16 Months!!!

I can't believe it. Today my baby is 16 months old! Double the age he was when we brought him home. CRAZY! He is growing so fast and learning new things by the day.
16 Months and 16 Things About Mekonen!

1. You weigh 28 pounds (90%) and are 32 inches long (89%) as of 4.07.10 You are growing so big!
2. You say 4 words: mama, daddy, car, ball (all the essentials I guess!) Every time daddy comes home you say in the cutest little squeaky voice, "Daddy!!!"
3. You are pointing out pictures of cars and balls in your books and naming them. 
4. You LOVE to push anything you can find all over the house. Sometimes you make a "vroom" sound as if they are cars. 
5. You are signing the words please, more, drink, all done, and help. 
6. You are officially going into the nursery at church every week like a big boy!
7. You are becoming incredibly affectionate which is the joy of your mama's heart! 
8. You give hugs now around our necks. It is so sweet. 
9. When I rock you, you recently want your cheek right up against mine.
10. You laugh and laugh when mommy sings "The Wheels on the Bus" song and has you do the motions to it. 
11. Several people who spend time with you have called you "adventurous" and "very determined."
12. You are extremely curious, always wanting to figure out how things work, what makes noise, and touch things you aren't supposed to!
13. You are starting to love books and being read to! Yippee!!
14. You are learning how to obey mommy and daddy in these ways: "come to mommy/daddy," "don't touch," "sit still," "no fits," "no yelling," and "stay close."
15. You love to play with Macy: you crawl over her, grab her tail, and try to put your toys in her mouth. Macy is so patient with you! hehe. 
16. You love to play outside but don't really like the feel of the grass on your bare feet or bare legs. 

We love you little boy. The past 8 months have been more incredible than we ever imagined! You are such a joy to us and we love to watch you grow and learn.


Guest Blogger- Birthmothers

For some added spice to our blog, we've decided to incorporate various "guest bloggers" from time to time, on any topic, in any category! If you have an idea, let me know! And now... Embracing Ethiopia's first guest blogger!!!

When I tell people I am a counselor for pregnant women making an adoption plan for their unborn child, I often get the response, “Wow, I could never give up my child,” somehow implying these mothers are just looking for a way out.  I take issue with that sentiment.  In these women, I have seen some of the purest displays of motherly love.  It is that very love which allows these women to make such a painful decision.

To watch a birthmother leave the hospital without a baby is to witness the most gut-wrenching pain.  Signing a paper that states your parental rights will be terminated is one of the scariest and hardest things a mother could do.  I often get the comment, “Your job must be so rewarding,” but to be present with a mother in a time like this is often not rewarding.  I cannot explain what it is like to watch a mother lose her child.  Her child is not “unwanted.”  On the contrary, she wants her child more than anything in the world.  But she makes a painful, selfless decision in the best interest of her child.

Birthmothers are my heroes.  They are the strongest, most courageous people I have ever met. To dishonor them by believing they are all “crack-addicts” and asking “why didn’t they use protection?” (I have actually heard these statements) makes my stomach churn.  The truth is they aren’t all crack addicts, and most of the mothers with whom I’ve come in contact did use protection.  But this is beside the point; a child has been conceived and this child is loved.  By choosing adoption these mothers are making the most loving decision they can for their child. 
What about children who have been abused or abandoned?  Of that I think no differently. Every mother loves her child.  I have seen abuse, neglect, and abandonment, and I still believe that every mother loves her child.  Sometimes it is hard to understand love in these terms, but it is real.  No matter the circumstance, I believe every mother loves her child.  I have been to Haiti and Guatemala and have cared for orphans and heard horror stories of their pasts. I have worked in foster care and seen the abuse that takes place in the United States.  I am no stranger to the horrible things that happen to children, and I believe it is all horrible and evil.  I believe behind every abused child are parents who have been unloved.  They show their children love the only way they know how:  by repeating what has happened to them.   Thankfully, these children do not have to withstand the abuse, or be orphans forever.  They can be adopted into a loving home where they are taught how to love and be loved.
My prayer is that no matter the avenue God chooses to place children in homes, these children would know that were and are loved.  I am so excited for the day when I may get to meet a child whose birthmother I knew.  I cannot wait to tell these children how much their birthmothers love them and what an amazingly loving decision they made for them.  I cannot wait to tell them what I saw and experienced as their mother left the hospital empty-handed, but full of hope of a new life for her child.

My plea is simple, please do not forget these mother’s and please do not believe the negative things society has taught us to believe about them.  To take the words from a woman who has taught me everything I know about birthmothers, I leave you with this statement: “Birthmothers are woman in crisis and daughters of our Lord who are making an unbelievable selfless choice to place their child in an adoptive home.  They are not their poor judgment, their appearance, or sometimes demanding nature.  They are their child’s mother and their love for their child is stronger than you or I can understand or imagine."
Our guest blogger suggests checking out this article, Why I Love My Daughter's Mother.
In light of Mother's Day coming up next month, I have been thinking of a special tradition we can do in our family to honor Mekonen's birthmom. Does anyone have any suggestions?


Got Lobster?

A big shout out from Mekonen to Grandma Judy and Miss Sue all the way in Kennebunkport, Maine!

Mekonen says he can't wait to try his first lobstah (as they say it in Maine).
We love and miss you!


