Tuesday, August 28, 2007
There were several children there who all wanted to play with the toy trains. I have taught (and his teachers have taught) Jacob to share toys by playing with other children. This includes taking turns with the favorite toys. There were other parents there who felt their child should be able to hoard 3+ trains and go wherever they wanted just by saying "excuse me." Pushing younger children away from the table and saying "excuse me" is NOT sharing.
Jacob was insistent though. He continued to offer to let other children use his trains and did not let the older children bully him. I just wish I could say the same for the other kids.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Jacob and I woke up early and put on some of our best clothes. Grandma met us at our house and we drove to the court house. Court was at 8:15 AM and we were done by about 8:30 AM. Short and simple. Jacob received a stuffed dog from the dog. He had everyone in the judge's chambers laughing during the hearing.
We left the courthouse and walked to the Children's Museum. This was the beginning of our fun filled day. Jacob was practicing his fishing skills inside the boat. He also drove a car (pretend and it didn't move), dug for dinasaur bones and moved a crane. The museum is a great place for children to learn and move at their own pace and age level.
We left the museum and drove to the zoo. It has been raining here everyday for over a week. We were lucky to be able to walk around without any rain! Jacob loved the seals, turtle and monkeys. He also enjoyed seeing the giraffes. Doesn't Jacob make a cute polar bear cub? The carasel is also a lot of fun. Last time we went, he was afraid to ride on the animals. This time, he laughed during the entire ride and cried when the ride ended. What a difference just a month can make.
After the zoo, it was definitelly time to head home for a nap. I was hoping for a 2 hour nap but settled for one hour. We were both exhausted from our morning of fun. We spent a couple hours after naps mowing the lawn. With over a week of rain, the lawn was about 6 inches tall. Jacob thought it was great fun to watch me sweat and fight the lawn mower. Note to self: mow it sooner next time (even if it is wet).
After our yard work was completed, it was time to head out for dinner. I wanted to remember Jacob's birth culture, country and family. Without their love and help, Jacob would not be my son or an American. We invited a friend to dinner with us. She had never been exposed to Ethiopian food and what better way to celebrate Jacob's life than by sharing some of his birth country with a friend. We had dinner downtown at an Ethiopian resteraunt. Jacob still loves dorowat but he is beginning to lose his taste for injera. Injera was never something he adored in Ethiopia and I think he has developed more of a sweet tooth now.
We finished the day off with a couple quick stops at some stores and a quick visit at Grandma's house. She had left us at nap time and it was time to say thanks for everything she does for us. Grandpa and Uncle Chuck were out of town (the timing could not be avoided but they sent their love) so we will celebrate with them later.
Jacob's adoption is now completed but our journey together is far from over. The past few months have had many ups and downs but we couldn't be happier. God has finally blessed me with the child I have prayed for since I was Jacob's age.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Jacob has grown steadily and quickly. This is him last week. 3 pounds heavier and 2 1/2 inches taller.
It was 5 months ago this week that I met Jacob and brought him back to the United States. The past 5 months have had good times and bad but the good times far out number the bad.
Five months ago, I arrived in Ethiopia on an airplane in the late evening hours. The Ethiopian on the plane began cheering as the pilot brought the plane in for a smooth landing. I began crying. I was in the country that my son was born in. In just a few hours, I would see him for the first time and be able to tell him Mama was here. As the Ethiopian cheered, I shed tears of thanksgiving that I was finally going to meet my son. My dream was finally coming true.
I left the airport with several other families. I was not the only person fighting tears as we drove down the rocky road towards the guest house. I looked at the buildings and the beautiful people along the road trying to remember everything. This is where my son had lived for the past 11 months. It was the country he was born in seventeen months earlier and the country who gave me the greatest gift I have ever received.
Early the next morning, I awoke anticipating meeting my son. I was both excited and scared. Would he scream and cry when he saw me? Would he accept me as a mother or hate me for taking him away from everything and everyone he knew and loved. I got up, ate breakfast and tried to seem cool, calm and strong. I tried not to show my fear or my anxiety.
