Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ethiopia Bound!!!

So I'm leaving for Ethiopia in just 2 days!!! This past week has not been without its challenges for sure. Getting ready to go to the other side of the world to bring two children home while trying to manage everything else around here is not for the faint-hearted!

Been craving a real Ethiopian macchiato. Mmm- only a few more days! 

First, we had the issue with the flights. Since we had previously paid for 7 round trip flights to Ethiopia, one would think that surely we would have a few free flights coming our way with miles right? And one would think that we would be able to choose the flights right? Well, it was a little more complicated than that. Our favorite airline that we have flown twice before was no longer a partner with United, which is who we had a lot of our miles with. So we had figured out the next ideal travel arrangement and tried to get that worked out. Well, apparently when you use miles you have very limited flight options, even if the flight that you wanted is only half-full- they won't let you book it. So because we needed to use those miles we ended  up booking 2 one-way tickets for the kids with an unfamiliar airline and then booking my flight separately on a different website. Well, that would have been the end of the story EXCEPT for one  minor detail... for the last leg of the trip- I was on a completely different flight from Nati and Mihret! So I was scheduled to arrive at 5:30pm, while they were not coming home till 9:30pm! UM NO- that's not going to work! The site that we booked my tickets on wouldn't let us get the late flight, but we figured it was no big deal to just call United and have them change the kids' flights to the 5:30 one. WRONG! Randy spent hours over many days on the phone with them and they were not willing to budge. I mean Cmon- we're talking about a MOM and her CHILDREN here! Randy was so angry and finally got them to make an exception so that we could all be on the same flight home. Phew! That's a relief.

Then we had an incident last week with our youngest son Nathan who broke out in severe hives two days in a row. It was really scary and seemed to be getting worse, so Randy  took him to urgent care and he got a shot of epinephrine. Within minutes, the hives were gone. Great. So he had an allergic reaction to something, but what in the world was it?! We got epi-pens just in case and had him stay clear of peanuts because he had a peanut butter cookie those two days that it happened, so we thought maybe that was it and he didn't have another outbreak again. We went to the allergist a few days ago and after getting poked   with dozens of different things, it was determined that Nathan is not allergic to anything! Huh? Apparently, people can just have these acute outbreak of hives and not have any reason for them. So, we were thankful that he can eat peanut butter and everything else normally and just pray that we don't see those dreadful hives ever again!

So perhaps the best, most exciting thing that has happened this past week is that my mom is coming with me to Ethiopia!!! I was planning to go by myself, and felt confident for the most part because for me, it's like going home. I love Ethiopia and the friends that we have that I know will take care of me. Of course Randy and I are both sad that he can't come, but because our primary babysitters are on vacation for 2 weeks, it just seemed impossible for us to both go and leave our kids for 8 days.

My mom called me the other day while I was out on one of my many trips to Target (I've only been 5 times this week!) and asked if I wanted a travel companion. I was like- what do you mean? So she asked if she could come along with me to Ethiopia! I was seriously shocked and couldn't believe that she wanted to come! But she said she did and she just needed to see if she could get the time off work. So finally on Wednesday of this week her supervisor reluctantly let her have the week off and she booked her tickets on Thursday! This is huge! My mom is an elementary school teacher and as you can imagine, it is really stressful trying to find someone to sub for 7 days in a row on this short of notice and then preparing lesson plans and everything else for her absence all while getting ready to go to a foreign country in only 2 more days!

Us with my grandparents, my mom Diane, her husband Brett, and my brother Brandon
Also, my relationship with my mom has been pretty strained over the years- it's no big secret and I know she would agree with that fact. Life has been hard for both of us and instead of opening up and working on our relationship over the years, we have just kind of ignored it. We are nice to each other, but we just never seemed to have that mother-daughter bond and closeness that I have seen in other families. But lately that is changing. And I am so thankful. God is working on both of our hearts- I can feel it. And what better time to bond with eachother than on a trip like this?! This is definitely out of her comfort zone and I know that there will be times when it will be hard. But I am so proud of my mom for having the courage to be vulnerable and do this with me. I know that we will both be changed and blessed by this trip and I am just so excited for her to be able to experience my favorite place in the world with me!!! Plus she gets to be the first one to meet Nati and Mihret and spend a whole week with her new grandchildren- that's pretty special! I love you Mom!!!

So we leave Monday morning and will arrive in Addis on Tuesday night. Nati and Mihret will join us Wednesday morning and then our embassy appointment is Thursday March 1st. Friday we hope to do some sightseeing at Lalibella and then Saturday is the big going away party at the orphanage. Sunday we'll be with Fekadu's family at church and his home and then Monday we'll pick up the visas and have to say goodbye. We will be back home in Fresno on Tuesday March 6th and our family will finally all be TOGETHER!!! YAY!!!

It's finally here! We have been waiting 18 months for this and I can't believe it's only a few days away! Looking back, it has been a long, hard road but we can see now how God has just been in every single detail. It is really incredible. That day that we first met them we had no idea what we were in store for and I'm pretty sure we could not have handled knowing it all up front anyway.

And although this part of the process is coming to a close, we know that the journey is really only beginning. Our family is about to change forever. We are excited, but nervous at the same time. This is the biggest thing to happen to us for sure. We are confident that God who has been faithful this whole time, will be faithful as we adjust to being a family of 8 as well.

To all who have been a part of this journey. To all who have prayed, and given, and supported in so many ways. THANK YOU. We love each and every one of you and are so grateful for you. YOU are a part of this story! Praise God!


The Oswalds said...

Congratulations! SO happy to see you so close to bringing those beautiful children home. I have followed your blog for a few years now. I look forward to following you to Ethiopia again for the most important trip! God is good!

lifeintheparentlane said...

Wahoo!!!! Finally they'll be home.

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