Thursday, December 30, 2010

Big News

Sometimes things happen that make it abundantly clear how this life is so much bigger than you. That just when you think you have things mapped out, a curve ball is thrown that changes your entire perspective. We learned that Etta's birth sister was recently relinquished to an orphanage, and so we begin our journey to adopt her.

She's 4 years old and has the same sweet face as her younger sister. We are anxious to bring her home. Unfortunately, we have to start the adoption process over as if it's a brand new adoption so it'll be a long road. If all goes well, our hope is to have her home by the end of the summer.

The boys are excited. Our family is excited. And while it comes with mixed emotions that she cannot be with her birth parent, we know in our hearts this was the right decision for her. Just as we knew without a doubt that it was the right decision for Etta.

And so the two will be together. And we will be a family. Some things are just meant to be.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Magic of Christmas


















Seeing Christmas through your kids' eyes could not be more fun. And although opening presents was high on their list, it's all the traditions that make it magical. Making Christmas cookies, the music, the stories, Christmas shows, seeing Santa, visiting downtown, making cards, decorating gingerbread houses, the smells, Christmas lights, the anticipation, being with family, the wonder of it all. 

Happy Holidays to each of you and yours!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

6 months home!


We've been home 6 months now....a lot sure has changed in those 6 months. Etta is running, jumping, saying anything and everything, eating super well and sleeping like a champ.
She is still just as happy, confident, loving, smart, and feisty.


She adores her brothers,and has no problem expressing herself should she feel slighted in the least.






We can't imagine our life without her and are looking forward to seeing how much fun she has with her brothers on Christmas.
Here's wishing each of you and yours a wonderful Holiday!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

In Love With Frosty....

Grandma brought over a Frosty sing-a-long..I love the lip synching :-)

video

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

Two years ago today, my husband told me how thankful he was for our incredible life...having two awesome children who were loved and had all the opportunities for happiness life could offer. And that he wanted to give that same opportunity to a child who would not otherwise have it.

This was after months of talking about whether to have a third child so needless to say, I was over the moon. Here we are two years later....we could not be more thankful.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Gift of Water

I know the act of giving is a very personal thing. What pulls at my heart and results in me making a donation may not be the same cause that pulls at your heart. But, in case you have been thinking of a way to "give back" during this holiday time, I will take this opportunity to share with you a cause that is very personal to me. And we're not talking a lot of money here...a very small donation can make a world of difference.

http://www.charitywater.org/whywater/ gives 100% of public donations to finding long-term water solutions in areas of greatest need, mainly in Africa. Remembering back to our time in Ethiopia when we traveled through the countryside, it was very common to see women and children walking great distances with their yellow jugs to find a water supply. And most of the water supplies are dirty and unsafe.

Unsafe water and sanitation causes 80% of all diseases and kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. And 90% of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are to children under age five.

Only $20 can give a person clean water for 20 years. Please watch the video at the top of the link and consider making a small donation.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Obsession

Star Wars is quite the obsession in our house right now. Even Etta is in the mix. We've got the light sabers to match. I need to get Etta on camera going toe to toe with her brothers in a "match." I especially like the growling sound effects.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

How Far You've Come

When we were matched with Etta, the thought that rushed over me the first time I saw her was “There you are. My daughter.” I knew in my heart all the challenges we had faced on our journey were because we were on the path specifically to her. It all made sense.

But the challenges were not over. We didn’t know much about her but what we did know was that she was considered severely malnourished and not hitting any of the developmental targets. Her head circumference measurement was cause for concern with our International Adoption Doctor and we had no idea what long-term prognosis we were facing. It was so difficult not having any control over her well-being. We had to take a leap of faith and trust she was in the best care possible and everything would be okay.

And she was okay. Better than okay. When we went to pick her up, we immediately knew how loved she was. She had gained weight (the miracle of F100 milk) and was crawling. She couldn’t yet put much weight on her legs but we knew she would be able to walk.

