Thursday, December 27, 2007

Day 8 & 9

Day 8 was the first our first Christmas Eve as a whole family!!!! It
was such a great day! We got up, played with the world's cutest baby
and thanked God that we could be together on this very special day! We
watched a couple of Christmas movies, and went to lunch with all of the
departing families. Everyone was headed home and a new group was
arriving. Jennifer (Ethiopia Mama) arrived on this day and had dinner with
us all. We said our final good byes to some very wonderful people and
headed off to the older kids foster center. I got to take some
wonderful pictures of some wonderful little ones to send home to their
families on Christmas Eve! The older kids foster center was great! We got to
see a ton of smiling faces and happy smiles. We found out that not
all of the children here have been matched with families. That is sooo
sad because they are all wonderful! We headed back to the hotel. Ian
had been so sick the previous days and so had I. We used this time to
rest and enjoy our new family on this wonderful holiday!

Day 9 was CHRISTMAS DAY!!! We hung out all day and had lunch at the
Hilton! It was so crazy to be sitting outside in the beautiful weather
eating lunch on Christmas Day! We loved it but missed the cold dreary
weather of the KY Christmas. We met everyone for dinner at Top View in
the evening and had a great Christmas dinner! When we got back to the
hotel Renee and Geert had arrived and we got to meet them for the first
time!! I was so excited!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Days 6 & 7

Saturday morning we got up and played around in the room with the baby.
He slept very well the night before, it was nice. We called our
driver and went to the Mercato. There are a bunch of outdoor shops there
that sell souvenirs. We got some really beautiful things for us and for
our family and friends. It was so hot out in the sun and the baby
fell straight over asleep in the Bjorn! We got back in the car...bought a
last minute map (for those of you who have been or will go to the will likely buy a map also!), and headed back toward the
hotel. I had wanted a watch for Christmas so Cortney asked the driver to
take us somewhere to get a watch. We went to a very nice little shop and
I picked out my watch! I love it! We came back to the hotel and took
a little nap. We were supposed to meet Belay at 4 in the lobby to go
to Dreamland. At 4:00 on the nose, my eyes sprang open and I
frantically got Cortney and the baby up! We ran downstairs and they were
waiting on us. I'm sure we looked like we had just gotten up! So Belay
drove us and another couple in one car up to Dreamland. It was amazing up
there, I couldn't believe something that beautiful was hidden behind
the roadside shops and people. We all sat down to have dinner and Ian
became very fussy...time for a bottle, right? I get the bottle of water
out of my bag and start searching for the powder formula to pour
in....AHHHHHHHHHHHH I had made a bottle before we napped and didn't put it
back in the bag!!! So here we were 1 hour away from the hotel, no
driver of our own, with zero formula for our very hungry baby!!! I did what
any new mother would do...cry. LOL Another family had some baby food
that we tried. He liked it a little but it was not about to be his
whole meal. Then we tried just water...'no thank you' he said. So then we
tried to get him to sleep, he was having none of that! Then a
gentleman came into the restaurant with a can of formula!!!!!!!!!! I grabbed
the formula, hugged him, and told Cortney to pay him! Then I ran off
to make the bottle. Ahh, instant gratification for Ian! He was very
happy again. Belay had sent the man to get us some formula. How nice
was that?? I felt like a negligent mother but I'm pretty sure that will
never happen again. All I could think was, how are we ever going to
make it back to the hotel with him?

