Sunday, January 25, 2009

We're Home!

As many of you know, we could not access our blog while in Ethiopia. We were told that the Ethiopian government blocks 'blogger'. So, I am sorry that this photo is delayed!

This is the day we picked up the children at the orphanage. Meeting them for the first time was not like we had imagined. We arrived on a bus and as we were stepping out, Tigist ran up to us and tackled us with a hug! Were were so surprised and didn't have our video ready. We had always pictured her being reserved but she was clearly counting the minutes to our arrival and she knew exactly who we were when we stepped off the bus. Mebratu, on the other hand, sort of hung back and waited for us to come to him. He was watching us but I could tell right then that he was timid. And to this day, now that we're home, it's still like that.

We went into the orphanage to complete paperwork and to meet the twins. Wondemu was asleep when they handed them to us and then Konjit fell asleep a few minutes later. We ended up leaving the twins for one extra day so that we could take the older two back to the guest house and have some special time with them, getting to know them. In hindsight, we are so glad we did this because the babies (especially Olivia Kongit) ended up being very sick and once we took custody of them, life became very difficult.

Here is an excerpt from what I wrote on facebook (our only link to the rest of the world while we were there) to let you know what happened while we were in Ethiopia:

... we have no access to email or phone here in ethiopia but i was able to get on FB on the dial up computer at the guest house. Our travelling companion (vounteer nanny) has officially bailed. She couldn't get on our flight last night from Paris (although she was supposed to be booked on it, it was overbooked and they started kicking people off. When she realized she would have to fly from paris to addis the next a.m. on her own, without us, she said she wanted to go home and forget it. we were devastated, counting on her help and many donors had paid her way (that w ill have to be settled later) we are pretty down and and really just shocked. Please pray for peace that this was God's will, that we do this alone. After arriving in Addis this a.m., 2 large pieces of luggage were gone. They have all the kids' clothes, diapers and most of the formula in them. They think they have found them in paris and they'll arrive here tues a.m. but we are supposed to get the kids on monday. please pray for wisdom on what to do. The guest house is run by very kind, sweet ethiopians. however, our room is right near the common area, it's loud, dogs bark outside the window constantly and our shower does not function yet. So, no sleep for 2 1/2 days, no shower for 3 days and wondering what we can eat and not get sick from.
To follow up on this first post, God provided by bringing our luggage to us on Monday morning rather than Tuesday. And, he gave us a strong sense that we should leave the babies for one more day at the orphanage so that we could have time with the kids. We got used to the dogs and figured out how to take a shower : ) (And did not get sick from the water as we had feared)

Here is my next post:

Finally back on line (until the power goes out!) What a crazy, hard last 48 hours. We have realized now that when we received Olivia on Tuesday afternoon, she was a very sick baby. We were told that she had a little cold but as the day wore on, her cough sounded very scary and her fever kept climbing. She was up all night and reached 106/107 fever, and breathed in a labored way we have never heard before. We called our agency and they assured us she was fine but we could take her to a doctor. At 1:30 in the am Motte headed out w/ a driver and drove threw slums to a hospital that was closed for the evening (how can that happen?) Then they found a clinic that would take her and the doctor there said she had pneumonia and prescribed an antibiotic. Another vist to the Korean Christan hospital today confirmed through a chest x ray that she has 3 areas of pneumonia in her lungs. Her fever has improved today but she is on a sleep-strike at the moment. Her breathing is still not good. So pray- that she improves significantly before tomorrow evening when our flight is supposed to leave Ethiopia and that both twins let us get more than 3-4 hours sleep tonight( we need rest before our 18 hour flight tomorrow). And, Oliver has a cold also that seems to be declining with a severe cough. Our airline may not allow her on if she is too sick and we just need to get her into the states so she can get better care. Olivia's health overall is not what we had been told. She is very small, cannot sit up at all and has little head control (she is 9 months old). We feel sad for her and know that she has lots of catching up to do, which she will do over time, but for now it is hard to see. She is strangely content to be alone and does not make a lot of eye contact- signs that attachment might be slow. So please also pray that she would have a sense/trust that we love her.Luke and Grace continue to be model citizens of Ethiopia. Still waiting for some sign of sin to kick in but so glad it hasn't (God's grace for this moment) It has been hard to leave them here at the guest house for long periods of time while we get medical care as we feel like we're neglecting them but sadly (reality) they don't seem to care much when we leave. They are just so used to being alone and on their own, I think.Anyway, we are sorry to sound so debbie-downer. This whole trip has just been plain ___(well, you fill in the blank) Nonetheless, we sense God carrying us through the fire and we know that your prayers are joined to that. Please keep them coming!!
I tear up now reading that with fresh memories of the misery. We were so afraid for Olivia and looking back now, we believe that God may have saved her life by bringing us to her at that exact time. We believe her pneumonia was not 'new' and it was threatening her life (with a 107 fever). We spent that whole night holding her and putting cold cloths on her, trying to force it down. I think our action to get the antibiotic and serious treatment (in spite of what the orphanage told us to do) could have saved her life. Nothing special about us but just having a loving parent come into the situation with an instinct that something bigger was going on is what may have saved her life.

