Wednesday, December 7, 2011

His hand in mine

One of my favorite things about being a mom of little ones is the feeling of their hand in mine.

For me, it expresses trust, protection, connection ... it tells the world ... we belong together. I'm not sure I'd really thought about that until we adopted our son ...

Last week ...we were walking on a sidewalk

... nobody near us

     ... he reached up

          ... and put his hand in mine


(Photo courtesy of Katie Campbell Photography)

... for the first time

    ... in 17 months.

Baby steps on the long road of attachment.

....Grateful

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Yes" Mom

There are two kinds of moms ... the one's who say yes most often and the one's who say no.

I have discovered over the past year that I am not a "Yes" mom. I am definitely a "No" mom. Regardless of what is asked, I am more likely to say no than yes. This is incredibly obvious while parenting Kenen. Half the time what he asks is completely unreasonable which adds to the problem, but I find ...even when his request is perfectly acceptable, I still will no first ... without even thinking.

A case in point ... I went on the kindergarten field trip to the pumpkin patch a few weeks ago. Kenen was so excited! As we got on the school bus, he said, "Can we sit at the back of the bus?" I said, "No. Let just sit here." He was disappointed and complained a bit, but went ahead and sat where I said to. It was not till we were getting back on the bus to return to school and he asked again, that I realized how ridiculous it was to say no to that request. I was never a back of the bus girl ... was too prone to get carsick, and just put my own desires ahead of his. And more importantly, I missed out on an opportunity to join him in his excitement.



So yesterday, I was facing an entire day with him alone, since Ethan was on a field trip all day.

I decided to be a "Yes" mom for the day. I gave him some choices of things we could do, but basically decided to say yes to his desires ... It was quite difficult for me, and of course, I had to hide a few "no's" in there somewhere ... like when he asked, "Can we get this movie?" "Ummm, let's see what else they have."

It was good practice for me ... we went to McDonald's for lunch. He played in the Playland. Had ice cream for dessert. Rented a movie from Redbox. Came home and played on the computer with me. Then played Wii with me and then with Kristen till dinner. Watched a movie after dinner, and then went to bed.

So not exactly a mind growing, healthy eating sort of day ....

He asks to do all of those things almost every day.

Pretty sure, I'll be back to being a "no" mom again ...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

One Year as a Family


Dear Kenenisa,

A year ago we became a family ... it has been a year of incredible change for all of us. I often think to myself what your life was like when you were still with your birth family ... the people you lived with, the countryside you explored, the experiences you had in your first 3 1/2 years that we may never know of or understand.

You have learned so many things in the past 12 months ... too many to list ... but a few worth mentioning are: how to speak English, how to swim, ride a bike, play with neighbors, eat new foods. Your survival skills and ability to adapt are truly amazing.

You are a strong, expressive, smart, energetic, fearless boy.

The rest of us have also been learning a great deal this year. We are all learning to be more patient, more compassionate, and understanding. Your dad and are trying to learn how to be more effective as parents ... learning new techniques and new skills so that we can build meaningful connections with you.

On this one year anniversary, what I want you to know more than anything is that your are safe ... that you can trust us ... that we love you - not because of what you do ... that our love is unconditional. I know that it is not your fault that you are still struggling ... but we are committed to helping you heal ... that when all those broken connections are restored ... you will see ...

You have been given the gift of an amazing family ... that we will always be yours and you will always be ours.

We are waiting ... longingly ... for the day when you will know in your heart how much love is waiting for you.

With love in my heart,

Mom

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Full of Surprises

We took our first real vacation as a family of 6 this past week-end. It was only 5 and half days ... and 1 1/2 days of it were spent in the car ... but I'm still counting it as a vacation. As it was going to be the first time that Kenen was confined in a car for a long period of time, and the first time he had slept anywhere but our house in the past year ... I was a little nervous.
Another reason why I was a bit nervous ...

