Archive for October, 2007

Today was the annual Heitritter Pumpkin carving day! We had lots of fun making pumpkin cookies and carving Halloween pumpkins.

Last year’s pumpkin party was the first entry on our adoption blog. (Last years pictures)  We already had the referral for the girls. It was fun thinking about how the girls would be part of the party next year. Now they are here, and they definitely loved being in on the party!

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Additional pictures of this year Pumkin carving party!

Happy Halloween everyone!

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Megan had to have her tubes redone yesterday. Last Saturday, I noticed a little blood in her ear. I didn’t see the tube, but I wondered if it was in place.  I took her in on Monday and the tube was out and she already had a bad ear infection. Dr. Korver scheduled surgery for Friday.

Megan did very well for the surgery. Her only side-effect was extreme crabbiness for the afternoon. In fact, she was so crabby it became almost comical. She wandered around the house with bare feet. Occasionally the odd something would get stuck to the bottom of her foot. She hates that! One time, a small piece of paper was stuck on the ball of her foot. She sat down, tried to pick it off and cried pitifully. I picked it off, and once again tried to put her slippers on. She pulled the slippers off, threw them and wailed her sad cry.

I guess she was identifying with the country song, “I just want to be mad for awhile!”

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I’m sorry for the lack of updates. I keep thinking of things to add, and then I don’t get it done.

I’ll add a short conversation with Shega from this week.

 Shega: When I get as big as Emma, I’m going to walk home.

Me: Home to Ethiopia?

Shega: Yes.

Me: Can I go with you?

Shega: I will be big. I won’t need anyone to be in charge of me.

Me: That’s true. Can I come just because I love you?

Shega: I won’t know the way.

Me: Maybe between the two of us, we could find the way.

Shega: Ok.

Me: What are you going to do when you get there.

Shega: I am going to find (first family’s name) and hug and hug them. I will never let them go.

Me: I will hug them too.

Shega: Ok!

That was the whole conversation. It definitely lets me know that Shega still thinks of her first family often.   So do I.

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I get a lot of questions about the girls’ hair. I will admit when I learned the girls would be joining our family, I worried about hair care. I didn’t spend a lot of time with Emma’s hair, and never developed confidence with styling it. There was even a sense of pride associated with the fact that we didn’t spend much time on her hair. As in, “we are much too busy to mess with hair.”  I knew before the girls came home that I wouldn’t have the same luxury. When we received their referral pictures, the girls were both bald. They were shaved at the care center. I was almost relieved that we would have some time before we would have to style the hair.


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Here’s part of an interesting article from Brain Child Magazine. Read it and see what you think.


“When my white friends’ daughters leave the house with uncombed hair they subvert ideas about shiny neatness and little girls. My feminist friends smile easily at their tangled-headed daughters playing princess. But this is not a privilege extended to children with brown skin. I know that my daughter–like any child of African descent, boy or girl–carries the weight of racism on her curls. The cultural image of the unkempt black child–of Buckwheat and wide-eyed pickaninnies–is part of a racist legacy used to argue that African American parents didn’t care for their children and that their children weren’t worth the care.”


The hair routine

Althought I don’t always have the girls hair looking as nice I as would like, I do know where the above author is coming from. I do feel pressure to work on the girls’ hair


Here’s a sample of our hair routine. We “wash” the girls hair with conditioner about every 10 days to two weeks. We never use shampoo, because it is very drying to their hair. I use any kind of conditioner. Because I need a lot, I use the cheapest! After shampoo, we put a leave-in conditioner in their hair and let them play in the tub. I try to keep them in the tub for awhile so the conditioner soaks in. When they get out of the tub, I put hair butter on their hair. I used to use Vaseline, but now I just use that on their bodies.


After that, I braid their hair in sections. It is tough to braid Megan’s hair. She is all over the place! I chase her head around while braiding!  I use a gel product to keep the braids in longer. It looks best if I can get the parts straight. It’s a real trick on a moving target! It takes around 1/2 hour to do Megan’s hair. We have to do it while she eats her favorite food. I need Emma or Steve to hand me the supplies as I braid. It is quite a circus! The pics above are of braids that are 9 days old. They last quite a while!


It takes anywhere from a 1/2 hour to an hour to do Shega’s hair. It depends on how many braids I put in. She is no problem and sits very still while I braid.  She chooses the hair accessories and hands them to me as I work.

She really loves to comb and mess with my hair too. (see the picture above) She would love to do Emma’s, but Emma still hasn’t developed a love of having her hair done.


The girls’ braids last around 10 days. If they need a wash in between, we wash their hair in the braids. Sometimes I rebraid a few braids that have gotten fuzzy. Every morning I spray their hair with a mixture of olive oil and water. It amazes me that no matter how much grease I put in the girls hair and it is never greasy.


