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.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

It all happened so FAST

8 months ago I became a new mom of 2 new little ones... Sometimes-It seems like the other day-we accepted the "referral" of a 14 month old "baby".

While I am still learning to answer to "mama" and "come" and "respond to help"

She is now- 5 inches taller, walking, talking (bossing), wearing big girl panties, using the toilet and wow -this past week she's been preferring to sleep.... in a "big girl bed".  It's amazing- every step of the way- we've rejoiced her accomplishments and yet.... where did the little girl that could fit in my arms and was sucking on that bottle go??

Tonight- we celebrate the move- from Crib to toddler bed.... and in between my tears I am thinking "you go girl"... Be all that you can! We love you.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Waiting for Daddy

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First "family" cold... AaaaCccchhhhhhuuuuu

Well- we're just about finished with our last family cold. Denis got sick when we visited our friends house (on the way home) last week- and this week the rest of us have been down with the same cold.  Denis was miserable- like a little boy last week- and now this week- Habtamu, Debritu and myself have all been "below the weather". Which if you are from New England - is pretty darn low-laugh.  How did we keep ourselves entertained.

The kids got to see some Winnie the Pooh and their first Sesame Street Video's on Television.  Kako (Debritu) is now saying "Pooohhh" and "Elmo" at the Television-laugh- so quickly they learn since TV is at a minimum at our home under "normal" circumstances. We practiced our coloring and lettering, and then letters, colors and numbers again and again :-).  Habtamu is struggling with his little d, little p and little b currently.
We're playing with our puzzles and other "sitting" games.  Kako  keeps wanting to take baths-laugh.  She's running into the bathroom saying "shower" or crawling into the bathtub.

To prove that I'm nuts-We've brought the little kid bikes into the house (?) and we're keeping sugared up on juices and then "sitting some more"...  The crock pot is "fully employed" making us our dinners... can you say Chicken soup and more chicken soup??

I'd take a picture of the big box of tissues-- or our big red noses-but decided a few simple words would be fun too...after all- a picture of me as a sicko on the internet- hmmmm. yuck-laugh.

So AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHCHOOOOOOOOO ... and don't forget to take your vitamins-laugh.

Hugs and "sniffles",

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Habtamu has an Adventure with Dapper Dan

Habtamu had a project with school- it is like Flat Stanley only instead his name is Dapper Dan. This weekend was his assigned weekend to have Dapper.  Lucky for DD it was a family vacation weekend.  So, we took him to our friends house on Long Island.  This also happened to be our first adventure taking our children to a friends house.. (heart pounding if you are not use to travelling with children and "suddenly" have 2-laugh).

I was handed a back pack and once we were on their first boat ride- We proudly started taking pictures of the Lion back pack Habtamu brought home from school.  Later -while on the boat- we saw Habtamu holding a teddy bear and we were panic'd.  Habtamu- Where did you get that bear? Etc.. Etc... After all it was Habtamu's first time on a Ferry too.. He pointed to his back pack and we learned...Dapper Dan was not the Lion Back pack.. but a cleaver little Bear hidden inside.

Here is Dapper Dan's Story.

Habtamu removed me from my Lion Back pack and introduced me to his family. We took a vehicle ferry to Long Island.

The next day we went to a Karate Class. The friends we visited go to Karate on Saturday mornings. Habtamu and I went with them and participated in the class. I watched but Habtamu ran around with the kids.

(I cannot get rid of that darn big space below-scroll down)

Then we went to the Zoo. At the zoo we saw Llama, goats, pigs, donkeys, birds and cows.Then we were at the Zoo-Debritu slept most of the time and when she woke up she sat in a puddle landing with a big splash. It was very funny and the whole group laughed.  Mom spent a little time in the bathroom under the hand dryer- drying Kako's pants. We finished this long day at Chucky Cheese-where Debritu was afraid of the "bad kitty" aka Chucky Cheese-laugh.

The next day - I risked my life at the zoo by going into the shark tunnel- but on the other side of the tunnel we saw some pretty Tropical fish.  This day was Martin Luther King Jr's Holiday so we learned about Equality.

On Tuesday- We got out the vote and learned about democracy!

On Wednesday, I Dapper Dan return to school with Habtamu. I've learned a lot this weekend, had much fun with two different families, learned about Equality and the fight for Equal rights in this country and how that fight continues today.  We also learned about Democracy and how important it is for citizens of a country have a right to choose their leaders.. directly or indirectly.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr. Day....

