Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finally Uploading Photos

Phew, who new it would be so hard to find time to upload photos. Three months later... this is what we all look like... hope you enjoy their sweet faces as much as I do!!!

Mina the sweet is a strong sitter with no more wobbles. She's started solid foods and so far green beans are her favorite. The sides of her hair are growing in but her daddy still thinks her mohawk is pretty hard core awesome...

Lydia the brave had surgery this week. Tonsils and adenoids. She is recovering well with still quite a bit of's only been 2 days. The boys are out of town with Daddy so the girls have been enjoying lots of movies, junk food and pedicures.

Lydia got to wear her jammies for the surgery and this is us before we walk out the door. I was as much of a wreck as she was until they gave her that sleepy medicine and she was all goofy grins and cuddles. Then it was just me biting my nails. She was happily smiling as they wheeled her away to the OR. What a sweet girl.

The boys got up early to say goodbye to Lyd on surgery day. I just love them all in their jammies, so warm and snuggly with crazy hair and morning breath.

Showing off her nails...

Relaxing with a book...

We set up an air mattress in our room for Lydia so I could help her through the night and give her pain meds. She likes sleeping in it and getting it all set up with her snacks and drinks and stuffed animals. Mina stopped in to check out Lydia's cool setup and to make her sister smile...

Going out for a special night with Dad last week as a reward for finishing her Language Arts workbook... Lydia's favorite place...Godfather's pizza buffet... and some much needed alone time with Daddy.

Stay tuned... more pictures of the boys to come, maybe...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Three Months of Blog Free Family Life...

In case you were wondering, I didn't take an oath to avoid the blog for three months. It's just that I seriously don't sit anymore. And if I do sit, I'm liable to fall asleep and even if I can stay awake it is difficult to think clearly with all of the activity around me. The couple of time I did sit down I couldn't come up with words for all the emotions I was feeling at the time and stared at the blank screen for a while and then walked upstairs to embrace my pillow. So how are we doing since we have become a family of six? Our life is full of fun and laundry and laughter and setting boundaries, and bottles and doctor's appointments and medicine and games and soccer and hugs and smiles and grumpy faces. Our life, MY life is GOOD. I thoroughly enjoy my family. Each of one my children are amazing and unique and my husband is a helpful and wonderful person to be living this full life with.

As far as the adjustment goes... I can sum it up by saying the first month was new and exciting and fun, yet exhausting. The second month was really difficult for everyone as we fell into our new roles, established new boundaries and forged new relationships. The third month has had easy fun- filled days as well as difficult adjustments, but overall each day gets less stressful as we all learn how to be a family.

Hailemicael is a really funny kid... like stand- up comedian kind of funny. He's very talented in every sport he attempts from bike riding to baseball with soccer and shooting marbles being the pretty amazing talents he brought from Ethiopia. He's a fast learner. He can read some 2 and three letter words in English and he picks up on Math really fast. His conversational English gets better everyday and he has a spirit of joy and laughter and goofiness that we all benefit from every day. He can definitely get me laughing. He's gained 10 lbs. since we met him and it think it's all muscle. Hours for soccer and bike- riding will do that to you, I guess. His fav food by far is my homemade whole wheat cheese pizza and he asks for it every day at all meals as well as at snacktime.

Mina has been the easiest baby and sweet as maple sugar. She can now sit up unassisted and babbles REALLY loudly. She so adorable and fun and she loves her brothers and sister and has big smiles for her mom and her dad all day! Definitely a ray of sunshine in our family. She weighed 10.8 lbs when we first met her three months ago and didn't even lift her head. She's now 15.6 lbs. and strong and healthy. Did I mention that she's SUPER sweet and beautiful?

Noah is doing really well and is sharing a room with his brother. He's doing great in school... we just started a section on map reading and he is really into drawing his own treasure maps in make- believe lands. But he'd rather be reading that doing anything.

Lydia has really enjoyed having her Ethiopian brother around as they are both very active and social. Of course, that also means they get at each other quite a bit too. She loves to communicate with Hailemicael and explain the English language to him. She has also picked up a bit of Amharic, due to her love of talking, and enjoys using her Amharic words with Hailemicael. It's pretty obvious that it drives him crazy when she does this, but it's cute, nonetheless. Both she and Noah just love to spend their days playing with little Mina and making sure she has everything she needs. I'm pretty sure they are teaching her to make a bunch of noise when she wants to beckon them as every time she makes a peep they are there with a song and a dance and a new toy.

OK, so time to feed my sweet little Mina, but I will leave you with a few pictures of the fam. Thanks for reading and God Bless...

Monday, August 17, 2009


We are home. The kids are precious and wonderful. Hailemicael has really taken to his Daddy. All three big kids plus some neighbors are out playing soccer (futbol) in the front yard. Ben is the goalie. Minalush is happily napping in her room. She seems to be handling the time change (7 hours) just fine with a tendency for one long nap in the afternoon and another long nap or two through the night. She slept from 9pm-3am and 4am- 8am last night, and mommy was very thankful. We all crashed pretty hard last night after nearly 30 hours of travel.

