Madine Family

Maeve Cleans the Windows


Posted on : 1/30/2011 | By : Joanna

The Park


Posted on : 1/29/2011 | By : Joanna

We had another great day at the park and met these sweet Ethiopian boys.

I was wondering if they were Ethiopian and they were wondering the same about Maeve. When it came up in conversation, one of them ran to the other boys saying, "See, I told you so!" He'd heard us tell her, "Nay" (come)...and said she looked Ethiopian.They were very sweet to play ball with her, and we were happy to talk about Ethiopia. It turns out they had friends/family at the park...two male all-Ethiopian soccer teams!

Pics and update


Posted on : 1/28/2011 | By : Joanna

I realized that I'm putting most of my pics and updates on Facebook and not here on the blog.
Sorry about that. I'll try to do better :)

We've been doing really well. We're still trying to get into the groove of nap times. She sleeps pretty well at night, but something always seems to throw the schedule off during the day. I've been trying to get her on the one longer afternoon nap like her class at school, but I just don't think she's diggin' it. She definitely needs a mid-morning nap unless we are doing something especially entertaining...even a 30-40 min nap makes a big difference. Unfortunately, Mommy isn't all that entertaining :).

Anyway, our attachment and boding is going really well. She seems to be settling in, trusting us, and really letting her personality show, mostly good, sometimes bad...which is still a good thing. She has recently started to show a real preference for Mark, which makes him a happy daddy. She's especially clingy with him in the morning and of course doesn't want him to go to work. Now, if she would only let him hold her during Mass, I would be a happy mommy.

Our biggest concern right now is that she still has her stomach parasite and didn't gain any weight during the first month home. She took her second round of antibiotics today and we find out in two weeks if that killed them off or not. Please pray that this one does the trick. I can't even begin to transition her to her Montessori school until then, so It's making me pretty nervous...and she really misses being around other kids. :(

15 months old


Posted on : 1/15/2011 | By : Joanna

Our little miss is 15 months old today. We're certainly not going to celebrate every month with some sort of party, but it is a moment to take a pause and appreciate how far she's come in just six weeks with us...and to appreciate what a joyful and intelligent child she is. We took her for her first visit with her regular pediatrician (15 month old check up) and the doctor was very pleased with her development, noting how very verbal and smart she was, commenting that we are certainly going to have our hands full. (We realized that during our first visit with Maeve). Going through the developmental checklist, the doctor asked if she was speaking 4 to 6 words. We both laughed out loud. She knows a lot more than that and has only been hearing English for 7 weeks. Other people may not be able to perfectly understand all of her new words, but we do for the most part. She uses a lot of the words to communicate and some others she just repeats when we say them. She almost always at least attempts to say the word. So, Mark said that I should write down what she has learned so far. This is as good a place as any :)

Words she knows how to use in context:
Mama & Mommy
DaDa & Daddy
Hi (waves)
Bye Bye
More (wants food)
Up, please
Banana ("na nana") loves it and asks for it.
Diaper Time
Night Night ("ni-ni")
Baby ("Beh bee")
Kah-Kah (trash or dirt)
Happy (wants to sing "If you're Happy and You Know it")
Cheese (for picture, not food)
Vacuum ("vacooom"- she has a love/hate relationship with it)
The Amharic word for "come" is Ney (pronounced Nay). She'll grab you by the finger and say "Nuh, nuh"

Repeats (still learning):
Milk ("ick")
all done

The dog says Woof, Woof! ("Woo,woo")
The cow says Moooo
The duck says quack, quack ("Kak, Kak")
Plays Peek a Boo
Where are you're eyes? (points to them)
Where is your nose? (sniffs)
Blows kisses
We count and hold up our finger. "One" (she says "Two"). We say 3, 4, 5..and she gives us a high five.
High and low fives on request.
Loves dancing. Mark taught her to tap her foot, which she does very exaggerated and I call her Irish dancing.
Claps and says "Yea!" when we're all done with food or if she hear applause or cheering.
Helps me put clothes in the dryer and trash in the bin
Likes to draw and hold the pencil perfectly after Mark showing her once.

Maeve pretty much never stops talking/babbling unless she's asleep or had a bottle in her mouth. She is very animated and seems to know perfectly well what she is saying, even if the rest of us don't. :)  We just can't wait until we can really understand at least some of what she says.



Posted on : 1/12/2011 | By : Joanna

Let's talk about hair. Hair is a big deal to most women, but certainly to African American women. I know this, because when sharing the news about our adoption, it was the first concern/question from African American women. :) I wanted to blog about this because I've learned a lot form other people's blogs and youtube videos..and thought I'd share what I've learned so far.

First of all, my daughter's hair is gorgeous. I just LOVE those little curls! Her hair is soft and fine (very typically Ethiopian). I want her to LOVE her natural hair, to be proud of it, and appreciate it...not try to manipulate it to look like someone else's idea of beauty. So as a mom, I'd better know how to take care of it and teach her how to as she grows up.

I don't have all the answers yet, but I have learned that it is all about trial and error. I try to use all natural products without any drying agents like alcohol. Her hair can dry out very easily and actually break off, so moisture is the name of the game.

