Approximately 143 million orphans in the world. We can't provide a family for all of them, but we can for one, and one life changed makes a significant difference.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Home Stretch!

We are thrilled to be in the final stages of the adoption process.  All that's left is bringing our boy HOME!  If all goes well, that could be in about eight weeks.  We have seen God's fingerprints all over this adoption, in every detail, and have gotten to see glimpses of his greatness through this process.  We are thankful for how He has provided for every need.  We would like to invite our friends and family to participate in the homecoming of Solomon as we face our final costs.  The estimated expenses for the trip to get Solomon is about $6,000.  If you would like to be a part of Solomon's reunion with his forever family in this way, you can simply click the "donate" button at the top right of this blog.  We are so thankful for the support and encouragement of our family and friends, THANK YOU!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day Eight - Chow

Today was our last visit with Solomon before we return to bring him home.  The process from court to clearing Embassy is currently averaging 8-9 weeks, but could take as many as 12+.  Saying good-bye ("chow") wasn't as hard as I expected, but I imagine the days and weeks that lie ahead will be challenging.  I am so thankful for his awesome nannies and the love and care he is receiving.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day Seven - Court

This morning we had basically accepted the idea that because our paperwork arrived in Ethiopia so late (yesterday, and it's supposed to be here at least a week in advance) we probably wouldn't pass today but still hopefully before closures.  So we went to court and the waiting room was packed.  We had heard horror stories of the judge closing down court because of people being too loud (the waiting room shares a paper-thin wall with her office) and this was no quiet room so we were all nervous.  A lady then came in and started speaking Amharic.  Everyone got quiet while she spoke but as soon as she left the room the noise level resumed.  I asked our guide what she said and he said, "basically, be quiet."  Now we were really getting anxious, but thankfully, we were the next group called in.  She asked us a few simple questions and then told us everything was there, we passed!  Solomon is now a Paladino!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day Six - Traditional Dinner

We spent the morning with our sweet, sweet boy today.  We played outside mostly but decided to go in his room for a little while.  There are about 15 toddlers in there and they all soak up the extra attention.  He was happy to show off his family pictures to his nannies (becoming a daily routine) so while he did Michael and I sat on the floor and our laps were instantly full.  When he saw that we were swarmed he went off in a corner with his pictures.  I called him over and he came and wedged himself between me and the girl on my lap, pushed me back on the mattress and layed on my chest, hugging tightly.  We've seen him not want to share his new toys and he obviously does not want to share us, either.

After lunch we went back to the guest house to rest because we knew it would be a late night and we have court in the morning.  Most families went back to the Transition Home and we were told later that he kept looking for us.  Good thing is, we'll be back tomorrow to love on him some more.  Bad thing is, after Wednesday we won't be back for a couple months.  Lord, sustain our hearts in our time apart.

This evening we enjoyed a traditional dinner, complete with singing and dancing.  It was a blast (minus the part where they pulled me up to dance).  I don't think I'll be able to cook like that for our little guy, but I did buy some berbere that I can sprinkle on everything!

Day Five - church

We went to church this morning and it was my first time at an international church.  Worshiping with so many different nationalities was like getting a little taste of Heaven.  "and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb...And they cried out in a loud voice, 'Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and unto the Lamb!'" Rev. 7:9-10  Declairing His glory and singing of His holiness with brothers and sisters from around the globe was truly awesome.

After church and lunch we went to the Transition Home to spend time with our kids.  We are having such sweet times with our guy!  We can tell that our little boy is starting to make the connection that we are his, which is good but hard.  We're afraid to connect too much this week knowing that we will be leaving soon and won't be back for a couple months.  So badly want to bring him home!!!!

Our court appointment is coming soon and we're praying we pass at court. (Tuesday morning here, middle of the night Monday in the US).

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day 4 - Transition Home

Market in Mekele
We got to spend the morning and afternoon with our boy at the Transition Home and I don't have much to say about it other than he's awesome and we love him and we can't wait to bring him home.  So I thought I'd share some postable pictures from the trip so far.
Mud huts made by the kids at the orphanage.

