Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Updates

Hi there!

I know it's been a while.. and thanks to a comment from Karen :) I decided to update you on what is happening at our house.

I can hardly believe that we have been home with Bedilu for almost 16 weeks.  Where has the summer gone???  I can hardly remember the days without him.  But then, Mike and I still look at each other as B zips past us and we say - that is our kid!!!  He amazes us every day.  He is learning so much - and we are too!!!

In 16 weeks:

*he has popped out 11 teeth.  All we have left are the 2 year molars.  5 of those teeth just came in all together last week.  He has been pretty good about it all - mostly it has effected his sleep.

*he has gone from bland soft foods to all manor of table food.  We struggle with fruits and veggies - he would live on carbs if we let him!  He loves him some mashed potatoes and any kind of pasta!

*he has gone camping 3 times and there is one more trip before the end of the summer.  The boy LOVES to be outside.  Mention the word 'shoes' and he is running for the door.  When I reach for my sunglasses he goes giddy - knowing we are going outside!!  He loves the water!!!  He will just dive in head first - no fear what so ever.

*he has gained about 3 lbs and almost an inch.  We are heading to the Dr this week so will get the proper numbers.  He is wearing a 12 month size on bottoms and an 18 month size on top - his tummy is growing!!

*his vocab is increasing.  He came home saying dada and momma.  Now he includes: up, all done, bib, bump, poppa, puppy, hi, all gone, cuddle, ba ba (bottle), help, night night, shoes, socks, hat, pizza, tub.  He will also say 'hi puppy, hi dada etc.  He babbles alot and sings to himself all the time.  Just in the past few weeks we can pick out actual words in his babbling.  Just this past week we hear him saying 'pizza mmm' over and over again.

*he has been the guest of honour at 4 baby showers.  It has been amazing to introduce him to our friends and family.  We have been blessed beyond words with wonderful gifts.  The fact that I still have 60+ thank you cards to write is proof.  They are coming!

*we finally have a routine of sorts.  I allowed B to do what he needed to do regarding sleep.  It drove me crazy.  We went from one nap, to 2 naps in the day back to one and some days none....  We are now on a consistent nap time and bed time.  Sleep at night is not great.  In the beginning he was up every hour or so.  Now he is up 2 or 3 times a night.  Its been HARD.  I am a sleeper and love/need my sleep.  Mike and I take turns at night and I am napping during the day.  It is getting better and now that the teeth are all in we are considering sleep training...  He will fall back to sleep on his own some times and will play happily in his crib when he wakes up.  I feel like he really needs us in the night.  He seems to need lots of cuddles and comforting.

*I have learned to do grocery shopping in the afternoon.  In the morning the stores are full of retired folk from our 2 large retirement communities.  It takes FOREVER for B to meet and greet his peeps.  The feeling is usually mutual.  He loves his public!!!!  He waves and says hi to EVERYONE equally.  It can get some what embarrassing.  He loves to sit on our front porch and just watch the world go by.  In our small town...there is not much world going by... but a few cars and a few pedestrians make him happy.  We wait (almost) every night for Daddy to come home and he loves to sit out there and is content just to sit and watch.

*he is walking on his own.  When we picked him up he was 'cruising' around furniture and the walls.  He is now running and walking on his own.  He is FAST.

*he is doing magic tricks.  He loves to hide things beside himself in the high chair - ask you where it is - and then pull it out like a rabbit out of a hat.  We respond with 'surprise' and he just loves it.

*we have totally fallen in love with this little guy.  He is just amazing.  He is funny, sensitive and sweet.  He is a boys boy - banging and hitting and crashing and so LOUD.  Everything is made for climbing.  We are so proud to call him our son!!












 

Friday, June 15, 2012

My first official "Father's Day"


So this is it! My (Mike, if you couldn't tell from the title!) first Father's Day with my boy! I really enjoy coming home each evening and having Bedilu reach out his arms and yell (almost at the top of his lungs) a joyful greeting. He truly is a gift from God, and has made my life even better. Brenda is doing a great job here at home, even though she will tell you that it doesn't seem like she gets much done while he's up, she keeps this place running! Bedilu is adjusting to life in Canada, and getting really used to the run of the house! I can hardly remember the very cautious boy that we first met, but I'm glad he has achieved a level of comfort with us that allows him to explore, knowing that we are not too far away if he needs us. I know this is "Father's Day", but I'd like to celebrate my "Family Day" everyday!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Home for 10 days

It's hard to believe that we have been home for 10 days.  In most ways it feels like Bedi has always been here!  The crazy of travel is behind us - which is a very good thing!!!  I hope to not fly anywhere again for a very long time!!!!

The first flight was amazing.  Bedi slept the whole entire 8 hours.  He was so good and so quiet!!!  We also even slept a bit and it was a nice uneventful flight.  Then we had 7 hours to kill at the Frankfurt airport.  By now Bedi's poor tummy was just not happy.  Good thing we had lots of diapers and changes of clothes - cause we just about used them all.  Poor kid.  He was not happy at all.  By the time we got on the last plane, I was just about ready to cry myself.  In fact i believe i did.  An hour into the flight the nice head steward re-arranged some seats and got us a bulkhead seat with bassinet.  At that point I really did cry!!!  God bless those very kind folks who allowed us to have their seats.  Bedi slept for almost 1/2 of the flight and screamed for the rest.  I have never been so happy to land and have our feet on the ground again!!!!  Immigration, Customs and finding our luggage all seemed to be pretty easy... and then to meet our welcoming committee!  By now Bedi had fallen asleep - so he woke up to Grandpa and Grandma, Uncle Larry, Auntie Sheri and cousin Dayna!

And now we have been home for about 10 days.  I was sick for the first 5... am happy to say that I am much better now (lost 12 pounds!!).  I think we are all working in the same time zone by now.  We have no schedule or routine yet (which is kind of driving me crazy).  We have been letting Bedi sleep when he needs to and will hopefully soon be in a routine.  His tummy has calmed down and we are sticking to pretty simple foods and formula for now.  I think next week we will slowly start to introduce some veggies to his diet.  He is gaining weight and has a bit of a tummy now.  He is a very happy boy during the day.  He is very silly and has lots of 'tricks' to get attention.  He love to have an audience but he also plays well on his own and loves his new toys.  At night he is fairly restless.  He sleeps well until midnight and then is up 4+ times until he gets up around 6:30.

