Thursday, October 30, 2008

Last Day in Ethiopia!

We are sad to leave, but oh so happy to be going home today!

This morning we visited Kids Care Orphanage.  We were able to pass out gnomes and candy and see several of the little ones referred to our friends in the Yahoo! Group.  (After we were there your children were moved to the transition home!)  (Candy, HM didn't appreciate William picking him up!  The nannies say he is a good boy!)

We did some more shopping.  Daddy picked out something special for Marissa and Annika!

We had pizza for lunch.

We visited Gelgela Orpahnage where Meteku lived for a few weeks and passed out more gnomes! 

The children at both places loved the gnomes and smiled and nodded as they received them.  The toddlers were especially excited and bounced for joy!  We will post some photos in a few days.

We are at the hotel packing up to go to the airport soon. 

I can't wait to get back to the U.S. to see Jeremy, Marissa, and Annika and give them the biggest hugs.  Sorry, I will probably smell funny!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

And here is the picture

I know that what you all really want to see is this. This was taken
Tuesday in the hotel room. Benaiah / Meteku is such a happy baby and
we are all doing well.

Success at the embassy

Sorry, no pictures today. We were at the US Embassy and pictures are
not allowed, so the camera has been in the safe all day. All five
families got approval for their Visa today. The only small hurdle
left to get over is that the Wempe's and us need the visa tomorrow (it
normally takes two days). Rachel made sure they knew this, and I am
confident it will work out fine.

Getting into the Embassy is an ordeal, two metal detectors, an x-ray
machine, and MANY MANY guards. Tip for families coming later, only
take what you NEED to the Embassy. Of course, you never know how long
you will need to wait in the reception, so you may need baby supplies.
Dietrich concerned the guard with his small roll of Charmin. It was
pretty funny when the guard pulled it out and asked him what it was.
At first, Dietrich didn't know, then he had some trouble explaining.
Thankfully, it did not get as far as a demonstration.

After the Embassy, we had a short shopping trip to get soccer jerseys
and some jewelry. Back to the hotel for room service dinner and some
packing and hopefully an early night.

Benaiah is doing GREAT still. He slept well last night although Susan
and I were up a lot checking on him. He took a nap and had some
snoozing in the van. When in the room, he crawls around and plays and
even laughs a little. We are all doing really well, and I just pray
it keeps up for the plan ride tomorrow.

Susan and I have been calling him Meteku (his given name) since that
is how he is known here. At the transition home, and the court papers
and the visa all have Meteku William Schmidt as his "official" name.
We need to work on transitioning him to learning that Benaiah is him
as well.

One person in a shop today asked Robel (our Ethiopian guide) if
Benaiah was Susan's child. He explained that we adopted him. The
shop-keeper apparently saw a resemblance, and we already treat him
like our own child loving on him and interacting with him.

It's raining today which everyone says is quite unusual for late
October. In fact, we had thunder and lightening which Rachel said
never happens. It's a bit depressing and makes it no fun to be out to

I am more then ready to come home although there is a lot more "loot"
I would have liked to get before we leave. I just want to get back to
NC and get on with the next stage.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 2 in Ethiopia -We've Got Our Boy!

This trip is crazy!  We both took Ambien again last night, and it seems that we have adjusted to the time change now.  We are just exhausted for all of the activity and the emotions.

This morning we had our paperwork party where will filled out 3 more forms for the US to grant us a visa for Meteku.
Amy Lusse passed out a motion sickness drug that begins with a "B."  All of the folks who partook did much better in the car today including William.  William definately had motion sickness.

Then, we went shopping.  We got lots of good stuff!  It was fun, but we found the haggling over prices to be taxing.  Just give us a fair price already!  But, it is the way here!  Too funny! Rachel is brutal.  I would have loved to have Lenka with us too!

We went to the Hilton to straighten out our seats on the Ethiopian Air flight home.  They have a service center there.  The Wempes' baby's ticket had be CANCELED, so it was good that we went!  We also had lunch.  That place is really nice! 

In the late afternoon, we finally got the the transition home where we had the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, gave our nannies gifts, and gathered our babies! 

Meteku fell asleep in the sling and slept all of the very bumpy way to the hotel.  He enjoyed exploring the room.  Meteku is so sweet and so smart!!  He got a bath in the wet bar and got greased up and some PJs.  He took a bottle and a half and fell asleep next to me in the bed.  When I went to get up, he reached out for me not to go.  It just melted my heart.  We am here for him now. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 1 in Ethiopia

Today was our first full day in Ethiopia.  We both took an Ambien last night.  After I took mine, I broke my toe on the bed, fell onto the bed, and I couldn't get up!  I slept soundly until 5:30 am.  William says I was talking in my sleep.

