Sunday, December 30, 2007

Embassy Day

* The whole reason we are in Ethiopia the week before Christmas- our Embassy appointment. It went so smoothly, it was barely memorable. But man did it feel good when he said "This visa has been approved." The best thing about the embassy appointment was Anna's most fabulous party dress and the after party snapshot.

* Thursday also featured a visit to the orphanage where Anna started out. Her Ethiopian mom brought her to the orphanage at 2 days old. It was bittersweet to visit and know that we wouldn't get to meet her first mom- she had disappeared shortly after relinquishing Anna. We did get to learn a few tidbits about her mom, and felt so fortunate to have a photocopied picture of her. We also figured out the reason behind Anna's Ethiopian name, Etagegnehu, which means "I found a sister." We were puzzled at first because in our referral, it said that Anna did not have any siblings. Our coordinator in Ethiopia told us that a child might be named Etagegnehu because the mom is young or doesn't have any sisters of her own. We learned that Anna's first mom was both young and was an only child.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Our Trip Part II

Today I don't have the patience for paragraphs, so here is a laundry list of more of our trip.

* We were thrilled to participate in our first coffee ceremony. This takes about 2 hours and begins with the roasting of the beans. Here the cook is fanning the fire that the green coffee beans are roasting over. The cook brings the pan of roasted beans around for everyone to smell before the next step. After roasting, the beans are ground with a mortal and pestal and then boiled over the fire in a hand made coffee pot. The final product is served in tiny tea cups and is thick and dark and so tasty! They always served us 2 cups. I was surprised that we were served this coffee EVERY DAY after lunch while we were there. It is so much work, something we would never do here. Tsegay said that Ethiopians do this every day (usually after breakfast) and sometimes twice a day. Needless to say, life is much slower in Ethiopia.

* Much to Brian's delight, Anna took immediately to napping on Dad's chest. This is one of Brian's talents in life. God certainly made him perfectly for rocking a baby to sleep.

* We called Anna by her Ethiopian name while we were in Ethiopia. Mostly just because that's what everyone else called her. The first thing we asked when we got to Ethiopia was how to pronounce her name. They told us it was difficult to pronounce even in Amharic. So here goes: Etagegnehu, etta-GAIN-you, or etta-gen-YOW, or e-TA-goo for short. Don't be surprised if you here us saying TA-goo in a high pitched voice. Thats an even shorter form of her nickname.

* The staff at HOH told us how serious Anna is, and how difficult it is to get her to smile. But we found a sweet little girl that smiled when we paid her attention and called out her name. The staff attributes this to her finally being united with her family. We'll take that, even if it is just flattery!

* The HOH staff were amazed how much Anna looks like her dad. They were polite and said it was the eyes that made them look like family. We all know it's really the lack of hair.

* Ethiopians don't take their babies out in public until they are about a year old. We got double stares since we were white carrying a black, nearly newborn baby.

* Hooray, Anna slept until about 3am last night, only waking up for feeding, not to play with Mom and Dad. After spending a few hours awake, she is back asleep.

* Ernie asked the other day when Anna was going back to Ethiopia. Not out of malice, or jealousy. He was just wondering.

Friday, December 28, 2007


I just got done with my last post and realized I hadn't posted any pictures. So here are a few.

Mom after rocking Anna to sleep the first night

Tuesday morning, Dad making Anna smile

Nanny Latai, giving Anna a bath

Our trip Part I

Anyone notice at what time I am writing this post? Midnight . . . what other time is there? I can't wait until its unusual to sleep from 5 to 11pm and then spend a couple hours catching up on chores before going back to bed! Right now we are still trying to flip Anna's schedule, although we have found it pretty easy to get back to US time ourselves. However, it seems that around 11pm is morning in Anna-land. Good thing she's cute and smiley when she wakes up!

So here's the first installment of our time in Ethiopia. We arrived in Addis Ababa about 10pm on Monday night. We were driven to House of Hope, the transition home where Anna has been staying for the vast majority of her life. We were brought to our room to deliver our things and then brought to the baby room to meet Anna for the first time. We walked in and there she was in her nanny's arms. Wow! She looked just like a baby. Of course, being Mom, I got to hold her first, and passed her on to Dad later. It was easy for us to fall in love with her, but she held out a little on us. That first night she wasn't really interested in looking at us. She came around the next morning as we bumbled our way through feeding and dressing her, and getting ourselves ready, too.

We spent most of Tuesday at HOH, just getting to know Anna. We took a short ride out to tour the city. HOH is truely a home away from home. At times, I was convinced it was even better than home! Where else do you get to stay in a nice cozy room, have someone cook your meals and clean up after? My favorite phrase that week was "Dinner is ready." A close second was "Pancake or omlet?" It was easy to see how much everyone at the HOH loved Anna. We had to practically arm wrestle the nurse for the privelege of feeding and holding her! It was very cool to see everyone there pitching in with the little ones. It would have been unusual if a toddler wandering through the courtyard didn't meet with smiles and hugs from the guard, cook, coordinator and various nannies. I was pleased to see that boys everywhere are the same. Rowdy, loud and fun! We had many opportunities to play and sing and run with three little boys staying at HOH. It made me smile seeing Anna so interested in the boys. I couldn't wait for her to meet her big brother.

