Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Well, Kristen did her first ever post from her Mac, and this is my first ever post.  Okay, not really but it has been a while.  I feel I should reintroduce myself.  My name is Mike.


This all started as she asked for my input on her post and after pausing for a second, she said, “you weren’t listening.”  I know, just shocking, can you even believe she would say that?  That could lead in to a post on the beauty of lowering expectations.  Just kidding.  Of course, I was listening and had a small part to add, but we decided I should just put it out on the blog myself.  So, here we go.


I typically am not a huge fan of religious events and the whole concept of Sacraments, although very important, is an area where I tend to lien towards the Protestant viewpoint or at least have trouble with our Catholic concept of them.  But this baptism was just truly a special and amazing event for me.


The St Joe Community, as well as the Healy Group, the Trinity 7th grade girls basketball team, our families, our friends, our biological kids, Bill and Barb, just everyone has totally embraced and been engaged in our adoption of our two (not really new any more) children.  And St Joe baptism ceremonies are excellent to start with.  But for me, this was an event where the whole community embraced our newest members of the parish.  One very special moment for me was as the baptism ceremony was going on and I was just thoroughly enjoying it, I looked over and saw a fellow parishioner and friend who too also just recently adopted internationally clearly moved by the ceremony.  It was just great to see someone else feeling what I was feeling and knowing there were others there with me. 


But the absolute best moment for me was when the lighting of the baptismal candles took place and Fr Ed mentioned the symbolic path this particular candle we had had taken from Ethiopia (and from Etore, Geta and Tamene’s father) to St Joe South Bend.  I felt everyone was there with us at that point, just knowing and feeling the journey our two newest awesome kids have undertaken.  I felt Etore would have been and somehow had to be proud.  It also brought him back to the forefront of my mind.  I know he is truly happy that his two youngest children have a healthy joyous life full of opportunity, but I also can only imagine his sadness of the missing pieces in his life who are literally half a world away.  I am saddened to know that he is still struggling and starving, and also has two huge holes left in his heart.  But I know he must know what joy he has brought to us, and truly our community too.  Well I am not sure I have expressed what I wanted, but hopefully it came through. 


Needless to say, the baptism was just spectacular.  I was so proud of my newest kids, excited for their acceptance and truly felt God was there with us on our journey (and although I guess that is what baptism is about, it was amazing to truly feel it and also see so many others who felt it too.)


To conclude, say a quick prayer for Etore as well Geta and Tamene’s brothers and sisters over in Ethiopia, and heck throw in the whole wonderful nation.  And look for my next post, due out sometime in early 2011.  Kidding again.  Later,  Mike



The Baptism

This is my first ever post from my Mac. So bear with me if I screw it up. :-)

I wanted to post some pictures from the Baptism. It was a wonderful day for all of us. Many of you were there to share with us and for that we are truly grateful. For those who couldn't physically be here, your emails and cards were wonderful. Your love and support mean the world to us.

If you were at the baptism, you can skip right down to the pictures. But for those who weren't there, I thought I would give a quick summary of the service. Fr. Ed Obermiller, CSC performed the baptism. While he is a good friend of the family, he has only met Geta and Tamene once. He and Mary Nucciarone were so kind to take time the day before to do a "run through" of the baptism. Geta and Tamene were able to get into the font and understood exactly what would happen to them. So the day of the baptism, they had smiles on there faces, showed confidence in what they were doing and were histerical as they put their faces in the water. They eyes were so bright and happy. I think for Mike and I, this day was a big one. We made a commitment to their birthfather that we would teach Geta and Tamene to have a relationship with God. It is sometimes hard to see that relationship growing, but it was very evident in their baptism. They have started to accept the community that we worship with. They now know about how water cleanses us of our sins. (although Geta was a little concerned that you only get to do this once.) But the curious and trusting look that they gave Fr. Ed as he put the oil on their chest and the giggles when their faces actually came out of the water all three times and the determination Geta showed in accepting the light of Christ, knowing it was for her. She wasn't about to let her godparents take that from her. :-)

On the day we met their birthfather, we ended the visit with a prayer service. We, as adoptive parents, vowed to love our children unconditionally. Their birthfather lit a small orange candle and presented to us as a sign that God would be with us along the way. It was his prayer for his children that God help us however necessary. In order to somehow make him a part of the ceremony, we used the same candle that the birthfather gave to us to light the candles for Geta and Tamene. It was such a wonderful moment and I hope and pray that whereever he is, he has some peace. I live everyday with the guilt of his sacrafice and wonder why I am so blest. But on this particular day, I felt that unity with him one more time, even thought thousands of miles separate us. There is a very strong part of him who is now my family.

