Balae is Amharic for "my husband." I have been married to Avery for nearly seven years now, and what a seven years it has been! Never a dull moment! At our wedding, our pastor said, "One of the things you two do well is laugh!"
Avery is an extremely devoted husband and father. I call him burakaeyae (my blessing) with absolute conviction. This man has enriched my life and blessed me as my friend beyond what words can possibly express. I question whether there is a more protective, patient, strong, gentle husband to be found! He even laughs at my jokes. Even when acts as though I'm not funny, I am sure he's dying laughing on the inside. :)
I met Avery in 1995 when I started attending a church in the town where I was enrolled in college. After spending some time as friends, we began dating in 1996. Avery was very sure that God intended for him and his family to one day live in East Africa. I think he assumed I wouldn't be interested in such a crazy plan, but when he shared his heart for the African people he had fallen in love with on a summer mission trip, I was captivated. I had always been fascinated with Africa. My heart broke as a child in the 1980's when Sally Struthers would come on TV with the starving Ethiopian children. I had never forgotten the compassion I felt for Ethiopia, so I was completely on board with his vision for East Africa.
When we married in 1999, our plan was to work like crazy to pay off our school debts and to move to Kenya as soon as possible. We were planning to chaperone a 3 month youth mission trip in the summer of 2000. But, as is so often the case, the plans we have aren't nearly as big as the plans God has for our lives. As it turned out, I was giving birth to our first daughter during the summer of 2000! Well, I wasn't giving birth for the entire summer, just one day! Our plans for Africa took a back seat to our new family. Our son was born in the winter of 2001. In addition to having biological children, we had both always wanted to adopt. In March 2005, we began to sense that the time to adopt was now and our hearts were both drawn to the beautiful children of Ethiopia. Now we are waiting for our two Ethiopian children to join our family.
Avery works very hard as a computer consultant for a large company based in North Carolina. We both really wanted me to be able to stay at home with our children, and he has been more than willing to make all of the sacrifices necesary for that to happen. God has always faithfully provided for us everything we have needed. I have been so blessed by a husband who has relentlessly supported me in my desire to be a mom. As I am allowing God to transform me into the woman He intends for me to be, Avery is my most enthusiastic and supportive encourager. He has faithfully love and supported me through thick and thin. He is a man who is piece by piece allowing God to transform his life, and I do not take lightly the honor it has been to watch that transformation take place before my very eyes. I am honored that Avery is balae.