Sunday morning really early Ian started to get sick. I think it was a
stomach virus because I had it a couple days earlier. He would cry and
want a bottle then when he got it, he vomited the whole thing straight
up. It was terrible. As the day went on he refused to take a bottle
or drink any water. I started to panic. I called the hotel dr who was
out because it was Sunday. He said he would have someone take us to
the clinic in town. That made me scared so I called Belay. I told him
that Ian was running a fever and he would take a bottle, he hadn't had
a wet diaper all day and they he was very lifeless. He said that we
should keep his fever down and wait until morning and take him to the the
pediatrician who has been seeing him all along. He wouldn't drink
anything...I was soooo scared. I know that babies dehydrate so much
faster than adults and that no wet diapers was not good. So my sister
recommended getting a medicine dropper and filling it with water and giving
it to him that way. She said that her pediatrician said that if he got
an ounce an hour that he wouldn't dehydrate. So, we did that. With a
1ml medicine dropper I gave him 2 or 3 ounces so that he would not get
dehydrated. He got up 3 times during the night and gradually started
taking very diluted bottles. He drank 3 or so ounces at a time, had a
wet diaper and we kept his fever down with Tylenol. I had a bunch of
fears when we set out on this journey but being here, 9000 miles away
from my family, with a sick baby was among the greatest. On Monday
morning Belay called to check on us and we apologized for calling him on
Sunday and for being typical new parents. He laughed and said that he
would send over the Ethiopian version of Pedialyte and we began our first
Christmas Eve together.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

More photos of a Happy BOY!

Who is that KENTUCKY boy??? Ian P. that's who!!! 8)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Day 4 & 5

The morning of day 4 we got up and went to the coffee ceremony at the
Gladney foster center. This is when I had a chance to meet and take
pictures of all of the babies who had referrals this week!! How exciting
that so many babies got referred to their families. And it was also on
this day that Renee and Geert Loeffen officially became Maryn and
Keller's parents!!! Congrats!! Can't wait until you all are here!!!
After the coffee ceremony we went to an Italian restaurant with the best
view. We had lunch with all of the other families, Belay, and Travis.
After we got back to the Hilton, we took Ian down to the pool and let
him splash his feet around in the really warm water. I got some
beautiful pics of him and his dad!! I started feeling bad around then and we
came back to the room. Then I was completely out of commission for
about 24 hours!! Cortney stepped up, took over and managed me and the baby
all by himself. Ian has had a nasty cough and some other issues since
we have been here and Cortney handled everything like a pro. I can't
believe how his instincts kicked in and he became superdad so
quickly!!! We missed the authentic Ethiopian night because I was not able to go
out but we will get another chance at it next week when Renee and
Geert are here!!

This morning was our appointment at the US embassy. Still feeling
poorly, Cortney got the baby dressed and ready to go! He got all of our
things together and helped me out the door! I don't know if I could have
not gone but not going was not an option for me! We saw the embassy
dr who gave Ian a clean bill of heath and then we went for the blood
test. Blood test?? AHH, I wasn't ready to see him cry like that!!!
Cortney held him and did his very best to distract him but he screamed and
we cried. He was so brave though. He only cried for a minute and then
he was back to his smiley self!!! I can't believe how amazing he is.
He keeps us cracking up!! We came back to the room and he is napping
now with Cortney. I am finally feeling like I may make it now, so I
am catching up on some emails. We may go back out and do something
tonight if my stomach will stay steady!! I want some American food so much
right now! I would love to have some Baked Lays and a sub from
Subway!!! And I would do anything for a Diet Dr. Pepper!!! Oh well, just
over a week and we will be on the plane home.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Day 3...

Hello Everyone,

Lindsey wanted me to share some more pictures of her journey. I put together this montage for her, she hasn't seen it yet, but I think she will approve.

Please pray for Lindsey, Cort and Baby Ian. Lindsey's had a really, really rough day. (Not feeling well at all) and Baby Ian's cough is getting worse. I hate that they are so far away and I can't help them, but I know that God is taking care of them. (Big sister complex, ugh)

Anyway, I hope to send out some pics of beautiful baby at sometime today or tomorrow. The chat we're using allows us to send pictures immediately to each other without waiting on email. It's instant and I can talk to her constantly. You can download it at then you just invite the people you want to. It's really nice and I couldn't have stood not talking to her without it, lol. Anyway, just an idea =)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Day 2

