so nobody talks about what it’s really like.

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Today was Mothers Day.  For everyone with adopted older kids, you know that this is a weird day.  My two Ghanaian children have another mother that is alive thousands of miles from here.  We can’t talk to her (she has no phone/no service) and mail takes months to get there.  Our daughter misses her and imagines a life with her.  I may never be seen as “mom” to her.  This is not an easy thing to accept.  We have had people/ counselors tell us that she will probably think of me as an aunt at best, and that I should get on board with that.   After years of praying for this kid, that had been left in an orphanage for the last 6 years of her life, wanting her to have a family…this is not the future we had  hoped for, for her.   We woke up to..”oh, I forgot it was Mothers day”..and she wrote happy mothers day to me on an old church offering envelope.  She also made every homemade thing at school that was meant for me, her mom, and told me they were not for me.  I have been reminded countless times that she already has a mom.  I get it.  I understand it.  But..it still hurts.  I can honestly say that even after reading every book/ article/ blog I could find about adoption, I don’t know what I am doing.  And if I’m honest, I can say that I probably have no idea what I’m doing with any of these kiddos.   Do I love them? Yep.  Absolutely.  Am I doing a good job?  eh.  Hard to say.  Our kids are 15, 12, 11 and 7.  Every night when they are all asleep, I think, “oh wow, we made it.  another day and they are all still alive! ”  Maybe that’s all we can hope for- for now.

To be fair, we are in the trenches.  Our adopted kids have not been here quite two years and it’s been anything but easy.  All of our naysayers along the journey are probably thinking “I told you so” about now.  Still, we prayed and prayed for years and I know that we did what God wanted us to do.   I used to have it a little more together, but this has been a rough year.  Today at church this sweet lady (sorry Robin) asked me how I was doing, and I told her!  No seriously, I told her.   I told her that this has been the (so far) hardest year of my life.  I lost two of my dearest friends within 10 days of each other.  I went back to college.  I’m struggling with bonding with a kid.  I can’t walk without pain due to a back issue.  I let her have it.  I didn’t tell her I was fine and fake smile (seriously sorry!) I just told her how I was.  Struggling.  Human.  In the deep depths of mourning.  Questioning everything that I do. Then I teared up, as is a daily ritual now.  But she didn’t run away screaming..as if I had deserted the “brave Moms face club.”  She just gave me a hug.  And it helped make me feel a little less alone in the struggle.

I haven’t kept up my blog, and for those of you that followed me, maybe I’m back.  But it’s not pretty.  It just is what it is.  It’s hard to write about the lows and the struggles, as I don’t want to discourage anyone.  Adoption is one of Gods many plans for some of us, and while it is a beautiful thing at times, it can also be pretty scary.  If you are our there and going through the trenches with family, adopted or not, I feel ya!  And am praying for you.

Trying to keep it real… until next time.

Our own baseball team.

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Sorry that it’s been so long for a blog update, but life here has been a little crazy! We have been a family of 6 now for a little over seven months. And things are.. Interesting! We are never bored, ever! People ask of we are adjusting, and I can only say we are living! We play as much as we can, we try to have some order (haha) and are going through some counseling to help handle the transition. This past week we discovered that we are pretty much our own baseball team, during a pretty intense family game of whiffle ball. I love that! Also, this week, I sprained my ankle, and my kids have come to my rescue many times, helping with groceries, the doors and even a little cleaning! We are this really unique family that God made, and I love it.
Now, of course.. Because there are 4 of them and 1 of me, there are times when I do want to run and hide. But I always come right back!
Our Ghana kids and are homegrown kids are starting to become friends. They aren’t all friends all of the time, but you can see them bonding, and really starting to care for each other. They all love music and that is something we can all enjoy together!
Jake is teaching Joyce to play the stand up bass! Desmond, he just shakes his booty for now.. But someday!
For those of you that don’t know.. A few weeks ago two of my sons and I entered a jingle contest for Band-aid Brand. We did It on a whim, and mostly for fun! I had on my workout clothes, so I made Joyce video from the waist up! A few weeks later, we got an email that we were picked as one of the top 12 finalists, with a chance to win a $10,000 Wal Mart gift card!!! I had to wake the kids up to tell them!
It’s hard not to get excited and think about what we might do if we would win.. But the number one thing on our list from the wonderful world of Wal mart is a dishwasher!!! Of course, the kids have other ideas, and get to pick something too. This would be an incredible blessing for our family! It would surely help out with our ever growing grocery bill:). We would really appreciate the support, if you could vote for us.. And you can vote once a day, for the next week. I’ll post a link..
Today is the last day of school for all of my kiddos and we are going to see what the summer holds for us. I am nervous, but excited! As this will be my first summer with 4 kids! I’ll let you know how it’s going! Thanks again for following our story and for your votes!!! Here’s the link.. http://www.band-aid.com/

How are we doing… I have no idea!

