Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas! Happy Epiphany!

In order to celebrate the fullness of the Christmas season this year AND to honor our children's Ethiopian celebration of Christmas, we've decided to send out our Christmas cards for Epiphany this year.

In Ethiopia, Epiphany is the date when the Ethiopian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas. It is the Church celebration of the arrival of the 3 Wise Men to the infant Jesus. Many other cultures celebrate this day as their gift giving day as well in memory of the gifts given by the 3 Wise Men. For more about Epiphany click here . For some great Epiphany ideas try making an Epiphany cake or bless your home on Epiphany or start the New Year with a celebration of God's gifts and graces on Epiphany.

And, while you're preparing your hearts and homes for Epiphany, check out the photo session for our Christmas/Epiphany cards this year!

Any guesses which picture made the cut?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Let's hope Santa's a neat eater!

CB said, as we were putting out Santa's note and such..."I'll get the cookies and you get Santa's milk. But Mom, get Santa a milk cup WITHOUT a top on it, okay?"

We'll see how Santa does.
Peace on earth...

and good will to all. May God bless you all on this joyous Christmas Day! Please join with us in continued prayer for peace between all people and, in particular, for the people of Ethiopia. The conflict with Somalia (and on the Horn of Africa as a whole) continues to worsen. We also pray for the families in Ethiopia of our newly adopted children as well as the families who are waiting to travel to bring their new Ethiopian children home.

Luke 2: 1 - 14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment, when Quirin'i-us was governor of Syria.
And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.
And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.
And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people;
for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Look for the gift

This is a most favorite piece of writing of mine. Many years ago, we received a quotation from it in a note (which we loved), but it wasn't until recently; as I researched some resources for a bible study on the topic of giving, that I found the entire letter shown here.

With Christmas just days away, gifts are on the minds of many. As Fra. Giovanni says, however, (poorly paraphrased by me) gifts come in many forms---things are not always what they seem---an ugly gift with the covering removed may bring great joy AND a joyful gift when opened may bring greater joy still! All are unique and divinely created.

Contemplate these words and the writings of this Renaissance man, and this Christmas take the time to pause and wonder and see the gifts all around you!

Letter Written by Fra Giovanni, 1513
I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got, but there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace!
The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy.
There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see - and to see we have only to look. I beseech you to look!
Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by the covering, cast them away as ugly, or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power.Welcome it, grasp it, touch the angel's hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that angel's hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts. Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty - beneath its covering - that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.
Courage, then, to claim it, that is all. But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are all pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home. And so, at this time, I greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you now and forever, the day breaks, and the shadows flee away.
This letter was written by Fra Giovanni Giocondo to his friend, Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on Christmas Eve, 1513. Born in Venice, Giocondo would become a priest, a scholar, an architect and a teacher. He was indeed a true 'renaissance man.' In 1496 Giocondo was invited to France by the King and made royal architect. If you've ever been to Paris and walked across the beautiful bridges Pont Notre-Dame or the Petit Pont -- both of these were designed by Giocondo.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Don't miss it!

H's godmother (and also our dear shower-throwing friend) emailed this announcement tonight:

On Friday, December 22nd the African Children's Choir will perform Silent Night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Be sure to check your local listings for show time.

We were fortunate to see them perform live about 15 minutes from our home earlier this year. If you haven't seen them before---definitely, tune in Friday night for a show you won't soon forget---and if you have seen them before then you'll be sure to set your Tivo for this one!

