Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chicken Pox Suck

Poor Mahlet is covered in Chicken Pox. As if this poor girl isn't overwhelmed enough. Last night was almost horrific for us as I had to give her a bath to help the itching. She just sobbed the whole entire time. It was undoubtedly the worst night we have been through since bringing her home. After her bath I got in bed with her and we held each other very tight until she quit crying and asked for sister. I am so amazed at the bond these two have...they were truly meant to be sisters. Hannah just sleeping in Mahlet's room instantly settles her down. But last night was kind of funny because as soon as Hannah noticed that Mahlet (she calls her Mahlee (Molly)) was asleep she came out of her room and said to us "I really need to sleep in my own room tonight". We were so OK with that as Hannah has been the best little girl during this whole transition. Mahlet got up earlier than usual for her but ended up sleeping on the couch until noon.

We were so blessed to have one our neighbors deliver a "Chicken Pox Fun Box" for the girls. It was filled with fun stuff for girls to do being stuck in the house. So we painted each other nails, put on the lip gloss, played the marble game and played with the little ponies. It was super sweet of my friend to do this...Thanks so much Diana.

I was so stir crazy being in the house for the last couple of days I had to get out so I took the girls to Grandpa's house. Their Aunt Trish and Uncles Bob, and Rich were there cleaning house getting ready to move grandpa to his new apartment tomorrow. We walked away a few little treasures from grandma Rovang's room. Hannah is so proud of the purse she scored and Mahlet got some mittens and scarfs...and I got a couple of brand spanking new soft socks.
Hannah does miss her grandma bunches. Mahlet never got to meet grandma Rovang but grandma got to see photos of Mahlet before she passed away and thought she was very pretty.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chicken Pox

Mahlet has the chicken pox. I guess I shouldn't be surprised as there was an outbreak at the Transition Home while we were there. I was just holding out hope that since it has been over two weeks since our return we would be OK. No such luck. You can maybe see them in this photo...she has a pretty good crop on her face some in her hair and a couple on neck and torso so far (they actually look way worse in person than in the photo). She was pretty miserable last night and most of today you can see she can't help smiling. What a trooper she is.

Hannah is already trying to steal her sisters clothes...she said I need this to hold my boobies. Sisters busy making beaded stuff

Mahlet loves ice cream

So the Rovang household has been invaded with chicken pox. I know Hannah will probably get them in the next couple of weeks since she has not yet been vaccinated. I am kind of bummed that Mahlet has them because she has been meeting with her ESL teacher and was scheduled to be tested Friday for placement and then start a couple of school classes next week. I don't think this will happen now...STUPID CHICKEN POX!!!!

I swear I will get around to sharing more about our time in ET and my thoughts about adopting an older child. I also have thoughts on instantly having to share my love between two very different children. One who speaks English and has been apart of our lives since she was 10 mo. old and has no recollection of her past and one who speaks almost no English and has every memory of her past. Mahlet is such a brave young girl who has lost both of her Bio. parents, her grandmother had to relinquish her because she couldn't care for any longer, and her Aunt and cousin that she left behind in ET. I'm still trying to process it myself...I can't imagine what she is feeling. I know how hard it was to loose my mother and MIL as an adult and I didn't have to leave my country or learn a new language or get chicken pox all in a week or so...



Sunday, April 26, 2009


I have to say once God calls you to adopt he is there right beside you no matter what the challenges might be. We had a few along the way but he always made the path a lot less bumpy.

Most of you know we adopted Hannah at 10 mo. old from China and her adoption was so easy...she instantly bonded with me. I can't explain how easy she was as a baby/toddler. She was just a gift from God to us as new parents. Fast forward to this next adoption. Mahlet is either 10 or 11 yrs. old (we are not quite sure) and was not what I had planned on when we began this journey for a second child. Our initial request was for an infant girl 0-12 months old. Once we saw Mahlet's photo on the waiting children's list we knew she was the child for our family. And God moved mountains to get us to her in record time. We received Mahlet's referral Feb. 3rd and we were assigned a court date of May 8th and if we passed we would have traveled at the end of May. Well God apparently didn't want us to be apart that long as our court date got miraculously moved up to March 26th and we ended up passing on March 27th because the judge wanted to talk to Mahlet (a first for a judge wanting to meet with an older child...I will share more on this later). We only had two weeks notice that we would be traveling to bring her home. This made for an interesting couple of weeks as we had to get her room ready, purchase our airline tickets, get things worked out with family that would be taking care of Hannah and dealing with very disorganized govt. agencies. We actually ended up getting our Senator involved to make sure our immigration paperwork got to the embassy in Addis Ababa on time.

