Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Embassy Appointment - Done!

Well our first night was a success.  Matthew slept all night and woke up happy.  Yes we have another child who is a morning person (for those of you that know me know how funny this is as I am definitely not a morning person).  He is such a happy little boy, really only fussy anad cranky when it is time to eat, and I am pretty sure he would eat anything you give him!  He does not like to go to sleep either, when he is tired he will fight it to the end.  He is so nosy he doesn't want to miss anything.  

This morning we had our Embassy appointment. This was pretty simple and straightforward.  There was a lot of waiting, which all the kids in our group did great while we waited.  Matthew seems to only want to be held, and mostly by me.  I joked about having to hit the gym before we brought him home, I should have taken that joke seriously!  I may lose 10 pounds this trip just holding him.

After the Embassy appointment we went back to the Transition home for a farewell coffee ceremony. This is so fun to experience and I am glad we got to this time.  Here are some pictures of what the coffee ceremony looks like.

The coffee beans are roasted right in front of you and the coffee is made over a small fire.  It tastes so good.  Along with the coffee they serve popcorn.  While we were there we got to say goodbye to the nannies that have taken such great care of Matthew.  These women are truly amazing.  They truly love and care for these kids, which is evident in the way the children light up when they talk with them.  This is one of the hardest parts of this process, leaving the Transition home the final day.  You know that you will most likely not see these nannies again but know they hold a very special part of my heart.  They will always remember each of these children, which was proven when we brought Daniel back last trip.  You can see the love in some of these pictures:

After the party we went to Amsterdam for lunch.  This was a favorite last time, great food in a open out door restaurant.  Next up was shopping.  We went to a new place this time to shop, it was nice that there wasn't a ton of people and no street kids surrounding you as you tried to look.  The strangest thing was there were 3 men in 3 different parts of the store laying on mats sleeping.  We didn't see them until we almost stepped on them.  We were told they were in a season of fasting so they were sleeping.  It was interesting to say the least!

When we came back we were all beat and decided it best to take naps.  We almost slept through dinner.  With all the running around we did today Matthew did great.  We found out that he is extremely ticklish on his hip bones and has a great belly laugh.  He loves music and loves to dance, does well in car rides and can sleep just about anywhere (but not without a fight). He also loves bread and pasta just like Daniel.  

Tomorrow we have a free day and we are going to go to Kaldi's (Starbucks of Ethiopia).  Since I am a complete Starbucks addict I can't wait!  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Together Forever!

We are here!  We made it safely to Ethiopia.  It was definitely an interesting trip with the strangest breakfast experience and a plane ride that we thought would never end. Daniel did great when he dropped us off at the airport, I was worried he would completely meltdown but he is having his own adventure this week.  I can't thank everyone enough who is helping keep him busy.  It is truly a blessing to not have to worry how he is doing while we are over here adjusting with Matthew.  

When we got to Dulles airport, we decided to try and have a nice breakfast since the next 24 hours would be the plane food that is not the greatest.  So Carrabba's was open, we decided to give it a try.  We sat down and they gave us a menu with about 6 things on it for breakfast.  Mark orders a coffee and a Veggie Frittata (remember there are only 6 items on the menu and it was early) and the waitress says "I don't know if we have that".  So she goes and asks the chef, comes back and we are good they have them.  I order a latte and breakfast plate.  She says "do you want ice?"  I said no and didn't think anything of it since you can order iced lattes everywhere.  She brings our drinks out and hands me a water with no ice.  I look at Mark and was like that is odd, well maybe they are still making the latte.  She comes back and Mark says my wife wanted a latte also (I never ordered a water). The waitress laughs and says oh I am sorry and the latte machine is broken.  OK fine I will get one after.  The strangest part was after they brought our food and we ate the waitress takes our cups (no refills) and plates away and walks away.  We think she is going to get the check and she sits down at another table with a cup of coffee and just sat there! They just opened so it wasn't break time and there wasn't many other people in the restaurant.  It took a good 15 minutes for her to come back and give us the check.  Needless to say we won't be eating at Carrabbas in Dulles airport anytime soon.

The plane ride was so long this time.  We had seats in one of the front rows of our section which was nice, no one leaning their seats back into our laps and lots of leg room.  Bad part, there was a family that was a mom and 5 kids ranging in age from about 14 to 3 sitting behind us.  The mom I am pretty sure went to sleep and her kids were just running around the plane everywhere, the little girl Mark is pretty sure had at least 2 2liters of Fanta every time you turned around she was coming out of the stewardess prep area with another glass of pop.  And they kicked my seat the entire time.  We were happy to arrive in Ethiopia, made it through the mad house of the VISA line and went to get out bags.  2 of them came out pretty quickly, then we were like where is our last bag.  The other 2 families with us had all there stuff and we were still waiting.  Mark decided to go and look around at the bags people had pulled off the conveyor and someone else had taken our bag off.  So good thing is we had all 3 bags!

