WOW! What a journey this adoption has been for us so far. We have had our ups and downs and passing court was definitely a high for us! We're still just so thrilled that she is forever ours and eagerly await our return trip to pick her up and bring her home to share with you. She really is the most content baby but we would have loved her even if she cried the whole time! We fell so in love with Ethiopia on our last trip and can't wait to return to be there again. I will admit that this surprised me quite a bit. I will be the first to tell you that I like being comfortable. And I have quite a few items around the house that help make more comfortable and I so often feel like I NEED those things...my certain pillow, a fan for a sound machine, a favorite coffee cup, a comfortable mattress, a daily routine that makes me comfortable, friends that make me comfortable, etc. So I was a little anxious about leaving my comfortable life here and flying around the world to Africa. I knew the people in Ethiopia were mostly NOT comfortable...minimum wage is $20 a MONTH, many do not even have a job and resort to begging on the street, children aren't guaranteed an education, people are dying of a disease that is not considered life threatening in the States. People are not necessarily living "comfortable" lives in Ethiopia. So I was unsure how I would feel...I just assumed it was something I HAD to do to bring our daughter home so I would go and suffer through it. I could not have been more WRONG! I absolutely LOVED Ethiopia...LOVED the people who were so friendly and proud of their heritage and the little that they did have, LOVED the staff of AWAA agency that we used, LOVED the city and the place we stayed and ALL of it! Not once did we feel uncomfortable with where we were or with the beautiful people there. We LOVED the other families who were there with us and had a great time fellowshipping with them. While meeting Zadie's birth mom was heart breaking we LOVED getting to hug her tight and tell her that we would not forget her bravery and would pray over her with our daughter daily. We really did LOVE our trip! But here's what I know...looking back we did not love our trip because we are just flexible people (although being stuck 3 days in the Amsterdam airport gave us a new appreciation for flexibility). We did not love our trip because we are used to traveling to 3rd world countries or because we are used to putting up a barrier between us and uncomfortable images being from America where we tend to sweep uncomfortable stuff under the rug. Nothing about our selfish tendencies would have allowed us to enjoy that trip...I am a flawed person who SHOULD have not enjoyed any of that trip. However, by the GRACE of God I was allowed a fantastic, eye opening, perspective changing, awe inspiring trip to a world that I am not used to and I hope I will never forget. We have so been taught how important and privileged we are to be able to go to the THRONE of God to pray and petition for the needs of our brothers and sisters and WE FELT EVERY ONE OF YOUR PRAYERS! We truly feel that the most treasured things we can ask for and receive from our fellow believers are your prayers. We are humbled by and grateful for the time you took to pray over our journey because we were weak vessels made strong. We have witnessed God's love in so many new and different ways than ever before and I truly hope that if you have the opportunity to talk to us personally that we will have the words to share that with you. To God be the glory!
Now we ask for your prayers once again. We are currently waiting to hear when our tentative travel dates will be to be able to go and bring our daughter home. We were told 4-6 weeks. Our agency is able to submit our post court paperwork every other Wednesday to the US Embassy. The Embassy will review our paperwork and either confirm us to travel or begin an investigation. We are praying that our paperwork is collected quickly and efficiently and that the Embassy allows us to travel for the earliest possible date which would be January 19th. The next possible date would be February 2nd. At this point we really are thankful to just have passed court as so many of our sweet friends did not have their letter written and in their file when it should have been. And we really are just grateful to have held our daughter and met the friends we made. But of course our heart aches to hold our daughter indefinitely and forever. Will you pray with us for a quick Embassy date? Please also pray with us for the other families in process who are held up in ANY way...please pray God's favor for these families and for paperwork to be in place ASAP! Please help us pray these children home! Again...we are so grateful for your prayers!