Tuesday, July 29, 2008
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.
Lisa and David,
We just had the most incredible 2 days here in Ethiopia with Hannah Fanta (from Children's Heaven). She's an incredible woman who has taken us to all the major sites here in Addis. You need to make sure you give yourselves some time to spend with her. You won't regret it.
She took us to the Mercata (Market) which is unlike anything you will ever experience. It was incredible. We bought a lot of things for the Children's Heaven Auction that Shawn is spearheading in November. Hannah is traveling to Denver to participate. I'm sure Shawn will tap you to bring back some items for the auction as well.
We also went to the Leprosy/AIDS/Infectuous Diseases Hospital where Lepers spin their own cotton yarn and make some of the most beautiful linens and clothing you have ever seen. We bought quite a bit for the auction since the story behind their creation is so riveting.
We have an appointment for tomorrow to tour the Women's Fistula Hospital...which was recently featured on both Oprah and a BBC/PBS special. We met a few of the women there today and it will break your hearts.
Be prepared...because I don't think Lory and I were. There is so much need in this country.
Anyhow, David, we were hoping that you might be able to bring some of your video equipment and capture Hannah's ministry on film...and also to build greater awareness of the need here in Ethiopia. I know you and I are both entrepreneurial in nature and I'm sure your head, like mine, will be spinning with ideas for opportunities about how we as Americans can better help this nation that is in so much need.
I don't know about you, but I would love to start with Hannah's ministry and to build from there. I'm beginning to develop a heavy heart for this people and their government. Even though the government is considered corrupt by many, we're still so grateful for their willingness to let these children be adopted by so many other countries. You won't believe the number of people here...and primarily Europeans...that are adding kids to their families. You won't believe the amount of pure, unadulterated, unconditional love you will see exhibited by all of the other adopting families here. It is an experience like no other.
I'd better wrap up here, but bottom line is that we are moved and know you will be too. I would love for you to come here and to think about how the two of our families might work together going forward to minister to this wonderful nation.
On a more personal front, we are off to Sele Enat again tomorrow and we are planning on doing our best to get "T" sizing. We are planning to trace outlines of her feet on paper to provide you so that you can determine what size shoe she needs.
Amelia is fantastic and the most wonderful little child...she eats, she sleeps, she plays...everything a child her age should do. We just need to get some more meat on her bones.
I know I'm composing this email out of the emotion of the moment and can only pray that God will keep the fires burning once we return home...but I definitely want to do something to further build awareness of the needs and then to mobilize efforts to meet those needs. I hope you will consider doing so with us as well.
Here's to a wonderful adventure for you as well.
Dave and Lory
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Who knew such a little person could cause so much "stuff to do"! It is amazing what has to get done just to get her home. I roughly counted at least 25 families/women who are helping us pull this off. It's true. Each person has played an integral part of this puzzle. In Africa, it literally takes a village to raise a child. I feel like that is what has been happening here. It is so beautiful what our friends and family have been encouraging us with ... their help, their words. This is such a new and special chapter of our lives and a new chapter for "T". She already has several play dates set up in the neighborhood, it is so cute.
My bedroom is the staging area for our packing. Everything is planned and will be ready to go. The Howletts who are with our agency just got back today with their little Amelia baby girl from the same orphanage as "T". I can't wait to talk to her in a day or so.
Each sleep gets us closer to her .... Nitey, Nite!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Flower rug ... yard sale for $7, but was given to me as a gift for "T" by the homeowner.
The bed and dresser is Evan's old (but actually is new) furniture, whereas Evan took Brandon's bedroom furniture.
The pink swag of material too was given to us from the yard sale lady. She was so thoughtful.
I love her dresser. She is too small to see on top, but I had to use what we had already. She can definitely grow into this furniture for years to come.
Love this lamp from American Furniture. See the tap shoes from Caren? Love, love, love them!
Emily loaned us her crib as long as "T" needs it. Then she'll transition into the Queen bed when she's ready. I'll sleep in the bed in her room (or David) until she is comfortable with us and by herself. I can't see ever leaving her room though.... but I'm sure I should.
I love this find at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was on sale, then I got 20% off of the sale price. I like to think it is she and I in the picture. Click on the picture to see it in better detail.
All those Pottery Barn pillows, again ... given to me at the yard sale by our neighbor Mom who I don't even know. She was moved to donate the items I chose as a gift for "T".
Her doll collection ... so far.
This brown and pink circled "security blanket" was given to "T" by my cousin Sharon in Calif. It is sooooOOOOO soft. "T" will love it on the plane home for comfort.
