Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I really like this kid

At the beginning of this year, I got serious about health. Emotional health and physical health. Parenting threw me off my game right from the get go and it's been quite a journey of realizing all the baggage I still was carrying around that needed healing before I could fully attempt to help my little guy heal from all his. I began going to biblical counseling in January at Rock House Center. I also started a new healthy lifestyle with Isagenix. The two things in combination were perfect timing. I'm getting to the root cause of some of my buttons and issues and where they come from, and getting lots of healing through lots of prayer and revelation from the Lord who is so faithful and kind! And I'm feeling better than I have in years. I've lost 18 pounds already and have energy to keep up with my active little guy and our 2 puppies who are very rambunctious themselves. God is helping me overcome so many things I've struggled with over the years with my weight and past hurts. And there has been so much breakthrough these past few months. Thank you Jesus!!!

And not only does this breakthrough and newfound peace affect me - it affects Mihretu. I have been truly amazed at the changes in him as a result of the changes in me. I'm a work in progress for sure but I've experienced so much more peace and so much less stress. I've been handling meltdowns and negative behavior with a lot more patience, understanding and grace. It's not a 100% batting average but it's certainly ALOT of progress and I will take it! Mihretu has responded to my changes with more respect, better behavior, lots of affection, and a lot of growth. He just seems to feel more secure and I know that's because of how I'm responding to situations. It really makes a difference.

Our kids are so dependent on us and it's so key that we deal with our junk so we can help them deal with theirs. I am seeing it firsthand in our home. I'm also seeing how kids learn from us and do as we do. For instance, some really cool moments lately where I've been just awed by little things that I've done in front of him that have taken root in his heart.

Whenever I am having a hard time - putting the divider in the dog crate and it was physically difficult to squeeze the crate to get the little slots to go in or when I hit my head really hard on an open cupboard on vacation and had to sit down on the floor cause it hurt so bad I was practically in tears or we encounter a traffic jam or a bad storm - Mihretu has started just folding his little hands together and saying out loud "Dear God - thank you. Help mommy" OR "Dear God - thank you - keep us safe from storm". It is the most precious thing ever. He came over and touched my head when I hit it and kissed it and then said "Dear God - thank you. Please help mommy's head." Be still my heart. This kid is so precious! Of all things he could have picked up that I have done - this is by far the best option. Thank you Lord. My prayer is that these things would sink deep into his heart and he would know God the father as the one who hears, who cares, who loves and who provides all we need - our very present help in time of need.

So we ended up renting out a little apartment within walking distance from the beach in Florida on spring break last week and it was so wonderful. Just me and M and the most peaceful, fun, blissful vacation I've ever had. I just cannot even tell y'all how much I enjoyed his company. He was so much fun to be with, so well behaved, so adventurous, so sweet and loves to do the same things I do. I honestly couldn't think of anyone in the whole world I'd rather take a vacation with. I walked away from that week with so much thankfulness for the closeness we shared and just how much I like this kid. Of course, I always love him but I tell ya what - I really like him too - he is a cool kid. He loves the beach and going out for seafood and being lazy in the morning when we have no place to be. He's funny and totally gets it when I'm joking. He says "you kidding right?" with this little "yeah right mom" look on his face and it cracks me up. He cares about people and loves to be a big helper. He has a mercy gifting which is perfect cause his name means "mercy". He's super smart. He did amazing on 2 super long car rides to Florida and back. On the way back, we hit so much traffic that 10 hours turned into 15 and he didn't fuss one bit. He just watched his movies in the back seat and went with the flow. He's a great little travel buddy. I just really enjoy his company! I'm so lucky to be his mom. I really, really feel blessed beyond measure by this amazing little person that I get to be mom to. I'm in awe of how God puts families together and so thankful that He put us together on that short-term mission trip in 2011!

Another huge breakthrough came last night - Mihretu brought this up on his own - he said after dinner "mommy, I'm going to sleep in my big boy bed tonight". I didn't prompt it, I hadn't been pushing it, I didn't see that coming. If I'm being honest, I thought he was going to change his mind so I was keeping my expectations in check. By golly, he really did it - he slept the entire night in his own bed. This is a huge, huge, huge thing! He still wanted me to stay in there with him till he fell asleep but he knew I was going to my bed once he was asleep and he was ok with that. He just wanted a light in there so I put in two nightlights. He slept all night without waking up and coming in with me. And this morning, I was up at 6 am and he was still asleep so I shut his door so the dogs wouldn't run in there and he slept till almost 7 am. He then walked out and came into my room and gave me a hug like "no big deal that I just slept in my room". I was shocked. Wow. I tell ya what - I think this all just comes back to security. The more patient and loving I am and the more peaceful our home is - the more that overflows onto him and makes him feel peaceful too. And he feels more secure in that. And when he feels more secure, he has more freedom to be independent and not fearful. Thank you Jesus!

I won't venture to say this will be the new norm or that he'll sleep in there every night from now on - maybe he will, maybe he won't. But I am learning to just go with the flow and go with what he needs in the moment, rather than being so desperate for any certain thing to happen. I'm just trying to not have so much riding on every little thing and just seek the Lord in each moment and ask Him what He would have me do. And man, I sure wish I had started out parenting like this cause it sure is a lot more fun and a lot less stressful than how I was trying to do things in the beginning. I'm just thankful God is showing me now while we're still in the beginning stages. He's only been home a year and a half so it's still early. And His mercies are new everyday.

