Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Melodies

Monday morning we were awakened by the soft buzzing of Chris' phone alarm. To be honest, I had already been up an hour tossing and turning with the sun peeping through the curtains. So, when his alarm went off, I was thrilled!!! TIME TO GET UP AND SEE OUR BABY!! We enjoyed a homemade sweet roll breakfast accompanied by yummy ET coffee and got our things together. The sweet thing about this trip, is that we are sharing this same experience with two other couples. Both couples are parents for the first time with their sweet boys. All of our kiddies are in the same orphanage, Tikeret. They have been together for the past month or so. So, we will experience bringing our babes into our care and bringing them home. Emotions were high this morning as we piled into the bus that carried us to the orphanage. We prepared ourselves for a pretty long ride, only to find ourselves pulling into the entrance not even 7 minutes later. SO CLOSE!! Sweet Syra Tadu has been this close!! We got out and gathered into a welcome room that housed just us. There was a sitting area and then a large carpet area for playtime. Chris paced the room. I sat with the other couples. We tried to make small talk..but seriously...what in the world is there to talk about it. My mind was racing with how my life was getting ready to change withing MINUTES!! ...and with that said, within about 4 minutes, they called for "Tadelech family". HEART pounds. Chris and I walked out the doorway into another room that was lined wall to wall with little toddler beds. THere were no children on any of the beds except one. A sweet, precious little girl was sitting so perfectly with her eyes glued to us. When my eyes met hers, my heart melted. That's our girl!!! That's our baby!! I am not sure what I was expecting but it was totally awesome the way they set this up. She was our girl. The only one in the room, waiting for her momma and daddy. She knew we were there for her. She smiled. I gave her a moment to connect with me. We smiled together. Then, I picked her up. What beautiful weight on my arms. Her precious curly hair. She noticed my necklace. Yes, Lord! I had bought this cute chew necklace at a baby store made specifically for baby's to chew on. And that is exactly what she did. Go ahead baby girl. It is just for you. After a few moments of bonding, we were ushered back into the welcome room to visit while the other two families had their sweet moments to meet their babes. We all found ourselves back in the waiting room loving, holding, kissing, laughing, exploring, comforting, playing, smiling, and adoring our babes. What an awesome thing to experience. I am so so so glad we were able to join other families in this once in a lifetime experience. so very thankful. We fed our babes a snack of milky cereal and then hopped back on the bus to take them back to the guest house. We have spent the rest of the day getting to know Syra Tadu more. She took a sweet nap on my chest before lunch. I enjoyed every little breathe and sweaty moment of it. We had lunch, Syra took a bottle and enjoyed some bread bites and mushed carrots. More play time with her pals from the orphanage and her pal from the Ajuuja orphanage, Mihiret. It was sweet to see them reunited. There seemed to be a comfortableness there. So cute together. Syra explored the grass outside and then we took another nap..all of us this time. She went down in her crib. We woke up an hour and half later for some more bottle time and play time before returning to the orphanage. SO VERY HARD TO TAKE HER BACK. But this time...it is her last night in an orphanage. She will never have to do that again.never. Lord, I am humbled that You have chosen this path for our family. That you have chosen sweet Syra Tadelech to bless our home. I look forward to our new life and the positive changes that are coming. I am grateful Lord. Can't wait til tomorrow. A big celebration day!! hip hip hooray!!

