Sunday, October 31, 2010

Headed Home

We're headed to the airport in Addis in about an hour. Saying good-bye to Karis was impossibly hard. Now we just have to focus on getting home and seeing our other three kids, or we'll go crazy. Mark's stomach isn't feeling the greatest, and I have a really sore throat, so please pray we have restful flights home!
(Posted on Facebook ~7am (AK time), ~6pm (ETH time))

- Posted by "The IT Girl"

Saturday, October 30, 2010


In case any of you hadn't heard yet, Mark and Wendy passed court!!!!  Karis Lemlem Milligan is officially their daughter!  As a result, their private blog, with pictures of Karis from the time of their referral til now, is open to the public; you can find it at: THANK YOU to everyone for your prayers and support!!!  :)

- Posted by "the IT girl"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Prayers Needed!

Update from Wendy via Facebook:

"A hard start to our day. Visited an orphanage with deplorable conditions, and left in tears. Our group was able to buy 10 crib mattresses (yes, babies are sleeping on the wooden bottoms of the cribs). But they also need massive quantities of diapers...ripped pieces of sheets wrapped around their bottoms and held in place w/ their onesie t-shirts isn't cutting it.

Our time with Karis each day is becoming routine and relaxed all the way around...though today poor baby girl is sick-again! B/t having her temp taken and being weighed, and being congested and coughing, and being woken up from her nap, she was pretty crabby for a bit. But after a snooze in our arms and a bottle, she was more like her happy self! She is one amazing baby!

Please be praying for us today and through the night! Friday is our crucial day here...the birth families appear in court in the morning, we get to meet and talk w/ a member of Karis' birth family after that, and then we're off for the all-important court appointment!!! PLEASE PRAY that everything goes smoothly and that we pass right away! Thanks for standing with us through this journey!"

- Posted by "the IT girl"  :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day Two!

Update from Wendy via e-mail (a few new adorable pics on private blog as well!)

"We had a great day today, just super busy. It's hard to believe that we've actually only been in Ethiopia for 2 full feels like weeks, though not in a bad way!

This morning we had our meeting with Duni (the Eth. coordinator), and we're all hopeful and praying that God answers Andrew's prayers for a Thanksgiving homecoming! She is highly hopeful & somewhat expectant, that IF all of our paperwork is processed in typical time frame that we'll be back the week of Thanksgiving! And that because of the holiday, they will likely be pushing to actually handle our cases earlier in the week, and that we could be flying home on Thanksgiving Day!

After that we went shopping, which was fun for me-not so fun for Mark! Then we went to Makush restaurant for lunch (we split a grilled chicken pizza) and then went to the Transition Home to see Karis!

She was fussy at first, and had lots of spit up, and just kept rubbing her eyes! She was so sleepy, but didn't want to sleep! We finally just walked around the property till she fell asleep. We also met with the TH doctor to go over her known health history, and to have answered any questions we had. We didn't have many-he was very thorough and professional. She didn't gain any weight in the past month, but is obviously healthy and happy!

After she woke up, she was so incredibly happy! She kept spitting up so I just kept changing her clothes into the ones I had brought to check for size. Size 3 mos fits her perfectly now, so moving into the 6 mos. outfits for when she comes home! But she loves having her clothes changed and loved having nothing on!

It was hard as usual to say good-bye to her...but it does help knowing how attentive the nannies are. Then we came back to the guest house and I did computer stuff...emailing pictures to families, messaging with updates about other kiddos, and getting pictures off the camera.

We went to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant for dinner. The music and dancing was great, but let's just say that I took off my shopping list an injera mat! Believe it or not, Mark actually liked it more than I did!

Tomorrow we will start early b/c several of us had a few more items to shop for, and then we'll visit two different orphanages. And after lunch, it will be back to see Karis!

Friday morning will be difficult, as we will have the opportunity to meet Karis' uncle and to ask him any questions. Then court in the afternoon, and hopefully time to visit Karis."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


For those of you who have access to the private blog, I have posted some pictures and a couple videos of Mark and Wendy's time with Karis today, so go check it out!  :)

- "The IT Girl"

First Day with Karis!

