Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Our lovely Chinese Students

Becky, Winnie and Mona

Happy 16th Birthday Mona!

We have had two lovely Chinese girls staying with us.  Mona and Becky are in the 10th grade in Bejing.  They are here visiting for two weeks for New Year break.  Their top choice for where to go in Columbus was the dollar store!  We had a little surprise birthday celebration for Mona tonight...it was such a good surprise that she had already went to bed.  She was a good sport and got up to have some cake with us.  They also decorated our house for the New Year with red papercuts and a paper lantern out front.  Tim cooked up some awesome mutton tonight for the girls.  Winnie has been challenging them to several games of UNO and leading them around the neighborhood. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Two years ago we became a family and a funny video...

It was two years ago that we had our "Metcha Day", a day that will be a holiday in our house forever. Watching this video it was hard to believe that this was less than two years ago. For context, Winnie was telling us how HUNGRY she was... it brought out a few tears in our house tonight...our lives have been so blessed and so forever changed.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I sometimes forget for weeks on end that my daughter used to be an orphan.  She has so quickly adapted to western culture and way more importantly, family life as a Shaw.  I just don't think about it like I used to.  It feels like ages ago. 

When my mind starts a wanderin', I do think about the missed years occasionally.  What happened to my daughter before I knew her?  What was the environment like and how did it form this confident and self reliant little one?  I wish I were able to see her as a baby, even a picture would be nice.  I don't have a picture of her birth parents, but it would be cool to see who she looks like.  I would have liked to interview the nannies too.  I was too nervous and jittery as a new mother to think of all the things to ask at the transition home in Ethiopia.  Even a favorite story or how she had been mischievous one day...Who?  Winnie?  NEVER!!

God grants us more than we wish or imagine.  He waits until I'm just rolling along, doing my own thing and catches me by surprise.  It's like he says, "I've got a special little tidbit for you today.  something that you don't deserve or expect, but I love you this much." 
I got an email from a family we met while in Ethiopia.  Hadn't talked to her in a while.  She had gone back to Ethiopia and had a chance to visit the transition home (last home for orphans before they are united with forever families).  Here's what she told me...

"All i had to do was say Dereje outloud one time and one nanny almost lunged at me and then began pushing her lip up like his and asking me if i was talking about that dereje When i said yes she began calling all the other nannies over and they were all laughing and crying and pushing their lips up It made me tear up it was so sweet
Then they were telling me stories about how he would climb everything and always getting into mischief being a monkey. 
They didn't realize that I knew you even but they began saying Bekeh couldnt have cared less about him but that there was this little girl Woineshet. And she loved Dereje very very very very (they drove the point home) much. And she carried him around everywhere and she treated him like her special baby. They were always together and she looked after him and fought the other kids for toys for him. I pulled up some pics of her and you guys at Disney world and that pic of Winnie and Caleb in Tennessee and they all started tearing up again, I was still crying so I kept crying. They were thrilled to see how big she was and that she and Dereje knew each other in America. It was precious. I was amazed at how much they knew about each of the kids after so long!
guess that explains why she named her baby doll Dereje. :)"

I've read this over and over again for a few months.  Ahh, a tidbit, a new story about her past life that I didn't ever think I would get.  So precious to me!  I am grateful for a creator who cares about the little things.

Monday, January 9, 2012


You heard me right, my little lady started first grade this week...

Life with Winnie has been an amazing, exciting, non-stop flight of growth, change, and surprise!  This time two years ago we were expecting to meet our three year old daughter.  Now, just 1.9 years later, she is almost seven and moving up to the first grade.  That means we have packed 4 years of growth, "firsts," and adventures into 2 years :)  I've loved every minute of it, but would request that we just slow down and enjoy each age now.

Winnie started in Kindergarten this fall at our local school.  She was a tad bit bigger than some of the kids, but LOVED every minute of her time with Mrs. Miller and the gang.  Mrs. Miller shared with us that after gym, you could find the class divided into two.  Mrs. Miller was tying half the kids shoes, and Winnie was tying the other half.  As time went on, and we had another bone scan done, we realized that she was developementally ready for first grade as well as physically.  It wasn't an easy decision, she has had so many changes in her short time, and was it really necessary???   We realized that the longer we waited, the harder the transition might be.  A special teacher that goes to our church gave us encouragement and the right words to say when we talked to the teacher and principal.  It wasn't easy to get everyone to see her unique situation, but in the end I feel at peace with the decision...and Winnie spent 2 hours requesting we do ALL her homework for the week (and it's only monday).  Should I have her put that she loves homework down in writing? 

God has really blessed us with a resilient child.  She takes new challenges and change with real courage.  I am still amazed and humbled to get to be her mother.


Friday, January 6, 2012

All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth

I think the pictures pretty much sum up our girl's month before Christmas.  The new teeth are already springing in and dropping into place.  We had a wonderful Christmas with friends and family.  We sang happy birthday to Jesus, passes out mints at a senior housing facility where my grandma used to live, and enjoyed food with family.  We did miss Tim a lot on Christmas day.  I'm learning to savor each moment I have with Winnie because she is groing so big, so quickly.  more to come on that note tomorrow.