Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One Year Ago Today!!!

One year ago today we met Sunshine and Little Buddy for the first time. Our meeting was different than I had thought it would be. I had heard the stories of my friends who adopted from China all going into a big room as the babies were all brought in and handed out to each family. I had seen their tear filled videos. Our experience was different.

Stand-Up Dad and I had just arrived in Addis Ababa from Mekele, which is in northern Ethiopia. We were picked up in a van by a representative from our agency and they began to drive through the busy streets of Addis Ababa. As we drove he asked us if we wanted to go to the transition house to meet the kids or go to the guest house to get settled and the kids would be brought to us in half an hour.

We chose to go to the guest house. We took in our luggage and unpacked. I was so excited and nervous and did not know what to expect. Our room was on the third floor. When we walked out the door we could see down to the court yard and out onto the street.

After we unpacked we did not know how long it would take for them to get there. Should we stay up in our room where they could bring them to us or should we go down to the court yard and wait?

After what seemed like forever, We heard a honk outside the door of the large metal gate of the guest house. Through the open gate came a white mini van. From the third floor I looked down and watched two couples climb out holding beautiful little babies and then I saw the tops of my two little ones as they climbed out of the van.

I ran down three flights of stairs and met them at the bottom.

What do you say to your child the first time you meet? How do you let them know about the love that you already have for them and how you promise to take care of them?

You can't say all of that because they don't know English.=) So I took their hands and walked them up the stairs to our room. Stand-Up Dad and I gave them each a back pack full of surprises and I took this first picture.
Many months later, when they had learned enough English to share their lives with us we learned that no one had told them about us. They had no idea that they were being adopted. They did not know that we would be their new mommy and daddy.

It helped us to understand so much about those first weeks after this first picture.

This past year has been amazing to say the least. These two children are absolutely incredible. I am in awe of how they have transitioned into our family. They learned English very quickly. They opened their hearts to us for love even when they did not understand. It seemed as if every day held new experiences those first six months.

It was apparent very quickly that they loved having a mommy and a daddy. They showed us right away that God had chosen the perfect children for our family. They are hilarious. Even without English they somehow got the joke and could keep the joke going.

They opened their hearts to not only our love but the love of God as well. They could not get enough of the stories of Jesus and how much He loves them. They have each made a profession of faith and are walking with the knowledge that they are a child of God.

Now that the first year has come and gone we are living life. It has become apparent that there are some real, deep issues that they are struggling with. They have been through a lot in their young lives and it is our desire to help them find a way to process the hurts of the past so that they can move forward into the future. We will be meeting with an attachment therapist in a couple of weeks. Please pray that this additional help will be exactly what they need.

Below is my favorite picture that we had taken recently. What a gift these children are! I am overwhelmed at how God has worked through each and every situation before they came home and since they have joined our family.

He is certainly weaving a masterpiece!
Sweet Momma

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Pumpkin!!!

A Volcano Birthday Cake
Pumpkin to the rescue!

Today is the day we celebrate Pumpkin! He is eight years old. God blessed him double this year by giving him snow for his birthday. We live in western Washington. We don't get much snow, and I can't remember having snow before Thanksgiving. This picture was taken last night with just a bit on the ground. We woke up to a couple of inches and more has been falling throughout the day.

We got up this morning and he couldn't wait to open his presents. It was definitely a "Lego" birthday. I love this picture with his brother in their pj's. He has truly grown into a wonderful big brother this past year. Most of his youngest child traits have slipped away as he has taken on the job of leading Little Buddy and Sunshine.

I am so thankful for Pumpkin. He is such a kind young man who loves God and is working on becoming a man of character. He is quite good at telling jokes and loves to ride bikes or shoot baskets with anyone who will join him.

I can't wait to see how God will use him in the future!

Happy Birthday Pumpkin! I Love You!!!
Sweet Momma

Monday, November 15, 2010

Professor Pumpkin!

Pumpkin will be eight years old on Monday. I am wondering how much longer he will allow me to call him Pumpkin on our blog. That was his name when he was in my tummy, before he was born. Eight seems older...we will see.

Last weekend we had a "Science Party" to celebrate his birthday. You can have a lot of fun and make a lot of noise with ten boys and science experiments.

This party was a big reminder to me of what we were doing last year at this time. Last November we got a call from our agency and they asked us if we wanted to come to Ethiopia two weeks early. Our original date to travel was Dec. 3rd. We got the call on a Monday and the change would mean that we would leave on Thursday. Leaving early would mean that we would be in Ethiopia for Thanksgiving and we would also miss Pumpkin's birthday.

We sat down with all the kids and asked them what they thought. I specifically asked Pumpkin what he thought about us being gone for his birthday. He put his arm around me and said, "It's OK Mom, you need to go and bring them home." What a brave boy at almost seven years old!

Exactly one year ago today, we got on a plane for the trip of our life!

Here are a few shots from the fun time at Pumpkin's party.
A silly shot from some very Serious Scientists

Professor Pumpkin building a toothpick and marshmallow tower.

Rocket Blasters
This was the absolute favorite activity of the day. Each boy got an empty film canister. They filled it halfway with water and dropped in 1/4 of a piece of Alka Seltzer. They quickly put on the lid and waited for the fun. In about a minute the lid comes flying off and the squeals of laughter ensued.

This activity was repeated until the supply of Alka Seltzer was depleted. So much fun!

If your kids haven't tried this, make sure to give it a try. It's a BLAST!!!
Sweet Momma