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Archive for February, 2006

Settling in

Granny, Auntie Heidi and friends made this banner.  Lily also painted a picture for Dawit’s room. 

Lily and Dawit spent a good amount of time building today. In many ways, it feels like he’s always been here. 

I have a couple of hundred photos to sort through, but they are stuck on my iPod now.  Can’t find the darn connection in my mess of suitcases.  When I do, you can have a look at the gorgeous people of Ethiopia.

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The giggling begins

If only you all could hear the squealing giggles from downstairs!

We are home after 5 hours in the Addis airport, 20 hours on the same plane, then 7.5 hour drive home from D.C. yesterday.  Dawit doesn’t seem jet-lagged at all, but us adults are delirious. 

Lily is proud to be the boss of Dawit, and it seems as if Dawit will put up with it (for now!)

We visited an international adoption specialist this morning to give him a good exam.  Everything seems great, he didn’t come home with many of the transient medical issues that many kids from Ethiopia do.

My mom had a sparkling clean house for us to come home to, and continues to pick up the slack.  Dawit and Lily are enjoying looking at all of his toys and clothes.  I don’t think he’s ever had his own things before. 

So far, things have gone so much better than we aniticipated.  How lucky are we?

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Leaving today….

the next post will be from my computer!  Many more thoughts and photos from our trip, I’ll put them all here.

 See you soon!!

dawn, john and dawit

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One more day in Ethiopia

We’re having a relaxing day, lunch at the Hilton—American food!  I’m not feeling great.  Not much sleep and I have the typical traveler’s curse.

Dawit has had several 3-year old temper tantrums today.  Even in Ethiopia, he knows the limp-body-fall-on-the-floor trick when he doesn’t want to be moved.

He also is a comedian.  He has emerged from our hotel bathroom in several different outfits:  my bra, my glasses, John’s hat and/or shoes.  John took a bath today, and Dawit immediately got naked and crawled in with him.  Much to John’s horror, I got the video camera out.  Then a naked Dawit stood on top of the headboard, shouted 1 – 2- 3! and jumped onto the bed.  (I think he’s comfortable with us now.;)

Dawit and John both got their hair cut today at a barber.  What good-looking boys!

Looking forward to talking with Lily today.  I’m so glad the tooth fairy found her way to our house.

Granny, be sure to have some hard boiled eggs on hand for your grandson, and seltzer.  Just seeing the bubbles makes him grin.  If you read this before you call, please check the weather for Monday. 

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Iced Tea Withdrawal

I would do almost anything for a big iced tea right now.  Haven’t even had a drink with ice in a week. 

We’re having a great morning.  Plan on doing some shopping today.

Mom, please try and call us today between 12 and 2 this afternoon. (your time) We are in room 104R.  (Having trouble getting the basics in our room, like toilet paper and towels, phone and hot water.)  I think we’re set now.  Making plans to come home!

I’ll update again later.  Thanks for the messages.

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A long day

We started out today to Beta Seida, the orphanage where Dawit lived for 6 months before we signed the paperwork.  In January, he moved to Horizon House.  We hired a taxi through our agency to take us the 20 minute drive through town.  The poverty is difficult to see.

As soon as we arrived at the gate, Dawit was having a difficult time.  Actually, he never got himself unwrapped from John, or out of the taxi.  I took a tour of the place with the lovely women who run it, and took a polaroid photo of each kid.  There are 20 children there.  I cried through the whole tour, all the while being scolded by the nannies for crying.  Dawit was still in the car, despite all the friends trying to pull him out.  He refused to say goodbye to anyone.  The nannies were so sad.  I took photos of his friends and nannies, and we left.  When we got home and we both stopped crying, we had a talk with him about being stuck with us.  1,2,3 +4 at home.  Forever.  We could see him understand. 

It may have been the saddest thing I’ve personally witnessed, these kids with so much loss in their lives and so little hope.  And our little guy so fearful.

We skipped the planned activities for the afternoon in favor of a much needed nap.  Then Horizon House put on a farewell ceremony for all the children leaving.  The waiting kids sang songs and the nannies created a coffee ceremony.  Of course, many, many tears there.

Then, to end the day with still more tears, we had another meeting with Dawit’s birth father.  We gave him photos and a letter we had prepared, and talked just a bit.  He gave Dawit a hug and kiss and left.  Dawit did very well, I cried some more. 

I’m now dry-eyed, and I feel like we broke through some walls with the little man today. 

Cafe is closing.  I’m off to have some wine with John.  We can’t wait to get home!  2 more days until we leave.

Thanks for all the messages!

Lester, are you out there?  I’ve been thinking about you.

Mom:  we changed rooms to 106R.  Feel free to call again, we are 8 hours ahead.

Lily Muffin:  WE LOVE YOU!!

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It’s Official!

Today we had our final interview at the Amercian Embassy, and Dawit is officially part of our faimily. It was a hot and crowded room, filled with families adopting.  We had a five minute interview with an official at a window with glass between us, John had to raise his right hand and swear that all the info we had is true to the best of our knowledge, and we were done!  All of the children are remarkably well-behaved.  Security at the Embassy was outrageous–machine guns everywhere and concrete barriers surrounding the building.

We are seeing more of the “real” Dawit.  He chatters non-stop in Amharic.  We have learned a few important phrases in Amharic, after he leaned over the balcony once, and escaped the hotel room too.  Did I mention he’s very 3?  Anyway, he giggles uncontrollably when we speak to him in Amharic. He does not like to be singled out. 

He takes a bit of time to warm up, but I wouldn’t even call him shy.  Just cautious.

We had a few sad moments yesterday as he begins to process what is happening.  John had to sit with both of us and tell us that it’s OK to cry.  He and John are very close already, and Dawit is pushing the boundries like a typical 3 year old.  I think this is all good news, he’s comfortable enough with us to be himself.

Tonight we are going to a restaurant for some Ethiopian food and regional dancing with all 7 couples that are here.  Just the adults are going, the nannies will care for the kids.  Dawit will stay at the Horizon House with the other kids who are headed to the States, not the orphanage, while we go out.  The nannies have to be the best babysitters imagineable. (besides grannies, of course)

Tomorrow we will visit the other orphanage where Dawit lived for about 6 months and say goodbye to his buddies and caregivers there.  Thanks to so many generous friends, we are able to bring a huge stockpile of medicine and school supplies to those kids.  They just don’t have the same resources as Horizon House. 

After that, we’ll do some shopping and then the Coffee Ceremony.  Coffee is such a huge tradition here, it’s close to religion.  And I actually like it.  Yes, you read that right, I drank coffee.  The orphanage puts on a little program of songs for us, and we all participate in the coffee ceremony.  The children who are leaving say goodbye for the last time, and we get our documents to get Dawit back into the States.

Thanks to all for the messages!  I love that you can follow along almost as it happens. I’ve been keeping a paper journal.  There’s so much more to say, but there’s little time online here.

Lily: We can’t wait to see you, we miss you sooooo much!  We are so glad that you and Granny are having a good time.  Are you taking good care of Wednesday and Willow?  How about that tooth?

Granny:  Are you finding your way around OK? We forgot to leave you $$!  Sorry!

Keep the cell on you today, we will try and call when we get back from the restaurant.  We need a Lily fix!

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