Monday, August 11, 2014

Just for my kiddos...

Oh my little ones.  I can't believe it has been another year (and a half).  That makes two (and a half) years since you boys came home and we have been together as a family.  The past 18 months have been full of change for us.  We moved out of our beloved little town home and got a house with some room to breathe.  We got a dog, Lala, who is crazy, but we love her.  We are expecting your new baby brother, set to arrive in the next few weeks, I can't believe it.  Dad switched fire stations, working now as a Murray City firefighter.  You are changing schools this year to Riverside Elementary, leaving the awesome Woodstock Elementary behind.  London even switched soccer clubs, leaving Murray Max and joining Utah Glory.  Change. is. hard.  But it is sometimes necessary and good for us too.  We are meeting new friends in our new neighborhood and ward.  We are growing closer as a family and learning our strengths and weaknesses.  We appreciate our family vacation times even more now that life is sooooo busy and crazy with sports, school, friends, work, etc.  And how lucky are we to get to go on fun family vacays??  Throughout the last year I have been, as always, amazed at the strength you little people have.

London, you are so dedicated to soccer and school it impresses me to no end.  You excel at every single thing you set your mind to.  I did not have that drive at your age.  You are passionate and confident, an incredibly patient older sister, a fiercely loyal friend and a natural beauty.  The older you get the more I think of you as my very best girl friend.  You really are.

Mick, you have the kindest heart of any 7 year old I have ever met.  You put up with anyone and anything with a grace that is beyond me.  You are smarter than you realize (and I try to tell you that every day).  You LOVE playing baseball with your dad and you are dang good at it.  And I LOVE that you still want to give me hugs and kisses and sing you guitar lullabies before bed every night.

Ashley, you are my tank - a rock that is also full of fun!  You are just starting to learn to read and write and pay attention in preschool and you have come a long way.  You are a natural athlete like your older brother, kicking serious butt in soccer.  Mostly, you are my little love-man, wanting to hug and kiss and compliment everybody all the time.  We all smile more because of you.

And I am dying to meet this next little guy in our crew!!!  He is the luckiest kid in the world to have the three of you to look up to.

If there were only two things that I could teach you in this life they would be: 1) believe in things you cannot see, no matter what the world around you says; and 2) never be the one dragging somebody else down, always be the one pulling somebody else up.  We better ourselves so that we can help those around us.  I want you to know your mom is a woman of faith.  I truly am, at my core, a believer.  A believer in good and evil, in God, in Christ, and in the power of hope and love.  I have a logical and analytical mind and work in a logical business, but what makes me the woman I am is my devotion to things I cannot fully explain.  In order to do that you have to have some humility and give gratitude to God, not just to ourselves.

I can't wait for our next year of fun together.  I'm so proud of you.  Love you to pieces.  Mom

Thursday, January 17, 2013

and on it goes...

Well, it has been one year exactly since I picked up my boys in that orphanage to bring them home.  I can’t believe it.  It feels like just yesterday, yet it feels like they have been here for as long as I can remember.  As this blog has been neglected for the entire year I think that it shall now serve as my own little space for self-reflection as I don’t believe anyone will be following it by now.

What have I not learned over this past year?  Actually what have I not learned over the past decade???  Although I would like to forget some parts of the harder years (and harder years there were), they are part of who I am today and I am a much different and stronger girl because of them.  I have had 3 little amazing people placed in my lap to bless me as their lucky mother.  I have gone through two devastating divorces.  They say the stress and sorrow of going through a divorce can takes years off of your life, and I can see how that can be true.  I have started and graduated law school as a single mom, and through some undeserved miracle I landed the greatest job working in the greatest office helping those that no one wants to help.  I have learned the meaning of true friends, those who lift you up versus those who would kick you when you’re down.  I have seen such strength of human spirit and such devastating hopelessness.  I have seen mansions and wealth and shanties of poverty.  I have witnessed miracles.  I have witnessed devils.  I have seen lies as transparent as crystal and truths as murky as mud.  I have learned and re-learned my many faults.  I have embraced my many strengths.  I have learned how to stick up for myself when it is time, no matter what the consequence and never look back.  As if it was possible, I have grown even closer to my own family, my amazing mom, sisters, brother and dad.  I have felt the hand of generations before me playing a vivid role in my present and future. I have learned that I am capable of anything as long as I rely on my Father in Heaven.  I have felt pride, shame, anger and love for myself.  I have shared the past six years with the greatest man on earth, through some very low lows and, more recently, some very high highs.  I have learned to rely on others.  I have been humbled and lifted up.  I have learned not to care so much what others think.  I have spent holidays crying and holidays laughing.  I have laughed so hard I cried and cried so hard I laughed.  I have been brought to my knees by the hurts of others and brought there again by others’ kindness.  In short, I have lived and learned a whole lot and I am certain that there is a lot more of that ahead.

