She turned ONE!!! My sweet little baby girl is officially 1 year old! She has been a true joy in our lives these last 3 months. We are busy...oh, so busy just being a family of 5! 3 kids is a serious handful most days but we're doing great and having fun! Zadie is very quirky...she is very happy, very flexible, and very content. She sleeps great, eats EVERYTHING we feed her, and is crawling up a storm. She pulls up on anything she can get a good hold on and babbles ALL DAY like crazy! She is a true social butterfly...when we run errands she EXPECTS attention from all others. She does this little scrunchy face thing that cracks me up every time...I look at her or call her name and she looks over and gives this huge, cheesy, scrunchy nose smile until I smile back the same way and then she just laughs. TROUBLE! She's trouble! The boys adore her and she loves being entertained by them. I'm telling you...we did not expect it to be this easy or this rewarding this early! LOVE THESE KIDS and we are blessed to call them our children! Since I've taken so long to update the blog, I'll include some pictures of Zadie's past weekend birthday celebration. We had a great, relaxed time celebrating with friends. A big thank you to our friend Liz Tomany who created all the decorations!!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
We're home and doing well! We got home Saturday afternoon after a 16 hour plane ride from Dubai. Zadie did beautifully on the plane ride and slept almost 13 hours of the flight off and on. She has a pretty severe head cold and that combined with a fever and motrin made her quite sleepy. We took her to the doctor yesterday morning to make sure there wasn't anything else going on and the doctor said she looks good...no ear infections, no tonsilitis, no pnemonia...just a cold so no antibiotics! YAY! She's been sleeping quite a bit and I'm thinking it's her coping mechanism as her entire world just got turned upside down. She is quite entertained by her brothers as well as quite overwhelmed by them. The last few days have been a little rough as we are learning what our new "normal" looks like but today was 100% better! We got out of the house together as the boys had preschool today and then Zadie and I went to my dentist appointment together while Gigi held Zadie and introduced her to Gigi's office friends. She was very content hanging out. We then ran errands while Zadie slept and then enjoyed the park this afternoon with the boys and some friends. Zadie wakes up at night and ends up eating about an ounce or two of formula before going back to bed...so she's up for 5 minutes at a time. Not bad for someone who is suffering from jet lag and has been used to a totally different time zone. We're growing in many ways and are just so grateful to be on this side of our journey and realize that a whole new journey is beginning! I'll blog later about our trip (which was incredible). We haven't had phone, internet, or TV since we've been home because of some problems with our phone lines so I'm happy to able to update the blog again! Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support...we truly felt every single one and have learned such an incredible lesson about the power of and importance of prayer and our faith in our heavenly father. I'll post some pictures soon...Josh took some great ones!
Sunday, January 30, 2011
It's 4:30 in the morning here in Dubai and I'm UP and little jittery! We slept quite a bit off and on since arriving here at noon yesterday (2:00 am our time). We took "naps" and then woke up for a room service dinner and then tried to go to bed for the night around 6:00 pm with a 5:30 wake up call. As we turned everything off in the room Josh couldn't sleep knowing we had Zadie's lap tikcet hanging over our head. Even thought she will be sitting in our laps, Emirates still requires a paper ticket. We were told to find a ticket counter and buy it and we're also encouraged to do it in Dubai since this is their main hub. Josh called Emirates (using hotel phone...we learned that lesson the hard way last time thanks for a $500 cell phone bill). Emirates told him to buy it downstairs. So Josh got dressed and walked the airport looking for a place to buy her ticket just so it would be done. He finally found one and then had himself a little ice cream and espresso before heading back upstairs! I didn't know the difference...I had taken an ambien sleeping pill and was so confused as to why he was standing up fully dressed when I thought he was sleeping next to me! HA! I was OUT OF IT!
