Friday, January 18, 2008

Kozette's First Day in the USA!

All is well with the Quinn girls! Everyone is very tired (especially Mimi - well maybe especially Mommy who made the trip). I'll leave the details for Maria to post but I wanted to share the local news coverage of the girls' reunion! (link below -- you may recoginze some Ethipian pics that I stole, I mean borrowed from the Daileader's -- Thanks Heidi!)

I received a call at about 11am that the local ABC affiliate wanted to cover the story. Maria was due home at about 3:30pm. The well thought out plan was for a very low key environment for the arrival.

The best laid plans -- a house full of friends and family and a news van! In hindsight we decided since Kozette is used to living with about 300 kiddies, she would have been very bored with a small family welcome! She flourished with the crowd.

Kozette is pretty much joined at the hip to Maria -- but she is branching out a little more as time goes on. She is loving and sweet and witty - just like her sister. She practically sleeps on top of Maria, so my poor daughter is dreaming of the day she will get a full night's sleep. The girls are loving on each other. They are both great sleepers, so that's sure helping a lot with the transition for everyone.

There is stilling unpacking and repacking to do before they head to Maui next Wednesday. The problem is when the girls are up -- all we want to do is play. They are both great fun!

Tsebay will be one year old on Monday January 21st. We've planned a terrific birthday celebration at the Children's Discovery Museum where 20 of their little cousins and friends will help celebrate this joyous occasion.

Monday, January 14, 2008

You Gotta Pick Your Battles ~

The Bathing Suit Went on Backwards ~ And that's the way Kozette wanted it!

Hello All ~

Things are running smooth here in New Jersey. I'm finally beginning to get into somewhat of a routine with my new responsibility and wouldn't you know it's about to come to an end! My time with Tsebay has been priceless and I will never forget what a special litte baby she is. We're planning her First Birthday Party for this Sunday (her BD is Monday the 21st). I started singing Happy Birthday to her and when I get to the part where you say "To Tsebay" she gets all smiley and excited. And when it's over we ask "How old are you?" And our little genius puts up one finger! Yes she does! So she's all ready for the celebration. How over-the-top special that she will have her big sister there to share in the joy! Thank you Mommy for such an amazing birthday present. XO

I certainly have been honored to be a part of this Ethiopian Adoption blogging community. It's been a real pleasure to be a blogger and not just a blogee! Thanks again for checking in!

Mary Ann (Mimi)

Maria Writes:

I am so ready to be back in NJ to kiss and love on Tsebay.

We are all doing great here. We're feeling good. I took Kozette to the doc yesterday and her ear is most likely a fungal infection. We can get it treated when we get there this week. She will need antibiotics. She is not in any major pain. Perhaps just a bit irritated and annoyed because it is draining. The airplane should not be too much of a problem with her ear. She somethime spits out the Tylenol so we'll see how that goes. Please pray for a smooth ride. Sometimes her crying fits last 30 min +++. This could be a problem for the other passengers on the plane.

Kozette continues to give me a run for my money but let Anna know I am not backing down. I am the boss and through some crafty negotiating usually can get her to do what needs to get done.

We did some souvenier shopping yesterday and I did a lot better than last time. I hope to pick up a few more things today. Everything is so inexpensive and I would like to give many of the things to the girls for years to come.

The plan is to head to the Gladney baby house today. I hope to get lots of pics of all the babies for families with referrals and those that will get them in the future. We were there on the first day but I only made it to one of the houses. I was able to love on the Breedlove's Nathan. I will send pics when I return.

Kozette is starting to warm up more and more to Cristen. This will help on the plane. Cristin has been super awesome. She has given us our space to bond and is helping by just being there. Kozette is a crack up. She keeps Cristin and I entertained. Last night she was holding my beer up to my lips and making a drinking noise. She loves to feed others and is pretty insistent you eat. I've had my fair share of Ethiopian food.

Cristin gets tears in her eyes when we talk about the trip coming to an end. She is really going to miss Kozette and is such a special part of our story.

