Monday, July 29, 2013

Rejoicing in God's perfect timing

So yesterday was a tough day. The kind of day that you could go to bed crying or just go to bed laughing at the craziness that happened throughout the day. I decided to go to bed laughing because I knew that today was a new day and it would be better than yesterday.

 Today I woke up to Zeri talking in his crib (this never happens..he usually wakes up screaming!) and it put a smile on my face. Have you ever had one of those moments that you wish you could freeze in your mind forever? That is what my morning was like today. We didn't do anything extremely fun today or ever leave our block, but that is what made my morning so wonderful.

 I kept looking at my kids and just rejoicing in the fact that they are mine. I am one lucky lady to get to spend my life with these two kids (and my amazing hubs!). We played outside today and then went on a walk. I pushed Zeri in his car and Olivia walked next to me. While we were walking Zeri reached out to grab Olivia's hand. She smiled, took his hand, and walked a little closer to him. We walked around the block like this while I was trying to hold back my tears. When we got home I squirted them with the hose and then they played for a bit in the water. You should have heard the laughter coming out of their mouths-priceless. Zeri kept clinging to Olivia and cracking up when the water would hit his face. When we got back inside my kids sat at the table while I made lunch. They were making each other laugh by doing silly faces and again I tried to hold back my tears.

Just a little over a month ago Zerihun was just a face in a picture to Olivia and now he is her playmate, her friend, and the person who makes her laugh more than anyone else in the world. When she is sad, he comes over to her, gets in her face and babbles, and does something silly to make her laugh. He wants his sister to feel better. When Zerihun cries, Olivia pats his back and hugs him. Olivia wakes up and the first thing she says is, "Is Zeri up? I want to see him!" She runs out and wraps her arms around him. He squeals with delight and gives her a hug.

If we didn't follow God's call to adopt, then these two would not be together. Throughout our adoption there were days when I asked God why it was taking so long for us to be matched with our child. I cried and prayed that God would bless us with the perfect child for our family. Olivia asked God to give her a brother who was funny. We waited so long for Zeri and it's so amazing to see that God took care of us. HE knew the entire time that Zerihun was our child and brother. As I looked at my kids (and for the 3rd time!) and tried to hold back tears, I just silently thanked God for taking care of us. God was probably laughing at me every time I came to him crying because he knew just how perfect Zerihun would be for our family. HE knew that I needed to wait on HIM and not try to control things. HE knew that Olivia needed to grow up a bit so that she could enjoy being the big sister and accept Zerihun into our family. God knew that we needed Zeri in our family just as much as he needed us to be his family.

 So, I might go to bed crying tonight. Only tonight it's not because of a stressful day, it's because my heart is so full of happiness and joy.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A much needed update!

It's been awhile. I know you are all just waiting by your computer for me to update my blog (ha!), so here goes a quick update.
Our happy little boy!

The plane ride went way better than we expected. Zerihun was happy as long as he was on me. I absolutely love holding Zeri (and waited oh so long to hold him!!) but holding him for over 13 hours on the flight home was a little too much. He slept off and on in his bassinet (we were able to get bulkhead seats!!) but literally clung to me for the remainder of the trip (which we calculated was over 13 hours). I couldn't even go to the bathroom or stretch my legs without him crying. But..we were just thanking God that he didn't scream or throw fits on the plane. As long as he held on to his mommy, he was a happy boy.

This could possibly be the happiest moment of my life. We had both of our babies in our arms!!!

Our first week home was rough..just like having a newborn. He woke up at least 4-5 times a night screaming and many nights we couldn't get him back to sleep for hours. I remember us both being up with him from 1-3:30a.m. multiple nights. There were days when he wouldn't take naps and he would be up from 6:00a.m.-7:00p.m. straight and then wake up again at 10:30p.m. He wouldn't let Jeremiah hold him or really touch him without crying. Therefore, I was the only person who could meet his needs. Jeremiah did everything he could to help out, but Zeri only wanted me. Every night we had to rub his back, sing to him, or rub his face for hours to get him to go to sleep. Also, Zerihun came home with Giardia. It's a stomach sickness that many kids from Ethiopia come home with and it's basically just horrible diarrhea multiple (and I mean multiple!!) times a day. Zerihun has been on medicine since we brought him home, but he still has it. We are praying it goes away soon. Anyway, we were pretty out of it the first week home. Having two kids is way different than having just one 4 year old!:) Olivia was incredible. She is such a sweet big sister!

My parents had planned a vacation for our entire family to celebrate my mom's retirement. They had this vacation planned for about 2 years and we felt bad telling them we couldn't go. Plus, we thought it would be nice for Olivia to receive extra attention. We went back and forth about what to do and decided to just go for it. Zeri wasn't on a great schedule, so we went to Hilton Head with my fam. This was our second week with Zeri. I know some people are thinking we are crazy for taking him on vacation, but it was fine. It was nice for Olivia to feel special and have many people pay attention to her. Zeri received many shots right before left for HH. Our first day there we noticed tons of bumps on him so we took him to Urgent Care. The doctor said that she thinks he had some sort of reaction to the chicken pox vaccine and that he was fine-phew! I was extremely nervous that he brought home a disease and that Olivia (or another family member) would get it.

