The days on the long road of one families Ethiopian Adoption

This blog started out as a way to record the twists, turns, highs and lows in my families journey to adopt siblings from Ethiopia. Now our children are home and we have just finished celebrating our first year as a family.

I'm Kimberly (or Fendesha), an adventurous person who aspires to be a vagabond- but for now- I spend all of my free time travelling and my down time thinking of travelling. I'm a mom of 3 (the oldest being my gorgeous canine companion), a IT project manager, and on occasion I find myself the primary writer of this blog.

Happy Reading and thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Motorist Laws in Addis

Hi all,
I was talking with a friend after calling several times and they didn't pick up-laugh.  Unusual... but I discovered why shortly later when they did finally pick up...
There are new motorist laws in Ethio- but in a culture where there are not enough police and yes- even I have paid off a cop instead of getting a traffic ticket- how will these laws be enforced????  
It'll be very exciting to see how "quickly" this is accepted not only in the Capital- but in the other cities as well... or.. will the local police just have many more ways to line their pockets??? 
But.. there's no time like the present to start.... Cheers to Addis for starting to consider saving their citizens (and guests) lives!


Drivers are not permitted to drive without fastening their seatbelts anywhere in Addis Abeba. So, get used to it.

The law on mobile phone usage is clear when it comes to using headsets and Bluetooth devices, drivers are not allowed to use their mobile phones while driving.  

The unconscionable act of watching movies and television while driving is now forbidden.

If drivers and passengers are accustomed to buying or giving alms on the road or at traffic lights it is time to let go of that custom, as it is the driver who will pay the fine.

Life is fragile crossing over ring-road barriers and railings as has been evidenced. And now it is an offence to the law.

The lane lines are painted white to be observed and respected; if these are not obeyed the driver will be charged.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is beyond suicidal. It can also be homicidal, so think twice before doing so. It is obligatory.  

Pedestrians who cross the road disregarding the zebra crossing will be fined for the act.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Doctors without borders: "living in emergency"

Went with a friend to see this. It was an excellent Documentary. Check it out if you get a chance.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Habtamu gets a haircut

Denis took Habtamu - baggie in hand- to get his first American haircut.  It's been 8 months since his head was shaved bald -which was just shortly after I met him.  But I just love his curls-they are so long and tight and shiny. When I would put my fingers in his long soft hair  my heart would ache at the thought of cutting them short.

So after a lot of whining and planning and whining and delaying-ohhh and whining some more-  I finally agreed to letting Denis take him to get his hair cut.  Only there were a few rules:

  •  one he had to bring a baggie and save some of his fabulous curls, 
  • he couldn't cut it too short 
  • and he take lots of pictures.  
While they were gone- I was like a nervous little girl distracting myself by baking cookies and heading to our church for a function:-).

And then.. While I was there-I saw this Gorgeous little boy walk in- I hopped off the stage and squealed.. Now, I just can't take my eyes off him- I'm completely smitten!!!!



SO Handsome!!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Shopping Shopping Shopping..

In November- we planned Thanksgiving Dinner for 32 people-Who knew we had so many grocers, farm stands and butchers in our area.

This month- our First Christmas with kids...and my fingers are killing me...
So far this month I've been hanging out in cyber ville-
  • Ahh-first I "add to my shopping cart" at Amazon- 
  • then I "ship to store" at -ugh yes I did it-to Wallie World, 
  • then I ohh and ahh at some "world stock" items at overstock.. oopps- another shopping cart purchase
Then I did something I haven't done in years-I ventured out to the physical world- stood in an couple of lines and experienced how miserable most of the customers are in the stores- My extroverted self is sulking  back into Cyber world-but not with out a visit to the outlet stores tonight with hubby and the kiddos... (can you spell EXHAUSTED).. that was me btw-not the kids. They seem to only get tired when you don't want them too :-).

Hmm-let's see-Habtamu learned to buy things for Daddy today. I gave him a bit of money-he took his daddy's hand and bought him some Godiva Truffles.  Starting the boy out correctly-don't you think?  We discovered that Habtamu doesn't really like Chocolate, Debritu is willing to throw the tantrum of her life for it , and oh-wait- the lesson- Habtamu learned that he could buy things like "chocolate" with money... (OHHHH NOOOOO). And I, I managed to buy only things for myself at the outlet stores...(like matching baking aprons for Habtamu and I-laugh).

Happy Holiday Shopping Everyone.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Death and Adoption

5 months after we adopted our children- introduced them to the family and spent many wonderful moments with the individuals that would be a regular part of their life- the unpredictable happened and Nana died.

We tried so hard to plan everything in these children's lives-taking the recent disruption in their lives into consideration-and wham... our family is hit with one of the most difficult times in our lives-as my husbands mother struggles in a hospital bed for5-6 weeks and eventually passes on.

This note is for you adoptive families- and not something I would normally consider publishing as it is so personal and painful.. but for your children's sake...

