Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Please Storm the Gates!

We were thrilled to receive a quick response to our status inquiry from the US Embassy.  Here is what they said:

Dear DeVol family,

Thank you for your email. We have talked to the police officer three times and every time we are being told to call later. At this time the case is with the consular officer awaiting review of the file. We will contact you as soon as the officer makes the determination if the presented evidence confirms that the child is an orphan under U.S. Immigration law.

Adoption Unit
U.S. Embassy
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

On one hand we were very happy to get specifics about our case.  However, on the other hand we are very disheartened and nervous.  Please, please, please pray that when the consular officer reviews our case they will determine that Ezekiel is indeed an orphan under US Immigration law.  Please also pray that he (or she) reviews our case tonight!  The waiting is excruciating!!!!!  
If you are awake at midnight tonight EST (8am in Ethiopia) would you please take a moment and pray that as the consular officer heads to work he/she will:
1.  Review our case first thing
2.  Approve our case and clear us.

If you are not awake will you pray before going to sleep and also just remember Ezekiel should you wake up during the night?  Business hours in Ethiopia are from about 1am EST to 9am EST.  
Thank you all for helping us storm the gates of Heaven and ask God to work in hearts to release our son to us!!!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

All is Well:)

First I just want to thank everyone for reading this blog!  I cannot believe the number of people that have called, texted, or came up to us and said, "how'd the last pubs go?  You never updated the blog"  I didn't realize so many were quietly following!   So let me apologize for not updating sooner!  It won't happen again;)

Everything went great.  It was our shortest procedure yet.  From the time they gave me the numbing meds until they withdrew the needle was only 30 minutes!  AMAZING!  Also, the baby looked good enough that we are pushing the next pubs to a full 3 weeks so we will be back in on January 10th.  It's possible that if he looks good at that one we may even push to 3 1/2 weeks next time.  This pubs was also a huge success because it means the next one will be done at 28 weeks.  At that point the baby is no longer considered an "extreme" or "super" premie but just a premie.  Far less intervention would be needed were he to be born and the outcomes are much more encouraging (like 90%).  Obviously, we are still hoping he stays put for the next 11 weeks (they won't let me go past 37 weeks).  Best case scenerio we have 3 more pubs and then a baby:)  Time is flying!!!!!!

On the adoption front we are STILL waiting on the US Embassy.  We have no idea what the holdup is.  We haven't heard from them since they requested a phone number on the 16th.  We aren't sure what to think at this point.  We don't know if no news means they are just still waiting to talk to the officer, have decided they need to speak with someone else, are doing a full investigation, or are deciding whether to send our case onto Nairobi.  The possibilities are numerous.  We are, honestly, exhausted from checking our email several times a night not to mention the emotional strain of not knowing when our son will be home.  We sent an inquiry about our case today but I'm not sure we'll hear anything back (other than maybe a generic "your case is still being processed")  So if anyone out there knows someone who works in the US Embassy in Ethiopia feel free to give them a call and ask "When the heck are the DeVols' bringing their kid home?!?!?!?!"  It's starting to feel like a race between these two boys!!!!

So that is my "short" little update:)
Merry Christmas!!!!!!
I can't imagine that the holdup could be with us right?!?!?

Monday, December 19, 2011

PUBS Take 4

Tomorrow is our 4th transfusion.  I'm not as nervous as I've been about the others but it's still pretty intense.  There are some different things this time.  The biggest change is that now our little man is considered "viable".  At almost 25 weeks if he were born tomorrow he would have a chance of surviving.  His chances wouldn't be great and his chances of surviving with no major issues later in life are even smaller.  I did get a series of steroid shots that increase his chances should he be born.  Right now we are looking at about a 65% survival rate (with steroids, without I believe it would be about 45%)  Because he is now considered viable every PUBS has the possibility of ending in a c-section.  We are prayerful and hopeful that this is not necessary. Making it through this transfusion is HUGE!  The next transfusion would be at 28 weeks, which is considered a major milestone.  At that point a baby is a premie with about a 90% survival rate as opposed to a super-premie with much lower rates.  Each week, and subsequently each 3 week pubs round, that this little guy is not born is huge in his development.

Please pray for tomorrow!  Pray for a successful transfusion that does not result in a c-section!