He has a few new 'tricks' and some new words - momma, daddy, hi, up.  He fake sneezes and fake coughs - which is new.  He loves to be in his stroller and outside!  He loves to just sit on our porch and watch the cars drive by!  We went to church for the first time yesterday and he LOVED to play with the other kids in the nursery!

We have been blessed with friends and family bringing us meals!!!  We are so well looked after!!!  Over all we are doing really well.  A bit more sleep would be nice...  But its getting better all the time.  I am finding my way as a 'stay at home mom'.  It's great to be home - but it still feels like I am on vacation and will be heading back soon...  Am sure I will get used to it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Home with our boy!

Our house had been "vandalized" while we were gone!
Well, we finally arrived back in Canada, even better, HOME! We were very blessed with a good boy on our flights home. He only had one melt-down somewhere over the Atlantic. Brenda and I (Mike) didn't sleep much on the plane, so by the time we got home, we were pretty much worn out. Bedilu slept pretty good, only up a few times in the night, so we took shifts looking after him while the other one slept. Bedilu is still adjusting to our time zone, but he already knows that he has the run of the house! Thanks to our family and friends that have been with us along this journey! We are a truly blessed family! WOW, we're a FAMILY!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Our First Days

Where to begin! 

Picking Bedilu up  - what a day!  I met with the nurse and got his schedule.  It was so great to get the info but i was for sure feeling overwhelmed!!!!  We changed him into an outfit we had brought with us and then we were off.  He got to say his good byes to his nannies and as we were backing out of the compound more came running out to say good bye.  So touching to see how they will miss him.  The car ride was quiet as he just took it all in - he probably hasn't been out of the orphanage for 3 months or so.

We tried to stick to the schedule on the first day.  Smiles were hard to come by but by the end of the day we even had one short giggle.  He had a good nap but by supper time was not feeling so great.  He is teething and has a bad cold.  We have him started on some antibiotics.  He actually slept for 13 hours which was amazing!!!

Today has been a good day.  This morning he was just snuggly and cuddly.  He had a nap that we weren't expecting and then another one in the afternoon.  I think his teeth are really bothering him but he is doing well despite it all.  We have just been taking it easy.  Not sure that we will be doing much besides hanging out here at the Guesthouse.  He has started bonding with us.  He prefers me (Brenda) but will go with Mike as well.  He doesn't like to be too far from us - usually wants to be held or very close.  Its been a very good start!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gotcha Day

We are leaving shortly to go and pick up Bedilu.  Can this really be happening???  Am still not believing it!  Just made up the crib in our room and packed a diaper bag for the first time.  Our visits have been bitter sweet.  So wonderful to hold him for the first time.  But so hard to see him so confused and scared.  Almost got a smile out of him yesterday....but its alot for him to take in.  I have a feeling that by the time we fly we will be seeing a whole different side to him.  In the play room we saw him smiling and heard him laughing and so we know we will see that again.  Wish we could upload photos... but I guess we will be doing that soon enough.

We are enjoying our time at the KVI guesthouse.  Its so wonderful to see our friends again.  And I feel much more confidant bringing Bedi here knowing that they are all here to help.  They can't wait till he comes!!!!  Its been rainy - the rainy season is starting early.  Much different from the dry, hot heat in March!  Its damp and muggy and my hair is showing the signs of humidity!!!  Yesterday it was sunny and this morning looks the same.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hello Addis #2

We made it to Addis after what seemed like crazy long flights... It seemed like we would never get here!!!!  We met up with Mike's Dad - Chuck at the airport.  He flew in from Burkina Faso where he does Mission work.  It took us 2 hours to get our visa and get through customs...  It felt like forever.  But before long we found our ride and took off for the Guesthouse.  KVI has moved its Guesthouse - but I will get into that another time.

We had a nice chat with Eyob over the best coffee ever.  So happy to be back with our friends and enjoying Zeneba's coffee!!

Neither of us slept really well (added to 28+ hours of travel with no sleep)... and so after our breakfast we had a short nap.  Then we were off to the Kidslink/Imagine office to pick up Bedi's visa and other paperwork.  Then off to the orphanage for our first visit. I was totally unprepared.  It seemed like it took forever to drive the 4 or so blocks to the orphanage.  Before long we were at the compound gate and it swung open.

It was great to see our friends again who work at the orphanage.  Then they took us back to the baby room.  We ended up taking Bedi outside to create a bit of distance from his beloved Nannies.  He fussed for just a short while and then settled in with us.  He did pretty well but he was not exactly comfortable with us.  I have a feeling though that he will warm up to us soon.  Next time we will take some toys to keep him occupied.  He sure has alot of changes coming up - but I feel that by the end of the week he will be happier to see us.  We will probably visit for 3 or 4 more days before he comes home with us.

We decided everyone would be better off if we had a nap - and it was a good one!  It started raining just after lunch and there is no better time to have a nap!!!  We are both feeling much more human again and are looking forward to our visits tomorrow!

Friday, May 4, 2012

VISA

We just found out this morning that our VISA is in!!!!!

I can hardly believe it!!!  We are making our flight arrangements right now and will be leaving in the next few days!!!!  We are going to pick up our son!  Stay tuned!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

DHL

It seems that our doc's are taking a trip to Nairobi!!! I think the DHL website might get a few extra hits today - as I watch our doc's get delivered to the High Commission. This is the last thing we have to wait on - the visa. Can it be that we are closing in on the end of this whole crazy process????

Hold on Bedi - we are coming soon!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What to expect when you're expecting...

We have had a busy couple of weeks. We have been getting ready for Bedilu to come home! I am estimating that we have 4 or so weeks to go! We have had a baby shower, have been test driving strollers and even bought one. We bought our first box of diapers. I have made new packing lists and reorganized our luggage and carry-on’s. New curtains have been made. And a new renovation project has begun. These projects have been fun and have kept us busy. I had been told that they wait from court to visa would be the hardest. And that advice might just be correct. We have hit a few snags in the past few weeks and our patience has been put to the test.


