Monday, August 30, 2010

First Zoo Trip

Entering the African Journey!
Hanging out in the Eggs!
Garrett and Ethan in the tents in Africa
Mekie and her daddy!!
Garrett and Ash riding the train! Ash loved it.
Picture with the gorilla, but wait, where's the gorilla??
All 4 kids playing the drums.
Driving the safari Jeep. Mekie didn't make it in the picture she got elbowed trying to get in:(
Looking out at the animals !
Our first zoo trip was a success. When we got to the car Derek and I gave each other a high five and I said "We can do this"! We made it successfully through the zoo with not losing any children, no major break downs, and I didn't even lose my temper once with any child. All the kids had fun but they were tired. Ethan fell asleep in the car and when we got home everyone took naps, even Derek and I. We also became zoo members, since we had to pay for 6 of us it almost paid for a zoo pass for a year.

New Pictures of the kids

Ash looking oh so intelligent!
We were all lined up watching a movie.

Garrett is Darth Vader, Ash is Ninja Turtle and Ethan as himself picking his nose!

Ash and Mekie making silly faces.

Mekie's Hair

It's finally long enough to do something with. So last week I bought hair ties (our first in the Walz household)and did her hair. She was so excited. She went around saying pretty girl (not because we told her she was pretty or anything:))So wanted to show you a picture of our only girl with my first attempt at hair.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

3 Weeks Home

Well, we have been home 3 weeks all ready. I can't believe it. The kids have come so far all ready in this short amount of time. The first night home, they seemed so unsure of themselves and scared. They are now running around laughing and playing tricks, fighting over toys, and crying because they didn't get their way. All normal 4 year old stuff! We do have some issues with still getting them used to our routine and the difference in cultures and of course LANGUAGE!! That is so a struggle sometimes. But Ash can understand so much and can translate for me if Mekie is just not getting it. One thing that was kind of a shock to me is all the doctor appts. I don't know if I just thought one appt and that would be it. But we have been to the hospital 4-5 different times, the dr office 3-4 times, and (a surprise) the TB clinic 2 times. (Ash was exposed to TB and has to be treated but not contagious. He was tested in ET before coming home and it didn't show up at all). So we haven't even started our dentist appts. and have 2 more dr. appts for the month of Sept. And for the most part, they are healthy. I would hate to see how many appts. I would have to go to if they weren't healthy.

We have also enrolled them in preschool this year. Mekie will be going 2 days a week and Ash 3 days. I will send them a few weeks late to let the other children get settled. They are so excited about school. Derek and I were so impressed with the things the teacher taught them at the orphanage. They just told me the other day all the days of the week and the months of the year. They impress me each day with the amount of things they know.

Garrett and Ethan have seemed to be adjusting well. Ethan has had issues and is still having issues with sharing. He was struggling with that before we left but now that he has 3 other siblings he has a lot more tantrums because there's more kids taking his toys. Garrett did really good at the beginning but I think the newness is wearing off. He is also having a hard time with sharing and the toys that were just his is not his anymore. But for the most part they all get a long pretty good. Right now, it seems there is at least one kid really happy, 2 that are okay and one kid crying at all times in our house. Hopefully that will get better with time.

Derek and I have also struggled with getting back to "Normal" after seeing what we saw in Ethiopia. The images that we saw will forever be sketched in our minds.

Towards the end of the week there I was getting so home sick. I missed all those little luxuries that we have here. Clean water, clean sidewalks, food you didn't have to worry if it was safe to eat or not, TV, and internet. All those things that we take for granted, I missed. But I got to come home and get all those things back. There were so many beggers on the streets that didn't have water, food, and some with no clothes on their backs. It was so hard to walk into our house and live like we do and know there are men, women, and children with out a house, without clean water, and without food to eat. How many times do we or our children say "We're hungry or I'm starving"? We have no idea what starving is or what true hunger is. In America or biggest dilema is "What should we eat tonight or where should we eat". So many parents in Ethiopia have to choose what child should eat that day. Holding and trying to comfort their child screaming because they have hunger pain. Finally crying themselves to sleep knowing that they will wake with even more more pain. How would you choose??

