More on our Trip

Now that Russ is in Ethiopia on his second trip, I really must finish writing about our first trip!

Monday – February 26

Monday morning Eyob came to get us to take us to the care center, along with the Smiths, to prepare paperwork for our embassy appointment. We took sunglasses for all of the children, which they absolutely loved. I thought we would breeze through the paperwork, but believe me, there are so many details and it is hard to know how to answer some of the questions. While Russ was working on paperwork, I took photos of friends’ children to send to them.

E. was completely happy to be back with his friends. He played as if he had never left. I have since seen him in many situations and he loves a crowd, which is a good thing in our family of twelve. The staff made tea for us and served it with a sweet bread/cake. Finally we were done and said our final goodbyes. I took photos of E. and W. with their nannies and hugged them all.

When we got back to the guest house, we were all hungry, but the idea of taking the boys out for lunch was more than we could bear, so we dug through our suitcases and pulled out Ramen, almonds, and granola bars and called it lunch.

Since we had gotten the boys on Sat. we had strongly suspected that E. had parasites. I won’t go into details, but I will say that I have changed a lot of diapers on my life, and his were unbelievable. Not to mention, his tummy was huge, so we were fairly sure there was a problem. We did not want to change diapers like his on a plane for fear that the pilot would pass out, so we decided to have him tested while in Ethiopia. We spoke to Ray and Lauralee, and they recommended a clinic that had a pediatric clinic and was walking distance from the guest house. The Smiths decided that they would have their children tested too.

Since the clinic was a little bit hard to find, a wonderful young woman from the Addis Kidan office came with us. Elsa’s English was excellent and we loved having her walk with us while showing us the way. I will spare you more details, but Russ had collected stool samples that morning, so we were carrying a smelly little bag along with us. Russ had E. on his back and I had W. in the sling – we later learned that we were quite a sight, especially Russ, because carrying babies is a woman’s job in Ethiopia.

As always, we walked past crowds of people, many of whom smiled at us, smelly ditches, buses spewing exhaust, and goats being herded. We arrived at a nice looking, modern building and went up to the third floor to the pediatric clinic. When it was our turn, we went in to meet a rather stern doctor who wanted to know why in the world we were there. We explained our concerns, he scoffed at how old our stool samples were and asked us to produce new ones. Fortunately, W. had already produced one, but E. (who we were most concerned about) hadn’t. We said we would bring one in as soon as possible. He examined the boys and said they were both fine. I told him that W. had been spitting up a lot, but he wasn’t concerned.

Then we went out to the waiting room and the Smiths went in. They had a great experience with the doctor and their children even produced “ca ca” on demand once Elsa told them what was expected. We were all impressed!

I had a nice conversation in the waiting room with a beautiful Ethiopian woman whose daughter was sick. Her English was flawless so I asked her if she had ever lived in the US and it turned out she had lived in LA for a number of years. She looked like a model and was clearly extremely wealthy by Ethiopian standards. She thanked us adopting the boys and told her how lucky our boys were. Like many people we met, she said, “God bless you for taking these children”.

When we were all done we walked back to the guest house and Russ went to get K. from her orphanage so she could join us for dinner. We had a nice evening that was mostly taken up with getting children fed, bathed, and ready for their embassy appointment the following day. It took me quite a bit of thought and time every day to pack the diaper bag for everything we would need. We didn’t have access to clean water everywhere we went, so we had to pack water for everyone as well as for making bottles, formula, changes of clothes, snacks, cameras, etc. It seemed like I was always making one more bottle while everybody else was in the car ready to go.

After dinner and a bath, Russ walked K. back to her orphanage and we settled in for the night. Once again, I only managed to sleep until 1:00 or so, which was my pattern most nights. In addition to my internal clock being off, I had a hard time sleeping through the early morning calls to worship, and the other unfamiliar sounds. Finally,when I grew too tired, I took a nighttime cold capsule to help me sleep (I think I did that on Tues. night) and that helped me.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

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