Monday, December 29, 2008
Christmas eve was great, I cried as I put my baby girl into her perfect velour Christmas dress (pictures to come later today!) I had only waited a life time for that chance! Good times with our little family of six, eating our manger meal at home then over-stuffing the trailblazer with presents and people for the ride to nana's. Getting to nana's and settling in, snuggling the new baby from Seattle, watching Miss Sunshine hold court, watching the kids faces as they sorted through the gifts to be opened. Christmas day was wonderful too...great presents, good food, great time together...then it all went down hill starting with the sweet little one from Seattle, then his mommy, and on and on and on. We are still in the "throws" of the fun, with B sick, dad sick, mom feeling less than great, and the rest hanging on the edge. This seems to happen far too often over the holidays...these bugs that just keep on giving. So not the picture perfect holiday we all imagined. But we will remember it! So today, instead of cleaning and putting my house back in order, it will be a day of club crackers and sprite, sleep, mindless tv, and hopefully no one else juming on the band wagon.
I hope you all had wonderful holidays! I promise to post pics and wax a little sentimental when I am off cracker and sprite duty!!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
So anyhow...Meron's baptism was on the 30th. It was a wonderful day with Papa baptizing her, her brothers all in their ET shirts, and being surrounded by wonderful family and friends. We had a yummy brunch at the house after church and I was doing fine until I said the prayer before we ate. Thinking about the promises we made to her father in Ethiopia, and knowing how loved this child is did me in...luckily I was in great company.
Meron continues to thrive. She is so independent and is quickly changing from baby to toddler. She is sassy and sweet, cuddly and a little stubborn! She loves the kitties and follows them around talking to them. She can undo a display at the shop in the time it takes me to get the lights on and is maybe getting a little too comfortable at the shop...following customers around and chatting them up! She continues to be well attached and we continue to feel amazingly blessed.
I know you really don't care much about my chitter chatter...so without further adue, here are some pics!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Retail is really scary right now, but I know that I have to look beyond this economic crisis and stay afloat. I am determined to make this work...it has too. I was so close to profitability at the end of last year and now this year will plunge us back down. At least I am in good company! And I keep focused on the big picture...it is much happier!
Parenting is a challenge. I really struggle with complaining about parenting my precious toddler. I know there is a family on the other side of the world that would give anything to have the chance to complain about parenting her. I have been given this amazing gift and I never ever want to seem ungrateful, because she is such a blessing. But it is what it is and she is a bit of a pistol right now. She is teething, has a sinus infection and is on the brink of so many things developmentally that it is no wonder she isn't too happy. But it is that hard time, made harder still by adoption in that I am still getting to know her, to figure her out, and she is getting more comfortable and testing and pushing and learning to trust. And sometimes I forget that, forget that she hasn't always had me and I her...because it often seems that way.
I have this strange mentality that I wanted her so bad, really wanted it all so bad, that now I have to do it all, be all, take on all. Sort of like making your bed and lying in it. It is a great bed, and I love it, but there are days when I would love to just have time to wash the sheets. I am definitely the one that creates my own chaos, and I fully own that, but sometimes I have to remind myself that I am human and I can only do and be so much. In my life, I have always come out okay, it has always worked, my dreams and schemes have always kept me afloat. I hope and pray that trend continues...days like today, I wonder. A friend said to me this am, "You run on an energy that I can only imagine. At least you know God never gives you more than you can handle" Is God giving me all of this? Can I handle it? How much of all of this is my own doing? Did I not listen close enough? All I can do is have faith. Faith that I am listening and God is providing, and it will all work out.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
My faith, that has seen me through a year unlike any other.
My beautiful children, who brighten each and every moment of my life.
My husband who willingly comes along for the ride...and doesn't scream too much.
For the new place in my heart that is filled with the people and places of Ethiopia.
For the new friends I have made this year and the friends that remained steadfast.
For AMAZING parents whose love and generosity knows no limits.
For the chance to dream dreams and daring to take the risks to make them come true!
For all of my non-human kids...2 dogs and 3 kittens...who make me laugh and don't talk back!
For the opportunity to share the mundane, the wonderful, the ridiculous, and the mountaintop with each of you!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I must say however, that at 37 I have a lot more wisdom than I did at 27. At 27 I was a first time parent. Although I would love the energy I had at 27, parenting a toddler at 37 IS easier. I have a much better view of the world, my world and how the two mesh. What seemed soo important at 27 doesn't even hit the radar now. My values have stronger roots, my self confidence is much more about me than about how others see me, and I KNOW without a doubt that faith and family are the two most important things in the world to me.
So even though this day has been less then celebratory, I am thankful to be here, jumping with both feet into another year, blessed beyond measure to have the mileage of the first 37 years shaping the next 37!~
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
How can it already be almost Christmas? That is a question weighing heavy in the jello brain today. As a retailer, this season is more bah humbug than joy to the world, but I am hoping for my very own little Christmas miracle. If you have small independent retailers in your area...support them. There are no bail outs coming our way! My own little shop is at a bit of a turning point. My lease is up in a month and while I love my happy little spot, I wouldn't mind a slightly better location. I have 2 possibilities. One is way up there on the list and one I have yet to see. It will be a very interesting week as I need to make a decision. Add that to my little tsunami, few shoppers, 12 loads of laundry and the opportunity to turn 37 this week and I think I know why my brain is mush. Maybe I need that quiet 2am hour to get something done! Super woman I am not.
So now that you have read all that, your brain may well be jello too as you try to comprehend my scattered state! All I can say is say a little prayer for direction for my shop...shop your local retailers...and if you find the fountain of youth...let me know!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The ride to the care center was another feast for the senses. The streets teemed with people and goats and taxi's. What was blurred in the mist and weariness of the night before, now glared sharply in the bright light of day. The poverty was amazing. The poverty was devastating. The poverty was everywhere. And yet right along side it was life and hope. Smiling people, embracing each other. Men walking hand in hand...the bonds of great friendships so visible. Women dressed in beautiful bright scarves, with babies on their backs. It was these babies, peeking out behind scarves, rushing the van with hands outstretched, sharing a smile from across the road..these children, who touched the deepest part of my soul. I was adopting one child, taking one child from this amazing country and though I rejoiced in that, I prayed that these precious children who I saw at every turn, might thrive and flourish right where they were, and I mourned that my daughter would have no memory of her beautiful country.
