Thursday, April 28, 2011

One report done, only 16 more to go!

We had our first post-placement visit last week, and it went great. Our social worker was so impressed with Amani's ability to speak English so clearly and with the amount that he already knows, after just six weeks (at the time) of being home.

Some of the cute things he says; "Ox crem" for our Papa's dog- Oscar and also for "Ice Cream", "Garab**ch" for garbage "duce brudish" for tooth brush; "Amani, sleeping, bed" (when it's time to sleep), "Amani's shouish" for Amani's house (that one took me a bit to figure out). Today when he was all done eating he said "All done Amani, Amani belly owie". We took that to mean he was full!
He is such a great helper around the house, pitching in whenever and wherever he can; emptying the garbage, helping my with laundry, sweeping the floors, getting out the napkins for supper. Afterwards, he pats himself on the back with a "Good job Amani!" before mom can even praise him! He truly is a blessing from the Lord and we couldn't be more thrilled with our new son!


I know, I need to get better at posting more often. Today is the first day in a long time that I've been able to be on the computer for more than 10 minutes at a time and I am not quick enough to post something in 10 minutes!

Amani is still doing great. He is such a joy to have around. He is so lovable and happy and so darn cute! See for yourself:
Dressing up with big sis Alaina

Learning to ride his Dora (hand-me-down) tricycle
Slowly becoming friends with the dog, Maddie

Hanging out with daddy, eating some lunch!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

First two trips to church

We haven't ventured out a lot since Amani has been home, Walmart, Festival Foods, Kohls, that's about it for stores. We have also been over to my parents, my sisters and my friend Shelley's for a play-date. I was most nervous about taking him to church. How would he behave, what would he think of



for an hour?

He actually did quite well. We took him on Monday, the 11th (which also happened to be daddy's birthday-:) and other than the summersaults daddy let him do in the narthex, he was pretty good - considering we didn't get out until 7:45pm! Payton and Ava sang in church that night and Payton's class played the chimes- so beautiful, so he had something to listen to/ watch that included our family.

The second time we took him Alaina sang in church with her class- last Saturday night. This time he had a little harder time sitting still, but he still did pretty good. We had snacks and things to write on to keep him busy. But as the 1st graders sang, he sang right along with and it was adorable. Hallelu! Hallelu! "Raise ye da Lor", or something like that.

He doesn't understand completely what is going on, but he does know we talk about Jesus, because when were were leaving - putting coats on he announced to those in our listening area: "All done Jesus". Good to know he was paying attention!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

How is Amani doing?

Sorry it's been so long since I've updated. This momma doesn't spend much time on the computer anymore, so that makes keeping up a blog a difficult task. I still have so much to post about our ET trips, but wanted to share a bit about Amani that we've experienced during the last three weeks. I'm sure many are wondering, just how is it really going with Amani? I hate to say it, because I am afraid I might jinx it, but he is doing AMAZING! Before reading, please understand that I am not naive, I do know that things can't stay this good forever - we understand we are in the "honeymoon" phase. But for right now, we are praising God and giving thanks for the wonderful 3 weeks we've had so far!

He falls asleep for his daily one hour nap in 5-10 minutes

He goes to bed singing 'Jesus Loves Me' and sleeps for 9-10 hours without waking up- thank you Lord!

He eats almost anything we give him even fried onions- not picky AT ALL!

He reminds us to pray at meal time if we get ahead of ourselves and loves to end the prayer with the loudest AMEN ever

He is a great helper around the house- FOR. REAL. - sweeping, picking up his dirty clothes, cleaning up his toys, wiping down the bathroom counter, shoveling snow- all on his own, no prompting- makes us think about what his life was like in Ethiopia - likely lots of manual labor at age 3

He loves to entertain and makes us all laugh til it hurts - singing, dancing, funny facial expressions, dressing up in his sister's princess costumes (daddy isn't too fond of that one)

We went out for pizza a few nights ago for daddy's birthday and he did awesome, sitting still, eating as much as or more than the girls - our first dinner out as a family!

He is a fanatic about "makinas" or cars- he will just randomly start talking about makinas all the time - popping them into any conversation we might be having.

He is crazy about bath time and loves pouring water over his head - I can only imagine what a luxury it is for him to have clean bath water.

one week ago he was deathly afraid out our 15lb dog. Today he says "Amani's doggie", very matter of factly, as in- "this is my dog now - stay away!"