Now to the good part! In 3 hours we board our plane to Addis Ababa! After a 4 hour flight we will be ON THE GROUND in Ethiopia. We will then very shortly after go and get our girl!!! There are not past itineraries to lean on her and as were told we could interview any day this week so I don't know at this point if we'll get FOREVER tonight or just visit her today and have her FOREVER tomorrow! But I'll keep you updated! This trip has been SO emotional for me! This is not just another step to take in this process, not another box to check off...THIS IS THE LAST STEP!! We are bringing her home FOREVER!! Now reading Mary Beth Chapman's new book on a long flight with no sleep and a small glass of white wine doesn't help settle my emotions!!!! I was so that crazy lady that had to keep taking her glassess of to wipe away tears and was just so grateful to be on that plane right then going to get our daughter! We don't have to wait on ONE MORE MOWA letter! We did it...all paperwork has been filled out and submitted! This adoption marathon is about to have the finish line in sight! And ironically Josh and I were supposed to be running the full and half (for me!) marathon this weekend in Houston. Instead we sat on our tushes for 16 hours! HA! Or more so...instead we're completing an 18 month marathon that God has orchestrated every event of! Thank you again for your prayers! GOTCHA DAY PICTURES COMING SOON!
Saturday, January 29, 2011
WOW...what a crazy 24 hours! We decided late Thursday night that we would prepare to travel on Friday morning and then RIGHT before we HAD to leave for the airport we would contact our travel coordinator with our agency to decide if we should cancel or not. We decided if we heard good news that we would go (obviously) and no news or bad news we would wait until this coming week to travel. We looked up ticket prices and they had not gone up any...even leaving the next day. Also, we were going to have sign a waiver saying that if we took custody of Zadie then we might have to stay for 12 weeks if the Embassy decided to do a full investigation. Well, we just couldn't commit to that and I hated to go and not be able to HAVE her full time! So...we were told there was no news from the Embassy and were strongly encouraged to wait to travel until we were cleared. So with very heavy hearts we canceled our flights. And to be honest I just couldn't figure out what the right thing to do was...my "direct line" was experiencing interference!! I was praying my heart out and not getting anything back...still processing that one...still learning from all of this. I feel like I got up to the diving board and wouldn't jump. But I prayed and asked for direction and was at peace with the decision to wait. We knew we would enjoy our trip better if we went without all the dread of not knowing when we would return hanging over our heads. We packed up our bags, 2 kids, 1 dog and headed back home from my parents' house. 10 minutes later we got the call. YOU'RE CLEARED BY THE EMBASSY TO TRAVEL and you can interview any day next week! TURN THE CAR AROUND! After some highway speeding and a little drama we decided we were not going to make our canceled flight. Our boys are being real troopers to endure all the drama and stress of this trip and we ask for prayer for their little hearts as we can tell they're going through a journey of their own. We rebooked tickets and are on a flight today leaving this morning getting to Ethiopia and Monday morning after stopping overnight in Dubai. We appreciate any and all of your prayers and will be updating our blog during out trip! We're almost there Zadie! And we're almost done with our 18 month adoption journey!! God is good all the time and is FAITHFUL always!
Friday, January 21, 2011
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."
I don't know about you but I'm a planner. And not only am I a planner; I am a researcher. I want to know what to expect and when to expect it. I like to be in control and spend hours reading about or searching out a topic on the internet to help prepare or learn about something. In short...I DO NOT USUALLY ENJOY SURPRISES. At least the big, life changing kind that happen with no control and no time to plan. I certainly do not like leaving international travel to short notice nor do I enjoy not knowing when I will have a certain child in my arms for good. I'm starting to sound like a certain 4 year old I know who at least can claim being 4 as the reason behind his ranting. I however can not claim as much. In fact, as a child of God I cannot claim to not know better or even being new at this faith walk thing. I DO know better and I am not new to my life in Christ. So why does it always feel like I don't and I am?
Today we received news that the US Embassy in Addis Ababa will be changing the procedure for submitting paperwork and being cleared for visas. This would not be a concern were we not the very first set of parents to be included in these new rules. No time lines to help us in making arrangements, no families that have gone before us, no idea how long the review process might take or when they might allow us an interview. All new, all different. You see where my rantings from above come in right about now? I want to stomp my feet or call someone up and demand to be seen next week. I deserve to bring her home right? I've waited long enough right? Ahhhh...and then in steps the Holy Spirit. Funny enough the minute after I read this e-mail today leaving the doctor's office with the boys I could not get a signal to call Josh. Seriously...phone would not work even though I just had a signal to read the e-mail to begin with. Here is what the conversation sounded like (ok...imaginary conversation in my head...not audible, but you get it)
God: "Who is the first person you're going to go with this issue?"
