It hit me when Zoe started off her day following her big sis around on the morning of Blaire's 17th birthday. She said, 'Blaire, when I'm 6 I'm going to do the same things you do; sleep in and do my homework'. Zoe's presence has radically changed both Jacob and Blaire. When adoption first hit our radar I wanted my kids on board. I was afraid they would reject the change and chaos it would create in our family. It had been the four of us for a long time and Jacob and Blaire were very close. I didn't know what a new addition would do to all of us. I have to say that Zoe is very privleged to have a wonderful sister who loves her so much. From day one in Ethiopia, Blaire was so excited to meet her and to have a younger sister. She never gets upset with her and gives her so much attention. Blaire has many friends and when they come over they too are playful and attentive and love Zoe like their own sister. Jacob didn't get a chance to go to Ethiopia with us but the second we were greeted at the airport by the family I put Zoe in his arms and she has felt so comfortable in his embrace ever since. They were just two kids who grew up with following us in a few big moves and this was no less a crazy idea when we first began to talk about it out loud. I couldn't be happier to see Zoe learn and grow in character with two wonderful examples living with her daily. It fills my heart to see her love them and talk about them to her friends and the age difference doesn't matter. Jacob has come home more often to be with Zoe through college and they both babysit a lot.
An awesome family moment Scott and I enjoyed recently was when all the kids were around the breakfast table on a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning and they brought up the idea of getting a dog. It was something we talked about but wasn't prepared for. We gave in to the emotion and within 30 minutes we had chosen an adorable goldendoodle. This dog was going to be bigger than we have ever experienced but why not, the kids were happy. Yeah, that lasted all of 24 hours for Scott and I. Even though the kids begged and swore they would take care of it, I was left with waking up early and training it all day long. I began to regret the idea but kept seeing the joy it brought the kids. Until, Zoe would complain it was biting her ankles and when Scott saw his temper flare and his attention switched from Zoe to tending to a dog. The kids still had commitments and weren't home as much as we would have liked. This was not working out. Since it was only 2 1/2 weeks Scott and I had to make a bold move. We figured our kids would come together and understand the decision soon enough. We broke it to them one evening and they could not argue with our reasoning. Scott and I stayed strong and by the next morning we had a new home to bring it to. Not my finest parenting moment and the kid's consolation prize was that I experienced so much sadness all day long. This wasn't our plan to take the dog away but after one month now, everyone is fine and we are happier without a dog. Zoe doesn't miss it and the way the kids reacted toward us was so great for Zoe to witness.
We sometimes say that adoption is such a huge blessing for the one adopted ( and of course it is ) but I look at how the other two have grown in ways I couldn't have dreamed of. They have seen God move and change them in the last two years. They have seen answered prayers and continue to marvel at what He is doing through our obedience. Through family group texts we share the wit this girl comes out with daily and I can't imagine life without her. Here's a few I've written down lately. Enjoy.
When Mike Carl walked into her room Zoe said,' This is my room and don't even think about touching my Elsa hat'
Zoe told Scott, 'if you have grey hair, I don't care.'
I asked Zoe to help me carry some bags from the car and she responded, 'I would be honored to.'
Last week after breakfast Zoe hands Scott her bowl of cereal and says ' Here Daddy, if I drink too much milk I will get diabetes.' (she meant diarrhea)