Sharing a wonderful Christmas story received from a friend

In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach in Russia . They were invited to teach at many places including a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. The two Americans relate the following story in their own words:
It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem . Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the Baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word.
Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city. Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia , were used for the baby's blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States . The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger.
Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately--until he came to the part where Mary put the Baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with Him. But I told Him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give Him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept Him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, "If I keep You warm, will that be a good enough gift?" And Jesus told me, "If you keep Me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me." "So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and He told me I could stay with Him---for always."
As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found Someone who would never abandon or abuse him, Someone who would stay with him--FOR ALWAYS.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, throughout her life of missionary work, often reminded people that the goal of the Christian is to "... SEE Christ in everyone and to BE Christ to everyone." In many ways (adoption is only ONE of them) we are given tremendous opportunities each day God gives us here on earth. As Christmas Day approaches, take a moment to look there someone for whom we are called to BE Christ or are we SEEING Christ in all those around us? A, thanks for sharing this sweet story...thank YOU for being a living example of your faith.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Phone Call

I promised my mother in law I would call her this morning with some information.

Me: Hi, Mom. I have 8 1/2 black or 8 1/2 white.

MIL: (deafening silence--then moments later) Oh, you mean the SHOES.

What else could I have meant?

(left to right, H: age 8 1/2 and B: age 8 1/2)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Third Sunday of Advent

Nothing like an excuse for joy around Christmas, right? Well, through the waiting and pondering of Advent, the third Sunday in Advent Also known as Gaudete Sunday (The third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday because in Latin, the first words of the opening antiphon for that day’s Mass are "Gaudete in Domino semper" ("Rejoice in the Lord always"). On this Sunday rose-colored vestments are permitted and the rose-colored candle is lit as a reminder that we are called to rejoice-source , the third Sunday is a reminder that for the people who have been waiting in darkness, the great light is almost here! With that in mind, and at the risk of letting a certain cat out of the bag, I decided this was too good not to share---virtual Advent cards---how cool and what a great chance to share some of this weekend's joy and wonderment with someone else today! On a somewhat related matter, as I present for you a little joy from our ark to celebrate the day!

CB and N in traditional midwestern Christmas garb.

H wondering why we're wearing hats (again!) but this time---inside!

Not sure about the lights and decorations...

But LOVING the camera...

Or at the very least, the camera lady!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The teacher

Before anyone gets alarmed, this is neither a self-serving promotion of my education background nor a gripe session about any other educators...rather, this is a story about my two oldest daughters, in particular H, who seems to have inherited (via adoption magic) the family curse--I mean, gift of teaching.

As I have said previously, both H and B like to play school. They also like to teach one another their native language. What they like better than either of these, however, is to set up Mom and Dad. For example, H will say, "Mom, say (meaning cross in Amharic) meus-keul." I rev up my lips and spit out, "meusk-ool" and she and B giggle hysterically, while H points her long, skinny index finger and says with a grin, "NO!" Same thing repeats again for Dad. Then, when they are finished mocking us, H will say to B, "Say, meus-keul." And B curls up her lips and sticks out her chin and sputters, "moosh-cool" Ha ha, I'm thinking to myself, that doesn't even sound close. Then H smiles at B and turns to Dad and I and says, "Mom-no. Dad-no. B-riiiigghht!" All I'm saying is that I would not enter into any type of bet with these two any time soon...but that's not the end of the story.

The past couple of weeks have been amazing. They have been full of joys and sorrows, but mostly joys. Through all the doctor visits, dentist appointments, antibiotics and other painful necessities in order to care for our new children---they (not so much Mom!) hang in there with us. After today's final round of bloodwork (8 vials drawn and many tears shed per child), it dawned on me. Here is a perfect example of faith, living right under my own roof.

What a revelation to me to truly understand the words of Sacred Scripture which say, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3).

The trust that our children have placed in us to follow where we lead, not knowing where they are going-or what will be there when they arrive-is a reminder of what God asks of each of us. I even have God's word written down for me as a guide, as well as thousands of years of church history and I still can't just stop myself from asking, "Are you SURE God? Is this REALLY what you want? I'm not sure if doing that or going there or (insert any number of things that fear and lack of trust hold me back from doing) is really such a good idea." But now, I have a vivid picture in my mind; one of a father holding his child and comforting her (or him) through the rough stuff and I know as much as that father loves and cares for his children, God loves and cares even more.

