Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Hole in Mommy's heart........

I knew the FIRST time, last July, that I stepped on Ethiopia soil that I was changed from the inside out and I also knew I would be back and that somehow this place felt like home. Definitely a different kind of home than we are accustomed too, but a kind of home that just felt right and that a kind of home that was part of my soul. It was like I was catapulted back to the days of the Old Testament in many ways and oh how my heart yearned to love and to serve like we did. It was just like going home somehow and it just felt RIGHT. Ethiopia is one of the most beautiful places, yet most desperate places I have been to in my life. A little help here from the fancy Americans goes a long way, and I am not just talking about adopting. Here I am referencing seeing, loving, feeling and serving.


and 2 more trips back to Ethiopia last year. Each trip had me yearning more for the next. We were now making friends and learning the geography of our son's home. At least his home where he and his friends were in an orphanage. Our son is from a village called Asosa, which is 12 hours from Addis where his orphanage was located. We met his father briefly and discussed what we thought was everything that we would need to know at a later date to tell Mamo. To be honest, we barely touched the surface of what we long to know and is beginning to haunt my soul. We "assumed" a lot in our conversation with his father. When you have cultural differences you are curious yet don't want to be insulting. You try to take the American curiosities out of your questions and tip toe around some important information. You also can gleen a situation that you believe is what you are seeing and later question what you saw and what it means as time goes along. This mama has a hole in her heart of unanswered questions that runs so deep. I feel so badly for his father who loved him sooo much to make the heart wrenching decision to allow us to parent his precious child.

I read Mamo a story tonight that talked about his native Ethiopia that I bought a long time ago and he shared a little bit more with me tonight about his past. Gut punch me already. Hyenas are real. Coldness is real. Ethiopia is real to my child. He was scared a lot. And his father was his protector. He didn't know of Jesus in Ethiopia. He wanted to read the story again;I promised to read again tomorrow night. You see this was his LIFE and he does remember it. He remembers some Amharic..thank you he translated for me.

I vow to keep as much as his Ethiopia alive for him as I can as we sit here comfortably in America, aside from the Hyenas. I wish I could transport the smells, the sounds and his culture here. I wish I could see his father and thank him for this incredible gift of love. I wish I could be there to comfort in his time of loss for this beautiful boy who he is so amazing and so full of love. I promise to keep injeria on the dinner table and allow him to taste that Ethiopian spice that burns our tummy.

Tonight I simply feel broken for his fathers love to share this precious gift with us......adoption is a gain of love for some ,yet a loss of love for others and that is soooo real to me right now in this moment. It is a decision that I don't know how anyone could ever make unless they are in a really tough situation. Go visit a 3rd world country and see how 95% of the world lives. We are blessed beyond measure. and not to sound like my kids but it just doesn't seem fair.

There are times that we comment (our family) that Mamo is negative.If you ask him if he likes something he always first says no, even when is so happy and enjoying himself, It has kind of become a joke around here, that having the time of his life that if you ask him him if he likes something that he will automatically say no. I couldn't really understand this but as he shares with me, I am beginning to gather perspective of how he feels. Mamo had many moments of helplessness or hopelessness in his little life and those effects are lasting. He has been home with us a mere 6 months and he is still learning that bugs wont bite him, that doggies are okay and that his mommy and daddy will be here tomorrow when he wakes up. There are things about his Ethiopia that he wants to remember, and that I believe he LONGS to remember. and there are those things like hunger, fear and loss that he doesn't.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Umm..... has it been 6 months already? WOW...

Ok, I am way, way, way behind on posting, but once I went back to work things got a little crazy. Oh yeah, AND we put our home up for sale so I added crazy on top of crazy...Philip says "cause that is how we roll around here". Ha! So true! We are always tacking some sort of major life event it seems.

My boss made a comment with me when I started back to work that has proved to be sooo true. He asked me how I was doing... I must have looked dog tired. He chuckled when I said I was exhausted and he said "Oh YEAH, 3 IS A GAME CHANGER"! Can I get an AMEN on that one? (However, I hear that at 4 it is no different than 3, so at least we have that. Right Philip? :)

Anyways, a lot has occurred since our last post.....lets see...

The "baby" had his 4th birthday. He LOVES it when mama calls him BABY. :) He had a BLAST at his party (even though he didnt quite get what was going on)... he got that he was getting presents and that he was getting cake! He could also show you his 4 fingers and tell you he was four. That is another thing mama has taught him. He does things 4 year olds do and my bigs and daddy sometime get a little frustrated and he now will say to them..."But I'm 4!" Ha!

Sibling rivalry has arrived and sometimes there is a little jealousy surfacing. How come "he gets to" and "well he did it to me" and "Mamo, I dont care that you are 4...." those are all what our BIGS are now complaining about...Yep, we have all offically bonded and the honeymoon period is about up... I am waiting for the "quit touching me, quit looking at me to start..." Ba ha ha... All of the complaining really makes me smile (my Bigs would tell you that I am NOT always smiling), but it truely means we have all bonded enough to get under each others skin!

Lets see what else? We went to the beach last week and Mamo LOVED his first beach trip. He mostly liked the sand and the ocean scared him unless he was being held by mommy or daddy. This kid really wants to be held ALL THE TIME! He is the most snuggly little guy EVER. Loves to kiss, loves to hug, loves to snuggle. He LOVES his daddy to pieces but he is now also a BIG TIME mama's boy! Melt my heart! We always bonded but we have really come into our own special bonding over the last few months.Its been REAL good.