We saw men and women on the street and you didn't know if they were alive or dead. Babies on their mother's hip with ripped and dirty clothes and the mother's begging for food knowing she didn't have any breast milk for that baby because she wasn't getting enough food (and I could tell because her breast was out!) We would fill out backpacks with granola bars and pass those out with money. Derek and Jason (the other family we traveled with) went out a couple times with bags full of bananas (one time they said they passed out probably 500 bananas). They said the crowds got so bad and they would start reaching into their bags to get the bananas. And fights would break out as the bags were getting empty. They passed out bananas in one side of the road and they were trying to see if everyone in that one area would be able to get food. But there were always more beggars coming up. Some just asked for a loaf of bread as Derek bought them it. A man also asked Derek for a pair of shoes, Derek gave him money for shoes. They asked for things that we don't think twice about buying. Simple things as food and clothes. In one of my pictures you can see the men and women going through these big dumpsters for trash and I'm assuming their looking for food. EVERYDAY 30,000 CHILDREN DIE FROM STARVATION OR A PREVENTABLE DISEASES!

I want to do so much more for Ethiopia. It is a great country with so many nice people. The people of Ethiopia were so positive even though they were suffering and having hardships. We miss them so much. Derek and I have also sponsored a child from Ethiopia. His name is Amanueal. He is 7 and lives with his mother. We send money to him so he is able to eat everyday and get an education plus the greatest gift is learning about Jesus! We sponsor him through Compassion. But there is still so much more that needs to be done. We love Ethiopia as it is the country our children our from.

Lord, I pray that through you, even though we're small, we will be able to do great, big things in Ethiopia. Please pray about what God would put on your heart to help the orphans and the starving, whether it be bring a child home through adoption, sponsor a child that needs to hear the love of Jesus, or go on a mission trip. Derek and I would love to go back to Ethiopia in a year or so and do a mission trip and we would love you to join us. Lord, YOU ARE A MIGHTY GOD and I can't wait to see what you have planned for our lives!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Garrett's first day of school was today! I told him that I would wake him up this morning at 7 am and I heard him come down at 6:48. He was dressed and ready to go. He was so excited! But he was also nervous because he was scared he would forget his teacher's name and his room number.

So when the time came we went outside to wait for the bus and he kept asking his teacher's name and room number. Ash and Ethan was outside too to watch their big brother get on the bus. So Garrett and I walked down the drive and the bus came shortly after. Garrett knew just what to do. He got to the middle of the road and didn't know which way to get on but figured it out and off he went. My baby is off to school. I was holding back the tears but Ethan didn't. He was screaming for Garrett and saying "me ride bus"!!!
I just can't believe my baby is off to school. Garrett and I had 3 1/2 years together without any other kids in the house. So it was hard to watch him go. But the good news is that he was excited to go and I will pick him up at 11 am.
And we are home, 1st day done! And it was good from the 3 words that he said "it was good"!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meeting our Children

So these are the pictures everyone has been waiting for! The day we meant our children for the first time. We were waiting in our courtyard of our guesthouse, they bring the kids to us. And this is moments before we get our kids.

I couldn't believe how the kids came to us. Ash came running up to me and hugged me. Mekie was a bit shy but walked right up to Derek. And then we switched and Ash went to Derek and Mekie with me. The were so excited but you could tell they weren't sure of what to do. But after we got them we took them up to our room to show them their bookbags that we filled with toys. They seemed a little scared but they were laughing at their toys and playing. It was so much fun getting to know them that day. But it was so nerve wracking because you didn't want to do anything to upset them or scare them. The second day was the hardest of that entire week in ET. The kids' personalities were not what I expected, they were the opposite. Ash was more quiet and shy but aggressive. And Mekie was so sweet and cuddly and funny. Nothing like I expected. I had so much fear that second day. I didn't know how Ash was going to fit into our family and I was so scared to bring him home! The Mancini's that we traveled with were so great. We shared a lot of our feeling with them and their feelings with us and it really helped us get through those trying times. And they had adopted before and they explained that what we were feeling was normal and it will get better.

Well as of today, it is getting better. Everyday Ash fits more and more into our family and so does Mekie. I truely can't believe how wonderful the kids are doing. They are defiently troopers and they have brought so much joy to this family (and craziness!!!).

Thank you Lord for bringing Mekie and Ash into this family!!! You are an amazing God with greater plans than I could ever dream of. And Lord, you sure do know how to grow a persons faith!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So this is the airplane that we spent 15 hours on there and 15 hours coming back. We went from Fort Wayne to Chicago to Washington DC and then to Ethiopia with a stop in Rome to refuel (you don't get off the plane, you sit there for another hour!!). When we arrived in Ethiopia we were so tired. Derek and I hardly slept at all on the plane. There was a driver waiting for us at the airport and they took us straight to the guest house.

