Sunday, February 17, 2013

TWO Weeks Home

Funny how easy it is to lose time perspective when life has so many dramatic twists and turns in a short time period. Two weeks feels more like two months at this point and several times a day I have to remind myself that "it's only been ____ days/weeks."

At this point, counting the time home helps me celebrate the victories with more vigor and be freer from the burden I feel from transitioning our sweet new daughter into this strange new life of hers.

Overall Tizita is doing amazingly well. When I consider life through her perspective, the transitions must be so overwhelming. I can't believe that she is so content, smiles often, eats well and seems to genuinly love being with our family. God's grace and love is covering all of us.

It takes a lot of effort to develop attachment with children who were adopted. It's Chase's and my job to build trust with her and teach her that we are her family forever.  I love to look into her eyes while I'm feeding her a bottle before bed and repeatedly tell her: "You are so loved by us." "We will always take care of you." "You are safe in our family." "We are so honored to have you as our daughter." "We are so proud of you."

We are also not going out of the house much at all so that she can get adjusted to life with just our family. In her orphanage, an average of 10-15 people held her every day! We are limiting holding and feeding and bathing and all other nurturing activities to just our family. As our attachment and her trust grows we will expand her circle little by little. I thrive on activity and interaction with people so it's a huge switch for me to stay at home all day. But it is so worth it and I really feel such grace to be content in this. Plus, it's just so hard to go anywhere with the two little girls that staying at home is just easier and more peaceful!

We've had lots of victories this week with Tizita...

* THREE new teeth have sprouted.
* She likes to feed herself with a spoon.
* She is rolling from side to side more often and with more strength.
* She will sit and play with things in the bumbo, even holding objects between her little arm and cheek while she uses her hand to grab something else.

Elias and Merin are continuing to love on Tizita and are adjusting better to having to share our attention with her. Merin loves playing with T and can entertain her for a long time by stacking toys on her bumbo tray, sharing snacks and reading to her.

Merin gathered an audience of dolls and strollers and read a book to Tizita. Notice her plastic high-heels.

Merin said she wanted to "be a princess" so I dug out this dress that I had saved for her. She immediately began twirling around and giggling. Love!

Tizita LOVES to play and squeeze her little arm.

First time for blueberries
I think she likes them!

Feeding herself with a spoon

The sisters playing kitchen. Notice how Tizita is holding the spoon with her little arm!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

One week home

Tizita has been home with us just over one week and we are all amazed at the changes and developments in her during this short time.

* EATING! EATING! EATING! This is the biggest one. In the orphanage she was mainly just drinking formula from a bottle (which she had 24 hours a day) and some occasional soup broth. When I took custody of her I started giving her banana and some mashed carrots. She ate 5-10 BITES a day for the first several days. Now after one week at home she is eating 5 BOWLS of food a day- carrots, banana, avocado, applesauce, egg, yogurt, hummus, etc. She's getting such a little tight belly on her little body. I love it!

* She is learning to use her arm more and more. Her fingers are getting stronger so she can eat finger foods and feed herself.

*She uses her arm to pull herself up and down and around in her bumbo and roll over both directions. This is a big advancement as she wasn't really using her arm much before to move herself around.

* She is sleeping through the night! Her belly is full and she's getting more comfortable with us which means good, quality sleep. Previously she woke up every 2 hours but now she'll sleep at least a full 10 hours before waking. I've been gently trying to wean her from the bottle obsession but it hasn't been easy. I've been tricking her with a dummy bottle- putting a pacifier in the bottle instead of a nipple and most of the time it works if she wakes up at night.

And just overall she's content and enjoying life with our family! She is bonding well to us- won't let me out of her sight, even for a second. She screams when she's mad or if I walk out of the room. Chase said it sounds like a stray cat. My mom actually asked the other night how Harley (our outside cat) got inside. It was Tizita doing her mad cry/scream. :-)

Cartoon break


Playing house in the backyard

First sippy cup 

Nighttime routine in her specially-made pjs.

Bumbo Diva

All 3 kids in my lap

Such a cute sleeper!

Wagon ride with Nani

Friday, February 1, 2013

We are HOME!

Wow. It feels so wonderful to be home with Tizita. Our time in Ethiopia was rich and amazing but home is where she belongs.

Tizita's passport was delivered to us at 4:30pm on Wednesday- just 3.5 hours before we left for the airport. It was a little tense there at the end, wondering if it would all come together at the last minute so we could all fly home together that evening.

The embassy called on Tuesday morning to inform me that they had reviewed all of Tizita's paperwork and had decided to wave the requirement of having the physician correct the missing information. (It was only her birthdate and last name and they could easily fill this information in themselves). This was a huge relief! We all cried tears of joy and jumped around in the reception area of our guesthouse as the Ethiopians looked on in amusement.

We went to the US Embassy that afternoon, I answered a few questions and signed some final documents and an appointment was made for the next day to pick up the visa. Our agency delivered it to us while we were at the orphanage saying our final goodbyes.

I was pretty emotional as I walked out the orphanage gate one final time with Tizita in my arms and all the documents we needed to get her out of the country. This long adoption process was over and we were finally going home!

The travel back took 34 long hours. Tizita was great- it sure is helpful having three adults taking care of one baby! The longest leg of the trip was when I had to part ways with my sisters in immigration and they raced to their flights as I sat in the customs office and missed my flight which required me to then spend another 4 hours in the airport.

But the homecoming was sweet sweet sweet. It was so great to see my family again and the few friends who gathered to greet us. Merin just kept hugging Tizita over and over.

Our hearts are full so full of joy and satisfaction. God has been so good to us and we are so excited to be over the line and into this next season in our family's life. Thank you for all your support and encouragement and prayers!

Family photo at the airport
Holding my 2 girls

Sisters first hug!

Merin loves feeding Tizita!

The 3 kiddos together in their PJs