Friday, February 29, 2008

1,2,3,4,5

I so wish I had pictures for this one, but I was at a swimming pool with 5 children.... need I say more? I spent the better part of two hours going 1,2,3,4,5 1,2,3,4,5 1,2,3,4,5... Those of you who have more than 1 child will know exactly what I'm talking about. This was the first time for Joshua and Jameson to go swimming. We went over the basic rules of the pool, and gave limits for how far they could go out etc. They go barreling into the water...Jameson falls over in the shallow end, goes under, jumps up and starts squealing with laughter. Joshua is "swimming" with his face and arms while walking on the bottom. After Jameson got her first mouth full of water, she was stuck to me like glue. "She's my mama," she was telling the other girls when they would try to hold onto me. When I tried to get her to stand in the shallow end, she would say, "Mama, I can't sweeeem." It was absolutely hysterical. Joshua made his way all over that pool. He would go under and then jump up all discombobulated and unbalanced. I kept thinking he's going to fall over again, but he would somehow get his balance again. Jameson wanted to climb on my back to swim the whole time. When people found out we were adopting older children, we had people say, "you'll miss out on all of the firsts." I now know that this is completely and utterly untrue. Watching my kids swim for the first time and hearing them SCREAM and SQUEAL in utter joy was actually better than some of the firsts we've missed with them. I cannot even explain to you how happy they were. Even the people in the pool that we didn't know were smiling and laughing watching these kids experience swimming for a first time! Maybe next time I'll be brave enough to take a camera. 1,2,3,4,5 1,2,3,4,5 1,2,3,4,5...

Discovering at the Discovery Center






Jameson, Joshua, Justine and I went to the Discovery Center this week. We had a great time playing and experimenting. Justine was able to light a light bulb with her nose while touching the big electrical ball thing. Jameson and Joshua enjoyed digging for dinosaur bones. We had so much fun. It's awesome to see their faces light up when they see things for the first time. We happened to be there when they were doing a presentation for Children's Dental Health Month. I thought what the heck, we need all the educating about stuff like that we can get. The kids got to see a presentation about taking care of their teeth, and even received a bag of goodies with a new toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss. When the presentation was over, and the lady had shown them a model with a mouth full of rotten teeth, Justine broke down into tears and said, "I just want to go home to brush my teeth. Take me home... sob, sob, sob." She was really convicted by the presentation. I should take her there for all of the hygeine presentations. I wonder if they have one about washing your hair with shampoo instead of just getting it wet and calling it good?

Per your request... How we're adjusting

I have had several (everyone) asking me, "So, how's it going?" I have to take some time to think about that one. It depends on which day you ask... I think we are doing as well as can be expected.

I am not going to lie. There are no skittles falling out of the sky. I am not Maria Von Trapp sewing clothes for the children out of curtains and singing with them all day long.

But, we are definitely adjusting, bonding, attaching. I can definitely tell they are bonding with us when I leave to go the the store and come back to the children saying, "Mom, I missed you so much!" Or when Jameson just comes up out of the blue and kisses me and says, "I love you."

We are having a lot of fun getting to know one another. We are playing games, playing outside (Thank you God for the good weather this week), trying out new things, and enjoying going to places they have never been before. Last week the kids told us they missed the guesthouse (in Ethiopia.) At first, it made me sad because I thought that was not reality. Life is not going to be like that. We have jobs, other kids, laundry, food that we actually have to cook ourselves... But I am happy that their first memories with us are so great. I guess it's kind of like coming home from a vacation, facing reality and wishing you were back on vacation.

We are trying to institute a family game night to set aside time to do fun things with them as well as the everyday, living in a big family stuff has to be done, mode. I say trying because we all keep getting sick which interrupts my scheduling. If everyone could not be sick for 1 week, that would be great! The above photo is our "movie" night with popcorn in the living room (oohh aahh) Jaiden and Justine look lackluster because they both had fevers...of course.

