Friday, October 31, 2008

Fun Fall Times

I wanted to share some of the action around the Tapper home. As fall has come, we've been able to enjoy some fall family traditions. For one, we had our pumpkin stew a few weeks ago. Yum yum! We've also been enjoying some hikes through the crunchy leaves. Yesterday, was pumpkin carving day, and today we enjoyed the candy-collecting walk around the neighborhood with one crazy dinosaur and one silly penguin! Take a peek at our fun...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Learning the Lord's Prayer

Today was one of those days with young children. They do not do anything that is bad in and of itself. It is just when they do it and how they do and what they were supposed to be doing instead of it. Today was definitely one of those days.

Needless to say, I was eager for some quiet after-the-kids-are-in-bed time. However, I was ever hopeful that our bedtime routine might yield some teachable moments and quality family time. I had decided earlier that the Lord's Prayer might provide a helpful guide for our devotional prayer times, so I chose to introduce it tonight. My kids generally respond well to an echoing format for learning Bible passages and other memorizable information, so I started saying the prayer phrase by phrase. They repeated back phrase by phrase. I made a mental note to emphasize "Hallowed" another night since this is "H" week in our journey through the alphabet. I opted for "debts" rather than "trespasses" for the sake of their young tongues. Then came the line, "But deliver us from evil." I don't know if it was the fact that she was just coming off trying to pronounce "temptation" or what, but Abby's tongue couldn't handle it all. Instead of deliverance from evil, we got "deliver us our weasel" and a whole lot of giggles after that!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy! . . . and Heart-broken.

Oh, I forgot to say yesterday that we have also reached the four month mark for our adoption wait. This is rather exciting as the latest young sibling referrals have been coming at the five-six month mark. Beyond this, our America World case worker encouraged us last week to go ahead and work toward an addendum for our home study, expanding the age range of children for which we are approved from 0-3 to 0-6. Our home study provider had the addendum done and in our hands within 48 hours! That paperwork has been mailed to US citizenship and immigration services. Once it is approved there, notice will be sent to the embassy in Ethiopia so that they will permit us to take the children out of the country. We are very pleased with this progress.

I also want to share a glimpse of the heart-breaking situation that Ethiopia faces. Inflation there (and worldwide) is rampant. Our agency's transition home (where the children are cared for after referral) has seen its costs skyrocket from $4000/month to $17,000/month since the beginning of the summer! We have received word that we will face increased expenses for the remainder of our adoption fee process in order to address these concerns. Although this is difficult, I am thankful that our agency is committed to a high level of care even through these difficult times. Even with their best efforts, there is no comparison between the resources available there and what we experience on a daily basis here in North America. I learned today that the infant child of a sibling group referred to a AW family died in the hospital over the weekend due to pneumonia. While I don't doubt the blessed experience of that little girl in heaven right now, I do wrestle with questions about the injustice of our world's imbalanced wealth and my moral responsibility to act, love, and learn in ways that exemplify God's righteousness. And I mourn with the family ( that yearned to embrace this child yet faithfully trusts God through their loss. May "the name of our Lord glorified in [us], and [us] in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." --2 Thess. 1:12

Monday, October 13, 2008

Birthday Girl

Well, I'm a little behind on the announcement, but the official notice must be given. Abigail Hope Tapper is three years old. Our beautiful treasure (made for God) continues to love to sing and make music. Using some of her birthday money, she selected a hot pink toy guitar and microphone and has been entertaining us with her imaginative lyrics and unique dance moves. She enjoys pretty much anything pink, swimming, painting, her blanket, snuggling with Mom, wrestling with her brother, and playing tickle with Dad. She can be stubborn and has been known to take advantage of her hard-working, eager-to-please brother (as in tilted head and wide, serious eyes, saying, "Ethan will pick up my toys."), but she makes up for this in delightfully original goofiness, thoughtfulness (I don't think she'll be easily swayed by the crowd), and appreciation for all the wondrous little things of life. We are blessed!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

He Did It!!!!!

After months of training, some difficult injuries, and a rather nervous morning (after having driven the course yesterday), we are pleased to report that Mike has finished his first marathon! The New Hampshire marathon has been run for 16 years around Newfound Lake. The relatively hilly course provided a significant challenge, but our favorite runner was able to finish in 4 hours, 50 minutes! We are so proud! Here's some favorite moments from the family experience:
Pre-race jitters are in full effect (at least for the one in the middle)!

Ethan and Abby had fun on the beach while Papa ran.

We caught up to Mike around mile 23 and tried to snap a shot of our favorite runner. We were much relieved to get a thumbs-up in response!

Ethan and Abby joined their dad for the last stretch.

Our champion!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Moral Development

As part of a course I am taking, I had to write an essay on moral development in children. Part of my essay was to address the question of responsibility for instilling a sense of morality in children. While I support the view that parents bear the primary responsibility for this task, I--as a parent--am so grateful that this responsibility need not be beared alone. In an article entitled, "Until Christ is Formed in You: Nurturing the Spirituality of Children," (available here) Marva Dawn reminds us of the "backward and sideward components of the faithful community" that supports moral and spiritual development for believers, including "Scriptural narratives . . . the 'cloud of witnesses' . . . congregational members . . . books . . . ethnic religious customs . . . special friends" and more. As Mike and I pursue the long discipline of genuine Christian training, we are infinitely thankful for those who have gone before and walk alongside us for the process! And we pray that, someday, Ethan and Abby (and two more) will express their gratitude as well.