Our Ethiopian Adoption Journey

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Isaac's 1st Birthday!!

It's been awhile since my last post and all I can say is we are having soooo much fun that it doesn't leave too much time to post. Isaac is getting big and he is still as happy as ever.  He is chatting away but nothing that we can understand except mama, dada, and hi. He isn't walking yet but he is getting very close. He has mastered climbing the stairs and we are just in the process of teaching him to go down.

We celebrated his first birthday earlier this month. Since his actual birthday fell on a Thursday we decided to take him to the beach and have the party on the Saturday. He absolutely loves to swim and play in the sand so this was a perfect day for him.

Isaac had a great 1st birthday party! He shared this special day with his dad who was also celebrating a birthday but of course the focus was on little Isaac.  Isaac had so much fun at his party and he was so cute soaking up all the attention!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Isaac's 1st Canada Day!!

We celebrated Isaac's first Canada day in Cobourg at the Waterfront festival.  We had a fantastic day! The pictures tell it all....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Home for One Month!

I know it's been awhile since I last posted.  It's been a busy few weeks but lots of fun.  I thought I would take some time to fill you in on what we have been up to.  We can't believe we have been home for a month already.  Isaac is doing really well and he is the most happy, content baby. 

He is a curious little guy and keeps us on our toes. He is a great sleeper which we are so thankful for.  He loves to meet new people and to be the centre of attention.    He loves to be out and exploring so we take him out a lot.  He doesn't care where he goes, he just likes to watch people and take everything in. Isaac rarely is in a bad mood, most of the time he is full of smiles but when he cries he is usually pretty easy to settle.  

Isaac loves to eat! He still is on pureed foods since he is only starting to get teeth.  His favourite foods are spaghetti, avocado, and banana. He got his first taste of icing on a cupcake and loved it. 

He loves going to park and he enjoys swinging on the swing.  Today I bought him a swing that attaches to our deck so he can swing more often now.

 He can't walk yet but is getting very close.  He uses his little walker to walk up and down the hall and he also walk around using anything he can find as a support.  He stood on his own for a few seconds yesterday so that was pretty exciting and he was so proud of himself.  He really enjoys baby einstein videos. He loves things that make noise when they are shook.  Anything that he gets in his hands he tries to shake, it's so cute. I signed him up for Kindermusik for the fall because he seems to really enjoy music.  He loves balloons and goes ballistic whenever he gets close to one. He loves water and he really enjoys his bath.

His first tooth cut through today.  So far, teething has been pretty good. We can recognize the teething cry and give him advil and that does the trick.  James is off on parental leave for the next 17 weeks since he gets a top up from his employer.  We plan to have a really fun summer as a family. We just love Isaac so much and feel so fortunate to have him part of our family. He just fits in so well. He is just amazing!

Last week we took Isaac for his first Ethiopian restaurant experience in Canada.  We went to Lalibela in Toronto.  He did really well and received lots of attention from people in the restaurant.  He tried some chiro which is stewed chick peas with spices pureed. I mixed it with mashed potatoes that I had brought to the restaurant and he just loved it.

Overall, we have enjoyed a wonderful first month with our son and we are looking forward to many more memories and firsts as a family of 3!!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our first week at home!

Our first week home went very well except for the jet lag. Isaac is adjusting extremely well but he had diffculty with the 7hr time change. For the first few days, he woke up briefly a couple times a night but for the last 2 nights he has slept through the entire night. I can't say that we are sleep deprived, he is a great sleeper! He also has 2 one and a half hour naps a day, but the rest of the time he's a baby on the move! He loves his new room and all his new toys.

It has been a busy week. We took Isaac to get his health card and his passport photos done.  He had his first doctor's appointment here in Canada and he is a healthy little boy. He went for lots of walks and visits with Granny and Grandpa.  He visited with Oma and Opa (James' parents) on Sunday.  He loves playing with his cousins and his Auntie Steph and Uncle Neil.  He's met quite a few people over the past week and he just loves all the attention.  James took him for his first Daddy and son outing.  They went to a market to buy plants for the vegetable garden then they went to visit our friend's in Toronto. I had the morning to myself which was nice to get some things done. Isaac had a great time!  Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the Toronto Zoo with Uncle Neil, Avery, and Kinleigh.  Isaac loved the giraffes!

Isaac is attaching to us really well and he definitely seems to know who his Mommy and Daddy are.  We are being cautious to limit the amount of time he spends with other people for the first few weeks to help with the bonding process.  We are the only ones that feed him, soothe him, change him during this time.  We are very pleased with how Isaac is attaching to us considering he has been with us for only 2 weeks now.  He is such an adorable little boy! He is a dream come true!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Our flight home.....

