Ethiopia Day 3 Part 2

Ethiopia Day 3 Part 2

Here we are Ethiopia Day 3 Part 2 and this is what is going on.

Finally, we turn the corner and head down an alleyway.  People were lying in the rocks, sleeping….malnourished dogs walking up and down.  The road was rough, then we look to the side and see beautiful paintings on the outside of the wall.  We realize that we have arrived… heart is in my throat and I have a hard time containing my emotions.

Screams of Delight

We see these iron doors and then they open….we hear squeals and screams of delight and as I looked out the door…..children are EVERYWHERE!  They are screaming, laughing, jumping up and down….trying to get their hand to touch mine through the window of the van.  I climb out, only to be surrounded by 30 little people clamoring to touch us and to be hugged and held.  Then, I look up and there he is, Abinet.  My heart is now out of my chest beating a mile a minute. 

There He Is!

I look at Bart and I say……..”there he is, there is our son!”  We walk over and he clearly isn’t feeling well.  We sit on the ground and just stare.  All the busyness just fades away and it is like it is just me, Bart and Abinet in the world.  I long for my other kids to be here, to savor this moment with me.  I couldn’t speak, I didn’t want to frighten him and grab him and hug him.  So, there we sat.  

Getting to Know Abinet

Soon, he warmed up to us…we were all ready to grab him and jaunt back to the US.  Since that wasn’t an option, we opted on playing soccer with our little man.  Bart played with him for the longest time, while I just sat in aah of God’s glorious provisions and answered prayers.  Then, it was my turn to play.  I’m clearly not a soccer player and my son clearly is LOL.  He doesn’t speak any English, so we are doing great with sign language.  Absolutely, he loved it when I threw the ball and he’d bounce it off his chest or off his head.  Then, he began to get very good at sign language since our communication was not a whole lot to be desired 🙂

Nannies of Greatness

The nannies were amazing and they love the children oh, so much.  They were kind and caring for each child.  They did their best with what they are given.  There are a lot of kids there and there are so many needs.  We fell in love with all of the children there, but Abinet stole our hearts……… did the beautiful country of Ethiopia.

Zebra Grill

When we had to go, we were picked up and then headed to the Zebra Grill.  It was a colorful restaurant with very good food.  They also had toilet paper, which was a huge plus.  The view from the restaurant was gorgeous…you could see so much of the city.  This is where we had our first taste of injera….it was…interesting….a spongy type of bread that had a vinegary taste to it.  I didn’t know you were supposed to dip it in something…I ate it, just by picking on it.  Blech, bad idea.  The funny part was, as we were sitting there, we starting hearing Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, and Shania Twain LOL.  We travel 1/2 way across the world to hear country music played at the Zebra Grill.  

Fighting Traffic and Lack of Toilet Paper

After we left there, we fought traffic to make it to Woudneh’s office. We needed to fill out more paperwork.  His office was in a big building with lots of other small businesses.  It was a busy place.  Woudneh was clearly having an issue with something, so he worked on his business and we worked on paperwork.  One of our fellow peeps discovered that there was no toilet paper in the bathroom…..LOL….I’ll just leave at that.  We also learned that toilet paper is a prized possession and that you brought it with you and took it back with you got down with your business LOL…

Wisdom of Solomon

We met a lovely man, Solomon (a foolish Solomon, not the wise one).  He helped with our paperwork and he informed us that he was creating a life history of our kids, complete with DVD of where our kiddoes lived.  Wow, fantastic! I’ve got to remember to send him a video…need to do that.  Once we got done with that, we headed back to the Crown.  We all sat in the teapot room and had the best coffee, ever..along with popcorn 🙂  The floor was covered with fragrant grass and the coffee was hand-ground and then heated up over open coals. 

