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!