Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Culture Shock!

Shortly after I began blogging, I realized that there would be several readers that don't know our family. We've had blog readers from all over the world who have taken interest in our journey to adopt. I expect a certain number of you think that Tracy, writer of this blog, is the beautiful woman in the profile picture when actually Tracy is the lucky guy standing right next to her. If you made the mistake of thinking I'm female, you're not the first. As a teenager I would often get letters from the Miss America pageant. Those of you named Kelly, Stacy, or Terry (etc.) can relate to being thrown into wrong-gendered situations because of misconceptions about your name.

Even with all the "opportunities" afforded me by virtue of my name, I've never had the "privilege" of taking part in an American ritual traditionally only experienced by the female gender - the BABY SHOWER!

Our church and friends planned one for us. I even helped register for gifts at Wal Mart and Target. I thought that was the extent of my involvement. I admit, it was on my calendar, but only for the purpose of reminding myself "Rhonda won't be home that night".

Somehow today I agreed to pop my head into the room and say hi for a few minutes and leave (I think I was tricked). Then just a few minutes before the shower began I received a call stating I should be there because (of all things) several men actually showed up! These were even manly men!

So I did. And I experienced a degree of culture shock that I wasn't expecting for at least another week. I never knew what happened at a shower. For you men who want to know, it goes like this: (1) Eat food (2)Play a game (3)Watch the parents open a pile of gifts. It's kind of like a birthday party for older women I guess. Who knew?

I didn't. I've been on 15+ mission trips and one thing we're always taught is cultural sensitivity --study the culture before you engage it. Well, I didn't have a chance to study beforehand so I had to wing it. I think I did OK.

Rhonda and I shortly after I discovered I was going to be there for the duration. Consequently, my smile's not quite normal here.

One of our good friends made this really cool cake with Neti and Meke's edible picture on the top of it. At the end of the night there were two pieces left - one with each of the girl's heads on it. I don't know if people were being nice by letting us take those pieces home or if they found it weird to eat them.

If you look closely enough you might find a few men in this picture. I'm in the upper left holding a gift up on display.

Once I found out I could open gifts I began relaxing a bit. However, I was told I opened them way too fast. I didn't realize that every shower has a secretary who writes down everything that happens with a pen and notebook. When we were done she commented that ours was the fastest shower she's ever been a part of.

The people of ONC are very generous. Each of our girls gets two identical bikes...one play bike, and one for dress up.

Seriously, though, thanks to all the great people of ONC who continue to demonstrate they are some of the most giving people in the world. We appreciate your generousity and love!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

"I'm Brown!"

I love this 30-second excerpt from Rain in a Dry Land (mentioned in my previous post).

Waiting and Change

I'm trying to learn patience. It's been two months since we first saw pictures of Neti and Meke. Besides their very basic bio and their passport photos a few weeks ago we know next to nothing about them. As the travel days come closer the fact that I'm a dad again is becoming more real. I'd just like to know more about my kids. I don't need a lot of information, just a little. Another picture might hold me over until we leave. There's a mission trip group with Visiting Orphans that happens to be in Addis Ababa as we speak. They're supposed to visit Neti and Meke's orphanage. We're hoping one of them will snap a photo or two and send it to us. Nothing yet. (This is day 10 of their 14-day trip)

A few nights ago Rhonda and I were watching a PBS program about Somali refugee families who relocated to the U.S. We know that there's going to be a huge adjustment for our girls. Watching this documentary makes us realize just how big it will be. They're walking into a world unlike anything they've experienced before. The littlest things - the things we take for granted every day - will be foreign to them. This video is just a small excerpt of the documentary called Rain in a Dry Land. Watch the looks on their faces as the teacher explains our world to these adult Somalis.

These two Somali families came to the U.S. in the winter. One of the mothers looked out of the plane as they were close to landing and asked, "Are those white rocks?" Her husband answered, "No, that's ice that falls from the sky." (Snow) I can only imagine what images went through her mind. And I can only imagine how foreign Neti and Meke's first trip to the supermarket will be. Aisles and aisles of food after receiving one meal per day in the orphanage!?!?

Countdown to major change (for all of us): 13 days.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Teenage Affluenza

Several months ago our church participated in World Vision's 30-Hour Famine, fasting food for 30 hours to raise funds and awareness for world hunger. Guess they're tougher in Australia. They fast for 40 hours. If this promo wasn't so true it would be funny. Well worth the watch!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

3 Weeks

It's been awhile since I posted. There's really nothing new going on. Just have to wait three more weeks before we travel. It's starting to sink in a little bit. Our lives are about to change. I don't think we really know how significant the change is yet.

Be praying for our little girls who are going to begin a very new (and very unfamiliar) new life.

Friday, June 08, 2007

New Pictures

We just receieved the passport photos of Neti and Meke via email today. I couldn't be a more proud papa.