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!



  1. Been praying our hearts out for you guys!! Praying for a safe (and fast) flight HOME!!


    The Le Family

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you Brian, Alex and Emmy. Scott got to speak to Jan earlier today and sounds like they are doing well. Safe travel back home....We'll talk to you then...

  3. Love you guys! So excited to hear how quickly God answered all of our prayers (although I'm sure it didn't feel too quick while you were going through it!) Happy Thanksgiving to you, Alex and Emmy! Can't wait to give her a hug!!!

  4. Brian - So glad you were able to find a moment to send out an update. We are so thankful that you even want to take the time to keep us in the loop! I am sure you are tired, but the end is near; you will be home in 2 days! :D I know you know this, but your family is so excited to have you back.

    Alex - I am so proud of you! You are such a trooper! I am sorry you have been sick, but you are having experiences that most adults won't ever even have, you are an amazing young man! Remember all of this, the good and the not-quite-so-fun. God is going to use you, and this experience, in amazing ways in the future! I love you and can't wait to see you when you get home!

    Love to all 3 of you and our prayers continue!


  5. Brian,
    I am glad that you were able to update us, because we are all praying for you and thinking of you guys on your trip. We will continue to pray for a safe return. God bless!


  6. You're home! You're home! You're home!!

    Brian, by the time you wake up, get some food in your stomach and think clearly enough to get on-line I am sure it will be Wednesday evening by the time you read this -- but GREAT JOB DADDY! You are a hero to your smallest daughter (and, from the sounds of it, to your wife as well.)

    Love you much, am glad you are home, and can't wait to meet the entire Rodenbeck clan, whenever it's appropriate.

    :)The Lemanskis

  7. Brian! It's Amy - from Mt. Olive. It is great to read about your adoption adventures! We are just starting our adoption journey. Come visit our blog at We'd love any advice you may have. Right now we are just swimming in paper work! Hope all is well with your sweet Emmy! We saw pictures of your beautiful family - from your dad. We saw him in IN at Andy's house. Take care!