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Archive for the ‘Adoption’ Category

So I didn’t get a post in for two days but I must say I am doing much better than the previous months, right?

Saturday I got to go out  shopping (had a few free item coupons at Bath and Body Works, and we hit the huge Scholastic Books warehouse sale, and took back a few things I bought black friday) with a friend of mine, who, by the way, is adopting from Ethiopia, through the same agency. Her little girl will even be from the same orphanage.  I am so excited that we will have another family in our little town with a child from Ethiopia.  Check out her blog ….her baby girl has a court date in Ethiopia today (they are 11 hours ahead).  This court appearance will make her officially their child and they will soon know when they can go pick her up.  Things have been changing in the Ethiopian adoption system, the government has added a few other steps and papers to the process, and so some families are not making it through courts the first time around.  So pray with Amy and her family that their sweet little baby girl would make it through court and be unite with her family soon.  The waiting is so hard.

Also, on Saturday we went to Brandon’s office Christmas party… it was fun… stayed out way too late.  Luckily, the boys were at our friends house who were also at the party, being watched by their daughter… who got them to bed and asleep by 8, so we just stayed the night there.

All in all it was a fun and busy weekend.  Brandon is out picking up some bunk beds and mattresses that I found on Craigslist.  This is our first time buying anything off of the site so keep your fingers crossed with us that it is successful.  The boys are so excited to get the bunk beds (we won’t set them up until next week when we move into our house) but Sloan has already asked if we can put Christmas lights around the bed….He said that it would be awesome if we could.  Yes, he used the word awesome….

Here are a couple pics of the boys…

november-081  Our little cheeseball.  Before hair cut.

november-109 Post haircut… if you ask Eyob where his hair is, he will say, “Heather did it!”  We cut his hair on a long awaited visit down in the Portland area with one of the couples we traveled with to Ethiopa.  They adopted a little boy one month younger then Eyob.  While we were there we decided that dealing with his hair and all the pain and stress it causes between us was not worth the cute hair do.  So Heather shaved it off.  Thanks Heather!  It has been a wonderful relief to not have the nightly screaming as I tried to comb through his hair. 

november-111  It has been so fun to see these two really start to get along.  They are so close in age that for a while there I was concerned they would spend the rest of their lives  driving each other and us crazy with their fighting, but as Eyob really begins to settle in and become part of the family, Sean is becoming so much more accepting of him.  We have been talking to him a lot about how he is Eyob’s big brother and it is his job to take care of him and protect him… all the things that we have said and still say to Sloan about Sean and Eyob. Many times over the last few weeks, Sean has referred to Eyob as his special little brother….Seany is so loving and stinky at the same time.  We have prayed and continue to pray that the Father will bind our boys together for life.  What a force they will be for Him.

november-123  Sean and Canyon Paul (my brother Brad’s son)on Thanksgiving.  They are about 4 months apart and look so much a like to me.  Both of them have the cutest shaggy hair and boy are they mischevious. 

november-115 We had 4 boys 4 and under at our little Thanksgiving partyand I’ll be honest we did resort to a little Veggie Tales that day.  We needed a little quite.

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november-127 And we can’t forget the little lady of the year….Sage.  Isn’t she a doll.  Not sure why Seany is in so many of these pics… it’s weird.. although he is so darn cute I could just eat him…those cheeks….yum..

november-095 These are all the kiddos from Thanksgiving with Brandon’s family.  At one point they were all running a loop from the livingroom and around through the kitchen. I don’t know if they were playing tag or just acting crazy, but one by one, they got “hot” and took their shirts off.  Arent’ they cute. 6 boys 6 and under. 

Well, I’ll let you to… till tomorrow.

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ethiopia-trip-079  we brought this little boy home.  I remember the day like it was yesterday.

ethiopia-trip-361  He left the arms of the three people he loved most in the world …..ethiopia-trip-366  and entered the arms of strangers….  It was a rough beginning for him… for all of us.  He was sick and scared.  We were just scared.  None of us knew what we were getting into.  We all had so much to learn.  And learn we have… all of us. 

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So here we are today… many lessons learned, battles fought and won, love learned and earned and a new family formed.  It is fitting that on this first day of December when we count down to the birth of our Savior that our family celebrate the “birth” of our family of five…. bound together by hope and love.

We love you Eyob Mark, Eyoba, Little Bear, son and brother, grandson, nephew and cousin!

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Sometimes I really hate making decisions…… it seems like that is all I do.  I make decisions for myself, for each of the boys, often times for Brandon and many times a day for the family.  By the end of the day I am pretty much done in, so when Brandon asks me what I want to watch on TV, I think I must just look at him with a blank look on my face.  I imagine myself… eyes glazed over, mouth open, and staring at who knows what…..so this past week and a half as we have made some huge decisions about our future, I find myself at the end of this week needing a bib and a vacation.  A bib to collect the droll that must be coming out of my mouth as I sit almost comatose before the computer and a vacation to recuperate from these last 6 months.

