Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Party Time

On Sunday, my gracious mother in law (Sharon) hosted a "welcome home party" for Chernet.  We had a pool party, as you can see from the invitation below, at my in-laws neighborhood pool.  What a great day it was.  Sharon prepared tons of food and invited our family and a few close friends...

We are so blessed to have people in our lives how love us and our boys so much.  Enjoy a few pictures.  There aren't many because I would NEVER take pictures of people in swimsuits.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.... still applicable as an adult.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

9 Stations

This past Thursday and Friday our church did 24 hours of prayer.  I first thought it would be sitting quietly and praying.  Let me be quite honest. I could not do that.  I have quite good focus but that is not my idea of easy.  Yes, I am weak.  I admit it.  Thus, when JT told me that I should go since he is an elder at church and I am his wife and I needed to be open to new situations.  He was right.  That did not mean I liked what he had to say.  But I love him, so I went. 

It was totally different than what I expected.  We did not sit in a circle and hold hands.  There was no candle lighting or hugging. Thankfully for me, it was all independent...no group projects or talking. There were nine stations.....each one designed for reflection and prayer.  Whether you are religious or spiritual or like me and just trying love people like Jesus did and not screw up or none of it, several of these "activities", for lack of a better term, were quite helpful for reflection and growth.  I will admit my husband was right.  Yes, I said it.  He was right.  I wanted to give you a couple of highlights.  I have paraphrased the actual activities and shortened them...Sorry Ben, if you read this.  I also wanted to challenge you to sit down and try one or a couple of these....to stop and think about life....both your own, those that you affect, and otherwise. 

Station 5: Choose a country on the map and place a small stick-it.  Choose one that hasn't already been chosen. Pray for that country, it's leaders, government, people that live there, orphans in that country.

My first choice, Ethiopia, had been chosen.  I sat for a minute thinking about all the countries...and then it hit me....the tiny sliver of Togo, Africa is where my friend Kelly is living.  She was a resident with me during my intern year and has gone to Togo to serve as a doctor.  She recently helped me with my HIV PowerPoint as this is something she is seeing regularly in West Africa. 

Challenge: What country are you going to pray for this week?  It does not have to be third world....I am pretty sure America could use it.  If you pick one, leave a comment!

Station 7: Look at the verses and quotes already written on the wall.  Which one speaks to you? Now, choose a couple new ones and write those on the papers to encourage others. 

I chose the following to write on the wall as the ones "speaking" to me...for so many reasons:
"So let's not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessings if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

"Friendship is unnecessary like philosophy, like art.  It has no survival value but gives value to survival."  CS Lewis  (from my last post)

"I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun as risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see." CS Lewis

Challenge:  What verses or quotes are encouraging to you right now? Write them somewhere, share them with someone else, leave a comment here with them.

Station 2: Read these verses: Matthew 6:25-29  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?    Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."
Write down your worries on the postcards provided.  Pray for the perspective of the verses and try to realize our worries our temporary.

I sat there worried I would use all of the Post-It index cards.  Seriously.  Were there any left?  I am not sure.  I started listing and kept going (most of these are verbatim).... Marriage (am I good enough, attractive enough, domestic enough), finances (will we ever pay my student loans, will we ever buy a house, are we saving enough), Body image (I am not pretty, I am too fat, Does anyone see past me being overweight), Chernet's HIV (Will people not be our friends because of his HIV, Will we have children? Will he marry someone?  Will he stay healthy?), Tedi (Will he grow into a good man? Does he know how much we love him? Are we loving him the right away?), Chernet (Is he happy? Am I parenting him as he needs? Will he attach to us?) , Job (Will I interview well?  Where will I match? Do they really want me here?  What if I screw it up?), Residency (Will I pass my boards next year? Am I doing a good job? Am I one of the best? What could I do better?), Friends (Am I giving enough? Am I a good friend? Do my friends know how much I care?), Family (Will I ever conceive? What will our family look like in five years?  Can I be a good mom and do the job I want? Are my parents and sister okay?)

