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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A summer 2010 summary

So, before I leave the kids are napping and I thought I'd take a moment and update you all on how they are doing. After all- with the trip coming up -it'll be a month before I can really talk about the kids again-laugh.

This summer started out easier than last summer- we didn't do as much travelling this year and we stay very local to where we live. Since Debritu can walk and talk now doing things with her is very enjoyable.   We actually have also seen much less of our friends than we usually do-we've been home a lot this year.

The beginning of the summer Habtamu had many sports camps and swimming lessons. Debritu is still to small for many of these things so she's been with me mostly. After H got out of class and took a nap we went and did things like the park or going to get an ice cream or swimming at the local lakes together so she really didn't miss out on much.  

The weather has been amazing so staying close to home has been easy. We visited the Aquarium for the first time with visiting uncles.  We spent an amazing week in Vermont- it was the only week that rained this summer but it was delightful none the less-laugh.  We also hosted a Fresh Air child for a week and had the most delightful time.

On the parenting side of things- this summer has been much better than last summer- less exhausting. But it did come with a different kind of challenge.  Denis started to travel a lot again. I'm psyched for the business-totally psyched! But it also means that the kids and I have been flying solo for a good part of it.   All I can say is thank goodness for my mother and the fact that although she works and I give her all the space she needs- with out here living in our home- I'd have lost my mind. Laugh.  She has given me some time here and there to get things that really need to be done completed.

3 weeks ago-Habtamu broke his collar bone and it's been down hill since.  He's feeling better this week and it's given me a chance to get a bit bummed out.  There's something about knowing he is going to be just fine that allows me to break down now-laugh.  I've always been like that- the one to fall apart once everything is over and done with.  The weather has been fantastic and for the past 3 weeks he has been glued to me.  I love his company but since he can't do anything and my company has amounted to what feels like nagging- "don't do this, stop that, honey-you're going to hurt yourself" - even I'm tired of hearing myself say it... ugh.

Debritu has been next to impossible lately with her temper tantrums. Screaming- No, I don't want to. Her favorite thing to say is "shut up habtamu".  All of us in the house cannot wait until she's grown out of this phase she is in! I know that she got this horrible saying from me-but the fact that she can't let it go-makes me crazy.  What do they say- if you don't like the behavior wait 2 weeks- they change so fast.  Let me tell you- if she doesn't change in the next two weeks I'm going to build her a nice barn that she can sit in when she's being her usual not so-joyful self these days.. ha ha.   I feel like my grandmother "if you don't have anything nice to say-please don't say anything at all".  Habtamu has taken to .. Mom D's doing this, D's done that, mooooooommmm D.... ya ya ya ya...

Now the little tattle tale Habtamu needs constant watching to keep himself from re-injuring himself this week and Debritu is exasperating me with her "shut ups" to say the least. In all sincerity though- if H was telling mom everything I did from peeing to touching something I'd be telling him to shut up too-laugh.

Emotionally for me- I need a break and I can't wait for it.  It's so funny to tell people when they call from Ethiopia and ask- what do you want to do-and I tell them sleep.  I just want to sleep. So-this Sunday can't come soon enough for me.  2 days after I leave- is the first day of pre-school and also the day he is cleared for "full activity".  Thank goodness.

I am hopeful that next summer we can manage through with out somebody getting seriously hurt, juggle den's travelling and my full time work.  I'm sure there will still be a small adventure, perhaps a hick up. I'm just thinking that I'd like it to not be an injury.

So- see ya "next year" in 2003 by Ethiopian standards and I look forward to coming back-resting. Missing my wee ones beyond my expectations and anxious to get back to work.

Hugs and love- me

Monday, August 30, 2010

3 weeks to "be free", to let my spirit wander at leisure..

Hi all,

I've been struggling with keeping my blog interesting this year. Partially because I barely have time to stay on top of the news as I'm with our children most of the time.  I don't want to blog about my children's lives all the time but little seems to happen these days outside of them.

