Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Highlights

It probably goes without saying, but Christmas was extra special for our family in 2008. In our quest to have children over the past few years, holidays have always been tough. This year, we felt blessed beyond measure. Isabel added a little extra joy to all of the festivities for us as well as both of our families.

On Christmas eve, we went to church at 5:00 p.m. Richard and I have always loved going to the 11:00 p.m. service, but we were quite sure that would not work too well this year. Isabel was truly an angel during the hour and a half service. We couldn't have asked for a better behaved child. My favorite part every year is when they turn out the lights and we sing "Silent Night" while holding lit candles. It's beautiful and makes me cry every time. This year, I sobbed a little harder as I saw the wonder on Ibby's face as she looked around at all the glowing candles. It was truly a magical moment. After church, it was home for some pictures in front of the tree. Next year, we will have to remember that picture taking would work much better BEFORE church. As it was, she was hungry and tired and had discovered the bow that mom had placed in her hair hours before (which luckily had gone undetected through the service). Here is a picture of Ibby's triumph once she extracted the bow.

On Christmas morning, we had breakfast as usual. After eating a hearty meal, we asked Isabel to go to the Christmas tree, which she dutifully did. She was pleased to discover lots of presents there including a Bitty Baby, stroller, booster chair, crib, and other accessories plus a set of dishes and pots and pans. But what good are the kitchen utensils without a kitchen? That was the last surprise, set up in the family room and hidden under blankets. She started playing with it immediately, whipping all sorts of goodies, and she would have played with it all day if we would have let her, but we had to get to Grandma Sandy's house.

There were even more gifts to open at Grandma's house. Isabel loved her new Dora futon from Uncle Jeff and Aunt Kris. And it's clear that she was really excited about Elmo Live from Grandma Sandy and Aunt Sue. Once he was unwrapped, she gave him a big fat kiss right on his orange nose.

And what did Santa bring for Richard and me? You know, there were no presents under the tree for us this year. We couldn't think of a thing we wanted since we had already received the greatest gift of all, our beautiful (and smart and funny) daughter.

Oh, and one more picture. Before bed, Isabel discovered that she fits in her baby's crib. The baby doll looks none too comfortable though. Silly girl!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fun in the Hotel Tub

This past weekend, we traveled to Wisconsin to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family. We stayed at a Residence Inn in Madison, and Isabel enjoyed herself immensely in the hotel tub. Our tub at home is wide and deep, so we use a smaller plastic toddler tub for Ibby to sit in when she bathes. Free of the confines of the plastic tub, Isabel felt free in the vast expanse of water in the full sized tub. These pictures show her reclining in the water and splashing like crazy while reclining in the water.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Long Enough for Pigtails...Almost

Monday, December 8, 2008

With a Heavy Heart

I spent much of the weekend in tears. Even now, when I think about it, my eyes well up, my heart aches, and I can barely contain myself.

It was a typical Saturday morning. I took a brief respite from mommyhood to peek into the adoption forums while Richard played with Isabel. On what I thought was a routine check of Guatadopt, an online forum for those who have adopted or are adopting from Guatemala, I was shocked to read a thread entitled, "Sad News...Condolences." What I read there made me sob. Josi, a young, beautiful Guatemalan girl just weeks away from joining her forever family, had been murdered. Her foster parents, a prominent physician and his wife, and their two children were also killed. An article from a Guatemalan newspaper speculates that a former employee of the couple who was disgruntled over his firing may have been the one to execute the entire family. There was no sign of forced entry. The breakfast bowls were on the table. All of the family members had their throats slashed.

Do I know anyone involved? No. Still, this senseless tragedy has shaken me so that when I think about it now, even days later, I am numb. How could anyone do this? How could anyone devalue humanity so much as to be able to take the life of another and in such a brutal way? Why? Why? Why? Oh, Lord. Why?

Adding to my grief is the sorrow I feel for Josi's adoptive family here in the U.S. Having been through adoption myself, I understand the longing for a child who is miles and miles away under the care of another. I know firsthand the fear over what could happen to the child or to the process as you can only wait and wait and wait. But to have made it this far, over a year into the adoption proceedings with a birth certificate that lists the child as your legal offspring in hand, just weeks away from bringing that child into your home forever, and then, that child, that beautiful, innocent child, tragically killed...and not by accident but by the deliberate and evil act of another. Oh, it is almost too much for me to bear. I cannot imagine the depth of pain felt by this family who just days ago was looking forward to a special and joyous Christmas, their first with Josi at home.

Distraught, I wondered what I could do that could in some way help to ease this family's pain. There are no words to comfort, and any act at all could never, ever erase the suffering. But that's when another adoptive mom came up with an idea. Adoption is expensive, and Josi's family had struggled to gather the funds to pay their lawyer. Just weeks ago, they sent in a final payment of over $12,000, and now, they will never bring their daughter home. Since there is no way to alleviate the pain, why not help the family financially so that with the heavy burden they are already carrying, they do not need to worry about money as well. Please. Give what you can. I know that the family has been lifted up by the outpouring of love they have received since the news broke, but let's go one step further. Let's help this family during one of the darkest hours of their lives, and let's help them in a very tangible way by donating in Josi's memory.

If you go to the family's blog, you will find a "chip in" button on the sidebar. Look around you. See all that you have to be thankful for this holiday season, and then think of all the Azhderian family has lost.

Azhderian Family Blog

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside