Tuesday, April 26, 2011

incomplete conversations


I realized the past few blogs have been mostly positive, cheery, life is great kind of posts. I wanted to share tonight a conversation that we had over the dinner table. It is a type of conversation we have daily. It's messy, incomplete and I am always left wondering what I should have said or what I shouldn't have said.
While eating dinner we were talking about what we were thankful for. Charlie and Naomi said "Meatballs". Levi said "MommyDaddy". Emelia said "That I had a sister". We prayed for dinner and then the conversation got messy.....
Naomi started to repeat her usual phrases, "You are my mommy. You are never going to leave me. My daddy is never going to leave me. You love me, etc.etc.etc." We actually have this conversation so often that I was starting to feel annoyed (it's pathetic but it's true). Then she talked a bit about her previous family.
I could tell Emelia was confused about something. She then said, "What if something happened and you couldn't take care of Naomi anymore. Would she go back to _____and ____?"
I was so shocked that Emelia asked this! Then I realized Emelia was verbalizing what Naomi was probably thinking. I quickly reaffirmed, " No, Naomi will always be my daughter. She will never have another Mother. She will always be in our family."
I thought that sounded pretty good. But it didn't satisfy my curious one.
Emelia then followed my comment with this question: "But mom, what if something really bad happens and you can't....."
Well I snapped at her quickly and maybe a bit to harsh. I said to her: "Emelia, would anything stop you from being my daughter?"
She responded appropriately, "no".
"Naomi is the same. Just like you will always be my daughter, so will she. She is a part of our family now. Nothing will change that. Got it?"
Emelia actually looked surprised. I guess I take for granted how much our mature 5 year old understands. I just think I need to say it once or maybe twice and they will get it. I am starting to realize this messy conversation is going to be a daily one for a LONG time.

After dinner Naomi was disobedient and got a "time in" As she was laying over my legs she kept crying, "You are my mommy! You love me!". I used to think she was saying this to be a bit manipulative (as she frequently is). I realized tonight she was saying it to herself to remind herself where she stands. So as she was crying I said, "Naomi, I am your mommy. I love you. I am your mommy. I love you." over and over again.

I just want her to look into my eyes and get it. To get I am not going to leave her....even when I am annoyed, sick, tired, etc. She does get it for that moment....but 5 mins later...she's not so sure. I guess I should start loving this conversation. I should start seeing it as opportunity and not a failure on my behalf (of not convincing her that I love her).

My heart is heavy tonight. I go back to work tomorrow. I work as a RN and my days are long. I am gone before the kids wake up and home after they are in bed. To Noami, tomorrow is going to feel like I left. I am just praying that God will comfort her heart and give her peace that I will return....for more messy days and messy conversations.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Adoption (finalization) Day!

Today we had the privilege of finalizing our adoption of Naomi. We also were able to officially change her name to Naomi Weiseth. It was such a special day for our family. We chose to keep her previous first name as her middle name. As much as I would selfishly like to erase her previous life...it is her story and a part of her. We chose to change her first name officially to Naomi. Our family had been praying for "Naomi" for almost 3 years now. Symbolically we wanted her to own those prayers, thoughts, dreams and plans. (Also, for her privacy and protection since this was a local domestic adoption.)



(THE KEY PLAYERS: JoAnn Vesper-social workers, Anita Farris- Judge, Emelia, Charlie, Levi, Amber, Naomi, Andrew and Sabrina Layman-lawyer)

Shout out for JoAnn: When we first were required to do a homestudy for Levi's adoption, I thought it was all for the agency, paperwork...blah, blah, blah. I was so incredibly wrong...or maybe so incredibly blessed. I assume some social workers out there are just there to ask the questions, fill in the blanks, stamp the papers and that's it. Our social worker, JoAnn Vesper (works with Agape Adoptions www.agapeadoptions.org ) is so opposite to that. She not only has done an amazing job with the required papers but she has given us access to a wealth of support and knowledge...herself. We have been so blessed to have JoAnn in our lives. She was incredibly instrumental in both Levi's and (even more so) Naomi's adoption. She has been such an encouragement. I am such a better Mommy because of her. Thank you JoAnn!


Our lawyer, Sabrina A. Layman, was amazing! She was more than we ever could have expected. This is her helping the kids stamp the copies of the adoption degree. If you need an adoption lawyer in Seattle/Everett area...give her a call.


Celebratory lunch at Alfy's Pizza

I still cannot believe how fast this has happened. 11 weeks ago, we first got the call for a possible adoption of Naomi. Now we are fully legit and adopted. She is a Weiseth. What an amazing journey God has us on.

one last pic: (Naomi skin-to-skin in the Moby. Some much needed Kangaroo care after a busy few days)



Monday, April 18, 2011

Girls causing trouble!

