Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Post of 2007

Happy New Year's Eve! 11.5 months ago we posted our first blog about adoption. By March I was droning on and on about how long this is taking and my hopes and dreams for the future. By the beginning of May I was in dire straits, so anxious to hear who our new family member would be. Low and behold, May 18th we received our referral for an 11.5 month old baby girl, Terefech. We celebrated and you shared in our joy. Many of you contributed donations for the care center and helped us prepare by hosting and attending baby showers. We brought TN home on August 4th, overjoyed and overwhelmed. The months have passed so quickly we barely blink and TN has grown an inch or two and learned a bazillion new words. A few days ago, we celebrated our first Christmas as a family of 3, and tonight we celebrate and give thanks for a new year which includes our daughter, Terefech Nerys.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


It's only a few days until Christmas. Our first as a family of three, as parents. It's hard to know how to mark this special occassion... we wonder what traditions to start, which to keep from our family of origin, and how to make this season special from this point forward. Nevertheless, time will pass and we will determine the future in due course, over time. And, as the years pass, TN will likely tell us what she wants out of these special occassions.

Happy Holidays. I hope that all of you, who have supported and loved us through our amazing, wonder-filled and inspiring year find peace, love and joy in your annual celebrations.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ah Wu Wu

What TN lacks in physical prowess, she makes up for in cognitive acumen. Our delightful 18 month old knows how to use her words. Surpassing her age expectations and showing a tremendous learning potential after being here a scant 4 months, having never heard English in her past, TN now speaks almost 60 words.

She tells us when she is hungry, speaks in multiple word sentences and likes to tell us stories... of course her stories are peppered with "words" we do not understand yet, but she likes to talk. A lot. She now points across the room and says, "dat ting?" or "that thing?" meaning, "What is that? What is the word?" She studies us with rapt attention, staring at our mouths, her lips and jaw practicing the subtle movements speech requires. She then attempts the word again and again, mostly until she is satisfied with her own pronunciation.

Her new favorite word is bubbles (which now sounds a lot like bub bo, emphasis heavy on the bo, where her voice raises in pitch as if to emphasis her finger pointing, rather than vice versa). She learned num-num this weekend, which she now uses every time she would like to eat. All liquid beverages are "pop!" which she says in a slightly squeally voice. Diaper (dii ter) means its time for a change, and she likes to tell us when she toots (tooo oot?!). So, I guess her basic needs are covered... she even likes to tell us when she is "home". :)

Each day TN brings a new word to our world, causing us to do much problem solving and hard listening... did you hear that? Did she just say...? The best one, however, is Ah-wu-wu... I love you.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Let It Snow!

Nerys briefly experienced snow over Thanksgiving, when we received a trace... enough to lightly salt the windshield of the car. She grabbed it and looked at me, seemingly perplexed by this white stuff that was cold and melted. Somehow in her 18 month old mind she'd determined this wasn't how things were supposed to be. Little did she know the things to come.

First, there is the pesky snowsuit, hat and mitten combination that never fails to turn a toddler into a colorful statue of sorts-- immobile, too hot, and cloistered. Also, you cannot easily remove yourself from this predicament.

Then, well, there is your inexperienced, first-time parents who do a more horrible thing to you. Beware: Scary first time parent mistakes illustrated below.

Of course, a couple of weeks later it happens that we get a BIG snow fall. That's right, our first real dumping of snow, enough to plentifully cover the hard ground and brown grass, enough to plow and cause misery on the roads. We excitedly proclaim this to be "Nerys's first snow!" and go about the normal child preparedness drill. First: warm under clothes. Second, does that snowsuit fit? It looks like it will fit. Well, we'll just try it on. Okay, well it's a bit (lot) tight, but it'll do for now so we can take pictures (pictures are VERY important). I vow to purchase a more adequate pair of toddler snowpants. Nevertheless, with beautiful TN properly stuffed into her snow suit, hatted, mittened, bundled to the core, we set out into the snow.

