Friday, December 25, 2009

You know your hubby is a good daddy when.....

he makes you Dora underwear for Christmas just because your 6 year old thought Mommy should have some!




Sunday, November 8, 2009

Coffee Experiment Comes to an End

Well, my 21 days of a cup of coffee have come to an end. Here it is now day 22 since this experiment began and, well, I still am not a big coffee fan. However, I do no longer find it to be completely repulsive. I can drink a cup. I can even enjoy a cup to a certain extent. More importantly, this experiment has given me the opportunity each day to have a moment to remember the over 14o million orphans that are in the world today. With each cup of coffee, as that first sip would hit my tongue, I would have a moment of, "Why am I doing this?" The answer would then hit me hard and I would pause to do the greatest thing that I could do for the orphaned. I would pray. I have tried, in talking about this experiment to others, to stress this time of prayer and reflection that came with each cup. I have tried to stress this aspect because so many would get lost in the details of the experiment with thoughts of, "Can't you just give money?" "Can't you just buy something else?" "Why does it have to be coffee?" To answer these questions I would point you to the discipline of fasting. In fasting one "suffers" the consequences of not eating in order to use this time to pray and to reflect on God. In fasting one learns to use the hunger pains as a call to go to God for the nourishment that the body seeks. In many ways this experiment has been a fast in reverse. Here I actually ingested something that was not particularly pleasant to me and in so doing I would be called into prayer. The practical benefits of drinking fair trade coffee that supported farmers and buying coffee that had proceeds going to orphan care became secondary items to the greater impact of daily spending time with the Heavenly Father to ask for His care of the fatherless.

Now, here I sit, with a cup of coffee. I'm preparing to watch a simulcast with my family for Orphan Sunday. I encourage you to have a cup and to pray for the orphans.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Coffee Experiment - Day 9

It's happening - I'm beginning to actually "need" a cup of coffee. Still don't really like the taste though.


I press on.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Coffee Experiment - Day 6 and 7

Well, the coffee experiment is going quite well (despite my wife's post yesterday). I wanted to say too that if your church regularly serves coffee on Sunday morning that maybe you could buy from one of the organizations that sells fair trade coffee and has the proceeds going to orphanage care. The other day I mentioned one of those: http://gobena.org/.

There are two others that I'd like to mention:

http://www.saintscoffee.com/

and

http://www.landof1000hills.com/

Thank you for continuing to help care for the over 140 million orphans in the world today.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Coffee is Disgusting

This is Dottie and I hate coffee. I loathe coffee. Even after spending months mentally preparing myself to drink the really small cup of coffee at the coffee ceremony, I still couldn't get it down. Totally disgusting!

This whole coffee experiment...I just can't do it.

But this.....

http://www.divinechocolateusa.com/

I can totally get behind!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Coffee Experiment - Day 5

Today I drank my largest cup of coffee yet. Not exactly the big mug from "Friends" but never the less it was a large coffee cup. I also made this cup stronger than my previous cups. Which brings to mind a question: how do you make your coffee? The coffee I have says two tablespoons per cup and I'm not quite there.

Everyone knows by now why I am doing this coffee experiment but I have had an unexpected bonus to this. With each cup I drink I notice that I am very conscious of why I am doing this. Each cup provides for me the opportunity to stop, to consider the orphans of the world, to pray for them and to ask myself in what other ways can I be an advocate for the children.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coffee Experiment - Day 3 and 4

Well, yesterday I never got in my cup of coffee. I had planned on having it last night but I was out late and did not want to have a cup right before bed. So, today I'm going to drink 2 cups. I just finished my first and honestly it was not that bad. Perhaps, I'm actually getting used to this stuff.

I have been asked, why I don't just give money to an orphanage? Why drink the coffee? You must remember that the coffee that I'm buying is fair trade coffee. This means that when buying fair trade coffee in which the profits go toward an orphanage I am accomplishing two things at once. The orphanage gets the money but the farmers in Ethiopia are earning a living. This is one of those, give a man a fish and he can eat for a day, teach him to fish and he can eat for a lifetime deals. It is great to support the orphanage but if we can also support the economy of an impoverished nation then perhaps the day will come when there are less orphans.

