Next stop China

Next stop China
Next Stop China!

Friday, May 27, 2011

48 hours

In 48 hours I will be getting ready to go to the airport and fly to get our boys. I have a few more things to do today, but I am planning on getting all of my preparations done today. My Aunts Sue and Becky are driving down tonight to visit Mom. I haven't seen them in about 4 years.
We are all past ready to have the boys home.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ready to fly already

Time seems to move so slow. Just like waiting to have surgery, even though you are nervous about it, there comes a point where you just want to ge it over with.
I am so distracted. Yesterday while cleaning the kitchen, I probably dropped or knocked over 10 things. So frustrating.
I did take all of Aaron's stuff out of the suitcases and I have some more room. Not much though. I have a few more things to get and pack, and then it is time for "see how many diapers I can fit in the suitcase" time. I was able to fit both filled diaper bags in the suitcases also, which leaves me free to fill up a backpack and use it for my carryon.
A week from today, I should be arriving in Ethiopia and picking up Seth and Ethan. I wonder how they have changed? It will be over two months since we have seen them.
The girls and I planted some more veges in the garden yesterday. We ate potatoes last week that we grew in the garden. We also have had lots of radishes. Just picked some carrots last week and they were pretty good. Our squash is starting to bloom. Onions are getting bigger. I love the garden. I planted some seeds in jiffy pots a few weeks ago that I had leftover from last year. Last year, I had planted a whole row of a hot pepper mix of seeds that I had bought. Then it rained the next day and washed all my seeds away, so I planted them indoors this year. We should have a ton of food this year. More canning and freezing. After the tornado a few weeks ago and the electricity going out for 4 days, I had to clean out the deep freezer and fridge, so they are almost empty.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dubai- here I come

Last Friday, I spent ALL day in the kitchen by the computer waiting for emails and calls from our travel agent making plans for our trip to Ethiopia.
Leigh Anne, my SIL couldn't leave until May 27th afternoon. All the flights to ET were booked on ET air and we would have to be on a waiting list for 24 hours to see if there were any openings, or we could leave the 25th or 26th, putting us there a week ahead of time AND Leigh Anne couldn't go because of work. Since it was familiar and we took it last time and they have a straight shot from DC to ET, I wanted ET air. However, I wanted my SIL to go more so that Aaron could stay home with the girls, so we looked at Emirates air.
Which you have to stay the night in Dubai. You know, Dubai, where people build their own islands and the only 7 star hotel exists? I knew the airline would be nice because I had heard great things about them, but didn't know how Leigh Anne would react about having to stay the night there.
Well, she was excited instead of leary and offered to pay for the hotel room if we could leave a day early so we could sight see. I mean, how often are you in Dubai?
So, that is what we are going to do. Leave on Sunday from Huntsville. Arrive in Dubai Monday night. Spend Monday and Tuesday night in Dubai. Leave Wed. morning and arrive in ET at lunchtime. Can't wait.
Oh, and this is funny, we couldn't believe how cheap the hotels were in Dubai. We got a 5 star hotel for about 120 a night. I had looked up the weather there and noticed it was supposed to be around 100. Anyway, Leigh Anne looked it up last night and it said that we were going during the down tourist season because of the oppressive heat. 100 degrees and 90 % humidity. That sounds like a sauna. Oh well, we had a good laugh about that. Hopefully we can stay in the air conditioning most of the day.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm so sore

