We are The Poe's. Now a family of 5 through adoption. Here's a peek into our lives. Welcome!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Last Few Days

We're still at the stage where I feel like every day is blog-worthy. Every day brings some kind of progress or surprise and no 2 days look alike around here, even though we are finding a rhythm and seeing our daily schedule take shape...at least for now while I am at home with the kids.

I am very fortunate to have a job that is very flexible...very! In fact, I'm able to stay in contact and serve my clients from home even during this transition which basically boils down to 2 glorious words....PAID LEAVE! I really thank God for my job and being able to have this time off. After a visit to the office last week though, I have to admit that I miss my coworkers a lot and am looking forward to getting back there...eventually.

I feel like this week has been all about the sleep patterns...it is, of course, our biggest struggle. We are finding Desi to be doing really well during the day. She is less clingy and throws a lot fewer fits these days. [yeah!] I'm even being able to sneak some veggies in at meal time! So days are good. we are making progress every day. Nights are still a work in progress...

Every night is also a little different and we have yet to see any emerging patterns, so you never know what to expect. Here are the signs of nighttime progress that we have experienced these last few days....
  • She has on 2 occasions only woken up 1x the whole night!

  • I've been able to sooth her to sleep a couple of times without picking her up...rubbing her bare back did the trick...I hope we can see a repeat of this tonight!

  • On a couple of occasions I have observed her awake in her bed, playing around with her pillows and blankies...no crying! yes!

  • A couple of days ago, I rocked her at nap time and then put her down awake. I stayed in the room for over an hour as she fussed on and off before finally falling asleep. I've suspended this until after my mom and dad leave, but am looking forward to using nap time as a time to start working towards putting her in her bed awake and letting her fall asleep on her own. [this is sure to be frustrating, but hopefully fruitful!]

  • To go along with falling asleep on her own...one night a very full bladder forced me to put her down in her bed awake...I expected her to start screaming but to my surprise she was quite still...even after I came back to the room she just laid there awake before finally just falling asleep...it was strange! But I was very encouraged.

  • She has also, for the most part, been sleeping later in the morning.

  • She can [reluctantly] be rocked to sleep by Ryan now! Yay!
These may seem like small steps and technically they are, but anything that gives us hope that we'll sleep again is big stuff to us!

On another front, I think that we have finally mastered the sign language for "more". She was being so stubborn about doing it, even thought we knew she knew how. She wants to just point and grunt, a technique that must have served her well until now. Just today, we got her to really start signing it without having to make a huge deal about it. This little thing just means a lot when you have a language barrier. We just want to be able to communicate with her and for her to be able to communicate with us, so we are so happy that she's starting to get it! We can't wait for words, but signing is good for now. I think that the next sign we'll work on is "please".

I am also super excited to have my mom and dad in town for a visit! We were a little worried about how a visit would go this soon after returning...we originally thought we would have a couple more weeks before the visit, but we ended up having to wait to travel. But Desi is doing great! She loves my mom and dad and having them here actually gives Ryan and I a little bit of a break! Jake and Em are loving playing with them too. Mom and I took the kids to Toys R Us today and she got them whatever they wanted! [That's not something that happens too often!] I really love having my mom around to talk to about all this adoption stuff, there really is nothing like talking to your mom! I wish they could visit more often! I'll just enjoy it and relish it while they are here!

Here are a few pics of our visit so far....

Dad finally gets a kiss off of Em...

...and Jake

mom and Desi...

Dad and Desi....

Dad and Desi reading books...

I might get in trouble for posting this one, but it cracked me up! Dad falling asleep under a tree in our front yard! We've got a pretty peaceful place here... :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Yesterday a friend from our church brought us a wonderful dinner. It was truly a blessing, as have been all the meals we've been receiving. But it was the phone call to let me know that she was coming that brought the biggest blessing...
Mind you, this is a friend that I have not gotten to know well enough...yet. But she told me on the phone that for about 3 weeks she had been feeling like she was suppose to be praying for me in a very specific way. It was because of her own experiences that she felt like she should be praying for me in this way. Even when she told me what it was, there was doubt in her mind as to whether this was God or not. Did I even need this kind of prayer??
The answer was and still is, YES! I was overwhelmed and amazed that God could impress on someone that I wouldn't expect to pray for me, ME! But He knew that she knew exactly how to pray for me. So he used her to help me, and I didn't even know it! Isn't is crazy how this brother and sisterhood works?!
The other great part of this story is that she also told me that sometime she struggles to know if she really hears God's voice and His prompting in her life. Because she had followed, even not knowing if it was really God, and was able to share it with me, we were able to confirm together that she had heard, LOUD AND CLEAR!
I promise that at some point I will post more about this another time down the road, but I felt like I had to share this little part of the story today because maybe there is something I am suppose to be praying for, or you are suppose to be praying for. And maybe it seems random or off the wall, but you never know when it's really God wanting to use you!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Small Victories...Part II

