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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Can't Imagine.....

- what it means to truly be hungry.

- what it must have been like to be taken away from your home and your loved ones and brought to an orphanage full of other children.

- what it must have been like learning to know this new group of people.

- what it must have been like to grieve the loss of your mother, sister, great-grandmother, aunts, uncle and home.

- what it must have been like to be taken away from the orphanage and all of your new friends and caregivers.

- what it must have been like to ride in a vehicle, for probably the first time in your lives, for two and a half days over bumpy roads.

- what you must have been feeling during the long van ride. How scared you must have been because you were once again leaving everything you'd ever known.

- what you felt when you once again entered a strange new place full of new children and caregivers to meet.

- what you must have felt when you realized that these people spoke a different language and you couldn't understand anything that was being said.

- what it must have been like seeing your beautiful birth mother again after so long.

- what it felt like to once again be held in her arms and kissed.

- what it must have been like to see three strange white people sitting with your mother and then getting pictures taken with her.

- what it must have been like to hear your mother tell you that this strange man and woman were going to be your new mommy and daddy.

- what you felt as your mother told you goodbye and sadly walked away.

- what it must have been like learning that your new "mommy" and "daddy" didn't speak your first language, or the new one you were learning. They spoke something very different indeed.

- what it was like for you to spend the afternoon with this new "mom" and "dad", only to have them leave you again at the end of the day.

- what it must have been like to spend the week with this new family, only to have them leave you again on the weekend.

- what you must have felt when your new "mom", "dad", and "sister" didn't come back the next day, or the next, or the next, or the next, or the next.

- what you were thinking when you opened birthday presents from your new "mommy" and "daddy." Did you wonder where we were? Why we didn't deliver them? Have you ever had birthday presents before?

- what you thought when you saw photos of yourselves with the white people. Did you remember us? Did you miss us? Or had it been too long.....

- what you will be feeling when you see the strange white couple again, running towards you with their arms open wide.

- what it will be like to leave your home and spend the night in a hotel with these people.

- what it will be like to once again, leave everything you know and journey to a strange new place, where the sounds, sights, smells and tastes will be extremely foreign and totally different than anything you've ever experienced.

- what you will be feeling as you ride in an airplane for the first time.

- what it will be like for you to see your new home and family members.

You are so young, my sons, and yet in some ways you're older than me. You've certainly been through more in your short lives than I ever have. You've endured more loss and tragedy than I could ever imagine.Your grief must be profound, but I want you to know that I will be here for you, no matter what. I will weather the storms with you, and I will pray that our great God will bring healing and peace to both of you. I love you both more than words can say. And I'm so glad that you have each other to hold onto.

"As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted...." Isaiah 66:13

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Little Update.....

We received an e-mail on Friday from the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They are requesting an interview with the twins' birth mother. Today, we found out that the meeting is scheduled for November 2, at 1:00 p.m. Ethiopia time, which translates to 6:00 a.m. our time. They will begin the interview at the same moment I will be getting up for the day! After the appointment, the Embassy will decide whether or not they need more documentation. If not, we will receive clearance and they will schedule us for a visa appointment.

We are hoping and praying that the boys' birth mother will be able to make the long trip back to the city, that the appointment will go smoothly, and that the Embassy will give us clearance! We are ready...............

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Beautiful Gift.....

This morning, I received a wonderful gift from my friend April - LOTS of precious pictures of our twins!! She took them this past week when she was in Ethiopia meeting her sweet children for the first time. It has been so long since we have seen new photos of our boys - and they have hair now!!! When the boys got to Hannah's Hope, their hair got shaved off; when we met them, it was just starting to grow back in tiny fuzz all over their heads. As I looked through the photos this morning, I was laughing and crying at the same time. We miss them so much!

April also delivered birthday gifts to our boys. She wrapped each one in birthday paper when she got to Ethiopia. Some of the photos we received show the twins opening their presents. It was so sweet to see them clutching tightly to the little toys we sent!

April - thanks again for everything! :-)

Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Two Steps Closer and Adrian's New Look.....

At the end of September, Chris and I had to get re-fingerprinted for our adoption at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) building in Cincinnati. We did this previously in June of 2010, but our paperwork had expired. This meant that the government was going to have to issue us another Favorable Determination Letter, which basically states that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security approves Chris and I as adoptive parents. Well, this week we received our new FDL in the mail. We're one step closer to bringing our boys home!

In Ethiopia, all children ages 2 and over have to be tested for TB before their adoption can be complete. We were informed yesterday that the twins' tests came back negative. Yay! Another step closer!

And last, but not least, I wanted to share an updated photo of Adrian. I took him to the eye doctor since he told me that he was having trouble seeing the board at school. The doctor informed us that he needed glasses (pretty badly!), and when we picked them up last week, Adrian was amazed that he could actually see individual leaves on the trees and stones on the ground! Makes me feel bad that he hasn't been seeing clearly. We had no idea! Here is his new look - doesn't he look studious?