Since we got postponed a week going to Ethiopia, Aaron and I decided that we couldn't put off going on our yearly trek to SC to trim the Christmas trees we planted before we moved to AL. So, Friday night, we decided to leave the girls with Mom, drive the 6 hours Sat. morn, trim trees Sat, spend the night, then drive back Sun. morn.
Atlanta was doing "Weekend Paving" so that put us about 1-2 hours behind getting there when we sat in traffic forever as it went down to 1 lane.
It took much longer to trim trees than last time. Last year, Aaron trimmed them by himself in about 3 hours. We had a generator and electric trimmers which I used. Both of us trimming took about 5 hours. Aaron doing the majority. I guess the trees had gotten that much bigger. Didn't help that the high on Saturday was 93.
We ate supper with Jim and Linda then went to our hotel to shower and crash. Aaron had enough stays built up for a free room. We got up early the next morning and went back so Aaron could weedeat around each tree, which I could not help with. So I sat in the car with the windows open in the shade reading books, and still was sweating. Poor Aaron was out in it and the high Sunday 97.
We finally got back on the road and headed home. This time we tried to bypass the one lane in Atlanta, but I think it ended up taking longer going the back roads than if we just sat in traffic. We were both so ready to be home. We got to Mom's around 8pm. Picked up the girls and got home around 9pm.
I have a lot of plans this week, before I leave. I spent a lot of time in the car yesterday with cooking magazines, making a menu for this week and next week while I am gone. I am hoping to make a bunch of food that can be frozen so Aaron and the girls don't have to eat hot dogs and frozen pizza all week while I am gone. This will be Aaron's first time alone with the girls for more than a day or two. He will do fine.
As soon as I am done on here I need to shower, make a quick trip to the vet, and then go by our chiropractor and see if they will take me as a walk in. ( I am so sore from trimming trees).
Then I need to go and make a big grocery trip. Then cooking off and on all week. Plus we still have a few days left of school. And I need to unpack Aaron's things, since he is not going to Ethiopia and then pack my stuff again.

Friday, May 20, 2011

June 2nd

Finished packing everyone last night just in case we had to be in Ethiopia on Monday or Tuesday. However, we woke up this morning and had an email stating that our embassy date is June 2nd.
Oh, that was hard to take at first. 13 more days instead of less than a week! ugh.
However, it was so weird because Aaron had woken up before me and came into the room and woke me up to tell me the date. While I was still lying in bed, trying to process it all, the song "Count Your Blessings" would not leave my head. So I know that this is God's timing.
On a good note, because of the fact we probably won't be leaving until May 30th, my sister in law Leigh Anne, is willing to go with us and Aaron will be staying home with the kids. That takes a HUGE worry off of my shoulders, hoping and praying that in the process of getting orphans, we won't make our kids orphans. I worry way too much about the airplane ride, I know.
So right now, I am waiting info from our travel agent. Once I get our flights booked, I can email our guest house in Ethiopia and book a room. Then we wait.
Tomorrow we plan on going to SC to trim Christmas trees. Aaron has accumulated enough points rewards on his travels with work that we have a free hotel room coming to us. It is almost too late in the year to trim Christmas trees, so it is now or wait til next year.
We only have 11 days of school left, so I might be able to finish before we go out of country.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Embassy Next Week...but when?

Well I have wonderful news! Yesterday morning when I woke up I had an email from the Embassy in Addis saying that our case was cleared for us to come and told of appointments from Monday through Thursday. So I emailed Sue and told her, of course she had gotten the same email. She had already emailed back and told them of our preferences. She is trying to get all of the families from our ageny appointments on the same day.
At 8 am our time, it is already 4pm Ethiopia time, so I figure the embassy closes sometime around then. So we knew it would be a wait until today to find out.
I went ahead and made a list of stuff to do today, like get airling tickets, schedule our friend to takes us and pick us up at the airport, finish packing, etc.
Long story short, Sue still hasn't heard from the embassy telling us the exact date of our embassy appointment. AARRGHH! And of course, at this point it is night time in Ethiopia by now, so we won't know until morning. So, if we have to be there for the Monday appt. that means leaving tomorrow night (Friday) and we won't find out until Friday. The suspense is killing me.
My sleep is awful. I dream constantly, can't go to sleep for hours once I go to bed, wake up a lot, stress a lot, then during the day I am tired only to lie down to take a nap and have to hop right back up because I am thinking of all the things I need to do.

For the last few weeks, my ears have been hurting off and on. Not so much sharp pain, but aching and feeling full. Since I already get motion sick easily anyway, and they were hurting bad enough last night I took some tylenol, I decided to go the the walk in clinic today in hopes they would feel sorry for me. Normally, I would not go to the doctor since I am not THAT sick. However, before spending a total of 32 hours or so in an airplane over the next week, I was scared that painful, full ears would lead to a miserably motion sick week.
Strangly enough, my ears looked fine, however, she said my throat looked bad, so she gave me some antibiotics. Which leads me to believe I have the same thing Madelyn had and is just finishing her antibiotics for. She had swollen lymph nodes in her neck and felt tired, but her throat didn't really hurt even though the doctor said it looked bad. No matter, I have started the antibiotics and hope that they will be working by the time we take off.

I have finished packing all of my stuff except for my contact stuff and a few small things I use every day and medicines.
I went ahead and packed a lot of Aaron's clothes yesterday and left his suitcase open so he can see if it is what he wants. He would normally pack himself, but I am antsy and want to feel like I am doing something. This afternoon I took a nap and actually slept. Miracle of miracles.
Now that I am starting to wake up, I am planning to go ahead and get the kids packed.
Andy, our good friend from church, who happens to be the youth minister and has access to the church van is planning on taking us to the airport in the church van and picking us up again like last time. There isn't enough room in our van for all the luggage and our entire family, and it keeps us from having to park at the airport all week.
My neice Blake is going with us. Her Mom or Dad will be bringing her to the airport (depending on what day it is) and will take our girls back to TN with them to stay with one of my brothers, or possibly both. My brother Michael has the appeal of Katie, 15 years old and adored by all the girls with bundles of energy. My brother Eric has the appeal of Doug 14, Daniel 11, Hunter 6, and Heath 2. Kids of every age to play with and a semi- baby. So they are excited to stay at either place.
I was really wanting the girls at the airport when we flew in, and it will work out because Michael or Leigh Anne will be picking Blake up at the airport, so they will be there with the girls when we get home.!
Got to get moving. I was severely disappointed this morning when I found out that I was not going to find out our exact date next week.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Karen's Ethiopian Journal cont...

I haven't typed any of my journal since April 12, if you want to go back and read what had happened up until that time. My journal has been at Mom's and I keep forgetting to bring it home and type it into the computer.

March 28th after court
Sad news - we did not pass court today. There is paperwork missing on both of the boys and the MOWA letter is not there either. They say the paperwork will be easy to get and our next day at court should be around April 17th and Sue and the orphanage director are positive we will pass the next time. We do not have to come back again for court. Sue said once we pass, it takes about 2 weeks for the info to be processed before we even have a chance for an Embassy date. Sue said the most notice we would get would probably be a week. So, now it will for sure be May at least before we get to bring them home. I was hoping for April. It was so nice to be able to meet Sue whom I have talked to so much.
We left for court around 9am. Dereje picked us up. We had stuff for the babies packed and ready to take them. He said that the Nanny at the guest house would take care of them. Who knew? We were wondering how to go shopping without them and now we find out that are ladies here who babysit. So we paid her about $6 or 100 birr. That is how much Sue suggested. Sue invited us to eat supper with her tonight and her husband and another man who was here going to adopt. We had the nice lady here stay with the boys. She said she was spending the night tonight anyway.
Back to court... Seems like every building here is 4-5 stories tall. We climbed up 5 stories to the "court room". Standing room only and we even stood outside for a while in the hallway while waiting for a space to stand inside. As we walked down the hall, I recognized the orphanage worker who we had met on Friday. And beside him was a woman who looked exactly like Abenezer. I told Aaron that had to be his birth mom.
Sue sat down on a bench and talked to the girls for a long time while Aaron and I stood, a little nervous, having fallen in love with those babies already. Around 10:15, they called that lady in and after 5 minutes, she came out and a man opened the door (who we did not recognize) and motioned for us to come in. Aaron and I looked behind us, not knowing he was talking to us.
The judge was a younger woman dressed in all white with a white scarf all around her head. She sat behind a plain desk and asked us a few questions.
1. Do you have other children?
2. Are they agreeable to the adoption?
3. Have you met Abenezer and Tariku?
4. Do you understand that this adoption is irreversable?
5. Have you completed education on international adoption?
6. Do you plan to teach the children their culture and about Ethiopia?

