From zero to three


Last June Alan and I didn’t have any kids. We were relatively carefree… we could stay out late… we could go away for the weekend… we could sleep in… then… life changed. On June 21st a car pulled up in front of our guest house and two little kids got out… life changed forever.

Betti and Manny are our kids… they bring us joy and frustration on a daily basis… We don’t often go out late anymore… a weekend away is a special treat… and sleeping in… well, we try to take turns with that one… but we hands down agree… we would never go back… we love our kids more than anything and any sacrifices we’ve made have pailed in comparison to the gifts our children are…

So… since we like our kids so much why not have more, right?! On Thanksgiving morning I stared in shock at a positive pregnancy test… actually, it was 2 positive pregnancy tests… and then a third one the next day… and maybe one more the day after that… but that’s beside the point. 🙂 A baby had been on our radar for 2011… it just came a few months sooner than expected. With the ages of our children we knew we didn’t want to wait too long before having a baby.

In June we’ll celebrate our one year anniversary with Betti and Manny… then around the end of July/beginning of August we’ll be adding another little Briggs to the family. Betti is super excited to have a baby in the home and Manny is keeping his fingers crossed for an Ogre baby. I don’t know about the chances of that one. 🙂

Zero kids to three kids in 13 months. That’s got to be some kind of a record… we’re blessed.


6 Months!!!


Wow… yesterday was our six month anniversary as a family. So much has happened… so much has changed… behaviors that frustrated us are diminishing… personalities that were hidden now flourish… Betti has such a wonderful spirit and Manny is such a joy. Life is so different from last year around Christmas, but we’re so thankful for where we are now.

I remember those first few weeks home in the summer… they were rough… I remember thinking… “I can’t wait until we’re at the 6 month mark”… I was right… 6 months is so much better… ha. So for everyone waiting to bring a little one or two home… remember… it’s hard at the beginning, but give it a few months and you’ll hardly be able to remember all that beginning stuff… it’s an important part of your journey… but it’s great when family is just family and no longer novelty.

Christmas Idea: Ethiopia pics


If you’re looking for Christmas present ideas here is one. We took a lot of pictures when we were in Ethiopia in June/July and several of them capture the essence of the country. These pictures are for sale for $8 each if I email them to you or $14 each if I print an 8×10 & send it. Email Alanbriggsis(at)gmail(dot)com with interest or orders. Please include the picture caption & number of pictures you would like.

Number 1

In Mekelle

2 ladies in Mekelle

Girls at church in Mekelle

Ladies at church in Mekelle









Lady running with Umbrella

Girl hauling stuff











Priest unlocking church (Addis)

Priest in Addis










Donkey Hauling Water

Girl in Addis











Hut at Korah Community, Addis

Addis city dump











Kids at Korah Community

2 Boys at Korah Community











2 Girls at Korah Community

Beggar in Mekelle











Email Alanbriggsis(at)gmail(dot)com with interest or orders. Please include the picture caption & number of pictures you would like.

It took 4 months…


but the kids are FINALLY going to bed on their own! Hallelujah!

When we first got home the end of June bedtime was a mess… there was no routine ( it was hard to develop one at the guest house) and chaos ensued. Manny would only go to sleep if one of us held and rocked him… then he’d usually wake up during the transfer to his bed… Betti was still figuring us out and had lots of energy… she wasn’t in school yet and didn’t have to get up so early… so she was eager to stay up until 10pm or later each night… we couldn’t get the kids to stay in their room if they weren’t asleep so we felt pretty helpless and exhausted those first few weeks.

Once we finally nailed down a solid bedtime routine things got better. We felt like it was a huge victory when we were finally able to get the kids to stay in their beds and go to sleep on their own… as long as one of us was sitting in the chair in the corner of their room… so that was our new routine… once we said our good nights and gave our hugs and kisses… Alan and I would take turns sitting in their room reading a book or checking email until the kids fell asleep… then we’d sneak out and all would be well with the world.

One thing Alan and I so desperately craved since we came home with the kids was night-time freedom. We looked forward to the time when 8pm and after would be ours… We were happy and content to take turns sitting in the kids room because this had been such an improvement from before… and we’d usually be free by 8:30pm or so… but we also looked forward to the end of this ritual… A few times I told the kids we weren’t going to sit in their room, but that never turned out well…

Finally, I had a brilliant idea…. “why don’t I just talk to Betti about it before bedtime!” Amazing… I know… So a few days ago I sat Betti on my lap and explained to her that she and Manny had been in our home for 4 months and they knew they were safe. They knew Mommy and Daddy weren’t going anywhere and that we would stay in the house while they slept. I told her she was old enough to go to sleep on her own and she could help Manny understand this as well… then I told her I didn’t think we needed to sit in their room anymore at night… She thought for a second… then said “Ok Mommy” and went off to play… the last few nights we’ve left their room after goodnight kisses… Betti goes to sleep just fine… Manny usually comes out of the room 2 or 3 times to test us, but eventually he goes to sleep as well…

We finally have our nights! Thank you Jesus!!!



Life is starting to feel more and more normal. I won’t lie… the first couple months home were tough. Alan and I mourned the loss of our old lives while our kids acted out trying to adjust to this new crazy life. When I look back I remember it being mostly about making it though each day… boy have things changed. I knew it would be like that in the beginning, but knowing something and living through it are completely different.

Now… life just makes sense. Betti is doing great in 1st grade and I look forward to seeing her every day when she gets off school. Manny is my little buddy and I love getting to spend time with him all day long. He brings us so much joy and laughter… he’s a really funny kid. Betti is a bit of a drama queen, but I can’ t help but think of all the ways her feisty spirit is going to do good in this world.

Al and I are really enjoying being parents to these two… and I remind myself all the time how much of a blessing they are. Most of the things that are worth anything in this life are hard… when you choose to go from having no kids to adopting a 6 year old and 2 year old… it’s going to be hard…but looking back… I wouldn’t do it any other way. I can’t imagine my life without them…

Is adoption easy… Heck No

Is adoption worth it… Every Second!!

Here are some pictures of my Funny Man and Diva daughter!