Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Facebook Updates Transcribed

Finally. What follows are all the updates I made to Facebook during our time in Ethiopia. The updates were made to Facebook out of necessity. It was pretty much the only site I could connect to consistently while there. The posts are short (they were limited back then to the number of characters, I don't think that's the case anymore with Facebook). I tried to keep the narrative flow intact when the posts were broken up for size. Enjoy!

March 27, 2010

We made it. Safe and sound in Addis Ababa. Exhaused, excited, overwhelmed, exhausted. But, we're finally here!

Been wanting to update the blog, the internet here is horribly slow and for some reason Blogger isn't allowing me to update it. We picked up Chloë. It was an adventure. She had become severely attached to all the other babies and all the caretakers. She bawled and bawled. We're back at the guest house and she's still bawling. She's afraid of me, but that just shows she has good taste. More later.

March 28, 2010

Chloë is asleep in a small crib next to me right now. Julee is down stairs going over paperwork for tomorrow's US Embassy appointment. Last night, we bathed Chloë (an adventure...apparently water temp is important), then I held her for the first time without her going apeshit. She was sleepy and fell asleep in my arms.

Everytime I tried to move her, she woke with a startle and cried. So, I slept for 4 hours last night on a not-so-comfortable armchair, Chloë asleep on my chest. Around 2 I was able to get her in her crib and went into bed. I slept more last night than I had the previous 3 nights combined (and I only slept 6 hours last night). She is attached to Julee. Very. She's still afraid of me, despite last night.

Ethiopia is a crowded, yet beautiful country. The people are insanely nice. Always smiling. I'm convinced we're in on one big joke. It's wonderful. The driving is unlike anything. No lanes, any part of the street is game. The horn is more used than any part of the car save the accelerator.

Chloë is teething, too, and that might also lend to her grumpiness (with the fear). She looks so peaceful sleeping right now. So beautiful. I think I'll go take a nap.

I tried to upload pictures, but this 14.4 baud internet connection takes too long for even one. Sorry. I promise to when we return. Now, off to lunch at a place called Red Beans. Better than the place called Bean Coli right next door.

Chloë just finished eating. She allowed me to change her after her nap and to feed her a bottle, but she quickly tired of that. Jules is now finishing the feeding. It'll take some time. I just have to remember she rarely saw men in her life, and never one so tall, so pale, and so devastatingly handsome. :)

We went out for lunch today at a place called "Rodeo". So awesome. It had western American themed decor, even a picture of Will Smith from "Wild Wild West". Food was good, Chloë not so great. She was hungry since she wouldn't eat at all the last day. She finally broke down. Now, she's sleeping. Peace for an hour, perhaps? Tomorrow: the Embassy!

The people in Ethiopia are wonderful; kind, generous, quick with a smile. Our "chauffeur" for lack of a better word, gave me a cellphone to use during our stay here, and refuses to allow me to carry my shopping bags. The gate guards are always smiling. People all over here are smiling. It's amazing. And yet, there is so much filth and poverty and sadness. I've never seen anything like this. It can shake one's ideas.

And how, when you're out with your new baby, in western clothes, obviously "well off", do you say no to a cute little boy who comes up to you with the saddest puppy dog eyes, his hand moving towards his mouth, begging for food? He literally could be starving. It's not easy. The Ethiopians are a beautiful people, and their children are as adorable as any in the world, which makes the whole thing just that much harder.

A breakthrough? During dinner, served here in the guest house (and quite good), one of the guest house workers asked to hold Chloë. She held her as she slept for a good 30 minutes. When we went to get her, she smiled. The smallest smile a child has ever given, but it was a smile. She went straight into mommy's arms. Then, I reached my arms out and she went for me as well, and without a grimace. Little victories.

It's not the rainy season here, that is in 6 months, but it's raining right now in a way I've never see before. Not sheets of rain, but full duvets, entire fabric stores of rain. Nearly the entire town is cover in tin roofing and the most beautiful white noise suffuses the room. It's surreal.

Tomorrow is the big US Embassy day where we apply for Chloë's US Visa. We're gonna go over our paperwork, make sure we know the answers to the questions they're gonna ask us, and then get a good night's sleep if the rain will allow. It keeps coming. The ferocity builds. Just when you thought it couldn't get any louder, it surprises you. It's beyond white noise. It's a rainbow cacophony in the key of tin and cement.

