Thursday, June 28, 2012

Coming home phone video

AT LAST! The trip was miserable. I think it lasted about 30 hours. I actually prayed once that if it was God's will for the plane to crash, it would happen to us early so we wouldn't have to endure any more of the terrible crying, crammed-like-sardines in coach purgatory. When we finally got to Houston and I tasted the disgusting fake iced tea sold in the airport (I missed iced tea sooo much in Addis), I wept. With snot. Hubby thought I had finally lost my marbles when our final plane home was delayed. He insisted I go to the bathroom by myself (almost a first since having G5 attached at the hip/Ergo/whatever), where I fell asleep in the stall. YES! Finally, we made it home...where our adventure in becoming a family of 7 really begins!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Embassy trip Tuesday- YWAM

Today we wait while the embassy processes the kids' visas. We visited the YWAM feeding center (supported by an organization we love, Into the Streets of Ethiopia) and did a little shopping. On all 3 trips our favorite driver was Dawit. He is a confident, reliable, and friendly driver. If you are planning  on visiting Addis, we highly recommend him!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Embassy Monday

We breakfasted early & learned that G5 loves papaya juice. We left right away for our Embassy appointment. It was very organized and efficient, and we got to learn more about the kids' background from the findings of interviews/investigation that is performed by the Embassy in order to verify our children's former orphan status. Though our kids have endured a lot of pain and trauma, there is a beautiful story of protection and rescue. We are very thankful. Today G5 had a hard time seeing the nannies again, and I really wish we did not have to take them back for the doctor's and psychologist's visits. We found out that G5 had actually been very sick upon admittance to the TH, and they were unsure she would survive. They reviewed the strategies they had used to bring her back to health, and ended with "we fed her, and she got better, so we kept feeding her!" It made me laugh, seeing how plump and happy she is now. We had lunch at Lucy's, and while the waitress encouraged us to order chicken tenders for the kids, they mainly ended up eating our curry chicken, rice, and injera with red sauce. We had the best macchiatos. We purchased formula with money from our kids' Bible club at church, and delivered them to Kids' Care orphanage. After a long nap, we enjoyed dinner at Habesha with our awesome travel group and guide, where the kids gobbled up traditional food, and J4 danced like a pro! Seriously, he became semi-famous...everyone was clapping and he was eating it up.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Embassy Trip Sunday

Curses to you, rooster! Awake at 5 a.m. Seriously, if you are making this trip, beg your doctor for prescription sleep pills. Today we attended church at International Evangelical Church in Addis Ababa with children that had been in our family permanently for 24 hours. I sit with a 4, 8, & 10 year old every Sunday in service, while my husband leads for 1/2 the service. I can remember how it was to train those 3 children to sit in service that respected my authority, knew I loved them, could understand English (encouragement, reminders, bribes, threats, etc) I was very nervous. It was a WONDERFUL experience. We sang Mighty to Save and Your Grace is Enough (oh, yeah, I pretty much ugly cried as these songs helped me through much of the waiting period) & learned some new songs (one of which we now sing at our little church in Louisiana). The kids were nervous in the large crowd and clung to us (that's good), but remained mostly quiet through the preaching (with the help of animal crackers). When we dropped off the court-trip families at the Transition Home (they were visiting their children since the kids can't leave the TH until Embassy trip) J4 & G5 did not want to stay at the Transition Home and clung to us again. That really was a relief to us, and made us happy that they were bonding to us, and already preferring us to nannies and friends. Another repeat adoptive family mentioned that they have never seen another toddler or preschool kid adjust as fast as our two have, seeming so calm and settled. Every encouraging moment like this reminded us of those who were praying for us and our children. What an important ministry prayer is!
We went to Metro Pizza for lunch and Kaldi's for coffee. Yummy! J4 ate the whipped cream off of my drink, so we decided he is both brilliant and discerning:) After naps we played Angry Birds, chilled out to Shai Linne, & watched Sesame Street. We ate leftovers in our room to prepare for an early morning Embassy appointment.
Observations from today: G5 loves Elmo and hates cats. She is very proud of her hairbows and whenever she gets dressed she makes sure everyone in the room notices how pretty she looks. J4 is an Angry Birds master! I can tell he has been allowed to play on American visitors phones and he is familiar with gummy vitamins and gobbles them up! Kids both like pancakes, dry cereal, pineapple juice, spicy foods/meats, loaded pizza (Hello Rotolo's Sweep the Floor pizza!!).
Edited 6 months later: Yes to the prescription pills, but towards the end of the trip I took Nyquil and that did really help.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Embassy Trip Saturday-"Gotcha Day"