Evan and Brandon made her a welcome sign on her chalkboard. See her pink Bible? And we already have pictures of her future friends of ours already ... most on the board are Ethiopian too.
Should I take them all to pick her up? Aren't they adorable?
Puppy dog given to "T" by our neighbor Debra...thank you!
Catherine from choir threw this baby shower for us at Krista's gorgeous home.
Krista's home (second from L) These are the gals from the choir (sopranos) ... well, some of them. We have about 85 in the choir.
Pink! Pink! Pink! Give me more pink!!!
How cute is this!
My sweet friend Caren is moving to TExas. We shared the night.
This picture does not even show justice to how beautiful it was back there. I wish I got more pictures. What a beautiful night that was. I'm so grateful for these women.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
"T" minus 18 days till be hold "T" in our arms only to NEVER let go.
"T" minus 27 days until she meets her 2 incredible and loving brothers who adore her.
"T" minus 5 minutes until I get my butt in gear on my TO DO list!!!!!
It's hard to believe that it's been 8 months and 3 weeks (see ticker on left sidebar) since we started this process. Now that I've read many other blogs and their stuggles and incredibly long process, I realize that this time frame that we've had is actually the best I've seen.
I read about families who've had to choose other countries to adopt from because the wait was too long and intense. I've read about other families whose child has died before they could get to them ... just rips my heart apart. I've read about a Mother who had gone into a sort of depression thru this process because it had been incredibly difficult what she'd went thru.
I feel so privileged, so grateful ... humbled, that my life and health afford us this opportunity to open our lives up for a daughter. Quite frankly, I've always been at peace with not having had a girl. My boys fulfill me as a Mother in so many ways. And now that we have this little baby girl coming ... my heart and mind has opened up in ways that I hadn't imagined before. This process is well worth it and although many women (and their families) have gone thru greater stress than I have to get their babies home, I know I speak on behalf of every woman out there who has adopted ... it is ALL worth it. Like having a bio child, once you have them home, you forget all that you went through. Just to look into "T"s eyes in just 18 days and know that I am her forever Mother, is absolutely priceless.
I'm still trying to get some pictures posted of her room. I haven't yet because whenever I go to take pictures of it, I have her clothes laid out, or someone slept in her bed the night before ... I'm shooting to have it picked up and tidy today, so that I can take pics today to post. Last night I slept in her bed and Brandon slept on the floor next to me ... we love her room. It helps us to feel closer to her. Her queen size bed is soooOOO comfortable. We didn't put a box spring below it so that it's low to the ground, but still so comfy. So you traveling folk back in California who plan to visit, we now have 3 very compfy queen size beds in this house for you to sleep in ... trust me, if they pass my "comfy-test" then they are good to go. I like to think our home is a great Bed and Breakfast for you to visit...taking reservations NOW!
Immunizations ....................... check! Ouch! But done.
Suitcases out ........................... check! HaaAAAAte packing!
"T"s room complete .............. check! LooOOOOve her room!
Flights scheduled ................... check! Still waiting for "T"s return confirmed!
Lisa's master list complete .... check! Hate this part!
Boys caretakers ...................... check! Thank you Nancy, Susanna, Lory, Janie!
House sitter ............................. check! Kayla rocks!
Orders fulfilled for business ...check! Thank you Zona from choir!
All hotels booked .................... check! All fantastic ... great job David!
20 year Anniv. celebration ... check! Here we come Italy!
Passports & Visas ................... check! Updated!
Ohhhhhhh .............. it's all happening!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Tomorrow, I'll post pictures of the Shower that the Choir held for us, pictures of "T"s bedroom and the Big Red Wagon that David finished.
I'm in the middle of a ton of planning and organizing. With the boys starting school while we're gone, I've got to have that organized to with school supplies, registering them, where they will be before then and when school starts. Who will house-sit? Who will process our business orders? So much to do between now and then. It'll all get done and we'll be back before we know it, so I'm not wishing a single day away ...
... I'm living in the moment! All of them!
Nitey Nite :)
Monday, July 14, 2008
There is an incredible amount of things on my to do list at this point now that we know when we travel. We are trying to arrange to spend 8 days in Italy before the Embassy date, so waiting for our travel agency to call me back about that. Since we have not celebrated our 20 year anniversary (nor really our 5th, 10th or 15th anniv.) we really hope this works out that we could have this time to reflect on this monumental year from all directions.
Last night my friend Caren held a shower here at our home for "T" and I will post photos later and photos of her now finished room. You'll see my garage sale incredible finds in the pictures as well as this incredible pink fluffy jacket that Caren gave "T".....it is a show stopper...oh, and some tap shoes ... Caren is a dancer and a dance teacher, so she HAD to give her some tap shoes.