Kozette loves to say Shelly and says it over and over. It's like she knows who her ally and best bud will be. (Hope you're ready for us Auntie!)

I feel bad putting Kozette through so many transitions but she needs to meet her East Coast family and I defintely need the break before heading back to Maui.

Things are going great. It's a challenge but pretty text book. She is exhibiting the behaviors I anticipated. She says mommy all day everyday and even said it in her sleep this morning.

It won't be long now before we get to see Tsebay and Kozette together!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tsebay & Mimi & PopPop are doing real well in New Jersey. Tsebay is sleeping like a champ and playing like one too! She is a dream baby, lots of fun and personality. Not sure how I'm going to handle our upcoming separation -- trying to stay in the moment and maximizing the time with her.

Maria & Kozette seem to be bonding and staying healthy in Ethiopia! It won't be long now before we are all together.

Thanks for checking in
~~ Mary Ann (Mimi)

Maria Writes:
This little cutie is doing great considering everything she's been through. Here are some updates:

Sleeping-Kozette is a very good sleeper but will only fall asleep with me. I have a feeling she will be in my bed for a month or two. While faling asleep she is a cuddler. She gets so close to me it's hysterical. I have managed to move her to her crib once or twice during sleep but most times she wakes up during the move and cries so I put her back in bed with me.

Communicator-Kozette makes sure all her wants and needs a met. She pulls you, points and uses verbal comunication until you figure out what she wants. Her receptive language is great. At times it's even like she understands English. She says mommy and it is so cute.

She also imitates many things I do. We were going out the other day and I put on sunglasses so she went and put hers on. She insisted I put deodorant on her the other day and also likes when I put a little makeup on her as I'm getting ready. She likes buttons, switches and the phone. She's had a few meltdowns but most have been when she is tired. A few Ethiopians have commented on her being so active and by their meaning that is smart. As a teacher I know what that means, if she is bored she can be a rascal. I will have to make sure this little smartypants is challenged.

Eating-Kozette likes all things carbs; bread, pasta, and crackers are getting us through the trip. She likes her Ethiopian food and it's a crack up to watch her eat it. She is used to powdered milk. I gave her whole milk yesterday and she spit it out. Her table manners need some work. If she doesn't like something she throws it on the floor. We have started a discard plate.

Clothes-Kozette loves all her new things. She especially likes shoes although they do not stay on very long. I'm getting plenty of dirty looks here since they want their children totally covered up. She will fit right in on Maui.

Yesterday we went to Kozette's foster care center. She loved seeing her old friends and definitely ran the place. They are very well taken care of and she was a princess. I got to spend time with her care givers and they were so wonderful. We then went to Belay's house to wait for a ride and got to meet his son. He is 1 year younger than Kozette and twice her size. We came back to the hotel and had lunch (Kozette was a bit of a challenge). We went back to the room intending to take a nap but slept pretty much through the night. It's now 5:30am and we're all up and ready to go but there is nowhere to go.

Cristen is teaching Kozette "meow" for cat and she is repeating it. It's very cute. I gotta go play with my baby.

Love ~ Maria

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Special Little Boy

Maria asked me to write about a special little baby she encountered during her orphanage visit today.
Maria writes: Please post about a special little boy I met today. He has Down's Syndrome but didn't seem to have any other issues. He had great finger grasp and eye contact. He seemed to have good muscle tone. I asked Belay if he will be referred and he said most likely not unless a family asks for a child with special needs. He will most likely be put in a home here in Ethiopia for children with disabilities.

This little baby boy needs a family. He is such a cutie.

Please ask for prayers so this little boy will find a home. Children with Down's Syndrome can lead very long, healthy and happy lives. There are many special resouces for these special children in the US.

Anyone wishing more information about this special litte boy can email Maria directly at:

Thank you!


Kozette's Back Pack Has Arrived

Of all the items among the missing, Maria clearly voiced the most concern over not having Kozette's back pack. She was so excited to find one just the right size, and thoughtfully choose what would go inside. Only a Mom would put this above being in a foreign country without her own clothes and personal items!