YAY BREEDLOVES!!!!!! I can't wait to meet your sweet boy!!!!
Day one is a blurr that I still can't believe happened. After we got back to the room, ate lunch, and unpacked we basically just played with the baby and sent some emails. He is such a joy! I can't believe how good he is. It is amazing. He never has a complaint about being carried around to the orphanages, sitting in the restaurants and being kissed, hugged and loved on by everyone around! In just two days we can tell a difference in his personality. He has opened up a lot and the smiles and laughs come more frequently and easily. I can't imagine what he is thinking about us. So much has changed for him and how does he have any certainty that he is going to be okay with us? So much trust to ask of such a little person. We are doing our part though. In just two short days he has learned that a subtle whimper will get two adults on the move before he can make it to a cry!!! He really doesn't ask for much. Bottle, clean diaper, and a burp! I think I can put a rush on those accommodations anytime!!! He loves to be talked to and held of course. When we get home from activities I try to put him on a pillow and play with him that way since I feel so bad about carrying him all day long. We are working on his sitting up skills. He loves to pull up and fall back into the pillow. It gets a good belly laugh every time (out of us all)!!! I can't tell you how proud Cortney and I are to be the parents of this precious baby. We are truly undeserving of something so miraculous.
Today we met Ryan and two other Gladney families for breakfast. I had my first experience with Ethiopian coffee. I love coffee so I was excited. It was very strong and delicious!! Then we all went to a school where we saw Maryn Tsegrida! She is such a sweetie. It is amazing how you know their little faces from looking at pictures so many times!! I knew that she is in the Kechene house but she was there today at school. She loves Ryan so much. The 3 drivers and Ryan are all so amazing with the kids. It really warms up your heart to see the children run to them and be scooped up in their arms! Cortney had a line of kids wanting to hold his hands. They would actually push each other to get to hold your hand. Most of the children there were just in school and lived with their family in the community. I think Ryan said that only about 5 were from Kechene and available to be adopted. The kids loved to rub the hair on Cortney's arm. That was pretty funny!! One little girl decided that she would hold both of his hands so that no one else could!! He was loving it!! Next we went to the Enant Alam orphanage. This is where Ian spent his first few days before he went to Gladney. They told us that the building has moved but it was the same people. The orphanage was full. We walked in and the older children (2-7ish) were singing "Welcome to Enant Alam". They sang many songs for us. We went to the baby rooms and they were very full. Full of tiny little babies, 3 to a crib. Most were sleeping, some were frightened by all of the adults walking into the room, and others were starving for attention. Baby Ash, who is traveling with us, was from there also. They remembered having him but did not believe that Ian was from the orphanage. I asked the director if she remember Surafel. She asked me country he was from. I said here. She said where did you bring him from? I said he is from Ethiopia, he came from Addis. I guess he looked a lot different from when he was there and he was only there a few days. With so many babies I don't know how they remember anything. There was a little girl there, probably 2 or 3. She had on a cute little purple flowered dress and rain boots! She had a smile that took my breath. Cortney fed her three packs of sweet tarts. She ate them 1 at a time and smiled each time like she knew she was beautiful! It is so hard to understand how so many families are in the US aching for children and so many beautiful, wonderful children are here...needing a family. Believe me when I say that Ryan, Abby, Travis, Joanna, and Belay are doing everything they can to get our children with us. They love these kids and want the best for them all! They have told us so many times how frustrating it is here to get things done. They said you run around all day trying to get one thing accomplished and the first time they are on a coffee break, next time gone to lunch, next time gone home early. They said it is impossible sometimes to get things accomplished. Gladney now has two baby foster homes and 1 home for older children if I understood correctly. I'm not sure if the home for older children is up and going just yet but it may be. Two of the families have adopted bright futures campers. It is hard to imagine how those kids feel. Yesterday they lived in an orphanage similar to the ones we visited today. But today they got into a car and drove to the hotel with their forever family. It is such a big change for them. These kids are amazing. I can't believe how sweet and kind and wonderful they are.
Tomorrow we will go to Kechene and Kolfe. I am looking forward to meeting sweet Keller. We are a still a little tired trying to adjust to the time and our stomachs are a little shaky. I think the thing that is most difficult to get used to is the diesel fuel when you are driving in the car. I have heard other families talk about it but I never imagine that it was this bad. Today we went out onto the grounds here at the Hilton and it was refreshing to breath some fresh air. Cortney said he had huffed his limit of diesel fuel for the day!!!!! Well, I'm signing off for the night, I had better catch some shut eye while my boys are!!! Even when Cortney gets up with Ian we are about 6 inches away from each other so I may as well get up and get some kisses since he's awake!