March 29, 2010

Embassy was great. All our documents were in order, a few trivial questions and Chloë's visa is approved. She has a green card (we'll have to "re-adopt" her once we're back in the states to make her an American citizen) and a passport and everything that's needed. We celebrated by having a nice lunch at a restaurant called Lime Tree. Very good.

There was a little bookstore in the restaurant and we bought some Amharic/English kids books and children's music CDs. Very happy find. Last night, we had a bit of a setback as I was the one who got up to change Chloë in the middle of the night, but I must've scared her and she screamed bloody murder. It was a sound I had never heard before. Shook me something fierce. But today; today was the best day yet.

4 hour power outage later and I'm back. The generator here at the guest house didn't kick on for some reason so we were out of luck. Luckily, it was sunny today. And, today, I was able to make Chloë smile. It was a glorious moment. A little smile mind you, followed by a burp or a giggle. A burple. Made the day.

Julee went back to the orphanage today, sans me and Chloë, to drop off "thank you" cards with a monetary gift. Standard procedure. She found out the orphanage is planning a big going away party for Chloë this Thursday. We are reluctant to bring her back to the orphanage--that site of such trauma--but it's the right thing to do. Hopefully, it turns out well.

Chloë must, at all times, be held. You can't sit with her, you can't set her down, you must stand. And move. She loves moving. She falls asleep in the van almost instantaneously. We put her in the stroller, she's fine. On a chair or the floor and she bawls. When Jules was gone, and after orajel for her teeth, food, a change of diaper, everything I could think of I decided to take her for a walk.

I walked her up and the down the 5 flights of stairs in the guest house. With Addis Ababa being so high in altitude, it wore me out. Then, a stroke of genius. The terrace on the topmost floor. I took her outside, saw a standing porch swing and sat down. I swung her for a few minutes and she was out. Now, how to get that swing on the plane for the trip back.

While up on the terrace two jackdaws landed on the railing not too far from us. One sidled up to the other and squawked, then beaked at the feathers of the first. They rested there for quite some time, checking Chloë and I out, squawking, sidling along the railing. Then, in synchrony, they flew away. It was quite a moment. Beautiful.

Tonight, a nice traditional dinner at "Habesha Cultural Restaurant" where we will get to sample authentic Ethiopian food. We're looking forward to it. Tomorrow, perhaps the National Museum and some shopping.

Physical updates: Chloë is small for her age. The 6-12 month clothes fit easily, some are a little too big. She sits up on her own, and can walk with assistance, though she doesn't like to. I'm sure a first step isn't too far away. She has the most beautiful mocha skin and the biggest brownest eyes you've ever seen. Her hair is sparse. And her skin is so soft it's impossible to not touch her.

March 31, 2010

And down goes Frazier! Sorry for the lack of updates recently, but I got hit with a mother of a case of food poisoning. It knocked me out of commission for a night and a day, but unlike Frazier, I've answered the bell for the 15th round. Lots of things happening here. We're having a good time, made some good friends and aside from the severe food poisoning things are going well.

The "Habesha Cultural Restaurant" we went to 2 nights ago, where I was feeling the beginnings of the pain that was to come, was amazing. Traditional Ethiopian food with a band playing and traditional dancing. We tried Ethiopian honey wine (t'ej) and a lamb dish that was out of this world.

That night, however, was the worse night yet with Chloë. It seems the only way we can get her to sleep is by holding her. And only in a specific way. Her caregivers doted on her--which is better than ignoring her--but that night it culminated in a late night session. She woke up twice (diapers and bottle) and it was nearly impossible to get her back to sleep and in her crib.

Last night we let her play herself into a stupor and she passed out. Then we gave her a bottle in the crib. Seemed to work. We're slowly figuring this parenthood thing out. It's certainly a challenge being given a 1yr old and told to run with it, but we're doing our best.

Today we went shopping for some knick-knacks and traditional clothes for Chloë. It was a trip watching Julee haggle the sellers down. I'm sure we still got ripped off, but it was nice. Picked up some great things for her room. Tonight we go back to her orphanage for a farewell ceremony they always do. Julee's a little nervous, but Chloë has bonded hard to her and there's nothing to worry about.