We are still struggling with food. For those of you with young children who have seen Madagascar, remember when Alex the Lion tries fish for the first time, and Marty the Zebra says, "The kitty likes the fishey." Well that phrase is being used around here everytime we find something they like to eat... let's just say we've said it about 5 times so far. French toast. Macaroni and Cheese. Butter noodles. French fries. And any and everything sweet.

Today they all ate well, I offered a chocolate chip cookie after lunch. Jameson, without even looking at it said, "I don't like that." Well, we all had to laugh because we knew full well that if something has sugar in it, that girl is all over it. Trying new things and not automatically saying, "I don't like it" is an ongoing battle. I am beginning to dread every meal, but when they like something, it's such a huge celebration. We dance and sing and generally act like idiots every time.

All of the kids are doing great together. Jaiden and Jameson have become basically connected at the hip. When Jameson wakes up, the first thing she says is, "Where is my Mae Mae?" Justine quite frequently gets her nose out of joint, but she did that before.

Jack and Joshua are bonding. Jack has been very good at sharing his bike and showing Joshua the ropes. Joshua is GREAT with my dogs! I think they like him more than me.

I think most of all, they just don't know what to do with themselves. They are great at playing outside because that's what they're used to. We continue to go over the fact that you cannot ride your bike down the middle of the road in America.

I'm not sure they really know how to play. We have tons of toys, and I think this is overwhelming to them. I don't think they know how to use their imaginations. I can't figure out if they are easily bored with things or just simply overwhelmed with it. They seem to just move from one thing to another without really putting in enough effort to figure it out. I think they are just really soaking everything in. One issue we've had is that they really like to act like they know how everything works and don't like to ask questions. My jacked up computer in the basement is one of the examples of this...just continue pushing buttons until something happens evidently isn't a good way to figure it out. I think they are just afraid of asking. So we have tried to really show them things even when they act like they don't want to know because I think they really do want to know...

We are still going over general safety rules... practicing buckling seatbelts, don't wander off at the grocery store, don't go in the street etc. "Don't open the car door until the car comes to a complete stop" is one thing I hadn't rehearsed, but I think we all get the picture now. We are really trying to be sticklers at household rules and chores etc so that consistent reminders will become habit, but all of the kids still have to be reminded to put their clothes in the hamper, even the ones who have lived here all their life.

I don't want to wish away any of this time of seeing them experience things for the first time, but I also can't wait for 6 to 9 months down the road to see how far we've come.

All 6 of them are a blessing to us and are amazing kids!

A Build-A-Bear First Time

Jameson with her first build a bear - a rabbit named Honey. Of course she chose a Cinderella outfit, glass slippers and a pink purse. What else would a princess pick out?

Joshua with his new monkey named Songa. He picked out all the clothes and the sunglasses. In case you can't read it, the shirt says, "LOVE - it's what's inside." He came home and was kissing it and playing with it. He was so sweet!

We weren't planning on this adventure, but we walked by in the mall, and Jack, Jaiden and Justine insisted on getting Jameson and Joshua a build a bear. When I explained that I couldn't buy 5 build a bears, they very graciously understood and said "That's OK. We have some. We want them to make their own." WOW. That was easy...

Rite of Passage

We have had a rule with all of the girls that they may get their ears pierced after they turn 5. I'm not sure why 12 years ago, I thought 5 was the magical number; it seems awfully young now, but it has become a rite of passage.
So last month when Justine asked me if she could get her ears pierced, I said "Not until you're 5."
Justine, "Mom, I am 5."
Mom, "Really?"

BEFORE
Doesn't she look so happy? Like she has no idea what's about to happen.

AFTER
She had two crocodile tears with no noise.
Mom, "You were so brave."
Justine, "I was so brave until I cried."

Video of DURING. Caution to easily woozy readers or those opposed to child torture... This hurts my heart to watch.
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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pictures

I evidently committed a big blogging no no and had pictures of yet to be adopted kids on my blog, therefore I am going private. For all of you Hope families, I am in the process of posting ALL of our pictures to the HOPE group site. There's a lot of pictures, and I hope all of your kids are in there! Sorry about the blogging blunder!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What's in a name?