I actually had my first phone conversation with my new baby this morning. Kozette was saying "Momma, Momma" over the phone while Maria giggled in the background. My heart continues to melt.

We've been trying to get Tsebay to say Momma but the "M" words seem to escape her for now. Pop Pop is the only name she is currently calling out! One of Maria's last thoughts before she left for her trip was the fact that Kozette actually may be able to say "Momma"!

Love to All ~ Mary Ann (Mimi)
Maria writes: Please pray for a smooth bond between the girls. Kozette is very, very attached. We'll see how this one goes. I'm hoping they fall in love from day one.

Kozette is an adorable little angel filled with smiles and personality 90% of the time. The other 10% is a bit crazy but is to be expected. We just went through a 1 hour melt down. Poor little girl. She is going through all the typical behaviors of a 2 year old going through such a tramatic experience. Don't worry about me. I'm feeling good and am up for the challenge. Every behavior is something I anticipated and have dealt with before.

Our bags arrived yesterday evening. This morning was like Christmas and Kozette was excited with all her new stuff. She is definitely a shoe girl. She loves her back pack. I put it on her when she was still in her PJ's and diaper and she had a bit of a melt down because she wanted to leave the room. I also had to force it off her back before her nap.

We went to a traditional Ethiopian dinner last night and enjoyed awesome dancing. Kozette was shaking her thing and loved the Ethiopian food. She eats like a champ when she likes the food. She is pretty picky and makes a very funny face when she doesn't like what you give her. She also throws it on the floor but we're working on that.

Cristen and I are doing well. We had a relaxing morning. Cristen napped and I took the baby to the playground. We will head up to Crater Lake this evening. Tomorrow we will hang at the hotel and sit by the pool.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hi Mommy!

No pics from Ethiopia today, but here is one from Tsebay checking in on her family.

Maria Writes:

Kozette slept straight through the night the first night! How amazing in a strange room away from all she knows but she played hard and seems very comfortable.

She is doing well. She is napping right now and I am going to join her. She is so sweet but when she gets over tired, look out.

We are going to the traditional Ethiopian dinner tonight.

Still no luggage --- let's hope it comes in tonight.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Gotcha Day!

Quite The Lady!

PIcs: We Are Blessed!

The pics are giving me a fit -- some how I managed to get this one up. I can open them from Maria's email, but they don't seem to want to post. I'll keep trying.

Kozette and Maria -- Together Forever!

Well, my girls have been joined together. I am over the top with joy ~
Maria Writes: What a day!
It was love at first sight. We met Kozette at her care center this morning and she dove into my arms. I could hear her in the next room giggling before they brought her to us. She is everything we've dreamed and more. She has so much personality. She is so social and loves everyone but made sure to check in with me and get her cuddle on. Kozette is a total love bug. Her smiles light up the room and she is smiling most of the time.

Here are a few highlights of our Gotcha Day:
I tried to feed Kozette apple sauce but she didn't like it too much. She took the spoon out of my hand and started feeding me.

She said mama several times. She knows who I am and definitely knows who she is.

As we were walking to the Embassy she was waving to everyone. She gets quite a reaction. She and Tsebay will be the social butterflies and talk of the town.

She is potty trained. We did not have one accident all day. I put her to sleep with a diaper. We'll see how it goes.

She will give Pop Pop a run for his money. She has some fiesty behaviors (Pop Pop loves the fiesty ones!) from the orphanage. She spits, pinches and hits. The good news is she is easily redirected and eager to please.

Kozette is now sleeping. She took a mini nap this afternoon and fell asleep around
7 this evening. Pray she sleeps through the night.

She had a piece of Philly pretzel this afternoon and loved it.

Cristin is an awesome help and is totally in love with Kozette. She sounds like Rachelle when she says Kozette is the cutest and totally means it. She also says she would love to adopt but wants Kozette.