Reflection on Sunday's arrival in Addis

We arrived around 7:45 am on Sunday in Addis. It was a beautiful day. We got through the transit Visa office and immigration fairly easily. While I got some funds converted to birr, Chris gathered our luggage. ALL of our bags made it. Yippee!! A far cry from our first trip where none of our bags made it. Just having our bags with us lifted off a huge weight. We headed toward the doors of the airport to find a multitude waiting for loved ones and friends. Within minutes, we found our driver holding a sheet of paper with our names on it. YAY again. What a relief. The first trip, they had given up on us and had left the airport and it left us stretched to find a way to communicate with the guest house to come pick us up. Anywhoo...will not say anymore about that. Sunday, we found peace. Everything worked as it stated in our travel packet. yay. On our way leaving the airport, I found myself more enthralled with the conversation in the van that the scenery we were passing. ..a complete turn around from the first trip. I remember being in such awe and culture shock on the first trip that I really wanted the driver to go super slow so I could capture more on film. This time, I didnt even reach for camera until we were almost at the guest house. I noticed this change to myself and reflected. What has made me so accustomed to this? I am not sure I figured out a real answer. I am pretty sure it is a combo of things. ONE..is that my focus was on going to the orphanage. I was pretty sure we were going to go that day because we had arrived so early. Another reason, is that once you have seen such vast poverty in such drastic ways, you get it. Atleast for me, instead of shock which is what I was feeling most of the first trip, it turns into more of a 'what can I do about this? how can help? I am gonna start with prayer'. As we drove past the familiar images of metal sided and roofed huts, and lonely passersby with famished faces, my heart grew to love this place even more. We got to the guest house, got settled into our room and discovered that we were not going to be able to visit the orphanage. BIG disappointment. Apparently, it was an orthodox holiday and not a good day to visit. Oh Well..I resolved to myself...more time to rest...and that is what we did. Chris and I managed to squeeze in a little nap after lunch and then promptly went to bed at 7pm. It was a stretch to even stay up until then. Unfortunately, we were up at 3am wide eyed and hungry. What to do? oh...let's go down and make some hot tea and have a snack..okay!! We drifted back off to sleep but me not so easily. Time was drawing nearer to see my baby and my nerves were giving me fits. sleep shannon..sleep. Lord, please let me sleep!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Holdover in Dubai

We are still in Dubai...It is Sunday, Aug 19 1:48am India time. We left Friday from Nash to Atl around lunch. Had a 7 hour layover in Atl. Left Atl in the evening on Friday and flew to Dubai on a 14hour flight. whew!!! And now...we have been waiting our 8 hour layover for our final flight into ET. You may ask, "Who arranged these tickets?!! Who in their right mind would schedule such wacko layovers?!!" We did. It wasnt much of a choice for us. In order for us to take advantage of Delta's employee benefit, we had to take this route. crazy. Just a few moments ago, we found out that the flight we have been waiting on cancelled. uh...."NO REASON TO PANIC!! " I tell myself. However, my heart was pounding. As I headed toward the bathroom to freshen up since the ticket counter wasn't open for another 20 minutes (the agent had to eat his snack..yup), I noticed a sign for a Prayer Room. Immediately, I imagined a little prayer room like what one might find in a hospital in America. ..a little nook that is quiet and peaceful and offers a little respite from the hustle and bustle of the environment...and then I noticed the dome shape symbol of a Buddhist temple above the sign. Okay..well maybe I can still go in there. Maybe it is a prayer room for any religion. As I passed a gazillion folks going to and from their gates, I was desperate for a little peace and quiet. I peeped around the corner and found signage that listed rules before I could enter. First of all, I needed to be male. Okay...that eliminates me right there. Then, there were a few more signs that just continued to lift red flags. My heart began to rejoice. LORD, I don't need a prayer room to cry out to you. I don't need to wear certain clothes, be a certain gender, stand or kneel a certain way. I can talk with you any time. ..even amidst the hustle and bustle. YOU can still hear me. I may enjoy quiet places...but you don't care. You are always available. Oh, Lord, I rejoice and I pray for the lost. By the way, we have been listed for a flight to ET that leaves 5 minutes later :). yippeee. On to more waiting. We have 2 1/2 hours til we get on that plane for a four hour flight to ET. okay..we are ALMOST there baby. hang in there, momma's coming!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

We are coming Syra!!