Saturday, December 17, 2011


Guess what I did not see today?  The inside of a doctor's office or hospital!!!!  We had a really, really lovely doctor free Saturday.  We slept in.  We ate blueberry pie for breakfast (don't judge, pie for breakfast is one of the lovely little joys of life).  We built a gingerbread house (our first ever!)  Then the I did something with the girls I thought I'd never do (at least until they were teenagers) but I thought we girls needed a little chill time while Daddy went for a run.  So we got pedicures.  They LOVED it!  Lindsey had a meltdown when she messed up her snowflake designs but she eventually recovered and all in all it was really fun.  They both felt so grown up:)

Then we took our cute toes home and decorated our gingerbread house while lasagna cooked in the oven.

 Soon the children will be nestled snug in their beds and George and I will wrap some presents and watch Christmas movies.  We sooooo needed today and it was simply lovely!

Friday, December 16, 2011

But Wait....There's More

Someone said to me yesterday, "Your life!"  When I responded, "What?  You wouldn't want to be me?"  She responded, "No Way!" 

I don't want to complain.  I actually think I have a really good life.  I am sooooo blessed beyond measure and so thankful to God for the many wonderful things that I have.  We have a warm home, good job, and great friends and family.  I don't think anyone who has those things can really say their life isn't great.  Everyone goes through times of stresses.  Sometimes they're little (even though they feel big) and sometimes big.  Sometimes THEY JUST WON'T STOP COMING!!!  Really, none of the things we are going through seem too awful but when you stack them all together it just get's overwhelming!!!  Since we returned from Ethiopia (Nov. 7th)  here are some "fun" things that have happened:

~baby "surprise" has had 3 blood transfusions and I go into Philly twice a week for ultrasounds

~we've waited to be submitted to Embassy
     ~and waited
            ~and waited
                   ~and waited some more

~our washing machine completely broke and we bought a new one (while I really like my new washing machine picking out a new one was stressful both financially and emotionally(what if I made the wrong decision?!?!?!))

~ we were finally submitted to Embassy!

~ Christin broke her arm, bad.  If you haven't heard the story here's a quick recap:  First of all Christin doesn't (or I guess I should say didn't) get hurt.  EVER.  The worst injury she has ever had was a few months before when she fell and cut her knee and needed a bandaid.  Before that I don't even think she had ever really bleed, seriously.  She was standing on a little platform/shelf about two feet high.  She feel off.  I heard the bang and, "umm Mom??  I think I hurt myself" She was cradling her arm.  When I pulled up the sleeve there was no question that the arm was broken.  "Hey mom, you know have Kevin's arm used to go this way?  Well, it doesn't do that anymore"  (yeah, very Brian Regan)  The arm literally bent between the wrist and elbow.  I'm not easily squeamish and the image of her arm in my mind makes me feel queasy still.  A trip to the ER revealed both bones (radius and ulna) were broken.  Originally they were going to put her to sleep to set it but they decided to set it with her awake.  It was not fun!  Now she has a bright pink cast from midway up her upper arm down to her hand.  She is HATING the cast and says constantly that she wants it off, hates it, wishes she could go to sleep and not wake up until it's off. 

~late last night we heard that the US Embassy is reviewing our case but would like to talk to one of the police officers that was involved in Ezekiel's story very early on.  AWAA has been fabulous in RIGHT AWAY getting the Embassy the officer's phone number but we have no way of knowing when the Embassy will actually speak with him and if they will then clear us or want to talk to someone else.  So we wait some more.  At this point we won't be bringing him home for Christmas:(  but there is still hope for the week after Christmas. 

~I think there is a major holiday coming up too. 

I'm going to go take a nap now.  Wake me up when all my babies are here safe and sound, my eldest is cast free and I'm lying on a beach somewhere:)

God is good, all the time!  All the time, God is good!
On the plus side, Lindsey was a fabulous little cow in her Christmas play:)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Homeschool Confession

I have a confession to make.  I love reading (that's not the confession).  I read pretty fast to myself but feel like I'm also pretty good at reading aloud (also not the confession).  I really looked forward to sharing my love of books and joy of reading with my children.  I started reading to Christin right away.  We read Sarah Plain and Tall, Charlotte's Web, and even parts of Pride and Prejudice (my personal favorite) before she was 3 years old not to mention countless picture books of the highest quality.  So here is the confession:  listening to a 7 year old struggle through a book at the pace of a snail going backwards makes me want to stick tiny pins in my ears.  I HATE read aloud time more than any other time in homeschooling.  We can dissect sentences all day, sing a billion silly history songs, go through our whole Math curriculum and I'm great.  I love homeschooling!  But when it comes to reading time I just want to cry.