So, drink coffee, support an economy, and provide for the orphans.

By the way, here is a link for some fair trade coffee that helps support orphans: http://gobena.org/

Monday, October 19, 2009

Coffee Experiment - Day 2

Well, here I am sipping another cup of coffee. I'll be honest day 1 did not go very well. I actually did not finish the whole cup. Every sip made me have a bit of a gag reflex and by the time I was half way through I was just nauseous. To make matters even more complicated, I had trouble preaching my Sunday night sermon because of the nasty taste the coffee had left in my mouth. So you can probably understand that I was not exactly thrilled about drinking today's cup. But here I sit drinking this cup and so far it has not been too bad. I did make it a little less strong this time and I did break down and add a little Splenda. I wouldn't say that I'm enjoying it. I'm far from actually desiring a cup of this stuff but I'm still trying. I just keep thinking - this is for the orphans.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Coffee Experiment - Day 1

Ok, I hate coffee. However, for years I have wanted to like it. Mostly I have wanted to like it because it is (unless you go to some fancy, over priced place) relatively cheap. Often, such as at every pastors' meeting I go to, it is there for free. So I have wanted to like coffee because I'm generally a cheap person. Unfortunately the taste of burnt water has always over-ridden my desire to drink this stuff.

Then we adopted these two boys from Ethiopia where drinking coffee is second nature. I thought as a good Father I should have coffee in the house because the boys would like it. I figured if I was ever going to buy and make the stuff I should at least be able to drink it. Unfortunately, even the desire to be a hero Daddy who makes coffee simply could not bring me to even tolerate the stuff.

Then the other day I saw a bag of fair trade coffee from Ethiopia. I thought about this for a while and began to consider that if I can help my fellow Ethiopians (yes, I consider myself part of the Ethiopian family) simply by drinking coffee, well, then that my just be worth it. To take it a step further there is a good chance that where our Compassion child (that is the child we sponsor through Compassion International - compassion.com) lives, her mother could possibly be employed by a coffee farm. Now, we are dealing with something on a much larger scale. This is no longer about being cheap, or even being a "cool" Dad, this is about helping out the widows, the orphans, those who without the ability to produce and sell their coffee would be in poverty. I have also found a fair trade coffee in which the proceeds go toward orphan projects.

So now here is my plan: I am going to drink at least 1 cup of coffee a day for 21 days (it is said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit). It is my hope that at the end of the experiment I will actually enjoy coffee. Coffee that I can drink and know that in doing so I am helping the people of Ethiopia and the orphans of the world.

Going now to make me a cup. Let's pray I can swallow the stuff.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brotherly Love

Ever since Joshua had his birthday in April, Bereket has let us know (almost daily) that he wants a cake with Dora, Diego, baby jaguar, monkey, etc. Well Feromsa's birthday is on Tuesday. Tonight I asked him what kind of birthday cake he wanted. (I was referring to vanilla/chocolate.) He turned and said "I want birthday cake with monster eating Dora."

Brotherly love- nothing like it!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sometimes I just don't understand.

This weekend we had an all day VBS at church on Saturday. So, when we got up Sunday to go to church Feromsa wondered, "Why we go to church today? We lived there yesterday!"

With that as a backdrop you may understand why I was quite confused when Feromsa, on the way to get his haircut, continued to ask me, "Hush-for-Sunday?" I was assuming he was trying to say something about the great deal of time we had spent at church this weekend.

Finally after several more attempts at getting me to understand "hush-for-Sunday" he decided to describe this mysterious "hush-for-Sunday." Apparently a "hush-for-Sunday" is ice cream with chocolate on top. You may know it better as a hot fudge sundae.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Use your head, boy.

So in our last post I showed how wonderful and insightful Feromsa can be. Well here is a quick post to reveal that he is also just another goofy 7 year old.

The other day Feromsa was doing something that was not all that bright (he was trying to close the fridge door without closing the drawer that he had opened). While he was struggling to accomplish his task I looked at him and said, "Feromsa, close the drawer. Use your head, boy."