She then went into a long explaination about paperwork and police reports, etc. Then looked up at us, staring at her with blank faces. She said "you didn't understand any of that, did you?" We said "no". So she explained slower and we got the gist that there was paperwork missing, we went back out and then the orphanage director that was in there with us explained better. There is some paperwork that I understood them to say that the orphanage had, but didn't bring today on Abenezer because they did not know it was needed.
Then they needed the police report in Tariku's case saying that birth parents had not been found. The orphanage director said these can be obtained in the next few days and our MOWA letters weren't there either. So, they are all saying we should pass around mid April.
More to come on court day

Friday, May 13, 2011

Last day of co op

This morning was the last day of our homeschool co op for the year. After today, I think we have 14 or 15 days of school to complete this year. Which means it will take us all the way through May and possibly part of June. We will probably take off a few weeks, then start back up after the first week in July. The girls are going to camp that week. Then we can go ahead and get a bunch of days in while it is HOT here and then take off some time in the fall when it is so pretty out and it is hard to stay inside.
I am still antsy to go get our boys. The days are dragging by. Yesterday we went and got paint to paint Natalie, Hannah, and Ethan's room. It was pink and blue. We picked out a bright green. We finished the first coat last night and will hopefully finish the 2nd tonight or in the morning so that we can move stuff back in there and set up Ethan's crib. Right now the house is an awful mess.
Madelyn cleaned her and Seth's room completely yesterday and I think that is the only clean room in the house. That and the laundry room. But with Natalie and Hannahs stuff out of their room, it makes the rest of the house awful. I have to get this fixed before we leave. Oh I pray it is next week.
Madelyn doesn't have Lyme Disease, so that is a blessing and now, even though her antibiotics have been going on for 4 days, her throat is hurting her. I wished I had looked at it when I took her to the doctor because he mentioned it being red and was surprised it wasn't hurting her. I would like to know if it is looking worse. However, she hasn't run a high temp since Tuesday night and it is obvious she is feeling much better, so I don't know why her tonsils are just now hurting to swallow.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Birth Certificates

We got the boys' birth certificates by email from Sue yesterday. Seeing them makes it that much more real. Also, we finally got the boys' birthdates. Seth's birthdate is 12/23/09 and Ethan's birthday is 11/22/10. Of course, the likelyhood that these are their actually birthdays is very slim. These birthdays were assigned to them by the court. However, it is nice to finally be able to have those dates.
I am praying that we can go next week, but since we are just now being submitted this week, that may be slim. Oh, I can't stand this waiting.
Yesterday we had went to Mom's for a few min. in the morning. We got back around 12 and there was a message from Madelyn's doctor. "Karen, give me a call back, I was calling you about Madelyn's CBC" Ok, so I immediately felt sick. Here I am thinking that no doctor calls you personally with results unless it is bad. So I call him back and his staff said he already left for lunch, to call back around 1pm. So that was an hour for me to think of all the diseases Madelyn might have to be tested for since her CBC was obviously out of whack. On a good note, I did use all of that nervous energy to clean my room, the bathroom, etc. I called back at 1pm and the secretary said he still wasn't back, give him until 1:30pm. Ugh this was killing me. I finally called back at 1:30 and Neice, a nurse I worked with at the hospital spoke with me and said that the doctor just wanted to let me know that her CBC was normal and the Lyme Disease test wasn't back yet.
All that stress for nothing, however I was so releived that it was normal. Thank You God!
Madelyn was feeling some better yesterday, but still spent most of the day lying on the couch or sitting around. Her temp hung around the 99s yesterday. I gave her ibuprofen a few times, because when her temp goes up, she starts getting nauseated. This morning it was normal and of course she has had no ibuprofen since last night. Her neck lymph node was still pretty swollen, but hopefully after a few more doses of antibioitic it will go back to normal.
We did finish cleaning Natalie and Hannah's room yesterday. When we first moved in I let them pick colors to paint. Natalie picked blue and Hannah picked pink. So it is a mixture of colors. I wish we could paint it one color, but I hate painting and wonder if we have enough time. I guess if we don't get the go ahead to travel this weekend, we will have another week to move stuff around. There is a toy box in the girls' room that needs to be cleaned out. They have a tv/vcr/dvd in their room. It can only be used to watch movies, we don't have rabbit ears for it. I think we have enough room to leave that in their and the baby crib.
We have our crib that we used and then Mom had bought one at a thrift store about 6 months ago for her apartment. Then one of Mom's good friends has a sister that had 2 baby cribs she was giving away. So we have a total of 4 cribs. I am going to use our old one, plus a new one. Then Mom will probably keep one and then I will just give the other one away.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Waiting to be Submitted

