11/25/09 - November Update

Each month, until we pass court, our agency will send us updates about the boys: general health updates, eating/health issues, development/physical assessments, personality notes, answers to our five questions, and best of all, NEW PICTURES!

I am able to share some of the details:

* Both boys have gained weight and our youngest, Ryan, has gained five pounds - praise God!

* Ryan is getting over the chicken pox - our poor baby!

* Both boys like eating pasta, macaroni, rice, injera (Ethiopian flat, circular bread, looks like a giant tortilla, meats/soups are served on it), bread, vegetables, meat, eggs, and fruit - hopefully they will like all these things American style!

* Both are running, jumping, and hopping. They also sing the ABCs after the nannies!

* We are told John likes to play with cars (yeah, as friends are giving us their two sons' matchbox car collection after we get home!) and Ryan likes children's music (not a problem! We have lots of CDs and musical instruments, including a piano!).

We learned their reaction to learning about us: "We [the nannies at the Transition House where the boys are in Addis Ababa] think they understand being adopted because they have seen their friends leaving with their adoptive families and when one of the nannies explained this in their language [John] smiled! (We so hope they were smiling when they saw pictures of us in their care packages!!!) We also learned that they speak Welayta, a language common to southern Ethiopia, and can understand some common Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, words.

We didn't expect the update to come until next Monday, the last day of the month! What a TREMENDOUS BLESSING it was to receive it today!!!!

Hidden Surprises

We recently traveled to Ohio for the weekend to visit friends. Amy's Mom took care of our cat Scout while we were gone. When I (Amy) went to sort through the mail on the kitchen table Monday night after returning home, this was peeking over the bread maker at me!
We didn't find this one until Tuesday morning. It was on top of the entertainment center and kind of blended in with some Thanksgiving decorations.

Overwhelmed by Others' Generousity

While this heading could describe our whole adoption experience, we have recently been blessed with many items from friends.

Clothes, clothes, and more clothes! Mike and I had a BLAST looking through everything and sorting it all by size to put in drawers. If these all fit, Ryan should be set for winter! And there are enough pajamas for John too! Thanks Tracy and Kathy!!!
These items traveled back with us from Ohio where some friends of ours live. In addition to these fun toys are a toilet seat, bike carrier which attaches to one of our bikes (Mike has so wanted one!), and a wooden chair which will go with an old fashioned desk we have. Thanks Brad, Jenny, Jordyn, Josie, and Brock!!

Mike had a little free time one day:

In addition, a bag of 4T shirts, pants, socks, and shoes showed up on our porch step this week. Not sure who they are from (if someone told me they were going to bring them by, sorry, I can't remember!)

Finally, a friend had a new furnace put in last week and used the company we have used in the past and recommended to her, JM Heating here in Grayslake. She said we might receive a financial gift as a thank you from them. The company did a check of our address to verify that we were still here and were led by their search to this blog. So not only did we receive a check for $50 but also a beautiful note and congratulations gift, a complimentary furnace tune up so our furnace will be "in tip top shape for [our] sons' arrival." This brought tears to my eyes!!

We are blown away by the kindness of others and so humbled by their love for us. We have so, so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!!!

11/21/09 - We mail our second care package

Our second care package was mailed to Oklahoma today! Another family traveling to get their child, leaving on December 6th, will be bringing some more love to our boys! This time the boys are receiving an ABC photo book (a different picture on each page with the word in English, and Amharic and sign language if we could find them), shirts, small plastic dinosaurs, bouncy balls, and granola bars and licorice. We also included a card that we recorded our voices on! So the boys will hear us saying their names, telling them we love them, and that we will be coming for them soon!!Our first care package will be delivered to the boys sometimes (I think) Tuesday, November 24th!! As we are sleeping Monday night, the boys will be seeing our faces for the first time!!!

Interesting Questions and Comments

So we have fully been preparing for interesting questions and comments about our family when we return from Ethiopia, but I didn't expect them to start before the boys were even here! Here are some things we've been met with so far when strangers find out we are adopting two little boys from Ethiopia.

Comment: "Oh, isn't there AIDS there?"
(my first thought: Wow, that's an interesting first comment!)
My Answer: Actually there's AIDS throughout the world, so yes there's AIDS there. And a person who is HIV positive and is actually able to live a wonderful life! (Thanks Yahoo Group!)

Comment: "There's tons of kids here to adopt, why are you going half way around the world?" (and usually not said in a pleasant tone.)
(my first thought: Well, let me just tell you some of the pain we experienced when we tried that!)
My Answer: We tried that before and it wasn't successful.

Comment: "So you can't have children?"
(my first thought: Well that's none of your business!)
My Answer: Actually, this is God's plan for me.

Comment: "So it's kind of like buying a kid, isn't it?"
(my first thought: Ah, no!)
My Answer: No, you're not buying a child. You are paying the legal, international, and program fees.

But with these few comments from strangers have been HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of comments - from people who have never met us before - of genuine excitement, joy, congratulations, and encouragement.

And it's good practice before the boys are here at praying and answering in a calm manner and voice when these crazy questions and comments come!

11/12/09 - We have a court date!!!!

An email arrived today telling us that we have a court date on December 2nd!!!!!

Mike was actually checking email when I walked in to the room to talk to him. I was looking over his shoulder at the in box as he was talking and saw a message from Anna Graham, from America World our international agency, with the subject "Court Date." I leaned over Mike, opened the email, scanned down to find December 2 in bold and italicized, and screamed right in Mike's ear!! All the while he is saying who's this? what's going on? when's our court date? Then I did a happy dance, looked at the calendar and realized December 2 is only two and a half weeks away!!! WOW!!!

PRAISE: Please join us in praising God for how quick this part of the adoption is going! While we thought we would know by the end of the month when our court date was and had hoped and prayed it would be in December, we never dreamed we would know this soon or that court would be in early December!

PRAYER: Our paperwork - our home study update (we increased our age range) must be approved by IL DCFS, then sent to federal USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), which must also approve it and send the updates information to NVC (National Visa Center) which must send the corrected information to the Ethiopian Embassy in Addis Ababa. If that all sounds confusing, it is! And it has not been an easy process for anyone in our Yahoo Group who has gone through it. But without the paperwork in Ethiopia, we can't book a flight and travel. So if you will simply pray for "everything adoption" we'd be grateful!!!!!!

God already knows when our successful court date will be, when our updated paperwork will arrive in Ethiopia, and we will will travel to bring the boys home. The K-Love verse this morning says it all - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 That's what we plan on doing over the next two months!!!