Friday, May 21, 2010

Recent Thoughts from an Article

I think it was a book review for "there's no me without you" but it's late and I'm not even sure if that's correct.  So, I'm trying to give credit but I'm likely mis-crediting.  Regardless, here's my thoughts from what I read:
When I read this: "adults are hard-wired to attach to wide-eyed, helpless babies; a fit-throwing non-English-speaking snarling Bulgarian four-year-old does not, at first glimpse, invite adoration..." I couldn't help but agree.  And then a previous thought hit me: what was my reason for adopting?  Was it to adore a child or to love a child?  Was it to feel warm fuzzies or to provide a loving family for a child in need. 
Surely this adoption process continues but certainly the big picture is the same.  Judah is in need of a loving family and a mommy who will pick him up and snuggle him closely even after he says he doesn't have to poop and proceeds to leave a stinky pile on the wood floor. 
Lord, would you help me to constantly remember to act in a loving manner and to extend lots of grace!  May no unedifying words come out of my mouth or thoughts come out of my heart.  As you continue to prune me and mold me as a parent, and your child, would I also remember that its necessary to be pruned to have a fruit harvest.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quilt Raffle Winner

Thanks to all those who purchased tickets for the quilt raffle. Jeannie Tessmer is the proud winner of the beautiful quilt. I must say I'm a little jealous that it's going to be displayed at her house and not mine :) Congrats Jeanie! Thanks again to mom at for piecing and quilting such a beautiful fundraiser!

Still not posting much

I have plans to write about our trip for those who are interested. I journaled daily and that was cool. When Jen and others wrote about their trips, I found it helpful. But for now, I'm still trying to get in the swing of things.
Judah is beautiful and we love him. But sometimes that love is a choice and not a natural reaction. I'm not gonna lie, it's not easy. Adoption is a wonderful thing but its not simple. The paperwork process was the easy part. Now transitioning to having him in our home and for him having us as his family is the "fun" part. We've rocked his world and we know it. He's acted out and we understand but that still doesn't make it easy.

The biting has decreased. He's going on the potty again a little... if I sit behind him on the toilet. He's still sleeping well at night but getting him to sleep is a chore. And that task wouldn't be such a "task" if he had his own room and Scott could go right to bed. But they share a room and Scott is a good big brother and is trying to help calm Judah. He's eating better and trying some new things. When he dislikes food, he's no longer spitting and throwing but rather putting it on his plate. Boy is he strong-willed! The child can say "please" but wouldn't yesterday. Instead he would just shake his head "no". Well I'm stubborn too and I didn't refill his cup of water and instead let him wait an hour until supper. He did finally say please after his first cup of water at supper.

He's adorable though and we love him. We're thankful that so far his test results have come back negative. He's seemingly healthy. He loves to climb and run and even seems unbothered to walk on the gravel bare-foot (but I choose to pick him up). Yesterday he started venturing out on his own a little more. The cats no longer cause screaming fits. He still screams but he smiles too. He doesn't trust them yet but he's not so much on gaurd either. He loves the trampoline even though he doesn't weigh enough to get any bounce. He also loves the play set and doesn't lean back in the swing which scares me and goes head first down the slide. Yes, he's all boy!

This morning Judah went with Bethany to Grammy's. He's been there before but right now he's there for the first time without me. I hope that's going well. While he's there I'm supposed to be home cleaning. guess I better hop to it. I'll leave you with a few pics:

Monday, May 10, 2010

home and alive

Okay, so we're home and doing well.  I haven't even dug through my inbox totally nor have I viewed the 3,000+ pictures we took while gone.  Judah is adorable and is doing well.  Adjusting is difficult but grace is abundant and sleep is slowly improving.
Yesterday we made it to church for MOther's Day which was awesome.  We had supper with my folks... oh so nice to have American food again.  Today was a morning at the docs office.  Checking out wierd stuff, talking about typical stuff and drawing blood for titers tests for the various vaccinations.  In the process he got 3 suckers, two stickers and several hugs and kisses.  We even made it to the physical therapy dept to see Ms. Jen. 
I have lots to catch up on there, including the 3,000+ pics.  Thanks to our friends from our small group who cleaned our house, took care of a flat tire and various other things.  You guys and ladies ROCK!!!  Looking forward to the meal tonight from some friends of home-made pizza... yipee!

 busy momma of 3,                                
 Tamara L. Buitenwerf 


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Friday, May 7, 2010

About Now

Right about now we should be trying to get through immigration and customs. It won't be long and this little cutie will be home with us:

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Judah should fit right into the Buitenwerf family. In Ethiopia coffee and popcorn are tradition. Seems oddly familiar to a Buitenwerf tradition too, at least the popcorn part.

