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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Becoming a Family!

Every spring for the last 9-10 years, my entire family vacations for one week on Sanibel Island in Florida. All of the nieces and nephews (there are 10 if them now!) play on the beach, fishing, looking for shells, swimming, finding sand dollars, and making memories together for the entire week. While we are there, we always stop in at our favorite coffee shop - The Sanibel Bean. The walls at this coffee shop are covered with photos of its customers - photos taken in locations across the world. We remembered to pack our Sanibel Bean bumper sticker so that we can send them a photo of our family in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia! I'm fairly certain we will be the only photo taken in Ethiopia!

Jayden started school on Monday and I am thankful to report that he is off to a great start. He was so excited to be joining Maea at the bus stop and he proudly hefted his backpack over his shoulders and headed out the door. It just happened to be -10 degrees outside that morning (yes - this is Northern Minnesota and we too sometimes wonder why we live here in the winter!). He lasted about 2 minutes and came scurrying back in the door and tried to put his snow pants on. Instead, I quickly ran upstairs and came down with long underwear. The bus was just down the street and Maea was frantically yelling "hurry Mom! the bus is coming!!) I stripped him down to his under-shorts, pulled the long underwear shirt and pants on, and then pulled his jeans and sweatshirt back on. He looked up at me in surprise ... and then smiled and nodded his approval. This morning, he put his long underwear on before he even got dressed.

We anxiously awaited news from school and got a few emails during the day that things were going just fine. At the end of the day - Maea and Jayden clambered off the bus and came into the house with big smiles. Here is the note we got from his teacher after his first day ...

Jayden had a FABULOUS day! What a trooper! Most first graders collapse by noon the first month of first grade and they don't even have to deal with language and cultural differences! We worked on vocabulary, he really has his animals down! I taught him how to use the CD player and the books with CDs. He caught on after the first time I showed him! He did some writing and was willing to try everything! ... He seemed to really like the snack (fruit snacks) and he let me know that he really doesn't like pizza !! (His face was hilarious!) I imagine he will be exhausted after today. Let me know how you think his day went and anything I can do to help! ... He is truly a joy to have as part of the class! ~Tari

Today (Tuesday) was his second full day of school and he seemed to enjoy it as much as his first day. We are beginning to fall into a comfortable family routine.

Wesley (Tariku) is doing great too. As I am typing this blogpost, he is falling asleep in my lap. On Saturday, Jay's parents brought our 15 1/2 year old Golden Retriever home (they were caring for her while we were in Ethiopia). Poor Tariku has barely had a restful moment since her arrival. He is definitely more comfortable around her today ~ although he still walks in a wide circle around her. From the moment she arrived home, he has lived in dread and fear of her, and is constantly watching over his shoulder in case she would pounce on him and eat him. Abby (our dog) is over 100 years old in human years, and she acts like it. I don't think she has even noticed there are 2 new kids in the house. Wesley is getting more comfortable with each passing day as he figures out that she is harmless.

The doctor called yesterday to say we have two healthy little boys! All of the bloodwork came back normal and healthy. We've been home a little over one week and I am amazed at how quickly the boys are meshing into our family. As I watched Jayden get on the bus with Maea on Monday morning, I couldn't help but reflect on this little boy's life one year ago and even 2 weeks ago - and the marked contrast to his life today. He has met all of these changes with grace and maturity and strength, far beyond his age. And little brother Wesley, has openly and warmly accepted us as family as if this was meant to be ... from the beginning.


Sara Fischer said...

Three teeny things that indicate that God meant for us to make contact:
1) I went to The Sanibel Bean for the first time last summer and vividly remember relishing in all the photos from all over the country/world
2) My dog is Abby, too! She is 80 pounds of pure love but she scares kids, too.
3) I think that Northern Minnesota (Boundary Waters) is one of the prettiest places in the country and has some of the kindest people...I can't wait to go back!

Karla said...

This was a truly precious post!! Love it!!

Sonia said...

Congratulations on your "New Family"! I have enjoyed reading your blogs and seeing the pics.