Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Well, we are home! Most of you know that..and have made contact with our new family. We are so humbled by the out pouring of gifts. We have been showered with awesome girl stuff, books, clothes, meals and so much more. Thank you very much.
We are going into our 2nd month in full swing. Both the girls are in school. Genet is actually taking a pre-school class 2 mornings a week. We are hoping that this will help her get up to speed. She also has kindergarten in the afternoons. She loves her teachers and is beginning to get the “hang” of doing school. She is learning to sit and move in a group. She is learning to count, sing songs, and recognize letters. Bizayehu is in 2nd grade and doing well also. She is learning simple math and her letters, colors, shapes and how to be a friend. Things are so different for these girls. While they may know much of this already. They know it in a different language and sometimes in a different context.
The days are full and overwhelming. It is more than just having 4 children. B and G need so much right now. While they have great receptive language, at times I feel like I am not understanding their needs. At times, I just smile and nod. Having B and G splits the time between Ben and Abel more than in half. Ben is pretty self reliant and autonomous with school and outside activities, but Abel still needs us hands on more…It is a huge challenge to not let his needs get lost in the shuffle. We all fall into bed at night exhausted and spent.
I have to say that I think that B and G are incredible. They are strong and brave. I don’t know how they do it everyday. I don’t know how they get up out of bed and trust us. I don’t know if they even get that this is forever, and not just another stop. They are generally good natured. They are busy, love to play with dolls, and to color, jump rope, play on the trampoline, they love the boys and want to jump on them all the time. Both the girls are adapting to our food well. They eat everything we do without a complaint. They do have preferences, like G-she loves Berbere..an Ethiopian spice that she put on everything! Our family has started to eat mangos after a visit to the store and them getting exicted about them. Again, I don’t know how they do it! I know they miss their own food, but they also love some of our American food too.
These first months have been challenging for us. I think that I romanticized adoption a little. It is not exactly what I expected, and I am learning to change my expectations. I have to say that I think that my challenges have more to do with me and my emotions than the girls. One thing we struggle with is G’s fits, or “storms”. We are not sure what exactly sets them off. They last from 20-30 minutes and are full of screaming and flailing. They usually occur at bedtime and she is back to normal in the morning. But, they are exhausting. We are on pins and needles waiting for the next one to happen. In my head I completely understand her need to vent. In my heart though, it kills me. I know it is hard for Tom, and Ben and Abel. It is draining and very emotional. I can go through them without emotion on the outside with G, but inside, it is hard. Afterwards, we are all spent. I think it is hard because this hasn’t been part of our lives before. We are not used to it at all. I joke that I am such a good mom when things are going good….but when things don’t, I sort of second guess my abilities and feel bad. ( update--these have gotten better... not sure why--not trusting that they are gone either, but grateful for the reprieve!)
I try to give myself a little break though..we haven’t been home even 2 months yet. I think our family will look vastly different in another 5 months. When the girls get a little language and can ask for help, or explain their needs better.
We went to the dentist the other day. The girls were awesome. They let the hygienist poke and clean their teeth. There has been some questions about G and her age. She is tiny-tiny. She doesn’t look 6 or act 6. So, we thought maybe she was really younger. Well, her 6 year molars are all the way in. So, she really is between 5 and 6. It is comforting to know this.
Anyway, for what we have undertaken I think we are doing well. Pray for us. Pray for wisdom, for patience, and for grace.
Things that are different in our home
1. We use a lot more toilet paper.
2. We go through boiled eggs like butter.
3. We have pink and sparkly shoes that clomp through our house.
4. We have more laundry and it is stacking up in various places around the house
5. I am slowly learning to do hair.I am resisting it though....
6. I find beads all over the floor.
7. Viggo chases G's light up shoes around the house.
8. I am behind at everything
9. B spoke her first complete sentence 2 weeks ago.
10. My house is a mess—all the time.
11. We go through a lot of food.
12. We are emotionally exhausted.
13. The girls are VERY VERY smart.
14. We think they really like being in a family.
I will be posting pictures and the story of my trip soon...when I can!
Monday, January 21, 2008
But...she met the girls and had them with her right then. She says they are very beautiful.
Heck, I'll just shut up and paste in the email she sent to me and our boys:
I am here! All is well, and I have the girls! They say hello! they look very cute in their new clothes...they are very cute. They are also very quiet. We go for a medical visa apt tomorrow and then probably to the Hilton for some swimming.
After a very long flight, I am feeling pretty good. I slept a lot due to Tylenol PM. I was very nervous, and still am. I wish you were all here. It would be a lot easier.
The sights here are incredible..extreme poverty right next door to grandeur. There is a lot of construction going on, and they do it mostly by hand, and with wood poles. I will try and take alot of photos...I can't even tell you how awesome and sad this is at the same time.
I am slightly terrified, but I will keep it together!