Of course I have been thinking non-stop of our son. I sit in his room and imagine rocking him there. I wash and fold his clothes and try to remember exactly how big he is. I think of him in the orphanage and remember the love I saw between him and one particular nanny. I feel guilt that I will soon be turning his world upside down.


You see, lots of people tell me how lucky he is to be joining our family. But he is going to be losing as well. He will be losing all he has known and even though living in a family unit is much healthier than growing up in an orphanage, he is going to suffer loss and grief because of us. This transition will be difficult for him no doubt. We have been getting ready for him – but he has not been getting ready for us – he has no idea how his world is going to change very shortly.


We have had lots of time (4 years) to take courses, read books and speak with other adoptive families. We will be following some recommended actions in bringing Bedilu home.


First of all we will be ‘cocooning’. This means that for the first little while (the time depends on Bedilu’s personality and progress) we will be sticking close to home. We will be limiting his experiences until we feel he is comfortable. After all, he has spent the last 16 months in an orphanage – often in the same room – with the same people. All that is familiar will change. We need to ‘introduce’ him to the world slowly. We will be limiting visits and visitors.


The first thing that we need to teach Bedilu is that we are his parents. He has been used to numerous nannies and care givers coming and going and he needs to learn that we are not going anywhere. As parents, Mike and I need to be the only ones responding to his needs. The only ones to hold, bathe, dress, change, feed and soothe him. He needs to know that when he has a need it will be met by Mom and Dad. Yep – that is a tall order. Yep – we are going to be exhausted. But it is essential to his bonding with us that we undertake this huge task. If a strong attachment does not develop it will affect other relationships he has in the future. This also includes responding quickly to his needs – there will be no ‘crying it out’. He needs to learn that when he cries we will respond.


Adoption is hard. Bedilu is in for a huge change in his life. And so are we. Parenting will probably be the biggest challenge yet for us. Thanks for your support and for respecting our family!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Did I miss something...

Most observant folks might notice that when we got our referral we introduced our son as 'Devin Shawn Bedilu Manning'. Last week when we announced that we passed court we introduced 'Bedilu Michael Manning'.... Anyone confused???

The issue of naming in adoption is complicated. There are good points to both sides - to keep the birth name or to change them. I am not trying to start a debate here. It is totally a personal choice and I really don't believe one way is better than the other - this is just the story of how we came to change his name and then change it back again :)

We (for lots of very good reasons) had decided to change our son's name. We thought about it long and hard and weighed the pros and cons. We poured over baby name books and made list upon list of names to consider. We choose a name we really liked - Devin - just because we liked it, Shawn for Mike's middle name and then Bedilu for his birth name. At this time we also began calling our son Bedi. My family tends to shorten names as nick names and Bedi has just kind of stuck all along.

Fast forward to meeting our son. All of a sudden it just seemed right to keep his name. Once we saw him we just knew he is a 'Bedilu'. Bedilu means 'by his luck'. Now, I don't really believe in luck - I do believe that our lives are directed by God and that Bedi has come to us not by luck but by a Divine plan. Changing his name 'back' to Bedilu wasn't a hard - it just feels right. I know we messed a few people up who have been making us things with his name - so sorry for that :) And that my friends, is the story of Devin/Bedilu.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Introducing...


Please meet our son:

Bedilu Michael Manning!!

We passed court today and became the legal parents of this special boy!



Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunday/Monday/Tuesday

Sunday – Day 11

Pretty quiet day. I wasn't feeling so great – so Mike went to church with Charlie and Charlotte. Kata Taxi picked them up!!!! I had a great nap and was feeling much better by the time they got home. We took it easy and then Jessa and Doug came over. We hung out here for a while and then we walked to the “roadrunner' for pizza. Had a really nice night.

Monday – Day 12

We got up and walked to the Kidslink Office. We had a good chat with Martha who explained a bit more our paperwork issue. Then we walked to the Orphanage – had a very short visit with Bedi – he screamed almost the whole time. They took us to a different room so we could feed him some breakfast... but that did not go very well at all... We didn't stay too long. We started to walk back and stoped at Kaldi's for coffee. This is a Starbucks knock off... Good choc dessert with our Machiatos!!!! Then to the bank and then back to the guesthouse. Then we had an hour until we got picked up by Marcos. He drove us to the Ethnological Museum. It was pretty good. We hung around the university till he picked us up again. Then he took us for some more shopping. It was a good day. Hard to believe it was our 'last supper' at the guesthouse. Eyob came by and told us about his trip to Soddo. He also explained a bit more as to what our paperwork issue intails. Its more of a 'misunderstanding' than anything else and hopefully it can be fixed up real soon.

Tuesday - Day 13

Tuesday was our last day. We had a really good breakfast and just hung around the guesthouse all day. We got packed up and ready to go. After lunch Chris and Christine returned from Lalibela. Doug also came for our coffee ceremony. Jessa was sick. We had a nice time catching up before our flight. With just 15 minutes to spare Germachew came to let us know that our paperwork was well underway. MOWA signed the letter and he presented it to the judge's secretary. What great news before getting on the plane. Eyob and Germachew then drove us to the airport – they said we were diplomats!!!! What a great end to a wonderful trip. It was a long flight to Dubai – didn't get to the hotel till 3 and were up at 5 to get going again.... and that is that. We arrived home on Wednesday evening. My parents picked us up and delivered us safely home. We were ready for bed by the time we got home!!

Thursday/Friday/Saturday

Thursday – Day 8

We were off early in the morning. Emnet had a busy agenda for us. We had breakfast on the go – fetera – so good. An arabic breakfast – fried flatbread with egg and honey drizzled on top! It was very good.

Our first stop was in Awassa at a bird sanctuary. We saw some crazy huge birds and lots of monkeys. I even feed on out of my hand – reluctantly. The boys were feeding the big birds fish and wanted me to feed them.... not my kind of thing. You can see in the pictures that i wasn't exactly a willing participant. We also visited Halle Resort in Awassa for a machiatto. Its a beautiful place and i could sure spend some time there – on Lake Awassa – amazing place. We were on the road again and then stopped at Lake Lanagno – another amazing resort i could spend some serious time at. It was so beautiful. The restaurant was a big hut with bamboo roof and a hole in the middle. There were gardens then in the middle – cactus and other plants – so pretty. Also a very nice breeze coming in off the lake. It was very hot while we were there!!!! We walked down to the beach and enjoyed some time by the water. Too bad we didn't have our swim suits with us!!!