Yesterday we went to the farewell ceremony at the orphanage where the other 3 babies in our "party" came from. It was nice. A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. (I hate coffee and even I liked this. Phenomenal.) So, we kinda know what to expect tonight, but we've heard it will be longer as our orphanage likes to make them nearly 4 hours. Yikes.

The children we saw at these orphanages, the older ones in particular, are heartbreaking. They are so quick with a smile, so happy, yet are likely never to be adopted. One child, a beautiful young boy of 10 with a smile unlike any I've ever seen, had polio. I mean Polio? My god! Almost too much to take. We'll see some of the same later tonight.

The bonding to us both, particularly Julee, is amazing to have witnessed. From the traumatic exchange at the orphanage to now, a short 4 days later, she is fully bonded to Jules. And even me. She loves her "da" and loves to be thrown in the air and caught, loves to put on his sunglasses, and loves to be tickled. Lucky for her, I love to do all those things.

Tomorrow, a trip to volcanic lakes with some swimming and kayaking. Friday, some more shopping to pick up last minute gifts and mementos, then a long, long flight back home. The volcanic lakes, though, are supposed to be absolutely gorgeous. Looking forward to that excursion.

Gotta head off to the orphanage farewell ceremony. Hope it's shorter than 4 hours and doesn't revert Chloë back too far in her bonding with us. Plenty of tears to come, I'm sure. More later.

Back from the farewell ceremony. It's was beautiful. A little tense in the beginning as Chloë was passed around to all the nannies, and didn't want to come back to us, initially. But, it turned out well and the bonding we'd had with her had stuck. 4 days vs. 11 months, and we did right. Another coffee ceremony, some food (popcorn is really popular in their ceremonies) and some singing. Quite touching.

I should probably mention how we are all getting from our guest house (which I'll talk about later) and to our destinations. We have a dedicated driver, named Abraham, who takes us wherever we need to be (or want to be). He's a wonderful man, kind and proud of his country, and showing it off to us. He's the one who brought us to the Habesha Cultural Restaurant.

Abraham plays his Ethiopian jazz music in the van all the time, too, and it's quite good. Enjoyable. And he's one helluva driver, which is definitely a requirement in a country with poor roads (seriously, potholes the size of Volkswagens and no lanes) and no traffic lights. It's a trip to move through the city, buffalo-ing everyone and they doing the same to you.

The guesthouse we are staying at is called Yebsabi. It's off of Djibouti St. down a dirt (neigh, rock-strewn, littered) road. It's 5 stories with the 5th story being a patio overlooking the city. We are on the 3rd floor. The altitude here is higher than at Salt Lake, so it is getting difficult to us climbing those stairs all the time, lugging a 20lb baby.

Amid the squalor and heart-wrenching suffering we see along the streets of Addis Ababa, there are moments of equally heart-wrenching beauty: a little girl, who we can see from the guesthouse stairwell window, doing her math homework with chalk on the side of a rusted piece of tin roofing in her backyard; a single flower growing in the foot-trampled mud on the shoulder of the road.

But, the squalor is plenty. Refuse litter the side of roads everywhere, cover just about every inch not driven on or walked upon. A tent city exists in the parking strip between two streets. Homeless sleep anywhere, urinate wherever. We see children walking alone along the sides of highways, crawling along the sidewalks. It's so different than anything we've ever experienced or expected.

Chloë just now took a big juicy dump on the changing pad while Julee was changing her. Then peed on herself. Hilarious. Gross, obviously, but hilarious. Her turds had been nothing but liquid since we got her until recently. They've begun to firm up, to our delight. This one was soft serve at its finest. What a mess.

Every other car (and I'm not exaggerating) is a blue and white taxi car or van. They are everywhere. Small and old and certainly not fuel efficient. The noxious exhaust fumes from the traffic are ubiquitous. And the horn is the most used part of the car, not in anger, but in warning: I'm here, or I see you, or I'm coming get out of my way.

April 1, 2010

Another long night with Chloë. These nights of no sleep are starting to take their toll. The only issue we have with her right now is her sleeping. She eats well, has even begun to eat wet and dry cereals (although reluctantly), she plays, she's bonding with us both quite nicely. The sleep issue is the biggie. She fights it every step of the way, and it's nearly impossible to move her once she falls asleep.