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It’s been hard to update a lot lately, mostly due to the fact that now we have four kids! Haha! But also, part of me has been afraid to update with too much truth, afraid of scaring off hopeful adoptive parents. So many people ask us how we are doing. If we are in a hurry, or I’m not feeling like spilling, I say.. Pretty good, just adjusting.. Blah blah blah. Sometimes I’ll tell a little bit of our kids struggles. Hardly ever do I lay it all out there. I really don’t want people getting the wrong idea, because it is very hard at times. But still, we feel very blessed to have these 4 wonderful kids!
It’s good, it’s bad, it’s exhausting, impossible, rewarding and amazing at times. Sometimes all in one day! So here’s our today..
This morning we woke up to a snow day.. and some homemade French toast. Breakfast was great, because everyone ate the same thing! A tiny miracle in our house. Maybe this was another sugar induced happiness, because we had an hour or so of a little too aggressive monkey in the middle and some indoor jump roping. Everyone is happy. All good. We watched The Croods (I cried) then lunch.
After lunch I asked my sweet and up to this point very happy Desmond to put a toy away in his room, and he didn’t come out. When I went to check on him, he had peed his pants and told me that he did it because he was mad at me. Ugh. So bath, and I made him write..”I will listen to Mom” 5 times. This is quite a challenge for our 5 year old. While Desmond was writing, Joyce shut down, as she often does, because Desmond was in trouble. Shut down for her means no eye contact, no talking, nothing. And she is gone.
Around 3:00 or so, I’m thinking.. “Hey, I’m doing great. They have been up and down all day and I have kept my cool. Chads at work.. But I’ve got this!”
Then… Desmond pees his pants again! This time because he did not want to stop dribbling his basketball. So, back to the table, more sentences and the shutdown from Joyce. Dinner was an angry slurping of spaghetti. The shut down affects everyone and during these times it feels like there is a dark cloud roaming around our house. This one didn’t last as long, and we all packed up and went to Zumba. On the way there Joyce told me that her orphanage mothers husband was killed by a witch, and that she believed in them. I really didn’t even know what to say about that. I spoke to soon. I have got nothing, especially not my cool.
Desmond was in bed at 8 on the dot, and just as everyone else was getting ready to go down, we had a nice surprise visit from Grandma and Papaw, that included pop, chips and Nutty Bars!
That helped (me) and now the last three are hanging out, playing the x-box. Because, of course, tomorrow is another snow day.
Our lows are very low. Fits, crying, rage, anger that they don’t know how to deal with, and such sadness. Our highs are amazing. Just one hug from Desmond out of the blue and you know that he is your boy, and it was always meant to be. Listening to Joyce and Carter giggle, or watching Jake teach Joyce a Disney song on his guitar, is an amazing gift!
Thanks for those of you that ask, and for checking in on us! It’s a crazy life, but am thankful everyday that it is mine.

Desmond

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A month ago, I wouldn’t have been able to write this post. Yes, I loved this kid..as you can see in the pic, but we have had a bit of a rough adjustment period. When I first met Desmond, I loved him in the way you love a child that needs love. I loved him, because nobody else did. I loved him because he was an orphan. But I didn’t love him because it was easy to do.

When I first met him, he didn’t know what to think of me, or I him. He had fits and crying every night, but by the end of the week he was crying because I was leaving. I had the love of a mother and he needed it. It would be a very long 8 months before we would meet again. The picture above is that moment. I didn’t even know if he would remember me, but he did, and my heart surprised me. I felt the deep ache of a mother that had been separated from her child. But still, it wasn’t easy. His fits surprised me, you always forget the hard stuff, and they were back with a vengeance. A few times in the airport I was sure we were going to be questioned for kidnapping. It wasn’t pretty.

As some of you know, we had a pretty rough first month, that ended very badly at the Cracker Barrel, at a family dinner. We had a fit like none other and some discipline. I really think Desmond was craving that discipline, some way for him to know what was acceptable and what was not. Our language barrier was pretty severe in the beginning, which left us not understanding each other, a lot!

That day was a big turning point for us. Desmond still doesn’t always listen and isn’t always easy to deal with, but he’s just a 5 year old boy. That’s normal stuff. He also loves to help, and for the most part obeys. He loves to play and laugh and he is getting comfortable here, in his new home. Desmond is a beautiful little soul, and we are starting to learn so much about him.

