Thursday, 14 July 2011

A Family is Complete!

We're home!  I apologize about the delay but I did not have the energy to even log on when we got home yesterday.   On Tuesday night we went to Bole Airport in Addis Ababa to go home.  It is always with a heavy heart and mixed emotions when I leave there.  For one I am excited to get home and see my daughter Josina and friends and family and am also abler to show off Sophie. One the other hand there are so many people that we started to get to know in Addis.  Also the weight of knowing that we are taking a little girl from her home country and people is difficult even thought we are bringing her to a better life that she was chosen for.

On the flight from Addis to Frankfurt we were fortunate enough  to have a seat with a bassonette for Sophie.  She was great and slept a good part of the trip. I did sleep a couple of hours but Tammy did not. The flight attendant on Lufthansa was originally from Ethiopia and was a big help. She is also trying to match Sophie up with her year old boy.  The flight was on time and we arrived in Frankfurt about 5:30 AM local time.  That airport is confusion, makes Heathrow look easy, and the staff there are not particularly helpful in contrast to Lufthansa in plane staff who are the best I have ever seen.  We could not get seats with a bassonette for the Frankfurt Calgary trip.  We were in a three seat row and the flight attendants once again were great and moved the the guy in our row.  This way Sophie could sleep in the seat between us.  Before we took off she was been silly and was making the loudest raspberry noises.  For about 4 rows behind us everyone was laughing out loud.  She was great.  She did take a couple of naps and I did take her on a few walks around the plane.  Only on the final descent did she get upset and was really screaming for about 15 minutes. Customs and immigration was a breeze.  In fact the guy at immigration did not understand that Sophie who was traveling with an Ethiopian passport could be a Canadian citizen and that the visa said so.  We could have told him anything and he would have believed us.  Then we had a fantastic welcoming group waiting for us at the airport.  Grandparents, aunts, friends etc were all cheering.  The bet of all was seeing Josina and was she excited to see baby sister "rophie".  Lots of hugs, kisses and tears.  Sophie really seems to like Josina.  She has also had a pretty good night with a period of about 5 hours straight sleep.

Now our family is complete.  We never thought that we would ever see this day.  Now2 we are hoping to have a more "normal" and "boring" life without talk of paperwork, slow downs and adoption.  I am ready to be just a daddy to my girls and and hubby to my wife.  I could not have done any of this without the hard work from Tammy.  She kept to process on track and me too and for this I am forever thankful!

Josina seems to have had a great time with her Oma's, Opa's, Tante, Uncles and especially her Auntie Karen.  We can't thank all of you enough for what you have done so that we could travel without worrying about Josina.  For the next couple of days my girls get to enjoy their 'Bamma from BC. Over the next week or two we will sift through video and pictures and get them posted here.

It was also comforting to know that people from all over the world were following our travels here and supporting us with their prayers and thoughts etc.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The stretch run in Addis.....

We have had a really good day. This morning Solomon from Kids Link picked us up to bring us to Abenezer orphanage where Sophie used to live.  This was Tammy's first visit there.  When we arrived the staff that take care of the babies and who used to take care of Sophie were all waving and calling her name.  They had a coffee ceremony for us and also fed us traditional food for lunch. Yummy. Many of the children swarmed me because they remember my other visits there in May.  That was pretty cool.I told the director Elizabeth that we were there to buy a clothes washing machine for them like I had promised, then we found out that the only washing machine that they had for 30 children had broken down. Talk about timing.  Elizabeth and I took a cab, 1976 Toyota Corolla and I took her to a store that I knew about and bought it there.  We strapped it to the top of the cab and away it went.

The cook at the orphanage calls me her angel because ever since I took the donations there in May and bought groceries many other families have done the same and has taken a lot of stress away from them.  So anyone reading this who is adopting internationally from any orphanage keep this in mind.  Our US/Canadian dollars have quite a bit of buying power here.You can't change the world but you can change one child's world.

This afternoon Markos took us to a factory outlet for scarfs. It was interesting watching them being made.  This factory is a project to get women working in a sustainable way who used to gather firewood and sell it.  Some incredible stories to hear. Finally we meet some adoption friends for some dinner in the Piazzia.  A good time was had by all.

