Wednesday, May 27, 2009

11 months old.

Ok so I haven't forgotten that I need to finish my trip report I hope to get to that real soon. I also didn't forget that yesterday was the little prince's 11 month birthday. I had planned to do a blog post last night in honor of him but we had some throwing up issues at bedtime and he spent time sleeping on mommy and on the couch so I never got to it.

In the last two nights we have seem some improvement with sleep so we are hopeful that we are getting ready to turn that corner and get back to where we were the first couple weeks with him. He is slowly starting to stand and walk more but does still prefer the crawl. I have also noticed he is starting to turn the pages of books better and is getting the idea of how to play with certain toys other then just banging and throwing them so we are making some progress.
On Monday he had his first trip to the zoo and managed to see some animals before falling asleep. Being a mom is the bestest job in the world even when i'm completly exhausted I love this little guy more then anything in the world.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One month ago.

Just one month ago we were in a very different place. We woke up at the Union in Addis Ababa Ethiopia knowing that our son was just a short distance away. This morning we woke up in our own (much more comfortable)bed at home in Maryland to the sound of our son in the next room. How long and short this past month has been. For a week or so Noah Tamirat has taken a step here and there but on Monday he officially became a walker he took several steps togeather. He doesn't like to do it when anyone is watching so no pictures or video and he still prefers the crawl. Here are pictures of some of our firsts. First car seat ride. Went rather well.Meeting the dog. First family photo. I think we look a bit dazed and confused. First time playing in his room.First sleep in the crib at home..he looks so tiny.First taste of baby food. (he had cereal in Ethiopia but thats it) he loves his bananas. The only things he seems to not like are peas and carrots. Any other veggie is fine and he loves fruits.First bath with momma & daddy. Yes this didn't take place until we got him home. The hot water situation in our room at the Union was unpredictable so he didn't get a real bath there. He loves bathtime.

First ride in the stroller.

There have been many other firsts for him and everything is new for us but we are doing well and slowly settling in to family life.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ethiopia Day 4 part 1..the birthmom meeting.

Ok so here we are on our next to last day in Ethiopia..Wednesday was an emotionally charged busy day. I have given alot of thought to how I would talk about this day on my blog and what pictures I would post. The first thing on our agenda today was of course the birthmom meeting and we have decided that we will not post any pictures of her online. We do have them in our house but other then that they are Noah Tamirats.

So when we arrived in Ethiopia we were given a schedule for the week. We were happy to see that we did indeed have a birthmom meeting scheduled as did a few other families from our agency. Our meeting was schedule for 11am so the morning was a little bit tense. Noah Tamirat fell asleep not long before it was time to leave for Hannah's Hope so we ended up carrying a sleeping baby down all those stairs and over the rocky path. When we got there nobody was outside (babies were all inside for naps) so we just sat out in the shade and waited. Almaz came out and said that she didn't know how things would go because of the two earlier meetings one birthmom showed up and the other one they waited for but she didn't come. I silently said a prayer that she would have the courage to come so that we could meet her and share more about her with Noah later on. Sean was walking around taking pictures and I had my back to the gate when he came over and said she is here lets go. We walked into Almaz' office and I had butterflies in my stomach. Noah was now awake and I just stood and waited for his birthmom to come in. I handed Noah Tamirat to her and he went without a fuss. I'm not sure if he remembered her or if it was just a brown face like his so he was ok but i'm so happy for her sake that she was able to hold him again. His birthmom is a beautiful young woman and I see alot of her in Tamirat . It was very clear how much she loved him by the look on her face.

Noah played on the floor while we asked our questions . We didn't get all the answers we wanted but we got the important ones and we can talk to him about those when he is old enough to understand. We could tell his mom wanted to know us and know our faces but she didn't want us to see her looking so we tried to focus on Almaz and on Noah. I was perfectly willing to let her study the faces of the family that would be raising her child. Almaz gave her the photo album we brought and read the letter we wrote and you could see her overwelming emotions. I held it togeather the best I could hoping it would make it easier on everyone if i wasn't a blubbering mess. After we had our questions answered we went outside and took pictures of Tamirat with his birthmom and then of all of us togeather. We went back into the office and hugged his birthmom and said goodbye I whispered thank you and we love you(not sure if she understood but I had to say something) and then waited as Almaz walked her to the gate. We know from another family that saw this it was a very emotional time for his birthmom. We will always keep this amazing woman in our prayers, we know that she loved Tamirat very much long before he was born . When we asked why she named him what she did we were told because he was her "miracle" it was always her dream to have a child. That was the first question she answered and it tore my heart out because I have also always dreamed of having a child and I can't imagine the pain it causes to give him up. Someday we hope to bring him back to Ethiopia to see his birthmom if he wants to..We know this is her dream as well. After the meeting was over we talked with Almaz a little bit and then left to go back to the hotel to unwind. Noah needed a nap and we needed to process everything that had happened. We had to be back at Hannah's Hope at 2 to go over more paperwork.

