Mama (Anne) & Reese

Daddy (Mike) & Lilly


This book is a MUST read for all interested in Ethiopian adoption.

Melissa Fay Greene

Here's a great video summary of the book by MF Greene and here is the full length version

Friday, January 18, 2008

A few of my favorite (Ethiopian) things....

My #1 favorite Ethiopian thing is of course our little Ethiopian princess, Lilly (shown here doing some gymnastics with her big sister and her bunny):

But, I have a few other favorite Ethiopian things that I thought I'd share:
(1) Favorite Ethiopian Children's Song:

All of you Ethiopia-lovers out there will definitely enjoy this great Ethiopian kid's song on the Putumayo CD "African Playground." It has kid's songs from all over Africa, but amazingly, the Ethiopian song (Hoya Hoya) is honestly the best one on the CD. (Okay, maybe I am biased, but I really think that it is the best one on the CD). Over the past few months, it has become one of Reese's favorite songs. She always asks for me to play it for her! I ran it by Eyerus this summer and she knew all of the words, so it must be legit---a true Ethiopian kid's song! You can hear it by playing it on this little music player:

(2) Favorite Ethiopian Runner:

Yes, there are many Ethiopian marathoners, but undoubtedly the currently most well-known is Haile Gebrselassie. He is arguably the best long distance runner ever and he set a new world record in September at the Berlin Marathon. That's amazing. Then, his time is INCREDIBLE: It was 2hrs, 4mins and 26 seconds. That' s 26.2 consecutive miles at under 5 minutes (4:44 to be exact) per mile! That's a ridiculous, full out sprint for the entire time! A lot very decent runners couldn't run 1 mile that fast, let alone 26 of them. That's seriously crazy. But, what is most amazing to me is his personality and attitude about it. Reportedly, after setting the new world record he immediately called Paul Tergat, the Kenyan who previously held the record, to apologize for setting the new world record. Haile says that they are friends and that he felt bad for taking the title from him. I think that this just kind of illustrates the personality that we have seen in so many Ethiopians -- very humble, kind and sweet.
(3) Favorite Ethiopian Driver-Tafesse!! Who else? (We actually like one of the other Gladney Drivers, Anbes, very much too.) But, why we are so amazed by Tafesse is that not only was he SO sweet to us while we were in Addis, but he recently sent us Christmas gifts via Nick and Sarah Marie when they returned to Addis Ababa to pick up Eyerus. He sent a T-Shirt for each of our daughters, a beautiful scarf for me, and a cool key chain for Mike! How amazing! (Special thanks, of course, to SM and Nick for taking these back from Ethiopian for us).

Basically, I love a lot of Ethiopian things...

Monday, January 14, 2008

World's Worst Blogger

Okay, it’s official. I am the worst blogger. I cannot believe that it has been since August when I last posted. I started posts many times and never finished. I have a million excuses (no time being the biggest issue-with 2 kids, full time job, family, friends, etc…I can never find any free time at all)…but, everyone is busy, right? It’s not a good excuse, I know. I am going to commit to posting blogs more frequently in 2008; no excuses. Quite honestly, I got a bit overwhelmed with the blog world for a while and felt like I could not possibly keep up with all of the amazing posts, reading other’s sites, etc… and it started to stress me out. Pathetic, I know. Then, it isn’t my main means of keeping in touch with family and friends from out of town and so I ended up having to choose between posting blog updates or sending pictures and updates to others out of town who don’t/won't read blogs regularly. But, this will become a place where I post pix and direct family and friends, even if it means learning something new for them. Some good old peer pressure from my Oklahoma bud, Amy, got me back on track! :) Thanks, Amy...I needed it. Here are a few pictures from Christmas of our lilttle ladies:

And one from around the house with Lilly. In this one, she is excited that she is about to be fed. This girl LOVES TO EAT! So, some important milestones that occurred this Fall/Winter:
  • September: Got Lilly's ears pierced! I was stressed about it, but it turned out to be a non-event. She is so tough. We LOVE her having earrings. When she got it done, even Reese said, "Oh, look so CUTE!"
  • October 1st: Lilly began walking! This was 1 week shy of her 14 month b day. *This is a month a head of when Reese starting walking. From this day forward, Lilly began to RUN around, she never went back to crawling again.
  • November 30th: Re-adoption/Adoption Finalization Court Date!!! Yeah! We had the nicest judge in the world. He kept going on and on about how he loves overseeing adoptions. He said that in doing Family court rotations it can be so overwhelming to always see families being torn apart, having to intervene in custody battles, etc… Adoption is the one thing that brings some light to his job. He was GREAT! He let Reese sit in the judge’s chair and push some buttons that make “white-noise” in the jury’s box. That made her day. FYI- We did this part without a lawyer. It really wasn’t so bad. More paperwork, of course, but not too bad at all.
  • December 31st: Received Lilly’s new U.S. birth certificate! Very exciting. There was one small mistake on the birth cert, and that is that it has me as being 21 at the time of her birth! I was actually 31…but, I think that I just might go ahead and leave that mistake on there!
  • December 31st: Spent the day on New Years Eve in the Social Security Administration office applying for Lilly’s social security card. I HIGHLY recommend going to gov’t offices on days like this because they are SLOW and the lines are SHORT. Since most people don’t have this day off from work and only take off to do fun stuff with family, no one wants to sit in the SS administration office. So, we took advantage of that and were in and out in about 45 minutes!
  • January 7th: Received Lilly’s social security card in the mail! YES! This was causing me anxiety because we would really like to be able to claim her on this years’ taxes (2007) since we spent most of the adoption money in late 2006 and early 2007. However, to do that we either need a social security number or adoption ID number (and of course have to have the adoption finalized in the US). One helpful hint for those in a similar situation (your child came back on an IR-4 visa), you do not need to wait for the Certificate of Citizenship to get a SS number. The SS administration just registers that the adoption was finalized and puts the child in as a permanent resident. Then, once we receive the Certificate of Citizenship we can go back and update her citizenship status. Whew! That was a relief.

We attended a gathering with the local Ethiopian adoption group last Saturday! It was huge. There are so many new families in the process, waiting, or with their children from Ethiopia. It is great to see the group grow. The event was at the local Ethiopian Cultural Center. It was busting at the seams and so we need to probably have these at bigger places next time. But, the local group had some girls do dancing, artwork, etc… I am looking forward to using this center more to connect with Ethiopian culture and grow closer to the Ethiopian community that is so huge in our area.

Wow-now that I have started posting again, I already have so much to say. I will definitely post again in a day or so with more pictures.