Back to the van and then on to Deibra Zeit. We stopped there at the “Officers Club” - there is an airforce base close by. Another really nice place on a lake. It was an enjoyable but long day. We got back to the guesthouse by about 7 that night and there was a coffee ceremony waiting for us – i guess they missed us!!! The idea of having 3 cups of coffee so close to be scared me a bit... but the coffee is so amazing :) Eyob wanted a report of our trip and we were pretty happy to fill him in on all of our adventures! Eyob is from the town near where Bedi was born. I sure slept good that night!!!


Friday – Day 9

We were off to Adama. KVI has an orphanage there and the other 2 couples were having thier post court visit so we tagged along for the ride. The main purpose for us to go was to take the donations to the kids and for the other couples to have a visit with their kids. When Germachew picked us up – he told us we would be bringing the kids back to Addis – surprise – you have to be flexible and go with the flow. When we got there the kids had been napping and so were not so happy. They were actually pretty upset and not so willing to visit. In the end they went back to bed and we went off to have lunch.

Germachew dropped us off at The Safari Lodge. Again it would have been nice to have our swim suits!! We ate lunch by the pool and hung out for a few hours. Germachew had some other business to attend to. He then took us back to the Orphange. The kids were home from school by then and doing homework. We came in and spent some time with them. Its so hard when they don't know much english! The Sister then brought in the new shoes and bags and distributed tehm. It was like Christmas!! The little guy next to me could hardly sit still until she called his name!!! They were very polite and waited thier turn. We spent some time tying up laces and back pack straps. They were pretty happy kids! All too soon we were off in the van again with the 2 nannies and babies as well. It didnt take long for them to settle in and the moms got to hold them for quite a while. It was such a great thing to see 2 moms holding thier sons for the first time. Another long day for sure but a really great one.

Saturday – Day 10

Today we were on our own. We called up Marcos – a well known driver/tour guide. Today was shopping day!!!!! Finally :) We first went to the Former Wood Carrier Workshop. They do weaving and make scarves. Its a good mission and they make nice things. We got to see them weaving and then shopping... so hard to decide!!!

Then we found some traditional clothing and some embroidered pillows and things. Such beautiful work done on these pieces! We were creating a bit of stir on the street. I didn't notice because i was busy shopping... Mike was getting more of it as he was the one holding the wallet.. Marcos did all the bargaining for us... We left one shop without getting what i wanted...but we trusted him and moved on. The next shop owner told us 'he is dangerous'!!! I am sure the shop owners weren't too happy with him!!! We then headed off to the silver market. I got some amazing jewellery – a special piece to commerate this amazing trip -and a piece for Bedi for when he is older. I could have shopped there all day!!! Silver is charged by the weight - 34birr per milligram. This was a fixed price but you get a discount with Marco :) We also went to a coffee place and got some coffee to bring home – also a coffee pot and shiro (stew) pot. By then we were getting pretty hot and ready for lunch. Marcos took us to Ghion Hotel. We looked around the park which was very nice – amazing calla lilies there!! Then we had some lunch there. It was a pretty fancy place! It was a set 3 course menu which was very nice. By then we were pretty hot and ready to be done. We got back to the guesthouse by 2 and showed everyone our treasures – then off to a short nap. We have a nice balcony and so we read out there for a bit – good day!

Wednesday

Wednesday – Day 7

This was the day we were off to Soddo. It was an amazing adventure into the country side. Bedilu was born near this place and spent some time in the orphanage there before going to the city. Emnet picked us up and we left for Soddo by 6:30am. It was amazing to get on the road and out of the city. It is a huge city and it did take quite a while to get into the countryside. We picked up Sirfrehiutwot Kerhlase along the way. She is the project manager for KVI. It was quite a drive!! It took us 5 hours – no stopping!! Such amazing and beautiful countryside! We saw desert and mountains, fence made from cactus and beautiful flowering shrubs. Round huts with amazing painting, cattle and oxen and horses and donkeys and goats and sheep and camels and one hyena hit on the road. Animals are everywhere and the donkeys work very hard!!! It seems that gathering water is a big job here and we see many people spending their days getting water. Donkeys with water jug harness or carts full of water jugs.

We saw 2 different times, friends carrying a sick person on a stretcher to the nearest clinic.... This seemed rather futile as there didn't seem to be towns anywhere near. The second group were mourning – crying and tearing at their hair... It was so sad to see knowing that they probably were too late. We also saw a funeral procession when we got into town.

We got into town, found our hotel - $18/night and had some lunch. Soddo is a very nice city. Very clean and not as crazy as Addis. After lunch we headed to the orphanage. We were welcomed there and had a tour. So many young babies there – some a month or so -just tiny babies! I think there were at least 15 or so babies there. I would have loved to hold them but they are pretty shy of strangers. We saw the bedrooms and the kitchen – cooking over charcoal fire and small burners. They are doing an amazing job. The older kids were at school. There were 2 boys that we there and not in school. They were new to the orphanage and didn't know the local language. We got out our bubbles and played with them while things got arranged. We were waiting for the social worker to come and speak with us as well as a shopping list. The sister went with us to shop.

Chris and Christine gave a donation and so we were off to shop. We got 100kg of Teff and of flour and some formula. Everywhere we went people were calling 'ferengi' – but unlike the big city they weren't asking for money – just wanted to touch us or have their picture taken. We caused quite a stir at the market!!! When we got back to the orphanage we got everything unloaded.

We had an amazing adventure meeting so many people who were involved with Bedilu's early days. They were all so welcoming and humble and I was overcome with how many folks have cared for our son and have been involved in his story. This is his story and so we will not be sharing the details of this day. Some day he may choose to share but until then we will guard his experience and be grateful for the way God has protected him and has used others to bring him to us.

