Paul and Andrea's Adoption Blog

The story of our adoption of an Ethiopian child

Hoppin’ Pants January 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul and Andrea @ 10:45 pm

Today I went shopping at a thrift store down the road from us.  I found out that they have a great selection of books!  It was like I was at Barnes and Noble, only slightly used.  Anyway, after peeling myself away from the book section, I ventured over to the children’s clothes.  I had grabbed a few things for the kids, and then…

 

I saw them.

 

Or maybe you could say, I heard them.  The loudest pants on the face of the planet.

If ever there have been a pair of pants that literally scream Maya’s name, these pants were it.

So, I decided I could spend the 50 cents, and got the girl some pants.

After I got home, Maya woke from her nap.  The pants were at the bottom of a pile of clothes.  I saw her eyes widen as she saw them. She snatched them out, yelling, “Mom, look!” Before I could even look at her, her clothes were stripped off and the pants were going on.  Apparently, love at first sight.

She immediately declared that she could jump and hop better in THESE pants, and so, the “hoppin’ pants” were born.

 

 

Admit it, you wish you had some hoppin’ pants.

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One Year Ago Today. January 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul and Andrea @ 8:19 pm

January 8th – Today marks 1 year with our boy!  One year ago today, we walked into an orphanage in Ethiopia and laid eyes on Elijah for the first time.  Literally years of this adoption journey had led up to this moment.  He was precious. He was beautiful.  He had no idea who we were or what was going on!

And here we are, a year later.  So grown up.  But still with your heartbreaker big brown eyes!

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In only one year, you’ve turned from a wobbly, pensive little baby, to a quirky, “ham” of a little boy.

-One who, after careful consideration, does things like name your new pet fish “Pizza.”

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We love you buddy.  You were an answer to years of prayers when we got you, and you’re an answer to our prayers now.

You fill our family with giggles and snuggles, as you tell us daily “Uppy.” (up please).

You are dearly loved.

Happy Gotcha Day, Elijah.

 

Down on the Farm October 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul and Andrea @ 3:25 pm

I realize it’s been forever since I’ve posted.  I could list excuses, but instead, I’m going to blow right past it and ignore the situation altogether!

One of the past weekends, we went to a farm by Birmingham.  You get to ride a hayride and pick your pumpkin in the pumpkin patch.  There are also animals everywhere and various activities that the kids can do.  We brought a picnic lunch and made a day of it.  Here are some of the highlights.

Elijah, ready to carry the pumpkin he picked back to the hayride.

Turns out that Maya would rather just play in the dirt…

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There was a giant cotton jumping pit, filled with the cotton they grow at the farm.

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Looking at and petting the farm animals.

There were all these great little picture spots for your kids.  We tried and tried.  This is as good as it got.

Ok, that’s better. Apparently, he just needs to hold his pumpkin.

The story that’s still told around our house is “Maya horse!” She was a little scared and started crying at first, but I walked with her and told her she had to ride, knowing that in the end, she would love it.  (Not to mention that we’d already paid…)  She was brave the whole ride and cannot quit telling everyone that the horse “went potty” while she was on it.  You know, the important details.

 

Bus accident August 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul and Andrea @ 7:47 pm

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Elijah might need more practice driving. He was none too happy about getting his bus stuck in the coffee table.

 

A bunch of pics! June 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul and Andrea @ 8:58 pm

We have had a GREAT last few days with both kids!  We had a fun weekend just hanging out and being together most of the time.  Things feel more like they may be beginning to gel between us all.  But, that may also be because I had Paul to help all weekend!  I guess we’ll see how I feel tomorrow!   Here are some pics from the weekend of the kiddos.

VERY excited about her dress.  Maya is a girly girl to the core!  Paul and I both wonder how WE ended up with a girly girl.  Let’s just say neither of us are very pink or sparkly…

You want us to pose how???

The cheesy brother/sister love smile…

Elijah has fit very well into the role of “annoying little brother”…

Mid-throw into the air!

Apparently, VERY proud of the nap he just took!

It’s just not corn on the cob if it’s not spread from ear to ear!

Composing his first concerto.

 

What we’ve learned so far. June 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul and Andrea @ 2:06 pm

Wow, this is hard.  I think we are now over the “honeymoon phase” of having Maya in our family.  At first, she was a little scared, it was unknown, and I think there were probably memories of her previous caregivers telling her to obey us.

