Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Six months and counting

Well, two days ago marked the six month anniversary of when we brought our boys home! In most ways our time in Ethiopia seems like an eternity ago, and I honestly can barely remember what life was like before Yosef and Biniam!

The past six months have included a lot of joy, love, and hard work. Our sons have changed a lot since our first meeting at Layla House--Biniam, the supposed quiet cuddler, has transitioned into an extremely active, cheery, mischevious little boy who rarely has time for sitting on Mom or Dad's lap. When we met him he had barely any muscle tone in his little legs (which were so tiny and stick-like) and was unable to walk. Now he tears around the house after his brother and sister and you'd think he's been walking for a lot longer than four months. Yosef is still his "life of the party" self, although he now gets a little shy around strangers and strange situations, and he has become quite the helper around the house. He loves pleasing Mom and Dad and has a definite sensitive side. Yosef is also the swimmer of the group and loves water.

The boys still only say a handful of words, but their vocabulary is always growing. Just this weekend, for the very first time (and all on his own), Biniam stood at the door and said "Bye bye, Grandpa." He's also been saying "please" lately, which is really cute. When Kevin comes home each night, the minute the kids hear the door open, they all shout "Daddy! Daddy!" and make a beeline for him.

It is amazing to me that Anna has only known her brothers for six months. She loves them to pieces and is quite the big sister. She's always looking out for them, and just this morning brought her special blanket to lay over Yosef when he was crying and upset. She loves "reading" to them and tucking them in at night. They play "cool games" with each other (yep, Anna coined that term) and to be honest I think Anna would be lost without these two boys. And judging by the way they trail after her all day long, they'd be lost without her.

As for myself, I can't imagine never knowing these two kids. They are such a bright spot in my life and it is strange to think that I've known them for less than a year! I also regularly forget that they come from a world away, from another continent, another country, another culture. When I see them running all over over the house and making it clear that they run the show here, it's easy to forget that not all that long ago, they led a life that was very, very different. It's easy to forget that they are someone else's birth sons, that they spent over a year living without a family to love them, and that they were adopted by someone else, before they finally came to be ours.

There have been challenges to be sure. We're still trying to figure out Biniam's slow weight gain, I'm always wondering how they're adjusting/attaching, if we're doing the right things. We've had plenty of draining encounters with well-intentioned people that make me worry for the boys' future, growing up in a transracial family. I find myself tired some of the time and keeping the house clean with three active toddlers running around is always an uphill battle. And then of course sometimes I miss blending in--at church, at the grocery store, at social gatherings.

But these last six months have brought blessing upon blessing and I am increasingly convinced that the Lord means what He says and is faithful, even when I am tired, cranky, worried. The joy that Yosef and Biniam have brought to our lives makes any of the frustrations or challenges pale in comparison. We find ourselves saying regularly to each other, these kids are just plain awesome! I look and see how much God has grown our hearts through these boys and this whole experience, in ways that I know could not have happened otherwise. "Family" has been redefined, I've learned that love can come in different ways but it comes just the same, borders and genetics and fitting in have become trivial. God has surely given us a glimpse into His heart and for that I am grateful. I am slowly learning about what it means to love more than just myself, or my family, or the people in my country.

All of this to say, it has been a wild ride. When God sent us on a plane six months ago to Africa, I had no real clue what was in store for me. Honestly I am still discovering what He had for me there, but one thing I know for sure, we received two precious, precious gifts that I never want to take for granted. I am so grateful for my sons, for Anna's brothers, for the little boys that love to laugh and smile (and hit each other!), and I am totally geared up for another crazy six months!

8 comments:

richlisad said...

"When God sent us on a plane six months ago to Africa, I had no real clue what was in store for me." I think we are exposed to a wonderful part of the Kingdom that was veiled to us before this experience.

We love reading about your heart for your kids, and others too.

Rich

Jeannett Gibson said...

And...???? :0)

It's been fun getting to know the boys...Bin was always the quiet little dude at first, but even just this Sunday I noticed that he was just lit up and bubbly! So neat to see them grow and become accustomed to their new life. Anna will be an amazing woman with all this...good job!

Rachel said...

I'm still teary after your email, and this post sure didn't help! I cannot believe it has only been six months. It does seem like they have always been part of the family!

Andy Gibson said...

Awesome.

Bek said...

This was beautiful. You captured the fears and joys that we have experienced as well.....and you did it in such a beautiful way...

I am teary right now....

darci said...

That was such a beautiful thing to read! God bless you and your precious little family. It is always a blessing to read your blog.

MP2 said...

You guys are all so neat!

shells said...

Love it. Thanks for being such a good communicator. It would have taken me weeks to get my point across and it would not have been so nicely written. I am glad there is another crazy young family out there!

 

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