Archive for December, 2008
A musician I follow, Joey Belville, wrote in his blog recently that “My urge to protect her empowers me in a way that would prove extremely dangerous to someone who would foolishly attempt to test it.” He was writing about his daughter and I didn’t really get it at the time, but now it’s beginning to ring true to me.
I’m finding a complicated angle to going out in public now with a beautiful Ethiopian baby and that is people’s stares at her. When we were leaving Ethiopia, there was a mix of intentions in a stare from a stranger from contempt (read: misunderstanding) to admiration of Iona or us. Going out in public now has been a interesting combination of feelings and emotions I’m still nailing down.
We were at the hair cut place a couple of days ago and a man sitting next to his son was looking down at Iona in her car seat. My first instinct mirrored Joey’s in that I first looked at the guy with a thought of ‘What, what are you looking at? Leave us alone.’ I understand that those looks will come, but what complicated it for me was that he was honestly looking out of a admiration of a cute baby (along with the other dozen or so people in there).
I’m really having a fun time with the challenge of understanding those looks again. Usually my response with Aidan consisted of a brief smile and a mutual stare at Aidan with a smile. My protective dad is taking a longer look at the giver of the stare and assessing their intent. I get the feeling that the former is the appropriate societal response but I’m searching for the balance between both.
My urge is to protect Iona and I’m not sure what my expectations were coming into the haircut place. It’s interesting to get back to being the family with the cute kid again. It seems that around 3 people stop noticing children in public to admire them and start noticing when they act up so it’s been a little bit since we were getting cute stares in restaurants.
I feel bad for Aidan in that it wasn’t that long ago he was the center of attention and now he’s been supplanted by this upstart 7 month old. When Aidan’s with us, I want to care for him to and pay attention to his needs while admiring Iona and figuring out if I’m going to pull a stare worthy of Tom Sizemore in ‘Heat’ while he eyes down a diner after Robert Dinero just smashed the bad guy into the table; the kind of stare that says ‘Hey, what’s up? Mind if I smash your head into the table?’
But, in the same vein, I understand completely that this is what we signed up for. We are a different looking family now and it’s beautiful. We believe God shows his love for us and each other by our visible differences as a family and that now we are a walking billboard for not only adoption, but God’s grace and provision in our lives and that’s o.k. “It’s fun being different” Aidan told me the other night as we were talking about wearing glasses. Every time I hug Iona, kiss her incredibly soft cheeks, blow a zerbert at her in public I am different and it is beautiful picture of God’s pursuit of us.
So, yes, it is fun being there and it is fun figuring out intentions, but it’s more fun being the flaming extrovert that I am and loving all of my family publicly.
Today, Aidan and I got out to church and I went to go pick up up lunch (Panera soup) and to the grocery store. It’s one of those days here that the milk in my hand felt warmer than the air outside. It’s around -2 Fahrenheit and there is a stiff wind blowing. In fact, as a result of our recent ice storm, driving down heavily wooded streets usually means that baseball sized chunks of ice are falling from the wind and pelting cars as they drive.
We’re doing o.k. here. Aidan is continually finding his place in the family and is figuring out what it means to have a little sister. Fortunately, we are in a pattern of families that alot of his buddies at church and in town have the same predicament and he’s having a good time seeing peers with kid sisters. He’s really blossomed in terms of speech, in my opinion. When he is not acting out as a result of not getting his way, we find he’s getting really good at articulating his needs.
Iona’s also doing well. It’s really surprising to see her bond well with us. I think we’ve been fortunate, in a way, that she’s been sick because it’s given Melissa and Iona a bit of time to spend together. She laughs, she reaches for us and she’s putting on a bit of weight. She’s also taken a shine to waving and if you wave at her she usually flails her arm back at you of along with a smile. She also laughs a ton too. We had said that back in the day when we heard about her that her personality would fit in well with our family and we’re seeing God’s grace and love for us on that end too.
On the health front, she’s been doing well. We kept her from church today just because it was simply too cold to take a 7 month old getting over RSV out for even a little bit. We took her out to a wedding yesterday, but today might have been a little too much. She didn’t have a nebulizer treatment yesterday which was wonderful.
The wedding last night was terrific fun where we discovered that Iona is really fun to dance with and spent most of her time on the dance floor laughing and looking at the mirror ball and colored lights. Aidan is also a wicked break dancer and spent a bit of time busting his moves on the floor as well. In fact, he was quite distraught that he had to leave at 9:30 after spending a good solid hour and a half dancing.
We have a number of friends in Ethiopia this week picking up their children and it’s fun to read the accounts of their trips. It’s hard to believe as we sit here in frigid temperatures that we were so far away not so long ago. But, as we read descriptions from the blogs, the smells, sights, and sounds of Ethiopia come back.
Love from the cold home front,
Pete and Melissa
Hey everybody –
I just realized that a number of people have asked about Iona and how she was doing and I haven’t got a chance to update here. Some of you may have heard by word of mouth or conversations with us that Iona had acquired RSV, a potentially fatal respiratory virus in babies, and we had gone to see the doctor. Normally, RSV gets treated in a hospital and requires some people to be on top of things in order for the baby to get better. Our doctor had suggested that we try and treat her at home which meant giving her nebulizer treatments ever 2-4 hours as well as motrin/Tylenol and daily steroids. As of today, she’s really on the mend and is acting a little more like herself. We are a little jittery on taking her outside right now due to her getting over stuff, but thanks so much for your prayers!