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: (http://lobstersintherough.wordpress.com/)

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

Adoration

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…

Thursday, February 16, 2012

When you have daughters...

(this post is a month late. don't hate.)

When you have daughters...
they decorate with pink streamers on your birthday

they sing happy birthday to you and make home-made birthday cakes

they wrap presents for you (and when they can't find tape, they use band-aids to secure the gift wrap)

and they make you cards because they love you…and they fill them with money from their life savings.

…and three days later they regret giving you their money and they ask for it back.

Happy Birthday Love.
xo

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Amelle

Today Amelle turns 11. As I was thinking about what to write for her birthday I came across this image - I took it a few weeks ago with my phone because I never want to forget the nuances of her personality that may fade away over time. Amelle is all about the details. She left this note for me so that I'd remember to pack some items for her basketball game (things I would've remembered without the note)
Why this note strikes me as funny is the bit about "make sure your close my bag when done". Um? Does that need to be stated? Like I would put her game stuff in the bag then leave it unzipped, and perhaps carry it up-side-down out to the car? LOL. Her poor mind must be filled with an insane amount of detail.
Today she recalled that she was born at 11:11 and asked me if they have someone in the delivery room who's job is to look at the clock. Details.
Last week when we drove by a toll booth she asked me where the people who work in toll booths go to the bathroom. (I think she thought the booth doubled as a porta-potty). Who thinks of this stuff?! Details.

A post about Amelle wouldn't be complete with her side-kick, Amaya. Amelle loves Amaya. She is part mother, part sister, and part BFF to her. Amelle's natural tendency to to be a caregiver and she truly loves and cares about her little sister. They are goofy together, they play and sing together, they sleep together, and sometimes they annoy each other. But mostly they are the best of friends.

This photo brings to mind two truths about Amelle: 1) She is a good friend - she enjoys having friends over and going over their houses. She has fun with her friends. Pictured above is Amelle's friend Jordyn. 2) Amelle enjoys flaring her nostrils whenever I try to take a picture of her. She thinks it's super-funny. That is...until she is looking for a picture of herself and can't find one - then she complains that I never take any good pictures of her.

Happy Birthday to my precious girl, Amelle.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Birthday Shoot

Today we celebrated Amelle's 11th birthday
at the studio (of course)

doing a birthday party photo shoot

Amelle had a few of her closest friends join in the fun.

girls + cake + photography = FUN!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

She's a Baller

Amaya has mad basketball skills.
I am serious.

..and so is she.

I do believe I've seen a similar poster of Michael Jordan.

Not only is she super-cool on the court with her purple and red outfit, she has great ball handling skills, she makes shots (and doesn't need that sissy lower hoop, either), and she was likely the only child on her 10-person team that did not engage in fierce nose picking during the 1-hour practice.
She plays basketball.
The others…they play boogie ball.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Marriage #FAIL

We have a family calendar in our kitchen. At the beginning of each month I populate it. In an effort to keep it from getting cluttered with details we don’t track doctors appointments and basketball games/practices on it, but we do highlight major events such as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, special outings, trips, etc. We track all the detailed stuff on our family gmail calendar so that Dirt and I can have access to the same calendar when we’re someplace other than our kitchen.

On January first I wrote out this calendar. Fine. It looks like someone erased Dirt’s birthday from the 15th, and added an important Celtics game, but other than that it’s pretty standard. I highlighted Amaya’s chapel date so we’d all remember that she had to dress up and I put a big red heart on the 31st, symbolizing our anniversary…cause I’m romantic like that.

Last week I invited a friend over for dinner on Tuesday, but then quickly cancelled because I remembered that Tuesday was our anniversary. In the back of my mind, I figured maybe Dirt and I could slip out for a bite to eat together.

Yesterday my mom texted me, “Happy Anniversary – you guys should use the gift card I gave you to do to dinner”…I texted back, “yup, that’s what we are planning to do tomorrow!” Yay!

Yesterday I stopped at KTP to see if I could pick up a little anniversary something to surprise my sweetheart – some slippers – a simple, yet loving gesture. (We had already agreed that the fantastical new bed we bought ourselves in July would be our “anniversary gift”).

This morning I woke up and went through my normal routine. I stepped into the kitchen and saw the heart on the calendar and then bolted upstairs to wish my handsome hubby a happy anniversary. I hopped on the bed, kissed his sleepy cheek, and cheerfully said, “Happy Anniversary”. …as the words rolled off my tongue I felt a sudden sense of confusion. “Wait, is today our anniversary, or was it on the 30th?”

He smiled, “it was yesterday. I can’t believe we went through the whole day without saying happy anniversary to each other. I thought about it in the morning and as I was about to call you, I got busy with something else, then I thought about it again in the evening, but you went to bed early last night”

“Oops. Well, I have been thinking about it for a week, I just had it pegged on the wrong day. So…dinner tonight?”

“Yup”.

All I have to say is that we’re just so crazy in love that dates have lost all meaning to us! It’s good to be so in love with my best friend. I thank God for giving me such an amazing husband to walk this adventure we call “life” with. There have been so many times in the last year, where I have realized how dependent I am on him. I would be completely lost without him. He is truly my knight in shining armor.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Attitude Is Everything

Amaya is the boss. Each situation she encounters requires that she retains at least 51% of the control. Unfortunately this means that I have to compromise a lot. A LOT. In any given situation I can only exert up to 49% of control without a huge meltdown or argument. The average amount of control I have is about 17%.