When we got to the guest house we only had about an hour to settle in and change and it was time to go and get Matthew.  The day I have waited 4 long years for, he was finally going to be in our arms and we wouldn't have to let him go.  We went into his room at the TH and he was in another room getting changed.  When they set him down on the floor and I held out my arms he smiled and crawled right over.  He let me hold him for awhile and then reached for Daddy.  As soon as Mark held him and hugged him he fell asleep in his lap.

When it was time to leave we said goodbye to the nannies and Matthew only started to cry a little bit.  As soon as we got into the van he was so curious and calm, just sitting there looking out the window taking in all the cars and sights on the road.  First we went to lunch at Makush, the art gallery.  It was so good.  We sat down and Matthew just sat on my lap, he slept through most of the lunch.

When he did wake up he grabbed the spoon and started banging it on the table with a big smile on his face and singing.  Looks like we may have another drummer on our hands.

After lunch we went back to the Guest House.  First thing up eating lunch for Matthew, he loved the chicken and rice baby food.  Although, I don't think there is much this kid won't eat.  Then it was bath time.  He did not like the bath and would not sit down.  Mark had to hold him standing up in the bathtub while I have him a bath.  Hopefully this gets better! After bath time we played a little bit and then all laid down for much needed nap.  

Matthew is so good, he loves to play and cuddle.  His favorite toy right now seems to be the mini soccer ball.  But of course at this stage everything is going right to his mouth.  He does have a cold, all the kids at the TH were sick with flu and runny noses.  

Around 8:00 he was sitting on my lap skyping back home and just fell asleep.  He woke up when we tried to lay him down long enough for a bottle and then went right back to sleep.  He so far has slept through the night.  It is about 4:30 am here right now and I am the only one awake.  

Matthew seems to have started attaching very well.  He is always looking to make sure we are right there with him.  He reminds me a lot of Daniel when we first got him.  

The best part of the night was when we skyped Daniel back home.  Matthew was trying to go through the computer to get to him.  He loves his big brother.  Every time we show him a picture of Daniel he starts giggling.  I can't wait to see the 2 of them together!

Tomorrow is our Embassy appointment and then a farewell party at the Transition Home.  2 more days and we will all be boarding that plane together to come home and start our life as a family of 4.  We can't wait to have all 4 of us back together again.  God is so good and he has perfectly put together our little family.

Here are some more pictures from today:

Daniel we love you and we miss you.  See you in a few days.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Cleared Embassy

We received the email today that we have cleared the Embassy!  That means Matthew is coming home. Our embassy appointment is Monday July 13th and we should be home with him by Thursday. We have waited so long and he is finally coming home.  We are almost ready I think. I don't think I will sleep until we have him in our arms on Sunday.  Time to get packing again.  So ready to start our new normal as a family of 4.

Matthew here we come!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Traditioinal Dinner and Dancing

Tonight we went to Habasha 2000 - a traditional Ethiopian Restaurant with music and dancing.  When we adopted Daniel it was one of my favorite moments.  The food is so good and the music and dancing is so fun.  It is a night of community with the other families in the group.  I couldn't tell you all the names of the food from the picture.  Some of it is spicy and some mild.  The beef was excellend as was the doro wat.  The food is put in the middle of everyone and you use the Injera to scoop up the other items, no silverware.

Here is what Daniel thought of the experience:
"I liked the food but it was hot and spicy. I liked the injera. I liked the music especially the person playing the drums and the flute. I liked when daddy danced."

Mark finally got to try the raw meat. Even though it is raw it is very seasoned. He said it was really good, he had to get up and move because he would have eaten more than he should have!  

The music and dancing is so beautiful.  Each dance tells a story and means a different thing.  At one point they go out and pick people out of the crowd to dance with them.  Mark was one of the lucky ones in our group, they tried to get Daniel to dance but he would not (it was way past bedtime and he was done). Here is the video of Mark dancing:


Tonight was a great way to celebrate Matthew being part of our family forever! Here are some more pictures of the evening:

Coffee Tour

After court today we all went to Robera's and took a coffee tour.  Mark and I had done this tour 5 years ago when we picked Daniel up.  It was fun to go back and see how things have changed and evolved.  This time we heard from the owners son, who the coffee house is named after, Robera.  It was fun to listen to his dreams to not only grow the coffee business but also help support his workers. Daniel seemed to take it all in as he was talking.  He will randomly mention some kind of fact about the coffee.  This is Daniel with Robera after the tour:

They have a system that no part of the coffee bean goes to waste.  It is so fascinating and they make great coffee (we may have bought about 30 pounds to bring home).  They roast all the beans on this one machine.

