Friday, February 27, 2009

Speech? Language?

I'm a speech-language pathologist (SLP). I love speech. I love language. I love the brain. I could talk about any and all of these subjects all day long. That's ONE of the reasons why I LOVE my SLP friends so much. They let me.
Families who have adopted internationally may have specific questions, concerns or needs regarding their child's speech and language development. Good questions. It is obviously unfair to compare our children's language development to that of non-adopted monolingual children who have been exposed to English since birth. How do you know if your child has a significant delay or is just learning English? When should you see a speech-language pathologist? I'd be happy to write a little post about this. So my question is...Do you have questions? If so, what are they? Oh, and if you ARE one my fabulous SLP friends, feel free to chime in :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Judah has been talking up a storm the last few days. Tons of new words, little phrases, lots of goodness. We'll have to catch him (he can be a bit camera shy) and post some good chatter.
I haven't written much. It's true. Where am I? I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the past year. I've spent a lot of time thinking about the future. I definitely look at life differently now than I did a year ago. I'm not as sensitive as I was a year ago- but care more about things I consider important. I have less patience for listening to ridiculousness. Or dealing with ridiculousness. I worry that I'm more serious. That I've lost my sense of humor. I'm a big mix of feeling content with my life, feeling in love with my two men, and feeling impatient with myself. I'm more sure than ever that I'm meant to do more than what I am doing. I'm also sure that I'm done dealing with people who harm, regardless of whether or not I care about them. I'm determined not to become cynical or let negativity in. Life is truly too short...and I'm too busy. My work really helps my spirit. It is so very fulfilling. I wish I could share with you some of the extraordinary individuals I work with. I'm grateful daily.
Our Jude is pure magic. He has so much light that I actually feel differently when he is in the room. Truthfully, I think most people do. I feel my heart just ache when he smiles. In a perfect way.
Now that it's just us, :) I can share a bit more. Perhaps? I'm not sure where that line is. Sharing too much? Not enough. It's tough, eh? Maybe that's why I just can't seem to put words down. Ok, truthfully I have no problem putting words down. I put them down in excess. It's actually hitting the "post" button that scares me. Which is a quality I don't like. This blog initially was just about Judah, but now most of you have gotten to know me a bit...and you've stuck around regardless :) Thank you for that! I'll try to hit the "post" button more often.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I WANT to add you!

I'm changing my blog to private super soon. I know how to add people using their email addresses. Due to limited resources, I cannot figure out how to add blog addresses (the @ symbol is obligatory). So, if you didn't receive an email from me that you were added, please leave your email address as a comment, and I will add you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

One Year Ago Today

So I'm sitting here on my couch, watching this video and crying. Happy, sentimental tears. I can't believe it was one year ago. So you catch him from the beginning, our Tesfahun is the one wearing bright green (and 4 layers of clothing on a warm day). It was the single most powerful day of my life. Sorry Tommy, but our wedding had nothing on this :) I've never shared the video before. Here is our gotcha moment.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Almost One Year of Motherhood

It feels strange to write that. I'm a mother. Even now a year later. I'm a MAMA. Not many who have chosen the path of adoption can say they've had an easy journey to mommy. I cringe when people complain about the job. I just feel so honored daily. Judah makes it so easy. Today, the way he looked at me before puckering his little lips and giving me a big smooch accompanied with an exaggerated "mmmwaah" sound, was worth dying for. I can't believe it's been one year. When I place myself in time one year ago, it is too vivid. We were at the hotel, feeling so funky because of the time change. Just walking around, more like floating around (due to a mixture of nerves, excitement, bewilderment, and the aforementioned funkiness) and trying to take in everything. I almost felt panicked, because I didn't want to miss a moment of my son's country. I wanted to feel it and remember it in my bones. It's days like today, I am just SO appreciative of every little coincidence or incident that led me to today. With my precious little Judah.

