Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pictures from Ethiopia

Here are some pictures from our trip. Since we are at the transition house, we are able to take pictures of the kids. All of them have been adopted. They are in very random orders, sorry.

Christmas Card

Christmas Card is complete! Check out our first complete family photo. I will post more pics from our trip soon.


Pop Art Ornaments Christmas
View the entire collection of cards.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Last Update

Today was a great day. We picked the boys up this morning and took them to the Zoo and out to lunch. It was nice to get them away. Although we love being around all the kids, many of the younger ones are very needy and want all pf  our attention while we are trying to get to know the boys.
The main attraction at the Zoo was the lions. They had multiple cages with lots of lion pairs. You can get lot closer to them here than you can get in the US. It was neat, but said becuase all the animals were in pretty small cages. There were also a few monkeys, birds, a gessel, and a little deer tied to a string.
There was a little amusment park and playground at the Zoo as well. This was Chera and Kenenisa's favorite thing to do. They road a few rides and played on a playground. I can't wait until we take them to an amusment park or the fair. Pretty interesting, a maintinance man was welding metal, right in the middle of the walking path. Justin wanted to take Zoey's stroller off road to go around it and our driver could not figure out why. She told us "No big deal, can't hurt you!" Hopefully he wasn't welding a part for one of the rides the boys were on!
Good bye to the boys was hard, but we know we will see them soon. Hopefully, we will receive an embassy date late January or early February.
 We have to go now, off to the airport. Thanks for all the prayers! 


Donna Brown MM, MT-BC
Louisville Music Therapy, LLC
(502)376-9064
DonnaMT@insightbb.com
www.louisvillemusictherapy.com
www.justinanddonna.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Update

We had another wonderful day today. I brought coloring books, notepads, and crayons to the orphanage. This was a big hit for all the kids. They all enjoyed coloring and drawing. The coloring books were Mickey  Mouse and almost all the kids new exactly who he was!
The boys are getting more and more comfortable with us. Both times we went today there were waiting for us at the courtyard gate with big smiles. Both boys initiated interaction with Hiwot more today. Kenenisa wanted to feed her and Chera wanted to sit with her while he was coloring. Most of you have seen the ergo carrier that I carry Zoey in. Everytime I put it on, Chera wants to help me. Today while he was helping, a toddler(who is kind of a wild kid) ran up and started touching Zoey. Chera protectively put himself between the toddler and Zoey. I know the little boy meant no harm to Zoey at all, but it was sweet to see how protective Chera was of his sister.
It seems that the orphanage has done their best to explain what will be happening. While they were drawing, Chera drew a plane. Justin asked if he wanted to go on a plane to come home with us in a few months and he said yes. Later, he drew a plane and wrote 
 MDCKH(Mommy, Daddy, Chera, Kenenisa, Hiwot) inside of it. Very sweet. I am very happy that they have tried to explain things. I know it will still be scary, but at least they will have some idea of what is going to happen.
Zoey is doing very well. I am proud of how she is handling such a hectic schedule. I am so happy that we brought her. It has made the nannies so happy to see that she is doing good. The first question I get is: Have you taken her to the doctor? They are always very excited when I tell them that she has multiple doctors.
This trip we have both been very aware of the mental health issues and disabilities of people on the streets. We have seen many people with obvious mental impairment and horrible physical disabilities. We have been told that there is very little help for people in this situation.  Its impossible to imagine what it would be like to live here with any special need or what it's like to have a child with special needs. I saw a girl who did not have use of her legs pulling herself with her arms down the street. I couldn't help but think that this could have been Zoey's life if she wasn't given the chance to live in a place with good medical care. I am very grateful that God has brought her into our lives.
Tomorrow is out last day. We will leave late tomorrow night. Tomorrow morning we are going to be able to take Chera and Kenenisa to the Zoo. Afterwards we are going to go to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant. We are pretty excited. It's going to be a lot of fun. Now, off to sleep!


Donna Brown MM, MT-BC
Louisville Music Therapy, LLC
(502)376-9064
DonnaMT@insightbb.com
www.louisvillemusictherapy.com
www.justinanddonna.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We passed!

We passed court this morning! We went to the courthouse this morning and waited in a large room with all the other couples. There were quite a few families from our orphanage there. We have gotten to know all of them through hanging out at the transisition house with our kids. They called us back one by one to the hearing room to aswer a few questions. It really only took 5 minutes. It was basically for them to establish that you knew that these would be your children and you were responsible for them. They asked a few questions about Zoey and that was it. At the end she said: "They are yours." After all we have been through waiting and fearing that we would not even be able to adopt them, hearing that was the most wonderful thing we had ever heard. It would have been nice if they boys had been there with us, but I doubt they would have understood any of it and we may have scared them with our crying.
After court we went shopping.  This was a fabulous shopping trip. Our driver Ayni took us. It was great to have her their to transate and let us know where was the best place to buy things. We got some really cute traditional outfits for the boys, some decor for home, gifts, and a necklace for Zoey when she gets older. In Ethiopia, the Orthadox Christians and many Protestant Christans wear wooden Coptic crosses. Chera had mentioned he liked crosses so we bought a few for all the older kids in the transition house(only about 11). It was amazing to see how excited all these kids got for these tiny little inexpensive neclaces. Everytime we have brought anything for them; bubbles, stickers, suckers, it's like they hit the lottery. As I have mentioned before, all the kids want to make sure that everyone got one. It is sweet to see how they look out for one another.
We had a good day with the boys. We played some soccer, passed the ball and spinned the boys around. Our close friend Haley made the boys a book with pictures of her and her brother, our house, church, us, Zoey and soccer. I thought they would like it, but I had no idea how much they would like it! All the kids gathered around and watched as Justin read it to them and Anyi translated. We read it a few more times and Chera has it memorized now! Haley-thank you so much for making the book for the boys. I took pictures and I have a video of them saying thank you to you and Nathan!
After hanging out at the orphanage we came back to the hotel for some dinner. Justin  went ahead to get us a table at the restaurant and Zoey and I were going to meet him there after we changed his diaper. We were comming down the elevator to the restaurant when it jarred and went completely dark. I knew this was just a power outage becuase it happens all the time. Thankfully our hotel has a generator so it does not last long. Zoey started screaming and I couldnt see which button to press to call for help. I just hit every button that was on the wall. I started banging on the door and yelling for help. I heard someone bang back at me and casually say in an Ethiopian accent: Don't sweat, its alright" For those of you who have been to Ethiopia, you know that nothing  to big of a deal big deal. It only lasted for a few minutes, but its hard not to sweat when you are in a pitch black elevator with a screaming baby! At least it is an interesting story for us to tell.
Better go now, we all need to get some rest. Thank you so much for all the prayers regarding our courtdate. God has definitely worked throughout this process.
----- Original Message -----
From: Donna B Brown <donnamt@insightbb.com>
Date: Sunday, December 5, 2010 10:36
Subject: Update!
To: donaldparker@vzw.blackberry.net,lesleys@ariseforchildren.com>, susank.ariseforchildren@gmail.com,susancallander@gmail.com>, ronda.cosby@jefferson.kyschools.us,lupitacross@hotmail.com, rebecca.edney@yahoo.com,jessicanaber@yahoo.com, brittneyj.armstrong@gmail.com,<kdozier@sobmlegal.com>
Cc: drae48@insightbb.com>,donnamt.ethiopia@blogger.com,coram deo abf <coramdeoabf@yahoogroups.com

