Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home and all is well!

Yesterday was our first full day as a new family and things went wonderful. The kids are all totally consumed with Teddy and he is LOVING all the attention. We are all so in love. It is so fun to have him around. Yesterday was better then any Christmas I have ever known. He is feeling so much better now too which helps.

He is such a smart little boy. He is learning and adapting so well. He speaks a lot more English now and is totally understandable.

We are enjoying a weekend of bliss before we have to go back to real life and he has to go to all the dr. appointments to get him cleaned up. I am most worried about what they will do with his teeth. I think there are only around 3 or 4 total that are not totally rotten. He is soooo young to pull them all as his adult teeth won't be in for years. But I am not sure that they will do 14 root canals on a 2 year old. Poor guy.

Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes. We are all on cloud 9 and loving our honeymoon period.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 9: I have sooooo much to be thankful for!

God is good!! Because of God, my dear husband, and Shawn at Orin Hatch's office, we are COMING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We arrive at 7:30pm at the SLC airport this Friday. Feel free to join us if you would like to welcome Teddy home. He is a party kid so he won't mind the fanfare. Just please avoid touching, kissing or grabing him.

I am overflowing with joy and relief! Teddy is feeling soooooo much better today, I really think we turned a corner. We have a visa, a plane ticket and each other. God is good!!! I don't think I have ever been so incredibly thankful for Thanksgiving.

To my kids: Mom and Teddy are coming home!!!!!!!!!!!! We will see you Friday night.


Packing Bags and Heading Home

I just got off the phone with Kelly and she has Tedesse’s visa in hand. She is in process of changing their flights so they can leave tomorrow night (there are no flights out today). This comes after a day and night of tracking down people in a US Senator’s office and using their connections to ensure paperwork was appropriately authorized and transferred between US government agencies in Kenya and Ethiopia. For those that wanted to meet her at the airport, Kelly thinks that would be fine. I expect that Tedesse will be very shy, very tired, and a little overwhelmed so do not expect to be able to hold him (Remember, he is a two years old). The earliest they will arrive in SLC is Friday around 5 p.m. and the latest will probably be Saturday evening. I will post an update when we know the exact time. Needless to say, Kelly seems very happy to be coming home.

- Kevin

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 8: Prisoners of the Ritmo

Sorry it has been a couple of days since my last entry. Internet is considerably harder now that Kevin has left with his laptop. The internet is often out here and I cannot send out emails (I can receive, just not send). So I have to have someone with an Ethiopian account send it out for me. Besides the internet, the water is often out, or sometimes just the hot water, or sometimes just the power. So far, we have not had all 3 out at the same time, but we also rarely have had all 3 on at the same time.

I am definitely going stir crazy now. Like the title said, we are prisoners here at the guest house. The new Ethiopian laws do not allow me to take
Teddy into public and so we must stay behind the big iron gate. I am
sooooo glad we are here vs. in a small hotel room though. Despite its faults, the guest house is great in many ways. It is nice to have other families to complain with, other children for Teddy to socialize with, a kitchen, a driveway to get outside, a TV and VCR, and a kitchen.

But anyone who knows me at all, knows that I am NOT a homebody. As Rhonda can now testify, I like my life to be go-go-go. We are always on the move in a hectic, crazy, but highly productive fashion. Here I have NOTHING to do and the walls are closing in for sure. The one positive is that I have this adorable little guy to spend it with. This is the ultimate in hibernating so we have had lots of opportunities to bond and just "be"
together. Much more then I ever would have allowed myself at home. If Teddy was not so sick, I would say that it was a blessing in many ways.

The doctor said today that Teddy needs to get home. His lungs are filled with gunk and his pneumonia is bad. She says we should leave. She wrote a letter for the embassy but they won't accept it. Kevin is going to try Orin Hatch and see if he can convince DHS to approve us. He has been a wonderful advocate for adoptive families and even traveled to Haiti to help adoptive families there. I pray that it works. Teddy also has really bad ring worm and a horrible allergic reaction all over his body. The poor kid is a walking Petri dish. Fortunately, the scabies is gone.

