Archive for December, 2008

We have enjoyed shopping at two East African grocery stores in Sioux Falls. We’ve eaten at two Ethiopian restaurants in Sioux Falls and are going to a Worthington restaurant tomorrow. It is amazing to have these populations of folks so close to us.

Many of the African people that live near us came to the US as refugees. In 1980, we invited 200,000 refugees to the US. Refugee immigration has declined by 80% since then. (according to change.org)

Many African refugees are Christians, especially from Eritrea who can be arrested for holding a Bible study in their home.

Change.org is a website inviting ideas for the type of changes we in America would like the new administration to consider. One author proposes a change in the way we process refugee immigration through the UN. The proposal also raises the cap on immigration from East Africa. It is worth a look:
Just follow these steps:
1) Join Change.org at https://www.change.org/admin/sign_up
2) Vote for the proposal at:

http://www.change.org/ideas/view/usa_refugee_corps_-_export_hope_and_revitalize_our_national_moral_standing

Pass this one on.

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Megan is doing quite well. She’s pretty owly, but perhaps it is normal to be a little owly when you have a little owie!

Today, Shega had a bump on the head. Megan quickly said, “You don’t have an OWIE! You don’t even have a collarbone!”

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On Christmas eve, we typically invite family and friends to play a rousing card and dice game, called appropriately “Merry Christmas”!

We throw the dice, switch tables and shout “Merry Christmas” when someone wins. The shout is typically followed in unison by loud groaning by the non-winners.

This year we heard a different kind of groan during the game. Megan was standing on a chair watching the game while spending some time combing her auntie’s hair. She tumbled backwards off her chair, turned to catch herself and broke her collarbone.

Although we don’t have any medical training, we are experienced parents of kids with broken collarbones. We were quite sure a broken collarbone was the right diagnosis. I called the hospital and the nurse on duty told me that if we were pretty sure it was a collarbone, we should wait until morning to come in.

Poor little Megan. She sat on my lap and we proceeded to open presents anyway. We held up the presents and showed them to her as we went along. She got a little Dora bike that still needed assembly. Each time she asked to see her present we would pick up the seat or the wheel of the bike and show it to her. We gave her Tylenol and Ibuprofen and tried to get her to sleep. She slept on and off for about 4 hours during the night. We headed for the hospital where the doctor confirmed our diagnosis, gave the thumbs up to our treatment plan and sent us on our way with her arm in a little sling.

We picked up a little something stronger for pain so she could get a little more sleep. The meds make her a little bit loopy. Last night, in the middle of the night, she told me all about turning three and sharing her birthday and birthday toys. She was very cute and funny for the middle of the night.

In other news….

We were excited to meet some fellow adopitve parents with roots nearby. Although they live eight hours away in northern Minnesota, they visit the area occasionally to visit family. It was fun for our kids to meet their kids. Megan did her best to keep up with their 8 and 5 year olds, and Adnew and Mitiki were incredibly kind to her and to Shega.

ANNIVERSARY

Last night we took Joe, Kendra and Paul out for dinner. It is Joe and Kendra’s anniversary on the 28th and Kendra’s birthday on the 22nd. We left the little girls with their aunt Dode. The other two kids had other plans. Thanks Dode for entertaining the girls for the night! I can’t believe it has been a year since the wedding. It was fun to remember the wedding and last year’s Christmas.  Since Joe and Kendra will be gone for a couple of years, every celebration seems especially meaningful this year. We’ll have to figure out how to include them in our celebrations all the way from Paraguay. We may appreciate webcams and skype!

We have more celebrating to do! I can’t wait to see the rest of the family on both sides. I hope Megan is feeling up to some wild Christmas parties!

We’re having a little computer trouble today. I had to retype this post, so if I said something a little different this time, you’ll have to grant me some creative license!

Blessings to you all!

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Merry Christmas from the Heits!!

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Frightful!!!

Unfortunately, we recently ran out of “delightful”!

