My photo
We are the Ducommuns! There are 4 of us now-Craig, Laura, Zamara, and now Mahashavah, our 1 year old son. We adopted Zamara from Ethiopia in 2008. Our son is also from Ethiopia and we are hoping to bring him home soon. We live Flagstaff Arizona. We are so glad you found us. Take a look around and don't forget to leave us a message.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Visa Story

Alas, I am finally able to share with you about our visa story...I know all of you are waiting with baited breath for this:

Our adoption agency was having a hard time getting us plane tickets home from Ethiopia (ET from now on).  We could get tickets to ET, but all the flights back to the USA were booked.  So finally we were able to get a round-about ticket from Addis to Rome to Atlanta and finally to Phoenix.  The problem with this itinerary is that a transit visa is required for our daughter to stop in Rome.  It is the policy of the Italian embassy that it takes a week to get a transit visa.  We did not have an extra week to wait around.  

We had to get our US visa for Zamara on Wednesday and then take that to the Italian Embassy to get our Italian Transit Visa on Thursday and then leave ET on Friday night.  Rachel and Robel (our in country guides through the adoption agency) had talked with the Italian Embassy and set up a special 1-day turn around on our visa.  This was amazing new news since the next available airline tickets wouldn't be available until the end of August.  It seemed like everything was coming together.

So we headed off to ET with 3 other AWAA families to pick up our children.  On Wednesday we went to the US Embassy and got our US Visas-no problems!  The plan was for Robel to take our US visas to the Italian Embassy on Thursday and get those completed.  So on Thursday Rachel picks us up at the hotel.  We were planning on going to visit the Kids Care Orphanage and then go to lunch at an Ethiopia Restaurant.  We were at Kids Care for only a few minutes when Rachel said we had to leave.  Apparently the Italian Embassy was telling Robel that they could not issue the transit visa's in less than a week.  Whatever they had said several weeks before about getting special expedited visas was no longer going to work.  They were very rude to Robel and from what he said, they were not very happy with him.

So Robel left the Italian Embassy and headed to the German Embassy.  He had heard that we could get a special German Visa that would work for all European Union countries.  However, the German Embassy closed at noon.  It was already 11:45am.  We had to stop by the hotel to get our paperwork.  We ran in and got the papers and drove to German Embassy.  They had stayed open just for us.  All seemed good.  We finished the paperwork and were about to be issued our transit visa's then a German representative came out and told us that a German visa would not work in Rome.  We were broken hearted!  

We left the German Embassy and headed back over to the Italian Embassy.  We spent about a half hour pleading our case to the officials there.  They were not happy with us but finally said that they could issue us epidited visa's on Monday (Remember today was Thursday).  Since we all had plane tickets for Friday Night (early Sat morning) that was not going to work.  However,  we thought that maybe we could all change our tickets to Monday night.  

So, back to the hotel we went to talk with an Ethiopian Airlines representative.  Rachel found out that there were NO tickets available to leave Ethiopia until the end of August.  So here was the situation:  WE HAD TO GET OUT OF THE COUNTRY THAT FRIDAY!  WE HAD TO GET THOSE ITALIAN TRANSIT VISAS!  

We headed back out to the Italian Embassy.  Rachel admitted on the ride there in the bus that we needed a MIRACLE.  We had to get these visas within 24 hours.  The whole situation seemed very bleak.  

We arrived at the Italian Embassy and Rachel got on the intercom.  She was very firm and said that she had to talk with an Italian Representative.  We all waited in the bus for over an hour while she was inside the embassy pleading our case.  During that time we were all praying and praying.  Finally Rachel came out and said that she needed our paperwork RIGHT NOW!  After talking with several different people and all of them denying us visa's she finally found someone who would help us. She rushed back in with our paperwork.  About 45 minutes later she came out and said that they would have our visas ready the next morning.  It was indeed a miracle.

Here's where it gets even more amazing.  The last official Rachel was talking to--the guy that finally said "yes" to her--had been saying, "no", "no", "no".  Then Rachel said his face completely changed and he said, "yes, I will give you your visas."  We asked Rachel about what time this all happened and it was at EXACTLY the same time my mom was praying inside the bus.  My mom was praying that God would open up the heart of whatever official Rachel was talking to.  Ok, so it gets even more amazing...back here in the US my sister was up late in Newberg Oregon on Wednesday night. She said she couldn't sleep and that God was putting on her heart to pray about our visas.  (she had no idea what was going on in Ethiopia)  She said she just kept praying for us.  She had no idea we needed an Italian Visa or that we were having trouble getting our visas.  

