Friday, April 11, 2008

Updates from Day 5

April 11, 2008

5:00 am




I'm sitting here awake, since 4:30 am (it's now 5:00 am), and this seems to be the time my body wakes up these days.  I've been so tired, and every night mean to take a sleeping pill to see if it helps me get through the night, but always forget since I'm so tired when I go to bed.  Ugh.  So much for being well rested when we take the twins full time.


As for that, here's the current situation.  If Joe already sent word, my apologies for the duplicate notice, but I crashed VERY quickly upon returning to the guest house late last night… but internet was up at the time and I did do a quick email check.  Anyway, the attorney has the passports, and all that's left is the medical exams for the embassy appointment.  The big problem is that we didn't have our file to the embassy a week before the appointment.  However, they definitely make exceptions, it's just not good that they won't have our file before the DAY OF the appointment.  :-S  So, we ARE going to the embassy with the attorney and the twins on Monday afternoon to plead our case to the consulate, apparently.  I'm actually very hopeful that we'll be successful, but still no guarantees at this point.  If they will go ahead and process our case and give the kids visas, we also learned from 2 Dove families (another agency that Adoption Avenues works alongside at Toukoul) that they got the visas the day after the embassy appointment… not 2 days after!  So… that COULD mean that we'd have the visas by Tuesday, in which case we will DEFINITELY pay the change fees to come home sooner.  I'm not sure what will work out with the United end of the trip, but will be asking Mom to try and get that changed for us if possible.  We know the Ethiopian Air flight on Tuesday currently has space available, so we don't think we'll have a problem getting on the flight.  We may risk having a smaller chance of getting the bassinet, but it'd be worth it in the end to get home.  That's ok though if we get home!  Then we can get the babies to a Doctor and start being a family in a more real feeling situation.


So this evening Joe and I began the search for a new place to stay.  Ephrim took us to more guest houses and hotels, none of which we were too successful at.  The first place we tried was the Hilton since we were reconfirming our reservations on Ethiopian Airlines at the office in the Hilton there anyway.  The Hilton is FULLY booked this week, they didn't offer any rooms at all, not even some expensive Presidential Suite or something.  I will say that place was NICE!  Holy cow was it posh.  Either my view of nice has completely changed or the reviews some people have given the Hilton here are too harsh… either way, I nearly cried that we wouldn't be getting to stay there.  The grounds are beautiful, and there are lots of gardens.  We tried the Ghion Hotel, which had a room with twin beds, was old, ratty, and over priced big time.  So, the search continued with no success.  We obviously haven't tried the Sheraton since it's so pricey, but let me just say… what I wouldn't give…!!!  Here at our guest house it sounds like we're sleeping in a paper box set in the middle of a freeway filled with choppers and huge trucks… the taxis going up and down the street all night are so incredibly old and loud.  On top of that, people that work at the guest house are noisy, as are other residents (probably the ones coming in on late flights all night long).  When I awake at 4:30, there's always some loud banging going on against the wall where our bed is… and it's REALLY loud.  Oh, and the dogs… oh the dogs!


Ok, enough complaining.  The power is on at least now, but the internet down again.  So much for free internet… seems like we'll have to hit another internet cafĂ© later today.  If it wasn't for wanting to take the kids into our custody full time, bathe them in WARM water (when the power doesn't work… neither does the hot water heater, and even when the power's on it only occasionally gives us one warm shower), and have a semi quiet place to sleep at night.  Obviously too much to ask, so I'm not sure what we'll do.


