Now we’re a family of five.
We announced earlier this spring that we were pursing the adoption of an older child. We never imagined that a few short months later we’d be welcoming an 11-year-old girl into our family. But that’s what happened.
We’ve been pretty tight-lipped about this adoption, both because of the speed of the process (we got the call on June 8) and the nature of the situation. But it’s happening. So the beans get spilled.
Last week Abby and our good friend Nicole traveled to Anchorage, Alaska to meet Yeshumnesh (pronounced Ye-shem-nesh). They return today (hopefully). She’s a bright, out-going and active Ethiopian girl who will turn 11 in August. She originally came to the United States in December of 2009, but that original adoption is being disrupted (that’s adoption lingo for what happens when a child is placed with a family and it doesn’t work out). The reasons behind that disruption will remain private, but in general this family was not the right fit for Yeshumnesh.
Yeshumesh will go to school a few blocks from our house. She’s very athletic and enjoys soccer, biking, cross-country skiing and ice skating (hockey!). She likes to color and enjoys listening to stories. She loves movies, including High School Musical and Hannah Montana. She’s pretty good with her English though is still catching up. She’ll have her own bedroom across from Lexi & Milo’s that we hope we can decorate together.
This has been a pretty insane week. And I’m not in Alaska. I stayed home with the kids and tried to maintain some normalcy. This is the longest Milo has ever been away from Abby and I realized it’s also the longest I’ve been away from my wife in, well, I don’t remember how long. Definitely since we had kids, probably longer. Maybe since we got married.
And I’m sure it’s been crazier in Alaska. Welcoming an older child into your family isn’t like adopting an infant. It’s a whole new ball of wax. We’ve had a rollercoaster of a summer preparing for this and it’s finally coming together. It’s not going to be easy. Yeshumnesh needs to get used to our family—and an entirely new life—and we need to get used to her. Lexi and Milo will have their own transitions, so it could be bumpy all the way around as we get used to one another.
We’ll be leaning on a lot of folks for support, from social workers and therapists to friends and family. I’ve been leaning on them pretty hard this week and it’s just me and the little ones. I don’t know where we’d be without help—definitely not here, that’s for sure. You can’t do this kind of thing without help.
Our friends and family have been incredibly supportive of Milo’s adoption and we’re hoping to find the same love and support this time around. Any efforts to shore up our sanity are always appreciated. If you’re the praying type, we could use lots of prayer for the remaining legal issues, travel, transitions, family bonding, logistics and financial considerations.
I never imagined I’d be the father of three and rocking a mohawk at 31.
Way back in June we did a family photo shoot with Barbara O’Brien at her White Robin Farm in Wisconsin. It was a beautiful drive out there (I think I missed a turn and took a longer, more scenic detour) and we had a lot of fun doing a relaxed, non-studio family photo shoot. And I finally got around to posting the pictures: Check ’em out.
When we pulled up and got out of the car Lexi was all excited about the few cats milling about the yard. Then Barbara started calling the cats and they just started pouring out of the barn. She has at least 25 cats, and most of them came when she started calling.
In addition to the cats, Lexi chased the chickens, fed the horses and held a baby duck (she also manhandled the kittens and baby chicks). We got to run around, have some fun and the whole time Barbara took lots of pictures.
We highly recommend it.