Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Re: Life with Lucy Melat

We are doing so great. We had a very low key day yesterday, just hanging around the guesthouse. We are loving every minute with our girl. She seems to be attaching well to us both...Matt is enjoying her saying Da-Da, and she enjoys fun time with him, when she wants to be comforted, she seems to prefer mama, which I, of course, LOVE. She is such a happy smiley girl, we are eating it up. She is just a little ray of sunshine!
This morning we visited the Gladney Care Center. What an amazing place! The babies are so incredibly loved...moms and dads who are waiting, OH MY. Your babes are precious!! We so enjoyed loving on them. We totally spaced it and left the care packages at our guest house...but don't worry, our driver kindly went back to get them. I delivered them to your sweet sweet babies. Prepare your hearts to be totally melted, those babies are just amazing.
We were kind of nervous about how hard the day would be for miss Lucy Melat. I mean, really, how confusing! For months she's with these women, then she's delivered to us, we have some wonderful days together, and then we take her back?What in the world must she be thinking? She was very happy to see her caregiver, but kept turning back to look for us. I assured her that we would not leave with out her. She grinned and reached for me, and I kissed her and patted her hands and she seemed ok. Her caregiver was so so sweet and obviously loved her so much. She wrote her a really precious letter telling her how much she loved her and how they would see each other again when they meet God. Really, how sweet! She loved her so much. She kept for awhile, and then brought her back,and she was so happy to see us. She immediately reached for me and melted into me. I was so releived and felt like she is getting it, we are her mommy and daddy. She snuggled down and sort of was skittish the rest of the day, like she thought we might leave without her. It was great to hang out with the Gladney staff we've heard so much about. They are really incredible people, who are working hard for all of us and our kiddos. Amazing people!
We had lunch at Top View, which felt like a place we could eat whatever we wanted without worrying. It was a very nice place, felt very "western" and like something we were used to . And...incredible view of Addis. We took the little Miss back the care center to visit the Gladney Dr. Poor girly has a case of diahreah (i never know how to spell that!). She's on some medication, and he wanted us to check in today. She is happy as can be, but every time she eats, seriously like clockwork, a little explosion follows. We haven't had any blowouts yet, thank goodness! She is doing great though. As we drove home today, I was emotional. I felt like today, she chose us. We have wanted her for so long, but today, she WANTED US. It was wonderful. It feels so right. I can't really describe it.  We knew we already loved her, but didn't know her. But, she feels easy to know, and already we've learned so much about her. It feels just perfect. She is busy but so happy. She is trying her best to crawl around, which really feels like is new since we got here. I think she's been on the verge for a few weeks, but she's gotten alot more confident in the two days we've been together. It's so amazing what the undivided attention of a mom and dad does for a little one. We so take it for granted.
Today did remind us though, (and even around those here at the guest house) how important it will be for us to lay low for awhile. It's as if every new face makes her wonder "are you going to give me to them?" She has changed hands so many times in her little life, and I think it's a genuine feeling she's having. She wants us. She's comfortable with us, and she fears that she won't stay with us. It's horrible to watch your child wonder that. But, it's an honor to reassure her, we're not going anywhere with out her. We are here to stay. She is ours and we are hers. I can honestly say that we love her everybit as if I gave birth to her myself. (I hope that doesn't sound weird to say...I genuinely hoped and prayed it would be that way, but honestly, I wondered if it would be the same). We are completely in love with our daughter and can't imagine life without her already!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Life with Lucy Melat

Life with Lucy Melat is so right. That's the best way I can describe it, it just feels RIGHT. Like it's always been.


We arrived from Gondar late (which as we have learned, is the Ethiopian norm). Apparently our flight from Gondar to Addis was rescheduled, and when we arrived to the airport in Gondar, they asked if we had been contacted, because that flight was rescheduled. They wanted us to come at 8am instead. So, for 3.5 hours, we waited in Gondar for the next flight. We made it back to the Bejoe about 20 minutes before Travis arrived with the babies. I was nervous/excited/anxious. My hands were shaking…then we heard the horn as we waited in the yard. The gate opened, and Travis pulled in. Melat was asleep, and Travis carried her up in the carseat and told me to go ahead and take her out. She'd cried herself to sleep on the way over, but had already had her nap.


