We have a baby sister!

We have a baby sister!
Joshua & Aaron hold Abby the first time.

Abigail Helena Tsegay Wright

Abigail Helena Tsegay Wright

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Considering the Lilies

One week from today I will be back at work with a bang...headed to Salt Lake City for a business trip. Ouch--I will be away from the family for 3 nights--leaving Tuesday morning and returning Friday afternoon. The good news is that I should not have to travel for a while after this trip and at least I get a lot of frequent flyer miles since it is a long flight out West!

The other good news is that I think I have managed to secure the flexibility of working from home one day a week (probably Thursday). I was so nervous about talking to the boss about it and it actually turned out to be a non event. If you read the last blog you can better appreciate my anxiety. Here we are in the red and I am asking for more flexibility at work. Who does that? All the way to the lunch meeting I kept repeating, "consider the lilies". It turned out to be a great meeting and I feel much better about going back to work.

I can tell the boys are a little anxious, but they are being the troopers they always have been. The trick for them, and I suppose any 9 year old boy, is keeping them focused. If they get off schedule in the afternoon we are doomed. This is very delicate because getting off schedule is incredibly easy. For instance, feeding the dogs can lead to an ice cream sandwich (the dog food is beside the extra freezer). Opening the freezer for ice cream leads to questions about what is for dinner. What is for dinner leads to a discussion about how many times we have had chicken in the past week. Too much chicken leads to both boys agreeing they would like to order pizza. Then one is off looking for coupons and the other is digging through the piggy banks. They talk it over and devise a plan. One of them calls me at work to see how my day is going and pop the pizza question. All the homework is forgotten and lying on the kitchen table with a pencil or two in the freezer. Basically, the nine year old boy's ability to focus on one task at a time is pretty much non existent. So we have been working on this and have decided to make an afternoon check list. I'll let you know!

Little Abigail will be home with the au pair. It should be a smooth transition for Abby since she will be in comfortable, familiar surroundings. I just need to make a schedule for the au pair, and get over my own misgivings about going back to work.

So if you see me around and I am muttering about lilies, it might have been a rough day. Just offer a silent prayer for me...I am a work in progress!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Pilgrim's Progress

I have only a week and a half before I return to work. The time has simply flown by! I have very much enjoyed being home with the kids and taking care of everything here at home without being pulled in different directions. While I am anxious about returning to the office, I am also a little excited to get back in the swing of things. The perfect job would allow me to work from home a few days a week so I don't feel so stinkin' behind all the time. I hate that feeling like I am a hamster on a wheel--spinning, spinning, spinning. My goal is to try and find more balance. Heavy sigh here because I have yet to succeed, but this time I will be more deliberate and positive. Check in to see how that goes!!!!

A few blogs back I mentioned that I sense the turning of a page for our family and how we approach life in general. The trip to pick up our daughter (still loving how that sounds..."daughter") really changed our perspective and sparked a strong desire to do things differently. First on the agenda is to become absolutely debt free. So we took a hard look at the finances and mapped it out. Armed with our new plan, we were excited and eager to get started.

Then, excuse the expression, but I am beginning to think that all the wrath in hell was unleashed on us. At the risk of sharing too much information let me tell you a bit about the last 2 months in the Wright household:

1) Before we even left for Africa the airfare almost doubled.

2) Before we left we put the car in the shop because of a funny sound. We landed to the tune of repairs costing $2500 smackaroos.

3) The old car the au pair drives is leaking oil badly so we needed to buy a new one. Found a great deal on an old Saab--3000 more dollars flew out of the account. We thought we could get at least $2000 for the Volvo (the mechanic said $2500 so we thought we were being conservative with the $2000 estimate). Almost 2 months on e-bay and Craig's list and we have been offered $800. The tires on the beast are worth almost $500. Heavy, heavy sigh here.

4) Transmission started slipping in Shawn's truck. $800 later we really do praise God it was not the $2200 the mechanic originally thought.

5) Family trip to the dentist went awry and we will need about $700 in treatment not covered by the insurance. And, they tell me we have excellent insurance.

6) Engine light on in my car. Something with a throttle and blah, blah, blah. $800 more dollars. I am beginning to feel numb.

