Tuesday, January 31, 2012

18 months

Hope turned 18 months old yesterday, a milestone we are finally together to celebrate! Not that we did celebrate really, but I thought about how I wished I would have gotten my act together to plan something special. Mostly I just enjoyed being with our sweet girl, and thanking the Lord over and over that she is with us.

Here are some stats about Hope at 18 months:

-she weighs 22 pounds, and has moved on from 12-18 month clothes to 18-24
-she loves to eat cream of wheat, bananas, sweet potatoes, apple sauce, any fruit baby food, peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt, and sometimes ground beef (like in meatloaf or lasagna)
-she only takes one bottle now, before bedtime
-she loves to read the book "brown bear, brown bear," and sings along with me when I read it to her (I sing it instead of read it), and we sing it every day at naptime
-she loves to push things, chairs, laundry baskets, stools, shopping carts
-she is great at finding all the drawers and cabinets she shouldn't get into :), we are working on more cabinet locks
-she loves bath time, and i give her one every morning
-she can wave goodbye, wave hello, and sign "all done"
-she is a great mess maker! i have walked into a bathroom filled with toilet paper, a kitchen full of sandwich baggies, and rooms full of laundry and hangers that she has dumped out of laundry baskets
-she gives the sweetest kisses
-she makes car noises when you push her around
-she loves balls
-she loves being outside, so thankful for the unusually nice days we have had lately!
-she likes being right in the middle of noise and chaos, but also wants me close by to check in with
-she has a little blanket that she loves and sleeps with
-she loves to help unload the dishwasher
-she is starting to like being rocked
-we call her "Hopey"
-she is a very busy girl, and hardly ever is in one place or position for very long

Hopey, I am so thankful to know all of these things about you, to hold you and kiss you, and watch you grow. You are a gift to us!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

one month

Tomorrow will mark one month that we have been with our girl. I'm not sure how it has already been a month, yet I distinctly remember feeling like the first two weeks were the longest of my life. :) I feel like we are really starting to settle in, all of us. Hope has been doing so well, she really rolls with the punches, and not too much seems to faze her. She has slept the last 4 nights without needing us to come into her room, and has taken good naps every day. Her eating seems like it is getting better too, like she is willing to try a few more textures. We have had few more outings, although not too many. I am kind of a homebody at heart, so I really haven't minded being home, and actually think I may need to be a little more intentional about getting out and introducing her to more people and places.

The boys are doing great, we definitely had more meltdowns and emotions those first two weeks, but those have seemed to decrease. Isaac now has a "love" jar for Hope; he gets to add rocks to it when he is kind, patient, gentle, etc., but also has to remove one if he is not. He has struggled the most, understandably, and I pray everyday that I would see and understand how to meet the needs of my kids, especially when they seem to be struggling. Hopefully this will help, that and more one on one time. Actually, they all need more of that, and Aaron and I have talked a little bit about what that will look like. Micah has named himself the "Hope Helper", and is so quick to try and do just that. Both he and Eli are so sweet with her, and she is the first thing on their minds when they get up or have been gone. They also love to pick out her clothes, but I have to say that is a little harder for me to give up because I love doing that too! :)

*So in typical fashion, I started this several days ago, and am just now getting if finished. I am so thankful it is Saturday, that we don't have a schedule, and that everyone is home together. The rest of the week was more challenging for us, getting along as a family, sleeping, etc.

We took Hope to get her blood drawn yesterday for a bunch of tests, and it was pretty traumatic. We probably would have waited even longer to go, but our doctor wanted to make sure we didn't need to start treating her for anything. Anyway, we went to Children's hospital, and Hope had to be stuck at least 6 times. Her veins kept blowing, whatever that means, so they had to stop and try in another spot. Needless to say, she HATED it, and fought and screamed pretty hard the whole time. So hard to see your kids in pain, but after it was done she was totally fine, smiling and just wanting to walk around and explore everywhere.

