December 9, 2010

What is it?

What is that little voice inside of you that draws you to something? What is it that you are supposed to do with your life? What is your gift? What is your calling? What is it that you are so passionate about? What is it that God is asking you to do? Do you have a healthy discontent with something? Is there something you feel you were just meant to do? Could it possibly be a passion that needs fueling?
I'm not an expert on the topic, but I do have deep passions about orphans and adoption. So much so, that sometimes the thought of adopting again consumes me. I have love to give and their are children that need love. But if you let my husband tell it, I would adopt 20 kids if he let me. I have been playing with the idea for a year now, ever since we brought Marley home. Goodness, adopting was by far the most difficult thing we have ever gone through. But God never calls you to something that you can do on your own. He wants you to rely on him, and boy did we have to rely on God.
So this passion, this healthy discontent I have with orphans and their situations pull on my heart. What am I supposed to do with that? I feel like there is so much more I could be doing, I just don't know where to start. Adopting again would be one way, but leading others to adopt would be a bigger way. Giving money to an orphanage or an organization that helps support and educate orphans would be another way, but leading others to give as well would have a larger impact. Going on a mission trip would help, but leading teams of missionaries would have a much larger impact.
While I pray and ask for the guidance and wisdom on how to fulfill my calling, I challenge you to do the same. What is it that you are passionate about? What do you feel called to do? What are you going to do about it?

November 29, 2010

Happy Family Day 2010

Today marks the day that we have been a Family Day of four for one year! In the adoption world, there are so many benchmarks to celebrate. However, Family Day will be the one we celebrate every year! November 29, 2009 is when Me, Brandon and Marley walked off a series of planes after about 23 hours of traveling and ran into Miles' arms. It was the day that we were FINALLY all together! What a day. I can still remember Miles running up to me in his winter coat with a HUGE smile. He missed us tremendously. I remember the way he was all over Marley. This was the sibling that we had prayed for, talked about and cried about for years. He was instantly in love!
It's amazing how a five year old can have such a profound love for a new sibling! He was used to having all of the attention, but having her in our lives never seemed to bother him. In fact, he often tells me how much he loves Marley and how thankful he is that she is in our lives. I'm for real! He's got a heart, my sweet boy.
After one year of being a family of four, I have to say that yes....It was worth the wait. And yes, God does know what He is doing! I know, I'm such a hypocrite! I hated hearing those words while we were waiting, but it is so true. I still promise not to shove those phrases down any prospective adoptive parents throat. But goodness, is it true!
Marley came home a tiny tiny little girl, weighing just 11 lbs. at 6 1/2 months old. She could barely hold her head up, had no use of her legs, didn't roll over, but was full of joy. She was the one God had intended for our family, and we for her. Within months she progressed at tremendous rates and is now on target, or, for her age! I hope you too will enjoy of video of how we became a family one year ago today!

November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

We had a wonderful Halloween! This was Marley's first and Miles....well, he's an expert! It's also the first year that I didn't make the costumes. I have to say that it truly was a relief. I put way too much pressure on myself when it comes to those kind of things. Although, I did add things to Marley's costume to give it a little extra girlyness!

October 26, 2010

There is No Excuse

Brandon here again!!!! I have something I have to get off of my chest today.

On occasions more often than not, I hear the conversations of MANLY men in my office building, the gym locker room, and many other places that guys talk. Beyond football, NASCAR, business transactions, hunting leases, and small talk, I hear something that really bothers me. I hear these MANLY men complain about how they couldn't finish watching "the game" because they had to BABYSITT their kids. It just infuriates me when I hear this. They are YOUR kids that you helped bring into this world, so why oh why would you call it babysitting?

The MANLY men, who walk around beating on their chests like they just field dressed a deer on the hood of their a business suit! LOL. It just really bothers me that some (not most or all) guys seem to think that fatherhood just means that their only responsibility is to put food on the table, but not much else. It almost seems as if it is an inconvenience to them to spend quality time with their families. I know that sounds a little extreme, but that is the overall tone of the conversations I hear.