Our new daughter is such a good teacher, she's already giving us lessons.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Okra Pickles

I hear that they are very tasty--crunchy, yet tender and salty--but not too much. You should try them. Let me know what you think.

We all put our pants on one leg at a time...

although the rest of the dressing routine, well, let me give you an example:

We were given a lovely navy blue (very dressy-i.e.-Sunday church wear) dress for H. Yesterday morning, she came downstairs, dressed for breakfast in---you guessed it---the navy blue dress.
So trying to use this as a "teachable moment" for language and etiquette, I said to H, "You look very pretty this morning. That is a very fancy dress and it's pretty yucky out today, why don't we choose some different clothes for today and wear that dress a different day."
She looked at me, slightly puzzled, so I said (even less wordy this time), "Dress-pretty. Today-shirt and pants day." And as I did, I pantomimed putting on pants and a shirt.
This was met with an a-ha look and she said, "pants, okay" and ran upstairs to change (or so I thought). About 30 seconds later, I heard her coming down again, this time, she had on the dress, but with a pair of pants underneath it.
So, I thought to myself, okay I need to explain and demonstrate the shirt part again. I said to H, "Yes, pants, good, but also shirt" and with that I went through elaborate hand gestures of putting a pretend shirt over my head and sliding my arms into pretend sleeves. Again, the lightbulb flashed and she was off for her bedroom, and again 30 seconds later I heard her descending. When she rounded the corner from the dining room into the kitchen, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a glimpse of navy blue fabric. When I looked up, she still had the dress on (with the pants) and had added a shirt over the top of the dress. I can only imagine how strangely she must think parents instruct their children to dress in America.
At this point, I did my final silent mime show for the morning---taking off the dress, while keeping on the pants and shirt. She took off again, and as she did, I offered a quick prayer that we might make it to lunch sans the navy blue dress, but otherwise fully clothed. And then, voila, there she was pants and shirt and ready for breakfast. Does anyone know who the patron saint of wardrobe is?
Together at last!

First *official* family photo!

Mom's turn to hold Baby T, who needed Dad's help to stop playing with Mom's sweater pin and smile for the camera.

A kind woman at the airport offered to take a picture with all of us--letting Grandma and Grandpa get in on the fun!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"And how does this happen to me?..."

Elizabeth's words spoken in today's Gospel take on new meaning this year. In muddling through the process of becoming a family of 8, there are struggles, but there is also great joy. In those joyful moments, Elizabeth's spoken words become clear, "How does this happen to me?" Full of humility, she is incredulous to bear witness to the overwhelming joy of Mary. There are definitely moments, where we have been humbled over these last 10 days; when three under three cry simultaneously, when a rotation of sick bodies stumble through our bathroom all night long, when our language gets in the way, or dare I mention, the laundry...In these moments, there is no where else to turn but to God in total humility, and His response is opening our eyes to see and experience the joy that is underneath these surface struggles. Then we can truly marvel at our growing family and wonder, "How did this happen to us?" Blessed are we!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Just Because She Asked

Okay, Lizardo, here are some more...

Baby T and the women of the ark

Baby T allowing Mom to hold him, while he scans the airport for the preferred parent.

Watching Baby T do what he does best!

CB remarking, " I love his fuzzy head!"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tunes for the Ark I and II

On Friday, we received in the mail a most thoughtful gift from our good friends in California. They have been along for our journey, since it's inception---way, way back when God put the call to adopt on our hearts. Even more amazing, they stuck it out with us for the, oh EIGHT or so years that it took to come to fruition.

