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!

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.