You may have noticed that we left to get Filemon and Merkeb and came home with Joshua and Jameson. I want to reassure you that this was completely their decision. We told them the names we had chosen for them as their middle names while we were in Ethiopia.

Joshua because it means God rescues, and Jameson because it means born of James, and our adoption journey was born of James 1:27. Shimellis had told us prior to our trip to give them the choice of keeping their Ethiopian names versus taking on an American name. I was very surprised at his opinion that taking on an American name would help the children in the long run, as kids can be cruel and relationships can be strained if you can't pronounce names. It wasn't the open, culturally aware idea I had in mind.

Anyway, while in Ethiopia, they both said they wanted their new American names. They even practiced writing them. We kind of let that one slide as everything was so new and awkward. When we got home, we were playing at the gym one day, and Filemon (Joshua) told all of us in no uncertain terms, "I want to be called Joshua."

When we asked Merkeb (Jameson), she said she wanted to be called Jameson. And that's the story of that. We didn't make them do it, didn't even expect them to do it. I will admit, it's weird and a little difficult. I can't imagine changing my name...I actually feel kind of bad about it, like I've taken away their identity. If they change their minds later, they can be called anything they want. I know it seems strange, but I've heard from friends whose kids did the same thing, it gets easier and you get used to it!

Welcome Home Joshua and Jameson


Just wanted to remind everyone that if you would like to come to a welcome home party for Joshua and Jameson hosted by Tim and Julie Simonson at their gym, Ozark Mountain Gymnastics, we would love for you to meet our wonderful new additions. The get together will start at 4:30. It's a come and go, meet and greet the kids or stay and play at the gym. Your kids will have a blast getting to know our new kids! We can't wait to see you!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mintesinote Update

I found out today that Joshua's bunk mate Anteneh is being adopted by Grace in Lubbock Texas of all places. We put out a little information on Mintesinote on our yahoo group in hopes of finding little Minty a home. I promised Joshua today that we would do whatever it took to get his best friend a home. I'm already getting emails requesting pictures. God is good. Let those emails keep coming and let someone be touched by those beautiful dimples!

Monday, February 25, 2008

My struggle to feed and organize gets easier

My wonderful husband bought me an additional pantry to attempt to stockpile food for these growing and always hungry six children. We cleaned out the original built in pantry - look you can actually see what's in there!
My new pantry will hold all the stockpiling things I buy while using my new grocery game tips and Dillon's Plus Card. Information about stockpiling and using the grocery game can be found here. It really does save money, and it just takes a little bit of organizing to get coupons cut and lists made. I hope to have this bad boy full by the end of the month!
My new beautiful pantry. I'm so ready to face the "what's for dinner?" beast head one with this one.

Mae Mae's 8th Birthday


It's hard to believe this is my little Missy Mae Mae. She's grown so much over the past 3 years! Remember what she looked like when she had her surgery just three years ago? The child has gained at least 40 pounds since then! She is such a good girl and has the most loving, sweet heart of anyone I know.

Are they pulling Mom out or pushing Molly in?

Is this some type of medieval torture or are they trying to get him to grow?

Our little gymnast!

Getting presents!

Money, money, money!
Jaiden and her girls. In looking back, I didn't get pictures of everyone. Everyone not seen here was playing too hard to be caught by the camera. It was an awesome party and Jaiden sends out a great big thank you to everyone for making her birthday so great!

Cupcake eating contest

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I think I have to say that the highlight of my week was watching Josh M and Jordan in a cupcake eating contest at Mae Mae's birthday party. Josh won, but only because he licked the plate.

Attila the Hun


He looks quite menacing don't you think? Jack was Attila the Hun in the history banquet on Friday. He made it through his memorized speech even while doped up on cold medicine and suffering from the flu. He did an awesome job, and we are so proud of him.

He even wanted his head shaved with a circle of hair left for a ponytail to "get into his character." He certainly pulled off the look he was going for.
While Attila was known for looting and pillaging throughout both the Eastern and Western Roman Empires, Jack is known for loving and being loved throughout Southwest Springfield.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Our experience at the Addis Ababa "Zoo"

OK. Those of you on my email list, I warned you this was coming: the blog about animal cruelty and drugged monkeys. If you're a sensitive reader or a member of PETA, please do not continue.

