Sunday, August 30, 2009

Catch-up 4

We left Ethiopia on Thursday night, instead of our original Saturday time. We were out of soy formula, almost nothing ever stayed down, and what did came out as water. We arrived home on April 17th, after an interesting and adventurous layover in Amsterdam.

Unbeknown to us, we were not allowed to bring the water we bought at the Amsterdam airport, onto the airplane. This gave us somewhat of a dilemma-- Soly could not go long without eating and we had to go through gate security (questions, search, x-ray, gate check, wait on plane) again. We figured there was no way we could make it that long without feeding Soly. Further, Soly's name had been changed in Ethiopia (from Siloty to Soly) and the ticket we had for her had the wrong name. We also wanted to get a bassinet seat for her.

We went to the desk for KLM/Delta to see what we could do about getting the bassinet seat. The woman at the ticket counter kindly asked us for our paper ticket for Soly. I was shocked-- a paper ticket?! We never received a paper ticket for her in the United States and were left with nothing. We asked what we needed to do. She asked us how old Soly was. When I told her almost six months her eyes flew open and her mouth dropped. Who believed this tiny baby in 0-3 month clothes, weighing about 9 lbs was 6 months? We explained she was quite ill... in fact we'd had her expedited through the United States embassy. She quickly found her manager, rallied the forces, issued us E-tickets for Soly and arranged a bassinet seat for us at the front of the coach section. Every woman (they were all women) at the ticket counter came to see Soly, all amazed at how tiny, but beautiful she was.

Our next problem was that we could not bring water onto the plane. When we arrived at the gate, I walked up to a young man stationed at the gate. I asked if we could bring just ONE bottle of water onto the plane, explaining our daughter was very ill and we couldn't sit at the gate or on the plane for too long without feeding her. He first said no, but after I begged and pleaded, he said I could bring 1 bottle of water on the plane. I thanked him and went back to Terry and Soly. About 10 minutes later, he came to us with his manager. His manager said we could NOT bring on a bottle of water, but said we could make 2 bottles of formula and bring them on the plane with us. Again, I thanked him generously.

We also sat next to another adoptive family. She was returning to the United States with her son and new young daughter. We shared stories and talked about our experiences. It's always nice to have someone to talk to, a friendly face who you can identify with and who helps to pass the time.

When KLM started boarding procedures we waited as long as we could to get in line. I made two bottles and we chatted a while. Finally, we got in line and decided to wait it out. Within minutes of getting in line, the manager came over and pulled us out. Terry and I shared looks of fear-- they weren't going to allow us on the plane! Soly's name was wrong, we needed to bring water... What to do?! Alas, this wasn't the case. The manager pulled us in front of all of the people waiting in line at security, rans us through the questions, stamped our passports and escorted us to the front of the x-ray line. As we waited for our baggage to pass, my name was being loudly announced overhead. They were putting us on the plane first!!

We were elated. The attendants on the plane set up the bassinet, showed us how to use it and tended to our every need. Soly got a super cute KLM bib for flying and got a lot of attention! Our flight from Amsterdam to Mpls was probably the most relaxing part of our journey. We slept as much as we could, taking advantage of the bassinet for Soly. We landed in Minneapolis on Thursday, April 17th. Home to our families, our precious TN who we missed too, too much, and to the great unknown.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Catch up 3

We stayed at Kidane Mehret a bit longer to visit some of the other babies. We were able to take video and pictures for a friend and visit with her son, Addis. He was so cute and alert. All of the babies had their own little, tiny cribs with mobiles above. Some had bottles in their mouths, others were sleeping and still others looking around their room or being cared for by the nuns. We were amazed how many babies could fit in such a little room. We looked at the bed where Soly once lived the first 5 months of her life and then took her from the orphanage and into our arms forever.

The nuns gave us an 8 ounce bottle (?!?!?!), but said she drank a lot less. They then informed us that her bottle had a lot of sugar-- this is how they got her to gain weight. We got in the car and were whisked away back to the guesthouse. It didn't take long to figure out that there was something severely wrong with Soly. She vomited up all of the formula we would give then be hungry for more. We switched to Soy formula and she quickly went through that. Of each type of formula we brought with us, she quickly threw it up. We were at a loss. The agency director said we were just "feeding her too much"... She went on to say that she had "saved" Soly multiple times and that she was "completely" healthy. We knew she was not.

The rest of our trip was a whirlwind of events. BFAS was "not prepared" for us to come, although they had notice. They had not prepared her documents for the embassy and we spent days running around town picking up one document or another. Hospital records were wrong, and had to be redone and re-delivered to the Embassy. The whole process was a disaster.

