Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ethiopia Day 4-Family bonding Day

I can't believe we have been home for 4 weeks! That just seems crazy. So, now I will officially try to get my Ethiopia blogging done! I already blogged about Gondar, and our meeting Lucy Melat.

Technically this was our 4th day in Ethiopia. We didn't go anywhere at all, we just spent the day doting on Lucy and getting to know her. It was a really great day! We spent lots of time out side in the garden at the Bejoe, relaxing and getting some air. Here's some things we learned about our girl that day:

  • she is a happy smiley girl, she only cried when hungry or tired (both easily fixable!)
  • She was starting to crawl in little rough movements and bouncing on all 4's. It was amazing that our one on one attention to encourage her, and how fast her skills were improving just in 24 hours!
  • She could sit, but was not really solid.
  • She likes her head to be jammed into the corner of the crib when she sleeps.
  • Her favorite toy was a red rattle we brought from home that was also Hayden's favorite and Jack's!
  • She loves bathtime.
  • She can say Da-Da. It was not intentional at first, but has quickly realized it means Daddy.
We spent the day laying low, totally enjoying our girl. We ate pizza from Rico's for dinner (an easy to get to place from Bejoe with lots of choices). It was a great day.

Her tongue was ALWAYS out. We weren't sure if it was a nervous thing, or just feeling out her two new teeth.

Felt so so right having her in our arms!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Teething or Greiving? Heck if I know.

Oh, sweet girl. We had a major hour long melt down at naptime yesterday. My hunch is teething, since a combo of Orajel and Tylenol seemed to quiet her down after we realized she was yanking on her gums with her two little fingers. She's done this a few times this week. Her mad drooling (for weeks, now) and the gum tugging seem to lead us to the teething conclusion.

Lucy hasn't really had any major "grieving" moments yet. There was a few short times in Ethiopia in the middle of the night, when we thought it could be confusion/grief, but they were pretty short lived. We completely realize this doesn't mean it won't happen down the road. For now, she seems quite happy to be here with us.

She is getting so so busy, which we think is a combo of development of physical skills and her growing confidence in her place in our family. Daily, she is increasing her volume and voice...she is quickly learning that when she shrieks loudly it gets our attention. She seems pretty darned pleased with herself when that happens. Again, I think she's becoming more and more "herself" in our presence...while it seems kind of new behavior to us, I think it's the real Lucy coming out as she feels secure in her place here.

Yesterday I also really tried to get her to make good eye contact with me. She has made eye contact with us all along, but for short little burst of about 3-4 seconds. Feeding is the perfect time to really work on it with her since she's laying in my arms, facing me for a good 15 minutes. So, I've been really talking to her, getting her to look me in the eye. I stroke her cheek and speak sweetly and softly to her...and the length of time she'll look me in the eye has really increased over the course of the day. Love those snuggly moments.

She seems to prefer us to anyone. Now that she's been with us for one whole month (today!) I'm feeling better about branching out a tiny bit. (She's hardly been out of the house!) I still am way protective about others holding her, my mom being about the only exception. She is always delighted to see her grammy! Even that, we keep it fairly short. While I'm so glad she's feeling comfortable, I would still like to see more of her checking in with us for "permission" by making eye contact with us. There's no doubt when someone new comes around she turns herself into me or Matt for security. She did alot more of the eye contact "permission" in the first two-three weeks, but is seeming alot more comfortable in the past week. I'm not really sure how long that is supposed to last (I'm open for input here from you more experienced adoptive moms). Really it's only with my mom that she really goes for it without checking with me or matt, which is maybe totally fine. She still will turn back to me after a few minutes and want back in my arms. My mom stayed with us for a week after we came home, and we knew after consulting with our social worker/counselor that since my mom is such a regular and close part of our life, it was ok for her to be here with us and be a part of Lucy's "inner circle" of trusted people. With others, she doesn't really want anyone else to hold her and is happy to stay in my arms or close to me. It's a little tricky because she's so mobile and busy...hard to know sometimes what is personality and what is "adoption" stuff. I think she's doing so good. So much change in her life, and she's adapted incredibly well.

