Today was an all-day Olivia day. We got to spend a few hours with her this morning, in which she slept almost the entire time... and then out to lunch and back to do some more huggin and silly face makin. So I figured I would list some of the highlights of our trip for those getting ready to travel or who just want to be in the know:
* Tony was sick today and came back to veg out after lunch, doing much better now. No one else has gotten sick. But we have stayed away from anything freshly cut (fruit, tomatoes, salad) and all dairy products except an occasional macchiato with creme (yummmmy). Cooked things is the key to a happy stomach. And the occasional TUMS. We also started probiotics a few days before our trip. The kids haven't been taking theirs now as I don't have applesauce or yogurt to mix it in and they hate it in drinks... I've still been taking every morning and have been fine.
* Mindy saw a woman peeing in the middle of the median yesterday. A sight SHE wont forget. She and Tony are having a hard time with the smells of Addis. All the cars/trucks have bad exhaust fumes and the smell of fumes, burning charcoal, and strange to us spices in the air has been hard for them.
* Last night we met a truly awesome (and ultra-cool) American couple who moved here last September with their family to start a mission in Addis. We met at Sishumi - known for their American-style charcoal grilled burgers and fries. SO good. Burgers in Ethiopia do NOT taste like American burgers, but these were better than American. The restaurant had a wooden castle playground under it where the kids could play - so very cool to let the adults talk in piece while the kids played.
* Today for lunch we ate at a place called Avanti. And again - I was blown away. Braeden and I shared a homemade pasta with spinach/cheese/salmon filling. SO good. Best thing I have eaten in a long time.
* The portions for most restaurants we have gone to are HUGE. But with 5 people, agreeing on plates to share in a foreign country has been difficult.. so we have been getting all our leftovers packaged to give to the street boys as we go out to our van. Braeden and Addison LOVE giving their food away. There are lots of street boys. And women on the street with babies in slings. And older men who are crippled. It is so eye-opening to see how lucky Americans are to have programs to take care of those in need. The night before our trip, Tony had a gas station attendent tell him we 'shouldn't be adopting over there but taking care of our own here.' Sigh.... While I hate the way the system is abused, thank God for welfare, food stamps, and the foster care system to take care of 'our own'.
*Olivia - amazingly healthy. With a big ole pot belly. They feed them about every 2 hours, going back and forth between bottles and some kind of mushy food. Like pasta which looks like Campbell's chicken rings or rice cereal. She showed us she CAN crawl today. Before she wouldn't go out of my arms far enough away to crawl to me. But she has finally taken to Seth and would let him take her about 2 feet away to crawl to me. We were a little worried about her right side as she holds her hand a little weird and her leg turns a bit out... so I'm thinking she may have to have a little early intervention. But this is pretty common. So glad to see she has a great pincher grasp with both hands to pick up cereal and her crawling was perfect. She's not really trying to walk yet and I'm thinking that foot may hold her back for a little while. Totally fine by me to keep her my little baby a little longer before toddlerhood.
* Olivia's 11 month birthday was today :) Kinda. They estimate birthdays in Ethiopia so they are not exactly sure what her birthday is.
* To be clear - we can't bring her home next Tuesday. She is all ours in the eyes of Ethiopia. And I could take possession of her now if I were to move here in the interim. But the US Government now requires her new birth certificate and adoption decree (around 2 weeks time to get), a passport (more waiting time) and another medical evaluation before they even will accept her paperwork to look at. They will then decide if everything looks great, and call us back to come to her exit visa interview.... or to investigate and most likely send our case to Nairobi. We are guessing on the 'safari' to Nairobi as all other abandonment cases have gone that direction so far. So possibly 2-4 more months before I can come back. Which stinks. Highly.
* The kids have been playing with the kids at the transition home everyday with no problems. Soccer, drawing, puzzles... Braeden got a drum as his souvenior and took it into the toddler room yesterday ---- most precious sight ever to see he and Addi beating that drum while the nannies clapped along and babies danced around them. Precious.
* The kids love playing pee-pi with Olivia and having her imitate their silly sounds and squeals. She loves to play with them. While sitting on my lap that is :) She is starting to try to play peek a boo by lifting one hand up to her eye and yesterday started clicking her tongue to get Tony to play that imitation game with her. Today she was taking her bottle and I was talking to another mom - Olivia made little noises to get me to look her in the eyes again - I guess she has read the attachment books!
* She has been babbling /dadada/ and /bababa/ for a couple days but finally today - I was able to get her to do /mama/. SOOOO sweet. But so not intentional. Yet.
* We have been calling the baby by Selam, Olivia, Livvie - and trying to remember to say Olivia Selam. But right now, poor thing gets all three. My intention was to use Olivia Selam for a while so she would hear both. She already recognizes Selam and will turn her head when called.
* I have been able to reunite with my dear friend Eyerusalem on this trip and it has been so sweet to be able to see her again. She and her husband helped us to hire a driver to take us tomorrow about 3 hours away to visit the orphanage she was in until December, and the place where she is from. We will then travel down to Hawassa to see a gorgeous African lake and go on a boat ride to see the hippos.
enough for now - I need to pack for the trip!