But Kenen was the biggest surprise ... how well he adjusted to being on the road, sleeping in different beds ... being in different places.
We left on Thursday evening, picked Dave up from work and headed straight out of town. We made good time and stayed the night in Yreka, arriving at about 10:30pm. Kenen and Kristen shared a king size bed, and Ryan and Ethan shared a sofa-bed. Slept longer than we would have liked, and went down to have breakfast at the hotel. We expected a continental breakfast, and instead were surprised to find the biggest hots to plel breakfast we've ever seen. Eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, and much more.

We were going to be headed into the Bay Area on a holiday week-end Friday afternoon, and expected to be in heavy traffic for a couple of hours, but instead were surprised to sail through until we were about 10 minutes from the exit to my dad's house.  Also surprised my dad by showing up an hour earlier than he expected ... good thing we had a key to his house.

The next day we made plans to go to Santa Cruz for the day. It was surprisingly hot, and not surprisingly crowded. It was still a great day. I re-connected with my dear friend Kari Gale and her husband Noah while the kids played, and then we splurged and bought a few tickets to ride a couple of rides on the Boardwalk. Kenen was not tall enough to ride the Giant Dipper, so I sat with him while he ate an ice cream cone. Then he got to go on his first roller coaster-type ride ... and loved (no surprise) the Logger's Revenge. Wish we could have sent all the kids on more rides ... maybe next time.
He loves the ocean ... just like Dad

just a wee bit crowded

Heading onto the Giant Dipper

Kari & Noah Gale chatting w/ Dave
Not sure what Kenen was doing ...

Forgot to zoom in ... trust me Kenen's on this ride



Brothers heading up the water slide
Sunday morning was spent at church with my dad ... and it just happened to be a big celebration day ... so they had a BBQ and games for the kids ... and with the exception of it being quite hot ... it was great time.















Playing a 35 year old "Whoosh" game. Now dubbed
"The Speedy Bead Game"
Monday we surprised my dad by having no plans at all. We are usually out exploring the area, but instead we just hung around the house. Dave helped my dad fix some things around his house, and the kids discovered some "new" toys from my childhood.

Instead of BBQ'ing something ourselves, Dad treated us (as he had been all week-end) to some exceptionally yummy food from Famous Dave's BBQ restaurant. We ate while watching the 4th of July special from Wash., D.C. ... and then Dave and the boys and I went up to watch fireworks across the valley from the "mountain" behind my dad's house. Kenen was absolutely delighted by the display, and it was perfect because they weren't too loud.

Oh, I forgot to mention, Dave went by a sandwich place to pick up some freshly baked rolls for our food from Famous Dave's ... and they were having a special:  buy 10 baguettes, get 10 free. He called to say if that seemed ok. I thought they'd be the size of a sandwich roll and said I guess so. Imagine my surprise when he walked in ....

However, the purchase of an overabundance of rolls ended up being a highlight on our drive home. We stopped at a rest area, and saw a neatly dressed man with a sign saying that he would wash our windows to earn some money. I suggested Dave offer him some bread, and so he went to talk to him. Turns out he has a ministry working with recovering addicts. They are 9 of them ... So we gave him the 10 free rolls. He was thrilled.

Oh, and one of our traditional stops between CA and Portland is Rice Hill ... just north of Roseburg. I don't think it's even a town ... just a highway stopover. However, they have this great ice cream place ... served out of a trailer. We were standing in line trying to plan out our double dip cones ... and then noticed a menu item called "The Pig Out". This was 15 scoops of ice cream for $12. Well, since we are always the frugal ones, we figured out quickly that this was a great deal. So we did that instead of a bunch of separate cones. I guess I thought somehow, the scoops would all be in a line, but instead they were all piled on top of each other. SURPRISE!  now the peanut butter/chocolate is mixing with mocha almond fudge which is mixing with the coconut cream. And the problem with all this mixing is that there are family members who hate peanut butter, coconut, nuts, coffee ... well, you get the picture. Next time, we will only order flavors that everyone likes. Best decision was giving Kenen his own cone.



