Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mercado Meltdown

In my opinion, we bit off more than we could chew yesterday.  We took Mesay to the biggest market in Africa.  There were deep rivers of runoff due to all the rain, a little boy who wanted to touch everything and be put down, and small alleys crammed with donkeys and men carrying twice their weight in wares.  All this created a melt down for about an hour.  We knew it would happen, and will continue as we adjust to being a family.  Our plan to stick firm with our rules from day one is sometimes challenging but the rewards are great.  Taking away some of the control from him, and allowing him to just be a little boy is well worth it.

He is currently in the tub.  Happy as a clam to be going to America today.  He has been holding up his "flying outfit" and saying "America, America."

I am tired today, but happy.  Soaking up our last hours here, perhaps one last shiro meal before we take off.  Can't wait to have the family together again!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


My boys are both in bed, snuggled up together as I write this.  Here is a recap of the day.

We left after breakfast to pick up our boy, but made a pit stop first.  We've had the pleasure of meeting with a couple from our church several times over the last couple years.  It started out about two years ago, when they came over to our house to hear more about Ethiopian adoption and our experience.  I think they liked talking to Winnie best of all!  At the end of the night, Winnie asked them if they were going to Ethiopia to find their daughter.  The time wasn't right at that point because God had already picked their girls, and knew the LONG and winding path it would take to reach them (and the faith it would build).  Today we met these sisters and delivered hugs, care packages, and took video.  It was amazing to say, "see you in a few weeks!". The youngest girl is about Winnie's age, so it should be lots of fun playing soon!

When we arrived at the transition home, Mesay greeted us at the gate.  He had his backpack from our last trip to Ethiopia on his back.  Every possession inside it...sunglasses, two hot wheels, an old water bottle, our photo album, and his schoolwork.  He was beyond ready to go and most sad to learn that we were not leaving for America immediately.  We met the doctor one last time, passed out care packages...a little boy that was so sweet and stayed with us for about half an hour (He kissed his family's photo book several times) and a girl who Mesay said was one of his two favorite friends, and looked for his best friend to say "caio." He was rather cold to the nannies and only had eyes for us which made me feel good and bad.  He's not clingy, but enjoys being held.  Silly us, we walked right into his room where all the little boys had just gone down for a nap, those nannies musta been cussin' us.  We stirred them up really good as they each got out of bed to kiss Mesay.  We hopped into the car and rode off, waving goodbye.

Next we had a very quick and painless embassy appointment.  Then ate a mediocre lunch where our guide admitted that "the meeeaat is very STRONG!". Mesay did better than the last lunch experience, only grabbing hand fills of rice and making it to his mouth 1/8th of the time.  We decided to take the rest of the day to stay at the hotel and bond.

Upon entering the room, Mesay sought out everything that was his...and somethings that weren't.  He was in heaven with his new underwear, socks, shirts and pants.  He quickly stripped down and put on four shirts, knee socks, shorts and tried to put on a pull-up over his underoos.  We led him to the bedroom, trying to explain that we were all going to take a nap.  It took a while, but eventually we all rested a bit.  When we awoke, I held him for a long time...and it was glorious.  Then we played soccer outside, the guard was laughing at my skills.  Daddy walked to get a few things at the shops and we went to our room for a bath.  

Bath time deserves a full paragraph,sorry.  I grabbed an oversized bucket from the lobby, and we headed upstairs.  As soon as I started the shower, he had all four layers of clothes off.  He begged for soap, so I let him wash himself several times.  He spent about half an hour pouring water over himself with an old bottle and tea cup.  Then, insisted upon washing my feet.  We laughed and laughed!  He is so tiny that he had a hard time holding my foot.  It's cold here and there is no heat, so I bundled him in two big towels and sat him on my lap to dry off.  On went four new layers of clothes, and a different pair of shoes.  

Our Amharic is actually coming together nicely.  We can communicate just about everything we need and want to say.  In the last three days, we have doubled our word bank.  Those 8 hour trips in the car come in handy!  

We had dinner in, and talked to Gigi and Molly via Voxer. Mesay kept asking my mom to "come here."  We crawled in bed together, prayed, and sang for fifteen minutes.  Everytime we stopped, he would say"again." Bedtime came very slowly.  Can you blame him?

Today was right up there with my favorite days of all times.  When things get rough, and I know they will, I will re-read this post.  I will remember feeling totally loved and in love with Mesay Daniel Shaw.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Ethiopian family

Wow! What a great reunion we had today with Winnie's family.  We drove into a crowd of interested onlookers and were ushered into their house.  There was most definitely a man wearing a cheetah  skin and carrying a spear near the front of the crowd (but in a good way)...not hostile.  I can't get enough of Tinsae's smiles and Tebach's cute little head nods.  Damme is amazing, she interpreted for us and directed us like a champ.  Teddy drove us 8 hours or longer, due to road blocks for the prime ministers funeral.  Never a dull moment.

This visit was the best so far.  Smiles and getting to know our Ethopian family.  The girls start school in three weeks, enrollment is next week.  Win's youngest uncle has a little baby. The crops aren't bad this year.  They pray for us everyday, just as we pray for them...
It's good to be with family...and this time felt like a reunion!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Our first trip out

Rain, lions, monkeys, kitfo and our son... Oh my!

