Friday, December 17, 2010

This time last year...

I keep thinking of "this time last year" in regards to Sammy...
This time last year, Sammy:
  • was Wondimu Shiberu
  • was 14 months old
  • had just learned to walk
  • was still living with his birth mother
  • would regularly go without food
This time last year:
  • we had no idea who Wondimu Shiberu was
  • we had just completed our home study
  • I was think of him and praying for him constantly
  • I was wondering if he had food or blankets
  • I was wondering what kind of circumstances would make him available for adoption...this thought was always devastating and scary to me because the reality is, my greatest joy & blessing has resulted because of someone else's tragedy. I was well-aware that my son was about to endure some kind of tragic loss and there was nothing I could do to protect him from that or comfort him in the midst of it.
This year at Christmas I have seen everything through Sammy's eyes:
  • watching a freshly cut Christmas tree fall to the ground
  • seeing that tree light up for the first time...Sammy said, "Wow!"
  • tasting hot chocolate
  • meeting family members for the first time
  • receiving so many gifts from various people
  • seeing a camel and petting a sheep
2010 has been a year of dramatic change for him. He has lived in four different places with 4 different sets of caregivers this year. The longest time he's spent in any one place is 4 months. He is on his 3rd language in one year. He went from having no worldly possessions in rural Ethiopia to living in one of the wealthiest and largest metropolitan areas in America. He lost his birth mother-- the woman who likely slept with him every night, carried him in her shawl throughout the day, and nursed him at her breasts for his first 15 months of life. He gained his forever family who will love him, protect him, and provide for him. We were not there to cheer for him as he took his first steps, but we will be the ones to cheer him on as he walks across the stage at his graduation.

My heart has ached for him as I've watched him grieve his losses and struggle through continued fear of abandonment. My heart has also rejoiced over him as I've seen light and life return to those beautiful brown eyes. There is no sound sweeter to my ears than Sammy's belly laugh.

Sammy is
  • a picture of God's redemption
  • the answer to my prayers
  • the perfect fit in our family
This is Sammy's first Christmas...finally HOME! I am thanking God for TWO very special babies this Christmas: both born in rural villages to poor families, both familiar with tragedy and loss, and both changed my life forever.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Immanuel, The With of God

I love this poem, written by Beth Moore. Especially at Christmas time. Hope it blesses you today!

Immanuel, the With of God
Incarnate Love on carnal sod
Set aside Thy lofty crown
Knees of God kneeling down.
Spirit feet shod with flesh
Earth prints of celestial steps.
Fullness of the Diety
Draping God that man might see.
Volume of that silent Voice
The Word made flesh--O Blessed Choice!
What is man that Thou wouldst come
Wrapped as we, that we'd be one?
Wake, O Sleeper! Tongue must tell!
It's God with us!
Beth Moore
"Further Still"

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bringing Up Boys

The other day, as I was getting Caedmon dressed for school, Sammy had a toy that Caedmon wanted to play with. Of course it was a piece of junk toy that we've had forever, got for free at some carnival, and Caedmon hasn't thought twice about since. But Sammy had it and so Caedmon wanted it. (The toy was a miniature skateboard, about the same size as a matchbox car.)

I've been teaching Caedmon that he can create a win/win situation by finding a toy that Sammy would enjoy and offering him that toy as a trade. Most of the time this works well, as Sammy is easily distracted and easy to entertain.

On this particular morning, Caedmon decided to try out this method of "peacemaking". Well, kind of. He snatched the skateboard out of Sammy's hand before remembering to provide an alternative toy for his brother. So he ran to his room (wearing just a pair of underwear) to get a car to offer Sammy and instead came back with two cars but no skateboard. He handed Sammy the cars. And then. He pulled the skateboard out of his underwear while explaining to me that his hands were full and he needed a place to carry the skateboard.

At least he's resourceful, right?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Bad Case of "It Wasn't ME!"

So, Andy and I are slightly nervous that Sammy may have a bad case of tattle-telling and blame-shifting when he gets enough language to do so. Here's a funny story to demonstrate the concern...

Whenever Caedmon looks at Sammy, touches Sammy, takes a toy from Sammy, etc...Sammy begins to cry (not real tears) and says with a disgusted look on his face, "Kay-Kay. Kay-Kay." Most of the time, I can't blame him. Caedmon has not really developed the art of being gentle, kind, and generous. Often the tears are indeed provoked, at least to some level.

The other day, however...

Andy walked in the room to find Sammy messing with his computer. Sammy knows the computer is off limits and when he saw Andy walk in the room, he took off running down the hall, 'crying' and yelling, "Kay-Kay" all the way. Caedmon was not even in the room, but rather out in the living room watching his TV show!

It's amazing how innate the tendency to shift blame can be...and not just in 2 year olds!