Tuesday, December 28, 2010


My trip to Africa filled me with fear … for a number of reasons … all wrapped up in the very broad .. fear of the unknown. Unknown culture, unknown people, food, experiences. And yet, for all of my fears, my time in Ethiopia felt other-worldly, but not scary. I was consumed with being a mom …. Keeping them safe and bringing Kenenisa into our family. I would wake up each day and just do the next thing until finally the next thing was getting on the plane to fly home

It was not till I got home and started processing the trip …. Looking at pictures, reading blogs from others who were there with me … that I finally realized … while I was physically present, I did not feel like I had connected with the experience, with the people with the culture, with the need. It felt like I wasn’t really there.  As I talked with my friend, Jennifer, she said that she kept waiting for the emotion to catch up with me, but that it was as if I was in a bubble and all of the need and poverty just bounced off of me.  And then once we got home, my life again has been consumed with being a mom. And parenting Kenen is taking all of my focus at this point.

In contrast, Jennifer, who traveled with us, was there and present in all of the most important ways. She saw the need, she saw the children, she let her heart open to the people and the country of Ethiopia in a way that I still can’t say that I have.  She promised herself that she would not forget ... that she would make sure that it changed her.   And she has kept that promise.

Jennifer and her family have taken the seeds that were planted in her heart and put them into action. They arrived in Ethiopia today and will spend the next 2 weeks serving in my son’s country. I can’t wait to hear about every moment of their trip.

Because I haven’t really been there

… but I know I will some day.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day

I had a bit of concern about how Christmas would go for Kenen.  I knew he'd like the gifts, but he has a very high sensitivity to fairness and who has what, and is always concerned when he doesn't have something that someone else has.  So wasn't sure if the morning would fall apart over something the Ethan received that he wanted.  However, he was delightful and got the hang of giving and receiving pretty quickly. 

Here are a few sights and sounds of our Christmas.  The video link is a bit long ... so I only expect family to watch, but if you want to hear Kenen's little voice and his excitement, it's pretty cute.  (I'd edit it if I knew how. :-) )

A new ipod

Viola lessons
Ginormous Lego set

 We have very few still shots of Kenen opening gifts.  Guessing it's because he was a blur, running back and forth all morning.  Hope your Christmas was as joy filled as ours was!

Christmas 2010

We mailed only a handful of Christmas cards this year. So if you missed our hard copy card, here it is in blog form.


*Traveled in July as a family to meet and bring home our son, Kenen David Elder who was born in Ethiopia in August of 2006. He is adjusting well and has brought new energy to our home.  :-)
* Took a side trip to Rome on our way to Ethiopia. Highlight was seeing the Coliseum. Lowlight was our two start hotel and the heat.
* David was gainfully employed for 9 months and took an "unpaid sabbatical" for 3 months. He has been able to be home for some much needed support and bonding time with Kenen. He will begin working again in January.
* The three oldest are doing great in their 3rd, 8th and 10th grade years at school. All are still involved in music and sports which keeps us very busy.
* My sister and her family moved from Tualatin to Houston leaving a great void in all of our lives.
* I stepped back from all volunteer responsibilities to focus on being a full time mom to a preschooler.
* Our family continues to be so grateful to our Emmanuel for being with us and providing in amazing ways all we have needed during this year of tremendous transition and change.

May you and your family know the peace that passes all understanding this season and in the coming year.

The Elder's