We are packing and leaving in less than 2 full days. The countdown begins!! We got the call last Thursday and it has been a whirlwind of activity. First of all, I guess I was thinking it might not ever happen. Even though everything has been looking good, historically, I have been so very disappointed throughout this entire process, that I have been preparing myself deep inside to just prepare for the worst. Probably not very optimistic of me. BUT I have been optimistic since November of 2007. I mean SUPER optimistic. I never expected in my wildest dreams that we would have opposition or ugly words from family members, or have our social worker pass away, or experience the devastating loss of not one, but two referrals, or my hubs have a heart attack, or have over 15 social workers on our case,. I mean, seriously...this is NOT what we expected at all. AT ALL!! I am still cautious. I am still protective of my heart. BUT don't get me wrong, I am SO very excited. I can't wait to hold her. I can't wait to tell her that I am her momma. I can't wait to hold her close and soothe her tears. We are days away. Let me just say though that we are not out of the reaches of the enemy's attacks. Last night, we got confirmation that Delta is helping pay for a portion of our travel due to employee benefits, however, they are only able to get us there. They are not able to confirm seats back home. SERIOUSLY?!!! SO, please be praying for favor on our standby tickets. We need to get home. I do not want to get stuck in Dubai. Chris called me this morning and informed me that he was hit by a deer at 2am while headed to work. ..crushed the front end of his car. REALLY?!!! PTL that he is okay..but really?!!!! No problem. I know the Lord has got this..but REALLY??? My emotions are high. I have cried every day. :) Today, my sweet neighbor blessed me with goodies just the perfect size for Syra. The other day, a sweet friend blessed me with her full days earnings. My sister just spent the entire day today running around with me tying up loose ends and shopping...fixing up nursery, groceries, etc..all the while calming my spirits and listening to my little worries and concerns that pop up. She could have been having fun :). I can not express the thanks enough..the love that I feel from my heavenly Father. I cry. Time is drawing near and my focus..other than packing and getting prepared, is loving on my kids and making sure that they are feeling super loved. Lord, protect them while we are gone and fill them up with all things good and let the time pass by quickly for them. I am so thankful for my mom and sis who will be taking care of the farm while we are away. ..the chicks, and dogs and kitten and kids..along with school and meals, etc. whew. Bless them Lord. Prayers appreciated for this final journey to bring her home. We will be posting updates on FB as that is the most reliable. Hopefully will get to post some on here too. off to pack some more!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

She has been moved!!

Just heard this morning that sweet Syra Tadelech has been moved to Addis to Shalom orphanage! So grateful she has made it. I am assuming all went well with the move. I would love to know how she did on the half day trek. Wonder what she was thinking. Wonder who was holding her. ..no car seats! Wonder if she cried. Wonder if she got an upset stomach like her momma. Wonder how her nannies did. My heart saddens to think that they will not get to see her again. I can only imagine. What beautiful ladies. My prayer is that the Lord would bless these ladies that dedicate their days and nights taking care of these precious little ones; these moms in interim that get up in the wee hours to feed them and that sleep on a mat on the hard floor in their nursery so that they are right there. Syra has been well taken care of. Glad she is safe and sound. Trusting in my Lord that His angels are all around, entertaining, loving, comforting her. Here are some pics we received finally today of our visit in the orphanage. I noticed they only sent us four of the dozen or more pix. oh well. I am grateful for the reminder of that precious day.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

We are home!

