We are so excited to share our Ethiopian adoption adventure, and our CRAZY lives with all of you! Our hope is that it will encourage you to step out in faith to do what God has called you to do! There are FIELDS of fatherless children waiting for someone to care for them, to love them, to tell them of JESUS' love for them...will YOU be the one??

Monday, October 11, 2010

Three Months Home

I know it's been a while..but it's time for an update!

It's hard to believe it's been three months since we arrived home with Ava. She is still doing well...potty training is going well, she is speaking more English, etc..

She is now sleeping in her sister's room, and only wakes every once in a while screaming(she's not really awake though...night terrors?).

She is still very picky about food, but I'm seriously trying not to make it a battle...I tried in the beginning to always give her something she likes, but let's face it...she needs to learn to eat what everyone else has:).

She does have some curious habits I thought I would share. She likes SHOES..wants them on all the time...anyone's shoes will do...of course, they always wore shoes at the orphanage, so going barefoot is new;).

She would DRINK her meals if I would let her(not good for potty training though;))...she has to EAT first, then drink...we were told they didn't get a lot of milk, juice, etc..maybe only twice a day in the orphanage.

She loves to clean...

She would sit in a children's chair all day long if I let her...again, sitting on the floor is a little new...in fact, she use to grab her little chair and park it right in front of the shower until I was finished.. Honestly, this drove me bonkers!! But she's getting better.

Attachment....well, we thought she was doing well until we took her to Grandma's and left her with her siblings for a couple of hours...she never cried when we left, but cried when it was time to go home! She had apparently found a better deal at this house!! More than a little frustrating I can tell you! People may look at that as positive, but really it's not. Kids from institutions will go wherever/to whomever they get the most from. If you handed Ava to a stranger(a woman), she might cry for ten minutes, but as soon as she pulled out the candy Ava would quiet right down...as I think back about this, that's exactly what happened when we picked her up from the orphanage. Yes, I think she felt safe, but she's a very "lovey" child, so once she saw we were going to hold her(and give her candy), she was fine. All that to say, we will NOT be sending her to Sunday School, etc...for several months yet.

What else? She is counting to ten in English, and loves to look at books with me..

Oh yeah, the test results! We had a full metabolic blood screening done, and she does have mildly elevated levels of lead, and liver enzymes, so we retest in 6 months. She also has "small" red blood cells...or maybe she just meant the number was low...anyway, vitamin with iron daily... Everything else looked fine. A word of caution, make sure you take the medicals with you to the first pediatrician visit. Ava had a TB VACCINE, so if the doctor hadn't caught that she would have tested positive and put on meds for no reason... She always will test positive now because of the vaccine. We are waiting to get in to an opthalmologist about her detached retina.

She is no longer afraid of the vacuum or hair dryer(loves to have her hair dried), and we are working on her large motor skills outside. Her muscles are very weak compared to our other children at this age(obviously). So we are practicing throwing balls, kicking them, and climbing lots of steps!

We still can't decide if she is right or left-handed...hmmm... Puzzles are...well...puzzling to her...very difficult for her to do...she doesn't get the concept.

What else? I'm just blabbering on, but it's been a MONTH since I updated so I've got lots to say;)! Funny story: the other day I had Ava in the kitchen and I said,"Ava, this is the kitchen"..she got this really surprised look on her face and exclaimed in this slightly "drunken" drawl, "Wheresa chicken?!" Totally hilarious!

Oh yes, she LOVES her Daddy to pieces! In fact, she almost prefers him at home now(especially when we have a bad day)...but then she knows Daddy's buttons and can get what she wants from him! Seriously, be on the same page with your husband about expectations, because that little one will play you against each other like CRAZY! For example, she whines CONSTANTLY around him, wanting things, etc...but she KNOWS she will get NOTHING from me if she's whining!

And me? Well, I can honestly say this has been the hardest thing I've ever done in my life...I'll be going along and then the bottom drops out! This little girl is forcing me to deal with issues that I thought I had under control...like anger, bitterness, temper... SINS! Sins that I have to deal with for her sake and mine! And I am...I'm surrendering to a holy GOD who can deliver and change me into the mother she needs! I'm fasting...I'm praying...and I see His hand working! I'm walking in obedience in the task He has given me, and He will fight the enemy on my behalf! I have to believe that...it's what my faith is built on...that He is Who He says He is, and will complete what He started over a year ago now in our hearts! I have friends that I can be totally honest with, who are praying for us as well...and I have a list of counselors if needed!

This adoption has not "ended" like I thought it would....but it's what we're dealing with now, and Ava is worth the work! She wasn't chosen by us...honestly, she wasn't...God had many opportunities to end this adoption process months ago...but HE set this child into our family, and HE knows what He's doing...even if I don't!