I absolutely dread cutting my grass, especially with a push mower, but it is what it is. It normally takes me about an hour and half to cut all of my grass, so to me, that is an hour and half I could be playing with my kids. I already work about 10 hours a day during the work week, so my time at home during the week is very limited. Since I can't press the pause button to do chores or conquer the honey-do lists, I try my best to tie them together. Case and point - the pictures you see.
Marley has a great time laughing and playing while I pull her in her wagon all over the yard. She is happy because she is next to me and she gets to ride around, I am happy because she is enjoying herself, and I get the grass cut at the same time, and Elisa is happy because she gets little break, and can recharge her batteries a bit.

All I am trying to say is the MANLY men need to actually MAN UP!! Sometimes you have to be willing to try something different to get different results. I am just tired of hearing excuses like "The game is on", and "I just got home from work" to get out of doing what is the most important job they have....being fathers. Yes, I like watching sports, yes I have my own hobbies, yes I work very hard (and occasionally get stressed out) at my job, I am not a hypocrite. But I know that Miles and Marley are reading me, they are watching my every move, and learning from my yes, I will drop what I am doing for them just to let them know that they are my #1 priority (under my wife) and that I want to care for them. Even when I have bad days at work, I try my best to put a good game face on for them and leave work at work. Hopefully, if I do this thing right, my kids will remember how important they were to me and when they have kids they will do the same.

So for you MANLY men who can't EVER turn off NFL Network, have become slaves to the Xbox/Playstation/Wii Gods, or say they are just plain too tired........MAN UP, and do your job......THERE IS NO EXCUSE.

October 14, 2010

Out of touch.................

Brandon here!!! So the other day Miles comes home from school and says "Daddy I have a note from school". Automatically I am thinking "Great, his teacher wants to inform me he is misbehaving"......but no, he hands me this note to read and to my surprise it is from a girl. A note from a 7 year-old girl (keep in mind Miles is 5) and it has her phone number on it!!! I was speechless. Not because of the note, but because I was SOPHOMORE IN HIGH SCHOOL before I got a girl's phone number!!! LOL. Almost immediately that old Hall & Oates song "Your out of Touch" started playing in my head.

I don't know if I have become naive, if this is my reality to remind me I am getting old, or both! Now I know that the note is a totally innocent and sweet gesture, but I don't remember kids being this advanced (aggressive even) at their ages. I was too worried about Legos and Lincoln Logs back then to think about girls. But I have to look at like this too: Internet, Cable, Ipods, sup'd up gaming systems, all these things we have come to love and enjoy were not around back in the day. All the technology obviously advances as time marches on, so why wouldn't our kids advance right along with it? I mean, Miles was able to navigate to the Playhouse Disney website all on his own at age 3, while to this day I still can't successfully set the time on a VCR........if I still used one it would still blank "12:00" till the end of time.

So maybe I am not terribly out of touch after all, but I might still take his bedroom door off of the hinges for good measure! LOL!

