Welcome to Rob and Candy's Blog

We are going PINK- we are adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. We'll be sharing our journey to adopt our daughter!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gotcha day

Tuesday was a crazy day!  I woke up at 2:45 and could not go back to sleep.   At 9:30 AM we loaded up the van with all the gifts and went to the Embassy for scedule our appointment.  Robel was told we should come back at 1:00 pm.  We headed to a market (we did not go to the post office) and we had one hour to purchase things.  We all had to barter which made things interesting.
After the market we went to lunch.  Robel and I both had upset stomachs.  I took one bite of my meal and decided I shouldn't eat anything.  (by dinner time I was feeling much better).  Then we went to the TH to pick up our children.  Of course, Henry was sleeping so I had to wake him up.  The nanny asked me if I had a bottle.  A bottle?  um no, I was told he didn't drink from a bottle.  The nanny informed me he does drink a bottle 2 times a day... UGH... so the nanny gave me a bottle and then asked if I had formula..... Formula??  I asked.  She gave me some formula and then showed me how much to mix.  Over prepared Mommy was feeling VERY under prepared.  The nanny then asked if I has a Diaper bag, diapers, wipes, clothes.  I'm sure she was very worried that I was COMPLETELY clueless.     I said- Yes, I have that (thank goodness!)  We headed to the Embassy.  Nikki came to my rescue tonight and gave me an extra bottle and a fast flow nipple!!  She also gave me a pacifire since I didn't think to bring one....
The embassy was easy,  None of us brought any electronic gear so getting through security was easy.  We were asked a few questions and then we were approved!  Robel will pick up the VISA's Wednesday morning.
After the Embassy we went back to the TH to hand out the Nanny gifts and the donations.  We stayed at the TH for a couple hours.  Henry's nanny showed me how they give him a bath and lotion him up.  He stands in the bath tub while being washed.  She dressed him (bring your own clothes) and then she said goodbye.  She loves Henry so much it was so hard to watch the tearful goodbye.  The nanny and head nurse left the TH with an infant...  We hung out for a little while longer, I watched Henry get fed his snack and then it was time to go.  The Nanny and the nurse were gone so I quickly asked another nanny about the daily schedule:
5:30 AM - wake up and washing
7:30 AM - breakfast
11:30 - Lunch
afternoon nap and then bottle
4:30 snack
7:30 dinner
8:30 go to bed with a bottle (he falls asleep in the nanny's arms)
When we left the TH Henry was crying for his mama... his nanny... clearly he wanted to stay.  He was fine a few minutes later.  He has been great ever since.  We all met for dinner on the 6th floor.  Henry has spaghetti with meat sauce.  It was all over him and the table cloth by the time we were done... I had forgotten how messy toddlers can be when eating. 
After dinner we washed him off, put him in his PJ's then gave him a bottle.  He sat in my lap drank a few sips of the bottle then feel asleep!  He fell asleep at 7:30.  He slept through the night.  It's 6:30 AM on Wednesday so I should run upstairs to see how he is doing.
All in all, yesterday was a sweet, sweet day!  We are sooo glad Henry is part of our family!
oh, if you gave me pictures to take for the nannies... they were so excited!  They were walking around showing off their pictures to one another.  It was a sweet sight.
Patty- I was able to trace the foot!   I will scan it as soon as I get home.

Monday, December 29, 2008

We met Henry today!

