Thursday, June 25, 2009

Twins like to ride bikes!

Since we just missed Candace Selam's and Sarah Fikir's birthday in mid-May, and the poor dears have had to endure two family birthdays in the last two weeks, we decided to give them their own "happy birthday"... actually they shared one today with big brother Kenneth who turned 20. They were so excited all morning. We had birthday cupcakes at lunch time. After lunch, we all went outside for the main event... the unveiling of the much wished for bicycles.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Twins like to swim!

Enjoying the lake with big brother Kenneth.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Home for one week

We've been through a lot in the last week, kind of like having a toddler only on fast forward. I bet I've said "No!" four thousand times. In fact, we have entire conversations with the twins using only the words "yes" and "no", something like this:

Twin points to object. "Mommy, yes?"
I say, "No."
Twin says, "No?"
I repeat, "No."

Once in awhile I get to say "yes" instead. :)

Candace and Sarah have opened every drawer and cabinet in the house at least ten times. They have banged enthusiastically on the antique piano in the basement and every computer keyboard they can find. After several days of eating anything we offered, they now sniff all of the offered food and turn up their nose at about 60% of it. No remote control is safe. Or camera. They are very possessive of their individual stuff. If we don't remember whose underwear is whose, they certainly will be happy to let us know.

They have learned a lot of words! Some favorites to hear are "I love you", "I'm sorry", "C'mon!" and "Yes, good!"

They don't like blood tests. After going to the doctor on Thursday, they reenacted the blood test experience on all family members that evening. They don't like dogs much, either, but they are getting better.

My birthday is next week, and they bought me some super sparkly earrings and a necklace which they told me about right away, so I got them early. They are a little fancy for my everyday wear, but that's okay.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Settling in

We are learning how to be a family of seven. Some things are harder, like readjusting to the total lack of privacy of the toddler/preschool years. Some things are fun, like watching the twins discover the swingset and the trampoline. We brought our three dogs and two cats back from the kennel today, too. I'm happy to report that beasts and small children are getting along reasonably well.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thoughts on our trip

Wow. That's all I can say at first... this was an experience like no other. Awesome in the way that giving birth is, but different in so many ways because the experience of adopting these children is also wrapped up in the experience of being in a country where the people are so poor and have so little compared to us, and yet they are so cheerful, loving and rich in spirit. So many strangers went out of their way to be kind to us. We met several Ethiopian people on our short trip that we now consider friends.

Meeting the twins the first day, Sunday, was a little scary. They were very shy at first. By the second day, I could tell that they understood we were their family. We didn't take them back to the guest house with us until Tuesday, and on Monday they cried when we left. I felt like dirt. But I guess the up side is that when we came back on Tuesday, they were thrilled to see us. I thought they would be sad to leave their friends, but after running around for a final good-bye to some friends and the nannies, they jumped right into the van and were ready to go. No looking back for them!

The trip home went almost ridiculously smoothly. We spent about 20 hours traveling home, and the twins only cried a little toward the very end. At the airport in Washington, DC some nice Ethiopian-American lady thought they were so cute she gave them each a balloon. (Which we then got to drag through security through both DC Dulles, Chicago O'Hare and the Omaha airports. Yes, they do make you put helium balloons through the x-ray machine.) We haven't had any major food issues, and sleeping has gone great... although today the twins decided that one toddler size bunk works out well for two kids. It looks a little crowded to me, but what do I know? The rest of us are all very glad to be back in our comfy beds. And quiet bedrooms. It was kind of noisy at night around the guest house.

So now we are all getting used to each other. Boy, can these girls pout if they aren't getting their own way! I'm hoping that as our communication improves, we can reduce these pout fests. I know that they don't always understand why I'm saying no. But I have to admit that this pouting grates on my nerves in a big way. Lord, give me strength! And patience... lots of it! Overall, we are lucky. I think we got two children with a lot of love to give who really want to be with a family who loves them back.

More tomorrow. :)
Oh, and I forgot to mention that today is the 23rd anniversary of my marriage to my wonderful husband, Tom. Also, it was one year ago this past week that I suggested adopting from Ethiopia to this same wonderful husband right after attending martini tasting on our Mexican Disney cruise. I think Candace Selam and Sarah Fikir are pretty sweet anniversary gifts.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We're home

We're home. And very tired. I'll post tomorrow about the trip.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Embassy Day

Before you get excited, again, I am posting for Paula, but the pictures were not attached!!

Yesterday was our embassy appointment.  We had an appointment for 1:30, but we weren't actually called until close to 3:30.  There were two agencies with appointments, Hope and AAI.  The AAI group was much larger and all of their families went first.  We were nervous for the appointment, but it took about five minutes once our name was called, and it all took place through a window at a counter... not really what we were expecting!  We got a packet of stuff afterward from Ashanafi, the Hope social worker, that included birth certificates, the adoption decree and translations of documents.  Ashanafi will bring the visas, passports and other documents to all of the families working with Hope tomorrow.  There are four of us and they are all staying here at the Yeka guest house.  I'm including a picture of the girls I took this morning with their hair down.  It is so cute and curly!  They have been just the sweetest little things, although I guess they cried when Tom and I left today to go take pictures at the baby house.  Nice to know they missed me. :)  They really seem to love us all, and have spent a lot of time playing with Kenneth, Emily and Anna.  The other photo is one of them playing with Emily and Anna at the guest house.  We are all tired, both mentally and physically.  Everyone is ready to come home.  There is so much to tell, but the internet is here is sketchy, so I'm going to quit while I'm ahead.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


We have been in Ethiopia for four days now, but we have been having a lot of trouble accessing the internet and specifically emailing this site.  Sorry about the delay in posting!  We were able to visit the twins for the first time on Sunday.  We saw them as soon as the car pulled up to the building... so tiny!  It's hard to believe by looking at them that they are five years old.  We were swarmed by kids as soon as we got out of the car, and it was fun to see how many we recognized.  They were so surprised when we called them by name.  We took pictures of all the kids, passed out some care packages, played, played, played...  The twins were so proud to pass out suckers to all of the kids, it was really cute.  We decided to wait and bring the twins with us later in the week as sort of a transition.  On Monday we went back, and the twins were much more relaxed and themselves.  They called me mommy and Tom daddy and remembered Kenneth, Emily and Anna's names.  Our big kids played games with them and everyone was having such a great time.  This time there were tears when we left.  Very hard for us!  However, we came back after naptime bearing gifts of Barbies, and all was good again.  Tuesday we did some shopping before going back to the orphanage. Selam and Fikir were thrilled to see us, as were various other children that just love the attention of an adult.  So many beautiful children.  We were treated to some cute songs and dances by the kids and a coffee ceremony by the adults.  I thought the twins would be reluctant to leave their friends, but after suckers and hugs all around, they hopped right into the van as if to say "get moving!" Their first night with us went without a hitch... dinner, no problem; bath, check; bedtime, they slept like logs.  May this honeymoon last forever.  :)  I think we got pictures of all the kids.  Cara, I got lots of your boys together.  Gina, I am going to check the camera and make sure I got your baby and if not we'll go back and get some.  We have our embassy appointment today.  We are tired and ready to come home.