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Submitted to Embassy!!

Our adoption case worker called today to let us know that our file has been submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They will review it and then let us know if a.) they need additional information/investigation into our case or b.) everything looks great, in which case they will schedule a visa appointment. We should hear back from them in a week or so. Once our case has been cleared by the Embassy, we could expect to travel in 1-2 weeks. So if everything goes perfectly, we could be headed back to Ethiopia at the beginning of November!!

We are so anxious to see our boys again - it really feels like we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel! This journey has been a long, although amazing one, and it is really hard to believe that we're on the home stretch! I sincerely want to thank you all for your support, encouragement, donations and prayers. They are deeply appreciated, and mean far more to us than you'll ever know. May God richly bless all of you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday's Words.....

God may not always show up when you want Him to, but He always shows up on time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

To My Precious Twin Boys......

Happy Birthday!!!

We hope you have a wonderful 3rd birthday! We wish so much that we could be there to celebrate with you. We want to watch you gleefully open presents, excited to get a peek at what's inside. We want to see you blow out your candles and make wishes! We want to watch as you eat cake and ice cream, probably for the first time in your lives.We want to share these and so many more American birthday traditions with you. But most of all, we wish we could be there to hold you in our arms on your special day. To whisper in your little ears just how much you mean to us and how thankful we are that you are now a part of our family. We miss you so much, and our arms and hearts are aching for you. We hope that somehow, you will know today that even though we are thousands of miles apart, we are loving you, cherishing you, and rejoicing in the fact that we will soon see you again. Sometimes I think of that old song "Somewhere Out There":

"Somewhere out there
Beneath the pale moonlight
Someone's thinking of me
and loving me tonight.

Somewhere out there
Someone's saying a prayer
That we'll find one another
In that big somewhere out there.

And even though I know 
How very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing
On the same bright star.

And when the night wind 
Starts to sing a lonesome lullaby,
It helps to think we're sleeping
Underneath the same big sky.

Somewhere out there
If love can see us through
Then we'll be together
Somewhere out there, out where dreams come true."

A couple of nights ago, I even dreamed that I was holding you again. You were so excited to see me, and you had learned English since we saw you last! You said that you couldn't wait to come home to America. It was such a sweet dream. 

Have an awesome, fantastic and wonderful birthday, boys! We are looking forward to the day that we'll all be able to celebrate together. You're in our prayers today and always, and we hope to see you again soon!!!

We love you with all our hearts,
Daddy, Mommy, Shanie, Adie, Ashie, and Mimi

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lost in the Maize.....

Chris was in Oklahoma all week for work, so when he got home yesterday, we celebrated by eating dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant and visiting a local corn maze and pumpkin patch. We had so much fun! This year's maze looked like this:

Adrian the spider:

When we entered the maze, we had to select a list of clues that would help us find our way through the corn. There were several different lists to choose from; we first chose "Scripture", but after the first question (How many times does the word 'corn' appear in the Bible - ummm.....wait a second.....I don't know my Bible that well!), we decided on the list for Tiny Tots. :-) This list asked such things as What crop does popcorn come from? and Mickey and Minnie are what kind of animal? Even though we knew all of these answers, we still got hopelessly lost a few times!

It got very dark while we were in the maze. Thank goodness for the flashlight app on my phone!

The kids also enjoyed a smaller straw maze:

We played a little putt-putt golf, too. But one of the best parts of the night? Funnel Cake!!!! Yum!!!!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Great News!!!

Well, I don't think I've ever published two posts in one day, but today is an exception. There's a first time for everything, right? I just can't stop myself today, because I have such exciting news to share. And it is..................

WE PASSED COURT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Our case worker called this morning and said that the beautiful Ethiopian twins ARE NOW OFFICIALLY OURS!!!! Our MOWA letter was finally submitted to the court, and the judge was able to complete our case. We are thrilled!! So now, all of our paperwork will get submitted to the U.S. Embassy, and when they approve us, we get to travel back to Ethiopia and hold our precious boys in our arms again - for good this time! We are so excited, and can't wait to see their adorable little faces smiling up at us, hear their little voices, and feel their arms wrapped around our necks again. We can't wait to sing to them, read stories to them, and whisper "I love you" over and over in their ears. We can't wait to make a lifetime of memories with them, and to teach them about the One who made it all possible. We are so thankful and blessed.

God's Masterpieces.....

Here in Ohio, we always have the most gorgeous sunsets in the fall. I have been amazed lately by some of the breathtaking sky paintings.....

Our awesome God has created so many wonderful things. Let's take time today to stop, take a look around, and thank Him for all the beauty He has given us.