Sunday, May 20, 2012

Home

We're home.  Sound asleep in her very own bed for the first time.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Re-Entry

Well, we made it home.  I can't believe it.  Ten days is a long time to be away from a husband.  Two sons.  Home.  Good food.  It's just a really long time.  I'm so thankful to be back with my boys, and there's not going to be anything that will justify this long of an absence again for a very long time.

I still can't believe that everything went just according to plan.  You know, when we were flung across the globe, three of us in Ethiopia, three of us in Nepal, all coming back to India within 12 hours of each other, needing two visas in an Ethiopian passport, just all the details, that it all came together is amazing.  I kept waiting for the disaster to hit.  So thankful to the Lord that it never did. (Although, Paul had a mini-disaster in the form of a strike in Nepal.  He had to take the boys to the airport at 5 A.M. because no cars were allowed on the road that day, and their flight wasn't until 5:30 p.m.!!  No restaurant, no chairs to sit in, no outlet to watch movies... by 8:30, he had had enough and went and bought tickets on the next flight to Delhi.  They were back by noon.  Good decision, babe...)  I literally felt all the prayers.  They sustained me.  Gave me peace.  Gave me courage.  Gave me hope to today. When I can breathe again because we're all.  Together.

So many people have loved our family through this adoption.  A very special thank you to all of you who so generously and sacrificially contributed financially.  Thank you.  From the bottom of our hearts.  Meryn wouldn't be here without you.  The word grateful does not begin to describe how we feel.

Several special friends in Delhi pulled together to make her homecoming a truly unforgettable one.  My sweet friend Andrea came to the airport, camera in hand, ready to capture the moments forever.  She did an amazing job!  See her handiwork here:

Meryn's Homecoming

I'm also thankful to my friend June for organizing the airport welcome and lunch celebration today!  What a blessing.  We feel so loved and blessed to be surrounded by the people who were with us today as we celebrate what God has done in building our family, and setting Meryn in a family forever.  He is so good.  When I saw all the people gathered to greet us, I was humbled, and just so happy... I smiled big.  And when I turned and saw Paul and my boys, all the pent up frustration, exhaustion, excitement, relief, joy and a dozen other emotions, just let loose in a giant sob fest.  I told myself I wouldn't do it.  But I just couldn't help it! : )  It just all came pouring out....

Here's a sneak peak of Andrea's great pics! I think this is probably the most confusing thing to happen all year at the Delhi International Airport. : ) We had lots of on-lookers trying to figure out why so many Americans were gathered around a crying white woman with a black baby. : )









Friday, May 18, 2012

soleRebels

I'm telling you all, for any of you who are traveling to Ethiopia in the future to pick up your children, please make a visit to Adams Pavilion at Sar Bait in Addis and check out the soleRebels showroom there.

They have some amazing designs, and I love that their shoes are handmade from old tires! Plus, buy six pairs, get one free.  I know.  I did it .... TWICE!  Haha!  I stocked up for Christmas gifts and gifts for friends back in India!  : )  I LOVE their stuff!

These are the shoes I got for myself (which I totally love):


This is one of the signs hanging in the shop, displaying how their products are made.


A view of the show room.  

Word to the wise: pickings are slim in different sizes and styles.  If you plan to be there over 5 business days, go on the first day, or call, and give them your order. Yep, you can custom order shoes.  If you browse their website before hand, you can tell them an exact style name and color and size, and they'll make it for you! I placed an order on a Saturday afternoon and picked it up on Friday morning!  Maybe you could even order by email before you go!  Who knows!!  

Check out the rest of their stuff here: 



Meeting Magnum P.I.

On Monday, I called the investigator and asked him if he might have some time this week to come and meet me. I wanted to hear more from him, just in a personal story setting, as well as thank him personally for all the help he gave us.  He said he would be at my hotel in an hour!


Sure enough, he showed up right when he said he would.  We had a nice visit over coffee in the lobby.  He didn't really have any new information for me, but he did say that in the area where Meryn was found, there are a lot of hyenas at night and he felt she was very lucky to have made it through the night on her own.  Holy cow.  God was watching over her and we are so thankful and amazed at his protection and goodness.....


Then, just an hour later, I was able to meet the man who actually found Meryn and took her to the police. When he saw her, he was moved to tears at how healthy and happy she looked. He couldn't believe she was the same malnourished baby he had found by the road back in September.   Her mother, or whoever was taking care of her, made a wise and loving choice to leave her outside the walls of the only orphanage in the city.  This man was an employee there at the time, and he heard her crying and went looking for her.  Unbelievable.  He found her outside the wall near the road.  I was hoping he might know more about her family, but he didn't live in the area, was only visiting for work, and didn't know anything about where she might have come from or who her family is.