Precious Offer

The young lady was a beauty and very funny.  She informed me that she was married and had been for 13 yrs.  Honestly, she seemed so young to be married for that long.  Also, she has an 8 yr. old child.  We sat, talked and laughed.  She took me outside to show me the “just grass” that smelled so good.  Then I happened to look up and saw a beautiful yellow flower.  I asked about and she gently looked at me and said “I give you flower if you take my child to America.  You adopt her.”  My heart sank as she looked so hopeful.  I explained that I couldn’t do that….it was so hard…so sad.

We all were tired and so we all headed to bed………….Day 4 coming soon to a blog near you 🙂

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Ethiopia Day 3 and Part 1

Ethiopia Day 3 and Part 1

Here is a glimpse into Ethiopia Day 3 and Part 1

Today was the day…the day that dreams are made of.  The day that I’ve held in my heart since I was a child.  The day that we meet our son. WOW!  We all met in the restaurant, upstairs and ate breakfast (they do make fabulous omelets).  The conversation was light, the nerves and emotions were on the surface of all of us.  
Woudneh Ready
Here comes Woudneh, ready to take us on our trip.  The Monks’ left with their trusted driver.  They had anticipated spending the night in Nazret, where their boys are, but due to some unforeseen issues, they were not able to spend the night, but they did stay all day long and enjoy the company of those sweet boys. Yonas, our rockstar driver, loaded the rest of us up and off we went.  He spoke very little English, but he has such kind eyes and a sweet sweet smile.  He was an excellent driver!
Remain Calm in Traffic
We all tried to remain calm, not knowing how long our trip would be.  We tried to take pictures of what we saw and video, but we were all so uncertain of this crazy traffic, that it was quite mesmerizing.  2 lane roads turned into 3 or 4 lane roads…I could touch the people in the vehicles next to me.  The cheap gas, that was used, caused a lot of exhaust and the fumes made for very dry lips, mouth and lungs…we were all coughing and snotting throughout this whole trip.
The people lying in the median of the street….homeless…barely clothed…no food…no shelter.  It was humbling beyond belief.  If we stopped, for some reason, women with babies, children and elderly would come up to the window begging for food or money.  We weren’t allowed to give them anything due to the strict laws forbidding it.  It was almost more than I could bear, having to turn them away.  At one point, not sure what day it was, I was looking out one side of the van, only to not notice this 8 yr. old boy, his mom and her baby standing outside of my window…politely waiting. 
I turned and their appearance surprised me and I let out a bit of a squeal.  It scared them and me 🙂  I quickly apologized for frightening them, they were laughing at the mishap.  Sadly, I couldn’t let them go without food.  There I was, picturing Boo looking to someone else for food and my heart was captured.  Quickly, I gave them crackers, all I had, and before I knew it there was a flood of beggars surrounding the van.  It was so sad.  I just wanted to bring them all home and feed them all.
Those images will be forever etched in my mind.

Day 1 & Day 2 – Ethiopia Bound!

Day 1 & Day 2 – Ethiopia Bound!

Here is a glimpse of our Day 1 & Day 2 – Ethiopia Bound!

We were blessed to have our neighbors take us to Nashville.  We certainly didn’t want to drive and pay for parking, but that is minor.  They were sweet enough to haul us down there.  What a fun trip 🙂

Nashville Airport

In the Nashville airport, we had no problems getting in and through security.  We ended up sitting for 3 hrs LOL….we wanted to make sure we got there, in time, with no snafus!  We succeeded.  The first plane was a crackerjack plane, but we made it safely to DC, in what seemed like the blink of an eye.

We got through DC’s security in no time, and again, we sat…for four.long.hours.  Finally, we were blessed to meet the Monks, not too long into our layover.  We introduced ourselves and had a lovely chat before our long flight.

That Plane is Huge

The big plane was, big….but it was so scrunched.  B and I were really really close, during our trip.  I mean REALLY close!  I took some meds and rested for part of the trip, but in the true nature of the Ethiopian culture, the flight attendants were very attentive…even when we were sleeping.  We’d feel the SMACK SMACK SMACK…wake up, there they are…giving you food, drink or a hot cloth.  