Everything worked out and we are now at home transitioning from a family of three to four. It has gone remarkably well. The girls really bonded well quite quickly and now Hannah always wants to sleep in Mahlet's room (no problem because Mahlet has a trundle bed) and Mahlet wants her sister with her all the time. Hannah has now calls her sister Mahlee (Molly). I think this is what we we will all call her as nobody can seem to pronounce her name correctly.

Back to why the judge wanted to meet with Mahlet. I learned from Duni that Mahlet had turned down 3 families before us. I knew of one before we traveled but when I heard 3 I was a bit blown away. Duni told me that Mahlet was very grounded in her faith and was holding out for the family God had planned for her. I am so humbled to have such a child such as her. I am so amazed by my God and how he works. There are no words to describe how how blessed I feel. I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful girls. Yes, we have some language barriers but love is definitely a universal language and we are so thankful for the gift of adoption.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Girls

Mahlet wanted her little sister to sleep in her room last night. It was so sweet. She has a trundle bed so it worked out OK. Hannah is such an early riser she was up at 6AM this morning telling Mahlet it is morning time to get up. Mahlet was having nothing to do with getting up before 8AM. I've never seen a kid that can sleep through so much noise and commotion. I guess you have to get used to that when you live in an orphanage and sleep with 2 other girls in your bunk.

We met with the ESL teacher at Mahlet's school today. She just explained that Mahlet will have to be tested to see what level she will need to start at. We go back again on Monday to meet with her. Mahlet does know some English words but does not speak in any kind of sentences. I think she will do just fine. She really wants to learn but I think she is intimidated at saying something wrong.
Are biggest challenge is getting her to try new foods. I did discover she loves PB&J...thank the Good Lord for that as I can pull that off with out messing up.
She is a wonderful girl and doing just super. I will blog about some thoughts that I have had during this whole process of adopting an older child once I get my life in some sort of order. But I have to say I didn't expect it to go this smoothly.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Life Is Good

I don't know how to begin this blog post... I have to just say there are really no words to describe what has taken place in my life in the last 7 days. I guess it should really be no surprise if you think back to what God did in 7 days...and then he rested on that 7th day...I need to figure out with the whole time change situation...when I get that rest day.
OK that was my little attempt at humor...but seriously my life has been changed by this past week. I can't explain it in words. I am in tears as I think back at it and try to put it into words.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Almost Back Home

We arrived back in the States yesterday to a warm welcome at the Minneapolis Airport. It was a very long two days of traveling but it is so good to be almost home. We still have a six hour drive tomorrow before we arrive in Aberdeen. Mahlet did great on the flights. She grabbed my hand when the plane took of in Addis and held it for a while. But as soon as we were in the air she pretty much passed out and slept until Rome. She was able to see the lights of Rome from the air it was very Kon jo (beautiful). We were on the ground in Rome for about an hour and then took off and she was out again for nearly the entire flight to DC. Boy can she sleep. We had lunch in the Dulles airport and our waitress was Ethiopian so she able to talk to Mahlet. We ended up giving our waitress all the brr we had left over from our trip to send back to her family in ET (it was like $30 worth).
Mahlet slept the entire flight from Dulles to Minneapolis. She was very happy to meet her sister and the rest of the family. But once we got to my SIL house she kind of broke down and cried. I know the poor girl was so overwhelmed by all that was happening that she just needed to let it all out. She ended up falling asleep and slept the whole night (coughing a bit as she has a cold). I did hear her praying early this morning as Ron and I slept right by her side. She woke her happy cheery self and ate breakfast and held her little sister and they are the best of friends. I know we may have episodes of grief from time to time but altogether she has done remarkably well...beyond any expectations I could have hoped for. Continue to pray for our transition as a family and that she will like the food that I make her...I wouldn't blame the poor child if she didn't.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kids Care

