Thursday, February 25, 2010


Hi all, we are sitting here at the hotel waiting to got to the airport. We have had a pretty good week with some ups and downs. So lets start with the positives. The boys have slept well and seem to be adjusting pretty well. Not perfect, but not the worst. Somewhere in between.

Tuesday was a hard day. Tyson Fikadu seemed to be rejecting me (Cris) for a good part of the day. Acting sad and not wanting to do much or eat. But we were able to have some close moments.Tatum Abush shows us quickly that he wants HIS way and HIS way only. He pitches a fit when he doesn't get his way.

Wednesday was also a hard day. We went over to HH to see the kids and so Chuck could video tape one of the birthmom meetings. TF was very sad and it seemed to sit in that he doesn't belong there anymore. He was scooted out of the class room and really didn't know what to do. I held him and he cried. It was the first time we saw him cry. Part of the grieving process.

We also attended the dinner the other night and enjoyed the music and the dancing. It was so fun. Tyson Fikadu was the hit of the night. Really showing the moves. We loved seeing this side of him.

On the down note, Tyson Fikadu has the itchy scabbies bumps all over. We treated him with the cream when we got here and now he is just miserable. Sad, crying, pouting, uncomfortable. We have done all we can to help with the itching, but he is sooooooooooooo uncomfortable. Please PRAY for him and our trip home. It will prove to be a LONG trip home. He needs some relief and he doesn't understand that we can't do anything else to help him.

We fly out tonight around midnight and land around 4:20 at our "local airport". Pray us home. We are so tired and ready to come home. We miss the girls so much and are eager to get home. We need your prayers.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Another Update

We have discovered that Fikadu is a people person. He loves to be with his friends to run & laugh & play. He is a good sharer of toys and loves to play ball.
Last night we spent some time coloring. I drew a van & then he drew one like mine. We had fun coloring together. Cris wrote out his name and he copied it very well.
Very very good for 4!

Abush loves kicking the ball and climbing up and down the couch... he must have done it 1000 times yesterday. We find that he is very jabbery and active in the room with just the 4 of us, but he gets quiet in crowds. All the other kids want to hug and kiss him, but he likes his space. For such a little guy he is very athletic. He can throw a ball right to me from across the room. It's pretty amazing.

Yesterday we played with all the klids in the hotel conference room. We kicked balls and I gave horsey rides. They all giggled and had fun.

We're doing well for day 2. Wish we could understand more of what Fikadu is saying... but we are doing well with signs and guesses.
Cris & I are very tired! I think we may be a bit jet lagged. The boys are sleeping well, but we are not.

More soon!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Africa Update

Hi! A lot has happened since yesterday! Here's a quick update...
We took a short van ride to Hannah's Hope to meet our boys yesterday afternoon. We waited in a play area while they went to get the boys and bring them out. The first time I saw Fikadu he was wearing a red & white striped shirt and bright pink heart shaped sunglasses. He looked like a little rock star. =) Both boys were very hesitant at first. Fikadu warmed up when I got out some little plastic flying helicopter toys that we brought. You silde them up a stick and the discs fly. He loved it. we played together a long time. Abush let Cris hold him the whole time, but he didn't want to look at her. every time she looked at him he would look away. He has warmed up a lot since then.
We came back to the hotel, had baths (cold ones) and put them in new clean jammies. Fikadu brushes his teeth and washes his hands really well. Such a big boy. Both boys love the electronic toys that Cris brought for them. they love the flashing lights. They both love to play with my cell pjhone & iPod too. Abush likes to chew on them both. =) The boys both sit really well. Cris sang them to sleep. She slept in the big bed with Abush and Fikadu & I slept in 2 twin beds in the same room. Cris & I didn't sleep much. Too much on our minds I guess. We woke up to smiles and giggles from the boys.
Today we had to be up early to go to our Embassy appointment. We are waiting in the lobby for the shuttle as I write this. I hope to post a picture or two later today!
Love to you all! We miss you & can't wait to be home.

We made it!!!