The Savages arrived this morning!  woo-hoo!! 
We had lunch at the Hilton which is so beautiful!  Then we went to the transition home.  This is the day that we have all been waiting for.  Since our group was so small they took us in to the transition home one by one for a private meeting with our children.  Henry was sound asleep when we arrived.  We took his picture while he was sleeping but we decided not to wake him up. We played with some of the other children who were not napping until Henry woke up.   
When Henry finally woke up Rob picked him up and he cried.  I held him and he cried... he really wanted a nanny not us.  We were prepared for this reaction but it broke my heart, not for me but for Henry.  He finally feels safe in the Transition Home and now we are here to take him home.  Henry will have to deal with another loss in his life and he is not quite 2 years old.  The good news is he is attached to his nanny so he should attach to us over time. 
The nanny brought me a sippy cup but Henry was not interested in it.  She brought me a bottle and Henry's eye lit up. I fed Henry the bottle which helped him calm down.  I tried feeding Henry Cheerios.  Henry was not interested in the Cheerios until Sherry's little boy walked over and wanted some.  My boy got jealous.... jealous of sharing food or sharing me?  It's probably the food but I liked to see that he had an opinion.  Rob tried to carry Henry on several occasions.  Henry cried with him too.  I took Henry outside without the older children and the nannies within sight.  Henry finally held on to me and was much more comfortable being with me which is a sweet feeling. 
I blew bubbles to see if Henry would be interested.  He was not but many of the toddlers loved them.  I have some sweet pictures of your toddler children chasing bubbles.   
The new transition home is very large and has lots of room for the children to play.  The doctor was checking on the children while we were there.   He went over Henry's medical record and his concerns with me.  Henry has a cold which needs to be treated now before it drops into his lungs which is typical in this climate.  I brought all the medication the doctor recommended so we will be able to treat him tomorrow when we pick him up.  We will need to take him to the doctor as soon as we arrive home. 
All in all we had a good day at the transition home.  we will go back tomorrow to pick up our children!
In a few minutes we are going out for traditional Ethiopian food.  My tummy is not ready for Ethiopian food but I will go with the group to see the dancing.  More later!

Today we meet Henry

I woke up this morning at 3:45- I was hungry and could not sleep.  I ate a banana and tried to go back to sleep but I couldn't.  My stomach is the same as yesterday.  I hope I can make it all day.  This morning we meet at 10AM as a group, then have lunch and finally to the Transitional home!!  We meet Henry this afternoon!  I have Henry's backpack ready.  I have bubbles, snacks, toys and other fun things.  I cannot wait to see his personality, what he likes and does not like..... 
I forgot to mention in yesterday's post that while we were having dinner with the Sparrs the power went off!  The staff lit candles and turned on a lantern.   About 15 minutes later the power came back on.  We brought a flash light just in case the power goes off while we are in our room... fyi- the rooms all have candles and matches.
for other AWAA families (moms)- if you get cold easily, make sure you bring slippers, a warm robe and warm PJs when you travel.  The rooms can get chilly.  We brought our white noise maker, it drowns out the street noise and morning prayers.  Yesterday was a special Holy day so the Orthodox church started their prayers on the loud speaker at 4:30 AM. 
We have tried to call the US several times but have not been able to get through.  My sister on the other hand is able to call us without a problem. 
Igor is doing well!  Thank you for praying foe him

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 2

This morning I woke up at 2:30AM (ET time) and could not go back to sleep. My tummy felt better and I sucessfully ate a banana.  woo-hoo!   Thank you all for praying.  I can feel your prayers her in ET.  I felt well enough to attend church this morning.  We enjoyed the service.  Robel drove us to a place for lunch.  I had scrambled eggs while Rob and Robel enjoyed a pizza!  Lunch for the 3 of us was $15 total.
We spent 10 minutes at the lion zoo and then returned to the room.  My tummy was upset so I thought I would take a nap.  Rob and I woke up 3 hours later when the Sparrs knocked on our door for dinner!
We had a great time at dinner with the Sparrs.  Heather and I had plain noodles for dinner!!  I hope tomorrow my tummy will be 100% 
We hope/PRAY the Savage's are in the air now and will join us tomorrow morning!
Tomorrow we meet our children.  I cannot wait.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We made it to Ethiopia!

