Monday, December 27, 2010

Pie of Sweetness

This morning, Hayden, Lucy and I were snuggling on the couch. He was reading her favorite book to her, which is a little baby book of first words. He kept saying, "come here, sweetie" to her, in his best baby voice. Then, he turned to me, and said, "I call her Sweetie, becuase she is just a PIE of sweetness! A Sweetie Pie!"

Lucy in her favorite rocking chair by the Christmas Tree.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas...One year!!

One year ago, we saw Lucy's sweet little face for the first time. It was amazing...the best Christmas EVER.
I'm typing from my  hubby's laptop, so I don't have a pic of our sweet girl handy.

We have a long standing tradition of getting new christmas jammies at Grammy's house on Christmas Eve. Then, we wear them ALL day on Christmas day. (remember my ugly referral photos last year? Jammies, greasy hair, glasses??? Ring a bell?) This year was no different, other than cute girlie jammies for Lulu were included in our Christmas Eve loot.

Christmas Morning, Lucy and I were in her bedroom. The boys were patiently waiting in the car. Lucy, although in her sweet little sheep jammies, insisted that she put on some shoes. Her fancy black patent leather shoes. She really loves shoes. As we sat there putting on her fancy shoes and giggling together, I started to cry. One year ago, Christmas morning, I was having a hard time feeling the "Christmas Spirit". I was longing to see our daughters face. We had just finished her bedroom on Matt's Christmas Break, and we were READY. God was so good to us, and we got the call of our life that day.

This Christmas, I am overwhelmingly thankful for our sweet girl who has lit up our life. She is light and joy. We are so enjoying her. she is full of spunk, giggles and learning about 10 new words a day it seems. She's taking little steps, almost walking. She does this silly "knee walking". Where she wants to be upright, but not enough to get up on her feet. She is finally FINALLY giving us real kisses and enjoying it. For ever it seems, when we ask for a kiss, she'd offer her cheek or forehead. But finally she's offering her sweet little slobbery lips! We are loving that. She loves loves loves shoes. Today, she sat with me for 20 minutes while I cleaned her closet to make way for new Christmas clothes. She just sat there trying on shoes and saying "Mo, Mo shoooooos." (More Shoes). Sweet girl!

We saw a naturopath a week ago, who gave us some natural treatment for her continual giardia. We are thrilled to see some improvement. (this will contain poop discussion!) She's been having only one poop a day (after 3-4 per day, normally).  She is no longer begging for food/water every waking moment. We're so glad to be seeing some change.

Wishing a very merry Christmas to all of you families, who we've so enjoyed sharing this wild ride of adoption with this year. It's been a journey we will never ever forget and we're so thankful for the love and support of your unique friendships. Enjoy this season with your precious kiddos, and love and squeeze them all they'll let you. God is so good and faithful to bring us to the place we CAN do that !!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Great "love makes a family" shirts!

Check out these adorable shirts! I wish I was attending this awesome adoptive mom retreat...but it's in Atlanta, AND it's sold out. But you can be a part by buying one of these great shirts! you can get one HERE.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thanking Jesus.

I've been spending the day, celebrating my sweet 4 year old boy today (that is another post). We've been making cookies, as I cleaned up I turned on my Christmas playlist and heard this song by Third Day, called Merry Christmas. A whole bunch of emotions came flooding back to me. LAST December, this song made me weep for a whole other reason. We were anxiously waiting. Waiting for news about a baby girl in Ethiopia, who's face we'd never seen. It was all I could do to pull it together and enjoy Christmas without knowing her. Praying every minute I was awake about her and for her. As you know, Christmas Day, we got "the call" and Christmas was made perfect for us.

This year, as I heard this song, I wept for a new reason. Because we ARE NOT waiting. Because this year, this Christmas, she's here. In our arms. This year, I DO get to hug her, and love away her boo-boos, and give her bottles when she's hungry, and give her an unlimited supply of Ritz crackers. This year, I get to be her mama. Today, I'm so thankful. I'm so  very very thankful to be on the same side of the world as my daughter. That this Christmas she's a part of a family, OUR family. We are so blessed to be the ones to love her. One year ago tomorrow, she entered Gladney's care, and they prepared to give us our referral.