Last night, she fell asleep on the floor. We tried to move her, she woke. She fell asleep again. So, Jules took her pillow and a blanket and slept on the floor in the living room. Not ideal. Chloë slept 6 hours before waking up for a bottle; a record. She woke up again for a second bottle. Julee slept very little. I watched Chloë this morning as Jules slept 4 hours. Now, Chloë is fighting sleep again.

We have to be careful of not only what we eat, but also drink. No water, unless it's bottled and sealed (sealed cap and shrink wrapped). We have to brush our teeth with bottled water, be careful during showers to not get any water in our mouths. I was lucky I only had severe food poisoning. It could've been a parasite, or a bacterial infection or dysentery.

Though the Yebsabi House is nice, probably lavish compared to what most in Addis Ababa have for living quarters, there are still some annoyances. It is near an all night bar or club of some sort. Dance music plays all night long. Literally, all night. It is also right next to, like 10 feet, a bunch of tin-roof houses and there are feral dogs and cats who bark and fight and meow all night long as well.

April 2, 2010

Been having internet issues since yesterday afternoon. Updates: we got to record Chloë's second successful attempt at walking. 3 steps! She's eating wet and dry cereals like a champ, and last night was still pretty bad sleeping-wise, but not a total nightmare. Our flight leaves in 8 hours. We'll see what awaits.

Went to a few more markets today to pick up last minute dresses and gifts. Picked up 10 Kilos of Ethiopian coffee...only 720 birr (55 dollars)! Bought some nice wall hangings for Chloë's room and some traditional outfits for her. The markets are amazing. It's still wild to be able to haggle a price, then walk out and almost get trampled by a herd of goats being shepherded through the market.

We're a little sad to see our adventure here in Ethiopia come to a close. But, we're eager to get the rest of our life started again back in Utah. Our lives the last year have been on perpetual PAUSE. It'll be nice to get back, and press that PLAY button again. And to take a shower, and sleep in our bed, of course.

We found out that not only does Chloë love to be thrown into the air, and to be swung backwards until upside down, but she loves to put things on her head. She finds it hilarious. The best, to her, is when I put my hat on her head. She loves that. Pictures to come later.

April 3, 2010

Made it safe, if not tired, to DC. Chloë took to flying like a natural, fussing fewer times than her daddy. She slept 11 of the 17 hrs. 7 hr layover now, then to Denver, then SLC. Let's hope Chloë keeps it up.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Family Picture

Sorry about the lack of updates. I've intentions to consolidate my Facebook posts into one long blog post. I'll edit them, add to them, etc.

Until then, here's our first family picture:

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I am having a hard time updating this blog here. I have to update via email and that's just not working well for me. So, keep a lookout on Facebook for updates. I think most of you are friends and should be able to see the updates.
I can't upload pictures (files too big and the connection times out), sorry. I promise picture and video will go up as soon as possible when we make it back home.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Eagle has landed

I don't actually know if the Ethiopian Airlines 767 we took from DC to Addis Ababa is called the Eagle; in fact, I'm pretty sure it's probably not, but the point is that, like the Apollo 11 Eagle, we've landed safely. The suite we are staying at is very nice. A bedroom, living room, kitchen, bath (with really hot shower, yay!) and plenty of room for us to be comfortable. And all for a very reasonable rate. We're just about to leave to go pick up our precious little Chloë and things couldn't be better.

We also received word first thing when we arrived that all the paperwork snafu from last week has been rectified and everything is a go. There should be no problem at all on Monday's Embassy date.

We're exhausted, as you could imagine. First, get Chloë, then out to exchange our USD into Ethiopian Birr, then back to the guest house to get situated, then sleep (if Chloë will let us). Perhaps dinner in there somewhere.

Keep checking here for updates, pictures and possibly video during out stay.

That's all for know. We've something very important to do soon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

30 hours and counting

Boy, do things move fast, or what? Wow.
We got both our senators on the issue we spoke about yesterday, and it paid off. They were able to get the addendum expedited (our request for expedition was initially rejected) and we picked it up today and FedEx'd it overnight for delivery in the National Visa Center tomorrow morning. Everything should be fine from here on out. Worst case scenario (or so we were told last night by the executive director/founder of our adoption agency) is that we might have to have a second trip to the embassy on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, not a big deal. And, now, that's likely not needed. Let's give a big "WHOOP WHOOP" for senators acting on the behalf of their constituents. Thank you Senators Hatch and Bennett! :)

Tonight we pack, double-check our lists, have a few celebratory drinks (which will also help calm our nerves and maybe allow a few hours of sleep), and check our lists one last time.
We received our in-country itinerary today. Every day has a travel excursion we can participate in (i.e. to museums, or to the government center, or to the largest open-air market in all of Africa), and dinner at traditional restaurants. We're travelling with 2 other families, who will be staying in the guest house as well.