Today we'll have the farewell ceremony at the hotel. I don't know what to expect yet and can't wait to tell you about it. Our flight leaves out at 10:50pm which hopefully means that Judah gets a good snooze in while we fly. Maybe I can get a good snooze in too.

Please pray for us. We have a long day (estimated ~24 hours) of travel before we arrive back home. Speaking of which, you can pray specifically that we land early in Detroit so we can catch our connection (we have a scheduled 1:20 layover) to Cedar Rapids on Friday.

Scott and Bethany, we miss you bunches. We're sorry that we missed Awana awards last night and look forward to hearing about it tomorrow when we get home!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco De Mayo: Farwell Ceremony and Shopping Day

It was so nice to have a slow, relaxed morning. We had a light breakfast before we headed over to the care center for our farewell ceremony. Lots of us wondered why the farewell ceremony was so early. We learned from Tsegaw that the ceremony is held earlier so that we have time to shop. So, the ceremony was wonderful. Sister Martha spoke briefly about the need for adopting orphans. It was really touching. And super special that the administrative staff that would usually be off for the national holiday came into work to take part in the ceremony. Sister Martha then asked someone to pray for the families as well as the nannies and Holt staff. No volunteers. Since no one else piped up, Ryan volunteered. As he stood up to pray, he was also asked to give a speech. Nice. Ryan off the cuff, gave a very heartfelt speech about being adopted into God’s kingdom before he prayed. It was awesome and I’m thankful that Ryan stood up there and gave God the credit for everything about our adoptions. As in a traditional coffee ceremony, we were served coffee and popcorn. In addition to that, we were served cake. Prior to the cake being served, each child was given the chance to cut the cake and have their picture taken. It was pretty cool to see all the families participate with their little ones in traditional Ethiopian clothing. During the ceremony (at least until the cake and soda was ingested), the crowd of children sitting to the side behaved extremely well. They were adorable and precious and it was fun to recognize some familiar faces. When the ceremony was over, we changed our kiddos back into their clothes and left them there for naps and lunch while we headed out for a bit.

“A bit” ended up being much longer and shorter all at the same time. We stopped at a tiny shop before heading to the market. I bought a lot thinking I’d get it now and be done worrying about it. Then we stopped at a strip mall sort of place which was a bit bigger and had more stuff but another place that wasn’t cheap. Seriously, they don’t put prices so they can rip off the Americans do they? After that we stopped for lunch. I was thinking a quick grab and go kind of place. I don’t think such a place exists in Ethiopia. Several hours later and after being served the wrong meal, we still didn’t all have food. I ordered a simple ham and cheese sandwich off the menu. I was served a cheeseburger. I can kind of understand the mistake because ham and cheese can be similar to cheeseburger but I wasn’t falling for it. So of course I argued with the guy a bit about it. He tried to pull one over on me and finally said they were out of ham so a hamburger would work. My ugly American filter was full so the ugliness began to overflow. I informed the waiter that I didn’t order the cheeseburger and would not be eating it. I sent it back to the kitchen and asked for a menu. I ordered oriental rice with chicken. Some time later a chicken stir fry dish came out and I ended up just taking it. It was pretty good, but that might be partly due to the fact that it was 3pm and I was feeling a famished. We stopped at a few more specific shops for others requests and headed back towards the hotel. I was quite disappointed when we got near the hotel and realized our shopping trip was over. At the same time, I was sad that we, in my mind, wasted so much time eating lunch away from our children and didn’t get to buy all the things we’d hoped to buy. It was great picking up our son again! Multiple times in the last few days, I’ve had this overwhelming feeling of wanting to take Judah (who now responds to Judah) home to meet his brother and sister.

We spent our evening in the hotel chatting with the other families. As we left the room, I grabbed up my smiley son and had suddenly had poop all over my hand and forearm. Judah went straight to the bath. We went downstairs for supper where we waited for a long time to get our food. I don’t even want to explain the wait other than to say that it was annoying. While downstairs I noticed that Travis had poop in the seat of his pants. He’d been sitting on the floor holding Judah and reading him books when the poop explosion happened. By time we noticed Judah’s poop, Travis was gone. I giggled and informed Travis of his decorated shorts. Grossed out, Travis immediately headed upstairs to change. What fun!