Within a couple of days, we also determined we would need to leave Ethiopia early. Soly was just too sick to stay. We visited the hospital where she spent so many weeks. The doctors and nurses gasped at seeing her, disbelieving she was actually alive. Each asked for their picture to be taken with her and to email them the picture. It was then we realized how deathly ill she had been. However, it wasn't until I received her medical records, months later, that we realized just how bad it was, and how horribly we had been lied to by our agency about poor, poor Soly's health...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Catch up 2

We arrived at Kidane Mehret, unsure of what condition our little girl would be in, if she had gained any weight or height, if she was still sick, or what she was ill with. Knowing her size, however, meant we'd had to spend a small sum on new clothes-- newborn clothes, 0-3 month clothes. We'd brought lots of formula, clothing, medication for her bottom. Prepared to spend 7 days in Ethiopia, we'd packed clothes for ourselves as well :)

We walked the steps up to Kidane Mehret. Much like most spaces in Ethiopia, the outside belies what the inside holds. Through an old painted gate, we entered a garden haven. Up curving steps, and into an opening filled with school-aged children playing, laughing, enjoying each other, spending time with the nuns who laughed, played and conjoled with them.

We were introduced to the head nun, Sister Lutgarda, who ushered us into a small and cramped room with an old couch, pictures of Jesus Christ, crosses and all about children's clothing, toys and supplies. We signed the guestbook as we waited for Soly to arrive. Soon, another nun made her way in the room, holding a tiny baby girl, head capped in a white hat. She wore white tights, a white turtleneck and a summer jumper with a giraffe on the front which said, "Mommy Loves Me!" She greeted us with a toothless, brilliant smile.

That smile has lasted to today. No matter how ill, even while throwing up, Soly will flash you a brilliant smile which makes you feel as if the world is forever going to be okay and fills you with joy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Catch up

Our trip to Ethiopia in April was a whirlwind tour. As before, we arrived late in the evening, waited for our luggage, obtained our visas and took in the smoky, spicy smell of Addis Ababa. We did not know if we would meet Soly that night, or sometime the next day. But, this time we were ready to go with the flow. Tired but exhilarated to be in Ethiopia again, we boarded a taxi and made our way to the BFAS guesthouse, Nootol.

It was a beautiful house close to the airport. We ate a late dinner and headed to bed. Sleeping into the early morning hours, we awoke to the enchanting sounds of the call to Prayer. We had arrived the week of Ethiopian Easter. At 4 am, the sounds of soothing chants pulled us slowly awake and lulled us back into sleep. At 7 am we awoke for breakfast. At 10 am, we were picked up and escorted to Kidane Mehret Orphanage to meet our baby girl.

We knew Soly had been ill multiple times while in Ethiopia. Each time parents returned, we asked for pictures and updates of our dear daughter, and were repeatedly, month after month, told that she was in the hospital. Each time, we frantically called the agency who did not know and didn't have updates for us. Finally, 4 weeks before traveling, our friends traveled to pick up their baby girl and demanded to see Soly in the hospital. She was able to bring us back detailed information about Soly, along with pictures and video. She was small, frail, ill. Born at 6 lbs and 19 inches, at 5 months, Soly was a mear 9 lbs and unknown number of inches. The 6 month clothing we sent for her was so large you could barely see her body.

We received our court approval and officially became her parents on March 27th. Knowing she was critically ill, we pushed for an expedient Embassy date and were rebuffed by the agency, who repeatedly told us she was "healthy" and didn't require an expedited date. I'd had enough, emailed and called Senator Amy Klubuchar's office and pleaded for assistance to get Soly through Embassy quickly. Amy's office staff were miracle workers, jumped on the case and had an answer for us within days: they would expedite our case, we could go immediately. 36 hours later, we jumped on plane to Ethiopia to get our baby girl. Little did we know the adventure, heartbreak and reward we were about to incur.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Welcome back...

Thank you all for your patience as I privatized and closed the blog to the general public.

In a series of unfortunate events, we have learned that our last adoption agency, BFAS, has started reading blogs and is suing families for telling the truth about their adoptions. As you know, our adoption of Soly has been difficult and full of roller coasters, including finding out that she is quite ill with multiple diagnosis. Our agency was aware of her illnesses and failed to inform us about any of them. Had we known, we would have been better equipped and prepared to treat her here in the United States. Because I disclosed, publicly, that Soly was ill and said that I did not recommend the agency, Better Future Adoption Services has threatened litigation against us. Thus, our blog had to be invite-only.

Now that our blog is private, I will be sharing more about our family again. I look forward to sharing with all of you again and being honest and open.

