Our Family - August 2012

Our Family - August 2012

Our blog is

journaling our family's adoption journey to bring Astede & Kebrom home from Ethiopia, while life continues at home.







Friday, January 24, 2014

Jan 10, 2014

10 Reflections regarding my trailer-backing deficiency

1. I felt cared for that friends, who saw my FB cry for help, waited at calf weigh-in in the cold 2 hours so they could help me back up the trailer.

2. I also felt a little pathetic.

3. And when Kebrom whipped out his camera and asked if he could take pictures of my trying to back up the trailer, I felt more pathetic.

4. I did politely (and bravely) dismiss our friend’s kind offer to back it up for me and when my turn came confidently began the process…but from everyone’s panicked yelling (led by Geoffrey) I immediately recognized I was taking the absolutely incorrect angle.

5. Carefully heeding the advice and hand motions now being offered by several onlookers, eventually the trailer arrived at an acceptable location and we unloaded the panicked calves.

6. My relief turned to horror when I then learned I needed to do this again at another gate to re-load the calves. Only, this gate had even less room to navigate.

7. I felt like I had just courageously survived a blood draw and as I went to leave they added, “now go into the next room for your colonoscopy.”

8. Either word of my trailer infirmity had spread, or they had seen my first attempt because at the 2nd gate was a group of ranchers…and a teenage girl…who immediately joined together to carefully talk and guide me into a (somewhat) satisfactory job at the 2nd gate.

9. If they had mocked me when I climbed out I would have felt bad. If they had ignored me I would have felt self-conscious. If they laughed at me I think I could have laughed too. But what they did made me feel the absolute worse…they jubilantly congratulated me for having succeeded at what for others is a routine task.

10. And then, the teenage girl smiled at me and said, “It’s okay…I used to back up trailers like that too.” And I felt, really really pathetic.

Jan 3, 2014

10 Reflections from the past week

1. Despite being the least mechanical person in the world, since the elliptical assembly was “6 Easy Steps”, I wasn’t too threatened.

2. And as darkness set in on New Year’s Day, in my left hand I held the stubborn piece that refused to “attach”, and in my right hand I held my trusty hammer.

3. Eventually it did “attach”, but as it did so, much to my (loud) aggravation and anger, two different pieces of the machine popped off.

4. An hour later (this is absolutely true)…in defeat I stuffed the two pieces in the bag (with the other left-over pieces which I have no idea where they belong), declared them unnecessary and told Katrina “it’s ready to go!”

5. We’ve now used the elliptical the past two days and it works fine…other than an awful clunking sound every time the right pedal is pressed down.

6. January 4th has loomed in my mind like a foreboding cloud. It has filled me with such anxiety I’ve awoken in a panic the last 3 nights…I lie in bed frozen, with my eyes wide open, my palms sweating and my heart palpitating…praying for God’s mercy and strength.

7. Because…Saturday is “weigh-in” for our cows…which means I will be expected to (quickly) back-up the trailer so the cows can be unloaded…while a long line of credible farmers watch and wait their turn.

8. I feel sick and am trembling even as I type this…but I’ve formed a strategy - I intend to arrive minutes before it closes (in hopes I’m the very last one)…and I’ve been pleading with Geoffrey to come with me for help and moral support (his reply? “No way!”)

9. A well-known fact is my shocking and amazing level of jogging ineptitude - which I’ve passed along to my older children. So I was surprised by Geoffrey’s New Year’s resolution, “This year I’m going to sign up for a ½ marathon.”

10. Then he added, “And then pull out at the last second.”

Now that’s a resolution I can embrace.

Jan 17, 2014

10 Reflections from the past week:

1. Forgetting the Glidewell proclivity to fainting, when Kyra slumped to the floor Monday night, we panicked and dialed 9-1-1.

2. She was later diagnosed w/ Influenza A and passed out from dehydration. This was new. Traditionally the Glidewell fainting modus operandi involves b-l-o-o-d (for my brother Mark’s sake we always spell this word).