This picture is funny because it makes Naomi look a lot taller than Levi. They are actually the same height. She has him in a strangle hold and is pushing him down. But still, they are smiling and happy.
Dear Mr Garbage truck, could you please come every morning to our house. It is such a sweet moment when all eyes are on you (and not me!). I am actually peacefully rocking in a chair and drinking coffee for 3 whole minutes as you so beautifully collect and carry our trash away.
Such sweet love between these two!

Here we are again...dressed as animals instead of children. These kids LOVE LOVE LOVE to dress up.
Emelia and Naomi's favorite game together is this:
1.) Emelia dresses like a horse
2.) Naomi dresses like a princess
3.) Princess sits in Radio Flyer wagon
4.) Horse ties a jump rope to the wagon handle and loops back
5.) Horse girl puts rope around her belly and runs
6.) Horse girl continues runny wildly through the yard while pulling wagon. The horse begins neighing as loud as humanly possible.
7.) Princess vacillates between sheer delight and sheer terror.
8.) Fight off intruding brothers
8.) Repeat all day

Naomi has been in our home now for 6 weeks. The past week we have made some huge improvements in attachment and behavior. Instead of constant demands for food, water, being held, etc., she now seems to trust that those things will come to her. It was surprising to me the first month. I would be making lunch for the kids and she would start demanding food. It's like she didn't actually believe I was going to feed her the food I was making. Her first response was that she needed to fight for it. She's a fighter. Which is a great thing because the loss and hardships she has experienced (and will experience) are not going to slow her down. It has been nice the past week to see her settle into knowing that we will...
-feed her
-hold her
-read to her
-keep her safe
-not hurt her
-not leave her
-protect her
-play with her

it seems like small things...and they are...but they are also huge. 6 weeks ago I taught Naomi how to cuddle. Today, when I put her to bed, she cuddled under my arm, put her head on my chest, clutched my shirt, sucked her thumb...then looked up into my eyes and said, "You are my Mommy. You love me. You are never going to leave me. You are going to keep me safe. I love you too, Mommy...and I need a kiss." She was peacefully asleep 30 seconds later. I lay there just thanking God for this blessing. I prayed over her, her sleep, her anxieties, her future, etc. I felt as if God whispered to me, "This pleases me."


Friday, April 1, 2011

Quiet

It's hard to believe but Naomi has been with our family almost a month. The time has literally flown by. The first few weeks I felt like I was on a caffeine drip, constantly alert and never resting. Now that we have begun to get into a rhythm and I finally feel like my brain can slow down.
There is a verse in Isaiah 30 that has been resonating in my head and heart:
"In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength."v.15

My quiet times these days are nothing to brag about and are not what I would exactly hope for. But several times a day I sit and just connect. I am not reading, not studying, not planning, not asking, not moving....just sitting in the presence of my Lord. It may last 10 seconds or 10 mins before someone has an emergent need to potty!!!!! or gets hurt or needs a snack RIGHT NOW!!!!! I may not have a brain but I have a heart that is attached closely to my savior. I need Him, not just in the morning or evening, but all day.
I am grafted to Him.




Friday, March 25, 2011

Beach Pictures


"Hey, I thought I was the baby!!!!!!"


Our 4 beautiful babes!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

picture blast

Our family!

This trampoline has been a life saver. Every afternoon (rain or shine) we head out for some much needed large muscle movement. Against all manufactures recommendation the 5 or 6 of us jump all together...it's awesome!

The littlest two just waking up. Sitting in front of the fire on the elmo couch.

"Helping" mom get the garden ready.

My laundry diva. As you can see from the photos...yes, we pretty much let the kids wear whatever they like.

I cannot believe we have had Naomi in our home for almost 2 weeks now. The first few days were a bit wild but things have definitely started to settle. She has been calling us Mommy and Daddy from day one. She loves, loves, loves to be carried, snuggled, rocked and kissed. Every morning she wakes up and asks to come into our bed to snuggle. It's like she has a touch bank that was in serious negative and now we get to fill it up. I have a very small bubble and love to cuddle so this assignment is right up my alley.
Sleeping has been great as well. So far she has slept 11-12 hours straight. I usually read to her and lay with her for a few minutes. Tonight she asked if she could lay on Mommy skin while we cuddled. She tried to use my stomach as a pillow until she decided it was much too noisy for sleeping.
She has been eating and eating and eating. She has already gained 2 lbs. She is now 28 lbs! We have been struggling a bit with digestive issues but taking her off cows milk and giving her probiotics has made a HUGE difference.
Sibling relations have been getting better. She no longer runs to me shrieking when ever Levi makes a loud noise....which is about every 5 mins. She loves to play with Emelia and Charlie. Levi LOVES her but she could do without him. He literally follow her around all day.

