Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas (3 Months home)



Wow! During the adoption process time takes on an interesting quality. Two parallel tracks at polar opposite speeds...and you dance between the two. That quality continues. It feels like Bella has been part of our family forever. Everyone of us is madly in love with her. She continues to do really well. Her language explosion has slowed just a bit but I can see her working on some of the more subtle points of language... pronouns (when to use which ones...you, me, I, etc). She has more words and more words strung together than the older three did at her age. Her newest thing:

B: sneeze (fake, sometimes)
Us: bless you
B: thank you
Us: your welcome

She could do this all day long. She loves it when we sneeze and she has the other part. Her eating has improved dramatically. I don't have to put as much thought into what and how much she eaten. Don't get me wrong...she is a typical two year old eater...but at least I can count on her eating one good meal. She has not gained much if any weight but has grown about 4 inches. She is finally on the height charts (I think). She takes a multivitamin, a multi mineral, and an omega 3 chew. Sleeping improved and then went back to not so good. She comes in with Jason and me every night at about 1am. She is processing something. She is dreaming something. This is where I wish she had a little more language, but in the meantime...she is in with us. Everyone expects that she would be excited about Christmas...she's not. That would assume she knows what is coming. She has no idea what and when. She thinks the trees are "konjo" (pretty) and she had so much fun decorating. She loves baby Jesus in the manger. She loves the snow and playing in it. She takes everything in stride. Some things we will set out to work on early in the new year...sharing with kids her age (thank you Ruth, Aster, Aster, and Milki for being patient), sleeping in her own bed, language, and potty training:)

Now for the three older kids. Andrew has gotten into several schools. He still has to hear from a few. Choosing will balance several factors (cost, majors, soccer, and friends). Eliza turned 15. She is plotting and planning how she can get back to Ethiopia. Zach is loving being a big brother. Life probably changed the most for him when Bella came home. He has become a great big brother. He loves to hold Bella's hand while she falls asleep in her crib.

What a year it has been! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bella Update


No pics this time. Camera is broken and at the shop getting fixed. I was able to upload one from my phone:)

Bella is doing really well.

Her language continues to amaze me. Her understanding is even more of an amazement. Not to sound obnoxious, but she is really bright. Not sure how it will translate into the school environment but street smarts...she is tops. After a weekend of watching soccer...she figured out that the boys sometimes fake injury to get a call. She then entertained the family...falling down on the kitchen floor, holding her ankle saying "he tripped me, he tripped me." She then looks over hops up and does it again. The only problem I foresee is the post placement visits with our social worker :) No seriously, she has more words and more words strung together than her older siblings did at this age...and can I remind you...English is their first and only language (and they are relatively bright.)

Sleeping- She is now sleeping through the night in her bed. She shortened her nap from 2 1/2 hour to only 1 1/2 hour. It has only been 5 days but we are hoping we have turned the corner.

Eating-marginally better. She is eating. She is drinking milk which she was not doing before. She has a sweet tooth. She does like spicy food and other food not normally fed to toddlers.

She loves to clean. She walks around the house with Windex and a paper towel, spraying all surfaces. She loves the swiffer.

She loves the dogs. One of my dogs, Willow, drives me crazy not listening. My secret weapon...Bella. Willow listens to Bella. Go figure?

We are getting better at the hair braiding. Well, Eliza is. She takes Bella and sits her down...braiding. This started back when Bella came to us asking us to make her hair konjo. (Okay, that just brings up so many trans racial issues for me....so we will be the best hair braiders on the block.) I have to say I actually like her hair unbraided - a lot.

She is a typical two year old who wants her way but she is pretty easily tractable when you explain why or when she can have something....tomorrow, later, not at all bc its dangerous, enough, etc. The one thing that we have noticed is that when she is overwhelmed by her environment either because of sensory overload or a lot going around her she has a frenetic quality to her play. This has dramatically improved but we still see it occasionally. We expected to see it over Thanksgiving and did not. She is learning to enjoy story time. She is learning to enjoy quiet activities like coloring.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Life is Good



Sorry I have not blogged recently. We have been busy because:
a. Bella-an active, curious, toddler
b. Andrew-in the throws of college application
c. I am Mom to four children trying to make sure I don't forget anyone anywhere
d. Putting house on the market-dream house is for sale so should we go for it?
e. all of the above

Answer:e

So much going on in the house. Bella is truly a blessing. She is amazing and wonderful and tiring and (have I said) awesome! She is every bit of two. She can be naughty, and fresh, and head strong.... she is a delight. Every bit of her. Her language is taking off. She says things like "oh my goodness," "Bella-do," "Phone is ringing...I'll get it." "I want to watch veggie tales." She runs (actually is really fast) and climbs onto everything (loves being on the counter while I do dishes or make dinner). The absolute cutest thing that she is doing right now is...when she goes for a walk with Eliza or is being put down to bed...she will go through a list of things we need to do...kisses, noses (Eskimo kisses), hugs, high five, and then knuckle touch. I just think she is deliciously sweet. When she is rough with Zach and ends up in time out....a second later she will say.."I sowwy, I sowwy, I sowwy, Zach" I guess what I am saying is she is everything and more than we could have ever asked for or wanted.

