Monday, November 7, 2011

Its a horse!

On Saturday the agency that I work for had an adoption celebration.  So G and I headed down the road to celebrate.  There was lots of things to do, a blow up bouncy slide, a hayride (which G was not interested in) but the best was a horse ride.

That face is the best thing ever.  The excitement, the joy.  It makes me smile.  I wasn't sure that the picture would capture what was on his face.  It was bright outside and I was starring into the sun, but I think I captured it pretty well.  

We then ate hot dogs and painted a picture of what adoption meant to us.  Gizatu said it means we are a family.  The boy said it all.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm going to try to do better!

So its been over 2 months since I've blogged.  I'm one of those bloggers.  The ones that are on your feed and you look each day, then each week, then every couple of weeks, then you stop looking to see if there is any new blogs because there never is.  So I'm going to try better.  I'm going to try and do at least one blog a week.  I'm not promising, but I'm going to try. 

Gizatu is slightly obssessed with having a dad.  But along with the dad, comes a van, and a baby.  He wants a dad, a van, and a baby, a sister to be exact.  At random times he'll tell me that I need to get married.  One day he told me that I was getting married.  Does this kid know something that I don't?  Don't get me wrong, a husband would be lovely.  A man who loves me and my kid, and whom I love and my kid loves.  Someone to come home to at night.  Someone to help with the kid.  But as of now its just me and him. 

He asked me the other day, if he'd have to go to Africa if something happened to me.  I think he knows that he is mine and that he will be with me forever, but he knows that he came to me because his Africa mommy couldn't take care of him, so if I can't take care of him does that mean he goes back to Africa.  Things that a 3 year old shouldn't have to even consider, but its one of the losses of adoption.  I of course assured him that he would go to live with his Uncle Daniel.  And he told me that he didn't want to live with them, but wanted to live with me.  There was a time when he'd been home for just a while that I wouldn't have been sure that he would have said that.  It does make me feel like he truly knows that I am his mother. 

Now on a happier note, Gizatu and I joined some friends at our local zoo's halloween time.  Our boys got dressed up and off we went. 

They danced the night away.  And I got in on the action too.

We trick or treated and rode the train and carousel.

Over all I'd say it was a grand night.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

And we're off ... August 18, 2010

A year ago today, Miss Faye was coming to pick up my mom and Steve (my stepfather) to take us to the airport on a journey that would forever change my life.  I had been planning for this for a little over 9 months.  9 months.  I know, its not lost on me.  We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare.  We checked in, handed over our 6 pieces of luggage, 2 of which were full of shoes for my friend Emily.  Packing the night before was not fun.  Trying to fit shoes and socks in that those suitcases were hard.  But thanks to mom and Steve.  I feel like waiting for the flight was not so bad to head out of Birmingham.  We flew from Birmingham to Atlanta to Dulles.  In Dulles we met two of the families that would become like family that week, Bethany and Issac and Ali and Joe.  We got to speak with each other.  I remember Ali being so excited and full of life.  And that pretty much fits her to a tee.  Then from Dulles to Rome (for a 45 minute fueling of the plane) to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  That was an incredibly long flight.
We landed in Addis, got our visas and head to get our luggage.  One suitcase, 2 suitcases, 3 suitcases, 4 suitcases....and that was all.  Where were the other 2?  One was somewhere in the world where suitcases go when they are lost, the other was taken into custody, both were the suitcases with the shoes.  Which I was so thankful for, but it was a long hassle to figure out what to do. Thankfully Emily (who we were bringing the shoes for) had told me about the customs possibility and had told me to tell them to keep the shoes and someone from her organization would come get them.  So about 2 hours later while the other 2 families waited for us, we finally were able to leave the airport.
Holt took great care of us.  They had drivers waiting for us.  They took care of our luggage and got us safely to the hotel.  I was exhausted and freaking out.  What am I about to do to my life?  I lost it.  Tears, ugly cry.

The view from our back bedroom.

View from the front balcony.

Part of the bedroom

The hotel's kitchen stayed open til midnight so we were able to get something to drink and then it was time to go to sleep.  Thankfully, I had some sleep meds with me and take them I did.  Because tomorrow was the big day... finally meeting my heart.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Day of Heaviness.

Its been a day of heaviness, at least for me.  A day of questions about birth parents.  I think it started when G asked about his foot, where his heel came from.  And I answered it you were born with it when you were a baby.  Talking to him about when he was a baby most always brings questions of his first mom and first dad.  We have a picture of her and myself both in my bedroom and his.  Today we did a lot of trying to explain who she was and who I am.  Explaining to a 3 year old that one mommy carried him in her belly and held him when he was a baby, while I carried him in my heart.  And that I now carry him in my arms while she carries him in her heart is a hard concept.  I don't think it hurts him or upsets him, honestly I think he is just curious.  So I try to answer his questions as best I can.  And its easier for me to answer the mom questions than the dad ones. 