Here are a few pictures for now. I'll write more later... I have so much to tell I don't know where to start.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Photos

So... the connection here is a bit slow for all these photos.  I'll give it another try and hope they post...  I can't get the nicest ones to download tonight... I'll try again later.  One more bottle for Minalush and then it's off to bed with me.

Adding Andrews Photos

Ben and two of our wonderful children are sleeping and our tour guide doesn't have us running around anywhere so I thought I'd post some pictures.  Immediately before meeting the kiddos I thought that I would surely faint or throw up or something equally embarrassing but I pulled it together an just cried a muffled cry.  I was trembling uncontrollably and overwhelmed with emotion.  We have had the children at the hotel with us almost 6 or 7 hours and they have been absolutely wonderful.  Hailemicael is very polite and was obviously raised to obey and respect his parents.  He was very excited about his new shoes and was eager to take a shower in the hotel shower.  I think he thought it looked fun... he look a LONG HOT shower and was all grins.  Minalush has not cried once.  She smiles and laughs and make cute noises.  I feel like I am in a dream...and I don't want it to end.
These photos are from when we first met on Monday afternoon, and no, I did not pass out...

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Kids Are Perfect

I'll start by saying that there is so much to write, I wil in no way do justice to how things went today.  Here are a few thoughts:
We arrived at the transition home this afternoon after filling out paperwork and having lunch with the other families.  Everyone was nervous.  So much waiting on this moment.  We knew we would be going first since families meet their children in alphabetical order.  We have thought about this moment for months and yet we were so unprepared.  They called our name out and we were still getting cameras out to give to another family to take pictures.  We went and stood in the courtyard facing the door.  I first saw a woman holding our daughter.  Then I saw she was also holding my sons hand.  He ran to me and hugged me for what seemed like many minutes.  I had prepared what I would say, eh-NAY deste Ba-lan-ua (which means "I am very happy for you").  I'm sure it didn't come out anything like I had prepared. 
Kris held Minalush.  She kept trying to hug Haile but he was busy hugging me.  Minalush was happy and laughed when Kris made noises at her.  She was perfect in every way.  She took her little hand and would hold Kris' arm. 
Kris gave Haile paper and markers.  He drew his numbers and ABC for us.  Then he drew a picture of a soccer ball and a house.  Kris brought the airplane lego set that the Crary's gave us for Haile and I to build together.  He is very smart.  We had a great time building it together and communicating in very limited ways.  He knows more English than I thought he would.  We asked him if he was hungry.  He said yes so we gave him some snacks (cookies, animal crackers, etc.).  We enjoyed eating together.  (Later he asked if he could give some to his friends.  He is so kind.  He ran around the orphanage sharing the snacks with the other kids and nannies.)  He also really got into our camera.  He wanted to take pictures of us.  You would have thought he had been using a camera for years.  At one point, he motioned to us that he wanted to take a picture of where he slept.  With that he led me throughout the compound wanting me to take a picture with him and every nannie.  I couldn't keep from crying.  My eight year old son had the foresight to document his stay with these special people.  He honored each of them so much.  Each nanny would say, "What a good boy", as they hugged him for a picture.  Regrettably, we couldn't take pictures of him with the other kids.  It's not allowed.  But it was fun to meet them and to see and take a picture of where he sleeps.  We also got a picture of his classroom and his seat.  Then he went looking for a soccer ball.  He seems to love soccer.  I don't....but Kris does.  They had a great time kicking the ball back and forth.  (He has some pretty sweet moves.)
Haile has a really good sense of humor.  Minalush wasn't afraid of us.  She took a bottle and fell asleep on Kris' chest.  It couldn't have been a better match for our family and these wonderful kids.  God is so very good!
Again, so much to write.  It has been a wonderful day.  Thank you to everyone for all your support and prayers.
Ben (and Kris)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

We are happily in our Guest House and ready for so serious sleep!

Hello everyone. We made it safe and sound to our hotel and our driver and guide are wonderful.  One of our bags is still in Amsterdam which we should get by tomorrow at midnight.  Our donation bins have been taken by someone to get a permit from the government or something and we hope to see them again at somepoint this trip.  Please pray that all these bumps would smooth out in the long run.  At the moment we are thrilled to be here and thoroughly enjoyed the ride back to the hotel  which was short and interesting and included serval broken down taxis in the middle of several intersections.  We are looking forward to seeing Addis in the daylight tomorrow and are goin gto church with a friend of a friend at 8:00 sharp...which is 1Am  where you are!  We truly appreciate all your prayers. We love you Noah and Lydia and we look forward to being home with you and Haile and Mina. Much love...I'm off to sleep.  It's not too loud here so far,  I'll keep you posted after 4 AM prayers over the loud speaker.:)  We probably won't have power tomorrow so I'll talk to you in a couple days!

