Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday, Monday...

Well I have a few free moments because Joe has graciously taken Blake and Iris on a walk...having two is SO much more work than one, it's been quite a transition.
The ride home was as bad as one can imagine (no bassinet) and yet we were able to make connections without a problem so that was a great thing.
We had family meet us at the airport with signs, balloons and hugs and it felt so good to finally be home. The first night Iris slept without getting up once, which amazed me. The next night, she only got up once. Last night we were prepared to let her cry a while, but she slept through the night again.
It's hard to break her of the pattern of screaming / crying to get her way. No one has ever crossed her before and she loves to cry for no reason...after all this has been her way of life up till now! We are now working on only holding her when she has stopped crying and she's showing lots of improvement.
She is such a sweet girl and seems so much for comfortable and at peace with us. She is quick to give smiles and laughs. Blake has been a trooper and for the most part ignores her tears and screams. They look so cute together!
We are sort of postponing our "cocoon" phase until we are back in our place in Chicago. It has been so overwhelming we are in need of much help to just survive each day. I honestly don't know how we'd do it without the help of my family at this point. So this week is quiet mixed with fun and family. This morning we took her to a splash park for a little bit and she loved playing in the water and looked oh so cute in her swimsuit.
My parents were amazing and let us go out for a lunch date during nap time , what a treat! Going on this last week, I think our family might just be complete :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Today is our last day in Ethiopia, what a week it has been. This is much harder than I expected, to be honest. The flight over was uneventful & eventually we made it to the Ethiopia Guest house. That first night I hardly slept, a glimpse of what was to come! When we met Iris on Monday I knew she might not run to me with a hug (lol), but I didn't expect her to burst into tears the moment she saw me. She had become quite attached to her nannies, which I know is a good thing, but she cried and was quite distressed most of the day.
Then night came. Wow. I have never missed my sleep more. Even when she is sleeping I can't sleep as I lay in anticipation, hearing her every noise and movement. She has never been trained to fall asleep in her bed, and instead must be asleep as you carefully put her down for the night. If not a blood curling scream happens and only gets louder. Of course in time we can work on this, but when you are staying somewhere with people nearby and it's your first couple of days together, it is just pretty rough. Blake truly spoiled me when he was a baby and I find myself up most of the night with Iris, getting about 3 hours a night of sleep. Then you add in the mental and emotional exhaustion, the piercing loud mosque call to prayer multiple times a day the fact that she can't understand us and has never been told no...and you have one stressed out situation!
Iris has made a lot of improvement from the first day, we have gotten lots of smiles and giggles as time goes on, she is eating well, and getting better stretches of sleep - Joe has yet to master putting her in just right, but has sacrificed himself many times to help  me out which has been wonderful.
It is just a real challenge not having the comforts of home, missing Blake, and wanting to get her home. Tonight is our flight and I have dreaded this for the last couple months. If we don't get a bassinet on the plane it will be somewhat tragic. We would really appreciate your prayers that the 17 hours would go as smoothly as it can go, that we would make our following connections in DC and Atlanta without delay and arrive safely in Tampa on Friday afternoon.
Can't wait to have family and friends meet our girl, she is a chunk of sweetness - most of the time!
One amazing highlight was when we waited in DC for our flight and was able to see the Griffin's and Boughner's as they got off their long flight - what incredible timing and a gracious gift of encouragement from the Lord, even if we couldn't hug through the glass. Being here a second time makes us appreciate even more the connections we made with families during our court trip - we miss everyone!
Joe is feeling much better, but is now skinnier than me (almost), so he looks forward to the food once we are home. Thank you everyone for your prayers and interest.
I thought it was interesting one night a lady said this is much easier than giving birth, I disagree. Of course physically there is not the pain, but it is much harder to come in after a year and retrain a baby, try to communicate, bond & deal with international travel - once we get the sleep thing down I think I'll feel 90% better.
Not sure how quick I'll make it back to the blog...hopefully soon (when you see me ignore the glazed over face & baggy eyes!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012