September 29, 2010

Four Little Angels

A few months ago, we were surprised with a positive pregnancy test. WHAT?! Yes, I was pregnant! The emotions were all over the place. I couldn't believe the two little lines that popped up on that little stick. I have seen those two lines five times in my life. Five times. Five times I cried and thought of clever ways to tell Brandon he was going to be a Daddy. Five times I thanked God for the little baby He was growing inside of me. Five times I have thought of my belly growing, the baby that would soon join us and if it was a boy or a girl. Five times.
We didn't want to announce our surprise pregnancy until I was past the first trimester. I was so sick the first few weeks, I didn't think I would make it without someone noticing. At 11 weeks pregnant, just a week from our big announcement, we found out we have one more angel. That makes four. Four Little Angels.
With every miscarriage I have grown. Our first angel was our very first pregnancy. We were so excited and told everyone we knew. Weeks later, we grieved. I was so hurt. I didn't understand why it happened. Our second angel was right after we began the adoption process. We were a bit surprised by the pregnancy, but were so excited. Again, we told everyone. We saw the heartbeat on an ultrasound and felt secure that the pregnancy would last. After another routine ultrasound, we found out that we now had two little angels.
That second miscarriage shook me. It made me realize who my friends were. Friends who I thought were my core and my support system, weren't there. They showed more sympathy to their friends who had wisdom teeth pulled. It was very difficult for me, but it made me realize that I needed to rely on my God and my husband for support and comfort.
That second angel did a lot for me. I became a little more, okay a lot more guarded with my time. I didn't give that time or effort to people, things or events that didn't lift me up. I am sure I made a lot of people mad, but I needed to clean out the closet. I needed to clean out the people I called friends, and I wasn't sure why. I quit worrying about what people thought, not in an "I'm going Gothic" way, but in a Godly way. I was caught up in the business of hosting everyone's baby shower, surprise birthday parties, house warming parties, bible studies, small groups and play groups. I had to be in the middle of everything because I didn't want to let anyone down. I wasn't worried about pleasing God, I was worried about pleasing people. In a way, I am glad that that miscarriage helped me to see that I cannot rely on others to fill my needs. They will fail you every time. I was looking for people (my family, church family and friends) to comfort me, when it was God that I needed to seek out.
Angel number three was an angel before we knew it. I will never forget it, it was on my 3oth birthday. We kept it to ourselves, and continued in our adoption process.
Angel number four. You bring tears to my eyes. We didn't know you were coming, and quite honestly we were shocked to find out. We didn't share your news, to protect the hearts of the ones we love. Your heartbeat brought us hope, so tiny...yet it still fluttered. The sickness I felt made me confident that you would be joining our family. Still the fear of loosing you kept me from getting too excited. After about two months, I let my heart accept you. I started to wonder if you were a boy or a girl. What would your name be? Would we use another M name? Would I really have three kids? I started going through Marley's baby clothes, putting things aside. I started looking at double strollers and finding your spot in the minivan. I was planning our future, as a family of five. We thought of creative ways to announce our news. We had just made our parent's get webcams so we could see their faces when we told them they would have another grandchild.
It's only been two weeks, but already I feel like I have grown through this. I appreciate my children even more. Every parent loves their children. I have always been pretty crazy about mine, but after this...they are so so much more precious. They are both truly gifts! I also have accepted that we will not have anymore biological children. I truly feel comfortable saying that, almost like a relief. It's not something I am sad about, quite opposite. I am happy to say that childbearing, for us, is a thing of the past.
These past few weeks have also made me want to live life more, to quit making excuses. I am going on a mission trip to Uganda in June. We are taking our family to Mardi Gras!
There are a few explanations as to why I keep making angels, but really when it comes down to me, it doesn't matter. It's done. I have always cherished my sweet boy, but now more than ever. Miles was the only one out of five that I get to hold! What a gift! Marley, well I don't even need to explain what a blessing and gift she is. One miracle born of the body, one miracle born in my heart, and four sweet angels. My heart is full!

September 2, 2010

Readoption Day

Today was a success! This morning we met our attorney at the court house. Brandon and I sat in a little lobby full of adoptive families not sure what to expect, but anticipating tears. For those not familiar with the adoption process, a friend of mine put it best when she said "it's like getting married twice." Marley was already adopted legally in Ethiopia. But in order for us to get a U.S. birth certificate and then citizenship, we needed to readopt her here in the states.
It was a quick and pleasant hearing. There were only a few people in the court room. Marley sat in the lap of the Guardian at Litem. He was a friendly man, and Marley decided his lap was more entertaining that ours, so there she was. They doodled on paper the entire time. The lawyer asked Brandon a bunch of questions, to which he answered "yes" to and then the judge smiled very kindly to us and proclaimed that Sifen would now be named Marley Haset. We chose the name Haset, which is Amaric, because it means joy. We will be getting her Missouri birth certificate in the mail in the next few months. I cried. Of course.
So today, Marley was adopted again!

Miles' First Day of Kingergarten

On August 19, 2010 Miles had his first day of Kindergarten. He was so excited to go and to get to ride the bus with all the neighborhood kids. Mommy did cry, but only for a minute. He did so good and we are very proud of our Kindergartener!

August 3, 2010

Our Summer

Where have I been? Why haven't I been blogging? Well there isn't a great excuse, other than being a Mommy! Seriously though, great summer time in our house!
We became a minivan family! We sold our 4Runner and paid CASH for our new to us Minivan. We LOVE it and can't believe it took us this long to become one!

We had a great visit from Nonnie and Papa.

The kids and I drove up to St. Louis for a weekend for our agency's Reunion Picnic. I got to meet many blog friends and reunite with a few of the children we saw while in Ethiopia.
I met Alida, whose son looks so much like Miles.
Marley got to see Ru again! And Miles got to spend time with Biscut! Then we all drove back to Springfield and ate at Lambert's. Good times.
The garden is doing amazing! I will be canning another years supply of tomatoes, along with maybe a years supply of carrots and green beans. I also learned how to harvest and dry herbs and cure and store onions and potatoes! Yay me! Next years garden is going to be awesome!
Marley is officially a walker! She started taking steps in June and by the end of July she was trying to run. Sweet girl!