Now, we are into phase 2.  Let the issues surface and the tantrums begin.  It’s obvious that there are problems and hurts that run deep in this girl.  And, there are 3 years of reinforced bad behavior to correct.  It’s always back to the questions of what to discipline and what to let slide.  We are definitely having to pick our battles right now.  Some social workers say to not discipline yet, they need to feel “loved in” to your family.  Ok, but on the other hand, we are also now setting the expectations for what it’s like to live in our family.  There are simply some things we do not do as a part of this family.

But, I am so thankful that we are in the place we are.  Adoption is so prevalent here at Brook Hills – there are numerous families and experiences to draw on for advice.  It was so good to talk to Sheryl Turner today about some specific issues we are having.  They adopted a 4-year-old boy from Guatemala a couple of years ago.  Just to hear how they handled discipline, bedtime, etc.  And also, it was just really good to know that our situation is not unique.  This phase is hard for every parents of an adopted toddler, and yes, it will pass.

On another note, Maya is taking huge strides in some areas.  She’s already using some English (can I say how funny it is to hear a 3-year-old with a thick accent?), we have been working on attention span, and she’s starting to figure out entertaining herself for short times.  She is still very giggly, and she and Elijah can sit at the table now and just make noises at each other and giggle the meal away.  Very funny.  She’s a dancing machine, and Elijah has started his own “head dance” to go along with hers!

Here’s some pics from the week.

Yes, you have to pick your battles, and standing too close to the TV isn’t one I’ve chosen to pick yet!

Fun with pipe cleaners!

Swimming isn’t scary anymore!

 

Week one, down. June 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul and Andrea @ 10:25 pm

We’ve been home now since Tuesday night.  Thankfully, my mom has been here until today helping us out.  She has been a huge help, and will definitely be missed!

Overall, Maya is a great girl.  We are going to have fun with her, and I think she will be a thoughtful and helpful big sister.  However, there is still a HUGE adjustment to take place.

We have heard off and on that when you adopt, you should try to keep the birth order in tact.  Meaning, you should bring a new child into the family who is younger than the current children.  Well, that wasn’t an option for us, so we’re hoping for the best…  I have now learned one reason why they recommend that.  Had we had Maya in our family for a while, and were now bringing in Elijah – we could explain to Maya that he just needs some extra attention for a while, etc.  We can’t explain that to Elijah – he’s just mad that someone else is hogging his mom’s lap!  It’s definitely a challenge having 2 adopted children, when the first one is still relatively new to settling in.  We will have to be very intentional to not backtrack with Elijah and give him the attention that he needs too.

Our first day home with Maya was hard.  Draining, to say the least.  Adopting a 3-year-old is a whole different ballgame than an infant.  Elijah wasn’t old enough to really have opinions and an attitude!  And the hard part for me is knowing when to say no and set boundaries, and when to have grace and love her into our family.  I know that she was corrected very strongly in Haiti – we got to see one of her careworkers correct her somewhat harshly, and saw Maya shut down because of it.  So, I don’t want to be that.  She needs to know that we love her and have grace for her – accidents happen, mistakes get made, but we still absolutely love you.  On the other hand, she needs to understand boundaries as a part of this family.  It’s hard to know when to discipline, and how to explain with a language barrier.  And the other struggle for me is, when I am frustrated – to not stay mad!  So, we are working through boundaries – and she is one to test every single one of them.

She has great instincts with Elijah.  She gives him kisses and gently holds his hands.  She’ll share toys, and rub him when he cries.  Of course, they already have tugging wars over the same toys, but what kids don’t?  One sweet moment was with our dogs, who she is still very scared of.  They were in their kennel and Elijah was crawling up to the door, like he often does.  She started yelling frantically, and waving for him to come away.  Finally, as a last ditch effort, she ran up, grabbed his arm and drug him away from the kennel – saving him from “certain death!”  I think she’ll look out for him!

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Maya loves to dance!  The first time we saw it was on Sunday, the first day we had her.  She was sitting on my lap on our hotel balcony.  We hadn’t even gotten a hint of a smile or word from her yet.  There was some music playing below, and as an instinct, her hands and shoulders starting going.  Very subtly, but it was there!  Now she’ll start up Elijah’s music toys, and let loose in the living room.  Today she had her hands on her hips, doing some type of dance.  I would love to see the dance that she’s imitating!