Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gotcha Day and a new appreciation for life

Yesterday was our 1 year Gotcha Day and on our way to the pumpkin patch to celebrate with all Mihretu's Aunties from my work (Mihretu had no school because of conferences and we were taking a staff field day with him), we were in a car wreck. Me, Mihretu and my coworker friend Casi were in my minivan. The cars in front of us on our exit ramp stopped quite suddenly and I was talking to Casi telling a story and had turned my head for 2 seconds to look at her and by the time I looked back - the rear end of the car in front of me was literally right there. We slammed into the back of it, the airbags deployed and my van was totalled. I felt ok but was immediately concerned about Mihretu and Casi. Mihretu was crying but when I asked him if he was ok, he shook his head yes. Casi was calm but just said "I think my wrist is broken". I didn't feel anything (although my neck is quite sore today). I didn't even know if I actually got hit by the airbags at all. It all happened so fast. In a matter of seconds, we went from happy conversation to "oh my gosh - are we all ok? That was a hard hit! What do I need to do next?" mode. Talk about surreal. The car in front of me and the lady in front of her were all ok and very nice considering I caused the accident. The fireman came - they were super nice too and gave Mihretu a fireman hat. The police were super nice too. Casi was taken by the EMS to the hospital about 3 miles away. It was a pretty bad break - it will require surgery later this week on her wrist. Please pray for her healing. 

I'm almost 38 years old and I've never been in an accident. Casi hadn't been either. And poor Mihretu - only 4 years old and he's already been in one. He stopped crying right away and assured me he was ok - it just scared him. He wasn't hurt, thank the Lord. I hate that Casi got hurt but man, that could've been SO much worse. If I had my old Cavalier instead of this minivan, we might not be here right now. Just even thinking of what could have been brings me to tears. Life is so very fragile. I am more thankful than ever to have this sweet boy in my care so yesterdays Gotcha Day definitely gave me a whole new appreciation for my son and for life in general. Angels were no doubt watching over us. Thank you Jesus for your hand of protection! 

My minivan is considered a total loss. We hit hard.

Pictures from our Gotcha Day last year - Oct 28, 2012
Photoshoot from August by Rosemary Stanton Woods!

I love these pics in his Ethiopian outfit. My handsome boy!

My favorite picture of us! 

Being silly on the trampoline

My big boy decorating all the October birthday cards!

This little man is indeed going to Change The World as his shirt says:)

I love this one - he's imitating Moses from the Prince of Egypt movie.
He calls this stick his "Moses stick". 

I love his smile!
This was at the hospital yesterday when we went to visit Auntie Casi at the ER. He was such a brave boy and so well behaved all day as it took a long time to get the insurance and rental car stuff figured out and we never did make it to the pumpkin patch:( We are having a big celebration at our house on Saturday morning to celebrate Gotcha Day since our plans yesterday didn't work out. I have a feeling the celebration will be even more meaningful than ever after our ordeal yesterday. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Looking back

It was one year ago today that I got the email. The long-awaited email that said my case was cleared and I could schedule my visa appointment and come get my son! It was exactly 15 months from the day we first met when that email arrived. I wrote this blog post last year - oh the excitement of that day!!! Feels like it was just yesterday in some ways and in other ways, feels like my sweet boy has been home for longer than a year because he's adjusted so well and it just feels impossible that I ever did life without him.

Last week, I got this photo of him which is definitely the youngest photo I've ever seen of him. My friend adopted an older boy from the same orphanage and he found it in his stack of photos - he has no idea who gave it to him or when it's from. I'm so thankful to have it! What a treasure.
My baby boy! Oh how I wish I could have loved him
and kissed him and cared for him back then.

A few months ago a past volunteer at his orphanage sent me these next two ADORABLE photos! I can't even tell you how much it means to have photos of him from the first years before I got to bring him home. 

Pre-haircut - how cute is he?

LOVE this one. And now I know they did have a bathtub at the orphanage.
No wonder he wasn't afraid of baths and loved it so much. I can't get over the cuteness!

And then there was this - one of the most important moments of my life.
The moment I first picked up this sweet, snuggly little boy in an orphanage in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia. I knew instantly that there was something very special about this moment.
So glad one of my teammates happened to capture it on camera! 

After I met him in July 2011 many of my coworkers visited his orphanage.
This is one of the photos taken by one of my coworkers during those
long months of waiting to get him home. 

A year later, I got to see him again and have court. And then I had to
leave without him - hardest thing I've ever done. Thank the Lord, I got to
come back for him 3.5 months later!
October 28, 2012 - Gotcha Day - the moment I walked into the care center
to pick up my boy knowing this time I didn't have to leave without him.
What a special day. I am beyond thankful!


Oh how I wonder what he was thinking as he looked at me here.
Maybe he remembered our 7 days together 3 months prior. Maybe he was thinking
"who is holding me now?". I don't know but I'm so glad he warmed up so quickly!

He looks so little and yet, this was only a year ago. 

First nap in mommy's care

First dinner together our first night!

First bath in mommy's care in the Ethiopia Guest House sink:)
Oh my cuteness!

Sweet, sweet firsts!

First bedtime together - being our silly selves!

First bedtime story time!
Our first morning together - our Embassy appointment day!


Good ole car rides without child car seats in Addis:) 
Our Embassy day! Waiting on our IAG representative
to take us to our appointment!

November 1, 2012 - Airport welcome home party in Nashville, TN
after a tiring 40 hours of travel time. Mihretu was sound asleep in the Ergo
when we arrived to greet our friends who were waiting for us.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Painting Prints

You can now order a print of this painting that I did entitled "Joy".

The prints are on flat canvas so you can easily put them in a frame. Of all the paintings I've done over the years, this one is my very favorite. I imagine that little girl on the tire swing is me and it's just that moment of pure joy. I have the original hanging in our dining room at home. Mihretu always says "mommy, that you?" and that makes me smile:)

Here's the link to purchase if you're interested.