By the end of the day we were all done in. We had a nice dinner and then we were in bed. I did not sleep much that night – very hard bed and noisy place!!!!! I did have a nice shower though – which has been kind of rare :)

Sunday/Monday/Tuesday

Day 4 - Sunday

So we didn't sleep much better last night – we were both wide away by about 3:30am... so we ended up getting up and getting ready for the day. Its funny cause i am never that wide awake at home. Eyob took us to church today. It was Beza International Church and it was very good. I think there were about 500+ at the english service we went to. It was great to meet Eyob for the first time – he is the director of KVI. He came back and had lunch with us and we had a good chat. Chris and Christine and Jessa and Doug went to Adama for the day to see their kids. It was great to hear all about their adventures and meeting their boys. Its funny that Chris and Christine's boy is named Molaign Bedilu and it seems like they got some pictures of Bedilu over the months in error... pretty funny. We did give in and have a short nap this afternoon – hopefully this won't come back to bite us... Overall it was a pretty quiet day. Mike is ready for more adventure and i am slowly warming up to the idea. Tomorrow is court!

Day 5 – Monday

We slept much better last night! Our first full night of sleep!!! We were pretty excited to get up and get going to court. Germatchew picked us up and already had Jessa and Doug in the van. So nice to finally meet them. We then picked up Martha from the Kidslink office. It was a short drive to the court house. Martha led us inside and up the stairs. At the time it felt like we were climbing 10 flights... It was a busy building with lots of people there. We finally got to our destination. It was a large waiting room with chairs on the outside of the room. There were probably about 40+ people waiting there to see the judge. We were only there for about 15 minutes until we were all called in. All three couples and Martha went in together. We were all quite nervous! We entered a little room and the judge had her desk at the end. In front of her were a couple of desks full of paper work and files. We sat in chairs at the other end of the room. She took our passports and then asked us a number of questions. They were all 'yes and no' type things but she did speak to us about our responsibility to teach our sons ethiopian culture and have a support system of other adoptive families. Then she said the magic words to the other couples – 'they are yours'. She then explained to us that there was a letter missing for our file. We had conditionally passed based on when the letter comes. It was very disappointing and i was fighting back the tears. I knew if i started i wouldn't be able to stop. Martha and Germatchew reassured us that we would probably have the letter before we leave to go home.

Once we got back to the guesthouse we could then plan out most of the remaining trips we are making. Then we got a taxi and headed off to Afroland Lodge to meet up with Jessa and Doug. We had quite a taxi ride!!! Our driver first had to change the water in the rad... Mike could explain it better... It was quite something. I am sure mike will write about our trip!! He charged us a bit more but i think that the comedy show we had was included in the price! He was quite a character!!! So, we went out for lunch with Jessa and Doug and Chris and Christine. It was a great lunch and then we met another couple at the restaurant from Alberta with their little guy! We walked around for a bit and then came back to the guesthouse. This was the first time that we had people really begging around us. One girl with a baby on her back followed us for quite a while asking for money. 'Please my baby'.... it was hard to ignore but we just kept walking. Then on the taxi ride on the way home a guy came up to the car and wanted money... It is so hard – but we found out that is actually illegal to give money to beggars... We spent the rest of the evening planning out our donations and shopping trips for tomorrow.

Day 6 - Tuesday

Today was shopping day!!! We had collected quite a bit of money from friends and family. It was to make donations to 3 orphanages. Emnet picked us up and we went to KVI Addis to look at their washing machine. Then we were off to shop. We went to about 5 different stores to see what was out there. Then we had a machiatto :) and decided to go with one we had seen in the second shop. Back we went and to the store. It took a while to figure things out. Another lady was looking at the same one when we got there and she said it was a good one. So, we did the paper work – the receipt had my name on it and loaded it up into the Landcruiser and headed to the orphanage. What a reception we got!!!! All the workers came out and the laundry lady had a big huge smile on her face! We took lots of pictures with the machine. They had 3 other machines there but only 1 was working and there was a huge mountain of laundry to be done! We got to poke our head into Bedi's room and say hi. He was standing in a crib bouncing up and down with another boy – they looked like they were full of mischief!!! We came back to the guesthouse and had lunch. Then we meet the head nurse from the Adama Orphanage and went to the merkato. What a trip!!! This is the largest market in Africa. We drove in and stayed in the car as Sister did all the negotiating. As soon as the vendors see 'ferengi' the price goes up. It didn't take long to find 18 back packs and 12 pair of shoes.

When we got back to the guesthouse, we had a coffee ceremony for Bob and Ceclie. Amazing coffee that is roasted, ground and brewed in front of us and then served. Must have 3 cups!!! Popcorn with sugar is also served. They had spread a mat with lots of lovely flowers from the garden, very special. The rest of the day we rested to get ready for our big trip.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day Three

Saturday

Didn't sleep so great last night. Wanted to go to bed early – but it was so noisy!!! It was a national holiday yesterday and so i am not sure if that had something to do with the noise level or if it is just normal. We are very close to a busy street and also close to a highway and so there is street noise all the time. Also fairly close to the airport with lots of planes overhead. Throw in barking dogs, the calls to prayer at the local mosque, roosters and there you have it. I think i was up by 4:00. We did watch the sun come up over the mountains.

We had a nice breakfast and met Chris and Christine who arrived late last night. They live in Ayton. They also have court on Monday. At 10:00 we were to have a driver pick us up to take us to the Orphanage. As the time came closer i got more and more nervous!! Finally Germachew came and we were off. Remember how yesterday i thought that because it was a holiday that there were lots of people out and about.. well i guess that is just everyday. There are people everywhere - all the time. Its a bit intimidating for me – Mike is ready to get out and explore and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything!!!