Here's our routine right now:
Shampoo once a week: I wash her hair once a week with an all natural shampoo (Beautiful Curls: Shea Butter Curl Activating Shampoo- available at Whole Foods). I usually do this on Sunday nights. In preparation for her shampoo, Saturday night I rub a little olive oil through her hair with by fingers and massage her scalp. The hair absorbs the moisture and then the shampooing doesn't strip off too much moisture. When shampooing, I focus mainly on massaging her scalp, trying no to disturb the curls or knot up her hair. I don't rub the hair all over the place like I would my hair. I rinse it thoroughly and the curls get washed as the suds are rinsed out.  I then apply a conditioner. Right now I'm using "Tiny Twirls Detailing Conditioner" by Kinky Curly- also available at Whole Foods). As she gets older she will probably do a deep condition treatment once a week or so. The Tiny Twirls in not specifically a leave in conditioner, but that's how I use it and don't have any problems with build up. I apply about 1/2 tablespoon of conditioner and work it through her hair in sections from the root to the tip. I then take a wide tooth comb and separate the curls. If I run into any tangles (not many since her hair is so short), I'll comb them out with a finer comb, holding the hair at the root and gently combing in short strokes starting at the end. The ends are where most of the tangles are anyway and are usually caused by the hair wrapping around a little piece of lint. Most of her hair naturally goes into tiny spring-like ringlets, but some sections need a little help, so I twist those around my finger to create the curl. I dab her hair with a towel and let the rest air dry. 

Co-Washing (Conditioner washing): I co-wash her hair twice a week (usually Tues & Fri). There is enough detergent in conditioner to clean her hair and scalp. Wet the hair, massage the scalp with conditioner, rinse, add a little conditioner back in, help some of the curls along, dab dry, air dry.

Morning refresh: (less than 10 mins) In the morning I spray her hair with  water and olive oil mix (1/3 olive oil). I'll add a tiny bit of conditioner (just rub it between my hands and blot on her hair). I then melt a tiny bit of coconut oil (found at whole foods, a little goes a log way) in a tiny glass bowl in the microwave (only takes 10 seconds). I get the tips of my finger lightly coated and then start twisting little sections. This helps encourage the curls, cuts down on frizz and seals in the moisture. As it dries, the curls take shape.  

The only way to keep her still for hair stuff is to put her in her high chair, turn on Sesame Street, and give her a teething biscuit and maybe a bottle of water. I tried giving her cheerios, but she kept saying "More" every two seconds and the process took forever. :)

These are her beautiful natural curls.

This is how long they are stretched out. She's beginning to grow some more hair on the sides, now that she's being treated for scalp ringworm.  Can't wait until the sides are as thick as the top.
Here's what it looks like a few hours later.
THIS is her very first hair-do. They are called Bantu knots. The top ones look great, but the ones on the sides are a bit anemic. I had to use these little cotton bands because it's all I had on hand. I know the parts are perfect either, but not bad for our first time. These sort of Up-dos (twists, cornrows, braids, etc.) are called "protective hair styles". They help keep the hair moisturized and protects against breakage as it grows. 
Our cutie!

One Month as a Mom


Posted on : 1/01/2011 | By : Joanna

Well, I actually feel like I've been a mom a lot longer. I was just mothering from a distance before :)...and actually, we took custody of her about five days before we arrived in the US, so it's actually about 5 weeks as a mom, but whatever :)

Here are some things I've learned so far:

  • A long, hot shower is quite the treat. 
  • I will probably always have a snotty tissue in my pocket (not necessarily my snot).
  • One or more of the aforementioned tissues will inevitably end up in the wash, shred into a million pieces and find its way into every sleeve, pant leg, etc.
  • More often than not, tiny greasy finger prints all over my glasses will prevent me from seeing clearly.
  • An inordinate amount of my conversations revolve around the topic of poop.
  • The washing machine or the dish washer are always running.
  • Coffee is a God-send, especially the Ethiopian kind.
  • Good sleep = good baby = happy mommy
  • At any given point, one part (if not more) of my "beauty" routine will have been neglected. (Who am I kidding. If I've had a shower and my teeth are brushed, it's a good day).
  • There is nothing better in this world better than an unsolicited, real hug and kiss from a happy chubby-cheeked little girl.

Happy New Year!


Posted on : 1/01/2011 | By : Joanna

2010 was an amazing year for us, mostly full of adoption stuff. We applied to our agency on Dec 15, 2009 and brought our daughter home on Dec 4, 2010, so literally an entire year of lots of paperwork, emotional highs and lows, longing and praying, making great new friends, and living day to day with your heart on the other side of the world. It has been an amazing journey, and I wouldn't change a thing about it. This has all been God's plan. We are not in charge. He brought us our beautiful girl and made us a family. 

On a sad note, this year we said goodbye to my beloved Dakota Jane (Kody). She was my 14 year old Lab mix, who I had since she was a puppy. She has been with me my entire adult life, and it was a tremendous loss. Seeing her again will be one of the things I most look forward to when I get to Heaven. I don't know that I will ever truly be okay with it, but I thank God for his timing and bringing Maeve home when I needed her the most.

In 2011, we look forward to continuing to grow as a family and exploring the world through the eyes of our daughter. We also have lots of post placement adoption visits and reports and completing her re-adoption in the US, so she can get a Texas birth certificate. Oh, we bought a new house in 2010, just before traveling to Ethiopia for the first trip. We are in the process of gutting and remodeling the kitchen...and really look forward to finally moving in. We are so grateful for a larger house (storage!) in a great area with great schools. This is our "family house", the one we plan to raise our kids in and be in for a long time, God willing. We look forward to many family gatherings in the years to come.

Here's wishing you a year filled with Faith, Peace, Hope, and Love!
Happy New Year!