Our visit to Toukoul yesterday allowed us the opportunity to wander around the grounds a bit and in the afternoon we even got to see where Yodit and Tewodros have been sleeping.  In the morning we asked to see the babies sunning, and when we were taken back, only got to see them all lined up on the ground in a back room.  It was amazing… so many babies laying there, and another group crawling/walking around.  They were all in the same room because the baby house had been cleaned (as I guess it is every Friday) and insecticide sprayed throughout.  Therefore, the babies and ourselves couldn't go into the rest of the "house" until the afternoon.  But, we did get to see Yodit and Tewodros in the bouncy chairs… one like in the referral pictures.  I think they're definitely getting more comfortable with us, and both seem to snuggle in and fall asleep during our visits.  Both are incredibly curious about their surroundings, but Ezra is sleeping more and falling asleep first… undoubtedly due to his illness.  Both seem to start looking us in the eyes more later in the visits, but every time we give them back I do feel it sets us back and we have to really work to get the eye contact again the next visit.  I'm sure with some time at home that will start to be much more consistent.  Oh, back to their cribs… our two are so small they are in VERY little rectangular box type things.  Very odd… I got pictures, but they weren't even the ghetto style old cribs used here.  The did have toys hanging on the sides though.  And SIDS is not something they worry about here… all the babies have big blankets!  We noticed that at Toukoul in Awassa too… lots of blankets around them.


We laid out two of the disposable changing pads on the dirty floor of the visiting room yesterday morning and then laid two flannel blankets on top of that.  It gave a clean and slightly softened surface to try tummy time.  Ezra is a champ!  He lifts his head/shoulders and his feet and kicks like crazy!  Olivia is instantly ready to dissolve into tears, so we aren't forcing it just yet.  I do think it looks like Ezra may be crawling first though due to this.  I'm thrilled he is doing so well despite the serious sickies. 




I think I'd better try and lay down a bit more.  It's now 5:51 am and I'm hoping to catch another hour of sleep.  Yesterday I was unsuccessful and hand washed all our laundry in the sink and bathtub… so I could really use another hour this morning.  Thanks for all the help and wonderful additions you've gotten for the nursery and changing table, Mom.  It means the world to us both, especially me.  I miss you tons and wish you could all be here on this journey with us, but it's a huge relief to know mom and dad are home, watching our puppies, and resting up for the exhausting time change the 4 of us will be going through soon… we'll be happy to have help!







April 11, 2008

8:00 am


I did get back to sleep and it's now about 8:00 am here… I slept in a lot compared to any other day!  I also meant to tell you we've tried the carriers and I sure wish we'd gotten a second Lascal M1!  That thing is AWESOME!  So far, I really don't like the Theodore Bean.  It got good reviews, but it hurts to wear… the straps dig into my sides, and when you sit down you have a bit hard thing poking you in the back… not workable for using it on the plane.  They are getting used to the carriers though, I stared with the Lascal and Olivia, and when she starts to cry usually bouncing up and down settles her back down.  Yesterday afternoon we had Olivia in the M1 with Joe and Ezra in the Theodore Bean with me.  They both conked out and slept a large part of our visit.  Oh, and when Joe first had Ezra in the afternoon, he spit up A LOT and it also came out his nose!  Talk about freak me out… I've never seen that before and I thought something was wrong.  The two other families visiting assured us it was normal.  J


They are also starting to figure out the pacifiers.  They seem to like sucking on them, but have a hard time holding them in their mouths, so we have to hold them in place for the most part.  We've only tried one of the styles we brought, and may experiment more with others later.


Time to get ready for the day!  Just another day in Ethiopia… breakfast of scrambled eggs, a drive to Toukoul, a morning visit, lunch, afternoon visit, dinner, crash!  If I can get online to find the email we may also go visit AHOPE today… the orphanage where HIV+ children are kept.  I need the directions though and need to get online! 


More to come…



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Here are a few pictures!  We're at a very stuffy & hot internet cafe trying to send these out, so I hope you enjoy!  We should learn about our embassy date this afternoon... we have everything we need, I guess it's just a matter of whether the US Embassy will see us on Monday since they haven't had our file on hand for a week... cross those fingers and toes!

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Day 4 Updates!

It was an INCREDIBLE day.  We are the proud parents to the two cutest babies in the entire world.  Sorry, we're probably biased, but I think it's true!  ;-)  They are beyond amazing and we are so in love. 


