Thursday, September 26, 2013


Greetings ~
Since coming home with Teddy 2.5 years ago one of the hardest things I have struggled with was how to educate him.  I have scoured and read EVERYTHING I can get my hands on.  I have joined every facebook group I can find and I have badgered the 3 friends with deaf experience (I am probably lucky they are still talking to me!!)  But I made a promise to Teddy's birth mom that I was going to do everything I could to help him succeed in school.  At the end of last year we made the decision to remain in 1st grade for an additional year - truth be told I had made that decision at the start of last school year but alas it would not be until the end of the year when everyone would agree.

You see ASL (American Sign Language) and English are 2 VERY DIFFERENT languages and I just couldn't wrap my mind around how he was going to learn both while knowing his brain still thinks some in Amharic.  At school he works with his teacher, his interpreter, his deaf educator, and his OT.  We also work with an outside speech language pathologist and countless other professionals.  But in my mind we are ALWAYS way behind.  His expressive language skills are that of about a 3 year old while I know he knows so much more the language just is not there YET to see him share it.  So as I prepared for our IEP meeting last week I wondered what this year was gonna hold.  How would we proceed to get him where he needs to be.  And as is ALWAYS the case I should not have worried - you see GOD had it taken care of.  He had placed all of these amazing professionals in our lives and they were working to get him caught up.  And his teacher was so excited to tell us that on the state standard test that he had just taken for reading and comprehension - HE TESTED OUT OF INTERVENTION and at entry level 1st grade!!   

So this post is to thank every single person that has helped us get to this 1st milestone!  I know each and everyone of you were placed on this path with us for a very special reason and please know not a day goes by that I don't pray and thank God that he has placed you on this journey with us.  And to use the words of Meredith (his deaf educator) as she reminded me today - STOP looking at the big picture and ENJOY where he is today - because this my friends is a huge accomplishment.

Way to go sweet boy!  Keep on reading

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The CHAT with Priscilla ~

Greetings ~
On Monday night I had the very blessed opportunity to travel to the North Star studios here in Nashville with great friend and fellow adoptive mama Rebecca to see a taping of The CHAT with Priscilla.  Now I will admit I was not familiar with Priscilla Shirer prior to a facebook post from Gwen Oatsvall (co-founder of 147 Million Orphans) but you see her post well it had me at adoption. And I didn't  really had no idea what I was getting myself into but if Gwen and Kelly Putty (founder of Ordinary Hero) were to be the guests I KNEW it was gonna be an AMAZING not to be missed event.
And all I can say is that it did not disappoint!  Not one bit!!!

Both Gwen and Kelly shared their journey to and through adoption and were also joined by the most adorable Emily Chapman Richards (aka daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman) ~

I wanted to share a few photos from the evening but I really want to encourage you to watch the episode when it airs.  You see I know not everyone is called to adopt BUT everyone is called to care for the widows and orphans and these 3 ladies not only share their heart they shared concrete, viable ways you could make a difference.  And afterall is that not what we are ALL called to do!!  If you want more info on any of these ladies and their organizations I am gonna include the links after the photos so be sure to check them out!

Oh Yeah I almost forgot - the details on the show - Mothering the Motherless - A Discussion on Adoption - Airs Nov 5th Tuesdays and Thursdays 7pm ET | 6pm CT | Replay: 7pm MT | 6pm PT

Neck Tie Tuesday

Well Hello Again ~
We have now successfully completed day 2 of Spirit Week @ Lipscomb Elementary.  And I must say these photos really say it all!  The boys version of how mama wanted the photo taken followed by mama's version of the photo!
Boys will be boys!

Mama's compliant photo

So there you have it another day in the books and now we move on to Wednesday!  Which means the week is halfway complete!!  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Marvelous Mustache Monday ~

Greetings Friends ~
I hope that you had a super awesome weekend!  We here at the Hammons house were busy bees with soccer, and mama working and our ever fabulous Marilyn home for a visit from UT.

This week is spirit week at the boys school.  And of course our fabulous PTO has put together a different dress code for each day.  Now with my limited knowledge I know that my 2 Ethiopian boys are very black and white not sure how spirit week goes in other homes but - get out of the norm and it get's questionable so I was thrilled to see that this week we really will only have 2 days that will require ALOT of explaining behind these crazy American traditions.  Fortunately today was NOT one of them.  The boys went out with their dad last night while I was at bible study to pick out their mustaches for today.  Who knew mustaches came in blue and yellow! So from Tariku and Teddy they wish you a Marvelous Mustache Monday!

Tomorrow is Tie Tuesday!  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hammons House - Oct 26th - PLEASE JOIN US

Greetings ~
I promised a friend a year ago I would write this post when this day came and so here I am honoring that promise.  Over the last 365 days I have heard so often - WOW you look different, you look great, have you lost weight, your hair it looks so long.  And with every comment I smiled and thanked you and went on about my day.

But the truth is I didn't tell you something, I was scared to tell you why - I  look different and why I did loose weight because last summer I found a tumor in my right breast.  And last fall after I put the boys on the bus and waved them off I went on my way to the Sarah Canon Cancer Center for breast cancer treatment. And every afternoon I was home to greet the bus and meet my boys.

You see I am the mom of newly adopted international children - children who have seen great loss and trauma and the LAST thing I could do to them was add the fear of more loss or trauma to their world.

Today 365 days later I can tell you I am a survivor and cancer free.  But I am different and I look at the world different and you have seen my posts change and my view of the world and my role in it change.

 And so I'm coming to you today and asking you to join me and my boys on Oct 26th in Brentwood TN for the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure.  While I am blessed to be a survivor I lost 2 very dear friends to this disease.  Sally (an amazing adoptive mama) and Taira (a fabulous wedding professional and client) so this year I cannot stay silent.  This year I need to be a voice for those that have lost the battle, those that are still fighting and those that do not even know it is coming yet.  I have set a modest goal of $2,500 and 10 people to join me and the boys on this journey.  I'm hoping you will be one?!?!?

Here is the link come on and join the Hammons House and we step out on Oct 26th and get one step closer to finding a CURE -

Sweet Sallee and her family - Photo courtesy of Evin Photography

My dear friend Taira and her husband Rob @ their vow renewal a few months before she passed away

My boys and I sporting our pink for a purpose

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Home ~ Creating a new normal ~

Greetings ~
The bags are unpacked (well almost), the gifts for friends and family have been shipped or given, the airport hello's have long since faded and life is back to status quo at the Hammons House.  But let's be honest ~ it's a new normal because 5 weeks in East Africa changes a person.

I am not the person I was when I left Tampa back in July ~ sure I look the same and maybe to some even sound the same but inside well inside things are not settled and are not okay.  NO it's not that I want to adopt more children (although I wouldn't rule that out) it's the realization that had there been tools and resources and a support system in place in Addis my sweet Teddy never needed to be adopted.  And that my friends wrestles heavy with my soul.  A dear friend pointed out to me last night that yes Teddy did need to be adopted so that someone (i.e. me) would see the needs and would speak of those and for those that cannot voice them.  And I guess that is true.  So now I sit here in the states prepared to step out on a complete journey of faith so that the other Teddy's of the world have a voice and if by chance they can remain with their birth families than all the better.

Prayers appreciated as this journey begins to unfold and know that I will let you know along the way how you can be a part.  But for now here is a photo of Tariku and his Ethiopian requests!