Would I adopt again....yes...because these children need families...but let's just say that NOW, my eyes are wide open! There really needs to be some honesty surrounding adoption...we see the lovely homecomings on youtube and can't wait for our turn...but what happens when it doesn't turn out that way? Did we miss "our" child? Did we hear God correctly? What have we DONE?!! It's OKAY! REALLY! Just be honest and prepared and let the relationship develop as it will...sometimes seemingly overnight, sometimes in a year(YIKES!)! This is not just your journey to a child...this is your journey into the woman of God you were created to be! For HIS glory, amen....;)!

Let me know if you have questions...email me..I'll be honest, I promise!

In the meantime, did you see that BEAUTIFUL little girl on the right-hand side of my blog???? She desperately needs a Mommy! Is it you???!!!


  1. Renae, thanks for the update and your honesty. I had been wondering how things have been going.

  2. Renae, I can't even tell you how much I appreciate you! Your honesty and transparency will bring so much hope to so many. Our God is amazing and He will bring us through all the times our lives aren't matching the vision we had in our minds and in our hearts. Thank you for reminding us of this and that in the most difficult times of the adoption journey, He will change us and mold us into who we need to be for the journey ahead!

    Sending lots of love your way,

  3. Renae, I know the journey and I became quite quiet for the first 3 months or so... I felt like I was drowning... then I found a new social worker for post placements... she helped me to see the power struggle going on, I started reading The Connected Child and I began to see Elina's progress instead of letting her attempt to control my every move. As someone who is extremely independent I found our bad days... often were tempered by me trying to not be controlled. I tell you... get to 6 months and you will be like... wow... when was it that we had that rough patch again... kinda like child birth... it is kinda fuzzy as to how much pain it was... :)

    You are doing a great job with Ava, keep your head up and keep up the good work!


  4. Beautiful post!!!!!

    Attachment! Bleck! ;). Tavi is doing worse than I thought! It's so hard to keep from getting angry somedays!

    It sounds like you have a better handle on things than me! I'm learning from you and so thankful for you my friend!

  5. I saw your prayer over at Linny's blog. Our daughter came home five years ago, and what looked like an attachment issue was really a sensory integration issue. She couldn't handle all the input. Our big clues were the eating thing -- she couldn't organize her mouth to chew once she was overwhelmed by the day's input (usually around 4:30). I too had the anger issues. Please check it out and talk with your doctor. http://karendawkins.blogspot.com/2010/04/memorial-box-monday-we-made-it.html There are other posts about our struggles, but this one covers a lot of it. God bless.

  6. I read your prayer request on Linny's blog and wanted you to know that I am standing in the gap tonight for you in prayer. We, too, dealt with attachment issues in both of our boys' adoption. Philip came home in June 2008, and Elijah just came home in February of this year. I, too, had to deal with my own temper, anger, bitterness, etc. because attachment didn't happen right away or as I dreamed it would.

    I had to constantly give it over to God. I even had to post Bible verses around the house this last time to remind myself not to lose my temper with my newest precious little boy. In fact, I had to beg God each day to let me see Elijah as a precious little boy dearly loved by Him. I so know what you are going through.

    The good news - it gets better! You don't think it will,but praying and using many of those bonding techniques (techniques I thought I would never use because I was just sure it wasn't going to happen to us!) Circling the wagons with your precious new child, filling her up with good experiences while she is with you, not letting others do things for her at first - those all help. It may take a little more time than you thought it would (with Philip it took about 3 months until I could love him as his mother and with Eli it took many, many more months to get there) But I am there now. We are bonding and attaching more and more and it is beautiful.

    I will pray for that to happen to you all!

    In Christ,

  7. Renae ~ Should you ever come to a place when you might need a break from Ava, Please, contact me. For days or weeks or however long, I will be there for you. Blessings ~ Jo

  8. I just saw this sweet friend. My computer that had my links was going quirky and for some reason my "follow" link to your blog on blogger isn't working.

    I LOVE that you updated!!! All the details are in the truth of the adjustment process! God taught me SOOOO much...especially through our first adoption (though each has been so different and I've had to learn so much....still learning...lol). Talk about a challenge and learning and praying and feeling insane at times.

    Hugs and Prayers!!!!!

    P.S. All of our adopted blessing except Gabe had night terrors too. It's so sad.

  9. Hi Renae, we spoke once may months ago on the Intl. adoption site. I check in every so often to see how things are going for you and your family. I just want to say thank you. I think when people deal with attachment issues, no matter how large or small, they tend to keep in quiet - not wanting to show their vulnerabilities. The fact that you are so open and honest about what you deal with on a daily basis is exactly what needs to be communicated. It gives those who are planning to adopt a very important perspective, and those who have adopted the opportunity to stop judging themselves for feeling the same way you do. No one is alone, and that is what your words tell us. So, thank you. And you good luck. I know you are on a difficult journey that will be one of the greatest rewards of your family's lives.