I'm off to plan ....
Here are some pictures ...
This is my sweet friend Caren and her husband Chris who threw the shower for us.
Daryl & Jennifer ... they are as thrilled as we are about this!
We had been given this "Money Tree" with gift cards and cash on it! We will plant this in the back yard and never forget as it grows big like "T".
Sweet cards, sweet words & prayers
David and I ... feeling so much for our friends and this journey
Libby (my biker partner), her sweetheart Brian, Me and Stephanie from choir.
Libby gave this to us ... her Father made the barbie case, her Mother hand sewed all of the clothes and she gave it to "T" as a gift ... can you imagine? It is so cute. And I should have (maybe I still will later) taken a close up of Ken ... silver shoOOOOOrt shorts on with roller skates and a glittery jacket. Very 70's .... How unique is this gift?
Emily lent me a beautiful white crib, Debra my neighbor who is so excited ... actually every one of our friends are totally on this journey with us, and precious Genet who is Mesfin's wife and who just came back from ET with 15 min. of video of "T" for us
Friday, July 11, 2008
I loooOOOve finding cute little things for "T"
This Sunday, my friend Caren has organized a baby shower to be thrown for us and "T". This is so sweet and thoughtful. Then on Thursday, the choir is doing a Shower for us as well at Krista's beautiful home. We have been so blessed to have the love and thoughtfulness of so many people since this adoption began. Bags of clothes given to us (pink cowboy boots included), a crib loaned until she transitions to her bed, baby showers, prayers all around, playdates already planned.....Caren said the cake for Sunday is a "Princess" cake. I said, "Of course it is!!!!!" She's our Ethiopian Princess and always will be. And ... how cute is this, the cake is chocolate and vanilla.
So, I really look forward to Sunday's Baby (or rather toddler) Shower for a very special little girl. I'm still working on her room, more today. I'm having all the carpet cleaned today and then working on the kids bathroom (a beach & shells theme to remind us of So. Cal) and more work om "T"s room. I'll post pictures of it when I'm done.
Sunday is all about "T". In the morning we are attending our ET church where 2 of my friends in the choir will meet us. For lunch time, we were invited to a traditional Ethiopian lunch at a new friends home here in our community. David met them a while ago at Fatburger and they were so kind to remember us and invite us ... they are Ethiopian living here for many years with 2 boys around 9 and 6 yrs. old. Then in the evening it is "T"s shower.
Move over Sadie, there is a new Princess coming to town. Prepare to give up the crown!
Father's Day with my sweetheart
Father's Day ... David and Brandon
Lately, I seem to have one very similar thread of thoughts going on in my mind on a regular basis....."Our life is so rich" . I'm just so grateful for all that I have ...
- I love that I have my health
- I love working in our yard
- I love creating memories
- I love getting pedicures!!!!
- I love going to sleep at night cause that is when I get to dream of "T" in my arms and I look into her eyes to try and see behind them
- I love it when my boys smile ... it lights up the room
I love the memories that David will create pulling "T" to the ice cream store. David restoring our family wagon for "T"s home-coming
- I love that my husband is passionately interested in me
- I love the Spring time and what is promises
- I love my new hairdresser that doesn't tell me I'm hanging on to my youth with my hair longer than my shoulders
- I love it when a friend acts spontaneously and hits a movie with me in the middle of the day
- I love laying on "T"s bed and thinking of what it'll be like having her muck around this big house
- I love Christmas time with children
- I love sitting in our front room, fire on, cappuccino in hand and the snow falling outside
- I love my morning cappuccino sitting in our front patio under the Aspen tree
- I love the Ethiopian culture of close family, it inspires me
- I am so grateful to be able to come home from Costco with tons of food and things that remind me of how "rich" this country is
- I love our new home and what it means to me
- I love having movies in our basement and not spending $40 in the movie theater
- I love the butterflies I get as I count down the days to when "T" comes home
- I loved last night on the deck laughing with Evan about a surprise I did for him while tossing my baton up in the air. He thinks I'm really good at that. I actually am!!!
- I love my new PedEgg (ladies if you are not hip to this, it is a miracle find for $9.99...get it NOW)
- I love riding my motorcycle on a warm day through downtown Denver with my husband thinking of where we want to stop for dinner.
- I love being in church where I know everyone is like minded and wanting for the same thing as I do ... a closer relationship with God and what He has to offer
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Whenever I've had a question or challenge with this entire adoption process, these women (and some men) have been there to answer all my questions and then some. What an absolute blessing it is to have this group to help us through this.