Heard from Sue this morning. Unfortunately, we were not submitted to embassy last week because the boys' passports were not finished. However, we are being submitted Thursday, so that is a good thing and maybe we can go next week. Praying it is so.

The Renaissance Festival ended up being a lot of fun. The girls had a good time and there were enough shows to see that we ended up being there from 11am-4:30pm and still didn't see all of the shows that we wanted to.
It was cloudy day and that kept it cool. It sprinkled a few times, but not enough to make things miserable. And of course, I got mildly burnt. Not enough to hurt, but I told Aaron...not many people can go outside on a cloudy day after slathering themselves in sunscreen and still be a little burnt. Yes, I am PALE! And not so proud of it. This is why I hate the beach (except at night) No matter how often I put on sunscreen, I will get burnt!

Madelyn went and laid down on her own Friday afternoon after co op. I should have known she was getting sick. Then at the festival on Saturday, she kept saying her legs were hurting. I just assumed it was from sitting on very uncomfortable benches and walking up and down hills. Yesterday morning, she said her neck hurt and sure enough, that same lymph node in her neck was swollen> It was swollen about 5 months ago and after a round of antibiotics, it went down and no more trouble.
Last night she was aching in her legs and arms and then she pointed right to where all of her upper leg lymph nodes are and said she was hurting there, both legs. I didn't dig around to look for swollen groin lymph nodes, but went ahead and called in to work today and got an appointment for this morning. We dropped Natalie and Hannah off at Mom's and I took Madelyn in> At this point I was thinking it might by Lyme disease, since she had all the symptoms except no rash, which is not always there.
The doctor also thought that was a possibility since we practically live in the woods and are always pulling ticks off each other. He went ahead and gave her some antibiotics and we went to the hospital to have her blood drawn. We won't know for a few days. I kind of hope we do find out what is causing it.
Today I must clean out Natalie and Hannah's room. Ugh it is so bad. They have bunk beds, and we cleaned out from under them and changed sheets this morning and are taking a break right now. There is only so much cleaning and sorting I can take at a time. Threw away a lot of old toys and stuffed animals and found tons of dirty socks. We have only finished 1/2 the room. I really hate kids' toys. And really really hate stuffed animals. They are sooo cute and take on their own personality and are so hard to get rid of. I told the girls I was going to tell people to never buy them toys anymore. They didn't really care. I wasn't mad, just stating the fact. We truly don't have room. Plus, the kids have more fun playing outside in the dirt, riding their bikes, board games, etc. Sometimes they pull out the barbies, ponies, etc and play, but most of the time, they sit in the bottom of a nasty toy box.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I Hate Waiting

Ok, this is getting harder and harder every day. It has been about 5 weeks since we have seen our boys. 2 1/2 weeks since we passed court.

