Monthly Archives: January 2009

Heading Home

Well, it’s 5:00PM here and we are eating some pizza and then heading to the airport.  What a week this has been!  Please pray for us as we traveling home.  Pray that the flights go smoothly and that Fekadu and Tigist will be at peace.  They seem to be doing so very well, but have also begun to show some signs of fatigue and just uncertainty at all the newness around them.  We’ve had a couple breakdowns today and I think all the change of the week and lack of a routine schedule is starting to wear on them.  Joshua and I are rejoicing at all the grace we have experienced as we begin this journey of parenting.  It has been amazing to see the Lord at work in each others lives as He continues to give us much wisdom on what to say and do it each circumstance!  We should land at Dulles around 7:30 Saturday morning and be through customs within an hour or so, we can’t wait to see familiar faces and introduce these precious children to you!  We have so many other stories from the week to share!  Thank you for your prayers!!!

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Daddy’s View (A Brief Update)

Nothing in the world could prepare me to hear the word “daddy” as it
was addressed to me.  Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing.  It
is a beautiful word.  I have longed to hear that word.  What a joy it
has been to hear over and over again during the past week two sweet
little ones turn and say with anticipation…”daddy.”  Oh what a
precious gift from God.  It makes my heart melt with affection for
these two wonderful children.  I apologize if these seems a little
sappy, but I am truly overwhelmed.

Although many of you will have the opportunity to meet Tigist and
Fikadu soon, I wanted to give you a taste of some of our interactions
with them.  Tigist and Fikadu are brother and sister and as such,
everything has to be fair and equally dispersed.  We knew before
traveling to pick these guys up; this would be the way things will
most likely work in their relationship.  In fact we packed them each a
book bag with goodies such as coloring books, slinkies, and play
dough.  On the first morning with them in the hotel we witnessed this
interpretation of justice played out.  Bethany pulled out a pink head
band that was decorated with sparkling plastic diamonds and wrapped it
around Tigist’s head.  She looked so cute.  She immediately yelled out
with a tiny giggle of joy and called out to Fikadu so he could also
admire her beautiful addition.  With a role of the eyes, a stretched
out hand, and a small whine, Fikadu made it clear that he wanted one
as well.  I was a bit concerned that my son was requesting a
pink-diamond studded head band, but then remembered that Tigist had
received one more item than Fikadu had.  Phew.

God has been preparing my wife to care for Tigist and Fikadu.  I’m so
grateful for the time my wife has had as a nanny.  She has gained
wisdom and insight into the inner workings of a child’s mind.  She
seems to be able to anticipate the needs of our children.  They have
taken to her and call for her often to care for their needs.  There
are two moments that will be lodged in my mind forever.  The first one
takes place at the transition home on the day of our first meeting
when Tigist called Bethany “Mommy.”  The second was Wednesday
afternoon when Bethany had Tigist and Fikadu sit beside her on the
couch and she skillfully read a children’s book to them.  They
listened for a few minutes then talked to each other and giggled.
Everything is so new to them.  They have often turned to each other
while coloring or getting ready for bed and talked and talked.
Although we can’t understand what they are saying we imagine they are
discussing the exciting details of the day or making fun of their
strange and goofy parents.

I read to them one afternoon as well.  We were going through a Cat in
the Hat book.  We arrived at a page where the main character, (an
elephant) was standing on its two hind feet.  Fikadu gave me a weird
look, turned to Tigist in amazement, and they both just laughed and
laughed.  I had no idea what was so funny.  Fikadu turned and said
“two feet, two feet.”  I realized they were laughing at the thought of
an elephant standing on two feet!  How goofy!

Fikadu and Tigist also had ice cream for the first time today, but
that story is best told by the expressions on their faces.  We will
post that video upon our return to the states.

There are many many more stories.  I think I’m going to have to take
up journaling again just so I can capture and treasure each moment.
Those who told me that children provide a wealth of entertainment and
illustrations were so right.

Tigist and Fikadu have adjusted very well.  They have shown love for
us and for the other children at the transition home and orphanages
we’ve visited.  We have been extremely impressed with their
intelligence.  They seem to pick up English very well and they have
already tried to pull the wool over our eyes on a few occasions.
Tigist is showing signs of musical talent and Fikadu is all action…a
typical boy who wants to admire big trucks and play games.

They are lovely children and gifts from the Lord.  What a great God we
serve.  We count it a privilege and joy to be their parents.

