Sunday, January 30, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Courts trip Tips from Jan 2011
We brought a lot of snacks and did not really need them. We were full from most of our meals..they were nice for the airplane though.
You end up taking your shoes off a lot at the orphanages and TH, so it is nice to have on socks for that. On the orphanage visit day, I didn't wear socks and I wished that I would have.
The laundry service at the guest house is awesome. 39 cents to wash a tee shirt and they use the same laundry detergent as the TH so my clothes smelled like baby Sarah’s :)
I wish I would have taken chocolate for the nannies at Kids Care and KVI
Kingdom Vision said that they needed clothes for kids ages 4 -13. They had lots of baby clothes.
They have Kids Care tee shirts when you go visit there. They are $20. We bought two because that is where our son was at.
Island Breeze was my favorite place to eat. The chicken quesadillas are yum.
Bring a blanket to spread out on the grass at the TH. Our group was big so there was not a lot of room on the porch.
The reason they want you to take the nanny gifts to the back is that the night shift nannies were getting upset that they were never given gifts. So now they have a “store” and do a lottery and every nanny gets to chose things from all the gifts.
I love the Guest House workers. They are all so sweet. Abby would take a bag of chocolate down with her every morning and pass them out to all the staff. They loved her. :)
The coffee is so good, but the creamer is boiled milk. It would have been nice to bring my own creamer ( like the individual coffee mates)
There is also hot water all the time and I brought caffeine free tea bags for evening. It was a nice touch of home.
There are no wash clothes in the Guest House, so pack some. They only last about 2 days and start to smell funny. I just threw them in with my laundry.
Take earplugs and sleep meds for sure! The dogs are crazy loud!
Wifi is so slow! We had a full guest house and that could have been part of the problem. I woke up at 3am one morning and was able to upload photos pretty quick. After midnight until about 6am is your best time to be online. If you are a Mac user download firefox. It supposedly works better than safari
We took outfits to try on Sarah Faith and snapped pictures of her every day. It was a fun thing to do with our time. We brought a lot of bubbles, balls, rocket balloons..fun toys for Micah. I didn't bring any art supplies or books and I wish I would have, He needed a little down time during the day when he got tired.
They LOVE electronics! A leapster would have been great. Micah played games on my phone and borrowed a DS one day.
Go to the spa!! A lot in our group chickened out but the massage was wonderful and was only $10! A pedicure was only $7 ..Only be aware if you do not get massages regularly, it will make you feel kinda flu- like the next day. :(
If there is anything you want or need just ask! We didn't have time to go to the coffee factory so Job took up a coffee order for us. Same with Amharic Bibles. They found them for us and we paid in advance and they dropped them off.
The airport has shops that you can buy last minute souvenirs at. They are more expensive than the market, but not by much. So if you forgot to get some things, you can always pick it up there.
Court is really no big deal. You go in a room and wait with a bunch of other people for your name to be called. The judge called our group in by 2 or 3 families at a time. You even answer the questions at the same time. Mostly yes or no and she doesn't even give you time to elaborate. The hardest part was not knowing the outcome. Did we pass? Did we not pass? What was missing? We pretty much knew nothing after court, but we received an email the very next day letting us know what was missing and when our next court date was. Apparently if you pass the judge will say,” He/She is yours.” Thats about all the knowledge you get!
Get some Cipro from you Dr before you go! we didn't need it over in ET, but I got a stomach bug the day I got home ( airplane food?) I am so glad I could start taking it right away and didn't have to go to the doctor as soon as I got home.
We took a day and went out of the city to Trees of Glory ( Children’s Hope Chest) We hired a driver with another family and spent the afternoon there. It was so nice to get out of the city and to see the work going on there. We stopped and bought a TON of bananas and Mangos for only $21! They were very thankful for fresh fruit. If you sponsor a child at TOG you can email them and they will try to make sure she is present. It is just an amazing work the director is doing there with very little. I promise you will be blessed if you go!
If you have any questions about the court trip feel free to email me!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
After the TH visit Abby and I were able to go to the spa. She got a pedicure and I got a hour long swedish massage for the grand total of $10! Abbys pedi was only $7..crazy..but so relaxing!
Today is court and we will have to make an appeal in order to present Sarah's paperwork to the judge. Please pray she is understanding. We will then give our consent. We may or may not meet Micah's aunt and Sarah's mom. We will find out right before they arrive. There is a good possibility we will pass court for Micah and not Sarah simply because MOWA has not had Sarah's paperwork even a week yet. I am ok with knowing that and that it shouldnt take to long to get the paperwork finished. So please pray that the appeal is accepted and everything falls into place for us today.
We will then go to lunch and to the TH for a few hours to say goodbye. I am reallllly dreading that part. Then we come back, pack up and fly out tonight. We will be in the plane 17 hours and land in DC Tues. morning at 9AM, we will fly out of DC and be at Charlotte by 3PM. Please pray we can sleep on the plane! That is a long time in the air!
Thanks so much for all the support and prayer!
