Thursday, December 8, 2011

Around the world and back...

We have been home now for two weeks. It has been hard to figure out what to say on this blog and how to even put into words our experience in Ethiopia. I find it difficult to even express to friends and family how it felt being there and meeting our son for the first time. I just don't really think I can find the words. One way I found I could express how we feel about our trip is posting the video of us meeting him for the first time. SO I will do that...







Tom and I have talked about each writing a posts about the days we spent in Ethiopia. Mostly because we don't want to forget what we did and saw, and we want to have those memories for Edilu in the future..

November 15th-18th
SO I will talk about our first day(s) before our trip and arriving in ET. Here we go...The Tuesday before we were leaving for Ethiopia we got a call early in the morning from our agency saying there were some issues with our case. I am not really going to go into detail because this is a public blog and we are still being careful what we share since we don't have Edilu home yet:) So long story short we were going to Ethiopia not knowing if we would pass court, and not knowing that our case would be acceptable by the judge. We were very unsure, and emotionally spent by time we boarded the plane on Thursday morning. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday gathering documents that would hopefully help our case for Edilu...and had them in hand when we boarded the plan. We also sent those to our agency who then sent them on to Ethiopia to be translated and ready before we arrived. Our agency totally fought for us during this process and I have great respect for what they do!





Seattle Ready to go to Frankfurt!

SOOOO...here we are, already tired and ready to board the plane for Ethiopia...we flew first to Seattle, had a layover and then it was the longest leg to Frankfurt. That was the HARDEST flight. It was long...and it got really dark pretty quickly after we took off. Going from one time zone to the other is pretty rough. We arrived in Frankfurt about 10 hours later and had a layover there. We then took the plane from Frankfurt to Ethiopia. That flight was about 7 hours. It was not as bad because Tom and I were able to sleep, being so exhausted! We did have two Ethiopian men sitting behind us that were very happy, and so talked very loudly during the trip....but we were so tired it didn't even matter.





Frankfurt
(I watched this screen like a hawk the last hour of our flight...the little plane would move tiny bits at a time)




We finally landed in Ethiopia...while we were waiting to get off the plane a man tried to convince us to take his laptop through security for him. He was very nice, but we did not think that was such a good idea:) We got off the plane and were instantly in culture shock...we were in AFRICA..for reals! We waited in line for our Visas..took about 45 min. Then walked through to get one more stamp in our passports and were then in the baggage area...there were a lot of men trying to help us with our bags, hoping for tips, but we managed pretty well. I was a little worried about customs with all of our donations...but we didn't even have to put our luggage through the machines...a man asked us if we had a camera or laptop and that was it!






We finally emerged through to the waiting area scanning for our agency's sign. However, we were so obvious that Job, our guide found us:) He said he could tell by our dazed looks and my hands clinging to our paperwork. I didn't think we were THAT obvious, but we were. We were were SOOO happy to see him and our driver.

Driving out of the airport we were taking it ALL in. We could not believe we were IN ETHIOPIA. So many people, cars, shops all working together to make up the city. I will never forget how out of place I felt during that first drive in Ethiopia...and it was not a bad feeling. For once we were a minority. I am thankful I have felt that feeling. It gives me way more perspective than I had before.


We arrived in Ethiopia around 9:30pm, and got to our guest house around 11pm. We were so tired and went right to sleep. I was very glad for the long hours of travel because it helped me sleep the night before we would meet our son!! More on that later...



-Angela












Monday, August 15, 2011

Referral!!!!



(very excited about our new son!)


After 19 months and one week of being on our adoption journey we FINALLY saw a picture of our son! We got the call last Monday at 12:30 pm. It was a shock to me to see the Virgina area code on my phone on a Monday. For some reason I had it in my head that they didn't really do a lot of referrals on Mondays. BUUUT I am not complaining! The call is kind of a blur. I tried my hardest to concentrate on all the words that were coming through the phone...it was difficult. The wonderful thing about the phone call is our family coordinator did a conference call with Tom and I. So we both heard the information about our son for the first time together! After the phone call, Tom came home and we waited for the EMAIL!! About 45 minutes later we received our email. It was amazing seeing his face for the first time, reading all about his story, and looking through the information they gathered for us. We cannot share his picture, or his name online until we pass court. But I can say he is amazing! It was an awesome moment seeing his beautiful eyes for the first time, and our first meeting can't come soon enough!

