 days, she will have been with us longer than she was with her birth mother, and therefore, longer than she has lived anywhere. Pretty amazing.

Of course, this is the first birthday of any of our children that is also a little bit sad for us. I have been thinking of her birth mother a lot today. I know that she must be terribly heartbroken, but there's a spot in my heart that's really hoping that she's happy, or at least relieved, knowing that she is in a wonderful family that loves her so much. I can't imagine that would ever outweigh the sadness, but merely lessen it ever so slightly.

Most importantly, we are celebrating her birth today (and also about the year anniversary since we started this journey). The kids had so much fun singing to her and making her cards.

GOT MILK?
A very happy one year old!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What Kind of World Do You Want?

1 in 150 children are diagnosed with Autism. Unfortunately, one of our wonderful nephews is one of them. If you do not know someone already with Autism unfortunately you will. Awareness is so important so that these precious gifts are accepted in our society. The music group Five for Fighting is donating 40 cents every time this video is viewed. Please take a few moments to watch, become aware and in the process allow money to be given to these children. Please pass this on.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

So much to say...

Eleven months and counting.....

Well, Dr. Ethiopia had it correct in his comment on a previous post of mine. I have so much more to say than I actually do. Unfortunately, at this point, I have so little time to say it. I used to try to keep the posts relevant to my audience - fellow Ethiopian adoptive families and my own family. Over the past month or two I have realized that I don't even know exactly who is in my audience! I have had such positive feedback from so many pockets of my life - acquaintances in town, John's colleagues, my old high school/college/work friends and friends and family of these people. It really amazes me how far this blog has reached. Once things settle down I hope that I have more to share than our daily family experiences, but for now, I barely have time to even share those. By nature, I am not very confrontational, however, for issues and topics that are close to my heart, I tend to get pretty fired up. I have no doubt that those will start to surface as my children get older and are inevitably hurt by other people's comments. Let's hope for now I can focus on the joy they bring to our lives and each other. In the meantime, I want to thank all of you lurkers out there for your silent support - I really appreciate it!

On that note, I also want to tell my fellow Ethiopian bloggers that my recent lack of commenting in no way indicates how often I check your blogs or how touched I am by each and every one of them! I won't actually admit how often I check some of them, but I will say that I have finally cut myself off from new ones. I have a definite line on the Gladney list of blogs that I will no longer allow myself to cross. I would like to read them all, since each story is so familiar yet so unique, but I do have four children that need my time!! So I will continue to read my old favorites (especially to watch how Sophie's foster house mates and the kids that we met are growing and thriving with their new families), but I just may not comment on every cute picture and informative post!

But the real reason for this post is to say Happy New Year! We have had a very full month since my last post. Despite a double ear infection for Sophie and a bout of pneumonia for William beforehand, we had a great Christmas this year. The kids had a great time, although I'm not sure Sophie had ANY idea what was going on. Since Santa had to bring something for everyone, we ended up getting Sophie every children's book we could find either about or related to Ethiopia. We found some great folk tales by Jane Kurtz that I'm sure many of you have seen.
My best present by far was a POTTY TRAINED LITTLE BOY! For some reason, 2 years 10 months had been the magic age for the boys. A few naked days and we're done. He's very proud and I am relieved. We've had some accidents, but he is definitely a big boy now. Onward and upward!

Here are the new scooters and Sophie watching it all from the queen's throne (I did find a TEENY lego in her diaper one day, so I thought it was best to keep her somewhat away from the chaos until we were able to remove all the little pieces that Santa might have brought). Ooops!
We were able to escape the Connecticut cold for a while and headed to Florida right after Christmas. We went to the Panhandle, which isn't balmy, but it was absolutely gorgeous and great to get out on the bikes and get a little swimming in to tide us over until the warm weather returns here.

Daddy's little man
"Pirate Girl"
I tricked Matt to look at me in this one - despite his handsome face, he is not a fan of pictures these days!
Mommy and her surfer girls. Sophie LOVED the water.
Sisters and their beach hair.

One of the few days (in her life) that Katie actually allowed me to experiment with her hair, only because her older cousin told her how cool braids are!
Swimming alone with his big muscles.
Sophie was entertained for hours (or at least through meals) with pineapple, orange, lemon and lime drink garnishes. Thank goodness for small miracles.
This proves how bad I am at doing hair. I promise, this was a never-to-be-repeated experiment. Sophie and I have similar hair. It's very curly/frizzy in the humidity, but pretty straight in the dry weather. She has all of these parts that are really long, while other parts are short. One part on the top is particularly short thanks to William!! Luckily for us, they were the kid scissors and no one could notice except me. I guess I can't even go to the bathroom anymore around here!

And our new year was made even happier with the arrival of my brother's first son, Jasper (who obviously looks nothing like us and looks exactly like his mom). He is the 16th cousin for our kids, but the first nephew (or niece) on my side of the family. Welcome to the family Jasper!
OK, well I think that's all for now. I'll have lots of pictures to come since Sophie turns one on Saturday (AAGGHH!! I can't believe it!). I have a feeling she is going to like cake :)