Monday, May 27, 2013

Blue Door

We have wanted to paint our front and back doors for a while-- actually, we need to paint the whole house, but the door seemed like an easy win.

Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it was the influence of the preschooler at Home Depot.

But in the words of James: "it's really, really blue mommy."

Indeed.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spa

James painting Mom's toes

Let the record show that although the angle makes it look like we aren't wearing pants, it's not true.*


*For one of us.  We are going through a big nudey phase.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Best Decision We Have Ever Made

Heck of a claim-- right?

Well, today the nanny started and holy smokes, this is a game changer. 

I had some hang-ups with the nanny-- it's the same hang up I have with the personal trainer, the house-cleaner and the lawn service.  It's more expensive and my scrappy self has a hard time with the luxurious feeling.*  (I also thought there might be some social benefits for our kids being in a group setting.)   However, I practically skipped getting out of bed this morning.  It's amazing and I am kicking myself that we didn't do this earlier.

Things we didn't do in the dark hours of the morning:

  • Change diapers
  • Get dressed X4
  • Make breakfast
  • Negotiate tooth brushing
  • Pack a diaper bag
  • Pack extra clothes for day care
  • Discuss the fact that the snack was put into a snack CUP and not a plastic BAG. Wait-- did you say you wanted a big graham cracker and your graham cracker broke in two as we moved it from cup to said bag?  Big you say?  BIG?  BIG, BIG CRACKER?  Baby, don't cry. It tastes the same.  You need to brush your teeth.  I am serious.

Gaby, who is our new personal savior showed up today and I pointed to the sleeping children and headed out to the door to my meeting.   She is super awesome and we are thrilled to get her!  I have popped upstairs a couple times today and she has been reading and doing crafts.  It's awesome for everyone-- and because her hours flex around Matt's schedule, we have built in some weekend, weeknight time off for me.  WHOA.

Oh the freedom.**


* Luckily, at three kids, it's a break-even between group day care and a nanny.  At least, that's how I am justifying.

* I did not appreciate personal freedom enough in the early stages of my career-- when the only thing I had to get out the door was get dressed and brush my own damn teeth.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Re-United and it Feels so Good

James:

"I say, I love you. . . . Then you say. . . I love you too, James. . .

(pause)

Then we are all done with that."


Tutorial from James

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Back in the US

After we passed court, we went out for coffee with our travel friends to celebrate and then to a nice dinner.  Our flight left Ethiopia at 1am that evening and we flew to Istanbul for an extended layover.

Istanbul is amazing.  AMAZING.  I have seen quite a few European cities-- and this may top my list.  Amazing food, amazing scenery and amazing arts.   I will post some pictures and details in the next few days.   love.

We are now in DC with Matt's family.  We went to the Preakness yesterday-- which is the second race in the triple crown.  It's an interesting event in that all walks of life attend-- there was a centerfield concert* that is dirty, mucky with drunken porta-potties. .. .  drunken everything really. . . and then there is the grandstands with people dressed to the nines in hats and bow ties! (no porta-potties).  Great people watching!  I am not one to use a horse race as a way to prop up my 401k- but I did enjoy the  occasional $2 bet based off the scientific process of cool name, or great bib color.  A day I will never forget!




*The concert featured Pitbull-- who as you may know does many duets. . . tough concert for Mr. Bull-- since he in essence raps along to karoake monitors of famous people singing.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

From the Mountain Top


We are thrilled to announce that we have another son. 


Simon Tirfe Fitzpatrick






After a three year wait—Over seventy-five legal documents and forms, two rounds of fingerprints, a daughter, and immeasurable anxiety-filled nights- we finally made it to court. * 

In the end, we have a boy.

Looking back, we have waited far longer than we have ever anticipated- but after meeting our son, we both feel that this curious, silly, mischievous boy was meant to be a Fitzpatrick.  We are over the moon with how life has turned out and the graceful ways God has brought our son into our lives.

Please continue to pray for the Fitz family that we are able to get an embassy date and get back to ET to escort Simon Tirfe home.**






*Which as it turns out, was fairly anticlimactic.
**  The latest indication that we are looking at 4-8 weeks until we are home as a family of five.  For the time being,  we will continue on as a virtual family.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Today was a little bittersweet-- Sunday is the staff's day off so we weren't able to see our kiddos.  But it was a great opportunity to take in more of the Ethiopian culture.   Our guest house, while comfortable  and generous- feels a little secluded from the rest of the city.   Our travel mates and us hired a mini van to take us around some of the local sites: the national museum, Entoto mountain and the Piazza.

We started our trip with checking out the national museum to see Lucy, a 3.2million year old female pre-homosapien.    She's petite-- looking like a long evolutionary line to the Fitzpatrick clan.

We traveled up to the top of the Entoto mountain to visit the first palace of Addis Ababa.  There was a beautiful village surrounding the old palace along with a church and a museum.  (Also a great view of the sprawling city.)




Tomorrow we head to court to (fingers crossed) adopt our children.  Our kiddos will not get to come home quite yet though.  We are hoping for the final paperwork hurdle to clear with the US embassy in the next 6-8 weeks so that we can bring them home. 

Being separated from James and Daisy and new bud was tough for Mother's day.  I was also thinking about our little guy a lot as well since he will soon have two Mother's in his life.  

