Our Journey, so far...

June 8, 2008 - Submitted Application to Children's Hope International (CHI)
June 27, 2008 - Application Approved
August 14, 2008 - Submitted Home Study Documentation
September 12, 2008 - 1st Home Study Appointment
September 17, 2008 - 2nd Home Study Appointment
October 9, 2008 - Submitted Immigration Application
November 13, 2008 - Submitted Dossier to CHI
November 19, 2008 - CHI Forwarded Dossier to US
December 8, 2008 - Officially a "Waiting Family"
September 25, 2009 - Dossier sent to Ethiopia
November 16, 2009 - Referral of Little Man Haney!!!
December 16, 2009 - Court Date Scheduled (1/4/10)
January 4, 2010 - Adoption Approved by Ethiopian Federal Courts - Officially a Family of Three!

February 12, 2010 - Leaving on a Jet Plane!!!
February 15, 2010 - Forever in our arms!
February 21, 2010 - A family of three, home at last!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Then & Now

One year ago today we got THE call, and we saw our son for the first time! It was a long awaited moment, but worth every second of the wait and we would do it all again and wait twice as long if we had to (for those of you who know me personally, you know that's saying something...)!

So, Happy Referraliversary Reeves! We love you so much and are so lucky to get to be your parents!

November 16, 2009 - Referral Day

November 16, 2010 - Referraliversary

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

That's right... we're still here!

Wow, time certainly flies! We had an amazing summer full of lots of "firsts." There are many, many photos to share, but for now... here is one from our most recent adventure - Halloween!

(sorry it's not better, that's what happens when I try to get photos off my phone!)

Seriously though, isn't he the cutest dragon you have ever seen!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Nine Months... Yesterday

Reeves is 9 months old as of yesterday!

Last week he said his first word – Uh-Oh… for a while now when he drops a toy I say “uh-oh” and pick it up for him. So, last week while playing in his saucer he dropped a toy on the floor and looked at me and said “uh-oh” (without any prompting from mommy)! It is the cutest thing EVER!!! He definitely knows that it means: "oops, I dropped my toy – can you pick it up for me?" Now he says "uh-oh" everytime he drops something that he wants back.

Some of the other highs and lows we have had in the last few weeks:

  • We spent a week back east visiting family – Reeves got to meet and spend time with Grandma Great Haney, Grandma Great Hinson, Granddad Great Hinson, and Aunt Marianne (back-up Nana) and Uncle Frank. Despite the fact that he did not sleep well while we were there (and therefore neither did we) he was in great spirits as usual.


  • We spent our first Mother’s Day together at home (since we had just gotten home from NJ the day before) and it was wonderful! Then the following weekend Reeves and Daddy took Mommy to the Zoo to celebrate Mother’s Day. It was so much fun to walk around and see all the animals with Reeves.


  • On the not so fun side… Mommy had to go back to work. It has been really hard, but it’s a little easier knowing that Daddy is home with Reeves (at least for the next 8 weeks). But, at least my job allows me to come in really early so that I can get off early and flex my schedule so that I have a day and a half off within a two week period… it’s not much, but it helps!

We have been together as a family of three for just over three month (three months, one week, and six days to be exact) and every moment is amazing! I am so in awe of the adoption process that brought us together as a family, it has been the most amazing journey… and we still have so much left.

So, happy 9 months little man! Mommy & Daddy love you so much and continue to realize every day how lucky we are to be your parents!!!

And because no blog update would be complete without pictures... I mean come on, I'm not stupid - I know that's why you came! :)

Reeves & Grandma Great Haney




Reeves & Aunt Marianne



Reeves & Mommy in NJ




Reeves & Daddy in NJ


Mr. Flexible


With Aunt Marianne at the Italian Market in Philidelphia



Yes that's real cheese... & I was in heaven!!!



Mommy & Reeves celebrating Mother's Day at the Zoo



Daddy & Reeves checking out the hippo's at the Zoo (I love the little grin on his face in this picture!)