All in all ... it was a good trip ... not as long as we would have liked ... but we're thankful for the time together as a family.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Musings

Inspired by another blogger trying out a Miscellaneous Monday post ... I thought I'd give it a try ...

Every year, I'm so excited when summer comes and the kids are out of school because my kids are easy to have around, and I like them. This year, I'm filled with anxiety of how I will productively fill the days with my new, very busy 4 year old, and balance the needs of my older kids as well.

My hair looks bad ... it's long, overgrown ... and it's my natural color ... which is not lovely. And I'm going to dinner tomorrow with some of "the beautiful people" who I don't know well. They will all have beautiful hair and clothes. Feeling insecure ... kind of like junior high and high school all over again.

My son is always making noise, of some sort. Sometimes happy, sometimes just screams for no apparent reason. My house used to be quiet.

My 9 year old had mild asthma when he was younger. Has been several years since he had an "attack". He started coughing this terrible barking cough on Saturday. Took me till last night, after he was asleep, to realize it was an asthma cough. Didn't sleep much ... kept worrying that he would die in his sleep. Happened to a neighbor's child a few months ago. Mom Fail.

My vacuum cleaner is 22 years old ... it has duct tape holding the hose on, and is missing a wheel. It probably spews as much dust back into the air, as it picks up from my carpet .. but my carpet "looks" cleaner on the rare occassion that I use it. I used it this week-end ... along with a little helper.



I'm a recovering scrapbook addict ... who is itching to start again ... maybe this week-end.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Kenen's 1st Mother's Day Card



(as dictated to Daddy)

"Love to Mommy. Love to play with you. I love to nice family and warm bed. I love to Jesus. I like my brothers and sister and yummy food! My favorite food is egg and injera. I like bananas and sometimes I like grapes and warm sunshine. And I think that's done. Love, Hugs and Kisses    KENEN"

Also received lovely cards with words of love and blessing from my other 3 kids and husband. Perfect!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

16 Years Ago Today


I became a mom. I'll confess ... I was probably a bit uptight ... not the super relaxed, go with the flow kind of mom I am today. Ha!  I wanted to do everything right. And if doing everything right could be measured by the content and character of a person ... then, on a daily basis, this young man makes it look like his dad and I did something right.

Ryan is not perfect ... I know that ... he knows that. However, when I talk to people about him, I find myself having to hold back a bit when I describe him. It could easily cross over into bragging ... and at times, could make him seem too good to be true.

However, I will take a moment to highlight just a few of the truly exceptional qualities he has. Ryan is fiercely loyal to all he loves ... God, family and friends. If you are blessed enough to have his love, he will defend, encourage and stand by you ... no matter what. He is wise beyond his years. Sees the world and situations around him with eyes that have always been discerning at a very deep level. He is brave. He is not afraid to take on challenges and to push himself to do more than he initially thinks he can. And he is trusting ... he has allowed his dad and I to encourage him and lead him because in his heart he trusts us, and knows that we are always on his side ... even when he disagrees. He has that same trust in God ... he knows that things will not always be easy or go the way he'd like, but he trusts his Creator and knows and loves Him.

David Ryan ... you have made this parenting thing seem easy. I can't wait to see what your future holds ... Your dad and I are ... and always will be your biggest fans!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Referral-versary

A year ago .... we saw this face for the first time.





I remember such a feeling of disbelief and wonder that our child had a face and a name. There was never a question that we would say yes to the referral. We had prayed and believed that the child that was sent to us would be the child that God intended to add to our family. So despite difficult details in his file, we said yes.

Nine months later ... it is harder than I could have imagined ....

and I'm jealous ... of those whose stories seem to have just fallen into place.

and I want things to be easier ....