Despite all this, he is the cutest little boy. He loves to entertain and make people laugh. He eats NONSTOP in quantities I do not feel are humanly possible. He knows lots of English and communication so far has not been a major issue. He does like to test the limits and can throw a tantrum or two but they are always short-lived when ignored. He loves to boss me around and tell me how to do EVERYTHING. I think he thinks I am a little dumb because I do not know Amharic so I must not know much of anything. He still won't give me kisses but he will hold my hand, sit on my lap, and snuggle when sleepy. He loves to ride in the sling I brought which has been great for bonding. Thanks Erin for suggesting it!

To my kids: Is it fun having dad home now? You still need to be super good until mom gets home so you can get your Ethiopian presents. Teddy and I sat down and looked at your pictures today so hopefully he will recognize you when he gets home. He likes Naomi's glasses and wants some too. I hope he is not afraid of Molly because they did have a dog at his orphanage. I don't know if the dog was nice though because none of the kids were playing with him. Teddy will probably be shy at first when he gets home so we will just have to let him have some space and be super kind to him. I know you guys will be the best brothers and sisters because you already are. I have the best kids in the whole world. I don't know why God gave me the best kids but I am so glad He did. Thank you for being good for Auntie Rhonda.
If I was home right now I would squeeze each of you so hard and kiss you one hundred times. I love you.


Day 6: Teddy at the Ritmo

Pictures: Teddy with caregivers at orphanage, Teddy leaving the orphanage with new family, Bottle in the car on the way to the guest house, Tubby time!, Playing at the Ritmo

We picked up Teddy this morning. The nuns were so adorable with him. All wanted their picture taken and I promised I would email them when I return to the states. It seemed that they were all inventing ways to delay our departure. One of the nuns kept asking me to bring him back before I left. I didnʼt make any promises, we will see.

I have gotten pictures of most of the kids requested at KM. At AHOPE I got very, very few pictures. The first time we went everyone was at school. Today, all the big kids went on a fun run for HIV awareness, pretty cool. But John, who is also here at the Ritmo, got lots of pictures at AHOPE so I hope that he has enough to satisfy all the hopeful parents. PS Sage, I never got to see Frazier because she was at school but John was saying that she is the most adorable little girl, has the spunkiest spirit and is a great dancer. He said whoever adopts her is very lucky. It was fun to tell him that she has a family and we are friends.

Teddy has been doing great here at the Ritmo. He didnʼt really like us at all this morning but once we got to the guest house he was smiley and followed us all around. He endured the torture of getting shaved (due to lice), getting bathed and smeared with scabies medications better than expected thanks to Baby Einstein. This kid loves TV and is totally entranced by it. That will really help on the plane. He has a good appetite and likes almost anything. His two front teeth are chipped and rotten making it impossible for him to use them so he has to bite things off with his back teeth. He will probably have to have them pulled. He breathing is still really labored and he is coughing due to the pneumonia so I am anxious to get him home. But he is happy, snuggly, funny, stubborn and cute as a teddy bear.

We got good news about our case this morning. I am getting really hopeful that we will be able to leave on Thanksgiving. Kevin keeps yelling at me not to get my hopes up but I think it is too late. Kevin is leaving tonight for the US and will be there Monday night.

To my kids: You are going to really love your new brother once he gets used to being home (which may take a little while). I think we got the best little boy in all of Ethiopia. I love and miss you!! It was really nice talking to you this morning. Thank you Rhonda for doing an incredible job.


Saturday, November 22, 2008


I now for some reason have access to my blog. I haven't been able to access it since I arrived in ET but my wonderful sister has been posting my emails. So I can, for the time being, now recieve your comments.

We are leaving in one hour to get Teddy!!


Day 5: Conclusion

Day 5: Conclusion

We are back at Addis and back at the Ritmo Guest House. We were moved into a different bedroom, and I have to say, the bedroom you get makes all the difference. This room is soooooo much nicer. It will be a lot more comfortable staying here with Teddy. It has its own nice bathroom, a big bed, lots of storage space and is just a pleasant room overall. For those who wish to request it, it is on the 2nd floor, next door to the bunk bed room.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we will be picking up Teddy. I am so excited! We also found out that his best friend’s mom is flying in tomorrow night so they will be able play together here at the guest house. What a blessing.

Kevin leaves tomorrow night for the states and will arrive Monday evening. I will miss him greatly. It does give me comfort though that our kids will soon have their Dad home.

