Sunday, September 25, 2011

Some new pictures....

To be honest, I really haven't felt like blogging much lately... It's much easier to blog when things are going well... There isn't really any new news to share as far as progress with the US Embassy.  Our agency has been working hard at getting all things in place for Zoe's birthmom and birthgrandma to travel to Addis Ababa soon to meet with the Embassy physician.  We are praying that all has gone smoothly and been uneventful and that they will arrive in Addis early this week (if they aren't already there) and can meet with the Embassy sometime this week.  We anticipate it then taking a few days of gathering ADDITIONAL documents to submit to the Embassy.  And oh how we are praying that this is ALL they need and they can clear us.  But we know that it's not in our hands, and God has a PERFECT PLAN for our family, even if it doesn't seem so PERFECT to us...I am reading Angie Smith's new book What Women Fear (which I LOVE by the way) and although A LOT of it is hitting home, this sentence definitely spoke to me this week.  "What I need to get in my head is the fact that all the while I am caught up in what looks impossible, my arms are wrapped around the Possible."

My friend Jana returned home from Ethiopia this past Thursday with their sweet daughter Gabby.  While they were there, they were so kind to spend some time with our Zoe.  Jana hasn't had a chance to send me all the pictures and video they took of her yet (she's been pretty busy and sleep-deprived!), but she sent 2 last night and.they made my heart so happy..  Jana was so sweet to email me a couple of times while they were there with updates about Zoe and how she is doing.  She said she is crawling (which she was doing while we were there in June), pulling up, and crusing like a champ and Jana couldn't believe how well she is doing with her gross motor skills.  Definitely made me happy.  She also told me that Zoe's head had been shaved...BUMMER.  This is pretty common in institutions such as orphanages- especially in Ethiopia. Even with a couple of emails and a phone conversation with Jana about how they had shaved her head, it was still a shock to see her without hair.  I am trying to remind myself that "it's just hair and it WILL grow back" even though it's very easy to think that we wouldn't be in this place were it not for all the delays we've had in the past weeks and months.  And as I told Drew, I guess this just means I need to be buying more headbands and bows for her :) 

I couldn't believe this big smile!! She was soo serious for us the first couple of days and then really started to open up after that... But seeing her so smiley while she was playing with her little friends Gabby and Amalya at the guesthouse definitely made me happy. The sleeper she is wearing is the SAME EXACT one she was wearing when we first met her. It was big on her then, and it looks like it may be a bit snug on her now!!
Before the smiley picture was taken, Jana took Zoe up to her room to change her into the outfit I had sent along with her. Zoe wasn't too sure about Jana at first, and she said it was hard to get her to smile, but I still wanted to post this picture because this is our little serious girl. And how cute is she in this sweet outfit!! I also sent the little book she is holding and a little taggie blankie with Jana to leave there for her :)   Oh, how I can't wait to tickle her and play with her and make her smile and laugh out loud like we did 3 1/2 months ago....
In the meantime, we are trying our best to keep busy, which isn't too hard with a VERY active 4-year old...  I've managed to do some scrapbooking and crafting.  I made this wreath out of burlap last weekend thanks to some inspiration from Pinterest and this website.
I've also managed to do some baking and tried this new recipe for Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies (also a Pinterest find).  And let me just say- they do not disappoint.  This recipe will be finding it's way into my recipe basket for sure!
We've taken 2 nature walks in the past couple of weeks (one as a family, and one with just the boys while I was shopping with my mom and sister).  Evan is a HUGE fan and he calls them "adventures".  I'm continually trying to remind myself that things will change once Zoe is home and that I need to soak up each and every minute with this special little guy...
Evan got a new tennis racket and balls for his birthday and we've taken him down to the tennis courts a couple of times in the last few weeks...  He LOVES it- it will be interesting to see if he follows in his mama's footsteps :) 
 I guess that's about it... I will be sure to post if we get more information this week...  Happy Fall!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Long OVERDUE Update...

Ok.... time for an adoption update...
We have experienced MORE roadblocks in the past several weeks or so.  We have been communicating back and forth with the US Embassy, and to make a very long story short, they have requested that Zoe's birthmother come to Addis Ababa to be examined by one of their physicians.  As I've mentioned before, Zoe's birthfamily lives very far away from Addis and the roads into her village are not passable via car right now because of rainy season.  This coupled with Zoe's birthmother's medical condition will make this task challenging.  Although we don't feel like this exam is necessary (given all the documentation and medical paperwork we have already provided the embassy), it is what it is and we are at their mercy.  As we have mentioned before, Zoe's birthmom has been diagnosed with yellow fever.  As it stands now, we are hoping that Zoe's birthmother and birthgrandmother arrive in Addis Ababa sometime next week.  As you can imagine, many things have to fall in place in order for this to happen.  But we know our God is bigger and we are trusting in Him..  Please pray with us that things move as smoothly and swiftly as possible and that there is minimal stress for all involved during this journey (especially for Zoe's birthfamily).  We hate that they have to go through all of this again....
I wish I could say I have handled this well, but these last few weeks have been the toughest I've ever experienced.  My emotions have been such a roller-coaster.  Through it all, I am SO VERY THANKFUL for all of our friends and family who have come alongside us and spoken TRUTH into our lives and keep encouraging us to stay strong and trust in HIM who is bigger than all these delays and roadblocks.  God has made it so clear to me how extremely BLESSED we are to have such amazing friends and family who love us enough to cry with us, pray with us, pray FOR us, love our Zoe whom they have never even met, but most importantly speak the words that are necessary although not always easy.  God's timing is perfect and we just HAVE to trust in that. 
We received a couple more pictures of Zoe last week with an update (she weighs 18 pounds now!).  She just keeps getting more beautiful with each passing day... 

