Monthly Archives: April 2009

First Family Photos

Our dear friend Alyssa has a professional photography business and was so kind to take our first family photos.  You can head over to her blog at www.alyssaannephotography.blogspot.com for a sneak peak of our pictures.  We are so grateful to you Alyssa for these precious photos!  Thank you!

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E’s are Kohnjo!

Tigist during school today announced that her named should be spelled with an E because they are very Kohnjo (beautiful). Now can you all understand why I might forsee some homeschooling difficulties with this beloved daughter of mine??!?!  Seriously, she’s such a free thinker I’m not sure what this analytical, formula tracting mom is going to do!

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Soccer Fun

Our church organized a free soccer clinic for the next 8 weeks and kids 4-7 can come out for soccer drills and scrimmages.  It was so much fun and I think Fikadu and Tigist enjoyed it.  Fikadu definitely more so then Tigist, but we think Tigist’s main job for the morning was simply to be the cutest looking soccer player, sporting the best hot pink soccer socks of all time.  A job she succeeded at in the fullest.  Fikadu went to win and show off his prior Ethiopian futbol experience, he had some pretty awesome soccer clothes too thanks to Aunt Rachel.

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Birthday Fun

Fikadu turned 7 on Saturday.  Wooo, somehow 7 seems so very much older then 6 and he even looks older then 3 months ago.  Of course he has grown almost an entire inch and gained a couple pounds, but can I really be the mom of a 7 year old???  I’m so lucky, I’ll get to brag that when he graduates high school I’ll still be in my 30’s. =)

Fikadu has been counting down the days since Joshua’s bday when he figured out what a party was.  He picked pizza for his birthday meal and we surprised him by doing the party Friday night instead of Saturday.  Joshua took him out for a walk after work and my sister Rachel, Tigist, and I went to work turning our dining room into party central.  Here’s some video and pictures from our celebration.  I think he genuinely felt loved, and Tigist did great even with all the attention on Fikadu.  We tried to make it more of a family celebration, and most of the gifts were soccer themed since both kids started soccer on Saturday.  We wrapped up soccer stuff for Tigist too and Grammy and Grampy and Aunt Rachel had little gifts for Tigist as well.  Fun was truly had by all!!!

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Easter Fun

Easter was always a fun family holiday at our house growing up.  I love the tradition and fond memories associated with this holiday from my childhood.  A few years that stand out in particular are an Easter we spent with my cousins the Tarbox family.  Our tradition was for the  parents Easter Bunny to hide baskets for the kids to find full of goodies in the morning.  This Easter spent with the Tarbox’s I was probably 5 or 6 years old (correct me mom if I’m way off).  In my goodies I had received an entire pack of watermelon bublicious bubble gum.  I remember sitting down behind a chair, unwrapping 3 or 4 pieces and sticking them all in my mouth.   My father saw me a few minutes later and asked how many pieces I was chewing to which I replied, “Only one.”  Knowing of course that I was only allowed one.  Can’t quite remember what my punishment was for all the gum chewing and lying, I just remember it happening.   We also had fun Easters when my sister received a rabbit, and another year that we got a baby lamb (real ones).  Easter was also always followed up with an egg hunt at grammies and I’m sure we all walked away with more candy then any orthodontists chidren should ever have eaten.  The best part though was truly the family time and the shared memories that we all now can enjoy.

This is what we’re tring to create with Fikadu and Tigist.  Common family memories and traditions that bind us together and give us a pleasant memorable shared experience.  I think we accomplished that this year.  With many thanks to Nana Lesa and G & G Blackstone for the wonderful goodies you sent our way.  One laughable memory I’ll have is during the day Friday I printed out pictures for F and T to color of Easter Eggs and the Easter Bunny.  Josh and I hadn’t really planned on sharing about the Easter Bunny,but while we were coloring the kids asked about the bunny with clothes, and why does the bunny have eggs. (Do bunnies lay eggs, mommy?)  Hmmm, I hadn’t anticipated these questions so I just shared that there was a story about the Easter Bunny bringing candies and gifts in baskets to children during the night while they were asleep.  So obviously they asked if the bunny was coming to our house.  Fikadu was very concerned about a large rabbit coming into the house and didnt think it was a good idea, especially if he was sleeping and didn’t get to meet this odd bunny.  I tried my best to describe the difference between pretend and real, but that was way to abstract.  So I kinda let it go.  Well, Saturday morning when they found their baskets, Fikadu’s first words were, “Thank you Daddy, Thank you Mommy! . . .  Bunny come?  Fikadu sleep?. . . . .  THANK YOU BUNNY!!!”  Ooops! 

Anyhow, here are the photos from our celebrations. . . Enjoy!april-09-album-1361

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Biblical Approaches to Attachment -Follow-up

This follow-up post has been a long time coming.  But over the last few weeks I’ve been able to read some great articles, excerpts from books, and have some great conversations with those much wiser then myself.  One thing I have realized though is that I was trying to combat two totally different issues in my original post.  Here is the ending paragraph from the original:

“So my question is as Christians how do we parent the adopted child who is showing signs of poor attachment?  Many of the things listed above can be seen in any range of children and sometimes its difficult to know what behavior is just a kid being a kid and what is something so much deeper.  I’ve read Christian Parenting books, and Adoptive Parenting books and can’t find much middle ground between the two.  So how is it that we teach adopted children the Biblical concepts of authority, discipline, obeying right away, telling the truth, showing kindness and so forth.   Is it possible to simply say, “Sin is sin,” with no regard to past experiences?  How would you Biblically counsel an adult who wasn’t trusting, had a core sense of being bad, a fear of intimacy, overwhelming feelings of shame?  Obviously by pointing them to Christ, but what if these issues were resulting in, stealing, immoral behavior, self-sufficiency, vanity?  As adopted children of God how have we been dealt with and what is expected?  Does this translate into how we parent adopted children?  I’d love the thoughts of adoptive parents and non-adoptive parents alike.”  