All through the wait, I had tried to imagine the moment when I would finally hold my daughter in my arms and I couldn't. Even in the small hours of the morning, listening to the call to prayer drift across the city, I couldn't imagine how it was going to be to finally hold her. Would I cry, would she cry? Would it be everything I hoped for? Would she find comfort in us? Finally the moment had arrived. I was just so excited. So peaceful. So ready. She was standing in the window with the look I have come to know and love...the look that means pure joy. She was waving...I know she wasn't waving at us, but it felt like she knew...her life was about to start again. Walking into her room, my eyes were only on her and the moment that she melted into my arms, I knew that THIS child, the one I had prayed for, had asked God to hold and protect, whom I had carried so gently in my heart, that THIS child was perfect in every way. And I think she felt it too. We belonged together. Two lost souls, needing to find their missing piece, were now complete. Our connection was instant, which was amazing and had God written all over it. Sitting on the floor of the care center, falling in love with this amazing child, memorizing her features, taking off her shoes and socks to kiss her toes, finding that spot between her ear and her neck and kissing it until it glowed...these were the moments that I imagined in the dark places along the way...and they were so much better than I could have ever hoped.
Each time we left her and came back to her, I fell more and more in-love, and as we got more glimpses into her history and her time at the care center, I realized how long both of our journeys had been and it all made sense. Not sense in that she suffered huge losses and that her family had been through so much already, but sense in why the wait was so long, why the road seemed so steep. It was because this was the child that was meant to be in my arms.
Much more happened in Africa that I still am processing. It may take a life time of prayer, thought and reflection before I can fully integrate it. Leaving Africa felt much the same as leaving the boys had at the beginning of the trip. I was so ready to go home, and yet so sad to leave the country of my daughter's birth. We pledged to come back when she is old enough to get the most out of her visit, and I hope and pray that we will one day be able to fulfill that promise. Just as I cried tears of joy landing in Africa, I cried tears of sorrow to leave her. But there is no doubt that while I didn't have a very big impact on Africa, Africa changed my life.
As the ride East across the ocean had been serene and theraputic, the ride West was challenging and wonderful in it's own way. Each mile seemed to bond Meron to us and us to her a little more. We are seasoned parents, but picking up a little life, 1 year in, is a bit daunting. Anticipating her needs, reading her cues...all things we were on a crash course to discover. Little sleep was had by any of us, and it was a long a grueling ride, but I wouldn't trade those moments for anything.
Arriving at our home airport was the stuff of Hallmark movies. Exhausted, world weary travelers arrive with perfectly amazing daughter and all but collapse into the arms of waiting family and friends once home. That moment, coming down the escalator into baggage claim and seeing my babies still brings tears to my eyes. With Meron tightlly strapped to me in the Moby wrap, we crashed into the loving arms of her waiting brothers. There were cheers and tears, hugs and delight. We were complete. A family of six, surrounded by the love of friends and family. We were home, our journey complete...or our real journey just begun! (more again on life at home soon!)
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I never thought the adoption process would take such a toll on me personally. I had read the Complete Guide to International Adoption and had the steps laid out and our plan in place. As a family we had discussed the plans around the dinner table and agreed we were ready for the ride. However, I am not known for my patience and this journey pushed me to my very limits and then a little further. I loved being pregnant, loved feeling the changes, growing and glowing. I assumed that adoption would have a similar effect on me emotionally though not physically. Boy was I wrong. This adoption took a toll on my body..I gained weight, and put myself through some major emotional turmoil. Having no control over the situation was so so hard. I plan, I execute, I look back and evaluate. Only on this journey, my plans, my time line, my needs were at the bottom of the heap. It was really a struggle. It helped immensley to have our adoption forum where I could vent with people who understood. There were also a couple of friendships created from there that will be life long relationships. But overall, I had to let go and let God and I don't let go. I hang on fiercely with every inch of my being. God knows this...and always patiently waits for me to finally let go. The other really hard aspect is when you are pregnant, everyone is bouying you up, carrying you along. In adoption, unless you wear it on your shirt, no stranger is going to give you a knowing smile, ask when you are due, or regale you with advice you don't want. Adoption can be a really lonely journey. In the quiet moments of the wait, the emotions of this journey are overwhelming. Realizing you are wishing and praying for a child who will lose their family, their culture, and experience more pain and suffering in their tiny life than your whole lifetime of experience can comprehend can be excrutiating times deep with in your soul. And yet you do wish and pray and wait and dream. Who will this child be? What will she look like? How much longer do I have to wait? Will I get to the end of this journey and wonder what have I done? or wonder why I didn't do it sooner? And it was within these times that I got to know myself better, made some amazing friendships, and deepened the faith that sustained me through the process.
That moment when we got the call that we had waited so long for will forever be kept in a precious place in my memory. I had finally let go. I had cried, I had prayed, I had let go. And God was right there. Feeling my phone vibrate in my pocket, and looking to see the area code was a true epiphany for me. It was my very own Easter morning, the time of lost wandering was over and there was new life blooming in my heart. I will always remember the looks of joy and wonder on the faces of the boys as we met them at school and told them they had a sister, and gathering around the dinner table...our journey coming full circle, as we opened the picture of our precious daughter's face. Her journey to us was ladened with loss and tears, and her tiny little body showed the battle scars. But she was a fighter and we were going to be a family...she was coming home to complete us, and we would now be home to her. She was my daughter and I already loved her with a fierce and amazing love.
Then there was the call on a bright and sunny afternoon in June. I was happily painting the mural in her room, finally nesting and dreaming dreams with a real little person in mind. It was the social worker and my heart stopped. "Is it a good time?" There were medical complications. My daughter, a world away, with out a mother or father to comfort her. This brought me to my knees. Dear God, we have come so very far, hold her in your hands until we get to her. Keep her safe, keep her healthy. Another very lonely place along the road. We were facing a medical diagnosis we hadn't planned on, for a child we had never met, across the world in a developing country. Frantic calls to Dr's, and family, all the while praying for answers. God continued to hold us up, we let go, and knew that no matter what we would face, she was our daughter and we would take on whatever challenges presented themselves.
