Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"T" Minus 2 Days!

First off, I wanted to thank those of you out there who are following our journey to adopt our daughter. Please introduce yourselves if you have not already ... I'd like to know where you are from and if you are adopting too. The blog world is such an encouragement to me and has been throughout this entire process ...

Today I received 9 more pictures of "T". Sure wish I could post some here. I am all packed and so glad to have that behind me...you have no idea how much I was dreading that. There is a sort of strategy involved, a little math (yuck!) and getting on the scale ... none of which is on my list of things I should do before I die!!!! But it's done and thank God!

I wanted to talk about our other Ethiopian girl, Fatuma. We sponsor her through Compassion International. She looks so sweet in her picture and is 9 years old. A few weeks ago I organized to have her brought up to Addis Ababa where we'll be staying, so that we can spend the day with her. This will be a trip of her lifetime ... and we cannot wait to meet her, encourage her with schooling, ask her about her desires and her life. I've packed some things for her, books, colored pens, a bathing suit (she'll come to the hotel and we'll hang by the pool). I'll pack as much as the airline allows us with weight, but I know they need a lot.

She lives with her Mother and 2 siblings and helps out every day with all kinds of things at home. She walks very far each day to retrieve water. Her Mother is likely to have AIDS/HIV as stated on her introduction form, so she could have some hard times ahead. We hope that through our letters and communication to her, she will be encouraged to stay strong and keep working hard. I've heard there are really good Leadership programs there if she does well in school. The small amount that we send to Compassion International each month for sponsoring Fatuma pays for her health check ups, school uniform, books, medicine if needed, food and more. A little money goes a long way over there. Her picture is on our fridge and we think of her often. If they let me post her pictures, I will do so when we are there.

I know that our time in Addis will be heartbreaking. I know that we are staying at a hotel that even in American standards, it is really nice to say the least. We aren't venturing too much out of Addis, so we're spending time at the hotel with "T" trying to keep a simple routine for her. I've heard that outside the wall of our hotel is complete and utter poverty. One foot to the right is our hotel, one foot to the left is unbelievable. I know that for sure. I know that the devastation will pull at me like nothing I've felt since Botswana in 2004. I think that maybe this might be worse. I think I'm prepared, but I won't know until I get there. My focus is on our daughter. She had the flu a couple of weeks ago and that makes me nervous. Getting the flu in a 3rd world country is not good. Here, we can get her in to the doctor right away. There, a doctor for something as little as the flu is not a priority. I feel like I'm doing so little, yet it is in fact so much for one person ... So little for a country, but so much for a sweet faced little girl. I am totally in love with "T" and feel so privileged that God has placed her in our lives to look after her. She has 4 people in this household who absolutely adore her and cannot stop thinking about her. Had David and I not experienced Botswana and all of it's heartbreak, we would probably fall apart in Addis. But our purpose is clear this trip. That we are focused on one thing while trying to grasp a feel for what her life was like there. We will need to know as much as possible, so that we can tell her story many times over as she feels the loss of her African life, of her Mother and perhaps siblings or Dad. The only thing we know about her is that she is "around 2", she has a small scar on her forehead, she was alone in a compound 400 miles West of Addis and her future was completely dim ... I know that for sure. I am honored to have become her Mother. I am blessed to be the one to kiss her hurts away, to applaud as she sings her first song to us, to jump with joy with her as she experiences a thousand firsts here in her new community.

Our plans for Addis are something like this. We arrive early on Saturday the 9th. This will become the day every year that we celebrate her birthday. We will probably try to get a quick shut eye if we can get into the hotel right away as our flight from Rome would have been a red eye ... and I don't sleep well on planes. Gonna try though! During the week we'll visit with Hanna Fanta, see our sponsored child, meet up with some Californians who are living in Addis now as missionaries, visit hopefully Mesfins family and Genet's family perhaps, find a place to buy some traditional clothing for "T" and things from her homeland to bring home, we'll have our Embassy appointment to get "T"s Visa ... this is what we need to allow her out of Africa. We will visit Hope for The Abandoned orphanage and deliver some much needed formula for a mother here in Aurora whose baby in 4 months old, but is the size as an infant. The orphanages are doing the best they can, but they feed the babies only until they are satisfied, and no more. So many of them are very tiny and in need of better nutrition. We are delivering some donations and then just being with "T". That will all take up a lot of time. Many people travel far while in Addis to where their child came from or meet their bio family, but "T" has none and it makes me nervous about how many people get sick there and come home so SO sick. I WILL NOT GET SICK ON THIS TRIP. That is my goal. To get "T" home safe, and for us not to get sick.