We made it safely into Addis Ababa last night. Our flights were all very smooth and we didn't have any trouble at akll with our transfers. We had to change planes in Detroit to head to Amsterdam. Cris was wearing one of her homemade Africa shirts, so another gal came over to ask if we were adopting. They are too. Nice couple from Michigan, also bringing home 2 older boys. They are with another agency, but we traveled together all the way through baggage claim in Addis. We met up with 3 other couples in Amsterdam. 2 with our agency & in our same hotel. Allison & Jason from Ohio and Chad & Courtney from Oregon. We had breakfast together this morning & we will spend the week together. It's fun to have other people to share this process with.
Our room is a large suite... room 602 for those who know it. =) You enter on a lower level into a small living room with a couch & chairs & a small TV. The rest of the room is up about 5 steps. There are 2 bedrooms, one with a king & another with 2 twins. There is a long hallway where the boys will be able to play. We discovered this morning that the hot water heater wasn't plugged in, so we had cold showers. I plugged it in this morning... maybe we'll have warm water tomorrow. Cris forgot to pack a hairbrush, so she had to borrow one from one of our new friends (Thanks Courtney!)
We have a meeting with our agency coordinator today at 1:00. We will fill our the papers we need for tomorrows Embassy visit, then we will go to Hannah's Hope to meet the boys!!! 
We have good internet inthe hotel business center, but I am not sure yet if I will be able to upload pictures or not. We'll send daily emails to keep you posted.
We are feeling good & traveling well. Thanks for your prayers!!! Please pray that ourt meeting with the boys goes well. We aren't sure that they will be very interested in us... we'll see soon enough!

Friday, February 19, 2010

We're off

We got to the airport this morning just fine. All in all, the packing and preparing has been really smooth. Aside from Chuck's little tooth mishap, everything has been smooth sailing. According to Chuck's dentist, he should be in pretty uncomfortable pain, but he is doing just fine. Thanks for the prayers, I believe that is the power of prayer.

Saying goodbye to the girls proved to be a little hard on Tissy. She has always been pretty sensitive and has a hard time saying goodbye. My parents came over this morning and we prayed together as a family. Took some pics and gave our hugs and we were off. We arrived in PLENTY of time to the airport for check in (always a good idea for international travel). When we were saying thanks and goodbye to my Dad, he reminded us how God blesses the "risk takers". I loved leaving on that thought. The whole adoption process is a risk. But we put our faith in God and not anything else. Praying He will continue to bless us for the leap of faith that we are taking as we follow His lead.

Found out that we will meet up with one family in Amsterdam when we change planes there. How fun to have some traveling buddies. They feel like family already since we have emailed back and forth (yay to listserve).

Thanks for the prayers and well wishes. We are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO grateful for all the love, support, help and prayers. Thank you for journeying with us. Hopefully we will be able to send some updates along the way, if not...we will be home in just a week.

Dear Sweet Peas,

We are FINALLY on our way to come and meet you and bring you home. It is such a joy to share our journey with so many friends and family. We have such fantastic support and everyone is so very happy for our family.

Love, Mom

Thursday, February 18, 2010


We have been busy packing over the last few days (well maybe weeks). Though the items for ourselves and the boys hasn't been to hard to figure out, we also are bringing donations for the orphanage.

  • diapers
  • wipes
  • formula
  • cold and cough medicine
  • antibiotics
  • diaper rash cream
It has turned our bedroom into a mess. Something I don't do well living in is chaos. It is kind of like living out of suitcases in your own home. I am HOPEFUL that our bins are under the 50 pound limit. I plan on taking them to be weighed today.We got the idea from my sister to use the large luggage straps (find these at Kmart the ones at Walmart are too short). We also wanted to secure the straps on with zip ties. That gives the freedom to open up the bin with out loosing the luggage strap.
When the lid is taken off the bin, it is still connected by the luggage strap and the zip ties. This was Chuck's design to drill holes in the bins to attach the zip ties. My only suggestion would be, do the drilling BEFORE you load your bins.
We leave tomorrow so this is our LAST day to get ready and pack and organize. Chuck has been busy at work building a set for a video shoot he is in charge of the Monday after we return from Africa. Talk about CRAZY !!!! And to add to the stress, Chuck broke a tooth this morning and is squeezing in an emergency trip to the dentist. Poor thing. Prayers appreciated.

Dear Sweet Peas,

We leave tomorrow. After months of preparing and praying it is all coming to the final meeting of you two. As you can imagine, we have been praying even more these past few days for you. little guys...soon.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

ETHIOPIA in the 2010 winter olympics

We enjoyed the opening ceremonies of the Olympics the other night. I let the kiddos stay up and watch the whole thing (later I regretted it because they were SOOOO tired the next day). We have been studying the ancient world and we recently learned all about where the Olympics started and about the famous marathon runner.