We arrived in Clearwater last night , that 2 1/2  flight feels so long with Blake for some reason ( a blink compared to what is to come) . Anyway, we made it & this morning Blake seems like he knows what is up. He kind of looks around and I think he remembers that he was left for a solid week without mom and dad not long ago. Hopefully by the time we leave for DC tomorrow evening he'll feel adjusted.
It is so good to be here. Joe is slowly working his way back to normalcy. He still has yet to sleep through the night in almost a week, but I think he is improving, even if it is at a snail's pace. He had a couple bites of food for the first time in days, we still need your prayers that he can make it through this trip.

Gonna get some things still needed today but a huge treat will be a lunch date with my dad to my favorite new place, Cafe Carmel. Sorry Joe :)
Tomorrow I'll be off the computer for a little while, but hopefully back soon with precious updates of our trip & what it is like to bring our daughter home.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I always imagined this time as being so joyous and it is of course, but due to Joe's sick condition I'm feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and concerned at his ability to travel. He got a bug on Friday and has been living in our bathroom since & we think he's dehydrated. Would really appreciate your prayers as I'm counting on his help during this long and tiring journey ahead, especially that 17 hour flight home!

It feels like I never stopped moving yesterday making calls, writing emails, getting plane tickets to Florida and I haven't hardly done any packing. I've been too busy taking care of Blake and Joe. We are still waiting to hear back for our accomidations(gonna get all crazy and stay somewhere new, Ethiopian Guest house) and have our flight's finalized.

When we get to Fl. on Wed. evening I have all of Thursday to run around getting everything I need to pack for Iris when we are in Ethiopia like food / diapers / wipes and travel stuff. It's just too much to pack with us when we head down to Fl. Of course Blake is sweetly oblivious to all of this commotion going on and remains happy and sweet (if he only knew what was coming his way!)

Monday, April 16, 2012


I could hardly sleep last night. At 12:30 I woke up and thought do I have the email waiting for me? I checked and no, nothing. I laid back in bed for a good hour just thinking of all the possibilities...Then at 5am I woke up again and checked and to my pure delight there it was. Our clearance email. It FINALLY has happened, we are cleared to travel and our appointment with the Embassy is Tuesday, April 24th. A week from today we'll be getting custody of our girl, can hardly wait.
We will leave for Florida on Wed. afternoon and then Fri fly to DC in order to be there for the Saturday morning flight to Addis.
We arrive on Sunday, get Iris on Monday, Embassy appointment Tuesday, and fly home Thurs. We'll arrive back in Tampa on Friday with our precious Iris.
THANK YOU to everyone who has been praying with us, we need your prayers now more than ever as we set out to get her and all the challenges that await us.
Joe has been sick all weekend and is not improving. Please pray he'd recover before we start this trip out.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Well, I've been waiting three years for Monday's news to get here. Or rather five years...maybe 32 years? Although Blake is my first born son, Iris has been planned for , worked towards, and thought of years before he was living.  She is the one we have been dreaming of and the accumulation in a way of all the children we have lost before her. It is her little life that has been precious to so many.
Her sweet soul that people have prayed for, sacrificed financially, and been interested in for the last three years. To hold her in my arms back in December and leave her a world away has been pain beyond words.
Sometimes it feels like a dream, could we truly get that email on Monday and be on a plane the next week to pick her up? I sure hope so. I really don't know how much longer I can take before I'd just make my way over to Ethiopia and live somewhere in a guest house with my daughter. The thought has occured to me!
Hopefully the Embassy will finally have corrected our email so we get it on Monday. The CWA office in Ethiopia is closed for their Easter that day so if they still have the wrong email I don't think we'd get the news till Tuesday.
I am not sure how I will even sleep on Sunday night. Please God , please.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Divine Mercies