We have just passed the 2 week mark being home with Desi. And every day we are still seeing the progress as she continues to bond with our family and become more comfortable in her new world. Here are a few more "small victories" to celebrate:
  • Desi's blood work results came back and everything was negative! Well, except that she's got a little stomach bug called Giardia...which translate to "the-nastiest-poopy-diapers-you could-ever-imagine!" A few days on a prescription should get that cleared up.

  • As you know from previous posts, nighttime hasn't been going very well. Desi's sleeping more like a newborn than a 20 month old. And for now, it's all on me to deal with the night because she still isn't letting daddy rock her to sleep. I've resumed sleeping in her room with her in hopes that my presence will help her to feel less anxious and scared and allow her to sleep better. This actually means less sleep for me since every time she moves I wake up and start "shh, shh, shh-ing" from across the room. But, last night, well actually this morning, around 5:30am when she woke I did the normal thing of picking her up and rocking, shh-ing, rocking, shh-ing, etc. When I laid her back down she woke up....aarrgh. HOWEVER she didn't cry, just whined and fussed a bit. Hmm....maybe she was drowsy enough that she would go back to sleep so I patted her back and she did go back to sleep! This was the first time that she was awake in her bed without wailing! I was encouraged as I tiptoed back over to my bed (aka Emily's fru-fru big-girl bed). But the good news doesn't stop there! A couple of hours later when she woke again, she didn't scream and cry as usual. She just peeked up over the crib rail at me. I shh-ed her a bit, expecting her to start the wailing. but she didn't. She just kind of hung out in her bed for a while, rolling around and playing with her blankie. Again, I was so encouraged that she was in her bed, awake, and not screaming. Hopefully these are signs that she's becoming more comfortable with her new surroundings and that there could be a glimmer of hope that I can return to my bed (which is one of my most favorite places to be) and to getting a full night of sleep (one of my most favorite things to do!)
  • Finally....yesterday I cleaned the bathroom! It is the most normal thing that I feel like I've done since returning home from Ethiopia 2 weeks ago. Normally I wouldn't consider cleaning a dirty toilet a "victory" but this time it feels that way. So, I'll chalk it up as a victory this once.

This morning we had a little fun with a wagon...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Praying for our friends

This week I have been thinking of and praying for our friends, Joe and Ali, a lot. They are in Ethiopia picking up their son, Ade. Ali has a special place in my heart. She was my best friend for an important season of my life.
Our friendship blossomed after high school when we were both active in the college group at church. For some reason we exercised a lot together...walking on Ashland Avenue and lots and lots of Tae Bo. I was in better shape then! :) We had great times together. We sang together on the church worship team, got engaged within months of one another, and even got married and were in each others weddings within a month of one another. It was hard when Ryan and I moved away to Indy several months after our wedding. And now it's been over 10 years. I would have loved to have had pregnancies and play dates with Ali through these years, but God brought us here and we love Indy and our friends here too.
And now it's crazy to think that within 2 weeks of each other we're picking up our babies from Ethiopia! Sometimes it kind of feels like parallel universes! I am so happy for Joe and Ali, knowing that they are finally getting to hold their little guy and prepare to bring him home. I'm praying that God will help Ade feel safe and secure and allow his little heart to open up to his new mommy and daddy.
Ethiopia is still very fresh in my mind. I can vividly remember the sense of awe and wonder as we took in the culture that is so very different from our own. Cows in the street alongside cars, taxis and busses! The crazy driving! People everywhere! The different smells in the air (mostly tailpipe exhaust...cough.) I also remember the strange mixture of feeling relieved to be taking our daughter away from there but also sad because that was her home and her culture and she probably wouldn't have seen it in the bleak way I did if she had the chance to grow up there. There is so much to take in during a week in this strange and very different place. You want to absorb as much as you can so you can give it back to your child some day. I hope that Joe and Ali are having a great time and taking it all in.
I also remember how homesick I started to feel, missing the kids so terribly. I especially will be praying for that as I know they'll be missing their 3 kids at home.
I'm really struck at how amazing it is that God put us on this path, to complete our family with a child from Ethiopia and then to find that we are sharing this same journey with friends. Before the year is over 2 more families who we are friends with will bring their babies home from Ethiopia too. We are definitely not on this road alone! Thank God for that!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Small Victories