It was delightful on Friday, when we were all stuck at home with 10 inches of snow on the ground. Yesterday a stiff wind, temps below zero and more snow made it less delightful. We are now in the third day of breathing in one another’s exhaled air (and other exhaust), and it is decidedly less delightful.

Church was cancelled this morning, the Christmas program is cancelled for tonight and we are stuck in the house for another day. When we’re 4 miles from town, and 1/2 mile from the nearest neighbor. There is no where to go and only Heits to see. We have managed to find a few things to do. We’ve napped, read, cooked, ate, played cards, watched movies, undid and redid hair, made forts and a little more recently, found ways to annoy one another.

Here’s hoping we’re back to delightful tomorrow!

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We dressed the girls in their Christmas dresses on Sunday morning. Megan loved it! She thought she looked absolutely beautiful….just like a bride. She looked at herself, twirled around and said:

“Can I get married today?”

I answered, “It’s kind of late notice. Do you have someone in mind?”

She said, “TROY.” (from High School Musical)

Although it seems like her wedding will certainly be a long time from now, when I look back at how fast the past two years flew by, I know Megan will be wearing a wedding gown a heartbeat from now.

Merry Christmas little bride!

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Two years ago, we travelled on Dec. 15. We arrived in Minneapolis on Dec. 15, but it slipped to the 16th before we arrived home. Home had never looked so good.

We’ve talked a bit about the famiversary with the kids all week. Megan doesn’t “get it”. (She’s more concerned about her birthday and will tell you its January 31!) Shega knows its our anniversary and is quick to talk about it.

Tonight I said, “Good night my beautiful girl. I love you.”

Shega answered, “You think I’m the cutest because I’m brown, right?”

I said, “No. I think peach kids are cute too. I do think you’re pretty cute, though.”

She just said, “OK” and moved on.

Sometimes kids are easily satisfied.

Here are the memories from our last day in ET:

December 14

Museum

We went to the national museum yesterday morning. It was fun to see Lucy, the highlight of the museum. It certainly isn’t the Smithsonian, but it was great to see some Ethiopian history.

Right when we walked in, we saw Haile Selassie’s huge throne. The empress had a tiny throne.

The basement was full of archaeology history. Lucy is supposed to be the oldest human ever found. She was only about 2 meters tall. She will be touring the United States in 2007. Maybe we will see her again.

We headed back to the Hilton and played a quick round of mini-golf. Thomas has been wanting to do that all week. It was an emergency to get it in.  We took a quick dip in the pool and headed to the care center. We played with Megan until the good-bye ceremony.

 

The goodbye ceremony

The good-bye ceremony was touching. Each family had a chance to say something about their child and the care they have received. A family member said a prayer in English and a center employee said a prayer in Amharic.

All the children were dressed in white ceremonial outfits. They looked adorable.

Then we headed to school for the goodbye ceremony there. Shega looked really cute in her white dress. We were treated to some songs by the children, then the prayer was repeated. Two students were leaving and both had siblings that were babies. The center director held the two children on her lap and the teachers surrounded them. They prayed in Amharic and Mario, Isaiah’s dad, prayed in English. I am sure it was difficult for Shega to say goodbye to her center family.

 

The rest of the day

We spent a few hours at the guest house. The children played with each other, and Emma went out for pizza with some of the other families. (We definitely weren’t ready to try that again!) Masi took us home about 8:00. Megan had three spectacular poops in a row. I’m going to have to devote an entire carry on for the rest of her clothes. I’m glad we hadn’t used them all earlier in the week.

 

The first night together

We made a bed for Thomas on the floor. Shega slept on one side of the bed, me in the middle and Daddy on the other side. We ordered a crib for Megan. We had to really persuade Shega to take off her beautiful dress to put on jammies! We were thumbing our Amharic phrases! She finally agreed. Once we settled down, she went to sleep quite quickly.

Megan got up three times in the night. She had to be completely changed from another spectacular poop one of the times.

 

Our last day in Ethiopia

We’re going to go get some breakfast soon. We might try to explore the hotel for a little while. Masi is picking us up at 11:30 a.m. He’ll take us to the guesthouse where we’ll spend the day. We have a short trip to AHOPE this afternoon. I have some medical donations for them. I also have some jewelry making kits. There are older children there, so I’m sure they will love it. Thanks, Janelle!