I had emailed Sue earlier in the week and she is in Ethiopia this week. She emailed me back, I think it was Tuesday and said she was with OUR boys, taking them to their Embassy medical appointment. She was hoping that we would be submitted to embassy either May 5 or 12. I emailed her yesterday to see if we were submitted and she said that yesterday was a holiday in Ethiopia, but she was hoping that we would be submitted today. So, I am emailing her to make sure. Oh, I so hope that we get the call next week that we can pick up our boys. It is so hard to wait. I miss them so much and they are so young and at their ages, they change weekly and I am missing that. UGH!

I have the boys stuff packed. We are trying to get the house ready. We have a small house and it will require some moving around. I have been motivate, but after wishing for the call to travel this week, I guess today has been a little depressing. We are planning on putting the boys' dresser and Natalie and Hannah's dresser in the laundry room. Well, the walls were still a blah cream color from when we moved in and filthy. So, while we were at co op this morning, Aaron painted it a pretty lavender color I picked out yesterday. I think it looks good maybe we can get all of the house shifted by next week.

We just moved in our home schooling studies from the Middle Ages to Renaissance. And it just so happens that there is a Renaissance Festival starting tomorrow about 2 hours from here. As a surprise to the girls and a field trip, we are planning on leaving early in the morning for that. There is a special going on this weekend and the kids will get in free. I hope it is fun.

If you are praying for us, please pray we get the call to go pick up our kids soon! My boys are 8000 miles away and they need to come home!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pictures of our blessed family!

Madelyn and Ethan Tariku

Ethan is very happy to have a Daddy, Mommy, 3 sisters and a brother

Aaron and Ethan This is our right after they brought Ethan to us at the Guest House.

Natalie and Ethan

Hannah and Ethan

Aaron and Seth Abenezer This is when we first met him at his orphanage.

Seth is wondering who all of these people are and why they are fussing over him.

Madelyn and Seth

Seth a little overwhelmed with all the attention.

That is me...finally getting to hold Seth after staring at his picture for 3 months.

Electricity back on

We lost power last Wednesday on the 27th around 3pm from the tornadoes here in Alabama. They hit about 5 miles from our house, but thankfully the only damage we got was a few trees down in our yard. Wednesday was a scary day when the girls spent all day off and on in the bathroom under the sink hiding out and I spent the day watching weather radar until the power went out.
Thursday morning, Aaron called me from work and said they were predicting 5-7 days before power would be back on, so I called Mom who lives a few min. away to see if she wanted to take the kids to TN since she wouldn't be working with the power out. She did and the girls have been at my brother's house in TN since. I worked 12 hours Friday while Aaron stayed at home cooking over our fire. We are lucky to live in the country. We were out of propane for our grill. Aaron had about 3/4 tank of gas in the Montero, so we saved that until we could go up to TN.
They didn't need me at the hospital over the weekend, so we drove up to TN on Sat to wash clothes, get gas, buy ice, etc. Spent the night at Aaron's parents. Then we got up Sunday, went to church and drove over to my brothers to take Natalie an ice cream cake for her birthday. She wasn't able to have her skating party here on Saturday, so my brother took all 7 kids roller skating on Saturday. So, she had a great time. I am glad. Aaron and I drove back home last night.
Our city had power when we got home around 6pm, but our house didn't. However at 8pm our power turned on.
I had an email from Sue this weekend saying that our stuff will be submitted for embassy either May 5 or May 12. I pray it is this week! So, we could travel as soon as 2 weeks. I am scrambling today to do the thing I hate hate hate to do. Clean and sort and rearrange. I am terrible at it.
I am cleaning out our laundry room, throwing lots of stuff away and I think we are going to put Natalie and Hannah's dressers etc in the laundry room. I think if we just leave their bunk beds only in their room, we will be able to put a crib in their room and they can share with Ethan. Won't they be excited!
Gotta go, lots of miserable cleaning to do. Mom is bringing the girls back today. Missing them!