The flight home went way better than we could ever imagine. From Addis to Frankfurt, Isaac had a bassinette so he slept the entire flight so we got to sleep some too! We landed in Frankfurt at 5am for a 5hr layover. We found a quiet area with benches and all 3 of us slept for another hour.  The airport had showers so James and I were able to have a much needed shower. From Frankfurt to Toronto, Isaac didn't have the bassinette which we thought was reserved for us. We were in a row of 3 in the centre and Isaac was so tired. The head flight attendant graciously asked the man in our row if he would mind moving to a seat with extra leg room and he jumped on that. He probably was glad to get away from the "potentially" cranky baby. So now Issac was able to sprawl out on the seat between us and have his well deseved nap. Heather, our wonderful flight attendent made our flight extra special.  She brought us Champagne from first class to celebrate our new son and she went out of her way to make the flight comfortable for us.

Upon arriving in Toronto, we went through customs and instead of going directly to claim our luggage we were sent to immigration. The immigration officier reviewed Isaac's documents and said "welcome to Canada" After we collected our luggage and exited the area, Isaac was welcomed by many family and friends holding signs and balloons.  Isaac soaked up all the attention and was very happy even though he just travelled for 20+ hours. It was great to be home and everyone was so happy to finally see Isaac.  Our nieces smothered him with lots of kisses and he was happy to give kisses back. So glad to finally be home!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Last 2 days in Ethiopia...

Day 6:  Friday May 13:  Today we went to lunch with our doctor friend Teshome who work and lives in Addis.  We went to a pizzeria by our hotel which we have been to a few time and the pizza is very good.  This was Isaac's first meal out and he did really well. It was great to see and catch up with our friend again.

After lunch we were picked up by Solomon, the driver for the adoption agency to do some sight seeing and shop at some local markets.  We went up Entoto mountain and stopped at a church for a tour of the museum. We went to 2 markets on the way back to the hotel. Isaac enjoyed just looking out the window and taking everything in. He was so good the whole afternoon and he had a bit of a nap in the van.  

We went back to the hotel for a couple hours to get ready for dinner.  Solomon was taking us to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant called Hebir for dinner.  The agency takes all families for a celebration dinner once the visa is in. Since we were the only family there with our visa we went on our own with Solomon.  It was a good night, the food was excellent and the live Ethiopian dancers were great.  Isaac was so pooped after his long and busy day, he just slept on the bench next to us.  So cute!

Day 7: Saturday May 14:  We are leaving today! We spent the morning packing while Isaac was napping. Marcos (our cab driver) invited us to his family's home for coffee. We were excited to experience a real coffee ceremony in his home. We headed over for about 2:00 and there were a couple other families that were also staying at our hotel. Marcos' family was very welcoming and even served us a meal that we weren't expecting at all.  We found out that it is common etiquette in Ethiopia that you always serve a meal to any visitors that come into your home.  Isaac had a great time with all these Ethiopian ladies doting all over him.

That evening we met our friends, Aila and Barry from BC, for dinner at the pizzeria.  Their flight had just gotten in the night before and they are picking up their 2 year old son. We met them the last time in Ethiopia and we are so happy we get the chance to see them again! It was great catching up with them and it was nice that they got to see Isaac again. After dinner, we went back to the hotel for some last minute packing and then it was off to the airport. 

The manager of the hotel, Assefa, drove us to the airport. As we were driving, Isaac was waving to all the cars as if he was saying good bye.  It felt sad in a way, he is leaving the home and people he has ever known.  It felt surreal that in a couple hours we would be on a plane with our son heading to Canada, after all this time waiting for this. People at the airport were saying goodbye to him obviously knowing that he was leaving their country for good with the opportunity for a better life.  We say goodbye to Ethiopia for now, but we will be back many times! Our plan is to bring Isaac back every 4-5 years. It is very important to us that he knows where he comes from and that he learns as much as he can about the culture.  The Ethiopian people are wonderful and we are going to miss them a lot.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Day 5

We had a good night last night.  Isaac slept throughout the whole night to our surprise.  In the transition home, he was waking 2 times a night for a bottle. We were able to get a lot of sleep.  James and I feel so blessed to have Isaac as part of our family.  He is adjusting so well and is really happy.  We just love him so much. It was definitely God's plan for him to be in our lives.

