Saturday, April 30, 2011

Headed for home

After all this time. After all the prayers. After all the hoping, wishing, dreaming, praying, crying, and wondering if and when. It's hard to believe we are finally at this point. Hard to believe we are finally headed for the United States with Sophie Joy in our arms!

Pray for safe travels and peace for the newest addition. She should be fine as long as she is in my arms clawing frantically at my neck. But it's going to be a long 24 hours of travel. And did I mention this girl can really cry?

Seriously thee loudest child I have ever had. And instant flowing tears too. So pray for those sitting near us as well.

For those who were interested in meeting us at the airport to celebrate her home-coming we are planning on arriving in Phoenix on Sunday night (May 1) at 7:53 pm. We should be in terminal 2 arriving on United flight 329 from Denver.

Ella can't wait to get back home and have some angel hair pasta! :) She has been a good trooper throughout, but is missing home and eating food she is used to. And I think we are all looking forward to our nice soft beds!

See you "soon"!

The complete Addink party of 7

Friday, April 29, 2011

Addis at night

The view from our room.

The room also happens to be right under the flightpath of the incoming jets.

Pizza party

One of our main goals while we were here on this trip was to do something fun for the boys at Kolfe. On our first trip, we didn't have a lot of time there and didn't plan well enough to take them anything. Brilliant of us. We saw enough though, enough to know that on our second trip we were going to go back and find some way to treat all the boys.

Thanks to an unexpected check from some very good friends, and some advice from friends at church who sponsor some of the boys, we had an inkling of a plan. But an inkling was about it. We knew the boys didn't get that much to eat, and what they did wasn't all that nutritious. So we figured we would buy out a fruit stand, or a chicken coop, or something.

The staff at the Ethiopian Guest Home helped us arrange it all. Their first suggestion was that we could buy a few sheep, slaughter them there, and have a big cookout. This idea sounded really cool. But then they called the boys, and it turned out that what they really wanted was pizza.

Where on earth do you get enough pizza for 200+ hungry boys in Addis? The staff called around and found a place that said they could make 150 pizzas. We were amazed. Which was appropriate, because the pizza joint didn't pull it off in time. But we did eventually get a whole bunch of pizza, and some hamburgers as well.

Luckily Ephrem's buddies hadn't beaten him up over lack of pizza when we arrived. Actually, they were just lining up for dinner so the timing was perfect.

The boys each got 1/3 of a pizza. It was almost heartbreaking to watch a bunch of boys try to figure out how to split 8 pieces of pizza 3 ways.

The kid in the middle reminded us of Levi... skinny, squirelly, and smily. He squirmed just when I tried to take a picture though.

They all wanted to pose for pictures.

We also got them a bunch of fruit, hopefully enough for a couple of pieces each.

Ella got no food, but hopefully her eyes opened a little. She just kind of stood there taking it all in, with a death grip on her momma.

She did eventually relax enough to actually let go and smile.

Ephrem and Solomon got their care packages.

And hopefully felt some love from their "mommas."

I'm a hoot!

Today I headed back to the US Embassy and picked up Sophie's visa and immigration paperwork. Last step... get on a plane and back to US soil.

Sophie, meanwhile, sported one of the many fashionable outfits packed for the trip.

Even in Ethiopia

Before we left on this trip, I had just enough connection with the real world to know that some big wig in England was getting married soon, and that it was a huge hullabaloo. Given that we fought a whole war to rid ourselves of a king, and have a holiday to celebrate it, it didn't pay much more attention than that. I was just thankful I'd be in Ethiopia during the media circus.

Apparently they are even excited about the wedding here though. When we came down for lunch, guess what was on the TV?

That's right. A bunch of women with absolutely insane headwear. Who wakes up and thinks "A giant blue genie slipper! That's what I need on my forehead!"

Every single lady at the guest house was absolutely glued to the TV. They caught me when I tried to snap a photo though.

Even my wife was watching, claiming it was a real life fairy tale. And Ella was also enthralled.

I think our own little princess even watched for a little bit.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

1 AM rambling thoughts of a sleepy "new" mother

So things seem to be going well with Sophie. However I can't wait to get out of here, get home, and then see what life will really be like. For now, this is what's going on.

- Jason and I can not sleep this trip. I don't know if it's the location (MUCH noisier) or if we are pumped with too much adrenaline or what. All I know is trip one, we slept great. Trip two, we joke about how every night here feels like six. It takes forever to make it until morning.

- They feed the babies at Toukoul in the middle of the night. So while Sophie goes to sleep nicely at 7:30 each night, at midnight she begins thrashing wildly in her pack-n-play. She doesn't cry for food, she doesn't really even wake up all the way, but I get up and feed her none the less. I figure if her body is used to that nutrition I am not going to scale back. Not now. We will figure real life out at home when we adjust to the ten hour time change. That should be fun.

- Sophie is definitely aware her world has changed and she is panicked. She has picked me as her safe place, which is good. When she is in my arms she is happy, silly and VERY wiggly. If I try to pass her to Jason for a moment of reprieve to say, go to the bathroom, she totally flips out. LOUD, LOUD crying with tears streaming down her little cheeks. She wants me and is panicked until placed back in my arms where she immediately stops fussing.

- When I say "Sophie is VERY wiggly" what I mean by that is as I hold her she is frantically trying to climb higher up me. To where, I am not sure. But she has a death grip on my neck or shirt collar at all times. If she could burrow into me, she would. My neck is covered in scratches and war wounds as she is constantly digging in deeper for a better grip. The shirt I wore to dinner tonight is completely ruined, because the neck line is so stretched out. Seriously, the locals at Greenview saw way more of me than they needed to or I ever intended. I need a turtleneck on with this kid!

