Monday, March 31, 2008
they were dreaming before! The kids all were happy to wake up and put
on their new clothes! After that we had breakfast at the Hilton... it
was delicious and the kids were so glad to have injera, tibs and doro
wat... at the buffet their eyes lit up and we were so glad to have
someone explain buffets to them in Amharic! They also tried pancakes
and thought they were good too! After that we went to CWA office to
sign paper and pay the remaining fees. I was very glad to get rid of
the money and the paperwork was easy! The kids had fun playing with
their old friends and speaking Amharic. We saw many interesting things
while doing the paperwork like donkeys, kids (little ones) carrying full
kegs, people selling spices, tires, clothes and underwear... it was so
much fun! When we returned to the hotel we had hamburgers (for the
first time) and then went to do some shopping. We needed some BIG
Amharic/English dictionaries and some other books in both Amharic and
English. We now have Cinderella in Amharic. We also bought some balls
and jump ropes for CWA -- the kids were in need of some toys! One of
the highlights of the day was visiting Ben's cousins Ethiopian family
and taking presents! That was truly a memorable and fantastic
experience. It was also the first time that our kids really started
talking to each other and getting animated! We got to tell Grandma all
the great things that are happening for the kids in America and she was
so glad to know they were doing well! It was unforgettable! After that
we went to a great Italian restaurant where our driver translated for us
as we asked the kids all sorts of questions about their mom and their
house and school -- it was so cool. The kids most wanted us to know
that they want to go to church! Maybe we will go on Sunday after all.
We are SO blessed! Marta Grace told us that in Wolayta she sang in her
church choir and wants to sing again! We told her that she can learn to
play the piano too! :) Life is good! Addisu and Esrael Jakob are doing
great! Addisu chose to read the Amharic dictionary instead of swim
tonight while Esrael Jacob went crazy in the pool! It was so fun to
watch! Aunt Rebecca has been fabulous and we are having so much fun
with her! Tomorrow is a visit to a museum and then our Embassy
appointment where we will get the kids visas and then go get our German
transit visas.. after that we will go to a dance show. Seriously, never
in my wildest dreams did I dream it would be so good! I know that this
is probably just the Honeymoon period -- but it is a blast!!!! Have a
great day friends!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
- elevator ride - Marta and Esrael still are grabbing the bar each time, although Esrael has figured out the buttons and is enjoying that
- swimming - seriously hysterical! We will be starting swimming lessons soon
- fruit juices from the fruit bar in GLASSES!
- dinner at a restaurant WITH pop
- pajamas (I think)
- beauty salon - Marta has a gorgeous head of hair
- putting together a puzzle - thanks Paige, Amy, Andrea and Pam
- Watching ESPN
- Talking to Danny and Lilly and Grandma on the phone - that was so cool
- playing on the toys at the Hilton - they ALL loved the slide, even though we had to make :) Addisu try it!
I don't know where the pictures are, but we will post them later today! Love you all... please keep praying as we continue our adventure. Esrael has a bad cold and we are going to find meds today. Ben, Rebecca and I are feeling better and pray that we continue to feel good!
website? I want to make sure the email posts are working.
Also, more photos are uploading to my Flickr account right now:
I probably won't get to
captions tonight, but they sort of tell the story on their own (they are
shown in reverse chronological order).
working, but figured I'd give it a go today anyhow because today was so
We went and picked up the kids today! They are absolutely wonderful, as
expected. I think they're also a bit overwhelmed, but that was also
expected. Brooke and Ben are both extremely happy. This is definitely
the smilingest day I've had in a long, long time. Although Addisu and
Marta speak some English, it's still difficult to explain a lot of
things (snow, for instance). Most of the communication today has
consisted of smiles, hugs, and kisses -- lots of kisses from Marta!
We didn't do much other than drive over to CWA, pick up the kids, and
come back to the hotel/resort. Brooke, Ben and the kids went swimming,
but I was rounding up sunblock and sneaking in a quick snack, so I
missed it. Dinner involved a lot of attempts to explain things that
usually ended in laughter. I think it's wonderful how much Addisu,
Marta, and Esrael all smile their beautiful smiles. They seem to have
good senses of humor, too, which will help the transition a lot, I
think. The kids all like pizza and Esrael really likes french fries.
Unfortunately, we only have internet access in my hotel room, so you'll
have to wait for a first-hand account of the day from Brooke. They are
all upstairs in their room, bonding, watching TV and by now, probably
sleeping. Tomorrow, we head out to do paper work type things and will
probably do some shopping or fit in another activity. I don't think
we've decided exactly what yet, but it will undoubtedly be very
interesting and new!