Thank you all for the love and support you have shown along our way to building a beautiful family.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Privatizing Blog

On July 10th, this blog will become private and you must be invited to see this blog. If you would like to see this blog, please email me privately or leave a comment. Please send me your email address so I can add you to the "safe" list. My email is sarasolace at gmail dot com (insert symbols in the appropriate fields) or leave your email in the comments section if you are comfortable.

Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,

Sarah

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Posts, posts, posts...

I apologize for the long times between blog entries. Life has been quite hectic, a little sad, very busy, somewhat frustrating, and somehow still rewarding.

TN and Soly are best buds. Soly always smiles to see Nerys and Nerys always wants to hold Soly, giving her hugs and kisses.

Soly is a smily, happy baby. As some of you know, Soly has been diagnosed with several severe illnesses. We have been working tiredlessly to help her. Doctor's at the University of Minnesota and Gillette Children's Hospital have been helping her, trying to work out exactly what the problems are and how to best help her get better. She is very tiny for her age, just 13.5 lbs and 24 inches at 7.5 months. She has difficulty keeping food down. We have finally found one formula she is able to not throw up, but it appears she has signficant internal issues which prevent her from extracting the nutrition. We are attempting to figure out what this is.

Through it all, even when throwing up, Soly smiles. It is so hard to have such a happy baby who "looks" healthy but definitely isn't. While we struggle, feel pain for our beautiful daughter, we also love her with all of our hearts and know now that our family is complete.

Please keep Soly and our family in your thoughts and prayers. I will try to keep everyone updated as we know more.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, TN!!!


TN is 3 today!! I just can't believe how fast our amazing first daughter is growing, learning and becoming her own little entity. Happy Birthday, Terefech Nerys! Mommy, Daddy and Soly love you!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baby Girls :)





It's about love...
















And helping each other out...




















Smiling through the tough times...













And celebrating being together...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

When your child imitates you...

You learn more about what you do that you can possibly imagine.

So, I was in the house grabbing last minute items to take with us. Terry, TN and TE were in the car waiting. Apparently, TN was not waiting so patiently as she exclaimed, exasperated, "Come on, Mom!!" Terry thought this was pretty funny.

The next day, TN her babydoll, CeCe, in the car. I can hear her telling her very clearly, "Come on, CeCe, come on. That's enough."

Today, we're on our way back from our day-trip to the cabin and TN says from the back seat, "Come on, movie! Get going!"

ROFL. Well, Terry and I had a short discussion about how that I maybe need to stop begging the traffic lights to turn green and to get TN moving along. No more "come on!!!" coming from me. I have to be more patient. Sheesh.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Funny things...

Recently TN has come up with some doozies. Trying to not laugh or trying to figure out where the heck she pulled some ideas out of her hat from great. Others are just situationally amusing.

1) TN went to bed at about 7:45. At 8:30, hard crying comes from the bedroom. I rush in and concerned, ask her what is wrong. She sobbed, "I lost my booger!!!" Sympathy eroded quickly and I erupted in laughter.

2) Last night I was telling my friend Kurt and I were sitting at the kitchen table talking about TN's funny little moments and how I thought #1 took the cake for the week. Just then, TN walks out of the bathroom carrying the plunger for my yeast infection medication... hmmm... We kinda had to reconsider #1.

3) We were sitting at dinner the other night when I said that I needed something. TN looked at me very seriously and asked, "Why do we need a need?" I stared at her before blubbering out some cryptic answer about feelings and how we have to fulfill them, etc. I'll do better next time.

4) I was sitting talking to Soly telling her, "Say mamama. Say mamama." TN pipes in loudly, "Mom! She DOESN'T TALK!" Thanks, TN.

5) This week, TN explained to us that her body was filled with glue. We asked her why and she said, "So I stay all together." After casting glances at each other, we decided to fill TN in on the truth. Bones and muscles hold our bodies together, not glue. "So, I don't have glue in my body?" she asked. "No, just blood." I said. She looked really disappointed and said, "oh, okay." I actually felt guilty about dashing her belief about glue holding her body together...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Home Again!




Hello All! We are home again! How different could two adoptions be? Well, about as much as possible it seems. Although glad to be home, finally, with baby Soly, we are facing an uphill battle in the quest to find a source of food she can keep down. While her health suffers, she is still the smiliest, happiest 6 month old ever. Weighing in at just 11 lbs and about 21 inches, most folks think she is a newborn. As with TN people are surprised to learn she is much older than she looks. But, let's now waste too much time-- I know you want pictures :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Leaving!

We're out! Unexpectedly we were expedited through the process and are leaving for Ethiopia on Friday afternoon. Unbelievable!!!

