Monday, April 28, 2008
9° 1'30.10"N , 38°52'35.16"E
Ayat house, Hill Bottom restaurant, and the 3 Gladney foster care houses are all within a few hundred yards of this GPS point. If you pan out you can see the airport and other parts in the city. This neighborhood is about a half hour ride out of the downtown, which was actually an enjoyable ride (people watching etc).
Before things get too far away in my mind I thought I'd post some suggestions regarding our time in Addis.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
They TOTALLY want to learn English, trying to repeat almost everything I say. I took them grocery shopping yesterday, and they needed to repeat every item I put in the cart (several times...). Amazingly, they have already put 2 words together in some make-shift sentences. Man, kids brains are incredible!
For those of you contemplating traveling soon, I have 2 suggestions (so far. . . actually I have about 100, but will spare you an exhaustive post).
Stay at the Ayat House, or there is also a house next door that is also supposedly just as nice. There is plenty of room, even for all 8 of us that were there. You can cook your own breakfast and the occasional dinner when you are weary of restaurant fare. You may have the special treat of sharing a beer with the owner, Waguyu. Now mind you, I don't like beer anyway, and this beer was warm, so an EXTRA special treat (think - - - gag). But the conversation was awesome and Waguyu is always open to answer all kinds of questions, which we were more than willing to ask. Zimit (the housekeeper) will do your laundry and actually iron your underwear (just like I do at home. . . ). Also, you may think BUGS when traveling to Africa, and I have been to parts of Africa where the bugs were the size of mice (gag, again). The Ayat house is VERY clean and I think I saw 2 or 3 flies the whole time, and no other bugs, just in case that is a major concern of yours. And the price is unbelieveable. $40/night for a family of 4, or $60/night for 5 or more.
If you have older kids (ours are 11, 10 and 8) and are thinking of traveling with them, we would say, GO FOR IT. Yes, the airfare is a hefty chunk of change, but the in-country costs are relatively low, and if you stay at the Ayat House, you wouldn't have to get an extra room or anything, keeping costs way down. Our kids played SO well with the twins, and had the limitless energy kids have, never tiring of piggy-back rides, playing tag, doing handstands, headstands, tickle fests, you name it. Our kids are your average kids, yet they traveled extraordinarily well, really couldn't have asked for it to go any better. Yes, they lived on french fries and spaghetti at the restaurants, but who cares? So, I bet your kids could do it, too!
Well, the post is complete, after many disruptions from a twin wanting a hug, a twin needing to be wiped, a twin wanting a banana, a twin needing a shoe tied, a twin needing a nose blown. Yea, disruptions! That just means the twins are FINALLY here.
OK, here we are on our first family vacation, touring Washington DC. Actually, we got the sweetest gift from our blogging buddy, Kristy, who lives near DC. We had a 9 hour layover at Dulles, so she came to pick us up and we did a whirlwind tour of the main attractions. AND we got to eat at McDonald's, a major highlight for our bio kids (and their mom), as they found themselves dreaming of double cheeseburgers and fries several times while in Ethiopia.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Home at last.
Jambo and Kume are currently crashed on the floor in our room. No other place was going to do for them last night. I think we are going to SLOWLY figure this all out.
Thanks for all the comments while we were gone. So fun to read just now.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
In a word: Wow.
Let’s say a lot has gone on in the last 54 hours... tidbits… We’ll try to keep it brief.
8am (hour 1) – Take off from Buttercupville… 2 ½ hours from Detroit and the first leg of our flight…
11am (hour 4) - 9 suitcases, 9 carryon’s dragged to the ticket counter.
2pm (hour 7) Another adopting family on the same flight. The Lindell’s, Michigan Adoption group friends are traveling to pick up their infant boy… Here… we… GO!
4pm (hour 9) Arrive, Dulles International. We know we either need to go left or right… or follow the Lindell’s. We take the l-o-n-g walk to the end of terminal D. Oh you ARE! Us too! It is apparent that if you are on this flight and you are not Ethiopian, you are adopting. I think at least 7 families including our “I must be in the back row” blogger pals: expandingthealbertsons. We were disappointed that Shumacher’s missed the Dulles connection but they made it out Monday night.
8pm (hour 13) Off on flight 501… Our kids did unbelievable on the flight. We had 6 seats together but we were offered 2 others to use as well which had working movie screens and reading lights. A huge blessing to spread out and totally crash… CJ claimed he stayed awake the WHOLE flight… the digital memories show otherwise. Z got sick towards the end. CJ asked if she was going to keep the barf bag as a souvenir. Very nice, big bro.
6pm (hour 28) 4 minutes to landing Z, hang on.
7pm (hour 29) Entry Visa, Currency exchange ($100), Immigration, baggage scanned ~again~ to leave the airport… This was a huge bottleneck with one security scanned running for the 300+ coming off the flight. This was a tiring hour…
8pm (hour 30) Travis picks us out easily. 6 white people buried in luggage, that’s us.