Now that his English is improving..he is starting to vocalize his feelings. This week he asked to see a picture of his birth mother, Elizabeth. He rubbed her face and we talked about how good and pretty she was. He was able to tell me that he loved her, but (in his own words) “she could no feed me rice and chicken.” He also told us that he did not like it at the place, because they beat him, but that he liked the kids there. While talking about his home in Ghana, you could see his little wheels turning, and he said, ” Mom, you came and apopted (Desmond’s words) me and Joyce, now you go back and get Japadya (his little brother living with his mother), put him on your back and bring him here so I can give him a hug. Carter and I were both in tears, hearing how Desmond was missing his family there, and believing that we could go get him and bring him here to be with us. Such a sweet boy with a caring heart. We spent the evening cuddling and looking at pictures. There is nothing I can do for his brother at this point, he lives with their mother. But we make sure and let Desmond see pictures and let him know that we love them too, and pray for them.

Desmond’s fits seem to be gone, we can hope, but he still cries himself to sleep most nights. We talk to him, sing to him, rub his back..but this is the time when he has time to think about his people, and how much he must miss them. Hopefully time will help heal that wound for our little man. Desmond is truly a gift to our family and I can say that he truly has become just so easy to love and to be around. We are blessed having Desmond, and hope that we can be a blessing to him in return. We love you Desmond!

A present and sugar induced love fest

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A week ago Christmas was looming and I was half excited/ half filled with dread, knowing how overwhelming holidays can be for Joyce and Desmond. Christmas with our family would be overwhelming for most, with 9 siblings and a gazillion nieces and nephews. Along with all of these people, comes piles of presents! It’s especially scary for two that have never had this kind of Christmas.
It may have been present induced, or from the sugar high she was most surely on, but our Christmas Day ended with.. I love you Carter, I love you Jake, I love you Mom! From Joyce, this was shocking and wonderful!
Of course I haven’t had much time to write lately, with all of the craziness around here.. But we are hanging in there, and some days we are doing just fine.

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…and it hits you like a truck.

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To say that life has been hectic lately for the Eddy family would probably be the understatement of my life! For the past year, we have been doing everything we could to complete our adoption, and two weeks ago we were able to bring Joyce and Desmond to their new home. Joyce and Desmond have had a very different life than we have, and EVERYTHING here is different. The food, the smells, the landscape, having a bedroom with only two people in it. Eating three meals a day, Having parents is something neither of them had really experienced for the last five years. New family members, grandmas and grandpas, and a dog. The dog still kind of freaks them out.

Our first week started off with a bang.. lots of tantrums, crying and fits from our little man. He has cried so many times for his orphanage Mama, it is heartbreaking. Joyce was very quiet and remains a girl of few words. She also has had some sad times, it is such a change, and it feels like they are almost in shock. We have been smothering them in hugs and love, and trying our best to keep calm, through the fits and crying. Desmond loves to hug and squeezes you so tight that it hurts. Joyce hugged me willingly all by herself last night, right before bed, and there it was. The love that hits you like a truck. It’s painful and shocking wonderful, and the most amazing thing, to feel that love from them. We have loved them from afar for so long, and loved the idea of them. It’s nothing like a newborn kind of love, it’s something much more messy. These kids have formed personalities and senses of humor without you, they have grown up not learning that we are people they can trust. They also have fits of rage and mourning and bad manners. We are new parents in a new way. And not at all prepared enough, But they love us anyway. I think we are probably two of the luckiest people I know. They don’t know that we won’t beat them. They don’t know that I would give anything for them, for any of our kids. but they are starting to trust us. Joyce is lightening up, and smiling more. Desmond is crying less everyday.

Jake and Carter are feeling the love too. Jake has taken to Desmond like he was always meant to be his big brother. When Carter hears Desmond cry at bedtime, he goes in to check on him and rubs his back. It’s a beautiful thing. Not in the traditional, everything is perfect kind of beautiful, but the loud and crazy, this is the life that was meant for us kind of way.

We are thankful every day for this amazing life, that God has given us.

Together.

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Our kids are home!  At the moment, all of our four kids are tucked safely away sleeping.  This makes me happy.  It is still so shocking to see them here.  Something that we have just imagined for so long, is here and so real.  We had a very long trip home, over 30 hours in travel.  Joyce and Desmond were amazing on the plane, but challenging (to say the least)  at the airports.  The last and shortest flight was all smiles and happiness, getting excited about Jake, Carter and especially Daddy.  When my boys here in the U.S. saw us coming down the escalator, they all ran to us.  It was so beyond amazing to see them all together.  Just a little walk down the hallway and I could hear them screaming, the rest of the family.  They had balloons and signs and a roar of excitement!  Within minutes Desmond and the many little kids were all chasing each other around the airport.  They were loaded up with presents and hugs, and we were off! 

