Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Whole New World

Emmanuel finally got his glasses. He seems to like them! Although they were not the magic, cure all our problems, suddenly become angelic glasses we were hoping for.
I finally figured out how to get the names of my kids on their shirts, name them after a Movie.
Abegail tries on Eman's glasses

Quotes From our Americanized Abegail:
A: Mommy can I have P....B....(thinking) J?
M: PB&J???
A: Yea, PB&J, only you and I know what that means!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Ballet Bug

Abegail went to Annie's class twice before she insisted she needed to take a class too. So today was her first day. She's in the class right after Annie and loved it. Now Emmanuel says he needs to take a class, um how about karate buddy?

This year my lifesaver has been the Y. The kids can go and play and get all their energy out in the kids gym while I go work out. They have a huge indoor playground (not pictured here because the kids of course were coloring when I was taking photos) It's awesome and they are so good to us. Here's a few photos in Kidstuff.

Quotes from Abegail:
Mommy: Annie, Ema,, I mean Abegail..whoever you are, come over here
Abegail: I should put my name on my shirt!
Our parents all did that, now we know why!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


The other day Abegail happened to mention that her parents had a baby boy before she was born who had died. She said she never knew him. I gave her the third degree just because I was curious. What was his name? How did he die? How old was he when he died? To all of these questions she did not know the answer. We finally found out the Davis' had a boy names Levi who they called Lee. He was born December 20th, 1996 and died January of 1999. Apparently he got sick and died and the family was never able to figure out what was wrong with him.

There have been so many things that have come up like this that I have been curious about. I kick myself about our meeting with Alexander, the kids birth father, and think why didn't I ask him this or that. So when a mother went to Liberia in January I included another packet for Alexander along with a our phone number. Last night he called and we were able to get through and call him right back. It was wonderful to hear his voice and that all his children are doing well.

The kids tried to hide their excitement, but Abegail just glowed. Then I handed the phone to Emmanuel and he said, "Hi Papa! Can I come back now? I want to come back!"

Abegail immediately covered his mouth. I can only imagine how hard that was for Alexander to hear. I felt heartbroken for him. The rest of the conversation was great and of course I asked about that baby boy and that's how I found out about Levi. Alexander was surprised Abegail had remembered him and told us about him. Alexander said he got all the school work and photos we sent him and he was so grateful. He kept calling me Mrs. Richardson and I was thinking, "I'm the mother of your children, please call me Sue." And then I thought there are so many things weird about that sentence I don't know where to start.

Scott and I have finally given in to the fact that we are in way over our heads when it comes to Emmanuel and his behavior. We are now seeking a counselor for him. Our first meeting was very eye opening and the "I want to come back" comment may be a big reason why he is hard to control. Attachment is key for him - and while he seems cuddly and needy and always wanting our attention, there are definitely some abandonment issues there. Our counselor told us to work on eye contact. Scott and I have both noticed he can't hold it for more than about two seconds. Just like someone you don't like who you don't want to look at, Emmanuel doesn't want to look. Maybe he doesn't want to get too attached?? It is hard to know.

Scott and I go from being defensive about Emmanuel's listening skills to being exasperated. At times we just want to scream, please don't tell us anything else bad about our son, do you know what this child has been through? At other times I will ask anyone to help me because obviously I have no idea what I am doing. Saying things 12 times to get him to do anything is exhausting both mentally and physically. Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, please sit down, Emmanuel, could you please sit down, SIT DOWN!!!!!!!!!! It goes like that with everything, put your shoes on, put your shoes on, please put your shoes on, Emmanuel could you put your shoes on, Mommy asked you to put your shoes on, what are you supposed to be doing now? PUT YOUR SHOES ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This whole situation is a long journey and there are no black & white answers. And if you ask Scott, he'll tell you...I don't know what gray is! This is so gray there are no Hallmark cards for this situation. We continue to get bits and pieces of the puzzle, but really feel in the dark when it comes to a lot of our kids story. We can't help but feel like it is a tragedy for the kids and the Davis family. Scott keeps saying the tragedy is over...but the journey is not over, its only 7 months, we don't know the ending yet. We don't know what their lives will be like in five years, ten years, as adults. Scott keeps quoting the positivity book, "It's like anything else, it's not what happens to's how you deal with what's happened to you that defines who you are."

We don't know what they could have become had they stayed in Liberia. We will never know. We just trust one Papa made the right choice.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mr. Suzuki's Birthday

Friday is Mr Suzuki's Birthday, Abegail's first grade teacher. Since about the end of January she has told me she wants to get him a present. (For those of you who don't know Mr. Suzuki is the best first grade teacher in the whole world) I said that's fine what do you want to get him? She says, "I want to get him a new pair of shoes." I said oh, does he need new shoes, are his shoes worn out? No, I just want to get him shoes. Maybe I can ask him what size he is. I said OK. So she comes home the next day and says, "Mommy, he is a 9 1/2." I said good to know. Friday they don't have school so tonight we went out to get her class candy for Valentines Day and a gift for Mr. Suzuki. She had by this point decided she didn't want to get him shoes. I said, how about socks? No, he doesn't need socks. I said, how do you know? "Because he wears socks everyday." So we went through the toy aisle. Abegail, I don't think Mr. Suzuki wants a barbie. I said how about candy. "No he doesn't need candy." She wanted to get him a talking bear kind of like one she gave Grandma Charlene for Christmas but they all played love songs, I'm thinking probably not the most appropriate thing for a first grader. Finally after 30 minutes we settled on a glow in the dark fan and a happy birthday bear. And yes we were late for church school, but then again its all for Mr. Suzuki. Did I mention he's teaching kindergarten next year???
Oh, EMMANUEL......
Quotes from Abegail
Abegail: Mommy, Mr. Suzuki's mom made him a necklace of flowers from Hawaii.
Mommy: His mom lives in Hawaii??
Abegail: Yes.
Mommy: Why does he live in Minnesota if his Mom lives in Hawaii?
Abegail: We live in Minnesota and Grandma Marian lives in New York. Sometimes that's how it works.
Mommy: Oh, very true.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Camp Caroline

My sister, Auntie Caroline, came for a visit this weekend and she let Scott and I go on vacation. It couldn't have come at a better time. We are so grateful for our 20 hour stay in Minneapolis (the weather was much the same as it was in Bloomington). We actually talked without being interrupted. We ate a meal without cutting someone else's meat. We showered without an audience. Meanwhile my sister kept the kids busy by making puppets and countless other crafts, introducing them to The Wizard of Oz, which they have now watched 4 times, and organizing our new playroom. My sister who has three boys of her own and a busy full time job is my new hero.
Prospective adoptive parents find someone to do this for you if you can. The only thing to be aware of is coming home is a shock and reality sets in way too fast. I think both Scott and I have the one day vacation blues! But we could not be more grateful had she given either of us a lifesaving kidney. By the way Caroline, if you ever need a kidney, you know who to call!
Quotes From Emmanuel:
Immediately after dropping Auntie Caroline off at the airport.
E: Can we go to Auntie Caroline's house??
Mommy: You liked her did you??