Monday, January 16, 2012

A walk down memory lane

As a result of this Mama not paying attention to daycare closure due to the holiday I am spending an unexpected Monday home with the boys. Yeah for a Monday off from work, right! Well, in trying to pass the morning I pulled up some pictures and videos of the Ethiopia Court and Embassy visits and quickly had a lap full of boys. We were laughing at the antics, at how they have grown, and trying desperately to figure out what Joseph was saying. He kept sadly shaking his head and saying "I don't remember" that is until I opened the video of them with their birth Mom. There was breathtaking silence and then Joseph grabbed me and in a pleading voice said "No Mama, I want to go home!" and then "where's Mama" as he searched the video for a glimpse of me. It took me a moment to realize he meant home as in here home. There was something about that video that transported him back to that orphanage in Ethiopia. I was trying to reassure him when Jacob's attention shifted from a movie he was watching to the video and suddenly he was sobbing hysterically and clinging to me. Needless to say the video ended quickly and I spent the next hour with Jacob unwilling to get out of my lap in obvious distress and Joseph following my every footstep.
What just happened? Obviously not what I intended. I believe these two were terrified, horrified in fact that their lives were fixing to change again. So how on earth do I figure out this balance of keeping their heritage strong and sharing their adoption story, yet protecting their hearts. She was a huge player in their lives and one who deserves to be remembered and honored. Yet I feel this is my cue to leave this portion of their lives untouched until they ask. Everything I ever read said to answer questions as they came. So does that mean to never mention their Ehmyay until they do? Until now I felt it was good for them to see the pictures periodically. In the beginning in fact there seemed to be something quite soothing to Joseph about doing so. Perhaps it is the length of time that has now passed. This one I just do not know. What I do know is it feels amazing that these two call me Mama and seek comfort in my arms. I will certainly be praying through this one.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Melkam Gena

Wow, holding to traditional Ethiopian holidays was harder than expected this year. Exhausted from all of the Christmas celebrations, Gotcha Day, and New Years I found it incredibly difficult to celebrate yet another Christmas. In about as nontraditional method as you can get, the boys and I spent most of the day at home...minus gifts. We talked about it being Christmas in Ethiopia and discussed some of the ways family and friends might be celebrating. With little interest from them, I didn't push the Ethiopia discussion. Jacob honestly doesn't remember, and Joseph...well, he just clams up every time I try to get him to talk. Maybe next year.
The highlight of our day was a quick bite at Wendy's and the very first hockey game! Kathy received tickets to the Nashville Predators vs Carolina Hurricanes game that conveniently coincided with this day. We had great seats and both boys thoroughly enjoyed the game. Sports and fights are right up their alley:) We made it about 2/3 of the way through and only left because I knew they needed to get to bed. Let's say Mama needed to get to bed so therefore they did! Melkam Gena!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gotcha Day 2011

I absolutely marvel at the fact that a year has passed. There are times it feels like Joseph and Jacob have always been a part of my life and others that feel like the journey has just begun. I was fortunate enough to be off from work to spend the day (December 30) with these two and I so wish every day could be like this one. It was as if they knew it was a special day. Everyone was on their best behavior and it was so easy to feel like the family we are. We started the morning out of conveniece at the pediatrician for Jacob's last two immunizations. He was delayed due to illness but has now caught up on immunizations and has no more due until his next birthday!! What a strange feeling to know I only take them to the doctor now for healthy check-ups or in the event of illness.  Fortunate enough also (or perhaps a gift from God) was the weather. Though it wasn't quite as warm as I was hoping, we headed to the zoo from the doctor and spent the next couple of hours riding the carousel (another first) and seeing the animals. Most every animal was visible this trip so as the boys rode in the wagon I got some much needed exercise going up first one hill and then another. Next we stopped at Sonic for a bite of lunch and then home where they collapsed for a three hour nap. Kathy joined us for dinner at Margarita House...a fitting choice as this was the first restaraunt we went to on the night of their homecoming. I decided to take just one more day off from work today(Jan 2) to spend the anniversary of that homecoming with them. We did nothing special...just enjoyed a pajama day with lots of movies and playtime and my getting them back on a schedule fitting for work and school. I have learned so much from them this past year and I am so thankful for these two boys that are teaching me many lessons as we travel this adoption journey together. Happy Gotcha Day 2011! the first of many to come...

Love, love, love me some Jacob!

Always smiling! Joseph is my strong, silent, sensitive little man

Just as it was a year ago this day...Kathy has been entwined in this journey since the beginning

It only took a year to get a frameworthy picture of the three of us!!

Merry Christmas!

December 2011...what a difference a year makes, huh. Last year I struggled with the distance between me and my sons...this year I played Santa again and reveled in the fact that yes, they are home.

We had a rough month prior to and just after Christmas with first one illness and then another taking over. Jacob had a terrible virus requiring two trips to the doctor, blood work, and a chest x-ray to convince me it was just a virus (it is hard to persuade a nurse, especially one who specializes in pediatric oncology!). He ran a fever up to 105 for a solid week and just laid in my arms saying "help me Mama." Then both boys got head colds which led to Jacob's first ear infection since surgery. All was topped off by Joseph's first stomach virus and vomiting for the first time ever. Thankfully that one was short lived and did not spread beyond him. Both are well for the moment but I hold my breath every time one of them coughs!

I managed to get the boys by to see Santa Claus prior to the busy time of the season and wish I had taken a video camera. Joseph delighted in running to Santa and once I explained that this was their first Christmas here, Santa very patiently explained how Christmas worked, up to and including the reindeer pulling the sleigh. It was precious and the smile on Joseph's face priceless. Jacob managed a high five and sat in big sis Kathy's lap for a picture. Let's just say he was curious but not a fan.

Christmas celebrations began with my siblings, niece and nephew, and all of my children and grandchildren. It was one big germ fest as my two were not the only ones not feeling up to par. They wasted no time however as gifts were presented and each opened the first of many. Next came Christmas Eve at my Uncle's house where Joseph and Jacob met some family members for the first time. Christmas Eve night my older three children came over with their families and shared dinner, and gifts. Then Christmas morning David and Kathy came over to wake the boys and video and take pictures of their first American Christmas celebration. All in all a wonderful celebration with precious family time and wonderful gifts. Needless to say, the most priceless gift was having all of my children home with me this year.

The grandchildren. Michael (6), Colten (5), Kensley (4), and Emmalynn (3 months)
Joseph going to spread some reindeer food
One of those rare smiles. Jacob is very stingy with them when the camera is around.
Thanks Santa!

My children, Kathy, Amy, David, Joseph, and Jacob