Now you see why I ran out of index cards.  I worry a bit.  And I tried am trying to give it up all up and realize it gets me no where.... I am a work in progress..

Challenge:  Jot down your worries.  Pray over them... ask a friend to do so.. Then pitch them. 

Station 6: Take a sheet of paper and right down the titles you have in your life (wife, mother, sister, daughter, co-worker, committee member)  Next to the words, pray about and then write down examples of how you can be a blessing to others in that area of your life.

A Couple of Mine (I won't include all of them because some of them are personal for the other people involved in mine):
Wife:  Plan a monthly date with JT.  Make an effort to domestic things I hate...laundry and such
Mommy:  Spend one date day with each boy each month.  Special rewards for good school behavior.  More praise.
Parent of Kindergartens: send a note to the teachers in the boys's folders each week thanking them for their work
Mentee at work: thank those attendings that give their time to support and help me
Adoption Advocate: spend time with new families and be open and honest about the struggles
Friend: named specific friends I could do things for and bless

Challenge:  List your titles and how you can bless people in each role.  Let me know if I can do anything for you specifically.....or am not doing something I should be...

So that is a sampling of the 9 stations.... nine exercises.  I hope someone gets something out of this...that someone will find it as helpful as me....as I continue to try improving.... and yes, I will say it again, JT was right.... I benefitted from going.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Because I love you.....

Think about the things you do for someone you love.... Not the LOVE in high school "if you LOVE me you will make out with me." or Or that Celine Dion song "Because you loved me" (which I will admit to listening to as I write this... and it actually does fit in this context but is exceedingly sappy and emotional).... or "OMG, you are totally the greatest for getting me a double shot vente nonfat no whip latte. I just LOVE you."  But like real love.  Love that sacrifices.  "Greater love hath no man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends" John 15:13 .... Fall on your proverbial sword kind of love.

When stating it that way, it seems that these would have to be grand acts....great valor, extreme measures... I mean, sometimes they are.  But the way I see it, the more poignant examples are the ones we do each day....repeated small examples of sacrifice day in and day out.... the little things...real life.

“We can do no great things; only small things with great love.” ~Mother Teresa

The first segment below are the things I do daily, mainly written to make you laugh, things that I do when I really would rather do other things or just be lazy.... things that remind me to keep doing more....things that make me grow as a person and make me grateful for the people I have been given that I can give love to.... And also there are things that others, random special people in my life (husband, family, friends, my kids), do for me....Start each of the sentences below with:
Because I love you.....
....I do crafts for your school projects so you won't be "that kid" and I DO NOT CRAFT.
....I do not kill you when you turn on my pager during vacation just to hear it beep (totally joking)
....I give cards even when it makes me vulnerable and self conscious
....I wake up early to get ready so that you have a freshly made lunch
....I take pictures when I think you would like something so I can show you later
....I take more patients on call
....I go to large social gatherings when I would rather wear sweats and drink Diet Coke
....I pray out loud in public though it makes me infinitely uncomfortable (you are welcome, JT)
....I leave you cards when you clean my call room
....I am sarcastic with you... that is my love language
....I was on the nightly news with you despite my disapproval
....I let you get the bathroom water-soaked
....I make blue scrambled eggs and red pancakes in silly shapes
....I wear a bathing suit in public, I go to the zoo, to Chuck E Cheese, to Mr. Gatti's (or is it Gattitown or Gattiland now... I don't know)
....I am nervous all the time because I do not want you to be my friends' patient at work
....I spend my salary on Beyblades, Bakugan, and Ben 10
....I read Llama Llama instead of the new Emily Giffin book
....I watch LeapFrog and Despicable Me and Toy Stoy 2 (for the 1873rd time) instead of Bravo, HGTV, Hitch, or Couple's Retreat
....I look at your text pictures of rashes, cuts, medical questions...
....I clean up your pee.  That should be enough.
Because I am loved.....
....you hang up the cards I get you in your office
....you let me buy more cards and stationary
....you pick up my son's stool culture kit at the pediatrician
....you allow me to leave my clean laundry in the floor for a week
....you make me fruit dip, without the fruit
....you call me just because
....you stay at the airport until 2am to welcome home our son
....you drive me for yogurt/ice cream/anything sweet even when you don't get anything because you know I love it
....you acknowledge ridiculous text even when I am being unreasonable
....you tell me I am worth it
....you love my children
....you let me have a date weekend with my husband, for free
....you sleep on your left side so I am more comfortable
....you put cards in my white coat
....you remind me that you are normally right, but I am still okay
....you let me listen to Christmas music, in October and buy pumpkin yogurt in April
....you set up times to go to the gym even though you know we will never go
....you kiss my child who has HIV to prove to me you love him because you love me
....you listen to angry chick music and the Rent soundtrack...because I want to
....you leave coffee for me post call because you know I can not sleep when I go home
....you let me get to the edge of breaking down and then help me back up
....you tell me to Shut Up because you know I will get a job even when I think I won't
....you call me mommy.  And that is really more than my heart can really hold most days.
I know these may seem silly, but they are real.  I mean, seriously.  Why do we love the people in our lives.....because they show up...they invest in us daily and continue to show back up.  And if they don't annoy us or vice versa and love us despite ourselves, they make our life better.  They make life worth living....they being our spouses, our friends, our kids, our families.  So I hoped you laughed but I also hope you stopped and thought about those you love and that add to your life.  and then thank them.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” ~CS Lewis