That's my confession for today.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy Birthday George and . . . .

Today was was my darling husband's 34th birthday!  To celebrate we went and saw The Muppets movie and then headed to PF Changs.  The movie is an absolute must see for anyone who was a child in the 80's (or raised one, or two, or three:) and loves absolute ridiculousness (the songs had me absolutely cracking up!). 

The whole day was also filled with much breath holding.  We were hoping to be submitted to Embassy.  Around lunch time we got an email that basically said, "we think you were submitted but the internet is down in Ethiopia so we can't confirm"  At this point I took a huge breath in and didn't exhale until about 10 minutes ago (in completely unrelated news I am dizzy and have a headache)  Since we were at the movies and out to eat we couldn't check our email (sidenote:  there is no where in the Promonade with free wifi)  Then just 10 minutes ago we got home and opened the email to find WE WERE SUBMITTED!!!!!!!!  Now we wait a week or two to find out if we have cleared or more info is needed.  We are praying like crazy that we clear next week and can still get Ezekiel home by Christmas (Please Lord, please Lord, pretty pretty please!!!!!!!!!)

So that was our day!  Super, duper fun!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Song

Yes I changed the music.  Yes, I have to turn off the music to look at my own blog without crying.  Yes you are crazy if this song doesn't make you cry.  Or maybe you just aren't human, or adopting a baby who's on the other side of the world, or pregnant :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Praise God!

We had another successful PUBS procedure today.  While it was much sooner than we had hoped it was done at the perfect time.  The baby was anemic but not severely so and that's a very good thing.  It also only took 40 minutes, which is always great and the baby did very well during the procedure.  We learned some new information that I found fascinating.  Every time they do a PUBS the baby's blood becomes a little more diluted (less antigens aka the thing my blood hates) by the donor blood.  That means that just because it took only 10 days for him to become anemic this time that doesn't mean he will need a transfusion again in 10 days.  It's possible that he will (and that's why I will have ultrasounds twice a week) but they are hopeful that they can stretch them out a little more.  Right now the next one is tentatively scheduled for December 19th. 

We also meet with Neonatalogy today.  They discussed how things would look if the baby was born at 24 weeks and how we should proceed with steroids.  At 24 weeks, with steroids, the odds of the baby surviving are about 30% (admittedly not great but I keep thinking, "so you're saying there's a chance" (yes I did just quote Dumb and Dumber in the middle of a very serious medical post)) and the odds he has no lasting damage (neurologically mostly) is even lower.  HOWEVER, we were encouraged by the fact that with each week that passes the chances of healthy survival go up considerably.  Obviously we are praying this baby stays in the oven for 4 more months but just 6 more weeks makes a huge difference. 

Just a couple other things we are praising God for this week:
~  Ezekiel is healthy and happy but not walking yet (wait for us little boy!!!!)
~  A friend handed us $100 for travel expenses to Jefferson.  Since I'm going twice a week and then doing PUBS every few weeks that's wonderful!  (the cost of travel plus meals (we're there for a long time and then I'm forbidden from cooking the evening of the PUBS) really adds up)
~  Another friend gave me her PATCO card with some money left on it!  I took the train for the first time Thursday:)
~  Christin told me "she loves reading" and that she had read a chapter of a book in bed.  The chapters are very short but this HUGE for her!!!!!
~  We have really fabulous friends and family that are supporting us and praying for us

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Prayer Please!!!!

We had an ultrasound for surprise today.  At Monday's ultrasound he looked GREAT!  Today he was anemic again, already.  That means another transfusion, tomorrow:(  We are pretty frustrated about what that means.  First of all it means that if there is a problem or they are unable to do it there is nothing they can do since he is not yet 24 weeks.  Also, it means that we probably have a very aggressive form of anemia and these transfusions are going to be much more frequent (like every 10-14 days).  Please, please pray!!!! 

In other news we once again were not submitted to Embassy this week.  Praying for next Wednesday!!!

