Saturday, October 22, 2011

Introducing... Noël!!!

Our first official family photo... it isn't our "family" yet.. we need Gaven in it!
Noël is legally ours, as of Thursday, October 20, 2011!  He is 4 years old, tall and thin. He has spent most his life in an orphanage until now. When we first met him he was shy, which is what the referral letter said- "he is quiet and shy". I think this is true only when he first meets people because tonight, he has been smiling, dancing and talking up a storm. We have no idea what he is saying but love to hear him talk. Each day he opens up more and more. We meet him last Sunday and on Friday we were able take permanent custody. Today he spontaneously told Max, his papa, he loved him very much in kinyarwanda (we know a few words). Max was cutting him and apple and he was bouncing around. It's so nice. He seems to be more of a daddy's boy. Although he hasn't shied away from me, I can just tell. We think maybe because he has never had a daddy caretaker- and of course because Max is so wonderful with him.
Noël and his "papa"... Noël can't wait to see his photos!

Things I've learned about Noël so far:
He tells us yes by raising his eyebrows. He tells us no by waving his finger back and forth- I love when he does this it is so cute! He will pout his lips out if he is "mad", he hasn't really been mad mad but it's  a face to say more than no- it means don't do that. He likes to be held when we are out. He likes to help do things- like put the crackers back in the package or use the key to open the door.

He LOVES his soccer ball, toy airplane, PJs and teddy bear. We brought several toys and we just sort of cycle through them all. Reminds me of when my son, Gaven was little and we did the same thing. I can't wait to be home and have a big, grassy area to play ball. Noël loves to kick the ball back and forth and he kicks strong! He slept well his first night with us. He was happy about the PJs and teddy bear. After I gave him the teddy bear we had a 15 minute play session just throwing it up in the air over and over. We pushed the beds together so it's like one big, big bed.
Yummy crackers!
He loves to eat. He takes huge bites. He can eat 3 bananas in a row (they are smaller than ours in America). He drinks a lot of water. He likes his cup with a straw I brought. I just keep it full with water.

So far things have gone so great. I was expecting the worse- him crying when we met, when we took him, all night... but he has really only cried once. That was when he couldn't put my earring on. He didn't get that he doesn't have a hole and I do. But it didn't last long. A few times he looked weepy and unsure but that was because of the situation we were in at the time. He wailed on Wednesday when we said goodbye to him at the orphanage- that broke my heart despite it being a good sign at the time.
My cool new dude!
Our next big stop is Kenya. I hope things continue to go well. We won't have anyone translating or explaining things there. After we do what we need there to get his visa, we will be homeward bound. I am so excited about that! I think he will travel well. I'm sure some melt downs will come but I hope they come when we are home. I'm enjoying the honeymoon :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meeting Our Son

Signing our Act of Adoption - starting the legal process!
Max signing.

After our long 3 days of travel to get here we drove to the orphanage! I still am not suppose to say any identifying comments about our son. We have to wait until we have our court decree and he is legally ours- hopefully later this week we can flood you with pictures! Today we signed the Act of Adoption, which gets the legal process going. Tomorrow we are going to go ask for a court date. The court date can happen either later tomorrow (Tuesday), Wednesday or Thursday. Please pray we make it in tomorrow. There is a larger group from another agency, 6 families, so we hope to get in before them.
Bonita (our Gladney in country contact), the Pizzutelli's and us at lunch.
Our meetings with our son.
It's strange to meet a stranger and think of him as your son. My love for him has already been growing but now it truly begins. I wanted to cry the second day (Tuesday) we met when he skipped back down to the kids area with the nuns. We had a good time with him and I can't wait to have him home! He's so smart. This transition of short visits each day (2 hours in the afternoon) is good for us both. Just the right amount of time to play and connect and get use to each other. Soon we will get to visit in the mornings as well- right now we have had stuff to do in the mornings and therefore miss the morning visitation hours that end at 11am. It works out well to have the visiting length of time gradually increasing.

He was so sweet the first day. I was prepared for the worst- crying, not wanting to engage. But he didn't do that! He engaged with us for about half of the visit and wandered around to other families and kids the other half. It was good. It's hard with 8 families and their new kids all in  one small court yard area. But it is also a good transition for the kids. The kids get to see each other doing the same thing they are doing- meeting their new parents and being adopted. Yesterday, we played some soccer. Our son would yell at Max and say "papa" when he wanted to kick the ball to him. He calls us mama and papa but he doesn't really know what that means. It still melts our hearts. When we show him pictures he points us out and says mama, papa. Love it!

He loved the short video of our friend and her daughter singing a kid's song in kinyarwanda. He sang with them and we joined in. It was fun. We watched it several times together. We will have to connect with our friends and their Rwanda born kiddos as soon as we've mellowed out at home for a while.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Video: Friends Teach Us a Song in Kinyarwanda

A friend of ours, Elizabeth, adopted 3 beautiful children from Rwanda years ago before the country was really "open" for adoption. She is an amazing woman in many, many ways! Her family is so excited about us bringing home our little one. Her children taught her and her husband this song when they first came home. Now her youngest daughter, Erica, wants to pass it on to us to learn and sing to our precious one. This is so, so precious I had to share it with you!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I'm A Mommy Again!!

Can't wait for these little feet to be running around my home!
Monday morning, September 26th, I got the email I have been waiting for.... the one with the picture of my son in Rwanda! My husband and I were so thrilled and couldn't believe it. I read the email and then had to rush off to work. It was the weirdest day as I tried to live my life as usual but knew everything was about to change. I've spent the week rushing around trying to get as much done as possible before we leave on Oct. 14th to bring him home. I thought I would have a ton of words to write but it all seems to fall flat when I try to express how this past week has been.

The one thing I can say that has been absolutely amazing to me is the pouring out of support our friends and family has shown us. The people at my work have rallied the staff and students asking for donations to help us with the plane tickets- they have plastic bracelets that say 'Make a Difference', they are throwing me a shower and encouraging me to take the week off before we leave to 'nest'! :) My husband's work has been equally supportive to him. And my (non-work) friends are throwing me a shower and family is so excited. It's just be a very cool feeling of love and excitement.

Our son, Gaven, is excited too. One neat thing is that his teacher has adopted 2 children herself so she gets it all and has been supportive. Gaven will not be traveling with us. He doesn't want to go and miss school, baseball and playing outside. My parents are coming to live in our house and take him to school and practice and help take care of everything (cat, dog, plants, life!). Gaven is thrilled to have his grandparents living with him for 3 weeks. I know he will miss us but he will be in good hands! :)

We will post pictures once he is legally our little one but for now... imagine the cuteness that fills these shoes!