Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy 18th Birthday, Miss Anna!

Then. Anna... September 1991.

And now. Anna, September 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Go Bucks!


The Ohio State Marching band came to town to play the Bengals halftime. They did a performance on the street before the big game and as usual, were amazing. After being home a week, Rosie joined in and took a marching band street concert right in stride. I love this photo of Anna sandwiched between the drums.

Karl enjoying the band with his new daughter.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


We are home.
Exhausted, elated and very very happy to be home.
Rosie did great.. she is a mighty little girl. Elizabeth and I are physically and emotionally drained and doing our best to process everything from our time in Ethiopia. Everything went very smoothly, we didn't have any issues or problems with the embassy... our agency representative (Abdissa), was wonderful and so was everyone else at the orphanage. We stayed in a guest house in Addis Ababa with very kind and helpful people. Although we were nervous about the journey, Elizabeth and I were given support and welcomed warmly.
I will post more later, but I wanted to let you know that we are home, Rosie is gorgeous and healthy and we are all doing very well.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Homeward Bound!

Here is a photo of Rosie in her last few hours in Ethiopia. For never having been in a stroller before she adapted to it quickly and enjoyed strolling around the wide open spaces.

I honestly don't remember a lot of details from the trip home... hours blurred into hours which became more hours. Rosie did ok... she fussed a bit and slept a lot. It was all kind of surreal to fly for that long and we were moving with the night, so it was dark for most of the time. Our total travel time was about 30 hours, about 22 of those hours were the flight from Addis Ababa to Washington D.C. Immigration in Washighton was a breeze... no problems there and then we were on to our final leg... Dulles to Cincinnati.

Forget Disney World, for me the happiest place on earth is the painted yellow strip at the base of the escalators at the airport. That's the spot where those waiting are the closest they can be to those coming from incoming flights. That is the very spot where the rest of our family met Jamie, Henry and now Rosie, and I associate it only with happiness. The thrill of introducing your newest member, combined with the relief of finally being home is a joy that can't be beat.

Our first glimpse at our welcoming committee... if a stroller could peel out, that's exactly what we were doing...

A little more composed just before we left the airport... Henry looks glum, but he really wasn't.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Return to the Orphanage

Rosie and I sporting our new Ethiopian outfits... I look sweaty and spent, she completely adorable, as usual.

Here is the giant cake... each new family made three cuts.

Here Rosie and I are with Abdissa our country representative, truly one of the kindest and warmest gentlemen ever .

After our very live-stocky morning, Rosie, Elizabeth and I were picked up and taken back to Rosie's orphanage for a goodbye celebration. As we entered the orphanage, all of the children were in the front room clapping, singing and doing very cute little dance moves. I wish I could post photos, but we are only allowed to post pics of our own kiddos. After the song and dance welcome we were ushered into another room and asked to sit while everyone was served a coke. After everyone was settled Abdissa our adoption representative lead us in a church service. He read from the bible and spoke of the love that we all felt for all of our children and the strength of faith. He spoke with passion from the heart. He conducted the service in English and then would translate to Amharic. He blessed all of us newly adoptive parents and families and our new sons and daughters. Then he turned to all of the children living at the orphanage and blessed them. His tone was celebratory, but my heart ached for those children who were still waiting to be adopted. Then he asked each family to say a few words. I was emotionally spent at this point, so I just thanked them all for their warmth and kindness in welcoming each of us, and tried not to cry. Then a huge cake was brought out and each family made three cuts in the cake and it was served with more bottles of coke. As all of the children we being served, Abdissa gave all of us wrapped gifts- traditional Ethiopian shirts and dresses for the little girls. A fun and very unexpected surprise. Abdissa had a gift for Rosie, Elizabeth and I, and then each member of my family at home as well. Since we are now a family of eight, I left with many packages! After the gifts were passed out, we all said our goodbyes and loaded up our van where we were off to dinner at a restaurant with traditional food and dancing.

Wednesday Morning

On Wednesday we didn't have any plans or appointments until 3:00 so it was a very restful morning. Many of the other families from our agency went shopping in the morning, but I all I really wanted to do was stay in the guest house and snuggle little Rose. Since Elizabeth was able to do some shopping and visit the national museum while Rosie and I were at the embassy, having a quiet morning sounded good to her too. So instead of venturing out, Rosie napped and I watched this little drama unfold from our guest room.
As Miss Rosie was snoozing away, I heard a terrible moaning sound, peeked out my tiny little balcony and saw this cow being beaten with a stick and marched up our street.

Then I heard an even more tragic sound,a higher pitch bleat and saw this baby cow crying for it's mama being led away. It was all very noisy and very sad.