To this he thoughtfully replied, "I can't think all the time."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nice Mommy and Daddy

If you need a reason to consider adoption, particularly to adopt older children, I submit the following two stories that are brought to you courtesy of Feromsa:

1. Out of the blue Feromsa began to discuss being at Kids Care Orphanage. In this discussion he made this comment, "In Kids Care I pray, 'Please give me nice mommy and nice daddy' and now I have nice Mommy and nice Daddy!"

2. In another discussion about being in Kids Care Feromsa offered this observation, "The big kids know that people don't want them. They want the little kids. I was scared I too big."

I don't think any commentary is necessary.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Why you get me?"

A few weeks ago I was looking at pictures of picking up Feromsa and Bereket in Ethiopia. Bereket saw what I was looking at and asked, "Why you come to Ethiopia to get me?" I told him because we love him and wanted him to be with us and live with us. Since then he has continued to ask either me or Dottie this question time and time again. He isn't asking because he doesn't know the answer. He keeps asking because he likes to hear the answer. Every time he asks and we answer, he just smiles. Guess what, every time he asks and I answer, I smile too.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Adoption Legislation

I know that lately when you hear anything about legislation it is all about health care but I'd like to take a moment to alert you to some legislation that has been introduced and is now in committee that needs your support. These bills will be helpful to orphans, adoptive parents and to children who are adopted. The following is from the Center of Adoption Policy. Please read and then please contact your representatives letting them know that you support this legislation.

July 15, 2009. Legislation: CAP Supports Three New Bills Before Congress. CAP Supports the Foreign Adopted Children Equality (FACE) Act (S. 1359; H.R. 3110). This bill will give U.S. citizenship to internationally adopted children as of their adoption, rather than, as now, when each child comes to the United States. It will restore citizenship to internationally adopted children who were not covered under the Child Citizenship Act or whose position was jeopardized by the 1996 Immigration Act. It would also confer on foreign born internationally adopted children of U.S. parents all the rights of biologically born children of U.S. parents, including the right to become president.

CAP Supports the Families for Orphans Act (H.R. 3070) which is designed, in the words of the bill itself, "To encourage the development and implementation of a comprehensive, global strategy for the preservation and reunification of families and the provision of permanent parental care for orphans, and for other purposes." This legislation will create a new U.S. diplomatic and economic initiative to support existing families and to provide permanency for unparented children. It will replace the current decentralized and sometimes contradictory, government efforts with a consistent, pro-active approach led by a State Department Office of Orphan Policy, Diplomacy and Development. For the first time the development of a continuing strategy to ensure that all children grown up in permanent, loving families of their own would be part of the State Department's responsibilities.

CAP Supports S. 1376 which will allow adoptive parents to obtain their child's immunizations in the United States after travel, which is standard international adoption procedure for Hague countries. It also conforms the age requirements for siblings adopted internationally to a consistent standard.

To contact your representatives and senators, please go to http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml or http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day 3 of the WV Trip

Ok, so I've been a little busy but I'm finally getting to Day 3 of my trip to West Virginia with the boys.

We woke up early on Saturday morning, packed up, checked out and headed toward our first stop for the day which was a nice little overlook of the New River. We were only here for a few minutes. Our time here would have been a lot less but Bereket had to go KaKa in the very nasty port-a-potty. Where is the gallon of hand sanitizer when you need it?



Anyway, we left there and headed to our next stop. In the town of Talcott, WV there is a grand statue dedicated to John Henry. I had made sure that the boys saw a video on John Henry before we visited the statue. Of course we also listened to the Johnny Cash song, "The Ballad of John Henry." By the way, if you don't know who John Henry is then I'll just let you google him.