Her eating is crummy. Both what she eats and how much. She is a peanut. Her weight is fine although since being home it she has lost weight. She eats sometimes but never consistently. We are getting a bit more structured about her mealtime. She is not on the height charts. because of this...she is on a multi vitamin and multi mineral. They are the only thing I can guarantee she will eat (oh yeah...marshmallows, too).

Her sleeping is crummy. She goes down for a nap and at night beautifully. She wakes and comes into bed with us 9 out of 10 nights. She does not sleep well. We do not sleep well but....snuggles in and makes sure we are there (she rubs Jason's beard to make sure it's him-not sure who else she is expecting)...so, we will be tired but we will be there...and one day she will stay in her bed.

She is prone to being overwhelmed and overstimulated. When that happens there is a frenetic quality to her behavior. We have gone to church with her two times. We have left before church started. We are very low key with her. Don't have her signed up for much more than a mommy and me music class-which we will take a break from during flu season. We keep her on somewhat of a rigid schedule.

She loves her brothers and sisters. She just squeals when they get home. The one that takes me most by surprise is Andrew. She shares Andrew's love of music. They sing together about everything. I mean everything. If I can download a ditty they have about milk....I will.

Andrew has been busy applying to colleges, playing soccer, and going on official visits (a sports term.) His high school did a nice article on his community service. He also made the super-y National Olympic Development team list. So a little balance for a few disappointments he has had this soccer season, including an injury at the beginning of the season. Life is a great blend of both highs and lows. He leaves for Florida tomorrow for national play-offs. Bella keeps me distracted and allows me to step back from his college process and not add any stress to it.

Oh and just so you don't think that I am some Pollyanna...Zach's teacher called and he has been way too chatty. She also said and I quote, "Don't let the grades on his report card fool you. Yes, they are good but he does NOTHING. He speeds through his work and then just hangs out. No effort....no extra credit." What am I going to do with him???? Ugh. Can you say "surfer-dude"?

We don't remember life before Bella. She adds such a wonderful spice to our life now. Jason brought up adopting another the other day. I had the same reaction that I had with Andrew, Eliza, and Zach, before and now Bella...but how could I possibly love another child like I love the four that live in this house....and I am reminded...THAT is the gift. You just do. One day you don't even know the child and the next you can't imagine waking up without them in your life. Each day I am so grateful for the four very different gifts that I have.

*** camera is broken sorry not many pictures







Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Week Four

Bella discovers the rocking horse in the attic and the helmets in her room. Eliza is so excited there may be another rider in the family.

Bella's first ice cream. It was a hit.

Life is settling into a new normal. It is a bit less busy in one regard, because taking a two year old out to board meetings just does not work. So my schedule has opened up. Also, lunch with friends at local haunts has been limited because I am trying to keep Bella's nap schedule a little inflexible. Other than that my friends have been wonderful. They meet me for coffee or bring lunch.

Her transition has been seamless. We do talk about the notorious honeymoon period and wonder if we are in one. Some of parenting her is soooo different than parenting our older ones.

1. When she first came home...she would not cry if she fell. We would have encouraged the behavior in the older ones. Not so in her...we made a huge fuss with her and with anyone of the olders that got bumped (comical really). She now comes to us for a kiss on her boo boo. She also cries appropriately when she gets bumped badly.

2. I never allowed the olders to watch videos...and at the time, cars did not have DVD players in them. Now, when driving the olders to their activities....Bella occasionally watches Baby Einstein and Veggie tales. She loves them both. Einstein has helped with word acquisition. She loves the music in Veggie Tales.

3. Oh my goodness, my house is driving me crazy but I am okay with it, for the moment. It is unorganized (check out the drawers in my kitchen) and toys have no home. I am okay with it. This would have made me crazy but for now....I am just enjoying Bella.

4. Each week we try or tackle something new. This week we started a Mommy and Me music class. She was quiet and hung on tight to me but she was taking it all in. After class she sang the songs and did the finger play but during class she appeared uninterested. We are learning about her as much as she is learning about our world. She sits back and observes the "rules of engagement." I am curious to see how much more open she will be next week.




Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Zach Attack turns 11



The eleven things that I love about you:
1. You are so passionate about soccer...read, play, watch, know soccer.
2. You are a gifted player...God made you to play soccer.
3. You pray every night for a list of people. Once you make it on Zach's list...you are there for good. God listens to those prayers, too.
4. You have a heart of goodness...you love so completely. "I love her (Bella) already." (the day after our referral).
5. You believe that you can do anything. "I am going to be the first person to play both soccer and lacrosse for UVA."
6. You love fishing.
7. You have the heart of a prankster.
8. You still want me and dad to kiss you goodnight. (Please don't ever get too old for that."
9. You love spending time with your family..games, reading, watching soccer.
10. You have one eye that is both blue and brown. So special.
11. You have the most laid back personality-think, surfer or Jimmy Buffet.


There is so much more....

Happy Birthday Z!


**Please pray for this family...that tomorrow is their day to bring home their beautiful boy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Three weeks

Home for 3 weeks.

Can't believe she has not been with our family forever. She is unbelievable. She is so funny and fun. She is actually small for her age, although very healthy. She is right on target for her age developmentally. She did have some catching up to do with some of the things US kids are expected to do...stairs...but 2 weeks in she had them down.

Sleeping is okay. She is in a crib but I don't let her cry. She is held or rocked until she is sleepy and then she holds my hand until she is asleep. We have not mastered the sleep thing, but we are making progress.

