Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Still doing well.....

Hello All,

Well, it has been 3 months since we took custody of our children and they said "goodbye" to the orphanage forever!

It has been a great few months.  Yes, going from 0 kids to 2 has had its difficulties and adjustments...but, we are doing pretty dang well!  

I don't have much to say - other than that we do still exist (even when I don't post on here) and that we are just fine. 

I will try to post a bit more and some pics soon.   However, I'm at the point where I am still deciding what to do with this blog.  I like writing and showing off pics of our beautiful kids...but, I also don't want too much out there on the internet about them for no reason.  Boundaries and privacy are good things... so, we'll see. I am leaning towards making it private and using it mainly to post pics/anecdotes of kids for family and friends.

That's it for now - have a good one!!


Friday, August 5, 2011

We're Back!!!! (Revised - with PICS!!)

Okay, so I know this is long overdue...but, give us a break: we just doubled our family, we were both ill before leaving for Ethiopia, and STILL (one month later) are feeling gross while trying to get over it.  We have seen doctors and are on meds now which is helping.

The kids are doing great.  It has been a long hard last 4 weeks mostly because we felt like crap. For us, all our preparation for scary LOOONG flights home with children that don't know us, attachment issues, constant crying, food issues, kids with illnesses, blah blah blah ...was pointless.  Those things worked themselves out just fine.  However, even when you have awesome kids that are adjusting amazingly well... you are irritable and cranky (AND miserable) when you feel super yucky and are completely physically exhausted. 

Had our kids actually been difficult and had many of the issues/difficulties with us those first few weeks that people typically say they have....  OMG - we would have died.  Seriously.  Thank the good Lord for giving us amazing kids!  Not just super-stinkin' adorable (which, um...yeah, they are)...but, relatively easy to deal with too.   Yes, of course they have had some adjustment issues, sleep issues (with the time change), colds, and some behaviors that were less than desirable due to the "newness" of it all AND the lack of great communication (since they are just barely learning English and we have limited Amharic skills).  But, in ALL of those types of things we had definitely mentally prepared ourselves for so much worse. So, the little issues that did manifest themselves, although difficult to deal with when sick, were really no big deal at all.

Not saying it will be an easy road forever... and it hasn't been "easy," just not NEARLY as difficult as it could have been or as we were expecting.  They are super active kids that need constant entertaining - which is new to us, but we are learning to adjust and finding new activities to keep us busy.  I just hope that over the next several months they continue to like us, behave as well, and have even just HALF as much of their ability to adapt and easy going personalitities as they have now.  We are truly blessed with great kids... that although are still learning the boundaries and our language, are already fitting seemlessly into our family.

Now, for those that had a difficult time during your first several weeks... do NOT be jealous.  I don't mean to be painting a perfect fairy tale picture of our first days together.  Because we were so sick, let me tell you... the first bit sucked.  Yes, there were sleepness nights, exploding diapers (only for one week), fussiness, tantrums, and the spitting out of food (that wasn't seen as acceptable) on the floor. We were friggin' miserable for a bit.  But, all in all... we survived it, the kids aren't doing those things anymore, and we are on (prescribed) drugs - so, all is good.  We have transitioned from "so completely emotionally and physically exhausted that I don't know how I'll survive without getting more sleep and having a break from all this"... to: "oh yeah, this is going to be a difficult journey at times, but oh well - we'll get through it like we do everything else.  There'll be a new norm for us...but, that's doable."

Well, enough of that.  Our time in Ethiopia was smoother this time as far as transportation, lodging, shopping, etc...  Visiting our kids, checking them out of orphanage, passing embassy appointment etc. all went relatively well.  There was a glitch on the way back with a visa issue - but, it's resolved and done and I don't feel like reliving THAT right now.  All in all it was a good trip.  It was good to be there a second time to take in and experience our kid's culture.  We will definitely have to take them back some day (when they are old enough to remember and enjoy it) to experience their birth country for themselves.

Okay, well now is the part where I put up some pics and you all oooohhh and aaahhhhh at my beautiful kids.  Don't rip pics off of my site please.  Now that the kids are here and we are actually allowed to show pics online of them - I will probably in the very near future be making my blog private.  I know all y'all aren't weird and crazy - but, with a public site I am just not comfortable leaving everything up for anyone and their dog to see.   So, if I know you and/or you have a legitimate reason to want to follow my blog - let me know and I can allow that once I have made it private.   Until then, please respect my wishes by not copying pics of my children and or using their names in comments (either their given or new name), as you see I specifically have NOT posted such information in this blog at all. 
Thanks, have a good one.

