Monday, July 26, 2010
Posted by Annabelle at 8:25 PM
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Four years ago today we brought Andrew and Annabelle home from Ethiopia. We celebrate our "Gotcha Day" as the day we met them. On this day, we flew home to our friends and family, to our lives. Everything looked different than it did before we left. Our home seemed warmer (metaphorically and literally, it was 115 the day we came home), our friends and family seemed "better", everything was more exciting. It was like walking into a familiar room that has just been painted a little bit brighter of a shade than it was before. Still the same color, just brighter some how. Our baby toys seemed more high tech, the car seats seemed cuter, our nursery seemed more "pottery barnish" because now they had babies in them. I cannot even describe it. We were home. Not panicked and jet lagged (that came later), but calm and ready (as we would ever be) and blissfully happy. Seriously blissful. We waited so long to be parents, this was our dream come true! We watched the video of the day we met them in Ethiopia (I know, we should have been watching the "airport video, but we watched that on Gotcha Day because the Gotcha Day video was getting turned into a DVD from a tape-Confused?). It brought back a rush of tears and sweet memories of my babies before I really even knew them. The last part of the video was of the policeman who found Annabelle taking us to the place he found her. A little ditch carved into the side of the road. Far enough from the road that she was not in danger, but close enough to foot traffic so she would be seen. Something about that still makes me bawl as I am typing. My sweet baby girl wrapped in a blanket on the side of the road in Ethiopia. Next to trash from the street vendors. Her sweet little body lying there waiting to be rescued. I feel like her birthmom must have watched from somewhere to make sure she was okay, that someone came to her. I cannot believe the choice that woman had to be facing to leave her baby. Can you? Andrew was waiting to be rescued as well. Abandoned in an ally covered in blood, umbilical cord still attached. We don't think his birthmom ever got to see his sweet face, she probably died in childbirth. All we know is at that same time a half a world away, we were waiting to be rescued as well. Rescued from the pain and doubt of infertility. Rescued from the waiting and anguish of adoption. We needed desperately to see God work a miracle and make us a family of 4. Thank you Lord for rescuing us- all of us, and moving heaven and earth 4 years ago to make us a family.
Posted by Annabelle at 7:26 PM
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Today is our "GOTCHA DAY"- or the day we finally "got em" in Ethiopia. The first time we were able to put our hands all over OUR sweet babies. We were told to expect them all over before cuddling them because they could have all kinds of contagious skin diseases. Yeah right. We had kissed them all over by the time I remembered we were supposed to do that. And it turned out Annabelle did have a SUPER contagious skin condition-scabies... Ever heard of it???!! Andrew had a um... "chicken pock" on his arm. It was infected and the size of a nickel on his tiny arm. The edges of his owie stuck out from the edges of his band-aid. We think it was some kind of bite from "something". The first "bath" (wash down in a sink), the first time we changed them (Andrew loved being naked). We changed their clothes 3 times in the 6 hours we had them. Not for the usual reasons you change babies clothes (spit up, poop or pee), Just because we could- and they were OUR BABIES!!!! The first time we fed them. Andrew sucked his bottle down and held it with his own 2 hands (at 4 mos of age). So sad to me then, but now I know he was just trying to help as he always is. Annabelle only ate about an ounce at each feeding, a combination of terrible stomach pain, upper respiratory infection and allergy to the formula. This worried me to no end! Just ask my mom as I called her sobbing that night (10am) her time. "Yechy and Hamme are sooo sick, and their clothes dont fit, they are way too big. And there is something wrong with Annabelle's skin, but it doesn't look like any of the pictures I brought in the notebook. And did I mention they are sooo sweet and beautiful??! (Ah- a mother's love! Looking at pictures, they were not as "beautiful" as I thought)."