What we did well:

  • We found a social worker (asked at the hospital) that works with death and dying. Discussed our children's past and how to handle death.
  • Found books on the subject-thank you library!
  • Took Habtamu (4) to a cemetery and lightly discussed our views on death. 
  • Talked a lot about our family-how Nana was gone from our physical lives and included his prior family in this discussion as best we could. 
  • Talked about the future as a family
  • excluded the children from the wake and Funeral activities
  • Went to family event after funeral together as a family.
  • Let Debritu spend her birthday night away from us (her first with us) as the next morning was the funeral and night before the wake.
  • Hold their "big" joint birthday party AWAY from our home-we all had fun and there was a lot less stress that day- something we all needed
  • Have them make art and take it into the hospital.
  • Take them to the grave site right after the funeral-on our way home- and let them know that grandma was there now and we could visit her here again.
  • We gave Habtamu a job to hug people when they were sad. He liked this very much as he's a boy with lots of feelings and was able to help people.

What we would not do again:

  • used a leaf anaylage- because leafs come back-oops (there's this kids book that describes the cycle of life-didn't work so well for us). 
  • Tell Habtamu while she was in the hospital and our hopes/doctors hopes for her recovery were high-that she was sleeping so she could get better and when she was able-we'd take her into see her.
  • Do a family photo shoot the day after we learned she was not going to stay with us.
  • Spend so much time with them in the waiting room- If we'd known it was going to be so long-we'd have found a way to disrupt their schedule less. 

Things we should have done:

  • Hired a person to "have fun" with the kids and got more babysitters so we could "address" the difficulty in our lives prior to her death.
  • Explained more to the baby about what was going on- even though she couldn't speak or understand everything-sometimes we focus more on Habtamu as he is more "cognitive" of current situations.
  • Gone in to visit "nana" together (husband and wife).... before she passed instead of juggling the kids in the waiting room.
  • Remembered more about the details of what she was wearing when we buried her -even though family picked this out-because it was important to the kids.
They knew their Nana "banana" bi-weekly visits plus Lived with us a few weeks after arrival for a short bit.
They did fine with her departure-although they were impacted and did have feelings about it.
It has not affected their adjustment-that we have noticed-although the disruption in their schedule and the influx of family (and the departure of ) did.
Handling the "nana is dead" statements can be difficult-but they grew as people and we grew as a family through this process.  They saw that families can go through significant difficulty and stay together.
We tried to think of their culture and what they would have seen in terms of a funeral. We avoided all items that would "knit" these experiences- and so far (one month later) we are moving on ***as a family****.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cultural impact of Ethiopian vital statistics bill in a non-birthday Culture

In our culture age is such an important aspect of our lives we can hardly imagine not knowing when the actual date of our birth is. We celebrate the passing of birthdays with in our family similar to other national holidays. I find myself pondering the civil registration and vital statistics bill introduced to the floor by the Ministry of Capacity building and wonder-what the cultural impact on the nation would be.
We in a highly developed nation know that vital statistics would be fantastic for supplying aid and infrastructure planning-but this bill is being introduced in Addis where celebrating birthdays is widely accepted and a part of their more modernized lifestyle.  What would the impact on the average rural Ethiopian be (remember-the majority of Ethiopian population is not in Addis)?

Would there be new offices built in the rural areas-would there be tax implications-would people feel more like "big brother is watching"...there are these fear factors for some, but mostly- I sit here with a grin on my face and simply consider the cultural pros and cons.  (a pro for the adoption world- actual birth certificates).

I think of the farmer-with is 10 children- celebrating the births of his/her children-with a huge grin-The image I have is an older candle lit in the middle of a piece of injera or a false banana like kocho or enset (laugh) sitting in the middle of the table- and the family and neighbors singing their local dialect of Happy Birthday with big grins.  I can't help but smile at this image-laugh.  How would one feel when they know their actual age and then also know the life expectancy in the area they life in? How would being young and getting older change-after all you are now "measuring your life".   How would the woman, who in most of Ethiopia, does not tell her age to anyone-now feel-about everyone on her marriage, death, and birthing knowing her actual age-laugh.,%20Marriages,%20More.htm

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Celebrating the little things..

It's H week at Pre-school. Habtamu had to bring something in that Started with the letter H! (grin).

First Adoption of our Family Turns 7.  Happy Birthday Love!

Monday, November 2, 2009

a note on.. Becomming a mom

Hey- would you believe I've been a mom for 6 months now? Or should I say- are you kidding- it's only been 6 months?? Seriously- only 6 months.

Becoming the parent was the easy part- thinking back to how difficult I found the "wait" and filling out the paperwork, and then the wait and the paperwork and the wait.. did ohh-and did I say wait-laugh.   The lack of information through the whole process as the years and months passed was very difficult- especially after I saw the children's photos.  But then one day- that day I'd been dreaming of- with my heart racing- I went to visit the orphanage-to meet, to touch my little angles I've been imagining for so long.  That day was beyond anything I could have imagined and every day since has followed in those footsteps.  Getting on the plane and "becoming a mom" was the easy part- each day since "feeling like a mom" has been much much more difficult.

