Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sweet text from Aliya

Word for word, here is one of the best texts I've ever received!

Aliya: "Hey mom i LOVE YOU SO MACH"

Me: "I love you too! But why are you saying that?" (This was a first...I just had to ask what caused her to say this)

Aliya: "Becaue you are mom!" (awwwwwww, my heart melts!)

Me: "You have just made my day! Thank you:)"

Aliya: What that mane (interpreted-What does that mean?)

Me: "It means that you made me very happy:)"

Aliya: "Ok"

How sweet is that??????

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Also, I just got a call from Blaine who is whisking me away in October to Cabo San Lucas for 4 days!! We are going with Todd,( his business partner) and his wife. We have never done anything like this before! So spontaneous. Blaine and Todd are determined to catch a huge fish!! I am determined to sit on the beach, drink pina coladas, visit with Mona and read some good books.

Now I HAVE to get serious about my workout!! Oh, my!!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Aliya's first birthday-at age 15!

We celebrated Aliya's 15th birthday yesterday. It was an exciting day!

Aliya has never, ever had a birthday party before. I really wanted this to be a memorable day for her and we wanted her to feel so special so I went all out (for me) and hung crepe paper, a banner and got a bouquet of 15 balloons + a Happy Birthday balloon! I never decorate for birthdays, just not my thing. We had 26 people when we brought together Blaine's whole family and my side, too. Lots of people brought her balloons, knowing this was a first for her. Here is part of her balloon collection!

Blaine modeling one of Aliya's new bracelets (or brasslets, as Aliya says!)

This is Aliya's expression when she found out this was a gift card to buy MAKE-UP!

Katie, Aliya and my mom in their birthday hats. Aliya had never seen birthday hats and thought this was really weird. She almost refused to put one on. But, as you can see, Katie got her not only to put one on, but two:)

Aliya and Grandma Joani, who gave her a pair of special earrings.

The family. (I look a little creepy but, oh well!)

Aliya ordered pizza and coffee cake for her birthday so that is what she got, with a chocolate cake to boot.

Her official birthday is Sept. 28, tomorrow so if you happen to see her or can facebook her, be sure to wish her a "Happy Birthday!"

I'm thinking about making her favorite Ethiopian dish, Shiro Wat for her birthday dinner tomorrow. We will see!


Friday, September 24, 2010



I know it takes time to develop.

But waiting has never been my strong point!

I realize that I rarely share the stresses or negatives of adopting, especially where Aliya is concerned. As much as I want to be completely transparent and 'real', I also realize that she is 15 years old and we are trying to develop trust with her. There is nothing I would want to interfere with that. We respect her and want that from her, as well.

But today, I think I will let you in on our morning. I always appreciated reading other people's blogs who had adopted older children and learning from their stuggles. So here it goes.

It took Aliya a little while to learn how to wake up with her alarm. She used to get up at 6:15 in order to get ready and out the door by 7:01 to catch the bus. She felt that she had too much time in the morning and I agreed.

It was decided that she could reset her alarm and wake up at 6:25 but not a minute later. Well, somehow now it is 6:30 before I hear her feet hit the floor. We've had discussions about this to no avail. We know that she was very independent all her life (had to be) and it is best that she learns lessons on her own, not by us telling her.

The other issue in our morning story is that Miss Aliya is sick. She has a sore throat. She sort of let me in on that one, but then quickly denied that she was sick, saying, "I NEVER get sick." She even let me look in her throat with a flashlight and it was pinkish AND I can hear it in her voice AND she's not eating much AND is super tired BUT SHE IS NOT SICK! Just want to make that clear:) She did tell me that she was afraid to say she was sick in Ethiopia (even if she was BUT remember, she NEVER gets sick) but if she was, the housemothers would make her go to the doctor. I told her that I'm not the kind of mom who makes her kids go to the doctor if they are sick. They have to be really sick to go to the doctor.

Ok, this brings me to this morning.

She comes down the stairs at 6:30, saying, "I do not want to go to school today."

I say, "Why not?"

Aliya, "I have no idea."

I say (knowing full well she is sick), "Are you feeling sick?"

Aliya, "No."

"Are you sick, Aliya??"