Friday, August 7, 2009

...1 and we're off!

We are packed and ready to time I blog I will be on the other side of the world! Thank you everyone for your prayers and encouragement along the way. Love to you all!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This is a test

This is a test.  I am testing emailing the blog because in ET often people have difficulty getting onto here goes.

We are Leaving in 2...

Well, actually it's tomorrow, but we don't leave until later in the day so I'm counting tomorrow as a full day. That way I feel like we have more time to pack. :)

We will be meeting our precious children on Monday morning... a concept that is still very difficult to grasp. It's so exciting I can hardly believe it's really happening!

Please pray for safe travel, our health (not feeling too well this morning and Lydia was not feeling well last night), Haile and Minalush as they will be leaving their nannies who loved them and cared for them the last 3 months as well as leaving everything familiar to them, and for us that we would know how to comfort the kiddos and help them with all that they have been through in their short lives.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for our family. We know that God will give us what we need to do what He wants us to do. He has already shown Himself repeatedly through our adoption journey and we trust He will be with us through he rest of it. I realize it may not be an easy thing... but I know we will not be alone.

Thank you for your prayers. We look forward to seeing you all soon with all four children in tow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We are leaving in 3...

We are leaving in 3 days and today is all about my kids here at home. They have been VERY patient over the past year and a half of paperwork, often getting told "no, sorry not right now" to many things because we were not spending any money on anything... and they are just so ready to do something FUN!

So, last night I took them out to Steak 'N' Shake and told them they could order any shake they wanted. They both chose a full (adult) size Butterfinger Shake that was almost as big as they are. And is was so precious to watch their smiles and and big eyes when the waitress brought them out. Lydia wanted to sit up by the counter because it looked fun to her, and it was fun! They both got cardboard car kits that you build and put stickers on and you would have thought they were in Disneyland they were having so much fun. So, for $6.50 at Steak 'N' Shake we had a grand time. I would have to say this is one of my favorite memories I've had to date with my wonderful children. It's amazing how something so simple could be so special.

Today we hit the beach...packing can wait, right?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We Are Leaving in 4....

Four more days. We will be on a plane for 20 hours. Then we will get off that plane and have to wait two days until we see the kids. Those two days are going to seem like the longest days yet. It's a good thing I know without a doubt that God's timing is perfect and mine is not.

What's that.. you want proof of this? OK here's an example... today for instance when the Executive Director of A Child Waits called me and chatted it up for a while and at the end of the conversation blew me out of the water with a "the board has authorized a grant for your family in the amount of $4,000.00"...I knew His timing was perfect and not mine. After being shocked into a speechless state and crying, screaming, jumping up and down and calling everyone who's phone number I have memorized I did the math and realized that brought our funding to 99%. As I began to reflect more deeply on the situation I realized that if we had traveled our first travel date of July 15th or even our second travel date of July 25th we would not have had this money. We will receive the money approximately 24 hours before we get on that plane I was talking about know, that 20 hour plane experience. Could the timing have been any more exact that that??!!??!!??!!??

After adding in one last donation I am elated to say that we are ADDING ANDREWS here people! We are officially 100% funded and all systems go to get my whole family on the same continent. Thank you A Child Waits, and thank you God for showing me that you do come through on you your own time and not mine.

Check out A Child Waits at They have a section of pictures of several families they have help unite across the globe and are awesome advocates for special needs and older children who are waiting for a family to welcome them and be blessed by them. Someday soon our family will have a photo on their site accompanied by a story of how our family was blessed with two beautiful children and how this organization made that dream a reality. Thank you A Child Waits...may God bless you for all you do for His children around the world.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Final Countdown...We are Leaving in 5...

It's 1:20 in the afternoon in Addis Ababa as I write this.... 6:30 AM here at my desk. Five days from now I will be waking to start my day when it is 1:00 AM here at my desk. But then again all these time zones are meaningless considering our daughter eats every three and a half hours. :) I think we will just sleep whenever we can without regard to what time it is in Addis or even here, at my desk.

We are mostly packed, including two 49.8 lb. tubs of donations. The nursery is basically done. I have decided the deck will remain half stained until a later date (I'm sure our neighbors love the half- stained look anyway.) We have a pile of paperwork to get together and make extra copies of and some random stuff to purchase that we need for the trip (converter plugs and whatnot.) Then we must clean the house and the vehicles and contact the airline for there current baggage limits and fees (apparently this changes from day to day.) I'm also hoping to take the kids to the beach one day with some family that is visiting from Colorado. So... I shouldn't be bored this week:) Keeping busy right now is probably a good thing anyway... keeps my mind from wandering and makes the wait seem to go more quickly.

We are so thankful for God's provision, timing and peace. We will be meeting our kids on Monday (that's week from today!) and taking them with us for good on Tuesday. Excited would be an understatement.

