Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why did we adopt?

 I was recently asked to talk about what lead us to adoption, and this is what I said...

 "Adoption is born from loss, there is no way around that. But until there are no more orphans left in the world then we can find joy when one less orphan has a mother and one more family gets a child.
 There are so many different ways to grow a family, no one way is more or less beautiful than the other. We went to Africa to grow ours.

  When I was about 8 week pregnant with Adi, and didn't know it, I was told it would be very difficult for me to conceive.  After about a day of mourning the loss of a biological child, Andy and I immediately turned to adoption.  Then within the next few weeks when I found out I was in fact almost in my second trimester, adoption never left our minds.  And when Adi was less than a year old we began back on our road to Adoption. The decision was easy for us.

Why Africa? We have always held a place for Africa in our hearts. Both Andy and I choose to travel to Africa at different times in our lives and both fell in love with the people and the land. And when we traveled to Ethiopia in May of 2010 as a family of 3, we returned home more than just a family of 4. We returned with Africa in our lives and we celebrate that everyday.  Adopting from Africa was always what we were meant to do.

The processes took months of researching different African countries, then months of researching agencies, then once committing to Ethiopia it took 3 months to complete all the paperwork.  We were then placed on a wait list to be matched with a child.

After 5 months of waiting we were matched with Belay and saw his face for the first time in a photo. We learned that his birth mom named him Belay, and the meaning behind how she named him.  After 4 more months of waiting we were able to travel to Ethiopia and bring him home. The whole process took 11 months and we are grateful at how quickly we brought our baby home.

   Last May 2nd we walked into an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and picked up a 14 month old little boy out of the blue bumbo seat he was sitting in. I was filled with the exact same love that filled my heart when I was handed Adi the moment of her birth.

He weighed a mere 14 lbs and worse size 3 month clothes. His main source of food was still formula from a bottle. We spent that first week with him in Ethiopia cradling him in our arms and feeding him like an infant. We occasionally spooned pureed peas into his mouth, and even tried to feed him rice cereal. I immediately noticed his attachment to that bottle and how he snuggled his bottle before bed while I rocked him. It was the only source of comfort he ever knew.
In the first weeks of being home, Belay was off formula and eating everything. We then felt pretty stupid thinking about  how we tried  to feed him rice cereal. We went from an infant to a full blown toddler in a matter of weeks.    
He went from 2 teeth, to  all his teeth by summers end. 
The same 10 month old who wasn't able to hold his head up on his own when he got to the orphanage was running and climbing with in weeks of being home. It was a challenge to find any shoe small enough to fit our walking toddler who was the size of a 3 month old.

Now, at 2, We only buy him 2T's and size 6 shoe! Grant it the pants still fall off and he tends to trip while walking, but look how far he has come in less than a year. He came home at 14 lbs, and negative 20th percentile on the American growth chart. He is now pushing 21 lbs, and while he is still no where near being on the growth chart for weight, he is in the 10 percentile for height. 

Adi and Belay are best friends and fight like crazy, just like any other pair of siblings I have ever met.  Adi knows that Belay is Brown. She talks about it all the time. We celebrate our differences and what makes each one of them beautiful.  Sometime Adi will feel overshadowed by her brother with beautiful dark skin and almond eyes.  Other times Belays skin color  will make him feel different from all the family he knows. These are realities and we will take them as they come.

He didn't need us to save him. There are lots of families who would have been overjoyed to bring Belay home. We were chosen to be part of his life, we are the lucky ones. "

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Belay

 2 years ago today Belay took his first breath.  We didn't see it, we weren't there. But it still happened.

Birthdays are, for most, a day of celebration and memories. The exact moment of birth, the weight and length of the baby, the weather outside, the very first breath your baby takes. These are moments parents don't forget about the day their kids were born.

                 Opening his present from us, a spider man tee shirt. Look how happy his is.

Adi has blessed us with all these moments.   

But today is Belay's birthday, or so we were told. 2 years ago today Belay was born from the womb of a child.  Does she remember all those moments? What was the air like that day, was the sun shining? How big was he? was he premature?What did his little face look like the moment he took his first breath and opened his almond eyes?

We will never have these memories of Belay's birth.  We can not tell him about the day he was born. His birthday does not have the same meaning for us as Adi's does. It can't. We weren't there.  He wasn't born from my womb.  No matter how many details we can scrape together about his birth, it will never be the same.

Even though we don't have these moments, they were still very much there. We can't say whether or not that day was joyful or painful for her.  Was there peace in her heart for the life she created? Or was she filled with fear on how she was going to feed him as well as herself?    

Today a girl in Ethiopia is heavy on my heart and in my mind.  The courage it took for her to give us this gift of life is something I haven't ever known.

This little boy of mine has brought me happiness, joy, the occasional headache, but mainly love. 