I feel a bit anxious about certain things, but feel in control. David is my rock and will keep us upright during this tumultuous journey.

Must sleep now ... cause that is when I dream of her.


Michelle said...

I have been following your story for a long time now! I am so excited for your family and cannot wait to see pictures of T. I will keep everyone in my prayers. May God bless you on the trip and may you feel His hand upon you through everything!

Grace H. said...

I too have been following your story. Must comment on Compassion International - it is a GREAT program. I live in Uganda and know several people who have family who are being sponsored through it and have visited my own sponsor child and his family several times. Compassion really does good work keeping kids OUT of orphanages because it helps the entire family.

My three year old daughter came home in March :)

Have a good trip!

Amber said...

Lisa and David,

That is a great post! I'm so excited for the journey that you are about to embark on. It will no doubt be one that will change your life. It's so amazing that you are able to meet the girl that you sponsor. Enjoy each other while on vacation before you meet your new daughter. Life as you knew it will change. I pray that the changes are one of joy. I pray that you don't get sick. I pray that you bonding time with T is fast and beautiful. I will be stalking your blog while you are gone. God bless,

Terry Gallina said...

Good luck to you and David. Your experiece will be awesome. I will be checking for your communication daily (no pressure), I just like to read what's happening. I think you have everything plan well and you're sure to have a wonderful and memorable experience. I can hardly wait to see T is your arms. God Bless and the best to you and David.
Hugs and Prayers from Frisco

Lisa and David said...

I'm so glad you found a way to comment. That's great. Thanks for your prayers!

Lisa and Cory said...

Hi Lisa,

We're currently waiting for a referral and I've been following your blog for awhile. Thank you for nicely expressing all of the same fears I have for our travels. It's good to know there are others that are experiencing the same emotions! Have a wonderful trip and stay focused. You'll all be home as a family soon!

~ Lisa

Leah Reeves said...

I am so excited for you. Are all the new pictures for the Howletts? I bet she has changed. Oh how I cannot wait to see pictures of her.

Lisa and David said...

I've emailed you her pics. She has grown since last we saw pics and I love it that they have not shaved her head yet. I'm hoping they will not for sure ... fingers crossed!!!!

Lisa and David said...

Lisa and Cory,
Thanks for visiting and I'm glad you can understand. Each of our experiences are incredibly different, and we all have different tolerances for certain things. My head is spinning at the moment, so I'm listening to my own heart and soul. Ethiopia will be a place we will go back to many times, I'm sure. This trip is a particular focus.
All the best to you!

SDR said...

Lisa - Hanna found a great little shop at the merkato where I bought Lidya 2 traditional dresses. We went there first, she said it was too expensive, and we spent the rest of the day searching for them somewhere else, but that was the only place. In the end they really weren't that expensive at all (by our standards), so I'd definitely recommend it. I'm sure Hanna will remember where it is. And if you find it, just buy the dresses there, don't waste your time going all over town because it will just exhaust you and no one else has ones that are as pretty (at least IMHO). Best of luck, can't wait to hear all about it!


Angele said...

Best of luck to you! we will be thinking of you! How wonderful for you to sponsor a girl.

We are behind you in the adoption process-still slugging away at the Home Study, live in louisville, CO, adopting siblings through WHFC. Hoping to meet you all someday.

neely mcqueen said...

watched your video on youtube of telling your boys...so sweet. I look forward to day when we are only a few short days from picking up our kids in ethiopia!

Shere' said...

Hey girl, I hope you got your Latera Flora. That will keep you from getting sick for sure.

I'm praying for a smooth relaxing flight for you and that you and David savor your time in Italy before your whirlwind adventure in Ethiopia.


Kami said...

I'm not sure if I have introduced myself or not but I wanted you to know that I am praying for you for a safe journey. I've been following your story since January. My husband and I hope to begin an adoption in the future - we are pregnant with our first baby right now. By the way - thanks for the In-N-Out in St. George tip! I'm originally from Ventura, CA - now living in Durango, CO. Take care!

megan said...

I have come across your blog a couple of times... I am so excited to follow your trip!

We are adopting our first child