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Yesterday we were able to go in the morning to the two orphanages that Micah and Sarah were at before they went to the transition house. We found out that most agencies leave the kids in the orphanages until the parents come to get them. I cannot say enough good things about America World and the level of confidence I have in them. They take wonderful care of the children and the professional side is very competent as well. We first went to Kingdom Vision( where Sarah Faith was at for 4 days). we were able to visit with the babies, toddlers and school children. They have newborn up to 13 years old. Thanks to some adoptive families that bought them items like mattresses on all the cribs and diapers on all the babies. :)
We passed out snacks and toys and it was so sweet to see the children and love on them. Then we went to Kids Care (where Micah was located), it was smaller orphanage that we toured. They had a coffee ceremony for us complete with popcorn again! We left there and went to lunch and then spent the afternoon at the TH. Micah is sooooo attached to Greg. He wants to keep him in his sight at all times and is very affectionate. He is affectionate to me as well, but is happy to go play with Greg and the other boys. He will not speak very much to me, but he says things like, "Lets go play dad" and "Lets go see mum" to Greg. He also can count to 10, say his days of the week and his ABC's. Every day he is coming a little more out of his shell. This makes me happy and also sad because we leave soon.
On day 5 ( Saturday) We got up and went to tour the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis. It is a huge orthodox church with beautiful paintings. Behind it is a museum with all kinds of Ethiopian artifacts. After there it was lunch and TH. The weather is beautiful here..50's at nights and sunny and 70's during the day. I am going to hate to leave and say goodbye to Micah and Sarah, but I am missing Esther and Nathan a lot and will be so glad to see them.
Abby is doing great. She has taken up with one of the drivers, David, and he lets her ride shotgun in his van and they play the punch bug game while driving crazy through the crazy traffic. She has just been a wonderful traveller.
We will not pass court on Monday because there has simply not been enough time to have all Sarah's paperwork turned in AND a letter from MOWA written. Hopefully the judge will give us another court date sometime the first of February and since we will have already given our consent, once the paperwork is turned in, we will be notified we have passed and everything can be sent to embassy.
After our court appointment, we will meet with Micah's aunt and Sarah's mother if the are here and wish to meet with us, then we will go to the TH and say our good bye's. I am not looking forward to that. We will leave Addis at 10:15 Monday night and should be in DC by morning, but because of the time difference and head wind it is a 17 hour flight back to the states ( yuck!) We will then leave for Charlotte and should be back in NC by 3:00 on Tuesday.
Thanks so much for the prayers. We so appreciate them!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
He walked us over to the next building where the older children stay and showed us his room, and his bed and all his toys that we had sent him in his care package. He also had an art book he had gotten for Christmas that he had already filled up with drawings. Lots of spiderman drawings! He also had a paper Bible he keeps under his pillow in Amharic. Another little boy, "J" and Micah read there Bible together every night.
We also got to go to his class and the kids sang a song for us and then the teacher ask us ( me, Greg and Abby) to sing a song. So we sang Amazing Grace and Jesus Loves Me and then they sang Jesus loves me back to us in Amharic. They were also learning the days of the week and their letters.
Our time FLEW by today, but we had to leave at 12 and go back to the guest house where we had lunch and then met our driver and a rep from Children's Hope Chest to take us to Trees of Glory Carepoint Center. It is about 2 hours out of the city and it was such beautiful countryside. Abby took a ton of pictures I will post when I get home. Just beautiful! We stopped and Abby bought a TON of fruit with the money she had saved and had been given... just bags and bags of bananas and mangos. The total cost was $21 us dollars! We split the cost with the Herwhes and were just amazed at how much fruit! We plan to buy more for both orphanages we are visiting tomorrow.
The roads though were CRAZY! Between dodging goats and power-sliding the van around one lane blind curves, I finally decided I was better off not watching the road!
When we arrived at TOG, we met the director there. A sweet lady that has given up her job to come and live at the carepoint center full time and take care of the children. We had a Coffee Ceremony, gave her our donations we had taken up at Vacation Bible School this summer and then met the kids. They were so sweet. We gave them suckers, granola bars, and silly bands and were able to paint the little girls finger nails. They loved that. When we got out of the van our driver realized that the van was leaking oil. Lots of oil. So while we were inside, the men were trying to fix the van. They finally decided the driver would walk to get some oil and a gasket that had broken. I was getting a little uneasy as there was no electric, no running water and no bathroom other than a hole, no Holiday Inn....and we had no transportation. And the city was 2 hours away. And it was getting kinda late. But we walked around and took lots of pictures and played with the kids and learned more about the vision for TOG. After about an hour ( and a very memorable trip to the potty) our driver showed up with a gasket and a bag of oil! Yes, a bag..like a doubled Walmart bag. Of oil...too funny.
Praise God he fixed the van and we quickly said goodbye and headed back to Addis. We got back with only about 15 min to spare ( around 7:15) before we took off for our traditional Ethiopian dinner!