Eating. She does not eat veggies or any fruit but bananas and applesauce. She loves bagels, meat, coffee, tea, orange juice, spaghetti sauce on spaghetti. She is not a great eater. She has actually lost several pounds from the last update we got before we got her. I have Ethiopian food for her, too.

Safety. Cars. She has no fear of moving cars and had no concept of sidewalk v. street. I have nightmares about this one.

Bonding. This child (as all deserve to be) is wired to be cherished. This is just one way she shows it....she had a scratch on her nose. Like I do or did with my older kids...I went to put neosporin on it and you would think that she had been handed a wrapped gift. She hugged and kissed me so tightly that you could forget that she is a two year old. She then proceeded to show me her other little marks/scars so I could put some on them. It is now part of our bed time routine. Bonding is a process, but we are so much further than I expected. She is on my hip but venturing out. For those of you reading books....she is social referencing. She is absolutely snugly and loves being rocked and held and cooed too.

Siblings. She loves her siblings. She runs to them when they walk in the door. She loves to do anything to get them to laugh. See video below.

Daddy. the first week she had very little to do with Jason. I think it hurt his feelings because truly he is the FUN parent. He has a great way with little ones. He coaches and is very involved. She still needs me to be around but she is sooo excited when she hears his car pull in.



video



Toddler adoption. Do it. Is it work? Yes. Is it worth it? So.

This is a hard thing for me to write about because sometimes it is really hard...the adjustment and the bonding. I mean really hard. I lived it. My sister was adopted as a toddler (even younger toddler than Bella) 35 years ago. Before the books. Before the therapists. Before the studies. She had/has severe bonding issues. There in lies the need to tell you that not all toddler adoption is hard. Physically...it is hard. Going from 0-2 overnight. Hard. Lifting the 30lbs. Hard. Sleep deprivation. Hard. Going back to diapers. Yucky. Occasional tantrums. Inconvenient. Loving this child. Not hard.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Adventures of Bella Bean: life at warp speed**edited



I can't believe that we have been home less than 2 weeks. I can't remember life before Bella. She is growing like a weed. She is incredibly funny. She is incredibly active. Some random thoughts:

1. Don't buy anything before they get home. Okay, maybe not, anything. But hold off on as much as you can. For example: we bought a high chair...she wants to be like the big kids so it goes unused.

2. Sleep is over rated:) We are adjusting but sleep is a sticking point. She actually is improving though.

3. This is what my Tuesday looked like: Woke up at 5:50. Took shower. Dressed in clean clothes. Got Bella dressed. Went down stairs. Observed mess created by dog #1 (has not happened in 8 years). Cleaned up mess. Got Bella breakfast. Got older children out the door for school. Sat down to enjoy cup of coffee. Bella climbs on my lap (so sweet). Bella pulls full cup of coffee on me, upholstered chair, rug, and somehow did not get anything on her (thank goodness). Clean mess. Change into clean clothes #2..... All before 7am:)

3. Cont'd What Monday night looked like.... Observe Bella with car keys. Two minutes later keys gone. Proceed to tear house apart to find keys. No luck. Decide to start at square one... there they are...she had put them away:)

4. Bonding is an on going process...it does not happen overnight even when it feels like it does. Small little reminders surface to remind me that she is not use to having a mommy of her own:)

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Day we Met




Travis delivered Bella to us. You could hear her crying two blocks away. (Not exaggerating). When he came to the gate she had stopped only to start up again when she saw us. She cried for a good 20 minutes with me holding her and just saying..."it's okay, ishy, ishy, ishy." she calmed a little bit and we pulled out silly string. I pointed and shot and it unintentionally went all over Jason's face. We all were surprised....shock value...she stopped crying. After that we just played quietly along side each other with some Polly Pockets that I picked up on sale. I have no idea how long we played, but it was for a long time. She slowly relaxed. We ate a snack and took a short nap. When she got up, I expected more of the same...but she was fine. She has been my "cling-on" since. While in country we made the decision that we would not use a care giver. We would only leave her with Jason, me, or Eliza. We felt it was too confusing for her. Other families used them with no long term problem. We just thought at her age it was too much. Are we done with the bonding process...no way. She needs to learn to trust that I will come back if I go, she needs to learn that I love her no matter what - she was told "no" sternly after biting me and she simply crumbled, that hurt my heart more than the bite...she is still processing so much and will probably process forever but we are doing well. Better than I expected. There are moments that I just hurt for all that she has lost-things that she is completely unaware of at the moment, some she is not unaware of. she went around the house calling for a friend still in care. I pulled out the pictures to show her. She used her special care giver's name...and again I pulled out the pictures.

I will post later on adopting an "older" child. Funny that she is considered by some to be older. She is a baby. Everything is so new. But I will leave you with just a thought...if you are torn, or thinking about increasing your age...we were and did. We are also so very happy we did increase the age. Had we not listened to our hearts and gotten a little nudge from this mom....we would not have our sweet baby.

