Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day of School

Today was a HUGE day for the Kuykendalls; the girls went "back" to school today.

Amelia was blessed with simply going back to school.  I am so thankful that this was the situation for her.  Other than Nazeret, I believe Amelia has experienced the most change by adding another child to the family.  She started fifth grade today with teachers she already knows at the same school she has attended for years.

Nazeret still wins the prize for the biggest change.  She started her first day of formal education ever this morning in first grade at the same school as Amelia.  She has wonderful support from her teacher and other staff.  I am thankful that she was so excited to go and didn't have any issue when I left the class room.  As I walked out of the classroom door with her eyes on me, I placed the palm of my hand to my cheek.  (We read The Kissing Hand last night and I was reminding her that she can feel my love with her anytime by placing the kiss I gave her in the palm of her hand to her cheek.)  She raised her hand and placed it to her cheek with a BIG smile.

Michela had a BIG change this year too.  She home schooled last semester, but decided to return to public school this year.  Today, she started high school!  My first born started HIGH SCHOOL!!!  Where did the time go?  She can't wait to finish school and head to Africa.  We can't wait to see what God has planned for her life now and in the future.

After many tears of joy for how well the morning went and some time on my knees praising God for His miracles, I am enjoying some peace and quit (something I have not experienced for the last 3 months)!  I'm going to bake some cookies and then go get my girls.  I can't wait to hear all the chatter and giggles as they share their day.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Two Months as a Family of 5!!!

We arrived home from Ethiopia on June 11; that was two months ago today. Wow, so much has changed in two months.  In that first month I wasn't sure I would ever be able to go back to work, but I have been seeing patients in the mornings for the past month.  Michael went back to work today and we are all missing him.  I am taking off again while we make the adjustment to school.

Yes, Nazeret is going to start school in one week.  She doesn't fully understand, but she is excited.  She will be starting first grade and her teacher is also an adoptive mom. God is so good to work out the details!  She has been learning so much and I believe she is going to do great in school.

Our first month was so hard and full of so much change for all of us.  This second month has been smoother and a lot of fun.  We are all getting to know each other better.  Nazeret has the words to express her needs and feelings, when she chooses to.  We are starting to settle into our "new normal".  I am so thankful for the support of our friends and family.  Thank you all for your prayers.

Today, like almost every day, we watched Ethiopian dancing videos on YouTube.  She LOVES this and I enjoy seeing her face light up.  Today she even put on her traditional Wolayta dress to watch.  It still hurts my heart so deeply that she is not growing up in her beautiful country.  I'm so thankful for the love that God has placed in my heart for Ethiopia.

Some firsts for Nazeret in the past month:

Nazeret and Amelia went to music camp at our church every morning for a week.  They learned an entire musical and then performed it for friends and family on the following Sunday evening.  She LOVED it!  She may always remember the songs and motions.

We went on our first road trip.  (Nazeret does not like to be in a car.)  We went 3.5 hours south to New Braunfels, TX to take Nazeret to our favorite water park , Schlitterbahn.  She was fearless and road every ride with her Pap (my dad).  We all had a blast (except Amelia: she was having her own fun at church camp) !  Nazeret later explained that the "water house" was fun, but she was NEVER going back because it is "too long!"

Nazeret finally got her ears pierced.  She started asking to get them pierced when we were in Ethiopia for our embassy appointment.  She was so brave.  She only made a face when the piercing gun popped.  Now we are counting down the days until she can take out those simple studs and replace them with dangles.

Some of my favorite new phrases:

What to go? = This question comes when I look like I am going somewhere.
One! = "Give ma a minute."
Sort of = You get that one; it's just so funny to hear from her.
Owee ah-NO! = "See how tough I am; that didn't hurt at all." (ears pierced)
Finger house = This is the place you get your nails painted. :)
Ice-cream house = Nazeret's favorite place to get ice-cream....EVERY day!  Don't judge; it's HOT!

I am thankful for the bond that has grown within our family over the past two months and I know it is in large part due to the gift we were given of time to spend together.  As we return to our routine and introduce Nazeret to school, I know that we have a great foundation to build on.

Monday, August 1, 2011

People always tell me how lucky my daughter is.

Nazeret has a very special little friend that she met in the orphanage.  They were from the same region and spoke the same language.  They were moved together from the orphanage to our adoption agency's transition home.  The language at the transition home is Amharic.  These two sweet little girls did not speak Amharic and so they had each other as they learned a new place and a new language.  I can't even imagine this kind of bond.

God arranged for these girls to meet their parents the same week, but due to government systems they did not get to come to America at the same time.   Nazeret has been home for almost 2 months and her friend came home this weekend.  Tonight, the girls got to Skype in America for the first time.  My heart was filled with such a strange mix of joy and sadness as these girls discovered that they could no longer communicate.  You see as Nazeret has learned more English (and she kept telling her friend, "I English."), she has lost her original language.  I am excited about how fast Nazeret has learned our language, but my heart is breaking for what she has lost.

My beautiful daughter has gained an entirely different life, but she has lost so much.  It's hard to see that as lucky.