Wednesday, May 13, 2009


HAPPY BIRTHDAY KARLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Today my sweet girl turns 12 years old (at 10:46am actually ha ha). It's hard to believe. I know I say that every time one of the kids have a birthday, but seriously where does the time go???
Yesterday we spent the afternoon before soccer enjoying the sunshine. It has rained here nonstop for weeks....good for our drought, but bad for our playtime. :)
Karaline, my nature girl

It doesn't take sweet Kemry long to wilt in the humidity. lol She sweats like nothing else! She is beautiful even sweaty. :)

Karson is adjusting as well as expected to Kolton, but he is still
having the hardest time of all adjusting to our newest addition. :) In the
Kolton playing soccer with anyone willing to kick it with him. He puts his soccer cleats and pads on first thing in the morning. Ihad to hide all the soccer socks because he was wearing them all and the kids wouldn't have any clean for games. Now he just raids mommy and daddy's drawers for regular socks.
Karaline Olivia
Kolton wrote his name on the driveway. He can spell it verbally too - K, O, one, cross, O, N. LOL
I'm so sad that my sweet Kollin is on a field trip with his school until Friday night. :( Seriously, don't these teachers know that's FAR too long for mommies to be away from their kids, even if they are 13? lol
"the boys"
All the kindergarten boys - our neighbor, Kolton, and Karson. They are all the same age. Kolton is actually smaller than Karson but is closer to the camera here.
Even though they haven't gotten along very well lately (they have oil and water personalities), they sure look sweet here don't they? lol
Kemry lost a shoe and all the boys came running to her rescue! ha ha It was so sweet!
Kolton pushing his sister
Karaline - my tree hugger....for REAL
Who wouldn't melt with that smile and those eyes?
Kemry, aka Miss Class! lol She had to stick her hot dog in her mouth so she could focus on putting her shoes on the wrong feet. LOL
Mr. Handsome
Kemry cracks me up...she is so funny.
Don't ask me why he is making this crazy Or eating a burrito outside in the yard.

Those's so unfair.
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Friday, May 01, 2009

We're HOME from Ethiopia

We're home!!!!!! We have had some major computer/internet problems since arriving home so I apologize for taking so long to update. Not to mention we brought home a little guy during the busiest part of our school year who likes to be on the move ALL the time. :)

I cannot even stress how AMAZING this little guy is and how wonderful it feels to have everyone under one roof now. His adjustment, at least so far, has been incredibly smooth. It's like he has done this before and is a professional already! ;) Bonding is going really well. The trip was exhausting but not bad. Neither Tara nor I got sick or jet lagged. That's a success in itself! :) Emirates was like flying on a cruiseliner!!!!!!!!!!! It was AMAZING!!!! I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend it. They fed us NONSTOP and all the food was delicious. I have craved it since we got home. Can you believe that? Craving airplane food??? lol Nuts I know. ;) We had an overnight flight to Dubai and then an overnight layover (they put us up in a hotel for free). We were able to shower and feel well rested for our 4hr flight to Ethiopia.

We had too much luggage for the trunk of the cab. HA HA I have been in gocarts bigger than the taxis there. ha ha Cabs are unbelievably cheap there. We never paid more than $16 and that was for an entire day of shopping.

Next stop: The orphanage of the cutest little guy in all of Africa! ;P We arrived at the orphanage and were waiting in the director's office for a while (the children were napping). I saw litle heads peeping out at us. They must have told Behailu we were there (they all excite in this kind of thing) because next thing I knew, this GORGEOUS little boy sneaked in beside me and just stood there beside me until I noticed him. ;) What a thrill to see it was Behailu!!!!!! The first thing I noticed was how tiny he was compared to how his pictures portrayed him. He was 6 wearing a 4T. But he wasn't light. He felt so solid for such a tiny kid. I wanted to just scoop him up and eat him up but I knew he had to have so much going through his little mind. I cannot even imagine being that age and having to leave with people I had never met who didn't even speak my language. So I let him direct the hugs and kisses. Luckily Ethiopians are lovers by nature and I got lots from him. :)
He had to show me his bed. He was so proud of it.As soon as we were back at the guest house, Behailu took his stickers and picked off all the red hearts and put them on my arm. I fell in love, hook, line, & sinker!We stayed at Addis Guest House ( We HIGHLY recommend them. Everyone there was WONDERFUL. Every little need we had, they accomodated. They had a great little area for Behailu to play soccer and the best staff ever for him to play with. They played with him for hours. They translated for us when he was feeling sad (or naughty). They even got a taxi to go out and get whatever food our hearts desired. They have suites - living room, bedroom, spacious hall, and a private bath. Each room has it's own dial up internet access but you must stay on the first two floors for that. We were originally on the 4th floor and it didn't have internet. They moved us without a problem.
These are some of the amazing folks at the Addis Guest House! Im so glad they were all working the day we left so we could say goodbye. The guy above with Behailu was the sweet young man who played soccer with B for hours on end when B was having a meltdown or just overwhelmed by the transition. After a while we realized he thought the hotel was our new home. He suddenly didn't like the idea of being adopted to such a kid UN-friendly place. lol The staff was able to explain this to him in Amharic. Soccer was definitely his therapy for the days we were in Ethiopia.
The nice courtyard where B could play soccer. Those plants took quite the beating.
We drank a LOT of these. ;) I think B was drinking a lot of them behind my back too. Apparently he knew that was naughty and would take a big swig of it when I wasn't looking. Doesn't he realize mommy is a professional at sneaky kids??? ;)

