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****.

Meme Stevens- Beautiful Song- get Kleenex

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