My bags are still MIA. I'm hoping they will arrive on tomorrow's evening flight. Attached are some pics. See em and weep.

Shelley, I hope the last day of your project went well. I look forward to taking pics of my two little ladies in front of the art.

Miche, thanks for the thoughts and prayers.

Thank you to everyone for checking in on us -- we feel the vibes!

Maria and Kozette

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Safe Arrival -- In spite of ---

Maria and Cristin arrived safe and on time in Addis Ababa earlier today!

Maria's trip started out in the stressful+ category. Her initial flight from Philadelphia to Dulles was postponed by about 4 hours. From the time she arrived at the airport, reports of her flight being delayed began. The time changed about once an hour and it eventually seemed that she very well may not be making her connection in Dulles. She quickly learned that the next flight was not for two days and that her Embassy appointment scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) would not be rescheduled until the following Wednesday. With her dear friend Cristin already in Washington (she is from Texas) there were decisions to be made as to whether Cristin should continue on or wait in Washington for Maria.

After many phone calls and prayers Maria finally arrived in Dulles with minutes to spare. Maria was told (I think through Cristin) that they were holding the flight for her...I'm not sure if they actually did, either way it was a close call.

Unfortunately, Maria's luggage did not arrive with her. She wrote that she would be going on her first mother and daughter shopping spree with Kozette tomorrow -- as neither of them have any clothes. Hopefully they will arrive Thursday night -- so sad since she put so much into the packing, particularly Kozette's sweet new wardrobe. But all things considered -- this is small potatoes (easy for me to say!)

I am so looking forward to seeing (hopefully the pictures will transfer) and hearing about Maria's receiving of our little Kozette.

Tsebay is doing quite well -- she is beyond perfect! She is so much fun -- a lively, playful, smart, beautiful Grandaughter! I could go on and on about her antics, but I will spare you. In the picture above, she is waving hello to her sister's picture on the frig during her lunch today.

Until tomorrow ~~ Be well!

Mary Ann (Mimi)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Where's Zeet?

This is the question we ask Tsebay 10-15 times a day. She responds by pointing to her sister's pictures, talking baby talk and kissing the pics. From time to time throughout the day she says Zeet, Zeet, Zeet. Tsebay is definitely picking up on the energy of the house and I'm sure knows something big is going down. I'm off to Ethiopia tomorrow and Tsebay will stay with Mimi and Pop pop in New Jersey. She is in wonderful care and I'm sure will do better than I will with the time apart. It will be difficult to not wake up with her and have her cute antics, bright smile and giggles brighten my day. I told her today I am going to Ethiopia and will be back with the best souvenir ever.

I am so thrilled that the time is finally here to pick up my darling Kozette. The wait has been tough and I can't believe I will be holding this sweet little girl, my baby's sister and my daughter in a few days. Packing has been fun keeping her in mind. Knowing that soon she will be wearing the cute little clothes and shoes and playing with the toys has made it a joy (for the most part). Hopefully the bags go through as is tomorrow. I know they're a bit over weight.

Once again, thank you to everyone for your awesome support. I am so blessed to be a part of so many wonderful communities. I would not be walking down this path if there were not so many of you walking with me. Thanks for all the comments, phone calls, emails and words of encouragement as well as the financial assistance to make this adoption possible. Ask and you shall receive.

I will make every effort to post from Ethiopia. My mom will be trying to update as well. I gave her a quick blog tutorial yesterday. Let's see how she does.

As of tomorrow I'm outta here. Prayer is greatly appreciated.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Way to go Sissy!

Those of you who know me know how close I am to my sister, Rachelle. While I am traveling to Ethiopia to pick up Kozette, my sister along with local high school students and a famous Philly artist will be creating art on Maui. I am so disappointed that I will not be there for this awesome project but am so proud of her. Way to go sissy, we love ya. Check out her mural project, Every Day Light. The dedication of this project to our father, James Quinn and the day I hold my little love bug in my arms for the first time will be one and the same. January 9th will be a very special day for the Quinn sisters.