I took the girls to watch Toy Story 3 the other day. Sierra is a huge Toy Story fan. She wants to decorate her room like Toy Story. For Christmas last year all she wanted was Buzz Lightyear and Woody. When we went to Disneyland, she didn't want to meet the princesses, she wanted to see Toy Story characters. She learned how to write Andy's name before her own. She's a nut about it.
We stayed through the credits and then I looked over at Sierra and asked her what she thought of the movie. She responded, "There's just one sad thing." Then she got huge tears in her eyes and started to cry the saddest cry. I tried to comfort her asking what was wrong. She said through her tears, "I just want to watch it again!"
BOY!!!! We are so excited. I don't know if we will know what to do with a boy around our house with all the estrogen here, but we can't wait to learn. Now for a name....hmmmm....that will be tough. We can come up with so many girl names we both like, but our boy names lists are very different. If we leave the naming to Sierra, it would be Fred (from Scooby-Doo), Andy (Toy Story), or Dash (Incredibles). Those are her favorites.
Savannah has had her heart set on a girl, but when the ultrasound technician declared, "It's a boy", Savannah said to dad, "I think I can like a boy."
I have a friend, who like me, became a mother through adoption. She spoke in church a couple years ago on Mother's Day and I could relate to her words. She said, "I used to cry every Mother's Day because I was not a mother. Now I cry every Mother's Day because I am a mother."
Every mother out there knows the joys and pains that come with motherhood. I wouldn't trade them for the world.
I always wanted to be a mother. That is what I wanted to be when I grew up. After Steve and I had been married only 2 months, we learned that I was pregnant. We were very happy about the pregnancy because my doctor had told me I would most likely need to use fertility drugs to conceive. Our son, Dakota was born too early weighing only 1.5 pounds. We were blessed to know him on this earth for 25 hours before he was called back to Heaven.
We tried and tried to conceive again. We used fertility drugs with no success. After about 3 years of this, we decided to adopt. Adoption was something we always talked about and was another way of creating a family. A few months later, Madison was born four years almost to the day of Dakota's birth. We were so thrilled to be parents.
When Madison was 18 months old, we decided to try to adopt again. We did all of our paperwork and waited...and waited....and waited. After 2 years of waiting, I learned that I was pregnant again, but the excitement was short-lived as I miscarried 6 weeks into the pregnancy. I was very heart-broken, but I knew that there were more children waiting to join our family in one way or the other.
When Madison was 5, Sierra and Savannah were born. After 3 + years of waiting for another adoption, our dreams were finally realized again (times 2). Sierra and Savannah were such a joy to us and Madison just loved having two babies to help care for. While we were waiting, we would pray every night for our child's birthmother to find us and place her baby with us. Whenever it was Madison's turn to pray, she would pray for her baby sisters to be born soon. When we took Madison to Disneyland when she was 3, she threw a coin into Snow White's wishing well and wished for 2 baby sisters. For her birthday that year, she got twin dollies to play with. She knew all along that 2 sisters would come to our family.
Then, about 2 years ago, we had the feeling that our family still was not complete, which led us on a journey across the Atlantic to Ghana, where we found Lilly. She has been a blessing to us. She has taught us a lot about survival, determination, and sharing what little you have with others.
This year I have 6 more centimeters (and growing) to be grateful for. We thought after Lilly, we were probably done with building our family, but were surprised to find out early this Spring that we are expecting again. I am 12 weeks into this pregnancy and have had 4 ultra-sounds already. Everything looks great. The baby's heartbeat is strong and he/she is growing at a normal rate. We are so thrilled.....as well as a bit scared. I am seeing a specialist in high-risk pregnancies and he will stitch my cervix closed in a couple of weeks to hopefully prevent an early appearance of this baby. We told the kids and they are excited about having a new baby in the family. Sierra and Madison want a brother; Savannah and Lilly want another Diva like themselves. We won't know for a few more weeks, but can't wait to find out. Steve and I just want a healthy child. I'm not sure if we would know what to do with a boy after 4 girls, but we could learn. :)
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who read my blog!!!
