All About Zoe

Our sweet girl. Our Zoe.  Zoe was born into this world on February 2, 2006, in the southern region of Ethiopia, Africa, near a small town called Lisana. Zoe has been a fighter, a girl who has overcome and endured more in her short life than many do in a long lifetime. And yet, that smile. That spirit. Her beauty stuns us.

The process to adopt our daughter, that led us to our Zoe Tamenech Courtney, began around Christmas time in 2005.  Little did we know that halfway around the world, Zoe had already been created and was almost ready to be born. We were all preparing for one another at the same time. We adopted her through an agency called Children's Home Society and Family Services out of St. Paul, Minnesota. There were many, many doors that God swung wide open in order for Zoe to become our daughter.  Our adoption story is somewhat unique in that we felt called to adopt to grow our family, rather than our desire to adopt being born out of infertility. We were so thankful to be blessed with our birth children AND an adopted child--we feel like both are unique and incredibly special ways to have a child!

Buck and I traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to meet our daughter and bring her home in early March of 2007.  Zoe was just over a year old.  There are things about her particular "story" and how she became available for adoption that we don't share with anyone--that is her story, her history, and it is up to her as to when and how she chooses to share it. We were blessed to meet some very special people who were part of her life in Ethiopia, and we are very fortunate to have a good amount of information to give her when the time is right.  We are aware every day that what became our tremendous gain in getting the gift of our daughter comes with incredible loss for Zoe and for her birth family in Ethiopia.  We will always be thankful to God for protecting our daughter and keeping her safe, in order for her to come home to us.  We do our best to honor Zoe's cultural history and keep ties to the country where she was born. Ethiopia is beautiful and rich with history--we are excited to take her and the rest of our family back to visit there someday!

Zoe has blended into our family as if she has always been there. We had some "good" attachment struggles at the beginning (normal in adoption-world): I couldn't put her down for almost the first 2 months she was home. She had to be able to see me at all times! She slept in our bed with us for comfort and bonding for the first 6-8 weeks and then slept in a pack-n-play in our room for quite ahwile after that.  Otherwise, our adjustment of going from 2 to 3 kiddos under 5 was very typical of other families adding a third child.  Zoe and Charlie are very close in age--about 19 months apart--and they have the most "intense" sibling relationship.  There is very much a love-hate quality to it...which on the "love" times is precious.  On the not-so-good times it can be very stressful for everyone.  Our prayer is that our children will be friends, that they will have each other's backs as they grow up.  I think we are well on our way to that happening!

Zoe is an adorable 4 1/2-year-old now.  She loves, loves, loves the social aspect of preschool.  She is incredibly coordinated and healthy!  She is great at anything physical--you should see her zip across the monkey bars!  Zoe loves to swim and learned to water ski at the age of 3!  Crazy!!  She is affectionate and loving, and is the best "mama" to her baby brother.  It has been so beautiful to watch her relationship with Tate grow and change. 

We decided to call our daughter Zoe because it is the Greek word for "life"--specifically "Holy Spirit Life".  We think that is beautiful, perfect, and oh-so-fitting for our sweet girl who is just full of life!  Her middle name is the name her Ethiopian family gave her--Tamenech.  It means "she is believed."  Her whole name, Zoe Tamenech means "a life that is believed."  We have no doubt that God believed in her, and entrusted her to us for a very specific purpose.  We are humbly grateful that we have been chosen to be part of His story!