> Two seperate updates. I tried to send  the first one this
> morning but the internet wasn't working.
>
> Update 1
> We made it to our hotel last night at around 3:30 am. This was
> about 6 hours later than we expected. All of the flights except
> our flight from Louisville to Detroit had delays. One for snow,
> one for mechanical reasons, and one  becuase of another
> passengers medical needs. The snow was so bad in Amsterdam that
> the airport was shut down. Once it opened back up there was only
> one runway. We sat in the plane for around 3 hours waiting. The
> KLM staff were wonderful though. There was plenty to eat, drink,
> and lots of movies to watch. Zoey was great. she didn't sleep
> much, but was pretty happy most of the way. The only time she
> got cranky was after our stop in Sudan. It was only an hour trip
> from Sudan to Ethiopia, so it wasn't too bad.
>
> We only got around 5 hours of sleep so I am sure we will sleep
> good tonight. In a half hour we are going to go visit the boys!
> I am very nervous and excited. I just wonder how much they
> understand and what they will be thinking when they see us.
> Justin is ready to play some soccer with them. We even brought a
> ball with us.
>
> Please keep us in your prayers. I really want us all to stay
> healthy. Also, our court date is tomorrow afternoon. Which will
> be early in the morning your time.
>
> Brittney-Justin gave Jared your gifts. He liked them very much.
> We also gave him some paper and a pen so he can write a letter
> to you. We will take a little video of him as well.
>
> Haley-I will probably give the boys your book on Tuesday after
> we know how the court date went! I know they are going to love
> it!
>
> Update 2
> We spent a lot of time with the boys today! They have already
> been moved to the transition house. This is where all the kids
> that are close to coming home go. When we got there, they were
> both napping. It took them a little while to warm up to us since
> they had just woke up from a nap, but that changed quickly. We
> were having fun and were covered in stickers in no time! 
> Both said they remembered us from our previous trip
> Words can't describe how beautiful these boys are! Its just so
> amazing to actually get to know them after only looking at
> pictures for so long. Justin took his football(soccer for you
> Americans!) and played with all the kids. Suprisingly they also
> like basketball. Not sure if they have played with an actual
> basket, but they like to dribble and pass. Justin had such a
> great time coaching them, it was fun to watch. I video taped
> them with our flip and both boys cracked up watching themselves.
> I have  a feeling we will be doing that a lot!
> We brought dum-dums for all the kids. Big Hit! I learned today
> that it makes the caretakers happy to get the candy as well.
> They were very appreciative to get some candy. Chera wanted to
> make sure everyone got a sucker. He asked for extras and took
> them to staff who hadn't gotten any yet. I was very proud of
> him. There are many negative behaviors that come from living in
> the orphanage, but I think there are just as many if not more
> positive behaviors. All the kids are looking out for each other
> and love to share with others.
> Zoey did great. The response when the nannies saw her was worth
> any trouble that it took to get her here. They were so happy to
> see her doing well. When we walked in the gates we heard many
> high pitched exclamations that "Hiwot is here"!
>
> Going to eat dinner now. Ready for some Ethiopian food! Then, a
> lot of sleep! 
>
>
>
>  
>
>  Donna Brown MM, MT-BC
> Louisville Music Therapy, LLC
> (502)376-9064
> DonnaMT@insightbb.com
> www.louisvillemusictherapy.com
> www.justinanddonna.blogspot.com
>


Donna Brown MM, MT-BC
Louisville Music Therapy, LLC
(502)376-9064
DonnaMT@insightbb.com
www.louisvillemusictherapy.com
www.justinanddonna.blogspot.com

Monday, December 6, 2010

Re: Update

We were reminded this morning that with Ethiopia, nothing is definite and the details are not so important. Apparently, the orphanage in Ethiopia told our agency the wrong day! Not to big of a deal though, it's tomorrow.
As I have mentioned to most of you, I was worried about the birth-parent court date.Their  family lives about 9 hours away, so I was worried that it would be hard for them to come to Addis. . I thought this was supposed to happen on the same day as our court date. Apparently that rule has not been enacted yet and it took place a month ago and everything went great! Tomorrow's court date is just a formality.
We also found out a lot more about Chera and Kenenisa's story and about the area they are from. Most of their story is quite different than we thought. We will share more details once we learn a little more ourselves.
We had a great day hanging out at the transition house. I brought bubbles and all the kids had a great time. A lot of the kids thought they would make their bubbles last longer by adding some water. This led to no more bubbles.
All the kids at the transition house are so wonderful. We are particularly impressed by the older girls. They have such a maturity and sweet spirit. I could talk to them all day. Since they are at the transition house, this means they will all go home soon. Everytime I get to know another one of the kids I just think about how blessed their new families are going to be.
Today we tried to include Zoey in our interactions with Chera and Kenenisa. When we walked through the gates today Chera ran up to us and patted Zoey on the head and said "sister." Later Justin tried to teach Chera how to say Zoey. He would point at her and say "Zoey." Chera looked at him like he was crazy and said "thats Hiwot"!
We had fun playing soccer, passing and dribbling. The sun was very bright, but it wasn't too hot. I think all the hard playing and the sun made the boys really tired. Chera fell asleep in Justin's lap and Kenenisa was exhausted.
We are off to dinner now. All of us are pretty hungry. Hopefully we will have good news to report tomorrow! Thanks for all the prayers!


----- Original Message -----
From: Donna B Brown <donnamt@insightbb.com>
Date: Sunday, December 5, 2010 10:36
Subject: Update!
To: donaldparker@vzw.blackberry.net,lesleys@ariseforchildren.com>, susank.ariseforchildren@gmail.com,susancallander@gmail.com>, ronda.cosby@jefferson.kyschools.us,lupitacross@hotmail.com, rebecca.edney@yahoo.com,jessicanaber@yahoo.com, brittneyj.armstrong@gmail.com,<kdozier@sobmlegal.com>
Cc: drae48@insightbb.com>,donnamt.ethiopia@blogger.com,coram deo abf <coramdeoabf@yahoogroups.com

> Two seperate updates. I tried to send  the first one this
> morning but the internet wasn't working.
>
> Update 1
> We made it to our hotel last night at around 3:30 am. This was
> about 6 hours later than we expected. All of the flights except
> our flight from Louisville to Detroit had delays. One for snow,
> one for mechanical reasons, and one  becuase of another
> passengers medical needs. The snow was so bad in Amsterdam that
> the airport was shut down. Once it opened back up there was only
> one runway. We sat in the plane for around 3 hours waiting. The
> KLM staff were wonderful though. There was plenty to eat, drink,
> and lots of movies to watch. Zoey was great. she didn't sleep
> much, but was pretty happy most of the way. The only time she
> got cranky was after our stop in Sudan. It was only an hour trip
> from Sudan to Ethiopia, so it wasn't too bad.
>
> We only got around 5 hours of sleep so I am sure we will sleep
> good tonight. In a half hour we are going to go visit the boys!
> I am very nervous and excited. I just wonder how much they
> understand and what they will be thinking when they see us.
> Justin is ready to play some soccer with them. We even brought a
> ball with us.
>
> Please keep us in your prayers. I really want us all to stay
> healthy. Also, our court date is tomorrow afternoon. Which will
> be early in the morning your time.
>
> Brittney-Justin gave Jared your gifts. He liked them very much.
> We also gave him some paper and a pen so he can write a letter
> to you. We will take a little video of him as well.
>
> Haley-I will probably give the boys your book on Tuesday after
> we know how the court date went! I know they are going to love
> it!
>
> Update 2
> We spent a lot of time with the boys today! They have already
> been moved to the transition house. This is where all the kids
> that are close to coming home go. When we got there, they were
> both napping. It took them a little while to warm up to us since
> they had just woke up from a nap, but that changed quickly. We
> were having fun and were covered in stickers in no time! 
> Both said they remembered us from our previous trip
> Words can't describe how beautiful these boys are! Its just so
> amazing to actually get to know them after only looking at
> pictures for so long. Justin took his football(soccer for you
> Americans!) and played with all the kids. Suprisingly they also
> like basketball. Not sure if they have played with an actual
> basket, but they like to dribble and pass. Justin had such a
> great time coaching them, it was fun to watch. I video taped
> them with our flip and both boys cracked up watching themselves.
> I have  a feeling we will be doing that a lot!
> We brought dum-dums for all the kids. Big Hit! I learned today
> that it makes the caretakers happy to get the candy as well.
> They were very appreciative to get some candy. Chera wanted to
> make sure everyone got a sucker. He asked for extras and took
> them to staff who hadn't gotten any yet. I was very proud of
> him. There are many negative behaviors that come from living in
> the orphanage, but I think there are just as many if not more
> positive behaviors. All the kids are looking out for each other
> and love to share with others.
> Zoey did great. The response when the nannies saw her was worth
> any trouble that it took to get her here. They were so happy to
> see her doing well. When we walked in the gates we heard many
> high pitched exclamations that "Hiwot is here"!
>
> Going to eat dinner now. Ready for some Ethiopian food! Then, a
> lot of sleep! 
>
>
>
>  
>
>  Donna Brown MM, MT-BC
> Louisville Music Therapy, LLC
> (502)376-9064
> DonnaMT@insightbb.com
> www.louisvillemusictherapy.com
> www.justinanddonna.blogspot.com
>


