Moving Forward

Moving on can be a really hard thing to do when you lose someone that you love so deeply, but moving on is also very necessary for the health and well-being of all the loved ones left behind. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to the length of grieving. For a matter-of-fact, I would venture to guess that we will have moments of grief over Ben for the rest of our lives. Right now the grief is intense, but we know with time the intensity will lessen and we will find that new normal in our lives. For now, we are taking steps to move forward because we deserve that and even more so, Lili and Naomi deserve to have us move forward.

So, what’s normal in our house right now? Three year old melt-downs and the same three year old saying funny things. Like yesterday when she asked for something without saying please and I asked, “What’s the magic word?” She responded, “Abracadabra.” Toys all over the family room floor and taking pictures of our beautiful girls. Grocery shopping and laundry. Dave going back to work and yard work.

What’s new in our house right now? Naomi learning to crawl and saying momma for the first time πŸ™‚ Going in to get Lili’s 3 year photos taken and getting Naomi’s first professional photos taken. Planning Naomi’s 1st birthday celebration. Planning some trips over the next few months.

Trips? We want to take trips, enjoy life, and have something to look forward to.

We are going to Dallas in July to meet our new great-nephew Tsegaw, who will be home with his new mommy and daddy in about 3 weeks. Exciting, exciting exciting!!!

In August we are heading out to Portland to attend the first ever Toukoul Adoptive Families Reunion (TAFRU). I’ve been working on this reunion for about a year now and am so excited to meet other Toukoul adoptive families and their children.

In October we’ll head to Southern California to attend my niece’s wedding and we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to turn it into a mini Disney vacation. Yes, we’ll be visiting Disneyland!! Lili will be about 3 1/2 years old and who couldn’t use a little magic kingdom in their lives, especially when you can experience it through the eyes of a 3 year old πŸ™‚

What else is new? Pictures!

Point a camera at Naomi and this is what you get.
More Smiles

And more smiles.
Point a camera and Lili and it’s hard to say what you’ll get.

This. Or this.
Or a girl on the move.
I love pictures! I love to capture moments!! They bring happiness, even in a time of sorrow.

So get out your camera and take pictures. You’ll be glad you did!!


  1. loved your entry and attitude about "moving forward"!!i really don't have anything "smart" to add to your last entry. i'm just glad you're back in the blogger world and love the updates of your are still thought of and prayed for by my family and i know one day GOD will have your heart healed enough for you to look back and think of your beautiful ben without your heart being sounds like you're going to be super busy over the summer months – you go woman and enjoy!! disneyland – oh my!!!! so wished i could come to TAFRU, unfortunately we're somewhat 12,000 miles or so away :-(it would have been so neat to meet all the folks we've been in contact via blogs and e-mail throughout our adoption journey.the pictures of naomi are lovely – she's such a cute little peanut πŸ™‚ and lili is turning into quite a little lady there.thanks for reminding us to take pics and capture the moments. i haven't taken any pics ever since the porcelain goddess and i became closest friends. but our cutest ones are only young for a short while. gone to take a few shots now.God bless,mel

  2. WOW what gorgeous girls. And what a healthy attitude. You will truly grieve the rest of your life, how could you not. But keeping up with the pace of life, loving the girls and your other boys and your husband. Celebrating life. That's the best way to celebrate Ben.big hugs.

  3. Debbie, the smiles are lovely and must be so welcome in your house right now. The grief and length of grief is probably not measureable in days or weeks or months, but rather in weight and focus.I'm glad that you have so many things to look forward to – I think that's one of the best parts of summer for me. Be sure to take care of, n

  4. I have been thinking of you. The girls are beautiful. I love Naomi's smile. I thought of you recently at an adopted family picnic…there was a girl that looked so much like Naomi there. I don't know if it is on in your area (you can see it online) but one of the families we met at the picnic has a little boy from Ethiopia. They recently took their four children (under the age of six) to Malawi for two months to live to help support an orphanage there. It is a really neat story, neat family. Makes me think of you all. Sounds like you have a full summer. Thank you for reminding us to treasure each moment. I love taking pictures because they hold memories so dear!

  5. Debbie -Unfortunately, I know that you will grieve for Ben for the rest of your life. Sometimes, 3 1/2 yrs after my sister's death, I think I'm "over it." And then something happens and the tears come again. Eventually your family will find what passes for a new normal but there will always be a "Ben-shaped hole" in the heart of your family. I hope you know that don't mean that in a bad/creepy way at all. I find it comforting that there is a space that could only be filled by Barbara and that having that "Barbara-shaped hole" in my heart honors her. I believe that your "Ben-shaped hole" will honor him, too. I hope this is some comfort and I want to tell you again that I love you. Talk to you soon. — Bonnie

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