Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Not a normal day at all

After we posted last night, we thought we had had a very nice and balanced day. That changed. Last night Mikias woke up at about 2am and we could not get him to stop crying. He would not take his bottle. He doesn’t know how to use a pacifier. (We have been able to get him to suck on an empty bottle nipple a few times.) It was awful and all we wanted to do was call someone (home) to find out what to do. Eventually, it got pretty bad and so Alemu suggested that we take him to the clinic.

Earlier in the week, when we picked Mikias up from the orphanage he did have a runny nose. So, all along we have suspected that some of his colic behavior was related to this. We noticed last night he couldn’t take the bottle because he couldn’t breathe. On top of that he was dead tired and really hungry. This is the point where we weren’t having fun anymore. It was difficult.

So, last night at 4am Alemu drove all of us to the local clinic. Our conversation prior to leaving went something like this “Bring all of our Ethiopian and US dollars, we are going to a developing country’s clinic.” It was not a good feeling. We were able to see the doctor pretty soon after we arrived, and he basically told us that Mikias was really congested. Luckily, his congestion is mostly in his sinuses and not his chest. We talked to the doctor about our concern about the flight home. In Ethiopia they do not give decongestants to children under one. The best he could tell us to do was to mix salt and water and place the drops into Mikias’ nose to help break up the congestion and then use the aspirator to clean it out. (We like this alternative better than the house maid who sucked out Mikias’ nose and spit it out - no, seriously)

After all was said and done, we were finally able to get him to breathe easier. We fed him a bottle and he fell asleep. This was somewhere around 6am. We were so exhausted mentally and physically at this point. We commented about how if we were at home we could just call our moms. It was difficult to be cut off from that.

After 2 hours of sleep, we heard banging at our window. Alemu was outside. He had received a phone call from the orphanage saying they had found the birthmother and that she would be at the orphanage until 10am. Of course, we sprang from the bed, threw some clothes on, ate on the run and began the 40 kilometer drive to Debre Zeit. We had to leave Mikias with the house care, which was also difficult. We have developed a relationship with these women and trust them though.

As we approached Debre Zeit, we tried to take video of the area. This is the area where Henock was born and lived at the beginning of his life. It was very similar to most of the villages we have seen this far. However, viewing it was different. It was hard not to think about what Mikias’ life would have been like when you know he is at a guest house in Addis preparing to come to the States with us.

Meeting the birthmother, Tizita, was an absolute wonderful and a moving experience. We were able to videotape our more than 20 minute conversation with her and felt a connection right away. She was able to, through translation, answer for us and more importantly, Mikias, questions about her life, her family and her situation. We also told her about us and gave her the opportunity to ask us any questions. We are extremely grateful for this conversation. At one point, she did tell us that we had her and the Lord’s blessing and that she considered us her family…unbelievable.

We were able to tour this orphanage as well. This was the orphanage that Henock was brought to by Tizita. It is connected with the one in Addis where we originally picked him up. Leaving Debre Zeit was difficult. Leaving Tizita was also difficult. We embraced for a long time. As we went to leave, she came back to the car and hugged me again. I will never forget that moment.

On our long drive back to Addis we were able to stop at another orphanage that Adoption Associates works with. We had saved half of our donations to deliver here and had packed them in a hurry this morning. This orphanage is relatively new and is much bigger than the other two we have seen. There were so many children. One section housed children ages 2 -10 and the other infants up to 2. We spent some time visiting the children and talking with the director. He was extremely grateful for all of the donations. He said at one point, that he found it “very encouraging”. Obviously, this was another wonderful and enriching experience.

Once we finally arrived back at the guest house it was nearly 2:30pm. We were more than exhausted. It was an extremely draining day. Thankfully, the women watched Mikias for a few more hours so that we could get some sleep. After our nap, we were/are still pretty exhausted, but had such a fulfilling day that we can’t complain. We were able to play and care for Mikias tonight and have already fed him twice. We are hoping all will go smoothly.

We hope tomorrow will be quieter. It is Embassy Day and one that will end with an entrance visa to the USA for Mikias. We received his pretty darn cute passport and birth certificate today, so we are on our way.


Anonymous said...


We will pray for a smooth, quiet night for all and clear sinuses for Mikias for the trip home.

So glad the meeting was able to take place and that it was a positive experience.


Anonymous said...