Judah has been an amazing child. He’s happy generally and loves to give kisses. The care center has him very scheduled and although they didn’t tell us about his ring worm until today (and we have kissed all over his cheeks), his schedule is great. We’ve tried to stick to it for the most part. He LOVES liquids and is excellent about going to the toilet. Each time I say “bathroom” in Amharic, he goes to the bathroom. And while in our care, he’s not had a wet diaper and has done excellent with peeing on the potty. Yay for Judah!!! I’m so excited about this. He’s a ball of fun, that is until you take away his toy. Today he had his boats and car in his hands. I took his car and put it on the table since it doesn’t go in the tub. He proceeded to cry and throw a big fit. He took his stack of boats and took them apart and individually threw each of them to the floor. Naughty boy. No winning this one buddy. I took him to the bathroom and tried to calm him down. That didn’t really happen and as I put him in the tub, it only got worse. I had to sit on the side of the tub and put my legs across the tub to keep him in the tub. Snot flying, arms flailing and loud screaming was part of the fit as I now had a wet and screaming child who was trying to climb out of the tub. Not fun. We got Judah bathed, snot cleaned and dried off. Once he had his toy in hand, he was happy again. Other than that today, he has been wonderful and a pure joy.

Cinco de Mayo

We are celebrating this day a little different than I did growing up. According to the schedule, Judah would have stayed with us in the hotel last night. Today we will have the opportunity to do a little shopping. Holt is very conservative and does not allow us to go out in public with our son. If we choose to go on the shopping trip today, we will have to take Judah back to the care center. I'm sure the nannies will be thrilled to see him but he might be confused if we drop him off. Pray for us today that Judah will know that we are his parents and have every intention of him hanging out there for just a few hours while we buy some things to bring home for him.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gotcha Day, Embassy Day

What a great morning. We started at 830am when we walked over to the care center and picked up our kids. We’d become accustomed to taking them to the play room and hanging out. Holt’s only directions were to pick up kids. So we stuck around a few minutes, chatted with the nurses, met Sister Martha, and eventually left with our precious children. We chose to bring Asfaw home in the clothes he was wearing so that he would have something to call his own. We brought him back to the hotel and he was finally ours!!! Before we even made it up to our hotel room, Asfaw-Judah had pooped through his diaper and all 3 layers of clothes. This is going to be fun. Poor kiddo.

Ryan stayed with Asfaw for naptime while I ran to the grocery store to buy him some diapers that actually fit (Holt said he was 35 lbs, he’s more like 25) and stopped at the bead shop which is just across the bridge/highway. We had an early lunch, dressed him in a button up shirt and headed to the embassy. We were there for about 3 hours total unlike some other families who had morning appointments that had still not be attended to. Our little Asfaw-Judah did great. He’s such a ham! We were called individually to head upstairs to our appointment. It was similar to walking up to a bank teller with a glass divider. The nice lady asked us a few questions related to Asfaw’s history, asked us to sign some paperwork, handed us his new birth certificate and sent us on our merry way. It was interesting driving down the street with a child in my lap in the front seat of Tsegaw’s van. I loved it… well all of it except the smog.

We got back to the hotel and played upstairs a few minutes with our giggly son before taking him downstairs for supper. I don’t think he ate much but he downed about 20 ounces of peach tea. He’s a drinker and he loves his liquids. Since the power was off and it was overcast, it made for an early night. Judah, when put in his crib, cried for about 5 minutes then sat up and watched us for another few minutes before he lay down and went right to sleep. Hallelujah and thank you Lord for his transition so far!

Monday, May 3, 2010

So glad

We're so thankful to have the experience to get outside the city and see a little more of Ethiopia. I look forward to writing specifically about our trip to Durame and what we saw, the people we met, etc.

On our way back today, we should have time to stop at the Leper Hospital and maybe a few other places. I'm looking forward to that.

For now, I'm eager to get back to the hotel. I'm praying the electricity will be on so I can maybe have a warm shower before we hit the sack. We will see you tomorrow little Judah!

