Tuesday, July 3, 2012

To Ethiopia and Back...

Since last post I have traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, had our embassy appointment (which was great), traveled to Awassa, Ethiopia and got the most amazing pictures, had our actual "gotcha day" with our son and traveled home and now are on day 2 of being  family of 4! 

I saw a picture recently that said "I didn't say it would be easy, I said it would be worth it" and I would say that phrase is repeating over and over in my head each day.  I'm not going to lie and say everything is just great, easy, perfect and just as I imagined because really that is not how adoption works especially when you adopt an older child, and one from another country with a very different culture.  Fetinet is doing pretty good overall I would say and truthfully each day is getting better.  The biggest problem of course is the language barrier.  He really doesn't speak much English at all so just close your eyes and imagine having a 7 year old new in your home who doesn't understand anything you say and in order to communicate with him, you have to open 2-3 books of common words and phrases to search for what you want to say and then hope you said it with the right dilect and then when your child doesn't respond, what do you do next?  It is difficult but we are learning together.  I try to say what I want in Amharic (which by the way is Fetinet's second language and no where close to his native language, Sidamo) and then repeat it in English and have him repeat it after me

Me:  "Fetinet, de-keh-mek?  Are you tired?"
Fetinet:  "Ah ay"
Me:  "Ah ay?  No?"
Fetinet:  "No"

We arrived home on Suday evening after flights were late and delayed, after being rushed through the Frankfurt airport with 10 other people (although given very special treatment by Lufthansa staff) to just barely make it to our flight to Chicago which we found out our bags never made it and then saw my parents and another adopting family who has one of fetinet's friends from his home and rushed off only to find out our flight from Chcago to OK was delayed 3 hrs due to storms in St Louis and Chicago so our welcome party at the OKC airport waited a bit longer than they expected but it was awesome and I am excited to post pictures soon, here is one with a lot of the cutest kids and their signs for Fetinet. 

Yesterday, we kept Jalen home from day care and it was more of a "getting to know everyone, play-day".  Jalen keeps telling Fetinet, "Petinet, I glad that you are here" and "I love you Petinet" and then of course Fetinet not understanding won't say anything back so Jalen looks at me very disappointed and says "Mommy, Petinet not talk to me (frown/pout)".  I told him that he doesn't know our language yet but I know he is happy to have you too Jalen and then Jalen says very seriously, "I want Petinet to know our language soon mommy"....me too baby doll, me too :)

Today Fetinet and I took Jalen to daycare and are picking him up right after nap time so he is only there for a half day to still keep someehwta of his schedule.  While Jalen is at daycare I will be basically doing home-school with Fetinet.  Today was day one and well, it went ok...he didn't like school a whole lot in Ethiopia and I'm not so sure he is a big fan of it here either.  We did the alphabet upper and lower case and traced letters which he would do great and then just scribble all over in frustration and laugh so I have been doing a lot of redirecting and explaining the best I can that we need to do this before we can play.  He tries to tell me no and turn away but after a little talking he does get back on track and will try for me.  We'll do a little each day but we do have a timeline as he will start school in 6 weeks!

Jason came home for lunch so I could have a little time to get on my computer but if I haven't emailed back or done much lately, just know I am reading your emails, text messages, facebook posts, etc and I appreciate all the support we are getting.  Please keep praying for this transition and for our strength and wisdom of how to best parent our 7 yr old, non-english speaking, Ethiopian son.  We are so blessed by everyone and son will be on a good schedule and back to some normalcy :)

I will post more pictures and stories from our trip soon but wanted to just at least actch everyone up on how we are doing now.  Thank you for all the support and keep checking back for a lot more amazing pistures and stories from last week in Ethiopia, a beautiful country but I am glad to be home.

Love and Blessings!


  1. Hang in there friend! My friends brought home a 5 year old from ET and found it really helpful to have the days schedule on a posterboard with photos matching each aspect of the day. Wake up schadenfreude a photo of a bed, brushing teeth of a toothbrush and so on....I wonder if you had photos printed of happy, sad, mad facial expressions that he could point to in order to help him communicate? Praying for clarity in the transition! Call if you need anything!

  2. Prayers and peace for you and Fetinet!


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