An hour after we landed, we were on our way to see our son.  Would he remember?

Mesay had everything we had given him on, too big shoes, sunglasses...the works.  Similar to our experience with Winnie, the nannies had to hold him back while we came in.  We heard him howling to come out and poor Job was trying to create a "magical" reunitement.  This made him mad, and he kinda came out with a grimace on.  It soon changed and he was leading us around and in our arms most of the morning.  He LOVED his new backpack, which we put a bottle of water, two plastic animals and a "first words" book.  he asked multiple times where Woineshet was.  then, he'd say "Gigi?"  We were AMAZED at how calm he was!  He read the whole book with us, and sat right by our sides on the porch.  Silly parents were so tired getting off the plane that we did not bring him any food.  "biscuit mommy?" He was looking for a granola bar or treat, and we didn't have any.

We discussed the idea of taking him with us to lunch.  Today was not the day we would take custody, in fact, we wouldn't see him for two days.  Job was afraid it would make it harder to return him at the end of the day. We went back and forth.
Honestly, I just couldn't part with him yet.

"It will be two more days until you leave here forever with your mommy and daddy," Job tried to explain.  Mesay's face was tight and he gave a little nod.  Unsure if he understood that he would have to come back in a few hours, mommy daddy and a very excited Mesay climbed in the car.  We road happily to the kitfo house, the three of us gawking at the hoards of sheep in the streets, men lying on the side of the road sleeping, and traffic  jams that make your head spin.

The restaurant experience was a bit overwhelming, to say the least.  We had joined a sweet family with three new kids, and ordered tons of kitfo (raw meat in Kebe butter).  He did what I would expect, grabbed kids drinks, dropped spoons, snatched pieces of injera before the food was out, and called out several times at the top of his lungs (actually, this may not be true, as I think he is capable of something quite louder).   At one point, he collected metal pop tops from the table and threw them at another table full of guests.  Another time, He ran away from me briefly at the hand washing station, looking back with a grin to see if I was game for a round of chase in the pouring rain... I was not.  At the end of lunch, I had slight reservations about our next stop...the lion zoo.

The zoo experience started off badly, with Mesay crying and testing daddy's words as it poured rain.  By the end, he was taunting the monkeys and coaxed me into riding a rusty ferris wheel with him(mom, you would have passed out had you seen it)..  The lions were mangy and the few carnival rides would have produced a riot at home, but to Mesay, he was quite in awe!  He hung on my neck and got to ride on Tim's back a fair share of the afternoon.  
On the way home, he fell asleep in my arms.  I hadn't let myself imagine an ending to the day like this.  Exhausted and peaceful.

We asked him to be brave for 2 more days and walked the sleepy guy back to the gates.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Your room

 letter on your door, it's a tradition
 sweet land form map your dad purchased
 Ebu Kris and I found this sweet bed for you at Grandview Mercantile (it's walnut, but I don't expect you to care :)
 Desalegn and Jack gave you some super cool hats
 Some nice friends of mine, that happen to have Ethiopian kids for you to play with, gave you some nice threads
 Nina's old dresser (she always said I would be going back to Ethiopia for a son soon, she prayed and prayed for you)
Hey guy,
I have nervous butterflies in my stomach and feel like jumping up and down and yelping in delight... all at the same time. 
Your room is done, well for now.  We will see what you love, and go from there.  Uncle Chad has something fab in the works, but we'll let you help him position it on the wall next week.
Next week??  you heard it right.  We promised we were going to prepare your room and then come back...
It's time!
We love you,
mom and dad

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Winnie is not a cuddle bug, she does not crave hugs or snuggles, in fact she sometimes stiffens to them.  I know that this was out of necessity at some point in her life.  I often go in her room at night, curl up with her, and steal the cuddles that she has careful rationed out all day.  This has all taken an odd turn for the better lately...

In the last few weeks, she has decided that the two of us should play baby a lot.  The first day I tried to lift her out of the car from her booster seat like a baby, I threw my neck out.  The second day, I nearly dropped her while trying to carry her up the stairs like a newborn.  By day three, I sat on the porch swing, giving her a bottle, while drinking a glass of wine to ease my neck and back pain from carrying around a 63 lb. baby.

I love playing baby despite the obvious obstacles.  There is a part of bonding, a piece of nurture that is gained from knowing that I would have done all these things for her, had I been her mother years ago.  As she sees us care for Mesay, she may want to play baby for a while longer... :)  I'm game.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Today, Winnie and I watched the Olympics together.  She was definitely cheering for Ethiopia, as the long distance runners are hard to beat.  We looked at each other with surprise as we heard that a runner from another country had the name (maybe spelled different) "Mesay."  Winnie immediately started cheering for the runner with her brother's name.  She said, "DO it for my brother!  Win the race for my little brother who has the same name!"  

Who knows, our little Mesay could be a champion distance runner, his uncle Chad could be his coach!  We received an update from Ethiopia on friday stating, "He is very active and likes to participate in different physical exercises competitively with children who are in his age group."  Perhaps this is a canned report that all the parents got, but we do know that he is quick, active, and could beat his mom and dad in a race to a backpack full of toys any day!