Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our First Month Together!

We've been home as a family of three for just over a month. The time sure has flown by! We're enjoying having Bereket here with us very much and are amazed at how well he's doing so far. The first week home was rough because all three of us were sick and exhausted from the trip. No one got much sleep that first week. We all went to the doctor though and by week two, we were starting to feel better.

Bereket is fascinated by the cats (Stranger and Bella) and loves to play with them or shall we say chase them around the house all day. They aren't as fascinated with him, but they're doing really well and being very patient.

He loves to explore the house and see and touch everything he can. It's all so new to him and it's been fun watching him discover things. He crawls around so fast and pulls himself up on everything. He "cruises" around holding onto furniture and walls. He loves to stand and push his toy lion around the house. His eyes get so big with excitement as he walks across the floor pushing it. It's so funny!

He loves to be outside in the grass. We spend time outside everyday and he loves to find leaves and sticks. Of course everything has to be tasted by him! We found a caterpillar one day that he thought was pretty cool.

The boy loves technology! The first day we met him he wanted Ben's phone and every day since then, any phone, remote, computer, cable...he wants it! He's learning to hold a phone to his ear and say "hello". Well it's not really hello yet, more like a grunt, but the idea is there.

We got to celebrate his first birthday here at home and that was very special for us. He's got tooth number 7 coming in in just this past week. That's been a cool first experience for us, seeing how that happens. He doesn't say any words yet except "na" with means come in Amharic. He says da or ada a lot as well. Not mama yet, but we're working on that!

Bear is definitely a water baby! He LOVE'S baths!! He gets so excited about bath time that he tries to get in the tub with all of his clothes on. He loves splashing around in the tub and in the swimming pool. Even the sprinkler or water hose splashing on him makes him so excited!! I love that about him because I love the water so much too! We're gonna have lots of fun as he grows up!

We're still adjusting, most days he doesn't want to be put down and screams if he is. He's still not sleeping through the night and neither are we. Not getting very much sleep has been a challenge for me for sure. When he's screaming and fussy I feel so unprepared and like a complete failure. I understand it's going to take time. Time for him to get comfortable and feel secure and time for us to bond with him and understand him more. I also know that I can't parent him without Christ. He is the only one who can guide me and teach me to be the woman, wife and mom He desires for me to be. This adoption is His plan for us and for Bereket and I realize that we're all going to be under attack from the enemy as well because he doesn't want this to succeed. He doesn't want God to be glorified through this journey but we will fight for Christ and His glory to shine!

Bear is doing better about not going to just anybody anytime now. He'll look for us whenever anyone else is holding him and he'll want to come back to us pretty quickly now. We get the best smiles from him! I especially love the ones first thing in the morning when we come into his room to greet him and get him out of bed. He has a laugh that warms my heart. His slobbery kisses are like heaven! Afternoons are his hardest time of day it seems. He really doesn't want to be put down at all in the afternoon. That's my hardest time of the day too.

This first month has been full of ups and downs, hi's and low's, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. We know without a doubt that Bereket is the perfect child for our family and we love him so so much. We are so trilled to have him here after all these years of prayer and waiting. We thank God every day for this precious blessing! We can't wait to see what the next month has in store!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Happy 1st Brithday Bereket!!!!!

Yesterday was our little Bereket's 1st birthday! I can't believe he's one already! We've only been home with him for a few weeks but I'm so thankful that we did get to celebrate his birthday here at home. It makes it extra special for us.
Bereket enjoyed his first experience with cake and had a blast playing with the paper and boxes his gifts came in.

Happy Birthday little man! We love you so much and can't wait to see all that God has planned for you in this next year! So many new things for you to discover and experience, it's gonna be great!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

We have family in Sodo - Day 4 & 5

Saturday morning we got up early to meet our guide and driver who would be taking us to the Sodo region to meet Bereket's aunt. We were told it would be an all day trip; about 6 hours there, visit and 6 hours back. We were nervous about meeting her but excited as well. When our friend Travis dropped us off at the meeting place, we met our guide and we asked what time we would be back, so Travis could pick us back up, and he said 2pm tomorrow. Wait...tomorrow? That couldn't be right. We told him we were told it'd be a one day trip, he said oh no, it's too far to do it in one day. Well, we weren't prepared for this, mentally or physically. We didn't bring a change of clothes or toothbrushes and that meant we'd be staying the night in another city, 6-7 hours away. We told them we'd go but we'd have to run back to the house to get a few things and we'd be right back.

We headed out shortly after that for the long journey to meet Bereket's family. We really enjoyed the drive through the countryside, it was just beautiful. Very green farmlands and I wasn't expecting that. We spent time talking with our guide, his wife and our driver. They told us about the area, the crops that were grown, the history, etc. They were all so sweet and so funny. They made the trip even more enjoyable. We stopped for lunch along the way and watched David, our Driver, eat raw meat. It was not appealing to us but he sure loved it!!

We stopped at a coffee tree farm and got to see the berries and the coffee beans inside. We took pics with some of the guys there. There were quite a few people there and they all came and gathered around the white foreigner. I thought it was pretty funny!

We bought fresh sugarcane from some women on the street and it was so good. We saw so many people on the roads taking there goods to the market and lots of people getting water from the river, bathing in the river and washing clothes in the river. So many little kids along the road by themselves in just an old torn and tattered shirt, no pants or shoes. Those things were tough to see but I'm thankful that we did because it changes you.

After about 6 hours on the road we meet up with Bereket's aunt's social worker and hopped into another vehicle to go the rest of the way to her home. The van we were in before could not have made if through the roads we were now traveling. We were in an off-road vheicle because these roads were were so bumpy and full of ruts and large holes. It stared to rain pretty hard and we traveled through a couple of riverbeds that were starting to fill up.

We met Bereket's aunt and her kids and spent about 45 minutes talking with her. She was very kind and answered all of our questions as best she could. It was a very surreal experience. Her home was very small, one main room with a small area in the back for cooking. She has three beautiful children of her own. We are so blessed to have met her and to know that we have extended family in Ethiopia. We asked her what she'd like / her wishes for Bereket's future and she said that we would raise him to love the Lord and that we would love him as our own. We promised her that we would absolutely do both. We pray that we'll be able to take Bereket back one day to meet her and her kids.

That night we drove back into Sodo and stayed at fairly new hotel. We had dinner there with our guide and had great conversations about Christianity, morals and hypocrisy. The power went out while we were eating but thankfully they had a generator so we didn't have to eat in total darkness. We didn't sleep very well because we were told that no matter what, if anyone knocks on your door, don't answer it. So slept off and on and work up very early the next day to head back to Addis.

On the drive back we were admiring the grass cottages and our guide asked us if we'd like to go into one and see it up close. We of course said yes! So we stopped at a home along the way and all go out of the van. We greeted the family living there and asked if we could come inside. They were so gracious and allowed us in without hesitation. It was incredible. The cottage wasn't very big yet they kept their livestock in there, had a small area for cooking and a small area for sleeping. It has rained quite a bit yet inside was completely dry. The way the cottages are built is amazing. They were a family of such humble means and yet they seemed so content. We were so thankful to be able to have that experience.