May 22, 2010

Marley at 12 Months

Wow how fast that went! Marley is one and on target for her age! She caught up so so quickly and we couldn't be any more proud of our sweet girl! She is still small for her age, but the doctor says it's her height that throws it off. She is still not on the U.S. chart for height, but her weight is just fine for how long she is. Confusing, I know. But nothing to be alarmed about. We just have a short little girl. So at 12 months, Miss Marley is:
  • Crawling on all fours
  • Pulling up and cruising around
  • Walks while holding our hands
  • Says Mama, Dada, NiNi (night night), Nana (Banana)
  • She learned the sign for sleep and for bath
  • She is done with baby food
  • She has 3 1/2 teeth
  • 18.5 lbs. and 26 inches long
It's amazing that she has made so much progress. When we brought her home at 6 1/2 months old, she was like a newborn, just learning to hold her head up! Yay Marley!
We finished our second post adoption visit and are now on the path for readoption. Since Mar Mar came home as a resident and not a citizen, we have to readopt her here in the U.S. in order to gain citizenship. It's not required, but will make her adult life easier. We also plan to be the first family in our county to do it ourselves, without a lawyer. We will see how that goes!
We are quickly approaching the day that Miss Marley has been with us longer than she hasn't. What joy she has brought into all of our lives!
Mommy & Marley 6 months old
Mommy & Marley 12 months old

May 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Mar Mar!

My baby girl is no so much a baby anymore. I, like all mothers, will call her my baby for all of her life. We celebrated Marley's birthday with a picnic style party at one of our many local parks. Marley had fun playing on a blanket and showing off her huge birthday bow with pride. She liked the cake, but like big brother, she just kind of messed over it. No big cake mess in our! She received a lot of really nice toys, all of which make noise. I love it! What a special day in our house. Miss Marley is one year old!

May 11, 2010

Why Do I Feel Like I Need to Explain Myself?

Lately, I have found that I feel obligated to explain myself. If I am unable to commit to a function that I have been invited to, I explain that I have a party, theater lessons, swimming lessons, we are going out of town, or I am just too exhausted to attend. If we are late to something, I feel like I need to justify our tardiness by blaming the traffic, the kids, my husband or just life. When someone tells me that Marley is so petite for her age, I feel like I need to explain to them that she is Ethiopian and Ethiopians are small people, or that she was so so tiny at birth and that she has gained 7 pounds while in the United States in the last 6 months. Why do I feel the need to explain myself? Why can't I just say, "I'm so sorry I won't be able to attend your jewelry party?" "We made it," when we are running behind schedule, or "why yes, Marley is petite" when people comment on her size. Why do I feel like a simple answer isn't good enough?
Yesterday, at Miles' acting class, another parent asked Marley's age. When I said 12 months, she immediately responded with, "wow...12 months, she's so tiny!" Okay, so if you know me, this really frustrates me. I know it may sound petty. But what I hear is, " she just isn't perfect in my eyes." Ridiculous, I know. I think she is the most perfect little girl ever! I just don't get why people feel the need to ask her age and why she is so small all the time? Okay, back to this lady at the theater. So after she stated that Marley looked so petite for her age, she did have a curious look on her face, as if she was waiting for an explanation, I told her that Marley was Ethiopian. Still dumbfounded, I further explained that Ethiopians are smaller people. Then she said, "Oh, so your husband is Ehtiopian?" I suppose this would have been a valid question had she not seen my husband, but she had! Brandon is HUGE. Standing at 6'7" he is not! So now is it okay for me to call this lady a moron? I replied with, "No, my husband is not Ethiopian. Marley was adopted from Ethiopia." I did it, I explained my situation. But I only did it with the intention of educating this lady thinking I may encourage her to adopt, silly me! This woman pried on. "Well your son isn't petite?" I explained again, "Miles is a tummy baby, you know home grown." No she didn't go there! I don't know this woman from Adam, this was the first time I had ever met her, seriously! She continued, "so you couldn't have anymore children after Miles?" Why didn't I see this as prying and stop right there? Hmmmm? But no, I kept going. "Well, we felt called to adoption and had some situations that confirmed it for us. "Didn't it take a long time," she continued. I won't bore you with the rest, but you get the point.
Just today at Miles' school, a teacher saw me carrying Marley and said, " she's so bitty but seems so grown, how old is she?" When I said 12 months, she asked if she was early, I replied with "actually I have always though of her as very late, but looking back now, I'd have to say that she was right on time!" Yay me!
I'm totally fine, if not overly enthused, to talk about adoption...our adoption to interested folk. But nosy people...that's a different story. I suppose my frustration comes with just a plain lack of words. I need clever, one liners to shut those nosy people up. Or perhaps I just need to quit feeling obligated to sharing our entire story with everyone off the street. Sweet and simple, "why yes she is petite, and perfectly made" should do. Right?

