Monday, January 30, 2012

Progress Report, Day #3

Jeremie is a trooper! He has a lot of new things coming his way every day. Working through things, like milk and those furry things on the ground that bark. He did venture to walk past (and in the same room) as Louie today, a new first.

At first Jeremie wouldn't consider stepping into the bath, well, that has all changed! Still won't sit in the tub, but will gleefully huck cups of water everywhere while standing in the tub, and jumped into the shower with me this am, complete with a dance. He is so amazing with his songs, he has a song for his bath and food, and whenever he is pleased.

We practiced driving today, with a seat belt. Jeremie not so excited about that strap thing.. and boy can he howl. Doesn't help that there is no Lingala word for seatbelt or not safe...or I am running out of silly songs to sing to keep you from howling...but, after a 10 min charades, about seat belts and how everyone wears one, less howling on the second round...

A bit picky on food, I tell him that he is a starving child from Africa, but he just smiles and politely shakes his head NO WAY!! ARE YOU CRAZY? at 9 out of the 10 food items offered up. No interest in noodles, cheese, the usual stuff....Resorted to 'Taste of India' with spinach, as it was the closest looking thing to what it looks like what they fed him. Eyed it suspiciously, but down it went... Working on small frequent portions instead of eat once because this-is-it portions...

Alemayehu hanging in there and has been very sweet with Jeremie, not sure he realized how tough it can be to be a big brother. He is digesting the fact the Jeremie is not going 'home', has equal ownership, and has a mean right hook. On the up side, Jeremie does love to play with cars and soccer balls, so pretty sure it will all be a win win when the dust settles..

Well, that's all for the war and peace report, signing off for now...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Starting to Fit In

Jeremie diggin' it on one of the toys.  a "Cameon," which he could not quite figure out how to steer properly.

Too many toys have been a source of conflict between sibling rivals.  Alexi, as our only child, has not been to comfortable sharing some of his toys.  Inevitable then has been conflicts.  They are especially pronounced on toys that are inherently hard to share.  The above car is one example.  We had to remove the rig out of sight, as Jeremie became too obsessed with it. 

Jeremie is in huge emotional turmoil.  The information overload has shown itself in quite a few tantrums.  But Jeremie, at heart, appears to have a sweet side.  What we have to work thru with him is some very bad habits.  Think about what might happen without much adult supervision in an orphanage.  It would have been quite a harsh learning environment.  Jeremie's only tool he knows for resolving conflicts - his fists.  Alexi is such a sweet boy, it has been quite upsetting to him to experience this approach.  We keep telling Alexi that one of his duties as older brother is to teach Jeremie how to behave and to teach Jeremie to use his words, not his fists. 

All in all, it could be much worse and the attachement is progressing. Jeremie looks to his  mommy or daddy when unsure. He seems to like our approval. He is starting to respects us, somewhat, upon the disapprovals when he breaks the rules. Monitored timeouts are working well, so far.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The bonding starts

Jeremie is quiet.  Loves the chase, loves a good tickle.  He is not so sure about Louie.

Friday, January 27, 2012

World Travelers

They made it.

Prior to a text message a few hours ago, it was a day and a half since hearing the tentative plan to get the next flight possible.  Considering what I knew was going on for Christy, I knew this was fuzzy data at best.

24 hrs after hearing the travel intent, I had no word of what is up.  Like most everyone else back home here, I was relying on blog posts for much of my information.  A day after no word, I started crossing my fingers.

I know what travel out of Africa is like. I remember when we went to Ethiopia to get Alexi. The trip back with him was quite the adventure.  Still astounding to this day was the diaper incident. As some may remember this was the incredulous incident of improbable idiocy.  

36 diapers, a family pack, what nut bag needs to travel with 36 diaper....that is ludicrous overkill......Right?   Little did I now how stupid I was when I said to my Wife, "What the heck, we dont need this many diapers. I mean what is this, let me count, yes, 36 diapers. 36 DIAPERS!!!  This is ridiculous, we dont need 36 diapers just to get back to America!"  

I felt stupid lugging a pathetically bulging, fat sack of diapers onto the plane at the Addis Ababa airport.  One stewardess gave me that look.   You know, that look, the "Silly Farenge" look.  I wanted to say, "No not me. It her, my wife.....she made me do it!" 

Layover in Frankfurt at 3 AM and 12 diapers consumed, nerves frayed from mad sprints to cramped airplane laboratories, I started feeling a twinge of respect.  36 diapers, stupid of course, but hey at the rate we had been going, we certainly had been going thru them much faster than I thought we would.  12 hrs more and landing in JFK (or was it Atlanta, or Miami, who knows) I remember a few more mad dashes to crappy crappers while waiting in long and dungy customs lines.   Inventory when scrambling to catch a plane we almost missed, 10 more diapers let.   Wait a second, 10 more diapers  that 26 diapers we have churned thru wow we have been clipping along at one diaper per hour.  Intersting, you could almost tell time by dirty diaper time!   10 more diapers, and 6 hr flight no problem.   But hey, you got to give it to the wiffy, she knew what she was talking about!

Cut to the chase. Hit the ground in SLC. Another bathroom stop before hailing a taxi and guess what, The very last daiper!  The VERY LAST DIAPER!  That, and a few recycles into not-so-soilded jammies.  Well we limped into the house with the package.

This time, Christy traveling alone.  Well I saw the look on her face.......Need I say more?

Lookie who here!


just got a text.  Wiffy and boy are in NYC!  Yeahoo!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Coming your way very soon!

Finally some luck, the fastest DGM exit letter ever documented in the Congo! One day!? We'll take it!


Just a little too easy... Think he is just freaked out, but content to sit on my lap, and play with a truck. Working out the essentials like, I gotta go, feed me, or in this case, lights out.