We went to Kids Care orphanage this morning.  That is the orphanage that Mahlet spent a good deal of in and really wanted to see her friends and nannies.  She really had fun hugging all her friends and the staff.  Duni's mother Fortuna (the director) was there and she really has a special heart for Mahlet.  She thank Ron and I and told us that Mahlet was a very special girl.  So loving and giving with a big heart.  She told us she was very helpful and and a responsible girl. 
I know we have pronouncing her name wrong from the day we inquired about her because we were told it wrong and given a wrong spelling.  It is spelled Mahlet and pronounced Mall law wet.  I' m not kidding this has been my biggest obstacle all week.  And she insists on it being pronounced correctly so those family members meeting her soon better start practicing.
After Kids Care we ate lunch at Metro Pizza.  It was pretty good despite the fact we ate Pizza the night before.  Mahlet two big plates of spaghetti and a slice of pizza.  Honestly I have no idea where she put it.  But what I have noticed in the last couple of days is she eats very little breakfast, a huge lunch and very little for supper.  I think they are fed a high carb diet at the TH because it is cheap.
After lunch we had to get our guide to the Embassy to pick our child's Visa.  Only one family had a problem and had to go back to the hotel (meaning the bus full had to go to) to return a paper they were given by mistake.  But we all have our Visa and we leave for home tomorrow evening.  We are so ready to go home.  We miss Hannah so much and just want to girls to meet.  
We did visit another orphanage later in the day that our agency partners with.  It was wonderful to see all the children but the conditions were very poor.  Some of the children were happy to see us and came up and shook our hands.  But most looked kind of sad and scared.  The poverty of this country is unbelievable.  I just wish I could help them all.
We came back and had dinner at the hotel and while at the restaurant I was told Hannah's nanny Tuti was in the lobby.  So since we were on the 6th floor and didn't want to waste time running down all the stairs I decided to take the elevator not thinking Mahlet had never been on one.  It was so funny she grabbed my arm and just smiled so I asked if this was her first ride...yes it was.  She greeted Tuti with a big hug and they exchanged some words.  Tuti had a gift for Mahlet waiting in her taxi so she went to get it and then we all went back up to the restaurant.  Mahlet insisted using the lift (new toy) and I was more than willing at 9,000 ft.  your lungs and legs really feel than thinner air.  Tuti hugged all the other family's children that were dining before sitting down with us to share a little more time with her favorite girl.  She only stayed a few minutes but gave Mahlet a beautiful head scarf that she modeled all during supper.  We once again took the elevator down to the lobby where Mahlet goodbye to Tuti one last time.  Unlike the goodbye at the TH Tuesday there were no tears shed.  You could truly tell this woman loves Mahlet and knows this is the best for her.  She gave me a hug and thanked me and then she was off.  I am so very thankful for this woman and the whole staff at Kids Care and the Transition Home for the love and care they provided for our daughter while she waited for her forever family.  
Tomorrow we will be shopping for coffee and then packing up.  We all leave Friday night for the US and can tell you know one is as excited as one girl named Mahlet Maleah Rovang.  Boy if she thought the the elevator was fun an 16:40 hour flight to the coast might just send her over the edge.

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it being pronounced correctly.  She is a stickler.  So those family members that will meet her right away start practicing.  I still think that name will become Mahlee (Molly).
After we were done at Kids Care we ate at Metro Pizza.  It was pretty good despite the fact that we had pizza the night before.  Considering we have the largest travel group ever we have all stayed healthy except one little illness that was resolved very quickly.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WOW What a Day

The photos are of Mahlet with her Nannies and her teacher.  I will blog later about our day on Tuesday.  The most emotional day of my life.  Not much time to blog.  We go to the embassy today to get Mahlet's Visa.  We seem to be OK with the paper work.  There is one family in our group that is still up in the air about whether they will get to leave Ethiopia.  We are hoping and praying their Congressman gets the job done for them.