"Nope." When you read this word, you have to emphasize the P and sort of make a popping sound with your lips to get the full effect:)


When I look at the clock, I see that it is 7:00 and she is still in her room. I ran upstairs to tell her. She came down and as she was getting her things together, we hear the bus coming. She gets her flip flops on and as she is running down the driveway (which is long and then she has a 1/2 block more to go) I yell to her that I will drive her. She keeps running. The bus waits and waits but she makes it. I'm sure she said, "No thanks" but I couldn't hear her with her sore throat and flip flops flapping!

Oh, my.

I feel so badly that she must feel so alone. She doesn't trust us enough to tell us how she really feels, both physically and emotionally yet. This is the MOST frustrating part of parenting an older adopted child for me. Just being honest here.

She also does not want to take advice about things like allowing yourself enough time to get ready in the morning. Because of her previous level of independence, she feels that she knows what she's doing. She doesn't need advice. She's handled everything fine before.


If she had said to me this morning, "Mom, my throat hurts and I didn't sleep well last night," I would have let her stay home and sent her back to bed, which she would have LOVED! I knew she didn't feel well but I had to stand my ground. She has to learn that there are advantages to share feelings with Mom and Dad. We are safe and can be trusted to handle things for her. We love her. We care about her. We want the best for her.

I know that she has only been home 7 months and she really is doing remarkably well in so many ways.

But trust?

We have a long ways to go.

My heart is breaking for her right now.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

School updates

Sorry for the no-pic post today. Katie has the card reader so I'll try to add some pictures later.

The school year has gotten off to a good start. Aliya is now in 8th grade and officially turns 15 on September 28th. She is enjoying being on the soccer team at school. Her schedule is a pretty 'easy' one due to the fact that 2 of her classes are taken up by ELL (English Language Learner) class. The only 2 'hard' classes she has this semester are English (in which so far she's getting a B+!!) and Algebra. Other than that, she has P.E., Art and choir. She has an A in choir and an A- in Art. Way to go, Aliya!!!

I have spoken with both her English teacher and her Algebra teacher to explain her situation in having only been in this country 7 months and they have been wonderful in making assignments and expectations realistic for her to attain. I sort of have a feeling that she will surpass their expectations and do more than has been assigned just due to the fact that this girl is COMPETITIVE! She definitely wants to 'SHOW YOU!' But seriously, her teachers seem to enjoy having her in class and she has the same ELL teacher that she had last year.

In our state, we must do a re-adoption when we adopt from Ethiopia. It's a formality, really. I have our date scheduled for October 21st. The kids are off school so everyone, hopefully will be able to see Aliya become an American citizen! That becomes official when the re-adoption is granted by the judge. It was a fun and positive experience when we did it with the boys so I expect it will be again with Aliya. I'll share pictures when that day comes!

Mihiretu is doing well in school. Home schooling him this summer (and Aliya, too) really, really paid off. They made great strides in their understanding of phonics and are reading at higher levels. Mihiretu still gets extra help and will get ELL this year. He qualifies because English is actually his 3rd language spoken.

Aliya doesn't understand this at all! I explained to her that he spoke Hadiya first, then at the care center he learned Amharic and then English. So she began asking him questions in Amharic. He, of course cannot understand a word of it! He told her that he remembers one word-"birutkan," which means "orange." She told him, "Oh, wow." (Not in an impressed way)

I don't pretend to understand how the human brain learns but I do know that he has language and reading delays which I attribute to having his brain filled up with 2 other languages before the age of 4 1/2. Although you do not recognize it if you speak to him, sometimes he hesitates or forgets a word while his brain goes back a 3rd time for the English version. This takes time and effort on the part of his brain. The other thing that could be a factor is the degree of malnutrition he suffered before coming to us. If you see him now, you can see that 'big boy is definitely NOT malnourished now' but he was moderately malnourished for the first 4 years of his life, which certainly can have an effect.

But he is doing great in school this year and like I said, his reading has improved by leaps and bounds since the torture (I mean the schooling we enjoyed every day) this summer! I home schooled Blake and Katie - Blake all the way through high school until he went to college in 11th grade, and Katie until 10th grade so I'm pretty seasoned. But teaching these two stretched me to my absolute LIMIT! God gave me the grace I begged for and we got through it with wonderful results!!