We are home. Today is day 2 being home. We are still adjusting back to US time. It feels good..but bitter sweet. Our precious little angel is far..too far away. We got an email last night saying that today she should be transferred from her only home she has ever known for the past 8 months to a new orphanage in Addis. She will have to make the 4.5-5 hour trip in the car to her transition home. We were all emotional last night as we pondered over this move. First of all, we got to meet her precious nanny. This sweet woman has been her mom in the interim. She has raised her, loved her, kissed her, comforted her, held her, fed her in the midnight hours. The love she has for Syra Tadelech is unreal. I have seen it. When we were leaving the orphanage the other day, my heart sank as I knew I would never see this woman again. I had our social worker translate for me and I expressed my deepest love and gratitude for taking care of Syra. I hugged her dearly and wept. She was humbled and speechless. She has simply been doing what she is gifted to do, but for us..she has had a pivotal part in our daughters life. I cannot imagine what emotions she will feel as they bring Syra Tadelech to the new orphanage. Lord, comfort her and bless her. Since our visit to the orphanage in the Hawassa town, we have wanted to get her out of there just simply because of the conditions. While they are doing their absolute BEST to raise and care for these precious babes, they are limited in resources. At one point during our visit there, I had to use the restroom. I asked and they nodded. The nanny walked out into the courtyard where two ladies were washing baby clothes. They took the dirty wash water, poured into a bucket and ran inside. I was trying to assess what was going on. At this point, there was lots of chatting in Amharic and gestures but no one showing me where it was. Finally, when the gal returned with the empty bucket, she showed me the bathroom in a building adjacent to the baby area. It was not good. Our social worker who is also Ethiopian was with me. She cautiously peered around the corner and with an unsure face asked me if it was okay. There was no door, no real floor. I quickly surmised that the dirty wash water had just been graciously poured into the top tank so that the toilet could be flushed. I felt a little obligated out of courtesy to use it ..but then not. SO, I did not. The social worker agreed with my decision. I had appreciated the great effort and love that when into their swift hosting. ..but I just could not do it. I will hold it! I went back to babe in daddy's arms. SO sweet!! She loves Chris so much already. Can't wait to post a pic. We are supposed to get pics from our visit today via email. During our sweet 2 hour visit, we were assessing everything with Syra. We were looking her over as much as we could without appearing like freaks. She was wearing a long sleaved outfit, so it was difficult to check her out completely.Everything appeared to be great with Syra until I saw the back of her neck. She had a sore on her neck about the size of pinto that was open, oozing, and infected. Next to it, were scars of the same size. There was a little row of scars that led to this wound. What in the world? She also had a rash on her neck and little red dots all over her face and arms and a few on her feet and legs. Wow, Lord, heal her. What is this? The nanny told us that the dots were fly bites...but many of the dots were under her clothes. On a good note, she was doing things that the local doctor had said she could not do. I helped her sit up. I noticed she was passing toys from one hand to another and she also began to babble a little: all things that she reportedly was not able to to do. Joy..pure joy. It is amazing what we were witnessing. We were prepared to see our sweet girl less developed but she was so much more developed than what they had reported. BUT...the sores were worrisome. They nanny told us via the social worker's translation that it was an allergy..but we knew better. As soon as we got back to our hotel, we sent out prayer requests to our team at home and began to google. nothing. could not find one thing that fit the description.o When we arrived safely back at the guest house in Addis the next day, we were still determined that a diagnosis would happen. I emailed our agency in the US and requested the doctor to check it out again and see if antibiotics were being given. This particular sore was becoming necrotic at the base of her neck. not good. Long story short...a new couple came to the guest house with their baby girl. Incidently, this was the same couple we had seen in Hawassa the day before at the orphanage. We never got to officially meet them but assumed they were with a different agency doing the same thing we were. They were visiting with their babe and enjoying every moment like we were. Little did we know we would be spending the week with them and getting to know their family. In the guest house, as we told of our experiences and concerns for Syra, they showed us a sore on their baby's leg. THE SAME THAT WAS ON SYRA...a necrotic sore, black in fact. Their babe was sick and fluish. They have decided that the husband is going to stay the next several months in country with their babe while the mom goes home to US during all the embassy prep work. A great situation if anyone is able to do it. They are able to take their babe straight into their care for the next few months until homeward bound. After hearing about her sores, I googled and prayed and found a diagnosis that fit the description perfectly: Rickettsial Pox. Basically, this is a condition that occurs from mite bites. These are bites from the bug of mice that once bitten create a necrotic wound that takes 2-3 weeks toheal. In the meantime, a false pox rash breaks out (the little red dots) and creates flu like symptoms. The wound heals and leaves little scars. It is healable and treatable but can get bad. It is not contagious. Our prayer is that Syra will heal soon and get no more bites...and hopefully when she is moved, she will be in cleaner conditions. While we were at the guest house this week, we were able to see the huge improvement with Syra's orphange roommate. Her sore healed...her flu symptoms went away..and she had the best demeanor. It was encouraging. SO encouraging. I think the Lord knew we needed to see that. Well..I ramble now. my fatigue is setting in. It is 9am here..but 5pm there. Will post pics when they come. Lord, take care of my baby today. I miss her soooooo.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Seeing our princess