Terry finds our first sled we bought together a decade ago and properly affixes a rope. Being good parents, we place little TN in our ancient, blue plastic sled and set off... down the hill. All is well and fine, mommy is taking pictures, daddy is pulling the sled. Except then Terry decides that he is going to run down the hill. The sled hits a bump, TN bumps too, but lands rather sloppily in the sled, and promptly bounces right back out, face planting in the fresh new snow... all the way down to the leaves and grass below. Hmm... A cute scene turned horrible wrong, our poor TN is shocked. She is shocked and then she is mortified. She mortified and then sobbing while mommy digs the snow out of the hat flaps and wipes TN's face with mittens until she is nice and dry. And then, well, snow time is over and we have forever recorded that we totally ruined that which is... Nerys's first (really bad) snow.

At first, things went really well!

Being good parents, we do take a picture of the results of our faulty moments also (I'd dried her off already!).

TN and Dad do good sledding together!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

And so we give Thanks...

Although this time of year is typically used to give thanks and relfect on the good, it is also so close to New Years, and those pesky resolutions, that it becomes easier to reflect on what hasn't quite gone your way, rather than what has. I have certainly been guilty of committing this injustice to the Thanksgiving holiday.

This year, we have many reasons to give thanks. So, on this day, I do:

I give my biggest, joy filled thank you to TN's birth parents and family in Ethiopia. Without their painful sacrifice to give TN a better life we would not have such an amazingly beautiful daughter to gaze upon each day.

Next, I give thanks to the people of Ethiopia whom enriched our lives so fully and gave new meaning to giving and how to live life fully. Without them, we might not have discovered the true meaning of giving.

We give thank you's to all of our wonderful, supportive, loving, caring, and giving family and friends without whom this year would not have been possible. We love you more each day and appreciate all that you do for us, and little TN. Thank you.

And finally, we give thanks to TN, who has enriched our lives more fully than thought possible and will bless us all the days of our amazing lives.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Finding Parenthood

We've been home for a little over 3 months now, which is hard to believe. Sometimes it feels like we just got home and are constantly figuring out this little one in our home. Sometimes it feels like she's been here forever, and I can't imagine a time when she hasn't been with us.

At first, parenthood seems like a novelty. It seems like things change every day: I can dress her up, just like I practiced when I was a child; she can play new toys everyday, make new discoveries, and I discover the burning joy of random, excitement filled hugs and kisses. Sometimes, parenthood seems like a burden: doctors appointments, can't wait to get to sleep but can't because she is awake, finding a way to get the chores done and be entertaining... the latter of which Terry has been far more successful at than me.

Whether in novelty time or times of burden, TN is a joy to behold. I love watching her sleep, giggle at her antics while avoiding sleep, her discovering that you can hide toys up your pant legs, and that formula that comes through the nipple on the bottle is the perfect device for "coloring" on the carpet. We call them milk dots and as she makes them she says, "dot, dot, dot...". While at times annoying, I can't help to find this quite funny as she focuses intently and patiently for each "dot" of milk to come out. Who knew milk dots existed, better yet that they could be so fun?

We learn new things from TN each day. I've learned how to play again. I've learned to love intensly and overwhelmingly again and have marveled as tears sometimes come to my eyes as I laugh at her or just make eye contact. I will mourn the days when I no longer cuddle her in my lap to take a bottle, as she gazes into my eyes, and gently caresses my face, and I hers. Soon, these intimate moments will end and I know that my little one will be off running around, no longer so much interested in these mommy moments. But, I do not dwell in the future. I hold onto these little "baby" moments and grow in the wonderment that is parenthood.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Things they should have asked in the Homestudy

How will you bathe your child?

"In the washer, of course."

How will you transport your child?

"Why, in the lawn mower wagon!"

Will you take any embarrassing photos of your child?

"Surely not!"

(TN poo's... poo happens)

Will you adhere to all child labor practices?


Saturday, November 3, 2007

bee my, bee my baby

TN was a bee for the first of holidays here in the States. She came complete with a bzzzzz sound she learned in about 3 seconds. It was pretty darn cute. So, we dolled the poor girl up in a puffy bee costume and heading to grandma and grandpa's house. We trick or treated over at the neighbors, but she didn't find that too inspiring. No, the amazing part of the evening is that as many kids as she has ever dreamed of show up on the doorstep!! This is utterly amazing. Not only do they show up, unrequested, but you can look up and down both sides of the street and actually watch them come to you! Halloween is TN's dream. So many children to watch, so little time.

