Ethi-Iowa 2011

14 07 2011

(Alternative Titles:  The Video Is Finally Frickin Done or Clearly I Am No Longer A Perfectionist)

Group Travel… the agency that we worked with to adopt Little Dude arranged for group travel for its adoptive parents.

I did not know this when I chose them.  It didn’t seem as important as, say, their ethical record.  Had I known, maybe I would have chosen a different agency.  I mean, group travel?  really?  I am not a Girl Scout.  I don’t want to be part of your troop.

In my mind group travel meant:

not getting the seat I want in the vehicle at all times (thereby risking car sickness)

not being able to eat what I want, when I want

not getting to be the single most important person to our guide (thereby not getting to ask all of my questions the second I have them and not being able to ask follow up questions until I am sure I understand all the information that I need at THAT moment.)

feeling weird asking to go to the bathroom

having to wait for others to go to the bathroom

having to be polite while efficiency goes out the window

efficiency people – EFFICIENCY.  I may not be a total perfectionist, and I don’t think I am all that controlling.   But honestly, just be efficient, your life will be better, my life will be better, we will have more time to relax together (if we want) or separate if we prefer – oh, but this is group travel – is separate an option?

Turns out group travel actually means:

having nine other families who will make meal recommendations and let you try their food

having nine other families who might have toilet paper when you need it

having nine other families asking important, smart questions that you never even thought of

having nine other families to help you keep memories

having nine other families to be with you in the moment, and to help you interpret the moment

having nine other families to share the crazy, joyful, devastating ride that is international adoption

Group travel means strangers becoming friends and friends becoming family.

Our travel group spanned the U.S. from the Bay Area in California, to Washington D.C.  From as far south as AZ and Louisiana, to as far north as northern Iowa.  Five of the ten families are concentrated in the midwest.  And this year, 14 months after we traveled together in Ethiopia, we all prioritized coming together.  For the sake of our children.  For the sake of our sanity.  To touch base.  To laugh.  To support the two families who are already back on the crazy I.A. roller-coaster.  To put thousands of miles on minivans.  To take pictures of beautiful children.  To jump on trampolines. To see how other people live, not just across the world, but a state away.  To eat injera.  To stare at dairy cows.

I tried to make a video of some of the photos.  Making the video took almost as many hours as preparing our dossier – and was equally painful and annoying.

I hope you enjoy it.  It if isn’t the best video you have ever seen, you should lie to me about it.




22 responses

14 07 2011

THAT WAS AWESOME! We’ll be there next year. Hopefully, we’ll be living there and it will be easy. Otherwise, we’ll work it out…even if that means me driving with the three kiddos halfway across the country by myself. Maybe by next year my daughter will even like us in a group setting and it will be wholly unlike our first experience. Seriously, great video.

PS. I also appreciate the effort that it must have taken to find a picture of all three of us where the majority of us weren’t looking miserable! 🙂

14 07 2011

I already told shonda but I am insanely jealous of your travel group. Mine was less than awesome. I think I was made to be in your group but for there a few weeks early for some reason.

14 07 2011

I RAN to my computer to see the video when I saw an email come up for a new blog post. LOVE IT!! Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for all of the effort involved in making it. And I know you probably want a big time break from your computer right now, but could you email the picture of S. and Little Dude on the trampoline? (the one with S. wearing a green shirt).
I think this was the best video I’ve ever seen. 🙂

14 07 2011
lover of Et

love it. seriously. LOVE IT. We did have an awesome travel group. And we still are an awesome travel group. I too look forward to a whole group gathering if we can make that work. Skiing/sipping chocolate in the lodge in Denver this winter anyone???

Kerry, you are a rockstar with that video. Seriously. I’m going to try (aka have hubby do it) to save the video for future reference. Thanks for taking the time. And thank your man for letting you lock yourself into your office to get it done.

14 07 2011

that was FREAKING amazing! 🙂 And since I live in Iowa I’m officially campaigning to become an honorary member of your super sweet travel group. I don’t have a minivan but I do love efficiency!

14 07 2011
Semi-Feral mama

Um, have you counted your kids? What DO you drive?

15 07 2011

Ha ha! I did count her kids and now I, too, want to know what she drives. Maybe it’s her love of efficiency that keeps her from a minivan… This week gave up my prius for one. Hating the guzzling of gas and the non-regenerative braking.
(oh, and yes, I love the video. i posted my initial responses on youtube)

14 07 2011
Tamara B

by the way, lover of Et is your fav Ethiowa momma, Tamara B.

15 07 2011

I can’t believe it’s been over a year and that all the kids are so much bigger already!

15 07 2011

I’ts the best video I’ve EVER seen, and I haven’t even seen it yet! (Am at work. Will watch later. But I’m so sure it’s great, and worth ALL THAT TIME, I’m telling you in advance).

15 07 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

Erin, we all took a ton of pictures and then before we left we all uploaded each others’ cameras to our laptops – oh how I love efficiency!
What van did you get? I have no qualms saying it – I love my Honda Odyssey.

15 07 2011

Not a good summer to get a Japanese brand minivan… huge delays due to the tsunami. Not much to look at on the lots either. Had to go to Albany to even see a Honda O. Chose the T. Sienna. Hard choice though. Love the keyless entry/ignition (my Prius spoiled me). However, on two occasions now I’ve spent at least 3 minutes running around and in and out of my van upon arriving at my destination just trying to get the darn doors to open. I try the interior buttons, I try the exterior buttons, I try the buttons on the key fob (the size of a cell phone), I try the old fashioned do it yourself handles. Nuttin. I’m sure I look ridiculous to the store clerks inside whatever establishment in front of which I’ve parked.

15 07 2011

Best. video. EVER!!!! Of course, you had pretty beautiful subjects, so that was a good start 😉

I’m already mourning how incomparably less awesome my next travel group is sure to be … that is, if we even travel in groups now.

And yes, we shall definitely make it an annual event!

15 07 2011

Great job and great photos!

15 07 2011

AH! This made me cry. Come hell or high water (Oh but please no more flooding)–I want my family to meet all these amazing people! I feel the same as Jamey. Even if I have to make the trip myself…to wherever it ends up being–I want to go. Thank you so much for the video. Awesome job.

15 07 2011
Tamara B

Good, we want to see you guys and Jayme’s family for sure. And then there’s just a few more families missing to complete our travel group.

15 07 2011
Meg B

I love efficiency AND this video! Our travel group for Trip 1 was small and it doesn’t look like we’ll be heading back with any of them =( I think with all the changes in Ethiopia travel groups are looking very different. I love that you had such a solid group to share the experience with.

My husband and I are from Iowa (though we live in Chicago now); where were you visiting?

15 07 2011
Sandy Shaw

Loved your video, Kerry. It was a joy to watch. You have made some amazing connections on your journey!

16 07 2011


18 07 2011

No need to lie. Best ever. And I don’t even know these people. But I think I should know the mama who peed in her pants. She looks fun.

18 07 2011
Captain Murdock

So so proud to be known as the mama who peed in her pants 🙂 Nice to meet you fricknfracks. I’m probably not nearly as fun as I look here – just ask my husband and children 😉

19 07 2011

That was beautiful! Not sure it’s a blessing or a curse but because I know you so well, I imagine the dialogue you had with yourself about the videos shortcomings like we’re editing together. Try MUVEE software. It’s cheap, easy and gives you a little control over timing etc, but not so much control that you drive yourself crazy trying to perfect each transition.

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