We met our group for breakfast in the hotel restaurant.  It was very good AND included with our room.  We left the hotel at 10 am (or so) and met Rachel, the transition home director, at the Ethiopian version of Starbucks for a meeting, and then had lunch at some Garden restaurant.  William and I both got Ethiopian dishes.  The injera was much more sour than at home.

After lunch was the moment we came for!  We went to the transition home to meet our children!  It was very surreal.  Meteku (Beniah) was fine with being handed off.  He did not make eye contact with us at first.  William and I passed him back and forth and told him about his big brother and big sisters.  After about 15 minutes, he fell asleep in my arms. 

We really enjoyed all of the children at the transition home.  I know those of you waiting to go are just dying.  Your children are precious!  I was especially smitten with the Laughner's little one.  He is a sweet heart!  Of course, they are all wonderful!  The bigger kids are lots of fun, and the girls liked to show me how well they jump rope and enjoyed the praise they received.  We delivered the care package to the Forrests' adorable little guy.  He really likes his car!  We know you all are dying for more photos, but the connection here is SO SLOW that we cannot load that many photos.  The Lusses alone took over 700 photos today! 

We were really please to see that the photo book and the lovey that we sent for Meteku months and months ago were in his little bed!  When we handed him his lovey, he grasped onto it and gnawed on the tags.  We both got to feed him bottles, and he gazed into our faces and even grabbed my nose and William's mouth.  Ouch. 

The VanWettens were so blessed today to meet their older daughter's birth mother.  It was very emotional and a strong spiritual experience for them.  You'll have to check their blog whenever she gets a chance to share their story.

We went out for an Ethiopian cultural experience for dinner.  It was traditional Ethiopian food including the hand washing and dancers.  We loved it!

We went to a store after dinner and stocked up on water and got some bebere spice and one can of the formula that Meteku is eating now.  It was expensive -$9 for a small can. 

William is feeling a little ill in the tummy.  He thinks that part of it is motion sickness from riding in the van.  The roads here or lack of roads here are getting to him.  Riding around is a true experience!! 

The hotel is nice.  We have a lot of room.  We bought the noise machine that KP recommended and were not woken by the call to prayer at 6 am or whenever it was.

Happy Birthday, Jeremy!!

Today is Jeremy's 11th birthday!!!  I can't believe we are missing it, but we know that you will have a great day!

We are leaving soon to meet Jeremy's little brother!  What an eventful day!  You still want a brother, Jeremy?

Have lots of fun y'all at home!  We love you! 

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Ethiopian Air nailed us for another $50 and took my rolling carry-on and checked it.  We were just happy that it wasn't another $180!  Many, many people were having issues with this, and lots of bags were being checked.  We managed to get everything we needed for the flight including extra underwear into our other bags.

The airplane ride was longggggggg.  We were very squished.  Pumping was quite a chore when the guy in front of me put his seat back and our dinner came!!  William had both of our dinners on his tray while I pumped with my pump bag in my lap.  UGH. 

Who would have thought that we would celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary in Rome?  William presented me with my charm baby necklace with a new addition on it!  I also got an add-a-pearl to put on the necklace that he started on our wedding day.

We met lots of nice people in the airport and on the plane.  Most of the people on the plane were Ethiopian or on a mission trip.

We landed on time, and found the sign that was photographed by the Carpenters when they went to get our visas.  We and the Wempes found all of our bags.  Thank-you, God!  We were waived through the security after being questioned about what we had in our luggage.  Robel and the driver from the Addis View Hotel were there to get us right away and took us through the rain to the van.

The hotel was about 20 minutes from the hotel, and we have already seen more poverty than most Americans.  People were hunkered down in the rain under pieces of plastic.  And yes, they do have dogs here.  I won't be going near one even though they are cute.

Love to our parents and Jeremy, Marissa, & Annika.  I hope you're having fun!

Blogging fromDC -- Now Addis

I'm writing this blog post from the DC airport. If all goes well, I
will find an internet connection and post this. Otherwise, you are
reading this after I posted from whenever I find an internet in Addis.

We left home today around 12 noon and headed to the RDU airport. We
had a surreal moment checking in all our bags. We really are flying
to Ethiopia and picking up our precious son. It was nice to get
everything sent off and we said a little prayer that everything
arrives in Ethiopia saftely. We found out as we were leaving the
ticket counter that Jorge was so slow and deliberate because it was
his first day on the job. United charged $180 for the 5th bag. Even
when Susan told them it was full of "formula and medicine for
orphans". We were preparred for this, but still hopeful that they
would let it go for free.

Nothing to report on the flight to DC. Right after we got off the
plane, we met up with John and Heather Wempe. Our travelling buddies.
They are on their way to get their little girl at the same Transition
home as Benaiah. We had a nice dinner together and plenty of time to
catch up.