Movies on the Plane

We watched 2 movies FOR THE ENTIRE TRIP…..The “New” Karate Kid and Grownups (you can only watch those 2 movies so much before you start to go a bit crazy).  B tried to read and sleep. I tried to work some puzzle books and sleep…to little avail.

A moment in the Toilet

I finally decided to break down and go to the bathroom.  There I sat in the shoebox on the plane.  Next, I flushed the toilet.  Sadly, I wasn’t prepared for the WHHHHOOOSSSSHHHHHHHHH and the force in which it flushes.  Then, I squealed, peed a bit more and then opened the door.  This time I came face to face with an old man (that would be my introduction to Eric Veal LOL).  I know that he thought I was insane and my squealing at the flush of a toilet.  That’s one way to be introduced to the other family that we were to be staying with, on our trip.  OOPS.

Ethiopian Airport

Ethiopian airport was a bit overwhelming.  It was dark, I was tired, there were people and lines everywhere…..once we all got our ducks in a row, found our luggage…we shot out the door and there he was, Mr. Ethiopia himself, Woudneh.  His eyes could light up the darkest room and his smile is contagious.  He immediately put us at ease.  Off we all went, us, the Veals and the Monks’…..our adventure was beginning.

Straight to Hotel

Woudneh took us straight to the hotel, which was lovely.  We settled in our room and then B and I decided to go to the “traditional” restaurant.  There were live music and the most stunning dancing I’ve ever seen.  The food was spicy, so we didn’t eat a lot of it.  We were simply mesmerized at the dancing.  Finally, we decided to head to our room and we slept…oh did we sleep…

… be continued……



Pre-Ethiopia Shenanigan’s
Can I just say, I had the best caregivers EVER while we were gone?  My kids were never alone.  Also, they never were wanting attention or love.  Plus, they got all their schoolwork done, which is a feat, in itself.  No one missed a beat.  We didn’t have a busy schedule planned, while we were gone, but there were still things like therapy and church that had to be attended too.  I was so at ease, even with lack of phone communication, with the children.  The Lord saw fit to allow everything to come together smoothly.  I was pleased to have some internet access and text messaging to get me through the “I miss my kids” moments 🙂  A humble THANK YOU to all who helped whether physically, spiritually or any other way!  My family thanks you, from the bottom of our hearts.

News from Ethiopia!

Here is the News from Ethiopia!
Today, we had court and it was so nerve-wracking. There were lots of adoptive families and then there were beautiful, young girls giving up their children. It was hard to contain all my emotions. Seeing their strength just solidifies the love these people have for their children. I Have no doubt that Meseretu and Abinet were so loved.

We went up the mountain today to the church at Lalibella and WOW WOW. If you think Gatlinburg is great, you ain’t seen nothing yet. It was amazing. We went to lunch at the Sheraton. It was very fancy and the food was wonderful but greater than that was that they had a cool bathroom WITH toilet paper. Ah….it’s the little things in life that makes me happy.

We also went shopping. It was a bit unnerving because there are SO many people and they ALL want you to buy something. We ended up having to get a guard because of the beggars. So very sad. Especially when the children come up to you.

Went to dinner at Woudneh’s and his family is fantastic. We had such a good time. Woudneh said that it would take 15 days to 8 wks before we return. Can’t be soon enough for me. I’m dreading the flight home, but it makes it a bit sweeter that he is letting us go to the orphanage one last time 🙂


News from Ethiopia from Brandi!!!

Here is some News from Ethiopia from Brandi!!!


