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.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ethiopia-to Share

View Project at Shutterfly

To see a larger version of this photobook- please go to:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Metronidazole and a Black hairy tongue- ewww

Metronidazole- is an antibiotic often prescribed to treat people and animals with Giardia. I went out to read about the drug while deciding when to take it- (before I return or after I come home from Ethiopia- knowing that another treatment on arriving home will be likely). Loving Wikipedia- I just had to go out and review what was written on it-before persuing a more reliable resource..

"High doses and/or long-term systemic treatment with metronidazole is associated with the development of black hairy tongue, leukopenia, neutropenia, increased risk of peripheral neuropathy and/or CNS toxicity."

I seriously began to think-Hey, I can continue to live "a-symptomatic with Giardia"-but a black hairy tongue- now I can't live with that! NO Way. I don't care how "temporary said condition is"! Call me shallow-but ewwwww!

The Mayo Clinic says the following about "Black Hairy Tongue" but I still think it sounds disgusting:

"A black, hairy tongue is a temporary, harmless condition" (*harmless provided that you can hide in your house through entire treatment I'm guessing-laugh)..
"It typically results from an overgrowth of bacteria — and sometimes yeast — in the mouth. These organisms accumulate on the tiny projections of the tongue — called papillae — and cause discoloration. Certain types of bacteria and yeast make red blood cell pigments (porphyrins) that can give the tongue a black appearance. In some cases, the tongue may also appear "hairy" due to more rapid growth of papillae or an interruption of the normal shedding of cells by the tongue."
My oh my how the joys of travel...sometimes continue even when you've been home awhile-laugh. (please note the picture is not of my tongue- my tongue is still a nice pink color)..

Monday, February 23, 2009

A quiet weekend away and a Growth update

Denis and I spent the last few days in NH- celebrating and "saying goodbye" to our "couplehood".

Although, Denis had hurt himself falling on the ice a few weeks ago-we still managed to fit in a bit of snowshoeing, we sat in a bar to have dinner instead of at a table in a restaurant-laugh, and we enjoyed some quiet time reading books, drinking coffee and ripping ideas/suggestions that we liked out of parenting magazines.

Mostly we just enjoyed being together. We were alone, enjoying the quiet-knowing the quiet life we know that is about to end. Of course it was quiet minus the sound of Geneva snoring..,

While we were there- we received a small reminder that yes- our lives really are about to change:

We received the monthly "growth update" on "our" children. Although it's small-Getting this information causes great excitement.

(information in the paragraph next to the measurement is: growth since our referral)

Weight 9.9 Kg (1 lb heavier)
Height 75 Cm (1 inch taller-just under)

Weight 15.4 Kg (5 lb's heavier)
Height 91 Cm (1 inch taller-just over)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

packing for this year's trip to Ethiopia -much different than last year

There's 24 days to go-

Big things to do:
  • childproof our home for children
  • finish putting together the kids bedroom
  • organize our crap and de-clutter our house
  • get all of my household affairs set for what could be 1 month away from home or perhaps as many as 4-5.
Last year (I left March 13th of last year) I was going crazy- preparing for what was the biggest trip of my life at the time.

nervous, I brought so much stuff with me last year- that I had to pay an extra 150.00 for the weight of my luggage (and mailed 2 large boxes ahead of time). Let's just say- I brought -EVERYTHING...Gifts, clothes, donations, medications, toiletries, toys, teaching stuff, books, light blankets, pillows, etc...


(an excerpt from a post written last January:

Now that it's "real" or "more real" I'm getting nervous. Oh my! I'll let you all know when I receive my assignment. Now the realities sink in- squat toilets? Cold showers? fleas? parasites? boiling water?- It's all a lot to think about when you are use to our pampered daily lives. I have a feeling I'm really going to miss "squeezing the Charmin"! I can just hear the border patrol now!- Pardon me Mam- but are you planning on selling all of this toilet paper or do you believe we do not have it here? -laugh. At least it's not I don't have to worry about the weight of my suitcase- ha ha. It reminds me of when our Exchange Student from China Unpacked. Some of the items she brought with her just made me giggle because she wasn't certain if we would have them or not. And of course, we did.)


