Monthly Archives: July 2010


Josanna started rolling over both ways! She is developing SO quickly. We have only had her for two weeks and she was not even close to rolling over then. SHe has also gained probably about a pound and is starting to get a little baby chub. I love it!

Ethiopia, Day 8 – Last day

Today is Saturday and our last day here in Ethiopia. Our flight is at 10:50pm tonight. I have really enjoyed our time here getting to know the culture. We are staying here at the guest house today getting packed and getting rested for our long 23 hour journey home. I am ready to go home. I really miss Mekiah and Abrielle and it has been the hardest part of this trip, being away from them for so long.
Several more people have arrived here at the guest house today. So far it has only been us and the Fiekens, which has been pretty nice. We have gotten lots of special treatment from the staff here. The staff has been awesome and so helpful. They are always smiling and willing to help.

Jim’s Ethiopia, Day 7 – Dancing

Friday. Today Breanne went shopping with Tiffany in the morning and I stayed at our room with Josanna. That went good. She just napped most of the time. In the evening, a bunch of us went out for a traditional Ethiopian meal. They had some great dancers there. They were pulling people up there to dance with them. I went up and danced a bit.

Ethiopia, Day 7 – Out for a traditional dinner

After breakfast this morning Tiffany and I went shopping for a few more tings that we wanted to get. Jim and Todd stayed at the guest house with the babies. We first exchanged some money. Ibrahim was our driver and Tigist went to help us in the shops. We went to a few shops in the “post office” to get traditional coffee pots, art work, and a few more gifts. They call it the post office because all the stores are around the post office. We also went to the Sheritan hotel to look around. It was very beautiful and fancy. We went to a coffee shop and bought coffee grounds (smashed coffee) and coffee beans. Lastly we stopped on the side of the road and bought some tooth sticks they use for cleaning their teeth. Tigist and Ibrahim are a lot of fun and we had many laughs.
We went out for a traditional dinner this evening. There were ten people in all, including us, the Fiekens, Tigist, Michelle, Ibrahim, the french IT guy, Syntayou, and Aster. The food was very good and I tried a traditional honey beer. There was live music and dancers. The dancers pulled a few of the dinner guests up to dance and Jim went. He did pretty well and it was funny to watch. He got really winded though since the air here is so thin. We gave everyone gifts that we had brought, and they liked that. It was a fun evening. We left the babies here at our guest house with two babysitters. They babies were both sound asleep when we got back from dinner.

Ethiopia, Day 6 – Our Embassy Appointment

Today was our Embassy appointment. We did not do a lot in the morning. Just ate and watched Josanna. Our appointment was at 3:00pm so we left for it after lunch. We met Sintayou, our lawyer, at the Embassy. We had to go through two check points and put our bags through the scanners and show our passports. Then we went to a waiting room to await our turn. There were several other American adoptive families there also, so it was fun to talk and share our stories. After about 45 minutes, Smith Family was called and we went upstairs to a counter where a woman sat behind a window. The woman was very nice and just asked us a few simple questions and we had to sign Josanna’s visa papers. It took only a few minutes and it was over. Her visa will be ready for her tomorrow, and a driver will bring it to our guest house. The Embassy apptment was much esier than I thought, so I am releaved about it.

Jim’s Ethiopia, Day 6 – Raining at the embassy

To add to Breanne’s blog: We met some really nice/friendly people from Nashville, Tennessee at the Embassy that were also adopting. When we went to leave the Embassy it started down pouring rain and hail. We waited for 20 minutes, but it never let up, so Sintayou went to get Ibrahim to bring the car around. One of the ways that some of the boys make money on the street is by holding an umbrella for you. So some boys did, and we gave them 10 BUR each (about 75 cents). We received Josanna’s VISA and passport just fine. Yea!

