Friday, September 26, 2008

School pics....

of the dynamic duo.

G has her first cold of the season. Set in about the second week of school. Her new medication regimine appears to be working, even when she's sick. She doesn't sound great, is coughing, and you can tell she has something more than just the average cold. But her breathing is great. She's able to sleep at night. No shortness of breath or labored breathing. It's almost miraculous, the change from last year to this year. Last fall was when we used her inhaler around the clock, every 4 hours, for 28 straight days,along with her other meds. She was miserable, we were extremely frightened. While I'm still quite uncomfortable with the adult dosage of inhaled steriods that she is on and the fact that she takes 6 prescriptions, I can't deny that they have drastically altered her quality of life. We are so blessed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The frost is on the pumpkin...

The dynamic duo have been begging for footed pj's. It's gotten quite cold, and I broke down and picked them up some at work. It's going to be a looong winter!

Talking to big brother B, away at college.The girls miss him terribly.

G is so tiny she still can wear a 5T!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

another son?

Our family is supposed to be complete. We have 4 children ages 21 down to 4 years old. We have 2 in college, 2 in very early elementary and are still recovering from Wood's recent prolonged period of unemployment. Another child doesn't logically make any sense. People would think we were off our rocker (well, really, they thought that when I announced I was pregnant with G, putting a 13 year gap since her older brother was born. When, exactly, did it become "ok" to ask "was it planned??")

But I feel we are being led in this direction. Strongly. And the son I see is about 6 or 7. Out of birth order. I don't know how we would pull it off, but yet I still feel we are being asked to follow. We didn't have the money for A's adoption either, but we trusted God to help us. Shortly before we traveled, a friend from church mediated an ongoing property dispute we had with a neighbor. He negotiated a sale of a portion of property for market value- which turned out to be the EXACT amount we needed for the adoption.

This time, however, it seems like a larger leap and I'm having trouble trusting with such certainty like I did last time. Problems of "this world" have hit us pretty hard over the past two years. But that's not where I put my faith - in the things of this world.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Suddenly, the girls are going to bed quickly and easily. And both sleeping soundly through the night. Frequently, one or the other found their way into our bed at night. No more.

I actually miss it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Conversations with A.....

Tonight at the dinner table:

A: Seilar kicked me today.
Me: Really? what happened?
A: She kicked me in the stomach on purpose. I kicked her in the head on accident.
Me: How did that happen?
A: We were on the monkey bars.
Me: Maybe Seilar kicked you on accident too?
A: No, hers was on purpose.
Me: How do you know?
A: because it really, really hurt bad.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Herding cats....

I went along to the all school mass yesterday as a parent helper. I asked the teacher in the morning if she needed more help. She said she thought they were all set, but if I wanted to come, that was fine. She is new to the school, and this was her first mass with the pre-K. Haah, boy, was she ever wrong!

She only had one parent attend, for 14 pre-k students, along with her room aide. I was the second parent. I would say at least 1/2, if not more, of the students had never been in a church during a service before. I don't believe the teacher (whom I don't believe is Catholic), prepared the kids for 1) what Mass would entail 2) what the behaviour expectations were.

It was horrible. If I had any reservations that A had attention deficit issues, my fears have been resoundingly put to rest. A was the best behaved child there. Quiet and repectful. The teacher DID NOT have control over the class. There were pages ripped out of the hymnals (which the kids should have been told not to touch - they can't read, why do they need them?), kids tried to wander, talk, play, etc. It was exactly like trying to herd a group of cats.

I tried to follow the teacher's lead - I didn't want to step on any toes or cross over any lines with other people's children. But it got so ridiculous, I started to enforce my own rules. The little girls sitting by me finally got that I was serious, and behaved, with more than a few glares in my direction. One little boy took 95% of the teacher's time and attention. If he behaves like that in class, I'm not sure the teacher has any time for any other child. He was horrible, horrible. The teacher couldn't control ANY of his behavior.

There was a little girl who was sitting by the teacher's aide who just wouldn't listen. When the aide left to take another child to the bathroom, I tried to get her to behave. She just looked at my defiantly and told me "no, I won't". Geez, when did kids loose their fear other authority figures? My children wouldn't dream of telling an adult "no, I won't" to a request like "sit down and be quiet".

A is so much more mature and well behaved than her classmates. Perhaps my fears have been unfounded. It is hard not to compare your children to their siblings at the same age. Compared to her classmates and peers, she is more in line with the Kindergateners, than the Pre-K class and way beyond them in impulse control, behavior and ability to listen.

I now plan to attend the weekly school mass, because obviously the teacher needs as much help as she can get. But I shudder to repeat the experience. I do expect kids to wiggle, get bored, and have age -appropriate lapses in behavior. I didn't expect a three-ring circus. Of couse, the Pre-k sits in the very front of the church, so no one could miss any of the antics.

I was so incredbly proud as A, who ignored her classmates and fully participated in the service, singing the hymns she knew, reciting prayers.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Good school day...