Monday, April 13, 2009



You all might notice Daddy Ron missing from photos but as we were the last family to go they all had their little ones to deal with so had limited help in the photgraphing area and the family ones just didn't turn out so we fix the problem tomorrow and you will see she loves daddy also.  She even attempted to braid his hair today.  We all got a big laugh out of that.

We Met Our Daughter Today

It was the most amazing day since we met our little Hannah.  Mahlet is truly an amazing and lovely little lady.  I praise God that he changed my heart.  She is so loving and came right to us and called my mom.  We hugged forever.  I know she is what God had planned for us all along.  Some of you may have noticed the spelling of Mahlet's name.  That is how it is really spelled.  It is on her ET birth certificate and it is said as Ma Let...I don't like that as it sounds like that awful hair style.  So we may just continue call her Mahelet or we did discuss with her if she would like to called Molly.  She was open to this so we will wait and see what we all decide after the dusts settles.  She was not actually at the transistion home when we got there as she was at the Embassy getting a TB and another shot.  When they arrived back with her she ran around to another gate so we wouldn't see her (Ron did actaully catch a glimpse of her).  We ended up being the last family and it was kind of funny because Duni came out and said you'll have to wait a little while longer.  She said she is such a girl and needed to do her hair.  She just washed it and I loved the Dianna Ross look she came out to greet us.  She was the only older child of the day.  I tell you there was an instant love and bond between us.  I can't tell you affectionate and loving she is...she hugged us contrantly and told us she loved us very much.  We would tell her we loved her in Amharic and she would say it right back.  It was such a great day meeting all her care givers.  We will meet her personal nanny tomorrow when we go to pick her up for good.
It was such a beautiful and emotional day watching all the families being united for the first time.  It went really well but I was shaking like a leaf the whole time.  We are in the largest travel group that our agency has ever sent to ET.  So we got to witness so many little children see there mommy & daddy for the first touching because we missed all this in China as we arrived so late.
I will try and post a photo but the internet is quite slow here (I have to also go and see if I can find my cable).  I will write more about a wonderful night out at a traditional ET much fun.  This group rocks.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

We're At Dulles

So we are at the airport we board our flight to Addis Ababa in an hour. Just met Sarah and her Mom. Sarah's hives are much better.
There a few men sitting behind us on the flight here and they were speaking Amharic. It was cool to listen to. This might be it for a while as I don't know if I will be able to blog in ET.

Friday, April 10, 2009

On our way

This is Mahelet's room. I left the walls and pretty much everything else empty so she could pick out what she wanted.

Hannah wanted her photo taken. I think she is trying sneak her way on the plane with us. Speaking of that we did get confirmation last night from the NVC office that our information was emailed to the consulate in Addis Ababa. But I got a call this morning from our agency saying that the consulate has not received it. Oh the stress.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

So Frustrated

We still don't have confirmation that the NVC office has our updated paperwork. This wasted a bunch of my time today. Sen. Tim Johnson's office is working our case but didn't get the answers we needed today. He does have a request at the consulate that we be allowed to hand deliver the document. I pray they say yes. We will be in contact with him again in the morning. We might try contacting the office again tonight.

We did get Mahelet's bed but they didn' set it as we had paid for so Ron will be doing that tonight.

I blogging from my phone because that is how I will have to do it in ET so thought I would practice.


We are still fighting with the National Visa Center. They are claiming they don't have our updated approval from the USCIS office. I know they have to have it as I have a copy of it myself. I have Sen. Tim Johnson helping us out in this situation and it needs to be resolved today so we can travel as scheduled. I really don't have time to mess with this very disorganized govt. office today. So hopefully the Senator can get it fixed for us.

As is that isn't enough on top of trying to get everything packed. We were scheduled to get Mahelet's bed delivered today and I called to see what time that would be and they said we were not on the schedule and they were full and couldn't deliver it today. OK that bed will be delivered today even if I have to get the Senator's help on that too.LOL

And now with all this stress I have a bad cold.