One of the pictures above shows all of the “product” we have accumulated in the past few months. Some of it has worked, and some not so well. I just received a sample pack from Curls. Since I just braided Shega’s last night, it will be awhile before we get a chance to use it. It is kind of fun to look for products that work.


Although the routine sounds elaborate, actually, it is much easier than I thought it would be. The time Shega and I spend with her hair is time well spent. We visit while we work and I always tell her how beautiful she is. She loves looking in the mirror and agreeing. I am quite sure that Megan will feel the same way some day. I wish I had taken the same care with Emma’s hair.

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Hope Church got together and shingled Grandpa Dyk’s house. There were around 20 guys on the roof. The whole job took just over 6 hours. The rain held off just long enough. What a nice job done!

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Homecoming was such fun! Paul played against Joe in the alumni baseball game. We so enjoyed getting to see some of the “kids” Paul played with before he graduated in 2005. It was great to see other alums who graduated before him. This is Joe’s last year as a member of the Red Raider baseball team. Since he will be out of the country next year at this time, we know it will be awhile before the “big boys” will play baseball with each other.

Thanks Paul and Joe! You made the game lots of fun!

Paul & Joe

Getting to homecoming was a bit of a wild ride. We were in charge of the alumni baseball dinner. It is for alums and their families as well as the current team and their families. We had a bit of cooking to do on Friday night! In addition, Emma decided to have a few friends over after the high school football game on Friday night. Also, I was in charge of the education reunion also to take place on Saturday. To top it off, I helped with the Education Club’s “Morning on the Green” kids carnival booth for Saturday morning. Friday night was preparation night!! On Friday night, Shega and I went to paint a piece of plywood for the dart board for the kids carnival.

Our painted clown was not awesome, but it wasn’t bad. Shega was lots of help and the painting went well. At the same time, I left Steve and Megan home to brown 30 lbs of hamburger! I KNOW I had the easier job. Dode had helped Emma cook and prepare for her party on Thursday night and all day Friday. We were definitely hopping!

Emma’s party went well. She has very polite friends and it was great fun to have them over.

We got up early, packed the food and headed out to Orange City early on Saturday. We checked in with the Morning on the Green, took a peak at the painted clown and headed to the baseball game. We picked up the buns, the pop and other groceries. We set up the room for serving and started the food. We left Emma in charge of stirring the pots and setting out the food donations as they arrived and went to watch the game.

The game was fun! Those alums can definitely still play, even though the current team won 10 – 3. We fed 120 people for dinner after the game. We thought we would have around 90. Yep! We ran a bit low on food, but the fun and fellowship was great.

Later that afternoon, Steve and the kids helped me set up for the education department reunion, which was at halftime of the football game. The kids did great! Megan took a nice nap in her stroller, and Shega and Thomas played and played. Emma and Steve and I had a bit of preparation to do. It was worth it! We had a wonderful time visiting with teachers and others involved in education. What a joy to reconnect with so many. What a fun weekend!

Happy 125th Northwestern!

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Check out our Photo Album for additional photos!!

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I had to be gone for work for a day and a half this week. Steve was in charge. I think it went very well for him. We were both glad when I was home again. I am so happy we’re a two parent family. It must be so hard to parent alone.

Relinquished and adopted

We went to a parenting seminar yesterday. When I told Shega that we were going to go to parent school to learn how to be a better mom and dad, she said, “Why? Are you a mean mom?” I wish I had turned the question back to her, but instead I said, “Of course not! I am the nicest Mommy in this family!”  hmmmmm I hope so!

The speaker, Ron Nydam, is the author of:  “Adoptees Come of Age: Living Within Two Families”. He has a special interest in the study of relinquishment and adoption.

Here’s a link to his book:

He gave us a little vocabulary lesson at the beginning. He said he never talks about adopted kids. He talks about relinquished and adopted kids. People often think adopted kids have difficulties. It is true that relinquished kids do exhibit more difficulties especially in adolescence, but it is typically not due to the adoption, but it could be due to the relinquishment. He talked about adoptive families getting a bad rap because their kids have trouble, but he talked about why might have have trouble and pointed to their tremendous losses as the source, not the adoption. He told us that we need to help our adopted kids grieve. That they can’t be restored without grieving their losses. He also emphasized that being a relinquished child is always a part of who a person is. It is part of every story in their lives. It was good. The speaker gave us a lot to think about.

Home front

On the home front, life went well. Emma babysat all day. She is such a “Becky Homecky” when she babysits. She baked cookies that the kids could frost and decorate. Thomas called several times while we were in the seminar to complain about his cookie ration. At night, his cousins came to visit and toghether they finished off the cookies. “That’ll learn her” for being so stingy!

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