Every day we are seeing progress, small victories that that tell us that we're moving in the right direction. It's hard some days to really celebrate these victories, like being able to sit down with Desi without her throwing a fit and hearing her utter words like mamama, and dadada (hoping that she's saying mama and dada).

Yesterday, though, I really took notice of a series of small victories that may not be so small...
I was sitting on the living room floor with a rather cranky Desi (getting up at 5:30 in the morning would make anyone crabby). Desi was throwing a fit and crying. Out of nowhere Emily shows up with Desi's sippy cup and puts it in Desi's mouth. She was trying to comfort Des with her baba. She kept on trying even as Desi resisted. I was so proud of Em at that moment. I praised her for being a good big sister. My heart was happy.

Later in the day, Emily was having some Gold Fish crackers. Desi strolled up and with her signature "mouth open and grunting" signal that she wanted a snack too. We asked Em to share her snack and she did. She gave Desi crackers to eat as she ate too. Again, we praised her for being a good big sister to Desi. Again, I was so proud of her!

Finally, at the end of the day, we were getting into the van and Em wanted to help Desi get buckled in. She took great care to get Desi fastened in to her car seat. And again, we praised her for being a good big sister and taking care of little Desi.

It made me so happy to see Emily starting to accept that Desi's here to stay and part of our family. I believe we still have a long road ahead. The girls continue to compete for my lap and attention. But seeing Em take on the "big sister" role a little bit gives me a lot of hope that they will soon be sweet friends.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

One week down...

We've been home for just over a week now. I have to be honest, it's been a really hard week. Much harder than I expected.
We are extremely fortunate to have a friend who is an expert in what we are experiencing right now. On Monday she came to the house to talk to us about how we can best integrate Des into our family dynamic. The things that she told us were very helpful and we are heeding every word of her advice, but it was also a little disheartening. To sum it up: a lot of hard work for an indefinite amount of time...ugh. It could take the full first year that she's home before we start to feel like we are functioning normally again. That scares me a lot! We are advised to stay very low key for the next month or so...that means limited visitors and social functions and not letting other people hold Desi. This should help her see us as her primary care takers. Right now she could see anyone who is willing to meet her needs as another caretaker, and we have to overcome that and get her to rely on us as her mommy and daddy.
We are finding that bringing home a child of Desi's age is pretty complex and probably the hardest age. She's old enough to know that big changes are happening to her and around her but not old enough to really grasp it or communicate her feelings. And she can't really understand us and the efforts we are making on her behalf. Even though she is nearly 2 years old, we have to treat her more like a newborn. Basically, we are starting from scratch with her. I had no idea how incredible hard it would be to do that for her. When she is throwing a tantrum, every parental bone in my body wants to teach her that tantrums are not appropriate. But I can't do that yet. She wouldn't accept it. So, we are having to rework our parenting style to suite her needs and it's no easy task.
And then there is the night...oh my goodness. She may still be suffering from jet lag because she's waking up around midnight every night...that's 7am in Ethiopia. While we were in Ethiopia Desi slept through the night....not here. Des requires me to rock her to sleep in my arms and then I have to very very delicately put her down without waking her. When she wakes and realizes that I am not holding her, she cries. So around midnight she wakes, cries and I have to go rock her. This cycle continues throughout the night...like a new born baby. I'm a person who needs my sleep. My world is off balance when I don't get sleep. I'm a crab when I'm tired. Not a fun mommy! God, grant me patience and strength to get through the nights!
And finally, there's Em. Poor thing. She is having a rough time. She, too, is in that complicated stage of life where she can perceive the change and she knows that she is uncomfortable with it, but lacks the communication skills to articulate how she feels. My heart breaks for her. To think that she is confused and hurt tears me up. She's very clingy and only wants me. Her emotions are on a hair trigger too. (It's obvious where she gets that.) She's jealous. She and Desi are competing for me and I do not like it. I've been laying down to sleep with her and telling her how much I love her. I hope she feels that. Please, God, don't let her feel rejected. Thankfully, Gam is going to spend some special time with her each week so that she can have some one-on-one attention. I'm so grateful for that!
Okay, so that was a bit of a rant. I feel that I need balance the negativity of this post with some good solid positives! So here's where things are going the right direction:
  • Des had her first visit to our pediatrician and she's pretty much healthy. Besides an ear infection and a case of ringworm on her scalp (gross!) she's doing good. At almost 20lbs., she's in the 3% for weight and 25% for height, so she's on the charts!
  • I know that her bonds with Ryan and I are growing and she is becoming more comfortable. She's having fewer tantrums and most of the time I can sit down with her without her getting mad!
  • A good sign that she's bonding is that she "checks in" with Ryan and I frequently. She's an affectionate girl and likes to be snuggled, so she often cruises over to one or the other of us for a few moments of love and then is back off to explore and play.
  • She's letting Ryan do most of the "need meeting" now, besides the sleeping thing. He can feed her, change her diaper and soothe her when she's upset! Praise God!