Thank you, Thank you, Jesus. You are SO faithful. Even when we can't see the work you're doing, you're still working. You are still meeting needs. You are making a way. You are tying up loose ends. You are reconciling loss and mending hearts. Thank you, for letting us see this one come together.  We are so very very blessed.
Our sweet girl, almost one year ago, 12/18/09

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I'm not even sure where to begin. Life has been feeling crazy and chaotic for us for the past 2 months. When we think we should be heading out of "crazy", something new pops up that keeps the chaos ball rolling. But, in the midst of it all, when we stop to pause, we still feel incredibly blessed.

We had a speaker at our Mom's group this week, and I would say it was one of the most life impacting messages I've heard. It was a man I've known for a long time, named Cliff. His wife, Wendee, was my first real small group leader when I was in junior high. I baby sat their kids weekly for years. Wendee, mom to 4 amazing kids and wife to Cliff, passed away last summer. She was 49. Wendee's passing alone, impacted my life greatly...she was an amazing Godly woman, wife and mother. I think often of her, how she lived and hope that I can live out my life and faith like she did. How she had her priorities in order. How she spent time with the Lord daily. How wise she was. How she said "no" to certain things, and "yes" to her family. Cliff shared about how Wendee left an amazing legacy by journaling her times with the Lord and notes to her kids. Now that she's gone from earth and from them, they have this gift. How her daily quiet times with the Lord, are still impacting their family.

Anyhow, there's so much to think about from that message that I'm still processing, but one thing is clear. I need to be more disciplined in walking with Christ. I need that to feed my soul, so I can feed the little souls in my home. And, I want to journal more to document it.

So, one way to do that is to blog. I need to someday publish the blog in a book, so I have it on paper in our home for our family to remember.

So, on to the milestones. I feel like this always ends up being about adoption/Lucy, which I have a little bit of guilt about, since I do have 2 other amazing kids...but adoption and it's ripple effect on our life feels important to document, for now :)

So, about a month ago, I took Lu to the Dr. AGAIN. When our doc came in, he said, "oh man, she's sick again?" I said, no, not again, just STILL. Not miserably sick, just always this nagging chest congestion and coughing. Sometimes it's worse and she's more "sick" and sometimes it's just in the background, but never fully cleared. I realized it's been that way since we met her in May. And the documentation we got from Gladney, showed that she'd wrestled with the same since she entered their care. So, basically, for a YEAR this sweet girl has been struggling to get a handle on breathing without congestion. So, our doc felt it was time for a referral to an asthma/allergy/immunology specialist. Around that time I decided to try cutting milk out of her diet and see what happened. It really helped clear up her congestion and for the first time she slept without coughing fits.

We visited the specialist last week and they did a bunch of skin tests for allergies, and they all came back negative. Her blood work for bloodcounts, immunology and antibodies were all perfectly normal. Which seems to leave Asthma as the only thing left on the table. We began treatment for that on Monday, but so far, I haven't really seen much improvement. She's still congested, still coughing nightly.

Our sparkley snowflake girl! 
In other Lucy news, she is taking off verbally and physically. She's growing a ton, and adding new words daily to her vocabulary. She's now getting herself up to standing from the floor, without pulling up on anything, and even taking one or two steps to something to hang on to. She is sass and spunk. She always has been, but in other ways we're really seeing her blossom. She's showing us more affection. She's offering snuggles and hugs. I have felt good about our level of bonding all along, but both Matt and I have noticed in the past month, that she seems to have turned a corner. I feel like she's "attaching" more to us all the time. Like when she's unhappy, wanting me for comfort. When meeting a new person, she clings to us and smiles, but wants to stay in our arms.