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

For the record, I cried.

I cried this morning.  Not as Tedi kissed our cheeks (and gave us raspberry kisses), told us he was going to learn Chinese, excitedly jumped out of the car and ran into school.  Not as I watched Chernet have a stage 4 meltdown in the back of the car after Tedi jumped out.  Not as we hugged a now happy Chernet goodbye and left Lincoln.  I even SMILED as I walked into our silent condo with a tall Cafe Miele from Sunergos thinking about shopping for an interview shirt and new book and lunch with Heather.  I thought I would happily sit down and post the typical "First Day of Kindergarten" pics to the blog and facebook and head on out to Heather's. 

Then I sat down and loaded the pictures from the camera.  The first picture was this one of Tedi:

It did not help I was listening to "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri.  I stared at this picture as tears stream streamed down my cheeks.  Not a messy, chest heaving, my heart hurts cry but one that pours out of you with both gratitude and love.  Tears I rarely achieve.  This face, this boy has taught me so much and made me want to the best version of myself.  He has shown SOOO many people how to love people of all colors, of all backgrounds with complete disregard for what they previously thought.  I am convinced that because of him, many children have been adopted.  Many churches have started thinking about orphans because of him.  This kid, this big KINDERGARTEN-er, he just loves life and everyone and because of that, everyone is changed because of him.  I doubt we would have had the faith to adopt a second son with HIV had it not been for the love of this boy.  He is no longer an orphan...he is MY SON.  And seeing him so big is about more than my heart can handle.  I do not know what he looked like at 6 months (though I wish I did) or as a small toddler...but I do know this, I am excited to watch this 5 year old become a man a change the hearts of many more people....

Now look at these.... do you see why I am crying cried.  This scared little boy is growing and changing and it looks good on him...

First Day of Pre-School

First Day of Pre-K

I am a lucky mom... like so many others.  Seeing my son grow is tough...yet so rewarding.  I am just blessed to be a mom to these boys...to be able to confuse teachers with how my son can be "ESL" but I speak English (that was fun today).  I am blessed to have a husband walk my children in with me because I saw so many moms doing it alone.   

So yes, I cried.  Tedi did it!  Blame him!  Here are a couple more from the typical

First Day of Kindergarten (x2)

Blurry because the kid CAN'T stand still

Monday, August 20, 2012

HIV PowerPoint

Despite everything I know that I have "going for me" (the term your mom would say when someone hurt your feelings... "honey, you have so much going for you. You don't need him as your boyfriend/friend.), I often live with a sense of not wanting to screw up.  Yeah, I probably need some kind of counseling, oh well.  However, I just want to do everything without flaws (though if you saw my car or closet you may disagree.  JT disagrees when he sees these things). 