The two separate issues are 1. Attachment in adopted children  and  2. The instruction and parenting techniques for adopted children.  My original questions surrounded how to use Biblical parenting techniques WHEN you have an unattached adopted child, and that’s where it got a little confusing.  So today’s post is centering on what I’ve learned about the 1st issue at hand – how to form a secure attachment in adopted children.  

Originally I had considered attachment focused parenting to be over-permissive and too child-focused.  I was concerned that if we followed the advice of popular professionals in this area, we would end up with strong-willed, indulged children, who always got their own way.  And I was selfishly concerned about being respected, obeyed, listened to, and generally having obedient children who always did what was right.  Does anyone out there have kids like that???  

I was fortunate to have an excellent conversation with a mom to 14 children, 5 bio, 9 adopted.  She provided some excellent insight into attachment parenting for older children.  Many books will discuss regression techniques for the older child.  Allowing them to go back to infant and toddler emotional stages and nurturing.  Things she mentioned as helpful were: holding and rocking a child, providing all their needs such as making their meals, putting on their clothes, helping bathe them, co-sleeping.  Other helpful advice included keeping them with you all the time and always in eyesight.  We have found both F an T responsive to these techniques.  One thing I loved that she said was in the beginning its all about relationship over behavior; that as an adoptive parent your goal should be to meet the need rather then end the need.  That was a seriously helpful prospective to have when your as selfish as I can tend to be.   I’d rather end the need for drawn out bed times, slower transitions, end the perpetual questioning, end the toddler like temper-tantrums.  What I’ve come to realize though is that each time I lay down beside the kids for 10 minutes at night and talk about whatever, or answer each redundant question with patience and kindness, give them 5 minute warnings for transitions, and comfort them when they’re upset, they see that I’m hear, and listening, trustworthy, and kind.  And actually, within the last 2 weeks we’ve seen tremendous changes in both children. 

Another important thing I’ve come to realize is the fact that attachment is just going to take some time.  I think its easy to worry in the first 2 months and think that it isn’t happening yet, and what does this mean???  But when you think about normal adult relationships, when you meet someone for the first time, it certainly takes longer then 2 months to feel securely attached to that new person.  So as far as attachment goes, it is good to remember that time and truth are on our side.  And that what you read in attachment books really is helpful.  A secure attachment is going to come through the child seeing that their needs are consistently being met by their new parents, and that they are in a safe home.

Recently F and T have been asking if they will have to go back to Ethiopia.  I think they’re at a point where in their minds they want to trust us, and are starting to see what our family is all about, but before they can love us completely they want assurance that this isn’t just another stop on the way to somewhere else.   We’ve seen that they need this reassurance especially after encounters with Ethiopian people.  We live in an area with a large population of Ethiopians.  There are many Ethiopian restaurants, we’ve met people working at CVS and our local grocery store, and there are a few families in our neighborhood.    All these wonderful people have known that our kids are Ethiopian just by looking at them and will start to speak in Amharic to the kids.  For some reason this always seems to frighten Fikadu especially, and he needs the reassurance that he will be staying here in our family.  Tigist needs the reassurance more after she has done something wrong.  And that is what I want to talk about in my next post: Parenting techniques to use with unattached adopted children.  So although this is certainly not the most thorough or best article on attachment, my original questions surrounded more the parenting, instructing, and disciplining of unattached adopted children, and you can check back soon for my thoughts and discoveries in that area.

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Happy Birthday Daddy!

Today is Joshua’s birthday and I’m sure he’d love to see a little bday message here since he’s not really into facebook or other social networking sites!  Babe – you are an incredible blessing to us all.  Thank you!  We love you more then we can say.

Yesterday the kids and I painted a Happy Birthday sign and made a family birthday plate.  Today daddy had to wait upstairs until breakfast was ready and then got to come down to his “surprise” breakfast!  The kids were hilarious, we had to go over and over yesterday that there was no telling daddy, and no showing daddy what we had done in the afternoon.  Tigist got it and was all about the surprise, but Fikadu could hardly contain himself!  As soon as Josh walked in the door he said, “Daddy, zahray (today) no talking, no looking, ha ha ha, giggle giggle, Fikadu no telling!”  Tigist about jumped on him and was like, “Fikadu, ssssshhhhhhhhhh!  NO TALKING!”  Hilarious!   Here’s a few fun photos. . .

Making of the sign

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Bday plate

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Our Fun-filled day finished up with the following activities.  Daddy, really wanted to ride the train today for his birthday! (wink wink)

Feeding the Geese . . . err, uhm, or trying to spear it with a stick.   “This one yummy mommy?  This one food for family?” -Fikadu

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Picnic at the park

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Riding the train. . .  toot toot!

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We finished the evening out with homemade Ethiopian food as Daddy’s requested birthday meal

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Happy Birthday Joshua . . . We Love You SOOOOOOOOOO Much!

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