TN has mastered the art of the cheesy grin. She sometimes walks right up close to our faces and shows us her four little teeth while clenching her eyes nearly shut and wrinkling her nose. It's absolutely hysterical.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Conversations in Baby

We drifted off towards Iowa this weekend to visit with Terry's family. This was TN's first time having a long car ride. Since she usually can't make it even 45 minutes in the carseat without trying to peel herself out, 4 hours was going to be quite the adventure. But, all was well as Terry entertained TN while I drove.

Have I mentioned that TN's word count is almost at 30? She seems to come up with something new everyday. So, we're in the car, and Terry is blowing bubbles at TN. Their conversation goes something like this:

Terry: "Bubbles"

TN: "Dodo?"

Terry: "No, Buuubbles"

TN: "Dodo"

Terry: "Bu bbbb les"

TN: "Dodo!"

Terry: "Well, they're similar... but different."

Me from the front seat: "what?!"

For those of you who do not know what a dodo is...
Needless to say, you understand my confusion from the front seat. So, if any of you can give me a good cross comparison of how bubbles and the dodo bird to the left are "similar", please do let me know. I'm quite interested.
So, we get down a little further into Iowa, when they repeat this conversation, only this time it goes something like this:
Terry: "Bubbles"
TN: "bubba?"
Terry: "Bubbbbles"
TN: "bubba?"
Terry: "Okay. Yeah. We're in Iowa now, so that'll work..."
Me from the front seat: "What?! Terry!"
Okay, I am also laughing nearly too hard to drive. So, bubbles, now comes in the form of bubba.
Here's wikipedia's definition: bubba is often used outside the South as a pejorative meaning low economic status and limited education. The term "bubba" may also be taken to mean one who is a "good ol' boy" who has difficult business and social relationships due to his self-absorbed outlook on life.
So, folks, just for the record: bubbles... bubba... similar, but different.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Celebrating Baby

On Sunday, we were welcomed to EK's house, the wonderful sister of J Bananie, beloved gramma of TN. We celebrated the arrival of little TN with J Bananie's relatives and friends, all of whom spent time adoring The Baby. We were so honored to be a part of this reunion of friends and family, to have TN's arrival into our lives recognized and celebrated. We can't thank each of you (I know you're out there reading!!) enough for your heartfelt words of love and encouragement. Little Terefech Nerys is more loved than any child on earth.

We'll post pictures of TN worshipping her gifts and wrapping paper soon!

"I love your story about..."

This is a statement we hear so often from people we know and don't know. You know, for so long I thought this little blog of mine was read by a small, intimate circle. Little did I know our blog, our story, our journey, and our lives, have touched so many. So, to all of you strangers and unstrangers alike, thank you for reading. So many of you I do not know, or know only through this miracle called the internet. Alas, I wouldn't recognize many of you if I crossed you on the street, or ran into you at the grocery store, but I know your thoughts and hopes are always with us and I am honored and blessed by your support through our journey called parenthood.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Nerys and the Dragon

Nerys received a gift of a dragon puppet... I think it's a Baby Einstein thing. Nevertheless, here is TN falling in love with the dragon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Starting Daycare

Sorry about the lack of posts again; no internet (again) and little TN started Daycare with mommy in tow. For those of you who have traveled down this path, you may understand what a trying time this is.

We decided to do a transition plan. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, we got up early and went to daycare from 8:00 am-10:00 am. I stayed with her while she got accustomed to our daycare provider, Tammy, and the few other children that are there. We are incredibly lucky to have Tammy, who has only 5 children in her care. And, she'll only have 5... none of this 10, 11, 12 kids roaming around with one provider. This was so important to us as TN hasn't yet learned the art of playing with other children, and is so passive she doesn't protect herself. However, she is excellent at sharing... everything, even to her own detriment.

