Tag Archives: Samuel

Love Liberates, Birth Mother Quotes and Inspiration


We are framing this photo for Samuel, taken by Kyle LaMere in Ethiopia, September 2012.  Under the photo will be Maya Angelou’s “Love Liberates” quote.

How beautifully she sums up the importance and love of the birth mother and family. How true love frees; it does not enslave.

Someone once said, “Children need two things: One is roots and the other is wings.” I know Samuel’s birth mother was strong enough to provide our son with wings. Now our prayer is that together we can provide him with roots.

Love Liberates, by Maya Angelou

“I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates.

Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego.

Love liberates. It doesn’t bind.

Love says, I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you.

I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.’”

Letter to Samuel’s Birth Mother

I want to encourage all adoptive parents to consider journaling to their child(ren)’s birth mother/father. Even if you don’t believe the parent will ever be able to see your letters, it may one day be a comfort to your child when he or she is older. Also, it is nice to get down in writing some of your thoughts and struggles regarding the absence of the biological family.

Plus, you may never know. One day that journal may very well fall in the hands of the birth parent.

Here is an entry from the journal of letters that I wrote to Samuel’s first mother. This is from many months ago and is obviously before we met.


Dear Aster


Do you know what our son did today? He woke up earlier than the rest of the family and organized his books quietly as to not disturb anyone sleeping. He loves his books; his favorite is a book about Ethiopia. He will stop me on a page where he says the woman in the illustration looks like you. 


He is now talking about you every day and asking more questions. He loves telling people he grew in your belly. When someone asks him about his mother he proudly proclaims he has two. In our family, it seems Aram is feeling a little left out. He says he has two mothers, too. Samuel first tried to correct Aram and tell him he only had one mother, but when he heard how upset Aram was, Samuel now lets him share, saying you are also his mother.


I think about what it will be like to meet you for the first time, and what Samuel will think about our meeting. Brian was very nervous to meet you, and I can imagine you felt the same way. I know I would have been very stressed not being able to meet the woman who will be responsible for the care of my child. I hope when we finally meet, there will be some relief to you. 


People try to tell us that we are Samuel’s parents, his only parents. Don’t worry, we know better. I think there is a lot of fear coming from the people who say this. There is fear their role will be less important if the child knows another mother or father with a biological connection are also a part of their lives. There is no truth to this, of course. Just as we are able to love both Samuel and Aram (and I’m sure any other child who may one day be a part of our lives) our children will be able to love more than one mother and father. 


I often wonder how God will use Samuel, with everything that has happened to him. Although much of it was not right or fair, it will still be able to have a positive impact on the man he will come to be. I see his strength and determination and his gentleness and kindness. I appreciate his spirit and love for people both here and in Ethiopia. I can see him as a peacemaker for many, although, that may not be the plan for his life. I think, as mothers, we see the strength in our children and know the direction they likely will go. One day I hope to talk to you about the strengths you also see in Samuel…Until then, I will continue writing. 


May the LORD bless you and keep you.


Completing a family – the adoption story

Who doesn’t love a good birth or adoption story? This one is the Grumet family’s, in links that were compiled here by Kendall.


This post (January 28, 2010), written in the midst of other posts regarding social worker visits (“Please God, let my house be clean!”), endless notarizing, and multiple sets of fingerprints, details the reasons for choosing to adopt from Ethiopia specifically. Samuel had turned 3 a little over a month before this post was written.

This post (February 20, 2010) celebrated the passing of the homestudy portion and details the steps of adoption process.

Setback after setback marked March with this post, written March 29, 2010, and this post which details a seizure Aram experienced.

Finally a referral (June 21, 2010)! and an adoption court date (July 9, 2010)!

But then, excruitiating delays. Finally, Brian traveled to Ethiopia and made the adoption official. But, there were delays again in picking him up.

Finally, Samuel was welcomed home.


Here’s why Samuel is the perfect name for him.

and here’s a video that might make you cry.


Almost Wordless Wednesday- Smooth Operator

My friend Shannon Colleary‘s response to Samuel in this photo:

This is his suave ladies man face. Don’t introduce him to George Hamilton, they’ll paint the town. -Shannon (The Woman Formerly Known As Beautiful)

Samuel (aka Rico Suave) and me braving the 102 degree weather a few days ago. He either is charming the camera or those little eyes are crying for a personal spray bottle fan. Maybe both.

