I have been a total slacker when it comes to this blog. Life has gotten so crazy. I have twice as many boys and twice as much work. I haven't posted since October!
Obsi played soccer last fall for his middle school. I think it was a bit much for him. He struggled with soccer practice/games and keeping up with his school work. School is very different here and Obsi wants to do a good job so it took him longer to figure it out and do it right. I was in constant communication with his teachers. Obsi had to learn the schedule thing and getting to his classrooms. Ethiopians are known for taking their time. Something Americans should learn but of course, we are always in a hurry. The teachers were okay with Obsi coming late.
Obsi also had to get used to the hot lunch program and the food! That was very hard for him. Nothing looked good. Everything was blah. It was too hard to know what to take. He didn't know a la cart was separate and expensive. He was eating pop tarts for lunch! It took a while but we bought him some Chinese Hot Sauce to spice up the boring food and it went much better.
November brought about a routine that Obsi settled into. Obsi got all A's (maybe one B) on his 1st quarter report card. Just amazing for his first time in an American school. Obsi's life revolves around his school work. He spends most of his time at home, down in his bedroom doing his school work. It is leaving our family missing out on getting to know Obsi. He loves to spend time alone.
December brings Obsi's first Christmas. Obsi hates the cold. We talked him into going with the family (a tradition) to cut down a christmas tree. We dressed him up warm.
On New Years Day Obsi had a chance to meet up with a friend from his orphanage. We met at Gurney Mills and he had a fun day!
Last Sunday, Tamirat and Obsi went flying. Obsi's dream has been to be a pilot someday. Our friend, Chris, took them up in a small four seater. Chris put Obsi in the co-pilot seat so he could explain to Obsi what he is all doing.
Chris took them to Green Bay to fly over Lambeau Field. They were supposed to get pictures but for some reason, there are none. Hmmm, I guess we have to do it again! They also flew over our house, but, again, no pictures.
Obsi's school had open house so we all (except Seth) went so Obsi could give us a tour. He still struggles with opening the lock on his locker. Totally foreign concept for an Ethiopian to deal with one of those!
It was fun talking to all Obsi's teachers but it was also very important. Obsi is having a hard time with transition to American school. He still gets lost and confused. It makes him close to being late for his classes. He has almost missed lunch because he missed that it was lunch time and was waiting for his next class to start. The room was dark and the teacher was at lunch!
Obsi's teachers are having to make a few adjustments for him. One teacher has helped him and his fellow Ethiopian friend in making schedules they understand. Schedules that have been simplified. Other teachers have had to lessen his homework or give him alternate assignments. They are all wonderful!
Obsi seems to be a perfectionist. He does his math assignments and then when he is done with all his homework, he goes back to math and does it again. He works at homework from after school until bedtime and then gets up early and does more. School doesn't like that he has to do that. A boy shouldn't be spending all his free time doing homework. The school authorities have seen in their testing that it takes Obsi a long time to do his work. He translates back and forth to figure things out. He also doesn't have a grasp of all our english words and meanings. For instance: if a teacher talks about a city block, Obsi pictures a building block and can't understand what she is trying to say.
Hot lunch has been good. We have had to work through what is included in $2.05 and what is extra. Lunch was costing us $4.50 per day for the first weeks. I think Obsi understands now. The extras cost way more than what we would pay for in a grocery store and we all tried to explain that to Obsi. If he really like these extras that he was buying everyday, I told him I would buy packages of the stuff and send it with him everyday at a much cheaper price. I have explained it to the principal so he could keep an eye on Obsi going through the lunch line.
I got a positive email from a teacher yesterday that showed Obsi making progress. He finally looked her in the eye and said hi to her. He's not getting lost so much. He is following doing oral corrections on homework. That had been a huge struggle.
Overall, school is a huge cultural adjustment and he comes home exhausted.
This last weekend we went "up nort". My dad's family have a bunch of land on a lake and he has a small lakefront plot on which he has a trailer. My family (as a child) went there quite a bit while I was growing up. Since we (my husband and boys) took up camping, we haven't been up there much. Like, 10 years! Here are some pics of that weekend.