More later.... Bella is restless :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Life on the Run



Home! Our trip was amazing. Ethiopia is beautiful. Bella is amazing. The whole experience is braided in heartwarming and heart breaking. Some of the families that we traveled with will be life long friends. Gladney is the best. They love the kids (I know you hear that all the time, but they really do). I will right more about the experience, later. I love my little shadow, even if my back hurts, I am sleep deprived, my pants have jam prints on them, and the house is not as cleans as it use to be. She is smart, strong, beautiful, and every bit of two. With that said Iam off to play dolly with my sweet child.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2 days

2 days and I am not posting about the packing, the medical proxy, the filling of the freezer, the humanitarian aid, the excitement to bring Bella home, the fear of the unknown. No, I am writing about every day life with an athletic teenager. I woke up this morning way too early thinking about Andrew and this is my way of working it out.

The above picture was taken when he had a 103 fever. He was sick for a good 9 days. This was 2 weeks ago. He improved just in time to participate in soccer tryouts. He is a captain of his team and he takes it so seriously. First jamboree, 3 games, he collides with a boy from another team. The other boy loses several teeth and Andrew has an imprint on his forehead from those teeth. (First year that mouth guards are not required. Maybe they should rethink that.)

That was Friday of last week. Second scrimmage (please not... they have not even played an official game) a boy from the other team kicks his foot. So he has been nursing it. No big deal, right? Wrong. It really hurts. He has a really high threshold of pain. He had it x-rayed. Nothing. Doctor suspects it could be a stress fracture. Bone scan scheduled for next Tuesday. Where will we be???? Half the world away. So every morning, I ask and he tell me...no improvement. None. Nada. Advil doesn't seem to help. Its not even swollen. He has not been able to practice. He is a bear. He is mopey. He is feeling like he is letting his team and coach down. he sits on the side and does sit ups and push ups. He site at the dinner table an has a ball cradled btwn his feet. What to do?

So this morning I could not sleep. Woke up and started to go through me emails. My devotional this morning is about... being in His peace when things go awry or are crazy. Okay that hit home. So this morning...I am putting one foot in front of the other. I am checking off my to do list. And I am going to stay in His peace. There is a great plan. Maybe it is some other young man's time to shine. It is Andrew's time to be quiet and watch from the side lines. (and who knows maybe its nothing:)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Preparations are underway. (8 days and counting)


Prep continues.

We have our travel plans down. Driving to NY, flying out Emirates. Staying at Ayat 2. that seemed to be the easiest part of the planning.

We have Jason's father staying with the boys. We were going to get a recently graduated college student to stay with them but then Andrew got sick. A nice little reminder that they may need more than a chaperon at night.

We have all of our documents ready. Bela's clothes are collected and ready for packing. Humanitarian aid is almost completely packed.

Some of the other preps-

Made a 2 paper chains with Zach. One for when we leave and one for when we come back. Even though he is 10, he has enjoyed the visual.

Dogs to kennel-that way when Bela gets home she is not traumatized by two friendly but large dogs.

Stocking freezer for father-in-law and beyond. I am going next Wednesday to Make and Take. Check it out if you have one. You can make full dinners (feeds 6-8) or half dinners (feed 3-4). What's nice is you have the flexibility to make what your family will like. I like to keep a couple in the freezer for those nights that time gets away from me, or we have a late game. They are good and so much better than pizza or fast food and much less expensive than take out.

Collecting small (inexpensive items) to put together a bag for each boy so they know that we are thinking of them. We can not count on being able to talk or connect with them. So this is our way of just touching base with a quick I love you each morning. The small items include magic tricks, a book, candy, Gatorade jelly beans, a gas card, a dunkin donuts card (remember I have a 17 year old).

Getting a few gifts together for in country staff:)


That is just a few of the prep items. Some of the more fun ones. We are 8 days away from getting on a plane and 10 days away from meeting our little one. WOW! We got a picture yesterday... could she possibly have gone from 2 to 16 over night? Love the eye roll. Truly, when I see this baby smile, I think I will cry (now, that will be be confusing for her, won't it?)



Monday, August 31, 2009

12 days until we leave....

Am I packing?

No. I am in the middle of school prep, soccer try-outs, and doctor visits. This is life. Crazy busy. Andrew has been sick. He seems to be on the mend. He has try-outs for his high school soccer team...he is a captain so he will make the team. Unfortunately the fever sneaks back by the end of the day (not high, but just a reminder that he is in fact not a super hero). Whatever he has had...has been kicking him to the curb. Oh well...a small distraction.

Zach is getting his school supplies together and soccer starts up for him this week. He will be staying home with Andrew and Jason's dad.

Eliza has been getting her uniform and books ready for high school. She is all set. She is so excited about the trip to Ethiopia I think that the first day of school will go unnoticed.

Me...I have been: visiting with one of my best friends in the hospital, hovering (a bit) over Andrew, brushing up on my last minute Amharic (which I probably will lose when I step onto the plane because of overload of excitement), buying school books and supplies, checking school shoes (flip flops will be put away). What's a mom to do? The 18 hours on a quiet flight may be just what I need. No cell phone. No emails. This may be a much needed vacation. Oh, that's right...I am adopting a toddler. Life is about to hit hyper-speed. And you know what? I can't wait to have her home :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Whirlwind!


She's ours! I haven't been able to sit down and really think about it. is the roller coaster really pulling into the station. Or are we simply getting on another ride? That's the thing about parenting and maybe life in general, it's quite a ride.