As you may know we have spent the last six months, not only getting to know a new son and trying to figure out how to be a parents to three little boys and how to run a family of five, but also taking a new direction with Brandon’s job.  There have been many ups and downs along the way.  We take a few steps forward with our boys and then seem to find ourselves many feet back. With the job situation it seems like we have walked through many open doors only to find a wall at the end of the hallway.  At this point our plans were to be settled into Brandon’s new “job,” to feel stable as a family of five and well into working our way through the adoption of an older child we met while in Ethiopia (we were just waiting for our six month transition period to end).  But it seems like God has other plans.  One week before our 6 month mark, another family stepped in to adopt this child that we so felt like God was calling to be our child.  We had been praying for her the whole time and imagining her as part of our family.  At the same time many of the opportunities Brandon was “running,” down over the last six months are being met with closed doors, which leads us to a week of huge decisions needing to be made. 

In the last week, we have bought a cheaper car (ever heard of a micro-van?), done numerous around the house fix-it projects, put our house up for sale, interviewed many moving companies and made the decision to pursue a job back in Washington. So there it is….in a strange twist of events…we are headed back to the Northwest. 

I am not sure how I feel about all of this except to say I am in a daze.  Things have happened so fast and so unexpectedly and not at all like we had planned that I don’t quite know what end is up.  I do know that we have risked a lot following the path that we feel God has led us down these last few months and I am tired. Risk is scary and learning to trust in the Lord is hard work… maybe I have made it hard work because I want to hold on to so much of the control.  I do know that so much in the last few months has been uncertain and so to have some certainty before us will be a refreshing change.  Yet leaving is always hard. 

 

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Blog Surfing

SO my hubby thinks it’s a little strange to “blog surf” and I guess maybe it is…. but it is fun.  I spent the boys nap time today catching up on blogs that I like to read and then following different trails from those blogs to other blogs and websites that they find interesting.  It is amazing how the internet can connect you to things.  I know I have written about that before so I won’t bore you with details, but sometimes when you want a little break from your own life….. you can peek into someone else’s for a while and learn a little something while you are at it.  There are some pretty amazing people out there with some amazing stories.

While I was at it, I updated my blog roll and changed things up a little.  I now have a section of just AGCI (All God’s Children) families. This list includes families in different stages of the process.  I love to read about people who have just gotten their referrals and people who have just gotten home.  It keeps me connected to the experience.  Adoption is such an amazing experience and it is fun to share it with people who have gone through it as well.

So enjoy the new links to these great families and while you are at it…. pray for them.  Adoption is challenging in every phase… whether you are waiting for your referral or have your new child at home with you.  So pray these people up!

By the way, if you are an AGCI family and I don’t have you on my blog roll I am sorry.  I would love to put you on… if you want… just post a comment and I will attach you.

 

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So Brandon and I are finally back in our own room and bed at night…..

“Where have you been sleeping?” you ask.  For the last 2 months we have been sleeping on the couch in our livingroom.  We actually found it pretty comical at first… you know we have this huge king size tempurpedic bed and instead of sleeping there we are sleeping on the couch… Brandon on one end and me on the other, while our youngest sleeps in a tiny pack-n-play next to our bed.  I say we found it funny at first…. that is until we woke up a few mornings with strange kinks in our backs and bruises from the foot of the other person on our legs or backside.  But we were finally getting to sleep through the night and that was worth all of the bruises and soreness.  It was so worth it that we let it continue for over 2 months.  Let me back up a bit…….

As far as kid sleeping goes, Brandon and are pretty much let them put themselves to sleep parents.  This is a controversial topic and so I am just saying what has worked for us.   We were definetly anti the family bed after the first few weeks (for us, no judgement for others who love it)  and were big proponents of not nursing or rocking our kids to sleep.  It worked for us.  Sloan was a breeze and slept through the night from about 8 weeks on, took good naps, and still loves to get into his bed.  Sean was a little more difficult and it took him until about 6 months to really sleep good through the night.  He’s a different kid and I’ll be honest, I didn’t do some of the same things I did with Sloan and actually regret that I didn’t. 

