Monday, June 26, 2006

Target on a Monday night

So tonight I went over to Target to buy Anna a swim diaper (planning to head to the pool with Grandma and Grandpa Perruzzi tomorrow). WELL, as I was paying for my stuff two policemen came into the store, one of them wearing a thick looking vest of some sort. Apparently two women were in a brawl!!! That's right, a chick fight in Target on a Monday night.

This is actually the second time something strange has happened while I was in there. Once several months ago, Kevin, Anna and I were shopping and there were employees with walkie talkies trying to bust some guy for shoplifting. They were sneakily trailing him through the store, hiding behind clothing racks, etc. It was hilarious!

Sadly, I have no pictures of the fight to post being that I didn't actually see it--though that would sure be awesome (a perfect opportunity to have used my new camera phone. Bummer.) Ah, a day in the life of Santa Maria. Jeannett and Andy, this post's for you.

What's in a name?

First of all, I know I haven't posted in FOREVER, but Blogger for some reason isn't uploading my pictures! And posts without pictures aren't any fun! I don't know when I'll be able to upload them again though, so I figured I better just do a post without.

Okay, on to the topic of my post. One of the many interesting things about international adoption is the whole naming issue. When you receive a referral for a child or children, they already have a name. Maybe their name was given to them by birth parents, or by a caregiver, or by the person who found them if they had been abandoned. Regardless, they come with a name.

There is a lot of debate within the adoption community over whether adoptive parents should keep the child's given name, change it, keep it as a middle name, etc. Many things play into a parent's decision--the age of the child, who named them, what their given name is.

When Kevin and I received our referral for twin boys back in December, we waffled back and forth on what to do. Our sons were relinquished by their birth mother as unnamed, and were named Yosef and Biniam by a volunteer at Layla House, AAI's facility in Ethiopia. From the getgo we liked their Ethiopian names, but also wanted to give them names ourselves. We loved the names Ezra and Isaiah and made the decision to keep their Ethiopian names as middle names, and so they would be named Ezra Yosef and Isaiah Biniam. We felt once the boys were old enough they could choose which name to go by.

While we were in Ethiopia though we called them Yosef and Biniam. Some nicknames also emerged: Yos, Yosie, Bin, Binny. We planned to switch over to their new names once we got home.

Interestingly though, the name Ezra Yosef "stuck" more than Isaiah Biniam for most people. As for myelf, I could never seem to make the switch for either of them. I have rarely called them Ezra or Isaiah. To me they were Yosef and Biniam. A lot of people couldn't keep the names Ezra and Isaiah straight--I think perhaps the names are too similar. I've had different people ask me in a surprised voice why we switched the names. AND, perhaps the biggest issue we have come across, has been the few times where I have gotten the impression that people are against anything more ethnic-sounding than the name Bob. That made me sad because while we had good reasons for our initial choice, Kevin and I NEVER wanted, nor want, to gloss over or erase any part of our sons' heritage or past. I want my kids to have a healthy sense of self and identity. Part of that means being comfortable with where you came from, with who you are, and with where you're headed.

After a LOT of discussion, we have made the decision to keep Yosef and Biniam as the boys' first names. We aren't sure what we'll do for middle names, but we have a couple of ideas and a couple of months to decide. We have such fond memories of the caregivers at Layla House kissing our boys and holding them, going "Yosie! Binny!" We even got to meet and spend some time talking with the volunteer who named our sons while we were there. Sometimes I look at Yos and Bin and think, how crazy that they spent over a year of their lives in a place so far from here! How strange that they had a life before us Heldts, filled with other faces, other experiences, a completely different culture. What a gift that they spent their first year of life in a place that loved them, cared for them, and sought a family for them. What a gift now, for us, to get to have these boys as our sons.

SO, that is our journey with the names. (I would love to hear other adoptive parents' thought processes on this with their own children. From what I've observed, it would seem most parents have changed their child's name.) In case any of you are wondering, the boys respond to either name and know them both, so there won't be any confusion in dropping Ezra and Isaiah. Once our sons are older, if they are uncomfortable having "different" names, we can certainly figure something out. But for now, Yosef and Biniam they shall remain.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

Kevin officially became a father for the first time on February 10th, 2004. After only 6 and 1/2 hours of labor Anna Elisabeth came into the world.