We've been told the guest house has wireless internet, but we're a little skeptical of that. They also mentioned that there was a computer in the lobby for our use. Either way, keep your eyes on this blog as we intend to post at least one update from Addis Ababa. When we return, we'll change this to a "Living with Chloë" blog and will post our likely-to-be-nearly-infinite number of pictures, and probably some video.

Now is the time where we'd like to extend a big thank you (complete with hugs and kisses) to all of you for your continued support. Often it was a little comment, or an ear you let us bend, or a kind email. Even by reading these updates, you've connected with us and we appreciate it. It's been one helluva journey. 11 months from start to finish. Lots of late nights. Even more tears. Some yelling, our fair share of fear and frustration, lots of hope and anxiety. You've shared it all with us, and we thank you.

We know it will be worth it in the end, and we hope you stop by every now and again to check up on us and Chloë.

We love you,

Justin and Julee

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

57 hours

We're just under two and a half days out.

You'd think the drama would be over, but not with this adoption. It's gonna go all the way until zero hour. Our adoption agency has seen to that.

On Monday, our US Embassy appointment in Addis Ababa for Monday the 29th was confirmed. We're set there, a big relief. But, last week we were told we needed to fill out an addendum to our immigration adoption paperwork (allowing us to bring an orphan into the US) saying that we're okay with adopting a 1 year old since we initially requested a baby under 6 months. This was something we were unaware was needed (and are still unsure why it's needed. We requested under 6 months, but didn't say anything about rejecting over 6 months...plus we were matched with Chloë back when she was only a month old). It certainly could've (correction: should've) been filled out anytime in the prior 6 months (hell, we officially accepted her when she was 7 months old, that seems like a perfect time to file such an addendum). But, we weren't informed of it until last week. Someone screwed the pooch. You'd think our files would be reviewed more often, or further out from travelling than a week.

The addendum needed to go to the Salt Lake immigration field office. It was overnight Friday and got there yesterday. It was requested to be expedited, but even that doesn't seem to be fast enough as things haven't progressed at all in a day, and now our adoption agency has contacted one of our senators for help.

We won't know if he'll be able to assist us in any meaningful way until this afternoon at the earliest, and likely not until tomorrow. I suppose we can only prepare as if we're flying out in two days and hope everything can get squared away between now and than. There's a pretty good possibility we'll be travelling to Ethiopia before anything gets resolved, and perhaps even land in Ethiopia before we'll know for sure if we're good to go. Julee's mom arrives tonight (she's staying with our dog so he won't have to be kenneled since he's so old now) and we're hoping it wasn't for naught.

The last time we were overjoyed about this thing was back in May when we were matched with her. It's been nothing but a nightmare since. Seems we still can't catch a break.

My guess is we get on that plane in two days. And will not really know if things are good to go until we land in Ethiopia. We can only hope that everything gets worked out and we're able to proceed, and not told to fly back home. That would be really bad.

Keep your eyes peeled on Saturday for any kind of international incident occurring in Addis Ababa. If you hear of something to do with an American couple misbehaving at the Addis Ababa airport that might just be us being told we need to fly back home.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The last weekend

Some might be tempted to do as much as possible for their last childless weekend, and that's certainly a valid option. But, we've decided to do as little as possible, instead. Our thoughts are that we'll have the rest of our lives to do the things we like to do, and will eventually be able to even bring Chloë with us for most of that, but we won't have many weekends where we will be able to do nothing at all. And those truly are the best weekends, aren't they? Sleeping in, parking your butt on the couch and watching whatever ridiculousness is on HGTV or Food Network or TBS, and enjoying every wasted minute of it. Weekends of nothing, we will miss you.

T minus 106 hours.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Single Digits?

Is it possible? Can it really be?

Yes, we are 9 days out. We leave Thursday evening. So, really we can't count Thursday. And the weekend doesn't count. So, it's really 6 days. Scary.