And eventually I will get more pictures posted. We are basically the worst picture takers of all time, so hopefully we will start doing a better job of that!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Well, yesterday marked our first day in the "real world" as my mom headed back to Oklahoma. When I think for a bit about her time with us (and every time she has come when I have had a baby), it just amazes me. Somehow she manages to serve us (cooking, cleaning, laundry, help with boys) every day all day, and actually makes us feel like we are doing her a favor by letting her be there! I think that really is the true nature of a servant, someone who serves completely unselfishly, but never lets on through their words or attitude or actions that they feel like they are serving. So amazing, and I am so thankful.

And, overall yesterday went well. Aaron took the boys to school, so Isaac, Hope and I spent the day at home, and then left in the afternoon to pick up Eli and Micah. We are in the car a long time, about an hour I think, but she did great. As long as I kept a steady supply of animal crackers coming her way. :) And then last night Aaron had a visitation and viewing for his sweet Grandaddy who passed away last Sunday, so it was the 5 of us, and I'm happy to report that everyone was in bed by 8:00. Actually Hope was in bed around 7:20 or so, she started to melt down big time around 7. At one point the boys were all just staring at her as she laid on the floor face first and screamed because I decided to sit on the floor instead of the couch. :)

There are definitely things that are better this week with our transition, and definitely things we are still trying to figure out. Hope will drink from a sippy cup now, and the last two days she has gone down for a nap without crying and standing back up when I put her down. She is also doing much better with the boys, but she really wants to be the one who sets the boundaries on their relationship. She prefers to initiate things with them, as opposed to being a bit manhandled, and really, who can blame her? :) But, she likes to be where they are, and follows them all over the house. Today for the first time since we have been home I felt like she likes us and is happy to be here. Her eyes are different when she looks at me, more open like a guard has been taken down. And she is smiling so much more. And sleeping better too, hooray! At least last night she slept all night, so thankful.

And my heart is also doing so much better. I was thinking about the "ugliness" that I have seen in myself, and how actually in a way I am thankful for it. I'm not sure I would have even known it was there, it was buried so deeply and truly something I have not experienced before, but now that I know it is there I can submit it and ask the Lord to change and redeem it. I am so aware of how much I need Him, how very limited my own abilities and strength are, and how truly "desperately wicked" the condition of my heart is without the grace of God. I'm definitely not done dealing with it, I was thinking today I so wish my response to her or really anyone was the same regardless of their actions toward me, that my love for others was truly unconditional. And that that unconditional love would dictate my actions, and not my feelings in the moment. Lifelong lessons I have a feeling, but by His grace...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


There has been a lot happening in our house the last few days. And in us. Some of it is lovely and fun, some of it is confusing and frustrating, and some of it is harsh and ugly. I have dealt with more emotions than I will ever be comfortable with, my poor husband and mom can testify to that! I think what has taken me so off guard, is that I have felt and continue to feel off and on, anything less than complete and utter joy and thankfulness that our girl is home. I definitely have felt that, but I have also felt other things too that I don't like, don't want, and don't really know what to do with.

I remember reading other families updates when they got home with their kids, and reading that adjusting was really hard. I just wanted to be at that point though, I felt ready to be at that hard place instead of the hard place we were in. Well, we are here, and it is hard. :) I have come to understand more and more that attachment is truly a two-way street. I knew that going in, but it's hard to really understand until you are in it. And it has nothing to do with her. Intellectually I completely understand why sleeping is hard for her, why she doesn't want to eat what I make for her, or drink from a sippy cup. I understand why she doesn't yet love her brothers they way they love her, or why she only wants me. But my feelings don't always match what I know in my head to be true. What I feel is that it's hard to give up control to a 17 month old who has behaviors that my boys never did, and parent her in a completely different way than we did our boys, at least for now. I have seen my pride and selfishness raise their ugly heads and try to take over again and again. You know you always hear that becoming a parent shows how sinful you are, well try adopting and it brings it to a whole new level. I have been journaling daily my prayers to the Lord, and they usually start with, "Lord, I am sorry for..."

