Friday, April 30, 2010

My Two Little Old Ladies...

Today was nice enough to hang out outside!  We tried the backyard, but some mean looking yellow jackets ruined the party!

So we moved to the front porch!
They were so happy! This pictures makes me laugh as it looks like two little old women, just watching the cars go by!
Jada has this "Bumbo lean", she finds her sweet spot and chills.
Just chillin' on the porch...
I am so glad they like being outside!

I am going to wait until Monday for more trip updates.

My Grandma is here and she and Jada just moved to the front porch swing.  She also came bearing casseroles.  Hurray! :)

I will continue trip updates on Monday.  Love to all, happy weekend!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Rest of Day 6

Well, this morning was my first "solo" morning.  My Mom was coming at 1:00 pm.  No sweat.  Jada only woke up a few times and Adia slept until 4:20 am!  I know, a great thing, except I still kept waking up, looking at the clock and freaking out.  I would get out of bed and make sure the sweet thing was still breathing!  They took great naps and then...breakdown.  I had two fussy babies on my hands and I hate having to choose which one to comfort.  We went on a stroller ride and they both fell asleep.  Note to self, next time they fall asleep in the stroller, KEEP WALKING!  I went to lay them down in bed and they opened those beautiful eyes and smiled, as if to say, "Ha, the jokes on you Mom!"  No more sleeping babies!  

Thanks for all of those who commented on ideas for formula/digestion.  I guess I do feel a little desperate to nail something down before we run out of Ethiopian formula.  :) 

Wrapping Up Mekele Trip...

The marking on the boy's forehead is typical in the Tigray region. Many faces are intentionally scarred in patterns. This boy had a cross on his forehead, signaling he is from the orthodox church.
These girls came down from the mountain to practice their English with me.  They were so sweet.  They wanted a pen, unfortunately I didn't have one on me.  We were asked for pens multiple times. 
Oddest request, one woman asked me for my bra.  It took a few minutes for me to understand what she wanted and I am sure watching me realize what she was asking for was comical.  I wasn't able to oblige, but it was a really humbling moment for me.
The girls showed me their homework. It is hard to read, but one sentence says, "My favorite subject is English because English is the key of all subjects".
Scarves were everywhere!  The white scarves signify Orthodox, black scarves Muslim and the millions of other scarves, possibly Muslim, possibly Orthodox, or possibly just the way they are dressed.
We saw camels!  I have a really funny story about this, but it wouldn't be the same in writing.  Just know, after this moment where we lost ourselves over a camel sighting, I commented, "Wow, I have never felt more American".
The Monument in Tigray is celebrating the peasants revolt and sacrifice for freedom.  I would write more, but the history is a little fuzzy for me right now.  Brian, would you like to educate us? :)

Plus, we kind of look like a rock band or something...
It was at the monument I was interviewing one of our guides on the history of the monument and I realized he personally knew the girls' father.  (He is a social worker with IAG) Wow!  We have about 10 minutes on tape of him recalling everything he knows about him and the family.  In one training we went to, we heard that a photo of a birthparents, is worth a year in therapy. Hopefully this will mean something to the girls. 

In the interview, Biranu, talks about how small the girls were when they came, why their father gave them up, "they would have died", when the mother died, who cared for the girls, information about their siblings, information about the father and his job.  Wow, wow, wow. Such an amazing blessing!

Okay, that is all for now!  Day seven is our "Gotcha Day" so stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mekele-Days 5 & 6

Before I start into Days 5&6, please pray with us for a solution or Adia's digestion.  We are running low on Ethiopian formula and tried transitioning to several formulas.  Our doctor says formulas are basically the same, only dairy or soy-based, but Adia is having problems!  This morning, we switched to powdered goat's milk for 1/2 of the mix, but she still seems uncomfortable (not as bad as she did with Similac). 

My mom started the day with us and then Kristen drove from Indy for the afternoon.  We have had some fussy girls, hopefully she will come back!  :)

On to our adventures...
Mekele is in the state of Tigray, far North in Ethiopia. The girls are from this region and we were very interested to learn more about the area they were from. We had the opportunity to spend two days there.

We boarded a plane early Saturday morning and then embarked upon many adventures.  At this point, another family from IAG had joined us, so it was so fun to have travel buddies! Brian and Mabel are both nurses and have been through several kinds of adoptions, so they were great resources!

The region was very arid and more like a desert.  The architecture was very different and much was done with this amazing stone from the mountains.  The houses were mostly rectangle and covered in stone.  The landscape designer in my husband couldn't stop taking pictures! 

Our first stop was the IAG Care Center.  We met the kids and took hundreds of pictures for the waiting families, delivered care packages and did lots of playing.

