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.