This year the planning is much different.
  • Instead of worrying about medicine- I'm thinking about gifts.
  • Instead of worrying about getting "giardia", I along with most of the world- I already have it and am living just fine with it. Your body gets use to it, and unless somebody wants to play in my poop (a friendship that I would really have to question) I really don't have to worry about it. laugh.
  • Instead of concerning myself with leaving my home- I know everything will be fine.
Last year-I left a much more "youthful" adult than the one that is returning this year. This past year - reflecting on my experiences, I am going back to Ethiopia with more valuable items than the things I brought last year:
  • more confidence in my independent travel skills,
  • a stronger more communicative marriage and confidence that Denis and Geneva will be fine,
  • an understanding of the privileges granted by my birthplace passport.

The rest of my packing list from last year - I really can get there or live with out for a few months.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Debritu and the Velveteen Rabbit

I can't tell you what it feels like to receive pictures of "your" children while you wait for your Court Date. Our friends L and T just emailed us probably the most wonderful email I've received in my life. It included information and pictures of Debritu.

Knowing somebody (that we personally have a friendship with) that has seen Debritu- makes her feel more "real" than the referral information from our agency. Just knowing that one of our friends -touched her and saw a nanny caring for her- makes my heart sing. It makes her "real" for us.

I can't tell you what we were more excited about- receiving the pictures- or knowing that somebody actually saw her!!!

It was an amazing surprise and one that has distracted us for most of this afternoon.

so-a huge thank you to all of you who have taken pictures for a waiting family. I never assumed we'd receive any additional photos, so when they came to us, it was with great surprise-

I just can't tell you how meaningful it is to receive these photos!!!!
I just can't tell you how emotional I feel and how much they have affected how we feel about Debritu- suddenly- she's "real".

All I can think of is the Velveteen Rabbit (giggle).

oh- and have I mentioned that she's BEAUTIFUL and ticklish too... (laugh)

Closed-with much happiness and excitement-and holy cow- I have a "real" daughter...

with blessings,

Friday, February 13, 2009

Any Unix nerds out there? Friday the 13th '09 is upon us..

Today, Feb 13th 2009, at 23:31:30 UTC, will mark a singularly momentous occasions for Unix enthusiasts around the world. At that precise moment the unix time format will be equal to "1234567890".

I found this little perl script that will demonstrate this in action courtesy of Matias Palomec:

perl -e 'print scalar localtime(1234567890),"\n";'

Now if there was any reason to fear Friday the 13th, I think this is it. That many numbers sequentially in a row representative of time? Who knows what will stop working?

How Exciting!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

HFC- servers down-recognition of their work.

As many of you know- I'm a huge fan of Hackers for Charity

Jonny Long and his wife have been touched by time they spent in Uganda and are engaging others to help-via volunteering or donations. In many ways -their family has had experiences that have paralleled ours. Jonny inspires me to "keep moving forward".

HFC is going through a tough time at the moment with all their servers hosed- so I thought I'd give them a shout out and a HIP HIP HORRAY... Go HFC... and thank you.

Enjoy the videos...

Hackers For Charity Classroom Project from Johnny Long on Vimeo.

Hackers For Charity "Food for Work" Program, 2008 from Johnny Long on Vimeo.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

34 Days to going back to the life of an Ethiopian volunteer

I'm so excited- in 34 days- I'll be back volunteering in Ethiopia. A moment I've been anticipating since I left last year. I can hardly wait so, here's a peak at what my day is like as a volunteer in the country.

There's something magical about waking up at 4:45 am to chanting coming from the speakers of the nearby mosque, then the Orthodox church singers join in with their daily prayers. I call these men "my serenader's", their melodic sounds follow you as you travel all over the country.

There's something even more magical about earplugs and your pillow over your head!! Mornings are a bit like a symphony - first the churches, then animal noises- a party of noises-including donkeys/chickens and dogs. The neighborhood awakens- with the smells of coal or propane stoves as your neighbors begin making breakfast or start talking or their children playing and don't forget traffic-with the sounds of horns, revving engines and compound doors opening and closing. Soon it's 6am and your alarm clock tells you -that the world awaits-so you get up- and "get ready for the day".