Thank you for praying for us.  We miss you all very much.  We look
forward to introducing you to Tigist and Fikadu upon our return.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Joshua

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Taylor Family Picture Update

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Meet Our Kiddos Day, Part 3

Yesterday was such an incredible day!  I’m not even sure how to describe the emotions we both were experiencing.  Robel met us at the hotel in the morning to bring us to meet Duni and Rachel to go over our paperwork, he said when he had visited the Transition home early Fekadu ran up to him to ask him how long until his mom and dad came.  | teared up as soon as he told us of course!!!
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We arrived at the Transition home around 1:30 and we were the first to meet our children.  Rachel walked them out and they were quite shy.  We walked up to them and just picked them up and wrapped them in a hug!!!  I don’t think they knew what to say, it was so adorable, Fekadu just started saying all the English words he knew! =)  He pointed to his nose and said, nose, then moved on to eyes, hands, knees, neck, tongue!  Tigist quickly joined in!!!  It was absolutely adorable!  We have many more pictures to share once we have faster internet to upload photos.
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It certainly didn’t take long for Fekadu and Tigist to warm up and their personalities to show through!  Once we were inside they were so excited to show us their bedrooms and school room.  The kids schedule is to wake up around 7:00, brush their teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, and then go to the school room.  They have classes for the morning and then eat lunch.  After lunch all the children have Bible class, and then all the children (no matter what age) have a nap time.  After nap they usually have some kind of activity for the children to do.  Of course when families come the afternoon is a little different.  =)  I’m going to let Joshua share some more about our kiddos!  We are so blessed, and just overwhelmed by God’s grace in the love we automatically felt towards our children, and praising Him for how quickly they opened up to us.
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For families with children in the TH, all the children are so precious and very well cared for.  I know you hear this from all the traveling families, but I pray you experience much peace knowing that your kids are very very loved and cherished!!!  We have some beautiful video of all the toddlers dancing to some children’s music.  ***Jones family-I’ve never seen a little girl with so much rythym!  She was ADORABLE!!!  You’ll have to purchase some children’s dancing music!!!  She was all smiles and giggles during the music time.  ****Kulp Family- my parents loved on your boy for a long time.  They were determined to get him laughing!  And they sure did!  All the baby nannies commented that he was so smiley while they were playing with him!  He also recently cut 2 bottom teeth.  So cute!  ****Bartel family- your sweetie has such a wonderful personality!  She is not very shy, but just came up to us and would wrap her arms around our legs!  She is absolutely gorgeous too! *** I promise to try to do more updates of the other families I brought packages for after we return from today.  We will be giving out your care packages this afternoon.
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So far we are all feeling well.  I seriously think the hardest part has been the altitude.  I have had to take a bonine everyday to prevent dizziness, but we all seem to be adjusting well.  Also, I have eaten everything and not gotten sick!  I ordered the fresh fruit bowl here at the hotel – very yummy, I also ate some steamed veggies that were delicious!  Joshua and I have also eaten meat here and have not gotten sick at all.  We are praising God for his grace in this area!
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Please continue to pray for us as we will pick the children up this afternoon.  We are so very excited!!!

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Meet Our Kiddos Day, Part 2

The Whole Family!

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Fekadu and Tigist with Grammy and Grampy

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Fekadu and Mommy – Tigist and Daddy

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Looking at pictures

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Meet Our Kiddos Day

With Tigist

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With Fekadu

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Museum, Money, Meals, Midnight, Muslims, Meetings, and Miscellaneous

Well so far everyone is doing pretty well. Please be praying that we all stay healthy. Specifically for my mom as she experienced a horrible migraine this morning. Otherwise we are all adjusting well and having a wonderful time.

Museums: After arriving on Saturday morning we showered and freshened up and then Robel (an employee with our adoption agency) hired a driver for us so that we could visit the National History Museum here in Addis Ababa. We were extremely jet lagged but figured the best thing to do would be to stay up as long as possible so that hopefully we would sleep well. The museum here in Addis was a great experience. We saw many traditional and cultural items from around the country and you are allowed to take pictures so that you can remember and share with your children. This museum is also a huge attraction because of its archaeological and anthropological significance. This museum is where the famous “Lucy” or the missing link is displayed. We were able to take pictures of this display.

Money: After visiting the museum we went to exchange our money. Robel did this for us and he was able to get us a rate of 11birr per 1US dollar. For future traveling families make sure he exchanges some for small 5 and 10 birr. We have used a lot of money for tipping. At the hotel you tip for all the luggage carrying and also for when they bring anything to your room, or when they come to set up your safe. Also for the driver you pay 100 birr/hour or 700birr for the day. This is more expensive then what we expected and since we are the only family here right now it is about $70US dollars for the driver for the day.

Meals: We have enjoyed some excellent meals so far, and have also eaten many of the snacks we brought with us. The restaurant here in the hotel is excellent. I would highly recommend the chicken curry. My parents orders the Filet Mignon and it was more like a beef stroganoff! =) Good, but certainly not a filet mignon! ha ha ha The hotel also serves a nice breakfast buffet each morning that is included in your hotel costs. After church this morning Robel took us to a great restaurant called the Tree Lime. It is frequented by many foreigners and serves a whole variety of different types of food. I orders a spinach ravioli and it was ok, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Joshua got a chicken curry and that was superb!