Today we spent the day at the Sheraton again with Alicia and John. Isaac had his first swim and absolutely loved it. He is sleeping again right now on the lawn chair, we are wearing him out! We aren't coming back to the Sheraton again so I may not be able to post again before I leave since the internet outside the Sheraton is awful.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Trip to the Doctor and to the Sheraton

Isaac has a cough and chest congestion so we decided we would take him to the doctor.  We found out about a Swedish clinic here in Addis that is suppose to be very good. We booked an appointment for 11:30 this morning.  The clinic was very nice and he doctor was helpful. She took a stool sample to do a simple parasite test which was negative.  He had his finger pricked for a blood test and he was a real trooper and it was surprising how much blood they got from a single finger prick.  His blood test for infection was negative.  He does have a lot of mucous in his lungs s the doctor prescribed a decongestion to loosen up the mucous.  She doesn't think it is bacterial so she didn't put him on an antibiotic. We feel better that we had him looked at since we have a 20hr trip home at the end of the week.

We spent the afternoon at the Sheraton instead of hanging out at the hotel.  Isaac's first day out with us was amazing and he is such a good, well natured baby. He had a 2hr nap on the lawn chair which is why I have so much time to do this blog.

Our past 3 days in Ethiopia.....

You have probably been wondering why we haven't posted anything on our blog, it's not because we haven't tried, it is because the internet has been less than reliable.  We haven't until now been able to access our blog and only occasionally our email. We are paying for internet at the Sheraton and it is excellent! So I'm going to try to recap our last three days for you and they have been incredible!  We arrived Friday night around 9pm, the flight was great!

Day 1: Sunday May 8 (Mother's Day!) We got picked up at 10am by the transition house driver and he took us to go see Isaac.  We went with another couple, John and Alicia, who were also visiting their son. We were so thrilled to finally be able to see Isaac again and for me it was even more special to have my son in my arms on Mother's Day. Isaac was shy at first but he came around very quickly.  He really enjoyed swinging on the swing and it didn't take him long to fall asleep.  We spent about 2 1/2 hrs with him and it was a really great visit. It was hard to leave but Isaac needs to adjust to us before we take him and we were also waiting for his visa to arrive. 

We then had lunch at Lucy's and ate on the beautiful patio.  We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Sheraton just relaxing and swimming. Later that evening we went to a traditional Ethiopian cultural resaurant with our new friends John and Alicia.  There was live Ethiopian dancing and the food was very good!  It was a great first Mother's day being a mom!!

Day 2:  Monday May 9: We were expecting Isaac's visa today but unfortunately the Canadian Embassy Visa Section in Ethiopia was closed so the adoption agency representative was unable to pick them up.  We were disappointed but we had confidence that they were there and would be picked up on Tuesday.  We got picked up today at 10am again to go see Isaac.  Again he played a bit strange when he saw us but came around quickly. He loved the swing again and he fell asleep in my arms.  He is a very cuddly little boy and loves to be held. We fed him lunch which was basically spaghetti with meat sauce pureed, he loved it!  Once he got to feel comfortable with us he gave out lots of smiles!

After our visit, we went to the Merkato market again which is the largest open air market in Africa. Our favourite cab driver Markos was again our tour guide (he's the best!) We bought Isaac a little traditional Ethiopian outfit which he is going to look so cute in.  We also bought a few other souvenirs, we had a great time.  We then headed over to Tomoca coffee where James bought 15 kilos of Ethiopia's best coffee and the three us enjoyed Addis' best machiato! Later that evening we decided to go to one of the best Italian restaurant in the city to celebrate (hopefully) our last night as just the two of us.  The Italians once occupied Ethiopia so Italian food is quite common in the city.  The restaurant was very nice and has been frequented many celebrities and world leaders. The food was good and the price came to a whopping $35 with tax and tip.  Ethiopia is extremely cheap which is good for us!

Day 3: Tuesday May 10 (Gotcha Day!) The visa is in! We were so excited because we get to pick up Isaac today!  We were picked up at 3pm by Solomon (the transition house driver).  He took us to the grocery store to pick up some supplies we needed for Isaac such as formula, cereal, baby food etc.  We then went to the agency office where we met Marta (the agency representative).  We received Isaac's passport with his visa, his birth cerificate, and original adoption documents from court. We then headed over to the transition house to pick up Isaac.  When we saw him this time he didn't act strange at all so he was more than willing to come with us.  We couldn't believe this day had finally come and the whole thing seemed a little surreal.  The caregivers said good bye to him which was hard for them because they became attached to him.  We placed him in the baby bjorn carrier for his ride home and he really liked it.  In the van on the way back to the hotel, he was so busy taking everything in around him.  He was so cute! When we got back to the hotel, he was just a happy baby.  He spent a lot of time playing and exploring his new environment. He adjusted very well and we had a great time with him.  We gave him a bath and he absolutely loved it! He had no problem going to sleep at   8pm but he did wake up 3 times in the night but I was able to get him back to sleep quite quickly.  Overall, our first night as parents was great and not too difficult but he just might be easing us in.