Lots of love to my other nephew and nieces, and anyone else who happens
along. What an amazing day!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Giddy, nervous, tired, excited and frustrated are the emotions we have been through today -- the good thing is that when the 3 of are tired we think we are HYSTERICAL, the other passengers haven't been so sure! Alvin and The Chipmunks showed on our last flight... Danny and Lilly we can't wait to watch it with all you kids when we get home. Do you think Addisu, Marta, and Esrael will like it too?
We are so glad to be here and cannot believe that we will be there soon -- Do you know the song 'Here I am Lord' that is what keeps going through my head --
Pray for plenty of connection times and that all our bags get to Addis! :)
Ben and Brooke
PS... Danny, Lilly and Addy - We love you and can't wait to call you on the phone to let you talk to the kids!!! Be good for Grandma and Grandpa and have fun at the movies tomorrow!
We just got to talk to the blond kids... they are doing great! They all are having fun with Grandma and Grandpa and they slept great! I am so glad!
The bad news of the day is that I forgot my hair curler for my bangs. It is this velcro-thingy that I wear each morning to give my bangs a bit of "curl." Pretty much everyone I see each morning, including the ladies at Some Bagels" get to see my hair curler... but no longer! I have about 30 of them and they are ALL at home, or in the car, or in my purse, or -- you get the picture! So this morning I borrowed scissors from the front desk guy and did a little trim job! It is not pretty (sorry, Kristen). My sister said that it looks like I cut my hair at 5 am... ooops! Ben and Rebecca have also entertained themselves with a whole William Hung (the guy from American Idol a couple years ago) comedy routine about my hair... oh well! :)
We would love to hear your comments... they will take a while to appear, but we are excited to hear from you all!
Boys and Girls at school... be good today! Smile for Ms. B and get to WORK!!!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I just finished deleting my To Do List!!!! I can’t believe it! My bags are packed, my kids are taken care of, work is finished, the grocery list is made. I don’t know what I would do without my friends who are taking care of us while we are gone! J One friend is off to Costco, another is watering plants, another is cleaning our house, another is coming to make us dinner for when we get home on Saturday AND make sure our house is perfect! J My friend Kelly offered to clean out my fridge while we are gone because I never got it done… I have FABULOUS friends! J Ben’s parents are keeping an eye on the dogs AND the kids! WOW! We are blessed!
So my To Do List is gone and we are on our way…
Stay tuned for more!
Ben and Brooke
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
Hello Boys and Girls,
I wanted to remind you to be super good for Ms. B while I am gone. Remember to listen well and work hard! I can’t wait to show you the pictures from our trip. I will see you in April!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Danny is very upset about us going to Ethiopia… partly because he will miss us and partly because Ben will be gone for Opening Day of the Mariner’s! That kid is SO much like his father! It is actually pretty cute!
Tonight we told the kids we would like to take them somewhere special for dinner – the last time we will eat out as a family of 5! We thought they would pick Red Robin, IHOP… They picked Denny’s! So tonight we will be feasting on Denny’s for our special dinner J we are so excited!
Travel plans are coming along well except for a minor hang up with our prescriptions for stomach ailments. Cousin Amy and friends saved the day and we will pick them up tonight. On another note, we found out today that the Addis airport is next door to a slaughter house… so the HORRIBLE smell is only at the airport, phew! The packing is crazy and not even close to as well planned and organized as I had hoped – but I WILL finish it tonight! Hooray!
Monday, March 24, 2008
We are putting together a scrap book for the kids with pictures, letters and newspaper clippings about the journey to bring them home. I wonder if they will ever be able to comprehend the enromity of kindness and support? I still don't know that I can... The verse that comes to me time and time again
Our kids were about to be forgotten. Addisu was nearly at that "unadoptable age" and Marta was getting close - but you all heard the call and helped us bring them home. Thank you again and again!
A special note to TEAM B and J from Spokane ... you guys ROCK!!!!! We will probably never know any of you - but we are so thankful for each of you for supporting B and J as they worked to bring Addisu, Marta, and Esrael home. (B and J were the couple who had originally planned to adopt the kids, J was diagnosed with breast cancer right before they were to finalize their paperwork) J wrote to me recently saying this...
PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!! Your beautiful kids will finally be home!!!!!!! We pray for all of you every night!!!! I have sent your blog to everyone that gave money to us - hope you don't mind!!! There were so many people that loved those kids, so if you're getting lots of hits - thats why! God bless and we look forward to following your adventure as it unfolds!!!! We are convinced the kids were never ours - but that God had this in mind all along.
I took naps this weekend… 2 of them! I think it was a defense mechanism – kind of like opossum’s play dead when they are afraid! I am not afraid – but overwhelmed with packing comes close! I cannot believe we are leaving in 3 days for AFRICA!!!!!!!!!!!! My list of to-do’s is growing and shrinking. I love crossing things off of it, but then seem to add more every minute! The kids are getting anxious about our trip. I feel so bad that we are leaving them!
Here are some specific prayer requests:
Danny, Lilly, and Addy that they stay healthy and safe while we are gone. That they would enjoy their time with Grandma and Grandpa
Our health as we fly and travel – Ben has been fighting a cold! We REALLY don’t want to get any stomach ailments while we are there – that would be HORRIBLE!
Travel plans would go well – no major delays.
That when we pick up the kids they are excited to see us!
That Ben and I feel a parent’s love for them right away!
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Can you hear me singing???? We have an Embassy Date of April 1st. We will be leaving on March 27th and can hardly believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh! MY! GOSH! We have so much to do! Thank you for your prayers!
Monday, March 17, 2008
Now onto one of my favorite topics... St. Patrick's Day. 14 years ago today, I met the man of my dreams! Ben and I were both at Cal Lu and were out for St. Patty's Day. We were at the favorite dance club (yes, we were dancing) for us college kids and a few minor celebrities. Ben was wearing his Sonics sweatshirt (I eventually ruined it in the wash) and looked super cute. Our college was only about 2700 students so we knew that we both went to school together - but I didn't know his name. We started dancing together and talking a bit just before my friends were ready to leave for the night. Ben and I said goodnight (I gave him a kiss on the cheek) and I went home. Ben stayed for another hour or two - you will have to ask him about how he got home that night - it is one of his favorite stories! :) A few days later I made up a super lame excuse to stop by his room and found him reading on the couch. I thought "wow, he is cute AND he likes to read." He has told me since that it was the only book he read in college... and it was just on that night... :) He asked me out... well actually he didn't have a car so we rented a movie and watched it in my dorm room. It was a horrible movie but the date was fun. The rest is history... :) Most of my friends (and several of his) were so surprised that we fell in love. He was a hunter from Washington and I was a vegetarian from California... somehow it just works! I love that we bring out the best in each other and I am so glad he is mine!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
I have spent the past hour looking at our budget, totaling costs and have discovered that we are left with $2270 in debt from this adoption. How is that possible? How (when we used to live paycheck to paycheck) is is possible that this is all that is left? How? We are NEAELY debt free, still have a (small) savings account, are tithing more... how did this happen? We have scrimped a bit (OK, a lot) but we were still able to give. My friend Lisa gave me a fabulous spreadsheet to budget my money, and that helped. I started reading Total Money Makeover (I think that is the name) before we decided to adopt and kept thinking... "Dave Ramsey would not like what we are about to do." But, we knew God's leading - that was so clear. When we began this adventure we were sure that we would have to take out a loan for $10000 and now will only be left with 1/4 of that. Thanks to the "Economic Stimulus" thing-a-ma-jig we will get to pay that off too! How cool is that? This is probably more than any of you need to know about our budget... but I am just so very excited that God has (once again) taken care of EVERY NEED!
Thank you to all of you who have prayed, donated, laughed (with me, not at me), rejoiced, and traveled with us on this first part of our adventure! I cannot imagine what the next part will bring, but I know that God has the details, supplied the friends, and wants our newest children to come home!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
On top of that, I can't figure out how much dark chocolate I need to take. Somehow this has taken precedence over EVERYTHING else... Dark chocolate is supposed to combat Altitude sickness issues. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is 7,726 miles above sea level and we were told to bring dark chocolate... so how much? A bar, 2 bars, 200... my family knows well that when I get stressed out I often buy very strange things. Like the time I had to stay up all night for a brain scan test (I was fainting) and spent 2 hours at WalMart from 2am-4am... I bought THE UGLIEST pair of shoes anyone has ever seen. I think the lady on Mama's Family might have worn them with pride, but NO ONE ELSE WOULD BE CAUGHT DEAD in them... well except for me at 4am. I actually wore them for about 2 days until I caught back up on my sleep and realized how hideous they were. So now, if you see me walking out of Fred Meyer with more than 3 bars of dark chocolate - kindly call my husband and DON'T let me drive myself home!