We got checked in at the Ethiopian Airlines counter, and they charged
us another $50 to gate check one of our carry-on bags. They were
allowing carry-on bags up to 20 lbs, and we had one that was exactly
20 and one that was 27. We shuffled a bit and got what we will need
into one bag and paid the fee.

Right now, Susan is pumping for the first, but not last time this
trip(hopefully the picture attach worked), and we have about 2 hours
before they start boarding the plane.

We met a couple of really nice Ethiopian gentlemen in line for the
check-in. One is on his way to see the birth of his first child. We
struck up a nice conversation. The Ethiopian people sure are
friendly. Even when they charged us for the checked bag, it was still
with such a smile. And they are so beautiful. Susan was looking
around at all the passengers imagining what Benaiah will look like as
a young man and as an adult.

We miss you Jeremy, Marissa and Annika!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Today was do or die with the packing. Here is our pile.

We closed the 18-gallon Rubbermaid tubs by drilling holes in one side and using cable ties to make a hinge. One the other side, we drilled a hole and put in a TSA approved lock. After we run to the store again, we're going to put brightly-colored duct tape around them to hold them shut tightly, and we're going to write "Humanitarian Aid" and the name of our hotel.

By the way, we are staying at the Addis View Hotel.

Wow! We're almost on our way!

Leaving on a jet plane

In less then 24 hours, we will be getting on a plane to get Benaiah.  I am so excited, but there are many many last minute details to take care of.  Right now, on the top of the list is making sure I know how to post to our blog via email. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

State Fair!!

We had our annual trip to the fair yesterday. It is something that we really look forward to!

I don't have much time to blog about it, but here are some photos.

Marissa is our rider. She will ride *anything*!! She rode with both Jeremy and Annika because she was big enough and small enough!

Some old man here in Raleigh made his own coffin and entered it into the fair. We saw him on the news. He said that he had never lived in a house that he hadn't built, so he wasn't going to start when he died.

We ate:
Cary U.M. ham and sausage biscuits
funnel cake
fried Twinkie
Al's Fries and a Coke
Rice's Lemonade
Bloomin' Onion
NC State Ice Cream

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


The final piece of our paperwork has *finally* arrived in ET. I just wanted to post a quick thank-you to everyone for praying this last piece into place. If you don't know the full story, here is the short version. The United States embassy in Ethiopia which will issue a visa for Benaiah to come home had incorrect information that our orphan petition had expired. We had this corrected in September. Then just this month, they alerted us that our "fingerprints" had expired (This is a funny term they use to refer to a criminal background check that accompanies a fingerprint scan). In fact, our fingerprints don't "expire" until December. Last week, I had the correct information re-transmitted to Ethiopia, and today, got the confirmation that the fingerprints and orphan petition have indeed not expired.

Some of you know this was a very frustrating week trying to 1. Find out what to do, 2. Get it done, and 3. Get confirmation that it was done. I know that the prayers of many have helped to make this happen and we thank you. Now we are off to enjoy the fair!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Gnomes for Ethiopia

When I told my dear friend Beth that I was knitting gnomes for my travel group, she took on the mission of knitting as many as possible for children waiting in the orphanages in Ethiopia.

Several weeks ago, she told her friends at the Well-trained Mind message boards about her quest, and had several knitters and families of knitters step up to help!

Today, Beth brought over a grocery sack full of 77 little gnomes! Aren't they awesome??!! They are all so different just like we are! Even more are coming!

Thank-you WTM knitters and friends for all of the time, yarn, and creativity you put into these little friends! Most of all thank-you for your thoughts and prayers for the children!

Now, I have to figure out how to get little gnome passports... Hee hee.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Since William & I will be in Ethiopia on Jeremy's 11th birthday, October 27, we celebrated today!! His best friend, Bethany, came over, and Jeremy opened his gifts. Marissa bought him the Lil' Kinz unicorn that he wanted with her own money.

After the gifts were opened, we went to P. F. Chang's for lunch. The kids had Shirley Temples all around -and around again. (Annika is FREAKING!!!!) We ordered Jeremy's favorite, Moo Shu Pork, and other yummy dishes.

The waiter brought Jeremy a mini cake, and we sang "Happy Birthday."

Another month has passed in our little one's life. Benaiah is 9 months-old today. We know that he is crawling and pulling up and is a happy guy.

We began our packing yesterday. So far, we have 3 big suitcases and a Rubbermaid container. We are probably going to need to pay for an extra piece to get all of the donations there, but it is wonderful that we have to much to take!

Thank-you all who dropped off formula in the box at church!

Friday, October 17, 2008

got formula? -part 2

This weekend at church, Hope Community (, there will be a yellow box on the end of the nursery registration counter (across from the sanctuary) for you to place your formula donations!