Please pray for Deb and our daughters! The girls are very shy so far--who can blame them? Pray that, in spite of their language barrier and their fear, they somehow connect deeply. I think this is harder for Deb than she imagined. Please keep her in your prayers.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Danielle also spent and afternoon with me compiling a similar set that will help us communicate. It has things like a picture of our car, to signify that we will be leaving, or their backpacks, to signify that we are going to school. They look cool anyway...who knows if it will help!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
As I was strolling through Target looking for ethnic Barbies...It struck me how hard it must be for families who have children of color. I just couldn't bring myself to buy a white Barbie for the girls' first Barbie from us. This is not to say that every one they have has to be their shade of beautiful, but really...I want to at least balance it out! These are the Barbies that I found. I had to get two of the same because literally--that is all I could find. Weird. Does anyone know where I can find an Ethiopian Barbie? Oh... and the make-up! Wow! At least they are wearing clothes that cover up. These are ballerina Barbies.
I am raw--
1. I am afraid of meeting the family of the girls.
2. I am afraid that they are going to be terrified of leaving with a stranger.
3. I am afraid that I won't be able to get their "blackness".
4. I hope that I can learn to do their hair.
5. I am afraid of their fear.
6. I am a little afraid of raising girls.
7. I am afraid that medical issues could come up.
Things I think I know that I am using to try to fight the fear--
1. God is with me.
2. I have a wonderful supportive husband
3. I have great boys who are kind and helpful.
4. I have friends who are waiting on the sidelines to help.
5. I think that I can learn to do hair---
6. I know some sweet girls who are excited for our girls to come.
7. In my head I know that any one of us could have medical issues.
8. I know others who have done this exact thing and they are making
I think I can...I think I can......
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
I was good at the beginning about getting back to all the emails that you have sent us...I am officially behind. The cool thing is that I have saved every one. The chronicle will be fun to show the girls as they get older. They will be able to see and understand the expectancy of all of you. I won't be able to respond much in the next few weeks, but please know that I cherish each email that you send. If you want specific info, I will, of course, respond to that!
Humbled and overwhelmed-
Thank you to all (Hillis Fams) who have sent me notes, bought us flowers, given us kid hangers...alot of them.
We have been the recipient of wonderful hand-me-downs from the Walle's and the Johnson's. I went through them in awe. There are clothes that will fit them now, until past size 14. We have clothes to start out each size that they grow into.
Susan and Jen took us out to Queen Sheba this weekend and treated us to an authentic Ethiopian meal. We had a wonderful time...the food was awesome.......I don't know how I (camera happy me) forgot to bring my camera. I did find a picture online from a family that went to ET and really...the food looked pretty much exactly like this.
If you notice that lining the plate is a bready thing. That is Injero. It is a traditional yeasty sour type bread that is eaten with the meal. Here is a picture of how it is made. I have been trying to scan in the wonderful letter that the girls sent us, but have been having problems. It was so cute.
Here is a portion of the front.
Here is the back.
There is sort of a theme running here....I wonder if the girls didn't really know what to say and resorted to Jesus! It was so precsious to get this on Christmas Eve. There were a few coloring pages also. I guess coloring is universal!
I will post again soon. Perhaps pictures of my packing adventure.
I will be leaving Seattle Jan 19th at 11:05P
arrive in Dulles at 6:48A Jan 20th
leave Dulles at 9:30A
arrive in Addis at 8:35A Jan 21st
I will be coming home Jan 25th leaving Addis at 10:15P with two girls
WHO HAVE NEVER FLOWN!!!!!
arrive at Dulles at 7:50A Jan 26th
leave Dulles for Seattle at 12:55 P
arrive Seattle at 3:45 p
If you look closely and do the math...you will see that I am going to be wasted...I am a little nervous about the almost 5 hour layover in Dulles. What am I going to do for 5 hours?????
cost for 2 visas~700.00
cost for week stay in Addis inclusive ~1500.00
cost for airfaire to Addis and back for me-1878.30
cost for airfare for Genet and Bizayehu to come home-2223.40
two little girls leaving Africa and coming to America where the only thing that these countries have in common is that they both start with an 'A'.--priceless
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
I love these pictures!
I can't believe that I will be the one taking pictures and delivering letters for other families soon!
As a waiting parent, getting those photos is what keeps you going. I can't wait to return the favor!
The other night I was in bed reading the packet of info for travel and I started to FREAK OUT!!
So, the next day, I went shopping. I am going on the idea that they are sizes 6 and 8. I bought most of what I need for them for travelling. I have to get everything! They do not come home with anything from Layla House. I have a few sets of clothes now. they are cute, but I needed to get easy travelling clothes...not gorgeous uncomfortable ones..THAT--I will save for when we get home. Thank you to all who are collecting their hand-me-downs to pass on. It will be so nice to not have to buy everything. It is a little mind numbing to plan all this...but I am a list maker, so I will make some lists!
We should be getting the travel costs and dates either this eve, or in the morning. I will post again with those figures. I am sure you will be interested as I am!
Freaking out in Tacoma...but oh so excited...DEB