And then we got the news we could travel. We would be traveling with the family that had become so very important to us along the way. We would be traveling the week after school started...perfect timing for our family. Again...let go let God. The night we left was really really hard. I thought I would be fine leaving the boys behind. They were in great hands, they were settled into school, but I was traveling a world away. What if something happened? What if we didn't make it back? Would they really be okay? Hugging them goodbye rocked me to my soul. I tried so hard to be brave...not to let them see my tears...it was so hard. But then we were on the road. We were heading to our daughter. We had a day of travel to transition from life as we knew it to the life we dreamed of. The travel was easy, and surreal and perfect for preparing to fill my heart with all that Ethiopia had to offer.
When we touched down in Addis, the tears were back. A year long journey had finally reached it's pinnicale. I was going to hold my daughter, I was going to hold her country, I was so ready to stop holding so tightly to my dreams and my heart. Africa took my breath away from the moment I first saw it. We were treated with kindness and care from the moment we walked off the airplane. As we drove through the crowded city streets, through constuction, and a light mist, Addis pounded with vibrancy. New smells assulted my nose and my eyes danced with all they saw. It was all I had imagined and so much more. It was a kalidascope of poverty and beauty and color and chaos, of mud and human need, and joy and grit. It was gorgeous, and humbling and it took my breath away. How did I ever get so lucky as to have the chance to weave this amazing place into the fabric of my family? And it was only the beginning....(more tomorrow, I promise!)
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
I will be voting tomorrow...for Obama...for my kids, my kids kids, for the future. How wonderful to look into my daughter's eyes and tell her...yes honey, it is possible!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I had to force my thoughts to something else yesterday as the day was all about the kids. I hosted the halloween party in Z-man's class. As we were checking in at the school office, Miss Sunshine was getting lots of love. The secretary and I were talking about how much her brothers love her. She said that our boys are some of the sweetest, most well behaved, kind students she has ever had the priviledge to know..and she has been the secretary since the dino's roamed! She said,"do you realize what an inspiration your family is...in all you do and the kids you have raised? We all think you are quite amazing" Needless to say I was humbled. Then it was off to the class room, where I got the joy of spending 2 hours hanging out with some very cool 3rd graders.
After that is was back home, to create last minute costumes and get ready. Usually we order pizza...homemade this year. My eldest says "mom this is so much better than the ordered kind!" I decorated their faces with face paint and was told I was amazing. We loaded everyone up and began our trick or treat adventure, down the hill, ending at the HS for the section finals game for the football team. We have a wonderful neighborhood and it was so fun to be amongst the throng of tricker treaters. We got to the game, and found our "spot". We LOVE our football and even Sassy Spice is into it. The girl who should have been sleeping, was clapping and hollering right along with the rest of us. I counted 4 times that someone came up and told me what a beautiful family we have...again I was humbled. Our team won. We stuck around till the last players were off the field so my football crazy boys could high five the quarterback. This was the moment that made the night for all of us. The sweet HS quarterback, comes off the field and sees B, riding on his daddy's shoulders...his hand stretched out for a high five. He comes up and says..."That last touchdown, I threw that one for you!" and he high-fived all the boys. And I was a little teary. The world sucks right now. Our finances suck right now. Business sucks right now. But on a chilly fall night, a sweaty highschool seinor and 3 awed little boys, slammed everything into perspective. It is all about relationships. Raising good, solid kids who are secure in their family. It is about adding a child to our family that gives people pause, making them stop and think about blessings and opportunity and love. It is about being part of a community that cares for each other, and taking the time to put a smile on someone elses face. And it is about having a faith, deep down in your roots, that allows you to see what it is really all about.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Miss Sunshine did just fine with her MRI this am. She wasn't real happy when they took her away or when she woke up and we weren't there. But they were quick to bring her back to me and she was soo happy to see her mama. We will get a report in the next few weeks.
Here is a pic from the weekend...have ya seen two cuter babes?
Monday, October 27, 2008
1. I am constantly trying to decide what to be when I grow up. I am going to have to come back in so many lives to accomplish all I think I would like to try! (Broadway musical star, athletic trainer, pastor, aid worker in Africa, Christian singer)
2. I am a hopeless romantic and love to escape life as I know it in a cheesy book or movie.
3. Journaling and writing keep me sane, help me figure out where I am heading.
4. I never went to prom (and this still kinda ticks me off!)
5. I have a closet FULL of clothes that I don't really like.
6. There are 40 legs at our house right now (6 humans, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 2 kittens, 2 gecko's)
7.I have ALWAYS wanted a daughter...and I must say, I am now complete!
I tag whoever is still reading this blog...not sure if anyone is!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
We are all doing well. Sassy spice continues to thrive. Her cold is finally starting to clear up and she hasn't had nearly the coughing. It is so nice to have her feeling good. She is close to walking and has been scooting around with her walker all weekend. She got to meet her Seattle aunt and uncle as well as her new baby cousin this weekend. It was so fun to have the whole huge family together.
J was elected student body president this week at school. We are so proud! He continues to thrive and I am loving it right now because he is in a mom mode...I am still cool! Yay!
Sassy Spice has an MRI on Tuesday. She had some seizures when she was in care, and although well managed on meds, we are getting a baseline to see what might be going on. We are really not concerned as she is really thriving. I am not looking forward to her being sedated, but that is the choice we have for now. Keep her in your prayers.
I will try and post some new pictures soon. As for now, it is time for Brothers and Sisters and a tidge of ice cream!!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Baby girl is doing well. Still has a bit of a boogey nose, but we have found the joys of nasal spray and the boogie sucker!! She finally slept through the whole night all night, no wake ups!
As it is my day off, I best get off the computer and get something done! The zoo needs tending!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The other breakthrough today was no boogers and hardly any coughing. That is a first since she has been in our arms. Yay! She is thriving so much!
