Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
It was wonderful to be back on North American soil on Sunday. Despite the late arrival of our flight into Washington, DC, we had no problems with the customs/immigration process and still had a couple hours before our connecting flight to NYC. My mom and dad picked us up at the airport and drove us back to their house. Desalegn's first experience with the car seat was not especially delightful -- but don't worry...we have made progress with time!
Ethan and Abby arrived there from a playdate shortly after we got home, and their squeezes and excited voices were especially refreshing. We missed them so much! They shared about all their adventures and the things they learned on the farm with Pappy and Gramma. Ethan took the lead in reaching out to "little brother," gently taking his hand and walking him around the yard. Soon, all three kids were running and laughing and enjoying each other.
After a special family night together, we hit the road toward Quebec, finally making it home around 7pm last night. Today has been full of phone calls (informing proper authorities of a two-year-old addition to your family can take a lot of work), fun, new discoveries, re-orienting ourselves to this house and each other, laughter, and wonder. There is also a lingering sadness, the weighty reality that things are not as we had planned and hoped...that another brother still waits to be home.
Perhaps because we had been preparing to bring home siblings, this adjustment we are experiencing now has almost seemed too easy! Jadon Desalegn is mostly a very joyful boy. He has been learning things quickly (like asking to be excused from the table and then following Ethan and Abby to put his plate in the sink!) And -- after much terrible screaming before bed last night and his nap today -- he didn't make even a peep when all three kids were tucked in tonight! We have tried to be very consistent with our boundaries, not making exceptions for the "new kid," and this seems to be very positive for all the kids.
We ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers as we continue to work through the processes of bringing home Abu and establishing a "new normal" in the Tapper household.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
How do you describe the last couple days? What words can I share to convey our experiences, our emotions, our thoughts here?
Today we met our boys. This has certainly been the highlight of the trip. Watching Abu and Desalegn walk down the steps of the transition home into our arms was a moment we will never forget. Abu came to me for a hug, but it was clear that the true object of his desire was his "papa." Joy radiated from his face as he hugged his father, slung a possessive arm over Mike's shoulders while friends snapped pictures, walked hand in hand over to a grassy area, played silly games together with his sandals straps, giggled with glee from atop Mike's shoulders , proudly proclaimed "Look, papa!" to his roommates (who were supposed to be settling down for a nap!). It is obvious that this boy is in love with his dad.
I discovered that Desalegn is a giggler! Contrary to all the serious pictures we have received, this kid's hearty laugh comes quickly. A few tickles, a few funny tricks with a toy car, a few overzealous kisses to the neck region…and this gurgling laugh erupts from his cute little body. He also displayed his "emotional" side. Twice, when toys were taken away and given to another child, he did not hit, bite, or scream. He simply hung his head, moped over to a corner, and pouted. How hard was it not to laugh at that??? What a tease!
Our hearts are heavy as we await news of whether both boys will be able to come home with us. The thought of leaving Abu behind for further medical testing newly required by the CDC leaves us absolutely heart-broken. Perhaps tomorrow we will have some more answers on that front.
Blessings to you all.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
We had the privilege of driving three hours outside Addis Ababa today to visit the area from which our boys came. Although it was not possible to talk to actual families members due to the remoteness of their location, we were able to visit the children's home to which the boys were originally brought. This home is associated with Kids Care, a larger orphanage in Addis that cooperates with our agency to find forever families for orphaned children. This smaller, remote orphanage had a small yard with some tiny concrete block rooms, a main living area with a TV, table, and some cooking equipment, an office, and one room (maybe 10ft. x 10ft.) with several small cribs. One small baby lay in one of the cribs. She smiled whenever one of us would lean close and talk to her.
Our guide explained that we were adopting two boys who had been originally placed here. When he gave her their names, she immediately remembered them. She estimated that they had arrived about six months ago and had stayed there about one month. She said that they came very sick with many stomach problems and needed much medication. She also described her understanding of their family of origin's situation, confirming much of what we had been told. She even showed us the two beds that the boys slept in during their time there and described them as happy children. We thanked her for her care for our boys and promised to do our best to continue to care for them well. She requested that we send pictures J. What a blessing to have had this opportunity to glimpse this place that served our boys at such a critical time in their lives!
Of course, our drive also provided us the opportunity to take in many other unique sights. In one town, it was obviously graduation day, with fancily-dressed celebrators lining the streets waving flowers. In another place, however, hundreds processed solemnly away from a funeral. One we passed explained that the village witch doctor had passed away. We saw many of the traditional Ethiopian homes with their grass roofs and mud patched walls and the wide open spaces where farmers plant their crops and graze their sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and donkeys. While I wouldn't describe the countryside as beautiful—there is a lot of mud (this time of year at least), rocks and boulders, and scraggly grass and trees, the beauty of small things stands out. The smile of a girl who waves to our van as we drive by. The tiny purple flowers that roadside along a few fields. The kaleidoscope of color at the open markets.
For those of you asking "When do you meet those boys???," the answer is Monday afternoon. We should also hear the results of additional health testing then as well. When we know more about that we will let you know! As other families continue to join us here at the guest house, we are certainly very excited for this week's planned events to go into full swing.