Reeves and his cousin Stephen (who is exactly 11 weeks older) having a play day


Stephen is also a big part of the reason Reeves always looks so "stylin'" - he shares all his cool stuff with Reeves when he's done with it. Thanks Stephen!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy 8 Months Little Man!

Today Reeves is 8 months old! He now weighs 19 lbs 4 oz and is 27 1/4 inches long... he is definitely growing!!!

He has reached so many milestones since we have been home. Amongst the many accomplishments, he has started taking a role in the feeding/eating process, which definitely make it more of a challenge for mommy and daddy... but it is so worth it to see him having so much fun and taking charge!

Here are some photos from our yurting trip with some our friends and thier son this past weekend.
Hanging out with Mama

Hanging out with Daddy

Making new friends

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

Ok, so my "turning over a new leaf" didn't really work out... so, I'm trying again! We have been pretty busy - here is a little catch-up in photos.


Giving the thumbs up at the doctors office... such a trooper!


Looking suave on Easter


Hangin' out with Grandpa


with Daddy at the Tulip Festival


Mommy and Reeves at the Tulip Festival


Trying on some wooden shoes at the Tulip Festival - which is held at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm... hence the wooden shoes :)


A quick family photo from a very special spot on the Oregon Coast...
There are a lot more... but hey I gotta start somewhere! :)
Tomorrow is a big day for us... our first post-placement visit!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The "Cake Bible"

Many of you know that I LOVE to cook and bake. So, for Christmas Ben got me a cookbook called the "Cake Bible." There are 130 different dessert recipes in it. Last weekend I was looking through it, since I have yet to use it because we have been so busy with our adoption. There are so many great recipes; but I realized there are several that I would never think to make. I'm sure they are great, but they would never be the one that I would pick when I chose a recipe to make.

So, I decided to bake my way through the Cake Bible. And before you say anything... yes I realize this is like the move "Julie and Julia" and no that is not why I am doing it. In fact, I haven't even seen the movie (although, admittedly I might not have thought of it otherwise). It's really a way for us to try all the recipes, and I'm sure there will be several that we will really like that I would never have thought to make. The plan is to make one per week going in the order laid out in the book (alphabetical) to make sure no recipe gets missed. Ben has graciously agreed to rate each recipe.

In addition, the idea is to make each recipe as directed - no shortcuts (i.e. I actually have to sift the dry ingredients) or substitutions (i.e. if the recipe calls for superfine sugar, no using regular granulated sugar). I'm hoping not to have to order too many ingredients! :)

This little project (again, NOT trying to copy the move... even though I agree that it certainly seems like it) started last weekend with the Almond Cake. This is a good example of one that I would NEVER have picked out to make.



The batter was so much lighter and fluffier than any cake I had made before - could be that I actually sifted the dry ingredients and didn't cut any corners :0)

VERDICT:

Although the ingredients are a little expensive (mostly the ground almond) and somewhat obscure (unless you know what you are looking for) the cake was actually pretty easy/basic to make.

A little plain looking, but it has a wonderful texture that is light like an angel food cake but actually dense and filling like a pound cake at the same time (I realize that sounds a little odd, but it's hard to describe any other way... I guess I'm going to have to work on my descriptions). A great almond flavor, especially if you like almonds - although I'm not a big almond fan and I still really enjoyed it.

Overall, Ben gave this one a score of 7. Although I will say that my mother-in-law and aunt-in-law both raved about it. I definitely think it was worth trying, it far exceeded my expectations of an "Almond" cake.

And just because... here is a picture of Reeves first ride on a carousel.

And before you think "why isn't she on the horse with him"... they wouldn't let me. Apparently that's aginst the rules - although it seems safer to me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Long Overdue Update

Ok, I admit - I've been a bad blogger! But, I'm turning over a new leaf, and I promise to update more often :)

So, we have been home almost a month and we are having a great time. Ben is back at work and will take the rest of his parental leave (9 more weeks) when I go back to work in mid-May. So, during the day it's pretty much just me and Reeves - and it's GREAT! He is an amazing baby, incredibly happy most of the time and always talking and laughing.