First of all, I'm not sure which one was more entertaining or higher on chat; the man or the monkey. Next, let me explain what chat is, as this is what was being fed to these monkeys when we were there visiting the zoo.

Chat is a leafy shrub of a plant, whose tender leaves are chewed by almost all the population of Ethiopia. It's a natural stimulant and is considered an illegal drug in the civilized part of the world.

Chat is sold in small plastic bundles which cost more than a bottle of beer. The people who live in nearby villages and forests bring in an abundant supply of this stimulant. By the time they arrive into a town or village, it is past noon time because the people have to walk from where they cultivate the plant. The time they usually show up is 2pm. People who take chat on a regular basis disappear after 2pm. They buy chat as soon as it arrives. Then they chew it like a bunch of goats and basically are so high the rest of the day that they are unable to function.

So imagine us watching these moneys go absolutely crazy with Jeff narrating (you must speed up to about 32X regular speaking voice with a monkey accent): "give me some more chat it's really good ooohhh seeds seeds seeds give me some seeds i think i want to jump up and down now i really need some more seeds i need more chat give me that it's mine i'm going to jump up and down again hey look at me i'm counting seeds seeds seeds....." And it went on and on. I was crying. I was laughing so hard. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "ape $%#." You may be asking yourself "what is a monkey accent?" Call my husband and he will do a great imitation for you... he's quite talented.

This poor little dude kept picking up seeds seeds seeds, but he never ate any. He couldn't concentrate long enough to eat them. He would pick them up and then drop them again to hang off the bars. Outside of the context of animal cruelty, it was really hysterical.

The Abyssinian lion is famed for its black mane. This lion is only found in Ethiopia and is associated with their monarch, Haile Sellasie, whom they refer to as the lion of Judah. This lion is the Ethiopian national symbol, adorning statues as well as the local currency. The Lion Zoo of the impoverished nation's capital has been killing the endangered animals, poisoning six cubs this year because of lack of funding and space. They receive $170 for each cub pelt. (Taken from The Associated Press, Dec 2006)
So we get to the circular area with the lions, which you have to pay extra for. We start walking around to "look" at the lions (what I call doing it American zoo style) and I hear this man yelling and screaming in Amharic. I mean really yelling and screaming. There were people standing up next to the cage, so I assumed that he was yelling at them for being too close to the cage. (Here I was being a stupid American again) So he continues screaming. When we get around to that cage, we find that he's YELLING at the lion, poking it with a garden hose and generally trying to get it angry enough to come up to the front of the cage. All I can think is, "Oh my God, do you people not watch the news?" Visions of us being eaten alive by these huge lions, held back by flimsy Ethiopian made steel bars made me think of the tiger in San Francisco who got loose and attacked. The show "when animals attack" came to mind.

At one point, this lion jumped up on his hind legs and had its front paws sticking out of the bars of the cage. He nearly got one of the idiots standing in front of the cage for a picture. I think we were all just kind of shocked and unable to say anything. Merkeb was scared to death, although Filemon wanted to get up close. Going to an American zoo will definitely be an experience, won't it?
They really were beautiful lions. I felt horrible for laughing at the situation. But it was either laugh or cry. It amazed me that a population of people who could be so tender and loving to their children, could be so horrible and cruel to their animals. One of our friends staying at the guesthouse told us about watching a man "wheelbarrow" a goat in the street. They pick up the goats back legs when they won't move in the right direction to help steer them. He was thinking, "oh how cute." About that time, the man flipped the goat over and started beating the crap out of it. Our friend said, "In America, I would have gone up to him and said 'hey man, do you really think you need to be doing that?' But here, I was like, 'good luck, little man'." It's definitely not our country. It's not our values. It's not our goat or lion or monkey. It was difficult to remember that we were but mere visitors in a foreign land. Aren't you glad you're not an animal in Ethiopia?

