Tuesday, March 23, 2010

At Peace

Peace found my Mimi yesterday.

She was a beautiful woman, a socialite, a cooker of everything chocolate, a knitter, a shopaholic, she was probably the kindest person you could ever know, and I was lucky to be her Granddaughter.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Guess What...

I have my camera back! Well, it isn't technically my camera and it isn't technically new, but I'm back in business taking photos of my family and creative goods.
I have felt lost without it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Year Ago Part 6

Here is the last chapter of the series. This series of posts are for Mezmur and it is part of our journal I call Blinkin Blog.
We feel so lucky to have Ethiopia in our lives. The culture, the history, everything about Ethiopia is beautiful. We plan on continuing our education about Ethiopia for our family. Mezmur deserves to know all she can about where she was born and about her birth mother's culture.
Oh, and have I mentioned the coffee?

This was the very first thing I saw as we passed through the gates of House of Hope. It was full of children whose eyes were huge watching our van pull in. One little girl had her hair half braided, getting ready for her reunion with her family the next week. One day as we pulled in the children were enjoying a treat of lollipops while they spun around on the merry-go-round. Some of these scenes I will never forget.
House of Hope. The House of Hope is the reason I would choose CHI again. Tsegay, the director was wonderful. The nannies truly LOVE the children. You can see their sadness while they watch "their" babies go home. Although, it is still an orphanage. The children aren't getting all they need, but when compared to Mezmur's first orphanage...it was wonderful. HOH runs like a fine tuned machine. The babies get bottles popped into their mouths every three hours, the older children eat and get their lesson at a certain time everyday, as Tsegay claims, the children are bathed every morning at 9:am, there is laundry being done all day long (literally), and while all this is happening they still were able to feed us lunch everyday complete with a coffee ceremony.

The people of Ethiopia...my first thought was how hardworking they are. The people on the streets we saw were all busy working. Working hard for their families. Selling fruit, hauling bricks, working in their stores and stands, carrying a pack full of sticks for fires for cooking...
The people of Ethiopia are not all suffering. Yes, the hardships are many, but if they are suffering they do not show it. The lesson that this gave me is, to love my life. Ethiopians love their life despite their hardships. When life gets hard or I get stressed I'm reminded of the resilience of the people of Ethiopia. They have more strength in their day to day lives than I could ever have in a lifetime.
It was absolutely heartbreaking to visit Mezmur's orphanage...the place she stayed after she was found and before she was taken to the House of Hope. There were a couple of little boys who the director kept pointing out that didn't have homes yet...this little boy was one of them. Obviously we would've taken them home in a heartbeat, but unfortunately adoption doesn't work that way (for obvious reasons). It was hard to see this orphanage. It didn't have the resources that House of Hope had. The children seemed taken care of, but not happy and care free, like children should be. There was one little girl..tiny, malnourished, and absolutely terrified. When she saw us she screamed in fear. I wanted to hug her and hold her and tell her it was going to be ok, but she was so terrified. I will never forget that orphanage, where Mezmur spent some of her time before she became part of a family.
Coffee ceremony at the orphanage.
Door at the orphanage.
Traditional dresses on our shopping day.

The coffee shop we visited.

This is my very favorite photo from our trip.
Closing thoughts: Children have one basic need in their lives. A family. Ask any child with a family who the most important people are in their life and they will say their Mom and Dad (or their primary caregiver). Every child deserves to have someone who loves them. Every child deserves a family. With the risk of sounding too pushy or "preachy"...anyone can adopt a child who doesn't have a family. Anyone. Get a loan, get some education, ask for donations at your church, ask a stranger in the grocery store about their adoption process, save your money....honestly, if we could do it...ANYONE can. Children are all the same in every country. They all want to be loved and cared for.
Let me add, adoption should NEVER be about saving a child. If someone says how lucky Mezmur is I say, "We are the lucky ones." Or, "We are blessed because of her." We adopted for selfish reasons, we wanted another baby. We always knew we would adopt and WE feel so blessed to be given the opportunity.
If adoption isn't something you can do...help an orphan by donating or sponsoring a child. Help an orphan get an education and grow up in their country. Help them to grow up in their own country to help solve the orphan crisis they face and so many other children are facing.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Year Ago Part 5

The next morning was life as usual with two kids. This was the scene I waited for over 2 1/2 years for. The joy of siblings, our growing family...the chaos.

In this photo Mezmur was almost 14 pounds...today, she is almost 24 pounds.
Mezmur in this photo couldn't sit up and she didn't have any strength in her legs...today, she runs circles around me all day...literally, she doesn't stop moving.
Mezmur is getting so tall. She is over 100% percentile in height and she is still such a little petite girl.

It is amazing what a family and love can do for you.

It's amazing what this little girl can do for those in her life.