On the upside, my name was pulled for Shoprite's Touchdown prize.  So I get tons of food next Sunday for the Eagles game.  I may eat it all myself:)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

PUBS 1 Part 2

We are thankful this year that our little surprise's transfusion went GREAT yesterday!  We are also so thankful that it appears the first transfusion was mildly successful.  Had it not been successful he would have been VERY sick (had he even survived to yesterday).  

Witnessing the successful transfusion was a really neat thing as well.  Typically when a doctor attempts a tricky surgery it's in an operating room with an asleep patient.  This was in a Labor and Delivery room with a very awake me and George at my side.  When the transfusion proved successful there was such an air of giddiness in the room.  The doctors were excited.  The attending said of the doctor did it, "well, that just made her day".  People were laughing and joking and wanting us to name the baby after them.   Everyone felt like they had just been a part of something great.  We also happened to be the only ones on the floor, which the nurses said was SO weird, so when we were leaving everyone knew who we were and was smiling and telling us how happy they were for us.  It was oddly fun (after not during:). 

Ok, for those of you who are medically minded and want to know exactly what occurred this next parts for you.  First off, what does PUBS stand for you may ask?  Well, thanks to google here is the answer:  Percutaneous Umbilical  Blood Sampling.  There you go!  All cleared up!  In case you didn't know, percutaneous means "through the skin" which I of course knew right after I once again consulted google.  So in short here is what happens during each PUBS procedure:

1st:  I arrive at the hospital several hours before the procedure.  Many attempts are made to put an IV in my "tiny" "crooked" veins.  My blood is then taking and run to the lab to check for any new antibodies and the baby is checked via ultrasound.

2nd:  George and I watch TV for a few hours while all around us things are sterilized and people pile into the room and introduce themselves to us and ask if they can watch.

3rd:  I am "prepped":  draped in several sterile draps with just my belly exposed, covered in Benodine, and told to put my arms above my head and not move.  The last part of prepping is where they say "bee sting" and then to proceed to stab me with a needle that I'm pretty sure is the size of a butcher knife and covered in something that burns like Hades.  I hold my tongue and try not to yell, "bee sting my ****!"  Finally sweet numbness sinks in.

4th:  The procedure!  The doctor and ultra sound tech work together to get a thin but very long needle through my uterus and placenta and ultimately into the umbilical cord.  Then everyone must stay super, super still.  A small amount of blood is drawn.  If the needle hasn't slipped and blood is drawn (as opposed to amniotic fluid) it is literally run down to the lab and immediately processed for initial numbers.  Once the lab calls up with these numbers the doctors know how much blood to transfuse. If amniotic fluid is drawn they reposition the needle until it's right.

5th:  IF the needle has not slipped the blood is transfused.  Typically the needle slips several times and step four is redone again and again.  However, once the blood finally gets in more blood is drawn to check the numbers again and once again everyone stays very still.  When the lab confirms enough blood has been transfused it's over.

6th:  The needle is withdrawn and they clean me up.  We wait an hour for observationb and then are on our way. 

This process will be done every 3 weeks.  From this point on if the baby shows signs of distress after (or during) the procedure NICU will be there to deliver.  Obviously the further along we get the better!!!!! 

I'm sure I left many, many holes but that is the basic procedure!  Thanks for the prayers.  We definitely felt them.  Pencil in prayer for us on December 13th as that's our next transfusion date.

On the Ethiopia front we were not submitted to Embassy today:(  We are REALLY praying for next week and still hopeful that Ezekiel will be home by Christmas.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

An Update on Surprise

Please continue to pray for our little surprise baby.  As many of you know he is facing the same blood incompatibility that Jack had which is leading to anemia.  At this early stage, 20 weeks, the doctors would like to transfuse him every 3 weeks to make up for the blood cells that are being destroyed by my blood.  They attempted a transfusion for the first time on Friday.  Unfortunately with an umbilical cord the size of a piece of spaghetti (and equally as flexible) the doctors were unsuccessful in transfusing him.  We are praying that his anemia does not get much worse over the next couple of days and they are trying again on Tuesday.  Please pray that he makes it to Tuesday and that the transfusion is successful.

As far as Ezekiel goes please be praying for us to be submitted to Embassy this Wednesday!

And finally please pray for this Momma's heart.  Having one child in a foreign country and the other fighting for his very life is not easy the Mommy's heart.  (and the the Daddy too of course!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Love to Write!