We got the call on the vineyard. The last day of our two weeks out there. The thing is it was soooo late. 2:15. I was preparing myself for not so good news. Texting back and forth with one sweet friend. Emailing back and forth with another sweet friend. I was about to hand the phone over to my 17 year old so he could stand watch while Jason and I went for a second kayak ride and it rang. I threw the phone to Jason (think hot-potato). I felt like crying before he even answered it. I could tell it was good news though as soon as Jason answered and I truly was even closer to crying. She's ours. I will get to watch over this sweet little quiet girl. I will get to read her stories at night. I will get to put the band-aid on her skinned knees. I will get to walk her to school.

We will drive to New York, and take Emirates to ET. Timing and layovers drove our decision (no pun intended). We are bringing Eliza. Boys are staying home. Hard decision. First full week of school. Eliza was talking colleges with Andrew. (She will be a freshman-in HS). We had already decided kids had to stay home because of school. She is telling him that she is going to major in pre-med with a minor in African Studies. She is reading There is No Me Without You. She was a major driving force in our looking at adopting from Africa. She wants to live in Africa. She has taught herself more Amharic than I have learned (okay to be fair she is younger than I am :) She has loved Africa since she was a small child. The list goes on and on.... but the cost in money, in high school, and will Bela need our undivided attention. It was decided when the Vice Principal of her school called and said..."How can you not take her? She is meant to go. This is a calling." She is old enough to back off if needed. She is amazing with little ones if needed and most of all she will see Ethiopia for the first time with her sister. We leave on the 12th and will have Bela in our arms on the 14th.

We have our lodging as of today. Now, on to the packing and settling the plans for the boys and the dogs and preparing for the school year for the three older kids...oh my gosh, I am a mom to four!

Please could you pray for this sweet family to pass court....

And if you need anything delivered for your little one...I would be honored to deliver small packages or take pictures. We lived on these pictures when we were waiting.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tomorrow

Is tomorrow our day? Will we have a new daughter tomorrow? I am amazingly calm today. Preparing for the unexpected. Praying for good news. My sweet friend and I were talking and commiserating that int'l adoption is not for the faint of heart. Don't do it if you don't like the scariest and most twisted rides at the amusement park. Not for you if have next month's dinners planned, or you have an agenda book that is filled in 15m increments. But the promise of this sweet child being in our family, calling me mom, growing, thriving, learning, healing....has got me hooked. So tonight, I will buckle my seat belt, and pull the bar down and prepare for the ride....who knows maybe it will pull into the station.

The Vineyard has been so relaxing. I highly recommend going on vacation for the two weeks before your court date. Jason and I have a tradition of taking each of the kids out for a solo breakfast or lunch (less expensive than dinner) so that they get some one on one time. Zach's was today. He wanted to grab breakfast sandwiches and fish of the dock in the rain. Nothing fancy about that boy. (I will post pics when we get home.)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

July Books and Count Down

After I read every adoption book out there on the process and then on bonding I turn to another genre. Fiction and non-fiction on Ethiopia. Just kidding, somewhat. I did read some books that had nothing to do with Ethiopia or Africa...but these were the books that I loved this past month.


There is No Me Without You. A non-fiction. Greene is beyond gifted. She takes human interest stories and blends the hard facts...some of them medical in nature..in seamlessly. Beautifully written. Hard and sad and surprisingly uplifting. I can't believe that it took me so long to pick this book up...and then when I did...it took me no time to finish. This may be one of my all time favorite books.


Sweetness in the Belly. This was recommended to me by a blog friend. Fiction. Part of this book takes place in Ethiopia. A behind the scenes look into the lives of devout muslims in Ethiopia. I really enjoyed reading this book. It also goes into some of the history of the past 50 years. The daughter of english hippies is raised by a Sufi muslim after her parents are killed.
Cutting with Stone. Fiction. Takes place in Ethiopia. Easy read. Twins "adopted" and raised by two doctors become doctors.

With 8 days until court....I need to find more books to read. After that I hope to be busy getting ready to travel. We are still away. The Vineyard has been really relaxing. The weather has been less than perfect but we are enjoying time together. (Actually, Zach and Andrew were just wrestling...and now Zach is crying...oops...I spoke too soon.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Officially Counting Down


A year ago this was the kids on the vineyard. We had thought and hoped and prayed that this year there would be a little one in the front of the picture. That is not to be, but next year:) we are letting ourselves count down once again. Gluttons for punishment or optimistic? Thirteen days until little B's file does to court.

We are off to the Vineyard. As any parent of a teenager knows that is not an easy thing. Jason will take the younger ones and I will take Andrew to a soccer game (do you see a common theme of soccer playing throughout our lives?) in VT then a try-out (of sorts) in Ny and then we will meet them on the Vineyard. If all goes well at court we will get a call from Jessica as we are leaving the Vineyard with good news.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Court Date (take #2)

August 14th. Sweet Jessica called today. After months of hand holding she had good news for us. We have another court date. We never made it to court the first go around. We are one step closer to bringing sweet little B home.

More good new abound..... could I possibly be traveling with my friend????? I will not be a spoiler but I suggest some sleuthing. She has not posted the news yet.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Quiet


I truly believe our children teach us. Little B is already teaching me something Zach already knows. Be quiet.

Today was a breaking point for me. Probably have a couple more in me but not many. I have felt such a range of emotions in our adopting of Little B.

Before the referral...impatience and excitement reigned.

After "meeting" our little girl....humbled (that we would be chosen or matched as her parents) was added to the list of emotions, sadness because I am a parent to three children already and I could only imagine what they would experience had their story mirrored hers, and impatience and excitement, still.

