The first step is to penetrate the clouds of deceit and distortion and learn the truth about the world,
then to organize and act to change it. That's never been impossible and never been easy. ~Noam Chomsky

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Emotional preparation

The other day I was in the car on a long drive and found myself pulling out Sara Groves CDs. And before I knew it I was belting out Add to the Beauty and speeding along I70 feeling all moved by the poignancy of the sunshine and the mountains and life.

Felt very familiar....

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012


for a little somebody special to arrive from Ethiopia...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

She is 2.5

 I'm snuggled down on the couch, a cooking segment on the Today show. Ariam's play kitchen and baby accessories are spread widely over our new basement family room and she is modeling random items of my clothing.

The dogs are impatient. Talay tore her ACL right before Christmas and is still recovering from surgery. August is 7 months old and under exercised because of the cold.

It's been almost two years since we were matched with "baby Derartu" on March 1, 2010.
Amazing how much a child changes in two years. For J and I, two years doesn't bring a lot of personality or physical change. A few more gray hairs, a few more wrinkles, but we are still recognizable. Ariam is almost unrecognizable, except for her sparkly eyes which I would know anywhere.

She's now 3 feet tall and 30 pounds. Her hair, when stretched, is at least 8 inches long. She prefers her nails painted. She can discuss books and seasons and find Ethiopia on a map. She moved from silence, to "dada" to "JER - come here and get me out of this crib" in the blink of an eye.

As I type Ariam is playing doctor on her baby. She spends much of her imaginative play time caring for others. Heating bottles for her baby and feeding her, giving us imaginary medicine and bandaids on our owies, brushing my hair, or cooking up eggies and chicken nuggets in her toy kitchen. She loves to nurture and help and is consistently kind and empathetic. A few weeks ago when August chewed up my shoe (and I was storming around the house in fury) Ariam followed me around saying "it's ok mommy, I'm sorry. we'll get you another one. it's ok..." in her sweetest softest voice.

She's very verbal. We're constantly amazed by what she absorbs and repeats correctly. Last week her teacher told us that Ariam arrived to school and told them that Daddy took her to Mc.Donald's but wouldn't let her play so she was "very frustrated." She's learning how to talk about her emotions and has less tantrums and breakdowns in general.

Ariam loves people. Names of friends, family, and the grocery store clerks are all very important to her. She knows the name of every baby and child at her daycare and whenever a new person enters her life (or a story) she must know his/her name (and usually the parent's and grandparent's names) immediately.

Sleep is still not her strong suit. We've had several nap fails (but not napping is really not an option in this house) and we went through a period of 2-3 months averaging four wake ups/night. I think Ariam is starting to dream. She's having some night terrors, combined with waking up when she wets her diaper. We've been sleep deprived. But little by little I see it getting better.

Over Thanksgiving Ariam started using the potty. It was amazing. Enough said.

Maybe the biggest change that has taken place since Ariam turned two last July is her growing interest in her story. Once a week I rock her and try to tell her some of the pieces. It's been hard - very hard - knowing how to talk to her about what we know of her life before we met. In our quest to learn the truth about her first family we've been given misinformation more than once. I've learned that the details have to remain fuzzy and that for now the bigger story is all that we can share. Ariam likes to share her story at random times with random people. It usually sounds like this (with very wide eyes) "I was a little baby. I lived with nannies. Then mommy and daddy flew ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE WORLD to come and give me my bottle."

Ariam keeps us laughing constantly. She's outgrown my favorite phrase "I hold you mommy?"But she's moved on to other funny phrases like "No pinching Jesus, right mommy?" (She's very tempted to pinch everyone and everything.)

She is also very obsessed with her (and everybody else's) private parts. She likes to include at least one body part word in every conversation. It goes something like this: "Hey mommy, I want a marshmallow and I saw Andrew's pe.nis at school today."
There are a lot of things I didn't know about raising toddlers. I'm endlessly surprised by how intimate mothering can be. How very little personal body space I'm allowed, how many complex questions have to be answered, how they notice absolutely everything - especially things you try to hide from them and how much personality and strong opinions a child can have by age 2.5. Ariam is already asking us about God and Jesus, about mothers and babies, about body parts, about death, adoption, medicine, J's diabetes, blood sugar, Africa and so much more. She is observant, curious, and chatty beyond belief. With the world's shortest attention span.

I would describe our life as parents as equal parts fascinating, hilarious, and terrifying.

She spends much of her time at home naked or in the process of costume changes.

Ariam desperately wants a baby brother or sister and talks about it all the time. Despite zero encouragement from us, she's been telling her teachers that she's getting a baby really soon. She's not.

Well, not soon soon.........