The kids have 2 days off for teacher conferences. I am feeling guilty that I didn't plan anything fun to do...guess they will just have to be entertained by their sissy. B and I have a date planned for tomorrow afternoon, he is needing a little mama time. Otherwise, it will be time to play in the leaves, maybe hike the nature trail, make pretzels...should be fun.
Silly spice is stirring in her crib, time to go settle her back down. I'll be looking for the bets on walking!
Monday, October 13, 2008
We have the newest Spice Girl and her name is Silly Spice. She came to this name sort of by default! We knew she had a spicy personality and she is very silly...so Silly Spice it is! This am she is jammin to Motown Love Songs, rockin in her rocker and trying to eat kleenex. Yum! Last night was the first night she has slept without coughing! Yay! Today she got to come and cut her first commercial with mom. She charmed the gang as usual. Mom is hoping the afternoon might hold a nice long nap, after a weekend of leaves and sandbox play, the floors need more attention than Silly Spice's knees provide!
We are adding to our family again in a few weeks...yes we are expecting....kittens!! Our wayward cat had one night of passion and for this we will pay. So we are adding to the 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 gecko and 4 children...anyone want a great Christmas Kitten?? We would love to share!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
We are experiencing baby development at warp speed. We have gone from slow crawling to fast crawling to pulling up to cruising all in 2 weeks. We also have words now...mama, dada, josh, zzzaa (zach) ahh-done, mmmmmm. She is soo stinkin cute. She is back on antibiotics to kick the resp bug that remains, we will be glad to have her existing without a cough.
On Friday, she had an MD aapointment related to some minor medical issues. Part of the intake was to fill out a very detailed form about her history. It really hit me for the first time how much we will never know about her life before us. It makes me sad for her and makes me realize how very important the bits and pieces we do have will be for all of us. It is hard to believe she has only been with us for 3 weeks...she just fits so well. We are so totally blessed!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tomorrow is crazy...3 boys to the dentist at 1, M to the MD at 2:30, social worker follow up visit at 5. Yieks! Somewhere in there I must do a smidge of cleaning too..I think I might need those wee small hours of the morning to get it all done. Have to say however, I am loving this crazy!
Back to work...
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Yesterday was the day of the belly laugh. She was hilarious and truly rolling on the floor laughing. She continues to blossom more each day and her spicy personality is wonderful. I do have one small bone to pick with her...if given the choice between a truck and a doll, 9 times out of 10, she goes for the truck! Darling girl, mama has already raised the truck brigade, it is time for baby dolls and pink frills...so just forget about those silly old trucks and play with this huge collection of sweet, cuddly dolls!! So help me if my precious princess is a trucker at heart!
We had a gorgeous day yesterday, perfect fall...and I didn't get to spend nearly enough time enjoying it. Too much laundry and work to do. Today is rainy and cool and really feels like a chilly fall day. We have family coming for the afternoon and decided to opt out of church. Too many new faces are still hard.
It is amazing to me that we have only been home 2 weeks, feels like months! We are finding our groove. Now if we can just get her to get up with the sun at 7 instead of the moon at 5!
Off to fold more laundry and maybe even take a shower...now there is a novel idea! happy Sunday!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
If you listen really closely, you will be able to hear the da-da-daa-da-da-da, da-daa-da-da-da-da circus song playing in the background. Yes ladies and gentleman, children of all ages, my life is a circus. I can juggle bottles filled with a mix of Ethiopian and Similac formula, while changing a diaper, dispensing amoxicillan, talking with the DFL, and letting the dogs out. I can bake apple pies, while correcting home-work, getting baby toys from the dogs mouth, and changing outfits on a poopy baby. (and no, there is no poop or dog slobber in the pie) I am so stinking incredible, I amaze myself! Okay, or maybe I am really sleep deprived and a little shell shocked by the way my world is happily upside down. I also am wearing my nurse hat again, in my very own hospital...J has some horrilbe strep throat with mouth ulcers and has been home from school since Friday. The babes is running a temp since Monday, but stays quite happy so I don't think it is too serious. Above the kitchen sink is my very own dispensary...amox, phenobarb, magic numbing mouth wash, zithromax, tylenol and motrin...and about a zillion med cups. I am praying that J dog is well enough to go back to school tomorrow for at least 1/2 a day. I need to go shopping for this daughter of mine. Most of the clothes I squirreled away during the wait are too small and too summery. Who'd a thought she would come home needing 12 month clothes! I also really need to get out of the house, to somewhere other than the clinic or the pharmacy. and oh yeah, I think I run a business too...I should maybe get back to that too! At least now I can add Ring Master to my ever changing resume!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Waking up to sweet sounds in the crib next to me, with a tiny girl, eyes full of awe that I am still there.
A morning ritual of making up bottles to last through the day and sharing my cup of coffee and paper time with a bowl of mush oatmeal and the squeals of delight from sunshine.
Sitting on the carpet in the living room, playing with toys or playing the kiss and crawl game...(I have NEVER sat on the living room rug before.)
Collecting stray socks all around the house, which has always been normal, but now there are some cute pink lacy ones thrown in the mix.
I can spend an entire afternoon just rocking her while she sleeps, and the laundry and the bills, and the kitchen dishes will wait.
Learning the many faces of sunshine. What means happy, what means sad, what is a fake cry, what is a real cry, what means I love you.
Watching the boys as they love their sister with an unconditional, boundless love that just seeps out of them.
Finally feeling complete. Granted there is debt to our eyeballs, it is a horrible time to own a small business, we have one kid down with strep, and the laundry for 4 children is endless, but I don't care. I am complete. My family is perfect, and I fully intend to relax and relish the new normal.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Welcome to America sweet girl...we are now going to expose you to American Medicine...complete with 4 shots, 2 vials of blood, a chest x-ray and a sparkly pink bracelet to make it all better.
