Ethiopia


It has been crazy here.     As we watch the Padres play in the pre playoff game this evening I think back on the last couple of months.

Meron started 1st grade in August.  She is in a 1st second combined class and doing great.  She loves it.  She is playing soccer and growing into herself more and more everyday.  She is starting to ask the tough questions now.    Over the dinner table she asked,  “Do Moms and Dads make babies or does God? ” Then when we explained that babies eat out of the belly button she thought that was just plain gross. 

Estifanos is in pre K and learning more and more everyday.  He is ready to start school next fall.  He is getting more independent, and learning to write and identify letters.  Poor kids name is so long.  Too bad he doesn’t have a name like Joe.  He is also playing soccer and doing gymnastics.  He loves both.  He is so imaginative these days.  He always builds forts all over the house that I trip over when I come in from work.   When my parents recently went away he told them on the phone the night before they left.  “While you are gone I am going to go get a bunch of puppies and put them all in your house.”   He laughed and laughed about how funny this was.   He is out of toddlerhood and becoming a little boy.  It is amazing to watch.

Yordie is learning to use the toilet.  She is talking up a storm.  She loves Diego.  She can watch the same show 100 times in a day.  She will be asleep, and before her eyes open she is calling out to watch Diego.  She can’t tell me why Diego is better than Dora.  She just says, “He’s better because he’s better.”

Brian is now writing and editing for Motley Fool and coaching two soccer teams.  It has been fun to coach.  The kids call him Coach Daddy, and they love the whistle.

I continue at my new job working 32 hours a week is great. 

We start major construction on our house.  Meron loves Extreme Home Makover, so she thinks it will be like that. I don’t think it will be that quick.   I am just hoping it is not like the OC.  Yep that is my guilty pleasure.  So we will be living in a studio sized apartment at one end of our house for the next five months.  We will have plywood around our bathroom.  5 months of chaos, but it will be nice when it is done.  The kids keep saying it will be like camping.

After we finish up we can start the adoption process again for our little boy.  The kids talk about their little baby brother from Ethiopia and all they will teach him.  Like important stuff like who Diego, Dora, Cailou, Scooby Doo, and the cast of  Musical are.  Well sorry we haven’t posted in awhile.  We will try. 

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I dropped the kids off at preschool this moring, and I pointed out a little boy in Yordie’s class to her who was arriving at the same time.  She responded, “He’s my favorite,” and went chasing after him.  She is 2, and no longer a baby.  She is a little person with her own personality.  How fast they grow up.

I know it has been too long since we posted, but we are still here.  It has been an eventful summer.  I can’t believe Meron goes back to school in the middle of next week.  First grade here she comes.  As we buy our new lunch boxes and backpacks for the year ahead I think of the last couple of months and the year ahead.  We had a great summer with gymnastics class, ballet, swimming at my parents’ pool, a visit from Brian’s folks, a trip to Disneyland, trips to Sea World, Wild Animal Park,  the beach, the aquarium, Legoland, the park, and many other fun filled places.  We were always on the go.

We ate at an Ethiopian restaurant a couple of weeks ago.  The kids loved the food, but Meron was a little overwhelmed when the owner talked to her in Amharic, and she couldn’t remember any of the language.  It was sad to watch that loss, but it is so exciting to see how well she is doing in school here after only being here a year and a half. 

Brian and I both are starting new jobs, which we are excited about and will enable us to spend more time with the kids.  We will be starting soccer soon.  Brian is coaching Meron’s team, and Estifanos is playing.  Estifanos will also be starting a gymnastics class with kids older than him because he is doing so good.  We also have church activities starting up again

We will be going on a cruise in October when Meron is off from school.  The kids are excited for their first real vacation on the “big boat.” 

 We are also going to be remodeling our whole house, so we have more room.  Boy will that be crazy. 

We are excited for my sister’s new baby who will be born in the winter.  We are also excited to add a little boy to our own family in 2008.  We will be starting the process for our final adoption of a toddler boy after our house is complete hopefully in winter/spring 2008. 

We also are excited for first grade and for Estifanos’s last year of preschool.  We will post more soon.   Welcome to the end of summer. 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend 2007!!

1.  We started off our weekend on Friday with attending an award’s ceremony at Meron’s school.  She got an award for Perserverance throughout the year.  Go Meron!! 

2.  After we enjoyed a rare lunch alone together before picking the kids up at school.  Guess where we chose to eat.  We had a romantic lunch at Carl’s Jr.  The choice was funny, but with no one fighting with each other it was quiet.  No toddlers were throwing food either.

3.  We went to Rosarito Beach in Mexico to celebrate our 7 year wedding anniversary, and Yordie’s 2nd Birthday.  She enjoyed hitting the pinata, doing the limbo, and playing musical chairs.  She didn’t win any of the competitions, but she was the only toddler up there with the other big kids so kuddos to her for effort.  We got many compliments about how cute she was.   She loved swallowing the gum in the pinata.