Here are a few more pictures from the tour.  We can't wait to stock up on some more when we return to bring Matthew home.

Introducing Matthew Tesfahun Heddleson

It’s official he is ours!  Meet Matthew Tesfahun Heddleson.

 We had our court date today (and of course Daniel chose today to have his meltdowns). It is always nerve racking when you go to a different country and have to go before a judge!  It was pretty simple though, we got called into a small room, he asked us a series of questions, the best being “Do you like him” (who would say NO) and asked Daniel if he was happy about the adoption, to which Daniel replied “I am happy” and that was all he said.  We were nervous about what would come out of his mouth since he was in quite a mood today.  Then the judge asked if we knew it was final and said ok I will finish the paperwork and it was done.  Really kind of anticlimactic but it is over and he is officially ours. 

After court we went on the coffee tour and bought all of our coffee to take home. 
Then we had lunch at the Amsterdam restaurant and went shopping.  Shopping always puts my anxiety on edge, I don’t like to barter and I don’t like the people coming up to sell me other things.  As soon as you get there you are attacked by people wanting to sell you things.  We got the boys both matching soccer jerseys and traditional shirts. 

Then we got a great surprise, we got to go to the transition home for about ½ hour.  Daniel was so excited because he was really sad we would not see Matthew today or tomorrow.  He ran right in to get him and as soon as Matthew saw Daniel he got the biggest smile on his face.  Daniel had a hard time leaving him today.  Please pray with us that Daniel will do ok when we leave on Thursday to come home.  He will understand but he keeps saying “I miss Matthew”. 

Tonight is the night we go for traditional dinner with all the music and dancing.   I am so interested to see what Daniel thinks about all of that.  We can’t wait for the food it is so good. Hopefully Daniel will eat some and Mark won’t try to much raw meat.   I will update you more tomorrow on tonights adventures and our trip to the Gorge.  In the mean time enjoy some more pictures of Matthew.


Ethiopia Day 2

We spent all day today with Matthew.  He started reaching out for Mark and I and we got a lot of smiles.  He is so happy, calm and laid back.  He eats non-stop, I think we feed him at least 4 times in the few hours we were there.  We met with the doctor also, they have no concerns and he is healthy.  They did reveal that he loves his bottles.  When he is finished with his he will reach over and take the child’s bottle beside him.  He loves to watch people playing ball, any kind. 

It is so hard to leave him there when it is time to go.  I took him in to his nannies when it was time to leave for lunch and he clung to me.  While that is a good sign, it completely broke my heart.  So the rest of the trip Mark will have to take him back.  The nannies are still loving on Daniel and the ladies in the medical office remembered him also.  He is doing so great with just letting them hug and kiss him and not complaining.  He just stands there and smiles.

Here are Daniels thoughts on today (he’s a man of few words today):
Matthew was happier today.  He really liked the cars and his surprise from Kiesha, the little blankie.

Tomorrow we go to court.  Please pray with us because after this day Matthew will officially be a Heddleson.  We can then share pictures. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Meetcha Day - Matthew

Today was a very long day!  We arrived in Ethiopia at 7:30. By the time we got out of the airport (was pretty sure for about 45 minutes they lost one of our bags) and to the Guest House it was 9:30.  Our guide asked if we wanted to go to church, which was one of our favorite moments of coming to get Daniel in 2010, but we opted to settle in, take showers and put Daniel down for a much needed nap.  Unfortunately, after I took a shower I fell asleep and woke up at 11:55 which they were coming to get us for lunch at 12, so we hurried to pack our bag for today and get ready.  We meet up with 4 other families and had lunch (really good hamburgers) before heading to meet Matthew. We were the only family who wasn’t here yesterday so we were the only ones who still had to meet our child. 

They brought him down those steps and all the exhaustion of 2 days of travelling and not sleeping since Thursday night melted away.  He is sooooo cute and big.  He is adorable even more so than his pictures.  He is so even tempered and didn’t cry at all.  It did take awhile to get a smile out of him though.  Good news too, he liked the cars Daniel brought for him (Daniel was worried what we would do if he didn’t like cars) and he loves any kind of ball.  He looks like he would make a good football player!  He is a nosy rosy and kept looking everywhere and anywhere there was some action happening, even when he was trying to eat.  Matthew loves Daniel, he would smile and laugh when he saw him and when Daniel wasn’t near Matthew kept looking around trying to find him, Daniel thinks it is cute now we will see in 5 years or so! I can't wait to share pictures we got so many cute ones of the boys but I can't share until we pass court on Tuesday (praying we will pass so I can share).