Miss Sunshine had her "welcome home" physical today. She did very well considering. She is on the US height and weight charts which is exciting in and of itself! Granted she is only in the 5th percentiles, but she at least made the charts! The MD was incredibly pleased with her attachment, her development, and her overall charming personality! She put her on Zithromax to clear up whatever resp bug still remains...but felt she was doing very well, one week home! We got to hear her cry louder and longer than ever before, which in a weird way was okay too. Overall she continues to thrive, and we are seeing more and more of her sweet spirit every day!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Mom and dad are adjusting pretty well too. Other than a bit of a lack of sleep and a house that may not be clean for several more years, all is well. It is a bit of a shock to the system to go back to the baby stage after being away for 5 years. When we ventured to Target, we forgot a storller and had to figure out what to do with a sleeping baby. Our learning curve is high, but it is coming back quickly!
I really haven't had much time to focus on the trip and all that happened. I am looking forward to having time to process sometime in the next weeks and months.
Here are a couple more pics of Miss Sunshine!
Monday, September 22, 2008
It is 6 am. After a very good night sleep, I am ready to go! Today we get to bring Meron back to the guest house for the morning. I am so excited to have her all to ourselves for a few hours and see how she is with us in unfamiliar surroundings. We didn’t get to see her yesterday as we traveled south. That was really hard because once we were back, I so wanted to give her some extra hugs and kisses.
I am in love with Africa. It is not an easy place. The level of poverty is mind blowing and has rocked me to my core. However, the spirit here, the tenacity and the genuine love for life are what make it so amazing. I especially love the children. As we traveled south yesterday, our bus was greeted by children in every town we passed through and when we stopped in Hosanna, we were surrounded by children wanting their pictures taken and then to look at them on the camera. I would love to spend more time here actually seeing more of the day to day life. Our trip is very focused and we are definitely catered to, which is hard and helpful all at the same time. I can see so much out the windows of the bus and experience it all from a distance, but would love to have the time to really sit down and talk with people, hear their stories and their dreams, It is because of this that I know I will be back to Africa to do more, to experience more, to learn more. And somehow in my life back home, I will do something for the children of this country, because they have touched me in a way I cannot easily explain.
A little more about Miss Meron. She is so very snuggly and whether or not she has figured out who we are, she is definitely attached. When we have been with her she has wanted to be held and to stare into our faces and touch our hair.(she has loved running her fingers through my hair and rubbing Eric’s beard.) She doesn’t want to explore too far away from us and will scoot to get a toy, but come right back. She LOVES looking outside and waving. We are anxious to take her outside today. We stood by an open window on Sat and she got the sweetest expression and reached out to touch the air, joy all over her face. The only time we have heard her really cry is when we had to put her down to have her diaper changed by the nanny. She didn’t like that one bit! Otherwise she has been very mellow so far. I am sure the other shoe may drop, but it sounds like she has adjusted well so far with her transitions, so we hope this will be the same. We’ll see how today goes, away from the familiar, and just with us. I can’t wait!!
The morning was a joy! Meron Shita was so fun to be with. We loaded the bus and headed to the care center. When we got there Ato Girma said “Go get them and come right back “ So we headed into the care center. Meron Shita was standing in the first crib by the door and got a huge smile when we walked in! I scooped her up and she snuggled in for a kiss. Then we said goodbye to the nannies and headed outside. She LOVED being outside and giggled and smiled a ton. We loaded back on to the bus and she took her spot on my lap looking out the window. She liked sitting in my lap, looking at dad the best. She was sweet and chatty and very snuggly. We came back and came to our house to bond. It was sooo nice to have her all to ourselves without anyone else around. She was very chatty and playful, and had fun with all the toys. We got her to take a bottle which was a huge relief. We gave her just 4 oz to start so as not to waste any formula. She downed it and wanted more! So dad made another 4 oz which she also downed. She crawled around some and snuggled more. It was a great start! It started to pour rain right about the time we needed to go to the other guest house to eat. We bundled her up in the moby and a rain jacket and hat and headed out. Ato Girma met us with umbrellas. On the quick walk over in the rain, she fell sound asleep. When we got the house, the nannies where waiting there to feed her. They took that sleeping baby and tried their hardest to wake her up…ending up splashing her head and feet with cold water! She did wake up and they quickly fed her her soup. Then it was back on the bus to the care center. As we were leaving, a car pulled up and said they needed Shita for her embassy medical exam, so I handed off an almost asleep child to a nanny who took her away. Kinda strange, but the last time we will have to part.
In the afternoon, we toured the Sipra MCH center. It was amazing to see all they are doing without much to work with. Then we toured the CHSFS school. It is a beautiful schoool and Eric and I made a commitment to send them supplies etc. Then we went to the ET history museum. For a non museum loving girl it was not too exciting, but it was quick. Then we faced a very long drive through insane traffic back to the guest house. After a great dinner of pizza, we came back to our guest house to pack up for tomorrow. We get the kids right away in the am, and then we go to the Embassy. It has been a long time since I packed a diaper bag…but so fun. We cleaned up our room and got all the baby gear arranged…cause tomorrow baby girl is ours!!!
Didn’t sleep well last night. My brain was torn between home and here. I am really missing the boys today. I need to hug them and inhale their scent. I miss then so very much!
Today I become a mother to 4. WOW! I am looking forward to having the next two days to focus on Meron and figure her out a bit more before we hit 17 hours on a plane together!! It is Embassy this afternoon and then she is ours!!! Can’t wait!
It is6 am, and I am watching my sweet pink-footie pajama’d girl sleep. She is perfection! Yesterday was a long day, but wonderful all the same! The Good Bye ceremony at the Care Center was wonderful. She was very, very loved! She was brought to us dressed in a traditional dress in blue and white with a big bow on her head. She immediately searched us out andzeroed in as soon as she saw us! She knows we are hers! After the party, it was a quick lunch then off to the Embassy. It was crowded, but went off without a hitch. One more step done! We were able to confirm flights and reserve a bassinet for the way home. that will be a huge help! After all the running around, we came back and just hung out. She pooped out of her first outfit, had a bath, pooded out the next outfit, had a change, then snuggled into sleep. She woke up for a bottle, took it,then fell back asleep and is still sleeping now! Wish I could say the same for myself. I think I heard every wiggle, cough and turn she made all night!
