Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cries for Ethiopian Food

I am not all that intuitive when it comes to things my kids need. For example, I had/have an ear infection. I decided to take Zeke with me to get my ear checked out. He seemed a little crabby, more because his life has been turned upsidedown than that there was something physically wrong. Diagnosis: me--one ear infection; Zeke--double ear infection. That's a story that could be retold in many different ways all with the same conclusion: I am often clueless.

However, Lizzie showed a thriving capacity to burst through my Huh? What? Really? Syndrome. We had pasta with a can of tomatoes added. After 10 minutes of trying to eat the pasta, she started digging through the noodles, joyfully exclaiming in 2 year old Amharic, that she'd found a tomato piece. Then she'd grasp it with the 3 Finger&Thumb Grip, shove it in her mouth and look for more. "Looks like she misses Ethiopian food," I thought astutely. Called my friend who can make Ethiopian food taste like Ethiopian food even though she uses roughly half of the oil and onions that the recipe calls for.

Today, my husband brought home containers of three different dishes. Lizzie stared at me. She tore apart the bread as I had seen her do in Ethiopia. She dipped it. She scooped it. She ate and ate and ate. She ate some for a snack. She ate more for supper. We ran out of Ethiopian bread (injera) so she ate with little pieces of Target Sandwich Bread.

Good to know that all it takes to get the message across is digging through a bowl of pasta with one's fingers. I wonder how she'll tell me she has an ear infection.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010


It's spring cleaning time at the Button home. That means I take the vacuum, stick a really long attachment on and suck up the dust from inside the fireplace. There is something very satisfying about cleaning styrofoam gas logs and cobwebby edges. Maybe it's knowing that by tomorrow, it won't be undone.

I had almost finished my Version of Spring Cleaning when I was brought to an abrupt halt. By Ashy Preserved Super Creepy Tree Frog. It started up the vacuum attachment until its back left leg decided that no, actually this was not the day to get thrown in the garbage in a vacuum bag. Perhaps the indignity of dying in a gas fireplace was more than it could take.

I banged the attachment against the grate. I wiggled the end of the hose. The Left Ashy Preserved Leg held its ground. Not going up the tube.

I turned off the vacuum. I shuddered. I am done spring cleaning.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lots of Smiles

No eye has seen a God besides You,
Who acts for those who wait for Him.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sharing Things

Our family shares some things very well. Like colds and coughs. Last week Lizzie and Zeke had runny noses. This week Zeke had a fever. This week Joel and I both got sick. This morning I decided that I could either puncture my own forehead in order to relieve the sinus pressure I had or I could go to urgent care.

I loaded Zeke into the van with me. We both got checked out: he has a double ear infection ("Bet this was pretty painful," said the doctor. All I could think of were the times I had made him sit in his room until he stopped crying....)I have only one ear infected. We both started on Zithromax. Zeke looks a thousand times better already. I do not.

My cold heard me and decided it would take care of relieving some of the pressure after all. By coming out my eyes. Think Goopy Stray Cat. Do they have prescriptions for this? We'll just shroud the mirrors.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Group Home

My children are no longer individuals. That's because I cannot remember their names when I want to. They are now in groups, except for Sadie. She is in a group but she's the only one so I guess her individuality has been spared.

I have The Baby, The Toddlers and The Older Kids. The Toddlers are currently chatting in their bed. They are having their first sleepover. I hope they can actually sleep.

Joel and I are attempting to finish a movie we started 4 nights ago. It takes a long time to watch a movie when you can only get through 20 minutes at a time before you begin to fall asleep.

Time to quash the Fun of the Toddlers. I'm motivated because on the other side of this activity waits a $3.99 bottle of wine from Trader Joe's. And a movie.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Coffee Over Which I Obsessed

Here it is. The $.46 Ethiopian macchiato I couldn't stop writing about. I think I'm dangerously close to a Wasting My Life Activity if I try to make that little design on the top; however, I am really curious how to do it.

The girls, by the way, are doing great: fitting in, happy, playing, making messes. We're pretty tired from Sadie's late night/middle of the night feedings (only 2) but other than that, the adjustment is pretty remarkable. It also helps that we have people bringing meals. I tried to make Chinese frozen chicken with sauce and rice last night. Had to ask my husband to help me as I got lost in all of the 4 steps it took to make it.

All of this though, easier than the waiting was. The girls are here and it is remarkable.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


In order to have our children announced at church, we needed to have decided on names. At this point in our fatigue, it is good to have some external pressure. We could have gone round and round for years.

So, here they are:
Elizabeth Lansa Button; born December 11, 2007

Sadie Addis Button; born October 11, 2009

Lansa (pronounced Lahn-sa) is from the girls' family name Wolansa. We just lopped off the first two letters (stating the obvious), made up a whole new name and decided it worked. We had hoped to give Lizzie her birthmother's name as a middle name but were never able to find out what it was. Addis is in honor of Addis Wolde. They may each get another name (Elizabeth Lansa Caribou Button; Sadie Addis Starbucks Button) if Sadie keeps up her current nighttime feeding schedule but hopefully the official announcement will come before we resort to that.