We then continue our journey by visiting Pipestem State Park. This was a highlight for the boys. This state park has an aerial tram that takes you down the mountain to the Bluestone River. They loved the tram. It was very exciting. Once off the tram we went and explored the Bluestone National Scenic River. Joshua and Feromsa were having fun with "boat" races. The boats were large pieces of tree bark. Meanwhile, Bereket was "spearing" something in the river with a large stick he found. For all the time we had spent at rivers on this trip, this was the only one that one of the boys fell in. Joshua went down but fortunately it wasn't real deep so he just got a little wet.
After taking the tram back to the top of the mountain we left Pipestem State Park and headed home. On the way home we stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch (this is a bit of a Raymer family tradition to stop here on the way home from a trip). We left there and traveled on. In the van the boys were watching Superman 4 and hardly noticed the tunnels that we went through this time.

Admittedly, we were all getting a little tired and were looking forward to being home but we had to make one more stop. We had to pay respects to Andy and Opie in Mt. Airy (aka Mayberry). I love this town. We stopped to see the statue and to look at the Andy Griffith memorabilia collection. Driving through the historic downtown area of Mt. Airy Joshua asked why they kept the place looking so old. I simply replied, just because they wanted to. He then asked, "So, this is how things looked back in the 1990's?"

We finally left Mt. Airy and made our way home. It was a great little trip. We saw a lot of beautiful places, historic places, and even a couple of statues. The boys watched 3 Superman movies and one classic Don Knott's movie. I love these trips where I get to see and experience new places but what really makes them great is sharing these trips with people that I love.

Monday, July 27, 2009

West Virginia Trip Day 2

Friday morning began early and after a not so great breakfast at the hotel we began to make our way to the falls at Hills Creek in the Monongahela National Forest. The drive took considerably longer than I had planned. However, I was delighted by the mountains. The morning was a cloudy, foggy, misty morning. The smoke of clouds rose up out of the trees of the mountains like wistful, angelic beings dancing up into the clouds. It was amazing watching them leave the trees to only disappear into the sky. The boys didn’t notice because they were watching Superman 3.

We finally arrived at our destination and enjoyed the morning exploring. The trail to the waterfalls was largely made up of stairs. Lots and lots and lots of stairs. Joshua decided that he wanted to collect some river water and then would add more river water to it from other rivers we would see on our trip. He brought a little water bottle and filled it about half way. He then preceded to show his water to everyone we met on the trail.

We left the waterfalls and went to the nearby Cranberry Mountain Nature Center ran by the Forest Service for lunch and a visit. While sitting outside having our lunch, a small group of seniors came walking by. Feromsa, the ever talkative one, began a conversation with one of the ladies. She asked how come there were only boys in our group. He quickly told her that Mommy and Hannah were home spending money.

The boys loved the nature center because they were able to see live snakes and turtles. However, the biggest highlight for them was an exhibit where you stuck your hand in a box and tried to guess what you were feeling. Their excitement at this must have been contagious because they were able to get grown men who had rode in on their Harleys to join in on the fun.
Our next stop was at Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park (yes, this is another Civil War battlefield). This was just a quick stop to climb a lookout tower and then we were back on the road again.

A little over an hour later we were at the Sandstone Falls on the New River. The boys especially liked this site. Not only did they have another opportunity to play in some water but, and this was a real special treat, they saw two dead fish floating in the water.



After Sandstone Falls we began to make our way to Grandview Park Overlook on the New River. This wasn’t a long trip but it was long enough for all the boys to take a quick nap. Grandview Park was a particular highlight for the boys. Here there is a short trail that leads to a “cave.” Really it is just a large crevice in an even larger rock. The crevice is about 30 feet long and at points is only about 3 feet high. For the boys it was one of the most amazing things we had done on the whole trip.


Our 2nd day ended with dinner at Wendy’s and the boys watching Shark Boy and Lava Girl. This night I shared a bed with Joshua. He unfortunately was not much better to sleep with than Bereket. Once again a pretty restless night while the three boys slept soundly.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

4 Boys, 3 Days, 3 National Park Units, 3 State Parks, 1 National Forest, 2 Statues, and Countless Memories (West Virginia Trip Day 1)

So I decided to take a trip with just my boys to visit West Virginia. We left early on a Thursday morning for the 3 hours to our hotel. It would not take long for the memories to begin. Our journey would take us over the Blue Ridge and our first stop would be at Lover’s Leap Overlook on Highway 58. Our drive up the mountains was one of continual and thick fog. At the overlook we were above the fog but it still was sitting heavy in the mountains below. The boys just thought that it was amazing that we were above the clouds. Only an hour into this trip and the excitement level was high.