March 17, 2009 was such an amazing day for our family. It is the day I stepped off an airplane with our new daughter, Lilly. I remember going down the escalators to the luggage return and seeing my dear Husband, 3 daughters, grandparents, and a couple others waiting to greet us. Lilly had been so tired after the long trip, but perked right up and was so excited to see Dad again and to meet the others for the first time. There was so much love and excitement. It is hard to believe it has been a year already!
I've been reflecting back on the last year and the time leading up to our adopting Lilly. The months prior to meeting her were filled with excitement and wonder. We were so excited to have found her, we were anxious to meet her, we were in awe at the guidance we received from Heavenly Father that led us together. Of course we were busy out of our minds trying to get all the important necessary documents together. We were nervous to travel (separately) to a country neither of us had ever visited.
Steve's favorite memory of his time in Ghana was staying right at Luckyhill. What a blessing it was to be able to experience firsthand the life our daughter was living. She was happy. She was loved. She was well-cared for. She was being educated. Steve loved to hear the children sing at night after dark when there was nothing else to do because of unreliable electricity. He enjoyed talking to the children at Luckyhill and listening to their dreams and aspirations.
I really enjoyed getting to know Lilly and her family in Ghana. One of the things I love about Ghanaians is their sense of "family". You take care of your "brothers and sisters" even if they are not brothers/sisters in a biological sense. Lilly's birthmother calls me "mother" when we speak on the phone. She always refers to Steve as her "brother".
We are so grateful to the many people who helped us on our adoption journey...from those in the States to those in Ghana.
This year has gone by so fast because we have been so busy. Aside from some of the initial adjustment issues (see this post) http://emettsescapades.blogspot.com/2009/06/adjusting-and-bonding.html the transition has gone better than expected. Lilly is such a social butterfly who loves to make friends and meet new people. She is doing very well in school. First term, she had some difficulties with counting and rhyming. We played rhyming games every time we were in the car and she would get so frustrated at "not getting it." I would say: "See rhymes with tree. What else rhymes with tree?" She would ask, "Leaves?" Sierra would shout out "bee, three, free, me!!!" I would tell Sierra to let Lilly try. We would try and try. She finally got it. She is now reading on level and counts to 100 without hesitation. She is good about doing her homework and likes to color.
She loves all American food now, except for her aversion to melted cheese. She has grown so much. She was wearing size 5 when she got here and is now out-growing her size 6X clothes and is ready to move on to 7/8.
We are thankful that we had the courage to listen to the voice of the Spirit telling us we had a child on the other side of the world and feel very blessed to have her in our home. She is worth the mountains of paperwork and the uncomfortable/nervous feelings we had about doing something new. We hope we are the kind of parents she deserves to have. There is something very special about her and we know the Lord has a work for her to do.
I hope someday she will return to her native country and have the opportunity of meeting once again the people who cared for her for many years. Her memory of the language has faded. I bought a journal when she first arrived so we could write down as many of her memories as she cared to talk about. At first, she didn't want to talk about Ghana. I think she just was trying to fit in with her new American lifestyle. But eventually, she would reminisce. We now have several stories in her journal, stories told from a 5 year old point of view. I don't know how accurate some of them are, but it is what she remembers. We wrote them down in hopes that she will always cherish these memories, as they too will fade with time.
I've had a lot of friends ask me about Lilly's first Christmas with our family. We thought it would be nice to include any tradition she may have had in Ghana for Christmas, but when we asked her what she did on Christmas in Ghana, she said they did nothing. She is starting to forget many things about her life in Ghana, so we weren't sure if she has forgotten or if Christmas was just like any other day for her. To give her something Ghanaian at Christmas time, we made bracelets out of the beads I purchased in Ghana for all of the girls' teachers. They turned out really pretty.
No Christmas in Salt Lake City is complete without a visit to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights. It was cold and crowded, but very enjoyable, especially to a girl who has never seen so much electricity used in one place.