Friday, July 31, 2009

July Update Photos

Are they beautiful or what?

Min has an awesome mohawk in these photos because the nurse had to shave her head for her IV meds when she had pneumonia. She has since had her entire head shaved for her passport photos, so we will be bringing home a sweet little baldy. We also heard she weighed mere 10 pounds at 4 months and she eats four ounces 7 times a day. The update also said that she is doing well and is not experiencing any sickness at this time. Lets hope she's gaining some weight now that she's feeling better. They also said that she likes to be held and doesn't cry much, but when she does's urgent! Like... feed me now! I can relate to that:)

Haile is doing well and learning some English at the Transition Home School. He knows his ABC's and numbers and some phrases like, "What is your name?" He likes to eat bread, pasta, meat, injera, and especially egg. It sounds like we will have to work him into fruits and vegetables. :) He enjoys sports like running, and soccer and also playing with toy cars. They also said he is very smiley and funny!

It seems surreal that new week I will get to know my beautiful children and experience them first hand. I seriously can't wait.

The Real Deal

This is the REAL DEAL!!! Our tentative travel dates are now concrete!!!!!!!!!!!!We are going to Africa to meet our kiddos (and to bring them home!) one week from today! I've been holding my breath for two weeks and now I can let loose and celebrate (and pack and finish overhauling my house)!

Plus we have new pictures and updates on Haile and Min. Plus we have like 10 cases of children's medicine that was donated by Perrigo to take over to the orphanage where our kiddos were first brought in Addis. And my favorite sister-in-law (this is an inside joke) loaned me all kinds of baby stuff! ALL this happened today!!!!!

This is what I would call REAL GOOD DAY (in case you couldn't already grasp that from all the exclamation points in the two previous paragraphs.) Look our Africa here we come! WHAAAAAAAAWHOOOOOOO!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Name Game

Hailemicael and Minalush... how would YOU pronounce these names?

We have been working on pronunciations for the last two months and finally think we've got it. A friend of a friend who has lived in Addis for several years emailed me with her take on the pronunciations. She seemed pretty confident about it too. So these are the names of our kiddos...

Minalush... say min-ah-loosh

Hailemicael... say highly-mick-eye-el but he is probably just called Highly (like the Ethiopian Olympic Gold Metal Distance Runner Haile Gebrselassie or like the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, Haile Selassie.)

So practice up because you might me meeting them in 3 weeks!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baby Min is healthy and strong!

After an agonizing weekend we received word from Minalush's physician that her lungs are clear and she is doing well now. Phew, I can breathe again. God is good!

I often wonder what would have happened to our beautiful girl if she had not been at our agency's transition home during this sickness. She may not have had any access to medical care or the necessary medications. I recently read that there are 3 physicians per 100,000 people in Ethiopia. I also read that the top causes of early childhood deaths in Ethiopia are pneumonia and diarrhea.

I feel so blessed that our children are cared for so well by our agency staff. I recently heard that many of the nannies stay well past the time they are paid to be there because they love the children so much.

Does a mama's heart good!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


It's my great honor to introduce the rest of our family...

Our son Hailemicael Andrews

Hailemicael with a fellow adoptive parent looking at our photos for the first time. I wonder what he thinks about us??

Hailemicael showing his WMU spirit!

Our daughter Minalush Andrews at 4 months old (this beautiful photo was just taken a few days ago)

Minalush's referral photo taken at around 3 months

So sleepy!

So surprised! Who keep flashing that light in my face anyways?

Minalush this week with her IV for pneumonia meds. Poor baby. Keep praying for her little body to be strong!

Thanks for sharing in our little slice of happiness. We are thanking God tonight for all he has done for us and for our children. Thank you everyone who has been praying and giving to get us to this point in this wonderful, wild journey. I'll keep you posted on any news we get about when we get to travel and realize the two long awaited hugs that we've been dreaming of.

We are Family!

We got a call from our agency that we passed court today. The judge looked over the papers and ruled that they are our children...officially! I will post pics and more info soon. Whooohooo! God is Good.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sad News and Joy

Well my fellow blogstalkers... we got some sad news yesterday. I couldn't really bring myself to post about it until now. We did not pass court, but we did not fail either. The judge wants to take a closer look at the paperwork before she makes a decision. She is not requesting further documentation or testimony, just more time to go over the paperwork. So, in theory we do not as of yet need another court date. There is a possibility that she may even decide tonight while we are sleeping. Please pray for this judge and her decision about our children's case.

During the same phone conversation we were also told that our baby girl was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday. She had meds over the weekend and appears to be improving. I was grieved by this news and wanted to hop on a plane and go take care of her that very moment. Yes, I am turning into a flipped out protective mother of children I have never met. Go figure.

