Tuesday, June 29, 2010


It is difficult to believe that a year ago today Yikealo took the step out of his pictures and off the pages and swaggered into our lives in person. Has it really been a whole year!? Didn't we get him yesterday... or has it been ten years now...
In retrospect, we were foolish to make "the walk" up the hill from the Union Hotel to Hannah's Hope with such trepidation in our hearts (for an account of that day, see THIS). At the time though, there was no way for us to differentiate between our loving, well-adjusted, eats-everything-in-sight, sleeps-through-the-night son from the distant, troubled, picky, howler that we dreaded adopting. Rather than fitting the bill of our nighmare, Yikealo has been simply delicious for the past year. With a cherry on top!

From that first morning in Ethiopia when we woke up to him kissing our noses and then demanding we kiss his to giving me "some squish" this evening before bed, he has been a little boy full of love for his adoptive parents. His smile is infectious; there are new friends to meet everywhere. It is amazing how much better we know our neighbors now that he draws them into conversation everytime he sees them while we're out walking.

I am so thankful for the year that I've had with my son and that even though he's grown five inches eatin' his mama's cookin', he's still small enough to fit so comfortably in my heart.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Dearest!

David, it has been an amazing thing to watch you grow into the role of a father during the last year. You have always been the best husband that I can imagine, and it has been a joy to watch the love that you have for me expand to include the precious little boy that we brought home from Ethiopia one year ago. So, thank you - for loving both of us, for being such a great provider, role model and picture of Christ all wrapped up in one wonderful package. I hope that you will always know how much you mean to both Yikealo and me. Right now, he may not have the words to tell you, but I hope that you see it every day in his actions - in the way that he begs for "one more kiss" before you leave for work, in the way that he drops whatever he is doing to run to the door yelling "Daddy's home!" when you return in the evening, in the way that he tries to emulate you in every possible thing, and in the way that he proudly tells people, "Me and my Dad have dark hair and dark eyes." He may listen better to me,  but it is so easy to see that you are everything that he wants to be!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Birthday Party

Yikealo's birthday is at the end of this week, but we celebrated with David's family last Saturday. A certain little boy was VERY excited about it all - he's been quite envious of all of his cousins who have had birthdays during the last year, and he's asked over and over, "When is MY birthday?" Thanks to James and Susan for hosting all 24 of us for a very loud, fun evening - just a little pre-cursor to our family vacation later this summer!

We were supposed to do appetizers for everyone, and as part of that, we treated the family to a taste of Ethiopia. My Mom was visiting for a few days, and we took her to Cleveland's Ethiopian restaurant on Friday evening. Mr. Y had not wanted to go - when we told him that we were going to eat injera and shiro, he said, "AGAIN??" and pouted (we haven't had it since February). As soon as we were served, however, he LOVED it - he couldn't stop eating, even though he was getting quite full. At one point, he was holding his stomach, and he asked me to loosen his adjustable waist jeans, but then he dug into the food again. I tried to caution him, "Yikealo, if you're getting too full, don't eat anymore. You don't need to finish this, okay? You don't want to get sick." He gave me one of those "You-are-so-silly-Mom" looks and said, "If somebody is getting full, they just need their mom to make their pants not too tight and they can eat more." Hmmmm.....makes me wonder if there was some psychological thing going on with memories of hunger, because we often have to argue with him to get him to eat more than about 3 bites.

At any rate, we bought some extra shiro and injera for David's family to try at the party and ALMOST everyone tried it!

Yikealo soaked up all of the attention as usual. There were presents, a pinata, a cake and lots of ice cream, and ultimately, a very happy little boy.

He fell in love with these goggles for some reason, and spent quite a bit of the evening riding a tricycle around the basement while wearing them...attractive, isn't he? He said that he was "the bad guy."
Check out this ornery kid! Is it any wonder that Quinn and Yikealo are such good buddies?

The younger boys all received matching shirts for our trip to the beach later this summer.

The kids all had a marvelous time with the pinata - just what they all need, more sugar!

I was very busy last week with the Nursing Home silent auction, so David handled the party planning and the cake. He did a great job, and I don't think that I have ever seen a Dad so excited about a little boy's birthday...
I wish that I had gotten a good photo of Yikealo's face while we were all singing "Happy Birthday" to him - he was just glowing!

After the candles were blown out, the two little boys had a great time dipping the candles into the cake and licking off the frosting. The germ-a-phobes among you can pretend that you didn't see that part!

As a special note to Aunt Susan and Aunt Julie, the boy has been spending as much time as possible this week riding his bike while wearing his new Spiderman "hollmet" and squeaking his horrid bicycle horn. He generally has his new pop-gun wrapped around the handlebars, and has to make frequent stops to "shoot" our next-door teenage neighbor boy, Heath. Heath, being a great kid, plays along and pretends to fall down dead, which of course encourages "the bad guy" to continue...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

One Year of Parenthood

One year ago today we officially became parents to a little boy named Yikealo when our case passed court in Ethiopia. One year ago today Yikealo said goodbye to his birth mom when she stopped by Hannah’s Hope to visit him after finalizing her relinquishment during the court process. Here is a photo of him from that day taken by our case worker who was in Ethiopia at the time:

On the other side of the globe, my day was a little different than I had been imagining it would be. I had always pictured myself staying quietly at home, praying and fasting through the day of our court date, but that wasn’t to be. David was voted onto the board of directors for our church’s nursing home a few years ago, which made me an automatic member of the ladies' auxiliary. Friday, June 5th, 2009 happened to coincide with our HUGE annual garage sale and silent auction at the nursing home, so I knew that I was going to be kept very busy all day - all week actually. Looking back, that was probably a good thing because I really didn’t have time to worry or fret over the outcome of the court appointment. In fact, that morning I was up by 5:00 in order to get everything ready on time to be at the nursing home by 6:00. Ethiopia is 7 hours ahead of us, so as I sat down for a quick breakfast, I knew that it was quite possible that our case had already gone before the judge. We had been told by our case manager that we would not hear any results until the following week, but as I spent some prayer time with the Lord that morning, I remember telling Him, “Father, I wish I could somehow know the outcome of this. I would feel so much more peaceful today if I could just know whether we’ll pass this step. Could You please let me know somehow?”

I opened my Bible, and the following words leaped off of the page at me: “Woman, behold thy son.” My arms were immediately covered in goosebumps, and I JUST KNEW…I was a Mama. Three days later, that news was confirmed by a phone call from AGCI’s office, but God had told me first.

So, technically, I've been a mother for one year now - and what an amazing year it has been! As of today, we've sent off our signed and notarized contracts to AGCI for our second adoption, and we are looking forward to what the next year will bring...