Is It Okay To Touch Someone Else’s Child?

I understand why people want to hold him.

When Samuel first arrived home it was very important for him to get a sense of our roles as a family. This is another way to build attachment and help him grasp that he is part of a new family. This was initially difficult for us to do, because when Samuel first arrived home he showed signs of indiscriminate friendliness.

I.F. is a common issue among  adoptees (especially in orphanage or multiple caregiver settings). We haven’t completely worked through this challenge with him, but we have made great progress. Our friends and family now are able to touch Samuel and give him hugs without it causing confusion as to what their roles are in his life.  However, with strangers we still have to be extremely careful.

Samuel does not grasp the concept of stranger danger. Any form of touch one would consider acceptable by a new person (handshake, high-five), he views as the two of you are now close friends. He will then find any form of more personal contact (reserved for close family and friends) acceptable to express with the new person (like holding hands).

This is something we have been working on with an adoption psychologist and many other adoptive families. We appreciate coming together to speak about these issues that are unique to adoption. We have taught children to ask before they have any contact with a stranger (even if the stranger is initiating the contact). Most of the time the answer will be no if it involves any kind of touch (until we know the person better). This teaches Samuel the process of building friendships rather than being everyone’s close friend immediately. ( A heartbreaking thing to teach your child, but essential to keeping him safe in future dangerous situations.)

I have been upset with myself the past few days about a situation that happened at the Getty. Samuel and Aram were on a 4 foot boulder intending to jump down (instead of using the ramp walkway).  I was about two feet away and immediately told them to get down and use the appropriate pathway. Samuel went to get down as I was walking up to him, but then a woman came over (children and husband in tow) and put out her arms with a smile. “Come here!” She said soothingly. Samuel looked confused. I was right there, but this nice woman wanted to hold Samuel and help him down from the boulder. I said a simple “no” and Samuel went to get down, but the woman insisted. By that point Aram distracted me from the situation by asking me a question. Samuel, confused, decided to listen to the nice lady. She helped him down and I stood there silently! I wanted to say something, but I didn’t! I already told him no and to get down with her standing there and she ignored me! I was mad, but because she honestly thought she was helping (or it appeared that way),  I didn’t have the heart to say what she did was acting inappropriately. So, I stared at her blankly (probably with my jaw open) and watched her walk away with her family. I put Samuel back up on the boulder and had him walk down the right way (where he passed the woman walking up it). She watched him walk past her and seemed a little confused.

I was trying to figure out why she would ignore the directions I gave to my child. Did she not hear me? Maybe? *sigh* but not likely, I was two inches away from her. Did she think I was not his mother? That is probable, but she knew we were together, and shouldn’t have subverted my direction to him.

Anyway, I should have said something. I am all for bringing the community closer together and building close bonds with other mothers. However,  picking up a stranger’s child without permission (while the mother is giving him opposite directions) is not the way to go about creating a closer community.

Bottom Line: Initiating contact with an unfamiliar child without permission from the guardian is wrong because you do not know the situation of the family.  I am sure this woman was completely unaware she was a setback in his therapy (regarding understanding stranger relationships). That is the point, she didn’t know, and that is why she shouldn’t have touched him. I understand if a child is hurt or lost- it makes sense to provide that comfort and take on the role of guardian in that moment (if another more familiar person to the child is not there). However, it should not happen in normal situations, and especially not when the mother is standing next to you!



Samuel’s Birthday!

December 17th Samuel turned FIVE!

I can’t believe it!

We had a party at my parents’ house!

My grandma came because she never misses a hot party.

My niece came because Samuel LOVES her (She’s 5’11″ and looks like a supermodel, I can’t really blame him)

and all of his boy cousins showed up.

Even my cousin Whitney and her husband Bryan showed up with their adorable daughter Declyn! Whitney knitted him an adorable hat for his birthday in his favorite colors (gold and pink, he’s not flashy at all…)

All Samuel wanted was a “Jungle Junction” cake. We spent about $100 on this stupid baby toy just to take the little parts out of it to use on the cake.


One Year Home!

 Samuel has been a part of our family for one year!







Happy One Year Home Samuel! And Many More With Us And Ama to come!



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