Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The past few months have gone tremendously well. When we had our home study follow up visit we told the social worker that the "adoption" part of things had almost gone too easy. Malachi has been a great baby. He has adjusted so well. It's amazing how much Leah and him love each other. There has been very little if any jealousy expressed by Leah. We'll see how his birthday goes and how things progress but so far so good! I sit now and watch through the fireplace and see them playing in the living room and it's incredible. Leah has got a few licks in on him but she better do it now before he catches up with her size wise. He's just about there so when he starts walking, watch out.
Healthwise since we've been home has been rough. Several parasites made it through our family, Sarah and Leah have had MRSA, Malachi has had ear infection after ear infection and thankfully gets tubes tomorrow, and numerous other ailments. Hopefully we're on the mend, but we've felt that way before.
Ethiopia is an incredible country and we feel blessed that we were blessed with Malachi. We hope as he grows up we can include his culture into our household. It's also amazing the emotions we feel towards that country. Our trip was exhuasting and with everything we brought home healthwise there was a time when I thought I never wanted to go back. Oh I wish I could take those thoughts back, it was an incredible country and I am so ready to go back now.
Many have asked if we plan to adopt again. As of right now we have no idea. We truly have no idea what God will call us to in regards to family expansion in the future. At times we think we're done with 2, at times we want a large family, at times we want more biological children, more times than not we want more adopted children, but who knows in the grand scheme where we'll wind up. We love our family now and are really enjoying being a family of four. Thanks for following along on the adventure. It has been real, it has been fun, and it has been real fun:)
Monday, March 9, 2009
Our health is the area we have been struggling with the past couple of weeks. First of all Malachi came home with giardia. That is basically a strong stomach bug that takes antibiotics to get rid of. Sarah then came down with MRSA staph infection, who knows where she got that at. They gave her incredibly strong antibitotics to get rid of that which caused allergic reactions among other things. Then Leah developed some bacteria which was basically another stomach but that did clear up by itself. Then Sarah caught that stomach bug. All in all NOT fun. We spend one whole day in the emergency room with one of the illnesses. EIGHT hours in the emergency room. Again NOT fun. Then tonight Leah starts running a temperature. What is this????? We are so ready to be a healthy family of four. We know this will pass but are ready for it now and want to open our windows and air out our house.
Back to the adoption front it's amazing how that all works out. Some people wonder if they can love a child that isn't their "own". I can tell you with out a doubt that we 100% love Malachi as much as Leah. As I was putting him down tonight it hit me how we truly consider him one of us. Even though his skin color is different and he came from 1/2 way around the world he is truly ours. Adoption is just amazing as birth I believe. Malachi was chosen to be our son and we had to jump through so many hurdles and hoops and paperwork but it all worked out just like God had planned. Our move last February slowed us down by several weeks in getting our paperwork done, our home study took longer to get reviewed than it should have, and many other things along the way we considered little bumps but as it turns out they were all Gods way of matching us with the most perfect son. We truly are blessed with our 2 children. Wouldn't trade them for the world!!
Monday, February 16, 2009
First, the welecome at the airport was incredible. Many people in the adoption community have strong opinions against big welcome parties so we struggled with what to do about that. So many people wanted to see him and we wanted to see familar faces so in the end we decided to invite everyone. Every situation is different but we are 100% sure we made the right one. Thank each and every one of you that came out there and we heard from so many who couldn't make it and we missed you and hope to see everyone soon. Our friends Matt and Meredith took pictures and put together a slide show. You can view Matt's website here and our slideshow here.
Malachi has adjusted extremely well, especially considering the circumstances. For those of you at the airport he was not himself and remained in zombie stage pretty much until yesterday morning. Since then he has gone 90 mph. If we could just get these horrible diapers gone things would be great. Also he has this habit of waking up once a night, so if we could end that we would appreciate it as well:) Just kidding, we were so lucky with Leah pretty much sleeping through the night from very early on this once a night thing has been rough on us. We do know we are extremely lucky with this as well.