As I have worked to prepare a flawless, 88 slide PowerPoint presentation on HIV as it relates parents and pediatricians alike that I will present to all of the pediatric faculty and residents and medical students, I started becoming self conscious.  I started feeling like although we are openly advocating for HIV+ children it is difficult when you stand up in front of your friends, your colleagues, your current bosses, and hopefully future bosses and discuss your child's health.  While it is fine on here and adoption circles, it is not easy putting yourself out there....risk losing friends and being judged.

Then I got to thinking....I was not called to live this easy, comfortable life.  I was called to lay it all out there.  I was called to love children, both in my job and my home, even the ones difficult to love, that we risk losing (at work), and ones that others may look over (at home).  And guess what?  Sometimes its SUCKS.  Yep.

I don't want Chernet to have to think about whether he can have babies someday or if someone won't hug him back because of his HIV or won't be his friend/our friend.  I have said before that those friends are not worth it....but let's be honest, it hurts.  It stings my heart as a mom because he does have to think about all of these things.  As I prepared my presentation, I had to reflect on these things and it was not the easiest thing to revisit (because I have thought about this all before....before our HIV decision, during, and now) and think about from his little perspective.

I get it.  Everyone walks through life with issues they must deal with and overcome, just like he will.  It is just frustrating that he will do so because of choices not made by him because of a disease he did not ask for....like all childhood issues. 

So, in trying to prepare a "flawless" presentation, I am left even more reflective and unsure of what is to come and the strength I don't have alone to face what will come in this journey.  What I do know is that this flawed girl will do the best she can to love her boy, teach others that is okay to love him, and try to "change the world for one"?

Storypeople Parenting....

I have often used quotes from storypeople.com on here.  I love their quotes and gifts and I just "get it" or maybe they get me (since they clearly know me personally).  Anyhow, their quotes on love and friendship are so true but I have become even a bigger fan since parusing the parenting ones.... Enjoy the quotes with real life examples :-)

You think he's scary now? she said. Just wait till he finishes off all the chocolate.

If you kill your brother, she said, you're going to get a huge timeout.

After Chernet popped Tedi in the neck with a Beyblade

There are lives I can imagine without children but none of them have the same laughter

this is a special balancing trick that requires a small child to stay completely still (so it's still only theoretical)

someone asked them to be quiet, so it's just a matter of time before all hell breaks loose.

Everything changed the day I figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in my life.

Sometimes I can't wait to leave, but not when my boys are wishing I could stay

I always wanted to invent something that would move around; make funny noises,  would change the world as we know it; I forgot all about that until we had kids; now I see I came pretty close.
Thanks, Mom.

I sometimes wake in the early morning; listen to the soft breathing of my children; I think to myself, this is one thing I will never regret; I carry that quiet with me all day long.

4 Weeks....

JT and I laughed today.... we can not believe it has been four weeks since Chernet joined our family.  It is a little surreal some days.  We were getting in the car for church on Sunday and I looked at him, over my sunglasses nonetheless, and said, "Do we have two five year olds?  Am I almost thirty?" These were not lamenting comments.  These were.....Man, life has changed... comments.  And for the better.  I can say that today.  We had friends over and our children were well-behaved (though I did not ask my friends' opinion).  The boys played alone in their room for an hour with no fighting, no biting or kissing, no hitting or tears. 

I don't want to forget these moments so.... the top moments of the last four weeks:

~ Text from JT while I am on night shift:  "I may or may not have kicked the shake and go Buzz into wall.  Just saying."

~From the night Chernet came home...spoken by Tedi: "Chernet, we speak regular here."

~Watching the boys welcome home JT with screams and hugs....each day as if it has been weeks since they have seen him.