All of the pictures I had received of the girls were from families who had traveled and were kind enough to post pictures, so we wanted to return the favor! Unfortunately, I can't post pictures of this, because some of the waiting kids haven't passed court. 

We went to the coolest, biggest open air market I have ever visited.  It is very likely the market that the girls would have shopped in, had they grown up in the region!
This little boy cut chunks of salt off from the salt mines. Camels bring salt in from the mines.

Every aisle had new wares
Kids in the marketplace followed us and wanted to see themselves on camera
We bought the girls dresses from the Tigrina region and I bought this dress, typical from the region.  The vendor told me "You look like a beautiful Tigrani woman!"  He may have been trying to get a sale...:)

I love this picture!  A little boy, totally decked out on top with no pants.
We wanted to go to the Castle of King Johannas IV.  Our driver dropped us off at "The Castle".  We were so excited and took pictures on our way in...turns out it was a hotel called "The Castle".  We walked to the real castle we wanted to tour.  This is Brian and Mabel.
We weren't supposed to take picture of the outside our inside, but our guide let us.  Here, Jon and I stand with Biranu (a social worker for IAG) in front of King Johannes IV throne.
It was so funny, our guide went from "don't take any pictures" to telling us where to go to do a photo shoot for us!

We went back to our hotel and met another IAG family, Scott and Heidi.  Heidi and I had been reading each other's blogs, so it was so fun to finally meet!
Everything was stone and built to last.
The following morning, we headed out with a driver to see a "rock church".  Northern Ethiopia has churches that are over a 1000 years old and still used. These churches, built by the orthodox church, are incredible, hewn out of a mountain, everything is one large stone.

We thought it would be so close, but after twirling and climbing up a mountain, we learned why the locals said it would be hard to do in a day.  :)  We made it though and the way up was fantastic!
A view of the terraced mountain

More houses.  The girls were from a farming background, likely their house looked like this...

The front of the church, carved right into the mountain.

The church bells aren't 1000 years old. :)
Inside the church

Okay, going to have to finish tomorrow, this is too much for one day! 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 4

I know if I don't stay strong on posting about the trip while it is fresh and while help is here, I will never get to it! 

The girls didn't think they wanted to nap yesterday.  My mom went with us to the Doctor and after that ordeal, Jada, Adia and Mommy fell into bed at 3:45 pm. Jon had to work a little late yesterday and got home at about 7:00 to find us all still sleeping!  So much for an 8:00 bedtime! 

We tried to wake the girls but they were out.  Thinking a stroller ride might help, we continued to try and shake them no avail. 

Jada says, "Are you serious?"
Daddy gives Adia her first botany lesson

Nope, totally out...

After baths and a scream fest, we tried again and they went to bed about 9:30!  Oops, this is not helping their schedules! 

***Side Note*** To the mothers who recommended the Boppy Pillow and the Bumbo Seat, THANK YOU!  Adia is watching me from her Bumbo. 

Day 4- Ziway
We went to visit Gary and Peggy Ifft, missionaries who have started "Miskana Ministries".  Kevin and Erica lined up a driver for us, but last minute, we got a different driver because the first driver totalled his SUV on a donkey.  We knew we had to get back before dark because we heard the road was "dangerous." We had heard Ethiopia was so safe and so we inquired as to why it was dangerous. It is totally because of all the wandering donkeys, goats and cows.   

It was about 3 hours out of the city and very green and lush

We visited projects funded by Loving Shepherd Ministries, Gobena Coffee, Lifesong, Compassion International and Miskana Ministries
We visited a nursery school
We saw so many sweet faces!  There is also a feeding program there, breakfast and lunch for the kids.
Visiting another school
Beat Box transcends any language barriers.  :)
The kids had really generous portions and in Ethiopia, you don't use silverware, even for soup!
The bridge built by LSM so the people could cross without fear of the hippos.  Not kidding, they are ferocious!
Gary and Peggy with their right-hand-man, unfortunately, I can't remember his name!
Crossing the bridge into Bochessa
Typical housing
A little boy who needs surgery and is going to get it!
Kids walking to do laundry in the lake

Visiting the Lake and seeing very large herons
like swoop you away big herons! :)

We ate fresh fried fish by the lake that was delicious. It was fried up right in front of us and was the whole fish. I always get a little leary about eating something looking at me, but it was delicious!
Our drivers stopped along the road and we never knew what was next.  Here they are buying coal and loading it up.

Whew!  Just so you know, this post was worked on little by little all day!  The girls are sleeping now, hopefully we get in a good nap!

Love to all!