Back at the hotel Daddy & Noah took naps. I was sitting looking out the window just thinking about his birthmom and the pain she must be feeling and it all became to much and I finally broke down. Sean was awake at this point and we just hugged and let me cry it out. I went to dry my eyes and then came back to the window as Sean was telling me to look out. Noah Tamirats birthmom was walking past our hotel. I truly belive this was a sign from god. He knew that I was thinking about her and my heart was hurting for her and to see her one more time as she walked past our hotel was a true blessing. Noah Tamirat's beautiful birthmom will always be part of our family.

*next up part 2. paperwork and some more amazing women that loved my son before I did.*

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ethiopia day 4. Shopping

Ok what a wild night it was last night. Our first night with Noah Tamirat. We decided that for a couple different reasons the moses basket in the room wasnt going to work for him and he would have to sleep in bed with us. Well he's congested and would only let us get saline drops in one side of his nose(ok we could have pressed the issue but it was our first night with him and I didn't want him to feel tortured). He slept like a wild man all over the place. At one point he was sitting up and even crawling across the bed sound asleep.
Today is our shopping day. I'm excited about buying gifts for Noah Tamirat from him country but not happy about leaving him at Hannah's Hope for the day. I knew he would receive excellent care but how would he be when we picked him up? Would he be happy to be left there?
We walked over to Hannah's Hope and of course the special mothers were happy to get their hands back on these kids...they love them all so much. Almaz told me to just sit Noah down on a blanket and he started to crawl towards me and cry when I did. Broke my heart and I almost gave up the shopping trip to stay with him.
Have I told you how hot it is in Ethiopia..Seriously so much hotter then I thought it was going to be. So off we go to shop.Here is our travel group with Johannes at the art gallery/italian restaurant where we ate lunch after shopping. At this point I think alot of us just wanted to get back to Hannah's Hope and get our babies. I know I was completly exhausted and it was still early afternoon. The food was good and we did buy a small painting that maybe i'll post a picture of someday.
When we got back to Hannah's Hope we found Noah Tamirat already bathed and in jammies upstairs in a rocker.

How cute is he in his jammies back at the hotel with the new hat and drum that mommy& daddy bought him?

Hanging out with daddy before bed. They spent alot of time sitting in front of these huge windows just watching life go by. I think this is the night we all fell asleep around 5pm We woke up about an hour later and were able to get saline drops in his nose so he slept much better tonight.

*coming up day 5. Birthmom meeting, final paperwork meeting with almaz, saying goodbye to nighttime special mothers and cultural dinner.*

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day.

I have waited for many years to celebrate this day and today I did so with a heavy heart. Today is not just my first mothers day it is the first mothers day for my son's beautiful birthmom. The difference is there was no card and present for her, no hugs and kisses and smiles from her beautiful son. I'm not sure they celebrate Mother's day in Ethiopia but his birthmom was certainly in our thoughts and prayers today. Happy mother's day to me and to her and to all the special mommies at Hannah's Hope that love our children so much until they come home to us.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ethiopia day 3 part 2

So this is the walk we took after meeting you. This is the path from Hannah's Hope to the union hotel.

The gate to our hotel.The Union. We were on the 3rd floor room 305. Thats alot of stairs mommy and daddy climbed.Soon it was time to go back and get you for our embassy appointment from this time on you would be with us always. The walk back to Hannah's Hope is a bit of a blur. I was wondering how you would react to us now. The special mothers brought you out to us and you were a little fussy but Almaz said you needed a bottle and they would bring you one out. You were bottle #30. I took you over into the shade and Daddy got your bottle because I thought it best that you not see your special mommies again right away. The ride to the embassy appointment was an adventure for me. In america we can't just ride with babies on our laps and the driving in Ethiopia is a little scary. I held onto you for dear life. You were busy staring out the window at everything going on. Showing us your curious nature. The embassy appointment went smoothly and quickly and soon we were back at the hotel. We had the rest of the afternoon and evening to just hang out and get to know you.