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. " - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I too have this dream for my one little child. And additionally that we will not judge based on gender, sexual orientation, country of origin or religion. There's still work to do, but progress has been made. (thanks Marcie)

Friday, January 15, 2010

are you kidding- for just a weekend?

Stroller, pack n play, winter clothes, potty clothes, my clothes.. toothbrushes... laugh.
It feels more like we're moving out-than going away for just the weekend -laugh....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

on the "cheap" in london

Going to London is "EXPENSIVE"!!

Many wonder how Denis and I travel "so much"-laugh. After a few years of practice you get pretty good at this. It's difficult sometimes to make the sacrifices you have to make- like missing birthdays, holidays and other "traditional" days that you'd share with your family. But while everyone is with their families-generally-the world's travel prices drop drastically.

Rick Steve's is a good reference for any of you new to this. He's my primary resource-then I use Trip Advisor, and google the location in general. It's helpful to try to find people who have traveled to where you are going- often they have money saving ideas- so get the word out that your trying to make the trip happen.

We spent 5 nights in London. We did make a business meeting there-but unfortunately it feel through.- So here's how we spent the week.

1)We visited the Christmas displays and when we saw people singing Christmas carols we'd stop and listen.
2) We stayed in a small nice but inexpensive hotel- this is often the most challenging booking part of the trip. We stayed at: and loved it! Breakfast and internet access were included in our room rate. The internet access was slow -but allowed us to check in with home in the morning and evenings and answer any business related questions-etc- with out being completely disconnected. Our rooms were huge too! Very Unusual for Europe..laugh.
3) We bought a 7 day train ticket for the tube instead of a 5 day because it was cheaper. We took the train and walked everywhere.
4) We stuck with going mostly to the free museums and free activities.
5) We ate the holiday "street" foods and shared or ate less when we went into a restaurant or pub. (Try to always get non-touristy family owned recommendations from your hotel lobby or pop into places that look like family owned stores and ask where to eat. You'll often find gems that will cost you half of a bigger, known restaurant. We'll snack during the day- so that we eat less during dinner too).
6) Decide on the expensive things you are going to do - and stick to it-but leave a little wiggle room in-case something unexpected Dazzles you. Don't upgrade things-stick with the basics. (We went to two pay museums, saw Chicago and Les Mis-(buying tickets at half price and not caring what plays we saw in advance) and took a group day trip to Stonehenge). Going on the group trip was going to be less expensive than renting a car and trying it alone in this case-but often we do the opposite. DONT get caught up in Shopping-and stay out of the gift shops as best you can!
7) Don't plan so much that you can't change your mind-but plan enough that you use your time wisely. If you want to see 3 big things that day- try to do them in an order - start with the one farthest from your hotel and work your way back- or go in order based on location if you can- so that you are not running around town getting from place to place all day. Remember to eat early, and take some breaks. Don't starve yourself-snack instead-hungry tourists are grumpy tourists.
8) We'd end our days with buying a bottle of wine and drinking it in the community area of the hotel or in our room vs. having wine with dinner-this saved us a bundle and allowed us some planning time each evening!

One of our itineraries looked like this:
  • 8am ish - eat breakfast - if you miss it -grab a croissant from a little cafe with a coffee. Watch people go to work.
  • 9am walk through park and enjoy the street artists work.
  • 11am -go to half tix booth and buy cheap theater tickets for evening
  • Walk by Buckingham palace and ogle through the gate.
  • Watch the horses change guard.
  • Go to Churchill War Cabinet Museum
  • Hang out at the Christmas Festivity area in the park -Eat Fair type food while there -drink milled wine or hot cocoa and shop a little bit for Christmas. Watch the hand made crafts- or watch the kiddos playing/families ice skating. (if you ice skate-now would be a good time to go and do this).
  • Head over to see Les Miserable
  • then head home (hotel)-stop at the convenience store and or the liquor store and grab a snack-and a bottle of wine. and plan the next day. (next day planning does not work at night for group tours-plan those on your first or second morning in town).
that's about all really. We had crazier days too- where we'd grab theater tickets-go to a museum- eat a small walking lunch-go to another museum-have an Indian or Chinese dinner-and then go to the theater. Too many of those days will leave you tired and arguing so it's best to do those when you first arrive- break it up with a tour out of town (aka a sitting day) and then do it again when you get back. Keeps everyone happy-laugh.