Today I hoped for a call and I checked my email every few seconds, ok... maybe minutes. I did get a call from an adoption grant organization who had accepted our pre-application and were sending us an application. Exciting news, but still not enough for a sad mama like myself. But then it happened. Sadness turned to joy. I opened an email from my new friend Sara who brought our care packages to our kiddos yesterday. She sent 3 pictures and a beautiful description of her time with them. Joy. Peace. Thankfulness. It feels so good to know that someone put their hands on my kiddos and saw them in the flesh and they are OK. This act of kindness on Sara's behalf has overwhelmed me.

The kids are beautiful. Our big boy was shy at first but liked the photo album we sent. He knows some English including the word "dog" (we sent him a picture of the Abbey-dog). He's wearing his new WMU ball cap in the photo. He is precious. He has kind of a goofy smile and reminds me of my Noah. Sara says she has more photos she will send when she gets home next week. I can't wait.

Babygirl has the most beautiful eyes and the longest eyelashes ever. Poor baby has an IV right in the middle of her forehead, but honestly it makes me feel good to know she's getting the medicine. These pictures have made my week. I am so thankful and feel I can breathe a bit more freely.

About an hour later we received an email from our agency stating MOWA (the agency in ET who does pre- and post- court papers is closed for training effective immediately until July 24th. This means we will not be traveling before August 8th at the earliest. Although this bums me out... I really feel OK with this now that I have an update and pictures of the kids!

Seriously, adoption brings out a whole array of emotions that I never knew I existed. I think I deserve a nap after the last 2 days!

Please pray for the judge tonight. I trust God's timing is perfect, but I also know that God hears us when we pray! Also please pray for babygirl's little body to be strong. Thank you for your support and prayers. I will now take my joyful, thankful, peaceful self upstairs to take a nap.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It's Our Day!

It's currently 2AM in Addis and while I'm pretty sure they aren't hearing our case quite yet, they will hear it today! Please pray for our kiddos and all that "paperwork". We are trusting God tonight so PLEASE go to Him on our behalf and ask Him to bring our kiddos home.

Today is also the day they will receive our packages and see our faces for the first time in the photo books we sent them. I can't wait to hear how it went. I hope we aren't too scary looking! Plus there's a possibility for pictues/ video/ spy info (like shoes size etc.) from out package delivering friends!

Can't wait to post good news tomorrow! Thank you for your prayers!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Care Packages

Although we still have one week until our court date our agency allows us to send care packages to the kids via other adoptive families who are traveling before us. We have also signed a release to allow this wonderful family to take pictures of the kids recieving the gifts. We spent quite a bit of time putting these together and we pray that our kids will be encouraged and excited to get them. They should recieve them around the third or the fourth of July. Here's a few pic's of what we sent...

For our big boy we sent:
a photo book
2 matchbox cars
a small etch-a-scetch
a braclet the kids made that says "brother"
a WMU t-shirt and ball cap
skittles, starburst, and m&ms
a note from Ben and I
a note from Lydia
a note from Noah

For our baby girl we sent:
a snuggle buddy
a talking singing frog that ribbits
an adorable pink outfit
a little pink hair bow
my first little photo album

We squooshed all this into gallon size ziploc bags as not to take up too much space in this wonderful families luggage. Lydia helped me squeeze the bag to get the air out and zip it up really fast. I hope they fit!

Then we boxed them up and took them to the post office and said a little prayer that they would get there on time and bring joy to our kiddos. Can't wait to see pictures of them with their new stuff.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Court Date

I had been going crazy waiting for the phone to ring and then Ben received an e-mail last week with news of court date. It is exactly 2 weeks from today! On July 6th, our case will be heard in Ethiopian court and we are praying that we will pass the first time through, of course, because I want to go get those kids and bring them home and take care of them! After court it's an approximate 2-4 weeks until we travel. Yipes, lots to do.

Some other things that have been happening are:

1. I have painted the nursery and hope to finish putting it all together next weekend... or perhaps the one after that.

2. We have found a wonderful woman to carry our care packages to our little ones when she travels to pick up her newest family member on the fourth of July.

3. We get to go get shots this week... whoohoo! Or shall I say, boo hoo!

4. I have pre-applied to one grant, applied to one grant and I am almost done with another application. Pray for good news...and fast news!

5. The yahoo chat group I am a part of is a wealth of information on packing, special formula for malnourished babies, Ethiopian travel tips, the type of bottles used at the transition home, and a hundred other things. Yeah for people who have been there, done that, and lived to tell about it!

That's all for now because I need to go to bed. Early morning tomorrow. Over and out.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Now that I have stopped freaking out and started eating and sleeping on a bit more of a normal schedule, I've started focusing my efforts on getting our home ready for the new additions. There's lots to do and now that I know a baby's coming and I won't be able to get anything done around here for like the next three years, I'm going to town.

I mowed the lawn and power washed the deck this afternoon. I plan to stain the deck and clean out the nursery this week. I have high hopes of painting it too, but let's just slow down the truck here and do one thing at a time! I'll try and post some before and after pics of the rooms as I get them ready.

