I haven't posted in a while because I knew the back to work post had to come=( Last week I started back to work and left Ian for the very first time since he entered my life=( Needless to say it was a sad day in our house. Cortney had already gone back to work but the extra time off for me was a killer. I am sure that I needed him more than he could ever need me but just to think that he may wonder if I was coming back was more than I could stand. My first day back was an 8a-8p day and then the next was the same. I guess I called my dad (the wonderful sitter) every 2 hours and had my sister calling too! My sister has had sick kidos so she is on the alternate list for baby sitting. Cortney got home at 4 and took over and it was comforting to me to know that Ian had at least one of his parents even if it wasn't me. When I got home he seemed happy to see me...maybe not the reaction I was hoping for but I got a smile and a kiss! He reached for me but when I got him reached for a toy...broke my heart. Oh well, we made it through that day and that week. This week I am working just a few days and will try to maintain that schedule for as long as possible. I knew in the beginning that I am a working mom and it would have to be this way. But, I also never knew how much I would love my little baby! Tomorrow we are having his pictures made. I can't wait to get all of these empty frames filled up with that beautiful smile. He is growing so much and amazing me with how smart he is! He screams Da-da-da all day long! I won't lie...I am very jealous that we haven't had just one little ma ma. He is getting so strong. Over the past 6 weeks he has gotten so much stronger. We still don't have any teeth to report however, he is still chewing on everything he can get his hands on!!
So many families are getting ready to travel in the coming days to get their little ones. I am so excited that Jocelyn and the Breedloves will be in transit to Pacey and Nathan very soon!
It is pretty funny how life has changed so quickly for us. We waited and wanted this day for so long and to actually be living in it has required some time for reflecting. I think back to all of those feelings that we had as we made this decision to adopt a child from a country somewhere thousands of miles away. As we prepared homestudies and dossiers; as we were formally accepted by Gladney to adopt. I think about the waits, often long and uncertain. And about the families with whom we formed forever bonds as we shared in the anxiety and heartache of not knowing or holding our children. I remember "the call" from Natalie and how it stopped my world and my heart. How my mind would not wrap around the notion that I had a son in this world who would be mine forever. Then we waited for court and travel dates. Then the day, when I held him in my arms for the first time. The way my whole body knew right away that he belonged to me. All of the firsts together as a family and seeing the adoration in Cortney's eyes for this little being that God led us to. Nothing could prepare us for what we saw while in Ethiopia. The sweet children young and old who may never know the love and security that Ian will never live without. So many times I wanted to run back and get in the car because their situation was too much for me, a 25 year old adult woman, to accept. I hurt for them because we could not save them all. They looked at us with innocent eyes and faces and I knew that they had to understand something that I couldn't; that they may never know a real family.
I have added some pics below of my beautiful, astonishing, amazing, intelligent...son! (We have become "those people" who cannot socialize because all we talk about is our child!!) He continues to steal my heart with every smile. I can't imagine how we ever lived a moment without him. He is truly a gift from God.
Today was shot day. Boooo, we hate shot day. We went to the dr when we first got home but due to some lab work issues we didn't do shots until today. I went in for just a check up from the sick appointment and since he was fine they said, "We will start the shots today." AHHH, shots!!! I wanted to cry for him because he was being so happy and waving his hands around and had no idea what was about to happen! No fun...I know that every parent reading this has had to go through shot day so you know what I am talking about during that time between the first shot and the second when they are screaming and looking directly in your eyes. I wanted to cry. After we had the shot experience we met my dear friend Becky, her mom and her daughter for lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Ian was a little sweetie. He was showing his very charming side and making himself irresistible!!!
We have finally moved into the new house. It is very lovely and we enjoy being here! Our outside is not quite finished but the inside is done and all of our things are set out mostly. We had friend come over and help us with dust removal! The dust is everywhere. We clean it and it comes back! Eventually Pacey will have dusted every inch of the house with his tail!
We haven't really gotten Ian's nursery set up but never fear...he rests well between his mommy and daddy every night!! He is such a little cuddle bug. He starts out in the middle and rolls to one side or the other and cuddles up! Did I mention I am in love with this little man?!?! He can make me smile just by looking at me! He is such a good sleeper too. He usually is in bed by 10, wakes up at 6:30ish, takes a bottle and is back asleep until 9ish. AMAZING! We just couldn't be happier!!!