Today is National I Love to Write Day.  I know this because I am a super on top of it homeschool mom.  Or maybe, just maybe, while Christin was doing some grammar exercises I was in the bathroom and happened to be flipping through HomeSchool Enrichment when I noticed the title "November 15th is National I Love to Write Day".  Which do you think is more likely?

Anyway,   I quickly came up with the idea (ok I got it from the magazine) to have Christin write a poem about Ezekiel.  I told her she got "extra credit points" for using at least two spelling words.  Since we don't do points that didn't really mean much to her so no spelling words.  Oh well!  Here's what she came up with: 

Can You Guess Who?

I smiled when I saw him.
He didn't fit in my shoes.
He didn't fit in my socks.
He was as small as a mouse.
His head was so small but his eyes were twice the size of a bouncy ball!

He smiled at me when I came.
I couldn't help smiling back.
Can you guess who?
That is it!
I'll give you a second or two...

That's who!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's A. . .


It looks like things in this house are going to go from being all girl to totally even.  George is thrilled that his days of being outnumbered are numbered!  We're pretty excited considering this baby and Ezekiel are going to be about 14 months apart.  They will share a room and be best friends for the rest of their lives.  Ok they don't have to share a room for the rest of their lives because, well, that would be a little weird when they grow up and get married.  However, the best friends thing?  Non-negotiable!!!  It may take some brain washing but trust me, I can convince them.  The girls already know that they will be each others maid of honors (maids of honor?) :) 

So bring on the snakes and snails and puppy dog tails (or maybe not, that's a little creepy) 
So bring on the trucks, sports, and dirt:)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Just a Little Short

We are so close to being done this adoption!!!!!!  Our agency expects our paperwork to be submitted to the US Embassy on either Nov. 16th or the 23.  The Embassy then has 10 business days to tell us that we've either cleared or that they need more info.  That means that we should hear something the week of Nov. 28th or the week of Dec. 5th.  If we clear travel could be just a few days after that.  SOOOO we could be back in ET as soon as the first week of December to bring Ezekiel home!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
So what is the meaning of the title?  Well, we have used up most of our adoption fund.  We have about $2,000 left to pay for our 2nd trip travel package and our in-country expenses.  However, we still need to raise the funds for our airfare (which looks like it will be somewhere in the $3500-$4000 range) and our post adoption paperwork (somewhere between $1000-$2,000)  So basically we need somewhere between $4500 and $6000 to be completely done bringing Ezekiel home and making him officially Ezekiel Aman Sterling DeVol (right now he is Aman George DeVol). 
So how can you help?  We need ideas for fundraising!!!!  Does anyone have any great ideas for us that don't take too long to put into action?  I've toyed with the idea of selling Thanksgiving pies but I'm just not sure if that would work so I'm looking for other ideas.  Also, obviously if you would just like to donate you can always do that by using the Paypal logo on the left hand side of this blog. 

Thank you all so much for your love and support during the last 2 years!!!  We have been so encouraged by the outpouring of love we have experienced from family, friends, and strangers and we hope that many of you will be able to join us at the airport when we bring Ezekiel home!

God Bless!!!!!!!

PS.  Stayed tuned tomorrow for our Surprise Sidekicks gender reveal. . . .

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Almost. . .

Our meeting with the judge went great.  We found out a letter has been written and should be in today (according to the judge).  So assuming the letter is favorable we should here that we pass later today or tomorrow!!!! 

So stay tuned for an update tonight:)

Thanks for the prayers!  If we pass it will certainly be a miracle!

5pm update:  The courts are closed in Ethiopia for the night and still no news. Maybe tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

We've been so busy here in ET!  Yesterday, after some time with Ezekiel we were supposed to go do a little sight seeing but Lindsey spiked a fever and was exhausted so we headed back to the GH to rest a bit and get some tylonel in her (yes I, Shannon, gave my child medicine, weird right?!?!)  Anyway, after some rest she was much better and we went out for our traditional Ethiopian dinner.  The food was AMAZING.  The dancing was IMPOSSIBLY AMAZING!!!!!  The girls got to dance and we all had a really great time!
Hand washing before and after meal!


I wish the pictures captured the coolness of the dancing.
to see both girls dance follow the link: and look for "Lindsey dances with Ethiopians" and "Traditional Ethiopian Dancing with Christin"

Today we spent the morning shopping, had lunch and then spent some time with our little man who was at his happiest yet!  He's opening up with us a little more everyday and today really started to babble to us which we love. 