Hi eveyone! 
The flight on Ethiopian Airlines was very interesting.  I felt like I was at a house party.  People were up in the aisles talking, dancing, laughing and having a good time.  It was the most social airplane environment I've wittnessed.  If you want to sleep on the plane make sure you bring ear plugs. 
Also, try to sleep as much as possible before you land in Rome.  After the Rome re-fueling stop they turn off the lights for 2 hours and then they wake everyone up 3 hours before you land in Addis. 
I was so glad that I brought saline spray for my nose.  It's so dry in the plane.  I wished I had packed eye drops in my carry on.  My eyes were so dry.  Also, bring extra water on the plane.  The airplane ran out of water about 1 hour before we landed in Rome.  We had already finished the bottles of water we brought on the plane.
The hotel is nice.  There is a safe in our room.  Everyone is very friendly and helpful.  The prevoius travel group left last night :-(
we are waiting for the rest of the group to arrive tomorrow.
Would you please pray for me?  My stomach virus is back!  I will spare you the details but I was NOT the life of the airplane house party.  My dear husband disposed of the air sick bags without complaint.  He is an awesome husband. I have also gotten sick at the hotel.  I brought my medicine I took two weeks ago but I cannot keep in down.  (Gross I know).  Please pray for complete healing. 
We told Robel not to pick us up for church in the morning.  I will see how I feel in the morning.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Leaving for Ethiopia

The bags are packed and in the car. In a few hours we will leave for Ethiopia. I cannot believe that it's time to go. I feel as though I'm in some strange time warp, where time is distorted. It feels too soon to go yet so far away.

Please pray for our dear son Igor. He is extremely sad that we are leaving for the week. He insists on going to the airport with us at 4AM. He will have a great time with aunt Shawn but he is already missing us and we haven't left!

We have a small travel group-
The Savages
The Sparrs
We cannot wait to meet them!

We will try to blog from Ethiopia but the current travel group has had a hard time getting an Internet connection. They have also dealt with power outages. So, we'll try our best!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My little brother

Danielle asked, "What does Igor think about having a little brother." Great question Danielle! Honestly, Igor hasn't shared how he feels about a little brother. I ask him occasionally and he says, "I don't know."

Igor has said that he will be jealous of Henry when he comes home. I think that's normal. But Igor has some other thoughts as well. Igor told us that Henry won't be able to listen when he arrives home. Igor says Henry won't be able to understand us. He remembers what that's like and how hard it was. Igor knows it will be hard for Henry too. Last week, Igor told his former speech therapist that he is going to teach Henry how to talk. (I love my son!)

Igor has been very clear- he won't change Henry's diaper, especially if it's "stinky"!
If Henry is scared at night Igor said that he will rub his tummy and say, "It's okay little brother."
When he prays for Henry he says he wants Henry to be a good friend.

I think Igor has started the become a little protective of Henry. At school they had a picture of Henry on the calendar. They were counting the days until Henry arrives. On Dec. 17, Henry's picture was missing (the last day of school was the 18th). Everyone wondered where Henry's pictures was. The teacher asked Igor if he knew where Henry's picture was. Igor looked up and said, I put him in my backpack, it's time for him to go home.
Yep, Igor is correct, it's time for Henry to come home.

I'm planning on blogging from Ethiopia. We are not taking a laptop so we'll be at the mercy of the Hotel computers!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Igor and I will decorate cookies and put some presents under the tree. We'll have an early dinner and then go to church for the 7PM service. We''ll read the story of the baby Jesus coming into the world and then we'll go to sleep. Does anyone sleep on Christmas Eve? I don't. Igor is excited about Christmas and so am I!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Plane tickets and travel money

After several calls to FedEx last night and this morning, I was told the driver remembered dropping off a package to our house. The FedEx agent asked if we check the bushes. At that point I had to laugh, um, yes, we have checked everywhere. She suggested my next call should be to the travel agent.

Our travel agent is on the west coast so all I could do was wait until noon when they opened. A few minutes before noon the phone rang. It was our neighbor one block down, she had a FedEx package with our name on it! Yes, she had our plane tickets! Woo-Hoo!

Rob went to the Credit Union this morning. He was able to get clean, crisp bills for our trip. One more item crossed off our list of things to do!

My dad sent me a travel luggage scale. I LOVE it! Using the luggage scale is easier than trying to weigh luggage on a bathroom scale. I highly recommend it to anyone traveling internationally. I will let you know how accurate it is compared to the airline scale.

