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Discovering Ethiopia with our Daughter

Hi everyone,

We're posting an update from the Sheraton in Addis where they have a business center.

First and foremost, a huge thank you to Congressman Ciro Rodriguez and his amazing team (Priscilla, you are our hero!). So many people helped us in the 11th hour, but Priscilla was the quarterback for an amazing effort that spanned three federal agencies in different cities as well as the US Embassy in Addis Ababa. She got up early to contact the embassy, sent me (Dan) a text one time at 3:30 in the morning right before we left. Seriously, who does that for people these days (the answer to that rhetorical question is 'Priscilla' in case you were wondering!) So many people need to be thanked, but since many of them are Federal Government Employees I want to be mindful of their privacy:

Priscilla at Rep. Rodriguez office
Ruth at the Dept. of State
Paul at Dept. of Justice
Dan B. and his amazing team at the company where I work
The US Embassy staff in the Visa section
The friends and family who are watching our kids: Zulekha, Chris and Dell V., Em and Deb S.
And the many others whom we may never know were a part of Team Evangeline!

When we went to the Embassy the first morning we were in Addis the Embassy staff said "You cannot believe how much email traffic was generated on your behalf! And don't worry, this will all be worked out before Monday."

So, on to Evie. First, she is beautiful and amazing and in such good health. The caregivers at the orphanage took such good care of her. She is a typical Kovac baby... loves being held all the time (that is code for "she cries if we put her down" and "she screams bloody murder if we try to put her to sleep in her crib at night and has to sleep with us").

The first day she was all smiles and giggles but yesterday and today has been a little fussy. It could be the different formula (we're going to try and find the brand she was being given at the orphanage) or it could be that she is going through some grieving as a lot of the babies do when they leave. Poor kid has been through a lot, but she is now in the most loving arms (Rachel's) that any baby could ever experience.

Yesterday was sort of a cool milestone with her. At first she was sort of indiscriminately friendly to anyone with open arms (not necessarily a good thing) but by the end of the day yesterday, she would cry when the staff at the guesthouse would hold her and wanted to be back with Rachel.Last night, although rough because she was up 5 or 6 times, was also magical for me. At around 5 am she was rather upset so I was pacing with her in the living room of the guesthouse and she fell asleep in my arms. I laid down on the couch and she slept on my chest for about 45 minutes (I will file that memory away for when she is a teenager and demands a 2 am curfew or something...Evie, the answer to that is no. Midnight. I don't care if you are 16 and all your friends stay out that late).

Today we are meeting with our local attorney Mr. Guta--who has been very gracious and helpful--to do some paperwork for our meeting with the Embassy on Monday, and then this afternoon we might go to the Lion Zoo or one of the Museums.

Rachel is really the blogger in our family but she is carrying Evie right now. I have to say that on a personal note, she is such an amazing Mom. That little girl is bonding to her already and just like our first two kids, I know they will be inseparable in no time flat.

I'll close with a note about Ethiopia: We are in love with this country. It is stunningly beautiful in Addis because it is nestled in the mountains (about 5000 ft ASL) and the Ethiopian people are so beautiful and warm. For me, coming back home to Africa after all these years (I grew up in West Africa with my family and left when I was 18) has been an amazing experience and I could live here in a heartbeat. Now if only I could get my company to open a regional office in Addis... I'll have to work on that.

Blessings to all for now and we will see you soon! Jude and Indigo, we hlove and miss you and we will see you in a few days.


  1. Oh, I am so thrilled to read an update! Can't wait to eventually see some pictures!!

    I love that she fits right in with the Kovac kids! God knew what He was doing when he picked you both for her parents!

    What a sweet guy- there's nothing like seeing your spouse with a new baby that makes you realize how blessed you are, huh? I can't wait to see you all together!!!!!

  2. Really REALLY happy for you all! Glad the bonding is going well, and you're enjoying your time soaking up Evie's homeland.

    I second Jenna...can't wait to see pictures!

    God bless!

  3. So beautiful to read about your experience.Looking forward to meeting the lovely E.

  4. What a great update! I am so happy to hear that Evie knows her Mama already, and I'm so happy that she wants you to hold her all the time and wants to sleep with you. That is so great for all three of you!

    And I'm also so glad that you are falling in love with Ethiopia. What a gift that will be for Evie as she grows up!

    Ok, so if we can't see pictures, can you describe if she looks like the most recent pictures or were you surprised that she looked different (bigger, more hair, etc.)? Or is she smaller than you anticipated?

    Still praying for God to protect everyone's health for the rest of the trip and to continue the beautiful bonding that is happening.

  5. Thank you so much Dan for taking the time to keep us all updated! I've been thinking about you guys so much and am thrilled the 171H update finally got where it belonged!

    I never for 1 second doubted Evie would be a Kovac...seemlessly. I figured she would be a co-sleeping, lusty-crying, snuggle bunny. I mean, come on, she's your daughter after all. I'm sure within the next year she'll grow fond of lovely fabrics and homemade sundresses as well!

    Cannot wait to see pictures and in the meantime, have some "special tea" at Kaldi's for me!

  6. Goosebumps and tears! I love that you are all doing so well! I love that Evie is doing so well! I love that the fears you had (understandably so) about the care she received have been assuaged and that she is feeling the comfort of both of your arms! I LOVE that you LOVE Ethiopia! It is truly spectacular and the amazement that you feel today will be planted not only in your soul, but in Evie's and will stay with her throughout her whole life! You are both doing a fantastic job! And, I am overwhelmingly happy for all three of you!

  7. Awesome - so awesome! Enjoy every second!

  8. as soon as I saw 'team' and 'quarterback' in the same setence...i knew it was you, Dan.
    Sounds like things are goin GREAT.
    Evie seems to like this whole Mama and Daddy thing.
    Thanks for the wonderful update.
    Can you believe you are FINALLY holding your BABY!!!!
    Thanks for leting us all be a part pf this. we love ya'll and weare praying for you and all of your little ones.

    Repeat after me:
    Sorry's an "attachment parenting" thing. Rachel gets it..;)

  9. Oh, I am so happy to read this post. I am happy, happy, happy for you!

    It is great to read from Dan's perspective! What a special family you are.

  10. I am so happy for you. I have tears of joy for you. Thank you for sharing. Will keep praying for the details and a safe travel home.

  11. Rachel & Dan, so happy to hear everything worked out and that little Evie is in your arms!!!We have been praying!! So glad to hear that bonding is going well! Isn't God great!! Thanks for posting the update, Dan! We had been checking everyday! Can't wait to see pictures!! Kris

  12. So happy to hear the amazing update!!! Can't wait to see her-congratulations-she couldn't be with more loving parents!

  13. Isn't it amazing how your perfect child and match can be found halfway around the world?!? Its more than just much more ~ and more of a miracle as each day unfolds!

    I have happy tears for you all reading this incredible update! did a great job tending to blog duties while Rach tended to beautiful baby!

    I'm so happy for you all!!

    Relish every day ~ I know you already are!!


  14. fabulous update, dan!!! i was hanging on every word! so grateful that everything is going smoothly and that bonding is happening!! much love to you all!

  15. Can;t wait for you to return safely and to hear about your trip!


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