Holy S***

We have 3 kids!

2 of them are sleeping, the other is “quietly” reading books. Tariku fell asleep with covers over his head because his big brother kept trying to play with him. I love a kid who sees napping as a priority.

Last night when we got all 3 kids in their car seats I turned around and it hit me. When we were getting ready for bed, it hit Zach. About 10 times this morning it hit the both of us. Holy shizniz we have 3 kids. They all have done so well today (Trysten hit a bit of a wall after waking up too early this morning but that can be expected) it’s amazing. It’s been hard for me because I want to hang with Trysten and Dailah as I missed them so much these last two weeks but I want to hang with Tariku to continue getting to know him. It’s weird having to remind myself to spread myself between them all the make sure they know I love them all.

With that said, I’m going to take my second cat nap of the day. My belly misses the Ethiopian food and my non-existant gall bladder hates the greasy American food. Tariku enjoys my mom’s turkey, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole; so apparently he continues to not discriminate when it comes to food. As a side note, he ALWAYS smells food before he eats it. If it doesn’t make the smell test he refuses to eat it. On the plane he went for a smell test with the ice cream and stuck his nose in it, hilarity ensued. Never seen anything like it but cracks me up every time to see him smack a piece of food to his nose and take a big whiff.

Zach is trying to beat me to sleep, I must not let him.

Laughter Is a Universal Language

I’ve been up since 4am. Though when you go to bed at 8:30 that doesn’t sound so bad. I slept like I haven’t slept for days (literally) it was amazing. Both boys slept in our room in sleeping bags and did very well. I feel really good about it all.

The meeting was great. Tariku gave lots of samis (kisses) and Trysten and Dailah were genuinely happy to see us and meet their brother. After a greeting from our amazing family and friends the kids commenced to being brothers and sisters and cousins. It was sooo great seeing the kids and the rest of the family, I had missed them all so very much. I only cried a bit so was very proud of myself. Once I get the video, I’ll put the video on the blog so you all can see.

So I got 1 1/2 hours before Zach and Tariku joined me, with Trysten following soon after. The boys have been jumping, playing and primarily laughing the entire morning (and last night for that matter). I can’t say enough how amazing Trysten is. He has welcomed Tariku in the family as if he’s been here the entire time. I asked him what he did last week that was really fun, he said, “Nothing compared to seeing you guys and getting Tariku.” I mean, really. He has taken a liking to try to copy whatever Tariku says in Amharic which is very funny. Dailah has loved giving him kisses and was hesitant to go down last night as it was quite obvious she thought Zach and I would not be here when she woke up. I’ll be happy to prove her wrong.

Been kind of sad watching Tariku just look at all of us speaking in English. He is obviously confused as to what we are saying and also why Zach and I would be talking like that as we’ve done a decent job at speaking primarily in Amharic to him. We plan on ichating with a few of Tariku’s friends that were also picked up last week so that he can talk about the crazy stuff we’re making him do…things like sharing and eating non-spicy foods.

Better be off to play with the kiddos. I realized I woke up at 4am because it’s lunch time in Addis. I got so sad thinking I wasn’t going to be heading down to the kitchen to enjoy a freshly made breakfast. I went down to our freshly stocked kitchen (thanks mom, Jody and Leslie) and was tempted to eat the Doro Wot and Injera but decided instead for powdered donuts. It was not nearly as enjoyable.

Sounds like Tariku is getting frustrated, better go throw the kid a bone. 🙂

We’re In America!!!

I’ve never been so excited to see the great chill that is Minneapolis, MN. We’re here and have just 2 hours until we take off to Moline, IL. Arriving there around 5:15. I’m getting so anxious to see the kids it’s ridiculous! Thanks for all your prayers, they have worked! Tariku has been an absolute gem the entire trip thus far and has surpassed me in his ability to travel well without complaint! So just one little 45 minute flight and we’re home free!

I’m attaching the last post I wrote before leaving Ethiopia that I didn’t get to email while there. Can’t wait for you all to meet this guy!

So the last day is here. It’s 9:15am and I’m waiting for the Ethiopian cooking class to begin. Zach took his youngest son guitar shopping with him so I could have full concentration when attempting to make Tku’s favorite dishes. Last night we had a hair braiding “class”. It was interesting to watch her do it but became a bit problematic when we tried to ask questions because the nice woman knew nothing of what we were saying. So it wasn’t a class as much as it was an exposition of sorts. I’m hoping the cooking class goes over a bit better otherwise I’ll have no idea what and when to put in the various spices that make Ethiopian cuisine what it is.

