So, it has been a long time since I have posted. I think about it a lot... and subsequently don't have the energy to follow through! Not that blogging takes much physical energy, but when you have "pregnancy brain", it's exhausting! :)
Things have settled a bit since I last posted. The boys are settling in more, learning how to be a part of a family, trusting us more, behaving better, and making us proud every day. I seriously am SO proud of them. Imagine being a kid, losing your father to death and your mother being unable to care for you. You then go to an orphanage and learn how to "survive" on your own, while not being at all mentally or emotionally capable of doing so. You stay there for two years, all the while seeing other kids being adopted and leaving. You say goodbye to friends you have made, and you cry yourself to sleep..."when's it my turn?". You finally are called into the office and hear that you have a family, and you cheer and run around the orphanage showing everyone a picture of your "new mommy and daddy" with big smiles on your faces. In all of the happiness though, you realize that you will be trading in having parents and a family for: your birth country, your native language, your culture, and being on the same continent as your birthmom. So bittersweet. You meet your new parents and everything is exciting! They tell you they love you and shower you with hugs, kisses, "I love you"'s and gifts. You talk about the future and all the things awaiting you in America...soccer teams, school, new friends, tons of cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents who already love you, a comfortable bed in a "cool" room, and never having to go to bed without a mom and dad. Then they leave for an undetermined amount of time, and as they leave, you sob uncontrollably together. Then your birthmother journeys from your birth village ten hours away to say goodbye...and there are rivers of tears. She tells you she loves you, she is sorry, and that she wants you to have a better life. She tells you she wants you to come back to Ethiopia one day when you are grown, leaving you with a heavy responsibility in the future, although she probably won't even be alive past your teen years. You cry yourself asleep again. Then you wait...and wait...and wait. Finally you learn that your new parents are coming for you! You are ecstatic, but you know many hard goodbyes are ahead. Bittersweet. You say goodbye to your friends, caregivers, and mentors, and then leave with your new parents for this place called America. Everything is new and exciting, but it's also much harder than you thought. People don't understand you, you are scared, there are rules and discipline, and sometimes you are looked at funny because you are dark skinned and your parents are light skinned. And you are going to the doctor...a lot. There are doctors for everything! You feel like you have been poked and prodded and violated too many times and they ask your mom and dad a lot of questions about your past and where you are from. Most of them they can't answer. You're thinking "I came from Africa, people, not another planet!". BUT, you are loved immensely. You are reminded every day that you are special, that God has big plans for you, and that you were chosen. All your needs are provided, and you never go hungry. You are snuggled in bed each night while reading stories about God, prayed with, and sometimes held til you are asleep because it makes you feel comfortable. You are reminded that your past is a part of who you are, and that your future is bright. Bittersweet. Are you crying yet? I am. This is adoption, folks! It's not all puppydogs and rainbows. It's hard, deep stuff. There is so much healing to be done. Are the days where there are meltdowns or sadness hard? YES! So hard. But does it usually go so much deeper than just the issue at hand? Yes. The issue is not usually the real issue.
With all that said, I am immensely proud of my sons. They amaze me and are so brave! Their English is awesome. Christian is the second grade star speller...he makes at least a 100 on all his tests - sometimes 103 with bonus points. Joash is right on track with where he should be in kindergarten. He is reading! Christian finished his book at AWANA clubs already...it took him a whopping two months. Joash is working hard too, and was "clubber of the month" last month. Christian is playing soccer and has his first game this Saturday. They are both taking Amharic classes so that they don't forget their native language. They love to swim, sing, help dad with stuff around the house and yard, are excited about becoming big brothers soon, and have both lost their "first" tooth in the last two weeks. Christian is a character - larger than life! He commands attention when in a room full of people. Joash is goofy and makes this mama laugh ALL THE TIME. They both have birthdays coming up and both want a Spiderman pool party. We are going to make the biggest craziest deal out of their birthdays. One, because their birthdays are both around the time their baby sister is to be born and they need to know that they are extremely special and valuable to us in the midst of the excitement of her birth. Two, because it is the first birthday party they will have ever had! Our house may be crazy at times, but it is full of love and laughter, and I just cannot imagine my life without these two special little boys. They are beautiful inside and out. I think about their birthmother just about every day and mourn for her...she carried these precious boys, gave them life at birth, and then gave them life again when she knew she couldn't care for them. She is missing everything. It BREAKS MY HEART. So thankful that out of the mess of a broken world, God has allowed me to be their "second mama".
And now for the picture so many of you have been asking for! Sorry for the poor quality - I am home by myself so therefore it's a crappy mirror picture :) My big baby belly at 35 weeks! Be praying for us as we start to transition yet again. We expect that there will be setbacks with the boys when she is born. We are going to do everything in our power to keep them involved in her care and make sure they know what an important and special job they have as big brothers!