Scott and Bethany, we're sure you're having fun. We hope and pray that you are behaving well for everyone. By now you will have spent a night with Grammy & Papa, a few nights with the Fuentes' and a weekend with Grandma & Grandpa. We hope you're not getting too spoiled :) We love you bunches and can't wait to snuggle you again!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Durame part 4 - Shinschico Hospital

I don’t think I can do this part of our visit justice but I’ll give it a shot. The hospital is a few miles outside of Durame. If I remember correctly, it’s the only hospital for miles and miles. People travel long distances to reach the hospital. As part of Holt’s agreement to work in Ethiopia, Holt does more than adoptions. In this case, Holt has financed some improvements at the hospital and will be doing much more work there. From the American perspective, the facilities were less than desirable. However considering where we were, it was an amazing place. This hospital may have played a role in our adoption, we don’t really know. Perhaps Judah’s mom visited the hospital and received prenatal care, etc. Thinking that the service the hospital was providing to the nearby communities which have been the home to our children so far really changed my perspective. It was great to have an American Holt staff with us that day to give us a better idea of Holt’s involvement there. Part of our fees as well as lots of donations supports Holt’s work at the hospital and I’m thankful to be a teency-tiny part of it.

Durame part 3 - Hotel and Food Service

Part 3 – Hotel Durame and Food Service

Well, let’s just say that the Holt explanations are right. We are in a 3rd world country and being at the Union Hotel in Addis has been like a Marriott. As we went upstairs in Durame, workers were trying to open the doors by sticking a broom through the opening above the door. Fun. We walked into our room which was full of mosquitos. I’m so glad I got a malaria meds. I would have been freaked out with the four or five bites otherwise. After spraying down our room with deet, swatting a few skeeters and rubbing ourselves down with deet, we headed back out the door. We were greeted by the hotel staff who’d decided with the help of the Holt staff that we needed to move from the room with two single beds to another room so the ladies who were friends travelling together could have separate beds. Okay. Then they started to kick another couple out of their room for us. Does that make sense? We asked for that couple to be left and us to be given a new room. Know which one we got? The room that no longer has a key. They have one key per room and no extras (which wasn’t new – the same applied to our hotel in Amsterdam and in Addis where we were required to leave our key at the front desk). We had to leave our room open while not in there. I took a quick visit to the rustic bathroom that had a toilet and sink with no running water. You had to dip into the bucket next to the toilet and pour it in the toilet bowl to get your business to flush. Of course there was no running water in the sink either so I made good use of some wet wipes we brought along. We left our stuff in other rooms and went down to the dining room area to meet up with other parents.

We ordered off the menu which was a sheet of paper with approximately 10 meal choices written on it in English. The paper was passed around and each of us put a hash mark next to the meal we wanted. In typical Ethiopian fashion, it was a long time before everyone got their food. Fortunately the meal options really catered to us Americans. After lunch we headed to the Durame care center for our much anticipated birth parent meeting.

After the birth parent meeting we returned to the hotel emotionally exhausted. It was almost 5 and dinner was scheduled for 7pm. We decided as a group to meet right back down in the lobby/bar area to socialize and talk through what we’d just experienced. For lack of space, the hotel staff let us socialize at the table we’d be eating at. When asked if we could order supper earlier they said no and told us it was scheduled for 7pm. Alrighty then. Finally they decided we could at least send the order sheet (aka menu) around but told us supper still wouldn’t be till 7pm. I saw that there was French fries on the menu so I asked if we could order it as an appetizer. By this time Tesfaw, one of the local Holt staff, was at the table with us. He said that would be fine and so I asked for 3 orders of French fries to be shared down the table. About an hour later, our appetizer showed up. Only it wasn’t French fries, it was French TOAST. Nice. At this point I just laid my head down on the table in surrender. The French toast was served with jam, not syrup and it was actually pretty good (especially compared to the French toast I had the day before that had some extra protein fried in with the batter). At 7pm we still didn’t have our food but 3 orders of French fries finally showed up. Weird. Finally the food began coming out of the kitchen. Someone is always way late on getting their food. Way late. This time it was Shonda and Jamey who got their food just before 830. When their order, the Special (which was like a combination platter), did come out one o f the servings was of raw meat. You should have seen Tesfaw get all freaked out about the raw meat. It’s culturally appropriate to serve but he knew that Shonda and Jamey shouldn’t be eating it. The wait staff offered to scrape it off the plate and cook it. After an almost tug-of-war over the plates, the wait-staff ended up scraping it off the plate but it didn’t matter because they didn’t like the food anyway. Waited forever, dealt with raw food and didn’t eat more than 3 bites. Nice. We went back to our room where we didn’t sleep well and were eager to get up and get out of Durame. Thank you Lord for caring about our children, for putting them in families who can love and care for them.