Colossians 3:12-14 have become my mantra all throughout the day;
"Therefore as God's chosen people holy and dearly loved clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against each other. Forgive as the Lord forgave you, and over all these virtues put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful."

And I am thankful. I in no way want to be someone who looks for the hard parts of life. Our girl is home, and that is a huge deal! It's a dream fulfilled and hundreds of prayers answered. I think it's okay though to be honest about what we are going through too. I did make a quick list of prayers the Lord has answered, certainly not all of them, but I wanted to take some time and just be thankful.

1. She is HOME!!!
2. Aaron and I were a great team in Ethiopia.
3. All our luggage made it with us, there and back.
4. We didn't get sick while in Ethiopia
5. Our boys did great at home
6. No one else got the stomach flu (Micah got it the night before we left)
7. Hope attached to me right away
8. We were able to stay in the guest house we wanted to the whole trip (we thought we were going to have to go somewhere else for one night)
9. Hope slept several hours on the flights home
10. She did not get sick on the way home
11. Aaron finally felt better when we landed in Omaha (he got the stomach flu on our flight from Frankfurt to Chicago, and was sick until we landed at home)
12. Hope finally started to like the baby food I brought (lifesaver for the flights home)
13. She is eating great
14. She takes a nap every day
15. She goes to sleep easily
16. She is happy
17. She has not gotten sick
18. We were able to get to the dr. right away and get some meds for her to get rid of a parasite, before she got sick
19. My mom is here to help us
20. We have amazing friends and family who have prayed, and are praying for us
21. Eli and Micah love her
22. Isaac played with her today
23. She loves baths
24. She doesn't mind her highchair/ carseat
25. She can wear all the clothes we had for her
26. She is affectionate
27. She loves Aaron, and smiles at him all the time
28. She is not overly fearful

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Today has been a good day. Right now, Hope is sleeping, Isaac is having rest time, and I am having hot chocolate. :) We have had some sweet moments yesterday and today that I want to thank the Lord for. Yesterday afternoon our entire family was on the trampoline, and Hope loved it! Most of the time she sat in my lap, but when she wanted to get up, everyone else had to stand perfectly still so she wouldn't go tumbling too hard. It was so nice to just laugh, and enjoy each other.

*I'm not exactly sure what day I wrote that, but it is now Saturday morning, early. Hope slept all night last night, I can't believe it! She went down around 8, and it's now 5:43 and she is still sleeping. Praise the Lord!

We went to the doctor Wednesday, and he thought she looked great. She has a skin issue that needs medication and also a parasite (that she has zero symptoms for at this point) that also needs meds. She also got 4 shots, which I'm not sure was the best idea, but now she is good for a couple of months. We need to take her at some point and get a bunch of lab work done, but I've heard it's pretty traumatic, so we are waiting a bit on this one. She is also in the 21% for weight, and the 26% for height which is so good!

She is just doing so well. At first I was worried that we were in a honeymoon phase, and things were going to get super hard, and they still might, but I am trying to just enjoy every good day, and celebrate every victory we have. Not borrow trouble, as my mom would say!

She is still eating great, a couple of nights ago we had meatloaf and sweet potatoes, and she chowed down! She really loves to eat, and can eat quite a bit for someone so little. :)

The big boys went back to school Thursday, so it has been QUIET around here. I think she may be a bit relieved by that, they love her so much, but it's a lot for her to take in. She and Isaac have been playing a little bit, they even took a 5 minute bath together until she grabbed his foot which he did NOT appreciate. :) Last night she was crawling all over Eli and Micah while we were trying to watch a movie, but they loved it. That is even an improvement from when we first came home, and she kept her distance.

My mom has been staying with us, such a life-saver! She has been taking the boys to school, making meals, keeping up with laundry, and anything else we need. It is such a huge blessing to really just focus on our family, and because she is here we have been able to do that. The boys are adjusting well, but we have had some hard moments too. And just to have an extra pair of hands to help with basic things has made a big difference.

