September 30, 2008

You know you are a homeschool family when:

While at the beach everyone keeps asking the kids why they aren't in school......

When you answer 'we homeschool' one lady tells you that "some like it but most don't because their mom's get too mean..."

You decide to have an 'ly' word lesson from IEW writing lesson while watch the waves crash against the shore..... Our sentence was .......The waves___________ crashed against the shore.

Most interesting word given for that sentence........ gnarlingly (is that even a word!?

You make sure your kids can tell the difference between a female and male shark at the aquarium.

The best find of the week (for mom anyways) was a half alive sea urchin. Rachel wants to keep it as a pet...


more pics

The next Steve Irwin.......


The book I am reading while at the beach....Close to Shore (the terrifying shark attacks of 1916) yes, it's a true story...Josh is wondering why in the world I would choose to read this now....

Being silly at the aquarium



Rachel and Bekah

wonder what they are talking about?


Ouch! Rachel makes a great snack!


The new Knight family beach picture...



Take him down Josh!

More Beach Pics

Coach Clawson...he's blowing bubbles!
At the aquarium:



We are still having fun at the beach...the bikers are coming in more and more (it's Tuesday)...should be interesting by Friday (it's bike week at myrtle)! All the kids are having a good time...Ab and Rachel are having a rivalry for who can hold mom's hand and have the most time on my lap. He has been mad and upset quite a few times...I've had to explain that mom loves Abenezer and mom also loves Rachel. We went to the aquarium and had a great time...This is one of my favorite things to do..... We ate dinner at a restaurant and Ab started yelling no at the waitress for taking our dishes! :)

September 28, 2008

Video of Myrtle Beach

Here is video of Ab's first time at the beach. It was great to have him laughing.

He woke up crying Friday morning and Saturday morning, missing Ethiopia.

He woke up this morning in the car and said 'mom, no (and made the tears motion)' and gave me a thumbs up!

video

First look at the Ocean!

We are here! Ab kept asking all the way-'where we going' and cheered when he'd see any water....we kept telling him that the ocean was a big big water.

He was so excited when he first saw it and told Greg 'dad go straight!' We were still in the car at that point. Then he told me 'Abenezer no wanna ' (wanna means swim to him) But he warmed up to it!




Worn out!


September 27, 2008

Personal Space---gone!

Those of you who know me well, know that I like my personal space...Bekah calls it 'my box'....well, let's just say at the moment, it is gone! The box has been flattened!

Bekah snapped a pic of us watching tv last night...here is what it looks like everytime I sit on the couch

September 26, 2008

Abenezer at co-op....cool dude or what??



Another phone call and more talk of Jesus

We received another phone call from our other friends in our travel group today. How I wish I lived closer to them! Ab enjoyed talking to their children and we plan to keep in touch. Plus it was nice to share in some of the things we are going through as families.

Ab asked me today what Rachel's spot on her chin was...I told him it was a freckle...He told me (I say tell...but most of it is one word with motions) that Jesus (pointing to Heaven) came down and kissed us there (kiss motion and point to freckle) He showed me the spots (freckles) where Jesus kissed me :)

I've received LOTS of hugs and kisses today...and I've been told I'm loved more times than I can count!

We were watching old reruns of The Cosby Show today and I told him they were Americans...His response was "what??" He currently thinks all people of color are Ethiopians. He was shocked to learn not all Americans are white!

This boy keeps us on our toes! And a big thank you to the Katzenbach family! We feel loved!

Friday Morning

I woke up this morning to what I thought was the dog howling to get out (he sleeps in the garage) It ended up being Ab laying on the couch crying. I am not sure when he woke up....He will come and look in our room and if we are awake, he'll get in bed, but if not, he'll leave. Need to work on letting him know it's okay to wake us up.

I asked him why he was sad and just looked up with big tears and said "Ethiopia" ugh...how many times can your heart break? I just sat and held him...he went back to sleep for a little bit and then once the other kids were awake, he was off and playing with them.

He has done fine since the, aside from needing lots of attention...

On a side note....Thanks God for rain!

September 25, 2008

Phone call with a friend

One of the friends we traveled with called Abenezer last night. They were the 6yr old twins. Abenezer was so excited to talk to them! It was a blessing to hear them talking back and forth in their language. Ab kept repeating a word ...I asked him later what he was telling them and he told me 'english 6' and counted all of us. Apparently he was telling them there was 6 in his family.

Here is a snippet of the conversation...


video

September 24, 2008

Who Loves Me?

The other night Abenezer was walking around the house saying:



Mom loves Abenezer

Dad loves Abenezer

Bekah loves Abenezer

Josh loves Abenezer

Rachel loves Abenzer



and then he would turn it around and say "Abenezer loves mom " and so on down the line! Can you tell we've told him that...alot!