The children at daycare are around her age at 2, 3, 3, and 4. They were excited about "the Baby" that is TN. They gave her hugs and kisses, toys, and showed her how to play with things. It was really fun to watch. I hope this makes it easier for TN to be with other children.

Today, TN was supposed to be in care all day, for the first day, without me. After about 5 hours, and a severe bout of constipation, she came home. Frankly, I was happy to have her back with me. I missed the little one as I sat here at home doing errands. While I had her here with me fulltime for 12 weeks, I didn't get much done around the house; I complained and apologized for not being one of those super-moms who can cook, clean, wash diapers and still have uber-time with baby. But, I sure missed having her here and NOT doing those things :)

I start back to work next week. We'll see how things go. I have a feeling we're going to have quite a few half-days, which is totally fine with me. My top priority is her happiness and wellbeing. I wouldn't make a great stay at home mom, fulltime, but I might be happy to do it part time.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Making Milestones

Sorry about the long time between internet makes for no blogging! But, here we are, and my how the time passes and how the girl child we love grows and talks, talks and grows.

To date we are within a hairs breadth of walking. She accidentally stood by herself the other night, which was pretty funny. She was standing at her exersaucer (see pic below) playing the "piano". Daddy was behind her cheering on the excellent rendition of TN Symphony, when I walked in the room. Suddenly, TN decides that it's time to play "so big" with Mommy. She rapidly raised her hands up over her head, leaving her little self completely unsupported. Within seconds she realized she was no longer hanging on. She had an "oh sh*t" moment and threw her hands back on the exersaucer. Whew.... saved by the piano. Since then she has let go more intentionally, which has been fun to watch. It occurs to me that some of these major moments in TN history are meer accidents full of panic and then laughing.

New words include: "moo", "meow", and "uh-oh" (used just before intentionally throwing something on the floor... hmmm). We did have a discussion about how "uh-oh" doesn't count when referring to things you intentionally do wrong. It probably didn't sink in, but might as well keep trying.

New motions include:

1. Wagging the head Yes. Examples include:
"Do you want your bottle?" Head nodding rapidly.
"Do you want a bath?" Head nods rapidly.
"Are you done?" Head bobs up and down.

2. Wagging the head no. Examples?
"Terefech Nerys, no, that is for mommies" Shakes head back and forth, back and forth
"Terefech, what should you be doing?" Shakes head no, no, no, no
"Is that for babies?" No, no, no, no.

It's amazing how fast she catches on to the language and what we mean. Very occassionally she shakes her head yes when she really means no, but those are few and far between. I'm sure I could fire up the blog multiple times a day and write about our now 16 month old wonder... but, alas, there is playing to do!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


TN has discovered the power of voice and talking. That's right, our dearest TN can now scream at the top most possible range in the loudest possible voice ever! It is enough, truly, to cause us to cover our ears while she giggles in amazement at the wonder that is... The Voice.
Not only has she discovered pitch and range, dear readers, she now says words! That's right, after a scant 8 weeks home she is now in full throttle talking mode:

"done" which comes out more like "dn", vowel free. Done is said complete with hands in the air and a shrug of the shoulders. Yet another thing we didn't intend to teach. :)

"boom" or "bm", another vowel free word. Boom is used frequently as we are learning to walk. It comes complete with touching the area which has beem bm'ed upon. It's good to be specific.

"eye": Yes, the eye. The cat's have eyes, mommy has eyes, daddy has eyes, TN has eyes, Elmo has eyes, strangers have eyes. Ah, the glory of eyes.

"rub-rub": more like rrrb-rrrb, and is used when mommy applies soap, lotion or hand sanitizer while she rubs her hands together. very cute.

We have not been remiss in teaching her Amharic, the language predomantly spoken in her home country. She now says "asa" which means fish. When you ask her where asa is, she searches all over for it. She loves asa.

