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

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pause - 2013

Practicing with Daddy fall 2013

I wish there were a pause button to prevent Ariam from growing any older.

It is a funny thing living with a 4 year old. She has one foot in her babyhood still drinking from her sippy cup at night, still dancing to Y.o G.abba videos, and generally still needing a lot of kissing of hurts and reminders that she will always be our baby.

She still misunderstands things that make us howl with laughter (hidden in our hands of course.) 
"Is a porcupine made of pork mommy?" 

But so much is changing fast around here.
She has declared her new favorite music to be Beyon.ce, her new favorite activity is running like an olympic athlete on the soccer field or trying gymnastics moves, and she often tells us that she can't wait to be a grown up and have her own house and husband and babies (next door of course.)

With Gordan, her classroom mascot, visiting her gymnastics class

Sometimes she says things that make our jaws drop in awe instead of laughter.
"God is going to love the hair he gave me when He sees me in heaven!"

With baby "Rosie"
This was a big, hard, long year for our family as a whole. But when I look at Ariam I see so much resilience. She is laughter even in rain and joy in the midst of defeat. Her general outlook is optimistic and happy.

My first early memories are from age 3 and 4. While sometimes she can't seem to remember what happened last week, I hope some wonderful memories settled in the back of Ariam's mind this year.

About Ariam in 2013, age 3.5-4.5:

Growth. She grew so much. It was a never ending search for clothes that fit her long legs and handing on all of size 3 and also most of size 4 to smaller friends. She has been in the 75th percentile or above for height all year and in the 50th percentile for weight. 

Heath. She was incredibly healthy which we always find somewhat miraculous. But she did have a round of what seemed like food poisoning that we hope won't settle in as a major memory for her. (Although I think we will never be able to forget it.)

Helping. She began helping around the house. One morning we woke up to find she had put away the dishes from the dishwasher. Minus the knives of course. She did it one plate at a time using her stool to reach the cupboard. We estimate it took her 45+ minutes. We were shocked and amazed. 

Reading. She began to sound out words. Nobody warned me how hard it is to sit with a 4 year old and listen to her try to sound out the words at a rate of 20 minutes per page before bed. Very very glad she is doing a lot of this hard work of learning to read and write in school. Teachers amaze me.

With Solomon, spring 2013

Praying. She began to pray, outloud and with sincerity. She talked a lot about what it means that God is always with us. Her exploration of the concepts around God, Jesus, our faith, other faiths, amaze, perplex and oftentimes stump us. 

Sassing. The sass began. And while we force ourselves to swallow the laughter, other times it is a very yucky glimpse of future teen years. We are working on figuring out how to put an end to grumbling, moaning about things being unfair, and the big pronouncements of "I wish I weren't a kid so I could make all the rules for myself!!"

This is the "angry face" - it makes us laugh
Uh oh

Firsts in 2013:

  • hair salon experience
  • roller coaster
  • feeling comfortable in and around water
  • international travel
  • meeting her little brother
  • turning 4!!
  • saying goodbye to her beloved preschool teacher, Miss Cristin
  • photographed for 2 books: Letters from Haiti and B is for Book

Santa Fe, with my sister's boyfriend May 2013

On the way to Haiti, Florida April 2013

First moments meeting. Both suck their bottom lip when nervous.

The salon with Tipheny

4th birthday at Menchie's frozen yogurt - animal theme - July 2013

2nd celebration at Aya and Papa's house
Goodbye to Miss Cristin fall 2013
Post photo shoot treat with Hilina, November 2013

Firsts we are looking forward to in 2014:

  • sleeping all through the night without her coming to our room (we'll see...)
  • reading a whole book instead of just a few words at a time
  • swimming without help/continuing to be less afraid in water
  • starting kindergarten
  • watching a movie? (Ariam is both scared of and bored by kids' movies. This perplexes us.)
  • seeing her brother come home, seeing the end to 2 years of talking about but not being with him
  • maybe taking a family vacation that does not involve going to Haiti?
This post wouldn't be complete without mentioning Ariam's best friend Solomon. Sol is a big part of her world even though he lives a few hours away. 
She and he mostly love one another even though Ariam does not really like dinosaurs and Sol does not prefer to play with baby dolls.

The infamous upstaging of July 4, 2013

Ariam has a personal goal to lose those training wheels as soon as possible 

Sometimes they hate one another. Then we take photos and laugh. Both frequently accuse each other of being "too loud." If they are tired it ends like this....

If Ariam were reading this as an adult tomorrow I would want her to know that at age 4 she is empathetic, equally ready for silliness and snuggling at all times, outspoken (some might say bossy but I call it leadership), careful with her things and a bit cautious in her experiences, athletic, full of ideas for making crafts, constantly talking and processing outloud, a performer who loves an audience, a lover of all things frilly and twirly, always hungry for a big meal, and a natural dancer. She is a classic only child and struggles to compromise with friends sometimes. She is used to getting her way because she doesn't have any siblings to share us or her stuff with. Yet. But she is also laughter and light.

Mother's Day 2013


This book has provided a lot of conversation

August, her playmate and the victim of frequently being dressed up like a baby doll 

Christmas 2013 - size 5/6 robe, long legs, and looking so grown up

Her favorite toy is her baby doll and lately her doll houses. 

Daddy is her favorite person on earth.

Her least favorite things to do include anything in the cold (me too!), having her hair washed, and ever having to miss school for any reason (doctor's appointments, holidays, etc.) She also does not enjoy hiking which we sure hope to change at some point.

Every day we are challenged by Ariam's ability to talk non-stop, overhear everything, ask hard questions, think complicated thoughts, and her desire to be one of the adults. We love it and we are...ehem...challenged by it. 

We hope that when AJ gets home Ariam will find a lot of amusement in being one of two instead of the only child. 



  1. I was thinking about you today. I'm so glad you posted.

    I saw a photo of AJ on the Livesay's instagram and I wanted to let you know I'm praying for you and that your family will be united soon.

  2. Love, love, love. She is so beautiful!

  3. Wow, girl. This post was so beautiful.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I have been reading this blog for a while as I have friends that have adopted from Ethiopia and have you linked as I think you may have adopted from same agency in Ethiopia. I hope that you can bring AJ home soon. To Kiki - whoever you are - how is this your business? Why would you make such comments when you have no knowledge of the whole story. Instead of posting hurtful messages on someone's site you do not know, why don't you take that energy and opinion and try to use it to help someone or do something good and gracious.


Some of my very dearest friendships have been made through writing this blog and reading blogs written by other adoptive families. Comments help to facilitate and grow relationships and I welcome any written with positive intentions.

Anonymous negative comments will not be posted. If you want to say it, please put your real name to it! Thanks. :)