I wrote our first letter to his family this week and have it in the mail with pictures ready to go...how do you sum up gratitude and blessing in a short letter that you are hoping they can get read or translated? It is so hard to pour out feelings and give them an update on their son.

But Abenezer was excited to know that we were sending them pictures..the best way I could get him to understand was to tell him the envelope was going to go on the plane to Ethiopia to his parents. He yelled "yes! thank you mom!"

September 23, 2008

If you're happy and you know it.....

video

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in Spanish

In the interest of equal time :)

video

First Post Adoption Visit

We had our first post adoption visit by the social worker today. She was a very nice gal that was very easy to talk to. We will have another one at 3 mos, 6 mos, and 12 mos. At 6 mos we will be able to officially re-adopt Ab in the US which means he will have us citizenship and not just a permanent legal resident. (He currently has a green card)

One thing that was interesting was Ab was very nervous with her here. He literally clung to me on my lap while she was here and he kept hugging me and kissing me and telling me he loved me. He also began the sweating thing. I just wonder what in the world he was thinking. The language barrier is really tough sometimes.

He got mad again today when he came out from bed and the other kids were sitting beside me. He told us he was going back to sleep. We told him to come on out and sit beside the others and I kept rubbing his head so at least I was touching him. He then told me (by pointing to each body part) that his calves, thighs, arms, and head hurt alot (big hands out.) He thought by telling me that I would make the others move so that he could sit beside me.

They eventually did move and he got his cuddle time.

He also got upset when I said I was going to sleep in my own bed last night. His face immediately fell and he looked upset. He does not like to be by himself at all. (Bekah ended sleeping with him last night) He constantly wants someone with him....at ALL times. At times this can be very draining on all of us. BUT looking at it from his view...no matter how things seem to be okay...he is going to be wondering and insecure. Looking at it from his life....he had a mom and dad who loved him very much and were very affectionate with him. Then he is taken to an orphanage and left. Then this lady comes in 3 months later and takes you to a strange place where no one speaks your language and everyone looks different than you....He would have to be wondering what else can happen in his life. He would have to wonder if it was something he did ...or if he isn't good enough can we also give him up.... Those would all be natural questions and reactions.......Does he know we love him? Yes, I think so......but he also knows he parents loved them and in his eyes he was still 'left'......that would make anyone insecure. Breaks my heart.....

September 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Abenezer!

Sunday we celebrated Abenezer's fifth birthday. We had all of his favorite food.


Siga (beef)

fendusha (popcorn)

muse (bananas)

himbasha (ethiopian bread)

french fries

coca-cola

mandarin (orange drink)

and of course CAKE!


He had a great time and was so thankful for every gift. The winner of the favorite gift award goes to Uncle Randy and Aunt Janice (and Casey and Chris)! It was the spiderman web blaster. He cheered when he opened that.



He woke up Monday morning (he is still sleeping with one of us every night) and gave me and Greg two of the cars he received. We kept telling him that they were given to him and that we want him to have them and he kept telling us " No, For you" The boy would give anything away if he thought it would please you. He even gave us his drink yesterday at lunch ....he came and poured it out of his cup and into Greg and mine (Daddy was a good sport..you know he doesn't like backwash)

some pics:

This is the traditional outfit that his parents gave him in Ethiopia..He wore it to church on Sunday morning:
He then came home and changed into his other ethiopian outfit. Notice the sunglasses on top of his hat!


Abenezer with his cake and himbasha. In all of the pictures his parents gave us, when they celebrated his birthday, the cake was on top of the himbasha. So we did the same thing.

Spiderman!



The Ethiopian Spiderman!


Watch out Rachel!

September 20, 2008

The Reality

This past week has been a hard week. Ab is realizing more and more that this change is permanent and what he is missing.
He sat one night in my lap and cried because he missed his family and Ethiopia so much. Twice he has asked to call Ethiopia and even proceeded to give me the number.
He has hugged and kissed more times than I can count. He is constantly giving Greg and I things. From candy to stickers to food. He has a backpack that he keeps stocked with his favorite things (and I have even found food in it)
It seems as if he is trying to earn his love.
It breaks my heart to see the pain that he is going through. Even though it is what his parents wanted and what is best for his life, it doesn't minimize the pain he is going through.
Adoption is a blessing to our lives and I would start the process again in a heartbeat....but I do not want to paint a fairytale picture..especially for families in the process...I know it was such a help for me to have friends who were real and honest about the suffering part of it. It helps when you are on the path to know others were there and survived the journey :)


September 17, 2008

Fun on the 'motor'



Sunday we went to a friends house and spent the afternoon...Abenezer loved riding on the 'motor'. He also liked the hat with the dreadlocks! Looks pretty good on him doesn't it?
We also discovered that he does not like strawberries. cake--yes, whip cream-- yes, strawberries--no!
We also found out that he likes coffee! (or as he calls it..buna) He likes it cold and black. I found at that his mom drank coffee and would give him some. See--he does belong in our family!

