We have had the pleasure of working with AWAA for both of our adoptions! We are so very thankful for the amazing Christian Agency and the wonderful Christian friends that we have made along the way! If you have ever considered adopting please ask us to share our story and please check out AWAA (America World Adoption Agency). We are so thankful to have had AWAA walk with us every step of the way and to know that they always had our back and were handling things with morals and integrity! They truly were looking out for true orphans! The guides and staff in Ethiopia are amazing and we are blessed to have spent time with each of them!
Home one month: Well one month ago today, Tamenech and I arrived in the US. We are a family of 8! We now have 6 kids 3 boys and 3 girls with no Alice as a housekeeper! Things are going great, better than expected, but that does not mean things are easy or not exhausting. Every day is a little easier than the day before. We are making progress, we now can communicate with each other pretty well. Tamenech understands more than she says, but communicates her needs and desires pretty well in English! She is eating our food and enjoying it. She sleeps through the night and lays down (not happily) for an hour of quiet time a day while Daniel naps (she needs it and I need it more). We have attended church 3 times, twice with her staying with us and once with me taking her to children church. I plan on taking her to children church this week and then letting her try it with Benjamin the following week. She has attended story time with Daniel two times and loves it when they sing songs she knows. She joins right in and participates happily. She has been to two weeks of Pioneer Clubs once with me and once she went to class by herself with Daniel! She is very proud of her new club church shirt! Thank you Mrs. Wilkinson for making her feel so comfortable! She was even sharing some Amharic words with the other clubbers teaching them how to say names of animals! Tamenech has gone to many basketball games (we have 3 kids playing) and soccer games. She sees no reason that she shouldn't join them with a basketball on the court during the game... yes I have chased her off the court more than once! She has been shopping, out to dinner, to a birthday party, and to an Ethiopian celebration! She is doing well!
I would have to say the hardest things right now are making it through a parking lot. The driving in Ethiopia is kind of scary (alright really scary, especially if you are walking or trying to cross the road). Pedestrians do not have the right away and you better get out of the way of a car. Well here pedestrians do have the right of way and we are safe to walk through a parking lot. She is terrified and at times it is extremely difficult to get her through a parking lot (walking willingly without carrying her). This is going to take time! We are over the fear of the dog (at least ours) we have not met up with other animals at this point. She is still very nervous if I leave the house with out her to run to the store. She does not like being with out me. This too will take time! We need to prove to her that we are forever, she has lost so much in so many ways and yet gained so much in other ways! We need to overcome the tantrums and the hiding of things. Tamenech seems to scream and throw fits if someone bumps her, has something that she wants, or someone tells her that something belongs to them. We are getting better the screaming used to last about an hour, now it is down to 10-15 minutes even less sometimes. Tamenech thinks that everything in her room is hers and everything that she picks up anywhere else is hers. We are trying to teach her that it doesn't have to be hers to play with, that if it belongs to Daniel instead of taking it and hiding it just ask.... Daniel can I play with this! Hiding things: well lets see, if you don't know where something is, check her room or her purse. If you make her bed, who knows what you might find in the covers or under the pillow (nail polish, food, pens, toys, etc.).
We have come so far! The first week, she would not touch dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.) and she was not speaking much English. At 3 weeks of being home, we were walking through the grocery store and she yelled out "Hi my name is Tamenech and may I have a piece of cheese please? Wow, not only asking to eat cheese, knowing where they would give her a piece (gotta love the deli) and look at that long sentence!!! Every day we experience new firsts with her and see her grow more! We are so thankful to have her here with us!
We thank you for following our journey and supporting us every step of the way!