Me: "Well...ummm (still no cell phone signal)...ok, you. But you're not really going to give me a timeline here are you?"
God: "Did I ask you to step out on faith?"
God: "Have you done that?"
Me: "Yes" (We have plane tickets that leave next Friday)
God: "Do you have reason to believe otherwise right now?"
Me: "Ummm...no. All speculation." (And have you not seen my post on His faithfulness?)
God: "So do you want to be in control or do you want me to be in control?"
Me: I think to myself ME, ME, ME! But I know in my heart of hearts that He knows so much better and bigger than I do so I let go and take a breath and...
my cell phone comes back on and Josh is calling. We decide that we'll wait on God...we'll wait to hear what happens next week. We'll pray for Embassy clearance and we'll put our hope in God and in the best case scenario of being cleared next week to leave on Friday like we have planned all along. We will wait upon the Lord and we'll ask you to pray with us. And ultimately we will pray that He is glorified in all of this...even if we're not cleared next week, even if we don't travel until May, even if I have to go alone. To God be the glory...
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Today we heard some potentially troubling news about the US Embassy in Ethiopia and the process moving forward. We did not hear details and continue to wait until tomorrow when our paperwork is supposed to be submitted for further information on when we might potentially be allowed an interview to get her visa to bring her home. There are 3 families there right now who traveled on faith and are praying to have an interview tomorrow to get their children's visas and right now they still do not have confirmation of an appointment. They will be showing up and hoping for the best. We found all of this out on our agency's yahoo group for families in the process of adopting. They posted and said that received bad news about their Embassy appointments today and they are asking for prayers for tomorrow. Then another family in Ethiopia for a court date posted that these 3 families have run into some Embassy problems and these problems might exist for families behind them also (that would be us). ALL OF THIS to say that of course we will be praying for them and we will ask you to pray for them...that God would smooth their way and go before them and allow Embassy officials tomorrow to clear them to travel home with their children.
And now I will say this...this information today has thrown me today...shaken me off of my "paperwork high" from yesterday. I lost my footing for a few hours this morning and allowed the enemy to steal my joy and leave me gazing at circumstances while I glanced at God. And then I realized that we still know NOTHING...we aren't even supposed to be submitted until TOMORROW. There is no amount of worrying that will make it turn out how I want it to turn out. And then I remembered how God has shown himself faithful time and time again...throughout my life much less in this adoption journey. TIME and TIME again! Praise God, yes? HE IS FAITHFUL! He holds the universe in His hands and He already knows the outcome! He doesn't need me to worry...in fact all He asks is that I come to Him and lay it down. All I have to do is lay my burden at His feet and He's got it! If someone told me today that President Obama was going to call the US Embassy in Ethiopia and talk with officials there specifically about our adoption and our friends' cases do you think I would be worried? And if that information would calm my nerves then shouldn't knowing that THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE has taken care of this and will see us through be enough for me to not worry? Oh, we're so fragile and naive and mistaken sometimes...I am weak but I am glad that my God does not leave me this way and is right there to whisper in my ear when I need to hear Him speak. I am praying that you hear God speak to you today in whatever way you need to hear Him. And I am also praying that we will continue to gaze at God and glance at circumstances.
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
Thank you for your prayers...we will update you when we know more.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
We received Zadie's post court paperwork today!! We now have her new birth certificate, the court decree stating that she is legally ours, and a copy of her Ethiopian passport! We have waited 18 LONG months for these documents as this is the final stage of our adoption. All that is left is for said paperwork to be submitted to Embassy (this will happen on Thursday the 20th) and then TRAVEL to bring her HOME! We have already purchased tickets on faith to leave on Friday, January 28th. We will not know if we are confirmed to travel on these dates until Monday. We need the Embassy to go over our paperwork and take the minimum 48 hours to confirm us for an interview on Feb. 2nd to be able to leave next Friday. We have seen over and over again how prayers work and what a mighty tool they are. I know how often we say we'll be praying over something or for something and how little that actually happens when it comes right down to it. I am so guilty of this myself. But oh how I've learned the power of prayer through this adoption journey...actually I've seen how God has used this journey to not only bless us with a daughter but to bless us spiritually as well. We have been stretched and have grown so much in our daily walk with our heavenly Father and we are oh so thankful for this journey...ALL of it...the good times and the long, drawn out times that strengthened our faith and brought us to or knees so often. We know how powerful prayer is and we ask you to pray with us now for a quick Embassy appointment confirmation, for peace for our boys during this transition, travel mercies, Zadie's health, and most importantly for God's will to be done and for Him alone to receive all the glory. You'll never know how much we appreciate your prayers...the long ones and the quick ones! Praising God that we are oh so close...