There was one thing I needed her to do for me this week. I needed for her to be my photography model to test out my Valentine's Day ideas. This was no easy feat. I was going to need her to wear the clothes that I selected (Sponge Bob PJs were not an option), wear the shoes that i selected (Snow boots were not an option), and wear her hair the way I wanted it (combed, pig tails, red ribbon hair bows). After pleading with her, I got the outfit, I didn't get the boots, and the hair was making her look like this in the face:
Exactly. Not very festive.
So…we compromised and I put her hair in piggie-buns (I just made that up). Once she exercised control over her hair, she was a new kid.

See?

She even took her snow boots off. (Of course I didn't get her to put on the shoes I wanted her to wear - actually I was too exhausted to even broach the subject with her - I was just happy that she removed the snow boots - I figured I could live with bare feet).

She looks so sweet and innocent, but don't be fooled, this chick is a dictator.
A very cute dictator.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ignorance is Bliss

I enjoy the little world of ignorant bliss in which I live. I stay away from the news, scary movies, TV dramas and anything else that might give me an indication that the world really is an awful place. I have developed an affinity for a drama-free existence and I strive to remain outside of the drama-zone at all times. I’m not built for drama. My constitution is weak and unable to handle it. Stress has her way with me and she often brings along her ugly side-kick, fear, and they gang up on me and wreak havoc. I get headaches, heart palpitations, stomach aches, take shallow breaths – I can’t sleep, I feel anxious, overwhelmed, confused, and edgy. I overeat, withdraw, and generally feel like I’m going to keel over and die at any given moment. I’m a real prize to live with.

So, you can imagine my disposition when I received a call from our agency on Monday informing me that there was a “miscommunication” regarding our adoption. In fact, our adoption was not approved; the judge had issued a negative opinion on our case because there was a document missing from our file. [gulp]

I went numb.

Our agency planned to track down the missing document this week and the judge was scheduled to review our case again on Friday. Our agency expected us to pass on Friday. Five long days away.

Um.

How does this happen? Why? What the heck? All very good and valid questions – but I couldn’t ask them. The answers didn’t matter anyway. All I could do is look to my Heavenly Father who controls all things and say, “I trust You” (Proverbs 3:5).

I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone about what was happening. I smiled weakly as people continued to offer “congratulations” and ask if I had heard anything about when we could bring him home. I wanted to hide under my covers (in fetal position with thumb in mouth) until Friday. It’s only by the grace of God that I was walking around faking my way through life. (Isaiah 25:9)

I spoke to Biruk on Wednesday and of course he wanted an update on when we would get our Embassy appointment. Yikes. Dirt and I were in complete agreement that we were not going to tell him what had happened. We wanted to protect him from the disappointment that we were feeling. Why put him through this when all could potentially be resolved by Friday? I honestly didn't even want to know.

Last night I shared our story with a few of my close prayer warriors because I knew they would intercede on our behalf and to quote a bumper sticker I recently saw, “PRAYER CHANGES STUFF”. I needed peace and I needed our case to pass today. Since God hears the prayers of the righteous (Proverbs 15:29) and He delights in giving us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4) – these girls would hold us up in prayer and get the job done.

Today our caseworker called with her wonderful sing-songy voice. She said “Congratulations…you’re adoption is approved”. Are you sure? “Yes”.

Praise God. Our official adoption date is 1/13/12. Hallelujah.

Next stop: Embassy.

My adjusted prediction for travel to Ethiopia: March 22 (but of course, praying for sooner!).

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

1 Week Down.

It has been a week since we received the amazing news that we passed court. We are still on cloud nine...or eleven...or four-hundred-and-seventy-two. We're elated.

As happy as we are, I can't help but think about the thoughts going through Biruk's head right now. The dreams of his future. I wonder if he looks at his current surroundings and thinks, "just a little while more". I wonder if it's getting harder for him to endure his current situation, knowing that the time is drawing near for him to be here with his family. What is he most looking forward to? (When I ask him, he tells me "being with my family; you and dad and my sisters and brother") ...but what else is he looking forward to? Xbox? Free internet? McDonalds? Going to school without taking an hour-long taxi ride? Snow? Who knows?! What is he dreading? Missing his friends, His language, His independence? The sunshine? The slow pace of life? His dog Bob? Ethiopian food? What are the things that he will long for when he is here and how will we help him through that?

As you can see, I daydream a lot.

But then, in the middle of my dreaming, I receive a message from him like the one below...


My Precious mom I am sure this finds you all in the very best of health, love and peace of mind from our lord Jesus Christ. I am pretty good. So mom after you became to my life by God willing my fillied with much love, joy and hope and It make my heart always joyful so mom i feel luck and happy God to Blessed me with such kind of you woundederful mom and i thankful God for this. I wish you all the best to be happen in your life happy New year my precious mom and all my Family I love you so much more i can't wait to get you mom Happy New Year Love Biruk Moore


...and it reminds me that it really is all about family. He really does just want to be with the family that he belongs to. ...and we feel the exact same way. We are so blessed to call him our son. Thank you God, for giving us this honor and privilege.