 

The trip home

Our plane leaves tonight at 10:40 p.m. We go to Kartoum, Sudan for a fuel stop. Then we head back to Frankfurt. We have a stop in Chicago and then on to Minneapolis. Our plane should land in Minneapolis at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. It will be a long drive from Minneapolis back to Boyden. I can’t wait to get there!

 

Here’s a link to the pictures of the good-bye ceremony: 

http://the-heits.com/Gallery’s/Party/index.htm

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Both of the girls are napping. Steve and I put a big batch of dorowat on. We have a batch of injera coming, so we needed the wat to go along. I hope the intrepid traveler (to Sioux Falls) arrives back home safely in this wintery weather! It is fun to remember the sights and sounds of ET while we cook Ethiopian food. Here’s another trip down memory lane from two years ago yesterday.

 

December 13

Shopping

Kasu picked us up at 8:30 a.m. and we headed to the guest house. Masi got us all into the van for a trip to the market. I believe there were around 20 in the van. There were 7 people in the back seat! He took us to a shop that must have had some sort of security. We were the only shoppers. This was a no bargaining shop. We had fun shopping for some Ethiopian memories. Later we went to a street market. That was fun too. Masi went to change some more money for us. Thomas rode along and thought that was much fun. The men here treat children so kindly. It has amazed me how many men stop and talk to the kids.

 

Mercado

Addis Ababa has the largest open air market in the world. We took the van through it. Masi advised us not to hang the camera out of open windows. He let Emma shoot a few pictures through the open window, but constantly had his hand out ready to shut it. The amount of goods for sale there was staggering. It was lunchtime, and there were many strange smells in the air. People were walking around with a handful of sticks with leaves. Masi told us that it was chat. Chat is a mild narcotic that is legal in Ethiopia. He told us, “Don’t try it. It make you crazy!”  He said many Ethiopians chew chat after their noon meal.

 

The girls

After the meeting we went to get the girls. We got Megan from the care center and went to school to get Shega. We brought them back to the guesthouse for playtime. We spent about 5 hours there today.

 

More shopping

Shega was still wearing the clothes I put her in yesterday. I’ll bet she wouldn’t let the nannies take them off of her. There is a small outdoor shop near the guesthouse on the walk back from the school. We went over there. The people there were great. They helped her find a sweatsuit and sandals. She was proud as a peacock as she was choosing clothes. The lady held up a blue one. Shea said, “No, no.” She pointed to the pink one. We bought her some $2 sandals to complete the outfit. She couldn’t wait to find her purse!

 

The Pizzaria Disaster

The time at the guesthouse went really well. The kids played games and cards. We hadn’t signed up for supper and decided to take the girls to a nearby Pizzaria. That was our first new family disaster!  I made Megan a bottle, but didn’t have anything to warm it up with. She is used to warm bottles. She didn’t like it and began to fuss. Shega decided that the pizzaria was a great place for chase. She ran into the kitchen, into the bar and even out the door into the parking lot. We were beginning to draw both ire and sympathy from the staff there. We decided to take the girls and our meal back to the guesthouse. We began to eat again, but Shaya decided to undertake another fun “game!” This time she would climb up the couch, and flip over the top wanting one of us to catch her. As she went over the top, she kicked the woman and her baby twice. We have quickly learned the words for no, “tau” and come back, “nay”. Despite both of our newfound verbal strategies, we couldn’t get her to obey. We can’t wait to get her home where boundaries are a little stretchier and there is less danger.

 

Back to care

We quickly packed up our things, including all of our finds from shopping in the morning, and headed out to find Kasu, the taxi driver. He brought us back to the care center. We went up to Megan’s room with Shega in tow. The nannies always had Shega spend the weekend in the baby place with her sister. It is obvious that she is a nanny favorite. One nanny came out and gave each girl a present. It was a shell purse with an Ethiopian scarf in it. One nanny had gone to the hospital with Mekdes. She said, “She is my baby!” with tears in her eyes. I had tears in mine too. I handed her over for the night to Nanny Bette. Nardos was in Megan’s room again. I think she likes Nanny Bette. She was wearing her bracelet and loved to show it to us. Someone had braided her hair beautifully. A staff member offered to take Shega back to her center. We decided to keep things the same for one more night. We hope that easing into this will be good for both us and the girls.