I finally met Jacob at 9:30 that Saturday morning. He clung to me and stared at me. He did not want me to let him go but he was also overwhelmed and probably scared. We sat together as he clutched a small bear I gave him. Eventually, he cried when I removed a shoe. The stress came off of him and he began to slowly relax. We spent about 2 hours together before the adoptive parents said goodbye and headed back to the guest house.
Jacob came home few days later and for several weeks was afraid I might leave or choose someone else. He got upset when left in the church nursery or when I held another child. He screamed if he did not get food whenever he wanted even if I was cooking food in front of him. Jacob was a good walker but was still clumsy and fell often. He became frustrated when I did not know what he wanted and would refuse to go to sleep unless I rocked him first. He loved me from the beginning but was overwhelmed and not sure that I was going to stay forever.
Jacob has now passed many milestones and is well adjusted. He smiles often and laughs until he chokes. His teacher described him as "always happy" and fun to have around. Jacob not only walks but he runs and climbs as well. He loves to dance and play with toy cars. He has begun sharing toys without being prompted and loves to share his snacks with other children. Jacob gives spontaneous hugs and kisses while telling me "I wuv."
Jacob no longer panics when left at preschool or in the nursery. He tells me "bye bye" and will push me towards the door if I stay too long. I return a short time later and he excitedly runs to the door to greet me and show me what he played with while I was gone.
Our lives have changed forever. Five months ago Jacob was living in an orphanage with several other children. I was living the single life going out when I wanted and doing as I pleased. Jacob was on a strict schedule getting up at 6 AM and starting his day. I was sleeping in until at least 9 AM and often did not get out of bed until I left had to get ready for work at 1 PM.
Jacob now sleeps until 8 AM and I now get up at 8 AM. I no longer want to go out with friends every weekend but would prefer to be with Jacob. Jacob no longer fights with other children to have a toy to play with. He now has more toys than he or I can count and willingly shares them with his friends.
Five months has gone by and I could not be happier. I have the child I dreamed of. Jacob is resilient and happy. He loves me and I love him. I cannot imagine life without him and do not know what I would do without him. I love being a parent and would not change a thing for all of the riches in the world. I look forward to many more months and years being his "mama."
Monday, August 13, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
I purchased a patio swing earlier this Summer. My parents gave me some money from their share of my gradparents' estate. I wanted to buy a swing in memory of all my wonderful visits to their house. I really enjoyed sitting in the backyard and talking to my grandfather. Now, I hope to create new memories sitting in my backyard and watching my son and dog play.
The reality is that Summer has been so busy I haven't gotten outside much. The swing is being used almost daily by the au pairs and Jacob but not by me. There is really no one I can blame but myself. I have this habit of overscheduling myself. I am now making a pledge to myself and my son that I will use that swing more during the next two months while it is still nice outside.
I also am going to make sure Jacob and I get to the beach and the sprinkler park this month. We don't have nearly as many doctor appointments and other activities scheduled so it should be easier to get outside. I have training for working football games and the State Fair tomorrow but should be able to slow down after that. I can't let the entire Summer get away!
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
No. I'm not crazy and I do know that I need to wait a few more months to begin. Unfortunately, it may be more than a few months. I need money to adopt again. Someone suggested I ask for donations. Of course, I am more than happy to accept any. I also am trying to think of some more creative ways to raise money. For Jacob's adoption, I worked 10 to 20 hours of overtime each week and was able to rapidly save money. That won't be possible this time. I cannot work as much and still be a good mom to my son. So if anyone has any ideas on how I can raise money creatively, let me know.
My hope is to adopt a child from Ethiopia. There are rumors that Ethiopia may limit single women to special needs children. Since Jacob was considered a special needs child, this doesn't completely scare me. I am also considering a little girl from Russia if Ethiopia is not a possibility. I am praying that God will lead me to the child that is meant to be part of my family. I am also praying that He help me find the money to bring this sweet girl into my home. There are many children that need loving homes. Rather than bring another child into this world, it will be better to give a home to one who needs it. The final outcome is the same. Love between a mother and her children.
News on the au pairs. Things are going well with Veronica. Trudie is scheduled to leave this weekend. We will miss Trudie but it sure will be nice to have my home back.