So, I need to keep looking at these pictures ... and remember to connect with the child he was then and his very difficult story ... so that I can renew - on a daily basis - my compassion and empathy ... so that I can be the instrument of healing that I've been called to be for our son.

What a difference a year makes for all of us!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter and Catching Up...

So I gave up Facebook for Lent ... kind of a spur of the moment thing since I'm not Catholic ... but I loved the idea of sacrificing something to keep me mindful of the sacrifice made by my Savior. I started late ... and had to get on a few times to connect with people who I had no email for ... but overall, it was effective on the sacrifice level. But it was extremely hard as I realized that, first of all ... 40 days is a long time ... and second, I .... and most of my friends ... use Facebook as our primary means of connection. So I felt disconnected and lonely quite a bit.

That said ... I'm grateful ... for Easter ... for the hope that the resurrection of my Savior gives me.

Here's few of the things that happened during the past 40 days ...

* 15 year old started his first Track & Field season. He loves it ... from my point of view having one more thing on our schedule is exhausting.
* My dad and my sister and her 3 kids visited over their Spring Break. There are not words for how completely delightful it was to have them all here. It was a surprise for Ethan ... don't think he stopped smiling all week.
* We had a laid back Spring Break ... only outing was to OMSI as a family.
* Celebrated David's 47th birthday.
* Took Kristen for her first orthodontist appt.
*  Visited our adoption attachment therapist ... received a somewhat discouraging diagnosis ... but that's for another post.
* Went to an amazing Chris Tomlin concert thanks to my friend, Jilly.
* Resumed Kenen's swimming lessons after a 6 week break.
* Attended an inspiring Embrace Compassion meeting ... so great to see all the work that is happening in Ethiopia.
* Passed our one year "referral-versary" ... which in adoption speak simply means it was a year ago that we saw Kenenisa's picture for the first time. Hard to believe ....

And a few pictures to go along with the happenings ...

Riding his friend, Cassidy's bike

Easter 2011

Coloring eggs

First Easter Basket

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Celebrating

We are celebrating the birthday of my wonderful husband David ... and being home as a family of 6 for 8 months. So just a couple of thoughts on each ....

I wrote an ode to David last year on Facebook ... so I won't repeat myself. I will just say that in what has been one of the most difficult years of our 21 years of marriage, he continues to be a rock of faith and stability. He still makes me laugh ... and I am blessed to have him by my side.

In the midst of the normal ups and downs of daily life with Kenen, I was delighted the other morning when he came downstairs, walked around the corner, and said, "I would like to have a hug." ... which I, of couse happily gave him. It may seem small and ordinary to some .. but this is an event worth celebrating. And I will remember this and acknowledge it as a monument to the progress that is being made ... slowly ... in the healing of his heart, and the bonding of our family.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

SPRING BREAK - PART 1

My sister and her family moved to Houston last year, after living about 10 minutes from us for the past 5 years. This left a huge void in our lives .... that was quickly filled by our newest family member. We have missed them terribly, but I, at least, have been busy enough with Kenen to not really be able to dwell on their absence.

Thanks to my generous dad, Jill and her kids were able to come out to visit last week ... and my dad came too. So we had 11 people sleeping under one roof, and a lot of food being made, and a lot of dishes being done, a lot of Wii and Angry Birds being played ... and I'm pretty sure a lot of fun being had. (Though not a lot of pictures being taken.)


It was such a joy to see Ethan with his very best friend, Grace. They both did a great job including Kenen and played with him a lot. I know for this season in their lives, they are supposed to be in Texas, but I also know there are lots of prayers being said, that they will one day return home to Oregon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Perspective

Today was one of those days ... should have been a good day. My sister and her kids are visiting which is a very happy thing ... kids are home from school which is also happy. But it was just a hard day with Kenen. And I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself ...

Took a break while dinner was cooking to blog surf, and found one that I had bookmarked last year. About a family that was walking through the last days with their 2 year old daughter, Layla Grace.  They now have a foundation that is helping families with children facing cancer.  Spent a few minutes reading their heartbreaking stories.

