Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone is having a great Christmas season! Ours has been really busy, but so much fun seeing Sophie and Micah experience their first Christmas, their first snow, etc. They are speaking english really well now - it's amazing how fast they've learned. Peyton is just beginning the gymnastics competition season - we have big hopes for him to do well as a level 5 this year. Cooper is still my little sweetheart and he is the family comedian.
Best wishes to everyone!

Monday, November 8, 2010

October 2010

Happy Halloween!
The kids had a great time trick or treating! Micah caught on really quick and was running from house to house with the other boys. Sophie decided she was too cold and couldn't figure out why I was forcing her to walk around outside. I forced her to the first door, crying all the way! But the crying stopped immediately when they put candy in her bucket - she looked up at me and the light bulb turned on! She smiled and took off running to the next house to try and catch up with her brothers!
Fun day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We are all alive and well! (just barely!)

Things are pretty crazy around the Swasey household these days! Life with three 4-year-olds is really wearing me out! The twins are doing really great - they are learning English so fast and they get along great with Peyton and Cooper. Sophie is really smart and picking up on everything sooo fast. She is quiet and shy, but loves to color and write letters and play with friends. Micah, on the other hand, is a bit of a terror! He has about a 3-second attention span and is into everything. However, he is so loving and open and outgoing, that it's easy to forgive him when he destroys something!
They did an article in today's paper about us. Check it out at: http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/south/payson/article_31879118-f43b-5799-8937-7cddbb37ce14.html
They included a few photos in the article that are not online - I will post those and a few others below! One ton of teff we bought for the Yosef orphanage - thanks again for all of your donations!
Children at the Yosef orphanage

All 4 crazy Swaseys, ready for soccer!
Thanks again for all of your prayers and support of our family!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Home Sweet Home!

Sorry it has taken me so long to give an update! We are just now starting to feel kind of settled into the "new normal'. The kids are doing great - things get better every day. They are learning so much, so fast - I think this transitional time is going to fly by and I am going to quickly forget all the funny, crazy things they do right now. Their health is great so far, they eat everything we put in front of them, and they are fully potty trained - all issues that we were really nervous about. They have a long way to go behaviorally, but that will come with time.

The remainder of our trip went very well. Our trip down to Nazret was amazing. We visited an orphanage down there (Yosef Orphanage) that we gave most of our donations to. The orphanage that our kids were in (KVI) was very nice and well funded, but Yosef orphanage needed much more help. We gave them all of the formula and diapers that we brought, plus we were able to buy a YEAR supply of food for them with some of the donation money! We bought almost 1 ton of grain for them! They were so grateful - they couldn't believe we would give that much, but it was only about $650 - we felt like we wanted to do so much more! We also went to another small orphanage (Ebeneezer orphanage) and when we got there, they were all eating their lunch on the floor - they didn't have tables or chairs for the children. So we had 2 nice wooden tables made, and 14 chairs. We hope to get pictures of those when they are delivered sometime next week.

The flights home were LONG and torturous. Our first flight from Addis was delayed by 5 hours, so our 7 hr layover in Dubai totally disappeared and we weren't able to see any of that city. The 15 hour flight from Dubai to Atlanta could have been a total nightmare - I was alone with the kids in the middle of the plane and Kevin was a few seats away, trapped behind a big guy on the aisle. As we took off and both kids were crying, I just sat there with tears running down my face - looking at Kevin like "What am I going to do?" My prayers were answered though - Micah slept for 12 hours and Sophie slept for 10! I didn't sleep, however - my main goal was to keep the kids asleep so they didn't upset everyone else on the plane. I would almost start to fall asleep, then one of the kids would wiggle around and I'd grab them and hold my breath, praying they wouldn't wake up! It was the longest 15 hours of my life! I honestly wanted to kiss the ground when we landed in Atlanta!

Thank you again for all of your generous donations and gifts for our kids! Our biggest problem with them right now is that they are getting spoiled! They have an attitude of entitlement right now - we are trying to nip that in the bud! Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers on our behalf - we need them even more right now!

Love to all!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

US Embassy . . . check!

We completed our interview with the US Embassy this morning – BIG sigh of relief! Now if we can just make it to the airport on Saturday morning, we will be home free! We are really enjoying our last few days here – we are on our way to Nazret today to see another orphanage. The road to Nazret is much faster than the road to Sodo that we traveled last week – lots more cars on the road, so the people and animals stay out of the way. On our way, we stopped at this beautiful resort on a lake in Debre Zeit, called Kuriftu Resort and Spa – we had a wonderful lunch and walked around the beautiful grounds. We would love to return to Ethiopia with our kids when they are older, and we would love to come back and stay there for a few days.

