Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Fun!

Pictures are worth a million words! We are blessed and God is good!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Does God hold us even when we struggle to get away? Does he continue to keep us close and gently talk to us when we won't look him in the eyes? If we turn our back away from him when he is trying to give us milk, will he not turn us back his way to finish feeding us? The answer to all of these questions is,"Yes!" We sing about how God does all these things for us in church...we call it the love of God. It is no different with an adopted child. I have marveled over and over how I am role modeling God and man when I first begin to parent my adopted kids. I remember a time four years ago in Russia. We had only had our 10 year old son a few days and we were in Moscow finishing all the paperwork so we could go home. We had been running all over the city with Denis getting his physical, having official papers stamped, and buying souvenirs for everyone back home. One morning it was time to go to our embassy appointment and I could not find Denis. Finally,I came into the bathroom of our hotel room and found him sitting curled up with his arms around his knees and his head down, crying! I tried to comfort him and he would have none of me. There was a telephone in the bathroom so I called the front desk and asked if they would translate for me so I could understand the problem. I handed Denis the phone and after a few minutes of talking he handed it back. I asked the front desk person what the matter was and she said, "He just wants to know where you are going next." I told her where and she translated to Denis. After that he got up and got ready and came easily with us. I stood there a moment and realized how this boy and I are so much alike. Many times God will take us here and there without our understanding where we are going simply because we do not understand him. We cry and complain and sometimes refuse to go anymore. But when we hear his voice in a language we understand and he reminds us where we are headed then we relax and keep going with him.
So now with this adoption of Baby Meseret I understand that when she will not look me in the eyes or she struggles to get away from me when I rock her, she is having a common human reaction when trust is the issue. She has no idea if this person feeding her will stay or go, be nice or mean. Her random world has taught her well to be careful and to guard herself. So what do I do about this "rejection"? I know if this brokenness is not repaired she will remain broken emotionally always. So I simply do what my heavenly father does for each one of us. I hold her closer when she is struggling to get away until her tears stop. I interact with her on her level until she can look me in the eyes and I will continue to do this until she knows she can trust that I will not leave her or forsake her. She is my baby before I am her mommy...that is the way God made it, just as he is our father before we become his children. He adopted me.
It has been a month and a half since Meseret has been home and her bonding is going great. She still has times that are difficult for her when she does not want to draw near, but she will learn just as I have learned. Trust will continue to increase as time goes on and distrust will decrease because love is safe, even if the world is not!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First Snow!

In the Willamette Valley snow is a novelty! So at the first hint of it everything shuts down and kids run to
catch the first flakes. On Sunday our first snow fell and we all scrambled to find something warm enough to stay out as long as possible since the chances of it actually sticking are rare. Some of our kids actually got one of their Christmas presents early...snowsuits! Well this year we hit it big, three inches has stayed for three days and the forecast says more is on the way. Driving can be very scary since we are all novices here in Oregon. Etsegenet was hilarious throwing snowballs in flip-flops until her toes and fingers could not take it any more. Abigail was so excited she ran out of the house in her jamies, flopped herself down on the walkway and proceeded to make a snow angel. And although there was only a half inch of snow on the ground it looked pretty good and she could not have been happier about it. The big kids got in on the fun and I made the family our traditionally snow treat of cinnamon toast served warm outside in between snowballs fights! I love these days and I thank God for the breaks he sends us in only ways the he can...this time it was SNOW!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tradition of the Heart

One of my favorite Christmas traditions our family has is called, "The Jesus Box. Years ago when my kids just got old enough to be curious about the gifts under the tree I realized that there was no way they would focus on others when they kept wondering what was in each box for themselves. So I took all the presents out from under the Christmas tree and stored them back into my closet. Then I took a shoebox and wrapped it and cut a slit in the top. I attached a pen on a string to the box and cut up little pieces of paper and stacked them on the package. I told the kids that if they noticed anyone in the family doing something nice for someone else they could write what they saw on one of the slips of paper and put it in the Jesus box. The rule was they could only write about what they saw someone else do and not anything they did. That of course meant that if they wanted their name in the box they actually had to do nice things! This activity went on for the entire month of December. On Christmas morning the kids came into our bedroom so we could all go downstairs together. The Jesus box was brought out and after a prayer time it was the first present that was opened Christmas morning. Each slip of paper was read individually and the result was astounding. We realized how many nice things everyone really does do throughout our weeks. The little slips of paper said things like, "Angelina made coffee for Mom this morning." or, "Noah vacuumed without being told". We really felt like this put the focus of Christmas back where it belonged...others not self. This has remained one of our favorite family traditions for more than ten years and I am sure each of our kids will continue it on in their homes.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Candy Canes and Christmas Dresses

The Christmas season has officially begun at our home! The annual tree cutting took place last weekend as well. We drove out to the tree farm and selected a beautiful 10ft noble. After the women selected just the right tree, it was the guys tough job to cut it down and put it on the car. Of course the gals stayed busy while the men worked by securing the photos for posterity and shopping at the quaint Christmas bazaar on the property.

The lights are another one of the guy jobs at Christmas time and ours do a fabulous job!

The little girls picked out their own Christmas dresses this year and had a wonderful time getting all dressed up Saturday night for their first Holiday party.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Yikes! We had to go to the doctor today for Etsegenet's first checkup. What an ordeal that was! Luckily they got an interpreter on the phone so that everything was carefully explained to E. Still, no matter how much explanation you give a child shots are traumatic, and this was no exception. At the first sight of a needle E began to wail! Two nurses were needed to hold her for her two shots in each arm and a TB test. After all this they brought out the blood draw kit and two more nursed were needed to keep E's arm still so they could retrieve a sample. She just cried and cried! Poor little thing. Once it was all through she clung to me. So many changes for one child, it is hard for her to understand this really is good for her. But after it was all over I let her pick what she wanted for lunch. The choice was pizza so we went over to the local mall's food court and had a lovely familiar lunch. She even tried a bite of my Indian food and liked it. Overall, even with the trauma of the shots, we had a great day of mother-daughter bonding. I must say that of all the brave people there are in the world, I think adopted children rank right up there with the bravest of all!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All is Well

I am amazed at how well our newest daughters are adjusting into their family! We have had a few issues with food that is unfamiliar and some homesickness tears from Etsegenet, but overall she is doing great. We were able to get our Christmas decorations up last weekend. Going to find a tree was a real adventure for E. She loved roaming around and helping pick just the right one. I was able to start E in a grade appropriate math book this week and she is doing great with her English. She is very bright and is really enjoying homeschooling a lot. Today we played store so she could learn US coins. Etsegenet, Isabelle, and Abigail went "shopping" in the family room(grocery carts and all), while Angelina played the cashier. It was a great intro for all the girls into coin counting.

Meseret, our baby, is the princess of the house. She expects to be kissed regularly by as many lips as there are in the room. We of course, being her loyal subjects, comply without any problem. Her chubby cheeks just scream, "Kiss Me!" We all love it! This morning she woke up at 3:30am. I woke up not to her crying but to her singing and babbling. She must have played in there for 45 minutes. before I went and changed her diaper and gave her a bottle. It was so fun just to lie in bed and listen to her voice chattering away. I think she likes it here...I think they both do! I said to my friend yesterday that I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I don't think it will. You have heard, "God never gives you more than you can handle." Apparently God did not think I could handle much since he gave me these two precious easy-going children. So for now all is well!