I needed an attitude adjustment ... am grateful for a chance to start tomorrow with a new perspective.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm Taking the Plunge

Even though I'm not Catholic, I've been fascinated for years with Lent and the true meaning of it. Read two great posts this morning that totally convicted me. Every year as Easter sneaks up on me, in the midst of my busy life, I find myself thinking ... shoot, I meant to focus a bit more on preparing for Easter and considering the sacrifice of my Savior.

So I'm going to observe Lent. (And yes, I realize that I'm a day late ... but I'm not terribly legalistic in any area of my life, so this is just me, being consistent.) Truth is if I think of all of the things that I could "give up" ... things that take my focus and time away from God ... things that would give me true pause, and would feel like a true sacrifice ... well, the list is rather long. Watching TV, reading blogs, snacking on unhealthy food ... just to name a few. But I've decided to follow the lead of my good friend, Laura, and give up Facebook. Yikes!

While I certainly don't spend hours on it, I pop on frequently throughout the day. It is my lifeline to the real world as I have been plunged back into the stay-at-home mom world these past 7 months. It is the way I keep up with people whose lives exist outside of my home, and I have told myself that I need it.

But if I'm completely honest with myself ... there are moments when I escape the difficult times with my child, by popping on Facebook ... to see if someone has said something thought provoking or funny .... there are times when I am frustrated with his desire to play with me, when I'd rather be on the computer, checking in with my friends. And it is my habit to run to the computer to check what has happened any time I've been gone for several hours.  All of this will be difficult to give up, but I will also think about what a ridiculously small sacrifice this is each time I sit down at the computer ... when compared to the ultimate sacrifice that was made on the cross.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Making a Joyful Noise

video

(PAUSE THE MUSIC ON THE PLAYER IN THE SIDE BAR FIRST). This is his favorite song! Not sure what language he's speaking ... and I'm not sure he even knows that there are actual words within the song that he can pronounce and understand. Makes me smile everytime. (btw, the song is Beautiful Things by Gungor).

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Room of His Own

I'm not sure if I actually read this somewhere (though I'm sure it's been written) ... but I would say one of the most important lessons I've learned as an adoptive mom for 7 months is "things don't always work out like you think they will." Yes, I know, I had 3 kids, wouldn't I have learned that already? But I definitely am learning this in a new way since Kenen's been home.

Our original plan when finding out that our new son would be a 4 year old boy was for him to share a room with our 9 year old. Ethan was super excited to be a big brother, and even excited to share (most of) his toys. So we thought this would be perfect. We moved the bunk beds into Ethan's room .. rearranged toys and even sent Kenen a picture of his new room with Ethan on the top bunk and a small picture of Kenen's face on the lower bunk. We were sure this would work out.

Upon arriving home after traveling for a couple of days from Ethiopia ... I panicked at the thought of putting him in a room across the hall.  I was exhausted ... what if he woke up and needed something and I didn't hear him ... what if he got confused or lost in our house. So we picked up the mattress and put it in our room near our bed. I know this was the right choice at the time. He would call out for me at times, and it was nice that I was close enough to be able to answer him without getting out of bed.

Then the reality of Kenen's transition issues hit pretty hard ... and it became clear that perhaps he and Ethan were not going to make the best bunk mates. Kenen is very strong willed and controlling. Ethan was trying to be the good big brother and be kind and accommodating, and he was getting pushed around quite a bit. It became clear that Ethan was going to need a space in the house where he could retreat to .. and play without always having to include Kenen.

So being the flexible person I am .. we started looking at other alternatives, and finally settled on moving the 9 year old and the 15 year old together. They really are the best of buddies, and the teenager does not hang out in his room, so it should work out well.  The combining of rooms and stuff, however, has been difficult and time consuming. For each of them, 6 years of accumulated "stuff" is tough to sort through ... what should be saved, passed down, thrown away ... And trying to do this without a certain 4 year old questioning each thing we pick up has been nearly impossible.