To my kids: If I was home right now, I would give you a thousand kisses. Tell Auntie Rhonda I said you can have some popcorn. (Sorry Rhonda, I have to love on them somehow).


Day 4 and 5

Day 4 and 5: Lalibela

Today we are in the Holy City of Lalibela. It is truly a sacred place with deeply religious Eastern Orthodox Christians. Their faithfulness and sacrifice for their religion, puts us to shame. They all very faithfully attend every Sunday 2 hour Mass despite the fact that many of them must walk several difficult hours to get there. The people who live close to churches visit frequently during the week to pray and receive blessings. I think this may be why Ethiopia is such an incredibly friendly, peaceful and safe place to visit. They live a very high moral standard. Our entire time in Ethiopia, we have never felt unsafe, never had anyone steal from us nor have we felt threatened going out after dark.

We came to Lalibela to see the famous rock churches. They are the 8th wonder of the world according to UNESCO. And they truly deserve to be called so. The amazing structures were chiseled out of the rock in the 12th century. There are made from massive rock mountains. In order to hide the churches from the Muslims, they chiseled down from the top so they are literally underground. The architecture and beauty of these HUGE churches is unbelievable. And it only took them 23 years to do all 11 churches!! They are beyond description. I do not think the pyramids of Egypt could be much more impressive. Despite having no form of measurement, no tools but a chisel and hammer, they created masterpieces with intricate carvings and massive halls that could easily stand next to the beautiful churches of Europe.

The people here in Lalibela live a very hard life. Lalibela is all mountainous and the only transportation from the villages to the market center is to walk along very narrow, very steep, very rocky pathways. But they all do it with great skill. Young and old seem masters of the mountains, reminding us very much of mountain goats. Most people are farmers here but unlike green Bahar Dar, it is a desert, so they are limited severely by how much they can grow by lack of water. I have hopes that life will get better for the people as they are building a very large water collection facility to collect the rainfall during the rainy season. I pray this increases their standard of living as it is obvious that there is currently not enough food or income to sustain their families very well at all.

Unlike the other places we have been in Ethiopia, we ran into many, many tourists while walking through the rock churches. Mainly from Germany. I asked a few Germans why there were so many Germans that come to Ethiopia, and they said that they too were shocked and thought that almost no one traveled to Ethiopia. So I never got my answer.

One of the great experiences we had here in Lalibela was climbing a very, very large mountain to see the church atop. We rode mules (a first for me) up the treacherous narrow pathways. They were very obedient and amazing climbers but we did have to walk when the path became too dangerous. The climb was very difficult but the views and scenery were well worth it. Some of the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen in my life. When we reached the church atop we had ascended 2000 meters in only 2 hours. Pretty cool. I was feeling pretty proud of myself until I learned that all the local villages attend this church every Sunday. Young and old. And the route we took is the easy way. I would go inactive for sure.

I thought I would mention our hotels for future travelers. While in Bahar Dar we stayed at the Sumerland. It was very nice, very modern, with all the amenities of a Marriot in the U.S. Definitely recommended. It was right in the center of town which was nice but did not have a view of the lake. A sacrifice for sure.

In Lalibela we stayed at the Seven Olives. It is the oldest hotel in Lalibela. It is very primitive but what it lacks in even basic amenities it makes up big time in charm. It had amazing views off a beautiful flower filled court yard with a large variety of birds visiting the bird feeders. It is also in the center of town, making walking to shops easy and enjoyable. But again, if you are hoping for the Best Western, you will be disappointed.

Speaking of shopping, we attended a HUGE market in town today. Once a week, on Saturday, everyone travels from the shrouding (and when I say surrounding, I mean for 40 kilometers) to Lalibela to sell their crafts and what they have grown in their farms. It was an incredible experience. Over 1,000 people selling and many more buying. They laid their items on top of tarps on the ground and you walk up and down the aisles of people bargaining, socializing, inspecting, and selling. What fun! I bought some beautiful linen for next to nothing. Earlier while ascending the mountain, we saw many people climbing down with huge bundles on their backs to take to market. I asked our guide how much money one gentleman would get if he were lucky enough to sell his entire bundle of grass that he was carrying. He told me that he would most likely get $10. This is after hiking all through the night and most of the morning. Incredibly hard work. After Lalibela I have a deep respect for the people of Ethiopia.