I'm so excited to meet Soly and to be in Ethiopia again. See you in a week!


This beautiful little girl is our newest amazing baby!

Monday, April 6, 2009

You Are My Sunshine

Tonight, I lay in bed with TN, doing our regular bedtime routine. We cuddled up in bed with 2 books, Puff the Magic Dragon, singing it together, then reading "What Mommies Do Best". Then, fan on, lights off and we lay in bed together for "just ooooone minute."

Lately though, I've been singing TN songs as we lay in bed. So, we started with twinkle, twinkle. My little quiet, alto voice nearly whispering into her little ear. Then she said, "Sunshine, please mom?" So, I sang her favorite song:

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy, when skies are grey.
You'll never know dear, how much I love you.
Please don't take my Sunshine away

The other night dear, while I lay sleeping
I dreamt I held you in my arms.
When I awoke dear, I was mistaken,
and I lay my head down and cried

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy, when skies are grey.
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away."

I sang it once as held her in my arms. Then, as I sang it to her again, she rolled over to face me. She slipped one little arm under my neck, and the other over the top side of my heck, her nose nestled against my face as I whisper-sang the song to her. I finished the song and whispered in her ear, "Good night, Nerys. I love you." "Good night, mommy," she said, "I love you, too." And I held back tears wondering if I could ever love her more... my baby. My first baby.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Soly Update

Hi everyone, thank you for your patience!

Soly was officially our daughter on March 26th, a few days earlier than expected. It was this extra time that was supposed to allow us to get through Embassy on April 9th. This plan fell through and we are awaiting assistance from the U.S. Embassy in D.C. and our Senator, Amy Klobuchar, to assist us in getting Soly home as soon as possible.

We'll let you know when we're on our way to Ethiopia! Thank you for your love and support. Please pray for our little Soly and her health as we wade through bureaucracy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

One week

One week from today, we are scheduled to go through court in Ethiopia and officially become Soly's parents. We are excited, worried, and hope beyond all else that the process is smooth, and she sails through with no problems.

We received new pictures of Soly a couple of weeks ago and she is so beautiful. It's amazing how children can look so different from one another. Soly is tiny, with huge brown eyes, a small little nose, and straight black hair. She has tiny feet and hands, and a pudgy little tummy. She has this amazing gummy smile that makes her cheeks puff out; her little tongue peeks through her diminutive, puckered lips.

Soon, we hope to hold that little body in our hands, feel her tiny fingers grasp ours and look into those deep brown eyes in person.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Oy Vey!

Life in the World-Revolves-Around-Nerys household has been one rollercoaster after another lately. I find myself taking steps backwards here and there wondering what the heck is coming up next.

TN seems to have hit puberty and developed bi-polar disorder at the same time. She has developed a flare for the dramatic and has become quite good at starting to cry, but has developed no capacity for shutting off the tears. One morning what started as fake, whiny, I'm-not-getting-my-way turn on the tears moment turned into a 20 minute session of gasping sobs, flying tears and a runny nose. We were late to daycare that morning. Sometimes she just starts to cry and we ask, "What's wrong?" and she says, "I don't know!"... Couldn't we have at least waited until 12 or 13 for this? A co-worker, Marcia, said, "oh, they're like this from about 2-4 and then again from about 12 through their teenage years. This will give you an idea of what puberty will be like." Yikes! And, we'll have TWO girls!

Speaking of our second little one... she finally left the hospital after two weeks. She had suffered from a diaper rash which broke open and caused a very, very bad infection, and hospitalization. The court date is but 10 days away, and we ask for your well-wishes, thoughts and prayers as we plan our travels to Ethiopia in the next few weeks. With any luck all will run smoothly from this point forward and our little Soly will be in our arms soon.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Soly

We learned yesterday that Siloty has been in the hospital again. She was very ill with difficulty breathing. We are not sure of her diagnosis at this point. Our godsend, Melissa, is bringing us pictures, video and information about her on Sunday, so we can learn more. We knew she had lost about 15-20% of her weight, but is now catching up again. As of today, she weights 9lbs 4 ozs, so she's still a bitty little girl.

We are very scared for her and sad and frustrated there is no way we can help. We cannot hold and comfort her. We are glad the agency is helping to make sure she is getting good care in a hospital.

Please send good thoughts her way and pray that we get an earlier court date so we can get our little baby home.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why?

Why? Why? Why? Why? Oh. What? What's that? What's that? Where'd it come from? Why?

