Saturday, August 29, 2009


I think I see how Eli sees our world...busy and fast-paced, on the go all the time. He asked me if all of America only talks about food and money? I said, "no. I don't think so, why?" He pointed to the radio where a financial planning commercial was playing, right into a food ad, back into a "make more money!" ad, returning to a "eat this and save money" ad...oh, boy. I turned to my favorite Christian station.

We find ourselves apologizing for the way we do things all the time. Yet, we are proud of our country and feel blessed to live here. I describe living with Eli like know how you always say "well, when we were kids, we were more respectful and obedient, thrifty, not wasteful and way more considerate...and, with not the conveniences or technology. That's the world he is from. There is no explaining a punishment or over-praising of accomplishments. There is no baby-ing, coddling or passivity. This child understands and respects authority, discipline and hard-work.

We turned a milestone in the past couple of weeks. The honeymoon was over...for both of us...and reality set in. Mom and dad mean what we say and there is no room for argument...just like the good ole' days. And guess what? He gets it. Now, we are a family! During the adoption process, one AGCI family said to me, "parent like you did your own." Even with an adopted child, we learned that kids are kids and some behaviors across the world are equally unacceptable. It was great advice for this transition period.

We love this little boy, who keeps us running and is so full of wide-eyed excitement. We took him to the Minnesota State Fair this week, where we thought the abundance of food would be a turn-off to him, but it turned out to be women smoking cigarettes...everywhere! He tried deep fried cheese curds and had his first sno-cone. He rode the giant slide and won a basketball at the basketball throw! This typically winds down a Minnesota summer for us. Very soon, we will be bundled up for cold fall nights and football!

We are nearing two months home in just 4 more days! It's so hard to believe all we have taken in and how much he has learned in that amount of time. Fall soccer is underway and he is loving it! He now understands most everything we say and is able to communicate in sentences of three to four words. He knows colors, shapes, his full name and various vocabulary words.

Finally, yes. Eli will start school September 8th in the 4th grade and is both excited and apprehensive. Grandma and Grandpa, from California, will visit this weekend and meet Eli for the first time, and be here for the first day of school! It was a tough decision, but he is very social and needs to start making friends. We pray that all goes well!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Favorite Thing In America...

Eli says that the thing he loves most about America is (drum roll)...the FOOD! Can you believe it?! He ranks among his favorites:

1. Hamburgers!(let's not forget he hated these at first)
2. Fish (actually, it was a tortilla crusted tilapia from Schwans)
3. Peanut Butter and Jelly (good ole' PB&J!)
4. Indian Food (we do this a lot)
5. Tortillas (or, American injera, as we call it)

Today at Open Gym, he added to his list, a perfect back-flip on the tramp and a front handspring on the floor!

We had a lovely "Welcome" shower from our dear friends. We are very blessed. The story of adoption always brings tears. I love our friends who are so sweet and supportive of this little boy. We wanted to take a trip to California to meet grandma and grandpa, but its too early. I also need back surgery so I can keep up with this active little guy. It looks like grandma and grandpa may be coming here instead to meet our guy!

Monday, August 3, 2009

3 month Post Adoption review

Well, it's actually only been one month today that we have been home! Yet, the 3-month from court date is due and our social worker is on her way.

It feels a bit longer that we have been home with Eli. It feels like he has always been in our family! Dave and I are amazed at how he fits in and how he is adjusting. He is a smart, sensitive, respectful and obedient young man. He has come up with two full sentences this week and completely trusts us in everything. He helped Dave reconstruct the deck with great ability using a chisel and hammer. He cleaned his brother's land mine of a room. He taught himself how to skate board in ten minutes (maybe less)...

It's not all perfect...he tattles on everything his sister does, and is becoming addicted to the PS2. He has a tendency to pout when asked to get off the gaming station and do something else.

So far, it's not like anything we haven't already been through (except for Lauren, perhaps). He couldn't be luckier to have a more patient and kind big sis, but right now it's all about getting in good with big brother, I think.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Week In Review...

We started our week with a little drama at drama camp. Eli was overwhelmed by the chaos and craziness of kids "improvising" at Lauren's drama camp. He said,(at least this was my interpretation)in Ethiopia, kids are obedient in class and the teachers have control. He left crying and frustrated. Later, we visited the dentist and had a wonderful check-up, with only one cavity and new pearly whites!

I learned that in Ethiopia, the bottles we recycle are washed and re-sold on the streets.

We shouldn't throw away anything! Especially an old broken toy!

Christmas is celebrated and Eli is happy that we celebrate it too! (by the way, he had an "artificial" tree, because real ones are "dirty").

In Ethiopia, he had a small dog named "Buchi".

His goal is to learn the "splits" like Jackie Chan.

On Wednesday, we cooked Ethiopian pasta made with "berebere". Wow! Was that hot!

On Thursday, we went to a Minnesota Saints baseball game! He LOVED it! He laughed at all the funny games that are put on between innings.

He ADORES his big brother, who won a baseball at the Saint's game and came home and gave it to him! Biggest, widest smile...ever!

He now loves McDonald's Hamburgers and still hates pizza...but eats everything else!

He learned how to count money and counted an entire jar of coins in various increments of a dollar to a grand total of $64.59! He kept calling it "diamonds" like it was so valuable...which it is, only that we seem to forget.

Last night, through much persistence, we gave in and took him to open gym at the nearby gymnastics center. We were amazed at how he jumped in and learned a front flip!

Saddest thing: He saw the neighbor kids with some friends over, and although he plays with them all the time, he said " friends." I'm sure it feels that way, but wow! we have not been home quite a month and have we made some strides! We couldn't be more proud of him! Soon enough...he will have plenty of friends.