My dear Joanna,Benjamin and Mikias,

I wish you had borrowed Alamu's phone and called us ( is that even possible ). I am so sorry you had such a rough night. You survived, and you will probably have many more rough nights--but you will handle those just like you did this one. I am at school andI was sitting her sobbing as I read about your meeting with Mikias's mother. What a remarkable woman. Mikais will carrry his mother's spirit in him. I am glad it was such a special meeting for you both. I love you all, and again we are one day closer to your homecoming. I will e-mail to say goodnight.

Mom and Grandma K

Deanna said...

Wow! Reading your posts are like being on an emotional roller coaster!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanna, Ben and Mikias,

I just now sat here and read about your whole experience from bottom to top. Praise God that you were able to meet Tizita and have such a heartfelt, meaningful conversation with her! I am looking forward to meeting your new son, and pray for your safe return to Michigan!

Jackie Madacki

areevet said...

I am so excited every time I see you put a new post up. We are living thru your experiences and cannot wait to hear more. God bless you! Hope your visa appointment goes well and Mikias feels better soon. Safe travel!

PS. Amazing that you met the birthmother...made me cry!

debbiebrown said...

Joanna and Ben-
I have an entire unopened bottle of little noses saline drops and several bulb syringes that I wish I could express mail to you for Mikias. As with many things in life (and especially parenting), "Live and Learn." I will be thinking of you three on your return trip home, and look forward to hearing more of your stories and meeting your beautiful son.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys!
It's amazing how scary things like stuffed noses can be with the little ones. You are seriously almost panicking thinking, "Why aren't you drinking? Why aren't you drinking?" It's so scary. But, like your mom said, you'll go through so much more of this (like I have a whole 14 months of experience, but hey...) The first tumble...the first real teething's allllll awesome in such a powerful way because you are the caregivers...and the soothers...and the parents! :) God is amazing and I thank Him that Tizita sounds like such a wonderful woman. Mikias will always have that with her and I am sure you will do all you can to help him remember that part of who he is! :) God is so good. All the time!!!! :) Have a blessed, safe, trip to the Embassy tomorrow. Rob, McKenzie, and I will be praying that all goes smoothly, with no bumps in the road and that Mikias' little nose will be perfectly unstuffed for the journey HOME. Be safe!!! We love you guys,
The Cliftons :)

Anonymous said...

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do" ... you should've sucked snot.


Anonymous said...

Joanna, Ben and Mikias:
I so look forward to reading your blog. You are inspirational people on an incredible journey. Thank you for sharing this with us. In all of your pictures you all seem to be glowing. Even though you have had some bumps in the road, you look marvelous! Can't wait to meet Mikias. Take care!
All our love,
The Tyrrell Family

Anonymous said...

What a day! Glad to hear that Mikias - and the two of you - are doing better now.

Janice called to me as soon as I walked through the door to come to the computer. I started to cry with her as soon as I saw the pictures of you and Tizita. She's an amazing woman. And the two of you will be amazing parents too. God was watching out for Mikias and his birth mother just as He is watching out for you now. Have a safe and happy trip home!

Love, Mrs. Unger and Janice

Anonymous said...

I have read your whole blog, and I am so impressed by you all. I, too, am praying that you have a safe return home. I know that all will go smoothly. Welcome to parenthood!! :-)
Krista Anderson

Anonymous said...

By the way, Mikias and I have the same birthday (just a few years apart). :-)

Jackie Madacki

DDK23 said...

OMG, sitting here at WORK trying to make it less obvious that I am crying. What a wonderful mother,and what wonderful parents you are. Daniel had lots of congestion problems when he was that age too. We used a humidifier and vapor rub every night.

Karen said...

Hope the congestion clears, and the trip home will be as much of a breeze as is possible when you travel that far with a very young one!! I'm very glad you got the chance to meet Mikias birth mother and I'm sure those will be treasured memories as he grows older. I know our girls have had many questions about their birth family that we would like to have answered, and hopefully you won't feel so helpless when you get the same questions in a few years.

Anonymous said...

I am having trouble reading your latest report because tears are filling my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experiences. As a fellow adoptive parent, your story has a special connection with my own memories, especially with Fathers' Day approaching.
Love to all three of you and a very special Happy Fathers' Day to Ben.
Uncle Brian

Anonymous said...

Dear Joanna, Benjamin and Mikias,

I have been reading your adoption story with great pleasure.
I have a strange question for you.I have lived a few years in Addis and I am looking for a friend of mine. His name is Getachew, like in your story. Of course there are a lot of Getachew in Ethiopia, but maybe it is the same one. Would you be so kind to let me know if you know his last name or do you have an emailadress of him?
Hope to hear from you soon, kind regards,