Sunday night:
We are here….it was a great (long) flight with no delays or layovers.  We met Jude, today and he is absolutely precious….heartwarming….sweet and HUGE!!!!!!!!!!  He is a stout little man.  We will be able to see him again tomorrow, court is Wednesday and then our flight from Ethiopia leaves at 10:15 pm on Thursday. 
We are in love…so many kids…needing so much love.  This country is beautiful.  The people are amazing…the traffic, not so much.  We have been blessed.  Our current prayer needs are for his health, he is sick; for our children, at home; safe flight; our 171 H to come in and for us to be back, in-country VERY VERY soon!
He has some green snot and a bad cough…as do most of the children. They were so precious. He LOVED the picture book and got quite irritated when someone would take it from him. He loves loves loves peanut butter crackers.
I would hand him one and he would crack it open and giggle, then he’d pick out the peanut butter so daintily, eat it and then cram the crackers in his mouth. I introduced him to M & Ms and he had *no clue* as to what it was or how to eat it. He quickly figured that out.

I get to spend several hours with him tomorrow, but not sure if we can go back on Thursday. It is my hope. Seriously, I hate having to leave him. Woudneh said that if I were willing to stay for 3 wks, that we’d have things finalized….oh the temptation.  So many stories…so many things seen….amazing experiences………..I should’ve been Ethiopian 🙂


Today was wonderful. Abinet still seems a bit sick but was much better today. Very very very busy and he LOVES soccer, bubbles, peanut butter crackers and wahoo (water). We played and played. He has loved his picture book and looks at pictures of you all. We got him to say everyone’s name and he would just giggle when he’d say them. He is precious. It has been funny to take pics of the kids and then have them look at their own faces.

We had one little boy, about 3, named Mibeety (said MyBitty and he is bitty bitty) and when he saw his face, he screamed and squealed and kissed the camera. It was so precious. The nannies, taking care of Abinet are wonderful and the orphanage is very clean. We went to the National Museum of Ethiopia and enjoyed that. We also ate at “Lucy’s” and the food was wonderful!

Courtesy of Samson and Kalab

I have many many pictures and long video, courtesy of Samson 10 and Kalab 8. They were very very sweet and smart boys. They would read a sentence in English and then teach me to say it in Amharic. Tomorrow, at 9:30 am (Ethiopian time) and I believe it is 4:30 your time, is court. Pray for us, the M’s and the V’s on everything running smoothly.

Abinet is still not feeling well, as well as Kalab. Lots of the kids were sick, so sad to see because they just have to get over it, there is no medicine to give them. I’m off to get a coke, some chapstick and to wash the goo off my face from the wild cab ride back to our hotel. Love to you all. Kids, I read you messages and I adore you. Will be home late Friday night with lots of videos and pictures for Saturday.

So Many Stories

I have had the best time and it is so wonderful how God has orchestrated this all. I have simply fallen in love with all the nannies and the children. Yonas has been very nice, didn’t get to talk to him too much. We’ve had the best time with the V’s and M’s’…so many stories that I pray I can remember. It seems, at night, when I have the chance to write, I’m so overwhelmed and tired. The big boys, Samson and Kalab kept telling me that Meseretu and Abinet are “best friends”.

Abinet was better today, still a very juicy cough and lots of green snot. He TALKED A LOT today and began looking for us saying “mommy? daddy?” He is so darn edible. I got to do lunch with him, put him down for a nap. I can’t wait to come back.

Woudneh the Great

Woudneh has been great. We are going to his house, tomorrow after court and after shopping for dinner, so I get to love on that sweet baby of his 🙂 Oh, I went to the infant room…..12 infants and I loved and kissed each one..they seemed so sick, though. Everyone was. Very sad.

Woudneh has taken us to the Zebra Room and to Lucy’s. We’ve eaten at the hotel, one night traditional the next night American It’s been good…my mouth is so dry…nothing seems to quench it.


One Small or HUGE Note

Just in case you didn’t know our One Small or HUGE Note.



I’m sure you needed to hear that again, cause I sure do need to say it again!  We passed court in Ethiopia.  Our son is now, officially, our son.  He is Abinet Bart Crum.  Rest assured, we will be changing his name, once in America!  By this passing of the court thing in Ethiopia, he has become an American citizen.

We will fly home for about 6 weeks.  Our next step is to wait for confirmation from USCIS and to get the go-ahead to head back to Ethiopia to bring him home.  He will be home for the holidays!