So what's next?? Currently the courts in Ethiopia are closed. Our first trip will be to go to our court date in Ethiopia. The courts will be closed through September, however we are hoping to MAYBE find out when our court date is before they re-open in October. However, most likely we will find out when we go in October. So maybe November??? As soon as we get a date we book our flights and prepare to go! We will spend the week getting to know our son, and end the week going to court, and hopefully become his legal guardians! Can't wait for that day! After our first trip we come home, for a short period of time, and then as his paperwork is finished we will go back to pick him and and bring him home!


We are just so overwhelmed by this amazing journey. We feel so lucky to be the parents of this amazing little guy, and so thankful that God has lead us through each obstacle. I will post some pictures from our amazing week.

Waiting for the emailsharing the news!
Showing Mae her new brother!Mae's big sister treat from her best friend!

Flowers from sweet friends!Our fellow adoption buddies taking us out for Ethiopian food to celebrate!
Yummmm! So good!

Friday, July 29, 2011

still waiting...

We have been on deck over a month now. I was hoping that we would have a referral soon after we got our on deck email...but we are still here...waiting. This waiting thing is harder than I thought it would be. I try to fill each day with something, and try not to think about the phone burning a hole through my purse or pocket. BUT I am finding it is almost impossible not to think about a referral. What will he look like??? How old will he be??? How long has he been in the transition home??? Has he bonded with anyone??? Who is his bio mom, and will we get to meet her??? So many questions. It is so hard to wait to hear those answers. Yesterday was a particularly hard day. I couldn't really pinpoint why, but it just was. What is more valuable in this earth than our family, and especially our children?! I look at Mae and can't imagine her being miles and miles away from me...so when I entertain those thoughts, and how I have no control over what happens in is little life, I sure do get anxious. HOWEVER, thankfully we have an awesome God to find comfort in. I know that my emotions will not go away, but I can read truth everyday. I KNOW that ALL things work together for GOOD! ALL THINGS. It is hard to see how those things will work out, but that is where trust is handy right? Anyway, just a few thoughts from my brain. Thanks for reading and for being excited with us. We are so blessed to be on this journey...and I REALLY feel that way, no matter how my emotions and thoughts run wild!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

On Deck!

A little over two weeks ago we got our "On Deck" email. Which basically means we are 'kind of' next up for a referral. There is a group of us that all turned our dossier (paperwork) at the same time, on Sept 3rd, 2010. So they use this date of being DTE-meaning, Dossier to Ethiopia, for our wait time. So our wait time is currently 8-10 months from our DTE date. July 3rd was our 10th month on the wait list. Ten months DTE. So we are hoping with our ON DECK status and that we have been waiting for so long, we will be next up for a referral! Our agency does not share the specifics of where we are exactly on the list, but our yahoo group of AWAA families in the Ethiopia program keeps it's own list. On that list we are #2! So that is very exciting for us, and I pretty much have my phone with me 24-7. That is until 2pm, when our agency (in Virginia) closes for the day. Umm...so if you call before 2pm, and I am a little disappointed it was not our agency, don't take it too hard. I am putting just a little bit of stock in the phone call:)

I have to say when we received our "On Deck" email about two and a half weeks ago, it was the most excited I have been. I almost didn't want to believe it, and let myself get too excited. I put off writing about it on our blog because I just feel like there have been so many ups and downs with the wait, that it might not really be true:) But if it is, we will hopefully have a referral any day now.

Of course there are many factors that go into referring children to families. As our agency brings children into their Transition Homes, where they stay until we pick them up, there are many things that need to happen. Two big ones are they have to have paperwork all in order for the child to be adopted, and they need to be in good health. So our child might be in the Transition home a few months before we know who he is and see his picture. I am hoping he is there now! So we have become good at waiting, and will do it a little longer. We are reminded daily in many ways that God has chosen the perfect child for our family. He does so in the womb, and will do so in our adoption. He holds our son in His hand for us. He has put others in his life to care for him until we can bring him home. I can't wait till the day he allows us to see/hold/meet him!

Monday, May 2, 2011

some not so great news

HI all,
just wanted to share that we got an email from our family coordinator that the wait times have increased, yet again...we will be waiting at least another two months for a referral. Tomorrow will mark 8 months on the list...8 months DTE. We were hoping for a referral this month, but that won't happen.