Bed time is interesting, right now our routine is to rock her in her room for about 20 minutes before she dozes off. We've gotten into a pretty firm routine, we walk in her room, grab her blanket out of her crib, give her a little swaddle (which she protests, but then instantly settles down when I pick her up) and then we sit in the chair with the big soft snuggly blanket, which we tuck under her face on my chest (or Matt's). The girl LIKES her softy stuff on her face to go to sleep. We realized in ET that the beds at the care center had these really plush blankets on the mattresses, tucked in around the edges. So did the bed at the guest house. So, she is used to going to sleep against some really soft texture. As soon as we sit and get settled in the chair, her eyes get heavy and droopy, but it still takes her a bit to fall asleep. We've tried putting her in bed before she's all the way asleep, but she always gets more awake and gets herself all playful and takes forever to fall asleep, and usally gets worked up and needs us to come rock her to sleep. We've decided for now, we'll just rock her to sleep. It seems so against all the "sleep experts" advice to do so, but we are feeling fine about. I think for her, and a child in her circumstances, it's healthy that she's showing dependance on us to comfort her and help her fall asleep. We'll deal with her going to sleep on her own down the road. For now, when I rock her, I can't help but think of all the months she's fallen asleep on her own in a crib, without a mama to rock her. At first it was really frusterating that she wouldn't settle down and go to sleep. We fussed around trying to figure out what works and finally settled on just doing a very predictable routine and sticking with it, until she learned the cues that this means "TIME TO SLEEP!".

I have learned to relax, be ok with my boys watching 30 minutes of video or cartoon if that's what it takes for us to have 30 quiet minutes to get her to sleep. Those are 30 precious minutes of snuggling and talking sweetly...which 3 times a day, is an hour and a half of really sweet time with our girl. And, some days, it's really nice to have a forced 30 minutes of quiet relaxing time, in a dark, quiet room. I'm learning to find joy in the menial tasks and being home all the time, which is a challenge for this mom. The Lord is teaching me so much about just BEing. Not waiting. I have to untrain myself from waiting. It's been two years of waiting. Waiting for our homestudy to be done, paperwork to be finished, getting on the waitlist. Waiting for the time to go by on a waitlist. Waiting for court. Waiting for travel. Waiting to get home. Wait. Wait. Wait. Our nature is to be always looking foward to the next thing. For babies to be out of diapers. For kids to be in school. For the next bigger house with a better yard. For life to be easier....and those things will all likely come. But, I'm learning that the Lord is HERE. NOW.TODAY. Life isn't going to get normal like the normal we knew 2 months ago. Even though at times we really wish it could just feel normal, I know that in that normal, we were dying for our third child to be here. My normal needs to be leaning on Jesus for my strength, every day. Easy or hard. My day needs to be centered on his love and joy. The rest, we just have to let go of. Before we know it, we'll be into the next "season" of life, missing the 30 minutes of rocking my baby girl to sleep. My dependance needs to be on the Lord. Not on myself to keep it all under control. No matter what I can's just NOT under my control. I am learning to just keep it cool, ask the Lord for patience and grace for the demands of my day. I'm learning that my joy comes when I stop fighting for what I want the day to be about. The things I need to accomplish (or WANT to accomplish). That my day needs to be about loving and guiding my children through their day peacefully and joyfully. I have definitely not perfected that, but every day it's getting easier to let go of my expectations and just BE. I thought I already had learned that, but I guess we're never done learning what the Lord has for us :) A friend shared this blog post with me that says it so well! (Thanks Trish!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

My List

Got this from my friend Trish...she rocks.

Here's my version:
I am…. enjoying reading the Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
I think….I am done with 3 kids :)
I should….be folding laundry.
I dream…. about going to a photography workshop/mentoring session.
I want…. to be the greatest influence in my kids lives for Christ.
I know….I married the perfect man for me.
I don’t like….seeing moms smoke in a minivan full of children.
I smell….fabric softener.
I hear….my sweet girl gurgling and laundry tumbling in the dryer.
I fear….losing my role of influence in Hayden's life when he starts kindergarten.
I usually….forget what I came in here for.
I search….for my journal from Ethiopia, currently. I am scatterbrained. I lose things alot.
I miss…my friends. Adopting a baby means we are home. alot.
I always….get going on a project, and get distracted before I finish.
I regret….not going to college right after high school, and finishing.
I wonder….could homeschooling work for us?
I crave….living on some property where my kids can run around outside and explore daily.
I remember…. family vacations to the beach.
I need…. Jesus.
I forget…. that I need Jesus most of all.
I feel…. at peace. Humbled at where God has brought us.
I can….be crafty.
I can’t….do math.
I am happy…. when our family is enjoying eachothers company.
I lose…. my mind when my kids say, "mom. mom. mom. mom. mom....."
I sing….songs from Glee.
I listen…. to worship music. Matt Maher is my current fave.
I shop…. at the goodwill. alot.
I eat…. too many cookies.
I love….Twilight. Don't mock me.
I wish…. I could go on a photography equipment shopping spree.