More later, bed is calling.


Monday, December 24, 2007


Hello friends,

36 hours of travel and 2 lost bags later (thanks United), we made it home! Due to some schedule changes, we got back a couple of days early, so we get to spend Christmas morning at home instead of on an airplane. It was an amazing trip - more details in the days to come. Time to rest...

Brian, Noelle, Ernie, and Anna

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ethiopia Update

Hello friends,
We just wanted to drop a quick line to tell you all we made it here safely, and that Anna is as wonderful and perfect as we expected.  We have mostly been taking it easy so far, hanging out at the House of Hope and getting to know our new daughter.  Anna does everything you would expect a 4-month-old to do.  She enjoys watching everything going on around her, likes her tummy time, wakes up Mom and Dad in the middle of the night, spits up quite frequently.  Everyone here says she is very serious, but we've gotten a lot of smiles out of her in the last day.  I guess she was just waiting for her mom and dad to get here from America...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Leaving Tomorrow

Hi all,

Tomorrow is the day! We leave at 7:30 AM (thanks for the ride, Dad), and arrive in Addis Ababa Monday night. We will be back in the evening on Christmas day.

I'm not sure if we will be able to post while we are over there, but we will do our best. Thanks for all your support in this journey - next time you hear from us, we'll have met Anna!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Travel Dates

Hi friends,
We've got our Embassy appointment confirmed for December 20th. This means we are leaving the 16th or 17th and returning Christmas day! Merry Christmas to us!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Talk About Labor Pains

Okay, no real labor pains for this family, but we've gone through mountains of paperwork, a marathon of waiting and still face 30 hours of travel with an infant to arrive home. When starting this journey, I didn't know that our adoption "labor" would also take a more literal meaning: the nearly interminable labor of making my first quilt! I'd like to place the blame fair and square on Courtney, who last year showed me the most beautiful quilt made by her sister. Inspiration is a dangerous thing. For the last three months I've been slaving away my evenings and nights quilting like a mad woman. After all my complaining, I asked Courtney if she thought I was crazy for even considering making another quilt for a friend. "No!" she said, "That means you're a Quilter!" I didn't see that one coming.

Friday, November 30, 2007

It's a Girl!

Great news! Our court date in Ethiopia was this morning and everything went smoothly, so we are officially (finally) Anna Etagegnehu's parents. Which means we can post pictures! So here she is:

We're not exactly sure yet when we will be traveling, but it looks like it might be the week before Christmas, arriving home on Christmas day. More info as we get it...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Conversations with Ernie

Part 2: The birth of Jesus?

Setting: In the car on the way to visit Grandma and Grandpa

Ernie: Dad! God and Jesus are in my heart!
Dad (proudly): That's right!
Ernie: ...and when they were tiny babies, they lived in my tummy.
Dad (getting confused): ok...
Ernie: ...and then they were born!
Dad: How did they get out?
Ernie: Through the door.
Dad: What door?
Ernie: The door in my head.
Dad (confused): Then where did they go?
Ernie: To Jerusalem!

What do they learn at Sunday School?

This episode of Conversations with Ernie was brought to you by the letter L and the number 2.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Court news

Dear Friends,
The last few days have been a rollercoaster for us. On Monday we heard the news that our court date was scheduled for Tuesday. We were in shock because most people so far had gotten about 2 weeks notice before their court dates. We waited until yesterday to hear the disappointing news that the court date had to be rescheduled because they could not locate Anna's birth mom to finalize the adoption. The good news is that having our date rescheduled really isn't that uncommon and our new date is November 30th. We're still not sure when we will travel. I think its unlikely to happen before January. I hope we'll have great news to share with you next weekend.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lucky us!

Hi, friends. There are no further updates on our court date. We are still waiting to hear when we will travel and it seems pretty unlikely that we'll get to go before Christmas.

We are excited to bring Anna home and introduce her to you all. We feel so blessed to be a part of this adoption and have difficulty expressing how thankful we are to have a baby brought into our home this way. Stop and listen the next time you hear someone tell adoptive parents what a great thing they are doing for a child- I bet you'll hear the parents turn it around and say how lucky THEY are. For us, adopting Anna isn't about saving a child, it's about building our family and following God's plan. As I've told many of you already, Anna needs a family and we need a baby, so we see bringing her into our family as a win-win situation, not an act of charity. We are just happy to build and grow our family as God intends. Please keep us and Anna in your prayers.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Conversations with Ernie

A new feature on the Frick blog...not necessarily adoption-related, but guaranteed to tickle your funny bone. Or your money back.

Part 1: Ernie contemplates the Mystery of the Holy Trinity

Scene: Ernie and Dad are sitting in the living room on a typically gorgeous Northwest afternoon (it was cold and rainy).