The highs are as high as I've experiences as are the lows....and the in-betweens are full of laughter and grinding my teeth.  Is everyday good- no of course not-but the good moments outweigh the challenges- even it the good lasted 10 minutes and the remaining balance of the day terrible.  Is it getting easier- sure it is.. I find every couple of months- I think to myself- we feel like a family now. Of course, I still recall what my life was like before they joined us- and I treasure those days- sometimes wondering why I didn't treasure them even more when we had them.

But mostly- I've enjoyed watching Denis grow into a father, I've enjoyed feeling and reflecting on the changes in myself as I "become a mom"- and the amount the children have changed is no other word but "shocking"!  I've learned to laugh -at everything- from poop on the carpet, the mistakes I make, the mistakes they make... I just laugh... oh and when I'm not laughing I breath deeep very very deeep..I've never inhaled so much oxygen.

So in a nutshell - I've learned that "becomming" a mom to two toddlers at the same time is about letting go and when I can't "let it go" -I've learned to privately cry or put myself in a time out. I've learned  to try not to "sweat the big or the small stuff".  It's simply about letting go of everything- and just going with the flow of things. Yes, this means you will use items that later will not be determined "safe", yes they will see a movie- you would perhaps later "wished you didn't show them", you will say things and teach them things- you shouldn't have.  Yes-other peoples kind suggestions will get exhausting, and on some days other people's stares or comments will "get to you". Yes, they will puke on your leather seats, and on your cloth ones, and in your bed and drool in your mouth. You will learn how to do dishes and laundry like never before (you will find that parenting is more than 60% cleaning up after the children-only now you'll find you sing while you are doing it).  They will drive you crazy absolutely crazy and when you've reached your limit- they'll push you off the cliff- of course you might hear them add in an Ooooppps.. as you're falling.  You'll learn a new respect for your family and loved ones and wonder how you ever survived your own childhood.

Some of the best parenting advice I've been given is "throw away all of the sharpies"- "wing it while being the best you can be", and "laugh often".  I've failed at all of these-but I've learned as I messed up, I've laughed while falling off the cliff, and I've forgiven myself for my mistakes.

My time out's over- back to parenting...

Referral photo - December 2008

Opening Gifts from 2 and 4 Birthday Party - October 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thinking.. Dreaming.. planning my next Walkabout...

The term Walkabout comes from the Australian Aboriginal. The idea is that a person can get so caught up in one's work, obligations and duties that the truly important parts of one's self become lost. From there it is a downward spiral as one gets farther and farther from the true self. A crisis situation usually develops that awakens the wayward to the absent true self. It is at this time that one must go on walkabout. All possessions are left behind (except for essential items) and one starts walking. Metaphorically speaking, the journey goes on until you meet yourself. Once you find yourself, you sit down and have a long talk about what one has learned, felt and done in each other's absence. One talks until there is nothing left to say -- the truly important things cannot be said. If one is lucky, after everything has been said and unsaid, one looks up and sees only one person instead of the previous two.
-Source Unknown

Thursday, October 8, 2009

5 months in America- a note from Habtamu

Hello Everyone-

I'm thrilled to tell you all that I'm turning 4 soon and I'm soo excited. We get to sing the "Happy Birthday song with Habtamu" in it. I've been practicing and I hope you have too!  This month we went apple picking- you pick fruit called an apple off of a tree- peel the skin off with your teeth and spit it out.  Becareful though- if you spit the peeling out in the house, in the car or onto the floor of the classroom- you get into trouble.  I've learned to ask mom to peel them for me- it saves mom's smile. She gets this aweful look on her face when I spit the peels out.  When we got home we ruined the apples by putting them into bread -something called a pie. It was aweful and I'm not sure why we did that to the perfectly yummy apples.

Debritu says my name... Haaammuuu. And each time she does my heart melts. I can't help but hug her when she says it. It's amazing to watch her learn to speak. I've started to teach her words-especially the ones I've learned. It's fun to watch her try to say phrases- she sounds like a monkey.. ohhhh ahhhh uhhh ohhhh- Haaa mmuuuu (I think she's saying I love you- can't you hear it?).

Daddy went on an airplane to a place with an animal's name. I'm a little confused by this- Daddy says I'm going to Buffalo. It's an animal that looks like a cow and I'm taking an airplane. The important stuff is he came home and he called me before bed time to say goodnight.  The phone call went like this "hi daddy, are you on an airplane?". Daddy laughs. I make daddy laugh a lot-he's easy.

I'm learning how to write my letters -but mom says they are mostly "upside down". It's confusing this up and down stuff but I can draw an H, A, B, T, little a and U.  I find the M difficult.  I have been learning to write my ABC's.  See- AAAAAA BBBBBBB CCCCCCC see... "I show you"  a like this up, down, across. B- looks like glasses, a C-.. seeeeeeee.... from the bottom you go like this- is that right???

This month has been full of school and sitting in this room at this place where we get cookies and there are lots of people in white coats/gowns (like in Ethiopia) walking around.  Mom says we're at a hospital. I keep looking for my doctor but mom says he's not there. No Doctor Dave either. I'm confused-none of my doctors are here.  Mom says Nana is still sleeping. I have to wonder why she needs so much sleep and why daddy has been so sad lately. Nana is amognal.. or sick I've been told-but apparently she really likes her sleep. The hospital has good cookies and mom gets us the cookies and chocolate milk to eat and drink when we are there in the room where we have to "BEEEEE GOOOOD".  If there are not many people we also get to watch TV- sometimes the monkey (singero) named george is playing.  But the best part of going to the hospital is one of the woman in the parking garage speaks Amharic. Actually there are lots of Ethiopian's in the garage. One of them has my sister's name- DEBRITU. I am so excited when we see her.  She is very nice.