I would love to say, "Wow, this is new baby business is tough", but I can't. Somehow we got the most wonderful baby in the world and he has made getting adjusted a dream! We are just enjoying the food we love and missed so much and sharing our little joy with everyone!!! It is pretty amazing how unenthusiastic everyone is to see us and how excited they are to see Ian! I have been told it never gets any better either. We had our first trip to the dr as soon as we got home and got Ian's first round of antibiotics. He had a little bit of an ear infection, a cough, and a pretty bad fever. The dr ordered a ton of blood work and we discovered that our little one had elevated liver enzymes. I freaked out of course. The dr ordered more blood work to check for Hepatitis A, B, and C. Epstein Barr, cytomegalovirus...etc. We found out this morning that all of the tests came back negative so it must have just been some other virus or something? Who knows?? I guess the dr will let us know something later today. I guess we will start vaccinations after everything gets all cleared up. I wish we were about finished with the poking of the baby! I am not a fan of watching him scream and cry those huge sad tears. He rarely ever cries tears but when he does...he means it.
Day 12 HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDDY!!!! Today is daddy’s birthday!! He is the big 29! What a present…the first birthday as daddy! We got up this morning…running late (having a baby seems to do that to us) and met Tafesse to go to Entoto Mountain. It is the highest point in Addis Ababa. It is about 10,000 feet above sea level. As we were going up the mountain we saw some of the most heartbreaking things. We saw women of all ages carrying very heavy loads of wood, leaves, and dried cow manure. The loads that they carried were from 150 to 170 lbs and they carried them about 18 miles a day. Most of these women weren’t more than 120 lbs themselves! It was so terrible, they used sticks to keep themselves from toppling over forward as they trekked down the mountain. I couldn’t believe the work ethic of these miraculous individuals! It was inspiring to say the least. I complain about standing at Rite Aid for 12 hours a day and in some places of the world these things are happening. I quickly got perspective. After our trip up the mountain we went to the Lion Zoo. The conditions for the animals were very inhumane. It was kind of like lions at the circus in cages. They had no place to roam or be out of the public sight. They were truly in captivity and they knew it. We watched them pace back and forth in their small concrete cage and they had nothing to look forward to until the daily feeding. I felt so sorry for those poor creatures. We went back to the hotel and hung out until dinner. Cortney had a massage at the Hilton for his birthday. Mommy and Ian stayed in the room and waited for Belay to call with the best news ever!! He called from the lobby where he was waiting with Ian’s passport, visa, and immigration documents!!! WOO HOO!!!! Nothing else left!!! Just get on the plane tomorrow!!! Cortney was very excited when he got back to the room!!
We had dinner with Renee and Geert and the children for Cortney’s birthday dinner. We had the best time and I am so thankful that we were able to meet up with our wonderful friends! The children stole the show for dinner. Everyone sitting near our table and the waiters just loved the kids and everyone has a smile for these little Ethiopian beauties!! A gentleman even paid our bill for dinner. WOW you’ve got to love this place!!!!!
Day 13 13 days. Thirteen days of being in Ethiopia, prefaced with 3 of the worst days of travel that we could have anticipated. As I reflect back on the news of Cortney’s dad having a heart attack, open heart surgery, and making it through I think of how horrific the outcome could have been. We stood there in the airport waiting to see if he would make it. Waiting as he fought for his life and for the phone call saying that he had made it through surgery. Cortney’s best friend was fighting for his life and his son was waiting for his parents. We were physically fatigued but emotionally exhausted after waiting for 4 long hours to hear the outcome of the surgery. Then after hearing the news that he did great during the surgery and everything went the best it could have gone, we were on an emotional high. Our next few days of travel were exhausting and then the climax…holding our son for the first time. Seeing his beautiful face and knowing that we were finally at the end. It was the end of months of waiting for him to be with us and years of wanting a child. We had him, his beautiful smile, his captivating laugh, and the most sincere eyes that his mommy has ever seen! Now we were going to depart this country that gave us this most precious treasure. Saying good bye to the people who made us feel so at home and good bye to the only home Ian has known. We went to the airport in Addis, hugged Tafesse and said our farewells. We stood in a very long line and got boarding passes for our family of three. We traveled to the states and were united with some very eager family members!