Aaron has been absolutely incredible. I have been dealing with some emotional stuff I was not expecting or prepared for, and he has been so patient and sweet. He has even taken over getting up with her at night, no complaining or snide comments, just a sincere desire to help. My mom said something along the lines of God giving him extra broad shoulders that can carry a lot, and he really can. He is the most unselfish person I know, and I don't even have the right words to describe how much I love him, and what an amazing gift he is.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

We have been home now 4 days, I have to stop every so often and just remind myself we are really here! We have our daughter home, she is actually sleeping in her bed, she is wearing her clothes, and running after (or away!) from her brothers.

Overall, I would say things are going really well. She seems so adaptable, nothing seems to faze her very much. She still very much prefers me, and will run over to me with a big smile on her face. She has really warmed up to Aaron, and has gone to him willingly a couple of times which is a big deal. Things that I thought would be hard for her, don't really seem to be, like the carseat and highchair. She is eating well, as long as everything is pretty mushy, and sleeping pretty good too. She goes down at night about 8, and usually wakes up a few times in the night, but sometimes will soothe herself back to sleep. I did have to give her a bottle last night around 11, but then she slept until 6 :30. She also takes a nap, right now it has been late morning, for around 2 hours. She still takes bottles, at her foster house they gave her one after every meal, and woke her up at night to give her one too. Right now, that is easiest way to get her to fall asleep, both for naps and if she wakes up at night. She also hasn't had any tummy issues yet.

The boys are really sweet with her. Eli loves to kiss her forehead, he will smooth back her hair and give her kiss after kiss. Micah loves to hold her hand, and Isaac is warming up to her more and more. She seems to like Isaac the most right now, which is sort of funny since he was the one of the three who wasn't so sure about her. :)

It's definitely not all easy though. I have been struggling with worry and fear over wanting to do everything perfectly as far as attachment and bonding go. So much so, that I don't think I have enjoyed just being home with her very much yet. I just keep thinking we have so much ground to make up, we can't take anything for granted. I also haven't really processed through the last 2 weeks, everything happened so incredibly fast, and with quite a bit of stress involved. I have felt worried about the boys too, and not being enough for them with trying to be enough for her. I just feel so incredibly unsure about everything. There is so much we don't know, and I just don't want to do anything that will set us back. It's hard bringing a new little person into your family, especially one who we just don't know very well yet, and who doesn't know us. We are also still jet-lagged, and around 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon, I start longing for sleep.

1 John 4:18-19 has been two verses I have thought a lot about both for me and for Hope, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us." I can, and need to experience perfect love because of what Christ has done for me. And I want to offer that kind of love to Hope. Love that is not based on actions, or feelings, but that is unconditional and constant, and there regardless of what she does or doesn't do. I can only offer that to her through Christ working in my own heart, and that is what I am praying He continues to do.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Friday, December 30

We all woke up this morning in great moods! We had breakfast, Hope decided she did like some of the baby food I brought, and the rice cereal, and then we went to pick up her embassy paperwork. She has an Ethiopian passport, but will become a U.S. citizen as soon as we enter the U.S. Then we went to this jewelery place that sells beautiful handmade bracelets, necklaces, and earrings made by single women with HIV. They make it to earn a living for themselves and their families using old artillery. It is really amazing handiwork, and of course after we left I wished we would have bought more. :)

The rest of the day, we hung out and started packing up. Hope also played a little today with the other little girl at our guest house. It was such a blessing to spend time with this family, and the other couples there, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have gotten to know them. I felt like overall we had what we needed, thanks to lots of advice and packing lists. Hope never really got sick, so I had a lot more clothes and diapers for her than we needed. And we ended up eating more food from local restaurants than I thought we would, so we had a lot more food too left over too.