This time Shega wanted to keep her purse. I hope she doesn’t think we wouldn’t have it when we pick her up tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t disappear in the night.

 

Prayer needs

We really appreciate all of your prayers on our behalf. It has been wonderful to know you are out there thinking of us. If you have time to work in a few specific things, we are asking God for:

Shega to accept us as parents

Shega stop the scary chase game

All of us, including Thomas and Emma to know how to love Shega and Megan through it all.

 

Links to pictures from the Crown Hotel and dancing:

http://the-heits.com/Gallery’s/Ethiopia%20Meal/index.htm

 

Links to pictures from shopping and the market:

http://the-heits.com/Gallery’s/Market/index.htm

 

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We went to the embassy on Dec. 12 two years ago. It was quite an experience! Read at your own risk!

December 12

Embassy Day

Today was a bit grueling. We left the hotel at about 9 and headed for the care center and school. We picked up Megan and Shega and caught a taxi back to the guest house. Although all four buildings are within walking distance, it is a rough trip. The road is narrow with no sidewalks. Traffic is scary with much honking. We hear it is not culturally appropriate to walk the streets with children.  

Gifts

We were so blessed by some of you! You will never know how you saved us today. I don’t know who packed the little purses, but…. Shega loved hers. She filled it with Smarties and the beaded bracelets. She was so pleased to be a little lady.

We brought one beaded bracelet to Nardos. She is still at the infant care center. I hope she is able to move to the big kid center soon, so she can see her sisters. She was so pleased with her bracelet. She kept saying, “thank you” in English as I walked away. She just beamed. So I say, “Thank you” to whatever friend slipped that gift into my luggage!

 

Dress up

We cleaned Megan up and put some cute little pink clothes on her. She was swimming in her 12 month clothes, but they looked so cute, I couldn’t resist!  (Thanks colleagues! What a treat to dress her today!) After lunch at the guesthouse, we cleaned Shega up for her trip to the embassy. She was so pleased to have her new clothes. She especially loved her new shoes. We bought her little crocs and they were pretty cute. Her 4T purple sweatsuit from Grandma fit her perfectly.

 

Embassy Chase

The embassy was a bit grueling. We had to pass through security on the street. They took our camera with a promise to return it, so no embassy pictures! Shega decided to engage us over and over again in “chase”. This means she runs away and one of us chases her and says, “no, no!”  Then she giggles and we sigh heavily as we pick her up and bring her back.  Her family grew tired of this scary game rather quickly. Can you all pray that she tires of this game before the Frankfurt and Chicago airports?!?

Emma and Thomas were awesome through the afternoon. I had to hand Megan over to Emma for the entire time. Steve and I needed our hands free for “chase” and for paperwork. I’m sure by next week I’ll laugh at the memory, but you should have seen it. There she was, in her beautiful purple clothes, wearing someone’s Oakley sunglasses, and gripping her little green purse, flying down the sidewalk with a backward glance to make sure someone was following. Ignoring her game didn’t work. It was definitely too scary to let her go in that situation. Steve says that chase will lose its appeal at home. The only place to go will be outside. She will learn to come back quickly in the cold!

 

“Did we pass?”

We were next-to-last in the line up of CHSFS families. We took Megan from Emma and charged her with chasing Shega if she ran down the hall. We answered some pretty basic questions to a person speaking American English. We handed Megan over to Martha, a CHSFS employee who was there to help us. Megan promptly threw up all down her black dress. Oops! 

We walked downstairs where Thomas and Emma were waiting. Thomas ran up to us and asked, “Did we pass?” We were so pleased to be able to answer, “Yes.  We passed!”