I took her out, and she seemed overwhelmed, but my nervousness disappeared the minute she was in my arms. She started to cry a little, but Genet, the lovely gal who runs Bejoe, spoke some Amharic words that calmed her down. She snuggled into me, but was still very wary of us. I handed her to Matt and she freaked out. We could see on her face that she was thinking, "I don't think so, Big White Guy!" I took her back, and she snuggled into my shoulder and continued to fuss off and on, and 30 minutes later she fell asleep. We think she was in a stress induced coma/nap (said jokingly, but kinda true!) She woke up two hours later all smiles, and it's been great ever since. She is more beautiful that we could have imagined. She is now pretty fond of Matt, and she even says Da-Da. It was a fluke at first, but we caught it right away, and kind of made a big deal about it. Now she says Da-Da and then looks right a Matt for a reaction. It's just perfect. She is pretty snuggly with me and touches my face a lot. She is making great eye contact with us both, which is so sweet, and a credit to the sweet caregivers at Gladney. She sleeps fantastic, has two little bity teeth coming in. She sucks her two fingers when she's going to sleep. She is just amazing!


Gondar was intense. So much to say, but I'm still processing so much I can't even begin to think what to write about it.


Pictures take forever to upload...I'm sorry, but I can't seem to get them to go! I will keep trying! Eryn

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 1- Hello from Addis!

We made it to Ethiopia!  Addis is reminding us alot of our trip to Nepal and Kathmandu...lots of people, lots of crazy traffic, but seems more modern that Kathmandu. Our driver,Abiey is terrific (pronounced Abby) (Gayla, he was so excited about your package!!)...he has helped us get everything we need. Our first Ethiopian meal was pizza and then we had some yummy carribean style bbq for dinner (we decided to brave it and go for meat!). So far so good. We are really tired, and will be heading to bed soon. We are leaving the guest house at 5am for our flight to Gondar.  I am excited and trying to prepare my heart for seeing Melat's hometown and all that is there. I've heard the hospital is pretty hard to see, but I still want to see it. WE want to capture as many peices of her life story as we can. I am trying to prepare for what could be an emotional day. I got all teary just hitting the ground in Ethiopia...I think the flood gates have cracked open. It's hard to believe we are finally HERE. The people are so beautiful and friendly. We are trying to take it all in.
Dubai was something else. HOT. It was about 100 late into the night, and still hot at 6am! The airport is very....shiny. Shiny floors, walls ceilings. There are huge sparkly pillars everywhere, i joked that I think it might be made of diamonds. Seriously, the clocks on the walls are Rolex. Cell phones for sale were gold. ACTUAL GOLD. Crazy. But, we had great coffee there this morning, and it was cushy place to land for a few hours of sleep (the hotel, not the airport). Emirates is FANTASTIC. We really liked flying that airline. They are very friendly, great "entertainment" features, the long 15 hour flight actually went by pretty quickly. A few movies, a few naps, and we were in Dubai. I would recommend them.
Only two more days we have our hands on our sweet girl! It was surreal to be standing in Ethiopia, talking with Travis about plans for him to bring her to us. Can't wait!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane....

I can't believe the day has finally come! We are sitting here at the airport right now. Some friends of my mom's graciously donated guest passes to us to fly on Alaska for our domestic legs of the journey. It's looking good for us to get on the flight we wanted, we're the only standby passengers listed, and there's supposedly 9 open seats.

I had planned to take creative pictures of our luggage, us with our boys at the airport...but my brains turned to mush about 2pm yesterday, and I spaced it. Today we will arrive in Ontario,CA, spend some time with my sweet Uncle Bob and family and stay the night at his place. Then hopefully tomorrow, we'll get to take Matt's grandma, Nano, out to breakfast in Santa Monica, before heading to LAX. We are flying on Emirates for those of you adoptive fams who are wondering. We've heard great things, and for us on the West coast, it was our least expensive option (especially since we had use of guest passes to get to LA). We'll fly thursday from LA to Dubai, spend a night in Dubai, and then off to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Saturday morning. (That sounds weird, I know....we lose several hours and a night flying to Dubai). We'll arrive in Dubai on Friday night).

