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Reincarnation of the Dykstra Family Blog
Chad Dykstra - 2014-06-03

Comrades is Coming!
Chad Dykstra - 2013-04-29

Melkam Gena!
Chad Dykstra - 2013-01-07

Why I Run
Chad Dykstra - 2012-10-03

It's All About the Injera
Chad Dykstra - 2012-03-09

Expectations and Reality
Chad Dykstra - 2012-02-15

I Remember
Chad Dykstra - 2011-10-25

A Summer of Firsts
Chad Dykstra - 2011-09-13

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A Visit to Remember

Chad Dykstra - 2010-12-06
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We had the once in a lifetime opportunity this weekend to sit down with A & Z's sister at the orphanage in Halaba where she first dropped them off.  She is married with two small children of her own.  We were able to meet her husband, her children, and A & Z's two youngest older siblings.  This was an unexpected blessing - we were not expecting any others to be there.  We took lots of pictures of each of their family members that were there.  We plan on hanging those pictures up in A & Z's room and also sending copies back to the family.  They most certainly would not otherwise have any pictures of themselves.  We will not discuss any of this with the boys or show them the pictures for some time until we feel that they are adjusted to their new life.  We're expecting that to probably at least be a month or two.

There were many moments that truly broke our hearts. In general I'm not a very "emotional" kind of guy, and this is one of the first times in my life that my heart was truly broken by something that breaks the heart of God. Watching their oldest sister looking at the picture books we prepared for her and having to run away after looking at each page because the grief was too much to bear, composing herself to come look at another page, and then do it all over again for the next page.  Lora and I just held each other at a distance crying and wondering if we had made the right decision in giving them the books. We know how tightly they hold the books that we did.  They are something that the family will always treasure.

We found out that the oldest sister makes pottery for sale at the market, and that their mother did as well.  We were able to ride to the market after our meeting and the sister went and brought some of her pottery that we were able to purchase.  We were very excited to have something like that to take home.

It is very clear that A & Z were, are, and always will be truly loved by their family.  His sister bestowed upon us the responsibility that she received from her father to care for them and raise them. She was happy to hear that A & Z would receive a quality education and would be raised in a Christian home.  She requested that we send letters and pictures often, and that some time we return with the boys so they can visit.  We're going to start putting money away right away so we can make this happen in 5-7 years, when the boys are old enough to appreciate it.  Flying 6 to Africa is no cheap vacation!

I could write for hours on all we experienced, thought, said, and heard.  For the privacy of the family and A & Z, however, this update is extremely abridged.  We were truly blessed by the experience.  When our flights were delayed/missed and we originally were not set to arrive until Saturday night, we would have had to miss this trip.  We would have paid any cost necessary to arrive in time for it.  It will be invaluable in the future as we try to understand and answer questions that A & Z inevitably will ask, and it was definitely an experience we will never forget.

Ethiopia and their siblings will always be a part of A & Z, and we fully intend to keep it that way. We consider their siblings here not only part of A & Z's family, but our family and we will pray for them often, write letters, and send pictures on a regular basis.  Please join us in praying for them.  They are an amazing Christian family that could sure use our prayers.

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We (eventually) made it

Chad Dykstra - 2010-12-03
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It has been in interesting couple of days.  Our first flight from Grand Rapids was delayed 2 hours, which caused us to miss our connecting flight into Amsterdam.  We had 2 other couples that we were traveling with, and we were all on the phone with our travel agents trying to get something else lined up.  The original re-booking that Delta did for us wouldn't have got us into Ethiopia until Saturday night!  That just wouldn't do, because we would have missed our trip to the South to visit A&Z's sister.  We would not miss that opportunity at almost any cost.  After several phone calls and working with a few different Delta employees, we were able to get re-booked through Frankfurt, Germany and then took Ethiopian Airlines to get us here (after a 13.5 hour layover in Frankfurt).  We thought about getting out of the airport and taking an afternoon out, but it was 18 degrees and none of us had jackets. Who needs jackets when you're going to Ethiopia?  Apparently we did!