 

The Hilton

All of the families headed to the Hilton after that. There is an Ethiopian airline office there. They all could confirm their tickets and try to work on seating arrangements. One family, Emilee and Mario, have been here for over 2 weeks. They passed the embassy appointment today too, but weren’t able to get a flight out until Sunday. Could you all say a couple of prayers that they can take their 3 year old and 5 mo. old sons home to their 4 and two year old daughters waiting in Minnesota? Their stay has been particularly tough. I am in awe of their stamina and good cheer through it all. Our trip here has been a breeze in comparison.

 

 

Ethiopian dinner

Our Rastafarian taxi driver brought us to the Crown Hotel where we met the other families for a traditional Ethiopian meal. We ate Injera, the Ethiopian staple food. There were several kinds of wat to eat the injera with. Wat is a meat sauce. I tried Doro Wat, which is made of chicken. I was surprised to find a small (maybe an inch long) hard boiled egg in my wat.

Thomas struggled with his wat, and didn’t like the injera, but he had plenty of rice. They had a lovely salad as well. Many vegetables were available in bowls at the end of a buffet.

We ate at small baskets. First an attendance came around with hot water and a bar of soap. He poured water over our hands. We were to pick up the bar of soap and washed. This was repeated after dinner. We watched traditional dance from each Ethiopian region as well.

 

Kasu

Kasu is our Ethiopian taxi driver. He took us from place to place tonight. He even came in to enjoy the dance with us. He told us about the regions represented by the dancers. He told us a bit about his background as well. He was a street boy begging for food just 5 years ago.  His English is only passable, so I didn’t get the entire story. Thomas was fascinated by him, and asked him question after question. Kasu has very long locs and Thomas wondered what happens when the top grows out. Kasu laughed and laughed after he finally understood what Thomas wanted. Then he showed him how to twist his hair until it “locked”.

Kasu wears a necklace with a picture of Haile Selassie. Selassie’s palace was located right across the street from our hotel. Now the prime minister lives there.

Kasu will be picking us up tomorrow morning as well.

 

Note from 2008

It is fun to revisit these memories. We haven’t celebrated our “famiversary” together yet. I think a trip to the Ethiopian restaurant would be great!

 

On another note….We recently received an E-mail from Nardos and her family. It is a joy to watch them from afar. We briefly met her parents on our last day in Ethiopia. They were there to bring home their baby boy. While there, they met Nardos and her sisters and resolved to bring them home too. They now live on the west coast. God is good!  http://babycarlson.blogspot.com/

 

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December 11 – Monday

Meeting with the doctors

Today we were asked to be at the guest house by 10. We met and traveled to the care center. We went right up to see Megan. We had a meeting with the doctors. They told us that Megan has been sick almost the entire time she has been in care. (since July) She had pneumonia, measels, ear infections, malaria and a host of smaller incidents. She spent much time in the ICU which is on campus. She also had two trips to the Addis Ababa hospital for IV treatment. I am so grateful for the good care she received. They had a report for Shega too. She has been much healthier.

Megan is not fond of the doctors office. She has a bit of a cold and is coughing. When Dr. Frehiwot put the stethoscope on her back, she cried hard. I think she has had some painful experiences at the doctor’s office.

The care center employs two doctors and several nurses. They have a small “hospital” with four rooms. Unfortunately, they each had little patients in them today.

Meeting

Later we packed Megan up and headed back to the guest house. It is about a 1/2 hour walk. The nurse first showed me how to mix Bebelac. I think she was pretty nervous to let Megan go with a mom who didn’t know how to make formula. (I was having some difficulty with the Amharic instructions!) Later, that same nurse stopped us on our way out of the gate and insisted we call for a ride. We quietly slipped out of the gate with Megan in tow when she wasn’t watching.

We had a 1:00 meeting at the guest house. We met with the director, the financial manager and some other staff. We were able to watch two of the video “lifebooks” that the staff puts together for each of the children. I can’t wait to see Shega and Megan’s.