3. But we didn’t know this as the emergency medics crowded into our home. As I watched them check my precious 16 year old vitals, give her oxygen and care for her I couldn’t help worrying and thinking to myself, “I don’t think this is covered by our insurance.”

4. Later, Katrina, my mother and I …oh, and Kyra…shared an emergency room with an unusual handicapped man in poor health but with excellent hearing.

5. Though the thin veil of a curtain hid us from one another’s view, there was no privacy in our conversations and whatever medical attention Kyra received, he’d immediately demand the same (“where’s my t.v.!? Don’t I get a t.v.?” “where’s MY call button???” “I want some water too!” etc. )

6. Later, the doctor came in to review how much pain medication Kyra had already received. None of us could recall for certain…after a few seconds the silence was broken by a low voice from the other side of the curtain, “400 milligrams.” He was right! Our strange (if not slightly deranged) roommate saved the day!

7. Kyra wasn’t our only sick family member. M&M, a pregnant ewe, was discovered late one night to be terribly ill and aborting her lambs.

8. The lambing season routine began. Katrina corralled and haltered the ewe. Then she gathered different medications and took the ewe’s temperature. After that she began hooking up the monitors. I washed the dishes.

9. Exhausted from doing the dishes and watching Katrina I was laying on the bed when the phone rang. I was both curious and confused when the caller I.D. said it was Katrina.

10. She was calling from the garden. The mini-steers had chased her into the pen and wouldn’t let her out. I bravely chased them off and released her from confinement and then proudly let her back into the house. I don’t know what she’d do without me.

Jan 24, 2014

Paul's 10 Reflections from the Past Week:

1. Llama’s in fact, do spit. Geoffrey’s and my hair, face and clothes were irrefutable evidence.

2. I don’t blame the llama though. I blame Katrina. It was SHE who told Geoffrey and I that the young stud llama needed to be separated from its mother. Unfortunately, they strongly disagreed.

3. Geoffrey and I cornered them and while he wrapped his arms around mama llama, I did the same to her son. Mama llama reacted by loudly moaning and scattering spit, which panicked the stud who began bucking and threw me to the ground.

4. The rodeo only grew wilder until Katrina, our resident llama whisperer, stepped in and calmed down mama llama and casually led her away.

5. Geoffrey and I, unsure whether we’d won or lost, retreated to the house where we could shower off the green and smelly llama lugys and tend to our bruises.

6. On a more somber note, later that night we suffered through one of the grim realities of farming. One of our beloved pregnant ewes unexpectedly died.

7. Thanks to Perfect-Neighbor-Mark (PNM) once again saving the day; he, Geoffrey and I were able to load the heavy animal into the trailer

8. (I’ll omit the story of my failed attempts to back the trailer to the barn, Geoffrey’s panicked yells as PNM watching in awkward silence (as well as shock, horror and embarrassment)).

9. We had received permission to leave it at our vet’s property…but at midnight, in the deep darkness and eerie silence, Geoffrey and I couldn’t help but feel like two gangster goons (I was Pretty Boy Floyd and Geoffrey was Baby-face Nelson) as we dumped the body, wrapped in sheets, into the weeds.

10. Then we climbed back into our bucket and fled the scene. I had to get home to my dame before the coppers showed up, fingered us for clipping an innocent animal, put us in bracelets and led us off to the big house!

Friday, May 31, 2013

It's been THREE years!


10 Reflections
1. Exactly 3 years ago, I sat on a crowded bus in Addis Ababa headed to an Ethiopian government building, embracing my son, whom I’d met just the day before. My arms were lovingly wrapped around him in a tight bear hug…in a futile attempt to prevent his kicking and thrashing as he threw (another) FURIOUS tantrum.

 2. He accentuated his kicks with loud expressions articulated in Tigrinya, the only language he knew. I knew not a lick of Tigrinya…but I had a pretty good idea what he was saying to me.