If you've read my blog for any length of time then you know I am a single mom to this amazing little boy.  That he is the joy of my life and I can't imagine life without him.  But the one thing that we seem to always return to is the daddy.  He is very aware of the fact that he doesn't have a daddy who lives with him.  When we first came home and he learned how to communicate it seemed to be a constant discussion.  Where's my daddy, Why don't I have a daddy, I want a daddy.  As the days have progressed and I have answered these questions (although most of the times I feel like I stumble along in the answers), he seems to have accepted the fact that he does not have a daddy.  He loves his uncle and peepaw and takes great joy and pleasure in them.  But it comes back up and usually in the car.  Yesterday leaving school we were talking about one of his best friends in his class and that maybe his daddy was picking him up from school.  Which lead to asking if mommy was going to marry.  (We've seemed to learn that being married means having a daddy, at least that is why we don't have a daddy is because mommy isn't married).  I asked him why he wanted me to marry.  He says, I want a daddy.  Honestly it breaks my heart a little. It does help that we have a group of single mommas that hang out so he sees other children who only have mommas.  And we talk about that fact.  I always tell him about his Ethiopia daddy when we have these discussions.  I want him to know he does have a daddy, just that he's not here with us now.

So today I think it finally sunk in that he had a another daddy.  He wanted to know his name.  I of course had not put that to memory (which now that I know it makes me go really Melissa, you should have known this, because a child is given their father's first name as their last name, and I had definitely seen and read G's birth last name often enough).  So I searched the papers for it, found it and told him, and that is all he needed. 

He seems to be good and I know these questions will continue on the rest of our lives.  And I don't regret them or want them to stop.  I'm glad he's comfortable asking them and I want to talk with him about them, but they just drain me honestly. 

I love this boy so much, and just want him to be happy.  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Evening with the Symphony!

Tonight one of our friends organized a night out with the symphony.  Okay so the symphony was already playing at a local park, but she told us all about it and about 9 families came out to play.  The park was full of families and kids.  It was a  good time.  They played Sound Of M@sic, Pir@tes of the C@ribean, and H@rry Potter.  They were beautiful.  The kids had a blast just running around.  They also had a time of arts and crafts prior to the concert. This is Gizatu giving the "what are you taking a picture of me for" look.

He made a fan, which was really nice for mommy because it was hot outside.

I have no idea what we were talking about... but it looks like why do I have to put my shoes back on, when in reality he continued running around minus the shoes for the rest of the night.

And we ended the night on the playground, well the men ended their night on the playground, I was still listening to the symphony play beautiful music.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A first for me!

Today is my first mother's day!  It has been a lovely day.  Yesterday, Gizatu gave me a card he made for me at school as well as a beautiful butterfly.  Today, started with a wake-up call from my sweet boy.  My sister called and wished me a happy mother's day, and so did my brother.  My brother said let me talk to Gizatu.  So he and Gizatu talked for a few minutes and then I hear "Happy birthday, mommy".  Close enough for me.  We then headed for church.  Multiple happy mother's days later I decided to surprise my mother and headed to her house for mother's day.  She lives about an hour and half from us.  So we hopped in the car and headed on.

We surprised her and had lunch with my mom, dad, sister, aunt and uncle, aunt, cousin and his wife, and my grandmother.  Then we spent a few more hours hanging out.  We headed home after that.  After a full day, my sweet boy zonked out.  He barely woke up for a minute while I was laying him in his bed.  But then he was out.

I can't believe what an amazing experience it is to be a mother, to be this sweet boy's mom.  He's brought an unbelievable light to my life.  He makes me laugh, and sometimes I cry tears because his first momma doesn't get to experience all of this.  Her loss made me a mother.  She is my hero.  I hope she knows that he is safe and loved.  I know he was loved when he lived with her and I hope she knows that he is loved now that he lives with me. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt

Today Gizatu experienced a first.  Easter Egg hunt.  He decided he wanted to wear his hat and didn't take it off for most of the morning.  Thus most of the pictures I got of him today you can't see his face.  His hat is way too big for him, because it was my sisters. 

I wanted to try and get some pictures of the two of us together, but he was way too interested in finding more eggs, so here was the attempt.  I still think he's cute though.

 A final run down the side of the hill, minus the hat.  He was dirty and sandy and all around happy.  It was a great day!

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm a cry baby.