It has been such a neat experience getting to know my husband as a father. We found out we were expecting our first baby on our one-year wedding anniversary back in 2003. We had just moved up here from Santa Barbara and bought a new home and I had just gone back to school to finish getting my degree when the two little pink lines came into focus. We were both elated and those nine months seemed to draggggg by. They were filled with lots of anticipation. Kevin got to paint the nursery, assemble the nursery furniture, and get kicked by the baby in my growing stomach every night. (The picture below is me 9 months pregnant, just one week before Anna's birth!)

It has been so awesome to see the relationship between Kevin and Anna. He is the sweetest, most empathetic, fun daddy that he could possibly be! When Anna was a baby Kevin was great at cuddling her, but especially at making her laugh and doing fun, silly things with her. Now that she's 28 months old, he loves to fly her around like Superman, tickle her, and talk to her about all sorts of things. Each night before bed he gives her a blessing, and she loves it. He brings such a fresh, different perspective to parenting than I do.

And last spring I burst out with a seemingly from-out-of-nowhere idea: "There are so many children without homes all over the world, and it shouldn't be that way. We need to adopt someday." I had no clue how Kevin would react to this--the minute Anna was born, we both knew we wanted a large family (kids are AWESOME!) but this was something we had never, ever considered/discussed. And here I was suggesting we pursue international adoption. Kevin was amazingly receptive, wanted to hear more about my thoughts on it, and it only took maybe a ten minute discussion for him to be as passionate about it as I was. It was settled and July 1 we mailed off our adoption application to adopt siblings from Ethiopia.

It was so neat to see Kevin's heart grow throughout the 7 month process to get our sons. When we got the call in December saying that twin baby boys needed a family, he was in love--before we saw their pictures, or their medicals, before he knew anything more than two children in Ethiopia had no family to take care of them.

On February 15, 2005 Yosef and Biniam were placed in our arms, our very first sons. Adoption is very, very different from giving birth. I have been blessed to see the depth of my husband's patience, love, and strength in loving his sons, especially when they were grieving, sick, or afraid. Without a doubt this has contributed to the fact that our boys trust us and feel secure in our family. And Yosef is the ultimate "daddy's boy"--that kid LOVES his dad!

One of the greatest things about Kevin as a dad is, in my mind, the fact that he truly delights in each of his kids. You won't find him complaining about how much work, stress, or trouble kids are--although he does have a great sense of humor about things. And I get to see this delight play out every single day, in the way he "rough-houses" with his giggling sons, the way he'll sit and read story after story to his daughter, the way just last night, after Yosef woke up from a sound sleep screaming and crying, Kevin held him tight, carried him around, and reassured him.

All of that to say, I am so, so happy that my kids have such an awesome dad that loves them so incredibly much. Having a baby changed both of us in ways unimaginable, and being blessed with two more children through adoption has changed us in even greater ways. Today I thank God for my husband, for who he is, who he has become and for the love he has for and receives from his three children. Happy Father's Day!

(Unfortunately blogger isn't letting me upload any more photos so I wasn't able to get any of Kevin with our boys! I'll try to add them later.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Seen any good movies lately?

So I am at a loss of what to post about lately. But I don't want to be one of those people who has a blog but doesn't update it. SO, here are some movies I've seen over the last few months. What are some movies you've seen???

-"The Breakup"--I liked the movie but the ending was frustrating!
-"Memoirs of a Geisha"--Loved it.
-"The Color Purple"--Totally an old movie but so good! We both really enjoyed it.
-"Hide and Seek"--Really scary and suspenseful.
-"Meet the Fockers"--Pretty funny.
-"Fahrenheit 9/11"--Ah, Michael Moore. Never thought I'd ever watch one of his movies, but the truth is I find him amusing. There are things in this film that I think people should see. Footage of Iraq, the war, interviews with Iraqis, etc. When all was said and done Kevin and I both were glad to have seen it (even though we didn't agree with all of Michael Moore's opinions.)
-"Beloved"--Really weird movie. Looked like some inspirational story/drama from the cover, but it is really scary and icky and just bizarre. I don't recommend it--pretty much a waste of time. :)
-"My Date with Drew"--So fun! Definitely a fun documentary to watch. Kevin and I both got a kick out of it.
-"Crash"--Excellent movie, really thought-provoking (though not the feel-good movie of the year)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Cool day!