Very busy and that is all I have time for today.


Monday, April 6, 2009


I know it has been a while but I have been busy helping stimulate the economy with my daily trips to Wal Mart. I have spent so much money this past week getting everything we need for travel as well as clothes for Mahelet. It has been crazy since we got less than two weeks notice that we would be traveling earlier than we had planned. As if that wasn't enough Hannah has been really sick the last few days. I actually had to take her to urgent care Saturday morning (a first for me). The Dr. was swamped and didn't do any lab work just did the basics gave us a scrip for an antibiotic and sent us on our way. What a waste of my precious time as her dad could have done that. Anyway the meds didn't work and she was way worse by Sunday evening. Her cough turned into a constant bark. It was BAD and really looked like we would be making a trip to the ER. My husband was on his way home to assess the situation and began rebuking satan and his attack on our family. He walked in the door and the coughing quit instantly. He listened to her lungs and they sounded clear. We put her to bed and she slept peacefully all night with no coughing. Thank you Jesus. She woke this morning just her happy smiley self.

OK seriously I have to get packing...FOCUS Bliss FOCUS.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Amazing How God Works

I just want to really share this with you all. It is the amazing story of how Mahelet became the newest member of the Rovang family.

Jones Family Story

When I saw Mahelet on the waiting children's list I was struck as if by lightning. The connection I felt with her can only be described as supernatural. It did not come from within me, but from God. I know that beyond any doubt. In fact, my husband and children fell instantly in love with her as well. We knew that this girl MUST have a family and we were in prayer as to whether we would have that honor. In the meantime, I contacted Duni and begged for AW to make an age range exception for our family to adopt this girl. Several phone calls and many tears later, AW agreed to make an exception IF our social worker would agree. Unbeknownst to us, AW put Mahelet on hold for us, meaning no one could adopt her while we were reviewing her case. Our social worker all but refused to approve us for a girl this old. No matter how many frustrating conversations we had with her, it always came down to two central issues: our ages and our children's ages. It would be terribly unwise, she cautioned. We were devastated, wondering why God would so obviously put this girl in our hearts and lives if we weren't going to be able to adopt her. Finally, we decided that we would get a new social worker and re-do everything if need be, but Mahelet would have a family!Meanwhile, I saw a thread post to the YG. For one thing, I hardly ever read the threads if they weren't about referrals and travel because of time constraints. Secondly, I didn't even recognize Bliss's name so that would normally mean I surely wouldn't read the post. Yet, something about her simple subject line requesting prayer caused me to stop and read it. Her post said how deeply disappointed she was that a certain 11 year old girl who they had fallen in love with on the waiting children's list was being held for another family. Immediately, I realized that this girl was Mahelet and that family holding her was us!! Remember, I did not even know they were holding her!I instantly knew what the Lord had done- He caused us to pray for and seek out Mahelet because she needed to be held for her family! If she hadn't been held at that time, Mahelet might never have been adopted- in fact, she had already been moved out of the orphanage and out of the city! Bliss can explain her part to you, but it became obvious after I contacted Bliss that those prayers our family was lifting up for Mahelet were directly affecting the Rovang family's hearts!!! Our God is a miracle working God!! Although it was very difficult letting go of our desire to bring Mahelet into our family, we KNEW the Rovangs were supposed to be Mahelet's family from the moment we read Bliss's post. Never think for a moment that each of our steps are not ordered of the Lord. We are just honored to be even a small part of this beautiful little girl being united with her family!!!

The Jones family's daughter Nya was delivered to the Transition Home the month they let go of Mahelet.