Here are a few photos:



Our First Family Photo - After Our Appointment at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa




Daddy and Reeves having story time




Daddy and Reeves doing chores





Lloyd, Mommy, and Reeves after our afternoon walk



And the best for last... Reeves is now eating "solid" food (if you can call rice/oatmeal cereal and baby food solid)


Getting ready.....




Going for it....




SUCCESS!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oregon Baby Breaks Land Sleep Record

Associated Press

SALEM, OR – In a remarkable achievement an Oregon baby has shattered the continuous land sleep record with a recorded 8 hours 49 minutes of uninterrupted sleep. Reeves Haney, 0.5, commented on his triumph “I just never stopped believing, I have so many people to thank…. Mom, that tall skinny dude who changes my diapers, J.C., Lloyd, Grandma, Nana…..did I mention Mom? I hope I’m not forgetting anybody.”

The extended period of sleep was officially recorded between 7:42 p.m., Friday, February 26, 2010 through 4:31 a.m., Saturday, February 27, 2010.

“Once he sets his mind towards something he’ll make it happen…. well either that or poop, want to be fed and take a nap…. but in this case it was definitely the former” said proud father, Ben Haney.

Haney was well equipped for his record breaking attempt, sleeping in an AFG Int’l Products Inc. Seko™ Spring Baby Crib with optional walnut finish set up in the “infant” configuration with full stationary siderail and equipped with a KIDTime™ “Jungle Buddies” quilted crib set. To facilitate long duration sleep he suited up in a Carter’s™ microfiber infant one piece sleeper sack with doggie paw print surface finish over a modest light-blue Carter’s™ short-sleeved onesie. “The suit worked great” said Reeves, “but the real trick was selecting a diaper that could handle the incredible forces generated in such long-duration infant sleep.” For this he selected a Kirkland Signature™ Supreme disposable diaper, up to 15 lbs.

Haney celebrates his record-setting sleep

According to his visibly emotional mother, Erin Haney, “It really was touch and go there for a while. The diaper situation really had us concerned by about hour 6, but after evaluating the situation we determined it was an acceptable risk.” Adding, “This record is something [Reeves] has been working towards for a long time and it feels so good to finally see the fruition of all his efforts.”


According to family sources, this remarkable baby won’t rest on his laurels. Quoting an anonymous family member, “I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but he’s really been talking quite a bit about the possibility of going an entire trip to the grocery store without blowing out his diaper.”

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Welcome Home Reeves!

A good friend of ours made a video of our arrival home and our family and friend's first meeting of Reeves.

A huge thanks to Valdez for creating this great video to capture this special moment for our family!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Our time in Ethiopia

We made it home and are now all trying to adjust our schedules. We tried to post in Ethiopia but the internet speed available wasn’t allowing us to.

Below is Nana’s journal of the events….


Ethiopia 2010

Friday, Feb. 12 – Saturday, Feb. 13
With our Jeep loaded to the top and Ben and Erin crunched beside baggage we made our way uneventfully to the Portland International Airport. After Gary dropped us off with the bags he went to park while we struggled inside the terminal with 8 large bags to be checked, four carry-ons and three “personal items”. We were quickly met by a Delta representative who informed us that we were only entitled to one checked bag each. Erin produced her printed itinerary showing 2 each and began a back-and-forth cell phone dialogue between the travel agent and multiple levels of supervision at the Delta desk. The confusion, it seems, come from two issues: 1) Arrangements were made with KLM which used NW Airlines for some legs of the flight, and 2) NW recently merged with Delta. Both these airlines allowed 2 bags each but since the NW flight had been changed to a Delta one, that policy no longer was in effect. The airlines maintained that we would need to pay $200 for the 4 “extra” bags. After a long wait in line we checked in and the computer did not charge us for the bags. The agent knew of the issues (we were quite well-known by this point) and said that she wasn’t going to question the computer! Bless her! I only tell this part of the story because these bags were full of donations for the orphanages and many of you contributed to this effort. We were only traveling with carry-ons for ourselves. I assure you that all the bags arrived in Addis and are here at the guest house with us.