7) We need to readopt Abigail in the U.S. to secure American documents for her and we planned on about $800. Guess again...because we live in Fulton County, GA we are paying approx $1800.

So in the last 2 months we have spent $12,000 dollars that was NEVER in the budget, and it was most definitely not on this new map we made to get out of debt.

The evolution of my prayers went something like this:

Oh Lord, we were not planning to spend this much on airfare. I know your hand is in this and you have us covered so I refuse to fret. We will have Abby soon. Please keep us safe as we travel.

Well, we have not really had any major work done on the car and thanks God we have the cash to take care. It could be much worse. No worries.

Thank God we have the Volvo to sell and replace most of the cash to pay for the "new" old Saab we need to buy. God, please help the car sell quickly!

Your truck is doing what? Transmission???? Aren't those things expensive to repair? I knew that truck was a lemon when you bought it. What are we going to do? Oh, Lord!

Boys, brush your teeth after EVERY meal from now on. God, you see what is happening down here. You got this, right?

You have got to be kidding me. An engine light? Oh GGGGGGOOOOOOODDDDDDD, where are you? Did you forget about us down here? You see we have been faithful and well this is not part of the plan. I hear nothing...not even static.

Okay, what next? I am rolling with the punches. This Lord? Well this is simply ridiculous. I just don't understand.

I'm not real proud of it, but that is the ugly sum of it. I am sure none of you ever talk to the Lord that way and none of these thoughts ever invade your prayers. I figure he knows the real me and it is better just to get it all out there.

So I have been depressed and anxious and I will just go on and admit it, even a little angry. Why? Why is this happening now? I just want to enjoy our new baby and bask in the newness of it all. Come on God, work with me here. We are the good guys.

While the budget was rapidly entering the red zone, I spent many hours helping my amazing boys memorize Matthew 5, 6, and 7. To complete memory level 5 they must be able to recite all three chapters word PERFECT in one sitting. Pretty heavy stuff for little fellas, but they are simply amazing (get that from their mom's side--wink, wink). In case you have no idea what Matthew 5, 6 & 7 encompasses, it's the Sermon on the Mount and let me tell you that it has much more than the Beatitudes and the Lord's prayer. Those chapters pack a pretty powerful punch and listening to your 9 year old sons quote it from memory is a humbling experience.

I listened to the words..."consider the lilies...are you not much more valuable than they...why should you worry what you will eat...even the pagans run after these things but your heavenly father knows what you need...he sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous...do not worry about tomorrow...each day has enough trouble of its own."

And then I knew. Well, let me rephrase: I have no idea why this is all happening to us now and I am frustrated that MY plans are thwarted. I do know that I have a heavenly father who knows what I need and sometimes I get out in front of him. He gives me just enough rope (kinda like I do with my children) and then he very patiently beckons me back. He reminds me that I am not in charge of these situations even though I like to act like it (ouch, ouch, ouch).

Then he very gently says to me, "What, child, did you really learn from this trip to Ethiopia? Did you really see all those people? Did you see the hunger? Did you see the disease? Did you see the pain? When you were in that church with hundreds of my people praising me did you see that? They have nothing. Yet they were so sincere in their praise that you felt it even though you could not understand a word. You felt my presence there and you saw me when you looked at them. Those people are depending on me for their very next meal. They have no idea how they will survive even one more day. You child have been blessed beyond measure. You will bask in a warm shower and choose from a closet full of clothes. Tonight you will lie in a dry, soft bed. You will put leftover food in your refrigerator because your children could not consume all that you prepared. Do I need to continue?"

There is nothing really for me to say. Like a little child caught being naughty I can only shake my head.

"Child, you must learn to depend on me. I am here and I am aware of your every circumstance. Do you really know who I am?"

Still nothing for me to say. So I nod my head and the tears come.

But He won't let me go yet. "If you know who I am then why are we having this conversation?"

And so I am utterly ashamed and speechless before my heavenly father. He does not really expect an answer. He made his point and put the ball squarely back in my court.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Baby Love

Yet another week has flown by with our new little one. She is constantly entertaining us. Ok well, maybe Josh and Aaron are not always entertained! They adore Abigail, but they are now willing to concede that little sisters can be hard work and just a teensy little bit annoying at times!