Center Tour

We took the big van to each of the centers. We stopped at the school first. All of the children 3 and over attend school. They were so happy to see us. Shega couldn’t wait to show all of her friends that we were her family. Her teacher told me that Shega knows all of her numbers, some English letters, her colors and shapes.

Shega introduced us to some of her friends by pointing at her friends and saying this line “My name is (blank)”  meaning her friend’s name is that. It was very cute. We brought a playground ball, and another family brought a soccer ball. The balls were great hits with the children. The teachers liked them too!

It was hard to leave Shega there. We had Megan and she wanted to come too. I asked her teacher to explain that we would see her later. She was very disappointed that we weren’t taking her.

Later we toured the compound where the infants and toddlers live. There are offices, a hospital, a doctors office and two kitchens. The children live in a three story house. Megan lives on the third floor. She shares a crib with a smiley boy. Three or four nannies staff her room, one at a time. There are 8 infants in the room. Megan is the oldest. The others are smiley and cute and happy.

Nardos, the little girl we picked up yesterday in Hosanna was still at the infant center today. She was happy to see us and gave us an immediate big hug. I suppose she has to stay near the doctors until they make sure she is healthy.

Later we headed to the place where Shega lives. She was home from school when we arrived. She was so happy to see us. She kept saying, “Papa, up! and Mama, up!” We held her a lot. Emma held Megan which kept our hands free. We wanted to take a lot of pictures, since Shega spent a lot of time there. She happily showed us her bed and told us the names of all of the other children who slept in her room. We saw Nardos’ two sisters at that center. I’m glad they will soon see her again.

We had another painful parting with the caregivers explaining that we would see her tomorrow.

Then we headed back to the care center to bring Megan back. I left her with a few diapers and a bottle. It was hard to walk away.

 

Links to the pics from the day:

http://www.the-heits.com/Gallery’s/CHSFS%20Tour/index.htm

 

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I can’t stop thinking about Ethiopia this week. Today was our famiversary. We met the girls two years ago today. On Dec. 10, we travelled south to a city near their first home.

Here’s a section of my journal for that day:

December 10 – Sunday “The Trip South”

Warning. This is long! Read on at your own peril.

The trip

Sunday was an absolutely amazing day. We were up by 4 a.m. and waited in the lobby for our ride. We dressed up because in Ethiopia, it is not culturally appropriate to wear jeans. We have seen no one in shorts. I wore a skirt, but Emma chose capris.

 

We met the others at the guest house and headed south in our Land Rover. We left town around 5 in a caravan of 5 Landrovers. We had just left town when we saw a hyena cross the road. Soon the sun rose over a simply beautiful landscape. The road runs through and around mountains, and past small farms. The homes and farm buildings are round. They are made with poles stuck into the ground in a circle. One tall tree is used as the center pole. Some type of grass or hay is used as roofing. Stucco or mud covers the poles of the home. Some homes have beautiful carved wood doors. Many have paintings on both side of the doors. It touched me to see that people seek beauty even when function has to be the first priority.

The people on the way

We saw many people on the way. In Addis, we saw many people jogging in groups or alone. Even at 4:30 in the morning, the roads were full of joggers. Some wore sweat suits, but some jogged in what looked like their work clothes. Our driver explained that Ethiopia has a proud running tradition with many Olympic champions and running is part of the culture there.

 

In the country we saw many farmers working. Farmers are gathering their grain by hand. They strap the grain with string, and carry it to large haystacks. The staple grain is teff, which looks a bit like wheat or oats. Many people were gathering water. Often, they were carrying large plastic jugs. Some carried large gourds. Some strapped the water on a burro. We saw a few people with a donkey and wagon pulling a small cart with jugs of water.

The road

To say the road was rough doesn’t give it enough credit! It was paved for some of the way, and it looks like the plan is to pave the entire thing. Periodically, there is a line of sharp rocks across the road. When we encountered this, our driver would simply veer off-road. The last 40 km of the road was more of a bumpy path across the country. It was tough to nap on the way!

