Meeting Milo – Day 6

March 23rd, 2010

Monday, March 23

After Sunday’s emotionally exhausting trip, Monday was a calmer day. After breakfast we went to the Care Center and got to bring the kids back to the guest house with us. It was nice to have him “home” and to take pictures. And yeah, we took a couple hundred that day.

Riding back on the bus.
Monday 1

Hangin’ with Dad. (yeah, he was wearing size 18 months shorts. Right now, he wears size 18 month pants.)
Monday 2

First family picture
Monday 3

Hangin’ with Mom (we changed his clothes…he’s now wearing size newborn)
Monday 4

True to form – he’s asleep.
Monday 5

After lunch we had to bring the kids back to the Care Center. This was probably the hardest drop off. It was one thing to play with him in the living room of the care center and then walk him back upstairs but to take him out and back “home” and then have to bring him back….that was hard.

Later that day we visited a few different places. We went to the National Museum. It was interesting but as one mom said while we were there, “this stuff is nice to look at but really, I just want my baby.” Yeah. Me too.

We visited a hospital. It’s actually the hospital that takes care of any of the sick children from the Care Center.

We visited a school. That part of the day I enjoyed. We got the general tour. The arena. The court yard. The classrooms. And then I started talking to the finance director and he was showing me their storage room, asking me about curriculum, telling me about class sizes…it was a very interesting conversation. Remember how I talked about wanting to teach for a year in Ethiopia.

This is where I picture myself working – Children’s Home Academy
school 1

The arena.
school 2

The court yard surrounded by classrooms.
school 3

A kindergarten classroom. (It’s about a 1/3 of the size of my current classroom but has about 25 kids.)
school 4

Going to check out the supply room.
school 5

The supply room. This was the supply room for the entire school.
school 6

After that we headed home for dinner and to relax.

Meeting Milo – Day 1 & 2

March 19th, 2010

March 20th is the day we met our son for the first time and March 27th marks 1 year home as a family of four. I don’t think I really blogged about our trip – in detail. So here it is. Day by day.

March 18th and 19th were spent on a plane. We left our house around 10:30 in the moring to catch a flight from Minneapolis to Washington, D.C. I actually thought leaving Lexi would be tough (and it was a little sad to say good-bye) but I think because at that point she had zero concept of time and we had given her a present she was pretty much “Bye. See you later.” And off we went.

We landed in DC around dinner time and waited for our flight to Ethiopia. We took a “direct” flight. We flew from DC to Ethiopia with one stop in Rome to refuel the plane. They don’t let anyone off the plane because it’s only about 45 minutes or so before you’re back in the air.

We landed in Ethiopia Thursday night around 8ish. Honestly, I have no idea what time it was. It was dark. And we got back to the guest house around 11? That’s about all I remember.

The airport was probably the worst part of the trip. There are guys who work at the airport and will offer to carry luggage for a tip. Not a big deal. Except the guy who tried to help us was completely trying to rip us off. I had gone through customs before Kevin (he was exchanging money) and while I waited for him, I was gathering up our luggage. Between the two of us, we had four huge suitcases, two backpacks and a small carryon suitcase. Anyway, the guy saw me waiting with the luggage and started loading it on a cart. I told him no because my husband was coming and he basically pretended not to hear/understand me. I finally found Kevin and the guy tried to tell us the tip was $5 (american) per bag. Um. No. Luckily we found our guide who works for CHSFS and he told us how much to tip the guy and then told the guy to go away. But it wasn’t a very fun way to start the trip.

Things got much better after that. We headed out to the bus with the rest of our group. Most of us were exhausted from the flight but everyone was still pretty excited because tomorrow morning we were meeting our kids. When we got back to the guest house they had packets of information for us. Itineraries for the week, name tags for at the care center, and updates on our kids.

It was a really good thing that I was completely exhausted because otherwise I would not have been able to sleep. At all.


January 27th, 2010

In 2006 Madeleine was the 337th most popular girls name.

Alexis was 14th in 2006 and Lexi was 345th.