"We arrived safely in Eth. and have already put in a full day with lots of time loving on our baby girl! She's amazing and sweet and too adorable for words! Flights were all good, w/ space to spread out on the DC-Addis leg of it, and all of our bags made it!

On the group itinerary, we were slated to bring our donations to the Transition home from the time we got in, got through immigration, & got to the Guest House, we had exactly 45 minutes to shower and get all of our luggage shuff...led around so that all the donations were in one bag, and then off to the Transition Home to meet Karis! It was surreal, finally holding her. Yes, I cried...thankfully she did not! We have video and pictures of the whole thing! She was very serious the whole morning, and a bit fussy. After lunch we went back to the TH, and after handing out care pkgs, I went in to see her and they scooped her right up out of her nap to hand her to me! But she was surprisingly good natured for having been woken up. We actually got some smiles out of her, and then we got to feed her her bottle. Then she fell asleep in my arms, and we curled up on the couch on the porch and had a little nap together! And it's been a long time since I've had baby spit up on me, but she sure made up for it today-not complaining a bit! Then the nannies changed her clothes from all the spit up, and she LOVES to have her clothes changes-she smiled and giggled and we got some of it on video! Such a precious first day with our daughter!

We had such fun giving out care packages today! I will try to email pics from here tonight, and pray that the internet is fast enough!"

Monday, October 25, 2010


Hi everyone - just wanted to share a quick Facebook update from Wendy!

"Thanks, everyone, for sharing in our excitement & for all the prayers! We're in was much harder to say good-bye to the kiddos than I thought it would be. Anna asked, 'Mommy, why do you have a sad face?' That at least made me laugh! Oh, to have all of our children in one country, let alone under one roof!" 
(10/24 - 10 pm, AK time /// 10/25 - 9 am, ETH time)

- Posted by Rebecca (Wendy's little sister and "designated IT girl")  :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We're Off!

We're headed out to the airport in just a few minutes!!!  I still cannot believe that this day if finally here, and that on Tuesday I will finally be holding our precious girl!

Please be praying for these things specifically:
1.  Our court appointment on the 29th...that every piece of required paperwork is accounted for so that we pass!
2.  That the wheels that must turn for getting our embassy appointment would turn effortlessly and quickly so that we can go get Karis and bring her home in just a matter of weeks.
3.  For our kids and my mom...and for us as we're leaving them.  We don't leave our kids very often, and certainly not for this length of time, and we're all a little emotional right now.

Most updates will be on facebook, though Rebecca will try to get on this blog the updates from there.  When we pass on Friday, we will have new pictures of us with Karis, and the private blog I've been keeping with all the pictures we have of her will go public!

We're off...we're coming, baby girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

48 HOURS!!!

So much for counting down this week!
How is it that the past 3 months have crawled, and the past week has gone by in the blink of an eye?

Either way, we are where we 48 hours (actually, 46 if we want to be precise), we will be on a plane headed for Seattle headed for D.C. headed for Rome headed for Addis!!!

Oddly...the same amount of time b/t now and when we leave is the same amount of time between leaving and arriving in Ethiopia.  Only I'm sure that span will go a whole lot more slowly...

Friday, October 15, 2010

9 DAYS!!!

Just so you know, on this here blog this week, you may learn to count backwards better than ever before!

I had a crazy, wonderful day today.  My dear friend Kindra watched the kids for me, even doing all of their schooling with that I could go get ready for our trip!  Last night I spent hours poring over other people's travel advice from our agency, and then making one veeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long  list,  Then Rebecca and I headed to Anchorage for a day of shopping!

We hit the $1 bins at Target pretty hard, and have tons of goodies to give out at the orphanages.  We found some nice little gifts for the nannies at the transition home where Karis lives.  And I got almost all of the necessary little travel incidentals...from hand sanitizer to a pair of comfy pants to wear on our 48-hour-journey.