Time for the EMBASSY!!!! Renee and Geert were meeting the kids today too!!! I got up early and got everyone ready. We found out that they would bring the kids to the Hilton to me their parents. We all went downstairs and started to wait for them to come in. Then Belay called and said that they would bring them up to the room!!! So…we all went up to the room and waited impatiently!!! They brought the children in and everything was wonderful!!! After a few pictures we all left to get ready for lunch! What a beautiful family!!! It is amazing how the parental instincts kick it! Renee and Geert were like old pros!!
We had lunch with all the families and Belay and Ryan! I got spinach lasagna that looked like one of Ian’s dirty diapers on top of it! The embassy appointment had me kind of freaked out! I mean someone would decide if they were going to grant him the ability to come into this country…a little disconcerting. Belay assured us that everything was fine, we would be okay. So after lunch we drive over to the embassy. Note to families who will be traveling…take as little as possible into the embassy!!! A diaper, wipes, one toy, a bottle, and your passports…that should be all you need! The security is nuts and you will have to leave all electronic devices at the desk and go back to retrieve them. It is best to travel light! Belay, with us the whole way, tells us about the grounds of the embassy and leads us into the waiting room. He laughed and said, “Full house today”! I am not kidding when I say that nearly every seat in quite a substantial waiting room was taken! People everywhere!!! All I could think was, oh boy…I need another bottle and more diapers!!! The other family with us didn’t know about the bag checks so they got caught up a little longer with security tasting creams and emptying out their pockets!!! When they got in the waiting room they sat down and Belay came over and said..”Let’s go”. I’m thinking…what???? So she went and had her appointment, it took about 5 minutes or less, then Belay came for us! I grabbed up my little bundle of baby and off we went upstairs to the interview window. The very nice man went through all of Ian’s paperwork, had us sign some things, swear to tell the truth, and answer some very easy questions. Belay told us what kinds of things they asked and we were prepared for the interview which consisted of maybe 3 questions!! Then they guy closed the file, and said, okay he is approved!! Approved!!!! Approved to come to the US!!! Approved to get a passport and visa!!! He told Belay he could pick everything up on Friday and we started back to the car!!! I was giddy! I don’t know why, he was ours already but knowing that part was over was soooo great!!!
After lunch we went to the Holy Trinity Church and took a tour. The grounds were amazing and the inside was even more amazing. We took a ton of pictures and Ian puked all over Tafesse!!! That was pretty funny! We got in the car and went back to the Hilton. That night we had dinner with Renee and Geert and the children!! It was sooo funny that little Maryn could talk to the waiters in Amharic and none of us had any idea what was going on!! She ordered a Coke and Geert picked up on what was going on and we all had a good laugh!!!
Day 11 We got up bright and early and went to the Alert Hospital to see the amazing work of some very talented people. The people here had been affected in some way by leprosy in their lives and many had been crippled by the disease. They could spin yarn out of cotton, make fabric, and sew the most intricate of designs on the fabric. Most of them had disabilities that we could not even imagine and they still used their crippled hands and feet to make these crafty wonders. We met Renee and Geert for lunch at The Cottage. That night for dinner we went to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant called Fasika. The agency gave us the opportunity to have a nanny come to the room and keep the baby while we went out for the night. Thank goodness we declined (like I would leave my little man anyways!!) because he LOVED the music and dancing. I was concerned when we got there because it was loud but then the band got going and the dancers came out and Ian’s rhythm started to show!!!! He patted his hands and danced up and down!! He LOVED it!! He cried when the dancers would stop! He loves action…my little socialite! He passed out around 9:30 and we went back to the hotel! Did I mention I love this baby to pieces!!!!!
We are home sweet home...well almost! We came home to find that our home is less than ready. Our contractor apparently underestimated our move in date by about a week...or two! In the meantime we will be hanging out with Ian's Nana and Papaw getting some good home cooking!
I can't believe that we are actually here, and we actually got to bring our sweet boy home with us! The two weeks in Africa were very difficult but very amazing. As many of you already have heard Ian was sick and I was under the weather as well. Not fun to be sick with your new baby! We made it though and I was feeling better by week two! Good thing we were there for so long or else I may not have seen anything except the inside of our room at the Hilton!!
I will post info about the rest of our trip soon. I am so happy to be home! Ian started eating cereal today so as you will see in the pictures...he likes food!! To all the parents out there waiting to travel I have one piece of advice. Rest, rest, rest. Rest now, even if you are a parent already or have traveled internationally extensively. You will be tired..exhausted. The emotional high will end and you will be left with your actual energy level.