Our first meal in the United States was Steak-n-Shake, haha!  It’s just what was close and easy.  The kids ate fries and ice cream, and just took it all in.  Desmond made the kids laugh.  We were all pretty tired, and ready to be home.  When we got home we were greeted by more family, gifts and food! 

It is a blurry, crazy bunch of days, this past week.  We are all pretty tired and out of our element.  So much change happening so quickly for everyone.  At first Joyce and Desmond were waking up at all hours of the night, flipping the lights on, and waking everyone up.  We have been searching for foods that they like and are willing to eat.  So much here is different for them.  They are cold, even inside with the heat on.  We have had doctors appointments and a tour of the school this week, getting ready for them to start.  Desmond and Joyce are struggling, with so much to adjust to, and mourning the loss of their home, in Ghana.  Even though their home was an orphanage for the last five years, it is all they have known for so long, it is a loss for them.  They also have had a relationship with their biological mother, and have spent many hours crying for her.  It is impossible for us to fix this for them, it will just take lots of time, patience, love and counseling!  We have had fits of rage from Desmond that are so loud I am surprised that our neighbors have not called to check on us.  I’m sure they can hear some of the screaming. 

We have had some rough stuff, and some amazingly happy moments.  Watching the kids jump on the trampoline together and laugh is such a beautiful thing.  One day after school Joyce grabbed and held Carter’s hand all the way home, after we picked him up.  So sweet!  Jake and Desmond are buddies, and Jake is a great big brother to him already.  It has been a challenging week for Jake and Carter too, and we have been trying to have little moments of bonding (sneaking out for ice cream). 

When Desmond is happy, he is very happy!  He loves to cuddle and squeezes you so tight when he hugs you.  He is already a funny little man, talking in crazy voices and making us laugh. 

We have so far to go, and with so little sleep, that’s about all I have for you..my eyes are closing as I write this.  Life is awesome and crazy and hard.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.  Well, maybe a little less hard, haha, but still, it is amazing and we are so happy they are here.  Praying and hoping they start to feel safe and loved here.  We just want them to be happy and have another chance at a happy life with a family, so glad it’s ours.    

 

Day 2 and 3,Someone must have prayed the bugs away. And the bathroom.

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So, day two started with both of us realizing that we hadn’t seen one bug yet!  Last time I was here, Teresa and I wrestled with roaches the size of a small dog.  Maybe a little exaggeration, but they were big!  No bugs are a big plus! 

We woke up and waited on our driver and friend Kelly.  We went to the beach, bought a few souvenirs and put our feet in the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.  I got a little teary eyed, sitting on a tall wooden bench at an outside tiki hut type place, drinking cold Fantas with my sister and kids in Africa. How strange for us to be here. I am so glad she is with me! While we were at the beach we saw a little gang of naked boys, none any older than maybe 10, who I think were working on the fishing boats. We were able to give them all little coloring books and crayons, and they loved them.
After the beach, our driver took us to the Sizzler, where we had some lunch. It is not air conditioned, but had a nice breeze blowing through the open windows. Mysty and I braved a pizza and the kids of course had chicken and rice. Every single time. Everywhere we go, we go with a crowd. Our driver’s car should have held 4, but we had 6 in the backseat and 2 in the front. It felt like a clown car!
We walked to the orphanage after lunch, sweating until our clothes were soaked. It is still very hot here, and carrying around all of our backpacks doesn’t help. We handed our small cars and toys to the kids. They always are so happy to receive any little thing.
More walking, back to the hotel to meet Abraham to finish up our paperwork. I have their passports, visas and court decrees. We are ready to go.
For dinner, we walked down to the London Bar, and the kids ordered a fish, along with their rice. Something different! Mysty and I ate some fruit. We are not too adventurous with the eating. Both of us have had a few issues with our stomachs.
Joyce’s sadness has begun and she and Anastasia went to sleep crying. Anastasia has been on our floor sleeping the whole time we have been here. They are going to be hard to separate. I am dreading their goodbye.
The days are long and hot and we are tired.
Seeing the kids again was an amazing feeling, and I am so glad Desmond remembered me. I was worried.
My sister and I are quite a pair to be traveling together in a country like this. WE had a foul odor in our bathroom, and a very suspicious old rug. We made a deal that if she sniffed it, I would toss it..and she did! The smell was greatly improved. WE have joked that our noses may be having the biggest adventure of all.
I miss my people. I want a hot shower and clean water again. I’m ready for home.

