Visiting Lalibela

Visiting Lalibela

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cabin With Cousins

Summer Fun with cousins!!!

We have had the best week with our Sauro cousins and are sad to see them go back to Minnesota. Many of these pictures will also be on the girls' video.

This was a week of many firsts:
1. Gavin's first horseback ride with Aunt Brenda riding behind.
2. Layne's first solo horseback ride.
3. Gavin's first overnight without Mommy and Daddy.
4. Mommy's first colonoscopy--such fun!!
5. Brad's, Michael's, and Kael's first tepee building experience.
6. Our new car's first flat tire- thanks for changing the tire, Greg- I wish it were my first flat.

It was also a week of an important last: Don and Louise Griffith's last weekend at TP. They have been coming since I was a little girl, spending the entire summer up there and then returning to Arizona in the winter. Now, at 90 and 92, they have decided to return to Arizona a little early. We are so sad to see them go, as we love them so much and enjoy spending time with them at TP. They are a wonderful couple, with an incredible faith and love for all of those around them. Thanks, Don and Louise for being a part of our lives!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Check out this blog!!

If you want to be inspired about what love means, check out the Korson's blog.

When you get to the home page, click on adoption front. You'll be amazed! This family has adopted 3 new siblings into their family. Their new daughter, Almaz, and Elli became very good friends, while we were in Ethiopia. We are so excited for them and hope to see them on our next trip to MN to visit cousins.

Speaking of cousins- Brad, Michael, Aunt Brenda and Uncle Greg are here!!! The big Sweeneys and Layne could barely stand the last 2 hours as they were driving to our house Saturday night. Gavin, however, had the most interesting reaction. He became very fearful, the closer they came. We finally figured out that he had been told that his aunt and uncle were coming to see him! Our only thought is that he thought it was truly his aunt and uncle from Ethiopia and he would be leaving us. It took Mike 1/2 hour to convince him that he was staying with us, we are his family forever. WOW! We didn't expect that at all, but are glad that he definitely loves being a Sweeney.

Yesterday, I ran up the mountain for a short time and he completely warmed up to all of them, even showing his moves to "I like to Move it, Move it."

Gavin DOES not handle vestibular input, beyond swinging. We learned this the second day we had him in ET, when after a big breakfast, he joined all the other kids in a spin with Daddy. He got sick pretty quickly, just from spinning around a couple of times. Last night, he did some somersaults on Brenda's legs. He looked a little dizzy, but it really didn't hit him until he had eaten his pizza. Then, he ran to me, with tears in his eyes. We went to the bathroom and after two COLLOSSAL burps, he felt much better and his smile returned. We'll have to remember not to coordinate any vestibular activities with meals!

My white count has gone back down- Thank you Lord!! Hopefully, that means that whatever it is that I have is leaving my body. I feel like I've been run over, but am so enjoying all of the giggling that comes from my kids all day long. Layne and Gavin had yet another sleepover in Layne's bed and they giggled until after 10 last night. They can make each other laugh at the drop of a hat. Mike and I were commenting on how much of a gift they are to each other. They truly are siblings, in every sense of the word.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Great message this morning...

Cody Haar, our assistant Pastor, gave a great message this morning, about what it means to be born again. He challenged us, at the end to "Go be the Church."

One statistic he quoted was white Evangelical Christians would have more difficulty having a black family move in next door than non-Christians. I'm sure many people thought this was an exaggeration. It's so easy, in Wyoming (when, let's be honest, we are almost ALL WHITE), to think that this couldn't happen. Our experiences, though, and those of our adoptive friends, proves otherwise. We are currently praying for a couple of families who have been met with extreme opposition (from their closest family members) to their desire to adopt a child from Ethiopia. WHY? Because of the color of that child's skin. Unfortunately, we have also had to walk away from relationships because of this same type of response, praying for that family member, but also not allowing them around our beautiful children.