Ohh- something new we did this year-we purchased a visa gift card and put some of our "spending money" on it - this doesn't work for more remote locations but was perfect for someplace like London. We used this spending visa card- to book our day trip to stonehedge, our theater tickets, it payed for the london eye and for the 2 museums. When the money was "gone" we knew we had to stick as close as possible to the free stuff. This card was our christmas present to ourselves- so to speak. The total value on the card was 500.00. (this did not include food and hotel). I bring this up because it might be a great way -if family wants to give you gifts- to suggest they buy you one of these. Then you can use it on your trip (sure wish we had thought of something that for our honeymoon-laugh).

Happy Travels.

5 month summary-from "mom"

Wow- has it really been "only" 5 months that Habtamu and Debritu have lived with us?  Evelyn's post got me thinking - sure - I've told you a lot from Habtamu's perspective- but what about as a new parent- what about bringing them home- to America.  I look back and there is so much to write I'm not sure how to summarize it all.

When we first got home I felt like "what did we do"??? It was awful and I cried all of the time.  I push people away when things are difficult and that's exactly what I did.  That big no no- it takes a village kept running through my head-but Kimberly-what does she go and do? -She boxes up.  I mostly cried in the shower- it seems to be the best place to cry- the kids don't see you and the crying part is exactly the emotional release you seem to need.  These little people-I has spent the past 3 years focuses all of my dreams and desires on- wanted all of my attention-but I was not emotionally available for them.  They went from living with a staff to living with us- and then Denis went back to work and it felt like it then moved onto "living with just me".  I reached out to Early Intervention with Debritu and had her evaluated- she qualified.  So these wonderful individuals came to help with her developmental needs- this gave me an hour 2 days a week to spend with Habtamu- who didn't speak english and was all over the house.   We didn't spend much time at home. That first week Denis went back to work I drove all over New England with them in the back seat of the car.  We drove and we talked.  It was the only place I felt calm- "well sort of".  I was emotionally exhausted. We went everywhere. People thought we were doing Okay- sure on the outside...laugh.

1 month into having them here- the kids are very social- so we put Habtamu in Summer school. This helps with Debritu's needs-and Habtamu's needs as well. School is the best thing we ever did for Habtamu- it provided him the structure and extended English practice he needed.  We still ate mostly Ethiopian food and spoke a ton of Amharic-but their adjustment was going well. Mine on the other hand- wasn't going so well. I wanted out- I started struggling with getting up in the morning. Started to wonder -what did I do to my life- how could I have messed it up so badly?

2 months- I started to enjoy them more- the time I spent with them didn't feel so forced. We feel in love with the referral photos- and then with them personally while in Ethiopia-and wondered. I wondered how could I have done this to them and to myself?  Was this really a mistake- but I really liked being with them- it was just still really really difficult.  At the end of 2 months we started going out more... Life did start to really resemble a bit of our old lives.  Hubby stuck with me- gave me evenings off - and came home with wine and flowers regularly-laugh.
3 months- Realized I hadn't been focusing on myself at all- and swore that I wouldn't do that when I became a mother.  Started researching new gyms and looking for more babysitters. Started to consider daycare and work for Debritu and myself.  We started to look "outside" the windows of our home and realize what was going on.
4 months- ahhh- joined the gym again, ran my first 5K in a while-realized how badly out of shape 6 months off can hurt the body that has been finding solace in Wine and Cheese-laugh.  Went to the movies- with my husband- wooo hooo! Still have this aching feeling that the children have "borrowed" my best friend for a while- and I'm not sure if I'll get him back- that's still out to be determined-but It took a little while to realize how much I wouldn't see him when the kids came.  Now, I either go out-or he goes out. That's the tough part of not having family around- it costs a lot to always hire babysitters.
And well- now we are into month 5 and as a family we still have a long way to go. I take deep breaths and lean on meditation to get me through the screaming children in the grocery store, try to remember compassion when listening to others-even though I am often burnt and ashamed that my mind is wandering and thankfully - I now feel that I'm ready to return to work-and that the kids are going do very well. And of course- I still question Our sanity- after all - it's worth a good laugh when I think back as to my dreams during and before our referral and realize that many have come true- and many, well many- were fabulous fantasies..

I'll end this exasperatingly long post by saying-We're getting use to being a family-and things are slowly becoming very enjoyable.  I don't express how difficult it all is when I'm out -because I don't want it to be something when I do have adult  time that my spare time is focused on. There is much more laughter in our home and with all the tough times- there have been a remarkable number of good times.  Yes, I still cry in the shower- and I'm nervous about leaving the work I've done for the past 5 year and finding a new job-away from my husband- and life is well- confusing. But with out the changes- wouldn't we be bored?  What would a life with no changes be like?