We also got to visit one of our guides’ home today. He and his family grow Eucalyptus trees. A family of 6 all lives in a small mud gojo about 12 feet across. Everything is made of mud, from the benches that go around the gojo to the shelves in the wall to the floor. They processed almost nothing. The malnourishment was severe. His 2 year old nephew was about the size of a 9-12 month old. And yet they were friendly, hospitable and most amazingly, happy.

The children play a very vital role in the survival of the family here. We saw very small children herding animals such as sheep, goats, cows and donkeys. They were alone, taking the groups of animals to feed or drink. The children also help by selling items and by working in the fields. The families are very close knit and every member is needed and important. The children also attend public schools and many have to walk hours to get to school. But they are very serious about their studies because they know it is the key to a better life. One boy we met must live with his friend’s family as it is 20 kilometers to the nearest school from his family farm. Large sacrifices are made to send children to school. Though school is free, expensive uniforms must be purchased as well as school supplies or the children cannot attend. But all the families seem to be making it a large priority and all the children made a point of telling us that they were studying hard in school. We take soooooo much for granted.

To my kids: Tomorrow we will pick up your brother and I will keep him with me until we get home. Dad will be home soon. We want you to understand that we are so lucky to live in a nice home, with toys and nice clothes. The children here have NO toys. They only have one pair of clothes, nothing to change into. They do not have bathtubs or playgrounds or treats. They work hard doing chores all day for their family. They work hard in school. We need to thank Heavenly Father for giving us such a good and easy life. And we must use what we have to help others. I love you and cannot wait to hug you all.

As an adoption update: The problems at the embassy have been resolved. Our agency has assured us that I should be able to travel no later than our Dec 5th ticket. Yeah!!!! Tadesse is coming home with me! The only hiccup left is that a packet of paperwork we had completed for the embassy and sent to our agency has not arrived here in Ethiopia. I wish so much I had hand-carried a copy! We do have most of what we need to recreate it but there are a couple of things missing. Our agency has assured us that it will not be a problem, I pray they are right.


Day 3

Day 3: Skip Addis, Go directly to Bahar Dar

What a beautiful, beautiful city!! Kevin and I have found where we will retire and start our orphanage. This city borders the 3rd largest lake in Africa and has stunning views. The streets are lined with flower filled trees. The fish dishes are awesome. And the people are kind and friendly.

We started the day here in Bahar Dar by driving 40 minutes into the countryside to visit the famous Blue Nile Falls. We passed through several small villages on the way and lots of farms. Beautiful. The people live in small circular thatched homes call gojo’s. There are almost no vehicles and everyone seems to own at least two mules. We were fortunate to drive during the morning commute to market. Gorgeous people in lovely costumes walking with large bundles tied to their backs or balanced with great skill on their heads. Their mules were also heavily laden. Even children and old women were carrying more than their share. It was an amazing scene. We felt we had jumped into a National Geographic magazine.

It was quite a hike to see the Blue Nile Falls over rough terrain. But the tour company sized me up immediately and sent someone to hold my hand and assist me the whole way. Kevin had to manage on his own. The Falls are an incredible sight. Truly a once in lifetime experience. Unfortunately, I mean that literally as the World Bank is building a power plant that will strip the falls of all of their water. Thus ending much of tourism for Bahar Dar. It is such a crime against nature! Imagine if someone came in and shut down Niagara Falls for the electricity. That is how it is. For those who are traveling after me, go. You will probably never get another chance.

After a break for lunch, our tour company took us on a private boat tour of the lake. We missed out on sighting any hippos but we did go to a beautiful island with an amazing 14th century church. All the walls of the church are covered in the most beautiful paintings depicting Bible stories. It is a way of teaching those who cannot read about the Bible. The paintings are original to the church and are in perfect condition. The colors are so bright and vivid you would think they were painted yesterday. Nothing we make today would last so long.

Then tonight for dinner we had INCREDIBLE fish dishes at a lake-side restaurant. We watched Pelicans and Fishers of the most beautiful variety flying around the lake and perching in sycamore trees as the sun set behind them.