We have made the move to go back to church and start leaving her in the nursery. The first several times were not good, but also good. She did not like being left. She lasted about 5 minutes the last time. Even though by normal standards, that would be not a parents ideal. We want our kids to be happy about staying in nursery. We have a backwards normal it seems...we were happy when she was sad about being left, because it meant she wanted US. That felt great! It felt like exactly what we would hope for. She's not crazy about being in a crowd of strangers...she only lasts a short time before she starts melting down. Which is okay. We had a party last night we attended and then church this morning...thankfully she was the only babe in the nursery with a lady who was SO excited to have Lucy all to herself. She was hesitant about being left (which was great), but remained happy until we came back to get her. As soon as she saw me, she was falling over herself trying to get to the door. That felt really good! She was clingy to me all morning after that. Even at nap time, when she normally just wants to be put into bed to fall asleep, she wanted me to snuggle her. She is not a real snuggler, other than when taking a bottle and sometimes a quick snuggle before bed. But today, when she was upset, she just wanted me to hold her close. I rocked her until she dozed off, tried to carefully lay her in bed, but she started crying again, grabbing on to me. So, I rocked her some more until she was soundly asleep. That NEVER happens.  I soaked it up, rocking her until she was content, silently thanking God for where we are. I'm so thankful to be this precious babe's mama. Thankful for the milestones, and thankful that she's choosing us.  They don't seem like big deal things to the untrained eye, but they feel like a BIG deal to us.

She's growing in height and weight, weighing in about 22lbs and a whopping 32.25 inches! She's grown SO MUCH in the past 6 months!
For the sake of documenting for ourselves, here's some words she's saying.
ba-ba (bottle)
bye bye
da-dey (grammy)
hada (hayden)
jaaa (jack)
ca-ckoo (cracker)
wa-wee (water)
eee (with a sign, means eat, her FAVE word)
deee (drink)
ni-ni (night night)
uce (lucy)
Abby (her cousin)
Goggy (doggy)
oof (what a dog says)
mow (kitty says)
sssss (snake says, our attempt to get her to make a quiet sound!)
She's constantly mimicking our words and adding new words daily!

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'll be back, I promise.

My goal for November is to be a better blogger. Hang with me friends, I'll be back.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Family Update.

So, it seems adoption is a never ending state of change :) When we think we've got it nailed, we realize, we don't.

The nutshell version, Homeschool is out. Traditional school in.
Hayden at the Apple Orchard

I thought what would be best for us this year, was to simply be together. In July, we decided to go for it, to homeschool. We were 2 months into our new adjustment with Lucy. Things were going super duper well. Matt was home full time (being a teacher, we enjoyed the luxury of a summer home this year, instead of his usual picking up a summer job). We got to know Lucy, and she got to know us.

What we didn't realize, was the impact of Daddy-o going back to work full time, and back to school himself (as a student) two nights per week would have on us. We dove into homeschool. Matt started back at work. It seemed good. THEN, Lucy began to get a little "high maintenance". Demanding my attention every moment she was awake. Shreiking and screaming at me, literally, if she didn't have it. Homeschool + shrieking baby= unproductive education. This past week, it all really caught up with me. It was already a challenge to get Hayden to want to "do school" with me. He really just didn't understand that learning sometimes takes priority over bike riding or lego building. So, when I finally could pull him in for some learning time, Lucy, would instantly start DEMANDING my attention. I'd go to change her or put her down for a nap, and I'd end up with butt cracks drawn on my garage door in sidewalk chalk.  It seems this mama can't meet all the demands of homeschooling a kindergartener and preschooler, and a *needy-recently internationally adopted-turned her life upside down 14 month old.

After a melt down Tuesday and some heart to hearts with some wise folks in our life, we prayed about what we needed to do.  I began to think back, when did Lucy become so needy and demanding? Why do I feel like she's changed? Oh, right. She had two full time parents for the first 3 months home. We pretty much had one parent on baby duty, and one parent on big boy duty all summer. She had constant attention of one adult. I began to realize that it's ok for me to not homeschool. That maybe being together every waking moment isn't what we need. Maybe we all need some breaks and changes of scenery. Maybe it's okay to let Lucy have high priority attention right now. She's still figuring out how to be a part of a family, even though she's done incredibly well adjusting. It's not done. And, it's ok. And, Jack, former baby of the family, just might benefit from some one on one time with mommy while Lucy naps, and Hayden is at school.

So, today, I enrolled Hayden at the neighborhood school. I met his awesome teacher. I am SO excited for him to GET to go to school, I know he's going to love the stimulation there, that I just can't give focus on right now. He starts Monday. He doesn't know it yet, but I know he's going to be thrilled.

