Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful Turkey

Noah's preschool did a thankful turkey project where each student crafted a turkey and then the teacher typed up what the student said they were thankful for. Last night there was a large potluck and the parents got to view all of the recent art projects. Almost all of the students in Noah's class said they were thankful for some type of a toy such as their favorite dinosaur or Lightening McQueen. I was one proud mama when I came to Noah's turkey and saw what he was thankful for.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, Noah then proceeded to bicker with the brother he is so thankful for throughout the rest of the evening. So while it's not hugs and kisses and kum bay ya 24/7 at Casa Houston, we are all thankful for each other and especially to have Aliyah Meseret at home.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Our first trip to Ethiopia had a lot of challenges with us being one of the first travel groups to go on the new two trip requirement. Thankfully, the second trip had less issues and overall went really well. We stayed at a different guest house this time and met a lot more adoptive families from both our agency and other agencies. It was so wonderful to share this life changing experience with some truly wonderful families. We were able to have Meseret stay with us the entire trip this time. Besides the embassy appointment to get her visa to bring her to the US and our visit to the orphanage, there were also several cultural outings offered by our agency such as a trip to the national museum, shopping and a traditional meal and coffee ceremony. Here are some more pictures from the second trip.

Ethiopia has a very high unemployment rate so it's not uncommon to see large groups of people sitting in public areas passing the time.

This is a traditional style dwelling that we saw on the drive through the country to the orphanage about 3 hours away from Addis. Although as Pete pointed out I somehow managed to get a picture of the only stone dwelling as most of them were built with sticks or mud.

Everywhere we went, animals shared the road with the cars.

It's not uncommon to see men walking with their arms around each other or holding hands.

The traditional coffee ceremony where they roast the beans. It smells SOOO good!

Mezi knew exactly how to eat the stew with her injera (the flat bread.) We are practicing making injera now that we are home.

An 18 cent cup of coffee.

Mezi is very observant and mimics everything we do. With two older brothers to show her the ropes she is adapting to her new life and home very quickly. Needless to say we feel very blessed!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cocoon Stage

We are home! I will post more about our second trip (which was amazing!) later. Above is one of my favorite pictures from this trip though. For now we are calling our daughter Mezi, which is an abbreviation of her nick name Meseret, because that is what she knows and responds to. She loves bracelets so we bought her a few on our shopping trip the last day as well as the hat she is wearing.

Mezi did great on the flight but it was still oh so looong. 18 hours flying time plus a five hour layover in Frankfurt makes for a very tired travel group. Our dear friend Kate was so kind to take time out from a get together at her home to come pick us up at the airport.

This was the first morning home and the boys were arguing over who got to have Mezi on their lap. She took to the boys right away and follows them all over the house. I think having older kids is really helping her transition because after all, she is used to having lots of other children around all the time. Our goal was to just keep Mezi at home this week while the boys stay in their normal routine. However, this morning it was obvious that she wanted to go with them when they left for school as she put her shoes on while they put on theirs so she may start going with them for drop offs and pick ups sooner than we anticipated.

It amazes us with how quickly she is adapting, it's hard to believe we've only been home a few days! However, for every typical toddler moment like this we have, she also has times were she is obviously scared or confused. She likes Pete and is getting more comfortable with him but when she is really tired or scared she wants me.

She also very quickly learned the game of dropping things for mom and dad to pick up. Right now we are doing our very best to spoil her. A big part of this is establishing trust that we will meet her needs. Nick really seems to get this and tries to find toys to play with her and ways to make her smile. Noah is taking a little longer to adjust to his new big brother role which is understandable since he is no longer the youngest. For now we are just so thankful to be home and how well our daughter is adjusting to her family and home. If you had told us this summer that we would have her home before Thanksgiving we wouldn't have believed it. It's not hard to guess what we are thankful for this year :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nick's Corner

Brought to you by Nicholas, typed by Mom.

Mesi came home yesterday. I taught her how to say ball. She is a good little sister and I like to play with her. She is eating a lot. I like having a little sister. She also like lollipops and bread. She likes to play with balls and cars and bracelets.

More to come from mom later...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Beat Goes On

It's crazy to think that two weeks ago we were in Ethiopia and that life at home just continues without missing a beat. That means soccer practices, games, homework and of course Halloween. The boys weren't trying for a theme but Noah did get a kick out of saying that he was Nick's father. And I just happened to have a Princess Leah outfit from last year so I joined in the family act.

As much as we are consumed in the day to day routine at home, we are eagerly counting down the days until we can return to Ethiopia and bring our daughter home. We got a very unexpected surprise that our paperwork went through faster than originally thought which meant we could return even sooner! For anyone who has been following this process (which is coming up on three years), delays have been more the norm for us so we were thrilled! The last few days we have been running around buying all of the things that we want to take on the second trip with us. Another adoptive mom had recommended a back child carrier to help with bonding so Pete went and got one this weekend. The carrier can support up to 40 pounds so our very own 40 pounder was willing to help try it out. Noah thought it was hilarous and Nick was wishing he were a few pounds lighter so he could have tried it as well.