God is SO good

God is SO good.  I have criteria before I make any significant decisions…..I mean, it is all in my control, right? 

Sis called and stated that I need to go on this first trip.  That was not in my schedule o plans.  B was going to go on the first trip, for court and I was going to go on the second trip, to pick up my little man.  If I *didn’t* go, we’d have to readopt him after 6 mths in the states.  Not a problem. 

Knowing the Right People

We know a lawyer who does this as his ministry and all we’d have to pay is court costs.  If I *did* go, then when the judge said “yes,” he would automatically be a US citizen. We wouldn’t have to readopt…no brainer.  I’d stay home with the kids the first round, and he’d stay home the second round. 


So, I’d made arrangements, paid fees, talked to mom about having a wreath booth in the Hunter’s Moon Festival in Grand Rivers on the 9th (the day B was supposed to leave for Africa).  Also, there was the childcare issue and the whole money issue. 

It just seemed to fit, and then sis calls and blah blah blah blah blah wants me to go on the first trip.  “Make the call, reserve your tickets, step out on faith,”  Easier said than done.  I know, that is horrible, but I’m trying here!

Travel Agent, Maybe

I let last week go by without calling the travel agent.  Sadly, I just couldn’t do it and I put it off.  We had enough for him to go on this first trip, alone and hopefully we had raised enough for me to go on the second trip.  On Saturday, we had the city wide yard sale…I went with my MIL. 

Huge Surprise

We ginned around town, and then we stopped to eat at our favorite little sandwich stop.  At one point, we got to talking about the trip and what our dilemmas were.  She stopped me dead in my tracks and said: “I’ll take care of the kids…no big deal.”  Wow.  That is huge of her to offer. I also had 2 friends willing to take the day shift and my mom willing to do a couple of days.  God fixed that.  

Another God Moment

Guilt overcame me because I had committed to this booth, sent in the registration and paid the fee.  I tried to find someone to operate the booth, and no one was able.  My mom was willing to help set up, but not stay….so I’m in a pickle. 

That Sunday evening, my mom called, and she said for me not to worry because she and my aunt were going to do the booth on that day!  Wow!  That is huge, too!  We can still fundraise, and my aunt is willing to help.  My mom and her sister together…..Grand Rivers will *never* be the same!  God fixed that.


Well, this morning, during my study…God laid on my heart to let go of my laziness/idleness and start doing what I’m supposed to do.  Stop putting things off.  So, I decided to call all 5 kids upstairs…we worked for HOURS on my bathroom/bedroom/closet.  The bathroom looked so nice. 

About 11 am, I thought…I’m gonna do it.  Finally, I decided to call and order the tickets.  I had sent Boo out to check the mail, and there was nothing.  He came in, resumed work and I came down to make the call.  Finally, I did it and I ordered tickets for both of us.

God is Good

My heart was wrenched, I couldn’t breathe, but I was trusting that we could fundraise for my trip in Nov/Dec.  Got that phone call taken care of and went back upstairs to work. About 10 minutes later, Boo came upstairs with the mail in hand.  I sifted through it and on top was a letter from ShowHope. 

For some reason, I knew they’d be sending it but didn’t expect it till the end of the week.  There was a moment where I was hesitant to open it.  We had been turned down by every other grant place.  ShowHope will send a letter one way or the other.  So, I stood…opened it….and we were awarded A HUGE GRANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We are done…money is there, waiting, ready…..GOD FIXED IT!

I’m so humbled and thankful for His many provisions!  Praising His Name. Also, I am jumping up and down!