We are hoping to hire a driver later today to go and finish shopping. Can't come home empty handed! We'll prob also start to pack because tomorrow we go home!!!
How can I be so in love already?? Little miss continues to be amazing. We have had a few good cries...she has a horrible diaper rash and diarreah which isn't helping! But, after a few good snuggles she is great. She started saying mama today...she has had daddy down pat since the get go. She is so fun, animated, andsilly. She is going to have so much fun entertaining those boys at home!
We are almost packed. Meskala is ready to clean the room, so we need to move the suitcases out. We are hoping they are all under weight! I am hoping I have enough outfits saved out for little miss...we are big on blow outs! Also seems to have helped that we moved up a size in diapers...thank goodness for the left behinds of other travelers!
This is prob the last post till we are home, then I promise pictures!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
It is just after 5 am. The call to prayer is echoing and the birds are just starting to sing. I was so tired last night that I went to bed at 8, so now at 5 I am ready to start the day. Today will be another full one. We start at 9 at the office then head to the care center. Today we have a team meeting and get to meet with everyone one who has been caring for Meron until now. We will get to see video of her time here as well. This afternoon we will go to AHOPE (another orphanage) and then do some shopping. This evening we are going to venture out with John and Melanie and go to Metro Pizza for dinner. It will be great to get out and walk the streets some. Other than the walk from this guest house to the one that serves meals, we pretty much have been confined to the bus.
We have a very large group this week. Lots of families have brought their children with and there are some other relatives along as well. Meal times are very crowded, and the bus is full to overflowing. The long ride to Hosanna will be interesting. Although we miss out on some of the comradery of hanging out with all the families in the bigger guest house, it has been really nice to have the chance to get away to our own quiet spot. And I think it will be esp nice once we have Meron here with us, less overwhelming!
Well, she is perfect! We had a wonderful first meeting. She was standing in the window waving when we came into the care center. Then we came up to the room she was in and she was all smiles and waves. She is very petit, and oh so sweet! She has long eye lashes and the sweetest little dimples. She is pretty attached already to mom and she is getting to like dad's beard. She is very snuggly and likes to look out the window in her room. We got to spend almost 2 hours with her in the morning and then went back this afternoon. She was very happy to see us come back. We are quite in love and can't wait to have more time with her tomorrow! She definitely wanted to only be with us, and didn't want to be put down or be too far from us. She has a bit of a rattley cough and several of her room-mates have had pnemonia we are praying she stays healthy! She loves "sammies" kisses and giggles when you kiss her feet. We got to feed her this morning. She had a BIG bowl of a thick creamy soup. She chowed most of it down. It is amazing to watch the nannies feed and care for these kids. They truly love them. She doesn't have very strong leg muscles yet, so that is something we will work on. But boy can she snuggle! She just sort of melts into you! She seems younger than 1 to me and definitely still feels very much like a baby. I have a hunch she will flourish with a lot of love and attention.
It is just 6am. The grey light of dawn is just beginning to shine. It is raining lightly. The air is full of bird songs, barking dogs and the call to prayer. It is quite beautiful. I have been awake since about 4…just too excited to sleep any longer!
The flight over was relatively easy. Long, and a bit cramped, but a very smooth flight. Landing and getting through customs was easy and quite pleasant. We Americans could use to learn a few lessons in kindness from our African friends!
We met up with 5 of the couples we will be sharing the week with. There are only 3 of us adopting babies, the rest are adopting older children. We are a diverse group, and it will be fun to get to know each other better.
The drive to the guest house was amazing. Addis proved to be a very vibrant and dynamic city even in the dark of night in the rain. It was a wonderful assault on the senses as we navigated bumpy roads, dodged people and cars, and watched so many sights all around us. I think for me it was love at first sight!
Our guest house is wonderful. We have a nice room with a balcony. We are in the older guest house which is around the corner from the main one. There are just 3 families staying here, along with 4 volunteers who are new college grads, here to teach English. We got unpacked and settled in quickly, then it was time to sleep.
I slept great until about 4am, when the excitement over rode any practical reason to stay asleep. I will meet my daughter in a few short hours. I will finally hold her in my arms, kiss her sweet cheeks and inhale her smell. My almost 2 year journey is almost done, and the adventure of a lifetime is just beginning!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Our trip went well. We arrived in Addis about 8:00 p.m. last night and had no problem getting through the airport - visas, money, and customs. We checked into the smaller of the guest houses and are sharing it with two other couples and four college-age volunteers who are here long term. During the night we heard lots of barking dogs and then at 5:00 we heard the Muslim call to prayer. We got some sleep but everyone was awake around 4:00 a.m., so we chatted and anticipated the day ahead.
We are now getting ready to go meet Meron. I can't stop grinning, my tummy is tumbling with butterflies, and my heart feels like it might burst in the next couple of hours.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
We came in under the weight limit on all four bags and no one challenged the weight of our carry ons. Off to Washington DC and Dulles Airport. We took a very deep breath once we were airborne. It is real. We are really going. Baby Girl, here we come!
We arrived on time at Dulles, met John and Melanie and had a wonderful pizza dinner with lots and lots of conversation (big surprise!) We called home and talked to the boys and Nana - everything is going well there - so we are off - missing our boys but knowing they are having a grand time.
We will arrive in Addis about 11:00 a.m. Thursday morning your time. With a heart full of anticipation .....
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
We got the social report today and wow is she perfect!! She is just beautiful and is supposedly the sweetest and most calm baby in the bunch ! She is not walking yet, but loves to crawl around and bang toys on the floor. I am sooo excited I can hardly stand it!
We give kisses and hugs to everyone and will post soon! I am off to finish the last minute packing etc!
Monday, September 8, 2008
Tonight we are going to finish the packing so tomorrow can just be for last minutes. I have a hunch there might be lots of those!
I am making a promise to try my hardest to blog while we are in ET. The internet is a bit fussy, but I will try my darndest to keep everyone posted about everything going on. My mom will be posting for me, so she may add a little editorial comment here and there as well!!
As for our return, we are going for a small contingent at the airport. We don't want to overwhelm this poor girl...and we will have been traveling for a dog of a long time and will be soo very anxious to see our big kids! I promise to share the moment in the blogosphere!