The excitement level soon did tamper off as the curves of the road up the mountain got the best of Joshua. Fortunately, we were able to find a place to pull over and stop before Joshua refunded the sausage biscuit he had for breakfast. When it was all said and done he looked at me and said, “Wow, I feel better.”

It was not long before the excitement grew again. This time it was for the first of 2 tunnels that we would be driving through on I-77 going through the mountains of Virginia. I believe that the word I kept hearing from the back of the van was “awesome!”

Around 11 we made a quick stop to check into our hotel. It was amusing to see that Feromsa is still fascinated by elevators. His excitement over riding the elevator took me back to riding the elevator at the hotel in Ethiopia. A year later, and there are still those things that are so common place for most of us that these young boys from Ethiopia still find amazing. Another example of this was Bereket’s thrill at seeing that our hotel room had a TV.

We left our hotel and headed for our first real stop: Carnifex Battlefield State Park. Here we saw a snake, had lunch, and of course, we saw a cannon. We also used this stop to visit Gauley River National Recreation Area. The battlefield is adjacent to the river and Joshua, perhaps to his regret, asked why they would have a battle on this mountain right next to the river (by the way, this was a battle in the Civil War that helped pave the way for West Virginia to become a state in the Union). History and military strategy lesson was quickly given.


Our next tour stop would find us at our first of many stops along the New River Gorge National River. We stopped to see the famous New River Gorge Bridge which is the 2nd longest single arch steel span in the world and the 2nd highest bridge in the country. We began this stop at the top of the gorge just under the bridge. From here we could look down into the river where the boys noticed a kayaker rolling his kayak. Once we were on the bank of the river Feromsa asked a kayaker if he was the one we saw going in the water. He wasn’t but he was happy to roll his kayak to the cheers of three boys. Before we actually got to the bank of the river where the boys talked to the kayaker and played in the water, we stopped on the old bridge to take some pictures. This bridge is narrow, old, and the road part of the bridge is made up of wood planks. There was nervous laughing while standing on the bridge and a car driving by would make the bridge rumble.







After playing in the New River (which according to scientist is actually the 2nd oldest river in the world – I just mention that for the irony of the name and not to make any Creationist friends mad nor to say that I agree with the scientist) we started to look for a place to eat dinner. Joshua scanned the horizon for a place to eat and suggested we eat at the first place he saw – Hooters. After driving around a little we ended up at CiCi’s Pizza.

Day one ended with us at the hotel. The boys attempted to go swimming but considering the high for the day was in the mid-seventies, the water was just too cold. That lasted all of about 10 minutes before they couldn’t take anymore. Back in the room we spent the evening watching the classic Don Knotts’ movie, The Incredible Mr. Limpet. For those who don’t know, in this movie Don Knotts plays a character who turns into a fish. Feromsa did not seem too bothered by the fact that a man could turn into a fish but simply could not understand how a fish could talk underwater. After the movie, everyone quickly fell asleep for a restful night. Unfortunately, I was sharing the bed with Bereket who felt it was necessary to lay on my side of the bed all night. Several times throughout the night I had to pick him up and lay him back down on his side of the bed. He, of course, slept right through this.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our Car Ride Home

Today we took Bereket to the neurologist. We were told that at one time he had seizures and has been on medication for them ever since. Well after many tests the doctor thinks that he no longer needs the meds. So we will be weaning him from the medication over the next 3 weeks. Please be praying that he doesn't have any troubles coming off the medication and that he no longer has seizures.

On the ride home Bereket wanted to make sure that Daddy and I understood what would be going on when school started. It went something like this:

We go to school in August.
Mommy go to school.
Bereket go to school.
Hannah go to school.
Feromsa go to school.
JoTo go to school.
Daddy no go to school. Daddy stay home.

