Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hey! I know you!

My wife and I read multiple blogs of people we don’t know. I know we will probably never meet any of these people, but we like to share in their lives in this small way.

One Sunday morning on our last vacation we walked into a small church in another state. CrazyMom went ahead of me into the sanctuary and sat down with the kids. A few moments later, a woman came up to her and said, "You are going to think this is a crazy question, but are you the Big Crazy Family?" She had recognized the kids from pictures on the blog. When I came in, I found two adoptive moms engrossed in conversation.

I decided that I had better start keeping my eyes open. Who knows? Maybe I will get to run into someone whose blog I read.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Vacation!

We are back! We have been gone for two weeks visiting just about every relative we have. F.G. and K.D. got to meet aunts and uncles, cousins, and a whole host of other people whose actual relationship is too complicated for me to figure out. It was a grand time traveling around the country with 30+ hours behind the wheel. There were new experiences almost every day for F.G. and K.D -- attending a wedding, camping, boating, riding a go-cart, and lots more. Here are a few photos.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Readoption in the U.S.

Since CrazyMom and I did not travel to Ethiopia before we brought our new kids home, they entered the country on an IR4 visa. Adoptive parents then have to readopt their kids in the U.S. Last week we had our readoption day.

That morning, I was trying to convey to K.D. why the whole family was getting all dressed up and ready to go. While our kids' English skills continue to improve rapidly, the legal process of readoption is a tough thing to convey. After a fair amount of explaining, K.D. was finally getting the idea that we had to go do something since he would be staying with us here in America. He seemed to think this was a good idea because he liked America.

"I like America . . . because . . . in Ethiopia . . . no toys."

Hmmm. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but I could see that he was not done. More words were forming.

"In Ethiopia . . . house short. I like house America."

OK. So we have toys and big houses in America. But what about me, CrazyMom and all of these great new siblings? Wait - more is coming.

"In Ethiopia . . . no cars," he said, by which I assume he meant his family did not have a car and he really likes cars.

I let go of my expectation that this was going to be a phenomenal bonding moment for us and decided to simply enjoy the few peaceful moments we had together as he finished getting dressed.

As we drove downtown, K.D. kept pointing out all of the "castles". After a bad parking experience, a security check, and a high speed elevator ride to the twenty-something floor, the eight of us finally arrived in front of the right desk in the right castle. We were ushered to a "courtroom" to wait alone for the magistrate to come and hear our case. The room was just a little bigger than a living room with a high ceiling, an official looking, albeit small, judges bench at one end, two tables with two chairs each in the middle, and about eight chairs along the back row. The highlight for the kids was looking out over the city from the windows.


When the magistrate started the hearing, he was upfront about what we were doing.

"Since this is a foreign adoption, no matter what the decision is of this court today, these children are still your responsibility until they are 18. Today what we will be doing is producing a piece of paper that a lot of people like to read."

This comment endeared me to the man although he gently mocked me the entire time since I could not come up with the date that CrazyMom and I were married. How was I supposed to know that I had to study for this readoption thing?

The court approved our request and we are now even more officially a family of eight. And by the way, I heard the best way to remember your anniversary is to forget it once. I now can clearly recall that ours is July 17th.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Crying in Ethiopia and Remembering Mom

As stories continue to come out from our kids about Ethiopia, it seems that a central theme to K.D.'s stories is crying. You may have read about school in Ethiopia, which involved crying due to some corporal punishment. Here are a few more things K.D. has told us.

A few weeks ago K.D. was getting out of the bathtub when he said, "In America, bath warm. In Ethiopia, bath cold. Me cry." He demonstrated by squatting on his haunches, hugging himself, and pretending to shiver. It was a convincing demonstration.

There was also the story about a scar on his knee. He said, "They take it out. Me cry." I could never figure out just what was stuck in his knee that needed to be removed.

A few days ago I was working with him in an early Singapore math book where you had to match things. As we sat at the table working through the exercise, we came to a picture of a key which needed to be matched with a padlock.

"In Ethiopia, this one locked. Me hungry. Me cry."


I remembered a photo I had received from Ethiopia that showed the door of K.D.'s home (shown right). This door had a padlock on it.

"In Ethiopia, your door had a lock on it?" I asked.

"Yes. It locked. Me hungry and mom no hear. Me cry."

I was surprised to hear K.D. speak of his mother. Previously when I had asked K.D. if his mom was sick and that is why she died, he did not know. I thought he might have been too young to remember her.

We spoke a little more about the lock and the key and it seems he was hungry, outside the door of his home, and calling for his mother. His mom did not come to the door. Whether she was not actually there, too weak to answer the door, or had no food to offer, I do not know.

Finding out that he could remember his mom, CrazyMom and I asked again later about his mother.

"My mother . . . She in box . . . Me cry."