So, I find myself 6 days outside of my 3rd and shortest trip to Ethiopia and notice that outside of fundraising I've barely mentioned the trip.  I looked back at some of my older posts and have to say- packing is the easiest it's ever been for this trip-laugh.  I'm throwing some clothes in a bag-grabbing my Malaria meds (out of the medicine cabinet) for my out of capital travel , finding my proof of Yellow fever in the piles that have taken over my nice neat home, grabbing my passport and printing my ticket.

Most of my planning time has been spent gathering a few gift and preparing hubby to manage the 3 weeks he'll have to juggle the kids with out me. My vagabond spirit is something Den and I knew would continue when we had a family-it's exciting to see that we are actually able to work with it-laugh.  Having my husbands support and understanding is wonderful when it comes to my travel needs-laugh.

So many people have asked me why I am going back.  Frankly and simply stated-my restless spirit has an incredible need to travel. With out a regular trip to the airport or the freedom behind the wheel of my car- or a chance to let my spirits roam- I am miserable. So, yes, I'm a mom, with young kids and to all of you questioning-here's my answer. My trip this year is a selfish one. I don't have any big "volunteer" plans, or big goals to reach.  I simply have a need to "be free", to let my spirit wander at leisure.

The itinerary is as follows:

  • Visit with friends and family and celebrate the new year. aka-Yumm- Tibs, Tibs, Tibs and hugs galore!
  • Travel south for a week and visit some places to relax aka- read a book and go swimming and find some quiet time. I laugh that I am going to Ethiopia to find "quiet" ha ha. But when compared to the zoo I now live in.. it will seem quiet-haha.
  • Come back to Addis - eat as much injera as possible while having dinner with lots of different friends so they don't see how much I am eating. ohh- coffee too... lots and lots of coffee.
  • Spend some time playing and laughing with the children at Selamta and visiting at LemLem School. aka-exercise after eating-laugh.

If I'm lucky I'll be able to fit in teaching a couple of English night classes while there.  I may even have the privilege of attending the graduation of some of my first students (at the practical language school near the piazza). They survived my first teaching assignment and happen to be graduating while I am there.  So, hopefully I'll be able to see them (insert opportunity to cry here).

I'm certain the trip will contain an adventure worth talking about, some humbling and gracious moments- like the graduation above and providing the money to the children that many of you have sent me.

But mostly- this trip is about taking time- time to sit,time to cry and  time to hug the people I love that live there. I hate that they cannot get visa's and visit me and that it's been so long since I've seen them. I want to hug the 10th grade students at lemlem (my old 8th grade students) and tell them how proud I am of their most recent scores on their national exams. And I want to walk in the dust covered streets (or mud) and negotiate the purchase of a goat or sheep in Amharic for the family for dinner. I'll probably have to visit the blind man again to get a decent price-laugh.

I want to feel alive- something I thought parenting would do a little bit of-but it has not-actually it's quite the opposite-ha ha. Having a family makes me feel a little like a trapped animal-and trapped is not something I can live with.  For some people - family is a way to "finding a home" for me that is not the case. The road has always been my home.  I feel more beaten up and personally defeated than ever in my life.  I need to feel the compassion that Ethiopia and her day to day life there evokes in me. I want to simply see the people that in the past 3 years have become such a distant but daily part of my life. This does not mean that I don't love my children, in fact taking time from my family only makes me love and appreciate them more.

My trip this year is simply to say- I love you and have not and will not forget you- and that's all. Perhaps, I am saying that to Ethiopia- perhaps a bit to myself too.  After all- 3 weeks at an Ethiopian's pace is really equivalent to a week at an Americans.

Hugs and peace

Friday, August 27, 2010

Teddy's latest...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Our Fresh Air Experience

We had the most amazing Fresh Air experience with our host son "Z".   At 6 years old this brave boy got on a bus-leaving all of his family, friends and the environment he knows- to spend a week with a family he had never met.  Although the week was not with out homesickness and missing mom moments - he was able to rally his emotions and very much enjoy himself.   