I don't understand how people can think that God only loves the color of our particular skin. Today, I'm praying for families to unite behind the COMMANDMENT to take care of widows and orphans, no matter what that child may look like. This commandment is not burdensome (thanks Cody for those words), but a true joy to live.

On another note- I appreciate your prayers for my health. Things are better today and I will see our local infectious disease MD tomorrow. She seems so nice on the phone and I look forward to hearing her ideas to keep this at bay. Another big public thank you to Dr. Bowers for her care, even though this patient is much older than her others. I'm sure she saved me a trip to the hospital this weekend. Dr. Hunter, also, was a tremendous asset yesterday morning, when I was just wanting to enjoy the weekend with my family --He took time out of his Saturday to initiate my referral to Dr. Addler and bring her up to speed on my history. MUCH APPRECIATED!!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Prayer request from Elli


Please Pray for my Mom! She has had off and on diarrhea since we got home from Ethiopia. Every time she starts feeling better it all starts up again.
So Everyone please Pray for my Mom!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009


We took Gavin in for a one month check yesterday. He's gained 4 pounds and grown 1/2 inch!!! Dr. Bowers is very pleased with how he's doing. He even joked around a little with her, after he realized she truly wasn't going to poke him.

Gavin is communicating really well. We are guessing he knows at least 50 English words and is starting to put them together in small sentences. I can't wait for him to understand the use of pronouns. We hear a lot of Gavin is statements. "Gavin is sleepy." "Mom, Gavin is thirsty." "Gavin is hungry." He is very quick to tell on someone else if he thinks they may have done something that I wouldn't like, "Mom, Layne did!!" It's really funny, and usually trivial things, but he wants to make sure I know he didn't do it!

I can't believe a month has flown by like it has. Everyday we feel more and more like a complete family. I honestly expected months of difficulty, with language issues, behavior issues, grieving. Things are going so much better than expected. Now that we don't have to take the nasty Griso for a fungal infection, behavior issues are completely gone (they were totally tied to not wanting to swallow that nasty medicine- I don't blame him, yet it was the only thing he ever tested us about.) He is the most helpful little boy, bringing in bags of groceries, making his own bed, helping clean up and yesterday learning to dust and brush the dogs. He loves to do things for us!!

Gavin is extremely affectionate with all of us and we are not seeing any of the red flag attachment issues. He eagerly climbs in any of our laps for snuggles and will walk up to me and say "Hug Gavin." He loves to hold the other kids' hands when out for a walk and rushes to greet us if we've been gone for even a short time. He definitely sticks close to us in a crowd and is cautious around people he doesn't know (YEA!!). AND- he is soooooo funny! He loves to tease and play and LAUGH! He is a reminder, each day to enjoy life!
We continue to be amazed by what God has done in our family. We thank you all for your continued prayers.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Great time in Pinedale/Jackson with Daddy!!

We just returned from spending the weekend in Pinedale with Mike. After making the drive 2 times in 4 days (7 hours each way), I am amazed again, at what my husband does for all of us. This weekend was his break from driving and we had a fabulous time!

Mike took Kael, Janika and Elli on a whitewater rafting trip Friday morning. Despite freezing water, they all had a terrific time and can't wait to do it again. They all discovered that they are "Wild at Heart" and loved this adventure with their Dad (who couldn't stop smiling either). Kael enjoyed being a lead rower. I stayed with Layne and Gavin, driving to Lunch Table to watch the rafts go over the rapids and then driving to watch the raft dock. They were both enthralled with the process. Gavin kept saying, "Daddy BIG BOAT!" To my delight, an older couple really took an interest in our big kids, saying how outgoing and adventurous they were. It gave me the perfect opportunity to tout homeschooling and the obvious misconceptions about socialization.

After the rafting trip, we drove out to Moose and rented some bikes and rode about 6 miles each way-- Layne and Gavin rode in a little trailer behind Mike's bike. It's the first time in my life I was able to get up a hill faster than Mike on a bike! All in all, the day was fantastic- Thanks Mike!!