Misganaw LOVES preschool again this year. Is there any way that I can keep him this age forever? Honestly, the thought of him going to Kindergarten next year is going to be a killer. But at least it is only a 1/2 day. What about the next year when he's gone ALL day???? What in the world will I do all day??? Yuck. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

P.S. "Lord, I need a little something to fill my time starting in the fall of 2012."



Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's too late

Remember that I mentioned about the changes taking place in Ethiopia regarding adoption? Well, I am very sad to say that upon closer medical examination, 9 girls have officially aged out of Layla House. ALL of the older girls are now gone.


There are no more older girls there.

I cannot even comprehend this.

There were 3 girls who had younger siblings. They did not want to be split up but after some very unselfish thinking on their part, decided that they wanted their younger sib to have a *chance* at a family. So if the younger child is matched with a family, they will join their new family in America and the older sister will remain behind, alone.

An friend, who recently traveled to pick up her new son at Layla House gave me this sad report yesterday. I've been trying to digest it. Aliya hasn't been able to sleep. She's been on the phone, talking with some of the other older girls who did fortunately get families and are here in the U.S. These girls are their friends. They spent every day with them for a year or many years. They were their roommates. They were their classmates. They all hoped and longed together for a family to choose them. They rejoiced together when one of them got that highly desired 'welcome bag' telling them they had a family who wanted them.

Now these older girls' hope for a family is gone.

The two girls photographed with Aliya above are sisters who aged out. They are not just faces, they are girls around 15 or 16.

Please pray for them. Pray that Jesus would be their hope and that they would find that He is enough. Pray for protection and direction for them. Pray for God to provide a 'family' for them in Ethiopia. I don't know what this looks like but He does.

There are now several boys, ages 5-8 who are waiting. We need to redirect our focus on finding them families. Some of these are the younger sibs of the older girls who aged out. We cannot let them down. If you know of anyone who is interested, please tell them. Above all, pray for them.

This is the first time in Layla House's history that children have aged out. They've always been able to find homes for kids until now.

Pray also for the kids from Korah who should have arrived at boarding school today or yesterday, I believe. Pray for a smooth transition for them. Pray that the teachers and other kids there welcome them with open arms. Pray for those left behind and not able to go to the boarding school, that they will carry without their friends. Pray for hope for them, as well.

I have a heavy heart tonight for these kids who are struggling right now. I feel like I've let them down somehow. I know that I am not responsible to save every child (at least that's what I've been told) but man, this hurts.

Christians, we gotta do better.


Thursday, September 9, 2010


Today is purple day in MN so my boys wore their #28 jerseys today in to represent. When I picked Misganaw up from pre-school, a mom asked him, "So who are you cheering for tonight, Misganaw?"

Without missing a beat, my little sweetie pie replied, "My mom."

That's right, buddy. Always cheer for Mom!

All the kids are doing well at school so far. Aliya is enjoying her classes and teachers. She seems to thrive in social settings. Soccer started for her last week and she LOVES it! Tomorrow she finds out if she made A or B team. She is hoping to make B team, and she probably will since she has doesn't have any real team experience. She loves the game and puts in her heart and soul.
I am so surprised at how much better she can understand and communicate this year with school. Much progress was made over the summer!

Mihiretu likes his teacher and seems to be enjoying school. No home work yet! He's in football and had a game tonight. They got creamed! My boy needs to keep his eye on the ball and quit dancing on the field! He really is a good player when he stays focused:)

Many blessings and cheers for Mom,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We are all important

The Village of Korah - A short documentary from Session 7 Media on Vimeo.

You will want to watch this video over and over. It's so well done...incredibly sad and incredibly beautiful-all at the same time.

A quick update-252 kids have been sponsored to the boarding school! (It is at capacity)
-22 have been sponsored to a technical school (There are more young adults who are eligible to be sponsored to
technical school. The cost is $600 per year. This needs to be done fairly quickly as school is soon to begin)
-Just imagine what sponsoring a young adult so they can get an education at technical school would do?

Watch and enjoy!

If you haven't yet read my previous post about the kids who need you, please take the time to do so and then pass it on.

Much thanks,