Monday, January 31, 2011

Ethiopia, day 3

Monday, February 1

Wow, today was AMAZING!!! We both slept okay last night, woke up a lot, but never felt just wide awake. We had a good breakfast downstairs, and then met our driver who took us to the Gladney Foster Care House #1. When we arrived there was a group of babies laying in the sun, and it was so hard not to run over to them and look for B. We met some of the Gladney staff, and while talking to them I saw her. A caregiver had picked her up to go and weigh her I think, but I saw her eyes and knew it was her. I totally choked up, but still held back. When we were talking to the Gladney staff, they said just to be really careful not to give all your attention to just one child because even the babies start to make a connection, and when we leave they struggle a little bit with eating and sleeping. Almost like they are depressed in a way. We found out what room she was in, and basically just hung out there for about an hour. There were two caregivers in her room and 8 babies. She is almost ready to move to the older baby house, I think they do that around 6 months. She is absolutely the most precious baby ever. She was content, and didn't mind when I held her at all. She wasn't a huge smiler, but we got a couple little ones. You can tell she just loves to be talked to and held. It was so hard to not just stand by her crib or hold just her the whole time, but I definitely don't want to cause any more issues for her. Plus, the other babies were precious too! She actually shares her crib with another baby girl, and they both cuddled up together after they ate and fell asleep. Their little legs and arms were all wrapped up, so sweet! I wish I could better explain what it felt like to hold her, but I think it was one of the sweetest moments of my life. Leaving her is going to be horrible, but it is such a blessing to see where she lives and those that are talking care of her.

After we left the care centers, all of the families (I think there are 8 of us) went to lunch together. It was a really nice Italian place, and fun to get to know some of the other families adopting. Then we went to this silk factory, where they actually raise the silk caterpillars. We got to see the cocoons, butterflies, eggs, and caterpillars, and how they make and spin the silk. So interesting, and really beautiful things they make out of the silk. Then we went to Alert hospital where they have leprosy patients who crochet, weave, embroider and sew all kinds of things. There were women there with literally no fingers who were crocheting and knitting, pretty humbling and amazing at the same time.

After that we went back to the airport, and praise the Lord, our bags were there! So thankful to have those back!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ethiopia trip, day 2

Sunday, January 30

We made it!! Hooray! I am sitting in our room at the guest house, looking out the window at a beautiful country. The weather is gorgeous, sunny but not too hot, and such a nice change from the bitter cold. We arrived about 7 this morning, and got our visas, exchanged some money and began the search for our luggage. The search that is unfortunately on-going. Our bags are 0 for 4, thankfully we each had a carry-on, and Aaron has all his stuff in his, but I just have one extra outfit. That has honestly been pretty hard for me, not having what I need. So ridiculous to care so much about stuff, but when everything else is so unfamiliar, it's just nice to have what makes you comfortable.
We were able to rest quite a bit today and walked around a bit. We also searched and searched for cheap shoes for me. All I have are tall gray boots that were perfect for the plane and walking around London, but not so much for Ethiopia. Two things I have learned: I apparently have big feet, and shoes are expensive! We finally found some after looking for quite a while and going to several different places.
The guest house is great. And everyone who works here is super nice and accommodating. We have eaten all of our meals here so far and the food has been really good and reasonable. Tonight we shared dinner with another adoptive mom from a different agency who is here for her embassy appointment. She has had quite the adventure so far, and has really gone through a lot. Her husband had to return to the states because things were just taking so long, and she still doesn't have an exact date of when she will be returning home and has been here 2 weeks today. It made me think a lot about spiritual warfare, and how there is truly a battle going on here. There are so many kids who need families, and it just seems like Satan is working really hard against that. It also makes me pray, pray, pray. That is truly our greatest weapon and tool, and I don't want to take anything for granted in terms of this trip, and our adoption.
Hope is also 6 months today! It's hard to believe we will actually get to see her tomorrow, and I am so anxious to be with her. They have pretty strict rules about these visits, so I'm not sure exactly what to expect, but I know we will get to see her and hopefully hold her.

Ethiopia trip, day 1

Saturday, January 29,

I am sitting in the London airport waiting on our last flight that will take us to Ethiopia. It feels like we have been traveling for days, even though our first plane left last night. We dropped the boys off at Aaron's mom's house, and they immediately hit the toys and hardly blinked when we said goodbye. Micah did tell me earlier this week, that he didn't sleep one night because he was so excited for us to leave! Which I am so thankful for. What a blessing and comfort to know they are so fine! :)