~While sad, watching Chernet cry for his brother when they are separate.  It lets me know there is bonding, and now, love. 

~Tedi to us then repeated to friends, adamantly: "My eyes used to be brown like my brother's but they are blue now like my daddy's."  He really thinks they are blue and he is NOT color blind.

~Chernet LOVING dogs. 

~A constant fascination with the Amharic word for penis.....and saying it in public.

~Listening to Chernet speak Amharic to Ezra at church...hearing him say he liked living with us but did not like that meat other than chicken we tried to feed him....

~ Tedi: "Mommy, Chernet just peed on me."
   Me:   "In the bathroom?"
   Tedi:  "Nah, in our bedroom.  On my shirt."

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cherry Coke Zero, Hail Marys, and School

I am giving myself 15 minutes on the computer.... 15 minutes to blog, drink my cherry coke zero, have some mango peach salsa, and maybe work on an HIV project for work.  This cherry coke zero is the first one I have really stopped to enjoy....the first one that is merely more than the caffeine within it.... And let me tell you, there are big brown jealous eyes staring at me....whether they want the soda or to not be forced into "quiet/nap time," I do not know.  Nevertheless. 

A smattering of happenings here lately.....

Since I posted back on August 6th, things have definitely improved.... there is more laughter and sharing and love.  Evidence #1: Today my friend from work and her twin 2.5 year olds came over.  There was no biting, no crying, no pinching, no whining.  Both boys actually shared with the younger children.  Evidence #2: Last night's toy car clean up effort took less than 7 minutes.  Maybe a new record....even if it was in order to have chocolate.  Evidence #3: Tedi cried more in the first two weeks that Chernet was home than in the entire time he had lived with us.  In the last week, I believe we have only seen real tears once or twice.... and they were because he did not want to lose his privileges....not real tears in my book. 

Chernet had his ESL test last week.... I know we are all shocked that he was offered ESL services.  The beauty of this is that we had our pick of schools throughout the entire county.  We chose our home school as a his second choice and tossed a Hail Mary at a performing arts magnet school that often proves difficult to get into..... Guess what, for once, JCPS jumped up and caught the pass like Eli Manning to David Tyree in the 2007 Super Bowl.  Chernet will be going to Lincoln Performing Arts School for kindergarten this year.  It is so close to my work and a mile from Tedi's school....which will be convenient for the babysitter in the afternoons.  We are so excited for the boys to both be in good schools....the fact that they are at different schools may prove to be more challenging. 

We have been seeing every doctor in the city recently.... who knew every child in the city had to have dental, eye and medical appointments to start school.  I mean, we were already going to do this but Seriously?  I guess it makes parents get it done.  We have gotten six shots (yes, I believe in vaccines.  you won't win that argument here), multiple blood draws, a dilated eye exam, and the dental exam is Monday....  JT gets to do the dermatologist alone :-) Sorry babe!

Lastly, I have been scheduling my fellowship interviews..... I have one scheduled here and in Milwaukee for my vacation (like next week) and then Ann Arbor and Pittsburgh for October.  I am very honored to be offered interviews at these great programs.  Milwaukee is one I am excited about because that is the city where my lovely friend, Eunice, from medical school is completing her residency.  I am driving up alone and getting to spend an extra day with her.  It will be such special time because I get to meet her new husband and reconnect!  And just to be clear, I am excited for the one here.  I love it here...my boys do....JT does.... I think they like me.  It is gonna be tough!

Okay, I think it has been longer than 15 minutes.  We have to go to Chernet's school open house tonight and I have yet to shower.  I wonder, do stay at home mom's ever shower.  If so, I do not know how.  I am obviously not cut out for this ;-)  What I am cut out for?  The glass of wine I will be enjoying tonight with some friends....