Donna Brown MM, MT-BC
Louisville Music Therapy, LLC
(502)376-9064
DonnaMT@insightbb.com
www.louisvillemusictherapy.com
www.justinanddonna.blogspot.com

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Update!

Two seperate updates. I tried to send  the first one this morning but the internet wasn't working.

 

Update 1

We made it to our hotel last night at around 3:30 am. This was about 6 hours later than we expected. All of the flights except our flight from Louisville to Detroit had delays. One for snow, one for mechanical reasons, and one  becuase of another passengers medical needs. The snow was so bad in Amsterdam that the airport was shut down. Once it opened back up there was only one runway. We sat in the plane for around 3 hours waiting. The KLM staff were wonderful though. There was plenty to eat, drink, and lots of movies to watch. Zoey was great. she didn't sleep much, but was pretty happy most of the way. The only time she got cranky was after our stop in Sudan. It was only an hour trip from Sudan to Ethiopia, so it wasn't too bad.

 

We only got around 5 hours of sleep so I am sure we will sleep good tonight. In a half hour we are going to go visit the boys! I am very nervous and excited. I just wonder how much they understand and what they will be thinking when they see us. Justin is ready to play some soccer with them. We even brought a ball with us.

 

Please keep us in your prayers. I really want us all to stay healthy. Also, our court date is tomorrow afternoon. Which will be early in the morning your time.

 

Brittney-Justin gave Jared your gifts. He liked them very much. We also gave him some paper and a pen so he can write a letter to you. We will take a little video of him as well.

 

Haley-I will probably give the boys your book on Tuesday after we know how the court date went! I know they are going to love it!

 

Update 2

We spent a lot of time with the boys today! They have already been moved to the transition house. This is where all the kids that are close to coming home go. When we got there, they were both napping. It took them a little while to warm up to us since they had just woke up from a nap, but that changed quickly. We were having fun and were covered in stickers in no time!  Both said they remembered us from our previous trip
Words can't describe how beautiful these boys are! Its just so amazing to actually get to know them after only looking at pictures for so long. Justin took his football(soccer for you Americans!) and played with all the kids. Suprisingly they also like basketball. Not sure if they have played with an actual basket, but they like to dribble and pass. Justin had such a great time coaching them, it was fun to watch. I video taped them with our flip and both boys cracked up watching themselves. I have  a feeling we will be doing that a lot!
We brought dum-dums for all the kids. Big Hit! I learned today that it makes the caretakers happy to get the candy as well. They were very appreciative to get some candy. Chera wanted to make sure everyone got a sucker. He asked for extras and took them to staff who hadn't gotten any yet. I was very proud of him. There are many negative behaviors that come from living in the orphanage, but I think there are just as many if not more positive behaviors. All the kids are looking out for each other and love to share with others.
Zoey did great. The response when the nannies saw her was worth any trouble that it took to get her here. They were so happy to see her doing well. When we walked in the gates we heard many high pitched exclamations that "Hiwot is here"!
 
Going to eat dinner now. Ready for some Ethiopian food! Then, a lot of sleep!  
 


 

 



Donna Brown MM, MT-BC
Louisville Music Therapy, LLC
(502)376-9064
DonnaMT@insightbb.com
www.louisvillemusictherapy.com
www.justinanddonna.blogspot.com

Friday, December 3, 2010

Test email

Just sending out a test email/blog for updates during our trip. We are leaving today and should arrive Saturday night.  Our court date is on Monday so keep us in your prayers. 

Thanks!
Justin and Donna




 
   

Friday, November 19, 2010

Zoey Feeding Herself!



I know that I have been a little out of the loop. So sorry. We have been very busy with doctors appointments, therapy, work, and getting ready for our next trip to Ethiopia.
Zoey is working hard in both Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. We have been working on self feeding in OT. As hard as we have worked, she just never seemed to understand that she could give herself the food. Well, today for the first time she fed herself with a spoon! Granted, I scoop it out and she puts it in her mouth, it's still a huge step! She gets super messy, but I am so proud of her! As you will see, she is pretty proud of herself as well! Check out the video! Don't forget to keep reading after the video. There's more!

video

Since I hooked you in with a cute baby video, I thought I would tell you about a great event happening tomorrow. Naomi's Fund is a wonderful organization that provides spiritual, emotional and financial support to adoptive families. We are blessed to be supported through this wonderful group of families. Tomorrow(November 20th) Naomi's Fund is having a Christmas Bazaar and an all you can eat Pancake Dinner. Tickets for the pancakes are $6 and children 2 and under are free. There will be some fabulous things for sale at the bazaar, especially if you like super cute children's accessories! There will also be lots of things families have brought from China and Ethiopia. Prices are very reasonable so its a great place to get some Christmas shopping done! There will be lots of kids games, crafts, and I will be doing a few music groups. See you tomorrow from 4:00-8:00 in the cafeteria at Christian Academy on English Station!



Friday, November 5, 2010

We have had a fun, but busy few weeks. Zoey has been busy with Halloween and traveling. I plan to post on everything soon. In the meantime, I have posted something from my friend Natalie's Blog. The other day I read a reflective post of Natalie's adoption experience. She really eloquently summed up so much about the process. Take a moment to read her wonerful post. At the bottom are a couple pictures of her gorgeous son Tedi. Thanks for letting me re-post Natalie!

Counting the Cost

Here is the question. The real question of adoption. What will it cost you? Yes, it is a loaded question because "cost" in this sense is multi-faceted. Will it cost you money? Yes, whether you adopt from Shelby County, KY or Saigon. Will it cost you pride? Yes. Will your heart pay? For sure. Will it cost you friends, family, acquaintances? It may. Will it cost time? No doubt...... But more than the costs.....COUNT THE GAIN... How will you change, how will you change others, whether you adopt or support adoption, you gain....gain life. Take a look at the costs...our cost.

1) Financial: The main HANG UP. Adoption can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $35,000. Most people who desire to adopt do not have that kind of money laying around, regardless of your yearly gross income. Looking down the barrel at $25,000, as was our case, you start to doubt your financial ability to pay for an adoption, afford a child or another child, make payments on your other responsibilties while raising money, find ideas for fundraising.....but you may doubt God...not openly but in the subconscious place you may not even be able to utter aloud. I admit that I did. JT and I fortunately were able to openly discuss our doubt and had friends who prayed over our doubt.