So I just watched the Blind Sid@ for the millionth time and always it makes me cry.  It touches me in so many ways.  For those of you who don't know, I'm a social worker.  I work with foster families and also adoptions.  This movie hit me the first time I saw it because of the way the system can fail its children.  The ones that they are supposed to protect and how sometimes it doesn't work that way.  But it also hits me with my son.  While I realize that Gizatu's story is so different than Michael's, there is that part of me that relates.  Will I be ready to take someone down in the middle of a football game for any disparaging remarks made about my son?  When he's in his first car accident and I race to him, will they question the fact that he is my son?  As I watch his momma leave him for college, I'm gonna be a basket case.  I know I'm getting way ahead of myself, he's not even close to beginning kindergarten, but these are all thoughts that run through my head. 

Everytime I see a young black man, I wonder who he's going to grow up to be.  Will he be tall, or average?  Will he want dread locks or braids?  When is the time that he is going to wish I understood all that it means to be a black man in this world?  Because as much as I wish to protect him from the prejudices and stereotypes that this world has, I won't be able to.  So I will, instead, prepare him for them to the best of my ability.  Make sure there are men and women in his life who do fully understand it and get it, because they live it everyday.

Okay so that was a much deeper post than originally planned.  To end on a happier note here are some pictures from our first Thom@s the Train event with our Ethiopian buddy. 

Dancing to the music.

His first tat!

Love these boys!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The first time I saw your face.

One year ago today was the first time I saw his face.  This boy who has so changed my life.  Its amazing to think about how it all came about.  This is the first picture I saw of him.  It was so small and hard to see.  Of course the tears in my eyes didn't help any either.  You can read all about that day here.

I then received this picture about 3 weeks later...
(I can't figure out how to get the picture to flip on blogger.)    

I was so excited to get this picture.  I could actually make out his face and his features. 

He's an amazing little boy.  He's brought so much to my life.  Its changed in ways I could never imagined.  Love you little man.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I need your help choosing...

So in December, my friend Daphne who adopted Ben told me that her BFF wanted to take pictures of G and myself.  Of course the Thursday prior to the photo shoot I fell and busted my face all up, so it became a photo shoot of G with a little bit of Ben thrown in for good measure.  He did so good and with Daphne's help the following smiles were captured. There were about 30 pictures.   So now I want to get one of these pictures blown up and put on canvas.  I've narrowed it down to 8 photos. Of course I can't choose so I want your help.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

6 months home!

Its so hard to believe that it has been six months home.  I'm more thankful than I can express that this precious boy is my son.  I was thinking the other day what life would be like without him.  At first I thought I can't even imagine, but honestly I can...

Sleeping late...oh how I miss you.
No toys on the feet would be happy.
No timeouts, no pouting, no tears...silence is golden.

But what I would be missing...
Mommy wake up, its time to wake up and kisses lots and lots of kisses first thing in the morning.
Mecinas (cars) everywhere and the joy in his face when he's playing.
The happiness that he brings.
I can imagine my life without him but I don't want to ever have to live it without him again.

On to the facts...
We still use some Amharic words...

I hope that we will continue to use these words the rest of our days...and I figure that means I need to continue to use them in our home.

6 months ago I couldn't imagine how much better things would be.  Those first weeks I cried every day.  It was just hard, to go from being this single lady with 2 cats and a dog, being my only responsiblity to having the little boy who was totally dependent on me.  This boy who we couldn't communicate through words, this boy whose life had been flip turned upside down.

He learned to show me what he needed, he'd grab your hand and guide you to what he wanted.  Now when I ask him what he wants, he says" I show you."

When we first came home I would ask him if he needed to shintet and then would help him go, now he heads for the potty all on his own.  Doesn't need me at all.  He has also started brushing his teeth "by himself".  (I do a little follow up on this).

We co-slept for the first 5 months of him being home, we started the transition into him sleeping by himself in early February and hopefully I'll be in my own bed by the end of March.  He's doing great.  Sleeps the entire night now without waking up.  The first week or so he would wake up, and I would get off the twin mattress on the floor next to his bed and comfort him and he'd go back to sleep, but that only lasted about a week before he was able to self-comfort and fall asleep on his own.

This past Friday night was the first time I let someone else put him to bed.  My mom and dad had the honor and he did great.  He slept the entire night, woke up about 5:45am (which is way earlier than he usually does), and looked out the window to make sure my car was in the driveway.  It was so sweet.  He then crawled into bed and went back to sleep for another hour or so.  I'm so glad that he's in my life. 

We've had some great times over these last 6 months...
visited the zoo with different friends.
played at the McW@ne Center.
been to 5 birthday partys.
flew on an airplane to visit a family we traveled to Ethiopia with to each bring home our sons.
played at the park, he loves the slide.

So that's the last 6 months in a nutshell.

These are pictures from our labor day weekend, our second weekend home. 

And these are from this past weekend. He's gotten so big.  But he's wearing the same wolfpack shirt in the pictures that he was wearing in the last picture.