And walk she did! Only a couple weeks after coming home. There’s been no turning back ever since. Her determination and strong-will has taken her far. We’ve been home 5 months now and at 2 years old, she is in the 85 percentile in weight, hitting her developmental targets (exceeding when it comes to verbal skills and she is oh so smart), and could not be happier. She is a joy to anyone who meets her and we are so incredibly lucky to be her family.

 
Referral Picture
 

 
Two years old!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Adoption Month - You Can Help

Here's something you can do to help and it's super simple:

In honor of Adoption Month, a parenting e-magazine SixSeeds.tv has partnered with families to raise awareness about adoption. They have featured our story and for each comment you make under the article, SixSeeds will donate $2 to Holt International. Holt was the adoption agency we used and we chose them as our charity since they do so much to support families staying together and view adoption only as a last resort.

Also, three wonderful families we traveled with to pick up our children are also featured. The Osburns, the Johnsons, and the Groces. Please also help support their causes. All it takes is a simple post!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Re-Adoption Day!

Today we re-adopted Etagegn, which means the adoption is recognized in our state. Even though she was already our legal daughter, you readopt so that you can get a U.S. issued birth certificate and apply for a Certificate of Citizenship. In order to avoid a much more complex process in our county, we traveled to a beautiful town a couple hours away and made it a little get-away. Our good friends, Sarah and Mark, also re-adopted today so it was pretty cool to share it with them. All in all the day could not have been more perfect!






Sunday, October 31, 2010

Two Years Old!

Etta celebrated her 2nd B-day yesterday. She had a ball. It brought so much joy to see her surrounded by all these people who love her and she was soaking it up.

I pulled out a picture of her when we went to pick her up. It is amazing to see the transformation in the short 4 months we’ve been home. She is the happiest, most joyful little girl and can light up a room. She went from hardly putting weight on her legs to walking in just a short couple weeks home. Now she is running and starting to jump. She talks up a storm….can string 3 words together. She understands everything we say.

We’ve always felt she is wise beyond her years and she shows us that time and time again. She is secure. Confident. And extremely playful. I’ve said this before, but the best way to describe her personality is to say she sparkles.

Happy 2nd Birthday sweet girl!

 
 
 
 


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dress-Up





Yes...she wanted it on :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Halloween Costume Preview
(if you knew who her brothers are dressing up as, it's an easy guess)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hair Puffs

A few people have asked how to do the hair style in the recent pics of Etta. I am a total beginner and still learning, but I'll show you how to start easy like me. A great resource is to check out Happy Girl Hair.

Here is how I did her “puffs.” For your first time, I’d start by parting a couple sections in the front of the hair. Use a fine tooth comb. Start by parting the front of the hair down the middle and doing two puffs on either side. Or, you could do one puff on top and 1 or 2 on either side. The key is to comb the hair into the section you want, then pull it tight with a small rubber band. Then you can add little clips if you want to accessorize.

And by the way, I think most kids cry a bit the first few times you do it, then they seem to realize it’s just part of what mom’s do! The key is to show them how cute it looks in the mirror :-)





Once you get good and have a little time, you can section the whole head (which I have not personally done yet) but this is what it looks like!




Monday, September 27, 2010

Siblings

Etta Jane is loving her brothers. And they adore her. She thinks they are hilarious (most of the time). She is completely entertained by them. We wondered if she would be able to keep up with them. Little did we know. She is a spitfire. This girl has some sass and spunk and smarts that will take her far (and probably cause some sleepless nights when she's older!).


(a glimpse into their personalities :-)

I was thinking about how the boys have helped with her adjustment. I think having older siblings has had a huge impact on how well she's transitioned into our family. It's helped her to feel more secure and confident.



Yes....our little girl shines bright!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Loving the Hair

Etta's hair is growing a bit longer so we are starting to have some fun with it. Abra, our incredible nanny two days a week when I work, is a pro at the hair styles. She's been teaching me to do the baby puffs. I don't do mine nearly as tight as when she does it but I'm learning!


I still have not attempted to do the whole head!




And when all else fails, a little flower can do wonders!