Gain.....we did gain money...but God showed us His love and grace... As JT now says, "God shows up when ordains something." We fundraised and God provided. He moves in the heart of those around you to support you. So when doubt starts creeping in (and I still remind myself of this), you and I have to remember that if we consume ourselves with doubt, we can not see what is trying to happen before our eyes.

"He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

2) Your Heart: While deciding to adopt, your heart will toss and turn like a third trimester pregnant woman. You will debate, get excited, get discouraged, become on fire, saddened at the state of the world.....you will wonder why children have to suffer.... Your heart will definitely Feel the cost while counting the cost. But your heart will be changed, your world will be changed. It will cost you the heartache rought by hours of inner deliberation but will free you to live a life of liberation....You will now know what is beyond your small world.... With that said, the liberation of carries its own cost.... That is where I am now. I KNOW, so now what...what ELSE can I do now that I know AND have adopted. Thus, my heart is still counting the cost, but now I stand affirmed that it is worth it... see pictures below if you don't believe me.

"Don't say, "I didn't know it!" God can read your mind. He watches each of us and knows our thoughts. And God will pay us back for what we do." Proverbs 24:12 (Contemporary English Version)

3) Who: Who will support you, be your cheerleader, wipe your tears, hold your hand, plan your shower, help fundraise, financially help, plug you in.... PRAY for you? Who will cautiously stand back unsure of their stance waiting to see 'how it goes'? Who secretly condemn your decision without asking you questions, probing your heart and theirs? Who will openly attack your decision, your heart, your future child, your finances to the point of your tears, frustation and possbily crumbling of the relationship? I have been in each of the places...simply because our adoption.... Thankfully I can say the damaged relationships are now in perpetual repair, but it can be a difficult season.....the cost. But Oh the gain. We will never know the hearts that have been changed by our adoption, NOT BY US, but by God using us to adopt. We will never know on this side of heaven if someone straddling the fence decided to move forward
with adoption because of Tedi and our adoption... we will never know if a heart filled with anger and distaste for different races and cultures has been swayed, softened and re-structured. We won't know the gain of others now...we do not need to know but we must remember such gain when we are adding up our cost.

I have struggled with each of these topics deeply and that is the only reason I feel slightly capable to write about these things.
~October 2009~

~October 31, 2010~

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some Great News!!


Tonight while we were eating dinner, we heard Justin's phone ring. We didn't think much of it and he decided he would check it later. While I started to clean up he went into the bedroom to get his phone. He came back and told me: "Susan(agency director) has called us three times! This got us a little excited, but we were still somewhat guarded. Well, he called her back and she let us know that the boys have a court date on December 6th! A court date for this year was completely unexpected. We have friends that have just received court dates for the end of December so we were telling ourselves January/February. As we have learned, nothing can be predicted when it comes to Ethiopia!
If the boys pass court, then we will be able to go back to get them anywhere between 6-15 weeks. The rules have changed a little and there is now a possible longer wait in between passing court and your embassy date(when we can take them home). It will be wonderful to see them in December. I am so thankful that they will not have to wait as long as we were expecting. I pray that they are staying hopeful and patient as they wait to be with their new family. Thank you so much for all the continued prayers! We still need them!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

MRI




Zoey had her MRI this week. Although I was stressed about her having to go with out food, and I was a little worried about the sedation, she did great. She couldn't eat after 7:30 am, so I gave her an extra big breakfast. She gets pretty upset when she is hungry so I usually try to keep her from ever getting there. I have no idea if Zoey has every been starving or hungry on a regular basis(she obviously wasn't at her last orphanage!). She spent 3 months with her birthmom(who was a beggar) and 4 months in a rough orphanage. Since there is a good chance she has not always been well fed, I don't want her to ever feel the fear of not getting food. I want her to know that she will always have her needs met. She thankfully handled it pretty well. Just a little fussiness, but that was taken care of with some extra play time and attention.
Since we had to get her sedated, we had to get to Kosair pretty early. We got there at 1:30 for the 3:00 MRI. She had a rough time going to sleep after she received her medicine. I know she was tired, hungry, and confined(which she hates). She finally went to sleep and they were able to perform the test. While she was getting her test I went down to the gifts hop to get a magazine. While I was there I saw a cute little Zoe doll(from Sesame Street). I thought it was a perfect gift for Miss Zoey. Above is a picture of Zoey waking up with her new friend. She thankfully woke up pretty fast. After some juice we were allowed to leave. She took a long nap and was drowsy until 8:00 when she decided it was time to have fun! We let her stay up later than normal since she had slept so much. She woke up this morning giggling and squealing.

We hope to get the results this week. When Zoey was in Ethiopia, the doctors their believed she was blind. They couldn't find anything wrong with her eye so decided to perform a CT scan. The film was read in Ethiopia and a neurologist diagnosed her with Dandy Walker (a pretty severe malformation that causes fluid to build up on the brain). Thankfully we were able to get the film to the states and have it read here. She was misdiagnosed with Dandy Walker, but she did have slight brain atrophy(that means it is slightly smaller, presumably from when she was critically ill at 7 months). The MRI we just had done will be compared to the previous CT scan. It will be good to get a better look (MRIs give you a more detailed picture)and see if there have been any changes. I will update everyone when we know more about the results!
Thank you so much for all the prayers!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Check this out!

Many people have asked us questions about Zoey's hair. I am not going to lie, this was somewhat of a stressor since I knew her hair would be very different than mine. Thankfully, we have many friends who have adopted children from Ethiopia and also have friends who are African American. They have all been so helpful! The care for her hair has been suprisingly easy. I only wash it once a week and condition it constantly. She has very soft and beautiful curls. We always want Zoey to lover her hair. That is why I absolutely love this video. Check it out!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happenings in Zoey's world

Zoey is doing unbelievably well. She is such a happy baby. I can't believe that I have the blessing of being her mom. She is finally well enough to reschedule her MRI and her audiologist appointment. Both of these were canceled previously because she was sick. They are both rescheduled for the 22nd. Our big things that we have done lately were starting physical therapy, our opthamologist appointment, and Zoey's first night without us.
We are using First Steps, a great program that provides therapies to kids in KY under 2 1/2. Until she gets stronger, Physical therapy will be her primary therapy. The PT comes to see her once a week. Right now, she is pretty terrified of him. It takes her a while to warm up to people. I am really hoping that she gets used to him soon. He gives us lots of stuff to work on throughout the week.
She is also receiving Occupational Therapy, but not much right now. Once she has increased her muscle tone, we will step up the OT. We are not in Speech Therapy yet. The plan is to wait a couple months to acclimate her to English. If she is tremendously behind, then we will start Speech. I am not too worried about this. Even though her speech is delayed, it is not too bad. She is very talkative (syllables and sounds) and I really don't expect it to be a long-term issue.

Here is Zoey working out with her Dad.


Her opthamologist appointment went well. I am increasingly impressed with Health professionals that work with babies. That has to be a hard job. Zoey did not like it at all. She did not want to be still and really did not like it when I had to hold her still! She really hated when he dilated her eyes and gave her eye drops! He found that she had a strabismus(cross eye/poor eye control, much worse when she wakes up), an astigmatism, and slightly near sighted. He said that her eye control could improve or it could get worse. We will go back in 4 months (unless it gets worse). If it hasn't improved, we will probably have to patch her eye for a few hours each day. There is also a chance that she could need glasses. All in all, not too bad since at one time doctors thought she was blind!

Here she is after the appointment. She hated the glasses they gave her!