On our way home we had 3 street children help us find our way back. They spoke perfect English and were so smart and friendly. One boy told us that his mother was still alive but was so sick with AIDS she no longer could eat or get out of bed. All too common unfortunately. To reward them for their kindness we told them we would buy them dinner at any restaurant they wanted. They chose the Barack Obama Café. We let them order whatever they wanted and it was like a birthday party. It was really fun to help them.

Barack Obama is widely popular here. There are signs everywhere for him. You can purchase his T-shirts at any shops. Restaurants are named after him. Every time someone hears that we are American they want to talk to us about Obama. It gives me so much hope that through his election we can heal the wounds in our foreign relations. It actually brought me to tears today to see the hope he inspires all around the world.

We thought that we liked Addis but after seeing Bahar Dar it is no comparison. Get out of the city and go into the country. This is true Ethiopia.

To my kids: We thought about you a lot today. We wished you could have been here. You would have really loved this city. We hope to come as a family one day. We met several school children today and they are all so grateful to be able to go to school. They are studying hard just like you. We love and miss you. Dad will be home in 4 days. We still do not know when Mom will be home. I pray soon. Make sure that you are extra nice to each other while we are gone and play with Clarissa a lot. I fear she doesn’t understand why we are gone and will need you to keep her happy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day Two

This morning we got to go see our son and his orphanage. Kidane is a wonderful, loving place. The nuns really care about the kids and they are great with the kids. It has A TON of children and babies though that desperately need families. The ones with special needs are the ones that truly touch my heart because I know they would be sooooo much better off in the US with good therapies and medical interventions. One sibling group especially moved me. It was a 9 year old boy and his 8 year old sister. Both are highly intelligent, sweet, sweet, sweet patient kids. The 9 year old has what I think is cerebral palsy like my Clarissa but the nuns are not sure what is wrong with him. He is in a wheelchair and recently had surgeries on both of his legs so they are in casts. The nuns kept saying how intelligent he was. I spent time talking with him and he knows very good English and has the most wonderful smile. The sister is very caring towards him and makes sure he gets what he needs. Wonderful children. You should see the adorable pictures I got of them. I really hope they find the family they deserve.
Now onto the great news. Tadesse is the cutest, chunkiest, most spoiled, most atheltic, most coordinated, most energetic, handsome boy you have ever seen! We had a wonderful day with him. It really all went perfect. He is not going to have attachment issues at all. He is very well loved at the orphanage (all say he is a spoiled favorite, including one of the volunteers from Australia) and you can tell they are speaking the truth just by how much more meat he has on his bones vs the other kiddos. He has the perfect amount of stranger anxiety but after awhile warmed up to us and was affectionate. He makes great eye contact, gives devine kisses and can play soccer with the best of them (if by "them" you mean toddling 2 year olds). He does have a 2 year old attitude and a stubborn, independent, "I can do it myself" streak but that is par for the course with our family :). He and Naomi are going to have to fight over who is in charge at our house. He loved the stickers, cars and Tootsie Rolls we brought him but was not too fond of the formula in his bottle. Hmm, maybe juice or milk will do the trick. He is ALL boy and a big work out. He will be my new weight-loss program as he is go, go, go. He is going to fit in perfect with our boys at home.
We are madly in love with Teddy. And I think we have finally agreed on a name. Tate Tadesse Grove (still calling him Teddy though). It is funny how much Teddy fits him as he is a chubby little Teddy Bear.
Now some bad news. Teddy has scabies and what I think is pnuemonia. And we left all the persciptions at home! So I am going to have to figure out how to use a pharmacy here. His body is literally covered in scabies bites and he iches terribly. Poor kiddo. I really hope it doesn't spread to the rest of household as we have fought that before and it is a nightmare to get away from.
Now the really bad news. I may have to come home without Tadesse. We are going to need a special waiver and the embassy is now saying that it will probably take 15 working days to approve it! This would put me coming home the soonest on Dec 10th which is just too far away for me to be away if I can help it. The embassy is having a conference call with the powers that be tomorrow to discuss it so hopefully we will have more promising news then that. PLEASE PRAY. If not, then we are going to talk with our agency about maybe having another traveling family bring him home with them and we would pick him up in DC. It will break my heart into pieces if I have to do that but it would also kill me to be away from my other kids that long. It is such a difficult position to be put in. After talking to my kids on the phone this morning, I just bawled and bawled. It sounds like they are doing great but I just miss them a lot.