Midnight: Well on Saturday we went to bed at 5:30PM (Ethiopian time) mostly because we hadn’t slept at all the night before while we were flying here. Remember if you take the Friday flight out of DC you will arrive at 8:30AM Saturday morning in Ethiopia so we stayed up as long as we could but crashed hard at 5:30. Joshua woke up around 10:00PM because of some loud music, but I used ear plugs and heard nothing! I woke up around 12:30AM and it was difficult to go back to sleep. Joshua also woke up, so we got up, turned on the TV and found an old episode of 24 was on. It had Arabic subtitles. So we watched the episode and split a pack of ramen. I took some sleeping pills and was able to go back to sleep by about 1:45AM.

Muslims: The muslims pray here from 4:00-6:30AM. And its not like us waking up for a “quiet time” No, they have “loud times” Like over a loud speaker broadcasting throughout the city! Can you imagine if we got up and had a call to prayer in the USA and broadcast our prayers for two and a half hours??? Funny to think about. So, even with my ear plugs in I still woke up and slept on and off between 4:00 and 6:00AM.

Meetings: This morning we were so blessed to attend the Sovereign Grace church here in Addis Ababa, it is called You Go Church. We attend the sister church in Fairfax, VA and had the privilege of meeting the senior pastor Moe while he was visiting in DC back in the fall. God’s grace was so evident in the meetings and Wandi an associate pastor explained that they are seeing over 100 people coming to Christ each month, and that they have baptisms every 4 months and that they recently baptized over 100 people. They had church members translate for us and we were so impressed by their willingness to serve us in this way. Many people in the church are highly educated. Paul (Joshua’s translator) has 2 masters and a doctorate. He was a professor of Anthropology in Germany and has recently returned to Ethiopia (were he was born) and started a university here in Addis. Naomi was my translator and she was about my age and had studied abroad in France and has now returned to Ethiopia and is working in the French embassy. Worship was amazing and I only wished I had the ability to understand. They worship and praise the Lord with a passion that I have rarely seen anywhere else. The message was about God’s Powerful Covenant, and via our translator we were blessed by the word shared. It is almost an indescribable experience to worship with our brothers and sisters and know that we share in the same covenant and that we express ourselves in different ways, and have different experiences, but are still connected. I don’t feel I have the right words to explain what God was doing in my heart. Oh, also they dedicated 32 children to the Lord in the service and I got even more excited for when we will be able to do the same at home in our church with Fekadu and Tigist.

Miscellaneous: Robel visited our room and Joshua offered him some of the snacks we had brought, he jokingly scolded us for the candy we brought and told us that they don’t give the children sweets at the transition home because they don’t want to spoil the children. Oops! It has been incredible getting to know Robel. He is 26 years old and has lived in Addis Ababa since he was 10. He has an incredible testimony and it is challenging to talk with him. He uses part of his salary to put 23 street children through school and feed them. He also supports his family (mother and sister) that live in a village about 8 hours out of the city. He was working for the UN, but wanted to do something more to really help children and got connected with America World Adoption Agency and now works full time at the Transition home where our children live. He has served us so well since we arrived, and it is obvious that he really really loves the children that are at the Transition home.

Well, it is about 5:30PM on Sunday here and about 9:30 AM in DC. Again we are so very grateful for all your prayers! Oh, man there is so much to share, so I’m sorry this is a jumbled post. My father who is an orthodontist came really praying that he would be able to make contacts here to set up future dental and medical missions. So far God has place a few people in our path. While obtaining our visas at the airport we ran into a couple that were missionaries here with SIM for 17 years. They raised all 4 of their children here. He gave us information on how to contact him and was very interested in hosting a medical and dental team. They have worked extensively in the rural areas and he even knew the area and tribe that our children came from! They held a large crusade in the the area our children came from where about 30,000 people were in attendance for the showing of the Jesus Film. And then at church we had the opportunity to speak with Wandi about future trips. They have recently planted a church in North Addis Ababa and have an outreach to many of the Somalian refugees. In May or June they are hoping to have a large clinic set up as an outreach to the poor areas surrounding the church.

Okay, I think that is all for now. Tomorrow we will meet our children!!! I can not even explain the emotions and feelings I have! Robel tells us that Fekadu and Tigist are VERY very excited for us to come, and ask him daily when their mommy and daddy are coming. And tomorrow will be that day! I know I will be an emotional wreck! This day is one I have waited a very long time for. Very soon I will be the mother of 2 beautiful children! I am overwhelmed by the kindness of God! Thank you for your prayers!!!

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