Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We are home...

Good morning from windy Wisconsin. The weather is quite different than what we encountered in Ethiopia (80-90 each day without a cloud in the sky).

We made it back home on Friday evening around 7pm. The airlines tried to make it as hard as possible to get home, but surprisingly we were only an hour late from our scheduled itinerary. It was an amazing journey. Words cannot express what we experienced, and the emotions that we felt while in Ethiopia.

Today, I thought that I would write a quick little blog personally thanking all those individuals who provided the donations that we were able to take to Ethiopia. We have amazing friends and family. A special thank you goes out to our Church Family at New Life Church, as well as Kevin at Door Creek Pharmacy. The donations that we recieved will make a dramatic difference. We were able to bring over 150 lbs of donations to Ethiopia. The donations were given to the CHSFS (our agency) care center, as well as AHOPE, an AIDS orphanage in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia is an amazing place. The people are proud even though poverty is obvious, and it is amazing how many warm smiles and God Bless you's one encounters while on the streets. We are truly priviliged to bring back a part of Ethiopia.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday March 16th, 2008

Hi all! Happy Palm Sunday!

This morning we were up at 4am in order to travel to a city in southern Ethiopia called Hosanna. Today is the day that we were to meet Mekebo's birth family. Unfortunately, his birth family did not show up and we did not get to meet them. I know that there is a reason for this, but it has been hard for me to understand since I have been dreaming about this day for a long time. We were able to leave a picture of Mekebo and our family along with a letter written by us for his birth family. I cannot begin to fathom the love that they have for Mamush and the most difficult decision adoption has been for them. I pray for his birth family every night. They have given us the greatest gift...Mamush!

Tomorrow, in the morning, we get to bring Mamush to the Guest House that we are staying at. Starting on Tuesday we will get to keep him in our care for good! I am a little nervous since I have not fed or changed him yet. I forget what to do with little babies! Hopefully we will get to post some pictures tomorrow. We have not had the opportunity to post any pictures of Mamush because photographs are forbidden at the Care Center where he is at.

We are doing well. We continue to love the Ethiopian culture more and more each day. It is AMAZING! God bless...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A little update

"Well, where do we begin? As many of you know, our trip to Ethiopia to bring home our son, Mekebo James, has seemed like a long wait. Our paperwork was completed in May of 2007, we received the referral for Mekebo December 27, 2007, and we began our travel to Ethiopia on Saturday, March 8, 2008.

Our trip so far has been divided into two different parts: visiting the southern area (the country) of Ethiopia where Mekebo is from and meeting him/getting to know him at the orphanage (they call it the Care Center). The orphanage is located in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.

We arrived to Ethiopia last Sunday evening after a day and a half of traveling from Madison, Wisconsin to Ethiopia. The time in Ethiopia is seven hours ahead of Wisconsin time, but we didn’t seem to have a hard time adjusting.

From Monday morning until Thursday evening we had a wonderful time touring the southern region of Ethiopia. The farthest south we made it was halfway between Addis (which is in the center of Ethiopia) and the Kenyan border. We had our own driver and tour guide for these four days. It was great because we could ask as many (stupid) questions as we wanted.

The southern region is home to the poorest people of Ethiopia. But the people are definitely not poor in spirit! Ethiopian people are very kind and are very generous with what they have. The culture is amazing here…children are looked over by everyone. Children run in the street with no danger of being stolen. Ethiopian people are very hard working. Even toddlers carry heavy loads on their back or herd animals. The land and roads are shared evenly between animals and people (animals are their livelihood). They make amazing food with the resources they have.

Of course we did some tourist things…we toured through a wildlife park and saw lots of zebra, gazelle, birds (the colors are amazing), baboons, ostrich, and many other unique animals to this region of the world. We saw a lot of lakes (which are used for fishing and bathing) and also a hot spring (Brian burnt his finger…the children gasped as he put his finger in it).

Many of the places we stayed had wildlife outside our doors. Baboons and other monkeys were everywhere! I know that many people in the states think that mosquito nets over their beds are pretty cool looking, but we used them for necessity. Good thing for the malaria medication! I could write a novel about our time in the southern region, but I will continue on with our trip….


Friday morning (yesterday) we met Mamush. Most of you know that his birth name is Mamush Mekebo, but we will be changing his name to Mekebo James Anderson. The nannies call him Mamush with such a loving tone. They truly love him.