On better news, we take off tomorrow for Bahar Dar and then the next day to Lalibela. Tadesse was happy to return to Kidane after the embassy appointment and after seeing the love he got there it made it a lot easier to leave.

We will keep you posted about travel plans. Please pray that Tadesse and I can leave together very soon.

To my kids, thank you for talking to me on the phone. I am sooooo glad that everyone is being good for Auntie Rhonda. I hope that you guys are having fun. You will love your new brother, he is perfect for our family.


Day One In Ethiopia!

We LOVE Ethiopia!!! The people are beautiful, kind and generous. The culure is rich and gorgeous. The food is UNBELIEVABLY FANTASTIC. We have seen very few tourists which is really too bad for them. I think everyone still thinks of Ethiopia as a desert with starving people everywhere. Not true!! It is clean and green and the weather is very mild. It is not too humid and during the day it is usually sunny and 70 degrees. There are very, very few beggers and homeless people around (San Francisco has far more) because they are controlled by the police in the major city areas (our drivers says that there are a lot of homeless but they live on streets with ironic names like Mexico Road). It is really a very pleasant and a fun tourist destination.
Last night we went to an amazing traditional Ethiopian restaurant with live music. It was sooooo fun. I have really enjoyed Ethiopian music since we have been here. I am definitely going to have to find some to purchase. It has a great dance beat but it is also very soulful and mystical. I have also enjoyed the prayer calls 5 times a day at the mosque next to the guest house. They play it over a loud speaker for the world to hear. The singer has the most amazing voice. It is very soothing and really touches the soul.
The Ethiopians are in a terrible gas shortage. There are lines over a mile long at each open gas station and most are closed. The thing I find impressive is that the gas prices while high are still staying relatively low given the demand ($1 per liter). I wonder if there is government regulation. I am really glad we have decided to fly to Bahar Dar and Lalibela. I would feel horribly guilty using that much gas.
Today we visited Lucy (the oldest human skeletal remains to be found) at the National Museum and she is tiny! I always thought of cave people as big oafs (sorry to the guys on the Geico commercials) but she is tiny and delicate like an upright monkey. We also did lots of shopping. Lots of great finds and plenty of haggling. My home will definitely have an African flair now. Don't worry kids, Mom bought something for everyone. We also visited AHOPE orphanage which is an orphanage for HIV+ children. Most of the kids were at school so I didn't get hardly any pictures for families, sorry. The family adopting Sammy, he is DEVINE. He fell instantly in love with Kevin and let him carry him all over. He was upset when we left him there though which was heartbreaking. AHOPE was very clean, bright and wonderful!! We came unannounced and so I feel we saw it as it really was. I was very impressed (and I have seen lots of orphanages in my day). The most wonderful thing about our visit to AHOPE is that I learned all the little ones (ages 3 and under) have families!! Not even possible a year ago.
The guest house we are staying at is far from desirable. Instead of staying on one of the very nice hotels here in Addis we are forced to stay here in order to be with our son. The new Ethiopian laws state that we cannot take our newly adopted child out in public, including hotels. So once we pick up Teddy, we will literally be stuck here. The orphanage director runs this guest house so we can bring Teddy here, definitely much better then visiting him at the orphanage and then returning to the Hilton and I am greatful for that. For those who travel after me, if you are used to staying at the Best Western though, you will be greatly disappointed. Things I wish I had brought with me are pillow cases, flip flops for the shower and bug powder for the beds. It is very nice to have a kitchen though. And there are other adoptive families staying here which makes the atmosphere loving and friendly. The internet is dial-up so I am not going attempt pictures. Sorry!! Also there is not a major grocery store or even what we would consider a descent corner market so I wish I would have brought some easy fix foods with me as I will not be able to leave here with Teddy. Things like those dried soups where you just add water would be nice.
Today we will visit Kidane (the orphanage Teddy is at) and spend the morning there. Then we are off to the embassy appointment with Teddy. Unfortuntely, we are learning that those seeking waivers are having a very hard time and are staying much longer then hoped for. My hopes of getting out of here on Thanksgiving day are dwindling fast. But please keep up the prayers. I would love a miracle. Especially since we will be unable to go and do fun things. Instead we will be stuck behind the walls of the guest house.
Tonight we plan on returning Teddy to the orphanage and traveling through Ethiopia for a couple of days. I hope that he does ok with that and I especially hope that I have the stomach to do it. We will see. I just think I will go insane if I have to stay 3 weeks here and I really want to get out of the city and see true Ethiopia.
To my kids, we LOVE you so much!!! If you are good for Auntie Rhonda, we have great gifts for you from Ethiopia. And as I know you will ask, Dad will be home in 5 days. Mom does not know when she can come home, it just depends on when the American government says we can leave. I miss you.
One final interesting note. Snickers here in Ethiopia is the shape and packaged like Tootsie Rolls. Still super yummy though.
Much Love,

