Saturday, May 17, 2008

Our First Week Home in Maine

Well it's been a week of firsts; Ride in the truck, 4 wheeler and tractor, seeing the ocean, animals, pasture and local diner, eating barbeque, hamburgers, chips and McDonalds(which she doesn't like). She loved taking pictures with prom dates Sat. , Sunday school and I even got her into a Swim class at the Y. Sounds like too much , but she really is willing to go along and try anything.
Right now she's writing letters at the desk next to me. Selam is such a great fit for our family. Last night we sat around a camp fire and just practiced conversational English with her. Erica has bonded nicely with her and Ross loves being the older brother.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Back From Ethiopia

Yes, We made it home and glad to be here. Ethiopia was a great experience. The people are wonderfull, kind and effectionate, which are all attributes of Selam. They'll always be a part of her. The poverty in Addis did get to me after awhile, but we needed to experience it to understand Selam's background. I have many pictures and will share more on my blog in a few days. Bob rose to the occassion as he always does, even after much reluctance. He took care of all the paperwork while I was there, working with the US and German embassy. He ate more of the Ethiopian food than I did without much difficulty. We ate, worked, bought from and danced with these wonderfull people and will always appreciate their culture.

After the 20 hrs. of traveling we're home today acquainting Selam with the house. She is very organized, clean, loves to do writing and reading. Her english is minimal, but she's eager to learn without frustration. We visited her orphanage of 60 children in a very small space enclosed by concrete walls with barbed wire fense. As I gave out 12 jump ropes, and taught them some new skills as they glowed with enthusiasm. I'll never forget their faces. Bob played a little soccer with the boys as I reminded him he has gotten what he always wanted: a team of orphans. I caught a glance occasionally from him and knew he was saying, "yes, we can only take home one".She cried when we left her much loved nannies at the orphanage, but has had no meltdowns since. It seems that she's only looking forward and is proud to say "I live in America"
I look forward to the time I have with her now and will be in touch.

The Lord's (Isaiah 44:1-6)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tomorrow we leave!!

We're finally on our way. Enough of this preparing and preparing.
It would like to be able to blog from ET but not sure on this yet.

Let's remember:

"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all you ways."
Psalm 91:11

Adoption Itinerary

April 26th –May 6th
Saturday, April 26 Arrive at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Flight: LH590
--Obtain Visa in Bole International Airport
-- greeted by driver He will hold an America World sign.
-- will pick-up outside baggage claim.
--Check in at Hilton
--Dinner on your own-see restaurant list and/or Rachel for dining options
Sunday, April 27 Easter
--Relax in hotel or attend church service
--Lunch/Dinner on your own-see restaurant list and/or Rachel for dining options
Monday, April 28 Transitional Home Visit! --Driver will pick-up after breakfast
--Change money
--Trip to supermarket/ Shopping
--Lunch and Family Restaurant (included in travel package)
--Transitional Home visit to meet Children
--Dinner @ Yod Abyssinia for Ethiopian food and cultural dancing, leave at 6:00pm (included in travel package)
Tuesday, April 29 Gotcha Day
--Coffee Ceremony and pick up children at Transition Home
-- Lunch @ Garden Paradise (included in travel package)
--Downtime at the Hilton pool area
--Paperwork meeting at 5:00pm in Hilton lobby (only one parent required)
--Dinner on your own
Wed., April 30 Consulate Appointment
--Morning-on your own at the hotel for breakfast and lunch
--Meet in lobby at 12:15
--1:30: Consulate appointment-bring passports and adoption documents
--Dinner at the Makush Restaurant (included in travel package)
Thursday, May 1 Kids Care Day
--Visit Kids Care Orphanage
--Lunch @ Blue Top’s
--Lion Zoo
--Dinner on your own at the Hilton Hotel
Friday, May 2 Sight Seeing
--Morning downtime at the hotel
--Picnic lunch at Entoto Mountain
--Optional dinner at Island Breeze, meet in lobby at 5:30
Saturday, May 3 Depart from Addis Flight: LH591

