Thursday, November 12, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The country side was beautiful. Ethiopia has what it called "green drought". Enough rain for things to be green and beautiful, not necessarily enough to grow crops that are necessary. Driving out of Addis Ababa, was a gentle descent through rolling hills. As the scenery goes by, you easily observe the signs & effects of deforestation. The trees have not been harvested by companies & expansion, but by people heating & building their modest homes.
It was a life changing & perspective changing journey. Many of us think we need a bigger home if children have to share a room, or we don't have enough bathrooms. Rural families in Ethiopia may reside in a 100 or 200 square foot hut, where the animals live with the family. This experience has cemented what is really important in life: friends, family, and taking care of the ones you love.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
At the Goodbye Ceremony, the nannies brought the children in wearing traditional clothes. The nannies also wore traditional clothing. The families circled the nannies, while they prayed in Amharic. It was a sad feeling to then be taking the children from the nannies who had obviously shown them so much love & affection. Handprints were made of each child for rememberance. Next was the cake cutting. By tradition, the 2 oldest children cut the cake. There were a lot of tears.
We returned with the kids to the guest house for lunch. After lunch, we loaded ino the "Magic Bus" for the trip to the Embassy for the children's US Immigrant Visas. While time consuming, the process was fairly smooth. The rest of the day, we spent time relaxing with OUR kids.
I will have to see if there are any pictures from the Goodbye Ceremony I can copy and paste here. We were not able to take any, as cameras are not allowed in the Care Center. Cameras/Electronics are also not allowed at the Embassy.
Tired mom giving Sid his bedtime bottle:
Sunday, August 16, 2009
While this trip is to pick up our children, it is also about learning about their history, Ethiopian culture & lifestyle. The afternoon was spent on a shopping outing. We went to an open air market. It was quite crowded, the people in the shops were trying to get passers by to shop in their store, and people would approach you trying to sell various items. Adults with things like maps & sunglasses, children selling packs of gum & tissues. While it is expected to barter a bit at these shops, I always find that a difficult task when I feel so blessed. It was a very interesting experience. A little intimidating, too. Below are pictures from the Merkado, the largest market in Africa. This is NOT where we shopped, but they took us through so we could see it.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
We roamed the guest house driveway and terrace momentarily, wondering which door of which building would lead to the dining room (building B, the long stairway, FYI). I was really excited to see that they were serving pancakes for breakfast, because I thought that Micheal would like that. Sadly, he was still in that "settling in" mode, and didn't eat much.
After breakfast, we boarded the bus to head to the CHS Office. There, we climbed the stairs to the 4th floor (numbering: Ground, 1, 2, ...) for the beginning of our orientation. It was short, but seemed long as we were waiting to meet our children.
We then headed over to meet the kids. All families waited nervously for their child's name to be called. When they called Sidamo's name, we followed the Social Worker & the camera man up the stairs to his room. I am sure I started crying on the first step, and I was nervously trying to keep the provided slip on shoes from falling off my feet.
We walked into Sid's room, and one of the nannies handed him to Pete (I think I was trying to set Michael down). Pete handed Sid to me. It was a wonderful moment. Sid is such a content baby, and while obviously concerned, he did not cry or push us away. We posed for the agency photgraphers to snap some photos (we are not allowed to bring cameras to the care center), then we were able to take Sid downstairs to the common room to play. The common room was scattered with parents anxiously waiting to meet their little ones, and other families just united for the first time.
After playing, we took Sid back to his room for lunch. We got to help feed him the very first day! After feeding Sid, it was time for us to go back to the guest house for lunch. The rest of the day was filled with more orientation, then more precious time with our beautiful Sid.
We arrived at the Guest House around 11 pm. Ato Girma pointed us in the general direction of our assigned rooms, and the families all headed off to get settled in. We went to our assigned room, A6. The room is tan, and dimly lit. Outside is cool and damp, and so is our room. There are thick, warm blankets on the bed, as well as a traditional looking Ethiopian bedspread. The following description of the room is primarily for the benefit of future travellers. This room has a private entry. There are slide on shoes provided in the room. It is a large room with a double bed (what we would call a queen bed in the US), a single bed, and a crib in the corner. There are 3 locking cabinets. There is plenty of space to lay out all of your suitcases. There is a private bathroom. The floor is pretty much always damp feeling in the rainy season. The shower has an on demand water heater, there is no hot water for the sink. Also, there is no shower curtain--there is a hand held sprayer, so you can hold it and spray yourself (helps to keep the water from getting all over the bathroom). Sleeping was difficult the first night, and we had to get up at 6 am on Friday morning.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Next up: 24 hours of travel with the busiest baby we have ever seen (or, How do you do a 2 person diaper change in an airplane lavatory?).....
