Wednesday, March 30, 2011
-Hope B. is 8 months old today
-she is 15 pounds and 23 inches long
-we have known her face for 6 months and 22 days
-it has been 2 months and 2 days since we left for our court date
-we have been on this adoption journey for 19 months and 23 days
-there are 3 little boys, 1 dad, and 1 mom who can not WAIT until our girl is home
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
My oldest 2 turn 5 today. For the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about their birthday, and thinking how old 5 sounds. I have been mentally trying to push their growing shoulders down with the weight of my will to keep them little, and memorize every inch of their almost 5 faces. The way Micah can make his eyes so big when he is telling or hearing a story, or when he is in trouble. Eli's front tooth, and the way it sticks out just a little bit more than the others due to being a thumb-sucker from birth. Micah's giggle and Eli's smile. The way Eli's voice deepens when he talks to his dad about something important, and Micah's sweet words of encouragement. I love these two little guys so much, and am indescribably thankful for the gift I have been given of being their mom.
Today for their birthday we started out with teddy bear pancakes and they opened their presents. And for the first time ever, Aaron and I didn't get mad at each other while putting up streamers and balloons, yay! The family I nannied for before the boys came along came over for dinner last Saturday, and brought what turned out to be the boys' favorite gift, a trike! This trike is pretty much the best trike ever, super tough and durable and big, but also really easy to peddle. They have been riding it CONSTANTLY, such a great surprise for them.
They played and rode all morning, and then my grandma and two aunts came over. We love them so much, and I am always reminded what really a gift it is to have family when we spend time with them. Then for lunch Eli and Micah picked chicken nuggets and french fries (which I found at Trader Joe's, and felt a little better about giving them), and I let them watch Kung Fu Panda while eating lunch.
I finished their cake during rest time, and praise the Lord, the little Mario figures came in the mail that I had found on Amazon. We went to Red Robin for dinner, their favorite restaurant, which worked out great since we had coupons for their meals, and a free hamburger for Aaron. Then we came back home, had cake and ice cream and played a couple games of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. So fun having a day to celebrate them, and so thankful for the past 5 years.
So here are some info about both of them at 5 years old:
-Micah-older by 15 minutes, 38.5 pounds
-Elijah- 39 pounds (incidentally, this is how they have been since they were born. Eli has always been 1/2 inch taller and 1/2 pound heavier.)
-they both can read, very simple short-vowel sound words
-Eli enjoys coloring, writing, cutting, etc.
-Micah likes to create these elaborate battles with guys, superheroes, lego men, etc.,
-they have a "rest time" together every day. we started out with them separate, but they insist they just want to be together.
-they still spontaneously will hold hands just for a few seconds every once in a while when standing by each other or walking.
-they love to be read to. we read a chapter book after putting isaac down every day, currently it's mrs. pigglewiggle :)
-they love watching movies and playing the wii.
-their favorite restaurant is Red Robin, and has been since they were 3
-they both still love their little blankets my aunt made them when they were born, and sleep with them every night. and try to sneak them downstairs all the time.
-their favorite foods are cheese pizza, chicken nuggets, and pancakes and corn/hot dogs (eli), berries, and mango
-they still like to snuggle, especially at night
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Some fun and random thoughts from the last week or so...
-We had a great visit from my brother and sister-in-law. We LOVE when they come and visit, and it went by incredibly fast. They came Saturday evening and left Wednesday morning. Micah was especially sad when they left, and was scheming ways to get them to come back. :) They took us out for sushi, Aaron and my first experience, and we made our usual trip to the zoo. They love our boys so much, and it is such an encouragement to our hearts to spend time with them.
-I have been feeling especially hopeful about adoption stuff lately. Like, I sometimes have trouble falling asleep at night because I am so excited thinking about what God may be doing. I don't have any real reason for feeling this way at this point, but my heart just has that excited, anticipatory feeling. I keep trying to convince myself not to feel this way, that we may have months and months ahead of us yet, but I'm apparently not listening very well.
-Yesterday I walked into our living room to see that Eli had watered my fake plant with a full water bottle. There was quite the river flowing into our dining room! Both boys are super into watering and taking care of plants. Which is hilarious considering I do. not. garden. They will find little weed/grass plant things outside and water them and build little walls around them to protect them, water trees, and dead plants from last year. I really need to take advantage of this, but I am so clueless about anything related to plants!
-Isaac has been just about the cutest little guy ever these days. I think it's the completely sincere and earnest way he talks about just about everything. And he is a puzzle machine. He will do puzzles forever, over and over again.
-Eli and Micah turn 5 next week! Craziness! They have discovered Legos, and Angela was pronounced the "best builder ever" when she was here. :) They want to have a Mario Bros cake for their birthday, which does not bode well for me. I remember all too well my Spiderman debacle from last year. I did find some little figures on Amazon that I might just need to get, since they also informed me it needs to be perfect. (We looked at Mario cakes online, and I just kept saying, "wow, these cakes are perfect!")