Plan on Visiting Ethiopia- use Stone Age Tour

Plan on Visiting Ethiopia??

(this use to be planted at the bottom of my blog but it doesn't work with the re-design) so I've added it as a post in-case anyone is looking for the information it will be in my archives)
I have a good Ethiopian friend named Mekonnen that runs a travel company in Ethiopia. There's nothing like traveling with a local company. All of the money you spend goes back into the economy. I traveled with his company through out my stay in Ethiopia and loved every minute.

Stone Age Tour is the name of the company and his website url is:
(scroll down below the fold on each of their pages)

If you would like to speak with him directly regarding your ideas for your next trip:
his email address is:

Mekonnen's cell phone is: +251-0911413839

Tell him Kimberly sent ya- and he will be likely to treat you like family.

If you email it may take a day or two for him to respond because it is his personal account. If you need a quicker response- utilize the cell phone or contact us location on their website.

Happy Travels.

Prostitution and Addis Ababa

I have been thinking about Prostitution in Ethiopia for some time now.  While in Ethiopia I was fascinated by the sheer number of prostitutes or sex workers lining the streets at night in Addis. It is not "formalized" like it is in Amsterdam and it is not possible to compare the two- if you are reading this from only having visited there- please understand there is a stark difference and these two locations are not comparable.

As a visiting "resident" so to speak, I did not spend much of my time on Bole or in Concorde where the more expensive housing is (thus where more expensive prostitutes are)-but traveled to areas where everyday people live.   Each night -around certain buildings on my commute home- or on my way out for the evening- I'd see young women-mostly in their teens or young 20's in the streets.  They would either be where one less popular road ended -along a long popular road.  Or standing near a spot known for prostitution.  They sometimes would yes, be on street corners but mostly- they would be hanging out along popular road ways- not usually on corners of intersections like in the movies-laugh.  Sometimes they were in skirts, but a lot of the time they are in jeans too. Sometimes they'd have make up on, sometimes not.

One would easily mistake them for a girl waiting for a taxi or a ride to pick them up -if they didn't know better. Before I understood- I'd make jokes about how all the girls get dressed up at night and head out to the clubs.  My implied question was-with out a joke-that I couldn't believe all these people went to the clubs on weekdays and to work the next day-the clubs don't open until 11pm and they close around 4am.   It was then that I was told- "They are going to work Kimberly- not to the clubs".  Ahh-to be so naive... laugh-

So, now I wanted to know how much one cost- so, I  asked several of my male friends over the next month or so, to ask one of the girls how much money for an evening.  Since I never walked alone at night- I had many people to ask this of-laugh. I'm not sure why, but I just needed to know.  To my dismay, none of them would be seen speaking with a sex worker, and of course I could not speak with them in Amharic, so I was not able to determine the exact amount it would cost.

So, I have to be happy with what I was told, and yes, I'm still learning Amharic-laugh. **someday, I'll learn on my own.. But until then... here's what I learned.  The amounts were all over the place and seemed to depend mostly on where in the city we were, what social status, where they were to be "hired from",  etc. etc...  My friends would ask me almost as many questions as I asked them-when I tried to figure out costs.  Here's what they would tell me that they've been told by their "friends":

  • 5 usd would buy you a pretty girl -probably healthy- for the night.  10 usd would get you a really sweeeeett likely sexy and dressed well- girl-laugh. 
  • But you could "score" for a 1 usd if you really wanted to-but you'd be risking Aids etc.  So that's the answer I got- 
  • I've also been told that some of the Concorde girls look for 50 usd or more from Foreigners and that their are "foreigner specific" prostitutes that shop for just the visitors or NGO workers.

Once, while staying at a one of the Gov't run Addis hotels one evening-we went to a club and saw some foreigners there.  At the hotel in the morning- those same Foreigners were at the hotel eating breakfast or in the hallways saying "goodbye" to some Ethiopia women who were also at the clubs.  I happen to know-that these men did not arrive to the club with the women as we arrived at the same time the men did. They were prostitutes. I know some of you are thinking they "hooked up"- but they did not- these women were at these clubs every time I went (and yes I do like to dance very much and went perhaps a little more often that I would have if I was here in America) and after a little while- you too learn to recognize the girls working the rooms.