Mom has started to tell me I need to learn to "listen"- and she points to her ear.  When I listen I don't always understand what people are saying- I think it's better to talk. Talking is fun- you should try to do it all day long.  People respond in a strange way when you've been talking a lot- they start to go "un hun, or yup, or yes dear, or just a minute.. or Habtamu- please...." Definitely try it-it's much better than listening-and be sure to repeat each sentence 3-4 times at a minimum. It helps you think of the next thing to say before you stop talking.  It also keeps Debritu from getting the attention since everyone says "ooohhh she's soo cute"- of course I agree though- she is sooooo cute- after all she's my sister.

We Celebrated Ethiopian New Year (Melcome addis ahmet) in Boston -I got to wear my cornjo libs (ethiopian clothes) and had a Mescal Celebration (melcome beal) at our friends house.  Our friend has some children but also has a dog named Pongo. I like Pongo very much- he went to the park with us a few weeks ago.  At pongo's house we roasted marshmallow in the rain.  Why can I run and play in the rain and eat candy-but mom won't let me ride my bike in the rain.  I'd sleep with my bike if I could-at least keep it in my room at night so I could hug it when I wake up-but mom says it stays outside.

Well, we haven't seen our friends much this month but I've gotten to know more kids at school and mom says many of them will be at our Birthday party.  I can't wait to sing the birthday song with you.

Hugs and Love,

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

sleep baby (ies) sleep

Sleep Baby Sleep.. a cute little lullaby.  It's a quiet afternoon here- which is very unusual-now a-days it always feels like the circus is in town-and living at my house!  Do you have a picture of you sleeping as a child? I have lots- perhaps it's the only time I stood still long enough for my family to take pictures- who knows (grin)- but I couldn't resist sneaking in - and stealing a little reminder for myself- "look they really can be quiet sometimes" .

Sleep, baby, sleep
Your father tends the sheep
Your mother shakes the dreamland tree
And from it fall sweet dreams for thee
Sleep, baby, sleep
Sleep, baby, sleep

Sleep, baby, sleep
Our cottage vale is deep
The little lamb is on the green
With snowy fleece so soft and clean
Sleep, baby, sleep
Sleep, baby, sleep

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

still grateful for Autumn.. after all this time

Happy Autumnal Equinox Everyone! 
This year, the autumnal equinox happens today at exactly 5:19 PM in New York City.

I've been privileged to call New England my permanent residence for most of my life, a place where Autumn is marked by a dance of the most amazing colors. Simple things like letting the dog out-are a treat. You look out the window- and wow- there it is.. colors in the horizon from the rising sun and a sprinkle of color in the trees- bright reds, oranges-peeking out around the green-trying to be seen.  Your whining dog reminds you to open the door-and let her out- and a burst of cool (if not cold) whips across your face- and whooo- you thing- Ughghgh I'm not ready for winter and hurry the dog out.

Later in the day- you notice how green everything still is. How the flowers in the yard are still blooming and the lawn still needs mowing-but yet- there's this hint of color that with each bit of rain and cool night-brings about more and more color.  

People are outside planting their mums and putting out dried corn stocks, gourds and pumpkins on or around the doorsteps. You start thinking *(panic) about all of the work you need to do on your home before winter comes.  You inspect the roof- will it survive? You call the guy to blow out your sprinkler system, clean our your gutters, bring in the patio furniture, and mow the lawn.  Listen to the children hustle off the school buses. You know that by Halloween there will be lot's of color and leaves to crunch under your feet (oh and rake rake rake), you have flowers to cut back.. as you prepare the grounds and home for winter.  

But for now- we relish in the sunshine. Enjoy a run in the neighborhoods or a nice walk with the dog or family, go apple picking or visit a agricultural fair and listen to the never-ending sound of people using hammers. A reminder that winter is coming.

As evening comes- you burn a candle and become grateful for your heating system (and the sneezing that comes with it from the dust that settled over summer) .  You start making more "baked" meals- waking your abandoned stove up-as you begin preparing it for daily winter use.  The sun is setting earlier in the day and you will see - the gorgeous colors of a sunset -a back drop to the dance the light breeze is encouraging from the brightly colored leaves. Then maybe you start a fire in the fireplace (after you've had it cleaned) and recipes start to spin in your head- yummy things like cookies, pumpkin cheese cake and apple pie-along with wholesome things like roasted chickens, pot roasts and beef stew make your tummy rumble. Of course, there's also chicken soup recipes for that first round of illnesses.  You retire the white wine and lemonade and start thinking about robust reds and apple cider.

