Thursday, August 26, 2010

A New Home...

We started this blog over 3 years ago (!) to chronicle our adoption journey.  It turned into much more.  Yet, for so long, I felt that this blog was "done" and had a hard time posting.  So I stopped.  But I've missed it.

:)

Our life has taken SO many twists and turns these past few years. I'm not the same person that started this blog.  I've grown - in so many ways.  And seeing that I have SO MUCH growing to do.  But, I'll be doing that in a new place.


Please feel free to follow our family... our post-adoption learning and growing... our homeschooling (!) adventures ... and just everyday life with a crazy family.

If this is crazy... sign me up.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Chirp Chirp,,, All Quiet on the Western Front


yep... it's been quiet around here.

I think my blogging days are numbered. When we were in the throes of adoption, this was a great way to unload those confusing, frustrating, joyful and sad thoughts and feelings. It was also a great place to share our family happenings.

Selam has been home with us over 8 months now. We are finding our new normal and settling in nicely. With both Mark and I working, 4 kids in school (Al in daycare full time), 3 in sports ... well, free time is practically non-existent. When we do squeeze a few drops, both Mark and I have been investing a little more into some new hobbies, which has been good for us.

The truth is - I still have a lot to share. Lots of thoughts and feelings, especially about adopting an older child. And thoughts and feelings about our first adoption - completed OVER TWO YEARS AGO - wow. And yet, I'm feeling very hesitant. I think that sharing these experiences, concerns and joyful moments would have a lot of value for other families. Maybe for moms in my position - or prospective parents, searching for more information before taking the leap. I know I SCOURED blogs during both our processes.

But I can't.

Maybe it's Selam's age. And the other kids are getting older. And we've shared real names. And photos. And personal information. This blog is far from anonymous. And although I think that being honest and sharing would have value - for me perhaps, for other parents - I think there is too much risk to my kids. And their needs trump right now.

I guess if there is anyone left out there reading (which I kinda doubt!) that would like to talk (or email) with someone about older child adoption or the like, I'd love to do it. Please leave a comment and we'll figure out how to connect. But I'm not comfortable putting our lives out here quite as openly as I am tempted to.

So, for the time being at least, I don't plan to pull the blog down. It's now about 3 years old (!) and the thought of deleting it makes me sad! But I may. Or, I may pop back in now and then. I've learned to never say never. Maybe now that I've posted this, I'll get all kinds of inspiration (and time!) .

For now, I'll just say that I do not regret starting this blog, silly as I thought it was at the time. :) It got me through some really hard times. And it meant a lot to share those with you. And the joyful times - you sharing our joy just made us feel exponentially happier. The friends and the connections have been priceless.

Thank you for all your love and support.







I guess we'll just see where things go from here...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Little Dose of Cuteness


Happy Friday!








Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Worth the read

I wish this post was mine. But I couldn't have said it this perfectly. You have to read it for yourself. I stumbled across this blog over the weekend through some other link ups. So glad others were willing to share her words.

Please, head on over to It's Almost Naptime and read:

Monday, March 1, 2010

2 kids better than one?

I originally wrote this post as a (very long) comment on my friend Lisa's blog. She asks questions weekly and I was offering some input. This week's question was:

"What are the pros/cons of adopting more than one child at a time? We are considering also requesting a preschool boy in addition to an infant girl…and we’re willing if God asks us to do it, but quite honestly, it SCARES me to think of helping five children adjust to a major life change!"

Here are my thoughts:

I can only share from our perspective, but we were a family who initially planned on adopting one child (toddler/preschool boy) and ended up pursuing another adoption as well (preschool girl). There were a number of reasons we decided to do this. One, to be completely honest, was money. We really thought we’d want to adopt again and it was far cheaper to do two at once than 2 separate adoptions. Now, we would have never based our decision SOLELY on finances. But we figured… all other things being equal, we’d like to save a few $$. And we figured, we are already going to be outnumbered (we had 2 bio girls at home) so why not jump right from 2 to 4?

We also thought it would be easier on the kids. Putting myself in their shoes (well, as much as one can), it seemed like it would be easier to come with someone familiar, someone who shared the culture/skin color/etc. I think this definitely proved to be true – in many, many ways it was easier on our adopted children.

And I’m not sure it was any harder on our bio kids at home – there were adjustments there too, but there were going to be whether or not it is one kid or two. You just don’t know. You could bring home a baby girl and a young boy who just fit seamlessly into your family. Or, you could bring home just one sweet baby girl that locks horns with one of your existing kids and they are like oil and water from the start. You just don’t KNOW. This is true with bio kids too. I think this is more of a personality thing vs a number thing. When we were deciding, it was a positive factor for us that our oldest daughter was very go-with-the-flow. We were confident she could handle the changes and disruption. Our younger daughter was only 12-18 months at the time and we didn’t think 2 vs 1 would make much difference to her either. I don’t think it did, for the most part.

So, I would say that it was financially advantageous, it eased the adjustment for our adopted kiddos, probably did not make much difference for our bio kids… and as for us parents?

IT. WAS. WAY. HARDER.

Now, I have nothing to compare it to, because our first adoption for two kids at once. BUT I honestly think it made Mark and my adjustments harder. Snap - We went from 2 kids to 4. We’re outnumbered! We had our two new children (who happened to now both be middle children) who desperately needed our attention and affection. We had a 6 year old who was excited to have new siblings, but needed some affirmation herself. We had a very cranky 18 month old who was NOT pleased to have been left behind for 2 weeks while we were in ET… (translate to super-clingy for MONTHS)

And so many days it seemed as if we just didn’t have enough arms to go around.