Friday, March 5, 2010


This is one of the first pictures of me with my girls.

Here we are in a van bringing the girls out of the orphanage, back to the guest house.

After the first bath.

Me with Fikre Addis and her mother who is HIV positive.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I Will Post Pictures When I Figure It Out

I realize these posts would be much better for two reasons: if they had any sense of order; if they had any accompanying pictures. They have neither. They just tell a small part of the story of flying across the world to get children who are now sleeping in adjoining cribs in our bedroom.

My daughter is really good at posting pictures. She is watching Singing in the Rain. My husband is good at posting pictures. He is at a meeting.

The good news is we have pictures. And they're not of Lizzie crying (like most of the pictures we had) and they're not of Sadie with her eyes closed. They're coming soon. And they're worth the wait.

Change in Perspective; Ethiopia

1. When I smell something rotting, I now assume the smell is coming from me.

2. I find myself wondering, how will the deworming medicine that I gave my daughter work? I asked a farmer. He deworms cattle. He assured me he doesn't see worms coming out. I am going to take that as transferable information.

3. I don't mind the dogs barking as much now that I know they are barking at the hyenas that are prowling this area.

4. Feeling conspicuous has taken on a whole new meaning.

5. People can thank God and give me their blessing while I stand in their 1 room house made of dung, mud and straw. Raw sewage ran outside. And the woman who blessed me is HIV positive.

6. Drug companies would be much more popular if the side effects for pediatric medicine were sleepiness and a sense of calm. Instead, I get the following side effects for Sadie: irritability, restlessness and excitability. Curse the childless drug researcher who thought this one up.

February 22

Sadie smiled.

Lizzie called me Mommy.

February 21; Finally

Today has been incredible. 9:00 to the Sheridan Hotel to change money. Van was searched by one man, watched by another. The watching man was actually more threatening as he had a very large gun. The Lay Across Your Lap Kind of Gun, not the Stick In Your Pocket Variety. Exchanged $100 for 1333 birr. Met Daniel. Met Agitu. She had changed her schedule in order to be with me. Went in the care center. Grounds were beautiful. Buildings were dark. Was led to Sadie first. Burst into tears. Held her, snuggled her. She wore 3 month pants, a 12 month dress and a 12 month turtleneck. Then someone plopped Lizzie next to me. I touched her hand. Cried again. Daniel was filming. Agitu was explaining her humanitarian projects. I was trying to get Lizzie to not be afraid of me. The nannies were bringing out children, some of whom I knew, some I did not. Agitu was telling me to take pictures. The nannies started up a coffee ceremony. There was a black hair in a bowl of popcorn that I was trying to avoid. I toured the grounds. A rat ran in front of me.

I brought the girls back to the guest house. Lizzie is trying so hard to not cry. She is absolutely gorgeous. Sadie looks like a man. She is congested but happy. She cries when she coughs.

No smile from Lizzie today though we got close during her bath.

Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you for our girls. They are absolutely unbelievable.

February 21; Getting the Girls Morning Of

I need not have worried about hearing my alarm this morning. There is a very long Muslim prayer going on--has been since 6:30 a.m. It is punctuated by the most incredible rooster who seems to know just when to chime in. 3 floors below me, on the street, I've watched a woman wash her hair by squatting next to a plastic bowl of water.

I'm getting our children in 2 hours.

I'm getting coffee in 2 minutes.

Night Before Getting the Girls

"May you be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father..." Colossians 1:11

February 20: My last night without the girls. Amazing. Two empty cribs tonight. Two little sleeping girls in them--clean, in pjs, in a diaper for the first time. I can't believe it. Thank You. Thank You. I abound in thankfulness. I am where I thought I'd never be.

February 19

Twenty minutes ago, it was 9:23 a.m. on Friday. Now it is 8:23 p.m. Friday. We are flying over places I don't even recognize as being part of this planet. There is a distinctly cumin-curry-something smell which I originally thought was coming from the other passengers. Now I realize there is the very likely possibility that it is coming from me. I have become one with my pants. I have had probably 5 meals in the last 12 hours. The last one I had was breakfast. That was just after I turned my clock ahead to Friday night.

While I was waiting for the bathroom, I made small talk with a man who was holding his 9 month old daughter. "How is she doing on the flight?" I asked. "Oh. My wife deals with most of it," he replies. "Oooooohhhhhhhh," comes my long, drawn out politically correct response to a completely politically incorrect situation. I find myself again grateful for my husband who is at home with 5 children dealing with not most of it, but all of it.

Good news--it looks like we've passed the Middle East. 8:14 Friday, February 19.

Arabic coffee is really strong.

We're Home

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, stopped over to see us, called us, made a meal for us, not called or stopped over because you're letting us settle in. I don't know how we would have done a 22 hour plane ride plus layovers (a 40 hour day) without friends willing to come alongside and encourage us.

I thought about how to blog while in Ethiopia. I did it the old fashioned way called Write Down Thoughts On A Piece of Paper.

I have some catching up to do but first wanted to say thank you; we're home; we're tired; the girls are wonderful.