The solution is very simple: you need the initrd image!
I have not really understood what have you done. Did you try to compile a new kernel?
If not, please specify what have you tried to do.
If yes, forget all the commands you have used for this purpose. This is the hacking way, but debian provides a very better way.
If you compile your kernel in the debian way (very recommended!!!) you will have the following advantages:
- a Debian package containing your self compiled kernel
- install/deinstall your just self compiled kernel with the Debian tools
- automatically creation of an initrd image during the installation
- automatically update of grub during the installation
Take a look at this post to find out how to do it: Kernel compilation: the Debian way
Important is you use the --initrd parameter!