Durame part 2 - Care Center and Birth Family Meeting

Durame part 1 - The Countryside

It blows my mind how people operate around here. Yet at the same time, I really like it. The drive time to Durame was just over 5 hours. We stopped about half way in Butajira for a potty break and a drink. As we left the city of Addis, the landscape was lowlands with little vegetation. As we got down the road a bit, it changed to a more rolling landscape and eventually to a lush green. The soils were a clay type of soil and I wondered how fertile they were for people that depend on them to grow crops. As we travelled the blacktop road, it seemed like every few miles was another little town. As we entered and left each town, there were many people walking along or down the middle of the road. Many donkeys, cows, and goats travelled as well. Sometimes the animals were being herded and sometimes they weren’t. Often times the animals were hearded by young children (from 3 up) or women. As we got into town, it was city meets country. Think New York City taxi cabs combined with the local country market. It was chaos as cars veered in and out, stopped where they wanted, waited for animals and people to cross and amazingly didn’t collide with anyone or anything. Town had various markets and lots of people.

In the country side we saw oxen plowing fields. On Sunday, the men plowing the field were said to be Muslim because the Orthodox Christians don’t work on Sunday. The plowed with equipment that we might see hanging in a building as antique. People here know that they can grow multiple crops but they seemingly have little to no idea about conservation. The erosion we saw was both beautiful and terribly sad at the same time. It made me want to come back to work alongside them in conservation and agriculture in general. I saw lots of plants that I recognized which was fun but so many more that I didn’t. I learned that there’s a banana tree grown for its roots. The roots are then used to make a bread which is the staple food for the diet of the people in that region. This tree does not produce fruit and is much shorter than the other type of banana tree. The fruit producing banana tree also exists and it was very cool to see them with green bananas hanging. The leaves of the tree are massive and are used as a wrap in cooking in which they protect and steam the food. Tsegaw, our driver, said that many people leave the leaves on and eat the food. We also saw coffee trees, avocado trees, mango trees, and olive trees. Of course the acacia trees were all over the place as were the eucalyptus trees.

The people were beautiful to see. From what I saw, it seems as though the women and children were doing all the labor and the men were standing around conversing. That may or may not be an accurate picture of the culture. In some villages, kids were thrilled to see our fair skin and say hello and wave to us and we saw their beautiful smiles. Others kept their stern faces and could care less. Yet others in the towns we stopped in are very aware of the white people and had no shame coming right up and asking us for money. I don’t feel inclined to give to (and by beggars I mean the kids who wouldn’t take the small bills and would try to negotiate for me).

Trip to Durame

Okay, so this whole trip has been a little emotional. In a good way. Today and tomorrow will be no different. We will be leaving the city of Addis Ababa (top picture) and heading through the country side (bottom picture) to Durame.
I'm looking forward to the scenery, praying that the dramamine
works wonders on my car-sickness,
and hoping the time passes quickly for the sake of my tailbone. That's the easy stuff to deal with.
The hard stuff will come when we arrive in Durame. We have the opportunity to meet Judah's birthmom. Will she take the opportunity to meet us? Will something prevent her from making the trip even if she desires to meet us? I've been praying that all things fall into place perfectly so that we can meet her and have the wisdom to love and comfort her. Will you join me in praying for that?
(special thanks to Bethany Hutchinson for sharing her pictures, of which I posted here today.)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Journal Excerpt : Day 2 with Judah; Culture Day