In 2008, they were 271st, 15th, and 299th respectively.

Change the spelling and Madeline was number 71 in 2006 and 56 in 2008.

In 2008 Milo was 449th.

Just in case you were wondering.

Milo’s Hair…Tonight’s Adventure: Braids & Beads

January 17th, 2010

Milo’s hair is getting pretty long. It’s probably about 3 inches or more when stretched straight. Tonight I put in 12 braids (just the front 2/3 of his hair) and finished each braid with 2 beads.

The parts in his hair are not pretty, but braiding hair on a 15 month old is like trying to wrestle a mad octopus, so I took what I could get.

I want the braids to hang a little straighter without so much curl near his scalp and I think a few more beads will help with that but I didn’t want to try and put 5 or 6 beads on each braid only to find out none of them stayed in his hair overnight. The two beads will be our test run.

Okay, what you want…pictures. Remember it’s a work in progress.IMG_8410IMG_8411IMG_8412IMG_8413IMG_8414IMG_8415

Update: When he woke up this morning he had 14 out of the 24 beads still in his hair. I managed to find 8 of the 10 missing beads. Not sure if he ate the last 2 or if they are just in the blankets somewhere. Also, I think I had two problems keeping the beads in. 1) I didn’t use any product so his hair was super soft, making it easy for the beads to slip and 2) I think I was using really crappy elastics that I couldn’t get tight enough.

A Year Ago Today.

December 2nd, 2009

Last year, right about now I was heading back to my classroom from the bathroom. While I was in the bathroom my cell phone rang. I ignored it because, you know, I was in the bathroom. On my way back to the classroom I checked my messages.

“Hi Abby, this is Angie from Children’s Home Society. Could you give me a call back before our meeting tonight?” I called her back. I was thinking she was going to cancel our meeting to update our homestudy. (She has 2 kids at home, it was December, I was assuming sick kid.) It was 10:20 am and since I didn’t have to pick my class up from computers until 10:30, I decided to give her a quick call.

A really perky voice answered the phone.

“Hi Abby! I’m so glad you called me back. I’ve got some news for you! (at this point I was trying to unlock my classroom door, dropped my keys twice and was desperately trying to get to my computer) We have a referral for you to look over.” Now she read me all the details of the referral. But she still hadn’t given me a name, age, boy or girl, etc. I was pretty impatient at this point. I cut in to the details with “I need to know if it’s a boy or a girl! I have 8 minutes left to call Kevin with the news, look at the pictures on the computer and pick up my class from computers.” She laughed and said “It’s a boy. His name is Rahimeto Keyredin and he’s 5 1/2 weeks old.”

I called Kevin and at the same time checked my e-mail. When my slow (ridiculously slow) computer finally opened the file I saw this:
First Pics of Milo
and this:
First Pics of Milo

I hung up with Kevin and went running down the hall at school, interrupted about 6 classes to announce “It’s a BOY!” on my way to pick up my class.

We got back to the room and I briefly explained what was going on. I told them they could color or play with toys or read books or basically do whatever they wanted as long as they didn’t hurt anyone or break anything. (not one of my finer teaching moments, I’ll admit it.) And I spent the next half hour pouring over his referral paperwork.

I printed off his picture and carried them around in my pocket for the next week at least, showing them to anyone who walked past me.

The two pictures above are Milo Rahimeto Hendricks – 5 1/2 weeks old.
Here’s Milo over the next year:
We didn’t get any more pictures until he was 4 months old
Playing with a Nanny

We met him in Ethiopia when he was 5 months old.
Milo in Ethiopia

6 months
Making Milo Laugh

7 months
Milo Playing

8 months (hanging out with friends from Ethiopia. Harry was at the Care Center with Milo. We met Claire on the plane ride home.)
Hanging out with Ethiopian Friends

9 months
Kevin Woods' Graduation Party

10 months
Milo Crawling

11 months
Milo Tackles the Stairs

12 months
Present Time

13 months
And so it continues...

