Monday, July 26, 2010

Updated Update from Ethiopia!

UPDATED: There was another facebook update that came through later from Rebecca about her time with Karis:
Hey I'm working on sending you pictures right now! I can't promise anything, the internet is TERRIBLY slow, and there's at least 4 people trying to use it right now, so,'s slow :) Jen got some AMAZING pictures though. You will die. She is so, so beautiful Wendy. I bawled like a baby when I saw her! I got to... feed her, and spent about 4 hours just holding her. They let Jen and I take her into a room and let us lock the door so no other kiddos could disturb us, and we just hung out! She is so beautiful!!! The nannies are wonderful, they don't speak much English, but it was wonderful seeing them interact with the other babies, they are great! I will give you more details when we talk next, I'm trying to message you the number for Kari's cell phone that you can call with an int'l calling card. Or we can try to get on Skype! Instant messaging though, I think audio would be a disaster :) Love you so much!
PS:  No...the photos didn't come through.  At least Rebecca will be home by Sunday, so I don't have too long to wait!

Rebecca called me from Addis last night! She as so excited because she was going to get to go visit Karis a few days earlier than she expected! I guess they're staying about a half-hour away from the Transition Home, but her team leader Kari was headed over that way for errands, and asked Rebecca if she wanted to come along! Of course she said yes!
I didn't get any pictures via email yet, but this is what she posted on facebook:

I got to meet Karis today!!!! By far this has been the best day of this trip! I'm not allowed to post actual pictures of her until they pass court in a month or two, but trust me when I say she is the most beautiful baby! And I'm not biased either, the people on my team agree ;) She is so so so tiny, but very precious, and has the longest fingers and toes I have ever seen on a baby! I don't want to leave her!!!

She'll get to visit Karis again on Wednesday when they spend the day at the Transition Home loving on all the orphans there!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Referral Day Video!

After Andrew and I rec'd our referral call at home, we waited anxiously for Mark to get home from work PRONTO so we could open Karis' picture!

I called Kindra to see if she would come down and video us opening the email, and of course she said yes-it meant she got to be the first one outside of our family to see her!

At first it was frustrating because I wasn't paying attention to the fact that there were so many attachments that there was a scroll down for the attachment bar.  Once we realized the pictures were indeed there, we were pretty excited!

At any rate, I'm glad we captured the kids' first reactions to their new baby sister!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Update from Ethiopia!

Our agency has a yahoo group for everyone in the Ethiopia program, and it is the most amazing, prayerful, supportive group!  As families travel for court or embassy appointments, we can send care packages, have pictures taken, and receive updates! 
Erin was just there at the Transition Home to meet her baby girl and have their court appointment, and she graciously checked on Karis for me and gave me this message via facebook:

I checked on your precious L*- She was sitting in a bouncy seat right by the nanny- she looked up at me with sparkling clear eyes and she is so sweet- tiny, but you can see a spark in those eyes- She was bundled in a blanket all warm and snug- rest easy, she is in good care!!! Hoping you get to come soon! 

Thank you so much,'ve set my heart at ease!

*Karis is the name we've given her, but she still goes by her given name until she is legally ours.  We plan on keeping her given name as her middle name.  Until we pass court, we can't share any identifying information publicly.  

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fun Milestone

Our agency has a blog, and about once a month, they post a list of how many referrals have gone out in which program.
I'm quite used to looking at those posts, calculating the months and averages b/t DTE and referral received...and finally, our referral is on that list!
The posting is here.  We are the 1/22/10 DTE listed under female infants!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Our adoption has been an all-consuming emotional roller-coaster since we received the referral for our baby girl last Friday.  I think I spent the better part of the weekend crying for joy, and all of us stare at her picture so much it's almost ridiculous! 

Then on Tuesday we had Karis' medical paperwork looked at, and there were initially some alarming findings.  With a second opinion and a great deal of communication with the staff in Ethiopia via our family coordinator, we are less alarmed but we do know that she is not entirely well. 

Add to this the fact that courts are closing Aug. 6th until Sep. 27th.  Today, families who rec'd their referral July 1st and earlier are receiving court date of August 6th.  One dear mom who rec'd her referral June 24 was given a court date of Oct. 2nd.  When you hope and pray and BEG for a date before closures, it's devastating.  Maybe not in the overall lifetime of your child is it devastating, but for right's hard.  Impossibly hard.

You see, adoption is a total miracle.  For those of you who are parents, think about the love you have for your children...the hopes, dreams, fears, totally-sold-out love you have for them.  We have them for Karis, though we've never met.  God planted it in us the moment we saw her face (maybe even before)!  So imagine having a sick child all the way across the ocean, unreachable...and you have a smattering of how we're feeling.

We are not giving up hope for a court date until we have a reason to give up hope.  I know it's not likely.  I know I'm grasping at straws.  But for now, that's all I that my God will do what's best, that he will move this mountain if it should be moved.  For my part, I'll keep on asking.

Friday, July 16, 2010


WE HAVE A BABY GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our family coordinator called us this morning at 10:15!  I started crying as soon as I saw the number on the caller-id!  While she tried to conference Mark in on his cell, I told Andrew that I was on our referral call, and he grinned from ear-to-ear, jumping up and down! I gave another phone to him and instructed him not to say a word, and go into the bathroom so it was quiet. 

Our family coordinator couldn't reach Mark on his cell (he never heard it ring, as he was on the phone with a customer), so she got back on the phone and said the words I have been longing to hear "This is your referral call!"