Ernie: Dad, you're my father.
Dad (wondering where this is going): Yup, you're right.
Ernie: And I'm your son!
Dad: Very good, kiddo.
Ernie (thinking hard): And Mom's the...Holy Spirit!
(Dad just shakes his head - if only it were that easy).

This episode of "Conversations with Ernie" has been brought to you by the letter H and the number 6.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Anna's Room

Anyone reading this might know I love to paint and decorate. They might know I love babies. Might they have guessed that painting and decorating a baby's room is just heaven for me?! At long last, I've had the chance to decorate a baby girl's room and it was so much fun! My friend Dianne came over and we spent the day tracing and painting fairies on the walls. Here's what we came up with.

Early in the day

A is for Anna

E is for Etagegnehu

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Baby Girl has a name!

We've finally decided on the name Anna Etagegnehu. "Anna" meaning "grace of God." Etagegnehu is the name given to her by her birth mom.
We don't have any updates yet on when we'll be traveling, but we are still hoping to go before Christmas. It will be January at the latest.
Look back soon for pictures of Anna's finished room. Dianne and I spent all day yesterday painting fairies, and I only have a little bit of work to do to finish up the room.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Work Party

Last Saturday, we had a little work party to get our little girl's room ready for her arrival (still no word on the court date...being patient is hard). Some selected images are below. I have also created an album on Picasa if you want to see the rest of the fun. Oh, and Noelle wanted me to point out that the room is not all the way finished yet - she is planning some further decoration on the walls.



Sorting Clothes and Toys:


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why adopt? Why not domestic? Why Ethiopia?

At some point you've probably wondered, what led the Fricks to adoption? Speaking for myself, the simplest answer is this: never in my life have I felt so clearly God's call to action. I know that I am here on earth to take care of God's children, no matter how they come to me. Earlier this year, Brian and I both felt that if we had even an inkling that adoption might be an option, we had a duty to at least check it out. So we started by going to an information meeting with Children's Hope International last January, and were instantly intrigued. For us it wasn't really a question of domestic versus international adoption. We just found an avenue to adoption that seemed like it would work for us. In looking at all the programs CHI had to offer, we were immediately drawn to Ethiopia. It fit our timing the best. We were ready to be parents again as soon as possible! And once we had chosen Ethiopia, it was easy to fall in love with the country. Have you tried the food? I can't say I'm adventurous with foreign cuisine, but eating at Lalibela in Seattle was a new and wonderful experience. What further caught our attention about Ethiopia was its ancient Christian roots, rich folklore tradition, passionate love for children and its prominent role in the AIDS crisis. There are an estimated one million AIDS orphans in Ethiopia alone. I cannot even fathom what these numbers mean. And although our own baby girl's story is not directly influenced by AIDS, we feel inextricably tied to the Ethiopian experience of poverty, AIDS and orphans. Want to read about the world from which our baby girl is coming? Check out Melissa Fay Greene's "There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children." Who knows, maybe you'll hear God's call, too.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

What's Next

So the obvious question is "what's next?" Now that we have our referral, how do we go about actually getting our daughter home? Well, unfortunately for our nerves, it requires more waiting and patience (something we do not have in abundance right now). At some point in the next few weeks, there will be a court date in Addis Ababa, at which we will officially become our daughter's parents under Ethiopian law. We will not be at that hearing - we have granted power of attorney to someone who works for our agency in Addis, who will appear on our behalf. At that point, we will be able to post pictures and other information about our baby girl.

After that, more waiting happens (insert Jeopardy theme here). A few weeks later, we will have an appointment at the American embassy in Addis to finalize our baby's visa and other travel documents. Both Noelle and I will be traveling for this, and we will be in-country for about a week. Then all we have to do is figure out how to get an infant through 24 hours of travel...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Big News

This seems to be an appropriate time to make our first post on our adoption blog - we got our referral today! That's right, after months of paperwork and waiting and stress, we now know who our new daughter is. This morning, our contact at our adoption agency called with the news that we had been referred a seven-week-old baby girl. We don't have much information about her right now, and we are not allowed to post pictures or too much personal information about her until the adoption becomes finalized in Ethiopia, but we will be posting more about her as we know it. She is as beatiful and perfect as we expected.

It was a wild day. Noelle was on her way back from a physical therapy appointment when she got the call. As soon as she got home, she told me everything she knew (which wasn't much), and then we spent the next half hour refreshing our email accounts waiting for the documentation from our agency. We finally received a picture, some basic background information, and the results of blood tests, etc. that were done in Addis Ababa a couple of weeks ago. Of course, we spent the rest of the morning on the phone with family and friends, telling them about the new addition to the family.

Our baby is now at the House of Hope, a transitional home in Addis Ababa that is run by our agency, so we know she is being loved and cared for. It sounds like we will be traveling within the next three months to pick her up. In the meantime, we have lots of work to do to get her room ready and prepare for her arrival. We'll be using this space to post updates, pictures, and more information as we get it and are allowed to share.