 Anyway, when we started the adoption process and began reading about bonding and attachment, I started thinking about ways we could help our new son connect with us and from the beginning we agreed that we would start out having him sleep in our bed with us as a means for bonding.  We knew that things would be different for him then the other boys and were ready to make the necesary changes.  So when we brought our very sick and scared little Eyob home (we were sick and scared too!) we started out with him sleeping in our bed and nobody slept.  He was restless and clingy to the point where one or both of us was awake all night trying to get him asleep or with him draped across our faces or stomachs or where ever he decided to finally pass out.  For the first week or two he didn’t really have a nap time, he would just fall asleep in our arms because he never wanted to be put down.  Needless to say, we were all tired and grumpy.  Our first step to getting Eyob on a schedule was to put him down for actual naps.  At first, he slept on us in our room, then we put him in the pack-n-play next to our bed and then sat with him through the whole thing in case he woke up.  At night we started by feeding him to sleep and then laying him down… all the while praying he wouldn’t wake up.  Most often he would wake up shortly after we came to bed and then realizing we were in the room would yell and scream until we picked him up.  Still none of us were sleeping.  By the way, we were going on almost a month and a half of no real sleep.  This was not working for me…. I felt like we were doing a disservice to him by not helping him learn to put himself to sleep and by not helping him get good sleep at night and naps. I dreaded going to bed at night, literally would stay up as long as I could so I would not have to be in the room with him and fight him to go to sleep.  I began to get angry at the situation and if I am being completely honest, angry at Eyob.  I knew something needed to change, however, all the adoption books that I read said don’t let your adopted child cry, answer their every need…etc.etc.  I was afraid that if I tried to do some of the things we did with the other boys that we would ruin him for life.  I had this huge check in my spirit that what we were doing wasn’t right either, but instead of listening to my gut and to God, I listened to the “experts.”  All of this is to say, that the experts are right a lot of the time, but they don’t know me and they don’t know my kid.  Finally a girlfriend of mine, who has an adopted child as well, said to me, “Traci, God gave you this child.  He is your son and you need to parent him the way God tells you to.”  Hearing her say that gave me such freedom.  I needed to be reminded that I was the parent and that I was an experienced, loving parent, whom God was still speaking to……

Thus came the move to the couch.  We had a crib set up in Sean’s room that we had intended for Eyob, but we were not confident enough that Seany would be able to sleep through all that was going to have to go on over the next couple of weeks.  So we moved to the couch.  Brandon slept at one end and I slept at the other.  It was pretty hilarious.  We had this complicated system for laying out the blankets and for positioning our bodies so that noone would get a foot in places that a foot should not be.  We would feed Eyob his bottle (at HH ET he was fed to sleep everytime) and then lay him in his bed.  Sometimes he would be asleep and other times we would lay him down awake and he would cry.  We would leave, set a timer, plug our ears and just pray that he would fall asleep.  Let me jut say that this boy can cry… and scream…. and after a few days we began to realize that his cries were different… and I began to feel like his parent.. someone that still had some control of the situation and after about 3 days he began to sleep.  If it weren’t for the giardia he would have slept straight through.  Darn that poop!  And thus, after about 2 months of no real sleep we got some rest and were not about to change it.  Which is why we continued to sleep on the couch…

Until last Sunday when we decided that it was beyond the point of ridiculous and we put him in his crib in Sean’s room.  It is going pretty good.  Sean is transitioning really well, much better than I expected, they actually seem to take some comfort from each other and fall asleep pretty well.   Eyob is waking up in the middle of the night and having trouble getting back to sleep so I am SuperNannying it…. and we are tired again, but now I know there is hope and like anything with children……this too shall pass.

I hope in reading this post any of you fellow moms and dads of adopted kids will trust your instincts and trust your experience and trust God with your adopted kiddos.  The experts are a good place to start, but they aren’t all that is available.  If we are students of our kids… all of them…. God will show us what to do and walk with us.  As with all of my boys, I have to do my best and then trust God to take care of them… the end result is in his hands.

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Eyob, Traci

No, I’m not falling in love with another man (love me some Brandon), but actually with a little boy named Eyob.

 I had a moment today that I wanted to share.  We got a call from the drs. today and I wasn’t home (we were all taking a walk in the beautiful Utah sunshine) and so the nurse left a message.  First of all, no giardia so while that is actually good news, she also asked me when I was planning on bringing in Eyob for to redo his HIV/Hep B screening and then she asked me to call her.  Anyway, for some reason, even though we had planned to redo the screening on the advice of the infectious disease dr. we saw regarding the giardia,  I heard the nurse connecting the two.  Being lunch time at the drs. office I couldn’t call back for clarification. So I just went up stairs with a very tired little Eyob to put him down for a nap.  As I was holding him close and feeding him his bottle it hit me…..  I love this little boy and if something were to be “really” wrong with him I would be soooo sad.  It was such a great moment to realize that he has gone from “someone elses” child to my child in my heart.  For the last few weeks, as I have begun to change the way I talk about him and the way I relate to him, I have felt subtle changes in my heart, so today was just that moment of awakening for me.  I think that I have been holding him at a distance, afraid to be rejected by him over and over and it is such a relief to not be worried about that any more.  I am not worried about that with Sloan and Sean and I am no longer worried about that with Eyob.  He is just one of my boys.  Praise the Lord!  I know that there will continue to be hard times with him and that I will have to continually give my attitude to the Lord.  This is just a testament to how changing your actions first can change your heart.