So today I was asked to come give a presentation/talk about Ethiopia, our trip, etc. to the 6th grade class at Creston Elementary School (my dad's the teacher.) The background is that this year my dad started Project Kenya, a pen-pal/sponsorship program with a school in Kisumu, Kenya. In addition to corresponding with these kids from across the world, my dad's class brings in money to sponsor an orphan over in Kenya, they bring in money to buy kids bicycles over there so they can get to school, and they also bring in money to pay for some of the orphans' lunches. Not bad for a bunch of 11 year olds in a not-particularly-high-income area! (As a result my dad was asked to design/build the website for the national Kenyan Drama Festivals. Go Dad!)

ANYWAY, these kids have developed some seriously awesome compassion, care and concern for their Kenyan friends. The class has also kind of followed our adoption (the day I called my dad in his classroom to tell him we got the call to go to Ethiopia, the whole class clapped and cheered.) Tomorrow's the last day of school before summer, so today I headed in with some video we took while in Ethiopia and some Ethiopian souvenirs. (I found out yesterday that the school principal and another teacher were going to come and watch as well--scary!)

Well, God totally blessed the whole thing. The kids ROCKED--they'd written down questions ahead of time for me to answer. Many of them very deep questions, many of them fun questions. They had such a genuine interest and concern for the people I was describing. I've talked to a lot of people about our time in Ethiopia, about the people there, etc. but these kids were something else. Their genuine enthusiasm and raw compassion was something beautiful to behold. (And these kids are SMART! I was blown away!)

While I was talking about the widespread poverty there, one boy raised his hand and asked "Do the other people in Ethiopia look down on the poor people there, like they do here?" These kids are thinkers! Another student asked why AIDS is so prevalent in Africa, as compared to the United States. They wanted to know the life expectancy of a child born with HIV, if we saw any homeless children, if we want to return someday with the boys (ABSOLUTELY I said), if they wear seatbelts, how long it takes to adopt, and the list goes on. I felt totally humbled to be "representing" Ethiopia to these kids.

So, an awesome day. My prayer is that God will continue to open doors for me to advocate on behalf of the beautiful people of Ethiopia.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Caught red-handed!

So tonight my mom called and wanted to say hi to Anna. For the life of me I couldn't find her...until I entered the office. There sat Anna, at the computer, covered in chocolate from the chocolate chip cookies she was sneakily scarfing down!

I had made cookies Wednesday night, and had the bag of them in the office earlier when I was on the computer. Oops.

Anyway, this must be some toddler rite of passage, so I thought it deserved a post on the blog!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Doctor's visit and prayer request

Today I took the boys (and Anna tagged along) to the doctor for their "15 month checkup" (even though technically they are probably more like 19 months old...confusing, I know.) Yosef seems to have gotten over his fear of the doctor, which is good. AND we found out both boys are giardia free--yay!

If you think of it, please be praying for Biniam. He is just not able to put on weight, or at least as much as he should. The doctor is giving him one more month. If he hasn't made significant gains, he will officially be diagnosed as having "failure to thrive" and will have to see a specialist to try to find out what is wrong. I looked it up on the internet and there are all sorts of possible reasons, some not so serious, some very serious.

Biniam's medical history from Ethiopia includes the comment that he had struggled with "inconsistent weight gain", which is in line with what is going on now. We had thought it was possibly due to the giardia/life in an institution, but now it's clear that isn't the case. He remains very skinny and in spite of the fact that he eats a normal amount of food, he doesn't gain like a child normally would. I had been thinking about that today, and planned to ask the doctor--I really felt like something must be wrong. So I was really relieved when he was the one who brought it up.

I know God is in control, and right now it is abundantly clear that I am not. It is so hard not to worry, imagine all sorts of worst-case scenarios, etc. But God knows, and He'll give us whatever strength/grace we need when we need it. He is faithful!

Blog Template by