The Journey of a Lifetime

Ryan and I have decided to pursue our forth adoption and add another beautiful baby to our family. We couldn't be happier and are thrilled! Join us in our journey in adopting baby Schlenner!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Here's a sweet picture of Ahnya first bath in Africa! She is so trusting!!! She wasn't sure of the bath...but keep looking into my eyes for reassurance!!

This is Ato Girma, our guest house manager and coordinator. He was a sweet and kind man who did a great job keeping track of all the families and our needs in Africa.
The picture to the side is one of my favorites! These are some of the families that we traveled with and their darling babies. All the families in our travel group plan to forever keep in touch as our children are bonded as brothers and sisters for life! What a beautiful memory and one I will never forget!

Monday, May 25, 2009

We made it...and a cherry on the top!

We made it home...and what an amazing feeling to be with my wonderful husband and two little girls. I can't even begin to explain how much I missed them. There's no way I'm ever going to leave them again! Our family is perfect in every way and little Ahnya is the cherry on the top!
It's so nice to come home to a clean house with electricity and running water!!!!!!!!! Oh, how I hope I never take the little things for granted again! God bless America!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pray for our safe journey home

Our journey to Africa has come to an end and I am thrilled to be on our way home! Electricity has been non-existent most of the week. So this is why I haven't posted more. Sorry!

Right now I'm at the airport in ET and we are waiting to board the plane!!!! I don't have a whole lot of time to elaborate about our time, but I will say it was a trip of a lifetime and one that I would definitely do over and over again for our beautiful baby girl! She has captured my heart and I know you will fall in love with her too! Ahnya and I have developed a good bond together. I've learned so much about her. She's so funny and smart. It's funny because she can be wild and crazy just like Gabbi and Jojo. I swear she says momma and dada, too! Ahnya is feeling better with her day 2 of Omnisef antibiotic for ear infection and respritory infection. She has a deep cough and terrible diahrea blow outs. So I hope the plane ride goes good! If not, it's going to be interesting.

Hope to see you at the airport and love to you all! Ann

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Today Ahnya is ours forever!

Today we have the Farwell Ceremony at the Orphanage for the children. This is when the nannies and staff say "good bye" to the kids and entrust them in our care. It is sure to be a tearful and touchhing event. Then off to the Embassy to declare Ahnya as a US Citizen!!!! This will be a day full of events and very tiresome as well. So as of 9:30 a.m. (less than 30 mintes) Ahnya will be in my arms forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't have a lot of time to post, but Ahnya is such an easy and super sweet baby. Her peronsality is easy and relaxed. She doesn't cry much; unless she's hungry or wants to be held. She's ticklish, smiley, and overall happy. Ahnya is smaller than I initially thought. She's in 3-6 or 6 month clothing, wears size 1 shoes, and size 1 diapers! Oh, my goodness, such a beauty. The internet and electricity sucks here! So downloading pics is hard so all I have time to share is 1 photo. She's just a doll and you all are going to love her. Hugs to everyone, Love Ann

Monday, May 18, 2009

Time together with Ahnya

The weather has been great and all of us are well.

Kirstie and I took a trip to Hosana to meet Ahnya's birth mother. It was a tremendous experience and we feel very blessed for the life we lead in America.

I got to have Ahnya all to myself for a 1/2 day today. I fed her a bottle today for the first time. I also changed her diaper. We are bonding and love looking into each other's eyes.

Tonite we go shopping and out to eat.

Tomorrow Ahnya will be with me full time!!!! We are anxious to be home in Minnesota with our family. Love to Ryan, Gabbi & Jocelyn! We'll be home soon!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 3 in Ethiopia

We have spent that last couple days with Ahnya at the orphanage. She is an absolute doll! I picked her out instantly the minute I saw her in the nursery!!!!!!!!! Her big brown eyes were studying me and she was very interested in Kirstie's long blonde hair!!!!!!! I'm totally in love!!!!!!!!!!! The nannies have let me now feed, change and care for her while at the orphanage!!!! On Monday she comes with us back to the guest house for 1/2 the day...and then on Tuesday she's in my custody completely!!!!! Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are some pictures of daily sights in Ethiopia. A pictures of the haze and smog, a banana stand, hussle and bussle of the city, and of course the heart wrenching poverty.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Here's our room in Addis

There's nothing that can really prepare

you for traveling in a 3rd-world country...besides make the best of the situation and God for what you have at home!!!!