Turns out, the best plan is to be okay with the plan changing. (You would think that I'd already learned that lesson this year, international adoption and all). To do your best to parent your kids, and when you realize it's not working, be willing to adapt. Be ok with admitting you don't have it all figured out and nailed down...heck, even that you made a bad call. I hope my kids will learn that it's okay to be wrong and mess up, as long as you are willing to try and make it right.

Lucy girl at the pumpkin patch
* Hope I'm not making my sweet girl look bad. She  IS doing incredibly well. She's so smiley, loving and really blossoming in so many ways. It's just really easy to take that for granted and forget that life is still super different for her. Her little life has been majorly shaken up every few months HER WHOLE LIFE. That's traumatic--even for the sweetest of babes.

I forget sometimes, that this time of pouring our attention into her, is healing her wounds. Her need to be the focus of our attention is her way of making sure we're not going away, not leaving her behind. It's so easy to loose sight of how many scars her tiny heart has. How every day of her hollering at me, is her asking me to love away her hurts. It's so easy to just want to move on to "normal" and forget the major losses of her life. That those months of a mother naturally focusing 24-7 on her newborn  baby and being totally attached...didn't exist for her? She's still trying to catch up, sweet girl.
Wow. I haven't really pondered that in a while. Still brings tears to my eyes when I do.

Lord, give me your grace. Give me patience. Give me unending amounts of unconditional love to fill up this little wounded heart. Let your love, through us, heal her scars. Let me see what you see. Let me hear those demands for what they are...
Lord, let us find the balance. Let us continue to build a safe home and confidence in all of our children. Help us find ways to nourish each of our kids hearts with the kind of love they each need.  Give us wisdom to know when were screwing it up and to try something new. Thanks for blessing us with these 3 amazing little humans as our children.
Jack with his pumpkin

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

4 Months Home...Lucy report.

I truly can't believe we've been home for 4 months already!
My favorite picture right now...

FOUR months?? I can hardly believe it's been that long, but it also feels like she's been here forever. I've become the worst adoption blogger ever this month, since school has started, basically. But, to catch you up on Lucy this month, here's a little list:

Lucy is growing like a weed! The girl is chunking up a bit, but she's really tall. She's all of a sudden feeling really heavy to me. At her one year check up she was in the 90-95th percentile for height! So, she fits in perfectly with the Kesler family and our tall tall boys and large feet :)

Lucy is really blossoming, physically, and emotionally.
  • She still says da-da with varying voice inflections for just about everything, but she's pretty clear at communicating what she wants. She does a few baby signs, which are super helpful, but her favorite is simply the sign for "please". Please, please, please. As in, give me that NOW. We joke she's saying "pretty pretty please" because she does it with such enthusiasm, especially when related to food. 
  • We can't fill up this girl. She chokes/gags about 4 times per meal, becuase she inhales her food and swallows it whole. We laugh, but wonder, is this a Lucy thing, or an international adoption thing? She acts like she's never going to see food again, at every meal and snack. It's no wonder she's filling out! She's also finally willing to drink from a sippy cup and holding her own bottle (which we haven't pushed, but I'll admit, it's nice now she can occasionally do it herself-like in a long car ride).
  • She is becoming much more affectionate with us, which we LOVE. She's learning to give "loves" and kisses, and is offering them without us asking now.  Every once in a while, she'll just lean into me with her forehead, offering up her sweet face for a kiss from Mama or Dada.  It feels like a milestone. She was accepting of our affections before, but it feels like a big deal that she's now offering up affection, with it being her own idea.
  • This girl LOVES soft things. Soft cuddly stuffed animals, soft jammies, and of course, her favorite purple blankie. You hand her something soft, and she just grins and snuggles it up to her face with this look of pleasure...."ahhhhh, this feels sooooo goooood". It's so funny!
  • She isn't yet walking, but her strength is improving every day. She crawls with intensity. She is pulling up on everything and loves walking behind her little push toy or shopping cart at Grammy's house. She's even let go and tried to stand a few times on her own.
  • She has figured out the stairs, which I'm relieved about. She can finally turn her self around and go down backwards. It's a relief to me! We can get rid of our baby gate lockdown and not worry she's going to tumble down our 3 steps.
  • She is sassy. She is happy. She is giggly. Everyone we meet tells us how smiley she is. We get stopped constantly in stores or checkout with people who are taken with her charm and beauty :). She is a beautiful girl, and we are happy to admit it, after all, we had nothing to do with it!
  • She has a love hate relationship with her brothers. They make her laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. Hayden adores her and is very helpful. Jack, can make her laugh so hard, but then, he'll smack her in the head. He just doesn't seem to get being gentle!
  • She is going to sleep on her own now, about 75% of the time. But, I still love to rock her. But now, I usually rock her for about 5-10 minutes, and then put her in bed, and she goes to sleep on her own.
  • She adores her Da Da. Lights up every time she sees him. Once he's home, she doesn't really want me to do anything for her. Probably because he's so smitten with her...
  • Grammy or "Daaaa" is a close second to DaDa. Again, she knows who will hold her endlessly, give her whatever she wants and dote on her every whim :) She's a smart little cookie!