Autumn in New England is yes- enjoyable in a painting- so many artists have displayed this in their works, but to to see the leaves dancing, to feel the cold rush of morning air, to taste it in a freshly picked apple and to listen to leaves crackle under your feet, makes it truly is a gift and a wonderful place to grow up, age and well... grow old. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A great organization- a wonderful project- Fundraising Banquet

If you know anyone in the Seattle area- this is a wonderful organization hosting a Fundraising Banquet to fund a newly opened hospital in Ethiopia. Please pass this information on.

Monday, September 14, 2009

4 months in America- A note from Habtamu

Mom said it was about time for me to write another note. This month we spent a lot of time outside.

We went to the zoo a couple more times-it's interesting this zoo place. We go and mommy spends money to see animals that are native to my homeland.  We see Monkey's from Awassa, Camels from the Afar regio-only with out the grumpy Afar people protecting them.  I got to ride a camel here in America. I had not had this opportunity in Ethiopia-they are bouncy bouncy when you ride them.  Many of the animals- the crocodiles, the wild boars, the lions, the other monkeys, the donkeys and the sheep/goats are all from Ethiopia.  It's funny that they keep working animals and the animals we eat in cages to pet.  I wonder if they will ever eat them?   Mommy always tries to use the amharic name and the english name of the animals.  It's fun to see these animals so close up and not have to shoo them off the dining table because they want my injera as we had to do with the little monkeys in our village- or run away when we see them (like the lions).  I didn't like when the lions were around- or when the bad weather came because we'd sometimes bring the cow (s?) inside our house.  Here the horses do dances and run in circles jumping over things. In Ethiopia they are like cars here.  We ride them and go to places on them.  It's very strange this dressing up your horses and making them run in circles around crowds of people for them to clap.

I started a new school- well actually it's the same school but mom and dad made this big deal of finishing "summer" and it being "fall".  So I guess this is my new "fall" school.  There are some changes though-Miss G- has to pay attention to more children- so I have to speak LOUDER to be heard, there are more children to ride the bicycles- so I don't really get to ride anymore and now I eat lunch with the other kids instead of Kako and mom.   There are some great things though- more kids means more friends and some of my "summer" friends are still there.  "Crazie"... is still there. Everyone always says her name after I say it "Gracie" .. but I'm not sure why.. I then have to say.. "that's what I said "Crazie".  Well, she is funny and I like her a lot.   Here's a picture of me making the most of my bicycle time at home.

Also, we've been to some birthday parties-but they don't have the fireworks that the American b-day party did-but you get to play with other children-just like at the park only in somebody's back yard or in their house-and you get to eat bread with lots and lots of sugar (cake) and sometimes frozen milk (ice cream).

I went to the tooth doctor again- and this time- he removed all of the brown on my front teeth.  Daddy asked him not to give me any needles and the dentist said- "he would try".. it was so much better. It tickled a lot.  When I was all done- I did not cry- and daddy and mommy seemed so surprised.  They kept saying over and over "and he did it with no novicane"... or something like that.  I was very excited and went to school the next day to show off my new teeth.

Debritu has started to talk, and talk. I'm sure you've seen the video- Kako this and Kako that... So, now I have to talk more.  I try to make it so I'm still getting all of the attention but she sure is making it difficult.   Mom went to the doctors for Debritu's warts and she was kind of upset that after months of waiting (I hear her speaking on the phone) that they told her to use something called Duck Tape to cover them.  If it will work on her warts- can we also put it on her mouth?? It was better when she wasn't talking.  Now she's always telling me "no no no". Although- it is better than the biting thing she was doing last month.  Hurting my feelings is much better than biting me.
Mom has started putting veggies in everything- she says she wants me to eat them-but she seems to not understand that I can pick them out.  Someday she'll get the message that "I don't want them". And there's something about getting bigger if I eat them- but I'm questioning this- I've learned that somethings when they get big- it's very painful.  I do like drinking from the boxes in America.  It's funny that you all drink from boxes with straws- but did you know if you blow into the boxes you can make the drink come up the straw and spray everywhere. It's quite fun- you should try it.
Everone that is young and old- seems to call me Hamu. Guess somehow- I've lost the bta... somewhere along the way- I keep telling people "I don't like it" but someday they will get the rest of my name.. I guess 3 sylables are just to hard for Americans?? I'm not sure but my mom's name is "Kim-ber-ly" and everyone calls her Kim- so maybe it's true. - Only time can tell. 
I have noticed that the words we use at school are different than the words we use at home for things.  Mom says it's important for me to keep or learn as much Amharic as possible-but sometimes I find it confusing. Mom and Dad both say it's okay- and that it will come with time and lots of practice.  But I have to now stop saying "I want" and change it to "may I have". They say "may I have" is more "polite" and that it's important to be a "polite" boy.  Not sure what that is... but It makes them happy so I'll give it a try-I like to hear the words "good boy" -they make me smile and laugh.
Kako has tried to pee in the potty a couple of times this month- but it's pretty disgusting when she does. She pees and then uses the soft (toilet paper) to dip it into the pee and then wash her legs with it.  YUCK.... mom really has to help her with this- it's disgusting-but it's better than drinking the toilet water- at least now she's just playing in it!!!
There so many interesting things in says our adventure is just starting.. but the food. The food is sometimes yummy but mostly not.  I'll keep eating auntie J's injera and my mom's Ethiopian Families berber...