My summer reading list:
Yes, I have already read Eclipse twice, but, I want to have it fresh in my mind when I see the movie next week! The Mission of Motherhood is so so good. Exactly what I need to be reading right now. Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child, is so good. Very helpful. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella was a great quick read. Loved it!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 3- Lucy Day!

We headed to the airport in Gondar to catch our flight to Addis at 9am, supposedly an hour before our flight. The funny thing was, there was no one there to check us in. So, we waited. We had expected that our flight could be delayed. Our flight was supposed to take off at 10am. About 10:30, an Ethiopian guy made his way to the desk. We got in line, and observed him hand writing tags for checked luggage. We chuckled to ourselves and say, "hey! it's Gondar! Of course they are handwriting the luggage tags!" Then we got to the front of the line...he said "no body contact you??" Apparently, the 10 am flight was cancelled and they had wanted us to arrive at 8am, which we would have been very happy to do since we wanted to get to Addis and back to our guest house before Travis brought our girl. BUT...of course, no one had contacted us. So...we sat there and waited for our flight that would depart "about" 12:30. And since every single clock (no lie) in the Gondar airport looks like this, it makes perfect sense.

I love that disclaimer....basically, when the plane gets here, you'll leave. So, he handed us our boarding passes, that looked like this: a blank peice of paper. We just smiled...and waited for the sound of a landing plane, and then we headed for the line. Go with the flow is the key to Gondar :)
We arrived in Addis (it's a short 1 hour flight) and met our driver. He took us straight to the Bjoe, where we got the word that Travis was about 10 minutes away with the babies! I instantly started to shake. I was SO nervous and excited. Travis pulled in, and told us that Melat (Lucy) was sleeping, and he'd bring up Travis and Lisa's baby first since she was awake. Then, he went back and got the carseat with our sweet little sleeping princess.
Apparently, she was not a big fan of the carseat/car, she had cried herself to sleep. Travis told me to go ahead and take her out. I knew that it was a recipe for disaster, her waking up to a stranger taking her out, but it was what it was. So, I went for it. As soon as I first touched her, my shaking stopped, and my nervousness disappeared. She was so warm and soft...and I picked her up and held her close. She was not at all sure what to think, but she was very cautious. She clung to me and was afraid at the same time (if you can't tell by the wrinkled brow). I held her and kissed her and smelled her for a minute. Then I handed her to Matt, and she FREAKED out.
That set her off and she cried for about a half hour, until she fell into a trauma induced looooong nap.
We were afraid that she'd wake up terrified, but eventually she woke up, and was all smiles and coos. Like we were exactly what she'd planned to wake up to. We fed her, and gave her a bath and she was ready for bed again. She slept well, waking up just once. A bottle soothed her quickly and she went right back to sleep. Sweet sweet girl, and we felt right at home with her right away. It was a great first day together! (she happened to be wearing a shirt that we sent her, but paired with some pants that looked like they'd fit a newborn in length! But...she is really little around, so the pants we sent would probably fall right off that cute little hiney) So, there it is. Day 1 with Lucy.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Today Lucy and I got to go to a fun playdate. These are some of the fantastic women I've met along the adoption journey through blogging. Most are local (except two who were visiting)...but most are local gals who have been an encouragement and inspiration to me along the way. It was SO fun to see all the beautiful blessings in the their mama's arms today.

I'm sure I was breaking all the rules by taking her "out" in a crowd today, but I couldn't resist THIS crowd. So fun to see all of you ladies today!

