Wednesday, June 06, 2012

8 Weeks Home

We have officially hit the two month mark. Could it be that it’s only been 8 weeks? The agony of the adoption process feels like it was forever ago. Interestingly my annual physical revealed that my blood pressure level dropped from 130 to 120. The stress of adoption process is no joke. I literally can’t express how nice it is to be on this side. He’s home, he’s home! Hip hip hooray!

Forming – storming – norming. Those are the three steps of group change. During the forming stage, everyone is happy and all is well in the world. The next stage, storming, occurs when people stop being nice and start being real – oh wait – was that tag line from “The Real World” – MTV’s reality show? Once you get past the ugly storming stage, you hit “norming” – where everyone figures out how to live together, preferably peaceably.

I am not sure if we’re still at the forming stage or if we’ve gone through a mini-storming and have reached norming. People tell me it takes about 5-6 months for everyone to reach norming. We haven’t had much storming – I think the kids are all “adjusting” – but I wouldn’t call it a full blown storm.

B is doing amazingly well. He is happy and loving. We continue to feel completely blessed to have him in our lives. That’s not to say that there haven’t been tears – but they are expected…and probably a healthy part of this process. Overall, he is smiling, funny, and goofy and fits in perfectly with the other three maniacs we call our children. He also fits in perfectly with his four wacky cousins. While I hesitate to paint too rosy of a picture by calling it a love fest, it is pretty darn good.

He is getting along well at school (except for the many girls that keep batting their eyelashes at him) – ahem. There was an unfortunately incident where he accidentally agreed to “date” a girl who turned out to be bisexual – but it only lasted 1 day (when he found out about her past, he decided he wasn’t interested after all). I think there were some lessons learned there – and maybe it reinforced that fact that mom was right (about waiting to get involved with girls) – which was a good lesson.

Every day he is learning and taking in so much. He is both 5 and 25. Sometimes I forget how much he doesn’t know – and then he’ll say something and it’ll remind me that there is a whole aspect of life or living in the US that we haven’t even explored yet. My goal for the next month is to master the topic of money. ..speaking of which – he is a spender – the minute he gets money, he immediately wants to spend it. There are a billion lessons I feel like I need to teach him about money. From coins to gift cards to saving, to tithing, to giving, to spending wisely, to paying, to tipping – oiy! What other kids learn through osmosis – he needs to be taught.

His siblings are good. Last night I heard Amaya tell him she loves him – unprompted. It was heartening. Avery continues to be our focus child – of all the children he has had the biggest transition – going from only boy and oldest to not the only boy and not the oldest. He also has to share his room, his xbox, his tv, his attention, and oh – he’s turning 13 next month – probably the most hormonal/freaky age in the history of life. All in all, he’s doing well with the transition – he still plays the oldest child in so many ways – he takes responsibility for getting B up every day and getting him on the bus. The boys spend some time together, but for the most part – they do their own things. ..which is okay and probably not unlike other brothers who are 15 and 12.

Friday, April 27, 2012

In Summary, It's Going Great

I’ll admit it; I have been avoiding this post. I think I keep waiting for something juicy to post about. However, the juiciest thing I can tell you is that things are going incredibly awesome. I hate being so positive, but it’s true. Everything’s going really well. Boringly well. Blissfully well.

I will take a step back and tell you that he’s been home for 3 1/2 weeks. Whenever I read blogs of families who have adopted older kids, I tell myself that the first 3 months are the honeymoon phase – I basically dismiss posts until they’ve been home for 3 months. So feel free to check back here in 2 months, I may be bald from pulling my hair out by then – only time will tell. All I can share is what we’ve experienced over the last month – it comes with no guarantees for the future.

We firmly believe that our family was weaved together by God. Before the beginning of time, God knew that Biruk was our son, He knew that we were his parents…it was just a matter of time. At the end of our process, I looked at Dirt and told him, if only God had told me 2 years ago that March 29, 2012 would be the day we cleared embassy - it would have saved me from a lot of heartache and tears! But God doesn’t work that way; He isn’t concerned with keeping us from heartache. As my musician friend, Stuart Young, would say, “there is beauty found in the broke heart”. There is also a deeply satisfying fellowship with God that is found during those broken times. As emotionally difficult as our adoption journey was, I’m thankful for it. I’m also immensely thankful to be on this side of it. Immensely thankful.