Day 2 Pictures

Monday, December 17, 2007

One More pic and a comment from Lindsey

" ok, well i am going to wash my face, brush my teeth, and lay down beside of my child. this night is the first night in many years that I will not pray for him to come to me."

I spoke with Lindsey tonight on "HELLO" it's a chat forum that lets you swap pictures. We didn't know if it would work or not, but so far it's a dream for keeping in contact. Something to think about for future travelers.

Meeting Baby Ian

Hello From Africa

Hello from Ethiopia...finally. Thanks to a million prayers Cortney's dad came through open heart surgery and is doing well. We finally arrived in Addis this morning at 5am. After 62 hours of travel (all but about 10 of which were spent at the airport) we finally did the seemingly impossible. After sitting in Chicago O'Hare for 12 hours on Friday, being waitlisted for a flight to Frankfurt and learning that Friday was looking like the only day there was even a possibility of leaving, we came back Saturday and did a bit more waiting. It was crazy. Friday the flight to Frankfurt was booked but the connection to Addis was wide open. Saturday, the flight to Frankfort was open but Luftthunsa had to service to Addis on Sun (when we would acutally be in Frankfurt). So, Lufthunsa booked tickets for us allowing us to get a connection flight with Ethiopian air in Tel Aviv with a 10 hour layover. So...needless to say we got no rest in the past three days. When we arrived at the airport this morning at 5:30am we called Belay and he sent a driver to the Hilton to get us and we met Ian at around 9am. All of the babies were laying in the front lawn of the foster center on mattresses getting some sun. They were all beautiful!! Ian looked right at us when we got out of the car and we snatched him up and haven't quit kissing since. I already have so many stories to tell but I can't stop looking at him long enough to type them. I will write more soon!!!

Posted by Jamie/written by Lindsey

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Really Bad Day

I thought about titling this post worst day of our lives but that sounds kind of like I am challenging God to show me the worst. I am not, simply saying that today was really really bad. We got up at 3:30 am, got dressed, drove 4.5 hours to the airport. Waited 2 hours to board. Arrived in Chicago at 12pm, ate, checked email, checked in for our next flight and waited...3 hours. 15 minutes before our plane to Frankfurt takes off, Cortney and I call the families one last time to check in. My call goes okay, Cort's...not so well. We are told that his dad is in the hospital getting a heart cath!! Heart cath??? We talked to him at 12 and he was feeling under the weather but for an emergency heart cath we knew something was really wrong. Well, there was. He had a heart attack and was having triple bypass open-heart surgery within the next hour. Needless to say we missed our flight. We were sitting there in the floor crying not knowing what to do. We couldn't get home for 8 hours and we have a baby waiting for us in Ethiopia. AHHHH!!! All we could do was cry. I cried all over the airport, to every ticketing agent we could find. We didn't want to do anything that would take us away from cell service so we could get the updates. So for 9 hours...we sat in the terminal, waiting for something. Neither of us really knowing what. We just sat there and cried. Then after 12 hours of sitting at Chicago O'Hare airport we got the news that Cort's dad came through the surgery with the best possible outcome. He is still in ICU but the surgery went well. We are kind of in a stand still right now not knowing what to do. I guess we will start trying to make decisions tomorrow. Please pray that this all works out and that Cortney's dad is back to his chipper self quickly.

Friday, December 14, 2007

First stop...Chicago

Here we are in Chicago, waiting for our next flight @ 3:30 to Frankfurt. I cannot believe how relieved I am to be going....advancing toward my son! There has been lots of bad weather today delaying several flights. Our flight from Cincinnati was delayed about 30 minutes due to another flight being delayed. Ahh, the woes of winter travel!! I am still trying to digest this trip, this journey, the end of the journey. Everything we have done today, we keep saying, just think how it will be on the return flight. We ate our meal slowly and peacefully today knowing that day after tomorrow Ian will forever dictate the speed and degree to which we are able to eat meals. Cortney laughed and talked about how it would be "to go" from now on so one could walk/bounce/entertain and the other could eat!!! Kind of crazy how much things will change in just 1 day. We are ready. More than ready. I am looking forward to the next flight. I haven't slept in days and this flight is nice and long. With the help of some Benadryl I can get up to 8 hours!!! More than I've had any night in about 3 weeks!!! Ok, my next post will likely be from Addis! Renee, I can't wait to meet you guys!! I am looking so forward to seeing your sweet angels!!! Have a safe trip!!!
Take care everyone!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007