We enjoyed the whole show. The music and the dances and the whole presentation was so cool. I am an educator at heart so we talked about the countries as the flags were marched in and the athletes waved to the crowds. I am more sentimental than I think, for I was so happy for each country and all the dreams that were represented by those men and women.

And then....the ETHIOPIAN flag came in. And I welled up with tears. Talk about feeling emotional. It was so precious to hear that there were only 5 countries in Africa represented in the Winter Olympics, and Ethiopia was one of them.

We cheered for our family's other country. You see, when you adopted internationally, you learn that you must take on that country as your own. It will not be just where your kids are from, it will also be your own identity.

I borrowed the pictures and information on the only athlete from Ethiopia for the 2010 winter games. Thanks Jenny.

His name is Robel Teklemariam. He was the first Ethiopian to ever compete in the Winter Olympics back in the 2006 games. His sport is cross-country skiing. He learned to ski when he moved to New York with his mother at the age of 9. According to this article, his goal for his second Olympics is "to improve on his finish in Italy [the 2006 games] and inspire young Ethiopians to follow in his ski tracks."

It will be neat to learn more about Ethiopia as our boys grow and I am hopeful that we can instill a love for their birth country and it's people.

Dear Sweet Peas,

One of the reasons we were drawn to international adoption is our LOVE for God people everywhere. We have always had a heart for the nations. We desire to raise you boys to be a blessing to all that come to know you. I pray that as you grow, you will have a love for your birth country and let others know how special it is to be an Ethiopian American.

Love, Mom

Monday, February 15, 2010

Attaching and Bonding

I wanted to share a letter that was passed on to me from a friend of an adoptive mom. Though I did not write the letter myself, and the situation is not exactly the same as ours, I agree with much of what it represents. As adoptive parents, we desire for healthy bonding and attachment for our boys. And I am hopeful that by sharing this "generic letter" that those who are part of our close knit adoption support group will read carefully and prayerfully. I hope that by reading this it will be part of your adoption education that will help in your own situation. Whether you are in the process of adoption and want to share the letter with your friends and family, or if you are just learning more of how to be supportive to the adoptive family you personally know.

We wrote this up in preparation for ___ arrival and are sharing it with friends & family. I thought I'd post it here, too, to better explain the importance of attachment and to help others who might be adopting or who know other adoptive families...

Dear Family & Friends,

After over two years of waiting, our precious ___ is finally home! We know that each of you receiving this letter has, in some way, supported, loved and prayed for us. Because we know your care for ___ and our family, we want to share with you some information that we hope will best equip everyone around him to assist us in laying the strongest and healthiest foundation - emotionally, physically and spiritually.

In many ways, ___ will be like the children who entered our family through birth; we will parent like other Christian families as we bring all of them up in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. But there will be a few, initial differences. For years now, we have researched bonding and attachment in children, especially those coming home through adoption from an institutional orphanage setting.

We are confident of this: God’s design is PERFECT! His plan for parents and children is a beautiful and meaningful picture of His love for us. Attachment between a parent and child occurs over time when a baby has a physical or emotional need and communicates that need. The primary caretaker (usually mommy) meets the need and soothes the child. This repeats between a parent and child over and over to create trust within the child for that parent; the baby is hungry, cries in distress, mom nurses & calms the baby - which teaches him that this person is safe and can be trusted. By God’s very design, an emotional foundation is laid in the tiniest of babies, which will affect their learning, conscience, growth and future relationships. The security provided by parents will, ultimately, give children a trust for and empathy towards others.

Children who come home through adoption have experienced interruptions in this typical attachment process. The loss of a biological mother at an early age can be a major trauma on their little hearts. The good news is that we can now, as ___’s parents and forever family, rebuild attachment and help him heal from these emotional wounds. When ___ comes home, he will be overwhelmed. Everything around him will be new and he will need to learn not just about his new environment, but also about love and family. He has not experienced God’s design for a family in an orphanage setting. The best way for us to form a parent/child bond is to be the ones to hold, snuggle, instruct, soothe and feed him. As this repeats between us, he will be able to learn that parents are safe to trust and to love deeply. We are, essentially, recreating the newborn/parent connection. Once __ starts to establish this important bond, he will then be able to branch out to other, healthy relationships.