The Enkutatash cupcakes at school were a BIG hit, and both girls loved sharing them and the Ethiopian holiday with their classes. I think it really helped A's transition to the new school and classroom. She was very, very proud, and really liked having a special holiday that was just "hers" to share with her class. Tomorrow the girls have their first all school Mass. Hopefully A will continue her new positive attitude towards school, even after realizing that it will mean Mass twice a week going forward - once at school and once with us on the weekend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Tomorrow is Enkutatash - Ethiopian New Year - 2001. Our family celebrates every year. Two years ago, we had a big party at our house and invited all our friends and coworkers. Last year it was a special family dinner. This year, the kids wanted to do something at school.

Here's what we did:

The box is what the cupcakes are in, and the girls glued a sheet that explains Enkutatash to the top of the box. A + G had a blast making the cupcakes, and tinting the frosting. I know the end results doesn't exactly look like the Ethiopian flag, but we needed to use cupcakes, not a cake. Each of the girls made a "flag" out of cupcakes for their class. They also picked out daisies to bring in to their teachers. The "vases" we are using for the daisies are 2 for $1.00 plastic tumblers from the dollar store stacked together in red, yellow and green. Melkam Addis Amet!

First frost...

It's been close all week, but we got an actual frost last night. Yesterday morning, it was really too cold for the girls to wear fall coats - but I just couldn't bring myself to haul out the winter ones yet. I did buy mittens and mitten clips yesterday........

A wants to be Jasmine for halloween. She is really not getting that it will be freezing, and most likely have snow. A thin bellydancer costume just isn't going to cut it (not to mention inappropriate for Catholic school.......)

The cold is good for my sales at work, which have been awful, awful, awful as the economy slows. Store managers are held fully accountable for sales - great, so now I'm personally responsible for the nation's economic conditions and Michigans' one state recession with it's 8% unemployment. Powerful, aren't I?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Our trip to Toledo

Scenes from our trip to Toledo for my grandfather's 99th birthday.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A letter to the teacher...

Dear teacher;

How did the "All about me?" go for A today? I didn't anticipate having to deal with an issue like a birthfamily member photo this so early in the year, but my daughter knows her own mind and what she wanted to include in the project.

Until she gets a bit older, A will need help from her teachers
to answer adoption related issues. Since adoption is natural to her,
she's never had to independently answer questions about it, or why she has other parents, etc. We've found that other children (and their parents) are very curious about it, which sometimes becomes quite intrusive. We've always been the buffer for her on this.

Additionally, we feel very strongly that her birth story belongs to her only, and it's her choice whether to share it or not as she gets older. A is very familiar with her background and personal history. As her parents, however, we mostly give vague information, like why children are sometimes adopted from Ethiopia and other places, how old she was when she came home, and that she has another family who loves her.

However, at this age, I don't think she realizes that once very personal information is out, it can't be taken back. And there will come a day, as with most adoptees, that she will just want to be "another kid" and not want adoption to set her out as different, as much as that is possible. And it may bother her immensely to have personal, private information out among her classmates. She still needs support and assistance from all the adults in her life to help navigating these waters.

What we're asking is that adoption also be mentioned as one way families are formed, if the classroom discussion talks about families. As to specifics about A personally, she is proud to be Ethiopian, likes to talk sometimes about things that are Ethiopian, and knows basic concepts about adoption. If anything other than that is discussed, she'll need help from you to deflect the conversation to not be specifically about her, but maybe adoption in general. Same with skin color questions - we get asked a LOT from small children why we don't "match". We don't
talk about A or adoption specifically, but say that "families don't have to match - some families do match, but a lot don't". We also don't talk about A being adopted (singling her out) rather we (our entire family) are an adoptive family, like many other adoptive families - Jesus, Superman and Moses were all from adoptive families which can be a fun conversation to have with kids and also takes her out of the focus.

She is beginning to realize that to become a member of our family, that means she had to stop being part of another family, and this can be a difficult thing for her. For things like Mother's day especially, she realizes that she has more than 1 mother, and we place a lot of importance on her Ethiopian mother in our home. She may or may no want to include her Ethiopian family in projects involving family.

If you plan to have intake conferences, I'd be happy to sit down and talk about it with you, or at another time. Just let me know.

Sincerely, "A's" mom

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First day of school.....

It went well for the dynamic duo. So far, so good. Today was all excitement and good stuff. I'm still holding my breath.

Ready for School

A's classroom

G's classroom

The girls came home incredibly tired. G was exceptionally cranky. It's always hard to get everyone back on schedule.

A came home with a large sheet of construction paper on which she was to do an "All about me" page. We were to fill this paper with photographs of people and things that are important to A.

Here's what A chose: photograph of injera and Ethiopian food on a mesob, a photo of big sister B and M, a photo of Daddy, G and A, a photo of G and her, a photo of the entire family, an Ethiopian and American flag, a sticker that says "Everyone loves an Ethiopian girl" and....a photo of her Ethiopian mother.

I'm glad that she chose that photo as one that is important to her. It makes me tear up to see the photo of A pasted next to that of her ET mother - the similarities are so very striking. However, I wonder if it will bring up questions in class that perhaps she is not quite prepared for.