Our flight from Omaha to Chicago was a bit late, and we already had a pretty short time in between our flights. So that equaled RUNNING, each of us with a carry-on and personal bag, and making it with 30 seconds to spare. So thankful to have Aaron on this trip! He is such a seasoned traveler, and knows when we need to hurry and where we need to go. There is no way we would have made that flight if we had walked, so it was definitely worth the embarrassment of trying to run with my huge bag and carry-on. The flight from Chicago to London was 7 hours, and we were both able to sleep a little. Although it felt like I didn't sleep at all. Then when we arrived here we had 9 hours until our next flight. We got a bite to eat, freshened up, found a place to store our carry-ons, exchanged some money, and hit the town! Again, thanks to Aaron for figuring all of that out, and for not getting us lost. I sort of just wanted to find our gate and hang out, but it ended up being a good idea to get some fresh air and walk. London was COLD and cloudy, but also beautiful. We saw Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. Really, most of the buildings are so beautiful, I felt like all of them must be something important! We walked around for about 2 hours and it took about an hour each way to and from the airport, so we had just enough time to get checked in and eat dinner. Of course we had to try fish and chips! Who knows how good they really were, but we were totally impressed and chowed down.

When we checked in with Ethiopian Airlines, we discovered they have a rule about carry-ons we didn't know about. Your carry-on can only be 7 kg, and if it weighs more than that you have to pay 10 pounds/per kg over. Aaron packed EVERYTHING in his carry-on so we could use our checked bags for donation items, so his was way over. Thankfully, we were able to talk to the manager who waived that fee for us. Thank you Lord for that!

So that brings us to right now. This flight leaves in about an hour and is another 8 hours to Ethiopia. We will get there around 7:00am, and hopefully our driver will be there and take us to our guest house. I am so thankful for how the Lord has protected us, allowed us to make our flights, and provided for us so far. Aaron reminded me on the way to dropping the boys off, that this trip is ultimately about Him. About what He wants to do in us, and we need to be open and available to Him.

Friday, January 21, 2011

2 days

We leave in 2 days. And I am just now realizing to go and see my little girl, I have to leave my little boys. It hit me today when Isaac looked at the pan of muffins on the counter and said, "Mom, are we having pupcakes?!" that I am really going to miss them, and frankly don't want to leave them. This I was not expecting. I was expecting to excitedly usher them to their grandma's house, and hightail it to the airport with hardly a glance over my shoulder. But, I don't think that is actually how it is going to go down. I realized today, I HATE letting go of them. Even if the hands I am leaving them in are wonderfully capable and loving. I want them to be with me always because somehow in my mind that equals safety and protection. And control. I know realistically I do not have control over anything, but I am lulled into thinking that way, and it is a battle I fight all the time. I have been thinking about it in terms of school a ton lately too.
Anyway, 2 days! I have pretty much the boys packed except for last minute things. I am trying this new method of putting all their clothes in bags for each day and then labeling them. So, I have a bag for Monday with their outfits for the day, socks and underwear, etc. I was thinking it would make it easier for Aaron's mom, but I guess we will see! We have two 1/2 big suitcases of donation items, and I will have a suitcase and carry-on. Aaron is going to try and get all of his stuff in his carry-on, but I will have extra room too.
I am feeling so many things right now. It feels surreal and wonderful to be at this point and something I have dreamed about, and yet my heart is a little heavy that I still can't see the end. We don't know if we will pass court, and due to some other circumstances, it is not looking great that we will. I did read this morning in Isaiah 30:18b, For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!" I had gone back to this passage because the Lord used it to comfort me when we were waiting for our referral, and He gave me that verse today. He knows the plight of orphans better than anyone, and He loves them more than anyone, so I can rest and trust in His justice and I can wait for Him. So thankful for His gentle shepherding of my heart, and His patience and grace.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I can't believe it has almost been a month since my last post! We had a wonderful Christmas, getting to spend time with both sides of our family. I commented to Aaron that this year just felt less frantic, like we could really enjoy Christmas and all of its traditions.
Some things I loved about Christmas this year:
-the boys excitement about decorating for Christmas, and how they remembered certain decorations
-trying new traditions (presents for the animals in the form of pinecones covered with peanut butter and birdseed, making dough ornaments with friends, new pajamas on Christmas Eve, and a special "Santa treasure hunt"
-Sunday lunches eating by the candlelight of our advent wreath and talking about the truths of Christmas

We had Christmas day with Aaron's family, and then decided sort of last minute to travel to Oklahoma the next day to spend time with my family. It was totally worth the extra time and energy to be there, and I am so thankful for a husband who worked so hard to make it happen.

I think we have received two updates on little Hope B. since I last posted and she is doing so well. The last picture we got was her with a hint of a smile, and she has some pretty sweet dimples. She is growing well too, and was about 12 pounds almost a month ago. In every description we get, she is described as happy, calm, and sweet. And we will actually get to be with her in 19 days! We leave January 28 and will arrive in Addis the 30th. Our first scheduled visit with her is Monday the 31st. I got all my shots yesterday and have the sore arm and $400 (!) receipt to prove it. I also tried an "emergency no electricity hair style" if and when we don't have electricity when we are there, and let's just say there might be a whole lot of pictures of Aaron from this trip. My hair is annoyingly in need of hair dryers and flat irons.