"A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up peson does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown -up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enought to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon.
It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."Orthodoxy G.K. Chesterton
My two year old son is full of boundless energy. He simultaneously delights and exhausts me. Yet he also invites me to pay attention to the world in ways that I overlook. He opens the eyes of his blind father, who fails to notice the glimpses of God on display right in front of him.
On a more sober level, my son also invites me to ponder the junk in my heart that I would rather ignore, the anger that flares up so easily when I am annoyed by his stubborn will or his consuming curiousity, the reluctance I have to embrace him when he lashes out at me with the typical intensity of a two year old.
How have the ordinary relationships in your family served as a mirror to your soul or the world, revealing things unnoticed or ignored about yourself or God? What are your pint-sized teachers revealing to you?
I couldn't resist this photo of Brian and Jeremy both staring intently at their laptops. Grandma and Papa sent Jeremy this adorable green laptop for his birthday. It's actually very cool and has some fantastic learning tools on it!
Where does the time go? It's hard to believe he was three months old the first time I held him, and now he's already six months! In the last month, he has become much stronger in his neck and back, and about a week ago, we introduced him to his exersaucer, which was an awesome gift from my dear friend, Laura.
Look how he's standing on his feet! He looks so tall to me in this picture!
Zachary continues to be our sweet, smiley baby boy, and we love, love, love him so!
Yesterday, I went out to take a walk with the boys in our double stroller. Along the way, Jeremy spotted a dog and said, "Puppy!". As we got closer, it was, indeed, a Jack Russell Terrier puppy. He was on a leash and was acting crazy and wired, as Jack Russells are prone to do.
"My son loves dogs," I told the puppy's owners, as we slowed to a stop for Jeremy to admire the pooch.
My son. My son! It rolled ever so naturally off my tongue, as if I'd been saying it for years!
"Don't let him get too close," the dog owners, said, "He's a crazy dog!"
"I understand. My father had several Jack Russells!"
"They never get better!", said one of the dog's owners.
"No! They're always crazy!", I yelled back to them, as we continued on our way.
"Thanks for saying that..." she replied, sounding somewhat disappointed.
I thought that was an odd final reply to an otherwise pleasant exchange, but as I continued walking on, I realized that she didn't actually say, "They never get better!" Instead, she must have asked me, "Do they ever get better?"
Whoops! She asked me if it ever gets better, and I told her "No!" Poor woman!
It reminded me of our first week or two home from Ethiopia, when we were more tired than we'd ever been, jet lagged, and still getting to know our children. It was a stage of life that I refer to as "the post-adoption haze". We were walking around like semi-zombies doing the best we could. When people would tell us that we looked like we were doing great, Brian would humorously reply, "We're just faking it!"
Occasionally, when someone would ask how we were doing, and our reply was "tired", their response would often be, "Well, get ready... It will be like that for the next 18 years!" Hearing that would make me want to throw up a little.
While I still don't feel as well-rested as I'd like to be, I feel much better than I did during that first jet lagged week or two, when we were muddling through "the haze".
I'm writing this for all of the adoptive families that are about to travel to Ethiopia to bring your children home (and also for my own encouragement, because we still have some really hard days): When you are home with your kids and you're tired and it's hard because you're in the haze of post-adoption and that stinkin' jet lag just won't stop, remember that you read on some blog that it does get easier!!!
And one day you won't be quite so tired, and you'll be on a walk of your own, or at the grocery store, or at church, and you'll say "my son" or "my daughter" in passing, and you'll be amazed at how naturally it rolled off your tongue, and just how far you've come.
A couple weeks ago, we had a wonderful visit from Grandma (Brian's b1rthm0ther) and Papa. Brian was so proud to introduce the boys to them. It's hard to tell in this picture, but Brian is holding both boys--one on each hip!
I love Papa's proud face in this picture:
It didn't take long for the boys to warm up! This photo was taken the morning after they arrived. Jeremy and Grandma were looking at pictures of our Ethiopia trip together.
The blessing of adoption has touched three generations of our family, and it is really special to have Grandma and Papa in our lives, and also in the lives of our boys!
I am officially the mother of a TWO year old! Even though your birthday was earlier in the week, we waited until Saturday to have a small celebration with our family. Since we were celebrating a special occassion (YOU!), we decided to dress you and your brother in your traditional Ethiopian outfits.
Can I stop here to say what a handsome little guy you are? Your smile is wonderful and it lights up a room!
It was so fun having you dressed in your traditional outfits, because in walked Nana to the party, all dressed up in HERS! I thought she looked so beautiful in the dress she bought when we were in Ethiopia!
We had cake and ice cream for your birthday, and you blew out the candle all by yourself!
You have a great sense of fun...
...and we're just crazy about you! When it came time to open presents, you thought it would be just as much fun to climb on top of the boxes as it would be to open them!
I love the way you're looking up at your Daddy in this picture:
You love him! Even though you know his name is Daddy, you usually call him "Baba", as you have since we adopted you in Ethiopia. "Ababa" is Amharic for "Daddy", and you just shorten it to Baba. Frankly, I love hearing you call him "Baba", and it won't hurt my feelings at all if you never stop. We were told by an interpreter who met us at your first doctor's appointment here that you have a 20-30 word Amharic vocabulary, and I just love hearing you speak Amharic. You are constantly asking me for "Babo" (bread, food), and saying "che-che" (sit here, or pick me up). I know these words will soon fade and you'll be speaking English before we know it, but it's sweet to hear these words you learned in Ethiopia still coming out of your mouth.
Happy birthday to my big boy! I love you so much, and I'm overwhelmed with gratitude to God for the gift that He gave me when He placed you in our family and made you my son.
January 2009 - We saw Slumdog Millionaire, and God really began to stir our hearts about international adoption.
February 2009 - We had serious conversations and prayer about adopting from Ethiopia.
March 2009 - We had our phone orientation with Gladney (our adoption agency), decided to adopt from Ethiopia, and sent away for our application.
April 2009 - We submitted our application to Gladney, and began the paper chase!
May 2009 - We had our doctor appointments, continued the paper chase, and had our homestudy visit.
June 2009 - We submitted our last item of required paperwork to accompany our application to Gladney. Our homestudy report was completed and submitted to Gladney. On June 30th, our second anniversary, we received word from Gladney that we were fully approved to be an adoptive family through the Gladney Center, and that they sent our homestudy to CIS.
July 2009 - We received our "invitation" from CIS to come for fingerprinting. We were fingerprinted on July 18, 2009.
September 2009 - Our CIS approval notice arrived in the mail. Dossier completed and sent off on September 8. Placed on Gladney's wait list on September 8.
May 2010 - We received our referral for two boys--brothers--on May 24. The older is 19 months old. The younger is 1 month old.
July 2010 - We passed phase one of the court process on July 19th.
August 2010 - We traveled to Addis Ababa to meet the boys, go to court, legally become their parents, sight see a bit, and return home for three weeks. We returned to Ethiopia on August 30th, when they were placed forever in our arms! We are a family of four!
October 2010 - We received the boys' Certificates of Citizenship in the Mail from CIS!
November 2010 - We completed the Recognition of Foreign Adoption Decree process here in Texas, and received the boys' original birth certificates issued by the state of Texas!