We still aren't sure what's going to happen with our police clearences.  Please, please pray that God works a miracle tomorrow (Wednesday) and that everything falls into place and our letter gets written and get's to the judge by Thursday morning!  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"When the sun's shinning down on me"

I can't listen/sing the song Blessed Be Your Name without thinking of my Jack and crying.  The lines that talk about "walking through the desert place" and "you give and take away" just wreck me.  We sang the song at Jack's memorial service and everytime since it makes me (and my best girl friends) ball our eyes out.  In fact Liz and Alicia once banned it from being sung at a women's retreat (gotta love those girls!)  Anyway, girls, I think the bann must officially be called off.  This trip it seems God really wants me to focus on the fact that "Blessed be His name, when the sun's shinning down on me, when the world's all as it should be"  And that He is the one that gives!  Joel brought his guitar to the transition home and we had a private little worship service with Joel and "T" (one of our guides) going back and forth playing.  When it was "T"'s turn he started in with "Blessed Be Your Name"  Then today in church we sang it again.  It was lovely and moving and amazing both times.
"T" is the one immediatly to the right of the white guy:)

After church we headed to lunch at Island Breeze.  It was good but we waited an extremely long time for our food. 

Lindsey sharing some hugs with David

After lunch we headed to the transition home to love on our Ezekiel!  When I went back to pick him up he gave me a big smile.  It was sooooo wonderful.  I walked him outside and from that point on he was Daddy's boy.  He played with me and the girls but if he got sad he wanted George.  It was so so sweet!!!  It just melted my heart!  He was also the most comfortable with us today.  He played and crawled and babbled and even walked around holding on to George's hands. 

Tomorrow we head to the transition home, then the orphanages, and finally to our traditional Ethiopian dinner!!!  It should be a fun day:)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Gorge!

Let me start with a suggestion for my AWAA friends.  Take a day and GET OUT OF THE CITY.  The city is amazing and wonderful but the country side is sooooo different.  We had an incredible day today.  Our driver, David, agreed to drive us and another family who is staying in the Guest House out to The Gorge.  Happily, Job was able to join us as well!  About half way there they stopped at a rural house and the woman who owned it aggreed to let us look around.  It was so amazing and sad.  I need to process everything we saw a little more before I can go into detail.

After our stop we headed to the Gorge.  It was BEAUTIFUL!!!!  It reminded us so much of the Grand Canyon except at the bottom were farms where people lived.  Also, the Grand Canyon doesn't have baboons:)  We aquired tour guides in the form of children trying to sell us marble crosses and necklaces.  They also wanted anything we could give them.  I wound up with a lighter backpack after giving away all my pens, an Ocean City beach pass, and several giraffe pencils.  Later we gave away our some sandwhiches and granola bars.  I would suggest if you come try and bring some little things you can give away. Pens, pencils, pins, etc.  Job told us these kids have nothing and any little thing thrills them.

  When we got back we cleaned up and went out to a restaurant called the Beer Graden.  The food was really yummy and you could order a giant beer tower with a tap for $8.  Our bill for 6 adults and 3 children was 1000 birr which is about $65.  To say that things are cheaper here would be a huge understatement!  

Our new friend James enjoying the beer tower.

We had a really, really wonderful day.  While we missed Ezekiel I'm so glad that we were able to see some of the countryside and make new friends!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 2

Addis from our balcony

Today was all about play and making friends.  The day started with introducing Ezekiel to his big sister Christin!  She was thrilled and loved playing with him.  Then George took him while Mom, Joel, and I did care packages and photos for a couple AWAA families.  After that we went and sat on the blanket.  When Ezekiel got cranky uncle Joel whipped out his guitar.  Just then one of our AWAA guides, "T", came over.  He also plays so they took turns going back and forth playing praise songs.  It was great.  It was even better when the older kids came to listen.  The music put Ezekiel to sleep which is how we left him for lunch.

Lunch was really yummy and in an art gallery/shop.  The art was amazing!!!