After our detour (May 21)... fear that she might not be coming home with us, concern for a sweet and very shy 2 year old's transition, sadness for time we are missing out on each other, hopeful that her paperwork issues are resolved and of course impatience and excitement. There would be mixed in frustration and, even, anger at delays that made no sense.

July 9...as of yesterday MOWA is closed for training...still no court date for us. Stillness. There is nothing I can do. Nothing Jason can do. A migraine and so many thoughts later.... an email from a sweet friend. (I don't think she will mind my sharing it because I know that I am not the only one inundated with so many emotions and thoughts). This is what she wrote me:

My Jesus Calling devo today. Honest.


Stop worrying long enough to hear my voice. I speak softly to you, in the depths of your being. Your mind shuttles back and forth, hither and yon, weaving webs of anxious confusion. As My thought rise up within you, they become entangled in those sticky webs of worry. Thus, My voice is muffled, and all you hear is white noise.


Ask My Spirit to quiet your mind so that you can think My thoughts. This ability is an awesome benefit of being My child, patterned after My own image. Do not be deafened by the noise of the world or that of your own thinking. Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Sit quietly in My presence, letting My thoughts reprogram your thinking.


Deuteronomy 30:20

Genesis 1:27

Romans 12:2


So I curled up on my bed and waited for my head to stop hurting, the white noise to stop, and to be able to read again. I can choose to surrender to His will or I can fight it and this process. I choose to surrender and instead to thank Him for giving me an amazingly even keel husband, this sweet friend, as well as this one, to walk with on this path. I just may need a reminder now and again.

So for now, I feel quiet.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

June Books

Three books that I read in June, are on my list of favorites.








Monique and the Mango Rains is written by a peace corp volunteer who shadowed a midwife in Mali. Monique, the midwife, is 24, uneducated in the traditional sense, has no electricity or running water. This book was assigned reading to one of my old babysitters in college. She called me and said...I am reading a book you would love. I read it in a day. Eliza has now finished it as well as another girl at her horseback riding camp.








Year of Wonders, I read for one of my book groups. A historical fiction about the plague.













Scared may be an all time favorite. It is fiction but based on true stories. It takes place in Africa. It is haunting and riveting. I had to put it down so many times just to process the story of this little girl.



Any suggestions for July? Any good beach reads? While the list above is on the more serious side, I did not mention the 7 other books that were fun to read but not notable. (i.e Shopaholic.)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Building an Ark


No, seriously, we are. This ran in the Globe today. We need sun. July holds so much promise. for sun and more.

We are waiting for a court date. That means all the paperwork is sorted out. I will post more on this one day, just not yet. Quiet comfort knowing that we may be able to hold our little one soon. Praying that the court date is not elusive and that it is successful.

Andrew's team won at the USA Nationals Club Tournament and is going to Finals in Virginia at the end of the month. So much soccer.

Zach's team competes next weekend. If they win their national finals is in Florida same weekend. Sorry boys, I hope to be out of the country with your dad: )

I had the nicest albeit rainy day..... I got to play with these beautiful twins. Can't wait to add a playmate to the mix...


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

News!

We received news yesterday. All confusion cleared up. Now we move towards obtaining a court date and bringing little B home. As frustrating as the "weight of the wait" is, there are blessings that come from it. I truly believe that. I just want to get this beautiful child home. She is being loved and so well cared for. I do know that. She has an upper respiratory and ear infections and I think she needs to snuggle in bed, reading books, eating home-made chicken soup with her very own mommy.

Waiting for documents to be resubmitted for a court date :)


Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Happenings, Father's Day, and Waiting

Summer starts with a sort of whip-lash in the Morgan household. Like the roller coaster rides at Disney, we are fooled into thinking that we are coming to a stop when all of a sudden we are racing 60 miles per hour/ 90 degrees downward, stomach bracing, mind whirling, laughing and screaming.

Andrew started work this past week at a golf course. Starts at 5 in the morning. First day he shows up to police cars. A 21y old young man who just returned from Iraq went swimming on the golf course with friends at 2am and drowned. Ugh. A new way to worry about a teenager. He had a college id camp this past weekend. When I applied to college it was so much easier, I was not an athlete.

Eliza is off at horse back riding camp. First time she has been away at sleep-away camp. She went with her best-friend-might-as -well-be-her-sister. The house is quiet without her.

Zach had several end of school parties and starts basketball camp today.

Jason, I have decided is the honorary member to the children category. He and his friends did a man-vacation. They went to New Hampshire for a few days. They mountain biked on Thursday, and hiked the Presidential Traverse on Friday. What takes most normal motivated people 2 grueling days of upward and downward climbing they did in one day. Think waking up at 4am, StairMaster, level 15, 16 hours. Did I miss something? Why would you want to do that? Oh, and I forgot to mention, it was cold and rainy the entire time. Again, why? They had fun being able to say they conquered it. He is still walking funny.

Father's Day. We only had Zach with us. We went out to breakfast, church, lunch at our neighbors, MLS soccer game. I love the father to my children, even the one that is a world away. He is a gentle, loving man. He is the most level, calm, kind man, I know.