___ will have, what may seem like, a lot of structure, boundaries and close proximity to us. Please know that these decisions are prayerfully and thoughtfully made choices based on immense amounts of research and instruction from trusted adoption mentors. We will be doing what we believe is best to help him heal from those interruptions in attachment as effectively as possible. Why are we telling you all of this? Because you will actually play an awesome and vital role in helping our ___ settle in, heal, and lay a foundation for the future. There are a few areas in which you can help us:

The first is to set physical boundaries. It will help us immensely if adults limit what is typically considered normal, physical contact with __. This will (for a while) include things like holding, excessive hugging and kissing. Children from orphanage settings are prone to attach too easily to anyone and everyone - which hinders the important, primary relationship with parents. Waving, blowing kisses or high fives are perfectly appropriate and welcomed! __ should know that the people with whom he interacts are our trusted friends.

Another area is redirecting __’s desire to have his physical and emotional needs met by anyone (including strangers) to having us meet them. Orphans often have so many caretakers that they, as a survival mechanism, become overly charming toward all adults. A child struggling to learn to attach may exhibit indiscriminate affection with people outside of their family unit. It may appear harmless and as if they are “very friendly” but this is actually quite dangerous for the child. To share this is difficult for us because we have snuggled, cared for, fed and loved so many of your children. Please understand that we want nothing more than to have __ hugged, cuddled and cherished by ALL of you (he’s totally irresistible and huggable). But until he has a firm understanding of family and primary attachments, we would be so grateful if you direct him to us if you see that he is seeking out food, affection or comfort.

We are incredibly blessed to have so many loved ones around us. We couldn’t ask for a better extended family & circle of friends for our precious __. Thank you so much for your love and support over the past two years. If you have any questions please feel free to ask at any time!

Dear Sweet Peas,

We have prayed so much that you would attach and bond to us as a family. That by trusting God for His design for our family, that HE has knit your hearts to ours from before the foundation of the world.

And even as we are in the last leg our our journey to meet you, we will walk this road of connecting for years to come.

Love, Mom

Friday, February 12, 2010

I'm asking because I know you will

not an actual picture of one of our sweet peas

We are asking for you to pray with us. I am cautious to share too many details because it is my little guys lives and I believe protecting their world is important. But I also appreciate having you all lift up our needs before our heavenly Father. Will you pray with us for our boys for their health and comfort. Imagine any little tumble, bump, scrape or fall and Mommy is not there to hold them and comfort them and let them know it is all going to be alright.

We have been praying all along for their health and safety. Trusting that we will be able to take care of any needs they may have. But we have also prayed that God would do a healing work in their bodies. That they would come home healthier than we anticipate.

But the reality is that they are little boys and full of energy and I can only imagine part of my job as their mama will be to pick them up when they have fallen and kiss their boo boos. But from halfway across the world, I can't be there for them physically. But I can pray for them. And I am asking for you to join me in this prayer.

Dear Sweet Peas,

It just breaks my heart to even imagine that you have needs that I can't help with. This mommy's heart wants to swoop in and take care of any thing you may need. But for now I can pray for comfort and healing. I am trusting that God will be very real to you and help you feel better and provide the comfort I can't.

Love, Mom

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Confirmation to travel !!!!

Just got word that we have confirmation to travel. Yippee !!!! We can go ahead with our tickets and finish our plans and go get our boys. Needless to say, we are praising God today for His answered prayer. And for His timing.

Dear Sweet Peas,

We are coming. We will be there soon. Hang on a little longer. I feel like my heart is just going to burst with excitement.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


We have not gotten our confirmation to travel yet. We are still waiting on the results of the TB testing. I have heard it has started, but no results yet. If is so VERY AMERICAN to want to plan. To know what and where and when. To have it all planned out. But, we have prayed, and God has answered NOT YET. It still doesn't seem to be in His will for us to know today. And I will rest in that what I DO KNOW. These are some of the truths I have been learning as I have studied God's names. I KNOW....

God is El Elyon - He is the Most High God. He is above all and in control of all. And I can rest in Him.

God is Jehovah Rapha - He is the Lord who heals. We have prayed for our boys health and are trusting that God will heal their bodies, minds and spirits.

God is Jehovah Jireh - The Lord who provides. He has provided in every way for this adoption. From the funds we have needed, to being matched with the right children, to leading us to the best agency for our family, to giving us support from friends and family. God has provided what we need.

God is Jehovah Shammah - The Lord is there. He is there with my boys even though I can not be. He is not held back by boundaries and countries. The same God is here with me at the same time, He is there with our boys at the orphanage.