Then it was back to the TH.  We coaxed our first smiles out of Ezekiel.  He was especially happy to wear Uncle Joel's hat and play with Daddy.  Soon after we got there the big kids returned and things got really fun and silly.  Joel played the guitar for them.  At first they just listened but when he did a song they knew they all chimed in.  When they ran out of songs George and Joel decided to teach them some with hand motions.  They all thought the songs were HYSTERICAL.  After a long time of singing George decided to try to teach them some games.  They started with red light/green light and eventually switched to Duck, duck, goose.  Both were huge hits.  AWAA families if you have a child in the older TH they laughed themselves silly today. 

It was a beautiful day with Ezekiel, all the kids, and God.  Tomorrow we will not see Ezekiel because we are going to visit "The Gorge".  We can't wait and another family here in the guest house (not an AWAA family BUT who passed court today) is going to go with us.  We'll miss seeing, holding, loving on, and playing with our little man but we want to see more of his beautiful homeland.

Thanks for the prayers!  Keep em coming:)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Metcha Day!!!

So God pulled an audible on us today.  The plan (according to my playbook) was all of us would go to the Transition home.  George and I would stand waiting in anticipation with the girls at our sides.  Joel would take tons of pictures while Mom videod THE moment.  Then in the final seconds (aka after I woke the girls up) God called an audible and opted to go with a play I had never liked nor considered: Altitude sickness.  It turns out the Christin doesn't adjust well to high altitudes (which is weird because you know how relaxed and easy going she is:)  She threw up every half hour from waking at 8 until about noon.  So our knew Metcha day moment consisted of George videoing me while Lindsey jumped around and Joel took pictures.  Later in the day George and Mom switched so Mom got to meet Ezekiel and Christin has her special day to meet Ezekiel tomorrow. 

Here we are!!!!!!
Other than that the day was PERFECT.  Ezekiel went back and forth between crying and being just slightly uneasy.  Which is actually a really good sign.  When we went back to see him in the afternoon he still cried but not as much and remembered some things we had done in the morning.  He LOVED playing with my hair and Joel's camera.  He is absolutely PERFECT.  His eyes are a deep, dark brown (almost black).  His hair is soft and his skin is softer still.  He smells delicious and feels like a dream to hold.  We are absolutely in LOVE.

Hopefully next week we can show you his face and we'll have some beautiful family pics:)
Please pray for our court day.  Specifically we are already hearing that there may be a problem with our MOWCYA letter because of the way New Jersey does criminal record checks for adoption.  The top of the letter does not say, "New Jersey State Police"  Later in the letter it is clear, to us, that the letter is actually from the NJSP and the staff here is trying hard to point this out to MOWCYA.  Please pray that they are successful and our letter is there next week.

PS.  AWAA families: We are loving on your kiddos tomorrow!!! 

Day 1 Morning

It’s here!  The day that has been building in our hearts for so long now is finally here!  We meet our son today.  Today we will hold Ezekiel.  We will feel his skin, look into those big brown eyes, smell his smell.  I cannot believe it has finally arrived!!!!! 

The view out our window is breathtaking in both beauty and sadness.  There is such a mix of beauty and poverty that my mind hardly knows how to process it.  I can’t wait to share the pictures of this place with you.  Maybe tonight!

Now it’s time to wake the girls.  They meet their brother in TWO HOURS.

My heart sings.  My soul rejoices.  The Lord is good to me.  He is so much more abdunatly good to me than I could ever express.  Thank you Lord for Your love and for Your Africa.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Our Surprise Sidekick Baby Pool

So if you look down the right side of this blog you will see each of my kids has a "sidekick" name.  I decided this baby would be my "Surprise Kick" so while we are away with our "Someday (soon!) Sidekick"    Click on the link and make your prediction for this new baby:)  (One little hint:  if this baby becomes anemic they will induce as early at 37 weeks BUT if we find out (through an amnio when we get back) that this baby is not at risk for fetal anemia then this pregnancy becomes totally normal, whatever that means!!!)  So have fun guessing when this baby will be born!!!!!  (I am!)

Baby Name Game (enter "surprisesidekick" as the game name)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

5 DAYS!!!!

We will be leaving for Ethiopia in 5 days!!!!!!!  AHHH!!!!!

I guess I should start packing. . . but why do today what I can wait and do on Saturday or Sunday?

I will be trying to update my blog as much as possible while we are in country but please understand that internet can be spotty in ET so it may be hard to keep you posted.

Please keep praying that we pass court on November 3!!!:)
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