Tuesday, November 19, 2013

1 big year

Have you noticed recently that time has really started to fly by? I mean we are nearly at the end of 2013! Where did this past year go?! Don’t you love when people say that? Well, I personally, know exactly where this year went…Exactly one year ago, nearly to the date; Jay and I basically became parents overnight. Little man has officially been with us for an entire year. It has been the most confusing, crazy, at times frustrating, yet beautiful year of our lives.
Jay and I, like most new parents, have taken hundreds of pictures throughout the year and I recently put together a book for little man detailing this past year with us, so as I said before, I know exactly where this past year went. It is amazing to see this little one's HUGE transformation. Our first few days/nights looked something like what you see to the right.

He slept on the floors, he was scared, his vocabulary wasn’t strong and he had no way to talk about his fears. He had no idea what was going on and neither did we! He cried a lot, we cried a lot. But slowly, he started coming out of his shell. We grew into each other so to speak. We have, as our family likes to call it, a “new normal”. And we have noticed our little one, isn’t so little anymore. He is growing and learning, and he has truly changed by leaps and bounds. He has quite a vocabulary now too. He has what I call “J” isms. Here are a few of my favorites thus far:
1.)     I no eat all my veg-a-tables cause then I get too big and break you ceiling.
2.)     Tomorrow is bring you fruit snacks to school, so I have more fruit snacks now?
3.)     What is my chocolate milk doing right now? (while in the car,  miles away from his chocolate milk)
4.)     I no go potty now, I just went yest-a-day.
5.)    (While throwing a tantrum and yelling at me) Me:  please come here, Him: “NO, IM BUSY”.
6.)    “Why do you keep doing this?!” (while being put into time out)
7.)     Why you pee in my bed? (for the record I did no such thing)
Everyday he is saying and doing more and more things. He is silly and funny, sweet yet spunky, independent, loving, smart, energetic, …in other words, he is more than we could have ever hoped for and I think we are doing pretty good for our first year!

There are however, the challenging medical issues that seem to always face our “J”. After we finally got caught up on over a dozen vaccinations, he was still getting sick pretty often. He was also snoring something awful (much like a 50 year old overweight man with sleep apnea). He underwent surgery for adenoid and tonsil removal with ear tube placement in May. We have been consistently treating whole body eczema with various creams and lotions.  This past month he was diagnosed with asthma requiring at least two breathing treatments a day (sometimes up to 5!), and now is currently having some tummy trouble that could end up being a lactose intolerance issue.

So, basically, everything we learned in the hours of adoption education mandated by our agency and the country of Ethiopia, ranging from “Bringing home an older child” (above the age of two), “Disciplining the adopted child”, and “Common Medical Issues” has proved invaluable! We never even thought those educational sessions would be of value in “our adoption situation”, but again, God works in such CRAZY ways! He knew what we needed to learn, not only for our international baby, but our little man right now. I get chills thinking back on the last year and seeing how God beautifully prepared us for “J” prior to him ever stepping foot in our home. And “J” is preparing us even more for our Ethiopian child and the near certain issues and concerns we will face with them during their first year home.

                    (this pic was done on a recent family photo shoot)

I have to say, I continue to be a bit nervous about our future, much like I have been from the start. We take every day at a time, and consider each day with little man a blessing (even when we are on our 15th tantrum of the day because the banana we handed him broke into two halves prior to him eating it all).  I guess that’s what not knowing what the next day holds, teaches you….to be especially thankful for each and every moment you get. I know that sometimes in our busy lives we can begin to take things for granted, and so in a weird way, our unknown circumstances are a beautiful gift from a very loving Creator. He is definitely making us lean into him in a very dramatic way, but I think he does some of His greatest work when we do just that.

On the Ethiopian adoption forefront, not to much news lately. A few referrals from last month (2), so once again small movement. November is national adoption month. If you haven’t already, please consider asking your congressman to back the Children in Families First Act (CHIFF). It helps to do just that. This legislation redirects U.S. resources to focus more on ensuring that all children grow up in a family and helps to cut some of the red tape that is such a hindrance now and this is both domestically and internationally. More information can be found at Http://childreninfamiliesfirst.org

Lastly, in honor of National Adoption month, I wanted to give a huge “You Guys are Amazing” shout out to a family from my hometown, The Tipton’s. They are currently in Costa Rica, adopting not 1, but 3 kiddos there! They listened to God’s calling, and their family of 4 just officially became a family of 7! Their story can be found on their blog at http://www.openhandsandopendoors.blogspot.com
So exciting to watch and read about this family’s adventures through the adoption journey!