A few minutes after the mama cow, baby cow drama wrapped up, I heard the clackity-clack of little hooves, peeked out again and saw a herd of goats making their way down the other direction.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

U.S. Embassy Day

I was unable to take any photos anywhere near the embassy, so here is a photo of Miss Rosie on the day that she got her US visa. I like this shot because instead of looking frightened, she looks tough ... like the super strong little girl that she most definitely is.

On Tuesday, Rosie and I as well as the other families from our agency had an appointment at the U.S. embassy to get a visa for her. While she has been officially our daughter since the end of July, we still needed to apply for a visa for her to travel home to the United States. As we drove up towards the embassy, I noticed a lot of signs in Amharic and English forbidding any photographs and was glad that I had taken my cameras and camcorder out and left them at the guest house. We could only drive so close to the embassy so we parked out a few streets and walked in. I had a diaper bag over my shoulder and Rosie on my hip and really could not have felt any more conspicuous as we walked on. As Americans, we were allowed to pass the lines and lines of Ethiopian families waiting for the chance to apply for a visa and in through a separate entrance.I felt awful. I tried to hide Rosie's cute little face under my scarf and was sure to keep my eyes down and go in as quick as possible. We showed our passports and went through the first group of guards who searched my diaper bag and found some electronic baby toys which really annoyed them. They took the toys out of my bag and gave it back to me and Rosie and I were allowed to enter. I fumble with my bag trying to shove all of the stuff back in and get through and when I glance up I see on the wall photo portraits of our president and secretary of state. I was never happier to see Barack and Hilary and instantly got emotional, patriotic and just plain relieved... like I unexpectedly bumped into old friends. We were taken through the security building and into a large waiting room and we do just that. We wait. The room is filled with Americans adopting (adoption cases are seen only one day every other week) and Ethiopians trying to get visas. I notice that quite a few of the Ethiopian men and women have tribal markings, some intricate, some simple dots- on their faces and wonder how that will go for them when they travel to the US. After a little more than an hour(whew! I was warned it could be much longer)Rosie and I are called to a window. I am asked a few questions about her circumstances and they ask if this is the child that I was referred. I am nervous, but the women who is interviewing me is kind, we are quickly approved and it's over. On Thursday, our representative, Abdissa can pick up her visa and we are free to go home. No delays, no problems, Rosie can come home.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Meeting Miss Rosie on Monday

I met my little girl for the first time on Monday September 14th, 2009.
Elizabeth and I were told that our driver would pick us up from our guest house at 10:00. We were assured that he would most definitely be late and not to worry when he was, he would eventually arrive.
Ok...we were ready to wait patiently when he arrived early. He was to take us to the orphanage where she had lived for the past year or so. As our van pulled up to the guest house the gates opened up and I recognized her immediately. She was being held in the arms of one of the nannies...tiny, perfect and dressed all in pink. Big brown eyes, cute little braids... frightened little face staring in shock and disbelief. Poor little peanut. I didn't want to scare her more or to have her burst into tears so I tried to make myself smaller and talk to her in my nicest mommy voice. Before too long her nanny got impatient and kind of shoved her in my arms and there she was. Wow. After almost two years of worrying and paperwork and forms and imagining and memorizing every detail of every one of the photos of her cuteness... here she was in my arms. Just like that. A real little person- not just a picture of one... a little like meeting a celebrity or a public figure. Someone you feel like you should know because of the photos, but in reality you haven't a clue.I was overwhelmed with gratitude for her little self... she was ok, she seemed healthy and I am the person who gets to be her new mom. Someone gave me flowers... roses wrapped in cellophane and I had trouble holding her and the flowers. Her little body was tense, but she didn't cry. We are quickly ushered upstairs to see her room. It looks clean and bright... 7 cribs in a semi-circle. 8 or more baby roommates. There is a photo of my family that was taken from our home study report taped to the wall over her crib... someone from the orphanage has photo shopped a photo of Rosie in with the rest of my family, which was nice, but looks a little surreal.
No time to linger, we are hurried out into the van and to our agencies office building to finish up with more paperwork. Onward from here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Adorable again in the Pink Princess Sweatshirt

Just received some updated photos of Miss she is sporting the bucket hat look...

... and here she is looking like she really needs us as much as we need her.

Tomorrow is the big day of departure. I am traveling with my very cool and adventurous friend Elizabeth and Karl is staying here and taking care of the home team.Elizabeth and I leave tomorrow (Saturday) arrive in Addis Ababa on Sunday and meet Rosie at her orphanage on Monday. We go to the embassy early in the week and then fly home on Thursday to arrive in Cincinnati Friday afternoon. Whew, what a week!

I wonder what she will think of me?
I am off to try and sleep while I can... I don't think a person could be more excited then I am right now...Rosie girl, here we come!