Friday, June 25, 2010

Almost a month

Beza has been home for almost one month already! We have been so busy I've totally neglected this blog...sorry. I thought I should post the pics. My mom and older sister also came to the airport that day so there were 13 of us there to greet her as she came up the escalator from the customs area. I think she was a bit overwhelmed but very happy too! Of course, Isabella took her right under her wing and now rarely lets her go anywhere alone, which has been such a blessing. Isabel is really great at making people feel comfortable.
However, Beza is really really shy with Sergio and I.... kind of a nervous shy. The first few days she was home, we would hug her and have to coach her to hug us back. But now she comes to find me when I'm leaving the house, or at bed time and gives me a hug and kiss and tells me she loves me. She just started this week feeling comfortable to approach me with questions like, "Can I have a piece of my candy?" or "Can you correct my math?" so we are definitely making progress. She plays really well with all the kids and laughs and jokes around with them and although she is tiny for her age, she has no problem helping to keep the boys in line! We took the kids to Ethiopian dancing last month and Beza floored me when she got up to dance! Here I thought she would be too shy to dance, but she proved me wrong. She was doing the whole shoulder thing so well that an Ethiopian woman who's daughter was also at class commented to me what a great dancer she was! She has very little English so it is hard to communicate sometimes. She seems to feel uncomfortable when I say something she doesn't understand and I don't like making her feel uncomfortable so I have found myself only trying to say things I know she'll get. Just in the past few days I'm sensing that she's feeling a little more comfortable with us having to struggle to get our points across. One thing that has helped us bond is cooking. Every evening as I'm getting dinner ready Beza comes into the kitchen to help. And for those of you who know me, YES I said every evening as I get dinner ready, Sergio is down to just one employee and with the summer days being longer he is rarely home to cook anymore so the kids are stuck with me doing it!
Nati and Ahbel are also doing really well. They have calmed WAY down to a point where I can function without needing to sneak into my room for a handful of M&M's every few hours! All the kids are just absolutely wonderful. I want to do individual posts on them so I won't take time to go into any further details now, but I will post a few pics.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Nati

We celebrated Nati's 9th birthday today! We really have no idea when his actual birthday is or how old he is but I've always liked the date May 27. I actually picked it out for Hana but we ended up not using it because she knew her real birthday. Legally on paper Nati should be turning 8 next month but we are sure he is older than that, in fact if you ask him how old he is he will tell you 9 so we gave him the choice of either turning 9 today or turning 10 later in the year. He chose to turn 9 today which I think is pretty accurate. When we do the readoption we'll make this his legal birthday.
He picked donuts for breakfast, pasta with berbere for lunch and turkey burgers for dinner! He was just thrilled all day long! Right when we were about to eat this morning, he ran upstairs to get his "Happy Birthday Hat" as he called it. It is the yellow crown in the picture you see below. After lunch we went to the park for awhile then to Costco to pick out his cake. As soon as he saw the cake with an American flag on it he said, "Oh mommy, America, America, I love! Me this mommy, me this!" It was too cute.
Nati went to work the other day with Sergio and earned a little money with which he bought himself a HUGE bag of candy. (Obviously I was not the one who took him to the store to spend his money!) When it was time for cake tonight Nati gave every body a lollipop from his bag and stuck it in their cake. He is such a generous kid, he wanted to make sure that he did something special for other people on the day we were doing special things for him.
We got him 3 gifts. Walkie Talkies, a wet/dry habitat thing where you can keep a frog (the kind you send away for the tadpole and get to watch it grow), because he LOVES anything that's alive: frogs, ants, flys, anything, and a cheap MP3 player because Nati loves music and dancing. Oh and the kids bought him a woopie cushion, which of course just cracked him up!
Tomorrow we'll wake up and have just one more day until Beza comes home!