A bit nostalgic today as I think about how impacting of a week we’ve had. Obviously the best part of this whole trip has been meeting and getting Tariku. I’m very thankful we didn’t bring the other two kids with us as it wouldn’t have been near the experience with them (this says nothing about them, but our ability to parent 3 children and be fully aware of what’s going on around us is not so good). I think the second most life changing event was on Sunday. When I think of my time in Ethiopia, I keep coming back to that day, that moment when we met a very special person. That scenery on the way to Hossanna. That day is what I think of and what I will undoubtedly keep coming back to when I need to find strength in parenting, in life, in work and in my daily pity parties.

I am really looking forward to getting home and seeing the kids run to us at the airport; Dailah with her one armed run and Trysten with his hair flying behind him. I imagine our first family hug and get a bit teary eyed; I am so looking forward to that. But I also wish, to some extent, our kids could have seen this. Their reality of life is far different than most of the world and I wish they would start seeing real “reality” at their young age. It was a bit startling for me to REALLY see it for the first time at 25. I do pray they grow up having a worldy view of life, love and the varying degrees of the pursuit of happiness.

I’ve heard other people say they missed Ethiopia about a week after they got back to America. I can definitely see why that might be. (It has nothing to do with the fact that they clean after us, cook 3 amazing meals a day and we have the option of a driver anywhere we go). Life in Ethiopia is quite nice, relaxed, intense and above all very beautiful. It turns out the Mighty Mississippi has nothing on the land of 19 months of sunshine.

So the rest of the day is just the cooking class, a nap for Tariku, an exit interview for CHS and then collection of all our original documents. If it’s anything like this past week, it will go by very quickly. I’m eagerly anticipating our return home but absolutely dreading the flight back and that’s because I’m a heinous flyer and I have no idea what to expect of my beautiful Tku.

Last night a few of us were talking about the week after the kids had gone to bed. One of my friends, Rebekah, said, “If we do our job right, our kids will be the generation to come back to Ethiopia and make a real difference.” I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on our kids (and I don’t think she was putting that pressure on them, she was more making an “I have a dream” statement). It saddens me terribly that there will be a huge part of Tariku’s generation in foreign lands. It also saddens me that the children in other lands just might be who God has chosen to come to Ethiopia and give the people a chance to eradicate so many of the country’s less than desirable aspects. I think if we REALLY do our job right, our children will know the culture, the language, and the people well enough that they CAN come back and change what hurts the country and keep what makes the country so beautiful. The last thing in the world I would want is for Tariku’s generation of Ethiopians to come Americanize Ethiopia, it is beautiful BECAUSE it is Ethiopia.

What has surprised me most about this trip is how in love I can be with God and how mad at Him I can be at the same time. Overall the feeling is, as always, complete awe of His Creation and ability. Perhaps the word that I most feel about God right now is grace. His grace has led us here, to pick up Tariku and experience a nation He so obviously holds close to His heart. I can’t be too mad at Him for that.

We’re Off

So we’re just getting ready to eat dinner. The buses are here so we can tally ho right afterwards. I just sent Zach up to bring down our luggage. Tariku is trying to get into the buses to go on the “aerwoplan”. I think we’re ready to go.
 
2 good signs we’ve attached to Tariku. 1) Zach keeps calling him Trysten. I figure this innately shows he already thinks of him as his son and is in love. 2) A child hurt Tariku and mama bear came out full force, I picked the kid up by his arm and placed him away from Tariku. Then proceeded to smother him with hugs and kisses, it was effortless.
 
So with those good signs, we take to the air. Pray for us! Give Trysten and Dailah lots of hugs and kisses and tell them we’re coming soon! Love you!


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The Honeymoon is Over

But I love it still…there were approximately 6 tantrums today each getting longer. I’m very glad I’m a veteran mother or I might turn and run but I distinctly remember what this is like and know it gets better. Plus, I know that all of this means that he knows we’ll be around regardless. he doesn’t just need to be cute and funny all the time, he can just be Tariku and we’ll still love him. So, it sounds funny, but I’m glad we’re at this stage in our relationship. I still get such a big kick out of the kid.
 
It was all Tariku all the time today. Side from the tantrums, we had an enjoyable day. He’s starting to learn Zach and I have an amazing ability to hang out while he works things out so we’ll win every time. Tariku still eats like it’s going out of style and drinks enough to go pee every 10 or so minutes. No accidents yet so that’s nice.
 
perhaps the biggest shock of the night came when we attempted a bath. The nannies told us he didn’t care one way or another whether he had a bath but we witnessed something different altogether. HE HATES THEM WITH A HOT, HOT HATRED. He took one look at it and screamed and didn’t stop until 40 minutes later. Not sure how that worked out but if the kid would learn to wipe better we wouldn’t have had to run into it yet. 🙂 Either way, not a big deal but perhaps a better heads up would’ve enabled me to strap on a bigger pair and prepare myself.
 