I named my parasite Joe

We went to see the kids' grandmother to visit and ask her questions about the kids and their parents. When we pulled up, this is what we saw as the entrance to her home. There were several other houses that looked just like this, butted up to one another. Our kids lived here for quite some time. My heart breaks for the entire family. I cannot even imagine being strong enough to give up my child, or grandchild, even when I knew it would be best for them. They were so gracious and kind to us. I don't know why, but I felt unworthy of that... of having a special meal prepared for us... or being waited on by others.

Grandmother had tried to go to market to buy a chicken for us, but she became too ill and had to turn back. She made us goat instead... Goat can be bought on the side of the road. You pick out which one you want and they bludgeon it to death and skin it on the side of the road. Then you take it home to cook it.

This is their cousin rolling out the injera. She lives with grandmother and takes care of her. Injera is eaten with basically every meal. It's a spongy sour tasting flat bread. I don't know if it's the sour taste or the nasty texture that makes me want to vomit so much. It's nothing against the traditional Ethiopian meal, it's just totally not my thing.

This is the goat Grandmother cooked on her little stove on the floor of her 8 X 15 house.

She went to so much trouble. How could we possibly say no? Jeff, Jordan and I rolled out the injera across our plates as we had seen the kids do all week. We looked like experts... yeah right! Then we piled up the goat carcass...err I mean meat... across the injera. It took all the self-control I could muster to not vomit right then and there. With every bite, I kept telling myself, "They have given you these children. Do not disrespect them. Just swallow it down and try not to taste it or let it roll around in your mouth too much." We definitely looked like we knew what we were doing as we grabbed the piece of injera with only our right hands and used it to get the goat meat to our mouths. Yes, I'm sure our green color really made us look like experts. It was at this point that I named my newly acquired parasite Joe. I'm pretty sure I could feel Joe running through my digestive system at record speed attaching to all of my inner's and reproducing exponentially. I'm pretty sure he's probably still in there somewhere.

I have heard that the teff flour that is used in injera makes it addictive. People crave it after awhile. We, unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, never made it to that point.
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mintesinote

I am writing this in hopes that SOMEONE, ANYONE who has read this blog, met my kids or knows someone who is interested in adoption will pass this one on. Joshua's best friend is still in the orphanage and is not adopted yet. While we are so happy to have our kids home, ours and their hearts are breaking for poor Minty. Joshua and Jameson both saw a picture of Minty today and said "I love you Minty" and blew him a kiss. He was at Faithe with them and is now at Hope. He is 8 years old, and according to my son, he is a very good boy. Without the word of mouth, we probably never would have heard about our children. We are praying fervently for Minty that SOMEONE, ANYONE will hear about him and want him. Please continue to tell everyone you know about us, our kids and about those kids who are still waiting in Africa. Thank you so much!

Now what do we do with them?

Day 1 with the kids post official Embassy Appointment!
After we left the Hilton, we went back to the guesthouse to get to know each other. We showed them their clothes and games and just spent time with them! It was an awesome day!

One of the things I really did right was to pick up this I Spy Pictures only Go Fish card game. We spent hours on the floor of the guesthouse living room playing I Spy. It was not only great to bond with the kids and play with them, but it also helped with their English.

There were a lot of words they knew, but they learned seashell, pine cone, and helicopter. It really helped us because we learned HOW they say certain things; we learned their accent and it helped us figure our what they were saying later on. Definitely one of the things we really did right! GO FISH!

Travel size Perfection. We never did beat the timer. Dang. That game was hard!


Jordan thinks she can beat it... Good luck!
Merkeb really enjoyed her crayons and color book.

Then she sang for us....

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And sang for us!

Roll Call

OK, now that we're home and the adoption is final, there's one thing I need to ask: Does anyone still read these?

Sisterly Love

If this picture doesn't just sum it up, I don't think words could ever. Things are getting better. The kids are adjusting. The kids are bonding. The kids are sleeping more. Yeah! If anything, Jaiden loves too much, and has to be told to back off from Jameson. I've heard from other friends that children from orphanages definitely need their space and time alone. We are teaching Jameson to say "back off" instead of slapping when her space is invaded. Hey I said things were better, not perfect.