Here's a couple pics of our room at the guest house in Addis. All families have to stay at the agency guesthouse for safety and outside cultural reasons. The guest house was very basic....very basic. We had running water about every other day and electricity every 3rd day! I definately didn't need my daytime or night-time moisturizers!!!

Mama & baby meet... and fall in love!

(Ann called in this info from Ethiopia around 10 am today) "Met my beautiful baby Ahnya today! I saw her from across the room and my heart leapt!! Finally, finally... my baby. She came to me immediately and cried every time I needed to put her down. Somehow I believe she knows I'm her mama. We spent 3 hours in the morning and 1 1/2 hours in the afternoon with my sweet child. Fed her some milk and cereal. Unfortunately, she has a little cough and a cold, but nothing we can't cure with love and care. It is night now and we need to sleep quick so we can get back to see Ahnya tomorrow morning. Love from Africa!! ~ Ann"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Annnnnd... they're off!

One flight and 1 beer down....and 3 more flights to go before we land in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at 9:05 p.m. We're getting ready to leave Newark now and our spirts are high!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kirstie are both so excited and full of energy!!!!! Our journey has finally BEGUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The mommies are coming baby Ahnya!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

The time has finally come...I can't believe that we fly out tomorrow at 10:25 a.m! I've waited and waited for this day to finally come and I realize I have a problem!

I seriously have an ATTACHMENT issue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so sad to leave my girls. We are always together and do everything together. So thinking about being away from them for 10 days is basically the worst thing imagable right now. I know today will be lots of tears today and it's going to be so hard to say good-bye tonight.

Ryan, Grandma Peg, Nana, Nic, Angie and Terese are all going to help with the girls and keep them spoiled and happy! Thank you all for doing everything you can to help out...I appreciate all you will do to help!

I won't be able to post directly from Ethiopia, but I WILL be able to send notes and pictures to my sister, Nic. She will be responsible for posting the daily news and pictures on the blog for me. Thanks, Nic!!!

Please keep us in your prayers for safe travels and a great overall experience of Africa. Your prayers will protect us in your journey to Ahnya. Love, Ann

Monday, May 11, 2009

Meet Me At the Airport!!!

Friends and family are absolutely welcome to meet Ahnya and me at the airport on Friday, May 22nd @ 4:01 p.m. Hopefully the flight is on-time and we arrive quickly and safely home! we'll have already gone through immigration in Chicago O'Hare, so we'll meet you at the bottom of the escalators by baggage claim. What an emotional journey this will be....and one I (we) couldn't do without the support and encouragement of our loving family and friends.

For those of you who are in Marshall and family and friends who have time to spare....come check on the girls and give them lots of hugs and kisses from mommy! It's going to be hard being away from them for 10 days. Go ahead and spoil them with candy and kisses....don't listen to Ryan! Thanks for everyone who is helping Ryan out when I am gone. Angie and Terese, you both are lifesavers! Grandma Peg and Nana, thank you for watching the girls during the day and doing everything to make it a smooth transition for them! I appreciate all and everything from ALL of you!!!!!!!!

Hope to see you at the airport! Hugs and smooches!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Packing List

I'm packed!! What a sweet relief!!! Ryan almost had a heart attack watching me pack!!! We packed and then RE-pacted AGAIN because he is a control freak and of course wasn't done right! I never said I was an expert packer! Regardless, baby Ahnya and I are packed along with donation to the orphange! Here's the packing list....

Adult Medications: Malaria meds, Imodium, Pepto tabs, Advil, sleeping pills, Benadryl, Claratin, my inhaler for asthma, tums, Immodium AD, vitamins, neosporin, band aids, anti-fungal cream, hydrocortizone cream.

Clothing for Me: 8 pairs underwear, 4 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of capris, 1 khaki pant, 1 long sleeve linen blouse, 2 long skirts, 10 t-shirts, 2 sundresses, 1 pair leggings, 4 mid-calf skirts, 4 long sleeve T's, 2 pairs of yoga pants with jackets, raincoat, pajamas, tennis shoes, 3 sets of workout clothing (top, bottom, socks), sandals(brown and black), flip flops for shower shoes, sunglasses, 3 sundresses, 2 scarves.

