Friday, April 26, 2013

Our Terrific Two Year Old Toddler

Although he's been with us for less than a year, he's gone and grown up on us already.  Our little tiny guy has shead his babyness and plunged head-first into his toddler years.  We adore him so much and feel so blessed that he is a part of our family. 

Since Bek wasn't home with us on his first birthday, I thought it might be kind of fun to do a "Then and Now" to see how different things are now:

 Then:

  • Residence: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Primary Caretaker: Several Sweet Nannies in his Transition Home
  • Teeth Count: 1
  • Words: Dada, Mama, Nana (+ some Amharic baby babble)
  • Gross Motor: Crawling, pulling up and cruising along couch
  • Favorite Food: Formula (the only thing he was "eating")
  • Who Sang to Him: His mommy and daddy, nannies, and three other sweet families and their Ethiopian babes
  • Celebratory Food: Zebra cakes (he couldn't eat them), Coffee, Popcorn
  • How we Celebrated: Coffee Ceremony at the Orphanage, Happy Birthday Song, hanging out in the "Rainbow Room


Now:
  • Residence: Missouri, USA
  • Primary Caretaker: His Mommy and Daddy
  • Teeth Count: 14
  • Words: Many, many words and phrases.  Current favorites: Daddy's Truck, There You Go Mama, Here it is, Where's Bubba?, I Love You, EE-A (Melia), Hopie's Car; names all his friends and teachers at school and makes amazing connections.  Earlier this week, he asked me "Daddy's Truck at Papa's House?!"
  • Gross Motor: Runs, Gallops, Jumps with Both Feet off the Floor, "Dances", Stands on One Foot, Walks up Steps One Foot at a Time, Karate Kicks in the Air (one of the many useful tricks his big brother has taught him! HA!)
  • Favorite Food: Soy Milk, Fruit, Marshmallows, Fruit Snacks, Chicken Nuggets, Green Beans, Corn, Rice, Sweets, Cereal, Chips and Salsa, Lasagna, Pizza...really, he eats EVERYTHING!
  • Who Sang to Him: His mommy and daddy, friends at school, all 30 family members at his birthday party
  • Celebratory Food: Mini cake, Brunch (eaten Ethiopian Style), mini-African-shaped fruit pizzas, Coffee, Popcorn
  • How we Celebrated: Donuts at school, went out to eat as a family of five on his birthday night, threw a big birthday bash at our house, and let him shove his own little cake in his mouth
We really had a great time celebrating our little Bek and the joy that he is to our family.  But, I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking! ;)
 
 




 


 
 
 
 















Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy.  We love you SO much!

P.S. Pray for us...potty training has begun...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

STUCK

On Saturday afternoon, I had the privilege of loading up in a friend's van (who is a fellow adoptive mama, coworker, and mother to Bek's best friend) and going with she and four other ladies to Kansas City for a mini-road trip.  The purpose of the road trip was clear...the STUCK tour had come to town and we didn't want to miss it. 



We made it to Kansas City in time to realize there was no way we could wait two hours for Cheesecake Factory, and instead, headed across the street to PF Changs where we strengthened our bond by eating our meal family style.

Once our dinner was over, we drove the rest of the way to the Screenland Armour Theatre where we experienced the Stuck Documentary and the "Town Hall" style meeting that occurred after the showing.

Left to Right: Lauren Walker, Audrey Ritter, STUCK Producer Craig Juntunen (adoptive father of three children from Haiti), Me, Hannah Montee, Keri Dougless

The Documentary itself was moving and heartbreaking and uplifting and humorous and inspiring.  The movie follows three families through their journey to bring their internationally adopted children home and highlights the struggles, joys, and heartache that make up International Adoption.  These families' stories are used throughout the film to show the differences between (and yet similar struggles of) adoption from Haiti, Ethiopia, and Vietnam. 

The movie also explains the adoption process in general, from the amount of time averaged to adopt a child, to the cost of adoption, to the steps a family has to take to adopt a child.  The movie is well researched and the cinematography is amazing.  Here's a preview (grab your tissue;)):





At the end of the film, two families from the Kansas City area came to the front of the theatre to speak.  One of them journeyed alongside the family in the movie who fought hard for their son and, together, after YEARS of fighting while their children were STUCK in a Vietnamese orphanage, both families were able to bring their children home.  Sadly, however, there are over 100 children who have families (they share their last names) who are still STUCK in these Vietnam orphanages years after Vietnam closed its door to International Adoption.  And this is just one country. 

Another aspect of the film focuses on the two things that are a huge barrier to adoption: the time it takes to adopt and finances.  In our experience, both of these things are hard pills to swallow and both were significant for our process.

I could go on and on about this film and still not address everything I'd like to say about it.  So, here are some main points (and things you can do!! :))...

  • Click on this link to learn more about the film and the struggles that are happening in the international adoption community.
  • Go see the film when the tour is in a city near you.
  • Buy or Download the film and hold a Stuck viewing party at your home.
  • Sign the petition asking members of congress to prioritize streamlining the adoption process (while maintaining ethics).  This petition also helps to give voice to the families and children who have been placed on the back burner because of bureaucracy and congressional apathy towards inter country adoption in general.
  • For those of you in the Washington D.C. area, participate in the Step Forward for Orphans March on May 17th. 
  • PRAY for the leaders of our country to understand that orphaned children are human beings and should be prioritized as such.  We are not talking about animals in a shelter, we are praying for real life humans who, when they are STUCK, are deprived of the life of love many many people so desperately want to provide to them.
  • Share this post on your facebook, like the STUCK tour FB page, be a social media guru, leading others to fight for change along with you. :)
  • Pray for my friends pictured above...three of them are waiting families and our prayer is that they will see their children's faces and bring them home soon!


 


P.S. When you watch the movie, notice the Ethiopian judge...she was OUR judge last April.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Meetcha Day

There is a term in the "Adoption World" called Gotcha Day.  This is the phrase that refers to the day that the adoptive parent finally has their child placed in his or her arms forever.  I love this term and from the very beginning of our journey, I longed for the day that would be our Gotcha Day.  However, it always seemed a little weird for me to call the day that we met Bek our Gotcha Day because, the truth is, in a two-trip process, our Gotcha Day wasn't until almost three months later.  Therefore, I call April 2nd our Meetcha Day.  This is the day that our precious little baby boy (who was just shy of his first birthday) was placed in our arms.

video

Poor baby was so scared and confused, but even through his crying, we knew...he was ours...forever.






Monday, April 1, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes

One year ago, we boarded our flight on Ethiopian Air...

on our way to meet our son!!!

Losing 8 hours was the best April Fools' Day prank ever!

This is a beautiful week...a week that started with the celebration of our risen Savior with us all together as a family.  



A week that is sure to bring great emotion as we reminisce last year's amazing journey to meet and say "yes" to our youngest baby.


So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride as we walk down memory lane...