Thursday, December 30, 2010

Language


video

I took this video a few weeks ago. Aliyah is learning so many new words each day, she continues to amaze us with how quickly she is adapting.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas

I have wonderful memories of Christmas as I was growing up. Then you hit your twenties and the holiday looses a little of the luster and excitement. But then once we had children the holiday became magical again as we share in their excitement while also trying to teach them that the day is about more than Santa and gifts. This Christmas was extra special now that Aliyah is home. After years of paperwork and court delays, it's hard to believe that she is home with us forever. We met several families on our second trip who were in Ethiopia on their first trip. Many of them had not passed court because of incomplete paperwork and then they later had their visa appointments pushed back for unknown reasons. These delays have caused them to spend another holiday without their children. I pray for these families that they will be going back to Ethiopia soon to bring their children home. It also makes me appreciate how lucky we were that our visa appointment got moved up to an earlier date so that we got to have our daughter with us for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This year we had the boys pick our gifts for each other. You can't tell from the picture but they did have fun exchanging gifts.

It was so fun watching Aliyah slowly unwrap her gifts and the joy on her face as she saw what was inside.

Noah showing his shark teeth.

After Christmas morning at home we went to church and then over to my moms house to have dinner with my mom, stepdad, grandma and my sister's family. Overall a great Christmas for this party of five :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Clothes!






Now I'm not a super girly girl but I have to admit, girl clothes are fun! Aliyah loves getting dressed and loves her headbands, hair clips, bracelets, shoes and all of that.

In case you are wondering about the bandaids, she has a skin condition called mollescums which is basically a pox virus. They are slowly clearing up and luckily she hasn't developed many new ones. Eventually they pop (lovely, I know) and when they do we cover them with a bandaid to try to keep them from spreading.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Birthday Extravaganza

While Noah is great at being a big brother to Aliyah, there have definitely been some challenges to him adjusting to the changes in our family. To help him adjust to his new role as big brother and middle child we have been trying to make sure to give him lots of extra love and attention which translated into an extra special birthday celebration this year.

The celebration started with a family party to celebrate the three December birthdays in our family. I was assigned dessert and my baker extraordinaire friend recommended a great website that gave fun cupcake decorating tips. The final product was red velvet cupcakes with jelly belly decorations. Thanks for the tip Meg!

The December birthdays. Noah (4), Jordan (12), and Grandpa John.

Noah's actual birthday was on Nick's last day of school before Christmas break. Nick's teacher was kind enough to let Noah join in the first grade holiday party.

And to cap off the celebration we had a party at a local indoor play place with friends. Overall it was a great birthday celebration for our very special 4 year old!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ready for Christmas


To say that Christmas is a little extra special this year may be an understatement :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Outtakes

For anyone who we sent a Christmas card to who may be wondering why I include photos of the children individually rather than one good photo of all three, this is why....













Friday, December 10, 2010

Play Date


Two of my girlfriends and their two beautiful daughters came over to meet Aliyah last weekend (she is starting to respond to Aliyah as well as Meseret so we are slowing changing to Aliyah). And while you can't tell from this picture, they had fun playing together! These three girls are only about five months apart in age so hopefully this is the first of many play dates.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Orphanage Visit

In addition to the visa appointment, the other major event on the second trip to Ethiopia is the orphanage visit. This is the opportunity for the adoptive parents to see the orphanage their child was at prior to being referred for international adoption and moving to the transition home in Addis. The orphanage that Meseret is from is about three hours from Addis and we went to visit along with a guide and two other families the day before we left to come home. One family was adopting a 14 year old girl, also named Meseret, who had lived at the orphanage for three years before being adopted. The other family was a very nice couple who were adopting a baby girl that, for some reason that was a bit unclear, was at the orphanage and not the transition home. That means this couple was meeting their daughter for the first time, seeing her orphanage and meeting the birth mother all in one day!


This orphanage has about 10 older kids living there who are either on a waiting list to be adopted or are not eligible for adoption. They were very excited to see both big and little Meseret. It was clear that she was well loved during the year she was there.

One of the older girls prepared coffee for us in the traditional Ethiopian way.


Mezi's crib from age 3-15 months.

This nanny motioned to us to please take her picture with Mezi.

Pete and I were able to talk to the Director of the orphanage and we learned more about the circumstances that Mezi ended up there. We are grateful to have learned more so we can share her early history with her when she is older.

This is my favorite picture. The kids saw some books in our backpack and had so much fun reading them. I taught them the names of the animals in the books and they were so proud when I could point to one and they remembered the word. I may have also made a few animal noises :)


I look at this picture and there is so much emotion in this moment as we were leaving. We all went to lunch afterward before the long drive home and we practically ate in silence. I think we were all numb from emotions of the day and the whole experience. It was a day we will never forget and we are so thankful for the opportunity to see Mezi's orphanage.