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Word FULL Wednesday

I see lots of people who do blogs post "wordless Wednesdays" but I am not that good at keeping it word free.  After my last post, I had lots of comments, emails, and facebook messages... I appreciate all of the kind words and support.  We have been offered meals....which we so appreciate, but with the exception of me working this weekend, I will be home for most meals in the coming weeks!  I also did not want the post to insinuate I have these crazy awful kids...  really there are more good moments than bad.....many many more.  I think my level of sleep deprivation makes the bad seem unbearable.  We have had a really good couple of days together.  I have learned that boys are better when they are busy!! On Monday after I woke up, we went to Michael's to start a behavior chart of sorts....I DO NOT craft so that was interesting.  I was lost, to put it nicely, then onto chocolate ice cream (chernet was all about that) and finished at Waterfront park.  We were at Tyler Park at 7:45 am yesterday running it out and then the babysitter took them to her pool and gym and then back to Central Park last night with friends!  Thankfully for me, this meant they slept till 8am today...so lucky! With all this park visiting, I am heavily convinced at my need for a backyard.  I could at least look less presentable when outside if we had a backyard...

Today we go for a meeting at my work.  Yep, I am the crazy person taking two 5 year olds to a work meeting then for Chernet's first checkup with the pediatrician...poor Dr. Amy.  We get to start the vaccine catch-up schedule.  Fun times, I am sure will be had by all!  Tomorrow is Chernet's ESL testing for public school and Friday we see the Infectious Disease team!  I am excited to have little plans because that gives us something to do and get out of the house!  Sometime in all of this, we will celebrate our anniversary and I will start (and finish) a big work project! 

So yes, things are tough but there is also beautiful, sweet moments.  LIke the ones pictured below. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sarah McLachlan and Adoption

I just got off of work.  It is 4:22a.m. and our house is dark except for a single lamp.  The only noise: the beloved central air.  Quiet....another term: Still....both words that have NOT been used in this house as of late.   I know many people that read our blog in the adoptive community have anywhere from four to five to 12 kids, something beyond what I can imagine right now.  This blog post is not for you because you will think me weak.  This blog post is also not for someone who is ready to pass judgement.  Go elsewhere.  Nor is it for someone who says "two kids...now is when it really starts..."

I have also come to realize that there are many people who read our blog with whom I work, who are new to adoption, friends from college, or just whatever really.  Many people interested in or early in the adoption process pass by here.  People who for some reason just like reading this silly blog of ours.... This blog post is for these people....for those people who need to / want to know that there are tears behind smiles and growls behind grins....pictures can hide a thousand words.

I was speaking with a friend tonight who said "If people that are interested in international adoption only see the good side, then they will be in for a rude awakening when it is not all peaches and cream and Sarah McLachlan songs."  After I laughed to myself for a few minutes about Sarah McLachlan and how JT gets annoyed at her songs despite me making him listen throughout college, I realized she was right, though it was painful to admit it to myself and to her.  Honesty and transparency is not weakness and moreover, it is not complaining.  I chose to adopt so I will not complain about the perils, heartaches, frustrations that accompany it.  Yet, my friend is right. I need to be honest.  I need to get over my fear of being judged by others and continue to be an honest and transparent example for other families and allow others in so they may learn from our experiences.

I say all of that because in the last 14 days there has not always been best buddies playing cars and Leave It to Beaver family dinners at 6:00p.m. every night with prayers and a crumb-less floor.  There have been tears and regression from the oldest as he learns to share his world with someone who can't share because they have never been privy to anything to share.  There have been words of adult frustration because of refusal of children to listen both out of choice and of not understanding the English language. 