Our plane left Friday night at 11:37pm, and we got there around 9:00. Hope had slept about an hour before we left, but was wide awake in the airport. It was so packed! We stood in a lot of lines, but were finally ready to take off. Thankfully for this flight we had the bulkhead seats which we put a bassinet for her to sleep, and she did! She slept about 6 hours or so, and was awake the last hour. We flew to Frankfurt and had about a 5 hour layover there. We tried to get an earlier flight, but would have had to pay a few hundred dollars. It actually wasn't too bad, we got some food, and she basically ran around and played that entire time in a corner of a deserted gate. The next flight however, was pretty excruciating. First of all I thought it was going to be a 6 hour flight, however it was 9. And we were in the way back of the plane in the middle isle, so we were also squished. She slept for about 3 ½ hours or so which was great, but seriously what do yo do for 5 ½ hours with a 17 month old on an airplane?? She ate a lot, walked around the plane, played with her toys, and cried,and we basically repeated that over and over and over again. Oh, and Aaron got the stomach flu on this flight too, so he was pretty much out of commission. I definitely felt some moments of panic thinking, what are we going to do for the next (3,4,5) hours? Anyway, we finally made it to Chicago, and had another 4 hour layover. It was just so good to be off the plane, and so close to home. Aaron was still feeling terrible, so after we went through customs and security, we found our gate and he crashed. Hope was in a great mood, running all over the place and being her cute friendly little self. Finally it was time to board our final flight home. Hope fell asleep and was out the whole flight, and Aaron was so miserable until he threw up again on the airplane, a first for him. :( I can't even describe the relief I was feeling at coming home. I missed my boys incredibly, and had been longing for this day for so long. It did not disappoint. There was a great crowd to greet us, our friends and family have truly been so amazing, and gave us such a wonderful welcome home.

Thursday, December 29

Well, we had another rough night last night. She did not sleep well at all, so restless and cried throughout the night. We had another nice, quiet day at the guest house. Aaron went out for a while and got a couple of souvenirs, and he and I went to an art gallery just down the alley from the guest house. The art there is amazing, and the artists themselves are there to show you there pieces and talk about them. That was one thing we really wanted to bring home this trip, an Ethiopian painting, and we found one we both really loved. For dinner tonight we went with the other families at the guest house to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant, and left Hope with a caregiver. She did awesome, and went to sleep perfectly for her. I felt both so relieved, totally confused, and a bit of a failure. :) I think she really sleeps better in her own bed. And, the caregiver was actually one from one of her foster care houses, so she felt totally comfortable with her. The dinner was so fun! They had a big buffet of beautiful Ethiopian food, and while we were eating they had musicians, singers, and dancers. We came back and went to bed pretty quickly, expecting Hope to be awake a lot of the night. But, she slept great! She woke up once, I gave her a bottle, put her back in her bed, and she slept until 7:00!!! So exciting!

Wednesday, December 28

Last night for dinner we went out with two other families to a great restaurant called Island Breeze. The food in Ethiopia is really so good, and they have basically everything, italian, chinese, american, and really good pizza. It was fun to get out for a while and Hope did great. It was our first time riding with her in a car, and they don't have carseats, so I just held her. We also gave her a bath last night, and she didn't love it, but didn't scream too much either. I felt a little more prepared for bedtime, and swaddled her for the first time. It helped me hold her better, and I felt a little more in control. Before, she would flail around everywhere, and I would just have to change positions constantly while trying very hard not to drop her as she tried to launch herself out of my arms. She fought for about 20 minutes with all her strength, but finally fell asleep. I put her in her crib, and she slept about an 1 ½ before waking up. I gave her a bottle and then brought her in our bed where she slept the rest of the night without waking up crying! And she woke up about 5:30, but fell back asleep until 6:30. It was so much better than last night! I'm still not sleeping a ton, because I am just waiting for her to wake up, and I am totally not used to sleeping with a kiddo in our bed, but it was definitely more restful.

This morning we had our embassy appointment at nine which ended up being so easy. I was nervous about it, that they would ask us a bunch of questions, we wouldn't have the right paperwork, etc., but it was so simple. Everyone is in this big room, and when they call your name you go up to this window, sort of like at a bank. The guy there had our file, and had Aaron sign something, had us swear that all our info was correct, and asked us one question about Hope's birthparents. That was it! No more paperwork, or anything, and we can pick up her visa Friday morning. It literally took about 10 minutes. It's funny thinking how much work has to be done and redone, all for an interview that is just minutes long.