9pm (hour 31) Ayat house. Sweet, better than I even expected, very clean, very friendly, nice furniture, table for 8, beds for 6 plus a crib. We got a mattress from Travis, so we’re sleeping 8 for $40 a night baby! Take that motel 6.
12am (hour 34) Hot shower, bed
4 am (hour 38) Farmboy wakes up… hmm, this could be bad. Thankfully, after a couple hours, sleeps until 8.
10am (hour 44) Kaldi’s for breakfast... Machiattos to drink.
11am (hour 45) THE GLADNEY FOSTER CARE CENTER for older children. “~Jambo, Kume~… Mama & Papa…” Around the corner, under the clothesline, into the house to a room full of excitable kids, Jambo and Kume come forward stiff and apprehensive. Kume holds still a minute, then…THEN…, cries. Travis & the caregivers comfort. Jambo is first… Handed off to Farmboy… he’s doing well, smiling. Kume remained pretty overwhelmed and apprehensive, but she decided to snuggle/cling to Buttercup in the end (it’s SO nice to have a snuggler again). Can’t really put it all into words. We just met our newest children…..God’s plan all along.
12pm (hour 46) Lunch at a Chinese restaurant. Jambo & Kume ate, Jambo ate, and ate, and ate… both are decent with forks and knives. Jambo knows how to skip the veggies, passing them to Dad.
2pm (hour 48) Back to the Ayat House. Jambo seems really comfortable, or is just flying high with the excitement of chasing and being chased by our kids. He’s full of life. Kume is really soaking it all in. Quiet, cautious, finding it safest by Buttercups’ side. She’s smiling a lot but seems to be more nervous than Jambo. Over the night we broke out the fine china and had canned Ravioli and grilled cheeses. Jambo found the doorbell or ringer, and is growing familiar with the word “no.” It’s hard to discipline during a chorus of cheers and laughter from the other kids. Kume is joining in, turning off the lights and making a run from Dad.
7pm (hour 53) Travis arrives with the mattress. Kume is spent, Jambo settling down. It was quite a day for them too, for sure. Kume is quietly crying as she lay in the crib. Farmboy lies on the bed near her. Either comforted or just too tired, gives up within minutes and falls fast asleep. Jambo too, Farmboy slips out and day one comes to a peaceful end.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Looking back on our timeline our first home study was April 10, 2007, one year to the day from today. Young Action would probably point out that this was a leap year so it's ~actually~ 366 days but for the rest of us, it's close enough.
What a ride this last year was. We started with nothing in mind, only looking for God to close doors if we were not to continue going forward. Haiti once came to mind. Then we talked through here, and there, them, and these, and those. We almost selected 2 unrelated children, TWICE off waiting child lists. Changed countries, changed agencies, got impatient, got surprised, got scared, made friends, saved money, paid money, found tax credits, lost paper work, scanned documents, watched notaries sign stuff, authenticated stuff, FedEx'd stuff, and found out my fingerprints were important enough to take, three times.
We found out there was such a thing as an I-600A and the all important I -600, quite different from an I-864 not to mention the I-864A, 1040's, DS-230's, and the precious I-171H. And everyone knows about the visa 37 cable, right??? Letters became places like the USCIS, NVC, FBI, MOWA and a Foreign Embassy suddenly seemed to care who I am.
On another note, we finally bought some new luggage yesterday. Yeah, we kinda do things that way. But I am thrilled to say we also got almost all our packing done last night.
And this, as we know, is just chapter one.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Any of you that have referrals and want us to take some pictures for you and give your children some love from you, just let us know. We would be honored to do that for you. Just give us their names, ages, and location. You can email us using our link on this blog.
Oh, yeah, and Kristy, I won't forget our super top secret mission. :)
We just got this picture today:
Kume has seen our family picture (that is what she is holding in her hand) and she is still smiling. A very good thing.
Yes, they don't always smile. Thanks to Lori Rooney for giving us a shot of reality. Hope my lap is big enough!
I love his hair!
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Tonight while I was at work, Farmboy whipped up Green Eggs & Ham... Kind of a new adventure quite possibly to convince the kids that food that looks a little different than we expect might still taste OK. What a great object lesson. What an AMAZING man... wait a minute - who snuck into my post and added something?
The camera does NOT do these eggs justice... a fine grasshopper green.
Action overcame his fears and ate like a champ!
Just a little longer!!!
(back to Buttercup's post)
We leave in 9 days, and finally get to meet Jambo and Kume and expand our family in just 11 days! I was going to say "complete our family" but I have learned never to think things are completed until God says they are completed. I used to think we would only have 2 children, that's it, a boy and a girl. Good, got it. Now we are done. Well...
We are about 1/20th done with our packing. Actually, the only things packed are Jambo and Kume's clothes and all the meds we could possibly need while there (I think). We are taking our 3 bio kids and Farmboy's mom, too, so we will be a nice big bunch. We get to stay at the Ayat House, and I have heard some great things about it, so am thrilled it will work for our family.
Thanks again to Becca Albertson for offering to watch our kids on the plane so we can get some rest. :) Wow! What a dear! That is SO awesome!!! Let's all give her a hand.
There, now that this is public, how can she refuse???