God is Jehovah Shalom - The Lord is peace. I have had such an amazing peace about all of this adoption. I have been able to rest in God's peace and not be anxious for the details. I am resting in His peace today.

God is Jehovah Raah - The Lord is my shepherd. He guides, leads, directs and cares for me just as a shepherd cares for his sheep.

God is El Roi - the God who sees. He sees every detail that is going on in my life. He knows. He is aware. Not one thing that is going on in my situation is a surprise to Him.

God is El Shaddai - God almighty. He is the ALL sufficient one. He is ALL that we need. I may think I need to know the details, but ALL I need is to rest in the truth that He is ALMIGHTY.

God is Adonai - God is master, ruler, owner. I will let God rule my life because He is able and trustworthy. I will surrender to His plan and obey His lead.

God is YHWH - Yahweh - Jehovah - LORD. He is the self existent one. The eternal I AM. The alpha and omega, same today and forever, the covenant keeping God. He keeps His promises and He never changes.

Isn't it amazing when we stop and really understand more about God. I have learned so much and today is just an opportunity to live out what I have learned.

Still praying to hear the results soon and praying the tests come back with favorable results to travel in the next group.

Dear Sweet Peas,

Today I was hopeful to hear about a confirmation of travel and yet, we don't have any new answers. I am learning to cling to God's truths and be a living example of trusting God.

We hope to travel in just a few weeks to come and meet you and bring you home. But more than anything I have my HOPE in God and His plan for our family.

Love, Mom

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Waiting, praying, trusting

We are waiting on the last bit of info that we need before we can get that final clearance to travel. Since our older sweet pea is over the age of 2, he needs the TB testing to be done. And as you can imagine, it takes time. We are dealing with a culture that is full of typical delays and not as scheduled and planned as we are. All I have heard is that the TB testing has started. It does take several days to do the skin test, and most children then have to do the x-ray testing and some have to move to the culture testing (if we move onto the culture testing, we will have to delay our trip). We are still scheduled to travel on the 19th and have the embassy apt. on the 22nd, but we can't get confirmed travel until the results are in.

Will you pray with us as we wait again and trust in God? Also, imagine how nervous your own little ones are when they head to the doctor for any medical tests. It is hard for them, and I am not there to comfort our sweet pea. I am praying for peace and comfort from the Holy Spirit.

I have tickets on hold until Tuesday morning, please pray that if it is God's will, we will hear before then about our confirmation for travel.

Dear Sweet Peas,

I wish I could be there to tuck you into bed and comfort you when you are scared. I have to cling to our faithful God who is the one to work out all the details. I pray that you come to know Him as your savior early on in life and live only for Him. It is amazing to think that He loves you more than I do. What an amazing heavenly Father we have.

Love, Mom

Monday, February 1, 2010

The last few weeks of just the 4 of us.

I think God gave us a great gift this weekend of being "snowed in". We had such a great time spending time together playing in the snow. One of the things we are trying to do is enjoy our time of being a family of 4. With our trip to bring home the boys just a few weeks away, we are trying to spend focused time on the girls. Once we get home from Ethiopia, we will be distracted and tired and pulled in many directions. So, we are trying to make the most of our time with the girls. It has helped to focus on them as we wait for confirmed travel dates from our agency.

I posted lots of pics on our family blog (HERE) so if you want to see all the snow pictures, head on over there. You will want to catch a glimpse of our HOMEMADE sled. It turned out pretty cool. Chuck is ONE creative Daddy !!! If you are local friends, you understand what a treat this snow has been.

I loved being able to spend time together, having fun, watching the beautiful snow, talking, laughing, and drinking lots of cocoa.

I loved watching the ice drip. I enjoyed watching the birds find something to eat. The snow was almost binding it was so beautiful. The ice covered trees were breathtaking. I think the whole weekend was a blessing from God. We have a safe, warm home to hunker down in when the weather is yucky outside. We are blessed with 2 enjoyable girls. I am blessed by a loving and supportive husband. And we are blessed with 2 boys who are waiting for us in Ethiopia. So very blessed.

Dear Sweet Peas,

I can only imagine how our home will be filled with more laughter when you come home. I look forward to watching explore new things. I hope you find security in our heavenly Father. I hope you find comfort in me as your earthly momma. I hope you find joy in our family.

Love, Mom