Everyone got out the door on time yesterday! There were some slight problems getting home though. I decided to go get Seth and Obsi first thinking Alex could hang out after school with his friends, also thinking Valders and Cabrini both got done at 3:00. Valders doesn't get done until 3:15....oops. Seth came out of school just fine shortly after the bell rang. Obsi, well, we waited and waited until kids coming out of school slowed way down. This is at 3:30. So, I give Seth my cell phone knowing Alex will call, while I go hunt down Obsi. First hurdle was finding the Middle School office from the wrong end of the building. After lots of help, I arrived and asked everyone in the office if they saw Obsi. They had seen him with Nati but he was no where after that. They thought he may have went home with Nati so they called the bus company. Nati doesn't ride the bus. They announced over the loudspeaker for Obsi to please come to the middle school office. 10 minutes later, the district office called that they had him in their office. By this time, it is 3:45. Poor Alex! Someone walked Obsi to the office and Obsi said he was waiting where the middle schoolers get picked up because I didn't tell him where I was picking him up. I dropped him off on the other side of the building but never told him I would pick him up in that same spot. We got to Alex's school at 4:05. Alex was not a happy boy but he handled it well.
Obsi said school was good. And that it was a long day with so many teachers. He was tired!
Unfortunately, soccer practice was at 5:00. It was like pulling teeth to get Obsi to get ready for soccer. Then we left without shin guards and had to back-up down the driveway to get those. We were 5 minutes late for soccer.
Tamirat is taking the bus this year. He catches it at the end of our driveway. As I was pushing him out the door, we forgot to pack his lunch. Darn!. I quickly made 2 pb sandwiches and Seth drove him to the end of our driveway. First day and not sure if the bus would be early or late. We are the very first stop.
With the whole mess of things after school, we got home at 4:15 and Tamirat should've been home but wasn't. Weird. Tamirat got home about 10 minutes later. He tried to tell me why he was so late but I just couldn't understand. But he did try to explain it all in English the best he could so that was really amazing. He just doesn't quite know the words for things yet. I had him explain to Obsi and what happened is a boy that was supposed to be on his bus didn't get on after school so they had to find him before they headed out to take all the children home. They found that he got on the wrong bus. We all laughed about it after our situation with finding Obsi.
Tamirat loves going to school. He didn't know his teachers name so I told him I wanted to know it today. We will see if he remembers it. Tamirat loves being around other children which is why he loves school so much. His English has gotten so much better than where he was last May. I hope they treat him like the other students when it comes to homework and tests. Last May, I wanted them to just let him take it all in with no expectations and no grading. Guess I better meet the teacher soon!
Seth needs to drop a class and add a different one. It will be interesting to see what he picks.
Alex started school on Monday already. He likes 7th grade much better than 6th grade. He was a trooper last year. One teacher he had never smiles. Not sure that teacher even likes kids. He got through it! This year is looking much better.
September 21, 2009 Sent out Adoption Application to CCI
September 25 Sent out Home Study papers
October 1 Mailed CCI Contract with fees
October 29 Home Study visit
November 3 Received rough draft of Home Study Report
November 20 Received Notarized Home Study
November 21 Mailed I600a
Nov 25 Received Police Certificate.
December 5 Dossier received with State Seal from Madison
December 7 Dossier off to Asst. Stork
December 10 Asst. Stork mailed Dossier to FL
December 14 CCI received our Dossier
December 15 Our Dossier is sent to Ethiopia
January 25, 2010 Biometrics Appointment at USCIS
Febuary 10 Received I-171H
February 22 T is being submitted to court
March 1 Our court date is set for March 11
March 11 MOWA letter didn't make it.
March 24 Tamirat is ours!
May 31st, Obsi is ours!
July 15th Embassy appt., visa denied
July 16th Obsi is granted his visa
Full name: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Population: 85.2 million (UN, 2008) Capital: Addis Ababa Area: 1.13 million sq km (437,794 sq miles) Major languages: Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Somali Major religions: Christianity, Islam Life expectancy: 52 years (men), 54 years (women) (UN) Monetary unit: 1 Birr = 100 cents Main exports: Coffee, hides, oilseeds, beeswax, sugarcane GNI per capita: US $220 (World Bank, 2007) Internet domain: .et International dialling code: +251