Leah is a great big sister. I'm off work today and when I went to get her out of her room her first words were, "Where's Malachi", not "Where's mommy" like they usually are. She loves him to death. We've experienced some slight jealousy and regression but we've been pretty lucky. We missed her so much and are so glad to be home.
Sarah and I are doing good our selves. Flyright does work for a jet lag formula so if you are traveling overseas we reccomend it. The flight back was great and Malachi was a piece of cake. He slept most of the way and the other time he just sat on our lap and played with his toys. We aren't really jetlagged too much except for going to bed early and getting up early. Hopefully as we get into a "routine" the next few days we will do better. We tried going to eat at Chilli's on Saturday, DISASTER, we tried Wal Mart today, BETTER, but not great.
We owe a ton of thanks to everyone who helped make this process possible. We appreciate each and everyone one of you. Most of all though thank you to our families. Sarah's parents gave up two weeks to come take care of Leah and watch our house. We are so thankful for that and Leah loved it, we can tell. Also thanks to my parents who left this morning. Without them yesterday we might not have made it. We pretty much hit the wall yesterday both physically and mentally. They watched the kids why we just zoned out. Thanks again to everyone.
My only complaint about the whole trip is our US Customs department. This is very arrogant of me I know but there is no reason why I should wait in line 2 hours with only 6 people ahead of me. Make the process simpler or add a line for adoptive parents or American citizens sponsoring immigrants. My wife sat covered in leaking baby diaper for 2 hours while the customs officers, who worked as fast as typical government workers, tried to assist people who could speak no english and had no idea what help the needed. So frustrating. Other than that our trip was awesome. All our suitcases made it both ways, ALL six of our flights arrived EARLY at every destination, our agency was great, and our hotel, well it was ok.
We'll post some more about our trip and our thoughts/reflections on the trip and then we'll shut down this blog and start a new blog about our family of four.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I don't know that I will get a chance to blog again before we get home. I will try and blog once we are through customs and settled in Detroit. I am so ready for unsweet ice tea. There is no such thing as ice tea over here but we couldn't drink with ice anyway.
Sarah and I both are experiencing minor health issues. Nothing outside of what some in our group have had and nothing that we didn't expect. It's still not fun though. It's basically a stomach bug. We either ate something we shouldn't or got some water from here in our system. Anyway pray we make is safely home and arrive at 4:40 tomorow!!!!!!! Let the countdown begin!!
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Today was a VERY emotional day. We started out with a farewell party for all the kids at the care center. All the parents had to take a turn saying something and as you can guess that became quite emotional. The care center staff put together quite the part including cake, cookies, and a traditional coffee ceremony. The care center staff clearly love the kids and it shows.
After the farewell party we actually left the kids for a few hours while we finished up our shopping. Sounds confusing we know!! We got lots of great stuff. We bought a ton of stuff to share with Malachi over the years and we so hope that we can show him how to appreciate his culture.
After the shopping trip we had to go pick him up from the care center for the last time. Talk about gut wrenching. Words can't begin to express the love the nannies have for the kids and it was so hard for them to let him go and so hard for us to take him away at the same time.
Tomorrow is a day of rest and packing and gearing up for our 20 plus hour flight home. PLEASE pray for traveling mercies. God has been so good to us so far on this trip and we ask that He give us another great round of flights. Specifically pray for our flight through Detroit. We currently only have 1 1/2 hours to get through customs and onboard our next flight. We are trying to change it to allow us more time and still get home on schedule at 4:40. We are scheduled to get home at 4:40. Several of you have asked and we welcome anyone at the airport that wishes to see us home. If for some reason we have a change in plans we will TRY and blog asap so no one goes to the airport and we aren't there. Again, please pray that all goes well. We so badly want to get home and want nothing to get in the way of us getting home.