It was a really nice restaurant and they had all the tables together sitting family style. There was a stage and musicians and dancers and they brought out big round trays of Ethiopian food. We ate while the performers put on an amazing show. Dancing like I have never seen! It was a great show and great food, but by 10:00 Abby and I were about to fall over! We made it back to the guest home for bed and was so happy to see it!
Tomorrow we go to the orphanages Micah and Sarah lived in before moving to the TH, we have a meeting with the ET director about what to expect at court and the an afternoon with Micah and Sarah. We are all having an amazing time and are so thankful for your prayers for us.
~ Greg , Jackie and Abby
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
We had breakfast at the guest house and are now waiting to go to the TH at 11:30. Tomorrow we will go to the Transition House in the morning and go to Trees of Glory Carepoint center in the afternoon. It is about 2 hours away from the city and I am looking forward to seeing the African countryside away from the city. I also cant wait to meet our sponsor child, Kiddist. We will spend an hour or two there playing with the kids and passing out fruit, suckers, granola bars and silly bands. Once we get back to the city we are going to a traditional Ethiopian dinner complete with dancing and music.
Two things I forgot to write about yesterday was that we had the Traditional Coffee ceremony where they will roast, grind and brew coffee beans right in front of you. It was REALLY strong coffee, but I loved it. In fact I think it was what kept me upright most of the afternoon! Ethiopia smells like coffee and popcorn ( they serve popcorn with coffee).( I think my mom would like that..two of her favorite smells!)
I was able to Skype with the kids a few minutes last night and they are happy and seem to be doing well. I was glad to talk to them, even if it was kinda sketchy service.
The other thing was about Micah. When we first started talking to him, Greg ask him two different ways to pronounce his Ethiopian name and said which one is it? Micah shook his head and said , "My name is Micah". :)
That was about the only complete sentence he said to us yesterday. He can understand english pretty good and will shake his head yes or no, but he wont talk a lot. I think he is afraid he will say something wrong. He is pretty popular with the other kids and has lots of friends. We brought him a batman yoyo and he knew how to say yoyo and batman! :)
Everyone is so nice. At the guest house and even on the streets, people smile and say hello. The nannies are wonderful with the kids. They give lots of hugs and kisses to the children there.
I will check back in later. Love from Ethiopia!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
We had a uneventfull flight but there wasn't a lot of sleep involved. Abby did great and even though I think she was about to go stir crazy she didn't complain. We landed at 7:45am ET time, made it quickly through immigrations and customs. We then met our travel buddies and the driver from AWAA. I am going to try to post about our day, but I am not sure I am making sense ( 33 hours with no sleep will do that to ya!)
Addis Ababa is beautiful! The temps feel a lot like Florida in the winter..comfortable with just a long sleeve shirt. There are lots of people everywhere right now because of a Holiday celebrating the baptism of Jesus. We went to the guest house after the airport, went over our itinerary for the week, unloaded our bags and left again for lunch.
We went to a place called Metro pizza. It was a really nice pizza place and we laughed that our first Ethiopian meal was going to be pizza! :) It was a little bit of Ethiopia mixed throughout because they placed some bread sticks on the table with a little dish of what looked like guacamole. We cautiously dipped our bread in it and WOW! It was soo hot. Totally burnt my mouth! We were all laughing because the Ethiopian kids that were there with us, who were getting ready to go home, were spooning it up like jello! They were loving that hot mess!
The pizza was very good and really cheap, like $4 a person. After we finished up, we loaded in the van and began our trip to the Transition Home. I was going on about 26 hours with no sleep and the overwhelmingness of it all, I felt like I couldn't breathe. It took us forever ( really about 15 min) to finally pull up to that famous America World gate. The other couple was told that there baby would be brought out first. We videoed them seeing their little boy for the first time..he was so sweet.
After a quick switch of camera, it was our turn. They were suppose to be bringing Micah and Sarah Faith out together. There was a long hall they were bringing them down and we were at the porch/front door. As soon as Micah saw us he took off running and threw himself in my arms! That was the sweetest bear hug and I will never forget that feeling. He hugged Greg next and just jumped up onto him to be held. He was so sweet and not shy at all. He was wearing his Florida Gator shirt we had sent him in his care package. He gave Abby a hug and while he was getting acquainted with his big sister, I turned my attention to the sweetest bundle of pink in the nanny's arms. She looked at me with those big brown eyes and didnt cry at all! She just snuggled in like, "Well, I have been waiting for you to get here".
Greg and Micah went over to the playground to play while Abby and I took Sarah Faith up to a couch on the porch to snuggle. And snuggle we did..all afternoon! She would track our eyes really well and smile and coo and she has a bit of thrush and kept sticking her tongue out so I would be able to see it.
We had an amazing amazing day! Tomorrow is more of the same. More good food and more time with the kids. We are so blessed!
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
We received the call today at 11:51. The first thing Caitlin said was, "I have some good news for you.." Right then and there I just prayed a big Thank you JESUS! Then after we got Greg on the speaker phone she told us that she had a referral for a 5 month old baby GIRL!!!!! I was so shocked! I really thought that it was going to be a boy! We are so excited! I honestly didn't hear much she said after that! She did say she was very healthy. :)