Igor and I made Christmas cookies this morning. It's the last "Igor and mommy" Christmas event on our things to do list.... well, we still have to decorate the cookies, but we will do that tomorrow!

Please pray for the AWAA families in Ethiopia right now. Several of them are sick. The Stager's little boy is so ill he is being treated at a clinic.

Monday, December 22, 2008

plane tickets- where are you???

FedEx sent an e-mail this afternoon saying our plane tickets were delivered to our front porch. We looked on the front porch, by the garage door and on the back deck, in the bushes (um, yeah, we looked there too!)- no package, no plane tickets, no nothing.
We have a neighbor who occasionally gets our mail and we hers, so I walked up to her house- no package. I have a call into FedEx to see if the package is still on the truck.

We are almost packed. I broke down and packed a forth bag because I could not re-arrange the bags to be all under 43 pounds (we want a little wiggle room for the 50lb requirement).

Today's #1 priority - go to the bank. We will need spending money while in Ethiopia. In order to get the best exchange rate we will need clean, crisp bills printed after 2004. Rob went to the bank this afternoon. Well, he went to four different bank branches because none had clean bills. Each teller said that people have been coming in all month asking for new bills to give as Christmas presents! Who knew??? The result, we don't have any new bills. Rob called a friend at the Credit Union to see if they have new bills. If they do, Rob will head to the credit union tomorrow.

It's time to make dinner- Potato corn soup- Yummy...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Gingerbread house is up, packing and luminaries

You may recall that last year's gingerbread house crashed before we were able to decorate it. This year, we had much better luck. Igor and I completed our first standing gingerbread house!

This year's gingerbread house was from a kit. I decided that I would construct the house and we would wait several hours before the decorating would begin.

Igor was very excited about decorating the gingerbread house.

I placed the frosting on the house and Igor decorated it. We had a great time putting it together.

My dear son has decided that he will pose for one or two nice pictures and then all the rest will be "funny". Here are the "funny" pictures with the completed house.

We leave in a few days and we aren't completely packed. I was sick, then Igor was sick..... we are feeling better now and I am planning to have all the packing done tomorrow. All the orphanage donations (clothing, diapers, wipes, vitamins, pain reliever and more) are packed in two extra large suitcases. They each weigh 43 pounds. I have Henry's clothes picked out and his diaper bag is ready to go. Rob and I will only pack 2 or 3 sets of clothing. I hope this will allow us to only take one more bag. Don't worry, the hotel has a inexpensive laundry service! We'll be wearing clean clothes daily.
Tonight our neighborhood will be a glow with luminaries in support of the Ronald McDonald House. 2008 is the 22nd year of the Light a Luminary project, which has provided over one million dollars in support of the Ronald McDonald House. This year after the lighting of the luminaries we'll attend a block party where we will enjoy hot chocolate and sugar cookies. YUM!
Tomorrow, Igor and I begin the annual Christmas cookie baking and decorating. I cannot wait!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Travel Dates!

Our agency sent an e-mail saying our Embassy Appointment in Ethiopia has been rescheduled. Our appointment is on December 30 instead of December 31! This allows us to come home a day earlier. I called the travel agency with the update and they were able to book us on an earlier flight home. We leave December 26 and arrive home January 2. Igor is so excited that we will be home a day earlier.

Rob's parents will be here tomorrow. It will be great to have them here to help with Igor while I recuperate. I am feeling better but was up once last night so I am tired this morning.

Yesterday Rob filed our re-adoption paperwork for Igor at the courthouse. I am so grateful that the paperwork is submitted before we leave for Ethiopia. It's one more thing I can cross off on our "Things to do list"!

Thanks to all who commented on space bags. I decided to give them a try. We have 2 1/2 laundry baskets of children's clothing to donate to the Transitional home. All the clothing fit perfectly in 3 space bags! The 3 bags fit in one jumbo suitcase and it weighs 43 pounds! (50 lbs is the limit). After 5 days there are no leaks.

In case you haven't seen enough of our sweet boy Henry, here's another picture

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

a week in review

It's been a crazy 10 days!