I also just have to say what an amazing blessing Ryan is to me. From the day we met Des and she wasn't very nice to him, he's been at my side supporting me. And now that she's comfortable with him, he gives me as much time as he can by playing and caring for her. He's doing most of the housework too! I haven't been myself for a few days and he has been very patient. The last few nights he's gotten up with me and Desi because he knows how hard the nights are for me. I love him and thank God for him....he's being a rock. I know I wouldn't get through this without him.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Long Journey Home

ok. So where was I? Oh yes, giddy! I was so excited to be getting ready to travel home! Even the thought of Jake and Em brought me to tears...yes, I was a total mess all day Thursday. But I was ready and more than willing to tackle what Ryan and I had agreed for 18 months was the most terrifying step in this journey....the plane ride home!

Our guide had assured us that arriving at the airport 2 1/2 hours early would be ample time to get through with minimal stress...WRONG! I guess there was bad weather in Washington DC that affected the delicate balance of the Addis Ababa Airport. When we pulled away from the guest house that evening it was raining...hard. I had no umbrella or rain coat. Luckily the baby wrap completely covered Desi. The airport was packed! The line for ticketing was long and slow! By the time we made it to the ticket counter we were nervous. The agent kept talking to other people the whole time he was helping us and then when he was done he looked us in the face and told us we were on STAND BY! Oh, my friend, you did not just say STAND BY! There was no way we were going to be on stand by! He assured us that we would get on this plane, but we would have to wait until we got to the gate to get our seating assignments. Deep Breaths!

So, if you were standing there with us and you looked to the left, you would have seen a line that could easily have been a mile long. And that was the line for immigration, which was just where we needed to go. By this time we only had an hour until our flight would start boarding and this line was not moving. Somehow, by the grace of God, we were ushered to a very short line along with the 2 other couples we were traveling with. Maybe 6 frantic looking Americans with Ethiopian babies tipped someone off that we needed help? After making it through immigration and finally to the gate the agent there asked us to sit and wait while she could "see what I can do..." My heart was racing and I don't even want to describe what Ryan was like! When there was not a single person left in the gate area because they all had boarded the plane, the agent finally handed us a couple of boarding passes for, get this, BUSINESS CLASS. Really? Well at least all the panic and fear landed us in the first row! We arrived at our seats as the flight attendant was offering champagne. As much as I probably needed a drink, I passed.

Since it was almost 10:30 at night, Desi fell asleep after take off and I thought we were off to a good start for the 17 hour flight back to Washington DC. About an hour into the flight I made the mistake of letting the flight attendant talk me into trying to put Desi down in the bassinet that was available for our seats. Now awake, she wouldn't let me put her down, nor would she let me sit down. So I stood in the first row of first class swaying...and yes, crying. I could feel the eyes on me and I felt so silly. I didn't want everyone thinking I was having a nervous break down or didn't know what I was doing, even though I would say that both scenarios were true.