First, our Tewodros:

Seeing our precious Ezra Tewodros in person has us VERY glad we came when we did.  He has such bad congestion/wheezing/rattly chest, and it's downright scary to hear him.  Even my hubby, Mr. Non-worrier, is freaked out and wanting to take him to a hospital.  I know he's getting good care, but he is so sick.  He sleeps a LOT, even compared to Olivia Yodit, and I know much of that is due to feeling so awful.  I'm glad at least we're here to clean his nose out and try and make breathing a bit easier for him!  Oh, and his ears were in desperate need of attention, so we cleaned them up too!  Let me tell you, that boy had some serious earwax!!!  Besides all that though, he is an absolute doll.  He is so smiley (despite feeling sick!), and does this great open mouth laugh & giggle!  I've found the magic tickle spot on his tummy, and can almost guarantee a great smile with a few tricks I've learned.  Oh yeah, momma's boy.  Oh, and this afternoon towards the end of our visit he was getting fussy and just not happy with anything we did.  Not REALLY upset… just fussy.  That was, until I held him up against my chest and rested my cheek on his head.  He almost instantly sunk into me and fell asleep nestled into my shoulder.  It hurts though… feeling his struggle to breathe through his chest and into mine… this poor guy is such a trooper!


And now, the lovely Yodit:

She is even more beautiful than I could have imagined.  I mean… this girl is incredible.  She'll melt your heart.  She makes you work a bit harder for a smile, but it's worth it when it comes!  Both her and her brother are pretty active and do a LOT of looking around… so super curious about everything.  She's pretty happy to be held and look around, and fell quickly to sleep on Joe's shoulder this morning.  Actually… they both fell asleep on Joe during our morning visit… he seems to have the magic "sleep" touch.  Let's hope he keeps that talent once we're home!  Yodit has beautiful, soft hair, and great lashes.  Her hands are teeny tiny… much smaller that Ezra's.  Oh, FYI – Ezra isn't COMPLETELY bald like he looks in all his pictures we had from before.  He does have some cute fuzz!  Olivia is congested and has a stuffy nose too, just not as worrisome as Tewodros.  I know they'll both benefit from some clean air (there's sooo much smoke and fumes here!) and getting out of an environment where the sickie bugs are undoubtedly passed back and forth. 


Anyhoo… that's it in a nutshell.  We had some yummy pizza for lunch at Green View, and Joe and I walked a ways down the street tonight for dinner at the Zebra Grill.  I had some super yummy chicken kabob, and Joe enjoyed a tasty cheeseburger!  I'm sure I'm forgetting LOADS of things I want to say… but the internet is finally up and I need to send this and get some emails sent out!

More to come… (as the internet connections allows!)

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Day 2/3 brief updates

Well, there's nothing like making it back to your "Guest House, sweet Guest House" and finding that after a couple of days out of touch, the internet is down.  Oi.  It was such a brutal trip to Awassa and back… I was sick on the way there, Joe was sick on the way back.  Today, most all of the day was spent in the car, coming and going from Awassa, the area our children are from, and Addis Ababa.  Just the drive from Awassa to Addis was about 6.5 hours.  It would be so much faster if there weren't constant streams of cows, donkeys, goats, sheep, and people crossing the road in front of you and causing the car to have to slow or stop.  For the most part, this game of "dodge the life forms" was rather successful, but there were a few tragic sites along the way to remind you how real this game of dodge was. 


We had a whirlwind visit to Awassa, but it was still a great thing that we went.  We got some really key information about our little babes' story, and for that all the sickness, road dust, sweat, and fatigue was more than worth it.  Things we saw and learned have opened our eyes even wider to what our little ones have already experienced at such a young age.  I can't even imagine the drive itself for ones so small and precious, let alone all the other details of their incredible journey.


While in Awassa, we stayed at the Tadesse Enjory Hotel.  It was pretty nice… in many ways much nicer than our guest house, but incredibly tight.  There was barely enough room to shuffle around the bed and to the bathroom, let alone lay out a suitcase to get your stuff out.  Ahhh, the things we take for granted.  At least for Joe's puke sessions he enjoyed a nice, new toilet… nothing like the fun I had here at the Addis Guest House and its lovely toilet.  J


In the morning, we're hoping Joe and myself will BOTH be "healthy" or at least close to it, and if so we'll be heading to Toukoul for a "real" first meeting with our angels.  The first was so incredibly brief it barely counts for anything.  It was enough to know we can't wait to get more!  We keep seeing pictures of them, including new pictures while at the Awassa branch of Toukoul… we're reading to see them in real life and learn their features in 3D!