Thank you guys all for sharing this journey with us. Hopefully soon we can put into words what this trip has meant to us and all we have learned through this whole process. It's been amazing.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Today we went to the care center at 9:00. We got to play with our kids and then it was off to do paperwork. After the paperwork we headed to lunch at a chinese resturant. It was very good but a little scary eating chinese in Ethiopia. After that we headed to the Merkato which is the largest market in all of Africa. Some people say it's a little scary but we hired a personal guide and it was fine. We did find a lot of bargains there but we still have much to buy.
When we got back from the Merkato we got to bring Malachi to our room. He at dinner with use, changed clothes, and then proceeded to fall asleep why playing on the floor. He is still soundly sleeping. We are praying he sleeps through the night.
Tomorrow we go to the US Embassy to get a Visa for Malachi to travel back with us. We have legally adopted him over here but we need the US Government to give us the ok to bring him home. We don't anticipate any problems but keep us in your prayers.
Talk to everyone later!!
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Saturday, February 7, 2009
After that we had lunch and went to the National History Museum. After that we stopped for a little shopping and then back to the hotel. Tonight we had a traditional Ethiopian dinner. The food was good but I would have enjoyed it more if it was lit and I knew what I was eating. Maybe not knowing was better though!!
Tomorrow is our rest day and we are headed to a spa. There we can kayak, swim, get a massage, or just plain relax. We are looking forward to some relaxing.
I'll try and get some photos uploaded soon but internet is SLOW over here.
It has been great to meet all the families in the travel group. We also got to love on some babies that are waiting for their familes to come get them home. They are all sweet children!
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Friday, February 6, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Packing-packing was way harder than I imagined. I thought we could simply throw everything together the night before and it would nicely fit and be under the weight limit. I am a very light packer and Sarah's coming around to being a light packer so I knew it would be fine. Then along came the Vitamins. There is a need at the care center for Vitamins so we told people those would be a great item to send if they wanted to send them and we also purchased a bunch with the money people gave us to buy stufff for the orphanage. I never imagined how much they would weigh. We planned on carrying on two suitcases and checking two. We wound up checking 3 bags that are completely stuffed, one of which is over the weight limit but thankfully the check in guy at Northwest was so gracious to let it pass. At this point I don't care how heavy they are but I'm sure I will later as we will be climbing stairs to our hotel room. Our carry ons are also completely stuffed. Thankfully we are leaving a bunch of stuff over there so we will be much lighter coming back. We finished packing somewhere between one and two last night and then took a 2 hour nap and then woke up and headed to the aiport. We are taking this flyright herbal jet lag formula and it is AWFUL. I think I squirted too much into my drink but I chugged it and God allowed me to get it down. (Sound similar to our "hot dogs" in El Salvador???)
Leah-It was way harder than we imagined leaving Leah. She is in great hands and will be spoiled rotten by the time we get back but it was so hard. She knew something was up and did NOT want us to leave and threw quite a fit when we did. That made it hard on Mom. We made it though and last time we checked she is playing away. Keep her in your prayers!!
Flying-the flight from Springfield to Minn was great. Only 1 1/2 hours and it was very smooth. Right as we were getting ready to go through security some friend, Dwayne and Pam came up to send us off and pray for us. It was quite a blessing and a great surprise and a welcome distraction from thinking about the flight. Thanks guys!! In about 3 hours we head out to Amsterdam. Eight and a half hour flight:(
Keep us in your prayers. We will do our best to blog from Ethiopia but not guarantees. We are SUPPOSED to get back at 4:40 pm on Friday the 13th. Several of you have asked about meeting us at the airport and that would be great. We would love to see everyone. Thank you so much for following our journey.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
For me, Adam, the actual travel part will be a blast. I love being in different airports, flying on different planes, and seeing different places. Sarah on the other hand hates flying and would rather avoid it all together. That being said she'll have to adjust because we have 20 hours of fly time each way. She actually did get a prescription for Valium so hopefully she'll do ok.