We are loving our sweet girl!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Schoolhouse is Open for business!

First Day of homeschool!
Hayden is officially a Kindergartner!
Teacher Mommy and hayden (photo by Jack, age 3)
Jack and Mommy (bedhead and all!) photo by Hayden-mommy looks kinda tired!!
School table- I love this old blue-green canning jar!
Learning new words with scrabble tiles (much cheaper than banana grams. I bought at a garage sale for 50 cents!)

Mama's book of Lesson Plans and Instruction guides (I just can't live with a plain white binder. CAN'T. It says, Learning, Laughing, Loving, Living on it.)
Hayden's binder-He is OBSESSED with riding this quad, so he loves this pic of himself!
I added little tabbed dividers for his worksheets and writing so we can keep it all in one place.

We started school today. It was overall, good. We started our day praying together and reading a Bible story, which I loved. We did some language arts, and worked on some new words. Hayden had fun making -AT words with old scrabble tiles. It was fun to see him put together the concept of changing just one letter makes a whole new word. Last summer I bought this really raggedy scrabble game for 50 cents at a garage sale, knowing I could use those tiles for something! They came in handy for this activity of spelling new words by changing out the first letter.  Then he was able to read me a story about Pat, the Fat Rat :) He was quite proud, and so was I! My baby can read! We did a few other activities, math, history, science, and played at the park. Great day! We tackled school activities during Lucy's naps, which worked well for today. I think the boys will both be fresher in the mornings, but Math + snack was a good combo. They counted marshmallows while doing worksheets and were happy as can be this afternoon. They were a little tired, but that worked well for some quiet read-aloud time of me reading to them.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"I go to the sea to breathe"- Maryanne Rademacher Hershey

This is a rambler, I'll just warn you. Get out now. My brain is about to spill and spew my week of painting and thinking about the Sea.

Paint. I like it. Spray, latex, acrylic, all of it. Since we've been home for the majority of the last 3 months, I've been staring at my walls, over analyzing their colors. My furniture. My picture name it, I've thought about painting it.

Our recent decision to homeschool this year, gave me the last bit of justification I wanted needed to go for it. I ripped up nasty stained carpet in our family room. We had discussed it, but it was one of those days where I was feeling a little stir crazy. Matt was gone for a few hours, and when he came home, the carpet and padding was rolled up in the garage. He came in and said, "Um, so we're going for it, huh?" My sweet husband. He tolerates loves me and my hairbrained ideas. You see, our carpet has been ugly since we moved in. Our precious children nastified the light beige carpet in about 3.2 months of living here (3 years ago). We knew there was concrete under it, which we fantasized about staining. We had fairytale dreams of lovely coffee color stained concrete...beautifully finished. Fast forward to the day I ripped up the carpet. The dudes who did the remodeling of our home (before we owned it) thought that the middle of this concrete floor would be the perfect place to spray paint the trim for the house. So, there was some lovely white stripes in the center of the floor. My hubby scraped, sanded, stripped...for HOURS. About 12 hours total. And, they were still there. As were the cracks, chips and the like from the carpet tack strips that were nailed into the floor. So, after many attempts at beautifying it (and failing) we went to Home Depot and bought a $27 gallon of concrete floor paint in chocolate brown. 2 hours later, we're calling it done. We know our little hellions angels aren't done thrashing our home, so for now it's much easier to clean than beige carpet and it's now our school room/dining room.