Everyone is asking how we are adjusting. I'm not gonna's wonderful and hard. We are so thrilled to have her HERE with us. It feels so right. BUT...the big BUT, is that three kids is just hard. The boys love her to bits...and it makes her and us a little crazy at times. Hayden melts down when she has to go down for a nap because, and I quote (in a screaming melting down voice), "I just love her SO SO MUCH. I just want to PLAY with her ALL. THE. TIME!" Pretty sure they think she's a new fantastic toy. We've got a lot of baby talk happening around here, and most of it's not coming from the baby. Emotions are high right now in all of us. We are sleeping really really well, and that makes everything seem more manageable. Lucy girl is napping about 4-5 hours a day average and sleeping about 12 hours a night. So, even if she's a pill the rest of the day, we can't complain! She is a happy smiley girl the majority of the time, even though she's teething like a madwoman and drooling like it's going out of style. Our neice Abby says "Auntie, Woocy is drippin". Our worst moments seem to be getting everyone to bed...all of us are just a mess by that point of the day. Energy is low for mom and day, and emotions are boiling over for all of us. But...the sweetest snuggles happen while tucking all the little nuggets into bed, and that never gets old. Lucy is a busy busy bee...she is crawling like crazy, pulling up on everything, including tackling our stairs (thankfully a short set of 3 steps). I'm pretty sure she'll be walking by her birthday. She is eating us out of house and home...powering down three "meals" a day along with 4 bottles a day. The girl likes to eat, which you would not know by looking at her skinny tall self. Well, a babe is calling....that's it for tonight!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

gondar part 2

We had a volunteer tour guide for the day, "Dave" was his name. He made sure we got every where we needed to go. (that's him in the photo with me below)...He was a young Gonder University Student studying to be a tourism guide :) He wanted to practice on us. He took us to the local Mercato (market) which was mostly closed, but we still go to see a few things, and a I bought a traditional head covering scarf. We also bought a $10 mini basket, which now seems ridiculous that we payed that much for a tiny handmade basket. But...oh well. Rookie mistake!







we loved the spices at the Mercato!





Me and Dave


















 baby goat


 little beauties who live in the shantys near the mercato



matt buying our ten dollar basket!



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

gondar part 1

How about in Gondar. Oh wait, back up. We thought it was really funny that when we had time to kill in Addis on our first day, we asked our driver to show us around the town, and he took us to the Sheraton. Ethiopians are quite proud of the sheraton...we just thought it was kind of funny to go straight to such an american place.

THEN, the next day, we went to Gonder. It was...hard. beautiful. Something I'll never forget. I can't locate my journal from our trip (UGH. REALLY want to find that!) so for now, pics will have to do. Many of these first ones are the view from our hotel, The Quara. It was "the nicest hotel in town" told to us by locals. It was relatively new, i think, and it cost us about $29 for the night we were there.

We spent the day visiting some places that were mentioned to us in Lucy's referral paperwork. We knew that she was born at the Gondar University Hospital. It was...honestly, horrible. I'm so glad we went to see it, but it broke my heart to picture Lucy's birthmother laboring there. It was built in 1955 and has never been updated. We really just wanted to see the outside and expected to find a waiting room or something inside. Not (sisters and husbands, etc) waited outside the building, and the laboring women were all in one "room" laboring on these old beat up gurneys. There appeared to be one staff woman (possibly a Dr?) in the room, with 4 women in active labor. We really didn't even want to see that, but they insisted on showing us right into the birth room! It was incredibly awkward, and these poor women looked at us like "who are the crazy white people??" We were to stunned to take any photos inside, and it felt incredibly disrespectul and intrusive to do so.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I am still digesting all that was Ethiopia. I CAN tell you that THIS
was one of the highlights of the trip for me...meeting and hugging
wonderful Heidi in person, and her two BEAUTIFUL boys. Miss you,
friends! Eryn

Thursday, June 3, 2010


(thank you to Lindsay Christ for the fab photos of our arrival home!)
Wow. What a stinking long trip home! Addis to Dubai=4 hours. Slept for 3 hours, departed Dubai at 8:30am. Dubai to LAX=16 hours (UGH-longest 16 hours of my life!). Hung out for a few hours in LAX. We were flying standby to portland and expected to wait til late at night to catch a flight, but we miraculously made it onto an oversold flight with about 6 standby passengers listed ahead of us! Only God!! LAX to Portland=2 hours. Arrived home to a happy crowd of loved ones cheering and hugging us! It was amazing. God is so good.

And now, we're trying to settle in, and since I can't sleep (up since 3:15--what is it about 3am that is the magic wake up time when you're jet lagged???) and since I'm still processing Ethiopia, I will give some of you future traveling families a few suggestions.