Out of nowhere, another mom from our travel group was at my side. She was experiencing a lot of what I had been going through with her new son. God must have told her to find me because I needed someone to look at me at the moment and say that they understood and that I was going to make it. I knew I would make it home, I knew God would help me get this girl home, even if I had to stand and sway for 12 more hours in first class.

We flew on Ethiopian Airlines, which was a blessing since the flight attendants are Ethiopian. A very nice woman offered to hold Desi for me and I quickly agreed. She was able to get her to sleep in the bassinet. Praise God! I fully reclined my extra spacious seat, kicked out the foot rest and cried myself to sleep under my blue velour eye mask. The rest of the flight was still hell-in- the-sky for me, but she did take another nap in the bassinet and by the end she was pretty stir crazy so she got off my lap a little and walked around some...the first time she was willing to do this in the presence of Ryan...so that was a little breakthrough right there. I don't think that we terrorized anyone who had actually paid for their first class tickets, so by the time we landed in DC I was feeling okay that it didn't go worse...she could have screamed for 17 hours, I guess. And...we were stateside! Finally! Back in the USA! Now we just had to get on one more flight and get home to our life and our American babies!

Getting through customs in DC was like everything else...slow. But we didn't have any trouble and so we were off to say goodbye to our travel com padres, find our gate, and have some familiar tasting food. After a big fat juicy cheeseburger that tasted like Heaven, we arrived at our gate. There was no one working at the gate, so Ryan went to buy some Dramamine. While he was gone I was hearing an announcement that was stating that our flight had fully checked in an to watch for your name to appear on stand by list....yeah, you read that right...STAND BY! United Airlines overbooked our flight! It's actually worse, because one of us was on stand by and the other was going to be the lucky recipient of a $400 travel voucher and a seat on the next flight to Indy in about 5 hours. The minute an agent appeared we were pleading for our seats on this fight. No travel voucher was going to make this okay. Of course, the waterworks started flowing. It was not my intention to be manipulative, I really couldn't hold it back. It must have hit a soft spot because a few moments later, both our names appeared on the confirmed passenger list. We profusely, and very secretively thanked that agent as we boarded the plane. He was an angel, albeit a rather rude one. But he came through for us! We could feel the prayers being said on our behalf. There was not way we would have made it through these obstacles without the prayers of our friends and family. It felt like God was personally guiding us home.

All this time, Desi is doing fine, by the way. She's awake in the baby wrap and she's starting to show more and more of her personality. Lots of smiles and playfulness...but she was killing my back and neck!

On the United flight I sat next to a really wonderful older lady from Kenya who had been on our Ethiopian flight as well. She's an English professor at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana and she played with Desi a lot. It was really nice to talk to her. She had adopted a child herself a long time ago and understood the journey that still lay ahead of us. (I also sat 2 rows behind Senator Evan Bayh...seems noteworthy. )

As we stepped off the plane into the Indianapolis airport I was giddy again. We could not walk fast enough to get to the area where I knew Sandy and the kids would be watching for us. I would have sprinted if I didn’t have a baby strapped on! It was the longest walk ever! But when I saw those 2 little faces….ahhh, words cannot describe it. Kneeling down and hugging Jake and Em made it all worth it. Of course I was bawling and Em said in her sweet voice, “don’t cry, mommy!” They were meeting Desi for the first time. Emily called her an “it” which was funny, but they each gave her a kiss and we were finally complete. Together. Our, now, family of 5. The end of one crazy journey leading right into the beginning of another. Hopefully this journey to come won't be so crazy!
I’m happy to report that Desi didn’t scream the whole way home from the airport in her car seat! Yay! And the last few days, while very trying and hard, have also brought some great breakthroughs and progress, especially where Ryan is concerned. On her second full day home she walked over to him and he pulled her onto his lap and they played. She threw her arms around him and hugged him. Every day since then has been better. Today she even let him change her diaper! (This is a personal victory for me as well!) Seeing her look at him with smiles, and knowing that she is bonding with him makes the work easier…not easy…but easier.