Here are Daniels thoughts on meeting Matthew (word for word no editing):

It was fun and cool. I liked that I got to see my brother and that I liked when I got to see my brother play with my cars.  I was excited to meet my baby brother.  It felt good to go back to the Transition home where I stayed before my mom and dad came and got me.  I was surprised that Matthew got a lot bigger. I was happy to see Matthew.  I am sad that Matthew didn’t get to leave with us today. I am excited I get to see him tomorrow though. 

One cool thing about today was Daniel got to go back to the Transition Home where he spent the first year of his life.  So many of the nannies remembered him and he even got this picture taken with the nanny he bonded to 5 years ago.  

She recognized him instantly.  They were all so excited to see him and he ate all the attention up.  Our driver even remembers driving us around when were were here for Daniel.  It is cool for him to realize where he came from.  On our way in from the airport I asked him what he thought about Ethiopia he said “What this is my country”.  I am so glad he got to come and experience it for himself and be involved in this process.  He loved playing at the Transition home with the other boys, playing soccer and football and jumping rope.  It is definitely an eye opening experience for Daniel and one that hopefully will stay with him forever. 

Tonight we ordered dinner in and are going to watch a movie and hit the bed early!  We are all so exhausted Mark fell asleep eating lunch!  Tomorrow we spend more time at the Transition home bright and early which I can’t wait for, I couldn’t even take Matthew back to the nannies Mark had to.  It was so hard to leave him but helpful to know the same nannies who took care of Daniel are the ones that are there with Matthew.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Passport is Here

Daniels passport was delivered today!  Praise God, Daniel can go to Ethiopia with us. Daniel is so excited he is telling everyone.  We are so excited to meet Matthew as an entire family and for Daniel to see the country he is from.  What a lesson in prayer for this little 6 year old.  Praying relentlessly and God answered his prayers.  Thank you God!  Now on to finishing packing, I had already been packing like Daniel was going with us all along. Donation bags are packed, carry on bags are packed, now on to packing clothes.  Ethiopia here we come!

Please pray for safe and calm travels (especially with a 6 year old on a 13 hour flight).

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Prayer by Daniel

In Sunday school today Daniel wrote this prayer:

Be still my heart!  Please pray for his passport.  I can't even imagine what he will go through if we don't get to take him with us.  We went to the cross outside at church today just him and I to pray for God to help us get his passport and to help keep Matthew safe.   Here was his prayer

"For nothing will be impossible with God" - Luke 1:37

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Daniels Passport

Please pray for Daniels passport.  We received a request for more information last night.  It is being overnighted for delivery first thing Friday morning.  Please pray that they receive the information and they process it quickly.  We are running out of time.  Daniel knows that if we don't get that passport he can't go with us.  How am I going to leave him behind?  He is so excited and praying for this passport.  Please pray with us.

"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him" - Nahum 1:7
"The Lord will fight for you, you only need be still" - Exodus 14:14

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Pray for Matthew

Please pray for Matthew we just got word that he is not feeling well.  He has tonsilitis, upper respiratory, ear infection and bronchitis.  Please pray that he gets better soon and the antibiotics work.  We will be there before we know it and want to keep him healthy until we get to bring him home.

"Let us then approach Gods throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." - Hebrews 4:16

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Court Date Received - Oh My we are moving fast now!

Oh my goodness, we have a court date!  June 16th we will go before the judge in Ethiopia.  I was so shocked when she called.  We had just turned in our Pair approval letter at 9:00 am and at 10:30 Lauren called me with the news only an hour and a half later. We were told it would take 2-5 days to get the court date so we were not expecting to hear this news today.  We are so excited and anxious.  They wanted us to leave a day earlier than we are, we can't have Daniel miss his trophy game.  So we will leave bright and early the next day.   Oh my we have a lot of planning to do.

Also, please pray for Daniels passport. We still don't have it and there is no movement on where it stands right now.  If we don't have his passport in the next week Daniel will not travel with us.  This will crush him. Please pray I can get some answers and get it moving in the next day or so.

Matthew here we come!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pair Letter Received

We got it.  Just under 2 months we received our Pair approval letter. This is the last piece we have been waiting on and it is here.  We can apply for our adoptive family court date.  It will take 2-5 days to get our court date but we will know when we are meeting our baby boy within the next week!

Please pray for Daniels passport.  Now that we are even closer we really need that to get here.  We were told to plan to travel the end of the month, which is still 2-3 weeks away but his passport has been in process for 4 weeks already.  I have called to check on it but all I get is it is in processing.  I have added the expedited processing so hopefully he has the passport in time.  He will be crushed if he can't go to Ethiopia.

Friday, May 22, 2015

I604 Investigation Complete

The investigation is complete.  In 14 days, the investigation is complete.  This was supposed to take 1-3 months.  I can not believe it, 14 days.  Now we have to wait for the official letter to arrive and we can apply for our court date.  Ethiopia here we come!