Anyway, back to the story. In about 10 minutes we were sitting in front of the KVI Addis Orphanage honking our horn and waiting to be let in. Just like that the gate opened. It is a pleasant compound. It has palm trees and flowering bushes and some grassy areas. Being Saturday there is no school so there were kids around. Mainly older ones hanging around. The younger ones must have been busy doing something but we didn't really see them. We waited a few minutes and then were taken to the back of the house – the last room. There were 8 babies/toddlers on a grass mat playing with toys. I spotted Bedi right away. He was in his red striped t-shirt. He took one look at us and burst into tears. It took a while for the nannies to make him happy again and soon he was smiling. We sat down and started to play with the kids. Some were walking and most including Bedi were crawling. We started playing with the other kids and slowly with Bedi. He will need to take some time getting used to us! The other kids though were quite happy to play with us. I held one little girl and all of a sudden she was sleeping... Older kids and some of the other workers would come from time to time to the open window to find out who we were there for. Bedi liked to play with a car and some blocks and was playing peek-a-boo with both of us. At one point all the nannies left the room and there we were with 8 babies!!! Bedi came crawling towards me. I was already holding a little girl and he wanted me to pick him up.... i did and then soon the nannies came back and that was that. He is so small! I would say he looks about 9 months. And he has had a hair cut. His curls are much shorter than in the photos! He has good eye/hand coordination – was putting the rings on a tupperware ring stacker thing. He also was building block towers with me and knocking them down. He sits well on his own and can move pretty quickly – we will have to watch him for sure! I have a feeling that after a few visits he will be good to come with us. He has four teeth that we could see – the front two on the top and 2 on the bottom. Mike reminded me that we saw him stick his whole hand in his mouth. At one point the nannies had him laughing so much he would do a head dive straight forward.

The nannies have a strict schedule and we could see that play time was over. The toys went away and a stack of potties came out of the cupboard. Each kid had their diaper taken off and then was plunked on a potty. It was pretty funny cause some of them would use their legs to scoot around the room in their potty. One little girl managed to back herself under a crib and then escape. Not sure that the potties were getting any action though. It would have been a cute picture though to see them all lined up! Looked like it was soon going to be lunch time and then nap time. There were 6 cribs in the room and we saw Bedi's name tag and photo taped to the wall over top of his crib. Not sure who was sharing as there were 6 cribs and 8 babies. I think over all we were there for 1 hour. It seems like a longer time to me. It was fun and yet to hard to not want to just scoop him up!!! It was hard to play with the other kids and not just him... So, that was the end of the visit, Germachew brought us back to the guesthouse.

We had a bit of a rest and then it was lunch time. Since then we have been taking it easy, reading on our balcony and having a nap. Hopefully we will start sleeping better at night. Across the street from our guesthouse is some shanty houses. Some kids there saw us on the balcony and it seems that they know white people means money or candy. They were shouting up to us 'give us some chocolate'. They got braver and braver and came to the door at the gate which was open a bit and were still trying to get some chocolate... sorry kids we don't have any... They are obviously used to having people that stay here bring them treats.

After our rest, the girls at the guesthouse had prepared a coffee ceremony for the couple who are leaving tomorrow. It was beautiful with flowers and burning incense. The coffee – roasted and brewed right in front of us was AMAZING!!!!! So good!!! I think the caffeine helped to pick me up as i was dragging abit by then.

Chris and Christine invited us to go for dinner tonight. This included a walk - you know – out on the street... which has been freaking me out abit. Mike would love nothing more than to be out exploring and i am hesitating quite a bit. But when they asked i figured why not... they knew where we were going and it really was a short walk. It was a nice little restaurant (The Roadrunner) and we ate outside under tents they had set up in the courtyard. We had pizza that was very nice. We are soon going to watch a movie on our laptop and hope to get good and tired before we go to bed tonight. Already its much quieter than last night – hopefully we sleep a full night tonight!!

Day one/two

It was a long day waiting for the time to come to go to the airport! Mike woke me up that morning and i would have thought it was Christmas! He would have been jumping on the bed if i hadn't been in it. So, we got ourselves packed up – lots of space and under weight so that we can bring lots of stuff home! My parents came and picked us up and took us to the airport. It rained all the way there and hopefully it didn't freeze on them on the way home. There had been freezing rain earlier in the day. We did stop for supper on the way and had a good 'last' Canadian supper. Then we were off to the airport.

It was smooth sailing all the way through check in and security and before we knew it we were waiting at the gate for our flight. What a huge plane!!!! An airbus 380-800!!! The plane wasn't full and we had an empty seat beside us which was nice. Our flight took off at 9:45pm. We flew with Emirates and so our 13 hour flight went to Dubai. We added about another hour onto that flight for de-icing and other airport delays. It was a pretty good flight. Neither of us has anything to compare it to though. Emirates has a nice inflight entertainment system that included live cameras from the outside of the plane. I don't think either of us slept more than 20 minutes at a time.... We arrived in Dubai the next day at 7:30pm (local time).

Arriving in Dubai was interesting. Once we figured out 'which line to be in' it went smoother. It only took 2 hours to get our visa, get through customs and find our shuttle to the hotel. I thought that was pretty good. The Dubai airport is something else!! It is massive and very glitzy! Lots of lights and shiny things :) You aren't allowed to take pictures in the airport – too bad! As part of our flight we had a layover with a hotel and food vouchers included in our flight. The hotel was filled with other travellers such as ourselves and it felt like the United Nations!!!! We had quick showers – so NICE!!! and then off to the dining room for a buffet supper. It was very busy and lots of unfamiliar food (get used to it!!) At this point we weren't too hungry anyway. I think both of us slept pretty well that night. We were up by 5:00 and enjoyed a really nice buffet breakfast in the dining room and then off to find the shuttle to the airport. It was just starting to get light out as we were leaving for the airport. The hotel was very close to the airport so we saw very little of Dubai. It was a very busy place – lots of traffic.

Our flight from Dubai to Addis was 4 hours long. Getting through the airport took longer than i anticipated as it is so huge!! It seemed that we just got to the gate and suddenly we were boarding. We took a bus from the terminal to the tarmac and the ride was about 5 or more minutes. It is a huge airport!!!! It suddenly started to feel very real to me when we started circling Addis to land. Here we were about to land in the country of our son! Wow. I did manage to keep it together. Once we got our visas, getting through the airport was no problem. We were very happy to see all of our bags !!!! Unfortunately there was a mix up with our driver and he had come in the morning to pick us up... A nice young lady at the airport helped us out and called the guesthouse and soon our driver came and got us.