Our flight took us to Amsterdam where we met 3 other couples coming to bring their children home. After a stop in Khartoum for fuel we arrived here 28 hours after we left home. Though it is 11:30 pm Saturday night, it is 12:30 in the afternoon in Oregon. Since it is dark, we haven’t really seen any of the city but I know there must be a nightclub nearby…..

Tomorrow brings new adventures, though maybe not meeting Reeves yet :(


Sunday, Feb.14

Apparently the place to be on Saturday nights is the local nightclub. We were serenaded until 4 am when the Ethiopian Orthodox Church starts their Sunday worship broadcast, followed at 5 am by the Muslim call to prayer.

We were unable to meet Reeves today because it is the day off for any staff who could help facilitate the meeting (speak English). To help the day pass quickly and to record some sights and sounds of Ethiopia for Reeves’ future, we hired a driver and took the advice of the guest house manager to ride about 1.5 hours south of Addis Ababa to a volcanic lake area called D. In this way we were able to see a good part of the city and some smaller towns along the way. At Lake B we took a tour of one of the top resorts in Ethiopia – a lovely place to stay but so decadent compared the living situations we saw dominate our drive there. We could have eaten lunch there for 250 birr each. Instead we went to another restaurant nearby on Lake Hora and all 5 of us ate for just over 100 birr (about $8) In the evening we walked to a nearby restaurant for delicious pizza.

In preparation for picking up Reeves tomorrow, Erin and Ben packed a diaper bag. Erin said that she wanted to be like Kyla, who always has everything organized!


Monday, Feb. 15

This morning we meet Reeves! We all had trouble sleeping, not only from excitement but from barking, howling dogs.

We were picked up by the House of Hope staff about 9:30 am and driven to the orphanage. We were ushered into a waiting room and at 10:20 Reeves was brought in – wide-eyed and interested in everything and everybody. It was as touching a sight as you might imagine. The newest Mom and Dad had grins wide enough to drive through and, as you might guess, Nana had tears to spare. As designated photographer and videographer Papa and Nana were in everyone’s face with flash and zoom.

Amaz, the director’s wife said Reeves was the happiest baby, always smiling and waving his arms – a fact we had yet to confirm by photos received. She worked hard to get him to smile, but he was engaged in trying to sort out what was going on. Within the hour Mom Erin was able to get him to show off his dimples by playing peek-a-boo. He snuggled right down and took a brief nap as if he always slept in his mom’s arms. Dad can’t stop smiling and touching his little son.

We had lunch at the House of Hope Guest House nearby with three other families who had just had their new sons for a couple of hours. Reeves was the youngest at 5 ½ months followed by 7, 8 and 9 months. You could already see their little personalities peeking out.

After a quick city tour we were deposited back at our guest house with babe in arms. He has entertained his parents by eating, burping and pooping. Guess he has decided that this was a good move because he immediately switched into charming baby mode – chortling, smiling and squealing!

Tomorrow we will bring some of the donations to the House of Hope, though most will go to the other orphanage on Friday. The House of Hope currently has 67 children in their care – all awaiting the arrival of their families.

As we drive along the streets, it is hard not to imagine what Reeves’ life would have been like if he were to stay in Addis Ababa. The level of poverty is lower here than any other place we have been. It seems that a large number of people live in shanty-like villages – put together with whatever could be found to define personal space – branches, corregated tin, rope, reeds and fronds. The area behind the guest house is one step up from this since many have some outside space included. We watch families wash clothes in water saved from the rain last night in. These are the lucky families that have homes and food. We have seen many temporary lean-tos and shelters nested under shrubs along the street. Horses, burros and goats roam and graze wherever they find a morsel of grass. A dump site is to the left looking out our window. From the third floor we can watch animals and children scavenge for food and the scourge of the earth, plastic, blow everywhere with a lifespan that far exceeds that of the humans sharing the same environment.