I'm so happy that I wrote a little about how I was feeling. This is what I wrote a year ago today:

Welcome Home
We have arrived! Without even a hiccup. The flight was long- but we
were lucky enough to get a bulkhead (which my very leggy husband was
profusely happy about). It took about 1.3 painless minutes to get our
visa (no line, about 4 people waiting to help us). Our luggage also
arrived, which seemed like pure magic, and the minibus to take us to
the Hilton was ready and waiting. I don’t want to jinx it, but I
can’t believe our luck already. We are scheduled to pick up Judah
tomorrow morning, until then it is just the adventures of 2.
Right before we left, I mean, seriously minutes before walking out
the door, I received an ugly comment on my blog. I wasn’t initially
upset, as the words of the sad, crazy, and uneducated don’t typically
affect me. Although “typically” in my life, I am not leaving to be
united with my son. So, this was different. I tried to figure out why
the words of a miserable person made me pause. I realized it was only
sadness that I felt. Sadness that Jude’s world is not more beautiful.
Not more perfect. I am a dreamer by nature, and although I see
misery, I like to pretend that people are even more beautiful than
they are. Tommy once told me, “not everything can be beautiful.” I
felt a pinch of pride that I do try to make things beautiful, at
least through his eyes. It’s so easy to see the misery.
Although we have only been on this journey for a matter of hours, we
have come across an amazing surplus of beauty.

So, we left our house, me having mixed feelings - feelings that were
too surreal and lacking in tangibility to describe. Hope and fear
being most prominent. We parked our car and took a shuttle to the
airport. The shuttle driver, a wonderful Ethiopian man whose whose
love and pride in his country was readily available, gave us helpful
hints for our visit to Addis. He promised that he would be there to
pick us up when we returned to L.A., so he could meet Tesfahun (which
he said was the name of a revolutionary leader? I will have to look
this up).

We got on the first plane to DC and our flight number was #44. You
know how some people have favorite numbers? Like REALLY favorite
numbers…I like numbers, but I’m a fair-weathered-number-friend,
friendly to all. Tommy’s dad, on the other hand, is fiercely loyal to
number 44. This loyalty, I took as a sign…and guess what? All went

Our second flight, from Washington D.C., was also pleasant. Most of
the passengers were Ethiopian and I noticed something atypical
instantaneously. I’m a friendly bird. I smile at people A LOT. I once
asked Tommy is he was sometimes embarrassed about my “bubbly-ness”
with strangers (I can really take it over the top) and he laughed and
said “sometimes”…By the way, I’m not changing this. EVER. So, the
readily apparent difference between this flight and all others was
the friendliness. Generous smiles in return (AND SOME EVEN FIRST).
Heart-warming smiles. I instantly felt healed from the slightly blue
“Judah’s world isn’t beautiful enough for him” state.

The flight was interesting. It was mostly night while we were flying
over Africa. The sand dunes of Egypt and/or Sudan, for as far as the
eye could see while meeting the bright red sunrise, was impressive.
When we were flying over Ethiopia, I instantly had this sense of
pride. Pride so strong, that I had to sneaky cry over it. This is my
son’s country. This is his home. It was almost too much for me to
emotionally take. Then I would see an area that was so heartbreaking,
even from the distance of the airplane, that I had to hold my breath.
Tommy squeezed my hand and said, “I know.” We couldn’t talk about it,
and I don’t think I ever will. But, I know.

We landed in a very nice airport. The people were gracious, and as I
said NO glitches. Our driver said “Welcome home” and it didn’t even
seem cheesy. It felt genuine. As did his eyes. Another passenger in
our minibus was Ethiopian, going home to his and his wife’s families.
He thanked us for being global citizens and for our humanity. For
helping a child who has no one to help him. I didn’t know exactly
what to say, because each person I have met, seemed to give ME so
much. So much HOPE, something I felt slightly lacking when I was
leaving L.A. I’m a sucker for a warm smile.

We truthfully haven’t done much in the few hours we have been here. I
mean, we obviously have tried St. George’s beer and walked around a
bit. The jet lag is fairly intense, so I’m glad that we still have
today to try to become more cerebrally active before meeting our
Jude. I have learned in these few hours that I am passionately proud
of our son’s country. I cannot wait to bring him back. I cannot wait
to share with him the love I feel for the people. I am excited about
possible professional opportunities that may help make the visits
more than tours. I have so much to learn.

