Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving from Ethiopia. I am sure the Lions have just about wrapped up another Thanksgiving Day loss. Sorry once again for the delay in posts. The internet service is the same as just about everything else in Ethiopia. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't-there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. The electricity is the same way. It will just go off and then come back on after 20-30 inutes. The local people do not seem to mind-they are very patient about those type of things.

Alex, Emmy and I had a great day today. There have been a few rough ones since the last post but we are alive and well and doing fine. If I was to put a title on Tuesday, it would have been "Alex and the horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day" (I think that is the title of that infamous book -or at least close) About half of the adoption group have gotten pretty sick, and Alex got a taste of that on Tuesday. Like any good Dad, at breakfast I kept telling him "It is going to be a big day son, you better eat a good breakfast" He kept telling me he wasn't hungry, and I kept forcing the issue. He got down a few bites, and I relented and let him go back up to the room. Ten minutes later I regretted encouraging him him to get down those extra bites since it made scrubbing our guest house room floor a more difficult process. I felt bad for the kid. It was the embassy day and so we had to go there to get Emmy's visa. It was like the biggest day of the week and the reason you have to physically be in Ethiopia. I felt like a bad parent, but I had to drag him along with us. He became familiar with a few other lavaratories along the way but we eventually made it to the Embassy. At the Embassy, after getting through security, we had to wait in a hot crowded room. As we were sitting (Alex was pretty much horizontal), he leans over and says "I think my nose is bleeding". Sure enough, he had a pretty good bleeder and it was running down his face and onto his shirt and pants. Since I was under the impression that you could not bring anything into the embassy except your official documents, I had nothing to give him. The other families came to rescue quickly and we got it stopped. We got through the embassy part, came back to the guest house, and Alex went straight to bed. He was sick for about one more day after this and was close to his normal self by Wednesday afternoon. Thank God for peanut butter and banana sandwiches. This is what we used to nurse him back to health.

Emmy is doing fine. It has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for her. You get your child on Monday, and you spend a lot of the rest of the week at the Thomas Center orphanage or with people who have taken care of her along the way. Everytime we leave one of these gatherings, she has a hard time being taken away back to the guest house . It doesn't make you feel kind of yucky inside, but I am glad she bonded so well. The wonderful caregivers and the older orphanage children by nature are so willing to swoop the kids up and love on them at the drop of a hat that it makes the transition a little tough. She is such a beautiful child, her features are so fine and delicate. God was having a great day when he created the Ethiopian people. They are a physically striking people group. She is also battling a cold which doesn't help. I can't wait to get her to Jan.

Today we got to go to the orphans and widows home in Adama, which is about a 90 minute drive. We have spent a lot of time in the van with our trusty driver and our guide, Ababe. The driving and traffic patters our crazy. You use one hand to cover your eyes and the other hand to hold on for dear life. It is kind of like a real life video game, where the driver gets extra points for finding creative ways to get from one paved area to another in the shortest time possible regardless of what terrain you have to cross, creating an additional lane where there isn't one, and coming as close to hitting warm blooded mammals (mainly people, goats, donkeys, and cows) as possible without grazing a hair. It is a harrowing experience. Our driver is very skilled at his craft. Anyways, back at the orphanage...what an amazing experience Alex, Emmy, and I had. We felt like celebrities. They were clapping for us, hugging us, kissing us, shaking our hands and bowing...apparently people do not come to visit too often. The kids are just so precious. The widows made an amazing traditional Ethiopian lunch, and we all had a great time. It is really hard to describe what a moving experince that was. I am so thankful that we went. It really makes you think hard about our life in America. Emmy spent about three months at this orphanage so everyone knew her and the widows could not get enough hugs and kisses in. I have more to share, but I need to get some sleep. Happy Turkey Day to all of you. Thanks for reading!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Hi everyone

Sorry to all of you who checked this blog and found the same old posts. I have found a corner in the Ethiopian guest house that seems to pick up a little signal. Things are going well. Alex and I made it safely after lots 'o time in the DC airport and then fifteen hours to Addis. Alex spent his time at the DC airport talking me into buying him Hot Chocalates from Starbucks-he was successful on three different occassions. It would have never happened except for the fact that they gave him the kiddie price and I am always a sucker when it comes to value. I am sorry-I will start writing about stuff that really matters. Neither Alex or I slept a wink last night so I am a bit punchy. When we started watching Free Willy 2 for the second time I knew it was going to be a long night. I you haven't seen it, Willy does escape unharmed. I was also giving Alex six digit addition and subtraction problems around 5:00 in the morning.

We picked up Rute (Emmy) today at the orphanage and she is just a doll. I got to meet all of her friends at the orphanage and Alex had fun playing camera man with the kids. It was a pretty moving experience. There was a bunch of toddlers and than one fourteen year old girl who is being adopted by a family in our group. She seems like the coolest teenager you would ever want to meet. I am thrilled for her and the family. The family is from LA, California. Emmy had a brief breakdown when we got back to the guest house when it finally hit her that she was matched with the two whitest people in Addis Ababa. I received some nice help in getting her calmed down from one of the girls that works at the guest house-bananas did the trick. She has been fine ever since as long as I give her what she wants-funny how that works. I am going to let Jan take care of the discipline when we get back :) Alex and Emmy are both crashed right now.

Ethiopia is a wild place (not necessarily in a bad sense) I don't even know where to start. Just so different. Alex has not said a whole lot about what he has seen, but I can see those wheels turning. People have been so nice and gracious, especially our host Ababe. He is an amazing man. Here is this well groomed, well educated, hard working, articulate man (speaks three languages) who if was in the states would be an executive somewhere. I complimented him on his adidas tennis shoes, he humbly told me that he bought them at a second hand store and scrubs them every morning before he goes to work. His son wears two sizes larger than this shoes but sometimes asks his dad if he can wear the coveted adidas to school. I felt silly thinking about how many pairs of shoes I own and have thrown away over thre years. His reward may not be on this earth, but I bet God has a special place for him in heaven some day. He just pours himself into people.

Hope all of you are well. Thaks for taking the time to read this. We are in good hands here. Happy Birthday Mom! I love you.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

YWAM adoption ministry

If you want to know more about the organization that we are working with in our adoption process, they have a great website at They have a blog that Jan loves to read. They have been a blessing to us!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Getting Ready

Hi Everyone-
The family has been busy this week getting Alex and I ready to travel to Ethiopia for our Friday night departure. We sure have a lot to try to get across the big pond and eventually to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We commited three of our four suitcases to taking supplies from the YWAM ministry to the orphanages, so Alex and I are going to have only one suitcase to share. You are invited to come over on Thursday night to help us jump up and down on our suitcase in an attempt to get it shut. :)

Our home group threw a beautiful surprise shower for us on Sunday night. We felt so blessed and humbled by the outpouring of support. Thank you to all of you have made this adoption possible through your encouragement, support, prayers, monetary donations, and gifts. We thank God for you. From our church family, small groups, co-workers, students at school, flag football and soccer families, immediate and extended family, the support has been very moving. Thank you!

Alex and I will be leaving Friday night and taking an overnight flight to Dulles in Washington D.C. We will then get on an Ethiopian airlines flight that will take us to Rome for a re-fueling and then right into Addis. We will arrive Sunday night. Ethiopia is ten hours ahead of us here on the West Coast. Seven hours for you Rodenbeck's on the East Coast. We get to pick up Emmy Ruth Monday morning. Blessings to all of you.

Brian (for the Rodenbeck's)