I was in the car with CB, showing her a picture of the family that came with the gift, when she asked:
CB: Who are these people? (remember CB is only 3 and last saw them when she was only months old!)
Me: That is the S family. They are friends of ours.
CB: Waaaiiittt a minute. THESE are the S family? (we have prayed for their family each night when Mr. S was deployed in Iraq and it has just felt right to continue to do so)
Me: Yes.
CB: Well, then who is this one? And this one? And this one? And this one? Who is that BOY?
Me: (after explaining each person) That's everyone.
CB: But there are no brothers? Where are the brothers? And a baby? Where is a baby?
Me: The girls USED to be babies (ignoring completely the brother question) but now they are all grown-up.
CB: Well, okay, but waaaiiiittt a minute. (studying the picture very carefully) Just how OLD is that mom?
Now, I'm no expert, but perhaps she's trying to determine if it is possible to ADD a baby and/or a brother to that family...if so, call her. She'll be glad to give you our adoption agency's phone number!!!
And to commemorate the journey this family of ark builders has been on, they created not one, but TWO cds of great, carefully chosen, music. Besides the fact that the music is so awesome, we are reminded each time we listen to it of how this process has not only involved our family. So many friends and families have been right there alongside us as we've built. People have come from far and wide with planks of gopherwood, wooden mallets and nails, and (yes, F) even pitch and bitumen to make our ship waterproof! We've been covered in prayers from coast to coast, the importance of which I can't even express, and now these beautiful cds fill our hearts and our ark with song to remember these days. Thanks C, R, D, R and A--we look forward to introducing our newest family members to you when you tire of sunny CA!
Here they come!
First Steps into the airport

Looking for the welcoming committee!

The Boy spots us!

24 plus hours in airports and on airplanes, quite a *labor* but looking none the worse for wear.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

At the airport



Still more waiting...

Yeah, mon!
As promised, here is the picture of the boy in his Rasta hat.

It's a little known fact, Normie, that the Rastafarian movement got its start in Ethiopia; thus the Ethiopian flag colors on all things Rasta-fied. So, the photo CD worked and more pictures to come!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

AHOPE for Children

If you missed this, take a moment and go watch. This is an MSNBC video featuring the work of Dr. Jane Aronson, whom I mentioned previously. It is a well done, informative piece highlighting the AIDS orphans in Ethiopia; in this case five who themselves are HIV-positive. Pay particular attention to the twelve year old boy from the US, who is hosting one of the Ethiopian orphans. His compassion and motivation to help the children, who are in the cross hairs of this crisis, is very moving.
In a way, it reminded me of one of the Boy's comments from his week in Ethiopia with his Dad. They were instructed by their driver that it would be okay to give a little money to the throngs of beggars who beseiged the car at each stop, but not too much or they may have trouble. So, the Boy had a small handful of birr (Ethiopian currency) and was ready to pass it out through the cracked window. But when more people came to the window than he had birr, he handed the money to his Dad and asked him to do it. When he told me this story, he turned to me and said, "I just couldn't do it, Mom. It was just too hard. How do I choose whom to help and whom I won't help." Then he looked away. I shared that I understood what he meant. As a parent, I can't bear to think of the desperation of parents in Ethiopia who are faced with my son's dilemma in their own family. How do I choose whom to feed, whom to school, or how to console a child in need of medical treatment that I can't provide. Tough stuff-even for an adult mind-let alone a 12 year old boy.
There is a great scripture verse that has been my screen saver for nearly the past six months.

It reads, ...once our eyes are opened we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act. (Proverbs 24:12)
So, take a moment, hear the stories, have your eyes opened...and act.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Not just a clever name

Today in the car, the Boy and I were talking about a project they will be doing at school to earn a "dress-down" day in January. He said in order to be out of uniform, the students will each donate $1-$2 to go towards the Africa mosquito net project. We talked a little about how worthwhile that will be, and that so many people are infected (with potentially fatal diseases) from mosquito bites and that the nets are an extremely inexpensive means of prevention.

Then he said to me, "I know they tell you that you can't get mosquito bites in Addis, but I was bitten FIVE times when I was there." Then after a moment of thinking, he added, "Well, it could have been a fly or something."