"And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Ok...so here's where we stand now. We hope to have our paper work ready this coming week to be submitted for Embassy. We are waiting on Zadie's birth certificate (listing us as her parents!!!), her visa, and her passport to be issued. Based on current trends we should have that paper work in e-mail form to us by Monday or Tuesday of next week. It should then be submitted to the US Embassy in Addis Ababa on Wednesday of next week. However, this is where it gets tricky for a couple of reasons. First, next Wednesday is a holiday for the US Embassy so we're hoping that means that our paper work can be submitted on next Thursday. Second, recent travelers have found that even after their paper work was submitted they are not getting 100% official clearance that they have a confirmed Embassy interview the following 2 weeks until the week of the interview. So this means that we will probably be traveling on faith for our Embassy interview. And that is ok with us...if we've learned ANYTHING throughout this adoption journey it is that God does INDEED PROVIDE in His perfect timing. So we've bought our plane tickets to travel on January 28th for the February 2nd Embassy appointment and hope to have Zadie home on February 5th! Please join us in praying that our paper work does indeed come through next week, that it is submitted to the Embassy on Thursday, and that we are cleared to travel for the Feb. 2nd Embassy date and have her home by Feb. 5th! We appreciate your prayers and are trusting in God's sovereignty!
Lately, I've been reading a FANTASTIC book titled The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns. It is a very convicting book...you know, the kind where I find myself shaking my head in agreement and saying "Amen" out loud several times throughout a chapter. The kind that makes you realize how little we are doing to honor Jesus' commandment of loving thy neighbor and spurs you on to find more that you can give and do. If I could I would copy word for word the entire book on my blog but I won't do that and instead I will just encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself and read it. I will however share with you my favorite parts so far because they are heavy on my heart today and if I don't share it somewhere I think I will burst...
"Here is the bottom line: if we are aware of the suffering of our distant neighbors-and we are-if we have access to these neighbors, either personally or through aid organizations and charities-and we do-and if we have the ability to make a difference through programs and technologies that work-which is also the case-then we should no more turn our backs on these neighbors of ours than the priest and the Levite should have walked by the bleeding man." Richard Stearns
Richard Stearns then quotes this from a modern-day prophet...
"Fifteen thousand Africans are dying each day of PREVENTABLE, treatable diseases-AIDS, malaria, TB-for lack of drugs we take for granted. This statistic alone makes a fool of the idea many of us hold on to very tightly; the idea of equality. What is happening to Africa mocks our pieties, doubts our concern and question our committment to the whole concept. Because if we're honest, there's no way we could conclude that such mass death day after day would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else. Certainly not North America or Europe, or Japan. An entire continent bursting into flames? Deep down, if we really accept that their lives-African lives-are equal to our, we would all be doing more to put the fire out. It's an uncomfortable truth."-Bono
And lastly I'll end with this...Richard Stearns own paraphrased version of 1 John.
"For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved."
I don't share all of this to point a finger...I share all of this because it breaks my selfish heart and I need my selfish heart broken A LOT to spur it to action. I need to hear these words daily and I need God's word to penetrate deep and sometimes that means He leads me to other resources to hear it a different way. I am a lost sheep living in a lost world but I am saved through God's grace and forgiveness and I hope that I do not wake up each day forgetting that THAT is the cause of my purpose for the day. How can I honor God today? How can we love our neighbors more today?
Thank you for walking this journey with us...
Because of Him,
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Here are a few of my treasures...we also would treasure your prayers on getting the littlest treasure home with us for good as quickly as possible! We'll update you when we hear any information!
More photos and a nursery tour to follow...but this mommy heart can only focus on one thing and the anxiety of not knowing when our travel dates will be is taking center stage...but we're fully relying on God so we'll be fine! Thanks for your prayers!