We've been to a few of these without our adopted child. So it'll be really fantastic to go to one with "T" in our arms.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
We arrived home safely without incident. It was SO so good to get home where everything is in it's place. David had fresh flowers on the table, the house was VERY clean. He even put fresh sheets on our King size bed. He took very good care of me, we all missed each other very much.
David and I caught up with the Bachelorette show and just chilled for a couple of days around the house.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.
So I called in and talked to the Peetes (Holly Robinson Peete and the football player Rodney Peete). They were so sweet. My question to them was what were their thoughts of raising a black child in a white family. I told them I had advice from my African American friends on both sides of the spectrum. One giving us advice as if we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into not being black. The other said, "Honey, just raise that baby girl just like you would your other children and she'll be just fine". I am undoubtedly confident about the upbringing of our baby-girl "T", so that's not really in question. I know she will always have her Ethiopian culture and she will be well aware of the black culture as that is what she will be perceived as, because she is. But I wanted to hear from them their thoughts on this subject. Rodney said, "I agree with the latter opinion. Just raise her well." Then Holly chimed in and said, "That's all fine, but honey ... please, take care of the hair!!" She had me laughing on the radio waves with that statement. I said, I think I know about the hair, but really, we'll see when she gets here. They raved on about how wonderful it was that we are adopting. Rodney asked before I hung up if I would call them back when "T" gets here.
This has been my saving grace this whole trip. My Garmin Navigation system. Love it! Love it! Love it! I recommend these puppies to EVERYONE and right now they are at a really good price at Sam's Club for $299 and it is a newer model. Go get one now!
Gas prices in the middle of the desert. This was near Mojave Desert.
Last chance In-N-Out in Las Vegas! So sad! This was about our 10th visit to this fine tasting hamburger.
Leaving Las Vegas ... it was so hot and so crowded. We could see In-N-Out from the freeway right off of the exit, but it took us 20 minutes to get to it. So much construction to get thru. I heard Dubai has 25% of the worlds largest cranes. I think Las Vegas has the rest. See where your gambling money is going? They keep building for a reason. What happens in Vegas (your money $$$$$$$) Stays in Vegas (your money $$$$$$$).
Glad just to be driving thru......
Emanuel placing his "ball" amongst all the other balls
Emanuel ... he is such a character!
We dropped off Mesfin and family at 5:30 and headed off to Charmaine & Michaels as they invited us for a 6:30pm dinner at their beautiful home to have some chat time. This is our last night in Hollywood. Actually it is 1/2 a mile from where David and I lived for 5 years before kids came along. It was such a lovely time to finally catch up with them ... always great conversation. We talked about getting Charmaine a gig here in Denver at Dazzle and perhaps some other Jazz Clubs here. I have some homework to do on that. She has been so busy fine-tuning her latest World CD that is just beautiful. It'll be released in November, but we got to listen to it over dinner.
Evan asked Michael if they could "jam" in the piano room with their guitars and they did just that. Michael is so fantastic with kids. (hint, hint Charmaine!!!!) This time was just precious with Charmaine on the piano, I did a few background vocals and the boys experienced a fantastic Hollywood Jam Session in their living room!!! How cool is that. Michael is a musician, but I think primarily a book writer. So some very creative genes in this house.
After jamming and dinner, we are heading over to Diamond Bar to spend the last night in So. Cal. at Debbies. I'll need to pick up the things that was passed down from my Grammy. Some beautiful tea cups, a crocheted blanket and a half done quilt...I quilt so I'll see what I can do with this. We head home Tuesday morning with two stops, St. George in Utah and Grand Junction in Colorado.
Brandon, Michael, Charmaine & Evan just before saying good-bye.
Me in Charmaine's video wig with sweet Ella. You had to take pictures with Ella quickly because she just couldn't stand for too long. Her legs are so weak as she is growing old and less mobile each day.
This is probably the last picture the boys will have with Ella. They both absolutely adore her...who doesn't, she is so sweet. Brandon holds feelings inside but Evan just burst into tears trying to leave Ella. We got in the van to leave and he lost it. Brandon told him to run outside and give Ella one last hug (she may not last a month or so) so he did and I'm so glad he did. He just can't imagine her gone soon. He was a wreck for a while that night and dreamed about her that night.
The boys liked me in this long hair. They asked why I don't grow it long. I said, "Go ask my last hairdresser why she cut it!!!!!!". I hate that she said I should cut it. I don't like it this short.
Ta Ta for now!