As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pippi and Some Exciting News......

I mentioned last week that our school was having Spirit Week. On Thursday, the students were supposed to dress as their favorite book character, and Shana chose Pippi Longstocking. She wore capri pants with one brown sock, one black sock, and men's shoes. She carried a horse and wore braids that stuck straight out. She had so much fun!!

And now for the exciting news........Several of the families with whom we traveled to Ethiopia received word today that they have now passed court!!! Yay!!! Even though the court system does not officially open up until the middle of October, the judge is back to work. The approval letters from the Ministry of Women's Affairs, which we have all been waiting for, have been submitted, and these families' cases are now complete. Everything is being submitted to the U.S. embassy, and once they receive clearance, the families will be able to travel back to bring their kiddos home!! So hopefully, we'll be getting our call soon letting us know that we have passed court, too!!! We can't wait to hop back on that plane to go see our boys again!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Scattered Bits.........

1. This is how Shana dressed for school yesterday. But alas, school was cancelled due to fog. Since no one got to see her stunning choice of outfits, I decided to share a photo here. Isn't she lovely?

She really needed some poofy, teased bangs to go with the ensemble, but I swallowed the temptation to cut her hair for the day. Why was I going to let her out of the house like this, you ask? Well, in anticipation of our school's Homecoming game this Friday, the students are supposed to participate in Spirit Week activities. They are encouraged to show their school spirit by dressing in certain clothing every day. Monday was Pajama Day, and yesterday was Decade Day (hence the stunning photo above). Today is Nerd/Mix It Up Day. Here is another beautiful photo of Shana's impeccable style for your viewing pleasure:

One more close-up shot:

And here's a photo of the other 3 kids on Mix It Up Day:

2. Chris and I have to travel to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS - a division of the Department of Homeland Security) building in Cincinnati on Friday. We went there a year ago in June to be fingerprinted for our adoption, but as of yesterday, our fingerprints have expired. Huh? How do fingerprints expire? These are the same fingerprints that I had a year ago! Nevertheless, we have to go get re-fingerprinted and then wait for a new FDL (basically, a letter from the U.S. government approving us as adoptive parents) before we can travel back to Ethiopia. At this point, I will do whatever it takes to get my boys home! And thanks to Chris's Marriott points, we are spending the night in Cincinnati before heading back home on Saturday.

3. A few nights ago, I couldn't sleep. My mind was racing around thinking of all sorts of different things. For some reason, my brain came to rest on a thought about my camera. And I remembered a day, several years ago, when I forgot to put my picture card in my camera. I took some photos that day, which were saved right to my camera's internal memory. And I have never been able to figure out how to get them off of there. Anyway, I was unsure why I was remembering that bit of information right then, but I suddenly felt an urgent need to go downstairs, get my camera, and see what date the photos were taken. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found out that all of those photos had been taken on October 10, 2008. The very same day that my beautiful Ethiopian twins were born. For almost 3 years, it has bothered me that I couldn't erase those pictures from my camera's internal memory; now, I am overjoyed that I have photos from their birth day permanently etched on my camera's brain. Now we know exactly what we did and how we spent the day that the newest members of our family were welcomed into this life half a world away. I knew that I had visited the O.B. department in the hospital that morning, like I talked about here. But I had forgotten how we spent the rest of the day. Amazing!

4. We were really hoping that our boys would be home by their 3rd birthday, but it looks as if we won't be able to celebrate with them this year. I have collected a few presents to send to them, though. My friend April is traveling to Ethiopia to meet her children for the first time, and will arrive there a few days after my boys' birthday. She is going to deliver the gifts for us, and offered to take photos for us as well. I am sending them some photos of us together from our first trip, a card (I'm hoping one of the staff members at HH will translate it for us), some Matchbox cars (they LOVE mekinas!), some fruit snacks, 2 stuffed animals, some suckers, a light-up ball (they love to play kwas, too!), 2 shirts, some balloons, and a recordable storybook called "All the Ways I Love You." Chris and I took turns reading the pages, and even though the boys won't be able to understand the words yet, I'm hoping that they'll recognize and remember our voices.

5.  We've been enjoying the cooler weather - it definitely feels like Fall! This past weekend we visited our town's Fall Festival and had a bonfire with some friends. I hope you're all enjoying your Fall as well!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dear J.O. and J.U. -

Hello, my precious little men! How are you both doing? I hope you're having a lot of fun at Hannah's Hope with all of your little friends. I want you to know that Daddy and I miss you so much, and we can't wait for the day that we get to come see you again. I realize that you won't be able to read this letter for awhile, but someday you'll have it recorded in your adoption blog book. I also know that you're probably confused as to what is going on; why did we come and spend a week with you and then leave again? Why haven't we come back yet? Did we just forget about you? No. Never. It's all really hard to explain, but please try to understand that we never wanted to leave you. We have to wait for a bunch of legal work to take place yet, and we most definitely will be back to get you just as soon as we possibly can. We have not forgotten you; in fact, we think about you all the time. We left a big part of our hearts over in Ethiopia when we came home, and we really don't feel complete anymore. We pray each day that God will watch over you and protect you until we get to meet again, and we know He will. After all, he brought all of us together in the first place, and he's not going to leave you now. We can't wait to bring you home for good, but in the meantime, here are some Bible verses to hold onto:

"Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards." John 13:36

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:3

"But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly." Philippians 2:24 

We received an update and some new photos of you several weeks ago. Part of the email from the staff at Hannah's Hope read, "Those are our balls of energy boys, certainly the love of HH. They are doing really well......'U' is the leader and 'O' is the follower and likes to do whatever Mr. 'U' does.....They are super smart and explore." I had to smile as I read the information, and nodded along, thinking, "Those are my boys, alright!" New measurements were listed for you as well, and I'm happy to see that you're both growing nicely. I loved the photos, too, and had to laugh as I looked at the one of you, 'O', on the swing. You love that swing so much, and yet you get this scared little look on your face as you swing back and forth. It made me want to just pick you up and squeeze you!

Your brothers and sisters are looking forward to your homecoming as well. Shana has been wearing a red, yellow and green friendship bracelet (Ethiopian colors!) every day, and will continue to do so until you come home. Malia is always saying, "I just can't wait to meet my new little brothers," and she prays for you and your birth parents several times each day. As part of one of Ashton's school projects last week, he had to list 3 wishes. His #1 wish was that his little brothers could come home. Adrian is excited, too, and is looking forward to all the fun he'll have with you. He can't wait to teach you how to play football. Your Daddy and I can't wait to hold you in our arms once more and whisper "Ewedhalu" to you over and over again. We so badly want to see your precious smiles and hear your little voices again. But until that time, please know that we love you with all our hearts. We know that there will be some tough times ahead for you as you say goodbye to everything that you've ever known, but just remember that we will always be here for you, no matter what. Be good boys, and we'll see you again soon!

With much love and prayers,