Last week- while Z was visiting with us.  We visited a farm, went to the drive in, and beat me when we played mini-golf.  He spent a lot of time looking around our house and marveling at the back yard. He attended a sports camp each morning, rode a horse, we had several picnics in the park.  He played at an arcade, slept outdoors, listened to music by a fireplace while cooking s'mores.  We went to the aquarium, to the local lake and to a baseball game. He tried out fishing with my mom and we went to a 3D I-Max film.  "Z" played a ton in the back yard, swam in our neighbors pool.  Z absolutely loved that our front door of our home opened directly to the outdoors as his home is in a large apartment complex in the city. "Z" loved our mailbox and would go with us to get our mail each afternoon.  For a couple of the nights our neighbors were over for dinner and on one of them we made his favorite meal- fried chicken and macaroni salad.  Although Chicken night was earlier in the week-he was still talking about how we all made chicken last night.

On a phone call with his mom yesterday- he asked "mom can I come back to this Fresh Air family next year?".  This surprised me as it is from the same boy who after 2 nights from home was ready to pack his bags and never leave his mother again.   With my eyes whelmed up with tears- I left the room to leave him some time to talk with his mom.

The sad moment arrived this morning where we brought "Z" back to the bus for his return trip home. On the way to the bus I asked him-"Z" what was your favorite part of this trip? Of all the things you did what was your favorite thing?  Z's answer? "Swimming in the neighbors pool."  

As for the rest of us- we're appreciating our lives here outside of the realities of inner-city life just a little bit more today and of course we're recuperating from an amazing week-with one very special little boy.  

Nap anyone?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Chaos... total Chaos this week...

The past week has been a very very challenging week for our family- it included some of the most joyous moments in our lives and some of the saddest we've had in a while....

On Sunday, one of Denis' cousins (in his 40's)  being admitted to the hospital on Sunday, he dies mid week.  He had a rough life fighting alcoholism and has not been doing well for many years.  Death is a weird thing like that, no matter how the person lived their life and what thoughts or judgement you may pass as the years go by- when death knocks - you feel very sad and indeed helpless in some ways with helping the family members.  That's the 3rd death in less than a year for Den.. very difficult indeed.

On Monday the most amazing boy arrived at our home for a weeks vacation with us.  We enrolled as a host family to the Fresh Air fund (www.freshair.org) and I can't say enough about this organization or the child that arrived.  We have fit in an amazing week around the other challenges surrounding us.  I think with out the "need for fun" distraction he provided us with- this week would have been much different in so many ways.

 Habtamu broke his collar bone on Tuesday, so he and I spent much of the day at the doctors office and then watching movies.  Thank goodness my brother in-law Jim extended his trip - he was a blessing to have here so I didn't have to bring the other two kids to the doctors. He took them swimming instead and thus the beginning of the kid juggle for the week-laugh.

On Wednesday Denis business trip was cancelled and I rejoiced! Mom's job hours increased again- something she needs- but we sure could have used the help this week of all weeks. We also kind of laid low.  Mom tried to take Z (fresh air boy) fishing but the fishing line was a mess-and thus the trip was as well-laugh.  We made fried chicken with the neighbors for Z- who was very excited as this is his favorite food and had a fire outside in the firepit- to listen to the crickets, other noises and to hear the fire "snap crackle and pop".  Having a fresh air child in our home has really opened our eyes to city life vs. sub-urban life.  This polite young man manages to politely talk of guns and knifes at school-and the death of young men (he's 6).  Amazing.. my 4 year old talks about how "fast he is" and then Z jumps right in and can be a young kid here.. Amazing..

Thursday- Habtamu's on the mend, I lost Z's inhaler- oops,  Z and I go out, family wake for cousin... dinner with different neighbors. I tried to grill... and we ended up all eating hockey puck hamburgers and burned hot dogs...laugh.

Today is friday- and so far so good. We did sports, the beach and going to a ball game tonight.  Thank goodness tomorrow is Saturday... What an adventure... I'm sooo ready for a nap now-laugh...