For which we needed a new bigger table. Since we have virtually no budget for new furnishings, I bought a $20 craigslist table. Which needed guessed it, PAINT! And an armoire for the computer/office, to PAINT.

And now that you mention it, with the brown couches now in our "eucalyptus" colored living room, the black accent furniture doesn't really go, and it seems pretty dark in there. I should freshen that up too...white, i think. Oh, but shoot, my picture frames are all those'll need a quick shot of spray paint too.  Oh, and that frame sitting empty in the closet, we should really put some new art in there....blah blah blah.

My hands and feet have perma white droplets on them from all the primering and painting I did this week. Still have some loose ends to tie up, but all in the name of homeschool, I've been on a mini rampage to get our house "settled" and ready for school. My friend recently told me, "you're a project girl". Yes, yes, i am. I like quick, easy to reap the rewards of my effort. PROJECTS.

I've also been inspired recently (probably since we've been home. ALOT.) that I wanted our home to reflect us a little more. I'm cheap thrifty. I rarely pay full price for anything. Heck, I rarely buy anything for our home that is NEW. Craigslist and Goodwill are my two favorite places to shop (which probably reflects in my fashion or lack thereof). So, I paint. Initially, I painted most things black. Black hides alot of ugly. But, main living area was starting to feel dark. We aren't dark people. We love the outdoors, we love LOVE the beach. Now, I don't exactly want our home to scream "beach house", but I crave for our home to be a soothing and comforting place to land. I grew up vacationing at the beach, several times a year. One of the first moments in my own journey of faith was at the beach. Matt and I's first date was at the beach. We continue to go the beach often. I realized through this adoption process, when things are hard, and I feel like I can't breathe, I go to the beach. And then I can. Breathe in, Breathe out. And the world seems right again. As soon as my lungs catch my first breath of beachy salty air and the sound of the ocean hits my ears, I can feel the weight of the world lifting off me. ....all that to say, I want a little of that in my house. So...this week, I've been rearranging furniture, painting, lightening up our world. Trying to get some of that sweet sense of freshness in my living room. So, I'm thinking natural, sea like colors. The color of sea glass, sand, grass in the dunes, ocean foam, driftwood. It's like therapy for me, only a lot cheaper, because I found most of it on craigslist or goodwill :)

in all my gusto, I didn't take any before pictures, but I will post some afters. You would think being home for 3months, my house would be all neat and orderly. The reality of 3 kids, and really not a ton of routine in our life (other than nap schedules and bed times), our house been been a disaster zone. Matt going back to work and school starting was the kick in the rear I needed to get out of "adjustment" zone, and back into "structure" zone. We aren't super structured people, we are pretty easy going and laid back, but we are creatures of habit. We like our routine. I'm actually really looking forward to school starting up and getting back into somewhat of a "normal" feeling life. The HUGE downside is, Matt is back to work (which, is good, of course). But, he's been home for almost 3 months with us, every day. I love that part of him being a teacher, and this year, it was absolutely divine timing for our life. It's been so fantastic just being together for the summer. He started back to work this week, and I realized on Tuesday, something just seemed off. Then it hit me...I missed my MAN. We really hadn't been apart for MONTHS! We've never ever had that before. Usually he picks up a summer job and keeps working off an on all summer. It's been FANTASTIC. We truly love hanging out together. We LIKE each other. Heck, we LOVE each other :) I am going to miss you, honey!

OK, that turned into one really long, rambling post, without even a fun picture to break it up. Ok, I'll throw one in, it's what I'm framing on my wall. Cannon Beach, Oregon...a really cool driftwood bench that is near our favorite little coffee shop. CB is our favorite beach town. It kinda feels like home, every time we go there. I took this picture in April, when we went down to breathe when we found out we didn't get through MOWA for our court date. I felt like I was suffocating in adoption land (dramatic, I know. People have had it far worse than us).  But, good ol' CB ocean air, togetherness, and some time soaking up the Lord's creation was just what we needed. Now on the other side of that, I want to remember how far the Lord has brought us. How perfect his timing is, and how joyful we are that he is in control, not us.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 10- Orphanage visits, heading home

I forgot to journal this was a blur.

We spent a bit of time in the morning visiting a few Addis orphanages. That's not something I'll soon forget. I can't post pics of the little ones at the orphanages, but this will give you the idea of what it's like.