Of course, there has to be drama. We're scrambling to get last minute things (that we didn't know we needed to have, but which the new liaison in our adoption agency (oh, didn't we tell you that the one we had got fired last week? Of course!) says we should have to avoid any trouble...why didn't she tell us this 8 months ago?). Anyway, I'm trying to get a letter from my work saying I'm employed there still, which sounds easy but isn't when work for a huge pharmaceutical company and the home office is in California, etc. etc. Lots of paperwork to fill out. Plenty of worrying to do.

But, it's single digits. My stomach just cramped. I'm gonna go throw up now.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Milestone

We are now closer to having Chloë in our arms than we ever have been. Two weeks ago today we found out that our US Embassy date was incorrect and had been moved back 2 weeks. With that drama over, we are now, today, right now, closer to getting her than at any time before.
Each moment we are closer.

Even closer now.

And closer yet now.

And now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

T-minus 14 days

Adoptions--especially international adoptions--are like navigating a mine field (one you have to pay for the privilege of traversing, no less). Some adoptions are such that not a single step lands on a mine and everything goes smoothly. These are rare. Others start out with an explosion from the very first step, then bombers start circling overhead, dropping their payload. Next, mortars from places unseen begin landing. It's a perilous journey. Some, and these are the true horror stories, have been nuked along the way; everything lost. Most adoptions fall somewhere in between, a few missteps, but generally mostly fluid.

Our adoption has been more of the what-else-can-go-wrong variety. Each step is difficult. More often than not we've landed on a mine. The mortars are bursting around us, sending blooms of dirt into the air, and we are vigilantly searching the skies for the Enola Gay. We've even had glimpses of her chugging over the horizon on occasion.

If it can happen, no matter how rare, it's happened to us. Yesterday, we dodged a bullet. The Ethiopian government has decided that they are going to require both parents to be present at the court date (instead of a liaison from the orphanage), which means parents will now need to travel twice. This new requirement is effective immediately. We missed this decree by one month. Phew. We feel so bad for those prospective parents who've been affected by this. I can't imagine another $4000 in costs just for flying out there. Plus time off work.

This new requirement is an attempt by the Ethiopian government to stop (or at least slow down) the number of parents who pass adoption court only to never come to pick up their children. I have no idea why people don't pick up their children, especially since the vast majority of the money has already been paid, but it happens, apparently, and often.

Today, we also received copies of the court decree declaring us legal parents of Chloë, as well as Chloë's passport and the contract between us and Ethiopia. The hard copies will come soon. This is all the documentation we've been waiting for. Everything is looking up.

We find out March 22nd if in fact we are 100% confirmed for our embassy date on the 29th. If so, and there should (SHOULD!) be very little reason why we aren't, then we fly out the 25th and finally get the beginning of the end on its way. We'll be keeping our eyes to the sky until the 22nd.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Birth Cerftificate

We received a scan of Chloë's birth certificate by email today. We should receive the original in the mail sometime soon.
It turns out Chloë's birthday is actually April 6 and not April 7 as we were originally told. Not a big deal except this makes her one day older than we thought.
Also means she'll be visiting the doctor on her birthday. We arrive back home on the night of the 3rd, so we'll have two days back before it's her birthday. That week back will be crazy.

It's nice to finally have the birth certificate with Julee and I named as the parents. A little chilling, even. In 2 1/2 short weeks we'll have her. Finally.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Child-Proofed House

We hadn't gotten around to it during the long hold, but we finally child-proofed the house today. Cabinets and drawers secured, which is a serious pain in the ass (to both install and have to live with), electrical outlets plugged, furniture corners bumpered.

We lowered the crib today, too. When we first assembled it, we assumed we would be bringing home an infant (which we would have had all this drama not occurred). Now, she's a toddler and the mattress needed to be lowered.

Not so bad. It's nice to get into doing these things again. We assembled the crib last June. Seems like forever ago.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

February Update

Let's hope this is the last update we receive, but the February update (with two new pictures) just came in. It is the tenth such update we've received from them. Hard to believe it was ten months ago when we got matched with a beautiful, little month-old baby girl.

A little piece of sad news is that Chloë now has four teeth (two upper, two lower). We kinda wanted to be there when her teeth came in. There'll be others, I know, but the first is always the best. Oh well.