I'm starting to feel a lot more relaxed and excited and less shocked now that six days have gone by. We announced at church that we had received "the call" and I could barely speak because I was all choked up. Other than that episode I've been holding it together for the most part.

I sent in two pre-applications for grants I found online and one application is ready to mail and another one I hope to finish tomorrow and then I know of one more I want to apply to that I haven't started yet. So, we have some progress in the application process, which feels good.

So, I'm doing all I can do from here. But there's a lot that I can't do. Good news is: God can do it. So please pray...

1. for the kiddos in ET. For health, safety, comfort, and understanding as they hear about us for the first time

2. For our court date to be scheduled soon and that we would pass court before the rainy season court closures

3. For Noah and Lydia. That they would feel special and loved through all this and that their hearts would be ready to love their new siblings like crazy

4. That we would be able to find someone willing to take our care packages and photos over to the ET kids.

5. That God would provide the remaining funds we need to pick up our children and get them home.

We are so thankful for what God has done for us and in us over that last several years as He has prepared our hearts for this journey. Our God is good and kind and I know that the peace I have right now comes from Him.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I want to tell you...but I can't

After two days of virtually no sleep (because my mind was racing all night and all day long) we have signed our acceptance of the referral of our two children! I am exhausted and I ready for a vacation. It was crazy. The referral call didn't come when I was planning on it, the kids were different ages than I thought they would be, my emotions were different than I expected, plus through all this my husband was out of town!

But none of that really matters, what matters is that now we are six. And the nannies at transition home will be talking to our kiddos about us and explaining to them what will be happening next. It must be scary to think that some family from the other side of the world is coming to pick them up soon. Poor babies. The whole situation is so much to wrap your head and your heart around. I can barely handle it and I'm, well let's say, 27 years old.

If you're looking for something to pray for... please pray that we would get a court date in July and that we would pass court the first time through. If this happens, we will travel in August and pick them up. If we do not pass court by the end of July we will not be able to bring them home until October/ November because of court closures during the rainy season.

And if you're looking for something to do... come on over and help me get their rooms set up. Ha... just kidding!

So... about the kids, I STILL can't tell you anything because nothing is official until we pass court. And I am dying to tell you! But the good news is if we find a friendly family that is traveling soon we can send little care packages over to them with that family. The kids got really excited about this idea and were bugging me to go shopping all day. So I had them make a craft to send over and then we went shopping. The shopping proved difficult because there's only so much space in a persons suitcase traveling to Ethiopia, so they had to be small gifts. Plus it's the first gift we will ever give them, so it HAS to be perfect right? Or maybe I should just RELAX! Eh, that will never happen. Anyway, I'll try and post some pics of the care packages when we get them together.

I've spent most of the day finishing up some grant applications as there is no time like the present to get them in. I've also done a lot of pacing and eating potato chips because I'm so emotional. I've also been trying to come up with versions of their names that would be easier to pronounce for the English speaking folks. But that just a whole 'nother ball of wax.

Tonight, I am exhausted but thankful. Today is the beginning a story that I believe will have a beautiful ending.

"God sets the lonely in families..." Psalm 68:6

I am so thankful He chose my family.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


If I had to choose one word for how I have been feeling for the majority of the day I would say that I have felt SHOCKED! Of course this is not the only emotion I felt as I have expanded upon below...

First of all, today is my Dad's 59th birthday (Happy Birthday ROCK!), but we all kind of saw that one coming thus it wasn't much of a shocker. So do you want to hear what really shocked me? OK, I'll tell you about it.

I went to he pediatrician with the kids to get a re-check on their ears and yes, another 3 weeks of antibiotics is in their future. Not much of a shocker. We got the prescriptions filled at our favorite pharmacy and did some grocery shopping...more of a tradition than a shocker. When we got home one of our favorite neighbors stopped over with her two beautiful children and we chatted for an hour or so. Again, not very shocking. As she was just leaving to go home and feed her kiddos the phone rang. So after we said our goodbyes I went and checked the messages,and found that there were five messages. That's strange. I barely have five friends.

The caller ID said Ben had just called (he's in OH this week). So I called him back and he said the craziest thing to me. He said Terra (our social worker) called and she has a referral for us. I was like whatever dude... how's your day goin'. I totally did NOT believe him. I thought he was getting in touch with his "real special" sense of humor. But he just kept saying it and saying he wouldn't joke about something like this. So he told me the limited info he knew and I wrote it down. He said take an hour and let it sink in and we'll conference call Terra. At this point I still barely believed him. We thought we wouldn't hear anything until Christmas time. And let me tell you people: I was shocked!

When I hung up with Ben I checked the messages and sure enough one of them was Terra saying something about call her right away because she had a question for us and it was a fairly important question. I was shocked!

