Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Totally Sporadic Post

I'm way overdue...for many things.  I need to explain my private blog, elaborate on our trip, talk about the kids - all of them, update on our adoption processes, wish you all a Merry Christmas, and of course post pictures, just to name a few.  I have wanted to post, really I have; but every time I sit down to try I can't seem to find the right words or formulate a nice flow for a post that will make sense.  So, I guess in an effort to just move along, I'll lay it all out in one big end-of-the-year conjumbled, sporadic mess. 

The private blog.  It is temporary, I think.  I needed a place that was safe for just a while.  Kevin and I have been under attack recently, unfortunately by members of our own family who have feigned support for over a year now.  About six months ago I was blindsided by one brother and two weeks ago, blindsided by another.  Much to our surprise, they do not agree with our adoption processes.  One equated letting his children play with ours to letting "his kids play outside in a lighting storm."  The other said that "we are adopting our children to gain attention for ourselves."  We were also told that we are doing a disservice to Esen and Marissa by adding more children to our family.  This coming from people who have never taken a moment to get to know them, who have found Marissa to be too overwhelming and too difficult - not worth their time.  They have passed judgement, blame, charged us with tearing our family apart when it is actually they who have opted out.  It is my job to advocate and educate, but I cannot cure ignorance.  I am at a place where I need to surround myself with people who can provide genuine love and support for us and for our children.

We have a motto in our home - "Families are Forever" -  It's a book we read often and anytime anyone's sad or worried, Esen repeats this mantra.  I intend to keep this motto going and I won't subject my children to the negativity and ignorance of others.  If people choose to isolate themselves, it is they who will miss out!

So, I needed to limit access to our family's story, to our childrens' stories, but I didn't want to stop sharing and I didn't want to stop chronicling our journey.  I feel like I have an important story to tell.  This blog isn't written for entertainment purposes.  It is first and foremost a journal for my kids.  It has also morphed into a support system and educational forum.  I have never forced anyone to read it, but I guess they couldn't help themselves and were frequently offended by the content.  In an effort to spare them, it'll be private for just a while.  For those who have stuck with us, Thank You!

We arrived home from Ethiopia on Saturday, December 10th, to the very sad news that my dear Grandmother had passed away early that morning.  She was a beautiful, inspirational woman whom I will miss very much.  While her health had declined steadily over the past several years, I don't think one is every really ready to say goodbye.  She was the epitome of grace, strength and unconditional love and I am so sad that she was not able to meet her newest grandchildren. 

Our time in Ethiopia was totally amazing.  I can't convey what it was like to be there, to experience the country, the culture; to see and meet and touch the people.  Simply telling you about it doesn't really mean much - you have to experience it.  I was talking with a friend about our experiences today and what I said to her was that we were long overdue for a life-changing trip.  We had one in Kyrgyzstan nearly 5 years ago and I didn't fully realize the backslide that had occurred in our lives until we went to Ethiopia.  Again, we have been reminded what life is truly about.  Our tiny, overpriviledged, little corner of the world is so insignificant in the whole scheme of things.  We met some amazing people, held some amazing children, and a piece of my heart will forever stay in Addis Ababa.  You will hear more in the coming weeks about some of the children we met there.  I have committed to doing more for them.

Bamlak and Hiwot are incredible, beautiful, precious souls.  They know fully that we are their parents and that they are coming to America.  Bamlak is a very sensitive little boy who will likely have some challenges at first.  He is also full of life and mischief and will likely team up with Esen to successfully turn the remaining brown hair I have grey!  Hiwot is a teeny, tiny bundle of cuteness that just dances around singing all the time.  I don't think I ever saw her without a smile on her face and her giggle is like nothing I have ever heard!  We HOPE that our case will clear the US Embassy by February - the final stage in this leg of the adoption process.  My Mom has decided she is up for a life-changing journey and will accompany me back to Ethiopia to bring the children home!

Here at home, our brave friends, Jean and Greg held down the fort and kept our beloved Esen and Marissa safe and sound while we were travelling.  We are so thankful to have friends that love and care for us and for our children as if they were their own.  The kids did awesome and (I think) Jean and Greg are still our friends! 

Esen has been singing Christmas carols for weeks and has been anxiously awaiting Santa's arrival.  Last night we took him to see Santa and he insisted that he wanted to take him a "lunch," so he packed him up some cookies and also carrots for the reindeer.   He has had a few selfish moments where he has mentioned that he wished there were "more" presents under the tree, but I have continued to remind him that he needs to be thankful for what he has and he has been very good about it.  We are having a pretty light Christmas this year, not only because of all of our adoption expenses, but also because when I look back at previous years, there's always just too much "stuff."  I still think we have too much and I intend to continually trim it down - wean them off so to speak.  They won't be deprived, just conscious of what they have and what others don't have.

Marissa....oh, Marissa.  She has had a rough past week or so.  Her gagging has slowly been returning over the past couple of weeks and is now back to near-constant.  She is also irritable and head-banging.  She has been sick on-and-off pretty consistently for about the past six months and her pediatrician is concerned that she may be developing asthma or another chronic lung issue - the joys of being a preemie.  She did have an MRI yesterday to rule out shunt malfunction just because of her recent behavior changes.  I'm happy to report it was the "best looking MRI" yet!  You know what that means - her FIRST CHRISTMAS without a shunt malfunction.  That's a lot to celebrate!  Her behaviors are quite unmanageable at the moment, though.  We could really use some good vibes sent out for her.  Despite getting her off one seizure med a couple months back, we've added daily nebulized meds and increased her constipation meds and she's on an immune supplement.  I would add Melatonin as suggested by her rehab doc, but sometimes it's just overwhelming to look at this pile of meds and consider adding yet another.

In Kyrgyzstan adoption news - we've not had any updates from our agency with regard to Kamila or how she is doing because as of last week, we don't have an agency!  I can't say I'm surprised because they have been, in my opinion, inching towards closing the doors for quite some time now, but I can say that they way they did it and notified families was total crap.  They sent a form letter out via email to some families, but not to others so some had to find out via word-of-mouth.  What this means for us and the process is uncertain.  We still have our attorney working for us and Kyrgyzstan hasn't yet announced the three accredited agencies.  We will have to go with one of the three who is accredited by the Kyrgyz government.  Our file will be transferred and hopefully all will work out, the biggest hurdle is likely to be a financial one.  New Agency = all new Agency fees.  Still, she is our daughter, has been for 3 1/2 years and I've said it a million times - we won't walk away from her.

This Holiday Season, we have been unbelievably blessed by the generosity of some very kind-hearted souls who have supported our adoption through financial gift and prayer.  We are grateful beyond words.  There are times when "Thank You" seems so inadequate and we have had several of those moments lately.  I am continually amazed by the selflessness I see in others.  You know who you are - you have to know that you have changed the course of our lives and of our childrens' lives and we are and will always be eternally grateful!

I think that's it in a nutshell.  Merry Christmas to each of you.  I hope the Holidays bring you peace and love, happiness and strength.  I hope you all have good health and take the time to remember what is truly important.


VB said...

Grey hair has become fashionable, you earn every one of them...and it doesn't cost a thing! God bless all.

Michelle said...

I am joining you in the gray hair club! I am soooo glad to hear your mom is going to Ethiopia with you. That will be so super.

Jessi said...

So now I know why I wasn't getting your blog in my feed anymore! This is great to catch up!!