Sunday, March 29, 2009
It just seems so strange to think that hasn't been two months yet, but that it's only been less than to months (if that makes sense). I feel so removed from our trip to Ethiopia already. It changed our lives drastically, but it was over so soon. Elias has fit so well into our lives that it is sometimes hard to imagine a time when he wasn't here. Noah is well past his adjustment hiccup and is doing really well with his speech (he has been making up stories about Super Boy and how he saves people from being sad or angry by making them cake - to bad it's not that simple).
I spent so much time during our wait for Elias not letting myself plan, because I wasn't sure how it would all work out, but now I'm planning. I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can to all of the things I love with Elias. I can't wait to get him into the pool -he's going to love that! Hopefully we can take a vacation this summer... Fun times ahead!
No pics today, but I'll try to get some good ones really soon.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Noah is staying with Grandma tonight so we have a quieter house. Elias seems to like being the only child for the evening and has been soaking up the extra attention. Also, Elias will have his first birthday party tomorrow, should be fun! Have a great weekend everyone!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Noah's New Skill
Isn't He Cute!
Monday, March 23, 2009
Backseat Driving is Fun!
Noah was too busy driving to smile for the camera
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Passing the Time While Waiting for the Cake
Noah insisted they needed to sit in the "box boat" together, Elias wasn't getting it :)
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Well, our journey to Adopt Elias took around 16 months to complete (which is actually pretty short), but we originally thought it would take much less time. When we started our process, referrals were taking 2-3 months. Our agency was new to Ethiopia and didn't have a very long wait list at the time. We actually stalled a little because we were afraid we would get our referral before we saved all of the money we needed. Because of that it wasn't until March 7th of 2008 when our dossier was sent to Ethiopia. At that time we expected a 4-5 month wait.
At just around the four month mark, another family whose Dossier was sent our day got their referral. This meant that we were close to the front of the line. That's when referrals came to a halt. The courts had closed for the rainy season and it seems referrals went on break with them (although that isn't the case for all agencies, just ours in this instance). It wasn't until Sept. 11th that we got our call (6 months, 4 days - two long months of thinking it could come at any second).
The morning we got our referral was quiet. I got my son off to preschool and turned on the TV to watch the 9-11 tributes. As I have done each year since, I remembered what I was doing that morning. After I picked my son up from preschool we went to meet my husband at his workplace for lunch. We had never done this before and Noah was really excited. We had a great lunch and Noah and I headed home. We were barely off campus when my cell phone rang. I pick it up and it's our agency director. I didn't think anything of it at first until she asked it I was sitting down, to which I replied "I'm Driving". After pulling over she gave me the news (Adam couldn't be reached on the phone and I was going to explode). I promptly turned around and went to Adam's Office. We looked at his picture together as a family.
Our first court date was set for November 28th, 2008. We were really excited about this because we would be able to have him home right before Christmas ( only two days, but he would be home for Christmas). Well, we failed court. We were heartbroken. As a way to cope with my disappointment, I ripped down several areas of wallpaper in my home, repainted and remodeled the bathroom. Nothing like a little home improvement to keep your mind off things. It worked wonders for making the time fly.
Our second court date was Jan. 15th 2009 and this time it worked. Two short weeks later we were on our way to get our guy. Worth every moment.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
The Taste - Let me say that I LOVE the food there! I like a little spice in my food and so do they, but they have combinations of flavors I have never thought of. They can take a bowl of vegetables and turn into something magical by stewing it with cilantro and garlic. They understand the that cooking is an art and not a chore and that a well prepare meal carries love as well as good flavor.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Adam and the other families had a great trip. They were able to buy three months worth of food to donate to the Numan Center which was received very well. They also had toys to hand out to the children. Adam learned a lot more about Elias' story from the Orphanage director, we also got a picture of him with the woman who found him. He was around 7 months old at the time. This video pretty much sums up what we learned and shows his orphanage and our meeting...