Thank-you to Heather for letting the MOPS group know how to help this precious, little people in Ethiopia! Thank-you MOPS mommies!

This is so cool to be able to directly make a difference!

Thank-you to all who will donate formula!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

got formula?

Food is becoming a lot more expensive and scarce in Ethiopia. At least one of the orphanages that works with our agency is running very low on formula. They are not far away from having to give the babies in their care milk instead of formula. Traveling parents are the best way to get formula into the country, so we have been asked to take donations of formula. If anybody out there in blog land would like to donate either money or formula for us to take, it will directly benefit orphans in Ethiopia. We are willing to take an extra bag or container if we need to. We will need by next Tuesday or so. Thank-you!

We have hit another snag with getting Benaiah's visa to come home. In early September, we were told that our approval had expired in APRIL while it is actually good until next March. We had our information resent from immigration to the embassy, and it seemed that things were straightened out. Last week, we were told that the embassy thinks that our fingerprints expired in JULY. They are in fact good until December. So, here we go again. Please, pray that this gets fixed very quickly.

We are leaving home on Saturday, October 25. We leave Ethiopia late Thursday night and arrive home on the afternoon of Friday, October 31.

I feel stuck in the mud. I need to clean. I need to pack. Nothing is started.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Benaiah Meteku is OURS!

Praise God! We finally passed court!!!!

Meet our youngest son, "Benaiah Metuku!" He was born on January 19, 2008, so he is now about 8 1/2 months-old.

The photos are in the order that we got them. The first one is from his referral when he was 4 1/2 months-old. The last one with the pink, ruffled bottom was sent to us on October 1, so he is just over 8 months in that one.

William and Susan will likely fly to Ethiopia on October 25 and will return home the next Friday, October 31.

Thank-you to everyone for your prayers for our court date to be successful. Please, pray that the details for our travel will come together and that our trip will be uneventful other than the excitement of meeting our son!

Gotta get packing!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Court Date!

Our court date is October 8, but Ethiopia is 7 hours ahead of us. So, late Tuesday night on the other side of the world, a judge should grant us our precious baby boy.

Thank-you very much for your continued prayers.

We should hear something from our program director Wednesday afternoon. Please, don't call us to ask if we have heard because when we're waiting for important information such as this, it gives us a heart attack every time the phone rings! We will be watching for that "703" area code.

If we pass, there will be photos, so check back Wednesday afternoon! We will call you Mema, Grandma, & Grandpa!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Making Milk

I have had several people ask how this works.

My friend LJ was a huge resource as was The website covers several topics including adoptive breastfeeding using the Newman-Goldfarb Protocol for Inducing Lactation which I will refer to as simply "the protocol."

With the protocol, the mother takes hormones in the form of birth control pills for 9 months. (There is an accelerated protocol for those who don't have that much time before their baby arrives.) Along with the pill, another medication (domperidone) that has a side-effect of increasing the body's prolactin (a milk-making hormone) is taken.

When the mother desires to make milk, the pill is stopped, the domperidone is continues, and the pumping begins every 2-3 hours around the clock. Fenugreek and blessed thistle capsules are added at mealtimes.

Amazingly, there are droplets of milk to start. As the days pass, the droplets turn into drips, and weeks later, there are puddles. The pumping can be spaced out. After 7 weeks of pumping, I am pumping 5-6 times a day and getting around 5 ounces per day! It may not seem like much, but over this long wait, it has begun to take over the kitchen freezer and will provide many bottles for Benaiah!

I am so glad that I will be able to give this gift to our son. Whether or not he takes interest in nursing, he will enjoy the superior nutrition of his mother's milk. We are going to see if he is interested in nursing after we get home and settled a bit. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Update!


Arrival at AWAA Transition Home: 5.21.2008


M****** is on Bebelac-2 formula which is for children over 6 months, and also eats a cereal.


M****** is a good sleeper, and wakes twice during the night for a bottle. He takes a couple of naps during the day.


M****** is so happy, smiley, and loves interacting with people.


M*****'s skin is a beautiful shade of brown. He recently got his head shaved, and looks so handsome. He is still very strong! He is crawling around everywhere, and is always all over the place. He stands up well, holding onto furniture.


M****** has been very healthy since the last update.


weight: 13.2 pounds
height: 64 cm (25.2 inches)
head circumference: 41.5
Oh no! He is on the move!!!!!! Get out the baby gates!

Sorry that we couldn't share the photo, but close your eyes and picture a little, brown Ethiopian face with HUGE brown eyes and long eyelashes. He has some fuzz growing in on his head and is donning a light pink, polka-dotted, footed sleeper complete with ruffles on his bottom!

Our court date is one week from today!