The I started going bazerk and I told the kids and we prayed and thanked God and prayed that these would be our kids and that God would give us wisdom and provide someone to love on them in ET. Noah was jumping up and down and giggling and Lyd was all smiles. I guessed it...shocked.

Throughout the afternoon my shock turned into excitement and then into grief for all these kids have lost in their short lives. Then into guilt for being so sad for them instead of happy to receive the referral.

After what seemed like a week (it was really less than an hour)and several technical difficulties later we received their file to review via email. Ben and I looked at each photo and each page together, over the phone. We were like one, two, three, click on it!

Unfortunately, I cannot tell you anything about the children except that there are two of them. We know their names, ages, health status, and a couple other little tidbits, but not much. And we have pictures! For the kids safety and privacy we cannot share any of these things until we officially accept the referral and even then we cannot share photos until after we pass court. But, just so you know, they are beautiful.

Oh, man. I think I've moved past shocked and in to exhausted. There's so much more to say but I'll have to save it for another day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Three Months DTE!

Today marks three months since our paperwork was sent to Ethiopia. Time is flying by!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thank You Shaohannah's Hope!

It was in the mailbox today! When I first looked at the envelope it was light and thin, seeming to only contain one sheet of paper. I had a moment sadness thinking, if they had chosen us for the grant it would be thicker, right? I ripped into the envelope and quickly scanned the letter until at the bottom of the first paragraph I saw it. $4000.00. I yelped. I did a little happy dance. I whoohooed. Then I looked around so see if any of the neighbors we perhaps outside watching me go bazerk. It looked as though no one was around so I ran/ danced up to the front porch where the kids were having a picnic and I screamed and cried and told then the news. I'm sure it was pretty much lost on them, so I started calling people and leaving crazy voice messages with a lot of whooping! Great day in the neighborhood.

The bottom line: the only adoption grant organization that I have found thus far to be accepting applications at this time, just granted us $4,000.00! Praise God! Thank you Shaohanna's Hope Grant Team and all the donors of their awesome ministry. They bring adoption finances within reach for so many families with their adoption assistance program. What a huge blessing! Check them out at

I'm off to dance around the house and scream some more! Whoohoo!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Weather Update

It's 80 degrees with 25% humidity and a 13 mph eastern/ southeastern wind in Addis Ababa right now. All week there's a high around 80 and a low of 51 degrees.

Also, their clocks are seven hours ahead of ours. So is their sun...well I guess it's the same sun but you know what I mean.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ethiopia 103

On a more cheery note, Ethiopian language seems very interesting to me. Although there are MANY languages used throughout Ethiopia, Amharic appears to be the main language used in Addis Ababa. (See the map below to check out all the other languages. FYI: if you click on it it will show a larger view.)

Amharic uses a different alphabet than English. The "letters" are very different looking and so most websites that contain Amharic phrases are written using the English alphabet which is, I might add, quite helpful to me! Before we begin our Amharic lesson I think it appropriate to put in a disclaimer that I have no idea what I am talking about so this post may read like a poorly translated fortune cookie to someone who speak Amharic. For this I apologize. But I'm pretty sure my one reader isn't fluent, so I think I'm safe.

When speaking Amharic, instead of saying Mr. Smith one should say Ato John, using Ato as mister and then the first name of the mister to whom you are referring. Mrs. is translated "wayzaro" and I believe the first name rule applies here as well.
Here are a few more words to work on this week. There will a test...

Hello Se-la-m
Bye/So long Chi-o
Thank you Ame-segi-na-lew
Yes! Ah-woh (or OW!)
Also, you can do a little intake of breath while you lift your eyebrows to “nod” yes.
No. I-deh-LEHM (starts with long I sound) Also can say Iyyyy
Toilet Shin-TEH-BAYT?
Water WOO hah

I think water is my favorite word so far...Woohah!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ethiopia 102

A few tidbits on Ethiopia...

Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia and this is where we will travel to pick up our children.

For most Ethiopians life is not a walk in the park.

39% of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25US per day (2007).

Ethiopian life expectancy at birth has gone up from from 43 years (in 1970) to 53 years (in 2007).

The risk of maternal death is 1 in 27 (2007).

The number of children under the age of 5 who died in the year 2007... 381,000(this number is equivalent to 12% of those born that same year).

There have been recent estimations that put the number of orphans in Ethiopia near a mind-blowing 5 to 6 million children.

In the past 10 years there has been a significant increase in the number of Ethiopian orphans adopted by families in the US. In 1999 only 42 children were adopted by families in the US. This number grew to 1,724 in 2008. I believe this increase directly correlates with an increase in the number of adoption agencies providing Ethiopian Adoption Programs in recent years but there may well be other reasons. Side Note: There are also many families from many other countries who have also adopted from Ethiopia to consider, but I do not have those stats.