Wednesday, we got up early and headed to Hawassa. After the 4.5 hour trip there, we were exhausted, mentally and physically. The scenery was beyond amazing which I described some in the post before. Chris and I are still captivated by the region and feel sure that we would probably still be country folk even if we were in ET...despite the fact that we have no idea how to plow with simple handmade tools and cattle strapped with yolks. Beautiful. ..and the donkeys. Can't wait to post pics.We arrived at the Lewi Hotel and had a quick lunch. We cleaned up and headed to the orphanage. Okay..I have to tell you that by this time my stomach was COMPLETELY messed up. I have always been a girl that gets a little queasy in the back of the car..but this drive had made me VERY ill...almost lost my cookies a few times. I think combined with the fact that I was getting ready to see my daughter and hold her for the first time was too much for me to handle. I kept trying to picture me in the orphanage but my mind was picturing me throwing up all over the place! perfect. So..I kept praying that I would not throw up. ..the whole time I was there.We arrived, and there stood the beautiful green iron gates. Prepared to stay only 60-90 minutes, Chris and I geared up. We followed our social worker inside and they showed us our greeting room and encouraged us to sit. Chris and I sat as they left. I looked around. A big handwritten WELCOME sign hung above Chris' head. I lost it. Ugly tears spewed from my eyes. I felt like they were spraying across the room. Chris grabbed my hand and then he lost it. Both of us did not want to look like wackos but we were having a very hard time holding back. The nannies and social worker would come in and out bringing little parts of our baby girls life: a walker, a floor mat, some toys. I was dying!! My eyes were fixed to the window that faced the walkway that led to her room. Our social worker walked by and in her arms, our princess. My eyes darted to the entrance of our room just as they rounded the corner. There she was!! Oh..I can't tell you. I am pretty sure that I stopped breathing. I watched in slow motion as she layed her down on the mat. I wanted to grab her up immediately but I respected the fact that they wanted us to take this introduction slowly. Pardon me for wanting to completely want to eat her up. So, slow we were.She looked at us intently..then back at her nanny and the social worker, then back at us. I am pretty sure we are the first white people she has seen. I am sure we looked different to her. She did not smile. She just took it all in. We let her.For a moment, I forgot how to talk to a baby. I have had three already but what in the world?!! I think they could see my nervousness. Still, I am praying I am not going to lose my cookies all over my baby girl and completely insult everyone. The nanny began to coo and speak to her and there she smiled. SO beautiful to see. The love that her nanny has for her. THe love our sweet girl had for her nanny. beautiful.Through the waves of nervousness, I started to breathe. I began to talk and giggle with her and tickle. Chris and I began to relax. I could feel the eyes of the nanny and social worker totally scoping us out to see if we were going to be good parents to her. My nerves picked back up. Please dont let me throw up, Lord. Just then, the nanny blessed us with some coffee and roasted grains. Uh...my stomach. I didnt want to be rude. Chris graciously accepted the little cup of dark goodness. I took mine. I was able to take one sip and swallow with some more prayer..and was able to nibble on one tiny grain. That's all I could handle. I could think of nothing more than holding her. No more waiting. I picked her up. OH.MY.GOODNESS. unreal. Lord, is this real? Am I really in AFRICA holding my baby girl?!!! She seemed heavier than I expected but a good heavy. I loved every minute of it. Our baby girls name is Tadelech. It means "You are blessed". They call her Tadu...pronounced TAH doo. As they called her name, she smiled...and smiled. Her little bottom teeth glowed with each grin.Lord, please let me be as much a blessing as these sweet nannies. Lord, let us make her smile like they do. Okay..I admit, I was a little jealous..but understandably so. There is so much pressure that goes into this one meeting. So much.No wonder my stomach was in knots...and then I kept thinking, Oh Lord..the time is ticking.Tadelech began to warm up and soon smiles abounded. She would totally perk up when Chris talked to her. What a blessing. Our social worker let us stay for 2 hours!! I cannot believe it. I was able to feed a bottle to her. We were able to walk with her in the courtyard.I forgot to mention that the social worker forgot her camera. This whole meeting has to be documented by photo to prove to the judge that we have seen her atleast 24 hours before court. A mini miracle is that the day we left for ET, Chris and I grabbed our son's camera that just so happened to use the same memory card that the sw used. We were going to use our phones only on the trip but grabbed his camera as an extra. Thank you Lord for again providing.SO...the sw usually only takes a couple of pictures as documentation but she let us take our own pics. Can't wait to post them. We probably took close to 2 dozen pics or more. Thank you Lord. When our sw worker gets back to her computer to look at them, she is probably gonna freak out. We would grab it snap pics even when they werent around. They let us have some sweet alone time with Tadelech. Every moment was precious to the very end. As they asked us to prepare to leave, the tears poured again. I didnt want to go. I didnt want to hand her over. Chris and I gave her kisses and snuggles and slowly gave her to her nanny.It will be close to 3-5 months or even more before we see her again. Her nanny grasped her close and gave her kisses. And as we left, her nanny held her close and they both bowed a little as they said good bye and Selam (peace). Ciao sweetness. See you soon.