Day 2/ the bathroom.
We woke up today very tired. Desmond is very hard to sleep with, he smothers me and kicks Mysty all night. Also, Joyce woke up at 3am to play with the IPad. Uh, no! We all woke up around 6, so we were off. After our cold showers, we had breakfast..my last granola bar! So sad!
Abraham and our driver met us and we left for Cape Coast. We changed our plans after we were told it was just about an hours drive. Ha! After about 30 minutes of driving, my poor sister was sick, and we had to pull over. After driving for about another hour, we asked how long and the driver said about two more hours! There were 5 of us in the backseat, making it a very long and hot ride! We bought water on the way, out of the windows. There are people selling everything, everywhere. Water, shrimp, boiled eggs, candy, tires, really pretty much everything. A lady stuck a shrimp in my face and tried to get me to buy some.
Once we made it to the castle, we were both glad we made the trip. We walked through the museum and had an hour long guided tour. It was so sad standing there, and walking through the “door of no return”, where so many slaves were taken. We saw the branding irons and shackles they used, and walked deep into the dungeons, where the slaves were kept. Sad doesn’t even touch it, it was just unbelievable.
After our tour we ate at a restaurant on the beach. Yep, chicken and rice. Mysty and I had French fries and I tried to eat a cheese sandwich that ended up looking like a marshmallow and egg salad sandwich.
We walked into a tiny dress shop, and Joyce asked for a pair of shoes that cost 320 cedis, which is something like $160. I had a good laugh and we left. They were cheap shoes that may cost $10 at home.
WE were stopped by the police on the road, and asked to give 2 cedis. It was strange and kind of scary, they all had big guns hanging on them.
Mysty has not been feeling good today and we had to make an emergency stop. When she came out of the bathroom her face told me there was more to the story. She said she couldn’t talk about it, and asked me to just please poor some water on her hands. I heard the rest of the story tonight and laughed so hard I almost peed. She will have to share that with you. Let’s just say I’m so proud of my germa-phobe sister, she is being so brave.
We stopped at the shoprite and got cake and doughnuts for the kids at the orphanage. The loved it and we were all sticky by the time it was over.
One more night and we are headed home. I can’t imagine what an adventure the airplane will be for us.
Will let you know!

Day 1!

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Day 1, Africa.  We arrived at around 11:30 in the Accra airport.  We did not sleep until our very last and shortest flight, so we are pretty tired.  We weren’t sure who would be meeting us at the airport, but when we walked around the corner, there was Joyce and Abraham, our POA.  She looked so pretty and had her scarf on that we bought at the beach on our last trip here. I was so happy to be able to hug and love on her again!  She was hungry, because she would not eat today until I arrived.  she had a little hunger strike.   We took a long taxi ride to our Hotel, to drop off our luggage, and then on to the orphanage to get Desmond and see the kids.  When we got there Anastasia was so excited she ran and jumped on me, almost knocking me down.  I couldn’t help but cry!  We were so happy to see everyone.  Desmond let me pick him right up and leaned on me, for a good long hug.  It has been a long time since we have seen each other!  About seven months!  

We stayed for a while at the Lords Grace Orphanage, handing out candy and hugs.  The kids are so sweet and so happy for such a small treat.  I got to talk to a sweet little pair of brothers that are almost at the end of their adoption.  They are ready for their Mom to get there, hugging on me, and holding my hand for most of the time I was there.  

Today was the last day the Joyce and Desmond were able to see there biological mother and the orphan mother.  They were both leaving today for another part of the country and won’t return until we are gone.  I made sure that they said goodbye, and it was a strange moment for us all.  We left them with a few small gifts, and were on our way.

We went to a place called the London Bar and got the kids some chicken and rice, I know what a surprise!  Mysty and I bought some fruit, and juice.  We sadly have no peanut butter, I accidently packed it in my carry on, so it was thrown away.  We ate some plain tortillas, fruit and juice.  We may lose a few pounds!  

Right now they are playing with everything all piled up in our bed.  Anastasia is here, and staying with us until we leave.  I can’t even imaging leaving her.  I just love her! 

Mysty and I are hanging on by a thread, desperately needing some sleep.  We are doing the orphanage bed time tonight, 8pm!  yeah!  

It seems unreal that we are here, and that they are mine, and we are all going home together.  Now I’m pretty sure the real adventure begins!  I can’t wait for you all to meet them!  Hopefully will update you tomorrow!