Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Family Field Trip

Nick didn't have school on Monday so I took the kids to the California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park. Nick's class has been studying the rainforest so we thought it would be fun to go visit the rainforest exhibit again. The kids loved the swamp exhibit and the aquarium too. When we walked by the museum store the boys started with the "I wants...". Then when I told them that they had to use their own money, Nick found the cheapest item available and here they all are with their $1.99 frogs.

Noah in the rain forest.


Aliyah's first Easter with us was a lot of fun. The day started of with rain but the skies cleared in time for an Easter egg hunt at grandma's house after church. Grandma also planned a treasure hunt for the boys in the house and my step dad made the most delicious pulled pork sandwiches.

The boys spent the days leading up to Easter training Aliyah how to hunt Easter eggs. It was very cute! So, on Easter she was well prepared and able to hunt like a pro!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Marine World

Noah's preschool class has been studying the ocean so his teacher arranged for the class to take a field trip to Marine World. The park is not open to the public yet but does open each morning for class field trips. On the day we went Noah's class was the only one scheduled which means that Marine World was open only for our group of 10 kids and the parents and teachers!

I asked his school for permission to take Aliyah as well.

This is Shouka the Killer Whale.

This was Noah's first field trip and he had such a great time! I love the school that he goes to. Aliyah is going to be starting there when I go back to work in May. She has already gone for a half day trial and she did great. I'm sure that the fact that she has been there twice a day for the past five months helping to drop off and pick up Noah helps her to feel comfortable there.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ten Fun Facts

Aliyah has been home over five months now and we are still learning lots of fun new things about her personality. Although I guess that never stops which is part of the fun of parenthood. Here are a few fun facts about our little girl.

1. Her hands and fingers are double jointed. It took us a little while to notice that fingers don't normally bend quite that far!
2. The little girl is a talker! She talks non stop narrating our day and asking questions. When I mentioned this to my grandmother, her response was, "Well of course Heather. She is YOUR daughter."
3. She hates having the sun in her eyes and always wants to wear her sunglasses. If we don't have her sunglasses with us, she will cover her eyes with one hand and hold my hand with her other hand as she walks with her eyes closed.
4. She is very thoughtful. For example, if I put her on my knee for a horsie ride, she will then sit down and pat her knee and say "mommy's turn".
5. She loves Buffy and feeds her dinner every night. She's even starting to get most of the food in the bowl!
6. She takes every new experience in stride and adapts so well. I recently started back at the gym and on the second time putting her in the gym daycare she turned to me and "bye bye mama" right after we walked in.
7. We've considered changing her middle name to "Me Too!" because she says this at least twenty times a day.
8. She LOVES music and wants to always have the radio on. She knows Lady Gaga but not Mickey Mouse. Whatever.
9. She still loves to read. Olivia books are some of her favorites.
10. Her favorite color is yellow.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stump the Doctor

Trust me, this is not a game you want to win. The grand prize... Giardia! Yep, baby girl still has Giardia after two rounds of treatment. Our pediatrician says she's never seen this in her 21 years of practice. The medication that Aliyah took the first two times was supposed to be effective in 90-95% of cases. This time she is prescribing another medicine that is less effective but we have heard from other adoptive parents of Ethiopian children that it worked for them.

Luckily the test this time only requires one stool sample instead of three (hey, it's the little things that make me happy! :) If this third round doesn't work then we will need to see an infectious disease specialist.

Aliyah doesn't have any of the horrible symptoms that usually come with having Giardia but because we have other small children in the house, it's important that we get this cleared up.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


One of my favorite parts of not just adoption but of parenting in general is watching the relationships between our children grow and develop.

Nick has always been very affectionate and outgoing. Noah, on the other hand, is a very sweet little boy but he is also very reserved with his affection. When my friend Kristen visited recently she was proud that she got a hug before she left, after four days! However, I am very happy that Noah has wholeheartedly accepted Aliyah as his sister. She's made it into his inner circle, so to speak :) One night at dinner recently Noah was naming his best friends and basically it was mom, dad, Nick and Aliyah. Accepting his sister means that he hugs and kisses her, plays with her and fights with her just as if she's always been a part of our family.

Aliyah tends to see Nick as almost a third caretaker. If she needs/wants something and mom and dad are unavailable then she'll go ask Nick to help her whereas Noah is more of a playmate. Aliyah and I usually pick up Noah from preschool around 12:30 and usually starting around 11, Aliyah starts asking "Noah soon?" Apparently mom isn't entertaining enough and she's anxious to get her playmate home.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ethiopia Adoptions

There have been a lot of changes going on with the Ethiopia adoption program. Basically, as I understand it, as the number of international adoptions of Ethiopian children has increased, there have been more opportunities for corruption. In order to improve the process, the agency in Ethiopia that processes the adoption cases has drastically reduced the number of cases they review at a time.

I understand the need to improve the process and wholeheartedly support anything that protects the children. However, we were just there twice and had the opportunity to visit our daughter's orphanage. I truly believe that there are many children in the Ethiopia adoption program who are there out of a need for a family. We felt very confident that our agency acted ethically and we never saw anything that made us question the legitimacy of our adoption. My concern is that by decreasing the adoption cases processed by up to 90% (by some accounts) that children who should be eligible for adoption are going to caught in long delays. Aliyah hasn't even been home for five months yet and I have to wonder, what if she had gotten caught in this type of a delay and she was still in Ethiopia?

Here is a picture of her that another family took for us before we traveled for the first time..

And here is a picture of her at the St. Patrick's Day festival..

And another of her playing the guitar and singing Patty Cake.

I am beyond thankful that Aliyah is here and having the opportunity at a childhood filled with love and laughter and learning. At the same time my heart breaks for the children who are delayed from their forever families and I pray that things improve soon so that Ethiopia can find a way to ensure ethical adoptions are possible.

Monday, April 4, 2011


We do a lot of fun things together as a family. However, now that have a napper in the house again (and we've found that Aliyah really doesn't do well skipping her nap), we've had to split up more often for outings.

Yesterday we woke up to a beautiful Spring day so I decided to take the boys to a baseball game. We rode the train in and went to see the A's win their first game of the season. The weather was absolutely perfect and it was a great way to spend a day with Nick and Noah to kick off Spring Break!