Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Baby Signs and learning to communicate and our 2 month update

Since we have been home with the boys two months now, we are really starting to find our groove and settle in to a new normal routine.

We are now fully making our own food. A big huge thank you to all those who helped us with meals. It was such a fantastic help and words can hardly express how much we appreciate it. Our meals are simple and what I call a one dish meal, basically a casserole of some sorts.

I am back to schooling the girls. Another big thanks to Grammy for all her help in this area. We are able to get most of our school work done with minimal interruptions. The boys are pretty good with finding something to keep them busy in the school room while I work with the girls. Nap time is when we get our science done since that takes mommy presenting the lesson.

The boys can understand about 75% of what we say to them. And Tyson can communicate a lot back to us. We have learned to figure out what he has to say and he does all of his talking in English.

Even Tatum has some words he says. "Mama" being his number one choice. He has some made up names for Tissy - "Gigi" and Tally - "Allee" - and Chuck is most often "Abba".

We use signs with Tate. It has been fun to watch him pick these up. Here are some of the most common ones.

Thank you





They are learning new things every day. It is a joy to teach them and help them learn. Their world is exploding with information and we are just amazed at how they soak it all in. I hope this is an encouragement for those families that are preparing to bring new little ones home and are concerned about the communication situation. God's grace has been sufficient.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Minus 2

Tyce loves to write. Each day during rest time he writes letters and notes and copies words. Then he gives them to me and I get to figure out what he has written. Once he gave each of the girls a piece of paper with their name on it (it was too cute). He acted all shy and tentative. He has learned to write his name and he can write mom and dad from memory. The photo album that we sent him includes pictures of all of us with a label for each picture. This is where he has learned to spell most of these words.

One day he gave me this post-it.

And as I read it...tears (the happy - melt - your - heart - kind ) just flowed down my cheeks. He found a poster in the garage from one of our yard sales.

If you can't read it, it says


We said yes to the call to change the world for 2 little guys. Their world will never be the same.

And neither will ours.

There are 2 less orphans in the world.

5 million

minus 2.

Adoption Travel Journal day 7 - Feb. 26, 2010

It is our final day here in Ethiopia. I have always wanted to come to Africa and now it is time for us to leave with 2 fantastic treasures. We are so excited to be going home yet....we are absolutely exhausted. So very VERY VERY tired. Someone had told us how tired we would be, but I am not sure I had realistic expectations for how tired we would be.

Today we need to pack up our things and sort what we are taking home and what we will decide to leave here and give to HH as extra donations. We spent some time in our room cleaning up and packing. The boys have been able to find things to do and have really enjoyed the toys we brought. Almost each and every toy has been a hit. We were both amazed to watch Abush kick the ball around the hotel room and make his own game. He would kick the ball right to his target and knock down these little boxes of medicine almost every time. Then he goes back and sets them up for the next turn. Fascinating to watch these kiddos play.

We were able to send a quick email home to ask all of our prayer support to keep praying for us. We are feeling like there isn't anything left in us to give in order to make it home. I (cris) am feeling sick with typical orphan cold sickness (sure I picked it up from all the runny noses that the kids have). And Fikadu is still so uncomfortable with the itchy scabies. We are feeling at the end of our rope.

We did get a nap in and were able to rest before we had to check out of the hotel. Our flight isn't until almost midnight but we have to check out at 4:00PM. Once we checked out, we felt very uncomfortable hanging around the hotel for those extra hours. Just awkward for all of us milling around the lobby.
Saying good bye to some friends from HH.

We got to the airport and found a HUGE line to get in the door. Mobs of people everywhere. Kids were tired. We were tired. As we waited in line to go through security, we watched the electricity go out for awhile. Yep...third world country for ya.

After checking in and going through the proper lines, it was about midnight. Fikadu was falling apart. Crying, itching, moaning...I thought he was going to have the full melt down right there at the airport. Somehow...he didn't (thank you Lord).

Each of our flights were LONG and we reached a new level of tired. By the time we went from Addis, to Sudan, to Amsterdam to Detroit to home....we had been up for over 48 hours. The kids did pretty well one each flight. Minimal crying...a few fits...but we made it.

Going through customs in Detroit took a bit of time, but was really quite easy. The boys handled the crowds and lines and travel better than our natural born children would have. Think about it...we had only been with them a few days and then to experience all of these sensory overloads. God's grace was sufficient.

We had a little longer lay over in Detroit, due to some snow. We explored around and called home to the girls. It was soooooooo great to talk to them and know that we were just a few hours from being home. Then...we got some food. We were so hungry and ended up eating McDonald's. The boys enjoyed french fries and chicken nuggets. It was so fun to watch Fikadu explore all these new things. In one day, he rode his first elevator, people mover, airplane ride and ate his first ice cream. And when we told him we were in America, his expression was priceless.Here is Abush playing his "transfer" game. He spent an hour passing these papers back and forth with Daddy. We had to sit for awhile as we waited for the plane to de-ice.

