Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Beloved

"I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine"

It just so happened that while we were in Addis Ababa my husbands birthday rolled around.  We had already been in country for one week.  I wasn't quite sure what this was going to look like but I knew that I wanted to do something special for him.

 One day on the way to the care center to visit our daughter we had our driver, Brooke, stop at the All-Mart. Rick decided to get an eye exam and contact lenses while we were here so he was at that appointment. Perfect, Pop Pop, Emily and I alone to scheme!  I must say in a country where birthdays are not really celebrated in the same manner as here in the States we were going to have to get creative.  Thankfully up on the second floor of All-Mart we came across some birthday party items for kids.  Perfect! Birthday cards were pretty much non-existent but that was ok, we found a mushy card with red roses on it and a sappy verse for him. :)  They had a nice little bakery and we took a type of strawberry sponge cake and a black forest cake or at least that what we thought they were.  After they got smashed down with the cling wrap it didn't really matter. We found a party hat, birthday candles and little party blowers.  Emily was so excited for his party she could hardly keep it a secret when we all met up at the care center later.  We weren't sure when his party was going to be but things have a way of working out.

That night we went to Avanti's for dinner. It is nice Italian restaurant.  The staff was very accommodating with letting us bring in the cakes and birthday stuff.  (Of course they did charge us extra birr for doing so, which was fine).  They took it all back to the kitchen and although Rick knew something was up he did not know what exactly.  After dinner we hear this loud music playing a birthday song in English and here are the waiters pushing out a cart with Rick's birthday cakes. They put his birthday hat on and we all tooted the party favors followed by an off key "happy birthday" song.  He then blew out his candles and made a wish. It all worked out perfectly.

Honey, I hope whatever you wished for that night that it all comes true! You are a wonderful husband, incredible father and I am so thankful to be sharing life with you!!


Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday and many more...

Look'n good honey! I really like this look, seriously!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Finding Chloe

I have been thinking about this post for quite some time...trying to find the "right" words to say. Trying to balance being transparent while at the same time protecting privacy.  I guess I'll start with a portion of the back story before moving forward. 

For me personally I always looked forward to learning of our daughters birth name. When friends received their referrals and shared their children's name I was always fascinated with the meaning behind their name. Often times in awe of how fitting it was for them. In keeping with tradition, my hubby and I had both agreed early on that baby sisters birth name would be kept as her middle name just as we had done for Miss Emily.

Upon receiving our referral call I was told of two names for our daughter.  I instantly preferred one over the other. When I asked about who named her and if our coordinator knew the meaning I came up empty handed. Not being one to settle without doing my own research I began to try to find the meaning behind her name. I could not find anything. After arriving in Addis and getting settled in I started asking questions about her birth name once again in hopes of learning more. As other parts of her story became known my heart became heavy. It is bittersweet.  It took no time at all for us to know that the name on her referral paperwork would not become her middle name as we had hoped. We didn't talk about it anymore after that decision was made. 

On our 3rd day here in Addis we chose to take a tour to the Nile Gorge. We wanted to get out of the city and into the countryside for fresh air and a different view. We thought a scenic drive in a van where we could all just relax would be refreshing. We were not disappointed. We really enjoyed the drive, the landscape was amazing, the machiatos and food delicious, and seeing wild baboons with their babies made Emily's day.

Something else really special happened on this journey. Midway to the Nile Gorge we stopped at a roadside overlook.  As we got out of the van we were greeted by a swarm of local villagers. They varied in age from young to old, both male and female. They were selling hand made baskets. They were brightly colored and varied in size and shapes. In the midst of the chaos I was approached by a young girl whose eyes drew me in. And in her soft spoken voice she told me that she was a student. Her spirit was gentle and kind. She was soulful. I told her that we would buy a basket from her and a few of the others. In a gracious manner she humbly put her baskets down on the ground so we could see them. After picking out our baskets I asked this young girl her name. She told me it was Gunnet.  Shyly she said Gunnet means "heaven".  We took pictures and than it was time to get back into the van and continue on.  However once I got into the van and processed what I had just experienced I began to cry. Not sad tears but happy tears.  As strange as this sounds I knew deep down inside that this moment was to be a part of our story. Chloe's story.  Without a shadow of a doubt I knew Chloe's middle name was to be Gunnet.  It brought my heart great joy to know that Chloe would now have a name that was chosen, meaningful and from her birth country.  

I love you Chloe Gunnet Davis!!!

Beautiful Gunnet

Those eyes...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rick's Ramblings - 04/09/2013

Emily and myself made it home safely last night.  The travel back home was long and exhausting.  We're taking it easy today to try to rested up for the rest of the week.  It's become a very busy week.  I've already got 7 photo shoots scheduled and I've been awake for just a few hours.  I'm praising God for all the work and am happy to have it.

We really enjoyed our first two flights on board the Ethiopian Airlines 777.  Talk about comfortable flight.  The bad part was that as we got closer to home, each plane was smaller and more cramped.  So as we're getting more tired, the planes were more uncomfortable.  Too bad all flights couldn't be a 777. :)

Please pray for Connie.  She is still suffering from hives on her entire body and is trying everything.  She went to a well known Swedish physician there in Ethiopia today and was given a couple of options.  I'll be following up locally with our family physician as well to see if there is anything else to help with it.