When he gets excited, he tells us the same story over and over in Amharic with actions and sound effects, it's so cute. You know what he is telling you because you have just witnessed it, but don't understand any of the verbal language

He gives lots of hugs and "I lub you's"

Poor kid has had the chicken pox and a nasty bacterial infection so he's had to have shots and lots of blood drawn and has been such a trooper. He takes his medicine twice a day without argument, even though he doesn't like it.

He gets SO excited when a "new" bag of hand-me-down clothing hits the family room floor. A few nights ago, after putting on his pajamas, he put on a pair of snowpants he found in the bag, ran and got his boots and was ready to go outside! After that, he found a belt and a pair of underwear - took off his pjs and his pull-up, put the undies on and was ready for the belt- but couldn't figure out where the undie belt loops were??? SO cute.

He is attaching to us. Those are the greatest words ever to an adoptive parent. He is very shy and hesitant with strangers, very comfortable with being held and hugged/ kissed by us and his brother and sisters, and looks to mommy and daddy for comfort when he has an owie or is sad.

He has shown us true love by trusting us, having faith we will care for him, and is mostly compliant, even when we ask him to do something he doesn't want to.

That last one has really made me think about our love for Jesus. Do we always trust that he has our best interest at heart? Do we have faith that he will care for us in all circumstances and will work even the most difficult situations for our good? Do we obey with glad hearts when God calls us to give, serve, help, sacrifice, love? Sadly, I have to answer no to all 3 of those questions. I don't always trust, act or obey.

But, if we hadn't trusted, acted on faith and obeyed when God called us to adopt, we'd have missed out on our Amani - an amazing blessing from the Lord. We praise God and thank him for being faithful in answering our prayers and bringing us our beautiful son. To Him be the glory!!

What is God asking you to do? Pray, study his Word and ask, and he will answer. Then watch, listen, and get ready to obey!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day Two of Trip 1 to Ethiopia- Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday February 19th, 2011 – The day we met Amanuel!!! We arrived at Hannah’s Hope at 11am and Amanuel was with a group of kids his age. We weren’t expecting them to all be standing inside the gate when we drove in, so we didn’t have our camera ready. Our driver didn’t explain that Amanuel might be one of the children standing out there waiting for us, we kind of thought he’d be with an adult who would bring him to us. It took me a few seconds to scan the group, but then I saw his beautiful face. I stood speechless and then whispered “Jon, there he is.” I wish I had a picture to show everyone, but know that moment will forever be etched in my mind. Once he knew we were his family, he came over and hugged me, not a strong embrace, but a long, sweet hug. Daddy and I also each got a kiss on the cheek. He took daddy’s sunglasses off and started to play with them, something that ended up being a normal occurrence each day we were there. Amanuel, or Amani as he is called at Hannah’s Hope (we had also been calling him that since we got his referral), was very protective of our attention, screeching at the other kids “mine, mine!!” in Amharic- it was pretty cute. He loved to look in my purse and pull out whatever he could; the calculator he used as a phone, pushing buttons and then putting up to his ear “hello?”; hair brush, pen and paper, sunglasses, pretzels, M & M’s, book light, books, the magnetic trains, he had to see it all. He also wanted to play with both cameras and Mama already had to tell him “no”, which he wasn’t a big fan of. He was also obsessed with the hand sanitizer when he got his hands on it and wanted to put it on his face too- which of course is not good for him as it will dry him out even worse! He let us both carry him around, favoring mommy at first, but still good to go with daddy. This changed considerably with each day and he was just as happy with dad as with mom. He shared very nicely with his friends; all of toys we brought, books, coloring book and crayons. He was a little more protective of his “makinas” – cars, but would share them as well. When it was time to collect and pick up, he knew exactly who had what and he collected everything except for the collapsible hairbrush, which I determined I didn’t want back anyway. While we sat in the director's office to go over some paperwork, he sat on my lap, ate pretzels, dug in my purse some more and scribbled on a piece of paper. We traced his hand and daddy’s- his first piece of artwork we will cherish. He even snapped a picture of me and when I’d take pictures of him, he wanted to be able to see them right away so he could see himself. This happened with all the kids- they loved being photographed and wanted to see themselves “I see, I see” they would all say with lots of excitement. He loved it when daddy played silly- lots of laughs and giggles. We kicked a soccer ball around for about 2 minutes and then he lost interest. He went back and forth between wanting us to himself and being with his friends.

When I was talking with the director earlier in the day, Jon went with Amanuel to watch him have his lunch. One of his special mothers told Jon that she loved Amani, that he was a very good, very smart little boy and that some kids are not ready when they meet their new families, but that he was ready to go. What a blessing it was to hear this. We had been praying all along for God to prepare his heart, mind and soul to be ready to come home to us- and God answered so convincingly so early!