See a theme? We have formally entered the Question Everything period of life. She doesn't want to know if it's a red car anymore. No, she wants to know if the car drives itself? Why is she driving it? Where is she going? What is her name? Is she going to Target? I, of course, know nothing about the stranger in the car next to me, much less why/where/what/how, etc. "I don't know" is not a sufficient answer. As a parent, I *should* know everything. About everyone. And every situation. Alas, as (ah-hem) wise as I am, I do not know all. Omniscience is not yet a skill of mine. I also do not read minds. I know, you're shocked. My child is too.

Then, there are the topics that we don't really want oto cover... yet. Or, at least not in detail. TN wants to know everything, and I mean details. I couldn't bring myself to actually give her the word for the bump between her legs. I couldn't adequately explain how the baby got into lots of women's tummy's. Why do people throw up? Where does the pee come from? What does blood do? How do you explain these things to two year olds.

I assume we'll pass by these subjects again in the near future. Hopefully I'll have better answers than I do now. Until then, umm, suggestions are welcome :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Adoption Update

So, as you know, we have a referral for a beautiful baby girl named Siloty. Siloty Ezri is now 3.5 months old and in Ethiopia still. While we had hoped and expected to be home with her by now, this was not to be. As with all international adoptions, there can be bumps on the road and we've run into a few of those.

Things are looking up though! We have an official court date of March 31st and are very, very, very much hoping to pass through court the first time through. If we get through Ethiopian Court, SE will officially be our beautiful daughter and we will be able to leave for Ethiopia around 2 weeks later. By mid-April, we hope to be traveling to meet our new baby.

TN is very excited to have a little sister. Our friends Melissa and Ryan will be bringing some clothes and a cute little note to Siloty. TN added a note too, and it looked something like this ^<>&><^><^, Love Nerys. :)

Melissa rocks the house and will be meeting our little one and bringing us an update. Shout out to Melissa: YOU ROCK!! We hope your trip rocks and your meeting of Sifan is amazing and wonderful. We can't wait to meet the new addition to your family!!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's turning to pee!

TN is obsessed with how things work. So, we've been telling her. This has put us on a crash course with explanations about any and all things related to body (where'd that pee come from?) to mechanics (Does the car drive itself?).

Thus, we have explained, as much as possible how any of these things work. When she asked how she got pee, we explained that when she drank her lemonade it went into her tummy, then to her kidneys (pointed to where they were) and then her bladder (pointed to that, too) and told her that it comes out as pee-pee. Her take on it was that coffee/lemonade/water/ice all turn into pee... like in the cup you are drinking from.

This led to our first scientific experiment with 2.5 year old TN. We put crushed ice into a glass cup and waited. We waited patiently. The ice turned to water. Connection made. Then, we drank the water. We talked again about stomach to kidneys to bladder to pee pee in the potty. Voila, we have a child semi-familiar with the workings of the body and how ice is frozen water.

When we got to talking about the car... well, this was different. Of course, the cars these days kinda do "drive themselves". But, I told TN, "Mommy's feet and hands tell the car what to do". TN sat quietly in the back seat. Looking through the rear-view mirror, I could see her processing. "Mom?" she said, "your feet don't have a mouth!". Indeed. After expaling the fine workings of the left peddle (brake), right peddle (go!) and the steering wheel. She said, "And theeeen it goes by itself." *sigh* "Yes, Nerys, then it goes by itself."

Friday, February 6, 2009

TN makes brownies

TN made brownies. We love our new kitchen and it has inspired a plethora of cooking and baking. Now, with a reliable stove, full-size stove/oven, a new mixer and space to store real kitchen equipment we've been quite busy.









































































Sunday, February 1, 2009

It's been a while...

Sorry about the long lapse in posts. Life has been pretty hectic around here.

I was sick with my Meneire's Disease, with dizzy spells and have beem home a lot trying to be on the mend. That lasted about two weeks and I am now just trying to stay on top o fit.

We've also had some roadblocks with our second adoption; we were hoping to be home with Siloty Ezri by now, but the court system in Ethiopia is backlogged and this has slowed our journey. Our new court date is March 31st, so far from now. If all goes well and we get through court, we should travel in mid-April. Siloty will be 6 months old... We are still very excited to meet her, but mourn the time we have lost.

TN continues to amaze and inspire. She now counts from 1-15 on her own, knows her abc's by heart and has memorized so many of her books that we hardly have to read them to her at all. Her capacity for picking up language and ideas is astounding. Rationale, reasoning and logic seem to be her new loves... connecting the dots, putting things together, and spending hours figuring out how something works. We have also taken to cooking together. It's the next blog to come!

Please give us your hopes and prayers as we move forward with our journey's in life. We hope all of you are doing well this new year!

Addis Ababa Time