I mean, we can teach English.  Jefferson County Public Schools and their wonderful and experienced ESL teachers will help with this as of August 21st as well.  Teaching English will come, but teaching love is difficult.  You have to live love.  And sometimes that hurts because you love someone and they don't return it. And I sit and think about Chernet....how can he know love, accept love, give love when for three years he lived in an orphanage without truly having someone consistently, day in and day out LOVING HIM.  Mother Teresa said it best when she said, "Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”  To think of my son that way hurts my soul. We have to Love him, over and over and over again...that is how he will learn it. And yet, to discipline requires love.  To become a family requires love... To share requires love.... and yet with so much hurt and loss for three long years learning love is difficult... In saying this I don't mean to portray that Chernet was not well cared for in Ethiopia...he was.... I am not saying that he is not a happy, playful kid.... he is totally that.  His needs were met... but he was not tucked in at night.  He was not rocked to sleep.  He was not kissed when he fell down. He was not corrected and disciplined in love and with grace... so now we must pick up the pieces and start over and guess what.... That is not EASY.  I know, shocking, right?  Maybe I should be reading the Bible but Mother Teresa's words have been a great thinking place for me...She said "I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." We are trying to live this....each day as we pour out more of ourselves into these beautiful boys who have experienced such tremendous loss, hurt, and pain that we can not fathmom.... each little moment, we can maybe gradually replace big hurts with small pieces of love until some day there may be more love than hurt. 

My husband deserves more credit than I could ever give him in words or repay him in deed.  I have been at work every day since Chernet came home with the exception of one. All of my shifts have been 5p-9a or 4p-4a except for two days.  This leaves me sleeping when they are all awake and makes JT essentially a single dad.  He is such a great daddy and loves his boys so much.  Even so, there are moments when we both look at each other or text one another (since face to face has been a rarity) and wonder if this will get better.  Will Tedi stop imitating the bad behaviors of Chernet?  Will Chernet learn English...will he listen....will he not hit his brother....throw toys....?  Will we ever sink into a routine?  We like to think we will.... 

So here we stand, JT and I, holding hands in chaos surrounded by noise, both laughter and clatter.... praying that with each bad day there are two good ones.... for each backwards step, we take two forward.  Because there is laughter and there are tears (yep, I shed one or two tonight but I don't think anyone saw :-).  And things will get better, this we know.  I write this blog not to talk about how hard adoption is....how hard the loss these kids suffer can be.... how hard it can be to discipline a child who does not speak English (this is hard regardless of language).... All of these statements are true.  I write this so that others know, as John Donne said, "no man is an island unto himself." and thus, neither are we.  Having a kid is hard, whether you birth a baby, adopt a baby, adopt a big kid....it is hard work and not for the weak at heart. But we if operate as independent islands from one another, we run the risk of feeling all alone in our troubles and also, sadly, in our victories.  So I write this as an invitation to cut yourself some slack, and realize you are not alone in the bad days.  I write this to encourage people to encourage others, when their kids are being total and complete little devils and when there is a good day..... I write this so we remember to lift up our spouses, remember to give them breaks, remember to honor their hard work and devotion....to do the same for our friends.  I write this because I needed to be real.....because when I am real, I hope to invite others to be the same way. 

Lastly, I post this picture because it truly demonstrates the delicate balance that is parenting, that is loving...the give and the take... (and I hold my breath as I wait for the first broken arm)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Where Have We Been?

I have been at work... A LOT.  This month (well July) I was in the pediatric ICU....my favorite place in the hospital since that is where I want to work.  It was hard being gone with Chernet just coming home.  Nevertheless, even in a very stressful personal month, I still desire to pursue this as a career.  Even so much at that I have already submitted my application for fellowship and have interviews for the next couple of months. Because of being at work and something about a new kid here, I have not been blogging... Whoops....

We have been to the zoo and fed ducks and in time out and to Target and to church and time out and mommy's work and daddy's work and time out.  We rode in cars and bought smaller clothes and tried banana milkshakes for the first time and worn six shirts and learned the Dougie and sat in more time out.  We have hugged the head heart surgeon and interventional cardiologist at Kosair Children's Hospital (it was as awkward as you are thinking), shaken the head of the top infectious disease doc, met mommy's favorite co-workers, and been in more time out.... 

You get the picture.  It has been a crazy, fun, exhausting, time out filled 10 days.  There has been a shift in the last day and a half....a bonding of the boys. I can not even tell you how hard I am praying it continues....

I plan to update a little more tomorrow before my night shift.....