Adoption update. There is none. When you struggle with infertility, time becomes two week intervals (two weeks to try-two weeks to see). I am finding that life has become about the day of the week and the time of the day (Monday starts hopeful, Tuesday is the barometer for week, Wednesday and Thursday are the worst because I have figured out that I won't hear, Friday is the climb upwards again for the hope of a new week and maybe answers and movement.) Thank God for Moody because he helped me keep some of my sanity. He captured little B in video and pics. He tried so hard to get her to smile. One started to crack the surface but little B is sure head strong. I sent an email to Jessica on Thursday...it has been 4 weeks since our process took an alternate path. (I do think that God's hand is in it, but don't want to blog about it yet.) We know nothing more than that day-and that day we found out very little. A true lesson in trust and patience. Jason and I are amazed how Jessica's responses are always so sweet and understanding even when she has nothing more to tell us. Please, please, please, information and movement this week. Please, please, good news for this family.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Weight of the Wait


So, we find ourselves waiting again.  We wait for information.  We wait for a new court date.  We wait to travel.  It has been 3+ weeks since our file was pulled/closed.  We did get some information on Wednesday.  Something that I can wrap my mind around.

Will I ever get good at waiting?  I am improving.  I no longer sit by the phone waiting for it to ring.  I am not obsessing about charging my cell phone.  I don't check my emails constantly.  I am sure that once little one is home...I will forget the weight of the wait.  

Meanwhile, I am working on a scrapbook for little B.  One that has pictures from traveling parents and updates.  I can't get enough of her.  Like every parent, I think she is beyond precious.  I know, I know, obnoxious.  I carry her picture with me and pull it out at every opportunity.  I have bought books that I want to read with her.  I bought her a baby doll that I want to play with her.  I want to hold her little face in my hands.  I want to kiss the boo-boos better.  I want to play with the soft curls on her head.  Most of all, I want to see her smile.  I want to hear her giggle.  I want to see her amazement at the ocean.  Dreams stumbling over dreams for her.  (And could someone capture one of the smiles on film???)

In all, the weight of the wait is being shared with a friend who is amazing and also waiting.  But, I really want to go on a diet (read...I want the weight of the wait lifted).  



Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hair today, Gone tomorrow

Jason coaches a club soccer team.  He and the other coach and manager made a deal with the boys.  If they went undefeated the whole year they would shave their hair off.  Tonight they had to pay up.  Pizza and clippers at our house for a 10-0 season.  Great job boys.


Derek getting his locks shaved off.


Jason getting his new look.

This was the threesome before.

The boys got new shirts to commemorate their season.




Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A New Day

I think yesterday may have been my lowest point in the adoption process.  Jason talked to Jessica.  It has been two weeks since we heard that they were closing our file and figuring out some things (sorry for being vague).  We have not learned anything new from that  day.  We knew a social worker went to B's village and had returned.  That is all.  Yesterday, we found out they were sending another social worker back down.  

When-we don't know?  
Why-we don't know?  
What will our process look like-we don't know?
Will she be coming home to us-they are confident that she will. (How confident-we don't know?)

Before talking to Jessica, everyone seemed confident that we would be through in a month.  Now, Jason and I are less and less confident that we will make it through before the rainy season.  Yesterday, I was so:

sad-for us and for her (We miss her terribly, but we know she is being loved and cared for well.)
angry-at no one in particular
frustrated-by how long it is taking and the lack of information (I'm type A, researcher, crave information, planner)
spinning my wheels-cleared my schedule, taking no classes (I need a project)

Today, is a new day.  I woke up and kind-of kicked myself in the rear end.  Wrote in my journal.  Prayed.  Read some scripture.  It is amazing to me how strong my faith is when things are going my way but once things veer off the path (that I made) - wow, that faith falters.  (Need to work and pray on that).  I remembered reading something on my friend Em's page.  I went back to find it.  Reread it.  Do we let the circumstances of our lives determine the quality of our lives?  

I do.  

I let it determine my mood, too.  I let myself become preoccupied with the process and neglect the beautiful beings under my roof right now.  The one's that I can have an impact on today.  Also, my husband is better than I deserve.  He took me out last night to get my mind off the new news that there is no news and no promise of news to come this week or maybe next week.  Trust me I have not been the easiest person to live with, as of late.  Not that I am terrible.  Just not so much fun, kind of glum.  Today, is a new day.  I am not bringing my cell phone with me every where.  I am not checking emails, ad naseum.  

I am going to run the errands of a busy household.  I am going to the library to fill my mind with something other than the process of adoption.  I am going to stop feeling sorry for me, us, and for her.  I am going to continue to rejoice in the successes that the adoption community experiences (referrals, court date assignments, and court day passing).  I am going to continue praying for this beautiful girl who passed court and is still not home, and the families who have endured more than I have without whining who sit at the top of the infamous FBI list for referred families.  I am going to enjoy the snipits of information about our little girl that traveling families or a certain sweet orthodontist bring back.  I am going to enjoy her from afar.  I am going to thank God for having new friends in my life who understand and are so supportive.  I am going to trust that the plan He has for us is better than any that I could devise.  

A new day.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Staying Busy

We are so excited about all the families who passed court and are traveling to bring home their little ones.

We have been staying busy.  We have gotten no news, yet.  Jessica, our case worker, is and therefore, we are, hopeful.  We should learn more next week.  Probably Tuesday.  One of the hardest things for me is the time factor.  It will take close to two weeks to learn anything from the day we learned that we were not going to go to court.  This for someone who has check lists and likes to check things off the list! 