Again- on speaking with my friends about this (Ethiopian friends) it was noted that Foreigners "NGO" workers are often interested Ethiopian Women- and it is not "uncommon" to see an Older White man pay a significant amount to spend the night with a Hot Ethiopian Prostitute.   As one could guess, my mouth hit the floor.

Prostitution -at this time- seems a difficult reality- for women- in Ethiopia-and an emotionally difficult "occupation" for visiting women like myself to see in practice.  For myself, growing up in a world where "sexual acts" are sacred and shared with only loved ones- it's difficult for me to see so many women participating and choosing in this very difficult "career choice".  But with super high family disruption rates, low graduation rate (especially for women) and 50% (aprox) unemployment rate in the country - jobs are few and far between for the uneducated.  I find it difficult to swallow-so many of these woman being forced into this work to support themselves and/or their families- simply or very possibly because they have siblings and their father or mother died.

As far as "outside" of Addis- Prostitution- was not as obvious to me as it was in Addis. Although it is there, I noticed it in Mekele, Harar, Awasa, and in Bahr Dahr but there were not many girls in the streets but rather in establishments, these women (minus in Mekele) seemed older than the ones in Addis.

As for men, I asked if there were Male prostitutes-and I'm sure they are out there- but no one could point me in the direction of where to find one nor could did they seem to know a male that considered his occupation as a sex worker -although they did jokingly say they know some of their friends they would "consider" of that nature-laugh.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Alemayehu G. Mariam... a writer for the Huffington Post.

Alemayehu G. Mariam... a writer for the Huffington Post.

I may not always agree with his opinions but his blog entries are thought provoking and eye opening.
You should take a moment and check it out. With their elections coming up in May I'm certain it is going to get interesting.

You can find his posts here...

Here's a bit of his bio- For the last several years, Prof. Mariam has written a weekly web commentary on Ethiopian human rights and African issues that is widely read online. He played a central advocacy role in the passage of H.R. 2003 (Ethiopia Democracy and Human Rights Act) in the House of Representatives in 2007. Prof. Mariam practices in the areas of criminal defense and civil litigation. In 1998, he argued a major case in the California Supreme Court involving the right against self-incrimination in People v. Peevy, 17 Cal. 4th 1184, which helped clarify longstanding Miranda rights issues in criminal procedure in California. 

Happy Day-Kim

Growth After Adoption- year 1

Habtamu has grown 6 inches in the past year and Debritu has grown 4.5 inches. He has gained 10lbs I think.
Habtamu was wearing 2T on Referral and is now in 4T pants and 5T shirts (13 months later!). Debritu was in 12 month clothing and is now in the 24month-2T range. Debritu is also in the 10lb range for weight gaine.

(The weight gain must be related to all of those runs to McDonalds when they first arrived and I couldn't juggle everything..laugh).

Today Debritu has a Sweater on that Habtamu was wearing when we were together in Ethiopia-and it's only a "little big".  It's amazing to watch these children grow! Thank goodness for hand-me downs!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How do you keep Ethiopian Culture in your kids lives?

The big question for us these days as we juggle preschool, everyday life, mom going back to work-etc.. is:  How to keep Ethiopian Culture alive and active in our lives?  How do you?

So far, our answer is - We have made it a daily part of all of our lives-and are diverse in what we do.  Ethiopia is not something that is just a part of our children's heritage now- but is a genuine part of our day to day lives.

We still Cook Ethiopian food weekly-although not daily-with the fabulous help of our Neighbor making injera for us.  Not sure it would be possible with out her help!!!  In the past month Debritu has decided she does not like to eat with her hands -which is making this more challenging- but we just keep it going.

We just move forward with Ethiopian activities, interests and behaviours regardless of how the children "feel" that day. It is a daily part of our lives and kids change constantly.  At one point Habtamu didn't want to listen to the music-but I would play my favorite songs instead of his that week.  The next week he was back asking for his favorite songs.  When he was saddened- we'd talk about his feelings.. or I'd redirect the discussions to Debritu.

We're still speaking Amharic as best we can-Even Denis has jumped on board. I've found surprisingly that I listen to the Amharic for Adoptive Parents still-to remind us all of some things -Habtamu finds it helpful too- as well as review some of my books.  Sometimes Habtamu tells us great stories of their Ethiopian life as he listens to this cd, sometimes he doesn't want to listen to Amharic and asks me to speak English to him - or to turn on an English song.  I tell him he can answer me in English but I would like it very much if he kept his Amharic.  I ask him to talk on the phone with people from Ethiopia regularly.. Sometimes he doesn't want to- after all he's a kids-mostly he gets excited to do it.  I just work on keeping basic greetings, words of kindness, numbers, colors and names of foods.    