I do feel that I have been allowed a little breather however.  This past year has been without question the greatest year of my life.  I do not recall ever feeling so blessed and happy, ever.  Not that I haven’t had plenty of happy times in the past.  But, this is a feeling of fullness, like everything I ever wanted is right here.  I feel that so much it scares me a little.  Like, when is the other shoe going to hit the floor?  But, living that way would waste what I have been given, so I am choosing to enjoy it.  These 3 little children are mine and were mine from the beginning.  They are so familiar to me.  These 2 little boys have amazed me with their resilience in adapting to an entirely new universe.  They are full of fearlessness and adventure.  They will become whatever they want to be.  And their sister is every bit as amazing.  She is confident and happy and certain of who she is.  I am as grateful as a person can possibly be.  And just in case any other parent going through the long and difficult adoption process is reading this, let me just say, that it is worth it.

And now, a few of the gabillion photos I have taken over the past year... :)

playing at the highschool...

cousins and pj's


bear lake...

ashley turned 3!

London turned 8!

Mick started kindergarten and turned 6!

Newport and disneyland

Halloween and Thanksgiving...

this, by the way, is Mickenson's cousin and best friend, Benson:

Real games...

first christmas: gingerbread houses :)

Temple sealing

Thursday, February 16, 2012

coming in out of the cold

I have decided that the end of an adoption is like stepping into a warm room after being outside in the freezing cold for awhile. There is a huge initial sense of relief and comfort when the warmth hits you. And then, you begin to feel that uncomfortable burning sensation in the appendages of your body as they start to defrost.

I first stumbled upon this theory when London and I decided to take the boys on a walk over to the local highschool, to play on the football field and such. It was great, the boys loved it and so did London. Until we were on the walk home. It had gotten dark and was pretty cold and even though the boys had hats, coats, double socks and gloves covering every inch of their little bodies, they were getting cold. It typically doesn’t dip below 90 degrees in Haiti year-round, so hanging outside in the Utah cold is quite a new deal for these guys. They were crying and I was walking faster and faster to get us all home to warm up. We got inside and they were happy for about 60 seconds, until their hands and feet started to “defrost.” We native Utahns are well aware of this defrosting period, but to two little guys from the Caribbean, I’m sure it felt like their hands were on fire. They were crying and shaking their hands and feet until we all huddled in a little family ball and warmed them back up again.

Now you wouldn’t want to stay out in the cold just to avoid this defrosting period, and the warmth that comes after is well worth it, but it is a bit of a transition. Same with adoption.

We arrived home with the boys just a little over 3 weeks ago. And it has been a whirlwind. The first few days (including our adventures traveling home) were and still are a complete blur and they have been pushed to the back of my psyche were they shall forever stay until they can become one of those funny stories about an incredibly weird and difficult experience. The weeks following have been a compilation of every emotion imaginable. Excitement, gratitude, relief, fear, guilt, sorrow, hope, love, happiness, exhaustion, etc., etc. It has been so fun to have these guys here at last. And, like my little analogy, a somewhat painful transition as well.

London has been amazing. She is already such a great big sister and is so proud to show the boys to everyone she knows. I have really tried to give her some special one on one time just me and her and sometimes I think I need it more than her. She is obsessed with little Ashley and would be content to just sit with him in her lap hugging him all day long. She and Mickenson have already had their share of battles, which I am sure will likely continue in the years to come. They are very much alike, full of fire and imagination, and hey, they are siblings, they will love and hate each other at times. I think they will be very good for each other.