Last night Justin and I volunteered at a prom for adults with disabilities, Shine. Justin and I have been volunteering in the disabilities ministry for a long time, even before we dated. We have such a love for the participants and so many memories that contribute to our relationship. We were super excited to help with Shine and knew we couldn't miss such an exciting day. My mom offered to watch Zoey. Thankfully, she has been very intentional about spending time with her. Zoey is used to her and likes her a lot. I'm not going to lie, it was stressful leaving her. I was in no way worried that my mom was capable of taking care of her, I just did not want Zoey to have any feelings of abandonment. She has lost her primary caretakers on 3 occasions in her short life, I didn't want her in anyway to have those feelings again. Thankfully, is used to my mom and was very happy to spend time with her. It was an incredible relief to know that she could handle this. I know that it will be positive for her to see that we will leave and we do come back.
Shine was wonderful. Words really can't describe what a fantastic night it was. It was such a huge event for everyone in the disabilities community. Many people I know have been excited about this for months now, planning out their clothes, hair, dates, and limo (yes, limo!). I am so excited that we had so many volunteers! There were a lot of people there last night that this was their first interaction with the ministry and I think our wonderful participants won over a lot of people! How could you not have a good time with our fun loving and sweet group? Justin and I helped to pair up prom goers with their escorts as they arrived. It felt like crazy, crazy chaos, but went really well. It was so busy, that I didn't really see Justin or get to dance with him. We will just have to go out dance on another occasion some time! I wish I had a picture of all the prom-goers. Everyone looked so beautiful! You will just have to settle for a picture of Zoey hanging out with her friend Ben.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Communication

I have a few blogs that I keep up with and one of my favorites is Jana Cook's. Jana and her husband adopted two boys, Charlie and Sam, from the same orphanage that Chera and Kenenisa are from. Reading about her adventures with her boys is so uplifting and encouraging to me. It gets me super excited about our boys being here. A recent post of hers addressed some of the funny communication problems that can arise. When talking to other kids who have came from Ethiopia, I have noticed that they are very literal. With the crazy way we describe things sometimes, I can understand why it could get frustrating! Take a minute to read the post, it's pretty hilarious!


Even though we've been home for over a year, we still have a most difficult time with some words. And even if we know a word, we may not know it in the context used. Which makes for some hilarious conversations!

The funniest part is that Charlie usually thinks that he is right and you are wrong, even though I am the one that has lived in the United States all my life and he just got here. Sometimes makes you want to pull your hair out when you have a 10 minute conversation trying to explain that you take a backPACK to school, not a backTACK. He still thinks I'm wrong and he's right. Whatever.

So, here's Charlie's latest antics, taken from the Spencer County Children's Ministry Blog. He has had some really funny conversations with Nicole lately, to the point of getting frustrated with her when he doesn't understand what is going on. Sorry Nicole, but thanks for putting up with him!!

So I'm taking the kids to school this morning, and Charlie Cook is in the back seat with my girls. They are all looking at the pie sale forms from their school and reading about the pies. This is what I hear:

(Insert Ethiopian accent here)

"Turtle cheese cake pie? What? You eat a turtle, and a pie, and a cheese on it? Oh, no, I can't eat a turtle and I don't like cheese. I can't sell any pies."

Oh, my. I know I should have clarified. But, it was just too funny. I just left it alone.

If you think that's funny, try explaining DVR to an Ethiopian. He still thinks I have movies TAPED (as in scotch tape) to my TV that are now stuck, therefore I can't let him borrow them.

Hmm. Never did really figure out how to fix that one.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No MRI


We weren't able to get our MRI yesterday. She had too much chest congestion to safely sedate her. Although I really wanted to get it over with, I am happy that they were cautious. Once she is feeling better we will be able to reschedule. Thankfully, it shouldn't take as long to make the appointment this time.
Thanks for the prayers!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Zoey Update

I am finally getting back on here to blog a little. Sorry I am not the best at keeping it updated. Zoey is doing so well. She is such a happy girl. She has actually been sick for the past few days. She has an ear infection and quite a bit of chest congestion. It doesn't seem to affect her too much. She isn't cranky at all.
Tomorrow we go to Kosair for her MRI. They will sedate her since it is necessary for her to be completely still. I would imagine that it would be pretty scary for her so, so it is probably best that she doesn't experience it. She won't be able to eat anything tomorrow morning. I am really hoping that this isn't too much for her. She gets very upset when she is hungry. I will try and give an update as soon as we know more about the MRI results. I expect it to take a couple days.

Here are some pictures of a few of Zoey's "firsts". They are in a very random order. Sorry some of the pictures are sideways!


Zoey's First Cake. It was not only beautiful, but it tasted great too! Brittney added some Ethiopian Coffee to the cake batter. Zoey loved the icing!

Zoey's first picnic. Highview has a wonderful adoption ministry. Every few months they have African socials for adoptive families. A lot of the kids know each other from their orphanage in Ethiopia. This is Zoey with Feven. Feven was with Zoey in the first orphanage and moved with her to the second orphanage. It's pretty amazing that they went through so much together across the world and now live in the same town.


Zoey's first visit to someone's house. We went to the King's family's house for some pizza and pie. Zoey loved both the socialization and the food. This is her with Haley and Trina. The Kings have been unbelievably supportive throughout this process. I think Zoey will be pretty close to them!

Zoey's first trip to visit her cousins Jaleigh and Kiera. From the beginning, Jaleigh has been so excited about the adoptions. I was happy that she could finally spend some time with Zoey. The did great with her and both girls are quite the little caretakers!


First tattoo. Don't worry, it was temporary! We went to Family Palooza, a festival at our church. Our friend Betsy was facepainting and giving out temporary tattoos. Of course, Zoey couldn't handle having someone do something to her face, so she got a tat.

First Arise Family Fellowship. Every month, families from our adoption agency get together to socialize, share, and get news about their cases. It is usually the families that are still in process(which we are). We have been going so long, just waiting. It was nice to go with Zoey and to get the great news about the boys. This picture is with Susan, our agency director that found her in the first orphanage and rushed her to the hospital. We are super thankful for Susan's love for the Lord and her love for children.

Zoey's first trip to church. I love her in yellow!

First time sitting with Nana. Zoey is also sporting a cute dress that Nana got her.

Zoey's first UL/UK game. We spent it with the Armstrong family. Zoey loved hanging out with the kids even though they were wearing the wrong color!

First trip to the zoo. We went today with my friends Emily and Sally. Although she was indifferent about the animals, she had a lot of fun being around all the kids and rolling in her stroller.

First visitors. A few days after we got home, James and Brittney Armstrong came by to visit Zoey and to drop off the awesome cake.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

News about Chera and Kenenisa!


Last night at our Family Fellowship we received some wonderful news about the boys. Their files are complete and the orphanage can file for a court date once the courts open up! In country, the director of the orphanage told us his goal was to be able to file them once the court opened back up and he was true to his word. Even though Ganano told us this, we did not really expect it to happen. After learning more about their case and about how things work in Ethiopia, I understand how hard it was to get this done. We are very thankful for all their hard work.
The next step will be for the orphanage to file for a court date. This can't happen until courts open back up. I think this will happen in a couple weeks. Once they are filed, we will get in line to be assigned a court date. Before court closed they were assigning court dates for October/November. There will be a lot of cases filed at the same time so we expect that it could take a few months to receive a court date.
I don't know if I have blogged about this, but we do know for sure that we will have to go twice for the boys. Even though we have seen them, the Ethiopian Government wants us to to attend their court date. They are also wanting both parents to attend. We were planning on only one of us to go to the court date. One change that we found out about last night is that the time between passing court and when you go get the kids can be quite a bit longer now. The US embassy in now investigating each individual case, but this cannot happen until after the kids have passed court. The investigation can take between 15 day to 8 weeks ( on top of the 4-6 weeks we have to wait after they pass court). We understand and are fine with all of this. We have grown used to the constant changes that happen when you are adopting! The boys are safe, healthy, happy, and loved right now, so that is all we need.
One really neat thing that we just figured out. Zoey, Chera, and Kenenisa all had/have the same name last name in Ethiopia! Zoey and the boys are from different ethnic groups, that have different languages, so the spelling is slightly different and we in no way think they are biologically related. Chera and Kenenisa's last name is Berhanu, which means "light." Zoey's last name was Birhane, which means "my light." Pretty amazing connection there.

Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Doing Great!



We got some great news yesterday. Zoey's chest x-ray was clear! Because of the positive skin test we still have to go see a doctor at the Health Department on Tuesday. I hope that is the end of it, but there is a chance that they will want us to take a round of antibiotics as a precaution.
Because of the positive skin test we had been pretty isolated. On Wednesday we were finally able to get out so we took a trip to pick up our CSA share. This was the first time that Zoey and Buddy rode together in the car. Both did great. Zoey doesn't mind him at all and Buddy loves it because he can lick her all he wants and she can't get away! Here is a picture from our car ride. I couldn't get both of them to look at the camera at the same time. I can't imagine how difficult picture taking will be once we have Chera and Kenenisa too!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pictures from our trip

Just click on the picture and you can look at the whole album.


Yes we are alive!

video

Yes, we are still here and doing just fine. We have been busy running to doctors and trying to catch up on sleep. The video I posted is from our hotel in Ethiopia. It think it is from Wednesday. Make sure to mute the music from our blog, the sound in the video is absolutely necessary!
Zoey is doing so well. She seems to be adjusting well to the new schedule and is sleeping great. She has not enjoyed the medical aspects of this week at all. On Wednesday we went to the Cincinnati International Adoption Clinic. We worked with them during the months before we went to Ethiopia to get a picture of her health and development. While there, we saw an OT who evaluated her development, a social worker who evaluated her attachment, and a MD who evaluated her medical state. The OT determined that her physical development was that of a 5-6 month old. This was not surprise to us at all. This is the same developmental age that we guessed she was. Her verbal skills are a little better. In this area, she is more like an eight month old. Although they cannot say for sure,
they expect that she will do very well once she begins receiving therapy. Next week she is going to be evaluated for First Steps. I expect that she will qualify for Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy. We are going to be busy!
The social worker was happy with how well she is attaching, and of course so are we! Dr. Staat found that she has a pretty bad infection in both ears, a little sore that has developed into a staff infection, and a parasite. She is taking a couple antibiotics to clear everything up. It's funny, she has all these things, but we feel like she is super healthy. When you are adopting internationally, your expectations are pretty low!
The clinic had us go to Kosair to have blood drawn for numerous tests. We went and did this on Thursday. I have never heard her cry like this! Even when she was mourning her nannies, it wasn't this bad! Unfortunately, they could not get all the blood they needed so we will have to go back on Monday. The tech there was very sweet and understanding. Thankfully, we will be there on Monday as well. When we were in Cincinnati, they gave her a TB skin test. Well, it was read today and she had a positive reaction. We are not too worried because in Ethiopia she received a vaccine called the BCG. This vaccine can create a false positive when those who have had it get a TB skin test. On Monday we will talk to an infectious disease specialist and I expect she will have to have a chest x-ray. Just as a precaution we are not having any visitors until we find out for sure.
Other than all the medical stuff, we have been eating, playing, and sleeping. She does not enjoy being "put in" anything, car seat, walker, bumpo, etc. I don't think she has every been restricted, so its all taking some getting used to. She loves toys that make loud sounds, but would really prefer tissue paper or a Ziploc bag! She is eating well, but resistant when we introduce a new texture. It takes a few bites to get used to something new. In Ethiopia she ate very little protein. Sometimes it can be hard on their bellies as it is introduced in the US. So far, she really loves her turkey and veggie baby food! She is sleeping very well and spent her first night in her crib last night. Since we got her she has always taken a nap, but it is always at a different time. Thankfully over the past couple of days we have been very regular. Hopefully it stays this way.
She is a super happy girl that absolutely loves getting individual attention. As you can see from the video, she LOVES her Daddy! She cracks up everytime he walks into the room. I am glad that Justin has another person included in his audience!
I am putting together pictures from our trip. Thanks for your patience!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Comming Home soon

We are packing up now! We leave Ethiopia tonight at 11:45. We are very ready. It has been a very tiring trip and I think it is wearing on all of us. Hiwot has been pretty cranky today, I think it's because of her teeth and she has to be very tired from all the change she has experienced.
Nothing new has happened with our friends daughter that is in the hospital. We have spent a great deal of time tring to find ways to help, but seem to run into a roadblock everytime. It has been very frustrating. Please keep her in your prayers. We know that God can take care of her no matter what hospital she is in.
We will be arriving at the Louisillve airport at 6:00 on Sunday evening. I would ask that you give Hiwot space and don't try and pick her up. I don't want her to get overwhelmed in any way. We look forward to seeing all of you soon! I will try to send out an update if we are running late.
 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday in Ethiopia

Today we went to the orphanage and got Hiwot's passport and Visa. She can now offically enter the US. She is doing very well. I think that she is starting to trust us more now. For the first few days she wasn't crazy about eating. Since last night she is doing much better and is happy to let us feed her. If you've seen pictures of Hiwot, you know she likes to eat! She is constantly sucking her thumb and fingers. Apparently in Ethiopia this is a very bad thing to do. People are constantly coming up to me and pulling her fingers out of her mouth. When she was at the other orphanage, Finot she used a pacifier all the time. I don't think they let her use one at Hope and now she hates them! We have tried over and over, but she won't use one.
I can't wait to get her into PT and OT soon. I know that she is going to thrive. We really believe that most of the nannies thought that she was in pain. Because of this, we are pretty sure that they were scared to push her too much.  She has been working hard since we got her. I know she is probably exhausted!
I have been very impressed with the orphanage that our children come from. I feel like they are getting the best possible care that they could get in Ethiopia. There is a nurse on staff that is so knowlegeable and the nannies love the children so much. They are getting lots of food and vitamins. As we leave Chera and Kenenisa, this is a big comfort to me.
Both the Marcums and the Olsen's are leaving tonight. It has been great to get to know both of these families better. It has been pretty amazing to see the Marcum's and the five siblings that they adopted. They are all sweet, well behaved, and so beautiful. They very close to us, so I am sure we will see more of them in the future.
That is all for now. I will hopefully send an update tomorrow!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

We Passed!

We passed our Embassy Appointment! This means we can bring Hiwot into the US on a visa. She is doing so well. I really believe that she does not have much cognitive delay. It seems to mostly be physical. She is a little spoiled, but we are okay with that. She loves getting so much individual attention! She will give a little whimper when she wants some love and when she gets it, immediately smiles. She has been introduced to so much stimulation since we have been here. We have been going nonstop since she came with us to the hotel. She is handling it all so well. She is such a trooper.
 Everyone gives her love. In Ethiopia, children are very highly regarded. Anytime someone walks by they will kiss her feet, snap at her(action of endearment here) take her from me to hold her, or talk to her. Many people have been inquisitive about her special needs. It is very obvious that she is delayed. I think there is very little knowledge about people with special needs here. It seems they actually believe that she is much worse than she actually is. We have received so much encouragement from other Ethiopians regarding her adoption. I was wondering if we would get comments from people who did not agree with international adoption, but it has all been good.
We are going now to visit our friends child in the hospital. Please keep her in your prayers as well as her family in America.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ethiopia Update, Please Pray!