Ok, I'm now showered and feeling much better.  What a clean feeling does for the soul, I tell you.  I'm utterly exhausted though, and the internet is still down, so I guess this update will have to go out tomorrow.  Now back to crossing my fingers I'll get through my first full night's sleep since arrival… I'm determined to be better rested before Olivia Yodit & Ezra Tewodros are in our care full time!  Also… I'm REALLY hoping we get word from the attorney tomorrow that we have good news on our embassy date… we're just waiting for their new passports, so they could come through tomorrow!  PLEASE let them be ready tomorrow (Thursday)!!!

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Monday, April 07, 2008

What a day...

Just a quick update and then back to bed for me!  It was a heck of a day.  We met with the attorney in the morning and got some frustrating news about some things, but some "promising" news about the April 14 embassy date.  No guarantees, but it's at least looking "possible."  We saw their birth certificates... what beautiful babies we have!  Yodit is making such a cute face in her picture... she's definitely got some serious personality!
While at the attorney's smokey office on the 6th floor of his building (a long walk up when you're starting to feel puny!), I got so overcome by dizziness I had to lay on the floor of his office.  This caused quite a stir, but I felt better once I was horizontal.  I figured it was exhaustion and/or altitude, no big deal.  After a long and rather information talk, we were sent to Toukoul to meet our angels.  I'll admit now this was a terrible idea considering I was feeling so out of sorts.  But, we were so ready to meet Yodit & Tewodros!
We arrived at Toukoul and began talking with Melat about our program.  I had to interrupt her and ask for a place to lay down... back to just about passing out.  Yikes.  While I was laying in the visiting room, Melat continued talking about the visiting hours, our plans, etc., and then I heard it.  That beautiful little cry our Yodit shared with us in a video taken back in February by a friend.  Moments later, Tewodros was carried into the room and placed into my arms.  Yodit was handed to Joe and we began talking to them in awe.  We'd arrived at lunch time, so Yodit was rather unhappy we didn't have a bottle for her.  After a moment of holding little Tewodros, we swapped and I tried to comfort Yodit.  This was semi successful, but I was getting sicker by the moment.  Tewodros had some serious congestion and projectile spit up.  About the moment of the spit up mess, I was starting to pass out or throw up, so I begged our guide Ephrim to take Yodit.  Joe and Ephrim took the babies from the room and I collapsed.
So, the remainder of the day I spent in bed and visiting the toilet.  Puking is really the pits.
More later... back to bed.  We're hoping in the morning I'll be continuing to feel better and we'll spend more time at Toukoul.  I think we're going to delay our trip to Awassa another day to allow for more recovery time...
Oh, there was also a fire at the building that butts up against our guest house today... fun times.  More on that later!

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

We're in Addis Ababa!

Just a quick post to let you all know we made it safely to Ethiopia yesterday evening!  Our flight arrived about 10 minutes early, and all our bags are here!  Including our huge duffel bag of donations that was barely within/just over the weight maximums and definitely larger than the maximum dimensions... but we were never questioned about it and not charged!  Hooray!  We can't wait to get them delivered to AHOPE and Toukoul.
We've decided we are meeting the babies this morning, and prior to our trip south.  Actually, it's Joe that wants to so badly.  I know it'll be hard to leave them for a couple of days after meeting, but Joe was insistant that we get to them this morning!  We'll also be calling our agency's attorney in a few minutes and seeing what we can do to help ensure an earlier embassy date.  We already love it here... but still want to get home and settle in to be a family in 2 weeks rather than 3!  ;-)
More later... it's beautiful here.  There's so much to say, but I'll do that when I have more time!
Hugs from us!  We'll post later if we can... hopefully with pictures of meeting our children!

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