Ashleigh and Ben should be arriving any minute now.  Hopefully we can spend some time with them tomorrow. So this is our last night and will begin our trek home late Tuesday evening.  Again I will be leaving with mixed emotions, but I can't wait to show Sophie her new home and family and also to see Josina.  we miss her so much.

Sunday, 10 July 2011


Yesterday, Saturday was a good day.  In the morning we walked to La Parisiene Cafe for croissants and coffee/tea.  The staff once again could not get enough of Sophie. Next we went to the mall across the street to get some smaller socks for Sophie.  Finally we walked to a supermarket to buy some provisions.  On the way back a man who did not appear to be all there either naturally or by drugs or both i don't know, started talking to me about Sophie, then he demanded 100 birr.  I told him to get lost, then it got scarier as he said give me 100 birr or I take your baby and I will kill her.  A number of people on the street tried to slow his progress down and keep him away but he followed for 2 blocks.  Finally a street cleaner ushered him down a side road away from us. People figured that he was not mentally stable and he was probably stoned on Khat.


We had a quiet afternoon hanging around our room. In the evening we met up with some friends for dinner, Shirley, Marion and Kyle.  Good times and great Indian food. On the way back, on the busiest road in Addis, Bole, we saw a teenager lying on the sidewalk having seizures.  Shirley stayed with him and Tammy and got our cab and tried to get medical help.  When we got back to kid had come to and Shirley said some other kids had given him some kind of drug and he had a bad reaction.  They sent him home in a cab.  So it was an eventful day.


Today we went to To.Mo.Ca to buy more coffee beans mmmmm.  Then to the Ghion Hotel for lunch.  This hotel has huge grounds, probably 300 acres of lush gardens. Two weddings were going on there, wow was that stunning.  We had some good lunch there and then went back to the grounds.  It was amazing, one wedding was Protestant and the other was Muslim.  Their guests all gathered around them and were chanting and signing and dancing to God/Allah to bless the marriages.  It was an amazing sight that we will never forget.  Back at the hotel, the girls are sleeping and the thunder is going crazy.

Two more thing that I forgot. After we found the kid on the street we went to a clinic to get medical help but leaving Markos car wouldn't start again because he had been using the headlights.  So a guard and myself had to get it push started in a space of about 15 feet. 

Then today on the ways to lunch a guy on a bike ran into a car in front of us.  What next?

Friday, 8 July 2011

Sleep...wonderful sleep....

It 7: and the Muslim guy calling to prayers, 30 AM and all is quite, except for the bird who is trying to eat our window, the roosters and the odd crazy person selling stuff on the street.  Sophie and Tammy are still asleep.  Sophie went to bed at about 10 last night, then a feeding at 1:45 and another at around 4 and that's it.  She's still sleeping.  So happy she must have been tired and even more important is probably feeling better, I know that I am. It's going to be a good day.

I really miss my other daughter Josina, I hope to Skype with her Saturday morning. Breakfast should be here in a few minutes.  I guess that mean I have to pant up, oops too much info, nobody needs to know I blog without pants on.

Better Day

Thanks for the support after a tough night and morning.  Solomon from MoT picked us up at 2:00 to go shopping and to go to the foot of a mountain.  Sophie was till asleep so we woke her and she was fantastic all afternoon, 2 hours.  We went to a shop that sells goods made by the blind and handicapped.  The stuff wqas great and we bought lots.  Wicked storm when we went to the Post Office area market but it ended quick enough.  This evening we went out for dinner with Solomon and another couple from New Brunswick who just got their 4 year old daughter. Great food and entertainment.  I have to confess that I am a little drunk though.  You know that Tej (honey wine) has a kick but you never believe.  Also the St George beer and brandy primer. Sophie even fell asleep at the restaurant and Tammy just put her down.  Here's hopping for a better night.

Tough night

Well we only had a few hours sleep thanks to Sophie.  It is so difficult to admit especially after all the years of praying and waiting but I guess its like having any other kid.  Please go the #$%# to sleep.  We think she is probably a bit scared when she stirs in the night and is someplace unfamiliar.  No amount of rocking could get her back to sleep.  Very frustrating.  On top of it all Tammy has some serious sinus issues right now too.  At about 6:00 AM we gave up, we'd been up since 4:00 AM.  I took a shower and we packed up Sophie in the carrier and at 6:40 I was off for a walk.  Tammy stayed back to get some rest/sleep.  We walked with Sophie strapped to my chest for about 2km to Kaldi's, the Starbucks ripoff, for a coffee and some french toast.  I was the first customer there. Then we had to go to a market to get formula.