Now repeat about 5 more times.

That was our car ride home.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Phone Calls with Grandma

So, Joshua loves to talk to his Grandma because she is one of the few people in the world who will listen to him talk on and on about video games. Problem is that if one boy is talking to Grandma all 3 want to talk to Grandma. Joshua's solution - hide in the bathroom.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Feromsa's Hometown

Ok, so we did not get anything posted yesterday because, well, nothing really happened yesterday. Kind of one of those lazy summer Saturdays. Being that today is Sunday which means church and Sunday afternoon naps, there what be much going on today either. So I thought today I'd share with you a picture from Google Earth. This is Feromsa's hometown of Shambu in Ethiopia. It is considerably bigger than we thought.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Paperwork and more paperwork

Well, there is no picture today because we spent most of the day working on more adoption paperwork. We finally got around to doing the re-adoption paperwork. Yes, when you adopt internationally you have to re-adopt your children in the US. I guess the US government feels that a decree from another country doesn't mean anything.

Anyway, it took us two trips to the courthouse to get things done but they are done (at least for now.) I must say, it is days like today though that I find myself thankful for living in a small town in a small community. Both times at the courthouse we were in and out (faster than ordering food at Taco Bell.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 16, 2009

Well today was our last post-placement visit with our social worker. Rebecca has been a great help throughout our adoption. It is quite funny to note that on our first visit with her we cleaned the house from top to bottom even hiding laundry over at the church. Today we took out the trash and quickly vacuumed. Even though this was our last visit we still have much paperwork to do. It seems we will always be in the process of adopting our boys.

With each post-placement report we have to measure and weigh the boys. We discovered that since their adoption Bereket has grown 2 and a half inches and has gained 8 lbs. Feromsa has grown 4 inches and has gained a whopping 16 lbs. No wonder we are always buying new clothes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 15, 2009

Since we got home from Ethiopia a year ago, Joshua and Feromsa have been pretty much inseparable. Don't get me wrong, they do have the occasion fight about something really important like who's turn it is to pick out the Wii game. Joshua has not been so excited with Bereket but that is starting to change. This is where we found Bereket and Joshua this morning. Joshua is showing Bereket how to look up game plays on YouTube. Joshua has just recently embraced the role of big brother. That's not to say he didn't love his little brother, he just thought he was pretty much annoying and that's about all. Now he is starting to enjoy showing Bereket "big kid" stuff.

This afternoon we decided to go through the boys' shoes. I can't understand how 3 boys can accumulate over 50 pairs of shoes. (Oh wait, I'm their mom. I know how that happened!) We ended up getting rid of about half of them. Now to conquer the play room.


July 14, 2009

(Insert cute picture of Feromsa skating here if John had not forgotten the camera on the back porch!)
Tonight was christian skate night at the local rink and since the kids have been bugging us to go "shading" we decided to go. Well it wasn't nearly as much fun as we thought it would be. 2 of the boys would hardly get onto the rink and the music was more in line with preschool kids' songs. Never the less, Feromsa skated quite a bit and everyone did enjoy the trip to McDonald's afterwords to get hot fudge sundaes. Strangely enough, everyone except Hannah would like to go skating again. Kids are strange that way but we love them.

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 13, 2009


Today was a rough day for the boys. They got to go swimming at the Y but after they got home they learned that Hannah and I (this is John writing) had a fun filled day in Greensboro. We had gone to the bookstore where Hannah traded in some books and got some new ones. We then (and this really got the boys upset) went to Cold Stone Creamery and got some wonderful ice cream. Afterwards, we went to yet another bookstore where Hannah got more books. We followed this up with a visit to a pet store looking for a new bird cage for Hannah's finches. Finally, we went to Sam's Club and loaded up. Of course, all she cared about there was looking at a $730 camera. I told her to get a job.
After we returned home Hannah got to mow the grass. She had been wanting to do this for a while. We were concerned about letting her do this because she has a tendency to walk into walls. Fortunately, she and lawn mower both survived.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Gotcha!