We took Igor to a Christmas parade in a neighboring town. It was a wonderful parade but we had no idea the parade members pelted the parade watchers with candy, pencils and all sorts of other items. We had to use Igor's chair as a holding area for all the goodies.

Santa visited our neighborhood. Igor was not afraid to sit on Santa's lap.

Friday night we met the Schmidt's for dinner. I forgot the camera so I don't have any pictures.

Saturday I came down with a stomach virus. Yesterday I went to the doctor's office because I was still sick. They set me up with an IV to get me re-hydrated and provided me with anti-nausea medication. The doctor thinks I'll be well enough to travel on the 26th! UGH!!
This has caused a complete halt in packing and preparing for Ethiopia. I hope to re-start the effort by the end of the week.

This morning I'm weak and dizzy. I "enjoyed" some Jello this morning for breakfast.

My adoption pal Karin is now pain free in heaven. Please keep her family in your prayers.

We may have the option to leave Ethiopia on Dec 31 instead of Jan 2! I will keep you posted on our travel plans.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Testing to see if we can post from e-mail.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Without words

Please be praying for Karin and her family. We both adopted from Russia in 2005. She has since adopted two other precious children. She has been fighting kidney cancer and things took a turn mid-week.
thank you

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We have tickets!

We bought our plane tickets! We will be leaving December 26 and returning on January 3rd. We decided to buy Henry his own seat from Ethiopia to the US. We hope he will be able to sleep on the plane.

My sister will be taking care of Igor while we are gone. Igor is excited because he will be able to sleep in his own bed.

Igor's teachers are awesome. His kindergarten teacher has a picture of Henry on the class calendar. They are counting down our departure to Ethiopia. The resource teacher sent home a calendar with all the days we will be gone. They included a Velcro mommy, daddy and Henry. Every morning Igor will move "us" to that day. It's a great way for him to know exactly when we come home.

The Schmidts bought a telephone card from http://www.callingcardplus.com so their kiddos could call them in Ethiopia. We will buy a phone card through the same website so Igor and aunt Shawn can call us daily.

Tomorrow I will start packing the orphanage donations so we can use our dining room during Christmas. Has anyone used space bags? Do they work? I'd like to use space bags for all the children's clothing we are taking but I don't want to invest in the bags if they are worthless. Any feedback would be appreciated!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Henry is officially ours!

It is official! Henry is our son!!

Yep, his shirt says Captain Chaos!

Court Date Dec 4?

The Caldwells were notified yesterday afternoon that their court date was not December 2 but December 4! We are in their travel group so perhaps today is the day!
We hope to share good news with you soon!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

No news...

They say no news is good news and today I would have to agree. The families who received a call from our agency heard news no family wants to hear- they did not pass court. These families are heartbroken... their children will not be home for Christmas.

So we wait, hoping and praying we will hear goods news tomorrow!

I have been listening to Andrew Peterson. His song -Faith To Be Strong -seems to be a perfect way to end this post.

Give us faith to be strong
Father, we are so weak
Our bodies are fragile and weary
As we stagger and stumble to walk where you lead
Give us faith to be strong
Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it's hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able Lord,
give us faith to be strong
Give us peace when we're torn
Mend us up when we break
This flesh can be wounded and shaking
When there's much too much trouble for one heart to take
Give us peace when we're torn
Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it's hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able Lord, give us faith to be strong
Give us hearts to find hope
Father, we cannot see
How the sorrow we feel can bring freedom
And as hard as we try, Lord,
it's hard to believe
So, give us hearts to find hope
Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it's hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able
Lord, give us faith to be strong
Give us peace when we're torn
Give us faith, faith to be strong

Monday, December 1, 2008

Court Date

We believe our court date is Dec 2. Because of the time difference, sometime in the wee hours of Tuesday morning our court hearing will be proceeding in Ethiopia! If all the paperwork is in order the judge should rule favorably and Henry will be our son!
Please pray for the judge, our family and the other 10 families who share our court date. We appreciate all your prayers! We are filled with hope. We should hear something from our agency on Tuesday or Wednesday. We'll let you know as soon as we hear something.