PS…. I did call the doctor back and they were not linking the tests with Eyob’s current poop problem, they just wanted to make sure the order was there when I brought him in.  Actually, Eyob still has the giardia antigens and so we are working on getting to the bottom of that, but the rest of the fam is free and clear.  I feel confident and so does my pediatrician that the HIV/Hep B tests done in Ethiopia before we brought Eyob home are correct and reliable, but it is always a good idea to have a local lab redo them.  So… don’t worry for us in that area.

On another note… I wanted to make a disclaimer…….  Brandon was concerned when he read my last post that people would think that I am endorsing the book A New Earth and I wanted to make it clear that I am not.  I have not read it yet and infact, I am reading it with a heart open to hear from the Lord.  I actually, went to Brandon before I bought the book to ask him if he thought it was ok for me to read.  I have always been hesitant to read things that I am afraid might be in conflict with my faith in God.  I think part of that is my need to be the “good” christian girl and follow a certian set of rules. However, while I don’t want to compromise my faith, I do feel like I have a discerning heart and that God will show me what is right.  I am mostly interested in reading this book because it is causing a stir in the “world” and I know that many of my fellow MOPS moms and other friends will be reading it and I want to be ready to answer questions or point people to the truth.  I already have a page full of questions in my journal that I will be asking myself and God while I read it.  So that being said….. I am NOT at this point encouraging anyone to read this book, but will discuss it on my blog after I have begun reading.  How was that for a disclaimer?

Also, watch, tomorrow, for my first chapter synopsis of Henri Nouwen’s book, Turn My Mourning into Dancing.  This is definetly a book I feel confident recommending….. especially if you are struggling with some loss or grief in your life right now, no matter how small.  I started writing the post last night, but I need to shorten it down a little.  I may be a little long for some of you readers.

Anyway….. I am encouraged today, by answered prayers and I hope that all of you who have been praying for me will be encouraged as well.

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So this has been a pretty uneventful week…..  I did some major house cleaning. All the way down to cleaning the trim and it felt really good to just dig into it.  THe boys have steadily been feeling better which has been nice.  Eyob is doing better physically everyday and has been sleeping through the night for the last week.  It is awesome, however, it seems like when one sleeps the others wake up.  AHHH!!!  We are still waiting on test results to find out what is going on with all the poop.  Hopefully, we will know something soon! 

For Christmas, Brandon gave me a gift cert. for a mani/pedi combo at a local spa so yesterday I cashed it in and spent two very relaxing hours getting pampered. It was so nice.  He also gave me some  cash and I got to do a little shopping which was also fun. SHopping alone for myself…. AHHHHH..  My hubby is great isn’t he.

When I first started blogging almost a year ago I seemed to think in terms of blogging.  I was always thinking.. this would make a good blog post or I could write about that.  Well, since bringing Eyob home I haven’t really felt like that, I am sure for good reason, but I have missed that feeling… that swirling around in my brain.  Blogging for me is more than a way of keeping in touch with family and friends, it has been a way to process thoughts, use my brain, to practice writing, and an outlet for my heart.  Anyway, I have been thinking about a bunch of different posts that I am going to write over the next couple of weeks so I thought I would give you a quick synopsis of what is coming up on Further Up and Deeper In.

Book Reviews-  Henri Nouwen’s Turn My Mourning Into Dancing (get this book!!!!)  I can’t wait to talk about this book!  More on Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World–  I have learned so much that I am looking forward to passing on. Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth–  Oprah’s Book club choice for the month and the subject of an online class she will be teaching over the next few weeks.  THis book is the fastest selling book in the world right now.  WHy????  One question I have about the book (many more that I will write about in it’s own post) but….. is this book so “close” to the TRUTH that it is causing or going to cause people to miss Christ?  The Shack by William P Young…… This novel/allegory is making it’s way around the US and changing lives… I want to see what the hype is all about. Maybe you will too.

****   I was thinking about all that I have learned about Eyob in the last 3 months and then remembered the old book or  poem… Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten…. and I thought I might have fun doing a serious of posts on what I know about….????

I am going to be getting back to Wordless Wednesday.  More pics…

I have never been “Tagged” so I thought I would do my own and tag a few of my blogging buddies… so look out friends.

Reflections on Adoption…

and more…. so keep checking back….

 Also, a blogging friend who reached out to me during those first dark weeks when we got home from Ethiopia with Eyob, just returned from getting her little man.  I thought you might be interested in reading about some of her experiences.  I was telling her in an email that her posts take me right back to ET and Hannah’s Hope.  I can still taste, smell, and feel it in my heart.  Reading her words and about her experiences make my long for ET deeply.  Read her posts and enjoy.

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