Nya Abrihet Jones

The Rovang Family Story
When we began our journey of a second adoption we began by pursuing another infant from China. After a couple years we felt God telling us he didn't need us in China but there was a child in Ethiopia that needed a family. So we dropped out of the China program and started our pursuit of an infant in ET. We saw Mahelet's photo on the "Waiting Children's" list. We both agreed that she was the one for our family. There was just an instant love in our hearts for this girl. We prayed about it and then called Terra to let her know we were interested in reviewing her file. She never mentioned another family at this time. I got a call back a few days later and was told we could not pursue Mahelet because our daughter was only 4 and this would be breaking the birth order. I was completely devastated. I'm the type of person that usually accepts a no when I hear it, but I could not let this one go. I called back and talked to Susan Maines (AWA Director) who I had served with on a mission trip in China back in 2004. She said she remembered my connection will all the older children while we were at the orphanage. She said she would talk to Duni about the matter. Duni called me the next day to say that after visiting with Susan and because of our ages (just the opposite of Jones) they would allow us to pursue Mahelet. Then I got the BUT there is another family that is wanting to review her file. Oh so maybe this is God closing a door. I posted on YG about the situation and then got a call from Amber saying they were that family. She explained because of all the issues they were having they would back out and let us pursue Mahelet. I was completely stunned (and am in tears right now as I think back to that call). OK, that door that I thought was closed was now swung wide open. So I contacted Terra as soon as I knew the Jones family had withdrew their request. So we moved forward. Here is where God worked on me. Remember we began this process seeking an infant because I still wanted an infant as well as Mahelet. I had a conversation with Terra about this and she basically said if you want an infant than we would have to refuse Mahelet's referral and just wait until a referral of an infant and then see if Mahelet was still available. My heart was just breaking inside as I so had the desire for an infant but at the same time not wanting to take a chance of losing Mahelet. I went to bed that night and had a wonderful conversation with my Heavenly Father for most of the night. In the end he told me this adoption was not about what I wanted but what he was calling us as a family to do. I woke up that morning with such a peace and no longer a desire for an infant. I emailed Terra and let her know I had total peace with the decision we would make. Two days later we had our referral for Mahelet and without a doubt in our minds we accepted it. We did know that Mahelet had previously turned down a family in Europe saying "my family is in the US and I just have to wait for them". I do believe this is why the judge wanted to talk to her. Here is where this story gets really exciting. The Jones family got there referral for Nya way before we got Mahelet's. Our original court date was May 8 but got moved up to March 26th...same court date as the Jones family (we were the only 2 AWA families that day). And now we will be traveling together and will meet Mahelet together. AMEN

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Flight is Booked

Our flight is booked. We will flying from Minneapolis to Dulles and then Dulles to Rome and Rome to Addis Ababa, ET. Get this we will be celebrating Easter in a plane and for a short time in Rome (on a plane). How wrong is it that we will be in Rome on Easter and won't be able to get out of the stinkin' plane. We are actually traveling with a pretty big group of fellow agency families. It will be fun meeting everyone I chat with on my Yahoo Group.

Mahelet got another care package that the Richardson family delivered for us. It had a Twins shirt in it. It is a warning that we are baseball fans (even Hannah knows the players). I hope we get a few pictures of her in the Twins shirt.

We got 11" of snow yesterday and the entire city was shutdown. This doesn't happen very often but it was a pretty brutal blizzard. We didn't even get to eat at McDonald's because it was closed. We always eat at McDonald's for lunch when it blizzards. We were so bummed when we got there and they were closed. Actually there was only one restaurant open in town (Hardees) so we ate there with everybody else looking for lunch out. When we got home Hannah and I whipped a batch of chocolate chip cookies and as soon as I but the first pan in the oven the power went out ugh. The power was out for about 3 hours (entire city) and we had to run our generator to keep the sump pumps running so our basement wouldn't flood. We get up this morning and the power goes out again. This time for nearly 5 frustrating.

So while the power was out I was trying to get things done that didn't need electricity. My dentist gave me 150 tooth brushes, toothpaste and sugarless gum to take as donations to the Transition Home and the orphanage. So Hannah and I spent some of the morning taking them all out of the packages so it would save space and some weight. We each are allowed to pieces of luggage weighing no more than 50lbs. Each extra piece is $150.

The other exciting news of the day was that three families passed court this morning and were finally able to share photos of their beautiful kiddos.
Click on the links to see for yourself Kulpfamily Rutlandfamily VanDrufffamily
Congrats to them all.