3. And then I became aware that my lap felt unduly warm. The little urchin…I mean…my boisterous new son…had drenched both of us in pee.

4. A little later Katrina and I stood with Kebrom and Atsede before a grave Ethiopian authority for one of the most important appointments of our lives – my hair mussed from the wrestling match, my shirt a wrinkled wreck, my pants exhibiting the pee-stain, Kebrom still grumbling away and both of us smelling particularly pungent in the hot Ethiopian climate.

5. Ironically, it was just 24 hours earlier we held them for the very first time and declared them the most precious gifts we’d ever seen. Then the tantrums began…and by nightfall the precious lambs had become terrible tyrants of whom Katrina and I greatly feared.

6. The flight home was a nightmare. They hardly slept and if we restrained them for ANY reason – like buckling their seat belt, forcing them to sit while landing, preventing them from repeatedly pressing the flight attendant button, etc. – they loudly erupted into another tirade.

7. Exhausted, bedraggled and bewildered (this was NOT how we had envisioned this!) – we drug them through the D.C. terminal and a lady stopped us to express what beautiful children they were…and Katrina and I both glared at her.

8. But since that day, happily the tantrums, and sadly the Tigrinya, are both distant memories. They are fully Americanized…Kebrom recently asked if he could renounce his Ethiopian name…curious I asked what he’d prefer his name to be. “Michael Jackson” he said w/o hesitation.

9. Daily they delight us. This week Atsede told us to watch how brave she could be. She then made Kebrom lie on the floor and she hurdled him. When asked how that was an act of bravery, she explained, “I could have really hurt him!”

10. Then yesterday she told me she got first place in a field event at school. My running prowess well documented, I was thrilled! And then she told me it was in the eating contest. Yep…my Ethiopian daughter is without question, Daddy’s little girl!

Friday, May 24, 2013

As an adoptive parent, what we've waited & longed for


1. People often think JoyLynn is loud and brash. But that is only because she is so loud and brash.

2. JoyLynn does approach life a bit uniquely. True story: it is forbidden in our home to ever ask a question with both the word ‘why’ and ‘JoyLynn’ in it. Because there is never a logical answer…unless you count, “Because she’s JoyLynn”.

3. Too often though this boisterous personality unfairly hides an indescribable sweetness. At school they’re studying astronomy and she felt so bad that Pluto lost its planet status, she vowed this week to name one of her children after it so it won’t be forgotten and feel bad.

4. But…she also has far and away been our most ‘challenging’ child. Once I took a 2X4 (don’t make assumptions, keep reading), and every time she behaved rebelliously I instructed her to hammer one nail in the board. The board represented our relationship, the nail her disobedience and the hole the damage.

5. She didn’t get it. We ran out of nails, the board became completely filled so I tossed it and she complained that she couldn’t play with hammer and nails any more.

6. At the same time though…it was obvious JoyLynn felt lost and confused. Often and consistently she asked about the woman who gave birth to her and she speculated on what life would have been had she been raised in Charlotte NC and not Missoula MT.

7. My heart would hurt and I’d again share the story of the first moment I held her and in that second she became my daughter whom I loved more than anything and I would give up my life to protect her (and I would). The problem was, I knew my heart, but she didn’t - so I’d pray that God would replace her confusion with security, peace and joy.

8. This week we were looking at her baby book and her questions were different than in the past. Instead of focusing on where she came FROM suddenly she wanted to know the details of where she came TO.

9. She listened with a smile as I regaled her of the stories of the joy and excitement and the funny stories of her as a baby and how much we loved and adored her.

10. And then she softly said words I've dreamed about some day hearing, “I’m glad I was adopted into this family…there is no other family in the world I’d want to be a part of.” And I cried.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kebrom's Labs


We just got Kebrom's most recent labs...and his viral load was A BIG FAT ZERO!!! HURRAY!! One of the antigens had converted to antibody, and we now pray that his surface antigen will convert. Hopefully, he's on his way to CLEARED. Now, we pray for Atsede to be healed. So exciting!!