The whole story is an absolute miracle. Robel picked up our completed visas the next morning with no problems.  Let me just say that God is amazing!  He has proved his existence over and over on this trip.  I am convinced that God has a special plan for our little children.  Satan was working so heard at putting up road block along the way.  We had many other difficult issues that I could tell you all about related to getting our children out of the country, but this is enough for now.  If you are reading this and are not sure about God, please be encouraged to know that He is real and he does answer prayers!!!  There is no other explanation for what happened.  God is good an our little ones are safely at home.  

My mom took this picture outside of the italian embassy.  I thought it was a beautiful picture of a woman taking firewood to sell at the market.

love,  Laura

Thursday, August 21, 2008

pictures and picasa

Ok everyone, here is what is going on. We are having a TON of trouble getting pictures uploaded as well as getting all of you onto our picasa sight to see the pictures that miraculously did get uploaded. Well, we are taking my mother down to the airport tomorrow in Phoenix, so we won't be able to work on it all tomorrow. I guess we need to send you all invitations to get onto the picasa sight. I will do that on Saturday. I will post it on the Yahoo group as well as send an email to friends and family.

Anyway, thanks for being patient with me. Here are a couple more pictures...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

YES! We are alive!

Hello everyone!  Yes, the Ducommun's are alive.  We have been trying to get Zamara on a schedule for sleeping and eating...this is not easy task, let me tell you.  She refused to go down for an afternoon nap today and was a stink-butt the whole afternoon and evening because she was tired and cranky.  She is sleeping well now...for the moment...I don't want to jinx things though.

We have the most amazing visa story to share with you tomorrow.  God really worked some miracles while we were in Ethiopia.  It's a long story and too late to share tonight.  I am on baby duty from 3am-9am so I need to get some sleep. 

STINK! I have been trying up upload pictures with no luck.  I will keep  trying...


Sunday, August 17, 2008

We made it home!

Hi All! I just wrote a long post and it got, I am too tired to write it again. Here's the gist...

We are back in Flastaff and Zamara is sleeping (although fitfully) in her crib. It was a LONG and difficult trip but we are glad to be back.

We have a TON of video and pictures to go through and will update our blog each day in the next few weeks.

AWAA referral families: we will post our pics on Picasa in the next few days and will give you access.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Craig is REALLY a dad now (and he's actually blogging)

"This is Craig...I think the last time I posted on the blog was the very first post. So....don't expect another post from me for at least another few months. It's Wed at 7:50am according to my computer but here in Ethiopia it's 5:50pm. I think I should be over my jet lag by around Saturday at midnight when we leave Ethiopia and head back to the States. Zamara is still struggling with her chest congestion and we are going to try and get some baby medicine at an Ethiopian pharmacy tonight. We just don't want to be stuck on the plane over the Atlantic and wish we would have gotten the meds when we had the chance.

I cannot really even describe the feelings I have for my daughter. Picking her up and taking her home in the bus yesterday afternoon--the moment she felt like she was really ours--was just a surreal experience. A moment in time Laura and I had been looking forward to for far too long. I have held our daughter and laughed with her and changed diapers and been spit up on more times than I can count and it's only been a little more than a day. Sometimes I can't even look at her without just crying. She is already more than Laura and I could have hoped or dreamed for. I always feared the stickiness, dirtiness and spit up part of being a dad but it is truly amazing that when it is YOUR child you barely even notice those things. I am sitting here typing this wearing my favorite "Canada....fits your budget" T-shirt that currently has slowly rotting baby spit up all over it and I don't really care.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and emotional support! I am going to attach a few new pics that we did not have access to yesterday but Laura mentioned in the blog posting (pooping during bathtime in particular). And that reminds me....please remember that pic the next time you are on vacation and confident your hotel staff has thoroughly cleaned any part of your hotel room. Also, there will be a few pix Laura's mom took of me and baby just a few hours ago around the pool here at the hotel. The T-shirt is starting to really smell so I better go now. Please keep Zamara's health in your prayers. We are especially concerned about her as we travel for 20 plus hours on various planes beginning this Saturday morning."

(This is Angie, Craig's sister, and all I can say is that Craig and Laura are definitely parents now because ONLY parents will take pictures of their kid's poop!)