Our Embassy Experience Day 1




Well I am slowly but surely writing about our Ethiopian experience, piece by piece.
While we were at the orphanage, Gananew (Ga Nan O) Shimelli's brother, came to us and said Julia's baby Michael was missing a photograph and we had to leave to orphanage early to get his picture authenticated and notarized for our embassy appointment that afternoon. So we took the kids and climbed into Alazar's 1986 Corolla hatch back. Filemon, Jordan and I climbed into the backseat and Merkeb climbed on my lap. Jeff took shotgun to next Alazar. It was easier for him to reach his air brakes there.
We sat outside the authentication office forever waiting, talking with the kids. What I remember most about this is Merkeb's giggles. She wouldn't stop giggling. We went to the embassy and met up with Julia, Brad and Michael, Kelly, Jason and Jayla as well as Tefera, the man in charge of all the embassy stuff for Shimellis. We went through security and sat outside the embassy. There were guards and signs prohibiting any pictures of the embassy. Luckily I had left my camera with Alazar in the car.
The only thing I can remember at this point was sitting on benches outside the embassy underneath this large sun shielding canopy. When it was finally our turn, we went into another building and through security again. Then we walked through a courtyard and up a flight of stairs. There were 8 windows around the room with Embassy employees waiting to help you. There were bigger than life size bust photographs of Dick Cheney, George Bush and Condaleeza Rice. And there were at least 5 rows of chairs, 10 in a row of people waiting. Once again, we sat there forever.
All three families were sitting together admiring their children as well as each other's children. Julia and Brad went first with baby Michael. It seemed like it took a really long time... Jeff says "Julia's not smiling." I thought surely nothing is wrong. They came back and sat down and said "Our fingerprints expired 10 days ago." Evidently they are also adopting from China and had fingerprints done 14 months and 20 days ago for China, then never thought about it again. Federal fingerprints are only good for 15 months. So we sat waiting and waiting with poor Julia's experience in our mind.
When it was finally our time, we went and stood at window 2 with McKenzie, the American Embassy worker, the kids and Tefera. Jeff and I raised our right hands and promised that everything that was in our paperwork was correct. I was holding Merkeb and she was giggling through the whole thing. I could barely hear what McKenzie was saying due to Merkeb's giggling. I remember Tefera saying "Merkeb's certainly happy." To tell you the truth, when we were given the OK at Window 2 in the Embassy, no one was more surprised than me. I was so worried all this time that something would go wrong; I never honestly believed that these children would be mine. God is good.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sissy's Birthday

My sissy's birthday was today. she got hannah montana stuff two dolls and a calendar today AND A WIG!!!! She got the spiderwick chronicles book. we had such a good day. I LOVE MY FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! posted by Jack Henry Ellerbee...

Day 1 Ethiopia - Orphanage

The day began with tossing and turning, counting the hours until the sun would rise. We sat on the balcony in the cold Ethiopian morning air listening to the chanting of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
My shower experience in the guesthouse was more like an aerobics workout as I jumped in when the water felt half way warm, and then jumped out when the water became either freezing cold or scalding hot. Mind you this wasn't so horrible as it was only a trickle of water. I might have been severely injured had the water actually been coming out of the shower with any amount of pressure.
Breakfast at the guesthouse consisted of some bread, marmalade and this awesome carrot mango juice. I drank all the juice as Jeff was afraid to. I get a phone call from the owner of the guesthouse at 8:15 that we are supposed to be at the Hilton to go over paperwork with Tefera at 8:45. She has called for a driver for us. Alazar arrives around 8:30 and we embark on a drive that would scare the crap out of Nascar drivers. There are no lines on the street, no stop lights or stop signs for that matter. People drive as fast as they can, honking their horns at every moving object and drive until someone runs them off the road or causes them to stop. I'm not even sure there is a right side of the road to drive on; you just go until you see someone coming straight for you. So you pretty much run balls to the wall until you run into a goat, a car or a person.
So anyway, we get to the Hilton (late) and go over paperwork on the coffee table in the lobby of the Hilton. So it is finally decided that all is well in the land of homeland security and American Embassy stuff and we head off to the orphanage. Looking back, I can't even tell you what I was thinking, feeling at that moment. We drove down roads that weren't even roads. Rocks lay piled high in the middle of the road requiring our driver to change course frequently. I look at every compound wondering if this is it. We see horses drawn carriages pulled by malnourished, beaten horses with saddles ripping their flesh across their chests.
I feel nauseated.
Finally, we arrive at the orphanage. Tall, metal walls surround the house. The horn beeps and someone comes to open the gate. As we pull into the drive, I am searching for faces, looking for the ones I know. Before I can even get out of the car, Felimon opens the front door, hugs Jeff, kisses him on the cheek and says "Hi Dad." About that time, Merkeb is climbing into the backseat saying "Mama, mama." I burst into tears and got out of the car to hug and kiss them. Suddenly we are overcome by all of the children hugging and kissing us. I think the first thing Jeff said to the kids was "That's your mom, she cries a lot." Quite a nice beginning don't you think?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Early Morning in Ethiopia Day 1