We spent the rest of the weekend looking around Pinedale and swimming(lots of swimming). The highlight of the weekend for Elli was the climbing wall at the Aquatic Center. She does a mean Spiderwoman impersonation, climbing quickly and effortlessly. All 5 kids tried the wall, to my surprise and all enjoyed the challenge. I have to admit, Layne was pretty cute, trying to make it past the orange line and then trusting that the rope would bring her down safely.

Elli's good friend in Ethiopia, Almaz, met her forever family today! We are so excited for the Korson Family as they expand from 4 to 7 beautiful kids!! We were reminded again this weekend, of God's perfect plan for our own family. I originally wanted to adopt an infant, but followed God's (and Mike's) leading for an older child. We couldn't be more thrilled with our new son and what a great addition he is to our family. I have vivid pictures in my mind of him walking hand-in-hand with Janika on a walk, and chasing Kael around the hotel room. The last two hours of our drive home today took on a whole new life with him yelling his excitement over the antics in Kung Fu Panda. EVERYONE was laughing at the pure joy he displayed with Po's antics.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Reed Family

The Reed Family is another family with America World, in the Ethiopia program. They just received their referral for a little girl and passed court. During this week, after another family delivered a care package to their little Juliana, she developed diarrhea, pneumonia and very quickly sepsis. She went home to be with Jesus on Friday, only a few days after legally obtaining a forever family. While they didn't know her yet, they loved her and have prayed for her for a very long time. Please join me in praying for them and for the nannies at the Transition Home, who work so hard to take good care of these precious children.

The reality of how children live in other countries is so real to us. We had two babies in our travel group who were complete miracles, surviving the same type of pneumonia and sepsis. I take for granted how easy it is to drive across town to access our fantastic pediatrician, Dr. Bowers and her great nursing staff. I can often call and be seen within a few hours and the drive to her is about 15 minutes. Then, if my kids need medicine, it's a quick 10 minutes across town. The children in Ethiopia and other countries don't have access to this type of care. Many die, while their parents seek care. I think the figure is one pediatrician for 25,000 kids (I could be wrong, but I think I'm fairly close). So, when people ask us, "Why Ethiopia?" I can easily tell them, the children desperately need forever families who can provide for all of their needs. I say it again, if God is whispering to you about bringing home a child, please don't hesitate. You will be so blessed!!

I will post more tomorrow about our trip to Jackson..

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One month post placement!!

I just submitted our first post placement report and can't believe we've almost been home one month! The adjustment period continues to go very smoothly, for the most part. Layne is feeling a little jealous at times, but also enjoys having a good friend to play with all day long. I think she's taught him more English than anyone!

Gavin is talking more and more each day (at home). He is putting together simple sentences, which is incredible!! He loves all things active, including swimming, biking,soccer, running, etc.

We are heading to Jackson tomorrow for Mike to take Elli, Kael and Janika on a whitewater rafting trip for their birthday. Layne, Gavin and I will drive ahead to the look-outs and get some fun pictures to post. We're all looking forward to time with Daddy, when he doesn't have to drive 13 extra hours.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Families in Ethiopia right now

For all of you blog stalkers- I wanted to give you a list of families who are in ET right now getting their children.


We continue to pray for all of the children and their families and celebrate when they are united! We can't wait to see Gavin's best friend meet his family in the near future. We are so very excited that he now has a forever family and are hopeful to have them see each other as soon as he gets to the States.

If you are interested in purusing adoption, please contact us!
I'll post more pictures tomorrow. We are continuing to do very well as a family. Gavin is saying more and more in English.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 11th!!

Today Janika, Kael and Ellison turn 11. It's hard to believe they are as old as they are.

Kids, I am so proud to be your Mom. You amaze me and delight me each and every day. I'm so thankful to have you in my life!!