5/1 Day (who knows) Second Day Meeting Judah
It’s good to be with Holt who desires for us to learn about the culture and see the city. Today was a cultural day for sure. We spent the morning going to the University Museum where it is a general history of Ethiopia. It’s a holiday here (May Day) which means things are closed. Fortunately Holt called ahead to make sure the museum would be open. Unfortunately they were given the wrong information and the University Museum wasn’t open. Though we asked, multiple times, if we could go shopping instead, Tsegaw informed as the schedule said “city tour” and that’s what we were going to do. Bummer. We ended up at the National Museum which holds “Lucy” bones – the supposed oldest human remains that walked upright. This theory of millions of years ago completely goes against our biblical world view and the museum was not a place we desired to go. In fact, this “Lucy” is nowhere near the full skeleton they refer to. We had 90 minutes to walk through the museum and were done in 30 so we enjoyed a seat in the shade on the steps of the building. Some of the students inside the museum were on a field trip. Someone in our group chatted with the adult leader and found out that he was the head of Compassion International in Ethiopia and all the students we saw were Compassion students. That was pretty exciting for me to see considering we’ve been sponsoring a Compassion child for quite a few years. Insert Compassion kids pic From there we enjoyed lunch at Lucy’s CafĂ© where we also had a coffee ceremony. Wanting to truly experience the culture, I jumped right in and tried to fan the coals while the woman roasted coffee beans. More than once she took the fan from me because I didn’t fan it right and it wasn’t warm enough coals. I tried. I even enjoyed the coffee I tasted (thankfully they are small cups).

Eventually we made it to our choice place – the care center. It felt super wonderful that I without a doubt recognized our son when he was carried through the room. Praise God. We played a little and he was the same quiet little boy who was happy to be in our laps. Until I brought out the plastic easter egg designed like a school bus. He loved it and laughed and smiled a bunch with that toy. He finally began to get comfortable around us. We were thrilled with the chance to see a little bit of his personality shining through. He easily went to both of us and wrapped his arms around us. Our little Asfaw-Judah is recognizing us too.

We had our few minutes visiting with the nurse who didn’t have much to say except that he’s healthy and didn’t have past records of vaccinations so they started him on where he currently should be on vaccinations. Hmm, sounds like we’ll be getting titers checked when we get home. The nurse also informed us of a bacterial infection on his scalp that was cleared up. I’d noticed the bumps and wondered about them so I was glad he addressed that. He also said that he had no signs (diaharhea, sore tummy) and doesn’t seem to have an issue with giardia. One of the helpers in the room speaks Wylotinga (Judah’s native tongue) and he taught us how to say “I love you”. Judah looked up right away as we tried to correctly enunciate the phrase. Back upstairs to play.

We played some more and laughed and chased toys around. Eventually he needed his diaper changed (Shoot, I was hoping he’d be potty trained) and I took him upstairs for a change. It was such a great experience upstairs. He quickly became his normal little self as he called out to other kids, climbed under a crib and up the side of a crib. It was so good to see. Of course, I played with lots of other little ones too. I hugged and loved on Bethlehem, Chrissy’s little girl, as she told me several times what her name was. Four other young girls quickly attached themselves to me when I allowed them to play with my hair. It was precious. They braided and twisted and the oldest of the girls was quite possessive of my hair. Precious moments and I’m so glad I was up there. I felt bad for leaving Ryan downstairs but I was so enjoying the moment. I’m looking forward to Asfaw’s next wet diaper so I can sneak upstairs!!! By time I went downstairs, it was time to leave. We got back to the hotel with enough time to borrow Shonda’s phone and call the kids. My sweet in-laws were curious about how things were going and I tried to politely tell them it cost $3 per minute to talk and needed to get off the phone. We chatted long enough to say hi to the kids, tell them about Judah and ask them to call my mom and Ignacio.

Tonight was the cultural dinner. And culture it was. It was buffet style and I’m glad. I had injera which has a lemony taste to it, tibs which I didn’t like, a banana cake topped with hamburger meat and Et cheese which I didn’t like and several other things I enjoyed. Then we enjoyed several cultural dances representing the different tribal groups or regions of Ethiopia. Very cool. I even danced with one of the guys – of course it was totally white girl dancing but I was experiencing Et. During the dancing, we also had another coffee ceremony. I drank another bit of coffee and was shaky! I think the recent coke (not diet caffeine free like I’m used to at home) and the coffee have me wired even though my body is physically exhausted.

Tomorrow morning we leave early for Durame. This trip will allow us to see some country side and hopefully allow us the opportunity to meet Asfaw’s birth mother. Oh Lord, would you grant peace to all the families involved as everybody wants what’s best for their child.


I can't believe it's May (and I don't even have my garden planted). I can't believe I'm in Ethiopia. I can't believe I got to meet our son!

Today's schedule is similar to yesterday's. We get to spend a few hours with Judah in the morning and then again in the afternoon. Scott and Bethany, we can't wait to bring your brother home to you!

Thanks to all those who are praying for us. It's much needed and appreciated for sure!