then I saw. . .


And then I saw (your) face
Now I'm a believer
Not a trace
Of doubt in my mind
I'm in love
I'm a believer
I couldn't leave (you)
If I tried

Thank you The Monkees!!! That's right Charlie, your Mama quoted The Monkees. Why? Well, a year ago today, we saw this picture for the first time.  

K from AGCI, had called at 3:17 pm to tell your Mama she wanted to talk to us about a little boy. Since I was at school and your Dad was at work, we didn't get to find out more about you until we were both on the phone with K at 4:28 pm and at 4:57 pm we saw your pictures for the first time. (I know you are thinking, "Mama, how do you know these exact times?" Well cutie, it is called the beauty of time stamps. Cell phones. Email. Gotta love it.)

Charlie, your Dada and I can't tell you enough how much we prayed for you. How much we wanted to see your face and know who our child would be. How much we wanted to be able to hold you in our arms and feel your weight in them. 
I love how serious you can look at times. 

Then within seconds you can be smiling and laughing.
I love how for the past month, you refused to say, "Mama," yet on the car ride home yesterday, all I heard was, "Mama. Mom. Mommy" over and over. How out of all the toys you have, you love the small ones the best. Ones you can carry around and your keyboard.You love the cones that go with your firetruck, you are not a fan of the truck though. . .
I love how at the end of dinner you will, unprompted, ask for "ake" also known as cake. (One would think you get cake often, you don't. But, this is your referral-iversary cake. It was orange dream-sickle with almond butter-cream icing.)
I love how this past week, or so, you have decided you need to feed yourself. How tonight at dinner, you fed yourself your cheese quesadilla and only needed help with the rice. How you wanted to take this picture using the camera phone. I really love how you are leaning forward in the picture.

I love how you are our son. Getting to see you grow, not just in height, but in confidence and ability every day. I love seeing your smile in the morning that brings out the dimples. Looking into your eyes. Holding your hand. Getting (h)ugs from you. Watching you interact with Joey. Hearing almost everyday a new word being added to your vocabulary. Rocking you to sleep. 

Happy Referral-iversary Charlie!!!!!!! We love you.

Mama and Dada



a year ago


A year ago today, you left the second orphanage you had lived. This one you had called home for a little over 6 months.

You left this crib and were carried down a hallway overlooking this courtyard.

Through these gates.

And drove down this bumpy gravel road. . .
to get to here, Hannah's Hope.

This was a picture taken your first day at Hannah's Hope.

When we were there in December we were told you mainly screamed and cried your first two weeks at Hannah's Hope. How could you not? You had left, once more, everything you knew and didn't know when your world would be shaken again. Eventually, you would grace those at Hannah's Hope with a smile, although rare during this time.

When your Dada and I visited Edget, we prepared ourselves for many things not knowing what we would see. I can still hear Wass comforting a boy as he screamed in fright from seeing us. (He had never seen white people before.) I still want to cry when I think of you being in a crib with only three sides in a room filled with children who were not picked up, hugged, smiled at, or sung to.

I rejoice you are no longer there. I rejoice you were taken to Hannah's Hope and loved by your special mothers.
I rejoice you have just now been with us for a longer length of time then you have been anywhere else in your short life.
{You enjoy taking this photo off the fridge while Mama makes dinner and you wait for Dada to come home. This particular time, you kept turning the photo and saying, "Dada. Dada."}

I rejoice I get to go home everyday to see you and feel your arms just learning to hug or "uuggg" as you call it.

I rejoice in being your Mama and all of the milestones to come.
 {Today before bed.}



6, 54, Happy New Year!


We have reached another milestone. On Tuesday, September 4, we celebrated holding you every day for 6 months. It is crazy to think you have only been in our arms for 6 months, but you have. Some days it feels as if you just got here and other days like you have been here the whole time. But a little over 6 months ago, we walked out of Hannah's Hope as a family of three. We, of course, celebrate this small fete with one of your Mama's favorites. Cake. You like to call it "ake."

Since Tuesday was 6 months since your "Gotcha Day," yesterday was 6 months since coming home. We headed north to Chicago to eat at Ethiopian Diamond and celebrate the Ethiopian New Year (Happy 2004 Ethiopia!!)

Before heading north, Mama walked in the Race for the Cure so you stayed home with Dada. The two of you played Rock Band. According to Dada, you really liked The Beatles version and your favorite songs were "Twist and Shout" and "Yellow Submarine." So I know the picture to the right isn't the cutest of you, it isn't the cutest one Dada took while I was gone, but it isn't a face you make with Dada often. Mama sees this glare often, but Dada doesn't. I just wanted the documentation, also so you know, this was taken well before I got home. I am assuming Dada told you it was time to put the guitar away or you needed to do something educational.

We put you in your car seat while you were sleeping. It didn't last long. You sang, danced, chewed on your vocabulary cards on the way to the restaurant. The outfit we had you in didn't last once we got to Chicago due to a run-in with a fountain, but luckily we had packed another Star Wars shirt.

Our favorite waiter was happy to see you again and enjoyed seeing you want Dada instead of Mama while we were in the restaurant. (It is always nice to have you say, "No. Dada! Dada!" over and over again because I am holding you and Dada went to use the restroom. Some of the other customers did find it funny though.) You ate a whole chicken sambusa, most of the kik alicha (most of it you ate with injera), about half of the dinich alicha (you didn't like it with injera), and the doro tibs with and without the injera.

We headed out of Chicago and stopped at a mall on the way home and then Portillo's. We went through the drive-thru where we asked for our order to have everything separate so it could be re-heated and served for today's Bears game. Your Dada thought it was a strange request, the guy taking our order didn't blink. Following Portillo's we drove down the road to Five Guys, since you kept saying/signing "more" and got you your first cheeseburger. I know it isn't the best picture, but you were super excited about your cheeseburger and kept dancing in your car seat for more.

 Following our trip north and back, during which we saw 17 police cars. (Mama started counting after seeing 3 state troopers within the first 20 miles of leaving home. We usually only see 3 the whole trip.) You had some milk before going to bed. This week we put the bottles away. Charlie is now bottle free.

So we covered the 6 and the Happy New Year from the title of today's post, but not the 54. Since stores started carrying football gear in July, your Dada and I have been searching for the perfect football shirt for you. I found two while I was out and about and brought both home for your Dada to decide. At first he went with the cheaper one, but then realized you two could match by going with the one that was only $5 more. . . That's right, both you and Dada have Urlacher jerseys. You so can't tell the two of you apart!!



social secretary


So I am thinking you might need a social secretary. This weekend you attended your third party in three weeks. You now get two weeks off, I think, before you have three parties in two days. Definitely need a social secretary.

On the bright side, you had your first bubble bath this week. Based on the splashing, smiles, and giggles you really enjoyed it.