She is even more beautiful than when we got her home and she is rapidly turning into a saucy little thing. When they brought her to us on June 22 she was so mild and quiet. I was a little taken aback because nothing about my mothering experience prepared me for mild. Josh came into the world screaming to high heaven probably mad because he had to go first and Aaron arrived over an hour later red-faced and angry with the doctor who was holding him up by one leg. And just like that we had two of the most rambunctious, loud mouthed, quick witted little boys God has ever created. I was so in over my head and I am still so in love with them:-) They continually teach me so much about life and perspective. The world is a different place when you take the time to look through little boy eyes.

So Abigail's meek and mild was like a different language. As it turns out I should not have worried. She is tiny, but let's just say she is fitting in nicely here with the Wright boys! Last week she had one of her Abigail fits (that is what me and the boys call them now). She was full. She was dry and clean. She was not even so tired, but she was mad about something. I gave her gas drops for her stomach. I gave her teething tablets. I gave her crackers. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Five more minutes to finish something and I could give her my undivided attention. She was not having it and she screamed at me like every strand of DNA she has came straight from Shawn Wright. So there we were facing off in the kitchen and I started laughing. She is really ours and she is really perfect!

We do get lots of looks. People stop us all the time and make funny faces at her and talk to her in that silly voice only cute babies can elicit. I have actually started padding the schedule a bit to leave room for all the random conversations we now experience. People say the weirdest things. "Is she adopted?" That one took me a little off guard and I just nodded my head. I have since thought about how to respond. "No, we don't know what happened really. Do you think they could have mixed up at the hospital? Oh well, we have her now..." Or maybe, "No, just some crazy thing nature does sometimes. You know how sometimes two really, really white people have a black baby?" Maybe I will just tell Shawn so he can answer. He is much better at those responses than me. I'll just stick with my MO and smile sweetly thinking what a goober:-)

Overall, I have been positively overwhelmed at the reactions. People of every background have responded with such enthusiasm and warmth. Last week we sang "We Worship You" in our church's version of VBS. It was like a new song for me that night:

Lord You are good and Your mercy endureth forever
People from every nation and tribe
From generation to generation
We worship You
Hallelujah Hallelujah
We worship You for who You are
You are good, all the time, all the time, You are good

Standing there next to Shawn, I held Abigail and looked over a sea of children to find Josh and Aaron dancing like fools, singing at the top of their lungs and I realized I was getting a little glimpse of heaven.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


My weeks at home with my precious baby girl and my handsome boys are flying by. I am loving every single minute of it. Sometimes it is a little chaotic, but we have a nice routine and I am reluctant for it to come to an end. We are bonding with Abigail and she seems to be settling in well. Her face lights up when she hears her Daddy's voice and she adores her big brothers. She is such an easy baby and friendly to everyone she meets. It is like she has always been a part of us.

When we share our adoption story with others most of them exclaim how lucky Abigail is and how she is certainly a chosen one. A few people have even stated she has hit the "jackpot". Truthfully, I am very uncomfortable with these proclamations. I do believe with all my heart and soul that Abigail is blessed and she has certainly been chosen. But, saying she hit the "jackpot" when we adopted her is highly debatable! In all seriousness, most have it backwards. Abigail is our own angel filling our home with sheer joy. She brings us blessings.

Her birthplace is filled with poverty and hunger and parent less children. It has been called the cradle of civilization, and it is a land we feel privileged to have seen and experienced. On a personal level it has been an eye-opening, life altering experience. It has prompted self examination, and I am not happy with the results.

Everyone is quick to tell us how our trip to Africa must make us feel thankful for everything we have. Not really. I have always known that I am blessed beyond measure. Africa confirmed this fact for me, but it did not spark it. Actually, Africa made me ashamed of myself. You see I had very definite ideas about what I NEED and those ideas went to hell in the proverbial hand basket when I walked into those government orphanages.

Understand that Shawn and I faithfully pay our tithe from every paycheck. We regularly support missions and help with various benevolence projects. By the world's standards, and dare I even say the church's standards, we have been good stewards. However, I have searched myself and I am lacking. The conviction is as strong and true as anything God has ever spoken in my life. Suddenly I read the parable of the talents and I have a different perspective.