-We received an update yesterday about Hope. She looked so cute, but she is looking older! Of course she is, but it really hit me in that picture how much she has changed. Her development and growth looks good, and I just can't wait to kiss those sweet cheeks again!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Ethiopia Adoption Alert
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
Government of Ethiopia Plans Major Slow-Down in Adoption Processing
March 9, 2011
Citing the need to work on quality and focus on more important strategic issues, the Government of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA) will reduce to a maximum of five the number of adoption cases it processes per day, effective March 10, 2011. Under Ethiopian adoption procedures, MOWCYA approves every match between prospective adoptive parents and an Ethiopian child before that case can be forwarded for a court hearing. The U.S. Embassy is working with Ethiopian government officials and adoption agencies to learn more about this change in procedures. We will continue to share information as it becomes available.
Given MOWCYA's current caseload, the U.S. Embassy anticipates that this change could result in an overall decline in case processing of some 90 percent. If this change is implemented as proposed, we expect, that parents who have begun the process of adopting from Ethiopia but have not yet been matched with a child could experience significant delays. It is not clear if this change in procedures would have any significant impact on cases in which MOWCYA has already approved matches.
Prospective adoptive parents should remain in close contact with their adoption service provider to obtain updates on individual cases.
The Embassy's Adoptions Unit can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please continue to monitor http://adoption.state.gov/ for updated information as it becomes available.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Adoption stuff has been heavy and hard lately, no doubt about it. But I do have 3 very happy, energetic and fun little guys with me all day that are such a blessing to my heart. Eli is especially sensitive to my moods I think, and the last couple of weeks when I have been struggling he has asked me in this super cheerful little voice, "Mom, aren't you so glad you have 3 boys?!" I think he may be misinterpreting my feelings as negative toward he and his brothers which is not so good, but that question definitely brings me back to the reality right here in front of me. He will also catch my eye sometimes with this big grin, and move in closer and closer until I give one to him in return. I have not been the mom I want to be this last month, but starting this week I am determined, with the Lord's help, to stop allowing my feelings to rule. And, to truly believe that things don't have to make sense to me. It's okay, and actually probably better if they don't. What would that say about our God, if we understood His ways and plan all the time? Anyway, I wasn't even going to talk about adoption stuff!
So, this amaryllis bulb that Aaron gave me for Valentine's Day that was supposed to take 8-10 weeks to bloom? Well, it seems to be loving its life a little too much and looks ready to bloom any day. I seriously feel like I look at it throughout the day and it is growing. I am still praying about it though. :)
I finally took the boys to get haircuts last week. We always go with my grandma, and it is a fun tradition for all of us. Eli was getting very concerned he looked like a girl, so it was definitely time. I have also been on sort of a crafting kick lately. I am not very crafty, but I think I wish I was, and I do like projects. So, as long as they are easy and require no sewing I am willing to give it a try. It's been a good outlet for me, and fun to actually do something fun!
Aaron also made a trundle bed for Isaac which I am so thrilled about. I was scheming about changing around all of our bedrooms because the boys room was SO crammed with bunkbeds and a single bed, plus a dresser. When Andy was here I was telling him about my plans, and he said "What about a trundle bed?" And I was like What about a trundle bed?! And why in the world did it take my single 20-something brother to suggest such an obvious solution?? So, my very talented husband made one, and I have to say it looks so good. Like it was make for those bunk beds. And I can walk into their room without my blood pressure rising through the roof, and instantly being in a bad mood. Thanks Andy! :)
Thursday, March 3, 2011
There has been so many thoughts running through my mind about adoption lately. Trying to explain where we are in this process is tough right now because we actually don't know either. I have been thinking about it in terms of running a marathon. When you start preparing for a marathon you know it is going to be hard. You know it's going to be long. People who have already done it give you advice about how to train, what shoes to buy, which course is the best. You are prepared for a long hard race that will try your body in ways you never have before. But you love running, and you know the end will be totally worth all the time and effort along the way. You train for months, and then the big day of the race arrives. When you start you have so much excitement and adrenaline, you feel great, like you could run forever. You have prepared yourself well and are ready. Toward the middle you start feeling the effects of running so far, but you knew this would happen, so you keep going. Again you have prepared your body and mind. Up ahead you see the mile marker that indicates you have two miles left. Two miles! That is nothing, you have already run 24, but at the same time your body is almost at its end too, and you are very thankful the end is near. All of a sudden you get word from a race official that the finish line has been moved. And not only has it been moved, but you don't know its new location. It could be just around that final corner, or it could be another full marathon away. Or more. You. just. don't know. How do you prepare and process that?!
That's sort of where I feel like we are. What we thought was the downhill stretch in this "marathon" has turned into a race with no clear finish. Some days it makes me want to curl into a ball and just lay there. Which I have done. Some days it drives me to make plans and preparations. Which I have done. Every day it makes me cling to and seek the Lord like I never have before. There is so much we don't know right now, that I am holding on so tightly to what we do.
This is what I know:
This entire situation is not a surprise to the Lord.
Isaiah 46:10- "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say my purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please."
He is God, and there is no other.
Isaiah 45: 5a-" I am the Lord and there is no other; apart from me there is no other God."
He is enough.
Isaiah 46:4- "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
I can trust Him.
Isaiah 40:25-26, 28-31- "To whom will you compare me: Or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Several families from our agency are taking the opportunity to fast and pray for 24 hours starting tonight. My heart in doing this is to re-focus, remind myself again of my incredible need for God and humble myself before Him. He is worthy of that all the time, not just in times of need, but I think sometimes we may have more clarity in those times. Praying that He accomplishes His great purposes...