Once we are home, our number one job will be to integrate Sunshine into our family, and help her come to trust and know us as HER family. To that end, we will be the prime care-takers for quite a while. Initially, we will be the ones to hold her, change her, bathe her, feed her etc. We won't be leaving her with sitters, or putting her in the nursery. We have to revert back a ways to that newborn stage, meeting her every need, developing a strong attachment, nurture will be kicking in to high gear, as we get to know her nature! We would love help with the big kids, meals, etc. But know we aren't trying to keep any of you from loving on sweet baby girl, we just have to teach her who her family is!
It is really real..the reality of all of this still hasn't completely sunk in. Wonder when it will??!!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
We are almost packed. Now we play the suitcase shuffle and get all the suitcases under the 50lb weight limit. The next two days are going to FLY by. Tomorrow there is lots of shop stuff to finish up as well as a little more house to clean as well as a grocery run and a trip to the MD to get my final shots (oops, forgot that I guess!) Then it is our last night at home. I still get pretty teary thinking of leaving the boys, but I am soo excited to see Meron. I know once I am on the road I will be fine.
Okay, lots left to do before I sleep. More on what you can expect from ET tomorrow!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
I was hoping to be done at work today, be able to walk out, confident all was great. Wouldn't you know it, the credit card machine decided to have a permanent error. This is not a good thing in retail! So needless to say, I will be chasing that around tomorrow. Yieks.
Home is good, packing is going pretty well. Still no social report, which is kind of disappointing, but we have a few days left. (holy crap...we only have a few days left!)
Tonight we are taking the evening off, and enjoying the HS football game, (cross-town rivalry tonight!) getting a good nights sleep, then hitting the ground running, and I think running until we head out of town on Tuesday night. Yowzers....time is gonna fly!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The 3rd grader had a tougher time, with a few tears in his eyes. Not uncommon for my sweet, sensitive one. But he put on a brave face and went to join the big kids on the playground. The 5th grader had planters warts treated last night. He was hurting this am. I felt soo bad for him, because he was trying to be the ultra-cool 5th grade dude, and he was really hurting. We're hoping the motrin and mole skin kicked in!
After hanging out with the other rather despondent mommies on the the playground until we really did start to look foolish, I headed to my car and lost it! I had my Sunshine Adoption mix in and it was playing Child Of Mine by Carol King. Boy did that start the water-works. I didn't think it would be so hard today. But B-man and I have been joined at the hip since he was born. He has been my side kick, my right hand man, my snuggle bud. Last night as I tucked him in, he reached up for one huge hug. "Mom, we better snuggle good cause tomorrow there won't be time" Oh little man, there will ALWAYS be time for snuggles.
The excitement of all that is to come is building every moment. Hoping for a social report in the next day or two...today is one of my last days at the shop for a bit. Needless to say, my mind is elsewhere this day...in Africa, in Roosevelt Elementary...with ALL my babies!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
We had a pretty good weekend. Sat was get stuff done here, Sunday was church and a trip out of town, Monday, I was out with some sort of tummy bug. I am praying no one else gets it! I laid low all day and feel much better today. Just glad it was this week and not next.
It's a big week. E started classes this am. Tonight is teacher conferences, tomorrow, our youth choir at church kicks off, Thursday school starts and my baby goes to kindergarten, and then it is the weekend again! And amongst all that, I have to work, finish packing, and start cleaning...this week is going to fly by!
Nothing much more to share yet. We are hoping for our social report on Sunshine, full of pics and her likes, dislikes and schedule. I can't wait to see some new pics...hopefully a smiley one!!
Off to conquer the day!!
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
I am finding myself in an interesting place. I still can't let go and imagine all the moments that lie ahead. I can visualize saying goodbye to the kids (and crying), waking up at my in laws and getting ready for a full 24 hrs of traveling. I can imagine the plane ride, meeting John and Melanie at the airport, hanging out in Dulles, pacing the narrow walkways on the airplane, high above the ocean below. I can even imagine landing in Africa, the smell, the unfamiliarity. I can imagine getting to the guest house and settling in to our home away from home, unpacking and making it feel like home. I can imagine not sleeping, although fatigue will plague me...and this is where it ends.
For the many years I taught childbirth, I always encouraged my couples to imagine themselves in labor, what they were doing, how they were coping. It helped with the uncertain-ness of all that was to come. I think that is what I am trying to do, but I just can't. I get to that point and I just freeze. Am I really still protecting my heart? Is it just such an overwhelming experience that I can't go there yet? I don't know...I am hoping as each day gets closer, I can imagine more, and try and prepare myself, even just a tiny bit, for all that is to come!
Friday, August 29, 2008
I loved watching the speech last night, esp when the lenses of the cameras focused on Michelle and the girls. His daughters are beautiful and I couldn't help but think how wonderful it will be, as my daughter is growing up, to have a family that looks like her, heading our country. It gives me goose bumps still.
On another note... have your notices how adorable my daughter is???? I just fall in love with her more each day, and in less than 2 weeks, she will be in my arms. I love you sweet baby!
It is the last weekend before school starts. Alleluia! It is time for those who fight like cats and dogs to go have their minds stretched a bit, and not live on top of each other, but be seperated by the hallowed halls of education!
Off to pretend I am working! In reality, I am totally already on that plane to Africa!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
On the plus side, I think I am just about packed. I sorted back through Sunshine's suitcase last night and shifted things around a bit, then started in on my stuff and except for 2 things I need to wash, I think I am there. That is a great feeling! E made his packing list last night, so that was a relief as well. We are taking one suitcase from the agency full of their donations/necessities, and a huge suitcase of donations from our church. Then two more suitcases with a mix of our stuff. So far so good.