We listening to Ethiopian Music- dance around our living room- and watch videos.  We just watched the latest Teddy concert.  It was awesome to see Teddy up there after the whole Jail thing!  Even though it bores the kids- we sometimes listen to the news (yes in Amharic) and I read Fortune and other news published in Enlish weekly. We talk about what's going on in the country-as well as what is going on in ours.   Movies and videos online help keep the images of Ethiopia alive for the kiddos. It more or less keeps it alive for Habtamu and teaches Debritu.   We celebrate the holiday's here at home and away sometimes.  We make many recipes and have Habtamu help us cook.

The harder part of this- is  we also keep in mind how the culture would have raised the children- although our kids are definately "spoiled" by Ethiopian standards and VERY Americanized-keeping the children in touch with the partenting nature of Ethiopia is more difficult.  When I don't know something- I call our Ethiopian friends and ask... it's fun to have both perspectives-then we chose what works for us.

We've found the Ethiopian Adoptive and Ethiopian X-pat community to be great resources for continuing our work as a multi-cultural family. They both inspire us, encourage us and help us move forward with our desire to keep alive- the multicultural aspect of our "multicultural" family.

We'll be adding in some religious activities-probably mostly on holidays- and travelling to the city more when the kids stop napping at seperate times and we are a bit older.. but for now- we "keep moving forward" growing ourselves in our cultural awareness and as we learn - we're guiding the kids "as best we can".

What are you doing?
How does your family Celebrate either your adoption or the kids culture?


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Habtamu and Debritu's Great Adventure From Chuko to Massachusetts

In the beginning of December, 2008 (about one year ago this week) our children were relinquested by their family and were transfered into the care and control of Woman's Affairs (a government office) in Ethiopia.  People often wonder the path Ethiopian adoptive children take before they leap or are cuddled up in your arms at home.

Here is what I know of Habtamu and Debritu's great Adventure.

Habtamu and Debritu were transferred from Chuko to Awassa around December 13th then their Aunt Relequished them. The week prior to their relenquishment sounded like a memorable week of love and care as Habtamu will tell you about having dinner with his family, Yeshi (their aunt) washing their clothes and neighbors crying.  They then rode on a horse to the main office in Chuko (southern states) or perhaps all the way to Awassa -then in a car to Addis (the capital).  It seems from Habtamu's stories that is was in Awassa that their Aunt left them for the first time-so I am not sure how many days she was there with them but with in short time they were transferred to Addis.  He tells stories of Yeshi making them fish in Awassa

Habtamu has also indicated that she went to Addis with them- so it is all a little confusing.  I know however-that if it was Awassa or Addis she left- he clearly remembers the moment.  Habtamu will tell you-that the last time he saw Yeshi -that he touched her tears and she turned and walked out the door.
They were later brought to Addis and placed at Horizons House. Initially seperated because Debritu was a baby and Habtamu in the big kids house.   A few months at Horizons house and then the courts changed the way they  were processing Adoptions and they were transfered to AB house.  At AB house (a state run transition home) Yeshi (aunt) visited them and they went to court with her.  Debritu was transferred to Horizons house alone- as they asked for her because I was coming to Ethiopia for some time living there-and later they approved Habtamu as he was not adjusting well without her.  Habtamu has a very special bond with his sister- it's almost like he became her care-taker and it's very difficult sometimes to parent her-with him in the room-laugh.  It's very endearing but also a huge responsiblity for a 3 year old.

A week later I met them. We played together for a couple of months -a few days a week-and then my husband joined me in Ethiopia. We cleared court and Denis made his travel plans. Then- he joined me in Ethiopia and  2 weeks later we came home with the children (in May 2009).

This is their journey to America... Melcome America Habtamu and Debritu.. We are thrilled that you made this long journey to our home.. and look forward to being a part of your story.

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Got out of the house tonight-with my sweets- woooo hooo--together is something we don't do very often.  
So, what did we do "on a school night"- Since it was my choice- (grin) we went to see Invictus..
Invictus is apparently Latin for unconquered.
It was one of those movies that I came home from and had to look up the title and story to learn a bit more.....

Invictus... by William Ernest Henley...1875 (*but not titled by him)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Meme Stevens- Beautiful Song- get Kleenex

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