Our little (and she is still little!) girl is using her cognitive abilities well. You go girl. :)

Birds are VERY exciting.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The many faces of TN

Our daughter has discovered a new feeling: Silly. I wish I had a thousand more pictures of her silly faces and keep TRYING to capture the moment but, alas, they are fleeting! But, here's a taste.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

8, 13, 12

No, I haven't lost my ability to count linearly. These numbers represent the amount of time, in minutes, for Nerys to fall asleep yesterday. We've tried the gammet of techniques for falling asleep... including ignoring, which got us up to 1.5 hours to go to sleep on her own. Super. Ugh. So, we are back to touching her and sitting next to her crib, which has greatly enforced the concept of sleeptime. With any luck, we can begin to withdraw our hand sometime this week and still have her go to sleep on her own.

Here are are some of the latest and greatest stats on Ms. TN.

1) She can pull herself from sitting to kneeling and kneeling to standing-- against an object.
2) She can stand, supporting herself with an object, for a very long period of time now!
3) She has discovered silly faces!

So, the next few blogs will serve as a representation of Ms. TN and her forays into toddlerdom.

You too can crawl through the cat's toy box...

You can even get to the middle...

And through to the second hole...

You can even get through the second hole...

but then something happens. Something totally unexplainable.

You get stuck. You can't back up and you can't move forward. Your mommy is laughing at you (not very nice, Mommy!). But then, mommy puts down that darn camera, picks you and the box up and delicately extricates you from your inexplicable predicament. Ahh, relief.
Can I do it again?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Sixth Week

We are now in our sixth week home. I can't believe where the time went. I can't believe our little girl has changed so much, grown, adapted, learned, and developed. Of course, then we have all of the changing, developing, adapting, growing and learning her parents have done. So, here's celebrating week 5 with a list of, Who Woulda Thought:

Who Woulda Thought:

1) I would be catching poo as it came shooting out of a bottom?
2) I would be demonstrating "chewing" as a new skill?
3) We would have been scheduling our whole lives over sleep: first nap, second nap, bedtime?
4) I would cry the first time my daughter spontaneously hugged me?
5) We would teach things unexpected; who knew we hummed (mmmmm) or said "oooohhhh" each time we hugged her and that this is what she now does to us with each spontaneous hug?
6) We would spend hours of our day "waiting" for sleep to come to our little one?
7) A child could find the smallest speck of lint on the cleanest possible carpet?
8) That the inside of our mouths is the perfect spot for our baby's whole entire hand?
9) That spitting is so much fun?!
10) That we could love someone as much as we love her?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Friday in Addis. The Departure.

On Friday there was a new feeling in the air at the guesthouse. This marked our third full day with Terefech Nerys and the day we were to leave Ethiopia. Our last breakfast, lunch and dinner at the guesthouse, the last with our new friends and their amazing children. The house was filled with the buzz of packing and exchanging. Soy formula for regular formula, larger and smaller diapers and clothes big and small all milling about the house. What should we put in the carry on? Do we have all of our documents? Where did you put...?

At noon, everyone was out of their rooms and wandering about. We had a delightful lunch and then families loaded up to go to the CHS ET office, where our childrens passports, visas and lifebooks would be picked up. A little over an hour later we had all arrived back at the guesthouse and celebrated with dinner and a coffee ceremony. One of the housekeepers brought their daughter (age 6?), who came upstairs to sing us a few songs. What a cutie! We saw Injera, which is the bread of choice in Ethiopia, and used to eat meals, being made. It take a certain kind of deftness to accomplish the making of this 16" diameter bread.

At 7:00 pm, we all loaded onto the buses. We fussed over our children, made sure our luggage was all there and headed out on the 45 minute, super-bumpy drive to the airport. We all said hasty good-byes as we rushed to our ticketing counters, accounted for our visa paperwork, and hoped we'd get through the whole process by the time our flight left at 10:30. Hugs were exchanged, well-wishes and promises to write were spread about.

Our plane actually left an hour and a half late. We all stared at each other through the glass partitions separating our gates. We waved and then talked loudly over the glass. Looks from other traveling families let us know we were being wierd! :) Such is life. To share so much with such an amazing group in a short amount of time creates a certain bond that overcomes the stares of strangers.