As I walked the streets of Ethiopia so much of my life came into perfect clarity. It is not about being thankful. It is about living thankful. I have been a really good receptacle of all my blessings, but I have not necessarily been a really good distributor. I could have done so much more with what I have been given. I could have touched more lives and made a bigger difference. Even as the remorse washed over me I could hear a still, small voice whisper, "It is not too late..."

I sense the turning of a page.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


She is finally home! It has been a hectic few weeks with no time to blog. Apart from a lack of time, I am having difficulty organizing my thoughts.

It is so wonderful to have Abigail home with us. She is a beautiful baby and she is incredibly easy. So long as we feed her when she is hungry she stays content and offers everyone smiles. She gently whimpers when she is hungry and generally everyone in the house jumps. If we are too slow to act her gentle whimpers quickly turn to urgent demands and she wails like no body's business. Joshua and Aaron get stressed out and run around the kitchen frantically scooping Similac. They are clearly smitten--devoted big brothers and huge helpers for me! It is all a mother's dream:-) Sometimes in the early hours of the morning I just hold Abby close and feel her sweet warmth nestled against me. There is nothing in this world like holding your sleeping baby close--quiet and content.

Our trip to Africa was one we will never forget. It was obviously a life changing, family expanding event for us. I have never been more proud of my boys. We tried to prepare them for the poverty, but it was futile. The fact is that Shawn and I were not prepared for what we encountered. Abigail's homeland is vastly different than the world we live in. The majority of people struggle to obtain daily sustenance. I know the United States has poor people--a lot of them, but they can generally find food and water. This is not the case in Ethiopia.

The poverty is undeniable, but it is also beautiful and simple. Our cells and blackberries were not functional so we were completely incommunicato. Even hungry, the people seem to be happy and friendly. Most of them were curious about us and eager to interact. We ate at the local restaurants and shopped at the local market without much difficulty. We even attended an international church service while we were there. We did not blend and attracted attention everywhere we went, but I felt much less awkward than I anticipated.

I am still not really ready to blog about the orphanage visits. The sights, sounds and smells are hard to describe with mere words. My heart broke as I walked past each little bed. Many of the toddlers ran to us and wanted to hold hands. They were just so eager to be touched and held. I am brutally honest when I say that I am ashamed because there was a part of me that wanted to recoil. Most of them had obvious infections. All of them were filthy. Each and every one of them was crying out for a home and a family. There was one little girl who looked to be about 2 years old and she instantly captured my heart. Her eyes were big and round (just like Abigail's) and she flashed us a beautiful smile. If there had been any way to scoop her up and whisk her off she would be here too. What would that smile look like with every physical and emotional need met? I still see her face when I close my eyes.

Lately I have been pondering why we are where we are. I mean why was I born here in America--land of plenty? Why was I given this lot in life and others born there in Africa struggling to even have food and shelter? I saw mothers trying to soothe starving babies, toddlers scooping their water from ditches, and men wandering around aimlessly with nowhere to go, utterly helpless to change their circumstance. While the questions echo in my heart and soul, I know there is a God. I know He is a great God who loves each and every one of His children. I also know we live in a fallen world and there are questions that will simply have to wait until the other side. For now Shawn and I have determined to be good stewards of all that we have. There are so many like our precious Abigail. More than ever I am convinced there is a special purpose in bringing us together. I am not sure what God has in store for us, but it is big and we have determined to get ready.