But finally .... after 7 months ... we have the move basically completed.  Ethan slept in the top bunk in Ryan's room last night, and all of his clothes and "stuff" are in Ryan's room ... though not all organized and put in it's place.

And the big news is that tonight Kenenisa will be sleeping in his very own room ... sleeping in a big bed ... with no one else in the room ... something he has never done!





So we'll see how it goes ... and whether he makes it through the night ... I may have a pillow and blanket on my floor just in case.   I'm excited for him ... but I'm even more excited for me ... looking forward to getting uninterrupted sleep for the first time in a long time!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Six Months ... and still counting


I commented many months ago, that I was looking forward to the day when I would not be aware on a monthly or sometimes even daily basis that Kenen has not always been with us ... looking forward to the day that our new normal would have become so much a part of us that we would wonder where the time has gone, and how we could have ever existed without him ... wondering if I would ever stop counting how many months he has been home.

We are still counting ....

We had our 6 month post-placement review with our social worker a couple of weeks ago, and she was amazed and pleased with all of the progress that he has made since she was with us 3 months ago.  This was good to hear ... and good to be reminded of the many things that have improved.  However, 3 months ago, things were more difficult that we could have imagined.  So things are better ... but I am still aware of the very long road we have ahead of us. 

After 6 months:

* He speaks English extremely well. Still confuses words on occassion, and asks "what's that" a lot, but he definitely speaks clearly, in full sentences and understands most of what we say (when he wants to.)
* He likes to hear himself talk, and when it is just the 2 of us home during the week, he talks and asks questions non-stop. I have to say "no more questions" ... often, as he repeats the same thing over and over.
* He has 2 friends in our neighborhood that he plays with. Even was invited to play at Cassidy's house. And invited to Enzo's birthday party. He knows what a friend is, and asks to play with them almost every day.
* He does not play well without me sitting right next to him, interacting with him. This makes it very difficult to get anything done during the week while everyone is gone. So I am working hard to teach him that his job is to play, and that Mommy has other jobs to do in the house. Though, of course, I do play with him ... often.
* He is still not eating a real variety of foods. I give him the same thing every day for lunch. 2 tortillas, black beans and sour cream. At dinner, he needs to try to eat what we are having ... though I usually still supplement with a hard boiled egg.
* He has started going to story time every week at the library. He is not shy. Calls out answers even when he doesn't know them.  Though I'd say he is pretty developmentally typical compared to the rest of the group. Funny thing last week, was when kids were asked who wanted to come up and help her make the letter "M" ... he jumped up and down shouting, "me, me, me".  She picked him, he boldly walked up, and then said, "What's "M""? 
* He will start swimming lessons this week. He will not be afraid. I am most concerned that he will decide that he already knows how to swim and will just jump in when the teacher is not looking. He has told me more than once that he knows how to do everything.
* He is still sleeping in our room ... this does not please me ... I just need to get oldest son's room ready to receive middle son as his new roommate.  Then K will have his own room where everything in it will belong to him. I think this will be very good for him. A place to call his own ... and I would like to have my room back.
* He still has trouble expressing his anger in appropriate ways, though this is getting much better. If I say yes to everything, then he is quite happy most of the time. However, that is obviously not a realistic way to live.
* He loves to play games, and does well with the rules most of the time. His favorites are Uno Attack, Candyland, and Sorry.
* He goes to Sunday School at church every week, and loves it. Sits through the grown up service afterwards and surprisingly, does quite well.
* We are visiting the pre-school that I hope he will attend next fall in a few weeks. Mommy is VERY excited for this prospect for him.
* He is still a great sleeper .... thank you, God!

