Sweet, Sweet Words

"Full and final." Those are the sweet words we have waited to hear. This morning at the US Embassy after we verified some info about the boys' background, a worker behind a bank teller window said, "Your adoption is full and final." So awesome.

This post from here will cover just the basics: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

The Good

The question you are all dying to know is, "Did she get the French toast?" And I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat anxious for the answer, right? I could be a big tease and make you wait till the end of the post as I sometimes do, but I'll show kindness today. Yes, I did! And it was delicious... Buttery. Crunchy, not soggy. And pure deliciousness.

The entire way back from the Embassy, Ivan stood on his seat of the van with his head pressed against the window in his own little world singing religious Ethiopian songs, in Amharic and with that sweet soft voice of a three-year old. And although I was hungry, hot, sitting next to vomit (oh, keep reading), and clearly miserable, it was a great ride.

With some coercing from Beza (an Ethiopian from our agency), Garris performed a slew of songs and rhymes for the camera. Some Amharic and some English. Most were about Jesus, so despite my lack of talent, he seemed to enjoy my rendition of "Jesus Loves Me" at bedtime.

We've learned some Amharic and have been successful in some communication with the boys. The most important one right now is "Atincow," which means "Do not touch."

My favorite part of dinner: French fries! And really good ones. Better than McDonalds. I think they were cooked in butter with the French toast this morning. Mmm.

We are all bonding over countless games of ball. Any kind of ball. Tossing, throwing, kicking, rolling, bouncing...using any toy to hit it on the ground or in the air. Even though we start out playing together, Ivan and I usually end up to the side. We are those kids who aren't good enough to play with others, even a pretend game, and so they humor us by letting us have a ball and to play within a reasonable proximity. Possibly the best part of this: I've learned to catch a ball, at least the soft ones.

Keith's BFF from our last trip showed up as we were finishing dinner, and just in time for the ball games: Tikabe, the night time receptionist. He even had a bottle of Coke brought over for Keith.

The Bad

We had to separate the bunk beds so that both are at ground level. That's all I'm gonna say about that issue.

This is pre-separation. We also had to remove the ladder, which seemed to turn the entire structure into a make-shift playground.

Garris's shoes don't fit, although they're much bigger than the shoes he had on at the orphanage. After hobbling a few steps outside of the van, we let him go sock-footed to the Embassy and pretty much everywhere else today. Lucky for us the "No Shoes No Service" rule doesn't exist here.

Looks like American food may pose a problem for at least one of the boys. They both turned down the Ethiopian take of American food at lunch, even the yummy PB Cliff bars and honey roasted peanuts I offered them. Now who doesn't like some honey roasted peanuts? They taste like sugar! I'm in trouble. Ivan did try a few items at dinner and agreed with me on the fries. That's my boy!

The US Embassy stands out like a sore thumb. The biggest, the grandest, the greenest grass. It's ridiculous. Plus, after the final approval of this over-2-year process, a giant chunk of money, and enough paperwork to pile to the ceiling, we kind of expected a little more out of it. Not to toot our own horn, but we really deserve a standing ovation. Right? However, most of the people in the room didn't even speak English, and we returned to the other adoptive families and their quiet congratulatory cheering.

The Ugly. The Very Ugly.

Both boys got car sick on the hour-long trip to the Embassy. The ugly part: Garris thew up on himself and the seat next to him. He and I were on the front bench with Keith and Ivan in the second row. The part that nearly made me vomit was that he used his other hand to wipe the vomit off his arm, as if he didn't see the point in cleaning it off. Even now I want to vomit.

Although we all slept at least an hour at naptime, getting to that point was ugly. I ended up using myself as a barricade again, and Ivan fell asleep in his twisted position from playing in order to rebel.

The dire need for clean water here. We first noticed it when the boys would down any amount of water we put in front of them in a matter of seconds. It was like watching a teenager in a beer chugging contest, which I will admit to watching but not taking part in. We get 1 bottle per day per person but usually purchase twice that. This is our water for all day...we carry it everywhere we go: meals, when outside, when traveling, to use in the bathroom. They respond toward water as I assumed they would toward food. But food is plentiful. Water is not. To keep them from hoarding the water, I put all our water bottles in one place and showed them they can come get a drink of it anytime. However, I think it will be a while before they are comfortable letting go of their water.

All three kids have Camelbaks and Sippysleeves. Two items that are absolutely essential for us to function.

Perhaps even uglier were the kids begging for water outside our guest house. A boy and a girl, not much older than Garris, left their chore of gathering branches with their mother to join us for a random ball game. When they noticed my bottle, which basically never leaves my hands either, they asked for a drink. And kept asking. So Keith went inside and purchased a bottle (about a liter) for them to share. When we finished our game, they picked up their branches and dragged them behind their mother.

Garris stands over Keith at the bathroom sink and turns off the faucet after each time Keith uses it to rinse his hands, toothbrush or razor. Finally, someone might teach him not to waste water. I wish it could somehow make a difference in the lives of those little kids standing outside our guest house.


  1. I love reading about your boys!!! I am so excited to meet them! :)

  2. oh, I'm excited for you and that you have a whole new family now! my husband (Landon) told me he met you at the guest house and that you were adopting. He also mentioned that your boys are ADORABLE! And he wants one (not one of yours though). Anyhow, he told me about your blog and that I should check it out since we are wanting to adopt one day. Thanks for sharing your adoption story. Enjoy your new little blessings :]