Daddy gives you a baba..your world revolves around the baba.Kisses from Daddy. You seem to really love Daddy. He can make you smile and giggle.You enjoyed just being in a diaper and playing with toys. We enjoyed just watching you play amazed at how beautiful you are. After you fell asleep we went downstairs to eat some dinner. Mommy ate her first meal with a sleeping baby in her arms. We got to visit a little bit with some of our travel group which was fun because up to this point we hadn't had alot of time to get to know them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ethiopia day 3. Meeting Noah Tamirat.

Taken from my travel journal written as notes to Noah Tamirat.
"We woke up this morning and couldn't wait for it to be time to meet you. From one of the windows in the hotel we could see the back side of Hannah's Hope so we knew it was just a short walk away. A view from the back window of our hotel. Hannah's Hope is on the right hand side sort of towards the top just above the tree line.
Almaz came around 9am to do some paperwork and go over the plans for the week. Our travel group doing paperwork.Sean completing our paperwork.

Finally it was time to take the walk to Hannah's Hope. I can't even describe how I felt in the moment. I just kept reminding myself to take deep breaths. I wanted to hold it togeather and not be a crying wreck when I met you. I think our whole travel group was full of nervous excitement. It was a very short walk and then we were here. We thought we would be the 3rd family in line since you were one of the oldest in our travel group. We watched two other families meet their children. One with two older boys (that are very fond of you). And one toddler. Those meetings were very emotional and those of us waiting for babies were already starting to tear up. Finally Almaz called us over to you.

This is our first glimpse of you. Ok actually our second because when we walked thru the gate my eyes were drawn to where all the babies were laying in the sun. I was searching for you but all I saw was curls sticking up above a rocker. Surprise it was you. Mommy and Daddy have waited so long for this moment and you are sound asleep. My heart overflowed with love for you and I just wanted to scoop you up and hold you.
Almaz said it was best not to wake you because you might fuss so we took our first family photo. Mommy sat next to you and touched you and whispered to you that we were here and we love you and please wake up.

One of your special mothers tried to help you along in the waking up process. They all loved you very much. After about 15-20 minutes you finally woke up and we are the first faces you saw. I asked you special mommy if I could pick you up and she nodded so I nervously unbuckled you and picked you up. What a shock to my arms at your heaviness. You were very serious just taking us in. This is a very common look for you. We told you over and over that we are your mommy & daddy and that we love you and were going to take you home. You never fussed until your special mommies started to call & sing to you and then you turned to them and started to cry. Daddy held you for a short time but all to soon it was time to leave you and go back to the hotel to prepare for our embassy appointment.
* Day three part 2 coming soon*

Monday, May 4, 2009

Where did my boy go?

Ok so I seriously thought long and hard about posting this but I want to be real for everyone that might be going thru this and those that might go thru it later. Everyone has asked how are we doing, how is Noah, how is everyone adjusting. My answer for the past week as been that we are all doing fine and Noah seems to be adjusting rather well considering all the changes in his short life. Today I found myself wondering where the little boy I brought home from Ethiopia disappeared to. Sometime during the night my happy smiley boy was replaced with one that seems to be grieving. Yes I saw glimpses of that adorable smile today that melts my heart but I also spent a good portion of the day feeling like I was in combat. Everything was a battle with him today from eating, getting dressed, diaper change, napping all a battle of wills. A couple times while sitting on the floor playing he just started screaming and crying for no reason. When I went to pick him up and comfort him he would start thrashing and trying to push me away. Yes we were told this could happen and yes we read books but nothing and I mean NOTHING can prepare you for the moment when the child that you love so much seems scared and doesnt want you to touch him after two weeks of everything being ok. My heart broke for this child, my son because all I wanted to do was hold him and love him and it was a power struggle. I wasn't sure if I should hold him tighter or just let him go so I held on and I tried to talk to him over his tears and screaming to tell him that I knew he was sad and that was ok but I loved him and I wasn't going away. This mommy thing is tough. Throw an active 10 month old at any couple that doesn't have kids and I guarentee it will be hard. Add to that the journey to a foreign country and back and now the sadness and helplessness and it puts it at a whole new level. This will take time and we will get thru this but I ask today for your prayers. For Sean and I to have the patience it takes to help Noah Tamirat through this rough time. And for Noah for god to heal his heart and help him accept us as his parents. He has had many people in his short life that have loved him very much and I can't even imagine what he must be feeling.

