A day at the park.

I am in love with this video of our family made by my sweet friend, Sada. This sums up our family right now. Lots of hanging out in the beautiful spring weather and TONS of chasing a two year old around.
-Jenn

The Verme Family from Sada on Vimeo.

Brittany Graham - Beyond beautiful. You four are adorable:)

Grace - You have such a beautiful family!
I’m so glad that I’ve been able to watch, via internet, God bless your family.
You and your family are such an inspiration.

On the way!

It has been busy, busy, busy since we opened up Alain’s watercolor shop!! Thank you all for your support! Our sweet boy is so excited that so many of you love his work AND that he will be able to provide for some needs in Rwanda. This experience has be so empowering for him and has given him a taste of how much work goes into a small business. We are happy to say that all of the paintings will be on their way today. Look out for yours on your doorstep soon!!
-Jenn

africa prints sales

Heading to the post office!!

Nicole - I love these prints! If he does them again, I will definitely purchase a few.

I love your blog! I read the whole thing in one day. I hope we get new posts soon of your lovely family!

noelle - we received ours last week and absolutely love it! so rad! thanks Alain!!

Emily Sikes - We received our painting yesterday. It is just beautiful. Thank you Alain.

Colleen - Received my print today and its BEAUTIFUL! Thanks so much for such a great idea and giving my office a beautiful new addition to brighten my days. Hope the trip to Africa is safe, fruitful, and fun!

Amy D - Shoot! I meant to order one and forgot to do so! Will he be making these again sometime? Love this so much!

–From an adoptive momma who also loves photography, fair trade shopping, social justice, etc! I found your blog awhile ago and continue to follow it since we seem to love similar things (and because one of my besties is adopting from Ethiopia)! Your family is so beautiful!

Megan - How cute is he?!

Kathryn - YAY!!! I can’t wait to get mine. My fiancé and I met in Rwanda, where he is from. That country is truly my home. We hope to live there in the years to come so this is the perfect thing for our house here to make us feel like we are in our other home! Thanks, Alain!

Alain is in business.

Later this month, Alain will be traveling to Rwanda to visit his family and friends. Many of his friends from Noel Orphanage have been “reunited” with family only to be left completely on their own. Alain is selling these beautiful 9×12 Africa watercolors to raise money to purchase items in Rwanda for his friends from Noel Orphanage. He will be buying school supplies, clothing, shoes, whatever essentials are needed. Also, the art is really cool and my son is super awesome. He is so excited about selling his art. I would love for you to have one of these beauties hanging in you home soon!! Check out his little watercolor shop HERE.
-Jenn

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Think before you speak…

Please, please, plu-eeese, parents, before you update your Facebook status, write a blog post, put your child in a t-shirt or introduce them in public, please think long and hard about how you label your child. Think about your child being a teenager and an adult. Put yourself in their shoes looking at a photo of themselves as a child with an “orphan” (or even adoption) shirt on. Read your blog post from their perspective as you decide whether or not to publish your post referencing  “the least of these.” Adoptees will be othered by many in their lifetimes. There will be many who don’t understand them. As they grow, they will have to work harder to find a place to fit in. Let’s not make them different and please, please, let’s not make them current or former “the least of these” in our homes. We are not saviors. We are not heroes. They are not the poster children for adoption. We are parents. We are advocates. We are allies. Our children are NOT a cause. They are not  charity cases. They are not illustrations for sermons or personal writings.  They are human beings deserving of love and acceptance. They are sons and daughters.
I’m not saying that there wasn’t a time when I used the word “orphan.” I have. Having Alain enter our family at the age of 16 changed my perspective quickly. He isn’t a baby or a toddler who doesn’t grasp what is going on. He is nearly a man and very intelligent. He caught on quickly. He was with us less than a month, when I was wearing a t-shirt that said “147 million orphans. Help 1,” he questioned me. I didn’t know what to say. Instantly I knew that this cause that I believed in needed to be separated from my children. As a mom of a teenager, I’m talking to you, parents of little ones. They WILL grow up. They WILL have questions. Don’t post anything, write anything, photograph anything that belittles them or implies that they are the “least of these.” Stepping off soapbox now…I’m sure I’ll be back up again later.
-Jenn

M - Been lurking for awhile now and I love your posts regarding the importance of the misconception that all children in orphanages are in need of “saving.” I am so appreciative of having your words to come back to so that I can remind myself of how my written and spoken words will become part of our adoption story and to reflect deeply on them.

Jennifer - We are all ‘the least’ and adopted by our Father in heaven as sons and daughters. Thanks for your sentiments and reminder. My children save me every day, certainly not the other way around.

Tiffany - I love it when you blog! I always get so excited when I see a post come up in my feed. :) I think that my Habi and your Alain must be very different personalities. Habi’s favorite items to wear are adoption and orphan-care related. That is what he asks for for his birthday and Christmas – which is funny because Jim and I do not have a ton of apparel like that ourselves. He is very proud of his adoption (even though it has not happened yet), and he talks about it a lot. I think it can be a beautiful thing, and I pray my children never feel ashamed that they came to us through adoption. I also pray, that I am careful in how I share my childrens’ stories – all 4 of my children. I pray that they are gracious with me and that God is as well, because my desire and heart is never to use them as a cause or a platform but to share God’s abundant redemption – in all of our lives. :) Great thought-provoking post, Jen!

Emily S. - After visiting a blog that I enjoy, just yesterday, I had a very similar thought process. Thank you for putting this out there.

Emily - Hi Jenn
I received a Christmas Card yesterday from our sponsored child in Honduras. A year ago I was inspired by your blog to sponsor her. It has been a blessing to US to know this sweet child through her letters and photos. To see her families courage as they try to improve their lives. We are lucky to have this relationship and hope to sponsor her through her college years. Thank you for your wonderful blog and for always seeing the value in these children.

Mindy - I could not agree with you more!

My little pink rabbit

Maya’s favorite thing in the whole world is her pink bunny lovey. Before she was home, I was buying clothes at Children’s Place and needed and additional $.50 to my purchase in order to use my coupon. They clerk quickly grabbed a pink bunny lovey and added it. It was $.50 and I considered putting it back in the container. I just wanted to use my coupon and I had cuter toys at home saved for Maya. For some reason I brought that same lovey with us to Ethiopia and she has loved it ever since. We panic if we cannot find her bunny.
Here she is in Ethiopia with her bunny:

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So, for Halloween, I thought dressing her up as a cute, pink bunny was the perfect fit. I wasn’t sure she would keep her costume on for our trek around the neighborhood, but she did! My Mom made the very fluffy pink skirt (that I am sure Maya will get lots more dress up use out of!) and I made the lace bunny ears.All the busyness and carrying a bucket full of candy distracted her. All the way through the neighborhood, she had the tightest grip on her bucket of candy. We didn’t let her eat even one piece (I know, mean Mommy!), but she wouldn’t let it go. The costume stayed for at least an hour. Chris and I took turns taking her up to the houses. She was a bit shy, but never scared. Such a big girl! By the way…Alain was with us, but by the time he was home from soccer practice, it was too dark for photos.  It was a great night!!!
-Jenn

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Yes, the bunny had a tail :)
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Twirling in her fancy skirt.
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