We had a travel call today with our agency. They went over the schedule for the week and a few details that needed to be gone over before we head out. Even though we knew most of the details it was still fun to listen in. It is really happening.
We've had a major winter storm here. Tonight we ventured out to Wal Mart in the hardest snow I have seen in some time. The store was dead and we were able to get all the final things, we think, for the trip. It was neat to see Leah witness her first real snow. When we got home she wanted to play outside in the snow in the dark. We gave her a few minutes but then to her dismay brought her in. She is such an amazing kid and it will be so neat to see her interact with Malachi. We are excited to see that.
We don't really have much to post at this point. So many last minute details to work out but then it will all be here before we know it!
Pray for us!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
As far as packing and getting ready to leave goes we are probably behind schedule but we will get there and everything will get done. It always does. We have purchased about everything we need for the trip. Now it's just a matter of getting it all in the suitcases. We are going to try 3 suitcases on the way over and pack a duffel bag and use it for additional space on the way back. We want to bring plenty back to have for Malachi and to be able to bring whatever part of his culture we can back with us.
Leaving Leah behind for 10 days will no doubt be the hardest thing about the entire process. The waiting and unknowns have been hard but to be apart for 10 days will be incredibly hard. We always knew it would be hard but the closer we get to lift off the more of a reality it becomes. She is staying with her Nana and will be in great hands but still the thought of not being with her is hard to imagine. Another couple traveling is bringing a satelite phone that we will use to have contact with our family back home. We've got lots of new toys and cool stuff for Leah to have while we are gone so hopefully that will keep her busy. We do think she is starting to grasp the idea that she is getting a brother. She talks about him and knows where his room and toys are. I'm sure she has no idea though what it's going to be like to share Mommy and Daddy!! She'll be a great big sister and we can't wait to see them interact.
Pray for us the 11 days that we get everything we need to done. Work is incredibly busy for both of us right now. I'm trying to get some projects done before I head out and Sarah is trying to work all her clients in before she leaves.
Several people have given us donations and cash for the orphanage. Thank you so much!! The people over there will greatly appreciate it. The need is great.
We got a health update and pictures yesterday on Malachi. He is starting to come down on the growth charts some. He might not be quite the giant we though, hopefully though big enough to play basketball for the MSU Bears. He is very healthy and doing very well.
Monday, January 19, 2009
- Cloth Diapers and Plastic Covers (currently at times they are using plastic bags in place of the plastic covers.
- Infant/Toddler Vitamins-Very much needed
- Diaper Wipes
- Clothing-specifically boy clothing as every picture of our little guy has been in pink!
- Childrens Books and DVDs
If you would liike to send anything please get it to us by February 1st so we can make sure we have enough luggage. If you are a church member and want to send something just get it to us at church. If not contact us and we will come get it from you!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
One prayer request with our tickets, please pray for good weather. We have to travel up north and we all know how the winter has been. Please pray for easy travels and no interruptions due to weather.
16 days left till we leave!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
It goes without saying that we were shocked to hear that we had passed court today. We had been scheduled for tomorrow, the 16th. Yesterday I had several people comment about tomorrow, (Thursday) being the big day. Even Sarah early in the week had it in her head that the court date was the 15th. I had to go back to the original email with the re schedule date and see that it clearly said we were scheduled for the 16th, which would have meant sometime this night in Ethiopia. I had checked the yahoo group at lunch to see what was going on and saw that one of our fellow families with the same court date had passed. I quickly checked my email to see if I had anything. Nothing. Fear slowly crept in that we had not passed. Then I checked a second email account that I quit using a few months ago and sure enough we had an email in there that we had passed court. We are so excited.
We leave on Wednesday the 4th and come back on Friday the 13th. It will truly be a trip of a lifetime. There is so much to do. Priority one is to secure airline tickets. That is the task for tomorrow. It's down to flying through Amsterdam or Instabul. Either one will be great. Can you tell we are excited??