To which I replied, "Or it could have been the bedbugs..."

His face became very serious as he turned to me, "They have those in Ethiopia?!?"

"Yup, remember the plastic covers you put on the beds when you stayed there?" I asked.

"Uh-huh." He gulped hard.

"Well, those were for bedbugs," I told him, "Haven't you ever heard 'Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite'?

"Yeah...but I thought that was just a figure of speech."

He is now wise in the ways of the world in more ways than he ever imagined!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

And I couldn't forget...

the photo of my first baby on his 12th birthday in front of the hospital where he was born.

According to his Dad, this moment is also captured on our digital recorder, including the part where he left a little bit of himself so that Germany will never forget him! I'm serious, he just doesn't react to time change well...
It's not all snow and shots, really.

If it wasn't bad enough to have to spend your first days in America in the bitter cold and snow, how about your new family (remember these people who you keep hearing are just so super?!) decide to take you to the doctor's office first thing Monday morning! The boy was totally jet-lagged (and as evidenced by his de-planing puke in Germany---and then Saturday and Sunday back home!--- his internal clock does not adjust quickly to time change) and his school books were in his luggage, their whereabouts unknown, so he stayed home from school on Monday. B has really clicked with H and they spend much of this weekend giggling and conversing in a combination of broken English/Amharic, then grabbing one another's hand and calling, "Come, come..." and running off to play. We decided that the doctor's visit would be, maybe, a little bit better with her there, too. So, B came along for the ride. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law came and stayed with N, CB and the recuperating Boy.
After talking with the doctor, he ordered all the tests recommended by orphan doctor, Jane Aronson. He believes that H's age is accurate and that she is probably 8 1/2, turning 9 in February (6 mos. before B does---I'm just waiting for someone to see that on paper and wonder how I pulled THAT off!) Baby T, however, he thinks is around 8 months old, which is what we have been thinking, but not what the birth certificate supports. So, we will be working to remedy that as we re-adopt here in the States. This is all somewhat irrelevant, unless you are a doctor looking at a immunization schedule. The baby, with the doctor assuming the age of 8 months, was only in need of one vaccination and the TB test. Poor H, on the other hand, had FOUR shots, while her Dad hugged her tightly and I tried to not cry. (In that respect, H may have done better than me!) Then, we got the order for the bloodletting...I mean, labwork. We decided to come back later this week, when the TB tests get read and worry about that then. As it is, the tetanus shot alone is making H's arm hurt like crazy, but she hated the taste of chewable tylenol so badly that she preferred a nap with a cold compress to any more than a half of a tablet. At this point, I'm not sure she isn't thinking Ethiopia didn't look so bad after all...sigh.
Taking the hint

Okay, Cath and Paige, et al...I have been a shameless non-blogger the past few days, not for lack of trying-mind you, but a few glitches in the otherwise seamless (haha) groove of the ark has kept me from my computer more than usual. I haven't even returned email (gasp!) Tonight, however, for those about to stalk---I salute you---with as much of an update as I can muster before someone wakes up, throws up, or shows up.

As you read, albeit briefly, everyone arrived safe and sound on Saturday. It was a really wonderful homecoming, if you don't count the fact that all of their their checke
d baggage ended up diverted on a totally different airlines to parts unknown, but our most precious cargo arrived on time and in one piece. We headed home with the Boy riding shotgun and me trying to make friends with Baby T, who until recently had decided that Dad was a much better Mom than me. I had spent the night before their arrival putting the finishing touches on the house re-do as well as the cleaning spree that just had to happen. I had all the carpets professionally cleaned, all the bed linens washed, and all the laundry folded, pressed and put away in the appropriate rooms. Then, around 11pm, I heard N coughing upstairs (not too unusual last week with the croup diagnosis and all) but all of a sudden, the coughing became much louder. I ran upstairs to find that N had decided to go into competition with her soon-to-be roommate for who could throw up the most. I'd be hard pressed to call a winner in that race, but I do know that N's clean-up required a late night bath as well as a turn with the steam cleaner over the carpeting...and this was the only night I declined having one of my sister's-in-law stay over ("No, I don't need help. It's just one more night. What could possibly happen?" Sheesh.)