I am continually burdened by the fact that the adoption of 1,724 children is a mere band aid when considering the country wide crisis of 6 million orphans. And this fact breaks my heart. Sometimes I wrestle with how much I am really helping by adopting two children. I often wonder...would it be better to dig a well and bring fresh water to a people group or just spend the thousands of dollars on food for starving families with malnourished babies. Allowing oneself to be affected by the pain in the world is dangerous. It can leave a person with feelings of helplessness and a loss for what should be done. Through our adoption, the lives of two children will be changed forever, but I'd be kidding myself if I thought for one minute I'd be solving the problem. The situation in Ethiopia is complex. It has to do with basic infrastructure of the country, education, health care, drought, famine, AIDS and HIV, roads, phones, electricity, water, food and many other things that we in the US take for granted.

My heart hurts not only for Ethiopia, but for this broken world. When I look beyond my own struggles and to my neighbors and my city and my country and countries beyond the ocean, all the brokenness is just too much to wrap my head around. Do you ever feel that way? It's more than I can even think about. It's why I can't watch the evening news anymore. In the end, the only place I find peace is in knowing that God's heart hurts for this world as well. I have to keep coming back to His truths and not let the the overwhelming brokenness shut down my passion and my heart.

I may not be saving the world, but I believe I can make a difference in the lives of the children that God entrusts me with. And two lives ain't no small thing.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ethiopia 101

Since I can't complain about pregnancy pains, or even paperwork pains anymore I was thinking that I should do something useful. And thus, the "Ethiopia 101" idea for a series of posts was conceived. I truly enjoy learning about Ethiopia and her people and hope you will join me as I post what I have learned in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the country two of our children call home. So here goes...

Let's start with the basics.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is located on the eastern side of the African Continent. This area is called the Horn of Africa.

It is a land-locked country (no access to the sea or ocean), bordered by Sudan to the west, Djibouti and Eritrea to the north, Somalia to the east, and Kenya to the south. It's land area is 435071 sq. miles, almost 5 times the size of the State of Michigan.

Take a look at this map... and stay posted for more on this great country.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Still Here

We have been DTE for about a month and a half.

It feels weird to just be waiting. When I was pregnant with Noah and Lydia there were cravings and pains to talk about. There were vitamins to be taken, healthy diets to follow, names to choose and on and on. This time around seems awfully quiet and somewhat surreal.

On that note, I'm off on a date with my hubby. Probably won't be doing that this time next year!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Our "Dossier" was delivered in Addis Ababa, ET today at 3:10 pm local time. Next comes translation and a 9-11 month wait for "the phone call." Time to start cleaning and organizing this house. Gotta make room for two more people! And if you know me, you know it will take me about that long to get everything situated "just right." I don't like to be in a hurry! Now if I can just manage not to "freak out" about how the kids are doing while we are waiting to meet them, you will all be amazed. And I will too. Read: WARNING...I'll probably freak out a lot.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Paper Trail...

View Larger Map
Our package arrived in Dubai, AE 6:17 pm local time today. It's getting closer!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ah, Paris...

... our beloved Dossier arrived for it's layover in Paris, France at 9:18 am today. How great is that!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

In Transit

Our Dossier that we put so much love into is on it's way. It has been notarized, certified and authenticated. Those wonderful FedEx people are taking it to our agency's office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It spend yesterday in Herndon, VA and today in Newark, NJ. We will keep you posted on it's whereabouts as I am sure you are dying to know! Perhaps it's flying over the Atlantic as I type this. That thought just thrills me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

State Certification Happiness

Ben is hoping to get "The Dossier" State Certified tomorrow. "What does this mean?," one may ask. This means... the paperwork is done. Those words are music to my ears, and my soul and my brain and my life. This seriously the most relaxed I've felt in months.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Scrambling to get it together...

Our USCIS papers arrived this Saturday after only 4 weeks of waiting! This is two months earlier that I had anticipated. Yea! for the U.S. Government...they are so on top of things! But this means we need to scramble to get our last few papers in order.

Please pray for our redone medicals to be filled out quickly and for all of our notarizations and certification to be done correctly. Also pray that the certification office worker would be satisfied with all of our notaries' methods of notarizing. Also pray that our social worker will have the time to look over our paperwork, as she has an immense case load and is having a hard time keeping up with all the adoptive families' questions and paper checks.

I'm really starting to get excited, it's like everything is happening at once. We are so close to being "paper pregnant" as they say in adoption circles. Does that mean it's OK to eat ice cream by the half gallon with a large spoon now?...maybe next week after the papers are done. You should really come over and help me eat it lest I start looking pregnant- and not just the paper kind.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

A sincere thank you to each one of you who has responded to the letter we sent out this month. We have been blown away the the generosity of our dear friends and family. Because of you we have reached the 40% mark of what is needed to cover the expenses of the adoption process. We are almost half way there!

Who knows...maybe 2009 will be the year that in which we will have the pleasure of meeting our children.

Happy New Year and God Bless!