I am going to get involved in the Andrew's high school in their Global Education Initiative.  His school has very large community service requirements and they would like a component of it to be globally focused.  The same day I had a meeting at his school, I received a certified letter saying that he was failing his community service requirement.  I almost got in an accident reading it in the car.  Luckily, I took a few hours to call Jason who then called the director back. She was unaware of his trip to DR doing a medical mission.  Okay...all is well that ends well. 

Meanwhile, Eliza found this cute retelling of Princess and the Pea to add to our bookshelves.  The artwork is great.  
 I found this book to add to our shelves:


Again, I love the illustrations.  It also give a great explanations as to how the electoral college works for younger kids.

I also listened to a few of Dr. Purvis's videos.  She looks and acts so much like my mother that I have always enjoyed watching her.  I also love the way she explains attachment, discipline techniques, and so much more.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

No Go on Monday for Us

Not much more to say at this point.  I'll post when we have a new court date.  Sad, but hopeful.

Family Fun



We went to the game last night.  It was a beautiful warm night.  Hot Dogs, Soda, Cracker Jacks, Frozen Lemonades, and a round of Sweet Caroline.  The Red Sox won and Andrew was recognized for some of his community service.  What a nice way to keep our mind off of the court date...4 days away, or is it 3 days, 20 hours, 4 minutes, 17 secs...not that anyone is counting.

Monday, May 18, 2009

One Week for Court Date


*just regular craziness.  Willow is too good of a sport.

I can't believe we are one week away.  Time has taken on a surreal quality.  There are two parallel worlds.  One world is moving at warp speed, and one that seems to be moving as slow as molasses in January.
*Jury duty on Tuesday for me
*Andrew is being recognized on Wednesday by the Red Sox (at the game-kind of cool for Dad because he loves the Red Sox), 
*Thursday is first play date of the Junior UN (some very nice mom's who have adopted internationally) without our African delegate (little B)- all tongue in cheek
*Friday Andrew leaves for Maryland for College Showcase Tournament and Zach leaves for Albany for his tournament.  I am staying home with Eliza because I am not taking any chances with cell phone service.

So here's the big question...which I emailed to Jessica...with a court date on Memorial Day where no one is in the office, do we have to wait until Tuesday to find out if it was successful?  I might just leave the calm, cool, and collected demeanor for nutty, crazy, mother.  Actually, we are surprisingly calm.  

I have had dreams about B almost every night.  Some are funny, some not so.  In one it was about how I bought and brought all the wrong sizes.  I bought all newborn sizes for an almost 3 year old.  Another, was about how scared and sad she was when she met us.  I had a mirage of dreams when I was pregnant with Andrew, Eliza, and Zach.  I believe, it is my way of processing and coming up with strategies to help them coming home (newborn or almost 3). B is getting her own set of dreams. 

We got to write her a letter, again.  What a privilege these letters are.  We are able to send her a photo, also.  Writing the letter is try, though.  What do you write a 2 year old?  We have so much to tell her.  We have kept it simple, though.  Just letting her know that she has a family out there that love her and can't wait for her to come home.  This letter was about her bedroom and the big comfy chair in it that rocks and glides.  How excited we are to read books and sing lullabies to her in her big comfy chair.  We are praying that we will be able to tell her in person, by the next deadline.

**Almost forgot about the trip to the ER this weekend.  Cleaning out the attic (nesting, much), I knocked a piece of a "jumpy seat" down on Jason.  Right onto the bridge of his nose.  He needed 4 stitches.  He is an amazing man, though.  Had the roles been reversed, I would not have been so forgiving and kind to him.  He did not once curse, blame me, show any frustration at me, or be anything but calm and understanding.  Think I could learn a thing or two from him???  So the next time Jasper (100 lb Bernese mountain dog) steps on my foot, or the kids kick a soccer ball at me by accident, or I stub my own toe...I am going to try and remember how Jason responded : )



Monday, May 11, 2009

Two weeks until court, Mother's Day, Andrew returns

My Mother's day gift... the high chair.  I love it.  B will be able to sit up at the table with us.




B and Eliza's room. 


Saturday at my sister's house.  The cousins had so much fun together.  


**Two weeks until our court date.  I am trying to remain calm and prayerful.  Two weeks until we either go on a paper chase in Ethiopia for a missing document, or until we can officially claim B as ours.  We have finished her room.  We are packing her suitcase.  I am trying to stay calm and prayerful.  There are so many families that this court date has not been an easy hurdle.  As we are coming close to the date, I feel even more for them and wonder what court will mean to us.  One friend in particular passed court but has not been able to go get her daughter..  She writes so eloquently about it.  It is beyond painful.  Please offer her words of comfort, pass it on to Michele Obama if you are close to her, or better yet...if you are the head of the CDC... please reconsider.

Andrew has returned from the Dominican.  He was in charge of administering an eye exam, and finding glasses that suited the person.  He gave out over 200 pair of glasses.  He was amazed at how it feels to minister to others.  The day he returned, he said....I am going back next year and I am joining Peace Corp after college.  He had an amazing time.  One night when all the other people in his group retired... he went off complex and played baseball and soccer with the drivers.  They taught him one of their dances and he simply hung out with them.  They, as a group, saw approximately 1000 patients.  It does feel good to have him home safe and sound.