Tuesday, December 30, 2008


We got family pictures taken and I have no idea how I am going to decide! Check them out and comment or email me with your favorites. I especially need help deciding on a family one. So hard with five people! The sight is http://www.elementportraits.com/. Thanks for your help.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas time is fun!

Santa gave us a coupon for Coldstone. Yummy!

Not so sure about this!

This is my new baby that Grandma Shirlee sent me. Honestly a coincidence that their clothes match perfectly.

Chillin' with Anna, who mommy says is going to be my best friend, and her daddy Matt.
Thanks Mike and Angie for having us over!
So, I have always loved Christmas. For all of the wonderful spiritual reasons, but also for the truly American Christmas lights, presents and Santa reasons. Suffice to say, it is at least double the fun having Sabrina here!! Ice cream, and presents and everything else through the eyes of a child for the first time...AWESOME!

Friday, December 19, 2008

What a privilege!

Playing with Jakey

She is so photogenic!

For us? Our neighbor had a luncheon to welcome Sabrina. The Christmas tree centerpiece was a gift for Sabrina and everything was pink! The platter in front is sandwiches with pink bread!

The day after I got home, chillin' with Jake and cousin Elizabeth.
It is such a privilege to parent each one of our children, but I do feel like we won the adoption lottery. Please no one take offense. Sabrina is just so amazing. I can not believe how she has adapted. She is unbelievably personable. She flirts with everyone. Her eyes are absolutely incredible and they speak volumes. At least 90% of the time she is happy. She loves to talk and interact. She is drawing our family together. We haven't eaten this many meals together in I don't know how long. Each one of us love to be with Sabrina, so I have no shortage of helpers!
We had our doctor's appointment last Friday. I was pleased to find an International Adoption specialist in Iowa City. We will be driving there for awhile. Poor Sabrina had six immunizations, a TB test, blood draw and urine bag. Yuck! And we were there for almost five hours before all was said and done. So far, we have discovered that she is anemic. Some of the test results are not back yet. Sabrina is less than 3% for height and weight, but 14% for head circumference. It's all those brains! Actually regarding malnutrition, the doctor said that weight goes first, then height and lastly head circumference. So the body naturally (by God's design) protects the brain.
Our computer has been down, that's why I've been so long between posts. Hopefully, I can keep up a little better now. We are so looking forward to the holidays. Our Christmas break started early, as the kids had a snow day today. Yeah! Our family photos are being taken on Tuesday evening, I can't wait.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane

Decked out for our first car seat ride
Scott's cousin, Amy, greeted us at the Chicago airport.

Chillin' in the airplane

It tastes best when I feed myself.
It felt like a bad case of planes, trains (shuttles) and automobiles. 17 hours Addis to DC, 2 hours DC to Chicago, and four and a half hours from there to Waterloo. We were unable to sit together on the long flight. But Scott had to sit next to some kids that were having a much tougher adjustment than Sabrina. Noelle was wonderful help on the flight and the entire week. Sabrina has just been fabulous.
We are all very tired today. It is Monday evening. We have been home about three days. It is not yet 8:00 and Noelle and Sabrina are out for the night. Hopefully, I will be joining them soon. I still can't believe that our journey to bring her home is over. I am looking forward to each step in our journey as a family!

Emotions run strong!

Nutella, yummy!

Traffic was horrible, and this multi car accident on the way to Nazret was scary.
Sabrina's nanny at KVI

The livestock in the road, both in Addis and Nazret made me laugh.

Thursday we made the trip to Nazret. Nazret is where Sabrina was in KVI orphanage for about eight months. We were able to bring donations and hand out goody bags to the kids. The kids were at school when we got there and then came in for lunch. Christy had a sponsor child in Nazret that we were able to visit. Though it was very difficult, we were pleased to be able to meet Sabrina's birth mom. I am so happy to be able to tell her a more detailed story some day. The drive back to Addis Ababa was full of many thoughts.
Once back, we had to pack and leave for the airport. The guest house had a coffee ceremony that night, but we were kind of in and out preparing to leave.

Days 2 and 3, in Ethiopia

Day 2: Was relatively calm. We gave Sabrina her first bath, which she screamed all the way through. However, her cry is very soft like one of a newborn so it wasn't too bad. We had our visit to the US embassy. We had a couple of small scares. One when they had trouble locating a document and then when they said, "her visa will be ready Friday morning". We said but we fly out Thursday night. They were able to accommodate us, so no problems there.
Day 3: Was very full. In the morning Christy, Noelle and I went shopping with Aduna and two other ladies from the guest house. As were unable to take the babies out and about. Scott stayed with Sabrina and Christy's son. It was hard to try and find all of the souveniers that we wanted in just a couple of hours, but we tried to do our best speed shopping. After we returned, we were able to deliver supplies to the Ahope orphanage. It was so fun to hang out with the kids and play soccer and they seemed to really enjoy the goody bags that we brought them. Later, we had a going away party at the Thomas Center. The kids sang to us and we celebrated with snacks. We were able to hand out goody bags to the kids there as well. We were given the gift of a traditional Ethiopian outfit for each member of our family. We were especially touched that they remembered Jake, who did not travel with us.
It was a little frustrating because we were not allowed to take photos of the kids who were waiting for the families. Knowing how much those photos mean, and having said we would take them was a bummer. After the party we were taken to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant with great food and traditional dancers. We were all very tired. Noelle slept through dinner, but it was lots of fun. Especially watching the white middle-aged tourists try to dance.
The other guests at the guest house kept asking what agency we were with. CHI did a wonderful job of escorting us throughout the week. They were great about trying to meet any requests that we had.

Journey to Sabrina

WOW. That about sums it up, but I am sure you want to hear and see more. So, I will try and start at the beginning. We left Saturday to drive to Chicago, about four and a half hours. The miracles started with check in. Thanks, Diane for the many tips. We went straight to over sized luggage check-in. We had eight trunks for three people. The agent set the first trunk on the scale 53+ pounds, supposed to be 50 or under. He says we are going to pretend that I am not a mathematician and doesn't weigh any more trunks. He tried to waive the fee for our extra luggage but was unable to do it. We felt that $360 was a fairly low price to pay for the privilege of carrying all of these supplies.

Our flight was delayed in Chicago, but we still had plenty of time in Washington, D.C. Good thing, because the line to get onto Ethiopian Air was nuts. I was very glad that I had downsized our carry-ons, as they were definitely weighing the carry-ons. We were able to meet up with Christy King, also with CHI, in the line. We had such a great week together.

In Ethiopia, one of our bags was missing. But just as we got to the front of the line to report it, I took one more look around and found it. We had customs officials save us from the line and OK our entry without opening a trunk. As we were leaving someone stopped Scott but did not make us open our trunks. We witnessed others with their donations strewn about. We were greeted by Abdissa, his wife, and Aduna (our driver for the week) from CHI.

We loved the Ethiopian Guest House. All of the guests were in the process of picking their children up for adoption. There were our family, Christy, a couple from WI, and two other families. The adapter I brought was the wrong one, and when I downsized my luggage I ended up with no pajamas and a shared bathroom. There were great shared spaces, a yard, good food and wonderful staff.

Monday morning Aduna picked us up to go to the Thomas Center to meet our children. Noelle was the first one to see Sabrina; before the van even stopped. It is hard to describe the emotions. In some ways they were less intense than I thought they would be. Everything felt so right, like she has always been apart of us. Sabrina was able to come back to the guest house with us. So we spent the day getting to know one another.