Baby Meds: Infant Motrin, Infant Tylenol, Delphsom (cough medicine), Baby benadryl, Baby Orajel, Mylacon (gas drops), diaper rash cream, petroleum jelly, lotion, baby wash.

Toiletries/personal care: 3 Kleenex purse packs, hand sanitizer, shampoo/conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, razors, chapstick, foundation, saline solution, glasses and extra pair of contacts, face wash cloths, sunscreen, bug spray, lotion, day/night face moisturizer, mascara, lip gloss, bronzer, brush, hair jel, toilet paper, blow dryer, and iron (again, no judging!)

Baby care: 48 diapers, 2 packs of diaper wipes, disposable bibs, baby lotion, nail clippers, hair accessories, 2 hooded towels, 4 wash cloths

Baby clothes: 3 sleepers, 10 day time outfits, 10 onesies, 10 pair socks, 2 pair shoes, 2 booties, 3 hats, 4 blankets, 1 sheet, Ergo baby carrier, Ring sling, 20 disposable bibs, 4 dresses, hair pretties!

Food/baby feeding: 1 can soy formula, 6 bottles, 50 + drop in liners, 2 fast flow nipples, 2 medium flow nipples, 1 slow flow nipple, nipple cleaning brush, 2 pacifiers (latex), 2 pacifiers (silicone), 2 burp cloths

Adult snacks: Honey Grams cereal :) , granola bars, 2 refillable water bottles, gum, certs, chips, peanut butter, jerky, chocoate, triskits.

22 in roller (carry-on): Video camera, dvr disks, charger, Digital camera, extra memory sticks, charger, flash drive, travel neck-pillow, magazines, spending money, journal, book, i-pod/head phones, and toiletry bag!

Back pack (carry-on): gum, chapstick, tylenol pm, advil, inhaler, large folder case with all our adoption documents, lap top, lap-top charger, eye mask (don't judge)

Miscellaneous: Hand sanitizer, tide stain packs, phone calling cards, plug adapters and converters, gift for birth mother with tissue and bag, clay hand-print kit, air freshner (don't ask either), hat

Everything except my husband and the girls...............Glad I'm packed!

Travel Schedule

Some people have asked for our travel here is our itinerary!!! Can't believe we board the airplane in less than 3 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 13th: Leave MSP airport on Wednesday at 10:25 a.m.

Thursday, May 14th: Arrive in Amsterdam @ 6:00 a.m. 4 hour layover there. Depart Amsterdam at 10:35 a.m. to Khartoum. Arrive in Khartoum @ 5:55 p.m Finally arrive in Addis Ababa @ 9:05 p.m. Our agency has their own guest house so we will stay there and have most of our meals there also.

Friday, May 15th: Orientation and meet Ahnya for the first time that morning. We cannot tape this meeting but our agency does for us.

Saturday, May 16: Visit to the care center and observe the nannies and learn Ahnya's routine. In the afternoon we go on a shopping trip and then that evening we go to a traditional Ethiopian dinner and show.

Sunday, May 17: We leave very early for our trip to Hossana in the southern region. We will meet Ahnya's birth mother and family and visit the intake center where Ahnya spent her first few weeks. Whew--talk about emotional day. We don't get to see Ahnya that day.

Monday, May 18: In the morning we go to care center to hang out with Ahnya some more. In the afternoon we go to a museum and some other sights. We get to visit AHOPE. We will also get to tour CHSFS Ethiopia facilities.

Tuesday, May 19th: In the morning we will enjoy a special going away celebration with the nannies. We then take custody of Ahnya and have an Embassy appointment in the afternoon.

Wednesday, May 20th: Free day to hang out at the guest house with Ahnya and the other 9 families in our group. Possible extra shopping trip. There is also a hair braiding class in the afternoon.

Thursday, May 21: There will be an Ethiopian cooking class in the morning. The rest of the day will be spent packing and getting ready to leave that evening. Depart Addis Ababa @ 10:50 p.m.

Friday May 22nd: Arrive in Amsterdam @ 5:45 a.m. Yah!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 1/2 hour layover in Amsterdam!!!!!! Leave Amsterdam @ 10:30 a.m. and arrive in Chicago O'Hare @ 11:55 a.m. Depart Chicago O'Hare @ 2:25 and arrive at MSP airport @ 4:01 p.m. We'll go through immigration in Chicago we'll meet friends and family at the bottom of the escalators!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bring kleenex!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can't wait to see all our lovies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!