Sunday, September 30, 2012


The other day, someone stopped me at Winnie's school and said she knew me.  We finally figured out that we both followed, and that is how we were connected! 

Check out our time last weekend with Rachel Joy Baransi.  Her photography needs no explanation.  There's smiles and tears, just how life is.  I only wish we saw her more! click here for the video:

Here are more pics...

 Thanks Rachel!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012



Meskel - The Finding of the True Cross - Sept 28th
Meskel (the finding of the true cross) falls on 28th September each year and has been celebrated in Ethiopia for over 1,600 years. The word Meskel means “Cross” and the feast commemorates the discovery of the cross (upon which Jesus was crucified).

Tonight we went across town but felt like we landed in Ethiopia.  We met up with some great friends, enjoyed a cultural and religious celebration, and ate good food.  Timmyay helped start the bonfire.  Woineshet led her brother around the fire  and danced.  Mesay laughed and seemed more at east than he has been in a while.  I practiced my Amharic with new friendsMom, are you sure I'm not part Ethiopian?  I felt at home.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Too good to enjoy

Sometimes, when I am really enjoying something, I ruin it by worrying about the end. 

Take a massage I got a while back, for instance.  The moment she grabbed my foot and started rubbing out the "I've been on my feet too long blues," I knew the end must come.  The pressure was perfect.  The room was dark.  I enjoyed my legs being stretched, the arms felt reeaaally good, but by the time she got to my back and neck, I was wondering how much time I had left!  I told myself, "self, relax, quit working against the bliss you are supposed to be enjoying right now!"  Self did not listen.  I knew the massage was a seldom experienced treat but did not enjoy it to the fullest, AND THE MASSEUSE WAS AMAZING!!

Bedtime is like that around here.  Mesay wants to lay on my chest and snuggle.  Every night he asks for this, then asks if I will do it for a little while or long while.  He starts out nuzzling and enjoying our time.  Next, he lifts his head and asks if he still has a big while with me.  His little body becomes tense, he's clinging to me now.  I tell him how wonderful tomorrow will be too, but he is just worried about the moment I exit.  He's in a full out panic cry.

Tim reminded me tonight that he didn't always have this.  Maybe he is unsure it will last.  Perhaps people didn't always stick around when they said they would. 

In time, he will realize that we are only walking 10 feet down the hall.  He can full out enjoy our pre-bed snuggles, knowing that we will be right here in the morning... now if only I could get that masseuse to come back everyday!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Posted: 18 Sep 2012 12:21 PM PDT
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Philippians 4:6 (The Message)
Have you ever had those “what if” thoughts as a parent?  You know the ones.  What if my child never sleeps through the night?  What if he doesn’t make it through this school year?  What if she embarrasses me in public, again?  What if he melts down at church when everyone is watching?  What if the violent outbursts never stop?  What if he never graduates high school or can’t get into college?  What if she never accepts my love?  What if he never learns to trust me?  What if life never returns to normal?
Life is full of “what if’s” and the adoption journey certainly offers no respite from this reality.  Most of us embarked on this adventure full of hopes and dreams.  Many of those dreams remain; some are but a distant memory.  Maybe you remain hopeful, or maybe your hope is fading – or maybe both. 
As we travel this journey we will likely encounter so many questions, but often too few answers; so many doubts, but at times so little certainty.  As unanswered questions turn to fear and doubts turn to worry it becomes all too easy – and all too human – to become discouraged and fall deeper into the valley of the “what if’s.”  Yet wherever we are we discover we are not alone. 
The same God who called us to the adoption journey is ever-present as we question, doubt, and worry along the way.  He invites us to turn to Him in prayer, rely upon Him for strength, and trust in Him for the hope that only He can give.  And as we do we will find a loving Father willing and able to transform our “what if’s” about tomorrow into a deep and abiding trust in Him for today.  
Lord, I praise you for your goodness and mercy and your steadfast love.  I entrust my “what if’s” – my questions, doubts, and worries – to You and trust in You to work in every aspect of my life and the lives of my children for our good and your glory.
*Adapted from …And They Lived Faithfully Ever After: Devotionals for Adoptive & Foster Families, due out by December 2012 from Empowered To Connect.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Seat Backs and Tray Tables

I see the wheels turning and that look in his eye sometimes...  "What are the consequences for this action?  Will my mom and dad both respond in the same way?  What if I do it twice in a row or THRICE (is that even a word)?  If I do it quickly and look back with a smile, will they laugh at me?  If I beg for it repeatedly, will it wear them down?  If I say 'please' does that elicit a more favorable response?"

I imagine these and many more questions going through my little guy's head.  The wave of new experiences, including having parents and a doting sister, has to leave him exhausted and perplexed at times.  He's picking up on things really quickly, though.  The "think it over chair" does not have an occupant as often.  A "redo" is chosen more frequently.  He's giving more kisses than kicks :)

This past weekend was my best friend's wedding.  I left feeling a little guilty leaving old daddy at the helm.  And when I got back, I felt like I wanted to cringe a little as I walked through the door.  A praline in hand, to sugar him up...Ahh, that was just me fretting, for papa bear did a fabulous job.  The house was clean, the kids had pajamas on and were fast a sleep, and the only hint of the weekend, were little dark circles under his eyes. 