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
We made it to Ethiopia safe and sound. We got to spend quite a bit of time with Sidamo Friday. He is doing great! He is crawling, and starting to "cruise". It is obvious the nannies all love him very much!
Michael is doing great, too. He was sad that we couldn't bring Sid back with us on the very first day. He keeps saying, I love my baby brother. What a sweetheart.
Today we went to Hosanna. It was a long and emotional trip. Much more to share, but right now, I have to share this computer!
Love to all,
Paula, Pete, & Michael
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
The travel agent called today and informed me that our flight arrangements have been made. We will be flying out of Rochester to Minneapolis, then Amsterdam, then Addis Ababa. Sorry, Tim & Cindy, that we couldn't go through Dulles. Our travel agent doesn't recommend Ethiopian Airlines for the month of August, because they apparently have a tendency to overbook. He would make an exception to that recommendation if we were bringing home an older child, where the ability of the flight attendants to translate would be useful.
When we arrive in Ethiopia, we will be staying at our agency guest house. Other travellers have reported that they are very hospitable. I think it will be much more like visiting in someone's home than staying in a hotel. Right now, they are rationing electricity in Ethiopia. We are hoping that the power will be on for a significant part of the overnight, so that Pete may use his CPAP. While we would love to be able to travel long enough to see some of the country, that is just not something we are able to do this time.
We will be kept pretty busy from the time we arrive in Addis Ababa. Here is an overview of what our schedule will be like:
Day 1: Orientation briefing, meet with case worker, meet & spend time with Sid.
Day 2: Visit Sid, observe/learn his routine, shopping, traditional Ethiopian dinner.
Day 3: Travel to Hosanna for entrustment ceremony between first family/adoptive family.
Day 4: Visit Sid, sightseeing, visit to agency sponsored relief projects.
Day 5: Going away celebration for children, US Embassy, settle in to have 2 beautiful boys.
Day 6: All day bonding with Sid.
Day 7: Ethiopian cooking class, pack, leave for home!
We will arrive back in Rochester at about 5:40 on August 14.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Now, his Ethiopian Passport will be obtained, as well as his U.S. Embassy medical clearance. Two more steps 'til we can bring him home!!!
Monday, June 29, 2009
So, what's next? First, Sid's new birth certificate will be issued. After this is received and verified as accurate, his Ethiopian passport will be applied for, as well as his US Embassy medical clearance. When these two items are received, we will be able to travel to Ethiopia to bring Sid home. Currently, we expect this to be sometime in August. THE SOONER, THE BETTER THOUGH!
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Michael: Umm. Suzy!
Me: His name is Sidamo, we'll call him Sid.
Michael: Well, I want to call him Suzy.
Me: Suzy is a girl's name, honey.
Me: Why do you want to call him Suzy?
Michael: Because I like Susan in Monster vs Aliens..........
Hmm. How do we argue the logic of a 5 YO......
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I am so happy to finally be able to announce that after 12 1/2 months of (not so patiently) waiting, we have been matched with the adorable little boy who will soon be our son. His name will be Sidamo Peter. He is 7 months old, and looks like quite a content little guy. I can not post a photo for you until he is legally ours, so you will just have to take my word that he is, indeed, adorable.
So, what happens now? Again, we wait. We wait for a court date to be set in Ethiopia. The court date is usually about 8 weeks from now. At court, if all goes well, we will officially become parents again. Then, we wait. We wait for the Ethiopian birth certificate & passport, and for the final USCIS medical clearance. This is usually about 4 weeks after court (as many as 8 weeks). Then, we will be assigned a travel date (another 2 - 4 weeks). Then, we bring our peanut HOME!
Hopefully, I will have many good news posts until that time.........
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
With all that said, our child most likely has been born, and is near entering, or has already entered, agency care. Our child's first family (birth family) may or may not have yet made the decision to make their child available for adoption. If they have made the decision, they are likely mourning the loss of raising, and loving, their child.
As I wait, it becomes more difficult to concentrate on daily tasks. In perspective, I know that waiting is easy compared to the decisions of the first family. I pray for them, as I do for Michael's first family. I pray that they be granted peace in their decision, and be comforted in the knowledge that their child, our child, will be cared for and loved.
Monday, January 12, 2009
We had about 45 minutes to game time when we found our seats. I was worried that would be too long for Micheal to wait. There was just enough going on to keep him entertained. Michael did great for the entire game, though. Here is a picture of him & Pete waiting for the game to start.
When we asked Michael what his favorite part of the game was, he said "the cheerleaders". Yup. All boy.
This was toward the end of the game, so we weren't scoring.........
True to Minnesota form, most Vikings fans left at or prior to the 2:00 minute warning. Micheal didn't even want to leave when the game was over.