May 9, 2010

Mother's Day....Wonderful

I love being a mom. I LOVE being a mom! Brandon has only made my role as a mother even better. He is such a great support. He allows me to pretty much do anything I want, and follows me along on my crazy adventures, like my dream of living off the land! He doesn't complain when my newest hobby is scrapbooking, knitting, sewing, cooking, canning, gardening or blogging. He actually encourages me to go out with friends and takes the kids, okay begs me to leave the kids.
Today, I woke up to coffee, breakfast and gifts. The kids gave me a subscription to Mother Earth News, a magazine for self sustainable living. Brandon gave me a dress and shoes! And he did good! He took us out to a local Italian restaurant. So yummy.
This Mother's Day was wonderful. I am so elated to have my children...both of them. They are truly gifts that I thank God for everyday.

May 8, 2010

To Amaye

Happy Mother's Day! You are my baby's first mother. You carried my sweet sweet girl in your tummy. You gave her life, you loved her, you nurtured her. You fed her when she was hungry. For just twelve days. Most importantly, you chose life for her! I can only imagine how you felt on that day. I'm sure that walk to Biruh Zemen was difficult. I wonder if it was raining, or hot? If she laid quietly in your arms as you walked or if she was tied on your back? I wonder if the staff comforted you, if they gave you a tissue to wipe your tears? The sweet kisses that were your last, oh how that must have felt. To smell that baby's breath for the last time. I'm sure you whispered sweet wishes into Sifen's ear, telling her that you loved her so so much and that she would have a forever family soon. I can see you crying as they shut the gate to the orphanage compound as you leave. I wish I was there to hold you, to love you, to give you hope and whisper in your ear, "we love you so so much and promise to take care of this tiny tiny baby girl." I would have told you that she is loved, loved beyond measure. That this child, God's child, will be fed, clothed, sheltered, have access to doctors, be educated, and have every opportunity imaginable. This child, the one you chose life for, will live!
Eleven months have gone by since that day. I wonder if you are counting them. I am sure you are. In our country, we celebrate mothers once a year. We call it Mother's Day. Last Mother's Day I cried. I cried so hard. I shook my fist at God and cried out "Why?" My heart was broken for the child I wanted so bad. The pain was tremendous. I couldn't understand. I didn't know His plan. Last Mother's Day, you felt the same way.
Amaye, thank you. Thank you so much. I promise to love her, kiss her, wipe her tears and fill her with joy. I promise to share with her the love you have for her. She will always know that you, her Amaye, loved her . And that that love is what led her to us. Sifen will know that she has a mother and she has an Amaye. Both love her in indescribable amounts. You had her first, and I'll have her forever. Last Mother's Day, I can only think that we both were brought together that day. We both cried out to God for the same little girl. We didn't know it at the time, but now I can see how it came together. You cried out to God to save her and I cried out to God to bring her to our arms. He knew. It's not always a pretty beginning with adoption. I know that. I know that in my joy, it brought you pain. But I also know that you wanted this for her. Thank you for that! This Mother's Day I celebrate you, the most amazing mother I will ever know.

With Much Love,
Sifen's Mommy

May 5, 2010

Sweet Girl and her Friends

Sweet Girl went to the park today. We had a little picnic and spent some time with friends. Marley has quite a few babies her age in our town. We had so much fun! Notice all babies have something in their mouths at the same Must be the age! Marley is the oldest of the four. We are quickly approaching her first birthday and are in just disbelief. This sweet baby that came home just 5 1/2 months ago is turning one! the way, we now have a proficient crawler! I thought she was going to skip crawling. Marley has been pulling up and cruising for a little while now and scooted all around the house. She just refused to get on all fours. Well today, she's a crawler!