Tomorrow we get our boy! I am thrilled and anxious! Ethiopia is
beautiful. Last night I woke up many times. Sometimes I woke up with
a big smile, sometimes with a tear running down my face. This is very
representative of my feelings right now. I definitely feel alive.

It's strange, because part of me feels like I wrote that 5 minutes ago. A larger part of me doesn't even recognize the person I was before I met Judah. His smile, his giggle, his energy and his love, changed my life and brain completely. I just don't think of life before him.

One Year Ago

we were in Ethiopia waiting impatiently. It makes me long for my friends who were in Ethiopia with us. It makes me reflect upon the last year. It makes me cry very happy tears and feel unbelievably grateful. It makes me scared that Jude is growing too quickly. It makes me need to go back. I am in disbelief that it's been a year. Expect a few very emotional late night posts this week :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Ouch! I hate that word. I am pretty much an open book, so this is the strangest move ever. As I've previously hinted, I've been going through a bit of a rough patch personally. Which sounds odd to me, because I'm without a doubt the happiest I've ever been. Which is pretty unbelievably happy! Tommy is more fabulous than ever and Jude just poops buckets of sunshine and love, so everything is good there. I'm definitely not upset with humanity in general and feel optimistic. It's just that all of the "signs" say to go private. Nothing blog world happened and perhaps I'll change my mind, but for now I'm a bit spooked. I'm going to keep it public until our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of becoming a family, which is coming up VERY quickly.
The good news: I adore blogging/bloggers/sharing cuteness. Please leave your info and I'll add you to my list. I would love for you to continue to share in our journey and our lives. Bonus: During the next year we are planning on traveling to Bosnia, Croatia, Greece and ETHIOPIA. If it's for nothing else, you should want to see pictures of Judah in unbelievably gorgeous places :)

Raising "Nice"

Recently I was told by a wise person, that it's not enough as a parent to just try every day. You need big overall plans. For example, you need to know how you are facilitating or helping them to find their passions. Know how you are helping them to develop self-esteem. Know how you are helping to stimulate both sides of their brains (e.g. language and music or math and art). BIG plans.

Here's my question of the day: How do you facilitate being a "good" person without compromising their independence, spirit, fire, self-worth/control, etc.

So much time is spent in our youth dedicated to learning how to be a "good" person. How to "share". How to "give". Be it love, stuff, information. All to be done nicely. If you are good at it, then you are usually praised. When was the course on having and developing appropriate boundaries? The course teaching, that if no progress is being made, your help isn't really helping someone? The course on how to effectively stick up for yourself? As a parent, I think that might be my job now. This scares me, because I'm still developing these skills myself.

Jude has boundaries with his peers. I've never seen him hit/bite/etc first. I watch him like a hawk (not just because I'm obsessive and want him to be safe, but also because I just LOVE to watch him and don't want to miss moments) and he's never been the aggressor (YET!). BUT, if a child (who is bigger than him, he's NEVER touched a smaller child except to kiss em) pushes/hits/etc more than 2x's, he will usually give a fair and loud "NO!". After that, he will resort to punishment. I don't look at it as him being vindictive as much as "I need to stop this before it goes too far. Just cause I'm nice, I'm no pushover."

I think he's right (considering his age and inability to explain his position on the matter). I have this fear that I'm going to ruin this strength with my "nice" talk. If I could go back in my life, I would be a lot less nice and a lot more secure with disappointing people by inflicting sensible boundaries. I am also aware that Jude and I are very different people. He's obviously much wiser.

It's a scary thing being a very faulted person and being a parent.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Some cuteness...

Judah is happy to be spending time with my godson and all of his super cute cute CUTEness!

Hangin' with Michelle and Cooper

More Coop!

My BEAUTIFUL niece enjoying her 1st birthday cake!

We had such a busy and fun weekend...I'll post more pictures of the specialness soon.