Random Topics

September 28th, 2009

Random Topic #1

Does anyone know why I’m so interested in Portland, OR? Seriously, when I think about moving (which we are currently not planning on) I never think about moving across town or to a different neighborhood. Nope. I go straight to Portland. And here’s the odd thing about it. I’ve never been there. I’ve never even been to the Northwest. But the idea of living there is very, very appealing to me.

Random Topic #2

The kids’ Halloween costumes are almsot finished. Lexi got her wish and gets to be a green princess. She’s tried on the dress twice but has declared she can’t wear it until Halloween. And Milo is going to be the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. He was going to be a bumble bee because that’s the costume I had left over from Lexi 2 years ago but the princess dress pattern was actually the pattern for the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz. And the Scarecrow pattern was included so Milo gets to be a scarecrow. And he’s going to look adorable. Pictures of the costumes and kids in said costumes will be coming soon.

Random Topic #3

Twitter killed blogging. All my friends that used to entertain me in blog-land have abandoned ship for twitter. I check google reader and the only updates I get are news blogs. Come on, don’t let the blogs die!

Random Topic #4

Kid updates.

Lexi is now taking a gymnastics/dance class. Parents aren’t allowed to stay and watch the class so the only info I have is what I glimpse through the window and what she tells me. I usually wait outside the gym in the hall and I can always hear Lexi. She’s loving class because all I hear is “WHOO-HOO! I did it! Ms. Jessie did you see me? I DID IT!” (even though she is the most ungraceful one in the class).

Milo is a crawling machine. He’s also obsessed with saying “all done”. I think he sort of knows what it means but mostly I think he just likes saying it. But don’t confuse it with his other phrase “up down”. There are other things he has words for but are kind of hard to understand still. He says “hi” and “dog” but they come out more as “i” and “dah-g”.

Random Topic #5

We’re on season 3 of The O.C. Total teenage drama. Total waste of time. Love it.

Quick Milo Updates

July 24th, 2009

Milo turned 9 months last Saturday. Here’s the latest on what he’s been up to:

  • He can hold is own bottle.
  • He can sit up.
  • He can roll wherever he wants
  • He’s attempted to escape from his sling, his bouncy seat, and his swing.
  • He pretty much insists on holding a spoon while we feed him.
  • He can finger-feed himself those baby puffs.
  • He’s really interested in real food. Last week he stole my pita bread and ate most of it. (Okay, by “eating” I mean he stored the pieces in his mouth like a chipmunk.)
  • He babbles all the time and can make sounds that sound a lot like mamamamamama.
  • And here’s some cuteness.

What Milo has been up to…

June 9th, 2009

Milo is just over 7 months old. And it’s amazing how much he’s changed in just the short time he’s been home.

  • He’s learned how to grab on to toys and shake and bang them around.
  • He thinks that blowing raspberries with a mouth full of food or milk is pretty funny.
  • He can roll from back to front and front to back. But only one direction so he’ll roll across a room and then we have to turn him around.
  • He can give high-five if you ask him.
  • He’s ticklish. Really, really ticklish.
  • He knows who Mom and Dad are.
  • And he likes us better than other grown-ups.
  • He recognizes Lexi and thinks she’s a great source of entertainment.
  • He’s almost figured out how to sit up.
  • When he takes a bath, he splashes out most of the water.
  • He’s also figured out his own way of holding a bottle.

One Month Update

April 25th, 2009

On Monday, Milo will have been home for a month. It’s a little hard to believe it’s already been a month. Some days it feels like he’s been with us forever and some days it feels like we just got off the plane.

People have been asking us if we’ve had any issues since coming home…no, not really. He is so young that it feels very similar to bringing Lexi home from the hospital. We didn’t know Lexi all that well when we brought her home. We knew we loved her and we knew she was ours but we didn’t know her eating habits, her sleeping habits, what she liked to do when she was awake – we had to figure all of that out as we went along. Same thing with Milo. Although with Milo we had the advantage of observing and talking to the people who cared for him for the first 5 months of his life so I feel like we were a little more prepared.