May 2, 2010


What does giving mean to you? Do you give because you feel it's the right thing to do? Do you give because you feel obligated? Do you give? Sure you do. You give your time and money all the time. You give your time to your children, your spouse, your job, your child's school or sports team or your church. You give your money to mortgages, bills, restaurants, stores, gas stations or your kids. You give. We give. But are we really giving of our money? I'm not sure we are. A wise man once said, "show me your check book, and I'll show you what's important in your life." Boy does that speak to me. While a lot of people don't use check books anymore, you get the point. Where does your money go? Bills, I get it. But after that? I've been guilty in indulging in fast food restaurants, hair appointments and scrap booking stores. When you look at your check book, who or where are the most checks written to?
Our family believes that God commands us to give. To give ten percent, to be exact. I recall growing up and my father telling me that that could mean ten percent of your time and not necessarily money. Neither me nor Brandon knew anything about giving monetarily. When we first started attending church together, we would see the bucket go around and might put in a couple of dollars. I recall the day we put in a $20 bill. WHOA, were we big! We didn't understand the concept of giving ten percent of our incomes. Okay, Brandon's income. I was a student. As we grew spiritually, we learned that our money is not just ours, it was God's first. All He asked for was 10%. It was gradual for us. We built up to a ten percent monetary giving. Is that the right way to do it? For us, it's how we did it and it was a faith thing. We knew that this was the only area that God said to test Him in and we tested Him. And He blew us away! There were refund checks that came in the mail, check book balances that never made sense, and the ultimate gift of wisdom to manage our finances. It wasn't always easy. There were months that I sold treasured items on eBay to give. I don't write this to boast, only to show that it can be done...if it's what's important to you.
Now the whole giving to a church thing is what holds a lot of people up. It did to us at first. And while God's word says to bring your ten percent to the church, He also says that the body of believers are His church. There have been times in our marriage when we didn't belong to a church building, in our transient lives. Or we felt an overwhelming desire to give to God through someone in need, or to a cause we felt that did God's work. Is this right? Ultimately, it's between us and God. While we believe that our local church does God's work, we also believe that God is everywhere and can use us anywhere! Our church is a building that we go to to worship and serve our God.....BUT, it is not our God. God is much bigger than that building. We choose to give to our church. The building serves our community, brings people to Christ, and gives to those in need. But we also allow God to use us wherever He needs us. Not that He needs our We are open, or are trying to be open, to giving more to God and His people everywhere.
Man, if we all gave....gave generously, like it was our mortgage, our car payment, our grocery bill, our kids sports team. Imagine the impact that would make! God doesn't need your money, but He uses it to bless people. To give them hope, to care for an orphan, to feed people, to clothe people, to build water wells for clean drinking water, to house the homeless. Jesus said, when you do these things for other people, you do them for Him. I want to be at those gates one day, and be able to say that I fed Jesus, I clothed Jesus, I gave shelter to Jesus, I gave Him a drink....that I loved Him!
Our family is not perfect. We do believe in striving for perfection, but know that we fall short in many areas. We do remain faithful in giving, while it may only be ten percent, we are faithful. Not because we feel obligated, but because it brings us joy. We long for the day to give more. What a journey giving is.
For me, my passion is orphans. I feel called to them, to love them, to feed them, to clothe them, to give them clean drinking mother them. If we all adopted an orphan, there would be no more orphans! If we all gave money (like you give to Walmart, Kohl's, Lowe's, you fill the blank) to a family adopting an orphan, money wouldn't be an issue. If we all contributed to orphanages, orphans wouldn't go hungry or thirsty. If we all would just give! Be generous, do something you never would have done! Empty your savings account, sell your car, take on an extra job, have faith! GIVE! We are a testimony. The savings account will build back up and then some, you'll get another car, someone will feel called by God to BLESS YOU! JUST GIVE!
So what is your passion? What cause, issue, or need would you contribute to if you had the money or time? What has God laid on your heart? Have faith, go crazy and GIVE!