As I sat on the plane, awaiting my final flight home, I made a connection.  I watched four grown-ups hide their phones from the flight attendant.  Sure, we all wonder if powering down our cellular devices really makes a difference!  Rules are rules, but a slightly reclined seat sure does feel better on take off and landing.  Mesay isn't any different than the rest of us.  We all want to test the limits a little, see if we can get by with it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Two kids who were not ready to wind down and two parents who were very ready to wind down...
many more to come I am guessing!!


Wow, we have made such good progress in a week.  Our apologies to Kimmy, who experienced a 20 minute screaming fit last night!  Today, Mesay cried less than 5 minutes when he didn't get what he wanted, and I call that great gains.  He is eating lots more, but only tips the scales at 27 lbs this morning.  We go to the International Children's Clinic on Friday, should be LOADS of fun!  They take a stool sample, hair sample, blood sample, you name it.  My plan is to bring a new toy for the trip.  Speaking of toys, he has been hard at work, playing with all of Winnie's barbies while she is at school!  He loves "cycling," as he calls it.  He enjoys washing his hands.  At the mention of "shower" he has all of his clothes off , faster than the Ethiopian Olympic runners, he's in the tub.  When the mention of "shower" in casual conversation came up, we heard squealing upstairs and a naked boy in the tub... that was the 3rd shower of the day!!!  Hey, You pick your battles, and if he's happy and clean, that is not a battle I care to have right now :)

Today at lunch, he inhaled his pasta.  He stopped for just a second, to ask me to feed him.  I jumped on the chance, recalling that doing tasks for him would connect us and seal a bond.  It was gone so quickly, and then he licked and sipped all the sauce out of the bowl and hopped up.  He didn't need fed, but we both really enjoyed it.  I love being his mom.  I think he is starting to enjoy being a little boy with a family too.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My Long Lost Friend

I have not been a good sleeper in quite a few years.  Last night, I experienced a whole different kind of sleep deprivation.  A little boy who just could not calm down.  The little guy ran to his sisters room at 2:30 am to make sure she was awake too.  He played finger games, asked me for every beverage in his small vocabulary, cried, and wiggled out of bed.  Winnie woke up and joined us several times.  By 6:30 am, the three of us had made chalk masterpieces and were roaming the neighborhood, playing at the park, screaming at squirrels (well, only one of us is terrified of them,) throwing walnuts into the river, and looking a little crazy in our pajamas. 

A few snippets about the family:
Winnie has been feeling the adjustment.  Tim and I are both having "special time" with her.  She was able to verbalize that she was sad about Mesay getting so much attention.  My mom reminded her that when her mommy was little, she had felt the same way with Aunt Molly.  Most of the time she is laughing and squealing with her brother.  She likes to dress him, feed him, tell him "no," and model correct behavior for him (which is GREAT!)

Mesay eats like a tiny bird.  he's picky at this point but likes hard boiled eggs, bread, bacon, and tea.  Loads of tea.  Any mixed foods are strictly avoided!  We ended up at the Ethiopian restaurant last night, in hopes that something familiar would spark some interest.  He did pick up the injera and shiro, but we had to coax him through it.  A kind couple of Ethiopian men paid for our dinner and thanked us for being such good parents, great compliment, and a real encouragement after a long first day at home :)  Anyways, Mesay is a great listener for the most part, happy to be a part of the family.  He loves to sit on dad's shoulders.  He likes to be fed.  He is super underweight, and we are encouraging pediasure and other gross weight gain concoctions.

Tim is an amazing father, always has been.  I enjoy watching him with Mesay and Winnie.  He is really good at praising them both and using positive reinforcement.  He is quite excited to have finished downloading all 1,000 pictures from the cameras this morning.  He slept last night, so he is outside with the kids right now :)

videos and pictures to come!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dear Pilots,

I'd like to apologize for the scene yesterday.  It has taken me a day to figure out how to explain what happened yesterday afternoon...

First off, we had been in different airports for over 24 hours.  Our sweet little son speaks no English and could not tell us how he was doing.  On our first flight, 14.5 hours, our little guy was extremely excited to ride an "aeroplana."  So excited, he lost his dinner.  Then, after a little more turbulence, lost whatever else remained in his tummy.  He was lethargic and slept most of the plane ride, which worried us a little.  Once we landed in Dulles, he bounced back.  He ate some bread, played a little, and took a nap on the nice terminal floor. 

This second leg of the flight was quick.  We were all excited to be coming home.  The amazing flight attendant  oohed and ahhhed over Mesay.  She even gave him a little sprite in a cup with a lid.  The turbulence at the end made me a little nauseated myself, so I was grateful when I looked over and saw Mesay holding it together so nicely.  When we landed, I was so relieved.  We were in the last row, and as we got up to leave, I heard the flight attendant on the phone say, "it's his first flight, let's make it special."  As we walked out, you were so kind to ask us if Mesay would like to look in the cockpit.  Wow, what a nice end to the................................................................................................................................................  and then it happened, he barfed all over your cockpit and gear.  I had no idea that he could even hold such amounts.  The panic I felt was surely felt by you as well.  I am sincerely sorry to the pilots, ground crew, and all passengers affected :0