We know that we have a long hard road ahead of us...probably harder than we thought. But God called us to this, so I keep praying for His strength, patience, and wisdom as we help Desi become one of us!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

More of our Ethiopia Adventure....

So, we have been home for a couple of days now. Still very tired and pretty much drained in every way! I have no appetite so, I'm sure not eating enough it contributing to the exhaustion! But it seem that I am recovering pretty well from the jet lag which felt like slamming into a brick wall at about 3:30 pm on Friday!

Once we took custody of Desi on Monday, I didn't have much time or energy for anything that I wanted to do, let alone update the blog! I've had a chance to read all the comments and appreciate all the wonderful words of encouragement and congratulations! They truly do uplift my spirits, which are up and down.

I'm noticing how much bringing home an adopted child feels a lot like giving birth! The wait and anticipation is like a pregnancy, the labor of traveling and then the exhaustion of new parenthood once you're home with this tiny stranger. It's very reminiscent of when Jake was born...in fact, the hardship of that time over 6 years ago has proved to me once again that you never know what God will do with the experiences of your life, good and bad, down the road.

My last post left off on the night before we took custody of Desi. On Monday we started the day with much anticipation! We were finally going to bring her home...we were pretty fearful of how she would react. We had, as you know, only spent about 3 hours with her and it wasn't perfect...especially the part where she wouldn't let me feed her. But we knew that we would manage.

Our first stop of the day was at the Bethany offices to speak with her social worker and a nurse who knew her case. We were also given a presentation of the programs that Bethany Christian Services are working on in Ethiopia to promote healthy families. The most noteworthy is there new Foster Care/Kinship Care program that they are launching. I found it amazing that there was an effort and an interest in this. BCS is about to launch their foster care program with, I believe, 25-30 families from churches in ET! They are also working on a mentoring program with adoptive families. I was also intrigued to know that our experience of taking non-biological children and also children from another race into our homes could translate and help an Ethiopian family fostering a child who is not their own or from another tribal background. So, I hope that we hear more of the opportunities to be involved in this program. We were also encouraged to see that World Vision, Samaritan's Purse and other organizations are present in ET.

Our conversation with Desi's social worker, Blen, revealed what we expected, that she was going to need time...maybe a lot of time to get used to us and especially Ryan. According to Blen, Desi was very weak and wasn't walking or even really standing much. So we were expecting a long road ahead.

After the BCS office we stopped for lunch at a Tex Mex restaurant! I had a burrito, Ryan had a big fat juicy cheeseburger! He was pretty happy!

Then it was off the the orphanage for the farewell ceremony. I was actually more emotional at this ceremony than when we met her for the first time. A small choir of kids awaiting the finalization of their adoptions sang to us and they were fantastic! When each child was brought into the room to join their new parents the children chanted their name, it was so sweet! Desi was dressed in a traditional Ethiopian dress with a scarf around her head...she was so beautiful. There was also an enormous cake that they had baked and each family cut a slice and fed it to their child. Perhaps she was in shock, but she let Ryan feed her the cake! We were very encouraged by that. She didn't cry at all, so our hopes were high. We gave her nannies a thank you gift and got pictures and hugs! Her main nanny was so sweet and I could tell that she loved Desi and had taken great care of her. I look forward to showing Des the photos of her some day and assuring her that even during her most traumatic times, there were people who loved and cared for her.

Des was pretty quiet for the next couple of days. She ate well and slept well. She was pretty uncomfortable with Ryan, so she spent most of her time strapped onto me in a baby wrap or on my lap. There were times that she would sit on our bed and I played her Praise Baby and Baby Einstein videos on my laptop.

One day, I was pretty tired, I wanted to put her down and just watch TV. Ryan was reading an adoption book, so he left the room. I had noticed that Desi relaxed a lot when he wasn't there. I got a lot of smiles and playfulness from her in those moments where it was just the 2 of us. It was bittersweet to see her open up, but know that it was because Ryan was not there. I prayed a lot that she would see him as a safe person...we even tried hugging in front of her, which brought her to tears! She did the most remarkable thing that day...she shimmied down off the bed and started walking! I was stunned! I grabbed the video camera and taped her joyfully cruising around the room. Later we showed the video to her social worker, Blen, and she was stunned! I was so excited and also so sad that Ryan had missed her first steps with us! At this point, I really started to feel the weight of the knowing that I was going to bear a lot of the responsibility of caring for her.

