Friday, February 28, 2014

Birthday Boy

Today Ezekiel is 6.  I can't get emotional about it.  I just can't.  He's my baby.  Our last one.  Sniff.  He's also especially quirky and easily celebrated (most of the time).  If you don't know our Zeke, here's a few highlights of his character:

  • For his birthday, he asked Ryan and I to sleep in his bed with him.
  • The boy can't walk.  He runs, jumps, hops, skips or falls everywhere he goes. 
  • Ezekiel's first six weeks home he cried.  If he wasn't crying, he screamed or he hollered.  It was awful.  His eyes were flat and lifeless.  Then, mid cry on Oct 23, 2009, he stopped, looked at me, smiled a goofy grin and reached for me.  He's been our "sparkly eyed smiley face," as Molly calls him, ever since.  It was such crystal clear evidence of God's grace.
  • Ezekiel loves spicy anything.  For real.  A lot of children with sensory issues have somewhat subdued or delayed taste buds.  No joke, we are getting the kid a ghost pepper for his "Spicy Party" tomorrow and his cake has a jalapeno on it.
  • Yesterday, Zeke got $5 in the mail.  He turned around and tried to give it to Molly for her Rwanda trip.  We stopped him.
  • The boy repents.  Big, huge, silent tears.  It is beautiful and genuine.  
  • We're still smitten.  Every single day I am so, so grateful that I get to be his mama.

First meeting.  Terrified little buddy with "mzungo" mama.

"Sparkly eyed smiley face"

This is actually a normal nightly tuck in.

Zeke: 47 lbs  Blake: 41 lbs

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I asked Ezekiel how his day was.  He said (in his Barry White voice), arms crossed, scowling,
"Great until I got mad at my friend!"
It is really hard for Molly, Blake and me not to giggle when he gets angry.  It's that voice, it kills us every time.  Molly rubs his little dreads as we sit down to get the whole story about why Ezekiel got so mad.
"I was telling all my friends about how I have a birth ("berf") mom in Rwanda.  Then ___said I wasn't wanted by her!"
Ugh.  Another kick in the stomach. Knowing my Zeke-ee baby, I had to remain stoic and play off his reaction.  He gets really emotional ,or really not, depending on the weather.  I decided to hold my own gut wrenching inside for a moment.
Oh sweet Zeke.  He's been listening.  All the nights that we tell him how much we wanted him. All the snuggles and stories of working extra hours, of waking up early to check our emails, of aching arms as I rocked in my chair, praying my boys home.  He was listening.  I am so grateful that my Zeke is confident in his place in this world.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Can't buy me love (or friends)

It has been a week since our terrible day, as E calls it.  The one where Etienne's friends mocked his black skin and all that crap.  Sorry, but it is.  If you missed it, scroll down to the previous post.
Here's the rundown in the last week.  His teacher and the other parents think he's fine.  No big deal.  Whatever.  We know that  is how our boy copes.  In his life, he has learned to deal with pain and his defenses are crazy high right now.  Poor E is having a rough time sleeping, leaking through his layers, then not going back to sleep and he's all cleaned up.  He's bullying his brothers and making ridiculously stupid choices.  Totally spiraling.  There is a connection with his behavior and the stress in his life.
Last Wednesday, he tried to sneak food into his bag to give to other kids that had made fun of his skin.  He said "I just want to give this to them so they know I am nice."  Friday, he attempted to sneak his piggy bank to school to give his money away.  During the Super Bowl party, he wanted one of the other little boys to have his watch.  We are telling him over and over again that our friends love us because we are kind and fun to play with.  In his confused, hurting little mind, he can't separate this mess out.
I am kidding myself and others if I say I have found peace with this.  I keep thinking about how the other little kids, yes, they felt remorse.  Yes, they "learned their lesson," they'll never mock or tease a black kid again.  It's great that these kids were molded but it was at the cost of Etienne's heart.  Only God will be able to erase E's memory of the conversation, the tears and the pain.
God found glory in this still.  Last Wednesday, as I was waiting to get my E, a woman approached me, tears streaming down her face.  She said "You are E's mom, right?"  Then she went on to apologize and to express the grief that she and her husband were feeling that their child was a part of the conversation with E.  She said "I know your son won't forget what the other kids said, and I am so sorry.  We are so sorry and we are so sad."  I hugged her and I told her I forgave her and that E had already forgiven his friends too.   She got the enormity of what went down at lunchtime that day.
We've learned a lot since doubling our kids.  One thing I know is that no matter how much suffering we go through together, we always, always feel God with us in the midst.  Our praying together is peaceful and renewing, even if it is just tears and mumbling.  On days like this, the days when E needs crazy amounts of one-on-one time; it just so happens to coincide with Blake wanting to lug Zeke around everywhere while Molly desires to play art teacher with them.  There's no mom guilt when the other three don't want me around.  And for any parent that has more kids than grown ups in the house, we can all agree that is a gift.