Valley of Vision: "I thank thee for personal mercies, a measure of health, preservation of body, comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food and clothing, continuance of mental powers, my family, their mutual help and support, the delights of domestic harmony and peace, the seats now filled that might have been vacant...
So that in the ordinary concerns of life my thoughts and desires may rise to thee, and in habitual devotion I may find a resource that will soothe my sorrows...O God attend me in every part of my arduous and trying pilgrimage. Thou has led me on and I have found they promises true."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A wonderful visitor

Tomorrow my brother Ben who I love to pieces is coming to town unexpectedly. Someone he worked with and was close to passed away over the weekend and the funeral is not far from our place. I'm so delighted that it worked out for us to be together and enjoy each other's company for a few days.
These last few months have been incredibly difficult and to have someone I love in my family visit just brightens up my whole week.
I guess my packing for Ethiopia will be held off till the weekend. It's a delightful distraction....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My thoughts exactly

My heart truly is in Ethiopia right now. I miss my daughter so much it hurts. I feel like I've been saying "we'll hopefully get her home in just a few weeks" for months. Getting through this last week felt like a month.
I've got a busy weekend planned so hoping that makes it go faster, but then there's all of next week to endure. Last night I was looking through some early pictures we recieved of Iris and the difference is crazy in how much she's grown & how little she was when we got the referral. I know this is what adoption is when you are dealing with international delays, but that doesn't make it easier to go months with a part of me missing.
I find myself shopping to relieve my mind of sadness, which only makes things worse cause I want to buy things to feel better. Thank goodness for pinterest :)
The crazy thing is with all the time on my hands I've had waiting I still feel completely lost with what to pack. I don't know what kind of food to bring with, (what they gave her when I was there was unrecognizable) exactly what kind of clothes or small toys I should bring, any thoughts from those who have already done this would be great, she's 13 months old & it's a tricky eating stage in my mind. I just don't want to overpack but I don't want to be there and need something and have no way of bringing it. Don't even get me started on that flight home, I shudder just thinking about it!

Even Joe is stressed and he NEVER stresses, there's so much life changing stuff about to happen and it's exciting but scary too. I was overwhelmed when Blake was born and now to add another baby who is only 5 months younger than him is just kind of crazy...I can't wait to have those kinds of problems though instead of missing her problems.
Does anyone else in this predicament dream about the Embassy appt? I do, I make up all kinds of images of what it will be like, getting her finally - it will be so nice to move into the next phase of adjustment. (In my dream I am asked what makes me different than all the other white mothers wanting to adopt, seriously....)
Well, that's my rambling for now, feels like my entire world is wrapped up with adoption...waiting impatiently for that precious email on the 16th that feels like the weight of the world.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Our latest photos of Iris

Nesting Mode

I've been seriously cleaning and organizing like crazy these last few days. It might have something to do with the fact that I watched an HGTV special called Clean Freaks on Saturday and have been obsessed with trying to get every inch of my space in order. It might also be due to the fact that when we get Iris home I won't have any free time for a while to do this stuff. On top of that if we end up moving shortly after we get home I feel pressure to have this place be ready to get boxed up without too much hassle. I love to just donate away while Joe loves to hoard everything he owns, so it's an interesting comprimise getting rid of stuff.

We got new photos today of was fun to see, but it always makes me sad because I know I missed another month of her life. I'm seriously hoping these are the LAST photo updates and in a couple weeks we are reunited and can take tons of pictures together. She is looking so big, even standing on her own in one of the pictures. I'll post some up soon :)

With the hope of travel in 2-3 weeks I'm determined to be ready, start packing next week & get the house in order. I want to lessen the panicked rush I'll be feeling when we get the good news and book it down to Florida a day later (I want Blake to have us around for a few days down there before we take off and leave him again).

Sweet photos our friends the Baxter's posted as they returned home and got some great airport shots. I can't wait for that to be us! It brought happy tears to see their reunion.

Anothere week to trust the Lord, seek Him while we wait & dream of the day when we can all be together.