Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I'm packed. I'm kind of organized. My husband has been cleaning like crazy. He even did boy baths and cut boy toenails. That's love.

I think I'm still in denial. Maybe if I weighed 40 more pounds and had on maternity clothes this would seem real.

My friend is here. Her son was in a car accident just two days ago. Please pray for him as he goes to a burn clinic in Atlanta. This is a very brave friend who is still willing to go across the world with me to bring home two little girls.

I don't think I'll be able to blog from Ethiopia but I will try.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I have 16 file cards. A word in Amharic is on one side, the English translation on the other.

Went on a date with Emma and Gracie. Ran out of shopping steam. Went to Caribou. Took out my file cards. Began to practice. Noticed two men at the next table who were fairly Ethiopian looking, definitely speaking another language. I, ignoring my good upbringing, stared at them wondering, "Do I ask them how to pronounce a couple of these words?"

The "I'm Leaving for Ethiopia in Four Days Mentality" won out over the "Maybe These Men Would Just Like to Enjoy Their Coffee and Be Left Alone Mentality." So I asked, "Are you, by any chance, Ethiopian?" When they said yes, I went on to explain my cards, my necessary vocabulary and my inability to pronounce some of the words I had copied from the internet. (internet Amharic is very sketchy when it comes to accented syllables and vowel sounds in case you're wondering if my asking for help was warranted or just another outcropping of my craziness).

They dutifully took my file cards and began to help. I pronounced, they stifled a giggle, they re-pronounced, I tried again. After a couple easy cards, we came to a really long word. "I just cannot get this one," I told one of the men. "I can't ever remember what it means nor can I say it." He smiled. He got sort of quiet. He said it; his friend erupted with laughter. That's when I suddenly got really, really hot.

"I just made you say 'I love you,' didn't I?"

About then, 2 women showed up who were obviously with my newfound friends. And lover. I quickly explained what I was doing, even pulled out a picture of Lizzie to make me look increasingly legitimate as my reputation was fast slipping away. They were extraordinarily gracious. The women went through my cards. They might have even been just a tad bit impressed.

I left before anyone had the chance to tell them what I'd done.

Happy Valentine's Day, me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

One Week

I think I'm getting close to being ready to go. I have a week to "finish" things; with that much time it's hard to choose: organize the basement? throw out the liquifying garbanzo beans? vacuum the hamster room? buy more diapers?

It's hard to make decisions right now. It's somewhat hard to sleep. It's hard to not be crabby. It's hard to wait and it's hard to go.

Here's the plan:
Thursday: 11:30 a.m. flight to JFK
Thursday night: 11:00 p.m. flight on United Arab Emirates to Dubai
Friday night: Arrive in Dubai at 8:00 p.m.
Stay one night in Dubai
Saturday: 8:30 a.m. flight to Addis Ababa arriving at 11:25 a.m.

I can only imagine what I'll do with the girls. If it were just the baby, I would get her right away. However, our 2 year old seems very shy. I think (and simultaneously know nothing) that I would like to see them on Saturday afternoon/evening but let them sleep one more night in a familiar place. On Sunday we would go in the morning, spend some time at the care center and then bring them with us.

I'm trying to learn words in Amharic. So far I know: come, joy, tears, thank you, mom, dad, home, water and milk. The word for bathroom is terrifically long. Maybe Lizzie will take to diapers though I imagine her looking at me thinking, "You're white. You're scary. You smell funny. You massacre my language. And now you want me to go to the bathroom in my pants. This mom? Anyone? Anyone?" In the meantime, my 9 pound wonder baby with her 5 pound eyes will just stare at me and think, "Boy, do I wish I would have learned to drive."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Things I'm Doing to Get Ready

I have a new perspective on my house and its situation. For some reason, having two children come in, oh, 2 weeks for, oh, the rest of their lives, has spurred me on to see everything as A Thing in My Way, A Thing Not Going My Way or A Thing That Has Been Dirty for Way Too Long.