Ethiopia, Day 5 – Wenchi Crater Lake

Our hotel in Ambo was so noisy with traffic and dogs barking, so we did not sleep well. We got up at 5:45 and were at breakfast at 6:30. After breakfast we headed to Lake Wenchi. It was a beautiful and bumpy ride through the mountains. Along the way we handed out bread, bananas and candy to the kids we saw. They were so excited! A few were scared and ran away thinking we were going to steal them, as they do not see many white people. We would see one child and stop our car and within ten seconds, kids would be coming out of no where and would be grabbing the food. The kids were so precious. We saw mostly farm land and they would be plowing the fields with cows and a hand plow. When we arrived at the lake, we were surrounded by kids with horses telling us to get on. It happened very fast so we did not even have time to get our backpacks before we were off on the horses (which were being lead by children) down into the crater lake. It took about 45 minutes to get to almost the lake where we got off the horses. Our guide was still coming behind us and the kids who lead our horses were telling us to pay them, so Tiffany and I did. Later we found out that we only were supposed to tip the kids a small amount. They saw us as tourists they could take advantage of, and we were. 🙂 Oh well, I am sure they could use the money. On the ride down we passed many huts and yards and the little kids would come out and wave and say “hello”. We walked the rest of the way down to the lake where our boat with two men were waiting to take us to the island in the lake where a very old church is built. It was very beautiful and peaceful. The church was built in the 16th century and has since been restored. On the way back up to the view point, we rode horses again and I started feeling really sick and was cramping badly. I barely made it to the restroom which a little boy lead me to and we had to walk a ways. The restroom was a small cement building with no door and a hold in the floor. After I came out of the bathroom the little boy asked for a tip and the boy who lead my horse back was also there asking for a tip. I gave them both a small tip. We then headed back to a resort for lunch. The drive took about an hour and I felt so sick. At the resort we saw a few monkeys. From there it took about two more hours of driving to get back to Addis, and we went straight to the orphanage. We did some shopping in their little shop. We then went to the office and signed the custody papers. They brought Josanna and Eva in. The nanny handed Josanna to Jim and she was ours to keep. It was so overshelming that the last 18 months had finally led up to this. Both Tiffany and I were crying :-). Michelle, our guide, took pictures for us. It was a wonderful special moment. The orphanage gave us a little outfit in a back pack as a gift. They gave us all her medical records. Then we saidour good byes to the orphanage staff and we got in the car with our new daughters. I cried most of the way back to our guest house, I was so happy and overwhelmed. When we got back to our room we gave Josanna her first bottle and then we went down for dinner. I was finally feeling better and was able to eat a little. Josanna went right to sleep and slept until Jim woke her up for a bottle at 2am. She slept until 6:30. She is such an easy going baby and is so sweet. I am glad that we have gotten to share this experience with the Fiekends. It has been really nice to be able to talk and visit with them and I feel a little safer going out when there are four of us. God has truely blessed our trip here to Ethiopia and I am so glad to have been able to come here and experience the culture.

Jim’s Ethiopia, Day 5 – A long day

This was a long day. To supplement what Breanne wrote, the standout moments for me were: stopping the car several times and giving out bread to the children. As Tiffany put it: that was an emotional moment. The children were so happy just to receive a little piece of bread. They would grab for it and almost push to try and get more. We had to make sure that each child got a piece. We also handed out suckers and bananas at different times. Sometimes we would just throw the suckers out, and the kids would grab them kind of like a parade. One boy started dancing when he got three suckers – it was funny! At Winchi lake, we rode horses down to the lake. The boy that led my horse asked for a tip, but Jon Michelle said no (the tips are given out to everyone back at the top of the mountain), so the boy was very sad. Once we got back to the top, we tipped about 200 BUR, and that gets divided amoung all that helped. I felt bad that the boy didn’t get very much.
When we got back from Ambo, we afficially took custody of Josanna.Breanne cried, and I was emotional too. We rode back with the Feikens and had dinner at YGF. Oh, and lunch was interesting – there were monkeys at this resort place that we stopped at. I had something called “Kitfo”, and traditional dish. I’m surprised that I haven’t gotten sick from the food!