Since we’ve been home he’s started to show his personality a lot more. When we first met him he was pretty quiet and just observed and took in his surroundings. He wasn’t withdrawn, just very quiet. Now…well…now he’s found his voice. He loves to shriek and squeal. He thinks Lexi’s brand of comedy is freakin’ hillarious and will laugh a full-on belly laugh for her. He still sucks his thumb but now likes to blow raspberries while sucking his thumb. He makes that ppllbbbt noise all the time. His feet are one of his favorite toys. When he’s happy, he’s very happy.

He let’s us know when he’s hungry. And when he’s hungry, he wants food NOW. There is not much patience when it comes to food. Food issues were an issue we knew was a possibility with an infant and I’d say that while he’s not nearly as obsessed with food as other adoptees, he’s does have some issues with food. He mostly just needs the reassurance that he will get fed when he’s hungry.

We’ve had a few days where he needs to be held a lot but I’m not convinced that it’s adoption related. I think he just really likes to be held and some days he wants it more than others.

His sleeping his great. He naps decent during the day but at night he goes to bed around 7:30 or 8:00 and then sleeps until about 10. Gets a bottle and then goes back to sleep until about 6:30. Another bottle and then back to bed until about 8. We’ve had the occasional night of waking up at 2 or 4 wanting another bottle or waking up due to gas but all in all, I am not complaining one bit about his sleep.

I’m so glad we came home in the spring because he really likes being outside. There’s just so much for him to watch and observe.

Lexi seems to really like having a brother. She talks about him quite a bit. She asks where he is when he’s napping and always wants to kiss, hug or hold him. And when the social worker came to our house for a post-adoption visit, Lexi was very concerned that she was coming to take Milo back to Ethiopia.

Oh, and he’s putting on weight like crazy. We go to the doctor on Monday and my guess is he’s over 13 pounds. He’s actually putting on body fat in his legs and arms. And the muscles in his back and legs are gaining some strength. Today he spent a good portion of the afternoon attempting to roll over.

It’s been a good month.

Odds and Ends

April 15th, 2009

I need to blog and I’ve got a lot of things I want to blog about but not much to say about each topic so let’s just cram them all into one post, shall we? Great.

  1. Milo goes to the audiologist tomorrow. Or maybe it’s the opthomologist. I don’t remember which. But he’s got appointments at both. Nothing serious just the routine stuff they do for infants who are born in the States. Mostly to get a baseline incase things come up later.
  2. Milo had giardia. It’s a gross little parasite that comes from drinking contaminated water or poor sanitation. Luckily in the States we have meds that can treat it but unfortunately the meds taste horrid and give the patient stomach cramps so he gets really pissed when we give him the meds three times a day.
  3. I go back to work on Monday. I’m looking forward to being back at work because I miss the routine and just being at work but I’ve heard (and seen) that my class has been less than stellar so Monday probably won’t be a super-happy-yeah-ms. abby’s-back kind of day. It’s going to be more of a oh-crap-we’re-in-so-much-trouble-we’re-lucky-if-we-even-hear-the-word-recess-again kind of day.
  4. School is out May 29. Which means there are only 29 days left of school. And one of those days is the end of the year field trip. One is the student coucil field trip. One is the class picnic. One is 8th grade graduation and one is kindergarten graduation. So it’s only 24 days left of teaching. But who’s counting?
  5. I’m working on a sweater for a friend’s baby. It’s almost done and I am really liking the yarn. I think I may have to make Lexi a sweater out of the same stuff.
  6. We met with our social worker today for our first post-placement report. And surprise, surprise there’s more paperwork.
  7. Yesterday I took both kids, by myself, to a friend’s house. It felt very grown-up to be dealing with a toddler and an infant and not losing my cool – even when the toddler pooped in her pants twice and the infant started scream while I was cleaning up the toddler.
  8. I’m really tired. My bedtime has officially moved from sometime around 11 to 9:15. Which means I’m up way past my bedtime.
  9. It’s spring. Windows can be open. Sun is shining and I can wear sandals again.