Today is yet another run to Target...gotta get the cipro filled, and see if the car seat we are waiting for is in yet! And maybe a few more of those adorable travel size deoderants...oh yay, I need some sleep!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
We fly out of Mpls at 1:15 and arrive in DC at 4:45. It looks like several of the families we will share the week with are on the Ethiopian Air flight so that should be fun! Anyway, John and Melanie are going to meet us at our gate and then we are going to grab our last American Meal, then board the plane to Addis. We have a fuel stop in Rome, then continue on to Addis, arriving at about 7pm Addis time (8 hrs ahead of CT). We will be met at the airport by a rep from the agancy. Once we purchase our Visa's and get our luggage, it is off to the care center. We are staying in the smaller more traditional of the two guest houses. I guess there are 3 families total in this house and we walk to the other house for meals etc. Thursday night we attempt to sleep and get ready to meet Miss Sunshine.
Friday moring we have breakfast at the care center and then have a brief orientation at the main office, then head to the care center to meet Sunshine. They do not allow camera's in the care center, but they will video tape the first meeting for us. We get to spend about an hour with her and then return to the house for lunch. Then we get to go back and hang out with her for a bit longer in the afternoon.
Saturday, we spend the morning learning more about our sunshine. We will get time to hang out with her in the care center and love her up! After lunch, we have a chance to shop and exchange our $$. We have the option of going to a hotel buffet at the Crown Hotel. At this point we are thinking of skipping that event as the next moring is really early..we'll see how it goes.
Sunday we get up at 5am and travel south of Addis to Hosanna to meet sunshines birth family. We are hopeful we will meet her father. We spend 3-4 hours in Hosanna, seeing the orphanage she came into intitally, meeting family and experiencing a different part of the country. Then we board our bus and return to Addis. We will not see sunshine this day.
Monday we get to go back to our girl and I think bring her back to the guest house for a while. The afternoon on Monday we see some of the humanitarian projects in the area as well as a museum.
Tuesday Sunshine is all ours! There is a going away ceremony in the morning and then we have our Embassy appointment in the afternoon. After that, she is in our care forever. YEAH!!!
Wed and Thursday are spent in the guest house, getting to know our girl and settling into the routines of parenting a baby again. Thursday we leave for the airport arounsupper time for our 10pm flight home. We arrive in DC on Friday am at about 9am and go through immigration and customs. Then we hang out in the airport....until our flight home at 5:15. It will be a very long day of traveling, but we will finally have Miss SUnshine...so it won't matter!
We return to the Mlps airport about 7pm. We welcome friends to meet us at the airport, but know that we won't be passing sunshine around and the main focus will be uniting our whole family. We will most likely be rather strung out and loopy as well.
So now that I have typed all that, I am so excited I can hardly sit still. It is going to be here in the blink of an eye! Yipee!!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
So little man took a horrible spill last night. I was sitting in the dining room, working on adoption paperwork (imagine that) when I heard the B man crying. His oldest brother was sitting next to me and said, oh he sounds mad...but the mama in me knew he was sounding hurt, not mad. Sure enough, after tripping on a floppy croc, he skidded along the street, head and nose first. He was quite a mess. Today he is sporting a very nice goose-egg, with a huge raw patch, as well as a huge skid mark down his nose. Last night he didn't want to look at it, so this am when he finally looked in the mirror, he was pretty shocked! His comment was he looked like humpty dumpty. And wouldn't you know school pictures are next week. Oh well, it will be one to remember! He is getting a lot of milage out of it...and was pretty convinced that since it still hurt this am, he should really have a cookie for breakfast. Not sure I see the correlation, but you can't fault him for trying! Once I find the camera, I will share his owie with all of you. In the mean time I am going to enjoy the extra snuggles he wants this am...and be thankful it wasn't a lot worse!
Monday, August 25, 2008
I am a very passionate person and I know myself well enough to know that this journey will shake me to my core, and that at that core is something so precious and wonderful and fragile, that I will want to take it and grow it and nurture it, right then..but I have to face the reality that I have to return to my life. I fear that returning to my life of material things, my boutique, my rambling old house, my mundane day to day, isn't going to be enough. I know there will be more to do. How do I get there? I am pretty locked into this life I have created thus far, but I can look back and see the roads I have traveled to get where I am and I know that this particular journey brings with it so much more. God's got a great plan in all of this, and I am scared, scared that I will want to jump, scared I won't be able to jump, and believing at my very core that I have more to do...this journey is just the beginning...but where do I go from here? Can a single trip to Africa really change my whole life? I think it can, I think it will, I am scared, I am excited, and I am ready.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
The list of what to conquer is pretty long today and tomorrow. We'll see how far we get. E heads back on Monday, so it is kind of now or never for a few projects. By the end of the weekend we hope to have the trim painted in the back porch, a new screen door installed, the 10 year olds room cleaned (that could take a life time!) the garage clean enough to actually park a car in, a few pieces of furniture moved around, and about 8 loads of laundry done and put away. Not to mention I have to work this aft, we sing with the worship band on Sunday, and E needs to spend some quality time with his classroom. Yieks...I think I am tired already! But it is a joyous tired. We are getting soo close to so many wonderful things...
Okay, now that I am having a slight panic attack about the above list, I am logging off and getting my rear in gear!!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
1. Imagining the moment I leave B at the kindergarten door, and have a whole week ahead of me with three in school, none with me.
2. Figuring out how to say goodbye to the boys when we leave to travel. Kissing their sweet heads, breathing deeply enough to carry their smell with me to Africa and back.
3. Arriving at the airport in Dulles, meeting Mel and John, our journey mates, and having it hit me that we really are going!
4. Landing on the ground in Addis
5. Finally smelling Africa
6. The moment we ascend the steps to the care center and walk into the room to meet our daughter. Then finally we can hold her, smell her, kiss her, make her smile, and hear her voice.
7. Meeting sunshine's family in Hosanna, and the moment we connect in our love for this child.
8. Saying goodbye to the nannies who have loved and nourished her for the past 4 months.
9. Leaving Africa, our daughter's home, but being ready to be home.
10. 8 hours in the Dulles airport (these are tears of fear!!)
11. Arriving home in MN, coming down the escalator in baggage check and FINALLY having my family all together! Holding all of them
12. Seeing J, Z, B loving on their long awaited sister
SO as you can see, it just takes a momentary ride down the ole imagination trail to get the tears flowing. Happy tears...dreaming tears...mommy tears.