We'll spend one night in Addis, then we fly to Gondar (Where Lucy was born and spent the first 3 months of her life) on Sunday morning. We'll spend a day seeing the hospital she was born at, the orphanage where she spent a few weeks, and some cultural sights and spend the night and return to Addis to meet our beautiful girl on Monday morning.

Love to you all, thanks for your sweet comments, voicemails, and emails over the past few days. We are feeling the love (and sorry if we didn't get back to you!) and prayers. We know that we would not be here without all of you, and the Lord using you in our lives and Lucy's. Much love to you all! I will try to update from Ethiopia!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Family Update...if you love us--please read :)

Dear Family & Friends--this is long, but we so appreciate you reading about where we're at.

After almost two years of waiting, we are finally on our way to bring Lucy Melat home! We begin our journey to meet Lucy on May 19th. We know that each of you receiving this letter has, in some way, supported, loved and prayed for us. Because we know your love for Lucy and our family, we want to share with you some information that we hope will best equip everyone around hwe to assist us in laying the strongest and healthiest foundation - emotionally, physically and spiritually.

In many ways, Lucy will be like the boys who entered our family through birth; we will parent like other families as we bring all of our children up in the love of the Lord and family. But, there will be a few differences in the beginning. For many months now, we have been learning about bonding and attachment in children, especially those coming home through adoption from an international orphanage/ foster care setting.

While there is a lot we have yet to learn, we are confident of this: God's design is perfect! His plan for parents and children is a beautiful and meaningful picture of His love for us. Attachment between a parent and child occurs over time when a baby has a physical or emotional need and communicates that need. The primary caretaker (usually mommy) meets the need and soothes the child. This repeats between a parent and child over and over to create trust within the child for that parent; the baby is hungry, cries in distress, mom nurses & calms the baby - which teaches her that this person is safe and can be trusted. By God's very design, an emotional foundation is laid in the tiniest of babies, which will affect their learning, conscience, growth and future relationships. The security provided by parents will, ultimately, give children a trust for and empathy towards others.

Children who come home through international adoption have experienced interruptions in this typical attachment process. The loss of a biological mother at an early age can be a major trauma on their little hearts. The good news is that we can now, as Lucy's parents and forever family, rebuild attachment and help her heal from these emotional wounds. When Lucy comes home, she will be overwhelmed. Everything around her will be new and she will need to learn not just about her new environment, but also about love and family. She has not experienced God's design for a family in an orphanage/foster care center setting. The best way for us to form a parent/child bond is to be the ones to hold, snuggle, instruct, soothe, feed and change her. As this pattern repeats between us, she will be able to learn that Matt and I as her parents are safe to trust and to love deeply. We are, essentially, recreating the newborn/parent connection. Once Lucy starts to establish this important bond, she will then be able to branch out to other, healthy relationships.

Lucy will have, what may seem like, a lot of structure, boundaries and close proximity to us. Please know that these decisions are prayerfully and thoughtfully made choices based on loads of reading, research, prayer, and instruction from trusted adoption mentors. We will be doing what we believe is best to help her heal from those interruptions in attachment as effectively as possible. Why are we telling you all of this? Because you will actually play an awesome and vital role in helping our Lucy settle in, heal, and lay a foundation for the future. There are a few areas in which you can help us:

The first is to set physical boundaries. It will help us immensely if adults limit what is typically considered normal, physical contact with Lucy. This will (for a while) include things like holding, excessive hugging and kissing. Children from orphanage settings are prone to attach too easily to anyone and everyone - which can slow down the development of important, primary relationship with parents. Waving, blowing kisses or high fives are perfectly appropriate and welcomed! Lucy should know that the people with whom he interacts are our trusted friends.

Another area is redirecting Lucy's desire to have her physical and emotional needs met by anyone (including strangers) to having us meet them. Orphans often have so many caretakers that they, as a survival mechanism, become overly charming toward all adults. A child struggling to learn to attach may exhibit indiscriminate affection with people outside of their family unit. It may appear harmless and as if they are "very friendly" but this actually could be dangerous for Lucy. This is a tough one to share, because it was so different when Hayden and Jack were born, as well as when many of your kiddos were born, and we shared in the joy of that with you! Please understand that we want nothing more than to have Lucy be hugged, cuddled and cherished by ALL of you (we are sure she’ll be irresistible and huggable). But until she has a firm understanding of family and primary attachments, we would be so grateful if you direct her to us if you see that she is seeking out food, affection or comfort.

