Been getting lots o' questions about the trip itself... hopefully this will answer some of the questions you have. Please feel free to ask more questions in the comment section.
1. How long is the flight? We are flying to Dulles (in D.C.) from O'Hare (Chicago), then have a few hour layover. I believe we will be meeting up with the other families adopting through AWAA. Then we have a "non-stop" flight that touches down in Rome to refuel (we don't get off the plane), then on to Addis Ababa. It's about 24 hours of travel... some 16-18 hours in the air. If you're looking for things to pray about this is a big one. I'm not so concerned with the trip over, but keeping 2 kids occupied on the way back DOES worry me some. I get air-sick, and believe me, I've stocked up on everything possible to try to mitigate the severity.
2. How long do we stay in Addis Ababa? We will be there for about one week. We arrive back at O'Hare the afternoon of Sunday, June 15.
3. Do the children speak English/How are you going to communicate? We're still getting this question, and believe me, I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around it too, so I totally understand why it keeps coming up. We are assuming that they do not speak any English. If they know any words at all, it'll be a bonus to us. We have learned a few words of Amharic, but honestly... their language is so different from romance/germanic languages that I (who am good at languages) am unable to get more than a few words to stick. There's just nothing for the words to stick to, since the root is completely foreign to my brain. Between the 2 of us, we've managed to learn about 1/2 dozen words. PITIFUL! I know it! We'll be cramming on the plane, I think, and relying heavily on our dictionary and fellow travelers. I'm sure if we were in Ethiopia longer and heard the words daily and in context, we'd be able to speak some, but man, I may have to play the dumb American card here. The children will learn English quickly through immersion. We have found through a friend of a friend an Ethiopian man in our area. He is willing to help us with translation, etc, so if all other forms of communication fail (arm waving, speaking LOUDER, because, you know, that helps) we'll be able to call him and find out what's going on.
4. Are we nervous/excited? Yes. We are in a bit of a daze. BUT, there is only so long one can keep up intense emotions. I would say that my worry circuit has been fried, and is no longer functional. We do not have the bandwidth to be nervous/worried, etc 24 hours a day. When people have received a lack luster response when they ask if we are excited, they often say "It doesn't seem like you're excited." And I think to myself... I can't really worry about how it looks to you... but rest assured, we are FULL UP with joy and peace, and all the other appropriate emotions. When all those emotions come at once, there might be a deer in the headlights sort of look about us.
5. How do you pronounce the children's names/Can you spell them phonetically? Since the children's name are originally in the Amharic language, the names you see have been transliterated into English equivalents, so they pretty much are already phonetic. Remember phonics? That'll come in handy in pronouncing their names... I'll break it down for you.
Habtamu. (the a's in this case are pronounced "ah". The 'u' is pronounced 'oo')
H(ah)b t(ah) moo. The accent is on the second syllable. HabTAmu.
Yordanos. (o's are pronounced "oh", a is "ah".)
Yor(like "your") d(ah)n (oh)s. Accent is on the 2nd syllable. YorDANos.
Please do not start shortening their names to anything. We've received several suggestions for nicknames, but that'll have to be between us and the children. And there may already be nicknames in Amharic that we don't know about. We'll let you know if they'll be going by nicknames. Thanks for your understanding.