Friday, April 30, 2010

Token of Promise

If you didn't already know this, my older sister, Dawanna, is an amaaaaazingly talented jewelry designer. (And she is also incredibly generous!)

Her company, Peaces of Indigo, has designed a special piece in honor of and as a fund-raiser for our adoption.

The necklace is called Token of Promise..

It is so named because of a book that I recently read.... the book mentioned that there are basically two different types of relationships in our lives, those which we have no control over and are based on genetics, such as with our biological parents, siblings, etc.
And those which we do have control over and choose for ourselves, such as in marriage and adoption. These are referred to as relationships of promise.

So in both relationships, neither genetics nor promises are stronger than the other.. they're just different.
Quite simply,
Love is love is love.

So anyway, back to the necklace!

Peaces of Indigo is donating a generous portion of each sale of the Token of Promise necklace to our adoption fund! :) :) :) :) :)

Not only is this a beautiful piece of artisan, handcrafted jewelery, but it is also a great way of possibly commemorating adoption in your own life, or in a loved one's life..
or perhaps just a way of enjoying a unique necklace for yourself and blessing someone else along the way!

Please check out Peaces of Indigo and the Token of Promise necklaces!!

Thank you!!!!!

Summer and Stuart

token of promise necklace -adoption fundraiser

token of promise necklace -adoption fundraiser token of promise necklace -adoption fundraiser token of promise necklace -adoption fundraiser token of promise necklace -adoption fundraiser

token of promise necklace - adoption fundraiser

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ethiopia meets Nashville meets the Moores' :)

Seriously... 2 posts in 2 days! *gasp!* ;)
Actually, I just wanted to do a little continuation blog from yesterday's minuscule posting ..
And to answer Annie's question and thank her and Christine for their awesome encouragement :)

We are adopting from Ethiopia! And we are absolutely thrilled about it!
Since making that decision in December, our lives have been continuously evolving and we are running to catch up! This world is becoming bigger and yet smaller every day..

For starters, all of the adoption agency paperwork is finally behind us instead of sitting in a mountain of "somedays" and "if onlys".. What a relief! Now we get through the internet certification this week and we'll be off!! That paperwork was a beast though, but what an encouragement to have our home study within the next month!! Of course after that, we'll have to compile the dreaded dossier (dum dum duuuuuum!) but you know what.. we'll get there when we get there. And right now, I'm just going to bask in the sunshine and happiness of no more paperwork for a while! Woop woop! ;) Sweet!

Other than that, we've been attempting to experience the plethora of Nashville's Ethiopian culture. We've been eating at the restaurants and even recently visited an Ethiopian Christian Orthodox Church. Let me tell you... that was an experience!

We walked up to the church at 7am (yes, apparently some people do go to church that crazy-early!) and immediately realized that we first needed to remove our shoes and leave them outside. So then, we continued barefoot into the building, which appeared to possibly be on fire, due to the wafts of incense smoke barreling out the door.
As a side note, if you live in Middle Tennessee, you may be able to sympathize with my immediate concern of an uncontrollable allergy attack. I admit, there was a little fear for a minute or two!
But instead of hacking and sneezing as I had anticipated, I only ended up having to squirt eye drops (like a complete stoner!) through the entire service. (Although, considering that we ended up at IHOP afterward... I suppose the red eyes were only fitting.. teehee)

Anywho, back to the service... so we scooted into the back pew, attempting to draw as little attention to ourselves as possible (yeah-right).
The church was in a small building with a large stone cross outside. The inside was divided into 2 sides. The women were on the right side, the men and any small children (boys or girls) were on the left. Being that we were total visitors and were clearly unaware of all the customs of this church, we remained on the men's side in the last pew... closest to the door. Not for an easy exit but rather, to try to slip in as quietly as possible. Even though we arrived at the supposed start time of 7am, the service had already begun. So we didn't really have an opportunity to chat or introduce ourselves prior to our conspicuous arrival.

The church "service" and I use that term not in the sense of the services I'm used to but just because that's the word I guess I'm supposed to use when referring to a church gathering.. but anyway, it wasn't really the typical stand and sing for a few minutes then sit and preach for a few minutes type of thing.
Oh, no, no no.... this was stand and sing and sing and sing and sing and sing.....
you get my drift..
And, it was absolutely one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

So there we were.. standing barefoot, with what grew to be maybe a hundred people, who were all singing/almost chanting in Amharic (Ethiopia's native language).. And this went on and on for an entire hour and continued for another hour, I'm sure. We di only stay for the first hour because we'd gone with a coworker of Stuart's (who happened to live in Ethiopia at one time) and his 15 y/o daughter. After an hour, his daughter was done.