We love you so much  Belay!  So much that we actually let you sleep in Adi's bed with her tonight. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Belated Birthday post and the FLU

So Adi turned 3 almost a month ago and for some reason I haven't been able to upload pictures of her party or write about it.  She was so excited this year about her day. For weeks preceding the day I was hoping and dreaming about her actually being healthy for the first time.  Her first and second birthday's were filled with pneumonia and hospital stays.  It's my fault, I was responsible for her being born during flu season.  It looked like we may have actually stayed healthy this year. Then the flu hit. We have never done flu shots, none of us. This year the kids and I got it back to back. Influenza verses the common cold, which may still last over a week, is so so much worse. I didn't understand this until it happened.I literally couldn't sit up in bed for 5 days.  3 weeks of fevers hitting 104.5 and coughs without catching a breath in between. So Adi spent her  birthday morning (3 am) outside with me in the cold air trying to calm the cough, her birthday day coughing up a lung and burning hot and her birthday night at the doctors.  It was pitiful.

She had requested mac and cheese and broccoli, her favorite meal, and a pink cake with strawberry ice cream.  She didn't touch a bite of it.
I couldn't help add a heart explosion  mini heart cakes to the top.

She did muster up enough energy to open some presents and go to the toy store to pick our her annual birthday present from mom and dad.   Year one she picked out the Elmo sleeper sofa, still used daily, year two was the princess umbrella, broken within a month, and year three was a strawberry short cake doll. Strawberry shortcake must have gotten a make over from when I was a little girl but  she still smells like some weird strawberry plastic combo. So far Miss Shortcake is still getting major play time.

Adi and her cousin Padme, born ten days apart, shared a party. We went to this indoor play place with all sorts of stations for arts and crafts, dress up, bakery, post office, store and all sorts of other fun things. It was a huge hit and even though both my kids were hot, snotty, coughing messes, they had fun. 
rocking a baby doll in the nursery
baking apple pie in bakery
the rice table
present time

Maybe next year we will get flu shots, it was MISERABLE.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Funny things my kids say and my new love

Crock Pot why has it taken me until my 29th year to own one of you? I cannot believe what I've been missing out on. I just made a pulled pork BBQ plate for dinner. It tasted like it does at restaurants. I still can't beileve it! Not only is it amazing to be done making dinner at 10:30 am, but it actually tastes good too. We have months of one pot dinners ahead of us!!

Okay now onto the funny kids. 

The 2 cutest words I hear in my day, that are way to cute to correct and they may hate me when they get to middle school for it are ..."Yide" and "Carpedge". Now i'm not sure if my spelling is correct but can anyone guess what they mean?
Belay's word is Yide instead of slide. As in he wants to go yiding at the park.
Adi's word is carpedge is stead of carriage, as in "cinderella and her magic carpedge"
Yide is just so darn cute and carpegde, really? It's just plain genius and am guessing it comes from magic carriage/ magic carpet combo.

And finally, just as funny but probably should be corrected, this is how last night went.

I hear Adi yelling at Oakland (one of the dogs, who happens to have anxiety and constantly licks the carpet)
I ask her to repeat herself.
I ask her to repeat herself again cause I couldn't believe my ears.
But sure enough three times in a row I heard
"Oakland stop licking the Damn carpet!"
I have no idea where she learned that, probably her dad.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

updates part 3

Before I get into the next topic, this morning needs to be recapped.
Somebody decided to turn the alarm off and pretend we didn't have a workout to attend to. After 3 months of working out 5 mornings a week I didn't have much ammo to work with. So I rolled over too.
But, again, I was wide awake.  This time instead of embarking on a rainy run, I went to make a cup of coffee.  I had a dream of sipping it in bed while I watched the sunrise from our window alone with only the 2 dogs, the cat, and my snoring husband.
Low and behold as soon as I stepped onto the floor I heard the door creek.  Fast forward 2 minutes. No coffee, 4 people (actually 2 people 1 big sister and 1 monster; her words not mine) snuggled, giggled, sang made-up songs, and scolded Winnie the Pooh bear for peeing in bed over and over and over again.
It felt like a weekend. Only a weekend before we rushed out the door to ballet, work, church, birthday parties, etc...  Just a lazy lay in the bed morning. It reminded me why routine is so important. Without it this morning would have been like any other. But instead laying in bed for 45 minutes with 2 silly kids and my husband felt like a vacation.

I guess the morning got me off to a good start because I then decided that I needed to be super mom and "engage" my kids ALL DAY LONG. I wore a home depot apron with "my name is Adi" on it(because she wouldn't be caught dead in something that ugly) while baking wooden cookies, we painted and crafted, we read read read, and then headed out to learn how to ride trikes.

That last one kicked my butt more than theirs. I pretty much carried 2 tricycles and forced the two of them to walk a really long way the the playground. It ended with a picnic snack and wildflower picking.