What a feeling to step out of the airport! How beautiful! There are mountains surrounding the city on all sides. Lots of palm trees and flowering bushes. It was 20 but to me it felt hot. What a crazy ride to the guesthouse. It is a national holiday today and so I am not sure if it was more busy than normal but there were people everywhere!!! Lots of horns beeping and cars and trucks going everywhere! I do have to say that they deal with roundabouts better than we do in KW :) We were greeted very warmly by the guest house staff and shown our room. It is quite comfortable and has a balcony that we have already enjoyed. We spent some time getting settled in and then having a nap. All along i had a feeling that we were forgetting something... And guess what it was? Toothpaste... We each have the little travel size toothpaste from our carryon's and that is it. Its funny because i have been lecturing Mike on travel safety including not to use tap water to brush teeth. Well, we had just discovered the lack of toothpaste when i need to brush my teeth. So, using a small amount so as to ration what we have, i proceeded to put the tooth brush and paste under the tap water... I rinsed it off with bottled water and am hoping for the best. So far so good. Tonight we had dinner here which was very good. We have met a couple that are from Woodstock that are staying here! Their daughter adopted a little girl a year ago. They came back to do more travelling. We had dinner with them tonight. There is also a young lady named Charlotte who is staying here from the UK. She is volunteering at the orphanage. She was able to tell us a bit about Bedi. She is teaching english to the older children. It feels like a family atmosphere here which is really nice.

Its just after 8:00pm and we are ready for bed! Its been a long few days! We will go tomorrow at 10:00am to see Bedi for the first time. I still can't believe it is happening!!!! Tomorrow we will see our son for the very first time. Then Sunday we will head out to church and Monday is court.






waiting to board our first flight


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Home

It seems so surreal to be sitting on my couch and typing on the computer. We had an uneventful flight home but boy do i wish we were still in Ethiopia. We have had such an amazing trip. Besides the details of what we did every day its hard to communicate what we experienced.

First of all we met our son. How to put that into words - seeing him in the flesh - hearing his cry and his laughter. His eyes sizing us up and then the inevitable cries - he is not keen on strangers. We know that this is a very good sign. Soon it will be us that he is clinging to... He is sweet. He is tiny. He is funny. He has really good hand eye co-ordination which was good to see. We just sat and drank him in - all the while playing on the floor with the rest of the babies in the room. None of them cried at us... just our boy :) He actually crawled straight to me... talk about melting a momma's heart. Mike provided lots of entertainment with his hairy legs - the babies seemed to love that!!!!

We met so many kind people in Ethiopia. So many people and mostly strangers went out of their way to be friendly and kind. Not sure that you get that here. They are just loving people. One sight i especially loved to see was men walking down the street arm in arm or holding hands. Its just plain a sign on friendship - they love to show affection. In one of our adventures i found a man taking my hand and guiding me down the street and it was a sweet sign of friendship. You just don't get that here.

We saw many things that you just don't take pictures of. An old woman living on the street with 2 young babies. Vultures and dogs feasting on a fallen cow on the side of the road. In two different occasions we saw friends carrying a sick person to the hospital/clinic. It seemed like a futile attempt as in both cases they were miles and miles from a town. In the second case the people were tearing their hair out and already mourning. We saw a funeral procession and it seemed that the whole town was out in mourning. Some times it just doesn't feel like to take a picture but these things and more are engraved in my heart and brain.

We toured just a small part of the country and we saw vast beauty. Rolling hills and mountains, desert and cactus and beautiful farm land. We saw lakes and rivers. We saw amazing birds, monkeys, camels, goats, cattle, horses and countless donkeys. We saw people getting water - walking to the river, filling up their yellow cans and walking home. Water gathering takes up so much of their time. The lucky ones had donkeys and carts for carrying but mostly they carried it themselves.

We are home here in Canada - but already we miss our second home. The sun, the beauty, the hospitality, the simple way of life. We miss our boy. Since we didn't pass court, we didn't get a good visit just with him... We were at the orphanage about 4 other times for other purposes and so got sneak peaks at him. But it was just comforting to know he was just a few streets away. Now we seem so far. I know it won't be long till we are back again and so it makes it a bit easier. Saying our good byes to our friends in Addis will much harder next time!!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

update

It seems that our paperwork glitch is a bit bigger than we anticipated... We are still hopeful that it might be cleared up next week. That would be great news for us!

The rest of the week has been busy with trips to Soddo and to Adama. Some long and busy days there! But what an amazing experience! It has been wonderful to get out of the city and see some of the countryside. I am keeping a journal that i will post when we get home - we only have dial up here at the guesthouse - so no photos till we get home... Its all been amazing and overwhelming. We are so in love with Ethiopia!!! There has been so much to take in and digest -some very easy and more very difficult. The people are so amazing and we feel like we have family here now.

Today we did some shopping and it was hard to stop :) So many beautiful things! We visited the Former Wood Carrier shop this morning. They weave amazing scarves!! Took lots of pictures and will put them up when we are home. We had Marcos - some might know that name :) take us shopping and he got some good deals for us. One shop keeper told us 'he is dangerous'!!! He got some good prices!! Marcos toured us around and also took us the Ghion Hotel where we enjoyed the park and some lunch.

We managed to sneak a peak at Bedi yesterday. We were at the orphanage just for a few seconds. Germachew told us that the nannies think he will be a scientist - he examines things very carefully. It is so evident how much they love him! He cried again... but he is warming up just a little bit.

Its so hard to believe that we have to leave in just a few days!! The good news is that we will be coming back soon - its going to be hard to leave that second time!!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Court

Hi there, we had our court appointment this morning. Unfortunately we didn't pass this time. We were missing our MOWA letter and as soon as it comes we will pass. Martha was thinking it might come as soon as today and hopefully before we have to leave next week. I won't lie, it is disappointing! It is just a formality and nothing is in question so that is good. It is just a matter of one paper. As soon as the paper comes we will be able to see him again. Until then, we have some busy days ahead of us. On Wed/Thurs we will travel to Soddo to see where he was born. On Friday we will travel to Adama with the other families who get to have visits with their kids. Hopefully we will have good news in the next post that we have officially passed court!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

what a day

just so you know. i am keeping a diary that i will down load to the blog when we get home. i feel like if i don't write things down right away i will forget the details. So, this is just a brief story of our day. Seeing our boy was something else. I knew him right away - and he knew us cause he was the only one in the room that started to cry!!! We sat on the floor and played with the other 7 kids and waited for him to warm up a bit. It didn't take long to have him playing peek-a-boo with us. What a time! In the end we were left alone with all the kids and he crawled over to me and wanted me to pick him up - melt my heart... He is tiny but healthy and great. We saw 4 teeth in there - and he crawls with lightening speed. It was quite a morning. We spent the rest of the day recuperating and resting - feeling the jet lag! Tonight we walked to a pizza place not far from the guesthouse and had a great time there. Tomorrow we are going to church in the morning. By the way - the weather is amazing!!! I could get used to it!