Anyway, loving this whole thing I’m not going to lie. Talked to the kids tonight and Tariku had a hoot of a time talking to his “cchee cchee” (TT) and Dailah as well as both grandmas. I’m sooo wanting to be home and have all three of my kiddos in my arms, I miss them so much! We leave in just 24 hours so that’s very exciting.
 
Not sure if I’ll get to post tomorrow or not but we’ll post when we’re at Minnesota as we have a 4 hour layover. So until then pray for our safe travels home! Love to all!


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He’s Ours!

This was written yesterday…
 

He’s Ours!

 

I’m typing with Tariku taking his nap next to me. Beyond his head I can see out over the town of Addis and in the distance is the mountains. It’s starting to rain here, which I am so happy about as I prayed for the rain to help the farmers in the south with their crop. I must say, there is no more a perfect situation to be in unless we had Trysten and Dailah here as well.

 

So he is officially ours. We woke up this morning to eat oatmeal and cornbread but not of the instant variety on either one so it was a real treat. We then went to the infant care center to get a tour of that. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t “done” with the tours. At that point I was just ready to get Tariku in my arms for good. It’s a beautiful facility with beautiful babies but I probably would’ve appreciated it more had the tour been on one of the first days. After we got through part of it, we saw they had brought the older kids to the center for the good bye ceremony. Once Tariku saw us, he was not letting go so I made an executive decision to skip the rest of the tour and hang with him. A couple minutes afterwards, a nanny took him upstairs to change his clothes.

 

As the older kids who weren’t being adopted this week sat patiently (they were very good, it’s amazing) we parents sat in joyful expectation waiting to see our kids in their traditional Ethiopian outfits. The babies came first, and then Tariku hurled himself down the stairs and lept into Zach’s arms. He looked sooo handsome and it felt good to have him hurl himself at us. Though he was supposed to stand against the wall with the other kids being adopted this week, he chose instead to sit on our laps. (We didn’t mind). I won’t spoil the ceremony for those who may be reading in eager anticipation of their children’s good bye ceremony but it was amazing. Very sad, very emotional (isn’t everything in Ethiopia?) but very worth it. Arguably the most emotional part was seeing the nannies get so emotional. They were crying and hugging and kissing on all of the kids. There isn’t a way to describe how amazing the nannies are, there just isn’t. But I do hope they understand how great and appreciated they are by us adoptive parents.

 

The good bye ceremony was bittersweet for us as well. I’m incredibly sad for Tariku that he has to leave this place in order to have a family. Ethiopia is such a culturally rich place, I am grieving for him that he won’t be returning to his motherland for a few years. CHS taped the ceremony so I hope as Tariku gets older he’ll be able to see how much this country and the people of this country loved him.

 

After the ceremony we were loaded into the buses to head to the guest house for lunch. Lasagna Ethiopian style is approximately 100% better than any American lasagna I’ve ever had. This could be because of the brief stint the Italians had occupying Ethiopia. Anyway, Tariku slammed that stuff down as well. I gave him the same proportions as I gave myself and he had that sucked down long before I did. We, in fact, had to teach him the word “shovel” as that was how he was using his fork. Our son also enjoyed feeding daddy some of that special lasagna so it was cute as usual.

 

A few minutes of playing and then off to the American Embassy to get our kids’ visas. We waited in line, were scanned, waited in line, were scanned (they took my bookbag from me, I got it back but it was strange, for those going soon don’t bring CDs, batteries, tapes, or ANYTHING electronic with you). Waited in line and then we got to go to the interview. It consisted of a few questions we answered honestly and then they said, “Your child’s visa will be given to your agency.” And that was it. Not a lot of pomp and circumstance for what turns out to be the very last hurdle in this adoption. They told us we could not cheer for each family making it through but I got teary eyed thinking of all the hurdles we’ve jumped through to bring this precious being into the Klipschhood.

 

So we celebrated with some food for Tariku (do you read a theme here?) and hugs and kisses for us all. Waiting for a bus was interesting as a group of young men just sat and stared at us. The Ethiopian people give new meaning to the phrase “People watching” as they do it without disguising who or why they are looking at you. I envy their overtness about such matters.

 

Next came The Sherton where we went to confirm our flights for Thursday night. We were told to be at the airport at 7:15 and our flight leaves at 10:45 pm so that should be nice. I was also able to buy a traditional wrap that the women carry their young in here. When I was talking to the woman in the store I asked Tariku which color he would like, purple or green. So she translated for me and then started laughing. She said, “He says he does not want you to carry him in that.” This was made even funnier as I was carrying him in the Ergo carrier at the time. So I settled on the purple.

 

We stopped for a brief stint at a super market because another couple needed snacks. I didn’t necessarily need anything but I bought this mix they have here that has nuts, popcorn kernels and other goodness in it. I’m presently munching on it.