Monday, May 24, 2010

First Hugs With The Boys

Here are the pics from me meeting the boys at the airport! Sorry they are in backwards order, I don't get why they ended up that way. The boys are doing so well I can hardly believe it. They are such wonderful kids. We are very blessed to have them in our family.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

First few weeks in pics

The last pics are of the kids at the Ethiopian dance classes we attend in Seattle. I think they must have done lots of dancing at Kidane because Nati is familiar with all the different types, even "heep hope", as he calls it! I have lots I want to say about how things are going around here, but don't have the time so I'm cheating with pictures and video!

Hana and Beza Reunited!

For those of you who don't do Facebook, here's a video of when Hana and Beza were firt reunited in Ethiopia! We are counting down the days til May 29 when Beza will be home for good!

Telephoning Jesus!

Here is a video of the boys singing one of their favorite songs. It has been so fun to hear them sing. There's been a few songs I thought they were singing in Amharic only to find out after paying closer attention they were actually singing in "English"!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My apologies for taking so long to post, things are quite busy around here and I've been back to posting on FB because it's so much quicker.
Things are going well, it's just very chaotic. You would think having 7 kids in the home would have been busy but up til now our home has usually been very laid back. Nati and Ahbel are definitely keeping us all on our toes. They are good kids and we've seen lots of good things these past few days but if you can imagine having two toddlers who drink coffee all day rather than milk you will begin to imagine the energy level we have now! Both boys are just in the testing stage, testing to see how things like lights and DVD players work, testing to see what they can get away with, testing to see if they beg 500 times for the same thing if I'll finally give in and give them what they want! I've been very emotional I think just from being so tired and I almost cried today when Sergio was going to run errands and didn't want to take the boys with him. I don't feel frustruated with them I just needed some peace for awhile. Sergio ended up taking the boys and a few girls with him, I vaccumed and mopped the floors, switched the laundry and got dinner going and was so happy to see the kids when they got back.
All the kids are getting along very well, they all play together. Le'oul is doing a wonderful job of being the oldest brother. He is a natural leader and seems to be thriving with his new role. I gave him a hug today and told him "I don't think either one of us would ever imagine that you would be considered one of the calm kids, but praise God, He works everything out for good.!" We both had to laugh at the thought of it!
Nati and Ahbel are both cuddly and come to me many times during the day for affection, they have really good eye contact, and apologize on their own when they do something wrong. These are all really good signs of them having the ability to attach. Nati is also very compassionate and always gives hugs and tries to cheer people up when they are sad.
I'm too tired to write anything else but here are some pictures from the past week. I'll post pics from Ethiopia some other time hopefully.

Friday, April 23, 2010

They're in Germany!

As I write this Sergio and the kids are on their way home. They will leave Germany in just a few hours! Sorry I didn't post the past few days, I've been busy getting things ready and yesterday we had a sleepover with a friend of mind who's husband is also out of town. I got to stay up til 4:00am chatting with her so today I've pretty much brain dead!
Here's the rest of what I know about the boys:
Nati is reading English already! That will make my job of homeschooling him SO much easier next year! He also reads in Amharic very well. He's competitive and athletic.
Ahbel is a character and reminds Sergio a lot of Mateo. He's also very snuggly.
On Thursday they had a going away party for Nati and Ahbel at the orphange they lived in for the past 2.5 years. Sergio said the boys didn't seem sad at all to leave their friends but it brought him to tears! They were also able to get everything on our shopping list so I'm super happy! They bought lots of Amharic books and music, a drum, a coffee ceremony set and some Ethiopian outfits for the boys.
There is much more I wish I could write but I really need to go to bed. I'll post at least pics very soon of our family together!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wed night in Ethiopia