(Beautiful picture of Mommy and Baby)

The new daddy and his little mocha cub washing their feet

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The whole family together!

This was the first moment that Craig and Laura met Zamara
Daddy and Daddy's little girl

"This pic is of Zamara's main nanny. She cried probably 5-6 times over the 2 days we were at the transition home knowing Zamara would be going home with us. She really loved her and cared for her. We are so grateful to her!"

The four babies being adopted today.

Grandma, Momma, and Baby

This is from Craig and Laura:

"Hi Friends and Family! Greetings from Africa.

We are having Craig's sisters update our blog for us. We will blog all about our trip when we get home on Monday So, here is what we have been doing:
We got here on Sunday night around 7pm Ethiopia time (9am AZ time!). We checked into the hotel and promptly went to sleep. On Monday we had orientation with the 3 other adopting families and then we headed over to the Transition Home to meet Zamara. It was the most amazing experience when they brought her out to us. I cannot even begin to describe it to you. We were able to spend about 5 hours with Zamara and the 45 other children at the Transition Home. We had to leave her there over night due to the agency's policy on transitioning kids to their new parents (just meeting us for the first time must have been shocking enough!).
Today (Tuesday) we went back to the Transition Home and picked up our little mocha cub. I am sitting in our hotel room right now with her lightly snoring over my left shoulder. It took her a while to fall asleep, but she has been so great putting up with us new parents. She has allowed us to fuss and fiddle with her. We even gave her a bath in the hotel sink--quite fun except for the 2 (yes, I did say 2) times she poopied in the bath. She is very laid back and is making the transition far. She has a little cold and some congestion, so please keep her in your prayers.
Well that is about it. Thanks so much for checking in. I hope you enjoy the pictures...
Love, Laura and Craig"
Craig and Laura are unable to access their blog in Ethiopia, so if you have comments or want to congratulate them, we're sure they would love to hear from you at

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Getting ready to leave...

Hi everyone!

So this is it!!!! We are making our final preparations for our trip. It has been a stressful week. We have had a lot of trouble with our plane tickets, BUT I think it is worked out now. It seems like it has been one thing after another concerning this trip. Airline seats have been cancelled inexplicably, names have been misspelled, etc..., etc...

In talking with my mom and the other families going to pick up their children in Ethiopia, we all feel like there is some spiritual warfare going on concerning this trip. I am not the kind of person who goes looking for this kind of stuff, but it does seem like there is some opposition to us going to Ethiopia to pick up our daughter. We ask for your continued prayers as we make our final preparations for the trip.

We appreciate all of your support through all of this. WE COULD NOT HAVE MADE IT THROUGH ALL THIS WITHOUT ALL YOUR PRAYERS, LOVE, AND SUPPORT.

We are leaving Flagstaff on Friday morning as we had planned. This will probably be my last post until we reach Ethiopia. Check in on Monday or Tuesday. If we can get a good internet connection, I will post and also put some pictures up (maybe even video?!?).

Love, Laura

Friday, August 1, 2008


We officially have our plane tickets. It was a bit stressful this week waiting to hear about our travel plans, but the tickets have been purchased...we are REALLY going to Ethiopia. I am still in shock right now. We've got so much to do in the next week to get ready. It is happy exhaustion though.

It is funny how each step of the way we said, "once our dossier goes to Ethiopia we won't be stressed, " or "once we get our court date we won't be stressed", etc..., etc...I know it must seem like we are always anxious about some part of this adoption. I have come to the realization that each step is stressful. Even now that we have our tickets confirmed, I am now anxious about getting everything packed and ready to go. I am sure once we leave I will be stressed about making the right connections for travel.

My goal over this next week (as well as the week we are in Ethiopia) is to slow down and try to enjoy each moment. This trip is a blessing. The chance to see Zamara's home and to learn about her culture is an unbelievable gift. I really do want to savor every moment. I am asking all of you to help Craig and I be accountable to this!

Ok, so here are all the details...

We will drive down to Phoenix on Friday August 8th and pick up my mom from Sky Harbor Airport. She is flying in from Portland and will be going to Ethiopia with us. We are all staying at a hotel in Phoenix on Friday because our plane to Ethiopia leaves at 7:30am. We have a short lay over in Washington DC then it's on to Ethiopia!!! We will arrive in Ethiopia Sunday evening.

Keep checking the blog because we will post blogs and pictures (and video! if we can get a good enough internet connection) while we are in Ethiopia.