So we are waiting still. Sitting at number 7. Not much else to report. I am trying to enjoy the spring days as they come and remember God holds our son in His hands. If our son is here on this earth God is watches over him. I know the perfect referral will come to us when he/we are ready. Keeping perspective through my disappointment.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Still Here

It has been awhile, and that is mostly because we are still....waiting...waiting...waiting...Things have been moving along with our agency and with adoptions in Ethiopia, so that is wonderful! However, we are pretty much in the same place we were when I last blogged. We did get some amazing news though, we received a grant! We are thrilled that we were given funds to put towards our adoption costs. We feel very honored and so thankful for the Lord providing for us. We have been blessed beyond what we ever could have imagined throughout this process so far. I can't imagine how we will feel when we get to hold our son for the first time, bring him home, and introduce him to Mae! We have now been DTE for almost 7 months...(on the wait list). The 'official' wait time for a boy right now is 5-8 months. So we are hoping/praying with in a month we will have a referral! There have been children placed last week, and two families who are from our area both received their referrals! We are rejoicing with them, and I can't wait to help them welcome their new additions home soon! It is so fun to see the process come full circle for friends we have connected with on this journey! So we are encouraged! Well, that is about it. The longer we wait, the stronger that bond grows for our son and Mae's baby brother!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

10...9...8...7...come on referral

Hello again...we are excited to say we made it to 10! Yay! We are now number '10' on the unofficial list. We will have been DTE for 5 months on the third...and to those who say "WHAT?" that means we will have been waiting officially for 5 months. When we finished all of our paper work, which took us about six months, we were put on a list. We don't know the exact place we are on the official list...only our agency knows this, however because in the adoption world you learn quickly how to communicate with each other, there is an unofficial list. We have been following that. SO when we stared this whole process we were told you wait about 4 to 6 months for a referral when placed on the list. We have been waiting almost five. Recently we found out that our agency has extended the wait times a bit since things are taking a little longer. So the wait time now for a boy is 5 to 8 months for a referral.

There are many reasons why the wait time can get longer, or can shorten. From what I have learned, it can be because paperwork is missing, the babies are sick and in order for them to be referred to a family they need to be in good health, the list goes on. We are really at peace with the process. I remember waiting to have Mae, and when I was 41 weeks on the couch, huge, bloated with an overdue baby, I didn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am thankful for that small trial, because it has prepared me to wait through this one. We know at the end there is a beautiful baby who will be our son. Just like we waited for Mae. The reward is so great!

The next step for us is to be put "On Deck" this means that your family is next in line...kinda. It means our family would be close to the top of the list and could receive a referral soon. Our agency is very serious about praying over those babies and families. They truly want to seek God in each placement, and we are so thankful for that. We could be "On Deck" for a few weeks or a few months. It all depends on so many factors. However, I think with the email letting us know that we are "On Deck" there will be lots of celebration, just like hearing a baby heart beat for the first time, or seeing an ultra sound picture. We are focusing on the small steps that will get us to our baby!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

No Guarantees

( Mae and I with our application)
One year and 6 days ago we applied to America World Adoption Agency to be part of the Ethiopia adoption program. Time has gone slowly, but also flown by. I can't believe it has been a year since we applied. We are holding steady at number 13 on the 'unofficial' list. We have moved up and down a little...but 13 still owns us! We are anxious to meet our little guy, but have really been ok with the wait. I think it makes it easier for me to wait because I know that as soon as we have that referral, we will be connected to our baby. We know and recognize that it will be hard after we see his face and learn about him, to wait for our first meeting...and even harder to wait to bring him home. Right now, this wait is far less emotional than our future waits...makes perfect sense right? Well it does in my brain. God is preparing our hearts for sure! I have come to realize that I don't think anything can really prepare you for the emotional ups and downs you go through when adopting. It can be compared to pregnancy...but still has it's differences, obviously:)



We are so thankful to be on this journey...and journey that for a planner (me) is definitely very difficult. There is nothing 'FOR SURE' about adoption. I had someone say to me the other day, there are 'No Guarantees with adoption' and that is for certain! We are not guaranteed he will be healthy, we are not guaranteed it will be a smooth transition for him OR us, and we KNOW that this journey is not guaranteed to be easy...thinking and hearing these things is hard and can create doubt. However, what I later thought about that comment was, yes, there is one guarantee. God is with us and a part of every step we take towards our son. He has matched us perfectly. So that is a guarantee I hold on to, even if I do waver at times. Being the planner, woman, human I am. Also if we wanted guarantees, this would not be the journey for us. As a GREAT family friend and mentor has reminded Tom and I so many times "If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat!"



I am hoping my next post will share a number a little lower than 13. No guarantees it will though:)