I just spoke with Sergio. The embassy appointment went well today. Sergio was able to sign the paperwork for Beza which means as soon as her test is done on May 22, she'll be ready to come home!
Eventhough it has been really hard for me to stay home while Sergio is in Ethiopia I am beginning to see how it really was the right choice. We have had such a good week with Le'oul. He has only lost it a few times and was able to recover fairly quickly when he did. The amount of bonding we've had over the past week has been amazing and eventhough I know we still have a long road ahead of us, it has been so nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am so thankful God brought Le'oul into our family and after hearing about the rough day Sergio had with the boys yesterday (I won't post details on the blog) I can see how God has used Le'oul to prepare us for the boys. A year ago, if Sergio had to deal with those type of behaviors we would have thought we made a huge mistake, but when I asked him if he was at all worried about bringing the boys home he was able to say "NO way, these boys are a perfect match for our family and I can't wait to bring them home." And it isn't just Sergio and I that God has prepared. It is so comforting to hear Mateo say, "Mom, it's okay if one of the boys hits me because they haven't had a mom or dad to teach them so it might take awhile for them to learn that's not okay." My 6 yr old understands that these boys have missed out on so much, and that they are not "bad" kids just because they may have some "bad" behaviors. He KNOWS he will likely be hit or have a toy broken more than once and he is STILL so EXCITED for them to join our family. This means so much to me because we don't have ANY issues with hitting in our family yet, so it is not something Mateo is used to.
I am so thankful for God's love, for His love that shines through my kids, for His love that makes it possible to join two families from two different continents and make them one, and for His love that can take all the pain and suffering and HEAL it and use it for good, changing not only the hurt, but also the people around them.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Mommy come.....Mommy come PLEASE"

Those are the first words Ahbel said to me today! It was so sweet, I kept telling him I wished I could but of course he didn't understand me!
Sergio, Hana and Beza picked Ahbel and Nati up from the orphanage this afternoon. Hana said the boys weren't shy at all, and that they ran right up to them to give them hugs! Let me just tell you they are both LIVE WIRES! As soon as they knew it was me on the phone they were shouting to me and Hana ended up having to use the speaker phone so both boys could talk at the same time! She said Ahbel is so close to Mateo's age they can't tell who is older. They guessed Nati's age to be around 9. He's super skinny, wearing size 7 shorts with the waist totally sinched up and they're still too big! Both the boys are also very funny, Hana was cracking up at them in the background while I was speaking with Sergio.
It seems like it was a very good idea for Sergio to wait to get the boys til today. It gave him a chance to get some important stuff done without having two very energetic boys to deal with at the same time. I think they are going to wear him out, it was only 8:00pm and they were about to go to bed! That is super early for our family!
Tomorrow the girls are getting their hair done by a lady who works at Layla (the orhanage Hana was at). The salon they were supposed to go to today tried to up the price on them so they left!
Oh and we also heard today that there is a chance Beza will be able to come home the last weekend of May, which is one week earlier than we expected so hopefully that will work out!
We are starting to be a little concerned about Sergio, Hana and the boys making it home this weekend with all the volcano stuff going on. They have flights with Lufthansa flying through Frankfurt, so please pray they can come home as planned.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Saturday Morning in Ethiopia

I just got off the phone with Hana. They were able to see our sponsored child and had a wonderful time visiting with her and her mom. On the way back into Addis they were able to stop and see some really cool historical sites although I have no idea which sites they were because she didn't tell me.
They were leaving for an overnight trip to Hana's hometown this morning. It's about a 4 hour drive north from Addis (where they are now). Hana is so excited to go back and see her school and church. I'm sure they will have a good time.
Last night Sergio, Hana and Beza went to an restaurant that has traditional Ethiopian dancers. Hana said that she took a picture of one of the dancers that had her hair braided just the way Hana wants to get hers done! That girl knows how to get what she wants! She and Beza plan on getting their hair done sometime before Monday before they pick up the boys. She also said speaking Amharic is coming much easier now, Yay! She said it was a little uncomfortable at first with Beza but now it feels completely normal. I will speak with them on Sunday morning (Sunday evening for them) to see how this weekend goes and then the next time I call I'll be able to speak to the boys!
As for those of us at home, we are counting down the days til April 24! Things are going fine and are actually very peaceful so I should probably enjoy it while I can!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

They've arrived!