April 19, 2010


What does a secure attachment look like, in terms of parenting an adopted child? We have read books, participated in online forums, sought out advice from experts and experienced adoptive parents and prayed for a secure attachment with Marley. Attachment is not something that just happens over night, well for the adopted child anyway. We, as adoptive parents, can be attached to our child and feel fully bonded before he or she even comes home. We build a bond with an idea of a child, not knowing who she is or if she is even born yet. The picture comes and we study every detail, trying to put that deep love we have for this child with the picture. Trying to bond with the face of a child we have never seen. Months go by and the love that we have for her grows and grows to a profound level. Only adoptive parents really understand this. We see her for the first time she is placed in our arms and we melt, it's a secure attachment, for us anyways.
For the adoptive child, of various ages, it's a tramatic experience. She was with her birth family for however long, abandoned or taken to an orphanage. Then picked up by an agency and assigned to a family. That family knows who she is, but she doesn't know who they are. She lays in a box or sleeps with 20 other children two or three to a bed. She has nannies coming and going. They hold her or they don't. They prop up a bottle with a pillow and move on to the next crying baby. She doesn't know that their is a family for her, just her. That loves her unconditionally, regardless of her past, color, illness or age. They are attached to her.
For the adoptive child, when they are placed in our arms, they may feel confused and be afraid. Who are these people that don't look like or talk like me? They may push you away, or cling to you in shock. They are not bonded or securely attached. As much as we like to convince ourselves that our story was different, it's not. Adoptive children need to bond and attach to their parents.
Marley was all smiles when she was placed in our arms. She talked and laughed at us. It was amazing! But she wouldn't let us comfort her. She would push herself away when we held her to our chest. It was unfamiliar to her. I don't believe she was really held or formed a bond with any person. A smiling baby is what most people saw when we brought her home. I saw a child that was craving attention and a baby that didn't want to attach to me. I loved this little baby with an unexplainable about of love. I was so securely attached to her, how could she not be to me?
For months, I held her...when she didn't want to be held. I rocked her to sleep. I ran to her at every little cry. I carried her in the sling all day long. I never left her. She started forming an attachment. I could see it! I would let close friends and family hold her and she'd look back to me for reassurance. What a milestone! Then she started crying when I would hand her to someone. Oh what a sweet sound! I believe attachment is a process, that happens over time. There are days that I feel that she is securely attached and am ready to blog about it. Then there are days that I feel that I have done something wrong and have to go back to square one.
This past weekend we were at church. Marley was in her sling, like she always is. We lead a greeting team at church and I slipped away, letting Brandon take the lead, to hear the worship music. I sang loudly, because no one could hear me. I swayed back and forth with my babe on my chest. I could feel the vibrations of her singing on my chest and on my hand covering her cheek. She was singing with me. I sang four songs, rocking back and forth. I felt her singing stop and looked down and sweet Marley had fallen asleep on my chest, gripping my hand. That is attachment for us!
She loves us. While there are days that I feel so confident that this little girl is so secure in her attachment to us, there are also days that I feel that she just sees us at the people who feed her. Those are the days that I put her in that sling and sing, sing loud and sway back and forth.

April 14, 2010

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, my Daddy went home. He battled various illnesses for years and it was his time to be at peace and out of pain. It was difficult. He was just 60, and I was just 32. My brother was 27. That is too young to lose a parent. I know there are people who lose parents much earlier, and I feel for them. I had envisioned a life where my parents would live long lives and watch our children enter high school, go to college, get married and have children of their own.
This past year has been a lot easier than I thought. I suppose it is because I had been grieving the loss of my father for about 10 years. His first sign of failed health was an emergency heart valve replacement. That was shortly before Brandon and I got married. I remember the surgeon coming out into the waiting room and telling us that he would be surprised if my Dad made it through the night. His aortic chamber had torn during surgery, due to an enlarged heart, and they had to repair it with graphing. I was just 23 and my brother 18. I'm so thankful we had my Dad for almost 10 more years, but his health never fully returned after that. For years he battled with things like Parkinson's Disease and COPD. So for about 10 years, I cringed at every late night phone call from my mother. I jumped on planes and drove home when I thought it was his time. I can't count how many times I packed that black dress. My brother and my mother saw me as negative, I'm sure. I thought it was just being real. It was going to happen, whether I wanted it to or not.
During those 10 years, I got to talk to my Daddy on the phone a lot. He'd always end our conversation with, "Daddy loves you princess." He always, ALWAYS told me how much he was proud of me. He loved Miles so much and couldn't wait to get to meet Marley. Brandon was his son, from the beginning. Brandon would call him Mr. B. And my dad would love to chat about anything Aggie's, baseball or jazz with Brandon. Some of my favorite memories are of my dad and Brandon playing sax and trombone together. We always talked about the trio they would be when Miles would join with his trumpet.
The last time I saw my dad was about a month before he passed away. He was on a ventilator and various other machines. He couldn't talk, but tried so hard. He was there. His eyes trying so hard to communicate. I knew all he wanted to say was "Daddy loves you princess." I held his hand and asked him if he felt confident that he would be joining our Lord in heaven one day. He looked into my eyes and nodded yes, very calmly, like he knew it was coming. This wasn't something I doubted, but I felt like I needed to know.
Today, I am remembering my Dad. The great father he was to me. Oh Daddy, I miss you so much!