Monday, March 10, 2008
I authorize ticket purchases for ___________________________
I wrote - Ben S..., Brooke S..., Adisu S..., Marta S... and Esrael S...
It was so surreal/weird/amazing/perfect to write their names like that, especially now that we are officially theirs... I remember calling the pediatrician for the first time and making Danny's appointment. I remember saying, "I need to make an appointment for my son" and being amazed that he was mine. Today I was amazed that they were mine and I could buy tickets for them and schedule appointments for them... they are mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe it, or is it just me thinking this is so very wonderful?
I was also thinking about their names. As most of you know we aren't quite sure what to do with Adisu's name. Especially because we already have an Addy and Adisu sounds quite feminine. We have a whole list of options but I keep going back to a comment from a friend of mine. "Their name is the only thing that they will bring." That's it... no clothes, no toys, no pictures, no letters. The clothes they wear when we pick them up have to be returned to the orphanage. The only thing that Adisu will have is the name his mother gave him. How do we change that? At this point, our plan is to have a translator help us talk to him about it all. Maybe there is another pronunciation, maybe he has a nickname, maybe he loves his middle name... or maybe we just have an Adisu and an Addyson. I don't know but I can certainly add it to my prayers knowing that it will be fine.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
We decided that we should start packing for the kids now, maybe try and get all 3 of the kids totally packed by next weekend! EEEEKKKKK! Easier said than done!
We are also having this wonderful yard sale next week and have been busy getting things ready! I think there is a special place in heaven for in-laws like mine... if I haven't said this before - they are WONDERFUL!!! Grandpa built beds and shelves and regularly takes the kids to school for us! Grandma is working hard to organize this yard sale without much help from Ben and I because we are so excited we just walk around in circles in the garage! :) Really, they are wonderful!!!
Tomorrow, I am REALLY hoping we can get this handy shelf thing installed in the kitchen! Ben bought it for me for Christmas and it is still sitting here waiting to be put in! I am also hoping to get Israel's clothes all packed! Add that to work and Lilly's gymnastic class and it will be a very full day! :)
On another note, recently while Ben and Rebecca (my sister) were proof reading national board papers for me they noticed that I LOVE COMMAS. EXCLAMATIONS AND CAPITAL LETTERS!!!! If this drives you as crazy as it does them... I, am, sorry! :) REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, March 7, 2008
- labeled everything in my house - when you come visit, you will probably laugh at me.
- bought cups, tubs and towels in red, green, blue, pink, yellow and purple. Each of the kids gets a color - for the rest of their life :)
- cleaned the garage
- bought a couple more rubbermaid tubs to store sheets, sweatshirts etc under the beds. (I always say that my dad should have bought stock in rubbermaid as soon as I got my first teaching job)
- cleaned the bathroom cupboards and cabinets
- bought socks that are color coded for the girls
- woke up at 3am wondering what else I could/should label
I can't believe that I am now the mom of 6. I woke up a couple times in the middle of the night just amazed at how exciting all of this is! Wow!
THIS JUST IN
We just recieved a $1600 matching grant from Thrivent for our Yard Sale next Saturday! They will match dollar for dollar the money we earn up to $1600! I can't believe it!
Thank you, THRIVENT!!!!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
- gone to work
- returned some things to Kohls
- Went to WalMart to buy every medecine known to man - as advised by fellow Africa travelers
- made soup for soup supper
- found my drivers license that has been missing for a week
- priced airline tickets to Ethiopia - not pretty
- talked to my friend Anna until she couldn't stand it anymore and peeled out of my driveway... :)
- played with the kiddos
- did some yard work
- played with the dogs
- ordered some black hair care products - while stressing about doing Marta's hair
soon I will go to soup supper - and then take a tylenol pm - say some major prayers and go to sleep... check back tomorrow for the news!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Today at 7:44 p.m.
I finished my portfolio for National Boards!
I am beyond excited to be done and pray that my work was
CLEAR, CONCISE and CONSISTENT!!!
Those are 3 words I never need to hear again! :)
In a few days, when the anxiety wears off I will begin studying for the test portion of the National Boards - but for now, I will enjoy being done with the portfolio! On Thursday I hope to be posting that court has passed, please remember to keep us in your prayers when you fall asleep on Wednesday night!