Thursday, April 29, 2010

A few Ethiopia pics

Here are a few pics from the trip to Ethiopia to get the girls.

The airplane that took us there.

Views from the balcony of our room in the guest house. It is located in a more middle-class neighborhood. Many of the people living here had cars. Every house was more like a compound with big metal gates that had to be opened before you could come or go.

The interior of our room. We had a queen bed, a twin and a set of bunks.

The exterior of the guest house (that you can see above the wall).
Our room was on the 3rd floor (the one with the sliding door open).

Entryway into the guest house. As you can see, not a lot of space between the house and the wall. Note the razor wire on top of the wall. And this was a relatively safe neighborhood.

The yard at the guest house. Lots of bubbles were blown here and lots of jump-roping was done. The little building at the back corner is where the guard would sleep.


That is enough for one post. When I have time again (i.e. when the girls are sleeping), I will post some of the pictures from the area around the guest house as well as the markets and things like that. Then I will have another post with pictures and video from the day we got the girls.

Monday, April 26, 2010

We're Home

Here is one picture of us coming home to the Billings airport. We got home Saturday evening and were greeted by a large number of friends. The girls were so tired they didn't know what to think at the time. I think they are still wondering what has happened. Right now they are napping and I should be working on laundry and unpacking and all that sort of stuff, but I know there are a few of you that have been looking for an update. When I have a little more time I will go through my pictures and video and see what else I can share here. Needless to say it was an amazing and emotional trip. I am still not sure if I have really come to grips with instant motherhood, but it has happened whether I can come to grips or not. I am very thankful that I don't have to go back to work until July 8. I am going to need every bit of that time to get settled in with the girls and settled in as a mother. Please keep praying for patience, grace and wisdom since I am feeling pretty short of all three.

Monday, April 19, 2010

We're Here

I don't have pictures that I can post yet, but my mom and I arrived safely in Ethiopia on Saturday morning. We have been taking it easy the last couple of days. Yesterday we walked to an Orthodox church and one of the Deacons was willing to show us around and let us in the church. I will have pictures of that when I get home. We were with another adoptive family and a group from Canada. We also had one young boy who was acting as tour guide and then several of his friends joined him on our walk. It was quite a parade to see all the white folks with a bunch of young Ethiopian boys walking down the street.
This morning (in about an hour or so) we will go get the girls. I could have gone yesterday, but I just wasn't ready. My brain had Monday as the day and it wasn't going to change. It was also helpful to have another day to get over jet-lag and relax. Okay, this will have to be enough for now. The internet has been better than I ever expected. But once I have the girls, I don't think I will have time for much posting. =)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bags are packed

My bags are packed and in the back of the truck. The car seats are installed and ready to go. I think I am as ready as any parent can be physically and stuff-wise. Emotionally I am not so sure. I am praying that God will take the knots out of my stomach and allow me to sleep well tonight and wake rested and ready to go. I am looking forward to having dinner with both my parents tomorrow night and then plan on sleeping as much as I can on the way to Ethiopia. I hope to post at least once while I am there, but I make no promises. If I can't, I will post as soon as I can when I get back.
Thanks for all the prayers and support. It all means the world to me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Some things to think about while I am gone

I borrowed some of this from a web-board that I am on and adapted it for my situation. Everything in it is true. I just want you all to have some idea of the things I will be working on when we get home. I think this will also help you understand why I am not going to be out and about and as social as some might want me to be. I hope to post some more information tomorrow night as well.

Thanks so much!!

Prayer Requests

Here are some ways that you can pray for me and my girls. Parts of this might sound pessimistic and scary, but I don't feel that. Yes, my brain is terrified, but my heart knows this is right. I am excited about getting my kids, but I understand that the next year will probably be a very difficult one for us. No matter how difficult it turns out to be, I am certain that this is God’s plan and that He has called me to parent these kids, and I am honored by that. Having said that, there are going to be incredible adjustments we will all be going through. Here are specific areas we are asking for prayer in:

Emotional: The addition of 2 older children will be very disruptive to my previously fairly carefree lifestyle.
· As a parent, I will be trying to find balance and strength to parent 2 children with very special needs. The adoption process is such a “high” with excitement and anticipation and then the reality of returning and making all these adjustments causes most adoptive families I’ve talked with, especially moms, to go through a post adoption depression, very similar to post-partum depression. I am happy to know before-hand that this is “normal” and that it is only for a time and that there is a light at the end as I trust God to reshape us.

