Thanksgivemukah, Gratitude from Near and Far


Our fist year of a family of three I had a holiday crisis of sorts. We were making a huge deal over Davy’s first Christmas but less so of Davy’s first Hanukah. It was really more of a crisis about how you raise your child, born in Africa in a culturally Jewish/Non Jewish home. I have a friend from high school who is gifted with spiritually and wisdom. She is an adult adoptee and practicing Jew and really (HINT) should consider becoming a Rabbi. If she was my Rabbi I would go to synagogue. Fact. Read her blog. You will want her to be your rabbi too, even if you aren’t Jewish.

She told me to calm down. That we get to make the rules. We get to say what is Jewish and how we want to bring that into our home. That I need to let go of my preconceived notions and baggage of my semi-religious upbringing. To let go. To make new traditions. Davy will love what ever we do. That year my mom found the worlds greatest kid menorah. It has children from around the world, and even includes Ethiopia.


This year Hanukah fell on Thanksgiving and two weeks after Davy’s third birthday. I really didn’t want to do MORE gifts. The kid has toys coming out of her ears and frankly, it felt disingenuous to just throw more stuff at her. So we kept it simple. We just lit the menorah and said the prayers. You know what? It was magical. Davy tentatively says the prayers with me. She got to pick the candles and the “guys” she gets to lit. She always chooses the Ethiopian guy. She loves looking at her Menorah. The one that her Baba gave her. It makes me happy. For years I felt so conflicted about my upbringing. We are keeping it simple and she loves it. Thank you my Leslie for releasing me of my weird childhood version of Judism and giving me the notion that we can just do it the way we want to. Really. Thank you.


Another wonderfully unexpected thing that has happened this year is that my friend Courtney has giving me a very special gift for Hanukah. She has given me 8 days of wishes via text message. It’s funny and sweet and random and kind and I love getting it everyday. I will be sad when it ends because I really do cherish them. It’s like an afermation that comes all the way from Southwest Portland. Thank you a million and one times Courtney. They make me laugh and feel loved. I can’t wait for Davy is old enough to appreciate 8 days of text messages from her mother, because I plan on keeping this as a family tradition.

So there you have it. A lil’ bit of Judism and lots of gratitude and TWO blog posts in 2 weeks. Happy season of gratitude.


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She is Three Now




Last week Davy turned three. I always greet her birthday with much fun and anticipation but also sadness for her first family. I wonder if they are thinking about her at this time of the year. I think about what a three year old Davy in Ethiopia might be like versus the three year old I know. I wonder about nature vs nurture. I want to hug her birth family and be able to tell them that she is fine. More than fine, she is thriving, funny and feisty.

We do send a photo book every year back to them, so I know that they know this. I know that they get it. I know that it makes them happy. I just want to be with them to share the love of this little Dinkinesh, this amazing miracle.

So yeah, I always carry a little bit of bittersweetness around her birthday. I am the only one. Andy doesn’t really think about it that much. Davy shouldn’t ever have to feel any thing but sweetness on her birthday. I think its my job as her momma to carry her first family in my heart and to honor them.

This Davy at three: She is a joker and clown, she is feisty, smart, verbal, hilarious. She is prone to tiny fits of rage, she can remember everything and listens to every word we say, even if she doesn’t seem like she is paying attention. Her favorite time is night before bed when we have family time- it usually involves dancing with her clunky parents. She has no fear. Loves to swim, run, dance. She is friend to Beti, Abe, Zara, Amaya, Jackson, Jameson, Juniper, Max, Mezzy and Mavis. She has inherited my giant laugh. Her favorite food group is Gummy Bears. She is a true beauty who loves to shake the beads in her hair. She is a daddy’s girl all the way. He loves Moo Shu more than Bella (it’s okay, i think Moo loves HER more than Bella does). She loves school, Curious George, messy art, her books, and all of her “guys” that she sleeps with every night.

Davy Dinkinesh Beach. Three years ago you came into this world. Your spirit, humor and grit touches everyone who you meet. We love you beyond measure. Your first family loves you beyond measure. Happy birthday our love.




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Summer 2013


I haven’t posted in a long time so here is the summer photo dump in no particular order.
We hung out with friends:

We went to Oaks Park, the pool, the Zoo, Sauvie Island, Oxbow Park and raspberry picking.

I turned 42 on July 22. We celebrated with friends and then a quiet dinner with family at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant. I also decided i needed to be very blonde.IMG_9750IMG_9636IMG_9595

We started a messy art class that davy loves

Andy got a “new” car that we all love

Finally last year we celebrated Ethiopian New Year in Davy Beach style

At the beginning of the summer Davy was still in her crib and not potty trained. Three months later she is in a bed and is (mostly) potty trained. We have seen her vocabulary explode, her physical self expand (she was never a daredevil but she is taking more physical risks). She turns three in November. It’s hard to believe how much three months can change someone. This little girl of ours is turning into such a little exuberant confident little woman. It’s really astounding.

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730 Days Ago


We were in Ethiopia. A nanny handed us a baby. I was so nervous that I hardly noticed it wasn’t our daughter. Then I laughed and laughed and handed the correct baby to the woman from Texas. I waited patiently for the nanny to bring out our daughter.

729 Days ago I wasn’t a mother. Legally yes, but did i feel like a mother? No. Not until they handed her to us. It was only then that I could feel the ease and burden of the adoption process lift from our shoulders. Not until we could bring her home. Not until we could raise her.

Today, 730 days later it feels so normal. It feels like she has been with us forever. She is SO our kid. She is funny, smart, highly verbal. She is a peanut who can stand up for herself. Today she dropped something and said “oh damn it”. For better or worse she is a mini me. Yesterday I bonked my head on the end of a table when I went to pick something up. She said “mommy come here” and kissed my booboo.

She is a total Daddy’s girl, and although I am funny, it’s Andy that gives her fits of giggles.

She knows that she is adopted and that she was born in Africa “theopia” as she calls it. She knows she has family there and they love her very much. She knows that she has family here who love her and love her family in Ethiopia very much.

Sometimes I feel guilty for having the usual litany of maternal complaints. She is very very very 2 1/2 and that comes with the temper tantrums, the fits of running away, the dumping water out of the bathtub. We wanted, longed and fought for her so much, that it might seem like I am not appreciating her. Actually that’s not true. I am a complainer by nature. I actually appreciate the normalcy that comes with two years home. She is not a fragile porcelain doll or a figment of my imagination. She is real, whole, independent, frustrating, strong and mighty. She is our girl. She 100% us, mixed with the mystery of her first family.

Her Ethiopian name Dinkinesh means “miraculous and amazing”. Even though her first parent knew her for such a short time, the name couldn’t be more fitting. She is truly amazing. Truly truly a miracle.

Happy familversary to us.



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Feeling Optimistic


Most days I feel pretty ambivalent about my country. Ambivalence is one of my curses. I also recognized that getting to feel ambivalence is one of our freedoms.

Today, when the DOMA act got voted down, I felt a personal victory. There are many many people in our lives that this directly impacts. It feels pretty spectacular to raise a child who will never have a memory of the kind of discrimination that so many of our friends and family have felt.

Also Davy will never know a time when she can’t marry the person she loves. Hurray for us.

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Sums it Up


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June 20, 2013 · 3:06 pm

This Weekend

I love spring in Portland. Davy’s mood has been awesome. We went to the dog park, indian food,tattoo spotting, two parties and a an African dance performance. The dancing blew Davy’s mind. I don’t think she had any idea the human body could move that way.



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