I get a lot of different reactions on the street when carrying Sophie.  In Ethiopia doing this is woman's work so the young hang abouts on the street, I am sure are mocking me.  I get a little negative sneers from the lower educated type people. I guess that I will also get negative looks and comments back home too so this will be good training.  This morning was also very good and encouraging.  I was walking past the Dembel mall and felt someone looking at us.  There was a 30 something, well dressed couple who stopped entering the building just to look at us pass by.  I looked back and they both had huge smiles, nodding with approval and she gave us two thumbs up.  It brought tears to my eyes. Later a company bus bring people to work passed and the occupants were smiling, waving, giving thumbs up and even applauding us.  Even here you get both horrible and great responses.  I actually just prefer to walk down the road without any reaction.

This afternoon Solomon will take us out shopping, to Entoto Mountain and later for a traditional dinner.

Claire, you should ask for this.  Also the MoT does not keep you occupied.  We can give you pointers on what to do and how to get around.  Maybe when we get back we can get on the phone with you.  we have a great driver, Marcos,  he will take you anywhere and he usually does not charge enough.

I think we are feeling a little guilty being upset about the lack of sleep and being frustrated because Sophie was so hard to get.  She is our daughter just like any of you have and we feel and go through the same things, good and bad.  Please don't take this the wrong way but it has been an incredible few days but also extremely difficult and we need a few minutes to vent.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Feeling Better Now and Adjusting

We've had Sophie for two complete days now and have determined that she is a real Mommy's girl.  The first night, Tuesday, was tough she barely slept for 2 hours at a time before waking for a feeding.  The next day Tammy and I awoke and were both quite ill, traveller's stomach thing (figure it out).  We did not go anywhere, couldn't really go anywhere or eat.  Between being sick and Sophie teething it was a trying day for all. On top of it all we had quite a few power outages, therefore no internet, facebook or blogging or Skype.  I am glad that I had a book.  Last night, Wednesday, was a little better, Sophie was up 3 times but she is sleeping longer between naps. Yeah!

Today we woke feeling better but still at maybe only 75%.  We hired Marcos to take us to Lufthansa so we could get a ticket for Sophie but their internet was down.  On Monday Tammy had seen a sign about Wheat grass juice and how one shot is the equivalent of 1kg of vegetables.  So we went back to the Limetree Cafe in the Boston Partners Building on Bole near the airport and has this juice plus fruit purees.  Yummy and healthy.  Then back to the hotel, and hoping that Sophie would nap but she didn't really.  At lunch we walked the 1.5 km to La Parisienne Cafe.  The waitresses there just love Sophie.  It is customary in Ethiopian restaurants that if you have a little baby the staff will hold and care for the baby while you dine.  It was a bit freaky but wee kept our eyes on her.  Sophie loves it when daddy has her in the carrier close to daddy's chest.  She loves to look around and take it all in.She fell asleep in it before we got back to the hotel.  Later in the PM Mommy wanted to put our tired girl down for a nap so she could sleep too.  I went out for a walk, for a coffee and to the bank but when I got back Sophie had only slept for 15 minutes. 

Around dinner time we Skyped with Josina and her Auntie at home for a few minutes.  We really miss Josina, that is really tough even though she is in great hands and having fun.  We can`t wait to she her and give her squishy hugs. This evening we went for dinner and Sophie seems to love it when we go out. She was wailing in the room for no apparent reason but as soon as «i crossed the threshold of the room she was instantly happy.  At the Restaurant, Cloud 9, she was also great although very tired.  As soon as we got back Tammy gave her a bottle and she went right down.  Let`s hope she has a good night.

Tomorrow, Solomon, from the agency will take us out for some sight seeing, shopping and in the evening for a traditional Ethiopian dinner.  Can`t wait.

Weather for the last two days has been about 20, cloudy (mostly), humid and lots of storms with lightening, thunder and a fair amount of rain.

My glass of brandy calls me now.  Until the next time....