After our embassy appointment we went back to her foster care house for a coffee ceremony. We walked into the yard of the house, and all the kids from her room were outside playing. Several of them yelled her name and came up to her and hugged and kissed her. And all the caregivers were so happy to see her. She also has a little friend there, and they were unbelievably cute together. They were laughing, and interacting with each other, you could absolutely tell they were so happy to see one another. Her special mother wasn't there, I guess she is on leave for about 2 weeks, so another caregiver took her and changed her into a traditional Ethiopian dress. We played outside for a while with all the kids, it's funny how some of them are so outgoing and will climb right up into your lap, and others are very shy. Hope seemed totally fine with everything. I really wasn't sure how it would go, if she would be upset about going back, or if she wouldn't want to leave again with us, but she really seemed fine. After a while they took all the kids in to eat lunch, which was interesting to see. There are kids her age, and ones that are older, so the older ones sat at a little table and fed themselves and the younger ones took turns being fed by the caregivers. They fed Hope too, some crackers or cookies mixed with milk and mushed up and a bottle of milk. After she ate we walked over to another house and had the coffee ceremony. There was a girl there who first roasted the coffee beans, then ground them, and then made them into coffee. It was so good, but so strong! She served it in little teacups, and if you kept drinking it, she would refill it for you. I had about 2 ½ cups on an empty stomach, and was a little shaky afterward. :) Again it was a blessing to see the women who have raised Hope and taken care of her. They truly love those kids, and the foster care homes are a peaceful and happy place. At the same time, it was good for me to see that as good as a home like that is, it really isn't a family, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to offer that to Hope.

On the way home, Hope fell asleep in the car which was huge because she has never fallen asleep peacefully with us. She has so far only fallen asleep after fighting with all of her strength. We came back to the guest house and talked to the other families for a while before I decided to try and lay her down for a nap because she was acting tired. I swaddled her again, and she whimpered a bit, but again fell asleep peacefully! I almost cried with relief. I'm not sure if we have turned a corner or not with this, but I am just so thankful that her heart and mind were more trusting of me and she felt more secure. I am praying this only continues and grows!

Tuesday, December 27

The rest of Monday went well. One thing we are learning is that Hope fights sleep with everything in her little body. She fights naps, and she REALLY fights bedtime. Last night we started putting her down around 6:40 or so, and she fought hard for an hour, slept about 45 minutes, woke up screaming and fought it again. The rest of the night she would sleep for 30-60 minutes and just wake up crying so hard, wanting me to hold her, but pushing me away, hitting me, arching her back and use every ounce of energy to keep herself awake. Aaron said last night in the midst of it, that she is a fighter, and she really is! Finally around 3:30am she passed out for good and slept until a little after 7. She only wants me to hold her, so Aaron and I can't really take turns, and I am feeling the exhaustion setting in. When she is awake during the day she is so happy, but she kind of transforms into another little person at night. I just keep praying for strength, grace, and patience.

She also is eating a lot better. She has wanted nothing to do with any of the baby food we brought, so one of the girls who works at the guest house made her some ground chickpeas with injera, and she ate a ton of that! She took a 2 ½ hour nap this morning from 10:30-1:00, after fighting it for about an hour. After having three boys who never had any sleep issues at all, this has definitely been the hardest part so far. I think that either she is grieving, and it comes out at night, or she is afraid. They brought her to us during her nap, so I don't know if she is afraid of falling asleep? Not to mention every other aspect of her life is totally different, so I'm sure is is incredibly insecure.

We are also seeing more of her personality come out, and she is quite the little spit fire! We have had a few tantrums, and discovered she is quite adept at hitting. :) We have spent our days so far at the guesthouse, playing in our room or outside in the yard, or in the living room of the main house. There are three other families staying here too, and one of them picked up their daughter today. She is basically like Hope was her first day, pretty scared and unresponsive. But, hopefully they will have chances to play together later on.