There will be only one more part to this story. Jill hit the nail on the head. By letting a year pass, it has made it easier to wrap my mind around Ethiopia and all the emotions involved with our trip.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Year Ago Part 4

Shortly after we arrived at the House of Hope...Mezmur was placed in my arms. It is hard to describe the feeling. It was surreal, I felt nervous, I was scared, and obviously a weight was lifted and I felt complete. I was so happy to finally have our daughter in our arms. This was the very first photo of Mezmur after she was handed to me. She was very interested in my hair.
So, remember when I told you Rhett wasn't sure of the new photos of Mez? Well, at home, he would say, "I don't want a sister anymore." I was terrified that he would run from the room screaming about how he didn't want a sister. I was sooooo wrong...thank, God. He walked over so calmly, touched her head, and said, "She is so much prettier than her picture." It was instant love between Mez and Rhett.

You see that face? That sweet little face? When I see this photo it makes me a little sad. Our baby was so scared that first day. She was literally frozen in fear. Even today when she is nervous or unsure she gets really quiet and emotionless.

We couldn't get over (and still can't) how beautiful her skin was. I had never seen such a perfect shade of brown.
This is Mezmur's first toy, Sophie the giraffe. She was 7 1/2 months old and she never had a toy. She didn't put Sophie down the whole trip. She would fall asleep chewing on her leg. Today, Sophie is so dirty and the squeaker broke when I boiled her in Ethiopia. That toy brings back a lot of memories...like, this was the first time she opened her mouth and I could see she had two teeth.

It was a busy day for this little girl. She was taken from all she knew and the only people she knew. It took her one day to become comfortable with us and prefer us. Only one day. This amazes me. This baby girl went through so much in 7 short months and it blows me away how resilient she was...and still is.
This day means so much to us. To me, it is similar to a birthday. This was the day the nanny handed me this baby and told me she was mine. This was the first moment I was able to touch her and look into her eyes. The first time I fed her and changed her diaper. I carry these memories the same way I do the day Rhett was born. I will always remember the way the room looked and felt when we were waiting for Mezmur to arrive and I will never forget how I felt the second she was handed to me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Year Ago Part 3

Well, we made it to Ethiopia and we only had one more night of sleep before we met our daughter. Yes, Rhett was up at 3 am, but that's ok...we were prepared for some sleep issues with him.
Rhett felt right at home at the Ethiopian Guest Home. The people who worked there were awesome. They joined right in with Rhett's drumming and made him feel so welcome.
Let me present to you...our first breakfast in Ethiopia. Do I need to repeat just how amazing the coffee was? Amazing. Best coffee ever. We enjoyed our breakfast with some great company who were meeting their daughter that morning as well...at the same time...in the same room.
This is one of my favorite photos from Ethiopia. We finished our breakfast and all we could do was wait for the car to pick us up. I still remember how calm I was. I think Rhett being there helped keep me grounded.
Rhett was giddy with anticipation of meeting his sister and giddy with the fact he was riding in a car without a car seat.
Tomorrow...the moment we met.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Year Ago Part 2

Well, a year ago today we boarded a plane for a trip that none of us will forget. The drama started for the Lapours on the plane. Here is the last photo we took as a family of three at PDX.
Here is the last shot of Rhett before we boarded Ethiopian Air...after we repacked our carry on bags to weigh 20 pounds each instead of 50. I don't know how we did that. This photo was the last smiling face we would see from Rhett until he got his orange soda at the airport in Ethiopia.
Rhett cried himself to sleep as we were descending into Rome...the plane landed, but we didn't get off. He cried for a good hour and a half on that flight. Boy, I wonder what the Ethiopians on that flight thought. (He was over tired due to his mom's great idea to keep him awake alllll day, so he would sleep great on the long flight...great idea mom.) Thankfully, Rhett stayed asleep and woke up when we were almost landing in Ethiopia.
Also, we should thank Rhett...due to his outbursts in the customs line, we were escorted to the diplomat's line and we had plenty of time to enjoy our orange soda.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

First Of The Series

Since my camera is currently in the shop getting fixed...hopefully not for an outlandish amount...let me present to you the first of a new series.
A year ago...the final chapter of our adoption...bringing our baby home.
We all do it...blog posts of our personal anniversaries and we want everyone to remember and celebrate with us, but really, it is our journey and our memories and only we know just how much this final chapter means to us.
Every year we will remember the day we first met Mezmur. We won't call it "gotcha day" or "family day"...I'm not sure we will give it a name, but we will celebrate it and only WE will know the amazing significance of THAT day...the day we first met our daughter/sister.
This was our new photo of our baby that we couldn't stop looking at. She had changed so much that she looked like a different baby to Rhett. He wasn't sure about his "new" sister, because he was really in love with his "old" sister. Little did he know how his love would change the second he met her.
What a crazy adventure we were getting ready for...a year ago today we were packing our bags, collecting donations, staring at our baby girl's photo, getting shots, and preparing ourselves emotionally for what we were about to do.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Walk in the Fall

We just uploaded Rhett's camera again and I found this series of photos...you are in for a treat.
Billy follows us on our walks. If we are going too far and we don't want Billy to follow us we have to run and turn the corner fast to lose him.

I remember this was the end of our walk and I ended up holding Rhett's camera for him and I snapped this shot...