To bed at 12:45, saw 1:45, 2:45, 3:45, 4:45. Will this night ever end? Is there morning in Ethiopia? Does time go backwards? This was the longest night, tossing and turning, listening to the ferrel dogs of Ethiopia barking and fighting and rummaging through the night. Then at 5:15am, the sound of either the Muslim mosque incantations or the Ethiopian Orthodox Church droning on and on for hours. At first, the sound was somewhat intriguing, the alterations in the tone of the voice somewhat beautiful. We sat on the balcony of the guesthouse in the cold morning air listening, watching the sun rise, and waiting to meet our children for the first time.

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Journal Entry from our trip




Sunday Feb 3rd - somewhere over the Atlantic I presume.
It's 8pm our time, 3am in Germany and 5am in Ethiopia. We're on our first leg of our trip to get Merkeb and Felimon. We will officially be seeing them for the first time tomorrow... even though we still have many hours in the air before that happens. I should be sleeping, but I just can't. The excitement, the nervousness is immeasurable. I just have to keep remembering that God laid this upon our hearts, God has provided every single need throughout this whole process, and He will also be here during our emmigration proceeding and Embassy appointments. I keep repeating in my head, praise be to God from whom all blessings flow. God continue to watch over us, forgive us for our short comings, and continue to lay your hand upon us, these two children and all of the people we will come into contact with along the way. May our hearts and minds be forever changed, and the images imbedded in our minds so that we may change our ways and ultimately change the world.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Our day has arrived!

Well it's 2:17 am on the day of travel. We are just now getting ready for a little shut eye. We have been in panic pack mode for about 5 hours now. I really want to take a picture of all of our luggage piled in front of the door, but quite honestly, I am just too tired! We will take pictures tomorrow. It actually looks like we're moving to Africa. Wow! Well, today is the day. We will be in Ethiopia in just 36 hours! Bookmark your computers to our drop shots account so you can see pictures first hand! Continue to pray for us for safe, uneventful travel, pleasant proceedings at the Embassy, and a wonderful time with our new kids! Jeff and Gina

Friday, February 01, 2008

Our time line

Well we are down to the last few moments before travel. I have to work tonight, finish last minute packing etc tomorrow and we are off to the airport on Sunday morning. We got word this morning that the US Embassy is closed on Wednesday for a holiday. So our appointment is now on Tuesday.

Sunday morning - we leave here, fly to Chicago, fly to Frankfurt, fly to Addis.
Arrive Monday night.
Tuesday - Embassy appointment
Check out pictures here www.dropshots.com/ellerbee8
Wednesday through Sunday - enjoy and get to know our kids.
Saturday night - leave Ethiopia to come home!
Sunday Feb 10th - arrive back home via United Express flight 5872 arriving at Springfield-Branson Regional Airport @ 5:37pm. If you want to greet us at the airport, call our house to make sure we've made all connecting flights and then check here to find out if the flight is on time.
We will be emailing when possible and downloading our pictures to dropshots every opportunity we get.