She sleeps through the night, eats well, and is crawling. She's looking so old now, too. She's a 4 month old in our minds, since those were the pictures we looked at the most. She'll be one week shy of her first birthday when we pick her up, three weeks from now. We're hoping we no longer have to rewind the countdown clock. T-minus 21 days. One more time.


Friday, February 26, 2010

And the saga continues

It was two weeks from yesterday we were to fly out. Well, scrap that.

Because things have worked so smoothly from day one, we were due for just a little bump in the road, right?
Well, to add insult to injury, our embassy date was moved back 2 weeks to March 29th. We have no idea why. Not one. Of course, they tell us this less than 2 weeks before we fly out (we just found out). We will now fly out March 25th. I guess they figure if we're willing to wait 10 months, they'll be willing to wait another 2 weeks. The good news is we've been told this is final. It will not change again. YEAH RIGHT! Anyone willing to put even money bets on that one?

They also admonished that this is why we must make sure our plans are flexible. Yeah right. Because THAT'S possible. Yes, we've purchased refundable airline tickets, but refundable tickets still come with a hefty cancellation price. And that is just something we're going to have to absorb. Also, there's arranging things with work (FMLA for Jules, etc.) and the flights of others who are coming to visit. Sometimes, people just need to know when things are, and need time before they change. I suppose next time, we'll wait until the day we fly out to purchase our tickets and just hope nothing changes in the 2 days it takes to get to Ethiopia.

So many plans to change. So much more work to do.
At least we have two more weeks now to get it all done!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

3 Weeks

21 days from today we fly out. It's almost unbelievable.

To say we're excited it to put it mildly.

I got my third and final Hepatitis B vaccination today. Also picked up prescriptions for all sorts of stuff (just in case): a cream for scabies in Chloe has that, antibiotics for Julee and I, antibiotics for Chloe, and those pills that make flying just a little bit less terrifying (for me).

The amount of crap we have to bring just in case is boggling. Nix for lice, just in case. Pedialyte, just in case. The above antibiotics, and the scabies cream, decongestants, Benadryl, cold medicines, all just in case. We'll be a traveling pharmacy for crying out loud.

Anyway, just 3 weeks left. And weekends don't count right?
It's practically nothing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Latest update

We received Chloe's latest height and weight measurements. As of February 2, 2010, Chloe is 27.6 inches long and 20.7 pounds. She's not yet teething but has begun imitating sounds and babbles.

T minus 24 days.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tickets, and two new photos

We've purchased our plane tickets!
This all seems to final, now. Much more final than we thought it would ever be. It's both nice and scary. Calming and exhilarating. Strange.

I knew Ethiopia was far away from Salt Lake, what with it being 9 hours ahead of us and all, but does it really take THAT long to fly there? Layover in LA, then DC, then Rome, then final leg to Addis Ababa, for a total of about 36 hours travel time. Yikes. The way back is similar (except from DC to Atlanta and then back home) but with the extended layover in DC (for customs) it balloons to a 41 hour travel time. Nearly 2 full days. With a toddler. Who we just picked up. Talk about an adventure.

We just received new photos of Chloe taken last week. She's looking older. It's a little sad. Already sitting up. Hopefully she won't take her first step until we get her. Seems we'll be needing to get her a prom dress before too long.

Anyway, enjoy:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


It's been a long 9 months. Long.
But, the hurdles have all been cleared and all the remains is a short sprint to the finish line.

In short, Chloe passed court today. We are now officially parents. It's surreal. It's exciting and wonderful and scary (a little) and we are so very happy.

Last night wasn't too bad. We stayed up as long as we could, then slept pretty soundly. We received an email this morning informing us that the court in Ethiopia ruled in our favor.

Next, we have an embassy date for March 15, where we will apply for a visa for Little Miss C. We will likely fly out of Utah on the 12th. We'll fly back home on the 19th.

Then, we can commence with the rest of our lives.

We don't know how many people read this blog. But, we do appreciate all of your support. It's been an arduous, and sometimes painful, 12 months, especially the last 9. There were times we didn't think this would happen. Times we were certain it wouldn't. Now that it has, we're unsure what to do with ourselves. For now, we're content just being happy and enjoying time with each other without stress and the specter of "the adoption" (dunh dunh dunh) hanging over our heads.

