Visiting Lalibela

Visiting Lalibela

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another good report

We made the trip to Billings today to see our favorite cardiologist, Dr. Wiggins. We have been seeing him since Kael was about 3 or 4. Today, though, the visit was for Gavin, as Dr. Bowers found a heart murmur two weeks ago. When we put in our request for a child from ET, we actually requested a child with a cardiac issue--believe me, it wasn't an easy choice to ask for, knowing how much is involved in cardiac care, but it was the right choice. When we received Gavin's healthy referral, we wondered a little. Then, came the discovery of the heart murmur and we thought, "Okay, Lord, this is definitely You!"

Praise Him, the report today was that Gavin has an innocent heart murmur and won't need any follow-up. As my sister, Brenda, said today, "You were well equipped to deal with this, but thankfully, for Gavin, you don't have to." We are relieved and thankful. Now, let's see how those flu shots go tomorrow....

Oh! We're supposed to get snow tomorrow. When I told Gavin, he said, "I'm no playing soccer in snow. I can't play in those boots." I almost fell over and then smiled a little. It'll be another "first." We'll see how many layers we can put on him to play in the wonderful Wyoming fall weather.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Mr. Incredible

Tomorrow, the 29th, Mike turns 38!!! Happy Birthday!! This picture shows how I truly view him- my Mr. Incredible, who is ALWAYS there for his family, even if he is working miles away. (He has a great sense of humor, too and didn't hesitate when I brought these outfits home from a garage sale)

For the past 6 months, he has worked at least 6 hours away, to see us only on the weekends. He works tirelessly, to only enjoy down time on the weekends..and it's all for us! I'm sure most of you adoptive parents understand what a hassle it would have been to re-do a homestudy in the two other states he's worked in for his company, since March~~then, there's Homeland Security to notify~~ yes, it was easier for us to stay put and him to travel. Easier, but not a ton of fun. We are so excited for our move next week, to all be in the same location, to have Daddy home everynight.

Mike, I count every day a blessing with you. I love you and thank you for taking this wild ride together! Happy Birthday~~ can't wait to see you this weekend (OUR LAST WEEKEND TO SAY GOODBYE TO EACH OTHER ON SUNDAYS!!!)

Friday, September 25, 2009


I was planning on posting soccer pictures today, but must pass this on to you instead:

Proverbs 24:12 If you say,"But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?

The reality is: I've seen the faces of the children in Ethiopia..I know the realities of life there for my own precious son. I can't ignore that children are starving all over the world. I can't not pass it on to all of you.

Read this blog post: Then, you'll know too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fun Fall Pictures

We ran up the mountain yesterday, to clean out the fridge at the cabin. It was such a beautiful day, I couldn't help take some pictures of the kids.

I love the fall, the change of colors, the cool air and SOCCER!! I'll post some soccer pix later today. Janika, Elli and Kael are on a co-ed team (YEA!), having a blast, Gavin played in his first real game yesterday and scored a goal!!!! Layne plays on Saturday with Itty Bitty Soccer. Everyone else has to watch her, since she has to go to all of their games. She can't think of anything better, doing her thing with a HUGE audience.

It's another glorious fall day here--off to teach my little ones some math.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Praise the Lord!!

Layne just had her 4 year old check up (Yes, I know she turned 4 in April). It was really fun, as Dr. Bowers remembers how very sick she was when she came home to us. I'll save all of the details, but my girl's belly hurt so badly that she SCREAMED constantly for several months, until she had 2 corrective surgeries. Layne is now a bright, articulate, HEALTHY,HAPPY, 4 year-old who is in the 50th% for both height and weight. We can't imagine loving her more and are so tickled with how God healed all of her medical issues. It's been so fun to be a part of Layne's miracle.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gavin speaking in Benchi

Gavin has been sharing some words in Benchi with us the past 2 weeks. Benchi is the dialect spoken in his village of Benchi Maji, Ethiopia. It is a remote village 20 hours southwest of Addis Ababa. It's amazing, though, as his English improves, his memory of Benchi is quickly leaving him. As you can see, he had to be reminded of some of the words he told us just last week. You might wonder why some of these words are included, like avocado-- he has told us that the kids would get avocados out of trees and eat them. It's one of his favorite foods.
We made this video as a way to help him remember some of his words and help other children, adopted from Benchi communicate with their parents. We'll keep working on it over the next few weeks. Here's our attempt at spelling these words the way he tells them to us.

