Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

The Family

The Family

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Home At Last

We are thrilled to be home in Texas.

We were able to deliver all our packages and take pictures as requested by some families.  We will get these out ASAP.

Friday in Addis was a full day.  We started very early with a positive meeting with Sam's birth family.  There is a Gladney social worker present along for us a translator.  We ended up going through 3 languages (including English) in order to finish the meeting.  We took pictures and ended with a final hug. 

We recieved all our paperwork (visa, originals of immunization record, birth certificate and immigration papers) while we were at the gladney center for our meeting.

We went back to Bjoe to pack.  We took advantage of a care giver while we packed.  I went to the government orphanage, infants, and saw some sick babies and toddlers Friday afternoon.

We flew Lufthansa this round and were very pleased.  We arrived at the airport about 3 hours prior to take off.  We flew out at 1130 pm - little hurtful.  Sam did well on both flights.  Sam is 12 mo and walking.  We were able to get a bulkhead seat on the way from Frankfurt to Dallas - we created a playpin area with good success.  He slept most of the first flight and little the second.  He howered drank his body weight in formula, water and juice - lots of diapers.  Though active we were pleased.  God granted us the strength and enough sleep in make it!

NOTE TO ALL - Immigration note.  You pass through immigration first pass.  You then must go and wait for officials to review the paperwork you brought back sealed from the US embassy in Addis.  This was a 1.5 hour process for us - very hurtful.  Thankfully, once it was our turn the IR3 visa made it a slam dump / quick process.

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers over the week.  I am writing this entry as I have been up all night due to jet lag with an opiniated toddler!!

As they saw in Addis - Chow!!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

T minus 1

One more day to go!  We had the opportunity to get out today without Sam.  Our caregiver was worn out when we came back - Sam never stopped.  One of the many blessings along the way came in the form of the caregiver.  The young lady works for Gladney at the care center.  She took care of Sam from the first day he arrived until he was moved to the toddler room (Brawler Room) about 6 weeks ago.  She knew him and he knew her - it was sweet to see them interact. 

We made it out to the fistula hospital today.  The books and documentaries about the Hamlin Fistula Hospital due it justice.

We made it out to the Sheraton today for a nice lunch and some high speed internet.  You can find yourself forgetting where you are in the Sheraton - it is a 5 star hotel.  It was a nice brief gettaway for an hour or so.

We find ourselves looking forward with some anxiety about meeting Sam's only birth parent tomorrow.  We realized today this person had to appear in court for MOWA with Sam in order to relinquish (about 6 weeks ago).  This process has been long with emotional ebb and flow at every step.

I will get the chance to work in the government orphanage tomorrow prior to leaving tomorrow night.

It is amazing to us (even after having 3 biological children) the circumstances around visit #2.  You take new or experienced parents, place them in a foreign country and city, change their diet, overcome jet lag and place a baby or toddler (us) in their life.  The same is equally true for the child or children.  God gives you nugetts of grace and mercy that remind you that He is in control.  We continue to be awed.

We ask for your prayers as we travel 18 or so hours on a plane with a toddler tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Babby vs Highchair

After 3 days, the score is Sam 1 and the highchair 1 in the running feud over who will submit.  Yesterday, Sam pushed the chair across the room as it went crashing down - Sam 1.  This morning, during the prolonged, funny and messy breakfast, the chair struck back.  Sam was doing the head bob thing and went a little low.  Striking his mouth with 2 upper teeth resulted in a small laceration to the lower lip - chair 1.  No stitches required today.  Seeing a little blood made us very aware we have a real boy on our hands.  A little ice an all was good!

This morning was the Coffee ceremony.  Every child at the foster care center as a "special mother" - the caregiver who really attaches to each child.  The Coffee ceremony is a time that allows for the special mother to say goodbye to each child who has been placed.  Ethiopia is a huge coffee producer.  The coffee beans are roasted, ground by hand and serve as hot coffee while you wait for your child to be brought to you by his/her special mother dressed in traditional clothing. 

To our amazement (concerned about bonding and confusion issues), Sam went back into his toddler room and was greeted by most of the kids who yelled his Ethiopian nickname and wanted to hug him.  One guy (with special needs) planted a kiss on him and started leading him around.  He was a celebrity of sorts and everyone seemed to miss him.  We then took him upstairs to his special mother where he responded with gratitude to see all the care givers who had taken care of him for months - with no bonding or attachment issues.  God is good as he prepared this time.

I was able to meet the the full time Gladney pediatrician today and pass on some meds and supplies to him.  He works full time for Gladney and is a great guy.

Lastly, we had a great time with the other families delivering care packages and taking pictures for "expecting" families back home.  How some of the kids have changed in 4 short weeks.  You can ask any care giver and they know exactly where in given child is in the 3 houses - their care is abundant!

All is well and we are ready to finish the week.  Our last 2 official items are to get Sam's visa and papers tomorrow and meet Sam's birth family Friday.

Thank you for you prayers as always.