Saturday, November 14, 2009

Home Four Months Today

It was four months ago today that we came home as a family of seven, greeted by family and friends at the airport. I will never forget the relief of seeing so many of those who had supported us every step of the way and how it felt to fall into the arms and embrace those we love. We were coming off the most emotional week of our lives and were so glad to be home. I remember stepping out through the front doors of the airport into the very hot and steamy night, almost like walking into a furnace. It was such a change from the beautiful and temperate weather we enjoyed while in Ethiopia.

I remember being afraid that Hailab Turner would not like riding in a carseat. We had help while in ET to translate and prepare Hailab for sitting in a car seat once we came to America. When we were loading up in the van to leave the airport, he got in and saw his carseat. He called it his special seat and got in and buckled up with great pride. Preparing him in ET really helped.

Funny how when we were waiting and preparing, it was hard to look to the future and imagine what life was going to be like. We did our adoption training and read books, but like most things in life, most of our learning has come by experience. We have made many mistakes in these first months home and wish I could re-do some of my responses to my children's behavior. Even when I knew not to take things personally, I did and sometimes still do if I am not careful. It's a good thing we get to wake up each day and start over. I thank Jesus for the opportunity to start fresh each morning and for the strength that only He provides in the midst of struggles and strife. I pray over all of our kids for Jesus to fill in the cracks that I leave behind when I lose my patience and don't parent the way that I want. I pray for protection for all of our children, that the enemy would not have any strongholds on them because of adoption. I pray especially that our adopted children know they are special and so dearly loved and that God has a beautiful plan for bringing them to us to be our children. Sometimes that plan seems a little confusing when they are grieving and missing their birth mom and Ethiopia in general. They really miss Ethiopia and that isn't something that I can fix. Time heals and we'll walk through our adjustment for as long as needed. It reminds me of this post from last September about God's timing. I think what I wrote in that post is still so fitting in this different season we are in now:

"So we wait. And we pray.

Thank you, God, for this time of waiting. Some days will be difficult, we know... Help us make the most out of this time and place a peace in a little person's heart in Ethiopia tonight. Help him or her to know that they will be a part of a family again. We trust you, knowing that you are working your perfect timing into this situation. We pray that it is you who is glorified and praised in the midst of our planning and preparation. Please don't let us ever forget that we, too, are orphans given a place in your family because of Jesus' amazing act of love and grace on a nasty, ugly cross. Amen"

Even as it is starting to get dark this evening, I hear the sounds of kids playing outside. We live on a farm and have a refuse pile of old, broken pallets. What a treasure to children with wonderful imaginations! All five of the kids have worked together to build a little house for themselves. It is made from all kinds of scraps and pieces of just 'stuff' they have found around the farm. There may even be a tool or two of Dustin's that he'll have to go and reclaim! It has a door and a window and I think they were painting it this afternoon. As soon as they have it finished, I'll take a picture and share it.

I wonder where we will be in four months from now. No matter what the situation or season, we'll be held safe in the Father's arms. And that's a good place to be.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Photos (Finally!)

I have become one of those bloggers that used to frustrate me. You know, the ones who blogged regularly until they came home with their child/ren and NEVER blogged again! Come on! Just like Paul Harvey, we want to read the rest of the story!

I now have a better understanding of those bloggers. There is NO time!

Wow. Where do I begin. I have started this post a thousand times in my head. I promised myself I wouldn't go to bed tonight until I wrote something because once Monday starts, the whole week is a flurry of activity, chaos, rowdy kids with loud voices and homework!

A second part of my lack of posting has been the extremely difficult days we have walked through as a family of seven. I have struggled with wanting to be transparent for other waiting AP's and also for those that may be considering becoming adoptive parents. At the same time, our children have walked some hard, long, difficult days and I don't want to dishonor them by spilling the details of their actions and behavior as they are learning life in America as part of our family. It's been rough. It's been more than rough. But, we are in such a better place than we were two months ago. For the most part, the twins have almost given into the fact that I'm their mom and they really aren't in charge around here. At least they hesitate before arguing with me about every thing that comes out of my mouth! I may be stretching the truth a bit because they really have come a long way since our first days home in July. They have incredibly great manners and remember their please and thank you's more often than our bio kids. They love to joke and tease, especially Hailab Turner. They like routine and change is really difficult for them. They like knowing what is happening next. They even ask me sometimes, "What are we doing tomorrow? When we go to bed and get up, what are we doing the next day? When we go to bed and get up, what are we doing the day after that?

We've been home four months. The last three weeks have been completely different around the house in such a good and positive way. We are so thankful.

I've added pictures from this fall. Don't we look like one big happy family?!? In an effort to stay as transparent as possible in blogland, many of these pictures are great but I don't have photos of the difficult and painful days. And if I did, I wouldn't show them anyway. (I do have one great picture of Turner pouting. I just might use when he turns 16 or 21 or 30 for a good roast!)

We are glad to answer any questions anyone may have about our experiences. Our heart is to help others be more aware of the gift of adoption, and the ability we all have to help orphans in some way or another.

I will do my best to post before another two months fly by!

Good old fashioned roller skating!

Ellyn Yeabsira and Hailab Turner standing on Ethiopia on the large scale globe at the zoo.

My sweet sister, niece and Madison.

I love this picture!

It's good to grow old together. We met over 20 years ago.

Our small town festival. Our family always has a float in the parade.

Nanna kisses!

Carving pumpkins and roasting seeds. It was a great afternoon!

They wanted to race their bikes and asked me to say, "Ready, steady, go!" (Ready, steady go is their verson of ready, get set, go. It always makes me smile when they say it.)

Playing in the yard!

The four youngest kids set up lawn chairs for Dustin and me to watch them play football. Some were in coats, some in sweats and one with no shirt! Hilarious!

Corinne Meserat


P.J. day at school. The kids dressed up each day as part of Red Ribbon Week. The girls kept telling me they were stomping out the drums in their school. (Drums, drugs... you know it sounds almost the same!) They weren't too sure about wearing their pajamas to school. It took a little coaxing. I bet they think America is pretty weird sometimes.

Trick or Treat!

Madison and her good friend. I have to say, I didn't know who Thing 1 and Thing 2 were at first. You know, from Dr. Seuss! I thought they were way too cute and so creative!

A funny story... our neighbor and I trade off driving our kids to school each week. One morning one of her girls was saying, "Trick or treat! Smell my feet!" One of the twins gave her a strange look and asked in her cute Amharic/English accent, "You want ME to smell YOUR feet?!?"