More Pics

A boy who is serious about his soccer....Look at the sweat!

Why little girls should NOT follow their big brother and cousin down a gravel hill on a bicycle!



Before the big rescue by dad !

September 15, 2008

Jesus and Abenezer

One of the blessings that we have learned from Abenezer as a family is how real Jesus is to him. I am so thankful that Hannah's Hope and his family made that a priority in his life. From his urgent desires to pray (and making sure everyone else does!) , to yelling for Jesus to stop the tv when it was acting up (he yelled 'Jesus, stop it!)...

Today as I walked out of the school room, there was a snake crawling across the floor...yes, it was little, but I immediately went and got the man of the house...I do alot of things..but I don't do snakes (alive anyways) Greg was putting him outside and Abenezer said "Ethiopia, Jesus" and he stomped his heel down where the snake was...(he always starts with Ethiopia if it's something he has learned there) We figured out he was talking about where Jesus will crush the serpent's head.....

The snake is now in a container on the table...as long as there are no others in the house :)

September 11, 2008

What I have learned from adoption

I have learned (and am learning !) so much from this experience. The main thing being that God will equip you to do things that you either didn't think you could do or things that you just flat didn't want to do. Throughout this process, there were so many things that I told God, okay, as long as I don't have to do _______________(fill in the blank with whatever) and God seemed to keep saying "Okay, that's precisely what you need to do!"

I didn't want to adopt a child older than 3 (he's almost 5)

I didn't want to have to deal with his family (I am)

I didn't want to go to Ethiopia without Greg (I did)

I didn't want to meet the family (I did)

I didn't want to meet his family outside of the orphanage without Almaz as my 'safeguard' (I did)
and I could go on and on

I had my reasons and justifications for all of things that I didn't want to do....but with each thing, God either changed my heart or walked me through it. I can't imagine our family without him--no matter what his age is, I am so thankful that I had the privilege of meeting his family and being able to help them keep up with his life, and I am in awe of God enabling me to do the trip without Greg.

I am still processing alot. For some reason when I am in the car (I think because that is my most 'still and quiet' time) that my mind immediately go to the children of E.A. and my heart just breaks. I cannot remove their faces or their 'home' from my mind. I am trying to figure out what to do with it. I know one thing that it has brought close to home is what is truly important. I don't want to waste my life and time and money on things that will make no difference whatsoever. I want to be able to walk in Heaven's door and Jesus to be able to say "well done, good and faithful servant" and maybe a holy high five. How to live that here and now? Still working that out in my life.....

I know that I can honestly say at this point that if I had the financial ability, I would begin the process again (Greg asked last night at what number would I stop??)

I am sure that if I write this post a month from now, that I will still have things that I will be learning......

Two Moms and Two Dads and Storytelling

Each night when we put Abenezer to bed , he loves for us to sit down and he will flip through his photobook and tell us stories. He can't really tell us them due to the language barrier so it is more like a big game of charades with Greg and I guessing and doing some acting out on our own. We've learned that a car ran into his house and his dad fixed it, his friend was running and something hit his eye (that's why his eye is messed up in the photo), that they decorations in his house were for Christmas, that he spilled something on his clothes and lots of other details....I am so thankful his parents gave us that book! He also has showed us how his mom would walk but that his dad walked good.

While giving him a bath the other night, he told us that he has 2 moms and 2 dads. 2 in Ethiopia and 2 here (pointing to us) It's the first time that he has verbalized that to us. We told him yes, that he was very special and had 2 moms and 2 dads that love him very much. While part of me was glad that he is realizing who we will be in his life, the other part of me aches for his loss and his parent's loss.

On a funny note...He is insistent that he has been to Mexico and that it is right below Ethiopia...not sure where in the world that is coming from!

First Haircut in America!

Yesterday we took Abenezer to get his haircut....He enjoyed it and of course liked being the center of attention...He kept making funny faces! I was amazed at how much hair he actually had on his head!






September 8, 2008

Prayers at Bedtime Part 1

Some of you have mentioned that you would love to hear him praying. His prayers seem so earnest and sincere...Bekah taped him last night (he wasn't aware until he looked up) I hope to get it translated so we can have it when he is older...the camera cut off so there is part 1 and 2...if you listen close, you will hear Mom, Dad, Bekah, Josh and Rachel and America and of course..Jesus' name, Amen. Also..Rachel declared last night (after an evening of her and Abenezer playing together without anyone else around) that she should sleep in his room with him because " you know mom, we've attached" aaawwww

video

Prayers at Bedtime part 2

part 2

video

Lunch at The Blue Nile
















We went Saturday to The Blue Nile for lunch. We went in and sat down and Abenezer stopped an listened and said "Mom, Ethiopia!" There was ethiopian music in the background playing. He danced a little. We ordered our food with help from the waitress (who is the owner's daughter--a beautiful gal) and while we waited one of the owner's (the husband) came and sat with us and talked to Abenezer (yes, in Amharic!) He pulled Abenezer close and was very compassionate and loving to him. He shared with us a little more about Ethiopia which was enlightening.