My dear friend Jocelyn got the referral for her very beautiful daughter...Pacey Lomi Brody!!! YAY, I am sure that her heart is full tonight! Thank you God for this wonderful miracle!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

1 week

One week from about this time exactly, we will land in Ethiopia, go to the Hilton and prepare for a sleepless night before we meet Ian Clevinger for the first time. Due to the court date issues of last week our travel dates have been moved up a few weeks. I am so sad that so many very anxious families will not be traveling during that week but it is in God's plan for us to do it this way. Gladney gave us the option to be hosted the week of Dec 16th thru Dec 24th so we have decided to not extend our stay so that we can be home for Christmas with some very eager family members (most of all Jamie my sis)!!! We are so sad that Renee and Geert will not be there with us but please know that we will be kissing those sweet little faces for you and telling them how you will be there soon!!!! We were looking forward to a vacation in Ethiopia but because we have the opportunity to be home on Christmas Day we are going to take it and forgo the down time=( This weekend has been kind of crazy because we moved some stuff into the new house preparing for the real move in when we return. I work tomorrow and don't have another day off until we leave so I am thankful that I have spent the past month preparing for this trip! We will try to post again before we leave but no promises!! Hopefully my sister will be able to post for us while it Ethiopia since most people say they can't access blogspot while there. In just a week we will be the end of a very emotion journey.

(The most beautiful smile I have ever seen!)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Day of Court

As you all know our court date went as planned and Ian is our baby officially. We are very excited because after all this is the day we have waited for. Waiting 7 long weeks for our home study to be written. Waiting impatiently 2 months for CIS approval, waiting 12 weeks for a referral for the most precious baby in the world, waiting 2 weeks for news of a court date. Then we waited, 4 weeks for the court date. Now we will wait 10 days to hold our son. Waiting is what makes this so hard. Uncertain waiting is what makes it nearly impossible. Throw in wanting, longing, crying, and hoping and you have some of the longest months of any person's life. That is why I know that while 13 days is a very short time to wait for anything I also know that in their mommy's eyes it may as well be an eternity. I am so sorry Renee and Geert that court was not a victory for you today. We are praying for you over here and hoping that God will give you peace during the next 13 days.


This is Jamie, Lindsey's sister, she wanted me to let everyone know that COURT WAS A SUCCESS!!!! Ian Parker Surafel Clevinger is officially adopted in Ethiopia! Lindsey is hysterical, lol . I'm sure she'll add to this when she gets her hands on a computer with internet connection. Thanks (from me) for all the prayers and support you've shown my baby sister.
Lots of love,
aka Ian's Sissy
(A title I've wanted my whole life)

BTW, Lindsey.... "Happy Birthday Mommy"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Be my little baby

Please pray for us all tomorrow as many of us Gladney families have court dates. I will be working 8a-8p tomorrow but as soon as we hear something my sister will be posting. When I read Renee's post I was reduced to tears because I know that longing all too many of us do. There is a yahoo group for Gladney families and one of the women talked about how we shouldn't claim these children as our own until court happens and how we shouldn't have any expectations because legally they aren't ours. She also talked about how we shouldn't name them and how she wasn't even going to share the news of her referral with anyone until court. Well, as an educated woman I understand that until tomorrow passes, legally baby Surafel is not a Clevinger. However, the day we received that call he was born in my heart and I began celebrating his life. Through months of prayer and long talks to his picture I have allowed my love for this child to grow. I have longed for his cries and hung on every word of every update anyone sends us. I have looked at his pictures 10 million times and my stomach flips every time I scroll through my emails and see the one that says, "Introducing...Surafel". When I hold him in my arms he will surely know my love but when he is older and we talk about this whole adoption thing...then he will know I loved him always.