Friday, April 18, 2008

Food in Ethiopia

Cultural Lesson: Food
A Meal in EthiopiaA meal in Ethiopia is an experience. Like any other part of their culture, it is community oriented and relational! And it all revolves around injera. What is injera? It is the sourdough pancake-like bread of Ethiopia. It uses a grain called Tef, which is not found in the United States. Injera serves many purposes….not only is it consumed as part of the meal, it is also a "tablecloth" or plate, and an eating utensil. The injera is spread out on a mesob, a handmade wicker table/tray with a dome cover. The entire mesob of injera is covered with an assortment of individual stews and sauces, which contain meats, vegetables, and lentils (see picture!). Ethiopians are known to prepare the hottest and most peppery food in all of Africa, using what is called Ber-beri spice. To eat, you tear off a piece of injera roll and use it to grab your choice of food (feel free to mix)…then, put it all into your mouth! Everyone eats from the same table. Don't be surprised if the person sitting beside you wants to feed you…this is very cultural. The word belonging to this act is "Enibla" which means "let's eat together." When all the food and injera have been consumed, the meal is over! Of course, then comes coffee…

Monday, April 14, 2008

Packing and Preparing

Only 11 days left before travel. We're shopping, buying nanny gifts, collecting important papers for the Embassy in ET to obtain visas. Last weekend we all made the bedroom shift, so Selam could have the room closest to us (within hearing distance) . New bedspread and pink dresser and we're ready.
I made great progress in preparation for ESOL (english for speakers of other languages). A wonderfull lady who teaches this sat down with me and gave me great ideas and usefull resources to be on our way to teaching Selam our language. She was very impressed that Selam already knew the alphabet and could read 3 letter words. The rest we'll have to take as it comes.
The first few weeks will be very exciting. She'll learn alot as she goes along with us, in the garden, on walks and of course, working in the barn. By the way, if you don't already know, we are ardent hobby farmers with 2 horses, 4 oxen, 1 steer, 10 chickens, 2 rabbits and 150 turkeys in season. I guess she'll learn her farm animals first.
I can't wait to show her the beautiful Maine coast.
Family members, don't worry, we're putting together a book of all of you for her to be familiar with.
Untill later.....

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come come to you. John 14:18

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Getting Ready to Travel April 26th

Yes, we've just heard we're supposed to have our flights set for April 26th.
Things are really starting to move now. We've been in the process since last March.
Kinda like a 12 month pregnancy. Friends at Clinton Elem. lavished me with gifts for Selam last week to prepare for her arrival. Their such a supportive bunch there, and Albion Elem. (the other school I work at) are planning a nice breakfast with us to get to know her after she comes because she will be attending there.

At home Erica has officially left the teen years by turning 20. The day before Tyler turned 18, so I have 2 very independent young adults in our family. We are so pround of their work ethic, goals and desire to serve the Lord. Our Children are all as anxious to add Selam to our family as we are. We're all ready to add her wonderfull Ethiopian culture to ours. The more we learn about Ethiopian history and culture the more we're excited to see her. Ross (our 14 yr. old) is our foreign language expert, being knowledgeable in French and learning languages, so He'll be a big help.

This week America World highlighted an interview with Selam on their blog.

The transition home now has an English teacher that can get them started before they head for their new families in America. He did this interview with her.

Rachel's Letters
April 02, 2008
Letter from Rachel
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Transition Home HappeningsWe are happy to announce that we have hired a teacher at the transition home! His name is Michael…he is a Christian, fluent in English, and is in his third year of college in order to become a teacher. Michael will be coming four mornings a week and working with the children on their English, reading, writing, and Bible studies. It is our hope that this further prepares the children for their adoptive families.

Child Interview:
Life here from a 10-year old girl’s perspectiveWhat do you like about the Transition Home? I’m very happy living here. I like to play with the kids and the toys. I love all the staff and I don’t like it when some of them leave to go to their homes at night.

What is something you love to do? I love going to church.
I wish I could spend the whole Sunday there. I like learning lots of things. Last week we learned that we have to respect the things God has given us. Plus, after church we get to go to the pastry shop and eat cakes and drink orange soda.

What do you think America will be like?
(with a huge smile) I think the country is beautiful. I have seen pictures of the beach and lakes, but they also seem kinda scary.

Why are you excited about being adopted?
Because I love my adoptive family and I’m ready to see them.

What will you want your new family to know about Ethiopia?
I will tell them how much I love the people in Ethiopia. I can teach them about the cultural dresses and the food.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Court Date

Well our adoption passed court in Ethiopia. Now our in country staff is preparing Selam's passport, birth Cert. and adoption decree. They say we'll fly by end of April.
At home in Maine we're still shoveling snow and shifting bedrooms, while getting ready for our adventure to Ethiopia. We've had wonderfull support from family in New Jersey, work and friends. All seems to be falling into place. One of Selam's little friends, Hebron, was adopted by a family in Ohio and has contacted us so they can stay in touch when she comes.