It was 2 little bodies infected with giardia. 2 little bodies that were scared to death at night for months. 2 little bodies with millions of doctor appointments. 2 little bodies with needs – physical and emotional – that [understandably] just kept coming. 2 little bodies that didn’t speak a word of English and were just so frustrated. And us poor, na├»ve, tired parents, often felt like we just couldn’t keep up.

BUT.

The first 3 months passed and things grew easier. Then a few more months passed. We adjusted. We were a family.

Our kids had a dream transition, at least in my opinion. And yet, those first few months were so hard! I actually think it was more than twice as hard. But only for a short time. And with all the other pros… well, I have never regretted our decision. It was the right one for us.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Anyone still there... In which I talk about everything... and nothing...

It’s been a long time. Is anyone still out there???



The past few months have been busy and blogging was quickly discarded. In the back of my mind I often have flickers of ideas to post or thoughts like “I should really write about this experience.” And then, before I know it, that urge is gone and I’m back to wasting time on Facebook.
J



It’s interesting – I started a new job back in October. A job that requires far less hours from me that the position I was at the three years before that. Yet “life” seems busier than ever. Whenever I say that, people always mention the whole 5 kid thing. But I’m not sure that’s it. Especially since adding Selam, in many ways, has barely been a blip in terms of disruption of our family life. I say in many ways, but there are exceptions… those days. We do have some of those days now and again… But, generally speaking, the days just fly by. The kids go to bed (still, by 8-8:30!) and I’m exhausted. So many things on my to-do list, yet I often can do no more than read a chapter of a book – and often, much less. Although I did finish our taxes last night…



Wow, barely blogging a few moments and already rambling! Ahhh, back to normal!!!



With just a few moments to write, I’m not even sure where to start…

Last week we had our 6 month post-placement visit with our social worker. In so many ways it is hard to believe Selam has already been home six months! Yet, in many MORE ways, I can’t believe it has been ONLY six months!! She’s really fit right in and we are clearly a family. She said something the other day that summed it up nicely. She had started sweeping the kitchen floor (voluntarily!) and I thanked her for doing that. She responded, “no problem, it’s my house too.” Then, more quietly, she added, “forever.” Love it.



Not to paint an overly-rosy picture. We’ve had our days. The days when she tells us she is ONLY happy at school and doesn’t want to be happy any other time. The days where I think her eyes will fall right out of her head if she rolls them once more. The days where she is so angry that we have said “no” to x, y, or z. The days when she wants to fight with the other kids as if she’s 4 years old. Those are not easy days – for us or for her.



Next month she will be 13 years old. In so many ways she is already growing into a beautiful, responsible young woman. Yet, in other ways, she is emotionally stunted and no where near as mature as her counterparts. We struggle with how to handle the babysitting situation with snow days and and the like. Sometimes she is the picture of responsibility and handles the leadership role remarkably well. Yet other times she is more akin to a loose cannon. And I worry. Probably overly-much.



I never used to be a worrier. But I worry now. Maybe that’s just a mom-thing.



We probably aren’t really fair either.



In many ways, we long for her to BE 13. To act 13. To have the complete confidence that she could manage (most) of the kids for an extended period of time or to handle certain other things (e.g. homework?) without checking up on her (and holding her hand through it…). That’s when we complain about her lack of maturity. And sometimes… it is very frustrating. Even though we know that she just can't "be" that just yet - how could she? There are many 13 year olds that have spent their entire life in one family (and one country!) and still have the maturity of a 5 year old! She's fighting against a lot. We all get frustrated with that at times. It's not fair (stamps foot).



And yet, I’m having a hard time figuring out appropriate privileges. After all, Grace is only 8! That’s all I’ve known… what DO other 13 year olds …do? Bedtimes? Privileges? Help around the house? She does that. She’s actually a big help in many ways. Yet, I can’t seem to give up the laundry. Or cooking. Which is funny – because I hate both tasks! And she probably would enjoy it. And how late do these kids stay up? Because I have to drag her out of bed as it is… Movies… good grief! She’s been bugging us for horror movies. Yech. Not really my thing…



And a birthday coming up – her first in
America. Her first with GIFTS. What does she want? A cell phone and an ITouch. Umm… no.



Yep. We’re a work in progress.



And thanks if you are still here. ;o)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Steady Days

I'm really looking forward to reading this book!


Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood


Product Description

You can apply the same techniques of efficiency, intention, and purpose that you've used in other careers to your most important position in life--motherhood. Steady Days takes you through the process of becoming a professional mother: one who is organized and excited to spend time with your young children. If you've ever felt overwhelmed by a lack of direction in your parenting, this book can help.

Written with busy moms in mind, Steady Days contains 40 short, manageable chapters. You will discover how to:

* Develop a plan for your day to efficiently juggle the many jobs you hold
* Spend creative, flexibly-structured time with your children
* Revel in your children's natural curiosity, and join in as you learn together
* Keep track of the memories you will make with your little ones
* Find inspiration to help you maintain your enthusiasm, even in the face of challenges


See details about the giveaway here!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Melkam Genna!

It's Christmas! Again!


Well, at least in Ethiopia. I don't really have time for a post (never seem to lately...) but here is a link to the post I wrote last year about ET Christmas with some helpful (I hope) links.