So, there it is. Our 12 day journey of a lifetime to Ethiopia. We'll go back. We'll go back as a family of 3 instead of a family of 2. We'll share our memories, photos and videos with TN as she grows. She'll know we are in love with her country of origin. She'll know we felt heartache at leaving as much as we felt elation at going to Ethiopia. Everyone asks: Will we adopt another child from Ethiopia? Only time knows. But, if we do decide on a little brother or sister for TN, our hearts will guide us back to Ethiopia, the country that has already given us the most precious gift possible.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Thursday in Addis...

On Thursday we woke up at 7:00 am with the little buckaroo snuggled up between us. We had experienced the first night of being: kicked in the face, smacked with the back of hands, inched out of bed by a 14 month old. But, all is forgiven when we look into the peaceful face of the bambino.

We spent the day with our group, oohing some more over everyone's babies. Terefech blessed us with a few smiles and, while I was shopping, she entertained everyone by putting her toe in her ear and cleaning that puppy out. Then, everyone else ALSO realized how incredibly flexible our munchkin really is. The day went smoothly, although naps were a bit tenuous (some things never change!). In the evening we packed our bags and prepared to depart on Friday evening. By now, must of use were decidedly tired. Although we were mourning leaving Ethiopia, I at least was dying to sleep in my own bed.

No pictures from this day... sorry! But, i promise to post bleary-eyed parent pictures for tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Wednesday in Addis (2 days before leaving!)

We took Terefech Nerys fulltime into our care on Wednesday. What a joy as we all crowded into the van with our babies for a ride from the care center to the guest house. For the first time, our 7 adult-only families (and one pre-teen!), were combined with all of our new babies and toddlers. It was so very exciting to see everyone gleaming and glowing over their baby boys and girls. Suddenly our conversations went from politics, religion, Ethiopian culture and economics, to goo's and gah's and gazing intently at our babies. We were taking pictures of each other, capturing moments, then exchanging formula, diapers and clothes instead of playing cards and teasing poor Dani (age 12).

Here's pics of our first full-time day with Terefech Nerys, our greatest joy.
Terefech likes to put her fingers-- or whole hand-- into our mouths... yummy! This is our first sippy bottle with Terefech.

Here is TN's first real bottle. We were SOOOOO excited that she would take a bottle. Being able to feed her like this is an excellent way to achieve attachment. Before she used to stare into space while drinking milk. Now, she cuddles into me or Terry and gazes into our eyes. Now, she knows that we are mommy and daddy.

TN's first sleepy-sleep with us. I think we probably gazed ourselves to sleep. She, on the other hand, drifted off and didn't wake up for 12 hours. Wohoo!!

This is our first "hmmm...." moment. That moment when you wonder, "how do they do that?!" But, she does it just fine, thank you. Flexibility, I've determined, is an art form as well as great skill. Sometimes, TN holds both feet, or sleeps completely spread eagle. And, we mean legs completely perpendicular to the vertical body. Scary.

Tuesday in Addis

On Tuesday, we went to Embassy and got the official GO AHEAD to bring Nerys to the United States. The day seemed long, as each family was individually called up the stairs to answer questions: Why was your child relinquished? Are the biological parents still alive? Is this the child that was referred to you? All in all, it was painless and we all crowded back onto the buses to travel back to the care center. For security reasons, no one is allowed to take pictures at, inside or outside of embassy, so there are no pictures to celebrate the occassion. We left Ms. Terefech for the evening and spent an evening at the Crown Hotel with dinner, drinks, music and regional dancing. Here are a few pics:

Three men chatting as part of the dance:

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A nice day to play...

It was such a beautiful day here... Daddy and Terefech played in the sun.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Day 7: Breakthrough...then and now

On day 7, we decided to make a change. Terefech wasn't responding well to us in the presence of nannies coming and going, and the other children playing or napping. We packed our diaper bag on Monday with water, Cheerios and Gerber stars, books and toys.
We arrived at the Care Center, proceeded with the normal inventory: changed shoes, washed hands, sanitized hands, trek up the steps to the first door on the left. The nannies welcomed us in and handed Terefech to us. We indicated that we were taking her out of the room.
Terry and I headed to the basement of the Care Center and dug out our supplies. We started with a book, which she seemed to enjoy looking at. She noticed the child feeding himself, and mimicked this behavior. We got out the Oh's and Stars and that was a big hit!