Hugs to you all- and Happy Ethiopian New Year!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

a new "do" and a few family pics...

New Hair do... I went very short -with colors-"Blue", "Yellow" and "Brown" ...

"Hairdresser- Kimberly- we have the blue you've asked about in the past."
 Kimberly "psych, let's do it". 
 Hairdresser- are you prepared for people to stare at you?" ,
 "The parents at the new pre-school are at least going to look at you- "-giggle.
"Kimberly,  People already stare when we are out as a family"
"Hairdresser- are you serious?? People stare at you guys when you are out???
"Kimberly,  I think it's innocent, they are just curious.  Perhaps they are considering- could I have bilogically had the children.  I think inter-racial adoption sometimes takes a minute or so for some to process."   "Perhaps they are thinking about how "tall, dark and handsome" their father must be If I did biologically have them after all- they are adorable children.."
Joined- laughter.. "hairdresser- alright, how much blue should we do?"

The morning before the new hair do- we took some family pictures in our yard...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Paradox of our age

When I came home from Ethiopia last year- I found an emptiness in my life that I could not explain. I was shocked to find that I had returned to Massachusetts with the weight of the world on my shoulders.

I no longer saw my life in the same perspective. It was a long journey before I again made peace and comfort in my feelings regarding our opportunist lifestyle here. Much of what I found in our lives is nicely summarized in a well known speech by the XIVth Dalai Lama.

A few months after finding solice and comfort again in my American life- I returned to Ethiopia. And again- it is still the same words that I find understanding in-the same words that help me find an inner balance. As I read it this time though, I think of my children and how can I teach them to best bridge these two worlds so that they can not only "be the best they can be" but also include teachings about inner balance.

I hope you take a moment to consider them- and perhaps it inspires some "random act of kindness" on your part:

The Paradox of our Age- by the XIV Dalai Lama

"We have bigger house and smaller families;
more convenience, but less time.
We have degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgment;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicine, but less healthiness.
We have been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet our new neighbor.
We built more computers to hold more information,
to product more copies than ever,
but have less communication.
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods, and slow digestion;
tall man and short character;
steep profits, and shallow relationships.
It is time when there is much in the window,
and nothing in the room."

Friday, August 14, 2009

The past few weeks a photo review

One crazy moment at the sox game.

Go Sox- with Auntie Katie

Hanging at the beach with George and his daddy..
oops- yes Debritu's overalls are on backwards.

Habtamu riding his bike.

Waiting in the Rain for Habtamu to finish his swimming lesson

Waiting for Habtamu on a sunny day to finish swim lesson

Waiting with Yordanos

Soccer/T-Ball Camp

Spending time at home with Yordanos - awwwhhh

Monday, August 10, 2009

3 month update from Habtamu

I've been living in America for 3 months now. In those 3 months- I've visited my Nana "egger quase" house in Maine, My aunt and uncle's "tinish bate" in New Hampshire and Habtamu's home in Massachusetts. There are many different kinds of homes in America- some small, some big-but they all have bathrooms with showers or a way to bathe indoors. Some have many different ways to take a bath- some you wear clothes and some you do not-There are big bowls of hot or cold water outside (they call this swimming or a hot tub and there is no soap). Then there's also sometimes cold showers next to these big bowls of water. Sometimes the bathrooms indoors have only showers, only baths but most have both.

Debritu likes to try to drink the toilet water-YUCK- I think she learned this from our dog Geneva. Oh and the toilets all make this big noise-the ones in the places people bring you food and you have to be quiet in- mom calls them "rest-au-rants". When you back up to them go poop- they keep making this noise-a flushing sound- over and over and over. It's very funny!!! To he constant noise and water on your but makes it hard to concentrate. Mostly you have to pull something, or push something- but they are in-doors, you sit on them and they flush only once. There seems to be no standing squat toilets. If you have to go while riding in the car- they encourage you to pee on the trees. Otherwise- you use the indoors.

It's very difficult to find time to write these days- the rain has finally stopped and I'm busy riding my bike, visiting with family and going swimming. Mom says that this kind of weather does not last long where I now live-so I have to spend all my time outside. Personally, I think she wants us outside so we don't "mess up the house". I hear this sentence a lot- not sure exactly what it means but it comes out as "go in your play room before you "mess up the house" - or something like that- it's usually when she's trying to cook- and won't look at me because I'm trying to show her something. If I say Mom Mom Ma.. Mom. Mommy.. Momeye... etc a thousand times she eventually looks up- but it's not always a "pretty" look she gives me and I forget what I was going to say. I wish she'd just look everytime the first time so I'd stop forgetting.

Debritu has learned to bite, spit, and scream and say no, no, no- she gets in trouble with these words and actions. I've learned to do this thing called a "time out".. not sure what it's all about yet- but I stand in the corner-when mom is angry.

Oh- I asked Dad for a sheep yesterday. Mom and dad looked me with surprise and asked- do you want one to eat it? I had to explain that it would lick my face and live in the house like Geneva does. They didn't pick one up on our way home from the farm we were invited to visit yesterday- but I have hope- maybe today- daddy will bring that sheep home. Until then- I'll just keep telling mommy everything... mommy, mommy, mommy...