He is a daddy's boy and LOVES to be outside. Philip hangs with him at the park A LOT! Philip is such a good daddy-- he knows daddy will take him to the park and let him ride his trike for hours! He loves and knows that his daddy is his protector in this household.

We also rented bikes at the beach and this little one got to get a BIG BOY BIKE with training wheels. He was EVERYWHERE! He can bike for miles and miles! He made lots of treks around the neighborhood and then once he figured out that "HIS" Caitlin and Robby were treking all up and down the beach trail he had to be a part of that too. He doesn't want to be 4 in these instances. He thinks he can do what they can do and he learned pretty quick how to peddle backwards to stop his bike... cause that was the only way mama was letting him trek all over the beach. When we would cross the street (and stop traffic) he would hold out his hands like a crosswalk cop until he got all the way across and it was hilarious. You could see everyone in the cars cracking up. So cute!

So how has adoption changed our family? I am DOG tired.... So is Philip. Mamo is still Mamo. Not Daniel. And we love it! He is MAMO for sure to us! :) He will tell you if you ask him what his name is and he will tell you "Mamo Payne". My heart overflows everytime I hear him say it. Sometimes you will get a "Mamo Daniel Payne". He mostly gets that is his name and not everyones else's... he used to say Daniel Mommy, Daniel Daddy, etc...

We also lost one of our dogs that he was closest too. That was hard. He still talks about him and sings songs about him. He always says he misses him and wants to see him.On the way to dinner one night he announced "that when he dies he is going to Heavan to play with Acey". and he's 4.

He has really bonded with Copper since Acey passed away. That is a really BIG deal cause the two of them got off to a ROCKY start and didnt really care too much for each other. He talked the entire beach trip about missing Copper and wanting to go home to see him.

Mamo was baptized at our church on a Saturday... he wasnt particulary fond of the water on his head. He talked about that for weeks. It was an amazingly beautiful ceremony that our former minister and one of our current ministers performed for us. We had a lot of family and close friends beside us and it was real sweet. He loves his little bible and reading stories of Jesus.

He LOVES school and the last 2 weeks has asked everyday when he is going to school. His school is out for summer break and he will be starting a new school for summer next week. Thank goodness cause he needs it! He thrives in a school setting.. he loves making friends and he LOVES learing.

He is smart as a whip. I know every parent says that but this little guy cracks us up. We pulled on to the Concord ramp coming home for the beach and he started screaming home, home! He could get you to his house if you were driving him. He can tell you how to get there. AND HE IS 4!

He doesnt say Choc-o-lut Mulk anymore. That makes me so sad. We didnt even realize it till the other day when he asked for some kitty kat "milk". I was like woa, he didnt say MULK, and the BIGS immediately started calling it Mulk and telling him it was MULK not MILK. That was our FAVORITE thing he said and we were all quite sad to have that accent go away.

He still has a smile that lights up a room and melts your heart. He is very gentile and pretty laid back. His love language is touch and my husband is so thrilled about this. They both share the same love language! He is a riot and keeps us laughing ALL. THE. TIME. Look at this face and his smile!!!

He has pretty much been fluent in English since 12-14 week mark. He now even talks in spanish.. GRACIAS is his new favorite word. He thanks you all the time in Spanish. Speaking of thanks, this is the most grateful little boy who is 4 that I know. He ALWAYS says thank you. At the beach he was most thankful for all the groceries that we bought. We were unloading the car and he was acting like it was Christmas morning; he was so overjoyed and just kept thanking us over and over. Its those moments that remind me how blessed we are to be able to go to the grocery and get food and not think anything about it. Going to the grocery is one of his favorite outings still.

He has shared a tiny little bit about his situation in Ethiopia. A tiny bit. He remembers being "left" and "being sad". Some things about Ethiopia arent good memories for him. I pray that there are more happy memories in there that he will share one day. I have a heavy heart for what little Mamo left behind in his homeland---- all the smells, the culture, his people, their ways... I only expereinced if for a short time and I miss it everyday.

Mamo is quite smitten with "HIS" Caitlin and Robby! Caitlin LOVES to PLAY with him and he EATS THAT UP!!! She is referred to as HIS Catilin and look out if Robby is mean to her cause Mamo is ready to tell Mommy and Daddy on him as soon as the opportunity arises! We love this cause now we get to know EVERYTHING... if we cant settle an argument on who said what and who called who what we just ask the little man... he squeals like a pig! and he is 4!!!

Robby is definitley Mamo's BIG brother and Mamo has now designated him as "the person to take him to the bathroom". Robby LOVES this honor that has been bestowed upon him. Mamo no longer wants to go to the bathroom with "the girls" when out in public! Robby also shared a room with him at the beach and was such a trooper. There was one night that they shared Robby's twin bed when he was scared and slept on Robby's chest. Awww... he also gets up early with the chickens like his brother Robby.

Wow. It has almost been 6 months and I just contacted our case worker to set up our next homestudy report on how he is doing. Really, I dont think it could have gone any better, any smoother, or could feel any more natural than it does right now. We are a beautiful family of 5; HANDPICKED BY OUR JESUS. He has wonderful plans and we are sooo thankful that he brought our family together through adoption. It couldnt be any more perfect at this moment as I am soo proud of our 3 kiddos and my AMAZING husband!. I am DOG tired ALL THE TIME BUT it is sooo worth it...I do often feel like I am coming up short in some areas in my life right now-- there just isnt enought time and enough of me to go around! BUT IT IS OH SOOOO WORTH IT!