He is an amazing young man with a strong passion for Jesus.  It motivates him in taking care of orphans as a career, but he also has a strong heart to share the love of Christ with all of those around him.  He shared his testimony with me and has an amazing story of being saved from bring of death at his birth, and growing up knowing that God had saved him for a reason.  I'm so thankful to have him as a part of Meryn's life history.  Praise God for using his people in so many ways to bring her into a family!  I'm so thankful for all the time I have here in Ethiopia to meet all these amazing people!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Keeping Company...

While in Ethiopia, I've had the great opportunity to meet people face to face I've been met online and through adoptive parent groups.  Over the months, some of these women have become so precious to me and walked through many difficult days, been there to encourage me, and just understood how difficult the waiting can be when no one else really can.


It was a tremendous blessing to meet these mamas, and to see them finally reunited with their children for good!


Meryn and this little girl have a bit of history together, and my hope is that they will be friends for life.  Both of us moms wanted to give the girls some things they would both have.  Baby J's mom gave Meryn and her daughter each a sweet silver bracelet with their names engraved.  Meryn's worn hers ever since she received it.


I bought the girls matching dresses from my favorite store in India, and also used the waiting time to learn to crochet, and I made them matching stuffed dragons! I  can't believe I made this, but I did! I've never done anything like this before, but I had so much fun doing it, and love how it turned out! : )




Meryn won't ever know much about her past or where she comes from before she was in our family.  But, I hope she will always have Baby J to talk to as she grows up!  Aren't they both so precious!!!







Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our First Few Days...




























Our first few days with Meryn have been wonderful!  She seems to be doing really well and has fallen into a natural and easy routine with us.  A bath every day, four to five bottles a day, rice cereal at every meal… she is very happy and playful.  She rarely fusses unless she’s overly tired, or hungry.  We’ve been running around all over town, shopping, visiting people, and she hasn’t once seemed overwhelmed or like she minded.

She is full of personality!  She makes a lot of noise, and says “dadada” a lot.  She’s easy to get a laugh out of.  Kiryn has become the expert at getting her to giggle.  Meryn just wants to be with Kiryn all.the.time.  It is so sweet to watch them together. 


Meryn loves to chew on and tear up paper.  Any kind.  Toilet. Tissue. Receipt. Writing. Napkin.  You name it, if it can be ripped into tiny pieces and stuffed in her mouth, she loves it. She also loves mirrors. I’m wondering if that’s because there wasn’t one at the care center?  As soon as I step in front of a mirror, a wide, open grin spreads across her face slowly, and she begins to slowly wave at herself.  It is the most adorable thing!  

Just tonight, she started playing a game with me.  I was feeding her, and she was looking across the room so I called her name, and for the first time, she responded!  (We’ve changed her name from what they called her in the care center.  The name she was given by an orphanage worker is Helen.  We chose Meryn, because it’s an Ethiopian name (Meron) which means “gift from God”, and is also the name of a special anointing oil used in the Ethiopian Orthodox church).  Anyway.  So for the first time, she responded to “Meryn.” And she knew she’d done it.  Because we met eyes, and then she decidedly looked away again, and waited for me to call her name again.  And when I did, she promptly turned her head back, grinned, and then turned away again!  We did this several times before she took her next bite!  So so so sweet!  She knows her name!




I admit, those first few days, I’d find myself looking at her as she slept and thinking, "I don’t even know who you are, where you come from, anything.”  And she’d feel like a stranger to me.  I’ve been staring at her picture for months.  But she is a real little person, already, who knows her mind, and shakes her head vehemently “no” if she doesn’t want something.  : )  I’ve had to keep speaking truth into myself, in those moments, when I look at her and feel disconnected… I just say to myself, ‘You are a Preedy.  You’re a Preedy girl.  That’s who you are. A daughter of the Most High King!”  This has helped me a lot, and today, I feel like we took big strides.  We just had some really sweet moments together, and she fussed quite a bit every time I would leave her sight.  Tonight, she fussed getting to bed a little, acted like she didn’t want to, even though I knew she was super tired.  I sat by her crib and helped her drink her bottle, and as I looked at her, I didn’t at all feel like I didn’t know who she is.  As those moments of “knowing” when I look in her eyes, knowing what she’s thinking, her knowing what I’m about, as those increase, all the uncertainty is fading away.  She is ours.  We are hers.  She is a Preedy.  Officially. For keeps. : ) 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Almost Lalibella

One of the most popular tourist stops in Ethiopia is Lalibella.  It is famous for it's rock-hewn churches that have been dug into the ground.  Many of them are carved deep down in the rock in intricate cross shapes, and they are hundreds of years old, most dating back to before 1000 A.D.  It's a fascinating place to go.  But with two small girls by myself, it was not manageable for me. 