4.  Estifanos beat a twelve year old in the musical chairs competition.  He kept saying all weekend, “I am the winner.”

5.  A girl Meron was playing with in the hotel pool asked her, “Why is your mom not brown like you?”  Meron said, “Because she wasn’t in Ethiopia with me.”  If adoption and racial issues could only be as simple as through a child’s eyes.

That is our weekend at a glance.

Today we go to court for our re-adoption in the US. We explained this to the kids by talking about how their middle names would change, showing them what their new passports would look like, and talking to them about how they would be able to vote when they were older.  Meron said she wanted Abe Lincoln as president in 2008.

Today is the day you are off and away!  That is a line from Dr. Seuss’s Oh The Places You will Go.  It is symbolic of Brian’s and my journey over the last 1 1/2 years. 

 A year and a half ago we decided to terminate services with the adoption agency we had been working with and change countries from Panama to Ethiopia with the hope of adopting one child.  A year and half later, and three kids later here we are.  We are mother,  father,  soccer coach, PTA parents, homework teachers,  healers of the boo boos,  advocates  for both our kids and adoption, and so much more.

This is the end to this part of the journey, but just a beginning to our life journey.  I am excited to watch my kids grow.  I am excited to advocate for other adoptions especially in Ethiopia.  Brian and I have  also realized in the last few weeks that we as a family have the love, means, and energy to give to another child in the future when Yordie is a little more self sufficient.  I look forward to the places we will go, and am grateful for the places we have been.

We went to a potluck with families from our Southern California Ethiopian adoption group last weekend. Being the family that lives the farthest south, we often end up traveling the furthest to the event, but every time we attend one, I’m reminded how important it is to go.  It’s good for the parents to be able to talk to other families and it’s good for the potential parents waiting for a referral so they can ask questions of people who’ve “been there; done that.”  Our kids are often the oldest ones there and they’re not quite at the point of talking with their peers about adoption issues, but they’re building friendships that will be helpful for those issues in the future.  And of course its nice to (re)connect with people who’s blogs you read on the internet (Blaine, Julie, and Kevin, was there anyone else that didn’t out themselves to me?)

So where do you find a local group?  Here’s a good start:

Connecticut

Rhode Island

Boston

Midatlantic: MD, VA, WVA, D.C., PA, NJ, and DE area

New York City

loosely-defined northeastern states (New England, NY, NJ, PA etc.)

Illinois

Arizona

Northern California (SF bay area):

Southern California

If none of these are near where you  live, you can check the Frappr map and see if anyone lives near you (add yourself while you’re there) or post a message on the big group asking if others live near you.  That’s how our group formed with 5 or 6 families.

If I missed any groups, please add them in the comments.  If you’ve got a blog about Ethiopian adoption, feel free to link to and/or post this list to your blog.

Last week I told you about our trip to Arizona, but what I didn’t tell you was that at the first game in Yuma, we ended up sitting next to the head of the biology department of the local community college.  We got to talking and he admitted that they were having a horrible time finding someone to fill a professor (they call them instructors) position because no one wants to live in the middle-of-no-where, AZ).  To make a long story short, the conversation ended with him basically offering me a job on the spot.

Susan and I talked about it a little, but we weren’t really sure that we would want to live in Yuma, so after the game on the second day, we had a realtor take us out and look at houses.  We found a double-wide trailer that wasn’t that bad (it was kind of nice on the inside), but it only had 3 bedrooms and we wanted a little more space.  So the realtor went next door and got the neighbor to agree to sell his trailer to us as well.  Late last week, we decided to buy them both and take the job (housing costs are so low, that we don’t really need to have Susan work).  They’re in the process of building a walkway between the two trailers and that will give us 6 bedrooms total.

Which happens to be a really good thing, because we’ve decided to adopt 3 more children from Ethiopia.  We figure that bringing 3 home at one time last time was pretty easy, so why not just double up.  It’s a sibling set of 3 girls (Estifanos and I are a little bummed). Their ages are 5, 3, and 1, so between May and September, we’ll have every age from 1-6 represented.  We found a wonderful homestudy agency in Yuma, and as soon as we officially accept the referral, I’ll post the girls names and photos.

Those of you thinking that we are crazy should probably look at the date of this rare Sunday post.  Those of you who figured it out before this paragraph, let me know in the comments because I’m thinking about starting a fiction writing career, and I need to know what wasn’t realistic. 🙂

One-sentence stories from this weekend (in chronological order):

Coming up with punishments that are related to the infractions is harder than it seems like it should be.

4 bedroom, 2600 square foot houses are 66% larger than our house, but don’t seem nearly as cavernous as I thought they would be.

The only thing more exciting to a 4 year old than ridding the trolley for the first time is getting to sit on the side of the trolley that allows you to travel backwards on the trolley.

The difference between Addis Ababa (the city) and baba (bottle) is lost on a 21 month old.

It’s a lot easier to pay attention to the priest when 2/3 of your children are at the step-out program.

The best part about having a child that requires you in the bedroom to fall asleep is it affords you time to write blog posts on your laptop.

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