Anyway, after we ate, Garth and I shared a little bit about what led us to adopt and why Ethiopia. For those who don't know, I have wanted to adopt since I knew what it was and always wanted to adopt from Africa. In fact, Garth and I met through eHarmony.com and before I ever talked to him in person I asked if he was open to adoption. I knew that God was calling me to adopt so I didn't want to waste my time on someone who wasn't open to that. Anyway, we were leaning towards either China or Ethiopia. We actually started the process to adopt from China in 2008 but we kept hitting roadblock after roadblock so we decided to wait for our 5-year anniversary and then start again. When we started again, China's wait time was like 5 years. Since we didn't want to wait that long we knew that the Lord was leading us to Africa and ultimately to our sons! Some of the reasons I was drawn to Ethiopia are listed on the side of this blog as well.
Following that little story, Troi had everyone share who they were and how they knew us since there were people who didn't know each other. There was actually one woman (Mary) who came with my friend Dolores that we didn't know but her son and daughter-in-law had adopted a little girl from Ethiopia so she wanted to come celebrate with us. I LOVED that! Not only did I make a new friend in Mary, but I was able to contact the daughter-in-law (who also lives in Nebraska)! I LOVE making new friends!!!!!
Next, we played a few games. One was a nursery rhyme fill in the blank, the 2nd was a hilarious game of Whatchamacallit and Thingamajig. That game is kind of hard to explain without demonstrating but it was really fun! For the 3rd game, Troi had two rolls of toilet paper and said that we were all going to Ethiopia and how much toilet paper would we need to take to be prepared. After everyone got their TP, she then said that everyone needed to give one piece of advice for every square that they took. Thankfully, I only took 2. :-) I really loved this because not only were there adults, but there were also kids from ages 9 to 20. I have listed the responses below.
Following all that good advice, we got to start opening presents! We had a LOT of really nice gifts which include clothes, books, a stroller, gift cards, flash lights, teddy bears (two were picked out by 10-year-old Aaron and are ADORABLE), band-aids, first aid kits, wipes, medicine, a thermometer, a children's Bible and cassette tapes with songs, backpacks, plastic baseballs, crayons, a sticker book, magic writer (like an Etch-a-Sketch), diapers, Cheez-its, washcloths, and toys. Everyone had a FANTASTIC time and we were so blessed. Thank you all so much who came. We really loved seeing all of you. Thank you especially to Troi and her family for scouting out venues, sending the invitations, and preparing for this shower. It means so much to us.
Advice receivedTroi Ellis (aka the surrogate grandma): Don't be afraid to say "No", love unconditionally, have family mealtimes together around a table, remember that our boys will treat their wives the way Garth treats me (so be a good role model).
Isaac Ellis (16 years old): Give ice cream and candy, teach with actions, teach them that materials are not important, love God with all their hearts, be a friend to them.
Esther Ellis (9 years old): Don't give too much candy. Always carry a wooden spoon in the car (I thought it was hilarious that a 7-year-old would be saying that)!
Preston Fowler (15 years old): Always encourage them and show God through examples.
Josiah Ellis (11 years old): Love unconditionally, treat them as we want to be treated.
Donna Tompkins: Teach them to use magic words (please, thank you, etc.)
Allen Tompkins: Don't let the sun set without telling them you love them.
Sharon Schluntz: Love, pray, read, play, and encourage them daily.
Bonnie Gangstad: Remember there are no perfect parents, Mom and Dad should stand together, discipline, apologize, stay close, don't miss bonding opportunities, make a decision and stand by it, keep a sense of humor, have a monthly date. (She took a LOT of toilet paper!)
Mary Kahler: Have good bedtime habits.
Dolores Ricchini: Pray, give thanks in everything, don't use your hand to discipline...hands are meant to bless, listen to the Lord, listen to the kids.
Mary Kollar (My new friend): Sew seeds of what you want them to become, have patience, make sure we have friends to talk to/share with, laugh a lot.
Aaron DeWitt (10 years old): Don't give more toys than there is space for, read them books.
Jennifer DeWitt: Our words and actions should match, have good communication, have good bedtime habits (brush teeth, shower, etc.), tell them we love them every day, don't have too many activities going on, and encourage creativity.
Dianne Kelley: Have a sense of humor, teach responsibility, and things will be better tomorrow.
Linelle Kelley (aka Grandma): As stated by my nephew James Kelley, First Popcorninthians states parents should listen to their children. Be flexible, consistent, have fun, pray with them, teach them about the Lord.
Jonathan Ellis (20 years old): Be prepared for anything. Do things right the first time (as in do your best the first time instead of doing a partial job over and over).
Ellie Klassen (aka my big sister): Don't put them down.
Garth Druckenmiller (aka Dad): Dream big and have good work ethic.
Carmen Druckenmiller (aka Mom): Treat them the same as we would any biological children..make them feel like they were born into our family. Be the best Mom I can be.
|Sharon Schluntz, Bonnie Gangstad, Mary Kahler, Dolores Ricchini, and Mary Kollar|
|Dianne Kelley, Linelle Kelley, Rick Klassen, Ellie Klassen, Garth Druckenmiller|
|Books and clothes from Grandma Kelley|
|More books and clothes from Grandma Kelley|
|Gifts from Grandma Kelley|
|Garth's favorite gift...his fave color is yellow!|
|Teddy bears from Grandma Kelley...apparently Garth wanted to hide|
|T-shirts and books|
|Bears that Aaron DeWitt picked out. The blue one says "You're a rare bear" and the green one says "You're a beary special friend"|
|Magic Writer-this will be a great toy for the plane!|
|More clothes and the Winnie the Pooh diaper bag!|
|Our boys are going to be so well dressed!|
|One of the backpacks we received from Stan and Troi Ellis|
|The other backpack...both were full of lots of stuff!|
|The ice cream cake...I wasn't quick enough to get a pic before it was cut.|
|Isaac, Josiah, and Jonathan Ellis and their friend Preston Fowler|