It was recommended to me to take 2 pepto caplets before each meal, and at least one bottle of Coke a day to avoid gettting sick. We did this religiously and we made it all week without touching our Cipro or getting sick. Seemed to work like a charm! We also avoided meat on most occasions, unless we felt really good about where we were eating. And...if we didn't feel great about where we were eating but had to eat something to not offend, we took an extra dose of pepto after the meal also. Seemed to work great...however, this much pepto will turn your poop black. Just sayin'! It was worth it.

Another family mentioned that they took some of those Tuna Salad lunch kits, and I thought it was a good idea. I took 4 packs (2 cans of tuna/crackers each pack) and I wish I'd taken double that! It came with a little personal size can of tuna, crackers, and a light mayo and relish back and a little plastic tub to mix it in. Tuna is not my go-to food at home, but it tasted heavenly to us in Ethiopia. We also took some Trader Joe's Easy Mac and it also tasted really good to us! We stayed at BJoe Guest House, which was fantastic. They provided a tasty breakfast every day, which was our favorite meal of the day. We bought bottled water from the BJoe by the 6 pack for about $5 each. We went through one about every day and a half. We used them for drinking and baby bottles. (they are liter bottles). You can buy them at the supermarket nearby for about $3 a 6 pack, but it was easier to get a BJoe. We also bought some dry pasta mixes at the store (Knorr brand) but later realized that you needed milk to make it. We wished we'd brought some powdered milk from home because we just didn't really feel comfortable with our options there.We also wished we'd brought some chocolate from home. We really craved it while there, but every kind we tried was kind of strange. Lisa saved the day at the end of the week and shared some of her stash with us!

There are lots of restaurants close by on Bole Road, but honestly, we just didn't really dig the food there. There is lots of italian food, pasta, pizza, lasagna available, but you get tired of those quickly. there is also burgers and fries pretty available, but we were avoiding meat most of the time. A few of our fave restaurants were Rico's (VERY close to BJoe with really great soups and bread), a place called Pizzeria had good pizzas. Island Breeze was a place we ate at on our last day, and it was SO good! I think my favorite meal while we were there. It is sort of hawaiian ish. I had a great chicken burger that was soooo good. We also ate at a very american place that our driver took us to, called Rodeo Addis. It felt like we time warped to Texas! Good cheeseburgers and it felt very safe and "american". Also close to BJoe on Bole Rd. La Pariesienne had THE BEST macchiatos and chocolate croissants. BEST. I am wishing for a nice Ethiopian macchiato right now.....mmm. Also very close to BJoe. Tamoca was another great coffee shop, but kind of far away from the guest house. We bought all of our beans to bring home from there.

There was a great church bazaar on the weekend we were there (last weekend of the month) where we did almost all of our souvenir shopping. Tons of great handmade Ethiopian goods made by local NGO's. Great causes and great items! If you ask your drive about the Evangelical Church Bazaar, they will likely know what you're talking about.

Did I mention bring some tuna salad kits? Oh, I did. Well, it's worth mentioning again. Bring them.

It was muggy and pretty hot in Addis. I wished everyday I'd brought more lightweight cotton tops. Knits just felt clingy and hot.

There was a hairdryer in the room at BJoe, so that was nice.

I got eaten alive by mosquitos in Addis (thank goodness there isn't malaria there!) One of the drivers said, "oh yah, it's mosquito season here". I wished I would've brought insect repellant. I have a weird reaction to mosquitos though, the bites get HUGE on me and very itchy. So...30+bites later, I really wished for repellant in the evening/bed time.

We stayed in a downstairs room at BJoe, which I think was a little cooler than upstairs, but it felt pretty dark. We were in our room quite a bit, and it started to feel like a cave after awhile. After getting so many mosquito bites, I wished we'd brought a little fan for night time when we kept our windows closed to keep us cool and the air moving around a bit. It was stuffy with the windows closed, but it was the only way to keep the mosquitos out.

That's all I can think of for now. BJoe's is about 5 minutes from the Airport right off Bole Rd. It was very conveniently located to most food places and sightseeing. The Gladney care center was about 30-40 minutes away depending on traffic. You only have one scheduled visit there, so I wouldn't necessarily pick somewhere to stay based on being close to Gladney.

:) It was an amazing and hard week. I will write more about that later...
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