At Costco, I did all of our grocery shopping to last us from now till we get back.  This coming week I'll be making dinners in double and freezing to make it easier for my mom, who is staying with the kiddos, to cook for some food-allergic kids. I also got our required 10 packs of baby wipes to bring to the transition home, and the most loved gift of all for nannies and drivers and such in Ethiopia:  chocolate!   

Overall, it was a very productive day, and I feel ready to break out the suitcases and get packing!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cleared for Travel!

Praise the Lord...the court has confirmed our appointment for October 29th!!!

We were able to rebook our exact same flights for the nearly the exact same we leave here the night of the 24th and return the night of Nov. 1st! 

Thank you so much for praying with us...16 days to pack, get donations for the orphanages gathered, get my kids squared away for while we're gone, and celebrate Jacob's birthday!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


This morning, Kristen (the travel coordinator with our agency) called the three families traveling for court on Oct. 29th. Apparently there are not a lot of details, but the court is being "funny" about keeping our appointments on the 29th. They have not been clear on what  they want to do.

The in-country staff is campaigning hard for us, urging them to honor their commitment...especially as all of us have already purchased our tickets. If the court refuses to keep the date, we will have no other recourse than to change our tickets.

At this point, the courts are closed for the day, and the earliest we will hear anything is tomorrow morning.

Please pray with us on this one...
Lord Jesus, you know the plans you have for us, the plans you have for our
children. We know that there is no "funny business" that you do not know about.
You provided clear travel itineraries and funds for tickets for all of us with
court on the 29th, and you can move mountains on our behalf. Lord, please grant
Duni and the AWAA staff favor as they beseech the court to honor the commitment
they have given. Smooth the way ahead of us, that there is nothing in this that
will prevent us from passing court when we DO, by the grace of God, have court
on the 29th. Please be mighty to save in this situation. Amen!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

21 Days!!!

I think I should come up with a list of everything I need to get done and packed before we leave...I'm sure there's at least enough for one a day for the 21 days until we meet Karis...which really leaves me just 19 days to get everything done!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

22 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Assuming that our itinerary is approved by our travel coordinator tomorrow, we will meet Karis in just 22 days!!!

It was interesting trying to get our flights, as you must be in-country 2 days prior to court, and can't leave until the evening after court, and also finding that it was significantly cheaper to actually stay a few days longer than we expected.

We leave here at 5 p.m., Sunday, October 24th, which has us in Addis at 8:20 a.m. on October 26th.

Baby-holding (and sight-seeing when they finally kick us out for the day*) on the 26th, 27th, and 28th.

Court on the 29th.  Hopefully, prayerfully, there will be much rejoicing and the sharing of pictures of the beautiful baby who is legally our daughter!

More baby-holding and sight-seeing on the 30th.  Church service (I'm so looking forward to this, too!) and baby-holding on the 31st.  Tearful farewell to our precious girl.  Fly out at 10:15 p.m.  Arrive back in Anchorage on Nov. 1st at 10 p.m. 

Continue praying for a speedy embassy date so we can hightail it back to get her and bring her home!!!

There you go, in a nutshell!  22 days!!!

*The hours we may spend at the transition home with Karis will be limited.  I think this is mostly due to the fact that the nannies have to carry on a routine with all of the babies and children after the parents leave...which can be very difficult to do when you have had doting parents there every day all day for a week.


We just received word from America World that we have a court date scheduled for October 29th!!! 

We have to be in-country by the evening of October 26th, and we finally get to meet Karis on Wednesday, October 27th!!!  I am so excited I could burst!!!

PLEASE start praying now with us that we pass court the first time around (there is a 50% pass rate, with no reflection on the families's all a matter if every document and letter that is required actually finds its way into our file). 

Also, please be praying that we are HOME BY CHRISTMAS!!!  (Thanksgiving is still remotely within the realm of possibility, though not highly likely).  There is typically a 4-6 week wait between a court date and an embassy appointment .  If we don't pass court the first time, or if the US Embassy is backed up for any reason, it could delay our appointment schedule.  SO, please pray for the Spirit of God to move on our behalf!