Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our Latest Update in Pictures.....

Our latest update in Pictures.....

The Big Fella loves to swing.  He's hard to get in focus in whatever he does because he is always on the move when he's outside.

Eddie Joe and Peaches were flying high too

Peaches was wearing the same shoes that she wears for baseball - her Barbie high heels

It was planting time in the field behind our backyard a couple of weeks ago.  Eddie Joe enjoyed watching the planter go by.  When I asked him yesterday to go check and see if the corn was coming up or not, he ran out to the field and got down on his knees and studied the dirt very closely.  After a couple of minutes he came back with great confidence at his discovery and told me that there wasn't any corn, but there were a lot of green plants all in a row!  It took a little while to explain that the green cornstalk grows first, then the corn grows on the cornstalk.

I really enjoy watching the tractor too.  My family can attest to this strangeness.  There are many more pictures of the tractor that I'll just leave out, even though I find them completely fascinating and I'm sure you would too.  Though my family seems to think that others would find it boring.  Is that possible?  This is farming right in our backyard!  What could be better?

T-bird was making his move on Rye Bread.  T-bird clearly looks and plays a lot like Rajon Rondo.

And Rye Bread clearly looks and shoots like Ray Allen (yes, they are both Celtics fans!)

Rhubarb time!  Yes, and Heather and I are the only ones in the family that like it, so there will be plenty for the two of us.  Thanks Bo for your talents in the kitchen.  There's nothing like rhubarb in the spring.

It's in the oven right now!!!

 We met Grandma and Grandpa at Perkins for dinner.  They have been so supportive of Peaches and of our journey to bring her home. We're very thankful for them, and I know Peaches enjoys them too.

And Grandpa is clearly smitten by her too.  He spelled out her name using some ceramic tile on an old, rustic board.  It will look great in her room.

We found a small Ethiopian grocery store in our town of 12,000.  How did we not know it existed???  We bought some injera and also bought some Hambasha bread.  Good stuff. 

And Jubba's Grocery also sells Ethiopian spices.  My eyes are watering just looking at the containers knowing how spicy the contents are!

They also sell Teff Flour and a variety of meats, including goat meat.

It's always great to look back at what's on our camera to remember what's happened in the last week or two.  Life is flying by pretty quickly and we are enjoying it immensely.  A year ago we were newly on the waiting list for a toddler girl.  Now we're at home with her and soaking in life together.  Though the wait seemed long, it hardly seems like it even existed now.  For those on the waiting list, it will go quickly and you will soon be home with your little one watching life fly by too.  And it is all worth the wait!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Video - The City of Addis

A video of some of the great work that is going on in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  In addition to focusing on some of the ministries in Ethiopia, it also gives a good feel for the people and the culture....and the great needs.

Is God calling you to reach out to those around you?  Is God calling you to help one of these ministries?  Is God calling you to go?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

3 Month Update

One of the requirements of our adoption is that we have a 3 month update completed by a Social Worker.  The update is then submitted to our Agency who then submits it to the Ethiopian government.  Updates are required at 3, 6, and 12 months, and then every year until Peaches turns 18.  The first three updates consist of the SW visiting our house, interviewing Heather and me, and sort of giving an overall visual look at our kids, Peaches, etc.  The line of questioning reviews all of the typical adoption related questions such as bonding, sleeping, eating, grieving, language, emotions, and the thousand different types of adjustments that have occurred.  Since our original court date was on February 28th (the day she legally became our daughter), our 3 month update is due at the end of this month.

It's seems strange to be doing a 3 month update when we've only been home for about 6 or 7 weeks.  On the one hand, we still feel like we're just getting to know each other, just beginning to understand each other.  And on the other hand, we can't remember life without our Peaches.  As we think about what's happened in our lives this year already, we pause as we remember that we've traveled to Africa and back twice, added a beautiful little girl to our family, watched our five other children all make amazing sacrifices to make room for our new little one, and oh yeah, also completed an addition to our house.  Maybe that's why we're tired a lot???  Well, that's my excuse anyway.

The visit by the SW was a good time to review where we are with Peaches.  The questions regarding language reminded us of how far we've come, and also how much farther we have to go.  We are able to communicate very basic concepts.  Peaches has never been really verbal, so her language has been slower than what we have perceived the transition of other Amharic speaking toddlers (though our perception could be wrong).  But there has been progress and for that we are thankful.  Much of her early frustration (and still some of her frustration today) is related to her lack of ability to explain something or to understand our explanations.  But as the language improves, we can see her increased relaxation into our family.  Her fears and anxieties slowly dissolving away.  That's a very good thing.