After some initial trepidation, Terefech played and laughed with Terry; we gave her water out of a sippy and gave her more Oh's and Stars. We had finally made progress as she smiled, laughed a bit and generally loosened up. We were relieved. Here are pictures of our breakthrough day and pictures of her now (5 weeks later).

Then: 5 weeks ago

#1: Sporting the latest in polka-dot and bunny-wear. High-fashion.

#2: Everyone loves a brown-eyed girl... but not everyone loves W!

First PBJ sandwich! mmmm.....
First time in the new exersaucer! Penguin skis upon rolling of the ball. Now that is fun!

Regarding AHOPE

I received a some comments regarding my post about AHOPE. I would like to respond to the comments, which I have left and that you can see below in the original posting.

1. I have the utmost respect for the staff and institution of AHOPE. As I stated clearly in my original post, the staff were outstanding, nice and very helpful.

2. MOST IMPORTANTLY: HIV/AIDS CANNOT BE TRANSMITTED THROUGH TOUCH!!!! If you got this out of my post I am most sincerely apologetic. As a sexuality educator by training I am WELL AWARE of this fact but can see that I did not communicate clearly. In fact, many of the children were damp, and had colds (runny noses, coughing), and I did not want to transmit or carry any colds to the children at the care center. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE TO TRANSIT HIV to other children. For more information about HIV and its transmission, please visit:

3. There were a couple of familes at AHOPE adopting. They were so excited, nice and told us a bit about the little ones still at the care center. It was great to get to know more about them. The children were excited and it was nice to talk with them while we waited to meet the other children at the care center (AHOPE).

4. Yes, the children are as well cared for as they can be given the circumstances, and this is absolutely, without a doubt, better than the care they would have otherwise received. I would love to see a hundred more centers like this. I was well aware that the children were very cared for by the staff and visitors. It so happened, at the very time we were there, that there was a child who was extremely wet and who had been for some time (he may have just woken from nap). This is not necessarily commentary on the overall condition of the children. Also, probably due to the fact that it was damp during rainy season, there was definitely an odor about the place, but that was also generally true out and about in Ethiopia. As newcomers, we probably were simply not accustomed to this.

5. I am sorry that those of you who read the post were offended by my feelings. I was honest about them and perhaps I should not have been. I want to reiterate that AHOPE is remarkable and amazing. The children there were fun to play with. My commentary regarding how they behaved was largely accurate from my perspective, at that moment in time. Your children are, in fact beautiful and I am so very, very admiring of those of you who have adopted from AHOPE. Your children are an absolute gift and a blessing, and Carolyn, every bit as deserving of a mommy and daddy as our daughter. You are correct: Your children are beautiful and wonderful.

I hope this clears up the confusion. Other websites were given in the commentary, please see them for more information. Here they are again: and


Sunday, August 26, 2007

More of Day 6

Day six wasn't all pleasantries and beautiful sites. Indeed, one of our travel mates had a dreadful accident. Poor J and K were not having a good day. The vehicle rolled, but both came out fairing rather well. Within moments of the accident, Ethiopian villagers poured out of the fields, woods, and huts. Here are a few pictures of them...

While Terry and many of the drivers and villagers helped to upright the vehicle, Aimee and I took pictures of the villagers. This group of children, teenagers and adults stood by us and oohed and ahhed at their own images. At one point, I took a picture of Terry (unbeknownst to him), and showed the children. In unison, they gazed at the picture and then turned and pointed, laughing at poor Terry. It was absolutely hysterical, butTerry was a bit confused as to what all the pointing and commotion was about.

The three children pictured below were behind me while I was taking pictures. I turned and snapped a picture of them, but the boy (girl?) with braids was anything but amused. She looked away and I felt bad.

The young man wearing a turban scarf was great to photograph.

The old woman was a site to behold and I could have taken her picture a thousand times over. There was something about her that made me want to keep gazing at her, inspecting, wondering who she was, about her life, her children...

Addis Ababa Time