It's been fun to see Hope get a little braver about exploring her world too. The first day she didn't move around much, but today she is everywhere, opening things, putting things in her mouth, and acting more and more just like any other 17 month old.

It's been weird to really have no where to go, or nothing on the agenda except to be with each other. I am so thankful we are getting this time, and praying for the bonding to continue and grow. It's so surreal thinking about where we were even two weeks ago, and so comforting that God knew all along when this next part of our lives would begin. And He is here with us now, in the midst of getting to know our daughter and her getting to know us. It is definitely not an easy process, but it is good.

I'm going to post about our trip, just so we have a record of it somewhere. I don't want to forget any of these details!

Monday, December 26

It's hard to even know how to start this, but I don't want to forget anything about these last few days. Coming to Ethiopia for the 2nd time, this time to have our daughter with us, and knowing we will be bringing her home has been so different. Wonderfully different. The stress, and anxiety, the weight of waiting, all that is gone. I don't feel sick to my stomach, and I find myself thinking more about the future again.

The night before we left, Thursday, Micah came down with the stomach flu. He ended up throwing up twice Thursday night, and 2 more times during the night (poor guy didn't even call for us), and when he woke up Friday morning he still looked so sick and felt pretty bad. We had to be at the airport by 11, and needed to drop the boys off first at Aaron's mom's, so we didn't really have much time to make a decision. I didn't feel like I could leave him, he was so sick, and I didn't want anyone else to get sick either, so Aaron called the travel agency. There really weren't any good options for postponing, plus we had our embassy appointment set, and they would be closed until the 27th. Anyway, we prayed about it, called both of our families, and finally decided we would go. Right after we prayed, my mom called us again, and told us to go. Micah started feeling better, and by the time we left he was fine.

Our trip here was uneventful and long, and thankfully all of our bags made it with us! We arrived Saturday night around 9:30, and met another family who is also staying at the Bejoe guest house with us. We also got to see our driver again from our last trip, Bruke. Sunday we woke up bright and early, and spent the morning talking with the other family staying here. Around 1:30, they brought Hope to us. Bless her heart, she was so scared. And she was sick, and it was right in the middle of her nap time. She whimpered a lot, and I will never forget the look on her face. We held her, rocked her and took her back to our room where she promptly threw up. We both just felt terrible for her. I knew it would be hard for her, but I didn't really understand it until I saw her face. I know what we can give her in terms of a parents and a family is really good, but giving up everything she has and being left with two strangers in a strange place is incredibly traumatic. She finally fell asleep in my arms and I just held her while she slept. When she woke up she seemed better, more calm, and like she felt better too. We sat on the bed, and looked at her book (she had the little photo album we had sent for her birthday, and would not let go of it), and then I showed her another little bear we had brought. We still didn't know if she could walk or not, but all of a sudden she stood up on the bed. I set her on the floor, and she just took off! She has clearly been walking for quite some time! We played in our room for a while, and after a few hours we saw her first smile. She is really quiet, but will definitely let you know if she doesn't like something! Her caregivers had sent a couple different kinds of medicine, something for her throat, and actual little pills she is supposed to take. They look like aspirin, and we have not had much luck in getting her to take those. She fought sleep hard last night, but went down about 8. She woke up crying pretty hard at 9:20, and would not go back in her crib. So, she slept between us last night, she was pretty restless, but went back to sleep easily when she would wake up.

And this morning she woke up happy, and ready to go. She still is not eating much, she won't touch any of the baby food I brought, and is drinking only a little bit of milk. But she is smiling and laughing so much more today, and she gives me so many hugs and snuggles. She isn't as attached to Aaron yet, but we are working on that. Not pushing her, but giving him opportunities to be with her and give her special attention. I just can't believe we are with her, she is unbelievably cute, and I am just so thankful.

Monday, January 2, 2012


"Together is a wonderful place to be." We are home, together, and so, so thankful. :)