Friday, June 11, 2010

It Takes A Village

It is Friday night and we just got back from home group. I am sitting here thinking what an amazing group of people we have to call our friends. Everyone was genuinely interested in the latest news and asking questions about when we would get to meet Abigail and hold her for the first time. After a devotion specifically selected with us in mind, our dear friends gathered around us to offer prayers for a safe journey. I smiled as I listened to them pray that Abigail would influence kings and princes and walk in corridors of power all as a woman of God. I have prayed many prayers for her, but it was soothing to listen to these prayers. I thought as I stood in the middle of that circle how very blessed we are to have so much love and encouragement. We are not alone in this adoption journey. Abigail has already impacted so many lives and she has yet to say her first word or take her first step. Her birth was not meticulously planned and celebrated. Yet a continent away, we have been anxiously waiting for news of her existence and tracking every step in the process that will lead us to her. We have not been alone with this anxiety. We have been surrounded by extraordinary people who have listened to our frustrations, shared our setbacks and rejoiced in our good news. Our friends formed a physical hedge around us and I listened to a man pray with an eloquent (and very proper British accent). I listened to his beautiful wife whisper prayers of agreement. I could hear our Cajun friends, the boisterous petitions of our friends who came from out West, and the unmistakable twang of our friends from back home. Others stood around us silently, but they were showing solidarity and I could feel their support. In the background I heard the laughter and happy chatter of our children as they played oblivious to our prayers. It was a little glimpse of heaven. This must be what it will be like to listen to the saints praising with their different dialects and accents. It was perfect harmony and like so many times before it was a balm for my soul. As we welcome this little one into our home we also welcome her into our little community. These people will touch her life and help shape her. They will hold her in the nursery and teach her in Sunday School. They will minister to her when she needs someone other than mom and dad to affirm her. Maybe not exactly these same people, but people just like them in the family of God. As parents, Shawn and I have the primary responsibility to raise Abigail in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but He did not mean for us to walk alone.

Lord, thank you for the village that will help us raise Joshua & Aaron & Abigail!

You all know who you are and we love you so very much. I cannot find the words.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It's Official

After two long, frustrating days of waiting we finally got the news Thursday 6/3/2010that Abigail is officially our daughter. Wow! What a feeling! Not unlike when the boys were born, I felt a sudden burden of responsibility and anxiousness. This precious little life will be completely dependant on me and Shawn and that is somewhat overwhelming. When she is hungry she will cry for us to feed her. When she is sick she will expect us to make it better. When her heart is broken she will look at us with those big, brown, amazing eyes and expect us to have the answers. Now I can say no matter if your child grew first in your belly or in your heart that overwhelming feeling of "God, can I do this? Help me do this!" is EXACTLY the same!

Holding her in our arms for the very first time is the next milestone in this journey. I have to admit that I am a little anxious about that first meeting. I can't wait, but I am nervous. In my dreams it is perfect. She looks at us with a contented, milky smile and she recognizes us. Then I wake up and realize that she is almost 6 months old and her life has been a pretty tough one so far. The truth is that she will prefer to be comforted by a caregiver in the foster care home rather than by a mom she has never met. We have been praying and wondering about her for several months...gazing at her photograph for several weeks. She won't recognize us at all. We are strangers to her and she will be uncomfortable with us at first. It makes me sad to think about it like that, but we are prepared to spend a lifetime getting to know her!

Joshua and Aaron are so excited! Joshua has been on almost every shopping trip and helped to select every article of clothing. Aaron, not so much with the shopping! He is more concerned about just getting her home, and called me every day at work this week at least twice asking if I had heard about the court date. Abigail is already so very loved.

Shawn has been pacing himself...I have been so "nutso" as he calls it that he is trying to keep a steady pace. Funny, it is eerily similar to right before when the boys were born when I was frantic to make sure everything was perfect. I distinctly remember getting angry with him because he didn't seem to be frantic enough! While I am busy obsessing over what we need in the diaper bag and what we will do if they lose our luggage he refuses to budge and puts one foot very deliberately in front of the other. The only time I have really seen him waver was this week when the agency kept putting us off about whether we passed court. Daddy was just mad those days and I knew enough to be quiet! At one point he said he was going to drive to Texas and sit in that office until they gave him the answer! Abigail is already so very loved.

You know, thinking back to when the boys were born and we brought them home. It was not perfect. They screamed for 24 hours because my breasts malfunctioned and we were forced to buy formula. They turned the prettiest shade of brown and I cried and begged until a home health nurse brought us bili lights on Christmas Eve. Four weeks later Aaron turned blue and was admitted through the emergency room for RSV. Shawn dropped little Joshy on the hospital floor that very night because we were so tired and sleep deprived. But, I remember it as being perfect. They were home and they were safe and they were ours.

Abigail, we can't wait to bring you home and make crazy memories. It will be your story, baby girl, written by God's own hand.

It will be perfect.