The Party

Our family birthday party for Trysten was this morning. Yesterday my parents helped paint two more rooms in our house. I’m exhausted. So you just get pictures. Good times, good times.

Opening presents.

Birthday boy with my brother, sister and Lindsey.

His new hat, just in time.

I know, precious.

My parents and Trysten.

Taking the annual measurement.

Going to be too tall for me real soon.

Sister-in-law, Emily (who is having my nephew in a few months) with Zach and 2 of the kids.

The wonder non twins.

Dailah and Eli playing dress up. I loathe the day he decides he wants to run with the boys and not the girl. 😦

It All Started With This

7 years ago that was us. Today is Trysten’s birthday. My baby, my firstborn, the first who called me “mom”.

Someone tell me how this one,

became this one.

How these two,

became these three.

.

7 years ago, this boy,

made the rest of these people possible.

Really, it’s unexplainable how that was 7 years ago. It’s also unexplainable why I ever let myself acquire those cheeks and cut my hair in this particular fashion.

The day started with us letting Trysten sleep in a bit, skip the bus and help me pick out special birthday donuts. We went to Casey’s General Store where the manager, upon hearing it was his birthday, gave us a dozen donuts for free. Already prone to sappiness on a day like today, I would’ve cried if not for Trysten’s gloriously happy face looking up at me.

After taking him to school and teaching one of my classes, myself and my two littlest ran to my sister’s house to make the brownies Trysten requested for school. Well, I’m not a baker. Zach’s the baker, I’m the cook. On top of that little fact, Kara’s oven was totally different than mine and it took forever to make the darn brownies. So, with 20 minutes remaining in the school day, I delivered these pretty things.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear the kids thought they were the best brownies they’ve ever tasted (I too am a fan of what we like to call “batter brownies”, not “baked brownies”). When Trysten delivered one to his teacher he gave a nice chuckle before devouring it, I felt vindicated somehow. There were a few minutes left so Trysten asked Tariku to play with him and his friends, Tariku obliged with glee.

Quick naps then a jaunt to Chuck E Cheese (truly, my version of hell on earth) to make the birthday boy happy. No party, just my kids and my nephews.

Finally, we stopped off at an ice cream shop. This is how Trysten likes to bide his time before his ice cream (Oreo) arrives.

I’m exhausted. If I weren’t, I’d be able to tell you more about this 7-year-old that steals hearts as soon as he meets them. This boy that hugs so tightly and so well it’s as if he just can’t get close enough to you. This boy that wasn’t afraid to give his mom a kiss in the middle of a busy hall in elementary school. This boy whose personality most mirrors my own. We like to know there’s a good chance of success before entering into something. We like to be hanging out with friends and family but secretly need more alone time than we like to admit. We’d do anything for anyone but also have moments of pure selfishness.

He and I have lots of “inside jokes”. When I want to tell him I love him but we’re in a place where we shouldn’t be talking (church) I’ll grab his hand and squeeze 3 times, “I love you”. He smiles and my heart sings.

Tonight I thanked him for making me a mommy, this job that I love so much and take so seriously. This exhausting, fulfilling, beautiful “job”. This gift, I do not take for granted.

I closed his door almost 2 hours ago and am now on my third “ugly cry”.

Because no one deserves a mom constantly on her A game more than my 7-year-old. I fall short of that every day.

But every night he hugs me and when I go to leave his room he grabs my hand and squeezes three times, “I love you”.

The Referral

I’ve started writing this at least 4 times, this is not counting the dozens of times I’ve written it in my head since Friday.

In short, on Friday we found out we were to be parents again. To two boys.

T (we will call him 3T), age 5
B, age 3 – just younger than Dailah

And they are beautiful, and precious and sound amazing and I’m in love.

To rewind a bit, around Thanksgiving we started talking about our “ideal” new kids. All parents do this, this is not just an adoption thing. Parents touch the pregnant belly of the woman and imagine a boy with his hair and a girl with her smile. In adoption we imagine ages, and personality types. How they will fit in with our family. So when I asked Zach what his “ideal” children would be he said, “The gender doesn’t matter so much but I would like one in between our boys and one just younger than Dailah, no babies.”