Playing with his aunts and loving life!
 Zeri woke up at all hours of the night on vacation. The last two nights there we decided to let him cry it out and the last night there he slept through the night. When Olivia was little we were fine with letting her cry it out because we knew she needed it. All the books/articles we've read on adoption say not to let your child cry it out because they'll think you are abandoning him/her. It's so hard to know what is right for our child. Zeri loved being around my family. They were so wonderful because they knew they couldn't hold him, feed him, love on him (or meet any of his needs), but they played with him. It was nice because Olivia was able to be out on the beach with my family while we were inside with Zeri. One afternoon Jeremiah stayed inside during Zeri's nap while I played on the beach with Olivia. It was amazing! It was nice to get out of our house and just relax on the beach. Don't get me wrong, there were definitely stressful times. But..we were in a huge beach house, with my wonderful family, and we had our son home! The really stressful part of the trip was the flight home. Our flight was supposed to leave around 5pm on Saturday evening from Savannah, Georgia. It ended up being delayed until 9:00pm and then we missed our second flight to Peoria. Luckily, Delta gave us a free hotel stay. We got to our hotel about midnight and had to be back at the airport at 5:30a.m. Sunday. Our poor kids were so tired! Overall, it was a fabulous vacation and I'm so thankful for my parents who put so much time, energy, and money into the trip!

Bike ride while in Hilton Head...Zeri was not excited about this.
On Sunday we were happy to be home. It's been nice getting into a new routine and things have been going really well! We are letting Zerihun sleep in his pack n' play in our room (this is where he slept when he came home and we didn't want to change his room again!) and we are actually sleeping in the living room. We realized that Zerihun wakes up to us being in his room. I KNOW that all the adoption books say to sleep in the same room as your child, but it just wasn't working. Zerihun has slept through the night every single night since we've been home!!!:) He has been going to bed around 7:00ish and sleeps until 6:00 or 7:00!! Woohoo!! We feel like different people!:) Nap time is still a little off. Sometimes he takes really great naps and other times he wakes up after 30 minutes. I've been letting him cry it out and he usually goes back to sleep for a bit. As long as he's sleeping through the night I am a happy mommy!

Zerihun is SUCH an amazing child! He is super chill (most of the time), happy, hilarious, and loves to snuggle with me. I have tears in my eyes as I type this because I just feel so blessed. He was meant to be our child. There are people out there who have asked me, "Do you think you'll love him as much as Olivia?" and hands down my answer is yes. I love this child more than words can describe. It's amazing to think that if we didn't follow God's call then we wouldn't be the parents of this incredible boy. This little boy who yearns for love, who makes silly faces like his daddy, who sings with his sister, and who is the perfect addition to our family. It's obvious that our Zeri has anxiety about being left. He never wants me to be out of his site. He will be playing, look at me, and crawl over to me just to lay on me. This happens frequently throughout the day. If I leave the room he starts crying. If I hug his sister or his daddy, he starts crying. I'm so thankful that he's attached to me. I'm thankful that he trust me enough to let me in and to let me love him. He is desperate for a consistent person to meet his needs, a person who will love him forever, and a family. I cry every time I think about the happiness that radiates from his little face when he sees his sister. It's so neat to see the bond that has already formed between them. Also, Zeri has started throwing some temper tantrums this week. It's usually after we come inside because he wants to stay outside or because I won't let him go into the kitchen. He loves food and could eat all day long. I'm trying to help him understand that he can't eat all day long!:) Temper tantrums are normal for this age, so I'm also just trying to help him work through these tantrums without making him feel abandoned or that I don't care about him.

I could go on and on about how much we just love our Zeri. Please know that things are not perfect, there are definitely stressful times still, and that it will still be awhile before we feel normal. However, God has blessed us beyond words. We can't imagine our life without Zerihun and it's just been 3 weeks.

While we do feel that Zerihun has attached to us, we are still working to improve the attachment. Zerihun still needs to know that we are his family and that we are the only ones that will meet his needs. Therefore, we are not letting anyone hold him, feed him, or snuggle with him for awhile. I know this is not normal and we are just thankful that you understand. He's had so many caregivers throughout his life and he needs to understand that Jeremiah and I are here forever. We aren't leaving him and that we will meet his needs. Thank you for your support and we promise there will be a time when you can hold our precious boy!

Big sissy said to me today, "Mommy I am so happy." I asked her why and she said, "I am so happy that Zerihun is home with us."

Olivia makes Zeri laugh like no other.
 *Thank you to everyone who has made food for us the past few weeks. Even though Zeri is not a newborn, bringing him home has definitely made life a little more hectic:) It's nice to not worry about cooking right now!