Now onto preschool and uniforms. Adi will be wearing a uniform every day next year. It just cracks me up that she is already entering this phase. Andy's school is starting a Pre-k for the first time this coming fall so Adi will be attending( albeit a tad young, but hey having Daddy as the principal/director has to have some perks right?). And since it is a private school and since all the other kids wear uniforms why would the Pre-k be any different right? So miss thang will be dressed in navy blue and white everyday. Luckily for her, they can accessorize as they see fit.  I'm pretty sure as long as it's blue, tulle will be just fine to wear every now and again. It's more of a dress code I guess that a strict uniform, but I still don't see purple in her future.

Adi is so ready to learn. She is starting to write her letters. She has A-D- I in the bag now and is working on B-E- L- A- Y and L- O- V- E.  She asks questions NON STOP, and while I always found the "why" kids to be annoying I am surprised to find that my own "why" kid is just as annoying.  The poor little thing is just so curious and wants to learn everything but I just can't keep up.  Pre-k can't come soon enough.

We have begun looking into places for Belay to attend next year. While Adi has loved the preschool she has been at the last 2 years, I'm not sure it's what I want for him. Her class only has between 10-13 kids at a time the  whole school is well over 50 kids. I am hoping for something much smaller where he can get a lot of one on one attention and I can be more involved. The trouble is finding a place for a 2 1/2 year old that isn't "day care." He is on the wait list at a place I am hoping works out. (even typing that I feel way to much like one of those families who is stressing about the prestige of their 2 year old and how finding the perfect preschool will effect their college and law school.)
But the reality is there is no public preschool and only so many kids can be in each class so by process of elimination preschools are limited.*sigh*

And might I add that it is only 50% due to my own laziness sanity that I want him with someone else a few hours a week. I do think the aspect of playing somewhere else and listening to someone elses' rules will help tame my 2 year old lion. Also, having a sister and 2 girl cousins around as his only playmates at all times really makes him love playing with other boys. So all said and done I am hoping our little baby B gets to have a "school" of his very own in the fall.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

updates part 2

Moving on to topic 2. Enter belays birthday.

When his birth certificate was issued we knew it was with an arbitrary date of birth, but it was all we had. It was a June birthday and coming from a family of gloom and doom winter births June sounded great! It was close enough we thought, he could easily have be been a 10 month old when we met. But then we met his birth mom and she gave us this precious tiny piece of knowledge. Something tiny enough almost not worth the effort to even think about.

June came and went and we had a party. Belay screamed and napped through most of it.  The months ticked on and when people asked his age I hesitated. It felt strange to not know how to answer and inevitably I went into a lengthy explanation that the poor stranger who asked simply did not sign up for hearing.

February came and went and many many parties were had. Between all the cupcakes and party dresses I saw my little boy. On February 10th 2008 at 3:19 pm sweet Adi came rushing out into this world. We will always hold that date in our hearts. It is the moment her world, as she knows it, began.  How can I keep that from Belay? We were given a gift. A gift to pass along as we knew how. It may not be much and it may not make sense to others. Why go through all the effort to change a birthday? Summer parties are fun. We have so many birthdays in February why add a March too? Three months doesn't matter. It won't change school dates or sports eligibility.

While all these things are true. It does matter. A glimpse into his world before us. The only glimpse we have to give him. The moment he entered this world. And we were not going to give it to him because its annoying to change?

So on March 20th 2009 Belay entered this world. In a few weeks, although not legally yet, but for all intents and purposes he will be two. We figure as long as we get it changed by the time he turns 16 we'll be ok.

And to not seem like we don't love our second child as much as our first I need a disclamer that the only reason he isn't getting more than a family party is because we just dragged all our friens out in June to celebrate, so we'll give them a break until next March:)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Every morning this week I have thought of something to write about. It never seems happens. So I'm trying again tonight, montage style.

Topic 1:Sunrise

Funny how the sunrises differently when its pouring down rain. The other morning when the alarm went off at 6 am my workout buddy didn't leap out of bed, instead he mumbled something about not sleeping/crying children/just need a few more minutes...

I figured since I was up and wide awake (funny how when you're alseep by 9:05 pm 6am isn't so scary)I'd go for a run. I got dressed, creep out into the living room where I was met by a bright eyed bushy tailed Adi.
As tempted as I was to just run out that door and leave her with her already sleep deprived Daddy, I didn't.
"Adi, wanna go on an adventure?"

Thats all it took.She was on board. I thought she'd be really excited to see the sunrise anyways.
Then when I actually opened the front door I saw the rain. Not a little drizzle, a heavy down pour. Oh my.
What the heck, we were dressed, Adi could have gone out in a blizzard and would have been toasty warm, plus the jogger has an shade cover thingy. Off we went. In the rain.We ran. It rained. The sun did rise. But that magestic pink sky that Adi adores so much was more of a deer deep purple.

It wasn't what I had in mind and I felt like a bit of a horrid mom for taking my 3 yr old out at 6 am in February in the pouring rain. But she had a cool story to tell once we got home, and isn't that what life about?
Speaking of 3 year olds I have a birthday to re cap still.

Other topics on the horizon; 1.Belay's birthday decision,
                                            3.The Flu
Stay tuned cause it looks like this montage may need a few days to unfold.