And last, the trip home was absolutely the hardest 28 hours of my life. I would rather have given birth without an epidural than endure that! But, looking back, it was just something God wanted us to get through. We now have a severe phobia of flying with infants. I won't go into detail but the flight from Addis to DC was non-stop, 19 hours. Horrific. Projectile vomitting, hourly diarrhea from either or both twins; we ran out of diapers; ran out of formula and ran out of changes of clothes. We were surrounded by indifferent, annoyed and unhelpful people and well, it was just exhausting. However, Grace and Luke were perfect and slept and self entertained (as usual). They were great sports about it all and seemed to truly enjoy the ride at times. Again, God's grace to get through the rest of it.

We have been home almost 2 days and what a difference a few needed hours of sleep makes. We are enjoying the children so much. They are constantly running all over the house and out of breath (not used to steps I think), exploring all the toys and rooms. They love Sophie and Henry and have so much in common. Even though there is very little verbal communication, we are figuring out ways to get the message across. Children just seem to be able to relate without words. We hear squeals of delight and see Luke and Henry scrambling for the same bouncy ball in the hallway. We put them down for a 'quiet time' yesterday and Luke ended up falling asleep for 17 hours straight. I think he was just so overwhelmed and stimulated by everything new.

I have been writing this same post for 3 days ; ) Ah, life with 6 kids. So this paragraph is an update to the others. The beginning of sibling rivalry has kicked in. It was inevitable. Luke and Henry are having some territory battles but it is so hard to figure out who did what since one of them just spews out a bunch of words in defense of himself that make no sense to me at all. I need discernment!

Babies finally took naps today longer than 30 minutes. That was huge. I got a shower and a short nap myself. There is hope that my life might some day be 'normal' again! I'll update more later.


adoptionroad said...

Praise God for sleeping babies! Keep going... A sense of normal will soon appear. Loved your analogy of childbirth and the flight. At least in the hospital you'd have kind nurses :-). See you tomorrow!

Amy Phelps said...

Beth & Motte - what a blessing to know your a home, safe, and the kids are already adapting to family life. My heart swells for you all. Wow. We love you guys! - Amy

sara said...

So good to know you are home!! My heart hurt while you were gone and praise the LORD you are home!!!!!

Karen said...

I am so glad that you are safely home and thankful that the ups and downs of your journey to Ethiopia and back is now behind you! I pray for you all often and love hearing updates of how things are. God is so good in bringing you to these children and them to you. I pray for you all as you all adjust, learn to communicate and settle into "normal life". ;) Love you!

Peter and Nancy said...

I'm grateful to hear that you're home safely, and have no doubt that God saved your daughter's life by bringing you there just at the right time.

I am cringing at the thought of that flight home . . . we flew two flights home with ONE baby from India last Dec. (including vomiting), and I can't even imagine two babies, plus two siblings!

I wouldn't worry too much about attachment -- she was very ill, and is so young that in a few months' time, all she will remember is the loving mama and daddy that care for her every day.

In Christ's love,

Rachel E. said...

Welcome home! So glad to hear that you all are back in the US safely. I have been praying for you all and can't wait to read your next update!

Amy Jo said...

Welcome home! Praying God's hand of healing upon your beautiful new twins, and continued health for the rest of you. I know how crazy it can be to add one child who isn't sick, I can only imagine how chaotic it is with 4 new children with sickness. :-( May God shower you with His peace, wisdom, sense of humor(!), grace, JOY and patience. I'm sure you've experienced some of the blessings of adoption, but hold tight, many, many more are sure to come. God is faithful. Just be sure to give yourselves tons of grace and LOTS of time to settle in. Sweet blessings, Amy in OR

Laura said...

Praying praying praying. I wish I had been with you on that flight to hold a puking baby while you went to the back of the plane for a cup of tea or something. Blessings on y'all as you begin this new adventure.


Laura said...

Congrats on bringing your little ones home! I'm a friend of Tiffany (Fell) Hunt. She told us about your blog because my husband and I just started the process of adopting a sibling group from Asia. We couldn't be happier for you! Thank you for chronicling your adventure and giving us the opportunity to experience the ups and downs of adoption before we are in the thick of it!

Adopting1Soon said...

Oh my goodness.... that sounds like an awful, overwhelming trip.

I hope you fid the time to take care of yourself, because you are going to need time to yourself to keep your sanity, I think.

Also, in the previous pictures, the little one seems to have no problem holding her head up, so maybe it was just that she was SO sick?

Not to be a downer, but reading your post I just felt sooo overwhelmed. Please know there are people out there who can support you if you need it. Prayer helps, but sometimes CONCRETE help is what is needed, and god provides that too, but you have to go out and look for it.
I wish you the best. I hope the kiddies attach quickly and get better soon.

Dawn said...

WELCOME HOME and I hope you are all settling in well. I hope your little girl gets better quickly.

Christina said...

glad you made it home! sounds like you had a rough plane trip back. sorry! at least it is over and you can adjust to your new life in your own home. i think we are finally over jetlag. nate is learning so much everyday and we are enjoying parenthood. we loved meeting you guys in ethiopia. we will keep in touch!

Ronnica said...

Sounds like it was hard (not that anyone would expect it to be easy), but what blessings, too!