2013 – A new year and recap of the last few months
February 6, 2013 § 6 Comments
The end of 2012 was a whirlwind for us. We celebrated Nathaniel coming home forever on 16 October, 2012 and we christened him with the name above. Now, he refuses to be called “Angelo” and always corrects people (including Daddy and Mama) to say “Eh-faniel.”
Throughout the whole adoption process, all of the major moments (Nathaniel coming home, our “Gotcha’ Day,” and getting our US visa) were completely last-minute, stressful, and taught us that God was in control the entire time.
On Tuesday 23 October, we received our travel visa for Nathaniel at 5pm – 4 hours before we were supposed to travel! We were so thankful to the US Embassy for making allowance for Nathaniel to travel back for his MRI and other medical appointments for his hydrocephalus. Nathaniel LOVED his first plan ride – he couldn’t figure out what was happening at first but we talked about the plan going “up and down” and he repeated that the whole time we were traveling. All 22 hours of it. Oy.
We had a sweet little celebration at the airport for Nathaniel’s home-coming! You can see he was a bit overwhelmed but I know he’ll be so thankful to know how many people loved him and wanted to meet him.
We arrived in Seattle on Wednesday and prepared for David (Ben’s brother) and his lovely bride Sarah’s wedding on Saturday. It was a busy, blurry, hectic few days to say the least. However, it was a beautiful day to mark to the beautiful couple! I must say, I did marry the most handsome groomsmen there! Nathaniel refused to get off the dance floor and cried when he had to stop. He shut the place down!
We also welcomed “BOB” into our family!! Much to the, ahem, delight of Ben.*He has always teased me about wanting a fancy “BOB” stroller and I ended up getting one! I now have 3 men in my life. And a FANTASTIC way of transporting my 40lb non-walking child around the world.*
Our week days were mostly spent at medical and dental offices and our evenings were filled with visits with family and friends. We even had some special friends come WITH US to the doctor’s office! On the weekend after David and Sarah’s wedding, our Moms and friends threw Nathaniel a “Welcome Home” party to celebrate our addition to the family. It was such a fun party! We had dancing (Zambian style), a pinata, and yummy food and sweets.
The following week, we spent MORE time at the doctors’ offices, as well as my “spare time” filled in with assignments from grad school. Then began Brett and Katie’s wedding celebration! The whole Menenberg trio took part as groomsmen, bridesmaid, and ring bearer. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the church as Nathaniel walked down the aisle holding my Dad’s hand carrying his ring bearer backpack (he had his full leg brace to support him as well). I held him during the ceremony and he kept kissing my forehead and shifting around. For the recession, the 3 of us to walked off the stage together – very special!
The next week, I had my second surgery for endometriosis. The goal was to reduce the pain I’ve been having. Although Ben had already gone back to Zambia, I had a wonderful support group around me and recovered fairly quickly. We will see if it was successful.
Nathaniel and I also took some time to do some fun things together. We went to the Zoo and saw an “African hut” and lions in the middle of Fremont, as well as big brown bears. He got his first American treats (what kid doesn’t love a happy meal after their shots?) and started his love affair with Starbucks. We also visited with my Grandma Vi, Papa and Nana (my parents), and the Martin family, among other dear ones!
If you’re exhausted from reading all of that above, then you can imagine the fatigue we were feeling. We arrived back in Lusaka on Thanksgiving day, celebrated with friends, and I worked to finish the semester of school.
About Mid-December, I realized that something wasn’t right. I ended up having a very bad reaction to one of the medications for endometriosis. I stopped just about every life activity to rest and enjoyed the good timing of my sweet friend Elizabeth who joined us for some off from Peace Corps Malawi.
We settled on a peaceful Christmas and my “golden birthday” at home and then traveled back to Lake Kariba for a holiday on the beach (where we spent Christmas last year).
Nathaniel started pre-school at a local Zambian school. He loves it and always wants to stay when I come to pick him up.
I started noticing in January that the side-effect symptoms were getting worse. I decided to take a leave of absence from grad school and my Mama flew thousands of miles to be with me and help to take care of our family. It was such a wonderfully sweet time together and so healing for my heart. So that’s where we are at now. I’m slowly feeling better and getting back into some volunteer work around Lusaka.