Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Should E stay or should E go?

One thing we've struggled with since we got our referral is whether E should travel with us to Africa (Everett is the big brother so he's big E. Enatalem is little e).

Everett is four. He's been on a lot of airplanes in his four years. But he's never been on a 30 hour plane ride. A 30 hour plane ride twice in ten days.

I did lots of research on the big Yahoo board hoping it would help us decide. Here's what I found:
-families who took their young children to Ethiopia were really happy they did
-families who left their young children at home were really happy they did

So that didn't help.

I asked Holt if they had an opinion (I've heard that some agencies discourage you from bringing young children along). They didn't. They did say that a young sibling can sometimes help break the ice with your new child. They said that if we're worried about entertaining Everett that we can have a taxi take us to the Hilton or the Sheraton where he can swim. There are also some small parks around where we can take a taxi.

That made us lean towards taking Everett with us. But we still weren't sure. So we made a list of pros and cons.

-Everett would be able to meet his little sister on neutral territory, with the rest of the family, instead of when we arrive back home after a 30 hour plane ride and are exhausted, sick, and our new daughter is clinging to us so hard that Everett can't squeeze in a hug from her, mommy, or daddy.
-We wouldn't be apart for ten days with two continents and an ocean separating us.

-the 30 hour plane ride
-exposing Everett to illness. It sounds like almost everyone comes home sick from Ethiopia. How scary is it to have to worry your four-year-old will catch giardia just by opening his mouth in the shower?
-the 30 hour plane ride
-long periods of time at the hotel and the care center with possibly nothing to do, no electricity, no t.v. shows, and no video games
-the 30 hour plane ride

We made the decision not to take Everett. We were happy with this decision. We even convinced Everett that he was excited to stay home and spend some alone time with Grandma Joan (my mom).

Then, we passed court. The idea of travel became more real. Everett wanted to know whose fingers he would rub while we were gone (Everett doesn't have a security blanket--he "milks" our fingers for comfort instead--yes, weird but true). The idea of being away from Everett for so long, unable to get back quickly for an emergency, really bothered me. We decided we wanted Everett to meet his sister with the rest of us.

So, we're taking him. And Grandma Joan. She, by the way, got her first hepatitis shots weeks ago--I think she knew all along we would make this decision. (By the way, that's Grandma Joan and Everett in the picture. Abby the dog is also poking her head in the frame. The dog and the cats aren't coming. Pat said he had to put his foot down somewhere).

When Pat and I go to Durame, my mom will stay in Addis with the boys (we've planned to bring Wesley, our twelve-year-old, from the beginning). We might have them stay at the Hilton while we're there, where there's a swimming pool, high speed internet, and satellite t.v.).

Little e will have quite the entourage to greet her at the care center. Pat, me, Wesley, Everett, and Grandma Joan. Probably we'll scare her to death.

But we're happy with our new decision. It feels right, to have little e meet her parents and both her brothers (and Grandma Joan), right from the start.

In the middle of that 30 hour plane ride, I'm sure I'll have to keep reminding myself of that.


  1. I think you're making a great decision taking the whole family. When we visited Guate we were so sad the kids were missing the experience. Not that they weren't fine without us or we missed them terribly, but going places like Guatemala/Ethiopia doesn't happen very often. You won't regret it for a minute, especially with the help of you mom!
    Leah Ann

  2. Ran across your blog on the Ethiopian blogs page. We just returned with our little baby girl last month. We took our boys 16, 12, and 4. We loved it!!!! We had a great time and stayed for 2 weeks. Best decision ever!! We also flew the Houston to Dubai Emirates flight. Order kids meals ahead of time for your me!! LOL!! We originally wanted to stay in Dubai a few days, but I couldn't wait to get my girl...not even one extra day. We waited through court closure and I was DONE with the delays!! We had no adjustments with the time difference. None of us slept great on the Houston-Dubai flight, so we were ready for the hotel layover nap. Then the next day, the excitement of getting our girl kept us all VERY alert!

    Sorry this is so long!!Hope you have a wonderful journey!!