- Ella adores her new sister and is able to get her to smile or laugh easily. She is a great help to run grab a diaper or toy as needed. She too, is ready to head for home and start "real life." We finished reading the two chapter books we brought, and she is looking for more to do. Tomorrow we better finish up her math homework her teacher sent along. We are so thankful we brought Ella on this trip and just hope she will remember parts of it someday.

-I have a feeling the plane ride home is going to be brutal. I think I will be standing up in some aisle-way with a panicked Sophie clawing me to death for 18 hours. Pray for us, and let's hope Benadryl has a calming effect on her.

- While we were going to ask our family and friends to please respect our choice of not letting others hold Sophie for a period of time, I think Sophie has made that desire very clear as well. LOL! So, while it is exhausting, I don't want to complain. We know it is going to take a long, long time for her to feel safe with us and gain trust. We will be patient and loving and let her claw us to death for years if need be. (I personally hope she will begin clawing daddy too, so I can hand her off from time to time.)

- There is a possessed mosquito buzzing around my head preventing me from sleeping until the call to worship begins at 4 AM. I sure hope he doesn't carry malaria! (remember these were ramblings of a sleepy mother.)

- Oh yeah, pretty sure she is going to go berserk in her car seat on the way home from the airport. Not sure Luke is going to enjoy sitting by her. Also pretty sure I won't be able to convince the Phoenix police that letting her hang from my neck like a rabid koala is a much calmer way to travel. Gonna be lots of adjustments for that little peanut.

- Bottom line, I can not wait to get home! If it didn't cost an arm and a leg we would change our tickets and head home tomorrow night, rather than wait until Saturday. Seriously, the nights here take six days.

- Don't forget to pray us back home! We are going to need it!



We are officially finished, well almost. :)

We just returned from our embassy appointment and we passed! Everything is finished. Jason will go back tomorrow morning to pick up our visa and we are free to leave! So if all goes as planned they should have it ready and waiting for him at 10:00 am. Then I guess we are officially done.

Hip, hip, hooray!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I think today was Wednesday

Today we just stayed "home".

I took a nap.

Jason read and slept.

Ella watched a movie, did homework, read books, colored, wrote, played with her sister, played play dough, did sticker paper dolls, and complained about not having anything to do.

Sophie ate, pooped, napped, played, laughed, "talked", cried, giggled, pooped some more, and ate some more.

It was a good down day. A good day to enjoy being a family.

Tomorrow is our embassy appointment. Pray that all goes well, and our visa is processed and returned to us on Friday as promised.

For Casey's mom

Note stylish shoes, instead of not-so-stylish socks...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Leaving Toukoul, starting a new life! (part three)

Goodbye Toukoul!

First car ride together

Playing with Daddy back at the hotel (Mommy finally shared Sophie)

First bath

Matching pjs!

We are so thankful to God for bestowing this most AMAZING blessing to us.
Thank you God for Sophie Joy Tufah!

At last! (part two)

Ella waiting so "patiently" for her sister to arrive.

The nannie walked in, placed her in our arms and walked out. There we sat, in the office, with a frozen and concerned baby on my lap and the driver ready to go. We were not ready to jump in the van one minute after her being placed in our arms so we asked if we could go into one of the family visiting rooms for a bit. They happily obliged and led us to a receiving room, where we could take it slowly and relax a bit with one another.

It was love at first sight for Ella, but I could have told you that. There is nothing to not love about Miss Sophie.

In fact as Jason and I were looking Sophie over a bit more closely commenting on this or that (like "I think she had chicken pox, look at this") Ella would chime in with a "She's just perfect." What a great big sister!

So we played and played, and the smiles started to appear and it was SO good for a momma's heart.

Then we changed her clothes to get her ready to leave. They had her dressed so nicely, and I kinda wanted to keep her "gotcha day" outfit, but we knew they need the clothes for others. So we popped her into a new outfit and were ready to go.

First day in Addis (part one)

So this morning did not go quite as planned. We hoped to drop some formula off at an orphanage and perhaps play with our friends Bret and Ashley's littles. When we got to the orphanage they would not let us in because they could not get ahold of the director, (who thirty minutes prior told us we were welcome to come).

So after about 40 minutes we were able to locate him and head on into the orphanage. We were able to 'see' little London and Olivia, but it was not the morning we had planned. We thought we could play with them and love on them for their mommy and daddy. London was terrified of us

and only wanted to be in his nannies arms and Olivia was fast asleep.

So off to the next unscheduled stop of the day.

Since we were right down the street from his office, we were able to get a last minute meeting with our lawyer, or "liar" as Ella referred to him. (Jason and I got a good laugh out of that Freudian slip.)

After paper work was completed we asked again about going to see Sophie today. He replied with a "yes, you will go and take her after three." The accent makes communication a little hard at times so we double checked. "Take her, or visit her." To which he replied "She is your child now, you take her."

Okay we were not about to argue with that. Then he adds "We will see. If not today, tomorrow."

Okay then. At the very least we knew we would get to see her today and perhaps, take her. So we rushed back to out guest house. Scarfed down some lunch, and packed our bag for in case they let us take her. And then off we went again with our driver headed for Toukoul.

Ella was a nervous ball of energy. "Are we there yet?" and "Where is she?" as she paced by the window waiting for her sister to appear. And then just like that, she did. Her nanny deposited her in our arms and left. We were now a family of seven.