However, my friend Koleta knew of an old rock hewn church not far from Addis.  So we drove out to it on that Sunday afternoon drive yesterday!  It wasn't as elaborate as the churches in Lalibella, but it was an awesome experience!  And I'm so thankful to have gotten a little taste of this part of Ethiopian culture and history!




Inside the red curtains is the "holy of holies", only the priests can enter.


Kiryn thought she discovered this tunnel. : ) 


Here, Kiryn is expressing, "Mom! I wanted ONLY GIRLS in this picture!"

And, now we're happy again.






Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Glimpse of Ethiopia


The biggest blessing of being here in Ethiopia is having a friend to share all my experiences with.  Not only to share them with, but to lead me in them!  My friend Koleta has lived in Ethiopia for many years and speaks fluent Amharic, has tons of cultural insights, and, she can get a mini-bus unstuck from the mud. : ) 

Even with being busy with her four kids, she has taken so much time away from their normal routine to show me around the beautiful country they have called home for years. It has been a tremendous pleasure and privilege for me.  She has taken me to the best restaurants, her favorite shopping places, to meet friends in town, and most special of all, she spent half a day on Sunday driving us out to the “out country” to see some of Ethiopia outside of Addis.  It is like a different country, and was a precious experience for me!  Ethiopia is truly a beautiful place!







Thursday, May 10, 2012

Picking Up Meryn!

We made it to Ethiopia after a long day of travel!  We had a morning flight to Delhi, then a 15 hour layover, so we got to spend the day with some good friends in Delhi for the day.  We even got to sleep a few hours before going to the airport at midnight.  We had a very smooth process getting checked in and to our gate.  Kiryn was an amazing travel companion. I'm so thankful to have her with me.

We left at 3 a.m. from Delhi, arrived a bit late in Addis, but had no line for a visa or immigration, got some money from the ATM, got our bags straight off the belt and found our driver outside.  Certainly, mercies from the Lord to make everything so easy. I'm not used to traveling alone...

We got checked into the hotel, and hurriedly got a little unpacked, showered and changed, and I made all the 25 or so Thank You cards with tip gifts for the nannies to take to the care center. I got all of our gifts together for Meryn's nanny, Aynalem.  As soon as we went down to the lobby, Koleta pulled up to take us out.  We stopped and bought a ton of fruit on the way, and arrived about 11 a.m.

So here's the pictures.  They tell the story themselves....

On the way to the airport: last moment with only three kids in the car!

Goodbye for 10 days! Longest we've ever been apart.



2:30 a.m., munching on some Teddygrams and watching The Little Mermaid. 

Arriving at the care center!



Meryn's Nanny greeting us.

First look!  Sitting up in bed! So relieved to see her sitting up! 




My two girls! 





Where Meryn has lived her whole life. 
Her Nanny really loves her... 
Last playtime together. 

Snacks of pineapple that we brought.

Cofee ceremony to celebrate: beans are roasting.


Checking her out: yep, 5 toes.

She feel to sleep in about 5 seconds!

Head Nanny making coffee.

My friend Koleta, who was invaluable yesterday as translator, driver, photographer, moral support, and helper.  I couldn't have done this without you, Koleta!


Coffe's ready: round 1

Last time to sleep together! 
Giving gifts to Aynalem.

It was a difficult day for her.  


Handing out thank you cards to all the nannies and staff.

What a beautiful woman!

Getting ready to say goodbye. 
One final clothes change to send her out in something warm...



In front of Meryn's crib.

With her parting gift!





It was a hard but good moment.  The nannies were very sweet and celebrated with us.  I take comfort in that Aynalem has a house full of friends and co-workers who have done this again and again and can help her through it. I was able to share with her from James 1: 27, about how much God values her work in caring for these orphans. And from Ephesians 1, about all that He has done to adopt all of us as his sons and daughters. I was able to give her a Bible in a language she can read, and she was happy to receive it. Praying life and truth grows from the seeds planted yesterday.  I thankful for yesterday and the time we had at the care center. It was a great way to bring closure to Meryn's time there. 

We left and got lunch and some baby supplies. Meryn has been eating rice cereal twice a day, which was a surprise to me! I had to go get some at the store, along with formula and diapers.  By the time we got home at 4, we were able to Skype with our boys, and she fell asleep around 5 p.m. I was nervous, because I thought it was late for a nap, but was so tired myself, I put a movie on for Kiryn and fell asleep while she was watching it.  No lie, Meryn did not wake up until 6 a.m. 13 hours!!!  So thankful, I needed that sleep after a night like the one before.  Our seats on the 7 hour flight were in front of an exit row, and so they wouldn't recline at all.  Kiryn was able to lay down with her head in my lap and get good sleep.  Me on the other hand, not so much.  I feel great today, and we're off to the Embassy in about two hours!