Finally, we arrived home. Fortunately for us, it seems that our daughter is a VE
RY good reader in her native language. It seemed that her Dad was able to do some of his best communication with the little English/Amharic phrasebook throughout the week. It looked something like this:

Dad: After finding the word he needed in English, "Okay, H, read this one. Okay, do you have that one? Okay, now don't forget that one." (shuffling through the book) Now read this one."

This continued until a string of words was arrived at that formed the semblance of a sentence thus conveying a thought.
Our daughter is very patient with her ferenge family.

Everyone was just exhausted (except Baby T, who had spent the better part of the airplane ride asleep and by the time we arrived home, was on schedule--in Ethiopian time--to be waking up to greet the day) so by early Saturday night, B and I were the only ones awake, but even we crashed pretty early after such a long week. A friend of ours recently compared his trip to Ethiopia for the adoption to inhaling and holding a deep breath---for a looonng time~and then when it was over, just letting the breath out in one big sigh. I think he's got it down to a T.

We have pictures from the airport arrival, but we were unable to get a CD of the photos and my scanned ones are really crummy. So, tomorrow, my plan is to attempt an outing with the four who are currently home during the day, and see what I can do to remedy that situation.

We seem to be plagued by a host of technical difficulties with cameras, photos an
d video. Our digital camera refused to hold a charge nor did it allow the *rechargeable* batteries to, well, recharge which cut our picture taking down quite a bit. We were able to get quite a bit of video of Layla/Wanna, which was very nice, but I don't have the correct wire to upload it to the computer. And, as above, I am down the arrival photo CD. But, in the meanwhile, here are a few pictures of the boys on their trip with H and Baby T.

Meeting each other for the first time at Layla/Wanna

Celebrating after the embassy appointment was finished.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Photo Wall Addition

Upon their arrival home, as we've been going through the carry-on bags (since the four gigantic suitcases we left with only just made their way to the airport today!) I've been trying to learn as much about the trip and Ethiopia as I can vicariously. My husband continues to amaze me with the items he pulls out of his bag. For example, he was given a picture by Baby T's bedileuma (I'm not sure of the spelling of this, nor am I entirely sure if this is accurate-but I believe she was his main caregiver at Wanna House). She had come to know and love our kids over the past 5 months that they were there and wanted a special picture by which to remember them. It could only have been divine intervention (which according to my husband basically presided over the entire trip) that for some unknown reason, a copy was made of this photo, in an 8 by 10 size print and was presented to my husband when he arrived.

This was before we arrived, the day they went for passport photos. We are now in search of the perfect frame to hang it on our family photo wall. Still, many more photos and stories to tell. I'm hoping to have the boys share some of their trip in the first person as well. For now, I'm off to bed before Baby T decides that it's morning in Ethiopia and time to wake up !

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Just in case you are wondering...
They are all home (and as of now)all asleep! More stories and pictures to come! Thanks for all the incredible wishes to welcome them home!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Destination USA

They're flight is officially in the air and headed for the US. They had a going away party scheduled for this afternoon at Layla House. I'm sure they took lots of pictures. I can't wait to see them and hear all about it. For now, however, I'm fully focused on their arrival tomorrow---less than 24 hours away!
One of the things that I've seen done before, and I thought was a GREAT idea, was to have friends and family *sign* the new children's memory book. Since this blog has become a virtual memory book to share with H and Baby T as they grow and wonder about their journey to our hearts and home, I'd love for each of you to share a thought, a hope or a prayer with them to know that you all, too, were part of their story...each in your own unique ways. Thank you so much for being a part of such a special time and thank you for the great welcome you've given our newest family members!!!