She told us that she was 6 weeks old, though from her paperwork she may actually be 9 weeks old.  She is just, so, so tiny!  She only weighs about 7 1/2 pounds! Her picture breaks my heart...she looks worried.  But such big beautiful brown eyes!

Mark headed home shortly after that...and we waited to open up the email with our baby's picture until we could all be together!  Kindra came down to video us opening the email...I'll upload it next week!  I spend the next several hours crying and calling everyone!  Anna asked me why I was sad..."I'm not sad, I'm so, so, happy!"

One of the many beautiful things about God's timing is that Rebecca leaves TOMORROW for Africa, and we were able to get some things together to send to Karis!  The kids were so funny, and had quickly gathered a huge pile of books and toys to take to her!  We whittled it down to some special outfits, a few books, and a little blankie or two! 

I will write more later, I'm mind is quite frazzled and distracted!  We're heading out camping for the weekend for Andrew's birthday-a baby sister for his present!  I'm sure I'll think of other details later, but there's the excitement at our house!

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with JOY!!!"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Court Closures

Well, it's official.  Exactly what I hoped wouldn't happen, will.  Seeing as we're "on deck," meaning we'll likely receive our referral in the next 1-3 months, the following message from our agency directly affects us:

We have received confirmation that the Ethiopian Court will be closed August 6th-September 27th.  

These closures may or may not affect your family depending on your prospective waiting stage.  Referrals will continue to be issued to families during the court closure. Families who receive a referral within the next one to three months will experience additional delays in their process due to the court closure.  The wait time during referral and court date will be extended during this time frame.  We expect that families who receive referrals between now and the end of September will not receive notification of a court date until sometime in October.  

Court date notification in October will likely mean court in late October/early November (when we finally get to meet our baby!).  If we pass court the 1st time (there's a 50% pass/fail rate that has no reflection on the family, simply a reflection on whether all of the paperwork has been processed correctly and in a timely manner), then it's typically a 4-6 week wait to gain Embassy approval/visa.  All told, there's a slight chance we'll be home by Christmas.  Slight.  

Even though it will be so hard to wait even longer to hold Karis, we still are longing to just to see her face...and we pray that day will come quickly!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rainy Season

In the Ethiopian adoption world, there is a great deal of discussion, angst, and worry about when the court system will close for the rainy season.  I've heard rumor that it will be closed Aug. 6th through Sep. 27th

I've always found it odd that the US embassy will still issue visas during the rainy season, but that the federal courts close down.  On our Yahoo group today, a very thorough explanation was offered by someone who has already been there, done I thought I would share:

If you receive your referral during closures you'll be put in "line" at AWAA for assigning a court date once court reopens.  We received our referral last year on Sep 19 and our first court date was Dec 4 and assigned to us in November.

Although investigations should be able to "continue" during the court closures, remember that the courts close because of the rainy season.  This is because the road conditions become impossible to travel during this season, as well as major power issues etc.  Employees cannot get to work, witnesses cannot travel in.  Therefore, you have to understand that any investigations the embassy would be conducting could not be completed if the agents can't "get to work" or "get out to investigate."  Also, families do not travel during this time because the conditions are too difficult to travel in, so it would be highly unlikely for Embassy appts to be scheduled during this time.  It's truly a holding period in the program except for the beginning when the children brought into the TH are referred out.  But then there is a long lull in referrals since the whole "machine" stops and bows to the rain and the dirt road washed out conditions it brings. . . .  It's not simply that the courts take a vacation and that's the only part of the system that throws a kink in the gears. Every part of the country and it's happenings get hindered by the rain. . . .

It's simply part of the time table that God knew before He called you to this.  We received our referral for the kids right at the beginning of the court closure season and had to wait until the middle of January to travel and bring them home.  We understand how anxious that can make some of you, but it's a busy season here in America and it really does go by quickly, and as many kids who've spent the rainy season at the TH have told their families, it's a fun time for the kids in ET.  The staff does a wonderful job of entertaining them and making it a special vacation type season.

While it's not comforting to me at all to know that the older kids will be having fun during the rainy season...knowing that the earlier a child is in a loving family, the better; I do take comfort in the fact that it is part of the timetable God knew about all along!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I recognize this feeling

I have been driving myself to utter distraction ever since we got our "On Deck" email yesterday.  Thoughts of Karis and details and timeline guesses have filled my thoughts. 

And I realized that I have felt kind of like this before...almost exactly like this.  And it's happened to me three times before.

If you've been through this experience, I think you'll understand where I'm coming from.  You know what it's like when you go to your 38-week OB check up, and they tell you you're 2-3 cm dilated?  Which basically means you could feasibly go into labor any day...or not.  You could still wait it out two more weeks and then some.  But the fact that you are even a bit dilated is so encouraging, because it means progress is being made and that you're that much closer to holding your baby in your arms.

That's what I feel like. 
Just like being pregnant, except that I can still see my toes and I don't have heartburn.

Friday, July 9, 2010

"ON DECK!!!"

Okay, so AWAA doesn't include a bunch of "!!!!!'s" when they send the "on deck" email, but I sure do!

We got our official "On Deck" email today, which basically asks us to verify our child request, gives us info regarding accpeting our referral, etc, etc...and that we will likely receive our referral in 1-3 months!!!  Some people have their referral the next week, some wait longer.  There's really no way to tell.  But still, I'm so excited I'm crying.  So soon, baby girl, so soon.