After a whole day with my babies, we took them back to the orphanage at night. I bawled my eyes out at the prospect of sweet Annabelle not sleeping because she was unable to breathe lying down due to the congestion. I was scared Andrew was holding his own bottle during the night time feedings, or worse yet not even getting a night time feeding. Both babies cried too- I am sure this was just God's gift to me to let me know they were attaching properly. I was terrified because Bill asked ME what temperature the water should be during bath time. REALLY???!!! HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW!!!!???? We had left the "bath time duckie thermometer" at home. We didn't sleep a wink recalling how adorable the babies were and how sweet all the nannies were and the Dr. who cared for them, seemed to know everything about them in addition to all the other kiddos she cared for. Bill has some really interesting (see weird) "video diary footage" I will post it someday.
I know every mommy says they can't remember their life before they had kids. Neither can I. I also know every mommy remembers the minutes before their baby is welcomed into their arms. Whether it came in the form of the excruciating, "one last push", or the excruciating wait standing outside the "family room" watching two nannies carry your tiny bundles down a sidewalk. No words can quite describe either of those instances. Love, relief, worry, exhaustion, elation, the feeling of your heart no longer residing inside your body, but outside (wrapped in a hot pink snow suit, that was Andrew, not Annabelle by the way).
We prayed for Andrew and Annabelle before we knew who they were, before we knew they were going to be adopted and not biological. We had an army praying before and we got our referral. That same army lifting us in travel and the minute we met our babies. Praying for safety and wisdom and strength and endurance. 4 years ago today, we held our babies for the first time and our lives were changed forever. Thank you to all of you who loved and supported us that day and still do.
Posted by Annabelle at 9:06 AM
Friday, July 2, 2010
I have recently marveled at two things:
1. How independent the "babies" are getting
2. How much of a mess they make
Yes, I know... Mess- Welcome to having children Molly! Maybe it's because I am home more, maybe it's because our home has been transformed to the Cleaver home with dinner on the table at 6 every night and mommy doing all the housework while daddy is at work. Maybe it's because I felt I had more of an excuse for the wreckage we call a family room when I was working. I think mostly it's because the kids are getting so independent. They like to play without me (insert sobbing here). Due to this, they get out what they want when they want. No direction really until it gets too crazy. It is such a joy to watch them, and sad at the same time. I want to jump in and play! Usually I do, but I also know there is value in having them play without me. So without direction, the house gets messier. I'm not that concerned about it because they are really good helpers when it is time to clean. Well, Andrew is... And Annabelle is learning to be a good helper (and like it)-it's her goal for July to "have a good, helpful attitude when anyone asks her to help" (Andrew's is to "use kind hands and words and to not freak out when he doesn't get his way"). So even though the mess is catastrophic, it no longer means I will be up for 2 hours after bedtime cleaning it up or using up every last bit of patience "helping" them clean it up.
I feel like we clean up 40 times a day, and we did just finish our chores and the kids wanted to have a dance party. This generally means I have about 10 more minutes of "clean". They put on their own CD (Veggie Tales, "Boys in the Sink" hilarious if you don't already have it! It's Veggie Tales "boy band" style. A rap and love ballad are included), turned up the volume and danced with wild abandon. I was trying to check my e-mail and was a little on edge about our budget with me staying home, and being home bound today as Bill needed the van, and the volume of the music- and then I looked up from my lap top. I saw my two precious babies dancing with their silkies as capes and laughing their heads off. At the end of the "updated" hairbrush song, they collapsed into a heap on the floor laughing hysterically. I thought back to 4 years ago today when we had no noise in our house, good, bad or indifferent. The occasional moan from the dog, or the quiet hum of the laundry machine (once a week mind you because I only needed to do laundry once a week-remember those days). But no noise. No yelling, crying, fighting, shouting, fussing, dancing, laughing, chatting-nothing. Just quiet and solitude. Peaceful, yes. A sweet friend who walked with me through infertility would pray for me each week as we met, "Lord- give Molly a peace knowing the pain and disappointment will be turned into the sounds of little feet filling her house". We had no idea what God had in store then. So much more than just feet! So yes, its messy, crazy and LOUD. But I wouldn't for a second want my life without all the noise.
Posted by Annabelle at 9:06 AM