Well- my mental break is over.. Hugs to you all- and if you've ever thought of hosting a Fresh Air child... It has been a wonderful experience so far.  

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thank you Thank you Thank you

Hello Everyone,
I can't say thank you enough for all of you who have helped us get so close to our goal.  We only have 1600.00 more dollars to earn to reach the $5000.00 mark.  The school is very surprised and gracious to all of the help this money is going to provide toward keeping these kids in school.  

My apologies for not updating daily. My son broke his collar bone and we have a wonderful 6 year old visitor from Fresh Air (www.freshair.org) this week.  It's been an amazing week for our family- and you'll hear more from me next week.

Thanks again and please- continue the hard work of letting people know. WE Are ALMOST THERE!!!

Hugs and love- Kimberly

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Urgent call to Action - assist the children at LemLem School

This week I got off the phone with my host sister Eldana who is the principal at the school I teach at in Ethiopia and she told me a very sad story.

Due to the economic down turn in the US -Some of the 150 children who are currently sponsored at her school will not receive their scholarships this year.  They are trying to work with the Ethiopian Government, (and other organizations the children are sponsored through, and with the parents of the children to keep each and every one of those children in school this year).  The school is asking the parents who are struggling to pay 1/2 of the kids tuition and they are working with the external resources above noted to obtain the remaining of the monies. It is unlikely that the parents will be able to pay and it is more likely that the children will not be able to attend.

I ask you to forward this story to every one you know. I would like to see American's step up and help other Americans who are trying to help others but find themselves out of work or unable to keep their commitments to these children.  I'm asking for a 1 time donation of any monies you may be able to afford to assist me with this goal.  Many of them I have personally taught and some are currently receiving the highest grades in their class.  I do not want these children shown the door due to lack of financial ability to attend school!

I personally would like to raise $5,000 or as much of it as I can in the next 30 days.  At  $125.00 per student or half the tuition for the year we can together keep 40 of these children in school this year.  That's 40 less kids that will be rejected the ability to continue to be educated in a country where education is the only way to a better life. I depart on the 5th of September.

If anyone would like to verify this information- please call me at 617.304.2537 and I will put you in touch with anyone you feel the need to speak with.

I will be working early this week to determine an ability to send money using a credit card and tax deductible options for you all. If you don't care about the tax deduction please feel free to make the check out directly to me.  Otherwise I'll do the best I can to find ways to make this work for everyone willing or able to do anything they can to help these children so near and dear to my heart.

If you are not comfortable with my request- but still would like to help-a great organization that is 503c approved- that you can still help Ethiopia's students through is www.COEEF.org.

If you can help at all- please send any money, checks anything you can to:
Kimberly Calderone
17 Gregoire Drive
Marlborough, MA  01752

I will personally deliver the monies directly to the school and verify the receipt of it to all who can assist us.

with thanks in advance and with much urgency,
Kimberly Calderone

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Surprise- you have a goat and cake delivery

I had a goat and cake sent to the family in Ethiopia that I live with through Sitota.

Culturally it's strange when you send gifts. For example-instead of receiving front end pictures of the goat they send hind-end pictures so you can evaluate the size and value of your delivery.

The family was very surprised to have a goat and cake delivered to their door-laugh.  I only wish I could have been there to see their faces when their surprise gifts arrived.

Here is the goat and cake:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

first day of preschool


little Debritu started preschool today. She was so excited. Mom on the other hand is a little lost as she fins herself without children this morning.

haven't figured out how to rotate photos on my phone before uploading! Oh well-For now- may I suggest that you tip your head to the left while viewing this picture (laugh).
Published with Blogger-droid v1.4.8

Monday, August 2, 2010

Halie Selassie I and Bob Marley- War

"Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war and until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes.  And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war.  And until that day, the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship, rule of international morality, will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained.... now everywhere is war."  Halie Selassie I - (Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930- 1974).

This quote was made famous by Bob Marley -in the song "war".


Meme Stevens- Beautiful Song- get Kleenex

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