April 13, 2010

What a Steal!

I'm a coupon mom. It is not something that happened over night, it's been a gradual work in progress. I am still learning and every month I am saving more and more due to coupons. As of lately, my average monthly savings due to coupons has been about $170. This is in addition to store sales. This is only coupons, on average, about 100 coupons worth. When I come up to the register, the sales person usually sighs. LOL!
I had to share my most recent deal! I'm sure you all have heard of the Walgreen's and CVS shopping deals. There entire blogs dedicated to the researching and deals that can be found at these stores. You'll hear terms such as money makers or free. So, I'm not quite there yet. I spend a lot of time on my coupon sorting and organizing. I haven't yet graduated to the research of sales from various stores, price comparisons,
Register Rewards, EBC's, etc.. But I couldn't resist it when I saw that Walgreen's had Pampers boxes on sale for $18.99 and were giving $4.00 Register Rewards (RR) for each box purchased. The sign said it was like paying $14.99 per box. Well that's an okay deal, but not great. BUT I have some pretty AWESOME Pampers coupons from the manufacturer. I emailed Pampers about some leaky diapers and they sent me some $10 off coupons. As a matter of fact, every time I have even the smallest problem with any diaper or product, off to that products website I go, to complain. I have, in my current stock, about $100 worth of Pampers coupons. So back to my deal of the month! After I handed one of my $10 Pamper coupons to the cashier, my total per box was $4.99! That comes out to $.08 a diaper! Holy Cow! So here is my loot! I got all six of these boxes for just $30!And just because this is too freaking funny, a picture of Marley after Miles had colored on her with a purple maker!

April 7, 2010

New Tricks

The other day, I put Marley down for a nap. It was the usual routine, feed her a bottle, put her to bed, give her a binky and slip out of her room and shut the door. She goes straight to sleep. She slept about an hour and then it was not so much the usual wake up. She normally coos and talks for awhile until I go get her. This time she was screaming. I went in to see what on earth this girl was so upset about and this is what I saw.
She was scared and couldn't figure out how to get! Silly girl! After about three days of this, she has it down! She's all over the place pulling herself up and showing off! I love it, no I LOVE IT! It is a time of celebration! She is so quickly reaching all of her milestones and we are so proud of her!

April 1, 2010

Marley at 10 Months

Miss Marley is more of a joy everyday! I love to wake to her calling out Mama and to see her excited face when I walk in her room. I love how she smothers me with baby kisses. I love how she lays on my chest for comfort and I LOVE when she turns to me when strangers approach her. She's my baby girl!
At 10 Months Miss Marley :
  • Is scooting all over the house! (She gets up on all fours and rocks)
  • Is starting to eat more solid foods
  • Waves Bye Bye
  • Blows Kisses
  • Points to her nose on command
  • Shakes her booty on command (I know, crazy!)
  • Knows signs for eat, more, all done, water, milk, bath
  • Is taking swimming lessons and learning to float on her back
  • SHE WEIGHS 18 LBS! This is up to the 20th percentile!!! (she was in the 3rd percentile in November)

March 31, 2010

Spring Break 2010 (Houston)

On to Nonnie's and Papa's we go! Houston's weather was fabulous during our visit. Nonnie got to give Marley the much anticipated Nonnie/Grandbaby bath!

Marley got her ears pierced! Auntie Chaun was loving all the kisses!
We had a Sip & See and got to show off our precious little princess to all of our Houston friends and family. Marley loved her new shades!And a trip to Houston would not be complete without a Crawfish Boil! Miles was scared to death of them! Papa made that boil so hot that I couldn't hang too!