It is a good reminder of how indulged we are as Americans and what trivial things we deem necessary for everyday living.



Saturday, Feb 20

The week has gone by quickly. As we prepare to leave this evening (flight at 11:50 pm) I want to take a few minutes to reflect on the past few days.

On Tuesday we went to the House of Hope to take photos of children whose families are still waiting. We had three, all adorable, to film and video. Try as we might we could not elicit smiles but got lots of photos for the families.. In the afternoon we visited the National Museum, which was less than spectacular.

A bit about the food here. We had become acquainted with Ethiopian food in the months before this trip and can say that what we have eaten in Portland is authentic. We even cooked an Ethiopian dinner with friends in January. We enjoy the spicy food eaten using torn pieces of traditional bread called “injera” instead of forks and spoons. At our guest house, Melkam, breakfast is included – fresh squeezed OJ, wonderful rolls, hard boiled eggs and spicy scrambled eggs. For lunch and dinner we are fortunate to have two good restaurants nearby – Green View Pizzaria, which serves all kinds of Western food besides great pizza and Shangri-la Ethiopian Restaurant. The four of us are able to eat for $12 – 15. There is also the wonderful, modern Huha Café with mochas, lattés and Chai tea. A pink stand on the corner is our source for bottled water and a little mart down the street carries a wide variety of food and household supplies for its size.

In contrast to the National Museum, the Ethnic Museum is reported to be one of the finest museums in Africa. It is associated with Addis Ababa University and portrays the various ethnic groups in Ethiopia. We came away with a greater appreciation of the art and culture of this country.

On Thursday, while Ben, Erin and Reeves were at the American Embassy finalizing paperwork for Reeves’ visa, Gary and I hired a driver to take us to Mount Entoto. A short drive north of Addis through small villages and countryside is the palace of Menelik II from the late 1800s. An Ethiopian Orthodox Church shares the site with a museum and the palace. This palace is the most unassuming palace one can imagine. A simple round structure made of mud and straw and painted white inside and out, it sits atop a mountain overlooking Addis Ababa. Our guide was a very knowledgeable man who has great admiration for Menelik. He told how Menelik wanted to always think of the common man, so he usually went barefoot, slept in a simple bed and had dirt floors in the palace since that was what most people experienced.

Yesterday (Friday) was an emotional one as we visited the orphanage that first cared for Reeves prior to coming to the House of Hope. This orphanage is in Addis Ababa and is one of the newest ones, being open less than a year. It is quite small and can hold 15 children but currently only has 10. It is a branch of a much larger orphanage that cares for about 50 kids.

We went with another couple from our guest house whose 9 ½ month old also was in this orphanage. They were to meet the birth father (baby’s mother died) but he called at the last moment and said he had to work. Maybe it was just too difficult for him. They were not able to bring there baby to the orphanage because of meeting the father. Reeves went since he was abandoned and there is no family to meet. Ben had hoped to see the area where he was found but was told that it was 120 miles away – their first indication that he was not born in Addis Ababa. He was very disappointed because he wanted to get as much info as possible to share with Reeves when he is older.

The head nanny was there along with the assistant director. She recognized Reeves and cried as she hugged and kissed him. She told us that he was very malnourished and had sores on his head when he arrived at the orphanage at the age of one month. He spent a while in the hospital with her at his side, worried that he would not live. He was in her care for the next two months. She was thrilled to see him looking so healthy and happy.