Hosanna

We reached Hosanna, a city of 70,000 people around 10. Our driver was immediately lost in the dirt paths. We saw a bit of the city driving around lost. There were streams of people heading to church. The women were beautifully dressed. Men were all wearing jackets. We saw an Orthodox church and a Baptist church. Both churches were surrounded by a fence. People were standing in the church yards visiting and praying.

Our driver opened the window and asked anyone who would come to the window for directions to the Hosanna hotel where we would rest before heading to the center. He was annoyed with the other drivers who hadn’t waited for us. He took out his cell phone and although he was speaking in Amharic, I knew he wasn’t happy!

Eventually we found the hotel. We were invited to use the facilities. There were no flush toilets, but there were kind attendants to give us towels and to clean the sinks after use. Hotel staff served us strong coffee and offered us a comfortable seat. Soon we returned to the landrovers for the trip to the center.

The streets of Hosanna are just dirt paths between buildings. Many of the houses have a store front on the porch. They are selling groceries or plastic tubs or even shoes right out of their house. After I saw the streets, I could better understand why everything has to shut down for the rainy season. It would be difficult to even walk through the city, let alone drive.

The Hosanna Drop Off Center

As we drove up to the center, many of the neighborhood children surrounded our caravan. They wanted us to take a picture and then show them the picture in the digital screen. They walked right behind us posing until they could no longer see us behind the gates.

We had a quick tour of the center. It is a small house with just a few rooms. The center is a drop-off center where the children from that region are first seen. In the first room there were two sets of small siblings. There were sisters, about 2 and 3, just gripping the other one’s hand. They appeared scared to death initially. There was a baby of about a year with around a 2 year old sister. The little one crawled over to his sister and dug his head into her head in fear. She patted his head to comfort him. It was a heartbreakingly touching scene.

Emma gave one of the nannies a handful of Smarties. It was fun to see the nanny hand them to the children. They loved it.

Meeting the First Parents

The purpose of the trip is to allow the first parents or family to meet the adoptive family. We were able to have an amazing meeting. Although it was heartbreaking, it was a wonderful meeting. I am so glad that our girls have this legacy.

 

The rest of the day

We were asked to bring a little girl with us to Addis. Nardos who was about eight had been orphaned. Her mother had brought her two sisters into care earlier, but had recently died. N settled into the landrover between Emma and me. Thomas was sent off to another car. (That family also has an 8 year old boy,  so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice for him to ride in there.) N quickly lay her head on my lap, and despite the wild ride, fell asleep.

 

We went back to the guest house to drop the families who are staying there. I caught a ride to the care center, with N in tow. We went right up to Megan’s room. We thought Shega would be there, because she typically stays there on weekends. She was in care center for the school aged kids. I understand it is a walkable distance, but we didn’t dare try it by ourselves. N and I stayed with Megan and the Nannies for the evening. Eventually the nannies found N a place to sleep for the night. It broke my heart to think about what that little girl has been through.

Evening

The ride back to the hotel was an adventure. We called for a taxi, which never arrived. We set out walking toward the guest house. It is about a 20 min. walk. When we were just about there, we snagged a taxi and headed home. We went through the line at the Hilton buffet. We had packed a few crackers and granola bars, but had eaten very little. We certainly got our money’s worth in the buffet that time!

We went directly to bed and slept until 8. We have to leave about 9:30 for our days activities. We meet the doctors this morning. They will let us know any health concerns they have had for the girls. We get a tour of all of the facilities today and spend time with the girls.

 

Tomorrow we go to the embassy for our apartment. I hope all of our paperwork is in order!

 

Link to pictures of the day:  http://www.the-heits.com/Gallery’s/Hosanna%20Trip/index.htm

 

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Two years ago tomorrow, we met two very special little girls in Ethiopia. Here is my blog post from that day.