As the days went on I was so ready to come home! We had Embassy on Tuesday, which was just a short exit interview and a lot of waiting! It was a great time to be with all of the 8 other families that were traveling in our group. We celebrated and clapped as each family reentered the waiting room...the final step in this process complete! It would take until Thursday morning to get our visa and be cleared to leave the country. I started to become an emotional wreck. I was weary of carrying a child around on me all the time! I was so homesick for Jake and Emily. At one point we called home and I could hear them as Ryan spoke to each of them on the phone. Em's tiny sweet voice range over the phone "hi daddy" and I burst into tears! I wanted to hug them so badly! I wanted them in my arms! I just wanted to go home. I cried a lot on Wednesday and Thursday! There are only so many goats and sheep and funny billboards to keep you entertained in a foreign country...there is nothing like your house and your BED!! I was giddy to pack our bags and prepare to head to the airport on Thursday night...giddy!
...To Be Continued....
(Our trip home is worthy of it's own post for sure! )

Sunday, August 1, 2010


So, the internet here is pretty slow, so I don’t think I’ll be able to post any picture! :( Sorry! I’ll post them soon after we get home, I promise!

Yesterday we got to meet Desalee’s biological father. It was such an emotional visit. I’m not going to go into detail, but we know that giving her up was a hard and painful decision for him and that he is so thankful that God had allowed us to be her family. Our hearts are full and we are so grateful to have had this opportunity! It will mean so much to be able to share this with Desalee one day.

We went to the town where the meeting took place by van….it took about 3 hours to drive there. Once we got out of the city and into the rural areas we found Ethiopia to be breathtakingly beautiful! I’ve never loved 3 hour van ride so much! Addis is in the mountains, so the scenery is like a post card! The driving is crazy! My mom would have passed out! The people use the streets for walking and herding livestock, so there were many obstacles (goats, cows, sheep, chickens, people…) and I don’t think the brake pedal got much use! Once we noticed that the driver was going 105 Km/hr and the speed limit was 30km! (that’s about 65 miles per hour on mountainous “highway”!) But we never really felt unsafe…it was more like an adventure! And we made it there and back safe…thank God! And no animals were harmed, although we thought one chicken was sure to get it! They honk their horns all the time as a signal to people to get out of the way, which is pretty different from how we use it in the states.

Today we attended the International Evangelical Ethiopian Church. It was an energetic service and we got to worship with people from all around the world! I really enjoyed it. We sang a few familiar worship songs…in fact, one of my favorites, Wonderful Merciful Savior, kind of made it feel like home. I was a little emotional this morning from a little bit of home sickness. I really miss the kids! The familiarity of the worship kind of pushed me over the edge!
We had a really nice lunch at a golf Country Club…they are treating us great! The food is excellent, although we haven’t had a lot of authentic Ethiopian cuisine. Most of the restaurants serve dishes from all over the world, so it’s not too hard to find a familiar favorite. We’re especially thankful that we haven’t gotten sick, although Ryan is developing a cold/sinus infection. (Prayers!)
After lunch we went for Machiatto’s at Kaldi’s Coffee. It was the best coffee I’ve ever had! Kaldi’s is totally knocking off Starbucks with their logo and the atmosphere of the cafĂ©. But you know, as soon as you drive by you think “Starbucks?” and think it must be a coffee shop! Smart!

Tomorrow we go to a farewell celebration at the orphanage and then take Desi into our care. We’ll have her with us at the guest house until we bring her home on Thursday night! We are pretty scared! I don’t think she’s really that comfortable with us, and she’s only seen us for a few hours on Friday. We know she’s probably going to be terrified! It’s bittersweet to be finally getting her to ourselves and yet knowing that taking her from the orphanage is going to be really hard on her. We would love your prayers for us and her tomorrow. That God would help her feel safe and secure and that we would be attuned and sensitive to her needs. Everyone in our travel group is feeling the same way, so we do have a pretty good network of support here…and the staff at the guest house is so gracious, I know they will help us however they can too!
So, that’s it for now! I hope to be able to update again…we’ll see how the week goes!

Love, S