Meeting him for the first time was surreal. He is perfect in every way! He has long curly black hair, big plump lips, and eye lashes that you can get lost in. He has little legs with one roll at his thighs. He is 5 ½ months old now and not quite 12 pounds. The doctor told us today that he is in the 3rd percentile for weight. He is our little peanut. He does have chronic ear infections and yesterday we noticed he started getting pink eye (this morning I woke up with a slightly matted eye J).

He is a cuddly baby! He will just snuggle up to you and fall asleep. We heard him cry for the first time this morning. We have been able to spend about 2-4 hours with him each day. On Tuesday he gets to start staying with us at the Guest House. I know that Eli will just love him.

Tomorrow we get to travel to hopefully meet some members of his birth family. That will be an emotionally draining day! On Tuesday we will be going to the Embassy to get his visa. Then on Thursday we will be leaving at 10:15pm.

Mom and Brian are doing well. This has been a great adventure for us and one that we will cherish forever. Thank you to Dan, Sheila, Jacob, Kaitlyn, and G-man for watching Eli. Thank you to Roy for bringing Eli to Lake Mills. I am sure he enjoys time with his papa. Thank you to Matt, Cathy, Noah and Haley for watching Eli this coming week. You are all truly a God send…without you we would not be able to feel comfortable being here. Please give my Ya-Ya a big hug and kiss and let him know that mommy and daddy will be home from Epeopea (that made my day Sheila) soon.

Sorry we have not been able to post much on our blog…I guess the Ethiopian government has some restrictions with blogs. So thank you to Kara for posting this for us. Please keep us in your prayers. We can’t wait to see you all soon!

Love, Jill"

Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday night! My mom and Brian are packing and I am writing...it is going to be a long night. We received a long update on Mekebo today along with about ten new pics. He weighs almost 12 pounds. They say he is a playful boy with a great personality...we can't wait to bring him home!
I dropped off Eli today so that he can hang out with his Aunt Sheila, Uncle Dan, and cousins Jacob, Kaitlyn & G-man. Thank you SO much! Please give him lots of hugs and kisses from us.
So, off we go. We leave in the morning via O'Hare, Washington DC, Rome and then arrive Addis on Sunday night. Roy, we packed a lot of water!
Love you all tons. Please keep us in your prayers and we will give updates as possible.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

This little guy is from the Hadiya zone in Southern Ethiopia

We dreamed of you long before you came into our world.
We dreamed about adopting a little boy or little girl.
We didn't yet know when or where or even if or how,
But we knew the child we dreamed about would come to us somehow.
The ocean of adoption has arough and tumble tide,
But we jumped into the water knowing you were worth the ride.
And even though the journey had some sad and stormy weather,
The prize will be worth a million storms when we will be joined together.
It's difficult to dare to dream of becoming a father or mother,
When you can't control your destiny and need the help of others.
That's why you're such a miracle -you found us and we found you.
We dared to dream I dreamed of you.
I dreamed...and you came true!~Karen Burniston

Why adopt?
-By Brian

Life is a journey that has many avenues that we all must experience. How we make the journey is what defines us as individuals and makes us unique. For Jill and I, having additional children whether biologically or via adoption really didn’t matter to us. We were both raised with similar life experiences, and beliefs. We have been extremely blessed with a strong sense of spirit, health, and family.

During Jill and I's physical and spiritual walk together we decided that this life journey is one that we wanted to experience to the fullest. We have been blessed with many friends and family who have gone through the adoption process (both as adoptees and adopters), and their life experiences pointed us even further toward the decision to adopt. We chose to adopt from Ethiopia because of its people, as well as it’s pressing need for help. Ethiopia has a long proud history. The oldest Churches outside of Israel exist in Ethiopia. Additionally, the average Ethiopian makes less than $100/year. Yes I wrote that correctly: $100. Even though poverty runs rampant, they are still a proud people with a strong sense of self and hope.

We are leaving for Ethiopia on March 8, 2008. We are leaving early to experience rural Ethiopia. We will be touring the Southern Region, visiting far-off sounding places such as: Ziway, Wondo Genet, Arba Minch, Lake Langano, etc. We are thoroughly excited to see the area in which Mekebo is from. Jill, Glenda (Jill's mom), and I will be making this journey to take Mekebo home together. We can't wait to meet our little boy and bring him home.