A Thing in My Way:
1. Levi, trying to help put up a crib
2. Clothes. Got rid of 4 grocery bags of them.

A Thing Not Going My Way
1. My dark chocolate candy bar getting eaten by my children.
2. Lady with puffy hair at Walmart who didn't like the sides of the aisles. Only the middle.

Things That Have Been Way Too Dirty For Far Too Long That Got Cleaned (because the girls will notice and they will care)
1. The boys' toothpaste cap. Got the crust off.
2. The edges of my bedroom carpet

I was able to get a lot done today that did not include being possessed by a woman who was possessed by her chocolate. There are 2 cribs in our bedroom. I helped put the border of a Yoda puzzle together. I bought toddler underwear with princesses on them. I helped talk the fraud department of our credit card company out of canceling our account because of a freakishly large purchase made yesterday. It was called airplane tickets.

Friday, February 5, 2010

My New Alarm Clock

I had something new wake me up this morning.

It's my heart. Pounding.

Time to cook things with sugar and eat things with chocolate.

And thank the God who is orchestrating and caring and loving and patient and powerful and merciful; who is doing a thousand things, or more, every second.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Our New World

The phone rang this morning:
"Hey, Marty..." says our adoption agency. "We were just wondering if you might want to go to Ethiopia on the 25th."

"Oh, well, I was kind of looking forward to going for the March 11th embassy date but it's ok." And in the meantime I wondering what on earth I am going to do with myself for 6 more weeks.

There was a long pause on the other end of the phone. "I'm actually asking you if you want to go in February."

There was nothing flattering in my response. I was shrieking. I was scaring my children. I was back pedaling so quickly, I couldn't even form a thought. "Really? You want me to go then?"

And on and on it went with me making phone calls to my husband, the travel agency, the adoption agency (again); snapping my fingers at my children to make simultaneous phone calls to friends on another phone because I couldn't bear for them to not know and yet airplane tickets seemed a bit more crucial. (Note to self: just because you've sent a lot of emails to a man named Trent in Utah who works for a travel agency, doesn't mean he is your b.f.f.)

My fight or flight response is amazing. The first thing I did was read a missionary story to Levi. It was about a Canadian missionary who was driving a tractor across a frozen river. In Ontario. In -35 degree weather. He fell through the ice that was really safe and really thick. So did his tractor. I stopped reading the story.

The next thing I did was take Emma to the doctor so he could diagnose not an allergic reaction to her malaria meds but scabies.

The next thing I did was itch.

Then I bought funky rotisserie hotdogs from Target for lunch because I couldn't think of what else to feed my children.

Fiddle lessons followed as did a run 2 times around the block and the boiling of 8 eggs.

It was a very random day and I'm exhausted. It's not really hitting me at all that 2 weeks from today I will be at the JFK Airport. Because it's February 25th. Not March.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ethiopia Sidamo, by Starbucks

I decided to do a little reading today. I had time to read the back of my pound of coffee. Fortunately, there was something interesting:

"There isn't a culture on earth that appreciates the coffee it grows more than the people of Ethiopia. Making coffee is a spiritual experience that begins with roasting beans over an open flame, grinding with mortar and pestle, brewing in a long-necked pot and then pouring the aromatic brew for all gathered. It's a ceremony that recalls the splendor of a regal people..."

A couple observations:
I've had the "spiritual experience" of having beans roasted over an open...burner. The spiritual part of it happened for me as the house filled with smoke and I prayed it wouldn't burn to the ground.

The Starbucks people astutely left out two other components that take some getting used to: popcorn, served with the coffee and incense that is burned along with the coffee. The back of my pound of coffee recommends instead "lemon bars and a seat drenched in sunlight."

So soon I go to "regal people" with "reverence for the bean." I would absolutely love to meet a Starbucks marketing person there. I might ask them, through the haze of incense and coffee bean smoke, if they happened to bring lemon bars.