December 9 – Saturday

We finally woke Thomas and Emma up and headed down for a wonderful breakfast buffet. We held hands and prayed for our day before we ate. We had so many fears and felt like we needed family prayer. Masi, the Children’s Home driver was waiting when we finished breakfast.We arrived at the guest house by about 9:30 a.m. and had a short briefing. It was fun to meet some of the other families from the CHFHS forum. We drove to the care center and went up to see the babies. The nannies ushered us right up to meet Megan. The nannies call her Mekidee. She was pleased to be picked up and we freely passed her around. Mom and Emma were a bit weepy. Megan was confused by this! We got to feed her a snack of very runny smashed bananas. Megan is wiry, but looks very healthy. She holds her own bottle and sits up. She snuggled right into whoever was holding her. Thomas found our picture book. The nannies had hung it from string above her crib. It was  well thumbed and looked like the nannies had shown it to her often.  We stayed with the babies for about an hour. Then we drove to the place where the school kids live and picked up Shega. She ran into our arms. It was obvious she knew we were coming and couldn’t wait to be held. She laughed almost nonstop for the next three hours.  Shega has been spending weekends with the babies, so she can get to know her sister. We drove back there and spent a few minutes all together. The drivers were eager to head back to the guest house for lunch, so we headed back with Shega. She stayed with us and the other families for the afternoon.  She laughed all afternoon. She played with some of the toys there. She enjoyed watching Thomas play with Quinn, an 8 year old member of another adoptive family. We dropped her back at the baby center, so she could stay with her sister tomorrow.

We headed back to the hotel at about 4. We went swimming at the pool and ate at the Pizzaria.  The hotel is comfortable. We don’t know what we’re doing on the tipping end of things, but otherwise, things are quite reasonably priced.

The trip through the city is an adventure. At each stoplight children and other beggars approach the car and ask for “jus one birr”.  On the way to the care center, Steve relented and gave a couple to the kids. On the way home, I gave candy. Soon the car was surrounded by children wanting some Smarties. I think it will be hard to get used to this!

We had a great day. The girls are delightful. God definitely answered our morning prayers!

Here’s a link to some photos we took that day. The pictures still bring tears to my eyes.

http://www.the-heits.com/Gallery’s/Saturday/index.htm

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Joe is 23! How did that happen?!?

I called him yesterday and said, “Twenty-three years ago right now, you were named “Ross Steven”. How would it have been growing up as “Ross Steven”?  He responded, “Hmmmm. How bad could it be?”

I was only 23 when he was born. We had a nice bit of snow on Dec. 5 that year. I came home, scooped snow and got ready to watch Steve play basketball in a local league. I bundled up two-year old Paul and off we went to watch Dad play. At one point, Paul scrambled out on the court. I ran after him, stumbled and fell onto my belly. I never was especially graceful, but this was really true when I was nine months pregnant.  The crowd moaned their sympathy and I tried to slink off the court without continuing to attract attention. After the game, we stopped for fast food. By that time, I was quite sure that my slide into second had brought on the beginnings of labor.

We called grandma to come to the house at around 3:00 a.m. We got to the hospital at 3:20 and the baby was born at 3:40 a.m.

Although I wouldn’t recommend a belly slide at 9 months pregnant, it did seem to hurry up labor and delivery a bit.

As I said earlier, our little guy was named Ross Steven for a few hours. Steve called the hospital from school and said, “Don’t name him that yet.” At that point I had only told half the world what his name would be. I put a hold on the presses and by noon we had named him Joseph Derek instead and could call back the reporters for new news.

Last night I asked him if he thought his life would be different if he had been named Ross. He didn’t think his name would make any difference unless we had named him something weird.

hmmmm. I wonder if the name “Joe” is weird in Paraguay?

 

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Megan: I want to go to Kindergarten. Daddy let me go to kindergarten.

Me: You have to be five to go to kindergarten. How old are you?

Megan: My birthday is in January.

Me: How old are you going to be on your birthday.

Megan: BIG!

Big is right! I can hardly imagine the full conversations we are able to have with that little one. She is quite amazing.

Steve took Megan to Shega’s matinee performance of the elementary Christmas program. Emma, Thomas and I went at night.

Shega did so well. It was fun to see her loving the songs and singing so enthusiastically. I enjoyed seeing her cousins perform too. Cousin Justin had a main part. He went from a present loving shepherd to teaching us all the real meaning of Christmas.

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