Which reminds me…the craziest thing keeps happening. People keep saying “what a great thing you’re doing”, or “what an amazing person you are”. The first time it happened, I was talking to the receptionist at the doctor’s office – I responded to her with a totally perplexed expression. I literally had no idea what she was talking about – Lady, all I did was jot down my new insurance information – it’s not all that. …but then it dawned on me – she thought I was “so great” because I had adopted B. Um, seriously? What a lack of understanding. I am the one who is totally blessed to have been given such an amazing child. We are so utterly blessed by God to be his parents. When you pray for something so fervently, every day, and you cry over it because you want it so bad, and you wait and wait for it until the waiting feels utterly unbearable…the very last thing you are thinking when you finally get it, is, “Wow, I’m an awesome person because I finally got what I have been desperately wanting for the last three years”.

Adoption is good, but it’s Gods. He makes families, he weaves them together taking threads from the ends of the earth and it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. He is the author of every adoption, including His adoption of those who call him Father, through the blood of Jesus Christ. If it weren’t for Him, none of this would be possible. So if I’m awesome for my prayers being answered, how much more awesome is the mighty God who answered those prayers, and put them in my heart to begin with.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We're back!

Whenever I return from Africa I find myself at a total loss for words - how to summarize it all?

Since pictures are worth 1000 words, I tried to choose 5 pictures that would help me with my summary. Here goes nothin'…

I travelled with Wendy and Heather. When we arrived at the airport, our flight was cancelled. We made a split-second decision to go to Paris. This ended up being a great decision. We spent an amazing day in Paris. God's blessing was just shining down on us all day. I look back on the memory of this day as one of my fondest memories from the entire trip.

I got my boy. We was waiting for me at the airport and he never left my side the entire trip. What a feeling to know that when it was time to leave, he was coming with me!

We got to love on some other friends. Here is Biruk with our sponsor son, Anwar (center) and Henok (right). Heather also spent lots of time with her daughter Merima, we spent time with Sene (Wendy's sponsor son), Ayalew (Renee's son), and got to share laughs with many of our old friends. This was my 4th time to Ethiopia - having gone once per year since 2009 - my new friends have become old friends. It's was so great to be able to share memories and laughs together.

Biruk got to say goodbye. No tears. Just joy. He said goodbye to his first family (uncle, brother, sister) who I was beyond thrilled to meet, and also his friends at the orphanage (who are like family).

And we said hello to our new family. Being reunited with our family at the airport was just pure joy.

We are so glad to be turning the pages on this new chapter of our family's history. We have been home for two weeks (as of today) and things are going really well. Praising God for all that He has done to weave our family together across the miles.

He is amazing. I am so thankful that He is faithful to complete His good works.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bringing Biruk Home

I am in Ethiopia this week, BRINGING BIRUK HOME!!!!
I'll be blogging here: (

If you want to catch up on our story from the beginning, you can read all of my adoption posts here. ...ya might want to grab a cup o joe - it's been a long, bumpy ride.

Friday, March 16, 2012


I sit on the board of a Christian organization. We meet twice per month and each time we meet we have a time of prayer and devotion. Last month the devotion leader asked us to bring a sealed note about us from someone who adores us.

My adoring husband isn’t always great with homework assignments, so I asked the kids if they adore me and Avery and Amaya said they did, so I asked them to jot down why they adore me onto a notecard and seal it.

During our devotion time, we talked about praise and worship. How much do we praise God when we pray. How often do we tell Him how awesome He is and why we think He is awesome. We were then instructed to open our sealed envelopes and read the notes to ourselves. This was mine:

Upon reading these words, I was filled with love. I was so touched by this description of me. This is what they see when they see me. These sentiments are so beyond precious to me.
This exercise helped to open my eyes to how good it feels for those who adore you to stop and tell you why they think you are the bees knees. Does God feel good when we praise Him for who He is? We know from His word that He is all about His glory…not in a selfish boasty way, but in a way that is fully warranted – because He is really the ONLY one who deserves praise because He is the author of all that is good.

Anyway, I’m encouraged to stop and tell God why I think he’s so great. I’m also encouraged to stop and tell those I love what I love about them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Two Down...One to Go

As of today, our basketball season is 2/3rds finished.
Amelle had her last school game on Tuesday

and her last rec game was today

She had a great season - we saw so much improvement from last year, when she was just learning the rules of the game.

It was so fun to watch her develop into a confident and dedicated player. Even on Tuesdays, where she had practice with school from 3:30-5:00 and rec from 7:00-8:30 she remained committed to going to all her practices and games (except when sickness or homework prevailed). She would also practice on the weekends in the driveway and at the gym with Dirt.
She will continue going to practices/clinics with her school on Tuesdays and Thursdays - but the season is officially over. She felt happy about ending both seasons with two Ws.

…now Avery's tournament season begins…