Last night, just as I was falling asleep, I got a call from Sergio saying him and Hana were on their way to pick up Hana's sister Beza! He was so excited, and said that she'd be able to stay with them the entire time they are in Ethiopia. Well of course, I did NOT fall back to sleep easily after that. I kept imagining what the sisters' reunion would be like! This morning I called Sergio and was able to hear what happened. Beza ran right up and gave Hana a huge hug, then hugged Sergio. She was so happy and excited. They then went to a close friend's house for lunch, and I'm sure Hana gorged herself on the Ethiopian food! Sergio said Beza is up to Hana's shoulder in height, understands english pretty well (although Sergio told them they are only allowed to speak to eachother in Amharic), and she cannot stop staring at Hana! It must be so weird to not see your sister for almost 3 years and then all of a sudden she's right there in front of you!
I got to speak with Hana, who told me she woke up in the middle of the night crying for me. It broke my heart but I'm hoping since her sister is with her now, she'll be okay. Then I got to speak to Beza. I cannot tell you how beautiful it is for me to hear her call me Mommy. How wonderful it is that she knows it is no longer only Hana who has a mom and a family in America, but that I am just as much her Mommy too. That my two girls who grew up together and were split apart are now back together calling the same people Mommy and Daddy. I am just so happy God has brought us all together. I asked how she was doing and told her I love her in my very limited Amharic and then the kids got to say hi.
Tomorrow they are going to meet a girl we sponsor through Compassion International. I'll post as soon as I speak with them!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Off they go!

Sergio and Hana left today for Ethiopia! This whole time we thought their plane departed at 7:20am, so Sergio and I decided to just stay up all night last night since he'd need to leave the house at 4:00am anyway. Well around 2:45 as we were going over the oodles of paperwork I packed for him, we looked at the tickets and saw his plane didn't leave til 2:20PM! Needless to say, we went straight to bed! It ended up really being a blessing though, because the kids were so happy to wake up to their daddy and Hana still home, and then we all got to take them to the airport this afternoon. As of now, they have 4 hrs left of their 10 hr flight to Frankfurt. They only have a 1 1/2 hour layover in Germany then a 7 hr flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Hana's uncle and cousin are picking them up from the airport. It will be nice for Hana to see family so quickly after getting off the plane. I'm going to call Sergio around 9:30am tomorrow, which will be 8:30pm in ET just to make sure they landed safely.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Where have I been?

Well mostly on Facebook! It's been a year since I've posted anything on here so I guess I'll give a recap for anyone who might still be checking this blog!
Angelina is now 14, still playing piano, still as sweet as ever and has just started to discover how nice it is to be able to earn money through babysitting! Ariana just turned 12! It's been 5 years this month since she's had a seizure and she's beginning to make progress in her communication in school and at home. Hana is almost 11, and has adjusted SO easily to being in our family. Although in the past few months she has started to act like a "normal" sibling and bicker once in awhile(in a sweet voice, of course) she is still by far the most patient person in our house. Le'oul is 10 and is always amazing us with his creativity! He is doing super well in school and reading chapter books with ease now, such a huge difference from a year ago! Isabel is 8 and as joyful as ever. She is playing the violin and will soon be learning some fiddling which suits her bubbly personality much better than classical music, although she loves playing the classical songs. Mateo is 6 and doing very well in first grade this year. He's is in love with all things boy i.e. Clone Wars, Legos, and making amazing sound effects with his mouth AND he is still my biggest snuggler! At 4 years old, Olivia is....well...... Olivia, what can I say. She is spunky and goofy, is always saying off the wall things, she loves drawing (the girl draws better than I do) and always gives her artwork away as a gift. Her and Mateo are the best of friends.
Sergio still has his painting business and after quite a few minor but painful injuries has given up playing soccer and basketball with the guys during the week!
As for me, I'm still up til odd hours every night eventhough my New Year's resolution EVERY YEAR is to go to bed earlier, I've learned to let many things go over this past year, but still need to let go of many more, and am absolutely in LOVE with having a big family!