One of things I can't stop thinking about is this baby room. Full, FULL of babies. Babies in wet diapers, babies with bottles propped up. There had to be over 35-40 babies, some two or more to a bed. Two ladies doing their darndest to keep up with diapers and bathing. I can still see the sweet, tiny little faces. Who knows how old any of them were, but I spent a while looking at this little one, trying to coax a smile that never came. She seemed sick, glossy eyed, and coughing. I don't think these precious babes ever really get held or nurtured. They are always in their cribs unless being changed or bathed (which is probably not often with only two ladies to care for them all). Matt stood for 5 minutes trying to coax a smile from a sweet little girl on the changing station, waiting her turn for a new diaper. He seriously tickled her feet for 5 minutes before he got half a smile. These sweet babes just don't know how to engage. They don't really fuss or cry, because I doesn't really do them any good.

Kebebe Tsehai infant room

I wish we could have done this visit earlier in the week, so I could have gone back for a second visit with my wits about me. The first time was honestly overwhelming. I didn't quite know how to respond to it. I was fighting back tears most of the time.

Here is a toddler room at the same place.
We also visited Kolfe Boys Home. This place felt hopeful to me...good stuff happening there. More could be done...we were amazed at the amount of Shiro and Injera it took to feed these boys lunch.
this seems a little decieving, think the size of a family size pizza, that's how big one injera is.
cafeteria at Kolfe
soccer field at Kolfe
We had lunch with a few of the families at Island Breeze, which was delish. really good food, wished we'd gone there earlier in the week. Then we headed back to the Bejoe to finish packing and say our goodbyes.
Bettie, Lucy's Gladney caregiver for the week
The Bejoe Guest House- our room was on the bottom left
Lucy's crib at the Bejoe
Our golden bed at the Bejoe (with our luggage)

We headed to the airport for our long journey home...first leg was to Dubai. We spent a few hours there trying to sleep unsuccessfully in our hotel room, and then another 16 hours to LA. Then, we layed over for a couple hours, and a two hour ride to PDX. LOOOONG ride home, but so very worth it!
yikes. Mama looks tired already, and we haven't even boarded the plane!
Us, Mark and Heidi (middle), and Travis and Lisa...waiting to board the Emirates flight to Dubai!

Previous travel posts:
Day 1-Hello From Addis!
Day 2- Gondar 
     I also had two jet lagged attempts at blogging Gondar, if you care to read)
Day 3- Lucy Day!
Day 4- Family Bonding Day
Day 4-Life with Lucy Melat
Day 5- Gladney Care Center Visit and Top View
Day 5-Life with Lucy part 2
Day 6-U.S. Embassy , Holy Trinity Church, & Fasika
Day 7- Birth Family Meeting 
Day 8- Souvenir Shopping and Resort Dinner
Day 9- Shopping and sightseeing

Day 9- Museum, Zoo, Entoto Mountain

from my journal:
Today we left Melat with a caregiver (so hard to do, but nice to get out of the walls of the guesthouse!)
Abiey and Matt
Abeiy and I at Entoto Mountain

Our driver took us all around Addis to Entoto Mountain, the Lion Zoo, and the National Museum, some classic Addis tourist stops. Entoto Mountain had a great view of the city and the fresh air alone made it worth the quick trip up there (Addis is very polluted with diesel fumes and dirty dusty air).  It was only about 20 minutes from the Bejoe Guesthouse.

The National Museum is home to "Lucy" the famous human skeleton. She had nothing to do with our picking "lucy" for our girls name, but we thought it was a must see. It was neat to see some of the Ethiopian relics and historical artifacts, although we found it a bummer that it is all so poorly preserved. Lots of neat art to see, and the thrones of the Emperor/Empress and traditional clothing.

The Lion Zoo is home to Abyssinian Lions, unique to Ethiopia we were told. Our driver, Abeiy was quite proud of the zoo, and showed us around to all the animals there. It was not quite like our Oregon Zoo, but was interesting and fun to go somewhere our friend/driver wanted to show us.