Smart little dude, learned four new words today, better than I was able to do! Even got a momma or two from him today!

Likes banana, rice, bread, PB&J,eggs

Spat out oatmeal, top ramen, Mac n'chz, eggplant

Hates cold showers

Loves buzz flips and lighting McQueen pj's, buttons and keys...

Jeremie and papa John

Jeremie pictured with the man who helped to make it all happen.

Jeremie and samuella

Jeremie's friend, so nice to have a familiar face for him. They ate non-stop, and can both play a mean game of soccer. Jeremie squealed with joy at the sight of, yes you guessed it... A truck! Shocking! Samuella in command of the camera. Feel lucky they are both here.

Gave John the day off, although I think he may need a month after yesterday.

Big boy and his big ball

Happy guy! Happy momma!

Not even sure how to describe yesterday, problems at the orphanage, lawyer and police were supposed to go get kids. By afternoon, knew that nothing would happen if we didn't go. Afraid the lady at orphanage would hide kids to extort money.

John eating kola nuts, they apparently bring you strength. So we washed down the bitter nut with some Primus beer and set out to go get the kids ourselves. My plan, take the kids and run. Simple, and hopefully effective.

But as you can imagine, nothing is ever that easy.

We arrived and got the kids ready to go, we watched them line up for their baths, and then they all carefully sat down on the floor, and before touching a bite, all the children sang a beautiful prayer. Next, they ate the largest plate of rice I have ever seen. No matter how big or small the child, same portion. Jeremie methodically partioned his plate. Not one piece of rice hit the ground. I fear that Louie will not be pleased...

Bath Time


All spiffed up and ready to go, if only we could just go...

And then the lawyer showed up with the orphanage manager, the heated negotiation began. Maybe as a coping mechanism, we started playing games with the kids, the kids started singing, older kids did their homework, and the negotiations continued. Starting to get dark, so back to plan A..we walked away and sat in car with kids. The standoff began.

Surreal, our driver eating popcorn, John in a heated discussion down the hill, and two small children curled up asleep on our laps. Texting and calling the US to get help, trying to get John out in one piece. Feeling very much like we were a long way from home..

Finally it is over, so confusing about who wants what, hate that the world is this way. Back to St. Anne's. Hope for the best, heat up our taste of India packets for dinner and drown our sorrows with the wine we had bought to celebrate bringing our kids back with us...still mulling over the events of the day and whether our exit will be delayed, and for how long, and what is really going on...but at least we have the kids, the documents, and some hope...

Even though I was sad the day was marred by corruption, I would not have traded the moments we had with all the kids for anything.

And all worth it to see this guy up the next morning so full of joy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

St. Anne's

A view from St.. Ann's

A view from the roof of st. Anne's. No hot water, but it is so hot outside, the cool water feels good.

Papa John

The man on the ground who makes it all happen. The children all call him papa john.

Mmmm beer

Rachael pictured here with just a few of the refreashing congelese beer choices (unlike some countries where your choices are 'polar' or 'polar'). Tastes amazing especially after spending your day at the american consulate.

The magic visa

Yes, I know, not so interesting, but the mere anticipation alone made it worth taking this photo. Many a theory of why it takes so many days between when the visa is 'issued' and when it gets 'printed'. Maybe you have to grind the berries for the ink?? Chisel from stone the letters?? And what really happens behind that little magic door at the consulate... Luckily there were many hours to ponder all these questions!

Update: operation Congo

The golden packet of papers placed in my hands this am! Jeremie's passport tucked away! Now just waiting, hoping, and yes... A humble prayer or two that jeremie will be here soon.

Hard not to know what the real story is, but maybe better not to know. Clear that the funds for his care, have never reached him or the other kids. Indescribable conditions, and I worry about the fate of the other children there.

Our agency will not be using this 'orphanage' anymore, so much tension between the orphanage and the adoption agency. In the end it is the children who loose..  

John, who works for our agency is wonderful and caring. Helping us stay sane.  Fingers crossed, hope to have more news later.

Monday, January 23, 2012


So excited to be here! There are several other families staying at same place, which has made it nice. Big day yesterday, got to hold my boy for the first time!! He is outgoing, happy, and curious. Appears pretty healthy. I think he and alemayehu will have a blast together.

Hoping to have him with me today. Keeping my fingers crossed. Too much drama with the 'orphanage' so much corruption....police and lawyer now involved. So sad for the kids.

Today will continue to camp out at consulate until they offer up the pieces of paper that are needed so I can come home with jeremie. Kinshasa is big, has been safe so far, no signs of unrest. A lot of UN hanging around.

Beer, not too bad. Bud lightish, big bottles, tastes good after a day of begging your case with the government types!

More later,

Sent from my iPad

Seen and Touched

Must have been a surreal and exciting moment.  Christy reports seeing and holding Jerimi.  She will have pictures posted soon.

Who is the cute guy in the yellow??

First day at orphanage

First day! Kids putting on a show. Balloons and puzzles, so fun to watch their eyes light up even though it is all a temporary joy. 

Jeremy and Samuella will be the last children adopted from this orphanage. Jeremie has been here for a little less than a year, apparently before then he was abandoned, and cared for by a Congolese family for 10 months before he was given to the government to place in an orphanage.

First meet, long time coming..amazing to actually see and hold Jeremie


Kids coloring, amazing how careful they were

Silly Silly

Even Sillier...


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pick up is on

Alex misses his Moma.
Christy left for Congo yesterday. .....yep, you heard me right, went to go get Jeremi.
Been 6 months since referral and finally the stars have come into alignment.
Christy is at a Hotel in Kinshasa in the DRC. Got a call from her informing me of arrival just minutes ago. Midnight there so that is all the new news for now.