From Dulles to Addis . Day's 1&2 of our Journey to Noah Tamirat

Ok so after a week home i'm finally ready to start blogging about our trip. I kept a travel journal so some of this might come straight from there we shall see. First I want to say that i'm not gonna sugar coat things here..the travel for me on the way there was hard..I didn't sleep much on the plane and I was in rough shape when i arrived in Ethiopia.

Our plane sitting at the gate just waiting for us.

Day 1. Unlike alot of the families Dulles was our home airport. All day long I anxiously awaited the time that we would load the suitcases and drive to the airport to start our long journey. My parents drove us to the airport and we were at our gate and waiting by 6pm for our 8:30 flight. My stomach was already in knots and I sent sean in search of some crackers. We spent alot of time just checking out the other families and wondering which ones might be with AGCI. We knew that alot of us were on that flight and we actually picked out the families we thought might be in our group but we didn't approach any of them. We did meet a nice family that was traveling to adopt with another agency and spent time talking with them while we waited on our flight. We ended up leaving an hour late because we had to wait for some clearance or something. This was not fun since our plane had been sitting at the gate since we arrived and we were more then ready to get off the ground.

Mommy & Daddy awaiting takeoff. Lets get this plane in the air. *I can assure you we didn't look anywhere near this happy when we landed in Ethiopia and there will no pictures of us at that point*. Our travel group can attest to how rough we looked haha.

Day 2. Somewhere along the way Saturday turned into Sunday. There was no sleeping on the plane and the further we went the worse I felt. Excitement was building in my stomach and unfortunetly that wasn't the only thing. The layover in Rome was uneventful and we were on our way to Addis. I ate very little of each meal just to put something in my stomach. I will admit to grabbing for the airsickness bag on landing in addis and the flight attendant sitting right ahead of us(we were in the exit row) looked a little nervous that I might use it. Surely it wouldn't be the first they had seen. Once we landed we made our way to the escalator that takes you down to the visa area. Can I just say when you get to the bottom of the escalator move to the right quickly....don't just stop and stand there people go somewhere. I was feeling really sick and getting pushed and shoved from every direction. I at some point lost Sean in the crowd and finally found him again in time to get in the insanly long visa line. Not long after I was running for the bathroom where I promptly emptied my stomach into a wastebasket (huge hint for future travelers....use the bathroom before you get off the plane unless you know you can wait until you get to the hotel). Somehow we managed to drag ourselves thru the very unorganized line for visa, figure out which customs line to go in and then find our luggage and make our way out to where Johannes was waiting..I was so happy to see his smiling face(even at the very late hour of our arrival)and the sign that said AGCI families. Ahhh we are here. After we got all the families togeather it was off to the hotel. We took in as much as we could on the drive to the Union but honestly I just really wanted to get to bed. I was so scared that I would be sick the next day and Almaz wouldn't let us bring our son back to the hotel with us. The first person I met at the hotel was Dawn's husband Tim. Please forgive the blank stare & the couple seconds it took to answer you simple question of "Are you Renee" ummm yeah I should know that answer haha. Next Dawn came down the stairs into the garage area and it was so nice to finally meet her. We all went up into the lobby to check in and make our way to our rooms. We were on the 3rd floor (no elevators in the hotel) boy would I get a workout this week carrying 20lbs of baby up and down those stairs. I wish someone could have carried me upstairs as easily as they handled our luggage. It's very late and we have a baby to meet in the morning time to get some sleep.

And before I forget Sarah thank you again for being an angel and helping me with one of our suitcases at the airport it was very much needed and appreciated.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Home 1 week.

Where has time gone. A week ago today we arrived home bleary eyed and disoriented..I would love to tell you all that has changed haha. No really we are adjusting fairly well. Noah T has done far better then I expected with all the changes at his age. He is usually a happy baby and his smile just melts my heart. He knows how cute he is and gives you that grin that lets ya know it. I will blog more about our time in Ethiopia very soon. To all of you who's babies I didn't get to see i'm very sorry. It was hard for us to spend much time at Hannah's Hope because our guy is very active and as Almaz said they aren't really set up for 1o month olds.

We are so in love with this little guy he has turned our lives upside down and we couldnt' be more pleased. We miss our travel group and hope everyone is doing well.