Saturday, January 10, 2009
The Christmas decorations are almost all down and our house is almost back to normal. Some of you know that I am a neat freak about our house. Before kids we would have our house "perfect" every night. People told me I'd have to give that up when we had kids and to some degree I have but I still like everything in its place. It's been months since we've been there but we are hoping to get there this week and then be ready to start packing to Ethiopia. If we do pass court we likely will be in Ethiopia a month from now or on our way home by now. That is so cool but also very odd to think about.
Please pray for us to pass court!!
Saturday, January 3, 2009
First and adoption update. Nothing really new as of late. Our last set of pictures and measurements was early December and everything was going well. We did get word that he has been moved to the capital city of Addis Abba a couple of weeks ago so that was welcome news. Hopefully that is in preparation of us traveling soon. Things in the Ethiopia adoption world continue to be crazy. Just the other day an incident happened where the person who signs off on the adoption paperwork was out of pocket. As a result numerous court cases didn't pass that week. Hopefully the issue is resolved. There are constant rumblings about new law changes and such but nothing concrete so at this point we go with the flow. 13 days left!! If we pass on the 16th when will we travel? Well it's anyones guess but the new Holt timeline seems to be 2-3 weeks after passing court. The typical timeline would have us leave on February 5th. Again that is subject to many items the most important being clearing court. Pray that all goes well.
Things on the home front are good. We had an awesome Christmas which included extended visits with both sets of our families coming to our town. When the parents travel here it makes it much easier on us, but probably not on then:) Thanks parents! We scaled back our Christmas exchanging on a lot of fronts this year and that made it much easier on all. We also talked about scaling back even more this year and possible scaling back on some birthday exchanges. It allows us to have much more time for our families and not have to be out shopping and wrapping tons at the last minute. We did get some goods though. Adam got a new Bible, Guitar Hero World Tour Guitar set and with Christmas money purchased the complete band set, and some clothes. Sarah got a sewing machine, clothes, gift cards to go purchase clothes and several other items. Sarah purchased fabric and patterns to start sewing some clothes. Adam is not holding his breath. He does think the dress pattern she picked out will look wonderful on Leah's daughter!! Leah got toys, toys, and more toys. She never has and never will hurt for toys. Malachi got several things, the neatest one being a donation made to Heifer International. Heifer International provides livestock and training to remote poor parts of the world in hopes that the people will raise and reproduce the livestock. They have many projects in Ethiopia so it's quite possible that the donation made in his name is actually helping a family member of his or someone close by.
Possibly the best present was Sarah's parents agreeing to take the cats. As most of you know we've struggled with allergies/asthma for Leah and what was causing the pneumonia. The doctor did an allergy test the week of Christmas and diagnosed her with asthma officially but no allergies. At that point we resigned ourselves to keeping the cats. Sarah's parents agreed to take them and they are now out of our house. We have mixed emotions on the issue. We are sad to have them leave us. Those of you who have known us for a while know what those cats meant to us pre kids. (All you people who don't have kids now and swear that you will still love your pets as much when you have kids, WRONG). Knowing that they are going to a good home and we can still see them makes us feel much better. As they were loaded up Leah went to the car and went to each side where each cat was and said "Bye Titus, it will be ok" and Bye Ruthie, it will be ok". Don't know that she got what she said but it was pretty awesome.
Hope everyone had a great holiday and has a great start to the new year. My New Years Resolutions include giving up diet coke (at least not keeping it in the house, occasionally when I got out is ok), eating right, regular exercise (for those of you that don't know I agreed and have already registered and paid to run a 1/2 marathon in St. Louis in April, I am NOT a runner but many co workers are doing it and I felt the peer pressure) and finally, giving up the ridiculous purchases that we make. We, ok mostly Adam, has a tendancy to buy ridiculous stuff that I don't need. I'm going to try and give up those purchases. Disclaimer though, we already have gift cards to purchase new cell phones on January 17th when our current contract expires and I did buy Guitar Hero World Tour Band set with my Christmas money, and our treadmill was purchased on 12/31.