Well, as it turns out, my kiddos are sleeping in today so this gives me a little bit of time to update on how life is over here. I will start out by saying that we couldn't have asked for a better transition time. God has blessed us during this time so much; it is incredible. It feels as though we have had Josiah Moti from day 1. It didn't take long at all for our guy to feel at home, and he is living up to his name. He is a little king in this house. His sisters spoil him like crazy, as expected. The day we were able to pick our son up in Ethiopia was January 2, 2012. That is what everyone in the adoption world calls his "gotcha day." Biniam picked us up from our guest house and drove us to the Thomas Center. I couldn't help myself and cried the whole way there. I can't even put into words what Aaron and I were feeling in this moment. Let's just say it was long awaited and anticipated and felt like a dream to actually be happening. When we arrived they immediately brought him to us. He was much bigger (and rounder..lol) than the last time we had seen him. The nurse informed us that he had been walking for 2 weeks then, and I held out my arms for him to come to me, and he did. Then he walked to Aaron. He showed off for a while walking back and forth between us as we celebrated his walking success. There weren't any tears from him, just smiles. We changed his clothes before leaving and quickly realized everything we packed for him was too small. We squeezed him in his clothes, and got ready to leave. You could tell as we were leaving that he was a little confused and became very quiet, and shut down for a bit. He was quiet until we reached our guest house and as soon as we sat down he opened up and started playing and laughing. We learned in our adoption training classes that adopted children will usually intially attach to one of the parents over the other. Of course in my mind I knew it would be me. I am the loving, nurturing one. I give the best cuddles and kisses and hugs. But that didn't happen in our case. Josiah wasn't interested in the hugs and cuddles, he was more interested in playful dad. Dad was a ton of fun, and he attached to Aaron right away. They bonded over peek-a-boo, tickles, and drums. During our stay in Ethiopia it was fine. It wasn't as if he disliked me. He would give me kisses and smile and be playful with me, but just needed daddy holding him. It was a little unexpected and at times difficult for me, but it was good he loved Aaron so much. Who could blame him, Aaron is pretty great! To be very honest it got extremely hard on the plane ride home. When Aaron needed a break from holding him, Josiah would scream his head off when handed to me. Aaron was tired and I was super frustrated because I so badly wanted to hold and cuddle this child I had been praying for and fighting for so long. Not to mention, we were all exhausted as could be. It was a loooooooooooong ride home to say the least. Being back home made everything so much easier. It didn't take no time until Josiah had warmed up to me too. The Lord really showed me that it was such a blessing that he attached to Aaron first, because Aaron works a lot and isn't home with him near as much as I am. So me and my little man have had tons of alone time to bond and he still goes bananas when daddy walks in the door home from work. I am the one who puts him to bed every night and I rock him in the glider and give him a cup of milk before laying him down. 3 weeks ago, he would push off of me and not let me cuddle him. Now he cuddles, and lays in my arms for a good while. He is very lovey and kissy kissy. He gives me a million kisses a day. The other day I was bending over to put my socks on and I felt this little kiss on the back of my leg, and I looked down and there he was with that big grin looking up at me, and as clear as day Josiah says,"I lu lue."(I love you). Not only is he sweet, he is so smart. I realize every parent thinks their child is smart, but he really is so stinkin smart. We went to dinner with our Ethiopian friends last week and they were talking to him in Amharic and he was understanding and responding to everything they were telling him. Also, he says a ton of English words already and uses the correct context as well. Mind you, he has only been home 5 weeks. Here are few words he is saying: "momma, daddy, Aubrey, Alyssa, Nanny, Nana, Mamaw, dog (ruff,ruff), Lucy, eat, thank you, I love you, go, no no, bye bye, cookie, gone gone, hi, hello, shoes, ow." He also still uses numerous Amharic words to get what he wants...such as "Dabo" (bread) motta, motta (night, night), he says this often when he is sleepy, "Nah"(come), and "taio" (stop). And his words are very clear. We have had a couple friends amazed at how much and how clear he speaks for a 17-month old. We were all sitting in the living room one night and Aaron expressed how odd it was that it was already so normal and comfortbale feeling and it seems like Josiah has been here all along. A lot of adoptive parents told us that "God will make up for the lost time it took in getting him home." I never understood that until now. It is just amazing how this little guy fits so comfortably into our family. Our oldest daughter, Alyssa, is so over-the-moon in love with Josiah. She cannot keep her hands off of him. At first I think she got on his last nerve, but now, he LOVES her. She has him spoiled and when we gets told no or falls down and gets hurt, he runs to Alyssa for comforting kisses, and she eats it up. She told me last night, "Mom, you picked the right kid to adopt for our family." I told her that God had led us to him and chose us to be Josiah's family. And she said," Well, God picked the right kid for our family. I just love him so much. He is so cute and sweet,and I just love him. He is the cutest kid ever." She goes on and on and on about her brother and oftentimes I have to remind her to show her little sister some love too. I guess she was going on a little too much about him at school, because one of her friends told her one day to "stop bragging all the time about your brother. It's not nice to brag." HA! I told her it was ok to be proud and talk about him. We waited a long time to have bragging rights to this boy, so brag away. LOL! Aubrey also loves Josiah, but she doesn't need to be in his face 24/7 like big sis. And sometimes little brother grates on her nerves when she is playing Barbies and he toddles along and tries to take them from her. I hear about a million times a day "STOP IT SUSIAH!" (that is how Aubrey pronounces Josiah) it is too funny and cute! Although there were a couple minor things that were a little difficult the first couple weeks, all in all, we couldn't have asked for a better transition time. Josiah is as happy-go-lucky, smiling, and laid-back as they come. He's a dream when grocery shopping. Just sits there and takes it all in, and when he's down walking in public he hardly leaves my side, unlike his 2 sisters that would take off the second I looked away. We had to chain them to the grocery cart when we were out and about or they were gone. He just stays right beside us when we are out, and waves hi to passers-by. He is definitely a charmer and loves attention. We are totally in love with this beautiful little boy God trusted us with.
Today is my sweet Aubrey's 4th birthday! Aubrey is my precious lovey, lovey, child. She hands out as many hugs and kisses as we want, and loves to tell me and Aaron how great we are all the time. "Mom, you are the best mom ever." or "Dad, you are the best dad in the world." She is a great big sister to her new brother and thinks her big sister, Alyssa hung the moon. She loves to do artistic things such as sculpting play-doh, painting and coloring, and making crafts and helping momma bake. Her favorite toys right now are Barbies and babies. She is my little momma, and my little romantic. She loves to see daddy give momma kisses and asks us to kiss all the time :) A funny thing she has been telling me lately is that she wants to get married. When I ask her to who, she tells me she is going to marry Eli. Eli is a boy that she goes to school and church with. Don't worry, we got our eye on Eli ;) lol! Aubrey is precious, precious and melts my heart with her big, round blue eyes, her sweet little grin, and her tiny freckles across her nose. She is pretty great and I am so blessed to be her momma. She blesses our family everyday! LOVE THIS GIRL! HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUBREY!!!!!