Monday, April 29, 2013

Care Packages = Sweet smiles!

The past few weeks have flown by. I still am in awe that God has matched us with a little boy so perfect for our family! The peace that has come from receiving our referral and now being able to place a face and a name has shocked me. I think I lived in such struggle for so many months and have finally came to a place of calm and understanding. I knew that God had to work on our hearts big time to prepare us for this adoption journey and that when our hearts we ready he would reveal our son, and he has!

We are now in the waiting stage for the next month or two while paperwork continues to be completed.

One of the exciting parts of this time of waiting is Care Packages.


 
 
Our agency allows us to send photo releases to families who are traveling to the transition home and with the photo releases they may also take care packages. Now, in the 18 months of waiting you would have thought that I, the planner, would have made a care package....you would be wrong! I was afraid I would jinx it..
 
                             (I know- great faith step- insert eye roll!)

So we made it a family event and took the children to walmart to buy their new brother his first gifts.
    Saria picked out a toy car
   Kellsie crayons and a small coloring book 
   Jacob- a can of Flarp....
 
 (For those of you that have never had a jokster in your house Flarp- it is like a jelly type play-dough that is in a can and when you push on it the noise it creates is similar to a really gross body function- I can only imagine these two boys together and all the mischief that will ensue ! )
 
They then all wrote letters and drew pictures to "N".  I totally love my children and their diversity:
   Saria- a simple getting to know you letter
   Kellsie- a picture of N and her playing
   Jacob- a picture of the Flarp saying: Don't get into trouble with the Flarp!

Gene and I added a few other things in like some family pictures, socks, sunglasses and gum.
 
We received a picture of him with his very first care package today. Each family shares with us how sweet he is and how he shared his gum with their daughter. We can't wait to hug this little man!

 
 Is he not the cutest -even with out seeing his little face!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Our New Son

In the last blog post I showed your our children's reactions. This past week we have had an out pouring of love and support for our new son. Thank you to each and every one of you for the kind words.

 
 


This blog post is difficult to write, not because of a lack for words but rather we want to keep some of our new son's life history his own that he can choose to share or not to share as well as remembering the Ethiopian governments' request of disclosure while providing an opportunity for you to read about our journey in an open format.

Adoption is beautiful but it comes from a place of pain and sadness. Our son may be gaining a new family but has lost his birth family. We will always honor the commitment and love that his birth family gave him before he came to us.

One of the many reasons we chose Ethiopia is because of the amount of poverty. If you ever read the statistics on our blog you would see the lack of health care, education and overall resources. Our son comes from a beautiful country with loving people but many lead very humble lives.


In international adoption an "orphan" came mean lots of different terms and there are many reasons why a child is not with there birth family. For N both of his parents died due to a lack of healthcare. He then lived with an Aunt for a few short months before going to the Orphanage. He was very loved by his family and they wanted the best for him. It is hard for me to write this with out tearing up. Hs family made the ultimate sacrifice, they choose a life for him in America where he would receive an education and health care and a complete family unit rather than a life of poverty and illness in Ethiopia. We will forever be indebted to his birth family for the sacrifice and love they have for him.

Due to Ethiopian policy we can not share his name with you so we will call him "N". He is a sweet little boy who is 6 or 7 years old. We are unsure of his birth date because Ethiopia runs on the Ge'ez calendar which is different than ours. They also do not keep track of dates or documents like we do so discrepancies in age are common.

He loves to play games and already knows some of the English alphabet!  This week our agency told him that he has a forever family and gave him pictures from our dossier. It melts my heart to wonder what he was thinking and his initial reaction.
              
Here is Kellsie with her new big sis shirt holding his picture.....sorry no disclosing his face!


Each month we will receive updates and pictures from our agency as well as pictures from other families that are traveling. Until then I stare at that beautiful little face and count down the days until court!

In the next blog post I will try to describe the process of court and embassy and hopefully be able to write a general timeline for us.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Telling the kids


So in the last blog post I shared with you that we received our referral call. If you all have met me before you know that I love giving gifts and surprises.