Kenen's personality is intense, energetic and exhausting. We are learning to enjoy him more and more, and continuing to grow in love for him.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Priceless Christmas Gift

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to work on my scrapbooks more this year ... not necessarily get caught up, just make progress.  As I am going back 5 years, looking at pictures of my children ... pictures of Ethan when he is younger than Kenen ... I am struck again by all that we missed of his life.  He had 3 1//2 years without us.  There will be no baby pictures ... no pictures of him crawling or his first steps. 

He seems to remember things about his life in Ethiopia, and will occasionally come up with a comment or story, but someday he will want to know about his birth family.  Our agency, AWAA, does an amazing thing by videotaping interviews with the person who is relinquishing the child, and then giving each adoptive family a DVD of that interview.  We felt blessed to be able to see Kenen's birth dad ... to see and hear the pain in his voice as he explained why he could not care for Kenen.  I knew that seeing the pain in his first dad's life would be a gift to him some day.  However, we knew nothing about his birth mother except how she died.  I had hoped that some day, I would be able to fill in more pieces of the story so that Kenenisa could have a sense of his life before he became our son.  I prayed that some day we would have a chance to find his family, but had no idea how or when that would happen.

In a most miraculous way, it happened without me ever leaving the comforts of my warm, home.  My dear friend, Jennifer Bridges, has been in Ethiopia with her family for a 2 week trip to serve the people of this beautiful country.  I did not ask for her to look for Kenen's family.  I knew she had many important things to do while she was there, and a very busy schedule.  However, she asked for a few details ... and said ... just in case, we happen to go there.  I truly had no expectations.

Last night, she and I had a long FB chat where she retold the most amazing story of finding Kenenisa's birth family on Christmas Day in Ethiopia (which is on Jan 7th).  Of things falling into place in clearly God orchestrated ways.  Of driving along dirty, bumpy roads, till the people who were guiding them said, "get out of the van, he's coming".  She still had no idea who "he" was, until they said that Kenenisa's birth dad was coming to meet them.   There are too many amazing parts of this story, but just know that so many pieces of the puzzle have been filled in.  And contact has been made that will allow us to re-connect with him in the future, if we choose.  (He even gave them his cell phone number ... how crazy is that?)

His first dad told her that he had been praying for Kenenisa on Christmas Eve.  And what a gift it was to have her there the next day to share about his life in America. It is a priceless gift for us as well.   I can't wait for the day when it will be time to share it with our son! 



Thank you, Bridges Family .... for truly being a bridge between Kenenisa's two families.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

RE-ADOPTION FINALIZED!

Over the holidays, we finished our re-adoption of Kenenisa.  We considered waiting to have the formal court ceremony with the judge, but decided against it.  While I know it would have been cool to hear the judge say that he is our child as if born to us, I also know that it would have been very confusing for Kenen.  He already asks a thousand questions a day about the most mundane things.  Trying to explain the judge, courthouse, adoption, just seemed like opening up a new set of questions that he would not be able to comprehend.  Kind of like that moment in the movie The Blind Side when the boy says, "I thought I already was part of your family."  So we did it by mail, and received the Certificate of Adoption a couple of weeks ago ... then last week we received his new birth certificate from the state of Oregon ... and we are expecting his social security card any day now!  He was legally ours when the adoption was final in Ethiopia last June, but we had to go through a bit more paperwork so that he is recognized as a US citizen.  Our last step is to get his US passport ... not that we're planning on going anywhere.  This should take care of any issues he will ever have traveling, and will conclude every bit of paperwork needed to show that he is irrevocably an Elder, and will always be ours!


In other news, we also had our 6 month post-placement visit from our social worker.  We've really only been home a bit over 5 months, but the review just has to happen in the 6th month.  It was an encouraging visit, and our SW said that she saw great progress in every area, and that she was very pleased with how things were going for us, despite our continuing struggles.  There is something about hearing an "expert" say that we are doing well, that is helpful because there are still plenty of days when I feel like we still have so far to go ... which we do.

So on top of doing all of the normal holiday stuff, it feels great to have finished so many of these important things.