Soccer camp, swimming camp and school are fun-well- my sisters screaming- my mom said we have to think about leaving to go swimming (wanna) and I have to put my cars away.

I'll write again soon -

Thursday, July 30, 2009

free sms to cell phone numbers in Ethiopia

Send free sms to cell phone numbers in Ethiopia

be careful to read the instructions- if the number is 0911- you only enter the last 1 and the next 6 digits...

There is no way for the person to respond.. but I found it interesting.. Laugh

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mi Casa est Su Casa

Have you ever met a bat with expensive taste? Apparently the bats in my town are "moving up" from the small bat houses and into my home. Two nights ago Y (our sitter and friend) was at our house and noticed a bat- she openned the front door and he flew out. Last night Denis saw another bat-but we couldn't locate him/her.

This afternoon I found one sleeping in the king size bed on the down comforter-laugh.

It was amazing- to be that close to a bat. His/her chest slowly going up and down as the animal breathed- asleep with the sunshine from the skylight upon it. It was a bit disturbed by the flash from the camera but otherwise was resting peacefully.

Denis picked him in gloves- (thank goodness he was working from home). We discussed for a while what we should do with this little fella. Should we wait until night time to move him outside, should we try to pick him up- should we just leave him, close the door and open the windows?? So many options- what should we do. If Denis wasn't home- I was going to leave him to continue resting in our bed-afraid I'd break his/her little bones trying to move it. They are so small.
Bonus- there won't be any mosquitos living in our home -laugh.
The bigger question remains a mystery- where are they coming and is it a large family or a small family that has moved in with us???? How strange...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Birthday America- a note from Habtamu

Hello Everyone,
Today I returned to school after spending 5 days in my aunt and uncle's house in NH. It is much smaller than their home in Massachusetts- so I call it their "tinish bait" or "small house". We spent the time at their home running around in the rain - by the way- no one told me that the sun does not shine in America and that there is only rain (zenab). Although life here is good- I'd sure like to see the sun. Mom and dad finally bought be a rain coat and some boots. They have moose on them. Speaking of Moose- I finally met Nana's moose- it turns out its a dog- that she calls Zeus.. not moose- so now we call him Zeus the moose.

In the tinish bate there were 4 dogs, 5 adult humans and us 2 kids. It was wonderful to be surrounded by our family, I now have a lot of dogs in my family. It's still a bit strange and sometimes uncomfortable, but the dogs that are my family are nice and loving.
Debritu kept sleeping in the car- and waking up at Storyland. It must be strange to fall asleep in the car and wake up at such an imaginary place. You have to see storyland. It's this place- where you ride on fish, sit in logs that float on water, drive cars- (I'm a great driver -btw) and ride balloons into the sky, and all the old ladies smile and wave to you. Many people comment on my sisters big eyes- she gets a lot of attention- I must be more careful about leaving her around strangers. All of this happens while you stand in line behind all these people to scream on these giant fish and logs. Mom calls them rides.

At this park, I saw a boy- well he looked like a boy, only his face reminded me of a lion. As we walked through the park there were many of these lion boys. Dad kept telling me I could do it too If I'd like- become a lion boy. I was not sure what all this means- so I walked up to one of the boys- who according to mom "was sitting on miss muffets tuffet" and touched his "lion" face. It was not hairy-and the boy was frightened by my touch. I decided If I was going to be a lion- I wouldn't be afraid if a little boy like myself touched me- he was a wimpy lion. Eventually, with so many dogs as family members, I decided to become a dog, instead of a lion. This way mom and dad can't yell at me when I lick their face.
America's birthday party is funny. You take these things called "flags" and you take them all over the place with you- and then you walk around in the rain, after you spend time in the rain, you get to watch the sky become noisy- while somebody paints it. You get to eat candy, french fries- which are not french at all- just potatoes and bounce in a rubber house type thing.
Uncle E's birthday only had cake, friends and family but my cousin T was there and we got to play in his house -that was lots of fun- but they didn't paint the sky for him. Maybe because it was still raining. I wonder what a birthday is.... We sang this little song- which I'm getting quite good at-"happy birthday america, happy birthday to you".. and then we blow all over the cake we are going to eat. Then they cut it and we eat it. My cousin T- was bouncing up and down- going Caaaaaakkkkkkkeeee. I think he liked the sugar.
By the way, if anyone talks to the sun, can you ask him to visit my new home once and a while? Mom and dad bought me a new bike and I'm learning to pump my legs when I swing at the parks-but we can't go to the park and use the swings and I'm not allowed on my bike when it's raining... and I'd sure like to do both.

Good night everyone, mom says I have to go to bed as I have school tomorrow morning and she needs some time to herself to read her book before she goes to bed.
Loving America- Habtamu

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rain Rain -please go to Ethiopia and stop following me.

Ethiopia is not getting the rain it needs and here it's been a gloomy summer so far. I am hopeful that we can all make wishes to send it their way. If there's one thing I hate it's rain-and well-Ethiopia needs it- so how nice would it be if we could just send it their way. After all-they must be getting tired of the electricty and water rotations.