Courtney is Geta's godmother (even though the Church doesn't acknowledge her because she isn't old enough). Matthew Hutchison is Geta's godfather. Jeff and Cat Minaudo are Tamene's godparents.

All of our kids dressed in their Ethiopian outfits (unless they are already too small). :-( It was another way to celebrate where they have come from to get to this day. All-in-all, it was a wonderful day, more than I could have ever hoped for.

I hope you enjoy the pictures (thanks to my mom!) I forgot my camera. :-)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Geta's first hair braiding

My sister forwarded me these cute pictures of Geta getting her hair braided for the very first time. What a precious smile!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Geta and Tamene are baptized

There have been many emotional moments during the last 10 months. The excitement of the referral, the nervousness of our court date, the overwhelming reality that our entire family would journey to Ethiopia, the insecurity of how to help each child (and Mike and I) through the transition, the bewilderment of those first few days when Tamene and Geta wanted to be anywhere but with us, the guilt, sadness, joy and honor of our meeting with their birth father, the exhaustion of the journey home, the sleepless nights in those first several weeks home, the cabin fever as we nested in our house, the joy of watching Tamene and Geta explore their new life in America, the amazement of how quickly they adapted to their new life and learned English, the pride of our older kids as they adapted to their new siblings without missing a beat... I could go on and on. Today was another one of those days.

Geta and Tamene were baptized into the Catholic faith this morning. While this is a rite I have watched many times, it took on a whole new meaning today. Usually, we baptize babies. But my kids are older and have far more life experiences. I didn't get their trust just because. I had to earn that trust. My goal was to prepare Geta and Tamene so that they weren't afraid of the sacrament. But little did I know that God had far grander plans. Geta and Tamene were not afraid. They walked into the waters of Baptism with eyes wide open and smiles bigger than life. Geta accepted her own baptismal candle with confidence. Thank goodness that Tamene's god parents were on the ball and quickly took his before he figured out what was happening. Courtney proudly accepted Geta as her God Daughter and our other kids showed such great excitement and pride for their siblings. Because we made a commitment to Geta and Tamene's birth father that we would raise them as Christians, I wanted to somehow make him a part of the baptism. During a prayer service with him in Ethiopia, he presented a candle to use when he entrusted his children into our care. So we used the same candle that he gave to us during the "entrustment" ceremony to light the baptismal candles for Geta and Tamene. While I thought I was quietly including him, it turned out to be such a concrete, tangible and communal statement in the progress toward our commitment to him. I was caught off guard by my emotions. It made us vulnerable to the entire community that celebrated with us. In that vulnerability came God's grace. That same vulnerability that our children accepted as they walked through the waters of Baptism, we accepted in testimate to our commitment to their birth father. God has blest us with wonderful family and friends and we could not be more proud. Thank you to everyone who shared this momentous occasion today.


Monday, August 3, 2009

So many weeds... So little time...

I think I have hit an all time low as a parent. Our project this weekend was to clean out all the weeds from our yard and trim back all the bushes. As you can imagine, the rest of the Morin family was not nearly as motivated as I was. I must admit that Mike was a trooper. An the older kids (with ipods in hand) did their best to just get through it. Poor Tamene spent the majority of Saturday in the pack and play under the shade of a big tree doing whatever he could to get some attention. Every once in a while, someone would say hi to him. He didn't much care for the idea of being contained! But then his siblings didn't much care for the weeding either. So imagine their excitement when it started to drizzle. They all left their posts and ran for shelter. (ok here is where I hit the all time low as a parent!) I let them all know that weeding wasn't done and to get back to their stations. They thought I was from Mars, but we worked right through the rain showers and made great progress! (Mike did put the electric hedge trimmer away as a precaution, but there was plenty of other things for him to work on.)

Sunday was more of the same as we attempted to get more weeding done before Courtney and Patrick left for Grandma's house in Chicago. But I gave everyone a break and we only weeded through lunchtime. Once Courtney and Patrick left, the younger kids all took a bike ride and had dinner with Grandma and Grandpa Carlson. It was a fun way to end the weekend (until Josh fell off his bike and had to go the emergency room to get stitches!)