This family pic is of us actually in Ethiopia.  We are in the courtyard of the guesthouse we stayed in (Ethio Comfort Guesthouse).

This family pic was taken in Wisconsin on our weeklong stop there before heading all the way home to California.

This was in Ethiopia at the end of our visit with our adorable daughter...before having taken physical custody of her. 

This was in Ethiopia at the end of our visit with our adorable son...before having taken physical custody of him.

Now for pics of them adjusting to us at home....

My first ketchup!!!

Me being silly with a cell phone case hanging from my night shirt!

"Yeah, I know I'm cute..."

"No this is not a commercial head shot.  I just look this good straight out of bed in the morning while humoring my father and his little cell phone camera thingy."   

See, we can get along when we want to. 

Signing off... I'm tired.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Headed to Ethiopia...

So, we got our flights and guest house booked.  We will be leaving on Friday....just a few short days away.  Hard to believe - but, it's certainly about time!

We will be flying Lufthansa airlines and have just one layover in Frankfurt Germany on the way to Addis Ababa.  On the way home we will have layovers in both Frankfurt and Chicago. 

We will be staying at the same guest house we stayed at in November 2010.  We are glad to be staying somewhere that is familiar to us and close to the orphanage (well, at least to one of the two).

Our stay will be relatively short (just a week), so our schedule is pretty much planned out.  There are certain things we HAVE to do on certain days... so, that pretty much dictated when we will do what and which days we have a little time to shop and/or relax.

Saturday evening:  Arrive
Sunday:  Shop - rest & get settled/acclimated.
Monday:  Visit our children (@ two separate locations)
Tuesday:  Take custody of our children (individually, from different orphanages)
Wednesday:  Embassy appointment/  hang out at guest house with our kids
Thursday:  Hang out at guest house with our kids/ lay low
Friday:  Get kids visas/ leave in the evening. 

That's about it.  We will be back in the states on the 16th of July. 

Hopefully everything will go smoothly and we won't have any random issues with the process and change the above plan.  But, ya just never now...

Have a good 4th of July weekend everyone!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

We Got An Embassy Date!!!!

Hello All, 

Well, our season of waiting is FINALLY coming to an end!!!  We received word that our embassy date is going to be July 13th.   Now, that's not as soon as we'd hoped (after hearing earlier in the week we'd likely be cleared to travel soon)...but, we'll certainly take it.  We are definitely used to waiting - that's for sure.  So, what's another couple of weeks?

Anyhow, we have sent off some information to a travel agent that is looking into our flight possibilities at this moment.  Hopefully we will have our itinerary ironed out within the next day or so. 

Oh yeah, I also have to get my butt in gear and contact the guest house we stayed at in November and see if they have any vacancies as well!  If not, there's more research for me to do.... 

Well, just wanted to give a quick update!  Will be writing on here more often now that there is actually something happening and something to say.  There wasn't much need to post on this adoption blog during those months that the process was in (what felt like) a stand still.  But now, before you know it, we'll be allowed to post pictures of our beautiful kids and can also post about our time in Ethiopia. 

That's it for now!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Waiting...seems like we've done this before.

Hello All,

Well, here is another (long over-due) update.  Unfortunately, we don't have news of travel plans coming quickly or anything.  It is what it is. 

Anyhow, for those of you that aren't aware of what's going on and that we've experienced some delays - I'll give you a quick run-down. 

We passed court (in Ethiopia) in November when we met our two children.  Since then we have been doing finishing touches on our apartment and the kids room while waiting to get clearance from the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia to go pick up our kids and bring them back to the U.S.  

We are still waiting at this point.  Things are just taking longer than expected ... and in the meantime our I-171H expired (the form that allows us to bring two children into U.S.).  Sooooo, we had to update our home study. We just finalized that and sent it in to immigration services Friday.  At this point we are delayed on two ends of it... here in the U.S. (trying to get our I-171H extended) and in Ethiopia (with the U.S. Embassy gathering all the documentation they need to ensure that the proper channels have been gone through and all parts of the process have been done ethically).

So, we are trying to deal gracefully with the wait.  Hopefully everything will be resolved soon.  When it is resolved you will surely see this blog updated with several pictures of our amazingly beautiful children.  We aren't allowed to post any until we are granted physical custody in Ethiopia. We have many pictures of them from our first trip and we also get updated pictures of them each month. 