After we got "the call" I went to Walmart and picked up a few new things for our little guy that I though he would like and that also related to our three kids we have right now. I brought them home and wrapped them (and color coded each bag) and then used the gifts to tell the kids. We videotaped their reactions, unfortunantly my IPAD's storage capacity was filled completely full with pictures that the girls take of themselves making silly faces- literaly there were 134!  and it cut out at the last moment...

Don't they look so excited in the beginning (insert eye roll here from my teenagers)

video

Don't you just hate when a camera does this......

          So at this time I am trying to ell the kids to freeze and hold their expressions until I can erase the pictures and make room for another video. Then here we are trying to make it again like we never stopped (yes- I realize I failed! )


video
 
I loved seeing their reactions. The girls are not shy about showing their emotions but our Jacob is a little more reserve, if you look carefully you can see a tiny smile before he realizes I am still filming :)
 
We told my parents with a gift too and it was sweet as well. I didn't record that one but it is imprinted into my heart.
                                                                  
 
Since we live 2 hours away from Gene's parents we had to tell them via phone (actually Gene spilled the beans with out me- my honest Abe said he couldn't hide it! )
 
 
On next blog post I will tell you about HIM!
 
(or at least the few details were are permitted to share and
more of my heart journey this past week because with the joy of adoption also comes the sadness of a broken family)

Monday, April 8, 2013

We got "The Call" !!!!!!!!!

We received "The Call" on Friday around 2:20!!!!!  After almost 19 months from starting this journey it was surreal to know that day was our referral day!

Our son is around 6-7 years of age (more about that to come) and oh so sweet!!!!

I hope I can capture a bit of what it was like for us while respecting our little guy and his history....

Gene and I were able to FaceTime together while we listened to our family coordinator share the file with basic information about him.  I may or may not have been screaming in my office and so elated that I sounded like a crazed lunatic. There were tears of joy over being matched and tears of sadness over his life story. We both ended the call in shock that we had recieved the referral but knowing with out a doubt that this is OUR SON!!!

Our family coordinator then e-mailed me the file containing various documents about him and his life so far as well as lab work and medicals. It was so tempting to take a sneak peak at the file before Gene got home but I stayed firm and waited while wanting to tell the whole world that WE HAVE ANOTHER SON!!!!!  It was a challenge to act "normal" and pretend like our lives had not changed in an instant. But our God has a sense of humor and kept me busy with a scooter accident that ended in bandaids and kisses for Kellsie and a smelly dog who took a swim in the lagoon.

Finally Gene was able to get home and we send the kids off to play while we looked at all the documents and his picture. Check out our reaction to his picture here :






In the next blog post I will share with you how we told the kids and then tell YOU about him!




Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Movement



So that is the theme of this blog post. We have done lots of movement lately. The first big movement- our home!

 


The next big movement- our updated home-study. It has been almost 19 months since we "officially" started this adoption journey and almost a year of being DTE (dossier to Ethiopia).  Amazing to think how slowly time had gone but also how fast at the same time. When we started this journey Kellsie was 6 and now she is 8. We knew a little about Ethiopia and now I feel like it is my second home. We had just met the Jay's in passing and now I can't imagine this journey with out them. I had changed back over to counseling at the high school and now my 3 favorite counselors-in-crime are part of my every day routine. Jacob and Saria were a bit hesitant to add a new child into our home and now they count down the days.




Then Vacation- since we have been so focused on saving for our adoption we have done little traveling (and Amanda likes to de-stress by distraction and avoidance) so this Spring break we decided to jump feet first and last minute went to Chicago with some very dear friends! Although the Bigs ( Jacob and Saria) couldn't come we had a great time with Kellsie and got to relax and have fun with friends. For us just being with friends and no cooking, cleaning and dishes to do was fantastic.

 

                                  One day our little man will be part of this group too !


Lastly- movement on "the list"  In the beginning I imagined a tiny baby and now we see a six or seven year old little boy. We all can't wait to have a little guy to play Lego's with, give piggie back rides too and teach how to ride a bike. We have moved up these past few months on this list and are now so very close to referral time.


We wait with anticipation and anxiety as we move closer to the top. We are actively seeking Gods direction and feel that finding out who our son is may be very close! But, I'm going to leave that as a Clift hanger as our journey unfolds......


Until then, thank you for supporting us and praying for us.