Mickenson is a fighter. I can only imagine what this guy has been through in his short little life thus far. And he has learned to take care of himself. Everything about Mickenson says, “I am a tough little dude.” His attitude, his smile, even his walk. He is a fighter, and I love that about him (even if it makes it hard when he is fighting me). With that said, he also loves to be loved. He is learning English pretty quickly and has learned to say “I love you too, mom.” I tell both boys that I love them all day long, and it is the absolute best to hear Mickenson say it back. He loves to be held, if he is not in the middle of creating some kind of destructive game, and will hug and kiss me without request. He is also very smart. I have never been one of those, let-me-brag-about-my-brilliant-child kind of people, but since these kids have not inherited one ounce of their talents from me, I feel ok about it. He loves to learn, has mastered every English flash-card we have in the house and is meticulous about building and construction, with legos, blocks, books, animals, food, whatever. He is going to be starting preschool in a couple of weeks and is so excited about it. I think it will really help his English and social skills to be around other little children his age.

Ashley is a little ball of love. Seriously, if you ever want to feel complete bliss, just let Ashley climb up on you and hug and kiss you for a minute. It’s pure heaven. He is the happiest 2 year old I have ever met (with a close runner-up to my niece Adelaide, they are hilariously oblivious together). He laughs at everything. He eats everything. And he loves everyone. One day I guess I will have to teach him about stranger danger because he will immediately put his arms up to anyone willing to pick him up and give them a giant hug. At the present, he has decided to speak his own unique language. Since none of us were making any sense to him, I guess he decided to create his own names for things. But he definitely knows how to say mama. He probably says it about 10 billion times a day. He has become my little shadow and follows me from room to room, and from one end of that room to the other. He follows me so close I keep tripping over him, which doesn’t seem to phase him as he simply gets up and follows me again. He loves me so much for no reason at all other than I am his mama. There is just no greater feeling in the world than to have a little child just absolutely adore you. And I just absolutely adore him. The first thing I want to do in the morning is go wake up Ashley. We are in love.

Micah... I’m not sure I can adequately describe the rock that Micah has been for all of us through these past 4 weeks (our week in Haiti included). A rock I tell you. I have loved Micah for years, but fell even harder after this experience. It is remarkable how you can gain a whole newfound love and respect for someone who is there for you during a time of pure need. In my moments of panic or fear, he has stayed strong and loves his role of taking care of his family. He is a great dad and I and my kids are lucky to have him.

Blah, blah, blah, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. But like I said, this has been and still is a freaking hard transition and our hands and feet aren’t quite defrosted yet.

There are plenty of times throughout the day when we all struggle. Mickenson is 5 years old and everything he has ever known is now gone. He doesn’t know how to communicate all of the emotions that he must have going on inside of him and that is tough for a 5 year old. It is tough for a 32 year old. He cries, I cry, we cry together. Ashley seems completely oblivious to all of the changes that he has gone through in the past month, like I said, happiest toddler I have ever seen. But, he is two and has his two-year old moments as well. London has had her moments too where she is grieving the loss of her world as she knew it and dealing with the craziness of our newly full house. And finally, I certainly have my many moments throughout the day when I wonder what in the world I am doing. Am I good enough, patient enough, strong enough to do this. I am so glad that I have help - my family, my friends, my church, my work, my Micah and my mom. I couldn’t do this without my mom. I think several times a day that if I can be as a good a mom as her, I will have made it.

For those of you still reading, I would like to say thank you for your support and for letting me express my own emotions, experiences, and transitions through this silly little blog (well I guess you didn't really "let" me, it's my blog and I can do whatever I want with it, ha). Writing is therapeutic for me. I haven’t decided if I will continue this blog or bring it to a close. I really only started it for this crazy adoption road, which has seemingly and finally come to an end. But I guess the road hasn’t really ended, so we’ll see.....

assuming tv-watching positions - love disney

first bath

ashley in his rad leather jacket from his cousing benny that he wears all around the house

he wanted to show how tough he was by carrying the garbage bag all by himself... cuz he's got muscles


at the zoo - they loved it although ashley was sure that the tigers were going to eat him