Oh it is so good to be home. To sleep in your own beds. To be with your whole family. To eat your own food. Our first few days home were spent with resting and getting to know each other. And...lots of resting.

I've shared before about our airport meeting with our friends and family. It was AMAZING. You can read about it here and here.

I have been wanting to get these travel journals here on the blog (which I will turn into a book for the boys). SO SORRY it has taken me so long to get these on here. Been busy !!! But I should be back up to some regular blogging here soon.

Dear Sweet Peas, So grateful we were able to travel home safe and sound to bring you to America. You were both such great travelers. I know the trip was long so glad we are home. Love, Mom

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Adoption Travel Journal - Day 6 Feb. 24, 20 - Wednesday

Fikadu with his HH friends at meal time in the hotel.

We are finding some kind of a little routine here in country. Get up, get dressed, go to breakfast...order yummy coffee and visit with the other families that are there at breakfast...find out how everyone did in the night. By now...we are ALL tired. Each one of us in our group is ready to head on home. Ate simosa (lentil pocket) and yogurt at breakfast (again).

Today is the birth parent meeting for 2 of the families in our group. Everyone else has a child from the southern region which means no birth parent meeting. Regina is here by herself so we decided to go and support her for her birth parent meeting. Sad to say the other birth parent meeting never happened, the birth father wasn't able to make it. I wasn't going to bring the boys back to HH but this actually proved to be a good thing for our boys. We went over to HH with the 2 families for their birth family meetings. Fikadu had a really hard time once we got there. It became clear to him that he just didn't belong here at HH anymore. They scooted him out of the class room and wasn't included in the meal or snack time. It seemed liked he could tell he felt out of place.

Because of this, he was sad and he cried for the first time and let me snuggle him. Chuck was busy video taping the birth parent meeting for Regina, so I had both boys, the sling, the back pack and the fanny pack all on my lap trying to comfort our little guy. I am grateful for that moment and the closure it might have provided for Fikadu.

Fikadu has itchy scabies bumps all over him. He is so uncomfortable and itchy. I wish that I had brought more to treat to itching reaction to scabies. He is coming to me for his needs, but I wish I could do more to help him out.

Another treat of visiting HH again was to take some more pictures of all those sweet children. It was morning time and the babies were out for their sun bath. Too cute. It is so clear how well cared for the children and babies are. They are all happy and have a simple joy that is contagious. I tried to walk around and pray for each child I saw and the special mothers too. Prayed that these children would be a blessing to their forever families, for God's mercy and grace in their lives. Prayed that they would connect and bond with their mommas and daddies. Prayed for the whole adoption process in Ethiopia, that God would continue to keep it open for the need is so great.

As soon as we left, we went back to the hotel for lunch and and then it was off the the meeting with Almaz to get our paperwork and documents that allow us to leave the country and enter the States. The kids played while we had our meeting. Almaz shared with us a piece of her heart and her passion for the children their, her country and the Ethiopian people. She is such an amazing women and I will continue to pray for her. I am so grateful my boys were blessed to have her as a special caretaker of them.
I feel like we were so blessed with such a great travel group. These families will forever be part of our lives. We have experienced the most amazing journey together and I praise God for our group.Fikadu with his buddy. Notice the dramatic Ethiopia look on his face.

The evening was the second special event of the trip. The cultural dinner. WOW...what a night. The food and dancing was fantastic. Fikadu wasn't happy about being pulled out of his nap in order to go to this event, but once he got there, he had a great time.
Some of our group at the cultural dinner.

Notice the hand washing and all the fantastic Ethiopian food. The boys ate and ate and ate.

I can't even begin to capture the evening in words. We were all mesmerized by the dancing. The moves were nothing short of spectacular. Shoulder popping, hip wiggling, head swinging fun. If you are preparing to travel....make sure you go to this event. And bring your camera and video camera, you don't want to miss any of it.
Abush eating out of my hand. He still does this. And I have become the human high chair. He eats almost every meal sitting on my lap.

Dear Sweet Peas,

I hope we can find ways to incorporate your Ethiopian culture into your life. It is full of history and passion. Watching you both soak up the evening at the cultural dinner was a highlight of our trip.

Love, Mom

Monday, April 5, 2010

We interrupt this adoption travel journal with a small break for CUTENESS !!!

Just had to invite you over to our family blog for some pictures from the weekend. I am trying to finish my travel journal posts but I am still lacking some pictures. So instead of waiting on that...I thought I would post some pics of our precious children. Oh my goodness...I could just eat them up they are sooooooo cute.

Head on over to our Peapod and see some more photos of the family. Click HERE.