God has been blessing us more then I could imagine. The love I have for this girl is exponential every day. I thought it would be much harder to attach to an "older" child but it has so far been easier. Sometimes I think about what a crazy decision we made to adopt this girl all within 3 weeks. Totally nuts, right? ...But when I am with her it feels that all along God was preparing me to be her Mommy.

Anyways, my brains capacity has lowered...and I think I may be rambling...and I am too tired to proof read what I wrote. So here it is! Enjoy the pics!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Introducing....



Silence
So it's been a bit since I last blogged...yep, almost 8 months. So what the heck? Well a lot has been happening in the Weiseth household and I decided tonight was the night to break the silence.

What Happened?
We were in the process of adopting from Ghana last summer. Things sort of slowed down in the country during some investigations of Ghanaian officials. When they reopened the rules were a bit more strict. Therefore, we no longer could qualify in Accra for a child between the ages of 0-4. There were other "possible" options but at that point we didn't have peace to continue on our adoption journey in Ghana...The door was closed. So we asked for our dossier back in October 2010. But it was strange...since 2008 we had been praying for another daughter, Naomi. I honestly don't think a day went by that we didn't pray for her as a family. The kids cannot remember a time without this sometime sister. We thought we might try again in a few years. We tried to convince the kids that it was going to be along time until Naomi came to our family. We tried to move on.

SIDE NOTE:
At the same time our middle son was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. We felt this was God's way of closing the door to another child so we could focus on getting our son the help he needed. So within a few months we were in therapy and a special preschool...Charlie began to flourish.
Life seemed to be cruising along. We then decided to sell our house. Since we weren't going to be spending 20K on a daughter we thought this might be the time to move out of our 1 bathroom house. So we worked like crazy, with the help of our amazing friends, to get our house ready to sell. Except that it didn't. It was on the market for 2 months when we got a SURPRISE PHONE CALL.......

OUT OF THE BLUE
It was Tuesday, February 9th, 2011 at 5pm. Our lovely and talented social worker from Levi's adoption and our unsuccessful Ghana adoption called. She was making small talk and asking how we were doing. It seemed odd for her to be calling...Then my friends just showed up as I was suppose to be babysitting their 2 kids. So I bluntly said, "Is there something you need or can I call you back?" (at this point I was hiding behind my closed bedroom door while chaos was happening in the living room.) She said the most shocking and utterly surprising thing:
"Are you still interested in adopting?"
I think I uttered a few confused, umms and then said yes.
She then proceed to tell me about a 3.5 year old girl who was in immediate need of a new family. She also proceeded to tell me our homestudy was mostly still good and she could easily update it. Our FBI fingerprints were good for another month. She asked if I could be off work..."um yes, I had been saving time off to go to Ghana."
So basically we had the money, the time off, the homestudy, the previous desire for a 3-4 year old girl to join our family. Now all we had to do was pray...

Whirlwind
The next 3 weeks were crazy. It didn't make sense but Andrew and I had the most amazing peace to proceed. God continued to supply our needs and give us the courage to step forward. We used Agape Adoptions (www.agapeadoptions.org) to complete our adoption. JoAnn and Myriam were amazing. They were basically on-call to the Weiseth family for 3 weeks. We had such a wonderful, supportive experience and recommend them highly.
On March 5th, 2011 we adopted and welcomed Naomi M. Weiseth into our home. She has been with us 6 days so far and things are going really well. Tonight as I write this..I still in awe of what God has done. How is has orchestrated to the smallest detail this little girl coming into our home. I won't go into her story but that it delights me to someday be able to explain to her that God planted a seed in our hearts for her almost 3 years before we met her. That he led us to pray for her daily protection and needs. That he gave us love for her long before we knew her...that he loved her so much that he never abandoned her but made a rescue plan which we are privileged to be apart of.

So Surprise, to you and to us! We have a new daughter.
Mommy (yes, i am in pj's), Levi- 2 yrs, Charlie 3.5 yrs (horse costume), Emelia 5 yrs (pj's), Naomi 3.5 years (princess)
With 4 little kids there is no time to download the cute new pics. So here is a picture of real life... our first dinner as a family...minus the incredibly wonderful photographer, daddy.