It feels like the rain is following me. When I was in Ethiopia- it rained- when I came home- it rained here and stopped there. BUUZZZOOO ZENAB.. UGHGHG.

Perhaps If I go back to Ethiopia -the rain will follow me back??? Laugh.

Still waiting for our few weeks of summer to arrive.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another week- from Habtamu

This week I started going to school. I can't figure out what days I go and what days I do not. Some mornings daddy wakes me up- hurries me through breakfast and we run out to his work car, then other days- like today-I wake up on my own and we've been up for hours but I'm still in my pajamas. I keep reminding them that we are still in our pajamas and they seem excited about this-so weird.

In school they let me get dirty, mom and dad like to take my clothes off when they know I'm going to get dirty. At school they have a bike and I can get dirty with my clothes on- it's lots of fun. To get dirty-I put my hands in this colorful liquid they call "paint" and smeared it all over my clothes-Mommy and daddy didn't send me with extra clothing so I thought for sure I was going to be in "trouble" when they picked me up. Thank goodness it was mommy that got me- she just laughed it off.

I love Elmo-but Mr. Noodle is strange- mom keeps saying something about if he was around in real life he wouldn't be allowed near us- not sure what she means. When I arrived in America grandpa gave me a balloon with Mickey on it. We went to AC's house a lot this weekend and she showed me who he was- on this show called "Mickey's playhouse". Daddy's been singing songs about "hot dogs" since we watched it. My Aunt F kept saying she lives with Mickey. I'm a little confused about these americans - Aunt F lives with Mickey and my Grandma "football" lives with a moose - and I live with a lion.

Mom's no longer walking with those big sticks-but is still having some difficulty. Can't wait until she can run and play again- she will run and play again right???? I got a new car seat this week- it seems each week I get a new seat in the car- first it was a baby seat, then a big kids seat-the big kids seat kept slipping out from under me- so mom and I went to this huge store with lot's of babies crying in it- and got a seat that is not a baby seat and not a big kid seat- then mom had us stand in a "parking lot" - this place where there are lots of cars we can't touch or get into- for an hour in the rain- while she tried to "make me more safe". The entire time- she left Cako in the cart and asked me "not to help". Sometimes- she's really stubborn and refuses my help-but other times she really wants it- wish I could figure out when to help and when not to.

Oh- and I visited the man who likes to put his hands in my mouth again this week. He removed another tooth. If I keep visiting him- I'm not going to have any teeth left??? I've decided I don't like this man.

We had a bird in our house yesterday. First a Lion, then a bird- it was flying around and daddy isn't sure how it got it- and he chased it around to get it out. Funny that the lion didn't notice the bird- and wasn't alarmed by daddy running around. Does this mean that this is regular behavior for him? I'll let you know-but daddy running around in circles was very funny- so I'm not sure how Geneva wasn't excited by this. This Lion sleeps a lot.

Kako has learned the word- up this week. It's the only thing she says that they seem to understand her saying. Mom get's very excited when she says it. So- she's saying it a lot.. ughh.

Well, I hear we are going to visit my cousin T with his family for a party- I should go and remind them that we are still in our pajamas- just incase.

Have a great day- Habtamu

Thursday, June 18, 2009

When it rains it pours I think goes the saying-

When it rains it pours I think goes the saying-
The VW - check engine light came on the other day on our way to visit our family, the station wagon needs new tires and the inspection on it was rejected, the water heater broke, I'm still reparing from an injury- although the aircast is better than crutches, Denis has been treated for parisites and Habtamu had a tooth pulled and the letter from his doctor is lost so in order to stay in preschool we need to chase down a new one to be signed and Debritu is now (that the doctor's appointments have quieted down) is showing signs of ringworm on her scalp- and we need to go back- laugh. So the excitement here at the calderone house is never ending these days- but we're still holding our heads high- we're just a little less showered. Laugh. The kids are keeping the giggles coming and the life is as always- an adventure...

Funny Habtamu update- looking out the window on Sunday- He comes and grabs me- Mommy mommy- look "Singero"... Lots and lots of Monkeys he says.... as he giggles with joy. I look out the window to see a family of squirrels hopping about.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Habtamu and the Petting Zoo

On Mother's day we went to the zoo. We ended our visit at the zoo with some time at the petting zoo. Most of the children at the zoo were walking up to the sheep, goats and other animals faces to ohhh and awwhh over how sweet looking they are-etc. Not Habtamu. He walked up to the sheeps and goats buttocks and grabbed their hind ends to see how fat they were. I was laughing hysterically and he'd turn and look and me- and then go to the next "beg" - sheep. I looked around at the other parents and nobody seemed to notice my son's "selection" process-and I was bent over with laughter. Habtamu was ending his day at the zoo- by selecting our DINNER.... Ethiopian Style-laugh.

Attached our pictures of Habtamu with the beg we purchased for the second Easter (or close to) before we departed Ethiopia this year.

Meme Stevens- Beautiful Song- get Kleenex

Oh the places I've Been (and might go again)