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Monday, October 5, 2009

Just an update ...

Above: Jayden (8)

Above: Wesley (3)

Above: Maea (11)

Above: Emme (12)

Since we don't live on a farm, our kids are very enthralled with farm animals!

Above: This is the look Wesley gives me when I ask him to "smile".

It's been awhile since I have posted so I do have a lot to catch up on ...

2nd Annual MN AWAA Ethiopia Reunion:
Next weekend, about 9 families are getting together to celebrate our adoptions and our friendships forged through our shared adoption journeys. Last year, many of us got together for the first time as we completed paperwork and waited for a referral. Now, every single family is home with their adopted children except for one dear friend, Sue, who will be travelling to Ehiopia in the next month or so to bring home her baby daughter. We will give her a big send-off celebration! Also - there will be a new family joining us, who is just now in the paperchasing process. What a great weekend get-together to see all of our children together (from many different countries - America, Ethiopia & China!)

Ethiopia Vision Trip with Children's Hopechest:
From November 30 - December 8, I will be in Ethiopia with an organization called Children's Hopechest (there are about 8 people on this trip that are recent adoptive families!). Tom Davis, author and President of Hopechest, will be leading the trip as we meet with 6-7 different orphanages to develop them for child sponsorship programs. But child sponsorship is only the beginning of Hopechest's programs.

The community of sponsors will be in regular communication with each other through a website/blog and we will get to know each other as well as the kids we are all sponsoring. That community of sponsors will work together on community development projects to develop the community and develop programs that will help those children grow into responsible, self-sufficient, Christian, young-adults - the future leaders of Ethiopia!

I have had many people already contact me about getting involved in this program and I will be blogging about it as the trip approaches, and daily from Ethiopia. When I return, we will match the children with sponsors and begin the exciting process of building relationships with these kids and the community. I am so unbelievably excited about the potential of this program!!! We will also be planning to send 1-2 groups of sponsors to Ethiopia each year to work with the kids and the community. If you are interested in being involved, please email me!

The last time I was in Ethiopia (November of last year), we stayed in the capital city, Addis Ababa, which is at high elevation and therefore has minimal mosquito problems. This time, we will be travelling quite a bit outside the city, which will expose us to mosquitos, and of course, mosquito-borne illness. I am getting my vaccinations for Yellow Fever & Typhoid on Friday and will also be getting a prescription for anti-malarial medications.

Hana - Our sponsor child:
We currently sponsor a little girl in Ethiopia named Hana. She is 6 years old and her parents have died. She lives with her aunt who has 3 other kids. I am hoping to be able to arrange to meet Hana during this trip - and if not this trip, then the next. We just recently got another letter from Hana and she has started Kindergarten -and is very excited about it. She's curious about snow - so we will be sending her plenty of pictures with snow this winter.

Family Life:
School is in full swing and we are all appreciative of the routine. I mentioned a few months ago that we are finally feeling normal and settled again.

Jayden is doing well in school, although we realize he has a long way to go before he fully internalized the intricacies of the English language. He communicates very well at home and at school. He is just beginning to fully grasp how to sound out words. If you can imagine trying to sound out the word CAT or CAR or MAP - having absolutely no idea what a cat, car or map is!! Now that he understands words, he is starting to understand that letters, make words and that words have meaning!!! That's a very big step!

I also mentioned before that Jayden bonded with Jay almost immediately in Ethiopia. He has been slower to form an attachment with me and I have been fine giving him the room he needs. But I have noticed in the last month, that he is quick to wrap his arms around me when I come home from work or leave in the morning, and announce "I love you mommy!" He will taunt me by saying "mommy no strong" or "mommy can't catch me" so that I will grab him and wrestle him to the ground and tickle him. He has accepted me fully as his mom.

Wesley also has made great progress. This little boy has become an affectionate, sweet-natured, joyful little boy and I told Jay the other night, "Wesley finally LOVES us!" And he really, truly and fully does. The angry and deliberat defiance has vanished almost completely, and when he does something wrong, he is truly remorseful (instead of defiant) and rushes to wrap his arms around your leg and say "I'm sorry". We were looking at some of our Ethiopia pictures the other night, and we are so amazed at the changes in Wesley's body language and facial expressions. Jayden commented "In Ethiopia, Wesley most naughty boy. He bite everyone, even babies!" I told him that I remember that (he bit us several times too) but he is no longer a naughty boy - he is a very loved little boy.

There are times, when I look at my 4 kids together, and I am overwhelmed with joy - my heart is so full! I cannot believe this miracle that is my family - through adoption. What I once thought was complete - was nowhere near. And although I still feel that we have another little girl in Ethiopia that will one day be our daughter, for now I am content with the precious gift we have been given - that of a complete family. (By the way - Emme and Maea are outstanding big sisters to their little brothers.)


Rob and Candy said...

Oh, I love how your family is coming together! Sooo encouraging.
Your pictures are beautiful.
Just a note on the Typhoid- ask for the oral vaccine since you know you'll be going back to ET. It is good for 5 years, the shot is only good for 2 years.

ethiHOPEia said...

What beautiful pictures! I am so excited to hear how your trip goes. May the Lord bless you and keep you all the way there and home again!