Attempting to make injera at the orphanage.
The expert injera maker.
typical traffic in Addis - notice there are no designated lanes
A street in Mekele.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 3 - Mekele

Mekele is a city in northern Ethiopia.  This is the where the orphanage our boy was in before he was transfered to our agency's transition home is located.  He lived here for 1 1/2 years and we came to see the orphanage and the area he is from.  It was a hard day emotionally, but a very good experience.  The staff at this orphanage are wonderful and the kids are happy and well cared for.  They also have a support program for mothers who are HIV positive.  Because these women can't feed their babies breast milk without risking transferring the infection, Bana orphanage gives formula for one year to HIV+ mothers.  It is a private orphanage and we were thankful to bring two tubs of donations and a lot of formula to them, thanks to the generosity of our church family.  While at the orphanage we got to see our boy's file, including a picture of him at 8 months old, watch injera being made (I even tried to make some but for some reason they were snickering at me?!), participate in a traditional coffee ceremony and play with the kids.  I felt very thankful for this orphanage and the people God is using to care for these little ones.  We have met some incredible, hard-working people with the purest hearts and I feel humbled.

Driving through the city was a little overwhelming, as it is so different from what we know in the States.  I couldn't help but look at each woman we passed and wonder if she is our boy's mother.  I am still processing all that we saw and am having a hard time putting words to my thoughts and feelings.   

We are very anxious to get back to the TH tomorrow after another orphanage visit and love on our little guy some more!

Meetcha Day!

Yesterday was the big day and it was perfect.  We arrived at the Tranisition Home and our little guy came out to meet us.  They had told him we were coming and he was sooo excited to see us.  He has the most fun, lovable personality.  We brought him a light-up ball that he wasn't sure about at first but soon was giggling the best little giggle as we played together.  We got out the photo album we sent him a couple weeks ago and he said all of his brothers and sisters names and then wanted to show it off to everyone who would look, guards, nannies, other adoptive families.  We had such a sweet time with him but it was very short because we had a plane to catch. 

Before we went to the airport we went to lunch.  This was our first restaurant experience in Ethiopia.  The food was delicious and the portions quite large.  Our total bill for two dinners, including tip was 190 birr which is equivalent to just over $10.  We went on and on about how cheap the meal was.  As we were at the airport waiting for the plane we were asking our guide about his family and he told us about his mother, whom he is very proud of.  She has been working the same job (maid, basically) for over 30 years and when she started she only made 30 birr/month but she now makes 600birr/month.  I instantly thought of our lunch and my stomach sank as I thought about how we bragged about the cheap meal, which actually cost 1/3 of a hard working woman's monthly wages. 

We got to Mekele, the region our boy is from, in the evening and went right to sleep.  I will write about that experience in the next post.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day One - Travel

So I've officially decided I'm not one of those people who enjoy world travel.  Don't get me wrong, I loved seeing Germany (ok, maybe just the airport and what we could see from the plane window) and Sudan (again, from the air/airport) and am loving that we are FINALLY here (after 2 1/2 years of day dreaming about this trip), but the traveling itself was nothing to rave about.

Twenty eight hours after leaving our house we were finally on Ethiopian soil.  I may have been a little tired and dillusional when I refused to go with our driver who had been waiting at the airport for an hour to bring us to our guest house.  Remembering all the attempts to be taken advantage of on our last international vacation (Mexico) I was determined to have hard core proof that he was who said he was, continually pushing our bags back to the ground as he tried to patiently and graciously convince us that he was our Job.  So the night ended with a good laugh and we safely arrived at our guest house, enthusiastically greeted by other America World families who are wrapping up their court trips.

Tomorrow (today - can't sleep and it's all starting in a few hours) will include meeting our son for the first time in the morning and then flying up to the northern part of the country (yeah, more travel) for an overnight visit to the orphanage/region where he is from.

Sounds like the dogs have stopped barking just to have the noise replaced by a snake-charmer sounding recorder melody.  I think I may be able to squeeze in a little more sleep before getting this day started (maybe...).

Neglected Blog

Ok, so I didn't keep up with this blog very well (at all) and one of these days would like to go back and fill in some of the missing details (more for my own sake than anything else), but here's a quick update:

July 5th, 2012 - REFERRAL RECEIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 23rd - call that we have a court date!  August 7th!

Today (Aug. 2nd) - in Ethiopia waiting to meet our boy in a few hours!

But for now I think I'll use this blog to hopefully give daily updates on our trip...we'll see how much it actually happens. :)