It is hard to believe that a year ago Dottie and I were in Ethiopia and on this day we went to the transition home to pick up 2 boys who forevermore would be a part of our family. I remember that we had met Bereket and Feromsa the day before and had been able to spend several hours with them. However, that day we had left them to stay at the transition home. I also remember that when we were leaving the transition home Feromsa was having a really hard time understanding why he was not going with us. On this day though we were going to get the boys and they would be going with us. Oddly enough I don't remember too much from that day. The whole week in Ethiopia seems such a blurr. However, I do not think that I will ever forget that first night in the hotel room. There in the bed next to mine and Dottie's was a little bed being shared by 2 wonderful, loving boys who were ours.

And now here we are a year later. Wow! Time really does go by so quickly. In the past year we have seen these boys grow in so many ways. We were all amazed at how quickly the boys attached to our family. It many ways it seemed as if they were always apart of this family. The love they have brought to this household simply can not be measured. We have also been amazed at how much they have grown. Physically, they have literally grown out of their clothes several times. The changes in their personalities as they have learned to speak better English and as they have become more comfortable is simply mind-blowing. Feromsa had always been a very talkative boy from day one. Bereket on the other hand was a very quiet boy - until recently.

In this past year the boys have met and fallen in love with their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. It is a testament to the caretakers at the orphanage that Bereket who lived at the orphanage for nearly all 5 years of his life is so wonderfully affectionate. Both boys freely give their affection to their new and extended family.

Also, in this past year the boys have swam in the ocean, hiked the mountains, have fallen in love with french fries, Coca-cola, Sprite, Yellow Sprite (Mt. Dew), Wii, swimming, trampolines, and Wal-mart. They have played soccer. They have gone camping and want to go again! In the past year, Feromsa has tried hard to understand how Jesus can be dead one day and then alive the next. Bereket has tried hard to understand just how a mirror works. They have picked apples, blueberries, and have personally eaten enough bananas to keep Dole in business for years. They have been amazed at the "magic" van (it has automatic opening doors). And in the past year they have been nothing short of one of the greatest blessings to this family.

We can't wait to see what the next year brings.



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Passing Court...One Year Later

It was a year ago today that we received a phone call from AWAA telling us some very unexpected news. We had seen how things were going and we had resigned ourselves to not getting through the Ethiopian courts. This was our first time trying to get through court and it seems that most people did not get through until their second or even third try. There was always some piece of paper not signed or just missing or something. So as our first court date came we had simply thought of it as a dress rehearsal. We were quite surprised to find out that this was not a dress rehearsal and that we had indeed been granted by the courts of Ethiopia to be the parents of two wonderful boys whom we had never met but had fallen deeply in love with.



It seemed quite a remarkable thing really. A judge in Ethiopia, whom we had never met or spoken to, based on some paperwork filled out mostly by other people whom we had never met or spoken to, made a grand decision that forever altered the lives of Dottie and I, our children at home, and two boys in Ethiopia who were now, by the decree of this judge, Raymer boys. These two boys were now part of our family and Dottie and I were now their parents. On June 9th of 2008 Dottie and I were the parents of 2 children. Now comes June 10th and suddenly we are the parents of 4 including a 5 and a 6 year old boys living in Ethiopia.



One phone call, our family grows by 2 and in less than a month we would be on our way to Ethiopia to bring them home. June 10, 2008 was a remarkable day!

Monday, February 23, 2009

An update of sorts

Christmas-
Feromsa got a camera.
Bereket loved the light up necklace MeMaw and PaPa brought from Disney.

Loved opening presents.

New video games.


Every year everyone gets an ornament to represent the year. John's said "Our Family- Made in the USA with Ethiopian and American parts."


Bereket's said "Proud to be an Ethiopian American." (or something like that)

Feromsa's was an American eagle.


Hannah's was a Twilight ornament.



Joto's said "When I grow up I want to be a video game character."

I made cookies with each of the boys.


This was just a goofy picture of Bereket.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sorry!

We have become bad bloggers. We will have an update soon- as soon as John gets the pictures from the external hard drive.