Spring Bunnies

While I was visiting my family in PA, Mekonen and his two cousins Natalie & Jane made these bunny crafts. They were very excited about them. Of course Mekonen didn't have a clue what was going on, but we pretended he did.

Natalie cheesin' for the camera. She ALWAYS wears a pink hat, all day everyday! 

Mekonen appearing as if he is putting his bunny together. Really he is about to eat those sparkly yellow strips.

Jane carefully putting the decorations on her bunny. What a big girl.

Mekonen investigating his completed bunny. Then he tried to eat it.

Apparently there is something hilarious about this bunny craft.

And we couldn't complete bunny day without forcing Mekonen to wear these bunny ears at Target. He looks incredibly thrilled!


New Ethiopian Friends!

Last Friday we had a wonderful evening full of new Ethiopian friends. Jon met a little Ethiopian boy named Samuel at the pre-school in the social agency where he works. He eventually met the mom and dad as well. They came here to the states a few years ago. They found out we adopted from Ethiopia and were excited to meet us. They asked us to come over for dinner. We were expecting it to be the three of us, and the three of them. But, we forgot they are ETHIOPIAN! All evening long more friends stopped by. It was such an enjoyable night.

On the drive there we were talking about how we really hope they don't make American food. As soon as we opened the door we knew it was Ethiopian food and BOY WAS IT GOOOOD!!!!! I had been craving it every since they invited us over. YUMMY!

The evening was so relaxed with much laughter and chit-chat. It made us long to be in Ethiopia even more! I truly have never met a more open and friendly group of people than Ethiopians.  All of our new friends spoke English, but there was a beautiful, constant interplay of English and Amharic all night and it made me wildly comfortable. Strange because I don't speak Amharic nor do I understand it. It just felt comforting. It felt right. Maybe it's due to the connection of our son. Maybe it's the way their accent makes the name Mekonen sound. Simply put. It's wonderful.

So, our new friends! (sorry the picture is not very clear).
From left to right: Genet, Me, Ayana, little Samuel, Abinet holding Mekonen, Helmeneh, Yashi, Berhanu, and Kinde


Whoa He's Growing!

Mekonen had his 15 month doctor appointment yesterday. He is growing like CRAZY! He is now 28 lbs 6 oz (he was 26 lbs just two weeks ago!) and is 32.75 inches! He is 90% for weight and 89% for height! He sure is catching up from his 20% back when we came home in August! I think we are going to have one big kid on our hands in the years to come! 
I had several questions I wanted to ask the doctor and with those the question I'm sure we will have with us for quite some time has risen again! Is this adoption related or kid related?

Mekonen really only says about 3 words unprompted. He says "Daddy," "Mama," and "ball." However, we are not sure how much he really uses them correctly. Many times he will use Daddy and it looks like he is referring to Jon and other times he is not. Mama is not so consistent and I don't think he really knows it's me! The only word I know he knows what it means and consistently uses it correctly (even for a non-round ball like a football) is the word "ball." It seemed odd to me that he was only saying 3 words and not seeming to use two of them correctly all the time. The doctor said 3-5 words at this age is normal.

Then the doctor asked me what my next question to him was! He asked how well does he follow directions, such as "Go get your drink." or "Hand it to Daddy." I actually posted about this question on our adoption forum several weeks ago because I have been noticing that he doesn't seem to understand simple directions like that. The directions he does understand took A LOT of repetition and so it seems like he knows them just b/c he's been drilled on them and not b/c he is really understanding.  

But then again, the doctor reminded me of language development. It's been 7 months since Mekonen has been home and he has progressed so much that I forget sometimes how things were before he came to us. He was talking about how in order to learn language you hear and understand first, and then you speak. Mekonen spent the first 8 months of his life hearing Amharic, not English. Then he was thrust into a different environment where he was hearing a completely different language. So really, he still hasn't even been hearing English as long as he did Amharic. The doctor said this is more than likely the reason he doesn't say too many words and why he might not be understanding things super well. But still, as I'm sure most moms do, I worry that I'm not doing something right or well enough to help him along. 
 They are also going to check his hearing again because he is SO LOUD. In the office he was chattering and babbling so loud it was hard for the doctor and me to talk. He asked if he is always this loud and I said, "oh yes. Especially when there is a small crowd, like a large dinner table full of people. He gets louder and louder." So maybe his hearing isn't doing the greatest which could lead to his language development and loudness! So we will see! 



Our Easter day was a pretty quiet one. The best part was my cousin Jessica came down to Indy from Chicago to spend the weekend with us. Mekonen just loves his Auntie Jess! This year, Jon & I decided not to get an Easter basket for Mekonen b/c we are trying to save some good money and knew he wouldn't really get it anyway, or really eat the candy. But truthfully, I was bummed after Easter was over and I didn't give him an Easter basket and teach him how to do a little egg hunt. Next year is a must! I know Easter day is truly about Jesus and how he conquered death and the grave to give us eternal life. We plan to make that the focus of our Easter celebrations as a family but still want to enjoy some Easter basket candy and an egg hunt. Kids love that stuff.

So Mekonen is at that lovely age of not sitting still for ANYTHING! So a cute little Easter picture of Mekonen in his outfit was not happening. Here's as good as it gets.