Oh but the amazing details of the service.... the beautifully robed and crowned "priest" and "bishop" (I'm assuming those would be their "titles?"..) They stood, almost regal, in their white and gold embellished robes, continuously initiated the chanting that would then, move into and through the congregation.
The sound was extraordinary. Almost monk-like but with a Middle-Eastern tone and melody.
It wasn't the African sound I had expected.
I know that Ethiopia is actually right on the upper North-Eastern horn of Africa, near to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the Arabian Sea, but I guess what I was seeing and hearing didn't quite fit the mold of the typical "Africa" that we imagine as Americans. It was eye-opening, for sure.

Another amazing part was the little curtained "room" at the back of the where the priest and bishop stood.
It held what I later learned was a wooden box draped with crimson-red velvet. It represented their holy book and also the ark of the covenant, which they and many others believe to be hidden in Ethiopia to this day.
The religion and culture of Ethiopia and their ties to the ark of the covenant is definitely a different post for a different day.. but it is important to mention because during the service, another bishop or maybe a "deacon?" carried the velvet clothed box around the room, while another "deacon?" covered the box and themselves with a beautifully embellished umbrella.
It was a sight to see, like a grown-up parasol. Stuart said that he believed that it was to shield themselves from the holyness of God or maybe to protect the holyness of the box?
I need to check into that a little more....
But they brought to box up to each person, who kissed it and then touched their head to it and then repeated it twice. Even the little, bitty girls did it.. it was so cute and special to see such reverence in a small child.
When they came to us, I assumed that they would pass us by, but nope! They came right up to us and we each touched our heads to it. The gentleman then said the first and only English we heard the entire time, he smiled and said "God bless you." It was cool. Maybe it sounds simple and obvious but it was special somehow.

Before I forget, I wanted to also mention the white robes or coverings that the men and women wore. Almost everyone there had a white cloth wrapped around their body and the women had their heads covered with it as well.
ETHIOPIA by BoazImages.
(This pic is from BoazImages)

But the image of that crowd of people in white robes and then the billows of incense smoke, topped off with the Amharic chanting reverberating through the building was indescribable.
I would never have believed that we were still in Nashville, Tennessee! It was surreal and beautiful.
It also gave me a respect and admiration for this new world that we are embracing as our family grows.

We understand that the Ethiopian culture cannot possibly be understood by simply sitting in on an hour long church service or eating at a restaurant..
But we are beginning to reach out within our community to the people that will be able and willing to show our child a piece of her culture that we will not be able to do ourselves. And that is turning out to be a growing experience for Stuart and I as well.

What an amazing adventure we are on.. We are so thankful for our eyes to be opened, for our hearts to be touched, and for our worlds to be expanded.
As God brings Africa into our lives, I fully expect life to never be the same for us and you know what?.... I'm absolutely ecstatic about it! ;) lol

This is the way life is meant to be lived, isn't it?

Next Sunday, we are excited to join a local Adoption Group for a little family fellowship! It will incredible to meet other people like us with families like ours will be :)
Their blog called 686 Fellowship and they are a group of Nashvillians who have or are in the process of adopting from Africa.. Did I mention that I'm sooo excited!?!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

new news...

its funny how as things have finally been progressing for us, i've been blogging less and less!
i guess maybe the reality that "someday" is actually happening right in front of my eyes... well, its a little overwhelming. and we are so excited and thankful for it! our social worker has been absolutely amazing. (we looooove lisa at bethany christian services in nashville!!)

so we are completely finished with all of our paperwork for our agency. our psych evaluations came through. (there was only a moment of doubt.. lol!) our drug and HIV tests came back negative... sweet! and our incredible references were completed and mailed..
seriously, a huge THANK YOU to stuart's mom, delores; my sister, dawanna; my boss, tami; and our fabulous friends... ivonne and brian, kim, and jeff!

and now we are signed up for our online NCFA training which is an 8-10 hour requirement with the national council for adoption. we are hoping to stab away at that over the next week or two. and then!.... we will finally be ready for our homestudy! woop woop! its about freaking time, eh? holy crap.. what a journey! ;) lol.
totally, 100% worth it, but still.... wow!

i will do better to keep everything posted once we get through the online course. because i think things are going to get a little exciting after that! it will be official!

thanks for continuing to check in... i realize that i totally suck at this blogging stuff ;)