Monday, November 26, 2007

The rest of the trip - part 2

Friday is going away party day at Layla, and that was the big focus for the day.

LOTS of emotions, last visits with new little friends, and kids who are suddenly facing the reality of their hopes and dreams - leaving Ethiopia. What a day.

UNO at the airport - not a bad thing with hours of delay and layovers.

And at the end of that long emotional day you get to the airport to begin your trip home. Then, only 34 hours later, you get the coveted airport homecoming picture with aunties and kids in pj's.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The rest of the trip - part 1

This is taking such an agonizingly long amount of time that I am just going to post the remaining pictures and throw in a comment or 2 before we forget what happened.

Wednesday afternoon we had our embassy appointment, and spent time at Layla afterwards.

Thursday we went to AHOPE in the morning so we could see Sidisse, then went to visit an Orthodox church - one of Terefu's requests for our trip.

Then we had a great lunch at FinFin, did some shopping, and went to Layla for a while so Terefu could get her hair braided.

I don't have to say it, but I will - KONJO!

In the evening we picked up Denise and headed to AHOPE to throw a pizza party for the kids.

Denise captured the pizza purchase on her blog, so I won't go into our frustrations with buying mass pizza in Addis, but the kids loved it, and there is nothing like hearing many little children smacking away at pizza.
Ivy joined us at AHOPE and we all had a great time loving on the kids, spending time with friends, and longing for a day when these little ones don't have to be in this place.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rebekah is Home

Trying to catch up on things around here. I think addind 6 kids in a year has us a little on our heels from time to time, and this blog is obviously one of the casualties. Not that big of a sacrifice though...

One week ago today I took Marta, Terefu, Samuel and Josiah to Seattle, where we spent the night with Rich & Julie Hehn. We had a great visit with their wonderful family, and I have gross pictures of Rich's ankle and a hilarious short video of Julie that I am sworn to never post so I have to honor that.

Then on Monday we went to Sea-Tac to meet Rebekah's plane from DC. Susan from AAI escorted her home, and we are finally a home with all 11 of our children in it.

Her plane was a couple hours late due to the wind storm that hit Seattle that day, so we got in a visit at the Seattle Science Center while we waited.

It was great to see her and hold her, and her reunion with Sammy and the rest of us that know her was good too. Her trip was really good, and Susan said it was her best escort experience to date - Rebekah is invited to go with her next time she needs to escort little ones home. They brought a baby as far as DC, and Rebekah did a great job of taking care of the little one so Susan says she is always welcome to travel with her.

We then drove 4 more hours home, and again it was an uneventful trip. Lots of talking and laughing, and finally sleeping for all but me.

Now we are all settling in as a family of 13. Lisa says this is like throwing a bunch of sharp knives in a drawer, working the sharp edges off each other over time. By God's grace it will be a short time.

There have been some emotional times, but not very many and they were all handled so well by the kids. Oh what a difference it makes when they just let their emotions out in tears rather than spewing anger at the rest of us.

Surely there is more to come, gentle tears and spewing, but that is all part of this process we are in of taking off sharp edges.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wednesday Morning

This is really lame. We have been home 5 weeks and I am just on Wednesday of our trip. Yep, really lame.

Oh well.

Wednesday is Embassy day if you are going with AAI, so that is what was planned for the afternoon. Gail came by the guest house early to finish paperwork, and we filled the morning with a trip to Opportunity House, which is AAI's new house for most of their special needs kids. Most of these kids were at Layla on my last trips, and I wanted to make sure we got over there to see them all.

The kids were of course wonderful, and we all had fun playing with them, praying for them, visiting and saying goodbye to friends, and visiting the house mothers.

Then we found the kitchen and I finally got to do what I have been wondering about for such a long time - making injera. The mothers in the kitchen were great, and let me watch/help. My try at pouring the batter turned out a little on the ugly side (pretty lumpy) but I am still proud.

We finished the morning with lunch at Layla, which is still my favorite thing to do - sharing a meal with all of those kids. Breaking injera together is what God intended for us, and it is so easy to see why.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Terefu/We'll Get You Ted!

One of the hard things about bringing home new kids (especially in bunches) from Ethiopia is figuring out how old they are, and what their birth date is. We thought we had a system, but that hasn't seemed to work in all cases.

So, we finally figured out dates the other day, only to realize we had missed Terefu's birthday by about a week. Thank God she is filled with grace! We celebrated it about 1 1/2 weeks late, and she was perfectly fine with that.

We had it all set up without her knowing, and when she walked in the dining room full of balloons and decorations and family (just us immediate ones) she wanted to turn around and run back upstairs. She doesn't want to be in the spotlight at all, but we convinced her it was okay.
She covered her face while we sang, and hid behind the stack of presents, but when it came to opening the big 2 gifts, she was all smile. Which leads to the "we'll get you Ted" part of the title.

When I went to Addis in March, my now good friend and brother Ted Burton was there too, visiting his daughter who was also at Layla, but not yet ready to go home.

Ted brought a "wave board" with him, which is a skateboard kind of thing with only one wheel in front and back, and the center of the board pivots. Your back foot goes back and forth and propels you. To someone like me who is seriously skate/ski challenged it looked like instant trouble to me. Ted of course was very popular with the kids at Layla with this thing, and to be honest the only one who got hurt all week was Ted's daughter.

When Ted left he left the thing with his daughter, who then left it with another girl when she went home later this year. So, Terefu spent time with the evil thing, and is quite proficient at it, and REALLY wanted one. Thanks a bunch Ted, now we own one of the ER Trip Wave Boards in pink, and one really smokin' pink helmet designed with space for a ponytail to boot.

She was so happy to get it, and went straight to our street to show us how it was done. The pink helmet and board and that big smile were priceless.

But, I have to confess that this is still more my speed of skateboard/deathboard type travel. Go get 'em Gus!