Thursday, October 4, 2012

Family "Firsts"

Quite a while ago, I stated how much I love words.  They are posted all around my house.  Right now, however, it's difficult to pin down all the things I want to say and box up the words in neat little categories for others to read. 

First of all, my children will read this blog-diary of our lives some day and I don't want to put information that's particularly embarrassing or hurtful to them in the future.  Yet, at the same time, I want other families who are going through adoption, thinking about it, dealing with "junk" in their lives, or just plain curious about the whole "Jesus" thing, to read real life stuff and details.  That's a fine line to walk.  I am not going to walk it perfectly. 

With that said, it's hard to believe we've been home from Ethiopia for over 5 weeks.  Yohannes and Paulos have been members of our family for over 2 1/2 months.  In some respects that time has flown by, in others it has dragged on and on and on and on.......  you get my drift.

Words like "difficult" and "hard" don't begin to describe this transition.  I don't know if my thesaurus holds the correct word for what our family has been going through.  BUT today I want to focus on the GOOD. 

Though I do not know when my newest sons took their first steps or said their first words, I did get to witness a lot of "firsts" over the past few weeks.  I'm throwing in updates for Jayde, Alana, and Easton, too.  I don't want to leave them out.

Yohannes learned to ride a bicycle.  He tried over and over for 2 days and finally took off.  Now he loves to ride.  You can find him at any given time barefoot on his bike pedaling like mad down our gravel driveway.  (When I watch him, I always hear the theme song from "The Wizard of Oz" in my head- remember that?  The one that plays when the lady rides her bike?) 
Easton has learned the art of giving himself a "fauxhawk". 

Paulos rides his bike, too, but he rides with training wheels.

The boys met their cousin, Bode.  Isn't he cute in his traditional Ethiopian outfit?

Both Yohannes and Paulos tried out Grandma and Grandpa's swimming pool.  Paulos is getting to the point where he won't scream when he goes in the water, and Yohannes can now swim all the way across the deep end.  He has tenacity.  When he wants to excel in something, he keeps trying.  What a positive quality!

Yohannes started playing flag-football with Easton on Saturday mornings.  He's learning the rules of "American" football.

Paulos began attending pre-school 3 days a week and loves his teacher!  We are very thankful for the Learning Center.  He makes friends everywhere he goes.

Some school is happening in our house, finally, thank goodness.  No, it's not as much as I would like, but at least it's a start.  Things are getting organized a little bit at a time.

Alana spent her 11th birthday celebrating with family and friends. One night, 4 of her friends came over for a "horse and art" party: 

Another night was spent celebrating with family:
Jayde has been playing volleyball for the Calgary Cougars:

Each day spent together has been a progression.  Okay, sometimes there's regression, too.  A lot of it.  But as I look back over the past 2 1/2 months, I do see a change from the first week I took custody of the boys.  It's incremental, and when you're the one doing the day-in-and-day-out exhausting work, it's hard to see it.  Sort of like how you can't see that a child you look at every day is growing, but if you don't see them for two weeks, you come back and say, "My, how you've grown!" 

Sometimes, frankly, it's been hard to even pray about everything going on.  My mouth and mind fail me.  There are many, many days that I have just asked the Holy Spirit to intercede for me, because I am at a loss to even know where to start. 

This week, I am praying these verses:
"Answer me quickly, O Lord!  My spirit fails!  Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit.  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.  Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul."- Psalm 143:7-8

Before our family left for Africa, I read, The Connected Child, by Karyn Purvis.  I began re-reading it this week and trying to implement some of the strategies that have been proven from her research.  I want to talk more about that in a future post.  It's working, though exhausting, emotionally and mentally at the same time.  Here's a quote that I'll leave you with from the book:

"Adopted and foster children deserve deep compassion and respect for what they may have endured before they were welcomed into your home.  Some of these little ones have survived ordeals that defy the imagination.  On a night while you ate steak and fresh vegetables, safe in your comfortable house and enjoying warm conversation with your family, this child might have gone to bed hungry, dirty, and lonely........A child raised in a harsh or dysfunctional environment becomes a survivalist.  He of she can't be expected to know the rules of family life or to have every intellectual advantage."  We know that our boys spent many, many days hungry.  They were severely malnourished.  They are not on a growth chart yet at all. 

Hope.  That's what I need.  That's what I have in Jesus.  That's what my children have in Jesus.  Restoration.  That's what I'm praying for.  Will you pray with me?


  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! We are praying with you! One of my few friends in Houston, Liz, has 2 daughters, one from Russia and one from Ethiopia. Liz, whom you do not know, is also praying with you.
    You're doing it, Sister. It doesn't have to be pretty, but you are doing it.

  2. We pray for your family and your transition every day. I have learned so much from your honesty in blogging and appreciate the courage it takes to share the good and bad. Keep going girl! God doesnt promise easy, but he promises something better...HIM :-)

  3. You don't know me, Melissa, but I am Dawn's mother. Thank you for encouraging her, right now she needs lots of encouragement,especially from those of you who have walked in her shoes. It's very tough right now and she is feeling overwhelmed. Please continue to pray for her and the boys and the whole family. It helps to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.