I eat breakfast before I run out the big green gate of the compound and immediately make a mess of my shoes and get dust or mud on my legs. Instantly, I feel a little tired-as I trek up a hill - feeling the effects of the dust, pollution and the city's altitude. At the top- I try to to hail a morning mini-bus. More often than not-give up and walking for a few miles. Where we run into other locals, as we walk, we enjoy the sunshine (or wish for it) and talk about the day ahead of us, current traffic congestion and the shortage of transportation or how late we are for work. I wonder sometimes why I even try to hail a mini-bus to Sidist kilo -it's so enjoyable to walk (when it's not raining).

At Sidist Kilo, I love-hopping on a mini-bus and often find other student's parents on it. As excited as I am to see them, watching the city at it's most chaotic period of day, out the window of the mini-bus, is intoxicating.

There's something hysterical about almost always being late for my morning class and walking into a classroom - in a wrinkled white labcoat and have the student's stand up to say "good morning wassaro (Mrs) Kimberly -How are you today? Then many ask-where is your woo haa (water)??". giggle.

There's something magical about ordering "un kewlal macchiato ya le sequir" (macchiato -dark with no sugar) at sport cafe to the delight of the waitress on my morning break- wondering how I survived the first two classes with out coffee! Every Tuesday-the local news is published in English and the gentleman saves me a copy- (grin).

There's something magical about a spicy lunch that ends with coffee and a piece of fruit, lunch is never alone- it's mostly spent with family and friends. After lunch a variety of things happen- I may meet with my language tutor, correct papers, have some tea and teach an afternoon class.

The evening starts at 3:15 with correcting papers, monitoring an after school study hour, planning the next day's lessons and then finally- teaching a night class with adults.

There's something magical- about ending the day visiting friends-since there is often no electricity- and then going home for a 9:00PM dinner.

There's something unusual about wanting to waking up and go to the gym to run in a circle with 100 other people around a small, sweat stinking auditorium that ends with a cold public shower before work.

There's an occasional AWESOME night where you can take a hot shower before bed-and then collapse at the end of what always feels like a long long day...

There's something different and unknown to you every day: a mis-communication,a schedule change, or a random holiday that makes you realize you really don't know whats going most of the time. It's at these times you miss home the most-but they are also the reasons, you to wake up with laughter to start over- exhausted- and excited about your weekly random "routine".

There's something peaceful about very social weekends- a moment on Entoto overlooking the city or a morning/evening at church- an afternoon with the family.

I can't wait to add in the blessing of meeting our children in this chaotic but wonderful schedule!! There's something magical about the birth country of our children that makes my heart sing....

In just 34 days, I will feel the familiar heartbreak of leaving our friends, our neighbors, our church and most of all- Denis. This time, not knowing exactly when I'll see them again, as we wait for the children's final court date, that legally makes us their parents- I find the leaving part is really bittersweet.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Missing the obvious...

I just opened my door- and realized that sometimes I really do miss the obvious.

It seems this morning I shoveled the path to our front door- but not the steps into the house-LAUGH!!!!

Childproofing 101-a pictoral review

Childproofing 101. Week 1-A pictorial review...

1) make food that will be quick and simple to eat and empty all of your hiding spaces (warning house will be very messy).

2) Read, Read and re-read the manuals (but no matter how many times you read- you will end up back at the store returning items or buying replacements-it's nuts!)

3) Geneva recommends getting plenty of rest and Dr. Seuss suggests you have a laugh and go in with plenty of patience:

Let the fun begin.
Here we are finished building Habtamu's bed, creating closet space for the toys that will find their way to our home, , and of course- making ordinary locations in our home impossible to access.

Childproofing week 2 - has been temporarily interrupted (Denis broke some ribs falling on the ice this week). He's fine-but can't lift, twist and jar his body (in other words no hammer for him) for 6 whole WEEKS!!!! We're just so very grateful that with care - he will be better by the time we get the world to travel to Ethiopia to meet our children.

To be continued....

Meme Stevens- Beautiful Song- get Kleenex

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