After seeing the above picture, a facebook friend of mine said "she is watching for your plane to arrive".  Melted my heart- we promise we will come get you as soon as we can sweet Zoe!

I also sent off a little package for Zoe to my dear friend Jana who is en route to Ethiopia RIGHT NOW to bring their sweet baby girl home.  They are working with the same adoption agency and only live a couple of hours from us.  Our Zoe and their Gabby are only 6 days apart in age.  We had the honor of spending a couple of hours with their sweet Gabby when we traveled in June.  Jana is going to deliver this package to our baby and hopefully get to return the favor and LOVE on Zoe a little while they are there...  and remind her that we LOVE her so much and that Mommy and Daddy are doing EVERYTHING we can to bring her home soon... 

In other news....
Evan had his first soccer game last weekend.  Oh my goodness- watching 3-5 year olds play soccer is QUITE entertaining.  Evan's team is so blessed to have Drew, Grandpa Brad and Uncle Cal as their patient coaches.  I'm not sure Drew knew what he was getting into when he signed up, but he's doing great and Evan loves having Daddy as his coach. 
And... FALL IS IN THE AIR!  Oh how I love this time of year...  I got out the fall decorations this week and I sooo love the colors, smells, and beauty of FALL..
In the midst of all the unknowns in the coming weeks and months, I will do my very best each day to CHOOSE JOY.  Because I know there is a reason I am not writing our story and God is.  He knows how it all works out, what it all means, and how our story ends.  In Him I will place my trust... 

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

"Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in GOD." John 14:1

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."  John 14:18

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

4-year pictures!

Since I have NO positive adoption-related news, I will just post some pictures of our 4-year old...  Trying to enjoy him and focus on the positives these days...  Sometimes easier said than done.  We are continuing to pray for God to move in MIGHTY ways like only He can in bringing our Zoe home.  Please join us in praying for a miracle!

Friday, September 2, 2011


Before I get into the specifics, here are 2 pictures of our sweet baby that we received a couple of days ago.. She is growing up.. and continues to get more and more beautiful with each passing day... I can't believe it's already been 2 1/2 months since we were holding her and loving on her. I could just jump right through that picture right now and kiss those chubby cheeks and kissable little lips.. And her hair!!  I can't believe how much it has grown :) 

OK...So as hard as I know this will be to type, it is theraputic for me and this is kind of my way of journaling my thoughts and emotions for Zoe to be able to read someday.  We have run into some roadblocks as far as getting the documents and information the US Embassy has requested.  Without going into the LONG version, some of the things the Embassy has requested involve sending someone to the region/village where Zoe's birthfamily lives to obtain the information.  Normally, this wouldn't be a HUGE deal, but the orphanage director (who would facilitate all of this) is out of the country right now and the roads (if they can even be called roads) leading to this area are impassable via car now due to the rainy season.  So last we heard, they have sent a WALKER to travel to obtain this information and relay it back to the orphanage, who will relay it back to our agency's director, who will then deliver it to the Embassy.  Obviously, this will take time and could cause us considerable delays.  We are also awaiting another document from a 3rd party before we can be re-submitted to the Embassy for further review.  But our God is bigger than any piece of paper and we are praying for Him to move in HUGE and MIGHTY ways like only HE can so that our Zoe can be home with her family soon. 

We know that God loves us and loves our Zoe and we know that He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, but sometimes it's just soo hard to CONSISTENTLY trust in Him and His timing (especially for a type-A control freak like me!).  Our hearts just ache so badly for our baby and I wish I could say I've been strong and holding it together, but I often feel like I'm just an inch away from an emotional puddle of tears.  And I soo badly want to trust in His perfect timing.   But in the midst of struggling to give it to God and let go, I MISS MY BABY.  

The beauty in this is that I have become soo much more aware of how many people are loving us and our Zoe through this difficult time.  I am constantly amazed at the way God is using His children to minister to us in soo many ways.  Through many phone calls, texts, facebook messages, a package in the mail addressed to our Zoe with a handmade hairbow and note from a friend I have never met in person (thank you Sarah), many hugs, friends who listen and cry with me, so many new friends I have made since we started the adoption process, and soo much more...I am OVERWHELMED. Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts for loving us and praying for us.  Zoe has NO IDEA how much she is loved by people who have never even met her.  So to all of you who have felt led to reach out to us through this time, prayed for us and our Zoe, and allowed God to use you, please know that it means so much.  So often through this process, a phone call, visit, email, etc. have come at JUST the time I needed it most and I know that's not a coincidence. 

A couple of weeks ago, I entered a blog giveaway on the off chance that I would win (not something I do often). I love this blog and look forward to her posts and new creative ideas. They are also in the process of adopting from Ethiopia (for the 2nd time) and every month she does a giveaway to *celebrate* another month on the waiting list. This was their 9-month giveaway and oh how I hope they have a referral before they hit that 10-month mark! I'm not sure why I entered on this particular day. I usually don't because there are usually TONS of entries and I know my chances of winning are slim to none. Well, wouldn't you know that out of 457 entries, I WON. And this is what I won:

Yes, friends.  GOD IS IN THE DETAILS.  On a day when I was REALLY struggling and ready to give up hope, I won this canvas.  With the definition of hope on it (at the very bottom). NO COINCIDENCES.  And yes- this will be hanging on the wall in Zoe's room very soon.  We will have HOPE and trust in the ONE who can move mountains to bring our baby HOME. 

hope (verb):  to desire with expectation of fulfillment
hope (noun):  1. trust, reliance  2.  desire accompanied by expectation of fulfillment  3.  one that gives promise for the future