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!

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


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               
 AR: FRANKFURT          650A     ELAPSED TIME- 8:10  ARVL DATE-07 AUG
 ARRIVAL TERMINAL-1               
 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                  
                                 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               
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               
                                 UNITED       7627 ECONOMY CLA   EQUIP-E70                             
 DEPART TERMINAL- 1               
 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!