· It’s also crazy to think about the fact that I am choosing to love 2 children that I’ve never met, cannot communicate with, already have their set personalities and are having their own life crisis. We may not “feel” love instantly but I pray that God will develop a love for each child regardless of the struggles.

Kidist and Meskerem: One comment well-meaning people say to adopted kids is “I bet this is so much better than where you are from” or “aren’t you lucky you have a new family”. Well, for them, they may not feel so lucky. Yes, we realize they are from an area and situation where they didn’t have much hope of a future or family, but it was the only life they knew. It was home to them. Most of the time, kids don’t even understand what was “wrong with” their previous life. All they know is that they left everything: friends, community, language and culture, to live with people that look nothing like them, they can’t communicate with and they may never return to their “world” again. Because parents are lacking in Ethiopia, the village raises the family. Kids pretty much take care of themselves and come and go as they please. They are not used to household "rules". It will take awhile for them to trust us and understand that we are not going to leave them and for us to teach them what it is like to be a part of a Christian American family. Meskerem will probably struggle with having someone in authority over her. My guess is that she has been "mom" to Kidist for the last few years. Kidist will probably have trouble seeing me as mom rather than her older sister.
These children have gone through a major trauma and it will take a long time for us to work through all of it.

Physical: Please pray for health.
Coming back from Ethiopia, we will be jet-lagged, possibly having stomach “issues” and thrown back into the business of everyday life but with some major changes. We will need physical strength and rest to deal with the emotional “stuff”. The kids are in overall good health but we will be dealing with malnutrition, parasites and deficiencies. All fixable but can be taxing (especially the parasites!). Kidist has a yeast infection on her scalp, but that shouldn't be too bad. Meskerem definitely has parasites and one of the more difficult ones to treat. I am blessed that God has given me the knowledge to take care of these sorts of things. Please pray, though, that I leave the "doctor" hat at work and only take the "mommy" hat to Ethiopia with me.

Anyway- This may seem like doom and gloom to you but it’s not to me. I have been preparing for these difficulties knowing that “all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose”. Families say it takes a full year to feel like there is any “normalcy” again and a new family emerges. Just know that if I seem tired or discouraged at times that it is OK. Just continue to pray for us.

Again- remember… I have a peace even though I am nervous. I am very excited! I can’t wait to get back and start the adjustments so the new family can begin!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quilts

I thought I would prove that I do have some home-ec abilities. I made two rag quilts (the only kind of quilting I can do) for the girls. They are small, but I think they will work perfectly on the plane and as transitional-type objects for them. The front is green and yellow calico-type fabric and the back is red flannel. Those are the colors of the Ethiopian flag and I hope that will help them have more meaning for the girls.
I can hardly believe that I leave in less than a week. One week from right now I will be in Washington DC having dinner with both my mom and dad. I am hoping to get everything packed up this weekend except for the few things that I need out up until then.
Sometime this weekend I plan to post some information on how my life is going to look when I get home. I think it will be helpful for all of you, my friends and family, understand what the reality of international adoption is and what sort of work I need to do with the kids for us to be a cohesive family. So stay tuned for that. Let me know if there is something specific that you would like to know about this process. Or if you have advice, I am happy to "hear" that too.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Plane Tickets

These are probably the most expensive pieces of paper I have ever had. Our tickets are e-tickets, but the travel agent sends these with the itinerary and receipts.


Our itinerary takes us from Billings to Denver to Washington Dulles on the 15th. We will stay the night in DC on Thursday night and, as an added bonus, have dinner with my dad. Then on Friday we will fly straight from DC to Addis Ababa with a stop in Rome, for fuel I presume. Coming home is pretty much the same except that we leave Addis late on the 24th and arrive in DC on the morning of the 25th. Mom will leave us there and fly to Texas to see my brother and the girls and I will fly on to Billings via Denver.