Monday, July 25, 2011

And the next days ...

It was now June 23rd.  Our boys' birthday is June 22nd  - and we didn't get to see them on their birthday since we arrived home from our trip south long after they were asleep for the day.  We were so excited to be with them... it was a big day!  Today was the day that when we picked them up from the nannies and they got to STAY with us!  Yeah!  It was the day that they would sleep in our room ... that we didn't have to say good bye when we said good night, but rather fall asleep next to them!

We had a few things that we wanted to do before we went to get the boys.  First, we went to visit an amazing family, the Shannon's. They run a daycare near the garbage dump in Addis Ababa in an area called Kore - an area of the city that is very poor and known as a forsaken place. The Shannon's and their staff care for children that are being raised by single mom's.  Their daycare assistance along with nutrition during the day allow for these single mom's to be able to work and earn some type of an income.   Their organization is called Embracing Hope Ethiopia. Check it out - you can even sponsor one of these precious kiddos! We can help them bring hope to these moms and children.

This is a picture from their daycare's rooftop.  You can kind-of see the dump in the background on the left side of the picture.

Here is a picture of us with the Shannon Family

After we left Embracing Hope Ethiopia we took our driver out for a cup of coffee at Kaldi's coffee.  I've said it before and will say it again ... there is nothing like a good cup of Ethiopian coffee!

Then we went back to the care center to get the boys and bring them to our room!  They were ready for their bath, so we decided to give that to them in our room.  They loved it!

Next came a little birthday party!  There was so much to celebrate!

Then we went outside to play for awhile.

After we played, it was lunch time.  We fed them their first lunch with us and it was nap time.  Back up to our room we went.  We all laid down on our bed.  It seemed like the moment we had been waiting for so long.  The boys were in our custody!  No more "goodbyes"!  We are all so happy that we were doing more playing than napping.  Then, Isaac Buche crawled over me and turned to get off the bed.  He did make it off the bed, but not very gracefully.  Things changed from a happy, excited day to a bit of a stressful day.  Isaac Buche screamed, held his upper leg and instantly started to sweat.  I knew something was wrong.  We brought him downstairs to the nurse on staff at our care center.  He is one tough boy and didn't really cry as we were feeling around on his leg so we decided to give him some Tylenol, ice his leg and let him nap.   He slept in my arms and woke up and still would not move his leg.  The doctor was coming to the care center anyway that afternoon, so we waited til he came to do anything else.  After he looked at Isaac Buche's leg he said that he didn't think it was broke, but that we should get an x-ray to make sure. So, we were off on another adventure.  We went to the clinic and sure enough, our little boy had a clear break on his femur.  By this time it was late into the evening.  We went back to the care center and he slept right next to me for the night.  He didn't wake up all night and sleep so soundly.   That evening I was so thankful to have the connection of the Shannon's who we had just seen that morning.  Christy Shannon gave me the name of an US Orthopedic Dr who was working in Ethiopia.  So, when morning came off we went to "The Cure" hospital to get our little guy set in a cast.

This is in our room at our agencies care center before we left for the hospital.

Isaac Buche had to be put completely under general anesthesia to be put in his cast.  Both our agencies staff as well as the staff at the Cure were so great, but it was such a scary time.  As his bed was being wheeled into the Operating Room I kissed my little guy and told him he would be okay and then I lost it and started to cry.  The nurse who was with me looked me in the eye and said ..."No problem ... God is with him".  I so needed that reminder at that minute and am so thankful for her.  God had seen us this far and there was not doubt that He would take us the rest of the way ... but it was so hard to watch our little guy have to go through this pain  - especially only hours after we took custody of him!  I know God had a plan in all of this and I've been watching it unfold as the weeks have passed.  Isaac is a very independent little boy. Because of this cast he has needed to depend on us and we have spent many hours rocking and cuddling.  Hours that I'm not so sure he would have let happen so quickly if he had not broke his leg.  Don't get me wrong ... I would have never wished this on him - ever ... but there is beauty in the ashes.

Waiting in our hospital room before going to the Operating Room

This was so beautifully painted on the wall of our Hospital Room.  I'm not sure what the writing says, but the picture sure did remind me of what the nurse told me ... God was with my little boy.

All gowned up and ready for the Operating Room

Daddy and Isaiah Burka waiting while Isaac Buche was in surgery

Back from the Operating Room with a hefty hip spika cast.

We left the hospital that same day.  We unfortunately missed a sweet coffee ceremony at the care center that happened while we were at the hospital but we did get back in time to say goodbye to our friends who were all flying home that evening with their kiddos.

And ... since we've been home we've discovered that nothing will stop our little Isaac Buche! 

 Here our little guy is at home and had just learned that he can walk in his cast!  He is now running.  We are coming up on week 5 of his cast being on and hopefully will get it off in just 7 days (but whose counting)!

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose".  Romans 8:28

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The next days ...

The next days in Ethiopia were amazing!  Days that I can not share much about because the details are for our family ... for our boys to hear from us when they are old enough to understand.  Details that are delicate and precious.  I'll share some pictures of our trip to southern Ethiopia - the part of Ethiopia that our boys' were born in.