Jude….here we come!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Missing my boy

Missing my boy.  How is it even possible to miss someone that you’ve never met?  Can it be the same as loving a baby that you are pregnant with?  I remember my first pregnancy, and it was a heartfelt yearning for seeing what this little person looked like, being able to hold this little person and pour all your love into a being that you’ve never met, you just know that you are carrying within you.
The Ache of Adoption
It was almost an ache, the last few months.  Not the ache of pregnancy, but the ache of being *so* ready, so past ready to meet this child.  I loved being pregnant.  The kicks, squirms, hiccups…watching my belly transform before my eyes from normal to completely transformed into a temporary home for my child.
My womb was warm, and my kids could feel my emotions, ate what I ate…I nourished this baby, loved this baby, protected this baby.  Nothing could get to her, she was safe, and she would fall asleep to the sound of my heartbeat.  Wow, how cool is that!
His Orphanage
My son’s temporary home is an orphanage.  He is in a Christian orphanage.  I’m hoping that he is loved on.  He eats when he can eat.  Sadly, he must share because the food is limited in Africa.  I don’t know if he is too warm or too cold if he has a bed or who protects him.  He doesn’t fall asleep to the lull of calming voices or his mom’s heartbeat.  In short, he left everything that he knew.  His village, his birth mom and his siblings.  He was loved by his birth family, but due to poverty and illness, she wasn’t able to care for him.  I can not even imagine sacrificing like that.  God has a special place for those women who selflessly give up their children so they can have a future, a life… they can eat, be loved on and make a difference in this world.
My Love for An Ethiopian Boy
I’ve never met him, though I love him.  On the other hand, I’ve never heard his laugh, but I smile when I see a picture of him smiling.  Amazingly, I’ve never told him that I love him, yet I would give my life for him.  I’m aching to see him.  Aching to touch him, hold him, feed him, love him and tell him of the sacrifice that his mom made and the ultimate sacrifice that my God made for him in sending His Son to die for him.
If all goes well on Oct. 1 and we pass court, my DH will be meeting our son for the first time that next week.  He will get to hold him, laugh and cry with him and love him, just like the Father loved His Son.  How precious.  Soon, he will be home, and we will be in a whole new world.
Today, I’m missing my son.
Life or Something Like It

Humbled Yet Thankful

Humbled Yet Thankful.  Other than the smell of fresh poop, this morning (thanks Sadie)….my morning has started off well.  I slept very well last night, and that was much needed.
After yesterdays events
I was on edge and ready to throw my hands up and say….”I’m DONE”!  B came home and allowed me to leave for a bit (a long bit LOL).  I went to a friends store and talked with them, went to Cato and got 3 church shirts and a skirt…I love that store, I got my shirts for $3.99, $4.99 and $6.99.  I’m anxious to go back to see if they mark the rest of their bohemian skirts done.  I’m finding that I really like those skirts.  They are something that I can wear around the house and not be guilty of looking like sludge LOL.  If I can just discipline myself to brush my hair, in the mornings…..that’s a work in progress.
Relaxed when I got home.
I just needed to breathe, a bit.  Amazingly, I had an offer of my dear friend to HS my more difficult child….we shall see.  B isn’t all about it because she is such a difficult child and I really don’t want to put my friend through that, but the prospect of her catching up and learning, in a different environment is appealing.  I can say that because I’ve HSed her for a long while and it is very frustrating.  Public school isn’t an option.  We’ve tried that and let’s just say, demons came out to play in her and she made very very bad choices.  It was not good.  We’ve tried a private school, and it was atrocious.  She just can’t survive in that type of environment.
As for my humbling experience, this morning
My friend…my Chrissy girl came and got all my dirty laundry and took it to her house to wash.  I’m the one who likes to do for others, but when it comes to my washer being down for a month and others wanting to do for me, I’d rather pull my teeth out.  She is taking time out of her day to wash our nastiness…now that is a friend LOL. I’m humbled, and I so appreciate her willingness to help my family in this way.
Everyone is quieting doing their work.  I’m 95% caught up on grading kids’ work from yesterday.  It is peaceful, God is good.  I’m ready to finish tackling the day, as long as I’m girded with my armor, and the Lord leads my way!  Humbled Yet Thankful is all I can feel right now.

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