We traveled with another family, The Mancini's. They are such a wonderful Christian family with great faith! This is a picture of us outside the Guesthouse with them and their 2 oldest children. (They have 6 kids now, they just adopted two girls)

This is a picture of our room at the GRAND GUESTHOUSE. It was not that bad. It was better than I expected. The beds were a little hard with springs poking you and the bathroom had some mold and smelled bad and some toiletries others left behind. But other than that, not so bad. They had a main sitting area with TV and Dvd player downstairs in the main lobby area with a table where we ate breakfast and any other meals we ate in. Breakfast came with the room so they had eggs and toast every morning and the eggs were fried in oil :( So after a few mornings of that I asked for french toast and that was delicious! I brought my own little bottle of syrup from someone's recommendation that traveled prior! But the staff at the guest house were so nice and accomodating! They were also great with our children and helped translate!

So the next post will have pictures of us meeting our children for the first time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Heading to the Airport

This was our car packed with our luggage. We had 4 checked bags and each a carry-on and personal item. 2 of the checked bags were donations for our care center, clothes, shoes, and lots of hand sanitizer! Then we had Ash's and Mekie's car seats in our car. We left our house around 6:45 and on the way driving to the airport we were listening to the radio and the song came on

"Our God is greater, Our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other...and if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us, and if our God with us, then what could stand against"

And Derek and I have clung to that song the entire week before we left. Thorough this journey Derek and I have felt so up and down. There were good days but many bad days that left us feeling defeated and as we were getting ready the week before, we had so many doubts and fears. But that song gave us strength. So as we were driving the song was on and I looked out my window and saw a rainbow, not one but two! It was not raining out that morning. The sun was coming up on one side and some clouds on the other side. God gave us rainbows as a promise to us back in Genesis. I know that God put those two rainbows in the sky to help calm all those fears away. (one big fear was why 2 children and I was still questioning that up to the day) So it brought tears to my eyes because I felt God's presence saying go and bring your, not one, but two children home that I planned for your family!!!
The second rainbow didn't show up on my picture but it was there, I promise!!
I will try and post new pics every couple days with more details of our trip. It is difficult managing 4 children, with getting ready for school, and lots of doctor and dentist appts. So will try my best so all of you can know how our trip went!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


This is a video taken right after we got the kids. We took them up to our room to show them their bookbags and they were checking everything out.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy to be Home!

Well, we have just come home from a very exciting and emotional week in Ethiopia. What a ride it was, and I have a feeling it's just getting started!

We tried to take video and were were going to upload it while in Ethiopia but the internet connection was so slow that it took forever to upload my email pages and I never could get connected to my blog. So we uploaded some video before we got our kids. The first is us at the airport waiting to board the 15 hour flight to Ethiopia. We were so excited to get there and meet our children.

This next video of us is in the van driving from the airport to the guest house. We got in the van and our driver cranked up some Ethiopian music. Loved it. We were in airports and airplanes for 28 hours. WE were so exhausted at this point but excited to finally be in Ethiopia. We started off seeing very nice, luxurious houses right when we left the airport but after a mile of that we turned and the streets were lined with homeless men and women and children. It is rainy season in Ethiopia and they were all covered with tarps and plastic. All the emotions at this time were so hard to deal with because of exhaustion but excitement to get our kids but heartache for all those people.

This next video is of us waiting in the courtyard for our children. All the emotion we were fealing at this point was so crazy. We were so excited to meet our children but there was fear of the unknown. We had a good night rest Sunday night when we arrived and woke up on Monday well rested and ready to meet our children. We took showers (in water that is not good water, advised not to drink it because we would get sick from it). Then went down to get breakfast (breakfast included with our stay at the guest house. Scrambled eggs fried in oil and toast.

We traveled with another great Christian family, The Mancini's. It was truely a blessing to have them with us. We did everything with them so when you see video of other people than us it's probably the Mancini's that you see. They brought their 2 older children, Allison and Caleb. And they also had 2 children back home with one adopted from China.

The emotion of waiting for our children to arrive was so hard. At least I, Wendy, was nervous and shaking. So here is some video of us waiting with views of the courtyard.

More posts to follow, STAY TUNED!!!

Derek and Wendy

Monday, August 2, 2010

Derek and Wendy have the kids

This is Kari, Derek and Wendy's sister-in-law and I will be trying to keep you updated with the latest news.
They arrived in Addis Ababa safely on Sunday as planned.
They received the children this morning(Monday). They said the kids were happy to see them but they are pretty shy. Ash is a little more standoffish but Mekie is very cuddly and loving. That was a surprise because they thought it would be the other way around.
Both of the kids speak Amharic fluently but they do know a few English words which is a good start. They both recited their ABC's for Derek and Wendy. Mekie is already calling them Mommy and Daddy (though sometimes calls Derek mommy).
They are very grateful for all the prayers and support from all their family and friends and ask that you continue to keep them in your prayers.