Monday, November 17, 2008

We left yesterday morning for the long journey to Ethiopia. We had layovers in Chicago and DC and now this morning we are waiting to get our flight to Ethiopia. "Only" 14 hours left and we will be there. Our only hiccups have been that 1) We forgot the stroller and then we forgot to buy one here in DC last night. Anyone who knows my stroller pains from Haiti will understand why this is sooooo incredibly ironic 2) Our carryons were too heavy for the flight to Ethiopia (we didn't even know they weighed those!). For those traveling to Ethiopia after us, your carryons can be no more then 20 pounds. We had to throw away our clothes we wore yesterday and shift a lot of things around but we finally were in compliance.

We are both filled with excitement (and a little fatigue) for the journey ahead of us. We will soon be in the birth place of our son! A place of beautiful people and culture. A place with one of the oldest histories in the world. I have felt a deep connection with the Ethiopian people for years now. And now I will get to see this wonderful country first hand.

We have a day to kill when we arrive so we will be touring Addis Abbaba and visiting AHOPE orphanage. This is a wonderful orphanage that takes care of HIV+ orphans. They house over 400 children, all of which has access to life saving medicines, schooling and food. We are very excited to deliver donations and love on kiddos.

Then on the 19th it is off to Kidane to pick up our new son for the day! We will have our embassy appointment in the afternoon. PLEASE pray with us that our visa process goes smoothly. We are praying in earnest that Teddy and I will be able to leave on Thanksgiving but we may have to stay until as long as Dec 5th. This will be quite difficult as we cannot leave the Guest House due to the new Ethiopian restrictions which state I cannot take Teddy into public. Spending two weeks couped up in our room, away from my other babies, will be hard. But I have no doubt he is worth it :).

To my babies at home: Mom and Dad LOVE you sooooooo much!! I hope that you are being super sweet for Auntie Rhonda. Due your jobs and homework without complaining. We hope that you had a wonderful day at school, swimming and scouts. Zachary thank you for always working so hard and not getting discouraged. Maya thank you for always being a peace builder and making sure everyone is happy. Emmanuel thank you for always playing so nicely with your siblings and being a good sharer. Allison thank you for being so creative and coming up with fun games for you and your brothers and sisters to play. Naomi thank you for always being so loving and giving great hugs and kisses. Clarissa thank you for always making everyone smile, no matter their mood. Mom and Dad will be gone a long time but we are coming home with your new brother so it will be worth it.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Clarissa is off the machine!!!!

Clarissa has gained enough weight and grown enough inches that she is being removed from the machine she gets hooked up to for night feedings. This is such a blessing from God because this was one the thing that I was SUPER concerned about leaving in someone else's care while I was gone. I have full confidence in Auntie Rhonda's ability but learning the night feedings is HARD. And took me awhile to get used to. She was going to have to learn it in one night and not have me to call for help if something went wrong. I was having axiety attacks about it just last night. But this morning her dr. called and said she is off!!! The Lord knows each of us sooooo well and is involved in what is going on in our lives. He knew that would be a major burden to Rhonda and a major source of anxiety for me while in Ethiopia. And now I can leave with more peace. THANK YOU!!

Leaving is of course still hard. I am going to miss all my babies. But I am sure it will also be an amazing experience of a lifetime and I cannot wait to squeeze this new cutie.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We are leaving on Sunday!!!

We are leaving on Sunday to bring home Tadesse!! Ethiopia here we come! I will keep everyone posted about our travels via this blog so check back frequently.

We cannot wait to hug and squeeze this little boy. Please pray that our trip is a quick easy one.