Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children
What could be better than an Ethiopian welcome, FOVC style?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Road to Woliso (Amelia's Home Town)

Our first trip outside of Addis was a one-day journey to Woliso,
where Amelia was born.

Unfortunately, we don't know anything about her birth family, or exactly where she was born. So we couldn't visit the exact places where she started her life. It was still wonderful, though, to see where she came from.

The country-side is way different from the "city-side!"

It was market day. All along the 2+ hour drive, the roads were filled with people who were walking--with whatever they had to sell--to the nearest market in the nearest village.

There is a beautiful vacation lodge near Woliso called the Nagash Lodge. Truly, there are probably just a handful of similar places in Ethiopia. Here is the entrance gate.

The view along a path at the Nagash.

There was a Treehouse Coffee Bar!

Bereket waiting patiently for chai-dabo
(tea and bread, a very favorite snack!).

The Coffee Bar is built into a huge old tree.

See the huge, um, rodent?
(Hint: It's sunning itself on the upper left-hand side of the rock!
I couldn't convince Dave to scamper up beside this guy so as to demonstrate how BIG it was!)

A cuter rodent.

A view through the trees....beautiful!

A view from the Tree House.

Stone gateway leading to the lodge buildings.

Real, wild monkeys. So, like, AFRICA!

The lodges are built in the style of traditional Ethiopian homes.

Beautiful day!

Dave takin' it all in.

With the hotel employee who proudly showed us around.

The ceiling of one of the lodges.

Back out the big gate.

We thought this roadside bread shop looked much like a patisserie in France. Only, of course, it's in Ethiopia!

And now we're coming back to Addis.

We enjoyed our beautiful trip to Woliso, and the time we spent at the Nagash Lodge. We also saw a lot of pain and suffering there, but it seemed...disrespectful to snap pictures as we traveled through the town. We realize Amelia's first family certainly lived a more difficult and painful life than the un-real life we saw inside the gates of the beautiful vacation spot. We will never know Amelia's first family, but we love them nonetheless.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We can't believe we're back at Sele Enat!

This is the first moment we saw Bereket.
He was waiting in the doorway for us!

He looks shy but happy. (Trust me, he's not REALLY shy.)

First exposure to a Happy Meal toy.

With his caregiver.

These are the cooks in th kitchen at Sele Enat. (I know I have no excuse whatsoever not to cook every night!)

Daddy and son getting to know eachother.

Funny face.

Getting ready to leave Sele Enat.

Poignant painting on an exterior wall of the orphanage.

In the van, headed to the guest house.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dog Paddling

Well, now that we've been home for two weeks, it's probably time to write a blog post!

There is so much to say, it's hard to know where to start. If I had to give a word picture, I'd say we've been dog paddling.

For the first week we were in Ethiopia, I was really sick much of the time. After stays in two hospitals and a stop at a clinic, and completely by God's intervention, we found a doctor who could help me. One doctor said I was in serious condition, another said critical condition. Either way, I was really sick!

Soon, I will post pictures and share a bit about our amazing experiences, particularly during the second week, when we traveled around southern Ethiopia.

Here is a synopsis of how things have been since we got home:

The first few days = Nightmarish and terrible (shaded further by intense jet lag, sickness and being incredibly tired, I'm sure.) Regrets, doubts and second-guessing abounded.

The first full week = We all realize Bereket is a good boy. But the language barrier is a tough one! His "boy-ness" is nothing like "girl-ness," either....

Second week = Two year-old Amelia realizes Big Brother is here to stay, and he is cramping her style. What this looks like: she wants full access to everything that belongs to Bereket, but she wants to give him no access to anything that belongs to her, that she has ever looked at, touched or briefly considered. is OK with Bereket, but pretty much hell on wheels with Amelia!

End of second week (aka right now) = We can say that life is good. Not entirely easy, but good. Bereket is kind, considerate, helpful, eager to learn, eager to please and unfailingly gentle with Amelia. (Like a good brother, he does tease her occasionally, however.) He is also full of energy, on the go (even when we are all sick and would love some time to rest) and more physical than any daughter we've ever had.

Still, I was able to tell Bereket, "I love you" when I tucked him in the other night....and I meant it!

Amelia is coming around. She and "Brother" hold hands in parking lots, she laughs and smiles at his antics. She has even discovered that Mommy's lap is big enough to "nuggle" (that's "snuggle" if you don't speak Amelia-ese) two kiddos. She is happy to see him when they have been apart, and she's happy to scream at the top of her lungs if he crosses her in any real or perceived way.

Bereket started preschool yesterday and he had a fabulous day. Everyone's school schedules are now aligned, so Mom can actually go to work, in her office, without little kids, for two full days each week. Hallelujah!!!!

About the big girls: This has not been an easy transition. But I'm so proud of them--neither has second-guesssed our decision to bring Bereket home. They are helpful, they have been great role models, and they love their new brother already.

Yes, we've been dog paddling. But our noses are up out of the water a lot more than they were just last week.