Cow: dyant
Horse: par
Dog: kan
Snake: sahmbaht
Chicken: ahch
Cat: clue
Fish: oru
Bird: cop
Mouse: oots
Water: soh
Egg: gamool
Milk: Keej
Avocado: abacada
Sky: char
Tree: inch
Lake: Dahma
Store: Gahmahmenenohay
Car: mahkin
Grass: tarap
House: khet
Light: mahbrot
Chair: gahleep
School: tamoorahnaway
Pencil: payna
Fire: tahm
Sit: wogo
Dad: Habaou
Mom: Hiyouay
Potty: bo (short o)
Throw up: hallapnenoway
Rock: Chyee
Eyes: Op
1: Mot
2: Nam
3: Koz
4: Old
5: ooch
6: sapam
7: napan
9: ursen

Gavin has told us that there aren't words for "I love you, goodnight, I'm sick." We're excited for his very good friend K*** to pass court on October 8 (Please join us in prayer for successful court on the 8th- this sweet boy has been waiting for a long time for his parents to come and we all love him), come to the United States and webcam, so maybe they can maintain their Benchi language with each other.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Growth,looking different and Dr. Bowers

As I said before, all of the kids will be seeing or have seen Dr. Bowers before we move. I still remember the day we met. I had just moved home with my three 10-month-old babies, one of whom contracted RSV on the flight from San Diego to Sheridan. I was staying with my parents, while Mike finished up his last month in the Navy. She managaed to weed through their histories: preemie delivery, reactive airways, Kael's cardiac surgery and follow-up, and jump quickly into keeping my little ones out of the hospital. Since then, we have come to know each other VERY well and we love her.

At the time of that first visit, Elli was the biggest, strongest, most verbal baby. She still is the most verbal, but as you can tell from the picture, she is definitely not the biggest anymore!! It's amazing to me that three kids the same age can be sooooo different in every part of their being. Who would have thought that at 11 years old, there would be a 30# weight and 4.5" height difference between 2 of my 3? I haven't even talked about personalities, which are just about as far from the east to the west. These differences make me smile....

Sometimes, though, differences are hard for kids. Yesterday, I was reading an Uncle Wiggly story to Layne and Gavin. It was about a freckled face girl who was trying to wash her freckles off because she didn't like how they looked. Layne kept snuggling into me, closer and closer. I stopped and asked her if she was okay. She said, "I wish I had freckles and skin like your's Mommy." Being different is hard for her and I find myself wanting to shout out to everyone how much I love my little girl, so she knows, the differences in her make me smile...Adopting Gavin has been such a neat thing for Layne as she has a best bud to hang out with all day, but it has stirred up lots of questions in her own mind, as people ask, "Are they both from Ethiopia?" or "Where did you get her from?" Adoption is such a wonderful gift, but it's not always easy, on everyone involved.

Every night, we sing, Jesus Loves the Little Children. I feel like God has truly given me the picture of His love for all of His children, by putting these 5 unique, wonderful children in my family. As we sing, red and yellow black and white, I can look at each one of my children and know that they are indeed precious in HIS sight, as well as my own. I'm sure the differences make HIM smile.

Circle back to Dr. Bowers. It was through her encouragement that we were able to adopt Layne, through her encouragement and reference that we were able to adopt Gavin. It was through her encouragement that I had the pushiness to take Kael to Boston Childrens Hospital 3 years ago where he had the best cardiac interventionalist in the country. My kids LOVE her and can't wait to hug her when they see her. We are blessed.
The next two pictures are of her nurses, Stephanie and Cameo. These two ladies have also taken great care of the Sweeneys while we lived in Sheridan and will be missed when we move...(as soon as I have a picture of Megan, we'll post that too).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's been awhile...

My sister reminded me that I haven't posted in awhile so here's a brief update on what has been happening at the Sweeney house the past 2 weeks.

1. The Jaegers visited. Their daughter, Mieheret, is from the same village as Gavin. She took the same journey, from Benchi Maji, to Addis Ababa, to America World's Transition Home, to the United States. We were in the same travel group, so it was fun to see the kids together again.

2. Gavin loves his glasses!!! He is experiencing all kinds of "firsts" and loves to wear them. He is much more outgoing and adventurous, now that he can see.

3. We have been seeing alot of Dr. Bowers lately. We're having all of the kids' physicals done before we move. Yesterday, she confirmed again, that the result from Kael's stent placement in Boston 2.5 years ago is fantastic!!! She said his heart sounds "normal," no murmur, no SWOOSHING that he always had. He's grown so much, catching up the last 3 years, that she thinks he may reach 6 feet in height!!!I can't hear that news enough. Praise the Lord for his healing touch and the doctors he used in the process!

4. Last, but CERTAINLY not least-- Layne asked Jesus into her heart two nights ago!!! I had to leave for an appointment, so Kael did some of the little one's school with them. He read several stories in the Bible to both Layne and Gavin. After he read the stories, he talked to them about living in God's big house with Him, when they died. He then explained how they get to do that. Layne called me and asked me to pray with her when I got home. What a joyous day! One of my kids helped lead another one to an eternity with our FATHER. 9/08/09 will be remembered in our home as the day Layne became a permanent member of God's family.