Hello. Very short post today. The internet at the business center is completely off. The office at the hotel is letting me use their computer.
We need some prayers right now. We some friends that are also adopting from Ethiopia. Their little girl, is very sick. She is malnurished and has an infection. She was recently brought to Addis from a smaller city because she needed better medical care. The hope was that she could be put into a private hospital here, especially the Korean run hospital where Hiwot was treated. There have been some hurdles getting her there. There are some wonderful missionaries here also that are advocating for her. We are really hoping to make some progress tomorrow. Please pray for our communication, that God will place the right people in our path, and that he will heal her no matter where she is being treated.
Hiwot is doing great. I can't wait for everyone to meet her!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day two with Hiwot

This may be short, I am completely exhausted. I will go into more detail about all these things in a later postToday was a crazy day! Hiwot is such a trooper though. She hung right in there. They first thing on our agenda was to meet the boys. We went to the orphanage where they were and where Hiwot spent most of her time (when we got her she was in the tansition house). Everytime a nanny tried to take her, she would cry. Once she got back to us, she was fine. It was wonderful to know that we were the only ones that could console her.
The boys were wonderful! They are both so beautiful! And so skinny! Hiwot probably weighs more than Kenenisa. We played soccer and catch and had a great time. They are awesome football(soccer) players. Chera was doing some pretty fancy things. Justin was having a great time and coaching them! I have some great video that I can't wait to show everyone. They took us on a tour of the orphanage and the children performed  a few songs for us. Chera led the group in a prayer. So precious! I have video of that too. The goodbye was rough. Justin explained that we would come back to see them as soon as we could. Chera told us that he was "happily waiting." He is so mature for his age and Kenenisa is just your typical 3 year old, into everything. We ended everything on a happy note, playing more football!
Next Hiwot had a doctor's appointment. The neurologist wanted Hiwot's birthmom to come so he could get more information for us about her medical history. To have a doctor facilitate this was such a blessing! I was very impressed with the doctor although the clinic was extremely primative. In the end he believed that her delay was caused by an infection that she had while in the first orphanage. This is what we thought, so it was no big surprise. He believed that she would improve greatly once she started receiving PT. Spending time with the birthmom was hard, but wonderful. My heart ached for her thinking about her saying goodbye to Hiwot for the last time. I think that it was reassuring for her to spend so much time with us today. We learned so much about her and about Hiwot. I am very thankful.
I know I have made many tying errors and might not even make sense in parts of the email. I am a little delerious from being so tired! No emotional rollercosters planned for tomorrow!
PS: our computure broke, so not skype for us this week!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Update


Hiwot is doing so great today! She woke up smiling and giggling! She is giving us cuddles, smiles and kisses. She has a bit of chest congestion and we think an ear infection. Thankfully the doctor gave us some antibiotics that we have started. Today is a big day. Hiwot has a checkup and we are meeting bher birthmom. I am very excited and anxious to meet her. I know that one day Hiwot will have lots of questions. I would love to tell her as much as I can about her family.
We received some wonderful news about the boys. The director was very reassuring that the boys will be home soon. He said that their file is 80% complete and believes they will be filed for court in the next couple of months. With this good news, we are panning on meeting the boys today. We are not going to make it a big deal, just play witht them along with the other kids. Being here in Ethiopia has really shown us God's timing. We are thankful that we are getting the time to spend with Hiwot and take care of her needs.
I will update again soon. I can't post pictures on the blog, hopefully I can put  a few on Facebook.
 

Zoey Hiwot Day!!

Hello! So sorry that we have not been updating the blog. The internet has not been working at all here. We had not idea what was going on. Justin solved everything and reset the wireless for the hotel!
Now on to the important stuff! We went to the transition house this morning to fill out paperwork and meet Hiwot. It was torture sitting in the office while I knew she was right there in the next house over. There is another couple with us, the Marcums. They will be getting their five kids(yes five!) tomorrow.  They graciously offered to video tape and take pictures as we met Hiwot. 
After paper work, we were led into the baby transition house. We scanned the room and found our Hiwot(not hard to find, she's huge!!). We picked her up and there were a few moments of her just blankly staring.  Then the crying!!  The nannies were easily able to calm her and constantly reassured us. Even though it wasn't the best meeting moment, I am so happy that she wanted her nannies and cried out for them. We were so impressed by the care and love Hiwot was given. They do such a great job of loving  and nurturing the children. This will make it so much easier for her to attach and bond to us. She cried off and on until around 5:00. Then it was like she suddenly felt comfortable. Ever since she has been babbling and laughing! 
 She is doing much better developmentally. She is rolling all the way over now, pushing with her legs and putting pressure on her legs. She seems to be tracking very well with her eyes. Other than sometimes being slightly crosseyed, I do not see any evidence of any vision issues.
Justin has been pooped on and thrown up on already! He takes it good though, he is completely in love with her!
Overall, our trip has went very well. The hotel is wonderful and the food is great! Thankfully we have not gotten sick at all! We are hoping to find out more about the boys tonight at dinner. Please pray for our meeting! You never know how the internet is going to work, but I will try to post more soon!
 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

We are here! Having a rough time with internet right now. This might be the only
time we can post. Blogspot, Insight, and Facebook are not working at all even though we can get on the internet.
Everything has gone very smoothly. Flight went great and the hotel is wonderful. Today we went to church and to the market. We have met many other families who are also adopting. Keep us in your prayers as we meet Hiwot tomorrow! Sorry so short. I
hope that the internet starts working better soon!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Leaving Soon!


It has been a crazy week! We have been running around like crazy trying to get everything done before we leave to get Zoey Hiwot. We have had so much going on including refinancing our house, getting a security system installed, crazy work stuff, showers, finishing Zoey’s room, and lots more. It will be nice to have some downtime in the airplane.
We are leaving tomorrow at 10:20 and will be back in Louisville on Sunday August 15th at 6:00. I will try to give updates through out the week. Pray that the internet works well! We are going to try to Skype while we are over there. Justin’s skype name is justinbrown33. So keep an eye out for us! Lots of people have asked for our fligth itinerary and our schedule while we are in Ethiopia. Here it is:

Saturday evening - Arrive in Ethiopia, check into our hotel and get some sleep
Sunday- Go to church with Endris, an incounty social worker. We will also do some touristy things and go to the market
Monday- Big Day! We will meet Zoey Hiwot, probably around 10:00am their time (they are 7 hours ahead of KY).
Tuesday and Wednesday- These will be open days that we will be doing paperwork and visiting a couple other orphanages.
Thursday-Our embassy appointment! Here we will get Hiwot’s visa so she can enter the US.
Friday-We hope to meet Hiwot’s birthmom.
Saturday-Begin the journey back home

06 AUG 10 - FRIDAY   
 UNITED       5843 COACH CLASS   EQUIP-ER4                             
 LV: LOUISVILLE        1051A     NONSTOP       MILES-  286   CONFIRMED
 AR: CHICAGO/OHARE     1114A     ELAPSED TIME- 1:23                  
 ARRIVAL TERMINAL-2               
                                 
 LUFTHANSA     431 COACH CLASS   EQUIP-BOEING 747 JET                  
 DEPART TERMINAL- 1               
 LV: CHICAGO/OHARE      340P     NONSTOP       MILES- 4342   CONFIRMED
 AR: FRANKFURT          650A     ELAPSED TIME- 8:10  ARVL DATE-07 AUG
 ARRIVAL TERMINAL-1               
 MEAL                                                            
                                