After we were done eating, his wife came in and greeted us (she had been working.) She remembered Abenezer's name and told me she had been praying for us. She also talked to him and loved on him and the big kids. She said that he was happy. She even helped him to the bathroom to wash his hands! I am amazed at this family and God's faithfulness to them...I look forward to getting to know them more...I only wish they lived closer!
Before we had left, a gentleman came in and was purchasing injera..they introduced us to him and his wife is ethiopian...he took our number and plans to call us to meet with his family.





About the food...Bekah tried almost all of it and liked it....Josh and Rachel tried it...but let's just say it was a good thing they had a hotdog at the Kid's Day fair! Greg and I both liked it. Dad struggles with the community plate thing (smile) and for some reason Abenezer kept telling him he wasn't folding his injera right (he'd say "Dad, No..like this") But Mom got it right ! Dad stands by his claim that he was doing it exactly like mom!

And of course Abenezer was happy to have his comfort food! He even asked for the camera to take a pic of the plate before we left!


September 5, 2008

Teeth Work is Done!

Teeth are gone...He did really well. We stopped and got another Frosty....(I am keeping Wendy's in business this week)

September 4, 2008

Abenezer and Clyde--Finally Friends!


Shots and Signs of Grief--Wednesday

We started the morning snuggling on the couch with all the kids...I was in between Rachel and Abenezer..I was picking on Bekah for something and moved to the other end of the couch (teasing her) and Rachel followed ...we were all laughing and then I noticed Abenezer looking at us upset...He left the room and went and hid. Greg finally found him and he was so forlorn looking all the way through breakfast...I am not sure what exactly was going through his mind...He was better after a bit...I just wish we could communicate better!

We had our first doctor visit. Abenezer got 4 shots, finger prick and tb test. He also peed in a cup which he thought was hilarious! He is about 50% in height and weight and looks good. We then got a Frosty from Wendys...

We then went to AMC to get blood drawn to retest some of the tests just to make sure... He did good at the doctor and at AMC. The gentleman who did the blood work was an african-american and was the nicest guy. Abenezer really liked him. We laughed alot and he was very compassionate towards him. He laughed at me trying to figure out the hair thing.
He then wanted another Frosty...I had to say no on that one!

At the doctors, he noticed that the sole of his feet matched my skin color..He laid his foot on my leg and kept pointing to them both..He then rubbed his skin and said Ethiopia and rubbed mine ----It was a precious moment...

After AMC, we were in the car and he said "mom, Abenezer, airplane, Ethiopia?" From the way he said it, I believe he was asking for both of us to go back to Ethiopia. Broke my heart....my consolation is at least he wanted to take me with him!

Tomorrow will be 3 weeks home...It has gone good...almost too good in some aspects...He is a precious boy and I can't imagine life without him at this point. We go to the dentist and get the rest of his teeth done...so pray for him in that regard...

We are going to try to go to the Ethiopian restaurant on Saturday and get some injera for him. Will post pics on that...

Also ... A hint to all Ethiopian adopters...He has really enjoyed the Tsion's Life book from www.amharickids.com He loves to look at the pics and tell us what everything is...I believe it's been very therapeutic for him...I highly recommend it.

Labor Day

We had a Labor Day picnic this week. We wondered if it would be too much for Abenezer...In some ways it was but he really enjoys playing with the other kids..so we decided to see. He did really good and enjoyed the pool (can't swim at all but tries really hard) He fell in once and Dad had to jump in and get him (Dad's phone is now halfway dead)....

The things that we noticed that was hard was the language barrier ....people think because he knows a few words that he understands alot. He doesn't, he will even nod yes sometimes when he has no clue. Just think about how you may know some spanish words and understand a word but if a native spanish speaking person would come up to you and start talking, you may be able to pick a word or two out, but that's it. Now, imagine if you are four and in a new country and all these people and kids are talking to you in another language?

It confirmed to me that small groups with us is best for now.....it's just too confusing for him....

Joshua, Abenezer and Nascar!

Joshua teaching Abenezer his love for Nascar already!

This was a pretty fountain...Abenezer ran to it and wanted to (and proceeded to do so) wanna (swim) in it! Mom had to be pretty quick on that one!
Watching an old Nascar race at the showroom.



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