I had to agree. I love babies, and am excited for my Ethiopian niece who will be younger than 2 and my nephew who is a few months from popping out of my sister-in-law’s uterus. But I feel “done” with babies as well. So I really liked his idea of our next kids.

A few weeks later we were looking at the Waiting Children list from our agency and saw two boys. Ages 5 and 3. Their descriptions were perfect. They were waiting because they were older. They were the exact thing Zach and I had pictured. So we asked about them. No one else had inquired about them and we were given their file.

So we’ve been staring at all of their information for almost 2 months. One of the reasons I like our agency is because with waiting kids they don’t just give the referral to the first person who asks. Interested couples go before a committee (well, all of the couple’s information/homestudy does) who decides whether they are the best match for the waiting kids. It is literally the best case scenario for the kids.

And so we went before our first committee about a month ago. We were the only couple at that time but the committee decided we needed to have an official homestudy (at that time a social worker had just talked to us over the phone) first. This is why our homestudy was so intense. She asked us everything. Our social worker even wanted to see if we had a car big enough, a table big enough, plenty of space and beds for the kids to sleep on. If we didn’t have all of this (which, thankfully, we do) she wanted to see how we were going to afford all of that. I mean, incredible.

So after our homestudy we found out there were two other couples interested in the boys and they would be going to committee with our file. Though our social worker said she would give us a glowing recommendation, Zach and I did not feel optimistic. We knew the committee was concerned about us having so many kids so close in age so we figured one of the other couples wouldn’t have that same issue and would thus be a better fit.

I am not lying when I said I had convinced myself the boys would not be ours. We wanted them, don’t get me wrong, but we’ve been down this international adoption road before and know that getting your hopes up or heart set can lead to some pretty dark days. So after we didn’t pass our first committee I just told myself this must not be God’s plan for our family and felt content in whatever happened.

Then Friday at 1pm happened. Zach and I were wandering around getting stuff for Chicago, we knew the call would be coming soon but since we had prepared ourselves for bad news we weren’t in any hurry to have them call. We were in different cars at the time and talking on the phone when I saw it was our social worker.

Me: “Hello?”

SW: “Tesi? This is SW.” Then she started coughing and looking for water. All I kept thinking was, “Do those sound like happy coughs or sad coughs?”

Me: “You ok?:

SW: “Yes, well, congratulations!”

Me: “(Scream) WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?! Are you serious?”

SW: “Yes I’m serious, that would be a really bad joke if I weren’t. What did you think we were going to say?”

Me: “Honestly I thought you were going to say ‘no'”.

SW: “Well, we think you’re crazy but we also think you’re perfect for them.”

And that was it. Zach was pulling into the parking lot at the time. I wanted to try to act neutral to not give it away but I saw that man I love so much and just started jumping up and down screaming. When he rolled down his window all I could say was simply.

“They’re ours.”

And my goodness. What a 3 hour car ride to Chicago! Calling loved ones, emailing loved ones. Dreaming and planning for these boys (since Trysten is “TT” and Tariku is “2T” is T “3T”?). The kids were at my parents and knew nothing about the boys so we also dreamed abut telling them.

Now, I cannot post pictures (or list their full names) of them until after we pass court (another few months) but let me describe them to you.

3T. Is beautiful. He actually looks remarkably like Tariku and not really at all like B. He has Tariku’s cheeks and chin. You can tell in his eyes he is ready for a family in the way Tariku did as well. His measurements put him just shorter than Trysten and just taller than Tariku. He is said to be playful and sociable with an eye always on his little brother.

B. Also beautiful. HUGE eyes. Loose curls that frame his face. In a lot of the pictures it looks like he’s been so active he’s visibly sweating. In a few of his expressions it’s easy to tell he’s got a spunk to him that reminds us of his big sister. He is said to be very close with his older brother. His measurements put him just shorter than Dailah and slightly lighter. He is said to love playing with dolls.