We are incredibly blessed to have so many loved ones around us. We couldn't ask for a better extended family & circle of friends for our sweet girl. Thank you so much for your love and support during our long journey to Lucy.

We think we’ll be arriving in Portland in the late evening on June 1st. (We are flying standby from LA, so we’re not exactly sure). We would love to see friendly faces at the airport when we arrive home. My mom will be updating my facebook and sending an email when we confirm that we got on a flight. I will most likely be carrying Lucy in a carrier and we won’t be passing her around. We are so excited for Hayden and Jack to finally meet their sister for the first time!

We will be limiting our visitors and outings for the first few weeks/months at home so Lucy can adjust and attach to us first, and then we’ll be introducing her to our many loving friends who are dying to greet her! If you have any questions please feel free to ask at any time.

We plan to update our blog occasionally as we have internet access during our trip. If you want to follow us, visit

Much love to you all…Matt and Eryn Kesler

Bags are packed...

It's hard to believe on Wednesday, we're heading to the airport!

Our bags are packed, the baby seat is in the car, we are ready to go...

After so many months, it's finally really real. REALLY real. I'm a mix of emotions right now, excited, nervous to leave my boys for 2 weeks (although I know they'll be so happy with Grammy and Grandpa), and hoping that Lucy Melat will like us :).

I am excited to visit Gondar and see where our little girl's journey of life began. I keep thinking back to the many months of anticipation and waiting, feeling like we were never getting on a plane. Like the wait just might be for nothing real. And now, here we are. Packing sweet little baby things into a suitcase. I can see that lawn at the Bejoe House. I can picture my sweet girl. I can't wait to feel her 16.7 lbs in my arms!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

really REALLY great post

Not by me :) But HERE. If you are adopting, have adopted, or think you may have the slightest teeniest bit of intrest, read it. DO it!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

tears and hope

Today was a hard day. My long time friends, Steve and Vikki Jensen said goodbye to their 9 year old son, Luke, today. Steve and Vikki were youth leaders when Matt and I were in high school, and I've been blessed to call Vikki a friend as I entered adulthood.

Luke has battled AML Leukemia for the 2 and half years, and today, he went to be with Jesus. I am sitting here tonight and I think the weight of what it means to say goodbye to your child really means has finally surfaced. Steve and Vikki have honored the Lord every step of this journey with Luke. Luke LOVED the Lord and was so brave and fought hard. His siblings gave their bone marrow. Families and community have rallied. And today, Luke was healed. Thanking the Lord we have the Hope of meeting this brave boy again in Heaven. Joyful he is in pain no longer. Deeply grieving what my friends are going through.

Tonight, I squeezed my boys tighter, and had more patience than usual for thier nightly antics. I was thankful. I missed my daughter, hating that any number of days of her life have gone by without us kissing her goodnight. It seems so odd, that as they say goodbye to their precious boy, we are welcoming a new life into our family. Can't help but say to the Lord, "WHY??" Why do children have to get cancer? Why didn't the treatments work? Why, Why, Why did my friends have to say goodbye to their sweet boy? I don't understand. Through my tears, I do trust God. That he sees more than we do. I do believe we have precious hope of eternity with those we love who believe. I am so thankful that Jesus came, so we could have eternity with our Creator. So we can experience heaven with those we have loved on earth.

That hope gives me peace about the future. It doesn't take away the pain of the loss of this precious boy who impacted so many lives. Here's a snippet of the Jensen's story today in the local paper.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Baby Photos/Care Packages? I deliver!

I know there are several of you out there who'd like some baby pictures of your little sweetie pies who are waiting for you in Ethiopia and/or a care package delivered. We feel INCREDIBLY blessed to have so many wonderful pictures of our girl, thanks to recently traveling families. We would be SO honored to pay it forward by taking some pics of your sweet babies. Email a photo and your childs info, in this format please, and I'll do my best to get some great photos and I'll be sure to deliver your little bundles of love to your babies!

Child's Name
Gladney Foster Care Home #___
Your name/email

email me at, I can't wait to meet all of your little sweet things!
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