I know I've been a bit slack with my posts. This baby thing is a bit demanding. I had visions of updating everyday in Ethiopia and documenting all the details but between the little angel being sick, the internet connection not cooperating and my own body shutting down this was not a reality. We have had some R and R and are slowly gaining some momentum. Tsebay has been to the pediatrician and is doing well. She is in the 90th percentile for height and the 15th percentile for weight. She has doubled her food consumption and is holding her head up and starting to roll over. We have had countless visitors, a big welcoming bash and a Christening since arriving in New Jersey. Thank you so much to family and friends who have been so welcoming and generous. My mom's house now looks like Babies R' Us and I need to figure out how to get all the gifts back to Maui. I have plenty of pics and plan to post soon but as I'm learning I'm no longer the boss. We'll see if little Tsebay lets it happen.
My mom and I began our travels Wednesday afternoon for the trip of a lifetime. We arrived in Addis a bit over 24 hours after boarding our first plane. Our second flight was a bit delayed due to nasty weather in DC. We scored on the second and super long leg of our trip! My mom had three seats and I had two. We were given assigned seats upon check in but when boarding the plane were assigned new seats. We were a bit annoyed but it turned out we were in luck. We were last in line so we were put in the back of the plane and there were empty seats. I have a feeling if the plane was overbooked we wouldn't have been given any seats so I probably would not recommend being last in line.
After checking in at the Hilton Thursday night we ordered room service and lots of bottled water and tried to sleep. I did not have much luck. I was very excited to meet my little girl. After exchanging our money and having a light breakfast on Thursday morning my mom and I met our driver, arranged by Gladney, for the drive to the Care Center. The drive over was filled with such mixed emotions. I was so filled with joy to finaly be meeting my little girl but so depressed by the utter poverty. There is so much that must be done for the children of this country.
We were given a terrific greeting at the Care Center. Two little girls welcomed us with kisses and love. One of the little girls is being adopted by Scott and Monica Brown and the other will be up for adoption shortly. After entering the Care Center it was a few minutes before Tsebay was brought down and put in my arms. She is everthing I dreamed. Tsebay is alert and very observant. She is beautiful and engaging. The bond was instant. I'm in love and you will be too.
Tsebay and I made it through our first night together. She did very well considering she's 4 months old, has just been taken from her surroundings and is fighting a cold. I need to pick up a decongestant today. Any recommendations would be very helpful. Please email me because blogger has not been my friend.
For those of you traveling shortly don't forget about the discount at the Hilton. You need to get a letter and can save up to $50. per day. Also, know that if you're with Gladney you are in terrific hands. They are all so nice and really take care of the details.
If any of my students are reading try this one. You may need some help from your mom or an older brother or sister. The currency in Ethiopia is called the birr. One dollar is worth 9.2 birr. If my lunch cost 120 birr, how many dollars would this be?
I miss you all and can't wait to introduce you to Tsebay. She is the best.
It's 2:04 am and I can't sleep. Of course I can't sleep I'm all screwed up with my time zones (I'm in New Jersey) and full of nervous energy about meeting my daughter. The ironic thing about not sleeping is that sleep is what people keep telling me to do. "Get all the sleep you can," they keep telling me. This has me totally paranoid about sleep deprivation. I hope it does not become a self fulfilling prophecy.
My mom and I are pretty well packed. We have two huge boxes with humanitarian aid and a suitcase each. It's so strange to pack for two and so fun to pack all the adorable outfits. We depart on Wednesday. We leave Philly for DC around noon and then have 5 hours to spend in DC before getting on the 17 hour flight (I think) to Addis. We arrive at 7pm and hopefully I will be holding Tsebay bright and early the next morning. I am so anxious to meet this adorable little creature that has already brought so much joy to so many people. I plan to post during the trip. Reading the comments may not be possible so please email me if there is anything vital you must communicate (like how perfect my daughter is).
Please, please, please pray that everything goes well during the trip. Mahalo to everyone for your support. I would have never traveled down this road if it were not for the terrific people in my life always cheering me on. It's time to try and get some z's. Good night and God bless.
I received an update today from Ethiopia. Thank you so much Becky for checking in on my little girl and updating my mom and I. It sets my mind at ease to know Tsebay is doing well. She looks so happy and healthy in her pics. I have also been told by quite a few people about the awesome care these children receive at the care center. Thanks to Ryan and Abby and all the care workers in Ethiopia our little ones are loved on the other side of the world while we jump through hoops to bring them home. This time next week will be the real deal. I will have my little angel in my arms.
Tomorrow I leave for New Jersey where I will stay and regroup before taking off on Wednesday for Ethiopia. Today is my last full day on Maui to get things done and it promises to be a long one. I hope to get the final touches on the room, need to pack and gather all the documents for travel, and need to wrap things up at work. Many Mahalos to all my colleagues at KCS and families in the K-8 program for your ongoing support. I will be returning with a new little bambina for the KCS Ohana. My motivation to make KCS the best will become personal. Tsebay will need to go to a great school.
WOW! I can't believe it's almost here. Tsebay is waiting for her momma and her momma can't wait to meet her. What a special day that will be!
Yahooooo!!! Court went well and Tsebay Grace is officially my babylicious. I am so relieved and exhausted. I didn't get much sleep last night knowing the court preceedings had taken place and waiting for official word on the outcome. My mom has secured our travel dates. We depart on June 13th and arrive in Addis on June 14th. I will be holding my little one on June 15th. We will leave Ethiopia on June 21st and will arrive in Philly on June 22nd. Tsebay and I will stay on the east coast for a month before returning to Maui.
This past week has been quite crazy preparing for Tsebay's arrival. This time last week I had a crib I purchased from Craig's list that didn't have all the pieces and not one other baby item. I managed to return that crib and purchase one that is functional. I've also added a changing table to the room and had the walls painted. Thank you Lon. Accessories should be arriving from Pottery Barn any day. Thanks to my Maui Ohana and Mulvey (one of my favorite friends who is visiting Maui this week) my house is now well equipped. What a difference a week can make.
Saturday was my baby shower. I was kidnapped, put in a new dress, blindfolded and led to a beautiful park with so many special people, yummy food and lots of presents for my little bambina. Everyone was so generous. Mahalo!!!!!
The two smartest, funniest, cutest little girls ever call me momma. It was written in the stars that we would be a family. Thank you to all the family and friends that have prayed, gave fincancially and provided emotional support. You are the reason we are a family. We are blessed. We love you.