So yes, they sound perfect. Though I know right now I love mostly the idea of them, I am so very excited for the day I can love them for them.

And today, we got to tell our kids! Zach went to his parents’ to print off their pictures while I picked up the kids from my sister’s house. I told them we had a surprise for them at the house.

When we got home we told the kids to go down to the table. Zach was going to show them the pictures while I captured the moment in photos.

Before the surprise.

The moment they saw their brothers.

Tariku after he pointed at 3T and said, “That one looks like me!”

Dailah after hearing she was going to be a big sister to B.

And the brothers looking at the pictures of their brothers.

So what next? Well we have our final homestudy a week from tomorrow. As mentioned, the dossier is officially done so after the homestudy things should be pretty much done until we get closer to travel. We’re planning on travel around August or so. Who knows? Thus far our approach to this adoption is much calmer, much more-shall we say-sane? And I’m going to try to hang on to that for as long as feasibly possible.

If it’s any indication as to my success so far, I’ve already gone 3 days without eating an ounce of cookie dough.

It’s been a great few days.

Last Night

Kait lives in Pilsen, an area of Chicago that has a high Hispanic population. I spent the weekend salivating at the various vendors who were selling authentic Mexican food (a favorite of mine). So Kait decided to take us to one of her favorites. She spent all last summer in Mexico so I knew she’d be a person who would recognize authentic from the posers. Well her favorite restaurant had a line that looked to be a half city block so we went to her second favorite.

And it was divine. I was going to try something new (one of Kait’s friends tried the tongue) but I thought perhaps I’d go with my favorite dish so I could compare it to my favorite here in the QC. Your basic enchilada. Let me tell you, there was absolutely nothing basic about this enchilada. Commence to salivating.

This place made their own salsa (of course) and this green salsa was an absolute party in the mouth. I have leftovers and I’m pretty certain I just convinced myself to eat those after this post.

Though I didn’t think it could get any better than that, it did because the people we were with were so great. One of Zach’s other cousins, David, joined us. We don’t get to spend much time with his family but every single time I’m around David and his brothers I want to just sit down with his mom (Zach’s aunt, Julie) and soak in her genius. I am actually not exaggerating at all when I say I want my boys (and girl, for that matter) to grow up to be just like their cousins.

In Chicago

with Zach. Staying with my sister-in-law, Kait. This visit was supposed to be her Christmas and birthday present but it certainly feels more selfish than our gifts normally are. Especially since my over-the-top fabulous parents/sister are watching my kiddos.

Last night I was able to go to dinner with these two beautiful ladies. Friends I’ve had for many, many years. Though we don’t see each other nearly enough, we seem to be able to pick up right where we left. Had a genuinely fantastic time with Jayme and Tressa.

Then we met up with Kait and Zach to try some delicious cupcakes. Sinful, absolutely.

After indulging we went to Kingston Mines, a blues club in Chi-town that comes highly recommended by me. Zach’s cousin, Amy, and her husband, Nick met us there. They are actually more beautiful and more wonderful and sweet in person, which as you know, makes me supremely jealous. Example A, both Amy and Kait. Compare the head/face size of hotflawedmama to her sister/cousin-in-law.

A few hours into the blues club experience I saw this guy come in. I just started watching the show called “The Deep End” that’s on the boob tube right before Grey’s Anatomy. He’s the token hot Aussie. I was just happy to hear him speak, forgive him for the scarf he’s not one of those guys that can pull that look off.

The cousins: Nick and Amy Jagoda, hotflawedmama, Kait and hotflawedmama’s bearded husband.

More fun in Chicago to come, but first a nap!

The Dailah Files

Most of the time, she’s the only one who will stand still long enough for me to snap a few pictures of her.

My boys are quickly becoming hard-to-catch targets. The last one I got of Trysten and Tariku was an angle from over my head when I was tackling them. They’re laughing and I look downright aggressive. It was promptly deleted.

But Dailah, well that’s a different story entirely.

Snuggle time after naps.

Sleepy cute

Just doing some light reading, lovin’ her little feet.