Our other girls took care of giving her the 411 on Santa. They taught her the words to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and would sing it anytime they thought she was doing something she shouldn't be doing. Lilly quickly picked up on this and it became the "tattle-tale" song of the season.
We took Lilly to sit on Santa's lap and she wasn't afraid or shy at all. She asked for a bubble gum machine. Madison wanted Pixos. Sierra asked for Buzz and Woody and Savannah also wanted a bubble gum machine.
Madison who is 10 and still a believer, asked me one day why Santa didn't take toys to the children at the orphanage. She had a party at school and they had discussed Christmas traditions in various countries. So I told her that they don't celebrate Christmas with Santa in Ghana. But I just couldn't get her question out of my mind. I kept thinking about how deserving of toys the children of Luckyhill are. When Lilly first came here, she didn't really even know how to play with toys. But toys have helped her develop her creativity and imagination so much in this short time. I wish I could send a toy for each child at Luckyhill. At our home, we are blessed enough to have everything we need and can afford to give into the wants we all have from time to time. At Luckyhill, the needs of the children are not always met, so the wants aren't even discussed. It made me feel conflicted about Christmas.
We enjoyed the break from school and were able to do some acts of service and we tried to help the children understand the true reason for Christmas. We always read the Christmas story from the Bible. Our ward Christmas party focused on the spiritual nature of Christmas. We reserve a special place in our living room for nativities. I was glad to have 2 nativities from Ghana to display.
Christmas Eve was exciting for the kids. They got presents left at the door by Rudolf (pajamas and slippers), so they knew it was time to go to bed, Santa was on his way.
It was fun for Steve and I to watch the magic Christmas morning. The kids loved their gifts from Santa and played and got along so well with each other. Lilly got a makeup kit, with mostly lip gloss in it (because she loves being a girl). She was so good about sharing it with Savannah, who is another princess. I wish I had the before picture of Lilly and Savannah smearing lip gloss all over their faces like it was foundation. I only have the after picture of Savannah trying to get it off before anyone notices.
I think Lilly was a bit overwhelmed on Christmas day. She loved it, but it was a lot to take in. She had a bit of a melt down when she opened a gift from Grandma. She got this really neat glow-in-the dark art set. Madison got Pixos. Lilly decided she also wanted Pixos and began crying (we call it the death wail) and throwing her art set around. I tried to see this from her perspective. She has never had gifts given to her like this and so she hasn't grown up accustom to it. I took her to my room and we talked about how she was feeling. We talked about gratitude and how Grandma may feel right now. I explained that she knows what Pixos are, but she doesn't know how fun her gift is because she has never seen something like it before. She calmed down and we gathered it all together and figured out how to make the light work and of course she loved it. She apologized to Grandma and thanked her for the gift.
Lilly really has come such a long way in a short amount of time. She has had to improve a secondary language, adapt to a new culture, blend into a new family as a middle child, and learn new rules. Nothing in her life now is like it was in Ghana, except for the occasional chicken and rice for dinner (with an American flare). She is one remarkable, adaptable little girl that we love more and more each day!
We currently own 3 cars. We only have 2 drivers. So, what are the odds that all 3 cars are broken down at the same time? Maybe we should buy lottery tickets, because we beat all odds...and yes, we are a bit odd too. :)
The timing chain is going out on Steve's commuter car. We decided since it already has 175K miles on it, we wouldn't repair it. So we purchased a used car for Steve to use as his commuter. Two weeks after purchasing it, the transmission went out. So we still have his old car with a $1400 repair and his new (used) car with a $1200 repair. (We found a used transmission to replace the other one saving us some money.)
Today when the van wouldn't start and I didn't know how I was going to get the twins to preschool, I told them that I wished we had a horse and buggy. I guess they understood my frustration because Savannah told her friend at school, "Today my mommy doesn't like cars."
Here's hoping that tomorrow I will like cars again!
We met a few days after I (Narda) returned home from my mission in 1993. We were married in March 1995.
We have 4 daughters, Madison, Lilly, Sierra and Savannah. All of our children have come into our family through the miracle of adoption!