Rodeo Addis :)
roadside stand
We picked up a few more souvenirs and had lunch at a spot Abeiy thought we'd like, Rodeo Addis, A Texas Style restaurant. They played american country music and we ate yummy cheeseburgers. We have yet to use our cipro, so we were feeling brave and went for the beef! Abeiy knew we like country music, and though this place would be up our alley! It was pretty awesome, and at a time when we were craving an "american" meal, it tasted pretty darn good.

Now we're relaxing, enjoying our last afternoon at the Bejoe. We also had coffee and chocolate croissants at La Parisienne. I wish I'd known about this place sooner, it was SO GOOD! the macchiatos were amazing and the croissants (with CHOCOLATE, which we've had a very hard time finding in ET) were sooooo tasty!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 8-Shopping, Coffee, & fancy dinner

Daddy and his sweet girl

from my journal:

We spent the morning at a local church bazaar doing some souvenir shopping. It's on the last Saturday of the month, from 8am-12pm at the evangelical church. All the vendors are african non profits, benefitting various causes. It was so great to get handmade items and know our money was going to a good cause. We bought most of our souvenirs there. We got these really cool wooden salad tongs/bowls, coffee ceremony items, a few toys, and a clay nativity set.

We did a little more shopping at some souvenir shops for a few more items, like silver crosses, tshirts, other Ethiopian goodies. We also went to Tamoca again, and got some coffee beans for home as well as a few macciatos. Delish.

The three of us!
one of the suites at the resort  

In the afternoon, we headed out in a van with the other families and Travis to a resort for dinner. I can't for the life of me remember the name of it (it wasn't Dreamland). It was beautiful, delicious, and so nice to relax, breathe fresh air and enjoy some good company. I would love to spend a few days there someday! It was about an hour drive out of Addis, but the van we rode in had A/C which was SO nice! It was really really nice, the food was excellent and about 450birr per couple.

Previous posts on our trip, in case you missed them!

Day 1-Hello From Addis!
Day 2- Gondar 
     I also had two jet lagged attempts at blogging Gondar, if you care to read)
Day 3- Lucy Day!
Day 4- Family Bonding Day
Day 4-Life with Lucy Melat
Day 5- Gladney Care Center Visit and Top View
Day 5-Life with Lucy part 2
Day 6-U.S. Embassy , Holy Trinity Church, & Fasika
Day 7- Birth Family Meeting 
Day 8- Souvenir Shopping and Resort Dinner

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 7- Birth Family Meeting

From my journal:
This morning we met Melat's maternal Aunt. She seemed very very happy to see Melat, although baby girl didn't seem to remember her at all. She hadn't seen her since her relinquishment in November, 6 months ago. She traveled all the way from Sudan to meet us and say goodbye to Melat. She was returning immediately to her work in Sudan on a plantation.
Melat was very nervous to be out of my arms!

She seemed much younger than we expected. She seemed like a teenager to us, although our paperwork said otherwise. She seemed to love Melat so much. She said Melat had her mother's nose. We think she also has the family feet, because her Aunt had the same long narrow feet Melat has.

(I am editing some here, becuase there's just some of the story we feel is just to private to publish for the world to read).

We spent the remainder of the day relaxing and recovering from the morning family meeting. It was wonderful and hard. So glad we had the opportunity, but it was exhausting. So much life our little one has already been through.

We made a quick stop to the Kechene girls shop and the Gladney care center to snap a few photos of one more babe. Turns out, he was in Melat's old room, and the caregivers, in their very broken english, asked me who's mother I was. I said, "Melat" and they lit up and said, "May-lie, Oh, May-lie!" and made kissing noises, and I got the gist that they wanted me to give her their love. They obviously had loved her well, which makes my heart so full.
one of Melat's former caregivers
another one of Melat's caregivers...she was especially giving the kisses and loves to her!

Our little girl is so sweet- a little bundle of sunshine. She's so smiley and happy, we are totally enjoying getting to know her.

previous posts:

Day 1-Hello From Addis!
Day 2- Gondar 
     I also had two jet lagged attempts at blogging Gondar, if you care to read)
Day 3- Lucy Day!
Day 4- Family Bonding Day
Day 4-Life with Lucy Melat
Day 5- Gladney Care Center Visit and Top View
Day 5-Life with Lucy part 2
Day 6-U.S. Embassy, Holy Trinity Church, and Fasika
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