We saw beautiful homes like these on our way.

The Rift Valley is full of breath taking beauty!

The children and beautiful!

The bamboo huts and fencing are a work of art.

The waterfalls are amazing!

We got to see a "fish market"

Not only did we wake up in the morning to monkey's running on the roof at our hotel, but Ryan even got to feed one some Hambasha.

We visited this Orthodox Church.

We bought some traditional clothing for the boys' from this store and got to tour how they were making the fabric and sewing the clothes.

There is no doubt in my mind that these two days were a gift from the Lord that we will treasure in our hearts forever.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Embassy Appt 6.20.11

Ryan and I walked over to the boy's room on the morning of 6.20.11 to pick them up and bring them to the Embassy for our Embassy interview.  We had given the nannies clothes to put on the boys the day before, which were too big, but they worked.  The shoes I brought for the boys, however were not going to work!  They were WAY to big.  At first I thought our sons might have to go home barefoot, but God worked out the details with those too big shoes.  We gave them to the care center and got to take home the little shoes that the boys wore while they were at the care center.  So, they got to bring something home from Ethiopia - their shoes.  The same shoes that were lined up outside their bedroom while they were napping that we would stare at out our dining room window and wait for them to disappear because it meant there were little feet in them and the boys were awake and ready to play.

We left with 2 other couples and the boy's nurse and traveled to the US Embassy.  We went through security, gave the embassy some paperwork that they didn't have (thank goodness I had made copies of everything and had it with us) and waited in line.  We were number 414.

After our interview we loaded up in the van and headed back to the care center.  The boys fell asleep in our arms.  My heart was content and I think I could have rode around Addis all day in that van while our boys were in our arms sleeping.  The last step was done.  Their visa and passports were in our agencies possession!

When we arrived back at the care center the boys went to finish their nap and we went to visit a Leper Hopsital in Addis with the other couples that had their embassy appointments that morning as well.  We found many lovely things to purchase.  We then went to the coffee shop and had a cup of coffee and purchased some beans.  There is nothing better than a good cup of Ethiopian coffee!  We also went to Book World that is right by the coffee shop and bought some books.  Then we were off to the Market for awhile.

After we were done in the city we went back to the guest house and picked up the boys and brought them to our room and played.  At dinner time, we needed to bring them back to the nannies.  We would not take custody of the boys until after we had traveled south on our birth family visit.  

We then met up with the other couples again, and went to Habesha 2000 -  an Ethiopian Restaurant to celebrate! We watched some amazing dancing and singing and ate some terrific Injera and everything that goes with it!

I don't have many pictures of this day to share with you.  So, I'm going to share some photos that I could not share with you before.  Ones that we took of the kids on our first trip to Ethiopia when we went to court.

This picture was just as we held the boys for the first time.  They were so scared.

Brothers Forever!  Zachary and Isaac Buche

Amanda and Isaac Buche

Hannah and Isaiah Burka

Grace and Isaiah Burka

Greta and Isaac Buche

Isaac Buche

Isaiah Burka

Isaac Buche

Isaiah Burka

Psalm 28:7
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Sweet Father's Day 6.19.11

We are adjusting at our home.   Life is good.  I'm so glad that our family is all under one roof.  All of the kids are doing good.  Although I've been reminded that I am not as young as I once was, I love the sound of the word "mommy" with an African accent coming from the room next to mine.  I love the smile and the arms reaching to me as I walk in the room.

We arrived in Africa late Saturday night.  We woke up Sunday morning and went to go and see the boys.  It was a Father's Day that Ryan will never forget.  His heart was overjoyed to see our sons, and was missing our son and daughter's who were at home in the USA.

When we walked over to the room the boys were in we were amazed that the boys saw us and right away got their little shoes and came walking toward us.  I wasn't sure what to expect ... after all we had come about a month previous, told them we loved them, held and played with them every second we could and then left.  We left them with a photo album to look at not really having a clue if they understood that we were coming back - coming back to bring them home forever.  We spent our first day in Ethiopia simply playing with our new sons.

Friday, July 1, 2011

We're home!

We are home!  We had an amazing time in Ethiopia and we miss not only the beautiful country, but many people that we got to know while we were there.  

I have much to share, but most importantly now I (and the five other kids and Ryan)  have much, much, much time to spend bonding with our new sons and brothers.  I am soooo thankful for our awesome family, friends and church.  Words can not express how much each of you mean to us.  

So, introducing ...

Isaiah Burka and Isaac Buche

We took these pictures on our way out of our guest house as we left for the US Embassy

Some good friends of ours drove us to the airport, and on the way Tammy read us a Psalm.  I read it every day while we were in Africa, and am still reading it ...  God is Good.  
Psalm 16
miktam[a] of David. 1 Keep me safe, my God,
   for in you I take refuge.
 2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
   apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
   “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
   I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
   or take up their names on my lips.
 5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
   you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
   surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
   even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
   With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
   my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
   nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
   you will fill me with joy in your presence,
   with eternal pleasures at your right hand.