Ethiopian art often represents Mary in its icons-- seeing these beautiful symbols through the city was a great reminder of how special a day Mother's day is personally, spiritually and for the identity of our little ones.  So much gratitude tonight especially for the birth mother of my youngest son. 

Also gratitude for my sweet mothers-- Patty and Joan 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Big Beautiful Day

Folks, today was awesome. 

After a great night of sleep, we woke up tingling with anticipation-- today is the day we have dreamed about for three years. 

I haven't written much about the referral process in the past- but in my mind it is a little like agreeing to marry someone whose profile you have seen on match.com.  We did feel an instant pull toward the picture and description-- but it's still words and a photo-- so different than the reality of a real, living little boy.

I was nervous-- nervous that he wouldn't like us and nervous that we wouldn't feel a connection with him. It's a big leap to go from pixelated images and orphanage processing paperwork to a little guy in your arms. I just kept thinking about faith throughout the entire morning.

Our adoption advocate in country came to pick us up at the guest house at 11:00 or so and we headed to the orphanage. We wove our way through some pretty congested traffic for thirty minutes or so, taking in the sights and sounds (and fumes) of Addis, but in the back of our minds there was the constant anxiety and anticipation of the boy at the end of the trip.  

 

Once we arrived at the orphanage, we got a quick tour of the meeting rooms and common spaces.  On the wall of the reception room there were dozens of photos of families.  It filled my heart with so much joy to see all those lovely families coming together. 

While looking at the pictures, we heard a nurse come up and suddenly there "he" was.  He stared at us for a couple seconds from the arms of the nurse but pretty quickly came over to us.  There were a lot of tears as we held him for the first time.

People say that words can't describe what happens when you meet your child-- an overwhelming sense that God has brought you together in a divine way-- I can't tell you how true this was for us. 

We spent the remainder of the morning playing with our little guy and marveling at all he is-- joyful, mischievous and on the go.  He explored my necklace, my hair, Matt's stubble, and our faces.  There were giggles, raspberries and so much gladness.  So glad to be with him and hopefully the first of our many, many adventures together.



Friday, May 10, 2013

Arrival

We made it!   After having a great Mexican dinner (got to start somewhere) with Bill's family, we got on Turkish Airlines for our 9 hour flight to Istanbul.  A little turbulence* ** but no too bad all in all. . . and they served Turkish delight on the flight- woo hoo.

Dulles to Istanbul


We had a two hour lay over in Istanbul and then were off to Addis Ababa on a five hour flight.   Customs, currency exchange all went smoothly.  We weren't exactly sure if they sent someone to pick us up at the airport so we wandered around a bit outside the airport-- which at midnight seemed a little questionable.  We headed to the taxi stand after a few minutes and saw someone holding a sign with our names-- awesome.  

It only took 10 minutes or so from there to get to the hotel.  The hotel is small but communal- with a great shared dining and living space.  The staff has been incredible so far and Matt likes the fact that coffee keeps flowing.

This morning is the big day-- we had breakfast with a really great family who met our guy yesterday and said that he was lively if not a little vocal about another baby getting attention.   We leave here in 5 minutes or so to go meet him for the first time-- no shortage of attention coming your way, kiddo!!

Life is good in our little world right now.




*I recently had a rocky flight and have been a little air-shy since. . . . luckily ambien helped squelch those nerves.  God bless the pharmacy.


**On the second flight, I skipped the ambien and went straight for vodka-- but needed to repeat it with increasing volume multiple times to get the message across.  Now who feels like an alcoholic.  VOD-ka, vodKA,  I WANT VODKA please. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Up and Away

We are on our way. This has turned out to be more detailed than we have ever thought it would be: adoption docs, will creation, notaries, Walmart trips, work leave info, diaper bags, medical directions. .... I have been so busy with the what that there wasn't much brain space to focus on the why.

Now sitting on the plane, I feel like I am finally at a place where I can reflect on where this journey has led us and the little boy we are about to meet. God is great.

We will update team Fitz here as we are able. Next stop DC for dinner with family then onto Istanbul.





Sunday, May 5, 2013

Red Light, Green Light


We are playing a lot of Red Light, Green Light* around here.  Lately it's felt like more than a game though!

Adoption is very much a slog at times-- lots of waiting, even more uncertainty and a great deal of introspection.   Those days of waiting and wondering seem like years ago though.  

The last month or so I have been following the policy of a 'watched pot never boils,' so I've been keeping busy.  For years I have been saying: "well, we will see, the adoption you see . . . ."

After hearing nothing about the court date,  I started accepting some work and social invitations for travel-- some of which put me above my normal one trip per month standard.     Suddenly I find myself amidst a near nutso schedule.

I did think we would get a little more notice about the court date-- but we are making it work folks!  I am on the second city in a three city tour before I leave for the most important trip I could imagine.

So Nashville to  Chicago to Boston to DC to Istanbul to Addis Ababa to Istanbul to DC to MSP I go! I like to think of it as the Fitz International Tour. . .

Matt and I are communicating and collaborating as well as possible given the fact that I am in town for only a few hours before we head off for the 10 day adventure of meeting our son.  

GREEN LIGHT**-- GO!


*James understand traffic signals now.  awesome.  everyone loves their their three year old giving driving advice.




*James also does this with driving,  only red lights mean you stop where you are whenEVER you see them-- even if it is 2 block ahead.  Nothing so fun as having your three year old critique your driving from the back seat.  "MOM, it says STOP."