We also discussed her bonding.  If you've followed our story, you know that Peaches has bonded extremely well with Heather and the kids, but very poorly with me.  We are thankful to God that that bonding with me has been improving.  I am still not the person of choice when there are emotions involved (sad, angry, etc.), but she will give me a hug if she's happy and she really does enjoy playing with me.  The improvements are very noticeable and we are on the right track.  The bond she has with Heather is very good.  Although Peaches is definitely not a huggy, cuddly type of child, she does enjoy close time with her momma.  And her momma loves to read books to her little Peaches - and the other kids that gravitate to her when a book is opened.  It's a beautiful sight to see.  That is ultimately what family is all about and that is what we love to do - to see her settle into our family and see the love flow from us to her and from her to us.  Thank you God for the work you are doing in her little heart.

There were many other topics we discussed and we were encouraged to realize that overall things are going pretty well.  She is still whining and crying (LOUDLY and with GREAT tears) when she doesn't get her way, she is still demanding of everything that she wants (does NOT understand the word share), she is still sleeping with Heather at night.  But with all of these things we see improvements.  We have read many books and have talked with many adoptive families and have known all of the things we've dealt with were going to be a possibility. But, it's suddenly scary to see them in your own child.  It looks completely different when the issue is staring you in the face rather than just reading about it in a book.  You can put a book down and move on to your day, you can't do that with a child.  You must continue to love, hold, embrace - even in the face of opposition from your child..  You can't take a day off.  I've watched Heather do this with an amazing God-given capacity.  I'm so thankful for her.

Thinking through the improvements we've seen, we can't help but give God the glory.  There are so many areas of her heart and soul that we cannot reach, we cannot touch, we cannot see.  But God can.  He is able to know her deepest hurts and insecurities and provide a healing that is full and complete.  We can reach into those parts of her life that she allows us to, but God can reach every part.  We know that He is working always.  And not just in her life, but in the life of everyone in our family.  We've all been affected by the adoption, we've all had our lives inconvenienced, our feelings hurt.  But we've also tasted God's grace and healing touch in a new way.  We're thankful that He is always working, not just in Peaches life, but in our lives too.

I have a little girl on my lap who wants waffles, so I should go.  This is one of those beautiful moments that you cherish.  Thank you God for Peaches and for Your loving, healing touch.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Our Weekend in Pictures

Weekend highlights.....

Friday night was a perfect night for a fire in the backyard

 Peaches is always ready for a cup of tillick woohah (big water)

 She was excited that her cup could sit right next to her in the cup holder

 Eddie Joe loves to smile!

 T-bird, Rye Bread, and our dog Doofenschmirtz joined the fire too.  Sunshine wasn't with us because she was in Chicago with her High School choir.  We missed her!

 Doofenschmirtz even had his own chair.  This is probably why I was standing most of the night.

 Mother's Day included Cold Stone Ice Cream for supper.  There's really nothing wrong with that is there?  There must be some amount of protein in a "Cookie Doughn't You Want Some" signature dish, don't you think?  Besides, the diet starts next week, not this week.

 After "supper," we headed off to the park

 I asked her to smile and she immediately started making goofy faces.  I don't know about her!

 That's a girl who is having herself some fun

 Peaches hung around all night with her buddy Erna from Hennhouse Happenings

 And here's The Big Fella with his buddy Dash, also from Hennhouse Happenings

Peaches and Bear (yes, from Hennhouse Happenings)

The Henns brought home their two from Ethiopia almost four years ago.  To go along with their 4 bio kids, they also have six kids, similar to us.  This enables us to basically take over a park when we are together.  We always find encouragement from them when we're together since they have been down the adoption road before.  They are a great wealth of information and perspective for us.

Peaches has continued to improve in bonding and language.  We are thankful for the daily changes we see.  We know that God is at work and He is doing great things despite the many mistakes we have made.

I'm especially thankful for Heather today.  She does an amazing job with our six kids every day.  The love that she has for them continually pours forth from her into their lives.  It's been an even greater view into her capacity for mothering since Peaches came home.  I have seen an even greater strength and passion for her kids than I had thought possible.  Peaches has required a tremendous amount of effort during these first six weeks home.  And even though the work with Peaches never ends, Heather continues to move forward, pouring forth love into this precious little child.  I am very fortunate to have her as my wife and as the mother of my children.  Thanks Heather for being my girl!

And to my own Mom, thanks for all you have done and continue to do.  You are a great example of someone who has selflessly served her family for many, many years.  And even now despite the battle you are in the middle of, your strength is unquestionable, and the Source of your strength is undeniable.  I very, very thankful for you.  Much, much love to you Mom.