We left our kids behind for a few days while we go to Nazret – I have really struggled with this! I am torn between wanting to spend time bonding with them, and wanting to see and experience their country. We left them behind a few days ago while we went shopping, and they cried and cried – it broke my heart! They have really bonded to us and won't let anyone else talk to them or help them when we are at the guest house. They are VERY obedient – maybe Peyton and Cooper can learn a few things! Micah loves to push buttons on the tv, remote, phone, computer, etc – he is very curious and outgoing. Sophie is much more shy, but she loves all things girly! I bought her this pretty pink dress and tights to go to the embassy, but when we put it on her this morning, it was way too small and short. I took it off her and tried on another dress – not quite so feminine – and she cried and cried until I put the other dress back on her. The tights came down around her knees and we had to pull them up every few minutes, but she loved it!

Micah loves to play soccer – he and Kevin and the doorman at the guest house have played several times in the courtyard outside the guest house. He has a Spider-man toy we brought for him that says several different phrases – he keeps repeating everything – we joke that he is going to learn English from Spider-man! They can both count to 10 in English and they know all their body parts. They sing songs all the time as they play – but every time I try to videotape it, they clam up! It makes us sad that they will forget these songs and their language – we have no real way to retain any of that. They are so eager to learn everything about our culture, that they will quickly forget all about their own.

We miss everyone at home – especially our boys! Take care and we'll see everyone in a few days!


Kevin & Kelly

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Africa update!

Hello everyone!
We've only been able to send short quick emails so far, so I thought I'd
try to give a few more details today. Everything is going really well. The first
few days we struggled a bit with jet lag, missing the boys, etc. But now we have
Sophie and Micah with us and we are loving it! They were SO shy the first night we
had them – they wouldn't move without being picked up, and they wouldn't make a
sound. The next morning they livened right up and now they are laughing, talking,
playing, counting (in English!). They have really latched onto us and love to
snuggle and give kisses. They had a nice warm bath this morning and they loved
it! As the tub filled up and they saw the steam rising from it, they just smiled
and laughed – they were so excited! I have attached a few pictures of them –
hopefully I can get them to go thru!
The first few days we were here, we went down to Sodo, where they grew up.
It was a long, treacherous 5+ hour drive – the road was actually pretty good but
there wasn't 200 yards of the road that didn't have people, goats, burros, wagons,
etc. right in the middle! It was so crazy! Our driver drove really fast and would
swerve around all the obstacles and honk his horn at least once every ten seconds!
Once we got there, we stayed at a hotel that was actually fairly nice, but the bed
was like concrete! We were so tired and miserable and we just wanted to go back to
Addis and be with our kids. The next morning we were able to visit the orphanage
where our kids were first, and then we met their birth mother – that made the trip
all worth it. It was amazing – we got so many pictures, videos and great
information from her (i.e. Sophie was born first!). She took us out close to where
her village is (we weren't allowed to go all the way there) – it was so beautiful
and sooo green. That is one thing that I didn't expect about Ethiopia – it is
mountainous, beautiful, lush and green. There are people walking everywhere, very
few people have cars. The city of Addis Ababa is HUGE and sprawling – modern high
rise buildings right next to groups of metal shacks, it's crazy!
Today we go to the US Embassy for our final approval – the last hoop to
jump thru! Say a prayer for us that all goes well there! After the embassy, we are
going down to a smaller town called Nazret to visit another orphanage. I can't wait
to get home and show everyone all the great things we have been able to do with all
of your generous donations! It's been really amazing!
We hope all is well at home. We will be home on Sunday morning. We are
really enjoying our time here, and learning about this country, but we are excited
to get home and start our lives with our big new family!
Take care!
Kevin & Kelly

Saturday, August 7, 2010

We are alive and safe!

Blogging is a little difficult here so this will be short! We are well and our kids are
beautiful! We got to see them for the first time yesterday and they are starting to warm up to
us! We drove to southern Ethiopia yesterday (what an adventure!) and got to meet their
birthmother - that was a really priceless experience!
Better go! If you see our boys, give them a big hug and kiss from us - we miss them soooo much!
Kevin and Kelly