Friday, April 30, 2010


So much has happened!!!

1. Zadie Hayat Williams is perfect. She is a doll.

2. We have visited Gladney foster care centers. Wonderful places! Met Zadie's special mother and cried many tears.

3. I (Leanne) got deathly sick. But it lasted about 24 hours and now am back to nearly normal.

4. We had our embassy appointment. It was a breeze. Travis and Joanna were such great supports. (I threw up in the trashcans while waiting to be called.)

5. Met Zadie's birth mom and great aunt. Very special. Priceless.

6. Visited 3 orphanages. Very overwhelming. One little guy followed us to the car and cried and cried when we pulled away. He didn't know where we were going but he wanted to go with us.

I will fill in with more details later, but for now all the waiting for Zadie is done. She is perfect. A doll. A sweetheart. We are blessed beyond words.

Monday, April 26, 2010

She is Perfect!

We visited our sweet little lady's hometown during our first two days in ET. It was a wonderful experience that has changed us forever. Gondar Town is full of kind, generous people who taught me so much about myself. We visited the hospital where Zadie was born, which was unlike anything I would have been able to imagine before setting foot in that room. The filth, the lines of people waiting, the hopelessness. We visited the orphanage where she was first relinquished. It was a wonderful place of hope - more about that later. Then we visited one of the poorest places on earth. People who have nothing. Nothing. And who have no hope of anything.

Our plan was to fly back today, meet Zadie at 1pm or so.

But, our flight was delayed in Gondar by 3 hours! And when we called the agency to tell them about the delay, the first reaction was that we would do placement tomorrow, but my motherly instincts set in. AND, when we pulled up to the guest house where we are staying in Addis Ababa, Zadie was waiting in the living room!!!!! She is perfect! She is tiny, and her hair is crazy and her smile is contagious, but she is PERFECT!!!!

She fell asleep on my chest, then took a bottle from me, the peed on her daddy, then fell asleep on his shoulder.. so all in all... we are on our our way to parenthood!!!!!

WE ARE IN LOVE WITH HER. Photos to follow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Well, everything that you've heard about Amsterdam is true! It's dirty, old, rambunctious, seedy (hahaha), but it's also full of the nicest people you've ever met!

What a lovely stop over on our way to Ethiopia. We are having a blast. Many more photos available at our gallery. (See the link in previous post.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Departure time

So we are a go...

As of 11am, it looks like Plan A is still in effect. With any luck, at 9:35am (GMT+2) tomorrow we will be in Amsterdam and half way to our baby girl!

I am not sure how much access we will have, some have reported issues with blogger while in Ethiopia while others seem to get it to work 'okay'... Just in case it doesn't, I will also try to post updates at of our adventures! Hopefully between the two, we will be able to keep everyone updated.

See everyone on the flip side!

Charlie and Leanne

PS: We have a whole REI huge bag FULL of care packages and will deliver them all to those little ones waiting for their parents to come and get them...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Volcanic Ash - Plan B


so with activity in Iceland affecting our whole 'world' right now, rather than be passive, I got proactive and started looking for alternate plans. At this point, money isn't really what matters, it's getting to where we need to be, to meet our daughter and to make our Embassy date... It didn't take long for me to return to my original idea of flying Emirates. This will take us from JFK in NY to Dubai and then to Addis Ababa without too much of an issue with the floating plane-killing ash...

This morning, after seeing more non-response in the EU and Delta/KLM canceling more flights for tonight (to land in Amsterdam on tuesday), I called Delta and made sure I understood my options. My original suspicions proved true. I called Emirates, found out my options there.

10 minutes later on their website, I have 2 adult tickets and 1 infant ticket ready to go on Emirates. Emirates has a $200 refund penalty, so call this my $400 hedge bet on our flights. We'll either fly Emirates and get a refund at Delta (if they cancel our flights) or we'll fly Delta/KLM as originally planned and it cost us $400 worth of insurance in the form of cancellation penalties on Emirates.

So honestly, I am really really hoping that the Delta flight to Amsterdam is canceled on us (afterall, the volcano puked more ash today too). This will make things easier for us for sure. We'll take the day, drive the ~500 miles from Raleigh to New York and with any luck, make our long-haul flight without issue. Only real down side is the road trip home with Zadie. Its bad enough she had to get stuck on a plane with us boring people, now she is stuck in the back of my car with her mom that loves her too too much!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Volcanic Ash?!?!?

'The best laid plans o' mice and men often go awry.' Robert Burns

Who would have thought it? Volcanic ash from Iceland would have any bearing on our Ethiopian adoption?!?!?!??!

We are set to leave on April 21 (Wednesday - that's 4 days away). We are supposed to fly through Amsterdam, where we were going to spend a couple of days, then head to Addis, then to Zadie's hometown (we really need to make this flight), and then back to Addis Ababa where we meet our little sweet pea on Monday, April 26th. BUT, the flights through Amsterdam are delayed INDEFINITELY, and KLM has already posted that flights will be disrupted through April 23.

So... what to do??? If KLM would just CANCEL our flight, we could get our money back and buy some tickets to fly through Dubai, then on to Addis. And, as luck would have it - ha ha - Emirates Airlines has a "Visit Africa" special, with Addis Ababa as one of their destinations for a handy dandy price. But, the kicker is, we would really like KLM to cancel the flight so we can get our money back. Buying two sets of tickets will hurt, but, believe me, we are talking about it seriously.

But, for real, VOLCANIC ASH from Iceland. Really? That's what we are dealing with here. What can we do?

As for now, still waiting for Zadie...

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Gift from Oklahoma!

We got some wonderful photos of Zadie today! What a gift! Katie and Michael took some wonderful photos of her - how special!! Katie also let us know that she was being held by caregivers both times they visited the foster care center where she lives. That is such a comfort knowing that people are loving, holding and taking such good care of our sweet pea until we can get there. (We will be holding the little piece of love in 17 days!)

The closer we get the more excited we are, of course, but we are also beginning to talk often about how this journey is going to change us. As we read the blogs of those of you who have just returned, we are beginning to realize the depth of loss, the dire need and great poverty that we are about to experience for the first time in our lives. Our priorities are already changing with Zadie on her way, but I believe that we may well be on our way to a paradigm shift on this trip.

But for now... we are still waiting for Zadie.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

in-country flights booked!

Last night we finally booked our in-country flights on Ethiopian Airlines. (side note: it was damn expensive!) We're going to visit Zadie's birth region and the orphanage where she was before arriving at the gladney foster care center. Our hope is to be able to help fill in some gaps for her later in life about her life story...

Two weeks from today we will begin our travels!