 

That brings us to now. Tariku Asamo Abiyu Xavier Klipsch is napping next to me. His eyes got too heavy holding up the long, curly eyelashes apparently. We thought for sure we’d be in for a treat when it came to nap time as it was 2 hours later than he normally went down and, there is, of course, the whole language issue. But Zach and I laid next to him and showed him closing eyes, etc. Zach kept a strong arm on him to keep him from getting up. J He ended up breaking free for a minute but I grabbed him and laid him on my chest and started whispering “ischi ischi” which basically means either thanks, it’s okay, calm down, it’s cool or something like it depending on which Ethiopian you ask. I also rubbed his back and his legs. He started to get heavy breathing and closing his eyes. He got up for long enough to move his head to the pillow and has been out since. One nap down 4 trillion to go in our lifetime together, let’s hope the others are half this easy.

 

The rest of the night is all Tariku all the time. We hear he’s a bit of a night owl so we’ll see how well that goes over tonight. I am overwhelmed with this guy. I never in a million years thought I would have attached to him so quickly and effortlessly. There is no “playing” mommy with me right now, he makes it quite easy to love him. I’m so eager to bring him home and have his brother and sister meet him. Zach and I were agreeing today that he and Trysten will have lots of fun and he and Dailah will undoubtedly keep me on my toes. What a perfect place to be!

 


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Well

I have this huge post with about 10 pictures saved on a flash drive of my friend Amanda’s but she went to bed with her little guy and it’s in there with her. 🙂 So you’re going to have to wait for that awesome post until tomorrowish. I apologize, because pictures are so much more fun than I am.
 
I just put Tariku down. He seems to turn to me when wanting to go to sleep. He cuddles up right in the nook of my shoulder and breaths in my neck deeply. It’s cute, but hot here in Addis. I suffer through the sweating and let the little guy fall into a deep sleep before I shift ever so slightly.
 
I’m not going to ruin the post I worked so hard on but YES, we made it through our Embassy appointment so he is officially a Klipsch. Though the kid sweats when he sleeps, has stinky burps and feet, has a little table butt and sounds like he’s going to have adnoid issues, did we have any doubts he was a Klipsch?
 
Let me just say this before I go join my two boys in our bed…at this point in our life together I would recommend older child adoption 100%. Even though he ran away from me at the hotel (he’s fast!) and he gets delirious like his little sister when he’s tired (can we say “how fast in Amharic can one guy talk?”), I would say go for it. I know there will undoubtedly be tough times ahead but I’m having so much fun with this guy!
 
All for now, I promise (Cassie) there will be pictures tomorrow; though I have no idea when as the government shuts the power off of parts of the city throughout the day to conserve. Mom, tell the kids we miss them so very much and can’t wait until Friday to see them! Love to all!


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Could It Be?

Another fantastic day…I’m going to pinch myself at some point because I think this has to be a dream. Tariku is terrific. This morning was just so much fun! We picked him up at about 9am and had him in our guest house until 1:30. I’m telling you, he’s just amazing we have so much fun. It turns out he LOVES Coke (the pop, obviously) and water, and cars. He also is the most amazing eater I have ever seen in my entire life. The guest house cooked injera and doro wot (which happens to be his favorite) for lunch today. I was really wishing we had brought our camera down because he consumed in in the most amazing time. There is no way to describe it, he just ate until he literally had food poking out of his mouth.
 
We went up in our room for awhile and showed him pictures and video of Trysten and Dailah. He loves saying, “TT” and “Dailah” and can point them out in pictures. He calls Zach “Ababa” which is basically “daddy” in Amharic. It’s really precious. He’s also gotten even more comfortable in front of us. When we first met him and really up until today, he wouldn’t say too much; he’d just sit and look at us and touch us, etc. But today he started speaking more (both in amharic and english) which shows us he’s starting to feel we’re more comfortable. He also started singing a song on the way to the car when we were dropping them off. I was sooo excited about it and I could tell Tariku was happy to share his beautiful voice with me. With all this new sharing of language Zach and I are learning more and more amharic and he is obviously learning more english. He is really a smart kid. Tariku was playing blocks with another dad here. The dad was saying, “red, blue” with each color of the blocks. Each time he said a new word, Tariku would repeat it and seemed to understand and know it after a few minutes as well.
 
After we dropped the kids off we went to the Women’s and Children’s health center that CHS built and then we went to the community school they built as well. We are so thrilled to be a small part of the humanitarian efforts CHS is doing in Ethiopia. We are very thankful for that. Then we went to the National Museum which was really interesting.
 
Anyway, there has been no power here the entire day so I just had a few minutes on the computer so all of that might be random. Plus, I haven’t had a chance to upload pictures but just wait…they are irresistable! Tomorrow is our day to get them full time and go to our Embassy appointment. We are so very excited to have literally no hurdles in our way and have him FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES!!!! YAY!


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