I like 2014 so far. I like this son I've been blessed with. I like this life I have, even though at times it gets chaotic and crazy. And I really like all that God is teaching me and my son and all the healing we are both experiencing because of it!

Interview with Engaging Missions

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to be interviewed by Engaging Missions. They have a list of questions they ask the people they interview and I got to share alot of personal testimonies of how God has worked in my life, my favorite scripture and why, how I got involved in Visiting Orphans, how God moved mountains in my adoption and more. If you want to check it out, you can listen to the interview online here:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Vacation and God blessings!

Mihretu and I hit the road early Saturday morning for a 12.5 hour drive to Venice, Florida. He's on spring break this week and our friend Deb recently moved to FL so I thought it was a good idea to come visit. At the last minute - like 3 days before - I found a sweet little efficiency rental on the beach with a pool too for super cheap and it was amazingly available the days we would be there. What a huge blessing this place has been. It's been so much fun - we are just taking each moment as it comes. It was kind of chilly the first few days but is absolutely perfect today. We spent the whole morning at the beach. Gorgeous!

We've met some nice people also staying in this complex and one is a single adoptive mom - how cool is God? Her daughter is 9 and Mihretu has been playing so well with her. Last night, M & I went to dinner at a little seafood place and the waiter saw my Africa necklace and asked really sweetly if that was where M was from. When I said yes, he said "Your meal is on me. My sister also adopted from Africa and it's great what you are doing." How sweet is that? He totally covered our meal. Another God blessing.

The biggest God blessing of all is in how this story played out. Yesterday Mihretu went out into the water at the beach with his new little friend and she had one of those little boogie boards. He was holding on to it and they were playing. About 15 minutes later as I stood on shore watching him while talking to the girls mom - he went under and I could tell in an instant it had suddenly gotten deeper than his little legs could touch. Talk about fast action - I took off in a sprint through that water like a scene out of Baywatch. It was like everything was in slow motion though - I could see him swimming and coming up for breath every few seconds as he was clearly upset and trying to figure out how to get out of this situation. The little girl stood nearby but had no idea he was in distress. His swimming lessons paid off during those moments when mom was racing as fast as I could to him as he was swimming and able to get breaths. Right as I reached him, he also reached the boogie board - he had located it and swam to it. I scooped him up in my arms and his little heart was just a racing and he was so scared. I was too but kept calm for him and told him how great he did with his swimming and how proud I was that he swam to the board all on his own. He wasn't even very far out - he could touch and then all of a sudden, he couldn't. I laid awake last night thinking about how differently that could have played out had he never taken swim lessons or if I had not been watching, even just for a minute. Just a lesson to never take your eyes off your kid when they are in the water. And honestly, in hindsight, I shouldn't have even let him go out there without me. He's still so little and he doesn't have much experience with the ocean. We both learned a lot in that experience. My brave little guy is not totally freaked out by the water now but certainly a lot more cautious than he was previously. He kept saying "I went under mommy. I don't like that! I don't want to go under again." I told him from now on mommy will go swimming with you. What a scary experience. Thanking God for protection. It's so scary how fast life flashes before you when something like that happens.

M is taking a nap right now after about 4 hours of nonstop playing at the beach this morning. I'm sitting outside our door on the little landing while he sleeps. It's amazing how when you don't have any place to be or any commitments or responsibilities for a week - how magical the time with your child can be. He's like the best vacation buddy ever. He did AMAZING in the long car ride down here. No meltdowns, no issues. We stopped for gas and to go to the bathroom but that was it. We ate snacks and lunch in the car. He watched a bunch of movies and even took a 3 hour nap. The only meltdown thus far here was last night cause he was overtired from no nap yesterday. It was over in about 5 minutes and he was fast asleep about 2 minutes after hitting the pillow. He has been so well behaved and we've just been really enjoying ourselves. He's been just as excited as me about eating seafood and being at the beach. He keeps saying "we're gonna eat crab and lobster and go to the beach and have fun today mommy!" I love this vacation. My favorite one yet! I think we might have to do this every year. It isn't costing much money and yet it's just absolutely relaxing and enjoyable. And we get to spend some time with our friend Deb. She has come over and hung out with us a lot this week. Today she's not feeling well so she's resting at her house

while we have a beach day. After his nap, I think we will go back down to the beach for some more play time. Gotta soak it up while we can. We only have one more day here and then we head to Orlando to see my best friend from Michigan and her family who are staying there this week. How fun that we are both in FL the same week. Can't wait to see them.

Here's a few photos from our time here so far!
We went on a little boat ride at Myakka Park and saw lots of alligators!

Enjoying the beach where we are staying

At Sharky's seafood restaurant and pier

soaking up some snuggles from Auntie Deb

LOVE our Ethiopian family

We just returned from Ethiopia and oh boy - my heart is completely wrecked. Mihretu and I traveled on our own last March (2018) over his ...