Anyhow, I am finally posting pictures of some of the projects that have kept us busy these past few months. 

Enjoy.... or don't,  I can't really pretend to care at this point, I have more important things on my mind.   :-)

Below is our new dining area.  Previously, there was a bar height table and backless stools that just wouldn't work great for family dinners with two little ones.  Oh, and yes... I did pick up a random branch off of the ground after a windstorm, paint it red, and hang it on the wall.

Next, is the "before" picture of our kids room.  Well, not really all that accurate of a before picture...considering that before we began transitioning it to a kids room it was an "everything" spare room/office.  Pictures of it in that state are really not necessary (and are not in existence anyhow).

Here is a pic of their dressers and bookshelf.  Notice the paintings.  I (Sean) painted the brown one on the left (you can't really tell...but, the circles are all different colors - but it didn't show up well in pic) and Jaime painted the one on the right.  We decided to do custom paintings for our kids with the extra paint from the furniture and such that was used in their room. 

Below is a couple pictures of Selah's corner of the room.  In the second picture, near the corner of the wall, you see a straight line of butterflies.  That is a mobile made in Ethiopia that we purchased on our trip in November.  Kaleb has one also has one (that is rhinoceri) that you can kind of see a little in pic above to left (right next to white curtain).  The "headboard" tree and butterfly/flower swirls are wall decals.

The next two pics are of Kaleb's area...showing his bed and toy shelf.  The doll in the blue and white striped outfit on the toy shelf was also purchased in Ethiopia.  There is one for Selah on her shelf as well. 

This last one is a painting that Jaime did.  You can see it a bit in the pic above as well (in the corner)...but, here's a better view of it. 

Well, that's it for now.  Have a good one everyone!  Hopefully we'll be heading to Ethiopia again soon to pick up our children... an then we'll get some pics of them up on here too.

Bye for now,


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Still waiting....

No news to report.  Still awaiting "the call" for our embassy appointment that lets us know we can hop on a plane and go pick up our kids. 

Getting a little anxious and antsy with all the waiting...but trying to deal with it somewhat gracefully. 

That's it for now.  Will update this once we get news of our travel dates/plans...which will hopefully be soon.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Awaiting Embassy Appointment....

Hello All!  I guess it's time for a quick update.

We are currently just awaiting an embassy appointment so we can go pick up our two beautiful children.  As mentioned earlier (by my sisters updates while we were actually IN Ethiopia) we passed court on our last trip and they are officially "our" children as far as Ethiopia is concerned. Now, at this point, we're just waiting on the U.S. side of things.

Embassy appointments are given out on certain days/times of the month according to ones agency.  Our agency has embassy dates every other Thursday.   Our paperwork was turned in to the U.S. embassy (in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) on the 23rd of December.  So, it is looking like the SOONEST we would get an appointment at this point is February 3rd.  Now, there is plenty of opportunity for delay in this... so, while we are "hoping" for a Feb. 3rd appointment, we aren't expecting it. 

That's all the news for now.  We are in the ending stages of "Operation Re-organization."  We decided to not just fix up the kids room - but to also use this opportunity to go through EVERYTHING we own.  We have sorted until we are blue in the face.  We are not only making room in our lives and apartment for two small children - but we are also getting rid of much of the unnecessary "stuff" /clutter that is so easy to hang on to.  It is quite freeing actually.  It is nice to go through things and "remember when"... and keep some things you just can't part with - and to other things say "why the crap have I held on to this for 25 years???"  and promptly find a better home for it.  

As we reorganize things, rearrange exisiting (or get new) furniture, and paint/decorate our place we are seeing it develop into something entirely different right before our eyes.  We used to wonder how in the world we were going to fit all of our stuff PLUS 2 kids (and all their stuff) in our apartment.  Now, we are amazed at how much space we had previously wasted and how going through and revamping a couple walk-in closets and hallway storage can make a HUGE difference.  Things are shaping up nicely.  Gone is the 1950's style round bar height table and bar stools.  A real (red!) dining room table and chairs take its place.  We're ready for family dinners with the kids... no more eating dinner on the couch while watching the CSI's or Criminal Minds.  It's kind of disturbing eating during some of those shows anyhow!  ;-)

Well, I'll stop rambling for now.  Hope to be updating this again soon with news of our embassy date. 

Have a great week everyone!