After a Wednesday night red-eye, a 13.5 hour layover on Thursday, and another red-eye on Thursday night, we finally made it!  The last "minor" inconvenience is that our luggage didn't make the flight to Frankfurt and is probably sitting in Amsterdam right now.  We're being told we'll get it Saturday after 11pm or Sunday sometime.  We stopped and bought a few clothes and basics to get us through until then.

We visited A & Z at the orphanage yesterday for over 4 hours.  It was great, and we're really feeling more like we're getting to know them.  We were beat though, and ready to be done by the time we had to leave.  After almost no sleep since Tuesday and an 8 hour time difference, we were ready for a shower and a bed!  I still have trouble sleeping here.  Up at 4am this morning.  Hopefully tonight will be better.

This morning we leave for Southern Ethiopia where we get to meet A & Z's sister and ask her any questions we may have.  She'll also have the opportunity to ask us questions.  We're really looking forward to this opportunity to get more insight into A & Z's family and what life was like before the orphanage.  It's about a 4.5 to 5 hour drive to get to the area the boys lived.  We'll be there overnight and travel home on Sunday.

The next time we see the boys will be on Monday, and they will be coming with us!  We're looking forward to it, but we're going to enjoy our last few days of solitude first.  We'll report back after we return from our trip on Sunday night.

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"The Next Time"

Chad Dykstra - 2010-12-01
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We woke up this morning to much excitement from Abi and Ben.  There is snow on the ground!  How exciting (for a child).  December has arrived, and brought with it the very first taste of winter in Michigan.  We were sure to take some pictures and video of Abi and Ben playing in the snow this morning...partially to introduce their brother and sister, and partially to visually prepare them for the radical shift in weather they are about to experience.

The last few days have been a whirlwind!  Packing, preparing the house for two new children, trying to get work tasks wrapped up (not back to work until December 20)! Most importantly we've been trying to spend some "quality time" with Abi and Ben to get them through the next week and a half.  Oh, who am I get us through the next week and a half!  

The last few days are a surreal time in the mind of a new parent.  I find myself thinking "the next time" quite often.  The next time I do X, the boys will be here!  The next time I do Y, the boys will be here!  Even silly things like grabbing 2 pieces of bread out of the loaf to make myself a sandwich for lunch.  A and Z will probably eat bread from this very loaf!  It's a little silly, but oh, so exciting to think about.  So exciting to look around our house and picture them in their room and playing with the toys that are usually scattered all over the floor as a boobie-trap for would be robbers.

We're loaded up and ready to go.  We will get Abi on the bus for school and then we're off to the airport.  The next time we step foot in our home, our whole family will be together!

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Time to Pack!

Chad Dykstra - 2010-11-29
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We just got official confirmation that we need to be in Ethiopia on Tuesday, December 7 for our U.S. Embassy interview!  This means that we are wheels up on Wednesday, December 1...yes, 48 hours from now!  Obviously, this is good news! 

So much to little time!  Preparing for a trip and then getting ready to come home to a family of's going to be a busy couple of days!

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When are we supposed to leave again?

Chad Dykstra - 2010-11-26
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Well, it's now November 26, and we still don't have our official invitation to travel to Ethiopia on December 1!  Yes - that's 5 days from now.  We're doing OK...but it's starting to get hard!  Bethany is doing what they can (we know it's not your fault Belinda, we still love you) but the US Embassy in Addis is overloaded, on a golf retreat, celebrating Thanksgiving for the past few weeks, or just generally busy.  We're being told that we will hear on Monday if everything is cleared for our trip.

The wait doesn't bother us so much, we're just hoping they don't consider it "too short of notice" and decide to postpone it until December 23 or beyond.  At this point, we've already booked our tickets because the change fee is less than we'd probably have spent to buy our tickets last minute.  If we're required to change our tickets, there would be an extra $1000 in change fees plus any fare difference, which at this point is at least $700 per ticket due to the next Embassy appointments being on December 21 and returning home on Christmas eve.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, we appreciate them!  Please pray the embassy has time to review the cases on Monday and that we get good news!  We'll be sure to update as soon as we hear back.

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