We learned that, though some of the children are relinquished, most are abandoned because families as so destitute and unable to feed themselves. Of the children currently at the orphanage, nine are babies. Two were only 15 days old. We were able to talk and play with the babies. It was heartbreaking to walk away without taking one (or two) with you. The other child at the orphanage came home from school while we were there – Tommy, a ten year old with some motor difficulties. He appeared bright and happy and spoke some English. When we left, I gave him a hug and he kissed me first on one cheek and then on the other along with a bear hug – I think we was hoping for a new mom. It took me a bit to compose myself on the way home.

Most of the donations were given to this orphanage because they have so few resources. Some will be shared with the larger branch. One area of need was supplies for their kitchen. I can say that they are now in great shape!

We were treated to a traditional coffee ceremony at the orphanage. Sweet smelling grass is spread on the ground and a small stove placed on top. Dried coffee beans are roasted on the coals, then ground and placed in a tall black coffee pot filled with hot water. When the coffee has steeped, it is served in small, handless cups. It is very strong, but not bitter. Not being a coffee drinker, I probably can’t provide the best description. I can state that I have had more coffee here than in all of the rest of my life. I don’t think I have converted…

Some of you probably know that coffee originated in Ethiopia in an area known as Kaffa – hence the name “coffee”.

We have had two shopping excursions – one at the “merkado” and one at the “postal area”. Both were fun and resulted in some fun economical purchases but the “merkado” was the more authentic of the two. And I still have my negotiating skills!

Though we would love to spend more time in this country of Reeves’ birth we are also eager to get home so the rest of the family and many friends can meet the newest little Haney! We are also eager to get the return trip behind us – 9 hours to Amsterdam, 3 hour layover, 10 hours to Seattle, 3 hour layover and then 50 minutes to Portland. We should arrive in Portland at 3:50 Sunday afternoon.





























Tuesday, February 16, 2010

1 Year, 8 Months, 1 Week...

And worth every second of the wait!

Friday, February 12, 2010

3, 2, 1... BLAST OFF!!!

This is it. We are headed for the airport... I can't believe it's finally here!

This has been an amazing journey so far, and we are looking forward to the end of the "waiting" and the begining of the next phase... parenthood.

We can't wait for you all to meet our little man. We'll try to update a few times while we are gone.

Check you on the flip side!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Almost there...

New pictures today... we're coming little man, can't wait to meet you!
(big thanks to the Gramling Family for taking the pics)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Counting Down

We leave in less than 4 days (90 hours if we're counting... which we are)!!

We're flying out Friday, Feb 12 direct from PDX to Amsterdam with a short layover than on to Addis Ababa.

We return with Little Man Haney on Sunday, Feb 21 routing through Seattle and arriving at PDX at 3:50 p.m. on Horizon. We can't wait to introduce him to everyone when we get back!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

And the Winner Is....

The kids in Biruh Zemen orphanage and the House of Hope Transition Home!

Kathy's (or as we call her... Mom's) raffle was quite a success. The drawing was held on January 22nd and the winner was Kirsten Manning. She was able to choose one of three original paintings that was being offered by Kathy.

We continue to be astounded by the generosity of our friends and family. The raffle raised over $1300. Not to mention lots of other donations of clothes, blankets, toothbrushes and toys! We can not thank everyone enough!

With the money we are purchasing a basketball hoop, and have purchased 3 infant swings and $150 worth of soy formula for House of Hope. We have also purchased pots, pans and utensils to equip the kitchen, toys, clothes and lots of over the counter medicines for Biruh Zemen (the orphanage where Reeves spent his first few weeks).


The acquisition.....

The haul....

But wait.... there's more!


A family friend knitted 59 hats!


....and yes, we actually will be able to fit this all in our carry-on & checked baggage.

Friday, January 29, 2010

We received updated photos yesterday!

Reeves at 5 months....

Thank you Crouch family!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pictures

All of our other Reeves pictures not yet posted....

Can't wait to meet him!


Reeves at 4 1/2 months...


Reeves at 4 months....










At 3 months...



Referral Photo at 11 weeks......