We breakfasted (I really like the chef's omelets and the coffee) and met up with some of the families from Bozeman that had been hosting families, now adopting their host kids. One of the things I have loved most about AWAA is the other encouraging families. Around 10 am we headed over for DH to meet the kids & for me to be reunited with them. It went really well. We bonded & played with them on their turf, and then we left the transition home & they came into our custody. Such a powerful moment leaving the orphanage/transition home, and while the kids seemed a little nervous, they did not immediately grieve leaving nannies & friends like JG3 did. While the 2 trip system is more expensive and emotionally hard on the adoptive parents, I do think it helped aid our kids' transition. J4 did ask Dawit (driver) where his white people were every time he saw I know he was excitedly waiting for us.
We went to lunch at the gallery restaurant where we ordered pizza & JB4 had his first Sprite (yummy!). Kids and parents carb loaded & G5 seemed happy with the formula I picked (Target's generic Goodstart Gentle). Fifth kid loves generic...seems like good vibes to me:)  Kids wore DH out playing with beach balls in the room (thanks, Kerry, great packable toy!). The clothes we brought fit (sigh of relief).
J4 folds paper boats like a champ, and Daddy helped him make planes. He puts the toilet seat up (can I get an AMEN!), knows how to brush his own teeth, good napper, loves salt. Very excited to wear his spiderman pjs, is very precise about coloring acurate pictures (no purple monkeys allowed), and folds his cloth napkin in his lap like a gentleman.
G5 is attaching well to mommy and really warmed up to Daddy by bed time. She calls him Abba or Ababa or Da now. She is talking/repeating much more than in April. She is a happy girl, who laughs a lot. She likes her new clothes very much and is happy to show me when she has her new shoes on. G5 is a great 5th kid because when she got hit in the head with the soccer ball, she only laughed. A resilient beauty, this kid is. She was not fond of sitting down in the bath or washing her hair, but relaxed as the process went on & enjoyed splashing. We lotioned the kids up like little piggies. G5s diaper rash is a beast, hoping the Boudreaux's will help. They had cut G5's hair AGAIN (agh!) because of a fungal issue and happily volunteered to shave her bald before we left (thank you, but NO). We will get major use out of headbands.
We ate dinner at Yesabi (pasta with tomato sauce...are you seeing a pattern here?) and the kids liked it. The PBS kids app (for iPad) will not work outside the US, so we downloaded My Friends Tigger & Pooh episodes off iTunes.
By the time I am writing this, at 8 p.m. DH is out like a light, claiming exhaustion from soccer/indoor beach volleyball. He is expecting to lose 15 pounds with his newfound athletic expertise, but I am guessing that the Combos we "invested in" at the Houston airport will balance the scales.
Wish I would have brought: more plastic bags & shout wipes (lots of red sauce & toddlers don't mix).

Edit....6 months later.... Eucerin Original is the best lotion we have found for their very thirsty skin. Also, G5's diaper rash got slightly better trying 4 different kinds of rash creams & yeast meds...1 month later we decided to let her go commando & she was pretty much potty trained within 3 weeks. Even now if she wears a pull up for more than 4 hours she will break out in a bad rash. If she would have been younger, I would have switched to cloth diapers for her sensitive skin. Also, don't mock the crocs we rock. The ground is very muddy in Addis, and having shoes we can rinse out in the shower and be clean & dry in the morning: priceless!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Embassy trip\ Thursday & Friday in review

Friday and Saturday are a blur, but I have already started forgetting the pain of traveling, much like childbirth. Here are some highlights of our 26 hour journey halfway around the world:  On our first flight, while the ride was bumpy & hubby was clutching his barf bag, I couldn't help laughing (because he was wearing his "man up" t-shirt). Later hubby announces his intention of eating his weight in peanuts to get his money's worth for the plane ticket fares.  Over Europe I class it up by singing "I see London, I see France..." while monitoring our progress on the monitor's map.  DH made a few fake flight announcements, having to do to strong winds & resulting needs to visit the bathroom early & often.  My feet became swollen to twice their normal size, but we made it to Addis in one piece, so we considered it a win. Helpful  hint if you are traveling through Frankfort: if you buy food at McDonalds they give you change back in American dollars, with euro coins (I call them "frank-in-cents" just for fun). Btw: 2 medium sodas $8 (but cheaper than water).  DH was able to get 8 hours of sleep the first night, but as the saying goes (no rest for the wicked) I got 6 hours after much coveting hubby's rest & 2 Tylenol pm. I will try to write more soon!

Dance Moves

The kids are with us! Check out Joshua's sweet moves!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Signs of the Times

Just to catch you up to speed:
February 2010 applied with AWAA to adopt again from Ethiopia
September 2010 dossier mailed to Ethiopia
February 2012 referral for siblings!
April 2012 court date & travel to meet the kids
June 2012 submitted to US Embassy, cleared to travel and bring them home!

We have been doing a lot of preparing to get our house ready for our fourth and fifth children. Bunk beds have been raised to fit a third son. Towels purchased in 5 colors so we keep sharing parasites & other germs to a minimum (and reduce laundry). Diapers purchased. More laundry sorters... and our oldest child turned ten. Dear hubby likes his new name "Father of the Decade." We leave in a few days & we will try to update the blog & Facebook as we are able in country.