Friday, March 2, 2012

We made it!

Hello from Ethiopia!!!

We arrived this afternoon, have settled in to our room and had a bit of a rest. Our flights went well and all of our luggage arrived in one piece. Right now we can't access email or facebook...hopefully we can figure it out. We are going to keep it short for now. Tomorrow at 10:00 am we will go to the orphanage and meet Bedi for a short visit! It is still so surreal - tomorrow we will see our son for the first time!!!!

That is all we know for now - will tell more when the jet lag fog clears.

love
Mike and Brenda

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bags are packed!


This day has finally come. The bags are packed - and weighed - lots of room to bring home some goodies!!! The lists have been checked and double checked. We are officially ready to roll. Before we know it we will be at the airport and ready to begin this trip of a life time.

Its been so busy getting ready to leave that I am sure it will sink in at some point that we will soon be meeting our son. That is just an amazing concept to me - not sure exactly when it will sink in.

I want to take this time to thank all of you - for your love and support through the years. God has been faithful and we can see His hand in each step of the way (even though we don't always understand the 'why'). Many of you have been part of His plan for us and we thank you. So, keep us in your prayers as we experience this trip of a life time. We look forward to sharing it with you!!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Next...

The adoption process is long and complicated. I figured maybe i would connect some of the dots for you all.

So, last week we got our court date. - By the way this court date is 4 years and 5 days since we started our adoption... That story however could be a whole new post. - This means we fly to Ethiopia (in 27 days!) and appear in court there. We stand before the judge and answer a few questions. At this point we become Bedi's parents legally. There is always a chance that we might not pass on the first try. When we go for court a representative from the Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) needs to be there and present the judge with a letter to support our adoption. It is common for this letter to not be ready at the time of the court date. This usually results in a conditional pass, you pass when the letter is presented to the court.

After the successful court date, we get to visit our boy. This will be a one time visit for probably a few hours. If we don't pass court we don't get to see our boy :(

During the rest of our trip we plan to do some travelling and site seeing in Ethiopia. We are really looking forward to that.

Then we will come home and wait for the rest of the process. We had talked about staying and waiting for his visa in Ethiopia. This plan has changed. The time line is so uncertain so we have decided that we will be coming home and waiting here.

After our court date, Bedi will be issued a new birth certificate and a new passport. This should take about 2 or 3 weeks.

When those documents are secured, we can then apply for a visa. He will need a visa to travel to Canada. There is one Canadian consulate in Nairobi (Kenya) that services many African countries including Ethiopia. This part can take any where between 2 days and 20 weeks.

While we are very excited to have a court date, we still have a few more hurdles to jump. We are definitely getting closer - the end is in site.

We want to thank you all for the love, support and prayers!! We would have never made it this far without all of you!!!!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel

Yes - that's right. We can now see that tiny little light at the end of this huge crazy tunnel. On Thursday we got news of our court date! Its funny how this news always comes in a little email. Usually only one or two sentences tell us some kind of huge news. So, March 5th is our date. To be honest I was disappointed that it was SO FAR AWAY... But the process includes 2 court dates. One is for Birth Parents/Social Workers and then one month later is the date for Adoptive Parents. So, Feb 2 is our first date and then March 5 is our second date. In reality this is fairly quick.

I am not having the reaction I thought i would have. Mike is the very excited one and I am getting there. I feel a huge sense of relief but more than anything I am still in shock. You see for the last almost 4 years we have had no sense of timing. We tried to guess and maybe, sort of come up with some kind of time line which has always been way off. This time we have a date. We have a count down. We KNOW when we are going. We KNOW when we will see our boy. Its kind of freaking me out to be honest. We are making TRAVEL plans... I am buying things. Its all feeling a bit crazy.

On every kind of holiday i would daydream and dare to ask myself - will we have a baby next Christmas 0r our next camping trip or next summer... and the answer appears to be yes.

Now the other thing is that it is not over yet. This is like the 7th inning stretch. Its fun to do and it means the game is coming to a close - but it ain't over yet. Still so many things to wait for and some of the hardest part is coming. The sweet sweet day we will see our boy for the first time and the day we have to leave him and come home. I knew this day was coming - I did and I would tell myself "it won't be that bad" - many others have done it. But i know I am going to be a HUGE mess. This, I am not looking forward to - in fact dreading it. We were really trying to figure out how we could make the 'long' stay work - but in reality we just can't do it. I will be on cloud nine if we have to turn around 5 weeks after we get home and go right back to pick him up!!!

So, YAYYYYYYYY we have our court date!! It is exciting to be at this place FINALLY. But with it comes a whole new set of scary and crazy - which we should be used to by now. We are grateful and we are thankful and we are happy! And as my co-worker J would say 'strength for the journey'!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Letter

Our long lost letter has finally been signed!!! We just found out today. Now we can get back in line and apply for a court date. This has been a nightmare. There were times where we really believed we would loose our boy. Thanks for your prayers and your support!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sitting

He sits. Our boy sits on his own. He is growing and getting bigger. He is loosing the baby look and looking more like a little boy. The red t-shirt with the white stripes from last months photo is now looking a bit small for him. His hair is getting longer and the curls - Oh the curls!!!!! He has big, loose curls. His legs are getting cubby and he has rolls at his wrists. He is the sweetest thing ever - can't wait for you all to agree with me.

We are grateful for our photo updates. We don't receive any other info - so seeing him sit is huge for us. We just don't know what milestones he is reaching. We can see that he is healthy and well cared for.

We have no other news, no updates. We pray for our boy and hope that we can be together soon. We have our good days and our not so good days. I want to thank you all for supporting us in so many different ways. Please continue to pray that this nightmare will be over soon and we can get on with living our lives as a family of 3.