07 AUG 10 - SATURDAY
 LUFTHANSA     598 COACH CLASS   EQUIP-AIRBUS A340-300 JET             
 DEPART TERMINAL- 1               
 LV: FRANKFURT         1045A     NONSTOP       MILES- 3319   CONFIRMED
 AR: ADDIS ABABA        635P     ELAPSED TIME- 6:50                  
 MEAL                                                            
                                
                                 14 AUG 10 - SATURDAY
 LUFTHANSA     599 ECONOMY CLA   EQUIP-AIRBUS A340-300 JET             
 LV: ADDIS ABABA       1140P     NONSTOP       MILES- 3319   CONFIRMED
 AR: FRANKFURT          555A     ELAPSED TIME- 7:15  ARVL DATE-15 AUG
 ARRIVAL TERMINAL-1               
 MEAL                                                            
                                 
15 AUG 10 - SUNDAY   
 LUFTHANSA     430 ECONOMY CLA   EQUIP-BOEING 747 JET                  
 DEPART TERMINAL- 1               
 LV: FRANKFURT         1040A     NONSTOP       MILES- 4342   CONFIRMED
 AR: CHICAGO/OHARE     1240P     ELAPSED TIME- 9:00                  
 ARRIVAL TERMINAL-5               
 MEAL                                                            
                                 UNITED       7627 ECONOMY CLA   EQUIP-E70                             
 DEPART TERMINAL- 1               
 LV: CHICAGO/OHARE      401P     NONSTOP       MILES-  286   CONFIRMED
 AR: LOUISVILLE         609P     ELAPSED TIME- 1:08                  

Test Run


Just a test run to see if I can email a blog in. :)


 
   

When we first learned about Zoey Hiwot #2

On to part two. I don't have quite the time that I would like to finish this story out, but I will do the best I can. I apologize if there are lots of grammar errors, spiderwebbing, and rambling. I am trying to do it quick!

I would like to say one the first. In no way are we posting Zoey's story to shine a light on "what good people we are." There is absolutely nothing special about us, we are just trusting God. Our first intention is to give God all the glory for how he brought us here and how he has healed Zoey and taken care of her. Secondly, we want to highlight that Zoey is just one of millions of babies in Africa who are sick or who will die of very preventable and treatable illnesses.

After Justin and I watched the video of Hiwot. We spent the next couple of months praying, consulting with doctors and therapists.Thinking about adopting a third child was very overwhelming. It really wasn't the prospect that she was blind with other special needs, it was more: Can we handle getting three small children at once?
We immediately decided that we would pay for her medical expenses. We knew that it had been suggested that she get a CT scan to find out more about her possible vision problems, so we went ahead and paid for that to be done(which is very cheap in Ethiopia!). In December, we decided to go ahead and officially start the process to adopt her ( I think we always knew we were, we were just terrified!) but decided not to tell anyone until a family had seen her and we had more info about her health. Around this same time we received the report back from the CT scan. Of course we had no idea what any of it said. Through Susan, a local doctor read the report for us. He told us that she was diagnosed with a disorder called "Dandy Walker." This is a brain malformation that causes fluid to build up on the brain. He told us that there is a large spectrum and she could be a vegetative or she could live a normal life. She would more than likely have to have a shunt and said that he guessed that she had a larger head circumfrence. This was very overwhelming, but for some reason neither Justin or I really ever believed she had it. I learned everything I could on Dandy Walker and even found a local family who has experience with it.

In early January, our friends Brittney and James were able to go to Ethiopia to get their precious boy Dawit. They were able to spend so much time with Hiwot. We were so thankful for all the pictures and videos. Best of all, they were able to bring back films from her CT scan! A friend of ours Dustin, who is a doctor was able to take her films to work and have a neuro-radiologist look at her films. We were so happy when Dustin called to tell us that she does not have Dandy Walker and there was nothing structurally wrong with her brain! We were so thankful that it was a mis-diagnosis. We just needed to have faith and trust that God had us on the right path.

Those are the highlights of our journey that not everyone knows. We don't have a specific diagnosis as for why she is so delayed. Right now, the doctors are assuming that it is because she was so ill early in her life. The encouraging thing is that she has progressed in Ethiopia. In January, she couldn't hold her head up or roll. Now, she can hold her head up very well and roll side to side. I know that if she is improving there, she will do even better here once we get her into therapy.

I can't wait to post in Ethiopia! I will post more about our itinerary later!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

When we first learned about Hiwot #1


This may be a long blog post. Yes, these pictures of our Hiwot. She is so tiny! I thought I would share they story of how we first learned about Hiwot and decided to adopt her. Most of you know bits and pieces, but here is the whole story:

Last September, our agency director Susan was in Ethiopia to check on Arise children being adopted and observe a new orphanage she was thinking about working with. Here is a couple exertps from blog postings while she was in Ethiopia:


Blog 1:
Yesterday was maybe one of the hardest and most rewarding days of my life. We arrived at an orphanage to find one child close to death and 3 others very fragile. I have never experienced such desperate prayer in my life as I held a child of 8 months, weighing 7 lbs, her mouth hung open, stiff body and sagging skin. My wonderful team joined me in a car, each of us holding children that should have been in the intensive care unit of some wonderful hospital, as we struggled to hang onto them bouncing violently through giant pot holes choking fumes of black smoke. 4 babies needing hope and help.

The hospital doctor said that the one I held was 2 hours from death and critical...fever 103, sepsis, pink eye, upper gi infection, respiratory infection, roda virus and a severe case of dehydration...please pray for her. Her name is Hiwot...meaning LIFE.

Blog 2
A big thank you to all of you who have been praying for our children. We were so grateful to have been able to move 9 of the children to HOPE's orphanage where they will be well cared for by trained nannies and a full time staff nurse. Several of them still need to gain some weight and recover from their first months with little nourishment. Hiwot, the 7 month old, was admitted to the Korean hospital where she remains with a private nanny that we secured. I am still fighting images of her tiny frame and wide eyes that could see nothing but told everything. The doctor said that she was severely dehydrated and had very low levels of calcium and potassium. They have not been able to assess her further but I am very concerned about her lack of muscle control and eye sight. She was like a broken doll who captured my heart. It seems all I can do is take her to my Father and beg Him to fix her as only He can.


Back in the US and reading this, my heart ached for Hiwot. It was hard to imaging that a little baby could be suffering and dying from things that are very preventable and treatable. I knew she was something special and she stayed on my heart. It never entered my mind that we could adopt her too That would be crazy since we were also in the process to adopt Chera and Kenenisa.
In November, we got word that there were some problems with Chera and Kenenisa's case. The orphanage did not have a good idea as to when it would be resolved and the director of the orphanage was actually giving families new referrals. It was no question that we would give up on Chera and Kenenisa. They are our boys and we will wait as long as we have too. Susan that if we would like to take another referral, she had a baby named Rabera that was ready to be referred to a family. Ribera was in the group of babies mentioned above that had been taken to the hospital. When they found him, he was very malnourished. We prayed about this, but did not feel God leading us in that direction. Ribera is home now, healthy and happy, with a family in Wisconsin. While talking all of this over with Susan, I asked if anyone had adopted Hiwot. She said that she hadn't planned on giving Hiwot as a referral until she had another update on her health. She was hoping that when another family went over there to pick up their children, they could give the most accurate portrayal of her health. Susan had been given updates that she was medically stable, but was very developmentally delayed. Susan gave us a video of Hiwot that takes place right before she is rushed to the hospital. This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to watch. She was lifeless. No response at all. Just a flat eye gaze. We both cried some very ugly cries watching it.
I am going to have to continue the rest of this post in part 2. Hey, you know the ending!