Day 11 was our last day, but our plane was not due to leave until 10:45pm so we made the best of our time. After breakfast, we headed over to the school Adam had visited earlier so I could see it to. We took Elias with us as well. The kids were great, they loved to touch my hair and hold my hand. There were probably 50 kids and I swear I held each one of them (it's a miracle I didn't hurt my back, these were 1st-3rd graders). They also sang for us and asked questions. We have it all on video, but it needs edited, so that will be another post :).
The rest of the day was spent saying goodbyes at the guest house and packing. It was hard to leave. I was ready to get home to my three year old, but the magnitude of what Elias would be loosing was starting to wear on me. I was holding back tears most of the day as I thought of the sounds he wouldn't remember and the people he was too young to treasure. You cannot explain Ethiopia to someone who hasn't been there, how will we help him know his home? I really hope to be able to take him back someday.
In the van on the way to the airport I tried to drink in every last sight and smell. I never want to forget the sound of young kids playing soccer with a ball of trash bags and tape or the sight of goats and people walking down the road together. Driving in America will always seem boring to me now, but I think boring in that area is good. Ethiopia is a special place that will always hold a place in my heart.
The flight home was long and good for the most part. Elias did well most of the time except when he insisted on singing very loudly for several hours ;).
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The Food - Wonderful!
Some of the kids in our travel group playing
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Waiting to Leave for the Embassy
Napping at the HOH
Friday, March 6, 2009
On a side note from the play by play there are some things about Ethiopia we had learned by this time. One being that children are public property. We would be hanging out at our guest house and one of the employees would come and take Elias outside to play, or to the kitchen and just leave us staring at each other. The first few times this happened we were dumbfounded and it took a few seconds to figure out what to do. We finally decided to just let it happen (Elias LOVED the pretty girls that worked there - they were all stunningly beautiful). We wanted him to enjoy hearing his language spoken to him while he still could, it would be taken from him very soon.
Another thing we loved about Ethiopia is how there is no need for traffic laws. Ethiopia is a HUGE city and there are many, many intersections, but very few stop signs or stop lights. It is very common to have an intersection with no markings at all. Whoever gets there first wins. Also, there are no lanes... you make your own as needed. If someone is going slow in front of you, make a new lane next to them, don't worry about that car coming at you in the opposite directions, they'll move! Also, whoever honks first wins, the slower honker must move out of the way. Oh, and don't kill the livestock that WILL walk out in front of you on occasion.
Livestock in Road
Free roaming Monkey at the Lion Zoo, I was not using zoom here
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Pics of our first meeting, notice how we are smiling and he isn't :)...
This was the look we got for the first 24 hours
View of the Sudan from the Plane
I plan to take the time to write about our trip to Ethiopia, it was truly something I will never forget. It took us a year and three months as well as a few miracles to get there and even though I sit in Ohio writing this, I'm not sure I have truly left Ethiopia. I have lived a good portion of my life feeling out of place and awkward...for two weeks in Ethiopia I never once felt that way (ok, maybe once, but I'll talk about that later). Life is lived in a whole different way there, you can't fake it there, you have to be real. If my oldest son Noah would have been with us, the urge to stay may have been just enough to keep me there. As it is, I will have to wait patiently until I get the chance to return.
Our adjustment to life as a family of four has had it's ups and downs. Our oldest son Noah is understandably having some trouble finding what his new role is. There are times he does very well, but there are also times when he struggles. He is having trouble allowing Elias to play with the toys and constantly takes them away from him. He is getting better, but it's going to be a long road there. Elias on the other hand has done very well. He seems to know we are his family and has settled in as if he has always been here. The only issue we are having is with nap time. Elias tends to fall asleep in the car on the way to get Noah from Preschool and then won't go back down later, but gets very cranky when he doesn't. Weekend naps are going well, so I think we will work this out soon, but time will tell.
Well, I'm going to stop for now and hopefully start back up with our trip to Ethiopia soon.