Thank you, all of you, for taking this journey with us.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Three Days

We're cautiously optimistic that we'll pass court on the 2nd. Is this foolish? Perhaps, considering the way things have gone the last 10 months, but what else can we do? Anything else would just drive us crazy. As it stands, we're anxious and concerned. (Anyone want to put any money on how much--and by much, I mean little--sleep I get on Monday?)

Three days. We've been waiting for so long now, it seems almost comical to be worrying about three days.

We're hopeful.

We'll put up a post on Tuesday either way.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Some Clarification

We finally found out why we didn't pass court back on the 18th.
And it just further proves the point that these adoptions are fickle (and that being a Barrett is often unfortunate).

It turns out that the family courts in Ethiopia have changed their rules--as courts are wont to do--but neglected to inform anyone of this change. This change required that a certain, specific document that the orphanages keep on premises be presented during their hearing. Since this document was never needed before (including just the week prior) our orphanage didn't bring the document--why would they? Our proxy pleaded for us to be allowed to pass since it would've been fine just last week. The judge said no (compassion and law rarely mix). Ergo, February 2nd.

But, the good news is this paper is all that is needed. Everything else was in order. The mother showed up and gave her testimony (which we worried some about). We should be good to go come the 2nd--fingers crossed.

Of course this happened to us. Nothing tragic, just more annoyance.

We've also heard a rumor that the courts are contemplating requiring the parents to be present during the court date, which would mean two trips for adopting parents, or one very long extended trip. We've dodged this bullet, at least.

Still no December update. We aren't receiving one, I suppose. If we do, we'll post the pictures.

Monday, January 18, 2010

And the saga continues

You had to know that it wouldn't be that easy, right? It wouldn't be as easy as just scheduling a court date, and everything being in order, and us passing just like that, right?

Well, that's exactly the case. We did not pass court. I get a sense this happens all the time. I get a sense that all initial court dates fail, just on principle. Unfortunately for us, our court date has been rescheduled for 2 weeks. February 2nd. I don't know if this is typical, but it's what we were given. So, we now have two more weeks to wait.

I don't do well with anticipation and anxiousness. I slept just under 2 hours last night. I suppose the same will be true of February 1st. Good to know that I stayed up all night for nothing.

We haven't been given much information on why we didn't pass. Something about documents or whatever. Who knows. If, in fact, all initial court dates are failed, then there isn't any reason necessary. I do know a letter from the Ministry of Womens Affairs (MOWA) is required, and these letters are often not written by the time the court convenes (which really makes no sense, but two separate gov't agencies communicating effectively will never happen), so it's possible this is what the holdup was.

2 more weeks. In geologic time, it's nothing. To us, it'll be a near eternity!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 18

Five days. That's all we have left. Five days.

Our court date is set for January 18, and we're coming down the home stretch. It seems unreal, almost, like we're just waiting for some bad news to come down the pike; to have the rug pulled out from underneath us just one more time.

We've been freaking out a little, too, as we're getting close to the one year anniversary for some of our documents (most of which are only good for a year), and we're convinced they'll find something wrong at the court date (or the mother won't show...but don't get us started on that) and we'll have to start all over with the paperwork. So, we're trying to stay calm and positive.

Five days. We can do five days. It's been eight months since we were matched with Little Miss Chloe. Five days is nothing.

We just have to remember to exhale every now and again.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The last two pictures

Well, we've caught ourselves up to the present time. There are only two more pictures left, from November's update (though the pictures were taken the first week of December). We have yet to received the December update on Chloe, so the two pictures below are the most recent. This is how she looked a little over a month ago.

As you can see, she looks quite a bit older. I'm not gonna lie, it was tough to see. She's a toddler already!


Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Is 2010 the year? It's looking as if it will be, though we did say 2009 would be the year just this time last year. :)

Happy New Year to everyone out there. Please be safe and imbibe responsibly.

For your new year viewing pleasure, three pictures from October:

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Well, here it is, the long-awaited 1 minute video of Chloe. Notice the adorable dimple. I know I keep mentioning it, but my god man it's so cute.

Watch for the laugh at the end.
Don't you just wanna hold her and squeeze her and love her? We can't wait for February to get here!

Thanks to Matt Larsen for taking this video. :)

More pictures soon.