Behailu's first night no longer an orphan. ;) He took full advantage of the jelly beans and remote control.

Mommy is CRAZY about her little guy!

Sweetest story about this day. The first day or two, Behailu hoarded food and toys really bad. He just didn't realize they wouldn't be taken away and that they were available forever. Well we didn't say much about it because we knew the reason behind it. The 2nd day we returned to his orphanage and notice he had been hiding food (cereal bars) to sneak to his friends at the orphanage. He wasn't just hiding them because he didn't know he would have food tomorrow but he was hiding them because he wasn't sure his friends would have food tomorrow. SO PRECIOUS!
Ethiopia was AMAZING! The poorest of poor was safe, trustworthy, and kind. No one seemed bitter of their circumstances. Everyone loves everyone. There was a car wash, and goat market in front of our guest house. We watched them work their fingers to the bone during the day. It was also considered a "nice neighborhood" at night because everyone would go to their homes that to Americans looked like scrap pieces of trash found around the city. These people are so grateful for everything they have. EVERYONE should experience this at some point in their lives. We are so spoiled as Americans. We should be able to live happily with much less.
Our view from our window.

We were invited to our facilitator's home for a traditional meal and coffee ceremony. HEAVEN!!!!!! the food was UNBELIEVABLY amazing! The coffee....well we drank a TON of coffee this week. There's nothing like it. It's SO GOOD! I don't even like coffee!!! Ethiopian coffee is so much better than American coffee. :) The ceremony is so interesting to watch. This was our facilitator's wife, Hana, and Behailu. Hana runs Sele Enat, another orphanage. That orphanage was such a wonderful place to be. So full of love and happiness even if they live on very little.
This was the day we were shopping (notice B was big on dressing himself). It choked me up to see this because I realized how easily B could have become this boy. A homeless street kid having to shine shoes just to eat (several didn't even have this much and had to beg for money for food). God chose B for our family and I am SOOOOOO grateful he didn't end up here. It's almost too much to even think about. :(
On our way to the airport to go HOME!!!!!!!! There's no place like home. ;)

We got bumped to business class on the first leg on the way home. WOW is all I can say. ;) (B is pouting here)
Another step closer to DADDY and my other sweet babies! We kept telling B, "THREE Aeroplans.....DADDY!" lol
How cute is my little luggage rider?

at JFK waiting on our last flight...felt like forever!
FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DADDY AT LAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so happy to see John and Kemry (the other kids stayed home to decorate the house for a party), but I don't think anyone was as excited as Behailu to get his daddy FINALLY! :) He made a mad dash to him, jumped in his arms, and gave him a big hug and kiss. Kemry was like, "Wait a minute! You are only supposed to be in pictures and this is my daddy too!" lol
So here I am.....36hrs of straight travel with no shower and only 2 hrs of sleep. Beautiful I say.
It's like he was ALWAYS her big brother....he knew just what to do.
The next morning we packed picnic lunches and headed to the soccer park as a family. He's a soccer STAR. My other kids loved watching his fancy moves.
BROTHERS......Behailu fits right in! It's so odd because it's like he has always been here. His adjustment is UNBELIVABLE! He is doing so well. Kemry is a little bit jealous and Karson loves him but he is sometimes too rough for Karson (who is my gentle sensitive boy lol), but the transition is better than I could have ever imagined.
Meeting Great-Grandma (Mammaw) for the first time.:)

He does this every second he can be outside...he obsessed with mastering the bicycle! this is pappaw ford (my dad) helping him.
Everyone loves Behailu so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is doing so well and our family is adjusting beautifully. We are so so so grateful God chose us to be his forever family. GOD IS SO GOOD!
p.s. we met some AMAZING friends on the way to Ethiopia in NYC (Natalie and Sheri with her gorgeous children) and some AMAZING friends on the way home in Charlotte (Hannah and her gorgeous family). I will post more about them later. They were too special to brush over. :) Also, TARA is the PERFECT travel companion!!!!!!! I couldn't have taken a better person with me. She was like the perfect lifesaver at all times. I cannot repay her enough!

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