Connie and Pop pop have been staying pretty close to the hotel the past couple of days as they get use to having Chloe in hand and become familiar with her schedule.  They went out to dinner today with a couple of families that are adopting.  I wish I could've been there.  They all went to Avanti's Italian Restaurant together.  Avanti's has amazing food.

I'm glad to see that both of these families have loved using our friend, Joel, as their guide.  We had such an amazing experience with him and it sounds like both of these families have enjoyed their time with him as well.  If you're traveling to Ethiopia, be sure to look up Joel.  Click Here for his business page on Facebook for his Sightseeing/Tour Guide business.  He also has a guest house that he's promoting.

Connie told me today that it's looking good for them to be coming home by the end of next week.  IAN has been working hard to get them home quickly and have been really going above and beyond.  What an amazing group of people there.

Emily and I are tuckered out and she's sleeping on the couch right now.  So I'm off to take a little nap with her.  Please continue praying for Pop Pop, Connie and baby Chloe.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rick's Ramblings - Day 11 - Sat, 04/06/2013

I took a shower and came out to this
We've had a busy past couple of days.  Yesterday as you all know we had court.  We passed and Chloe officially became our daughter.  What a joyous moment in our lives.  Court was very quick and was a very similar process to that of China.  Tesva and Brook made it very simple for us and everyone at IAN has been so helpful.  Thank-you to everyone at IAN for helping us with this amazing journey.

As we were leaving court, it began to rain.  Like I said before their light spring showers are like our heavy rains.  The water was running into the lobby of the court house.  We saw Brook in the van waiting for us and we opened the court house door.  The rain drops were the size of honey bees back home.  We made a run for it but I was soaked head to toe running 15 feet.  Luckily with my light cotton Ethiopian shirt and my light weight REI pants, I dried quickly.  The rain was actually refreshing and I enjoyed it.  We've had a bit of rain each afternoon for the past 4 days now.

After passing court we hurried back to our hotel, changed and then went to the care center and loved up Chloe and all of the other children.  Then back to the hotel and packed up to move to the Selah Guest House for Saturday morning.

Two of many excellent
staff  members of the
Addis View Hotel
On Saturday morning we woke up and hurried to finish packing and getting ready to move.  After a lot of prayer and a lot of encouragement from Connie, Pop Pop decided to stay during Connie's extended stay.  Connie, Chloe and Pop Pop should be home in approx 2 weeks.  Emily and I will be anxiously waiting at home.  They've also decided not to move to the Selah Guest House.  Now that there are two of them, the guest house would be $10/night more and there isn't much within walking distance of it.  So they will be staying in the same room at the Addis View that we've been in the past two weeks.  It's becoming home and there are restaurants, shops and everything they need within walking distance.  The staff at Addis View was very excited to hear that they would be staying there.

I'm actually very envious of them staying another two weeks.  I've fallen in love with the Ethiopian people and their country.  I would very much like to stay for a long while.  But there is work and bills waiting for me at home.  :)  Emily loves it here too and would like to stay longer as well.

Unpacking Food
After reorganizing the room and getting everything together, we went downstairs to wait for Brook to take us to the Care Center.  While sitting at the outside cafe downstairs we ran into Kelly and her mom, Jill.  Kelly is adopting a little boy.  It was great meeting them and learning about their story as well.  The Coates were down there getting ready to go to Awassa as well.  And my new brother, Joel, was their guide.  So I had the opportunity to say good bye to him as well.  He has become a great friend in such a short time and I'll truly miss him.  But at least we have Facebook to keep in touch.

This afternoon, we went back to the Care Center.  It was the last time for Emily and I to go.  We loved up all the children for a couple of house and then loaded up Chloe into the Ergo and brought her back to the hotel room with us.  She is so sweet.  She has been smiles all evening.  She has also been very clingy to mommy and doesn't want to be away from her side.  But she says "Da Da" all the time.  :)

Mother & Daughter
ready to go
We ate dinner here at the hotel.  I had the Ethiopian Tibes (Tibs).  I've seen it spelled both ways.  It is very spicy and you eat it with Injera.  It has become my favorite dish.  Fir Fir is my second favorite then the Shiro.  I am going to miss the Ethiopian food.  There aren't any restaurants that I know of in Boise that serves traditional Ethiopian cuisine.  We bought all the spices so now we have to learn how to make it ourselves.

Emily and I are all packed for our flights home.  We have approx 24 hours of travel time begining tomorrow evening.   We will be arriving in Boise at approx 9:40p on Monday evening.  We will be very tired and ready to climb into our beds at home and sleep for a day or two.

Lightning over Addis Ababa
Tonight while I was typing this we had a huge thunderstorm roll through with some lightning.  Here is one photo that I captured.  I was hoping the storm would move more in front of my balcony, but no such luck.  I was only able to capture about 3 photos with lightning tonight.  But I do like this one a lot.    Enjoy todays photos and I look forward to having full internet again and seeing everyone back home.

End of a long day

Rahel loves Emily

At All-Mart getting stuff for Chloe

Chloe with one of her nannies

This lady is so sweet

Lots of love from big sister

Adored by big sister

Yes, babies like to pull on necklaces

Such a good eater

Such a happy girl

Nannie with a newborn

so cute

This nannie became teary eyed when we started to leave

Last time for me to go to All-Mart