...Our Family...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What a MIGHTY God we serve!!!


























Yesterday we spent 5 hours at CHOP (ugh!) and got a virtually clean bill of health for little Micah. So thankful!

The first part of the day was so neat. We saw the Dr. who originally advised us NOT to take his referral because of his severe malnutrition. I can't begin to go into the litany of illnesses and delays that she suspected he would have. She had never had a child referred to a family as small, as malnourished as Micah. She was scared for us and took it upon herself to advise us of what she believed to be the most responsible decision, a firm NO.

Yesterday, with a HUGE grin, she said how happy she was to be wrong and what a healthy, gorgeous baby he is. She was so encouraged by his joyfulness!

WHAT A MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE!

She was in awe of his development, health, and happy disposition. He's really healthy and his cognitive abilities are right on par for his age!


They ALL fell in love with him, as everyone does! He's a heart breaker and a record breaker!
We also saw an OT who stated that Micah is only behind in the area of gross motor (crawling) but that she expected him to improve within a few weeks. She signed us up for a study that is going to follow Micah's post-placement development and give us free OT and PT for him for 12 weeks. Awesome!!!

Micah had some issues with his eyes following the chicken pox so we also saw an Ophthalmologist. He was a very nice resident who will be moving on to Harvard next month! He was also in awe of Micah's health and vision. Children who are as malnourished as Micah was usually have major eye issues. Not so for our Miracle Baby!!


Finally, the worst part of the day, the labs. They took over 14 samples (small vials) of blood from Micah's arm. This was AWFUL as I had to hold him while he was screaming. I cried the entire time and really struggled with his tears and sadness. As soon as they were done, Micah drank a 6 oz bottle and began to smile and laugh at the lab tech. He stole a few more hearts there as well.

God is so good, my friends! I can't begin to tell you how scared we were to take Micah's referral. We knew that he was our son, that this was God's will, but we were terrified to step out onto the water and believe in FAITH that Micah would be perfect for us no matter what. With fear and tears (and many not so faithful worries ;0) we stepped out into the waves. We watched them overtake us over and over again as so much went wrong during Micah's time in Africa.

Now we know, now we see the MIGHTY hand and power of our Father, of faith. This storm was of God's making and design and was meant to show us His amazing power. We are so thankful for these crushing waves. We finally gave in and allowed our God to overtake us with his purpose. Instead of drowning, we found our lungs full of the breath of our God.
And that was worth it all.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Regression

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Learning Curve, Schmurning Curve

Everyone says there's a learning curve to new babies. I say BAH to that! Each time we think we've figured something out about Micah David, we often find out we're wrong. It's frustratingly humbling.

Oh, scratching his ear means he's tired. Nope, it means he's got chicken pox IN his ears. He loves to sleep on his side. Nope, he loves mommy to sleep on her side with the ERGO on and him in it.

I even get his clothing size wrong half the time and have to change him to find what fits. This REALLY makes him angry. So then I pick him up half naked and he begins to laugh and scratch victorious. Silly mommy.

And I've cleaned up more doodoo from my bathtub this week than I'd care to admit to.

Three cheers for chicken pox, teething, and blow-out diapers!

God is really keeping us on our toes and on the low rung of the super-parent ladder! This is a good thing ;0)

So, here's what we HAVE learned and are really thankful for.

  • Micah LOVES to eat, mostly anything including broccoli, mandarin oranges, bread, rice, and soup. His diaper, however, does not love all of these things.
  • Micah HATES to sleep lying down. Rather, he'd prefer to be in the ERGO carrier all night long while Mommy learns how to sleep standing up and sway at the same time. Hopefully this is just while he's sick.
  • Micah LOVES Griffin Dog. Griffin Dog LOVES Micah's diapers. Yum.
  • Micah HATES to have his nose wiped, his bottom wiped, anything wiped. He's prefer to be dirty, crusty, and smelly. Mommy, the neat Nazi, HATES this. Again, God has a sense of humor.
  • Micah LOVES all things plastic and noisy including plastic bags, wet wipes, cereal bags with the cereal in them, etc. He especially loves to dump out all of the cereal onto the floor then eat the bag.
  • Micah HATES being fed from a spoon. He does, however, LOVE to smack the spoon out of your hand and send various foods flying. This always produces a toothy grin.
  • Micah LOVES his new family and we ADORE him (well, Mommy and Daddy do, jury is still out for Devon Michael ;0)

We're also learning quite a bit about ourselves during this transition.

  • Parenting is about self-sacrifice (duh, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you are going to the bathroom with a child strapped to your chest.)
  • It is possible to sleep 3 hours, standing up, rocking side to side and still function the next day. Don't ask me to do long division though.
  • It is possible to have a filthy house and filthy children and not burst into flames.
  • Even after your four year old smears poop on your bed and draws all over your couch cushions, you will still love him and only want to kill him for a moment or two.
  • Four year olds eventually do warm up to little brothers, even if they make it their mission to hide all precious toys, candy, and noodles (Devon really loves noodles!)
  • You can love two children equally without sacrificing one for the other.
  • Nice, neat, clean life is over. Messy, filthy, chaotic life has begun.
  • We love our new life, mess, poop, pox and all!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Now he's a Kulp and pooptastic

Boy bonding isn't complete without the wii.

This is a frequent conversation in our house.

Dev: mommy, what are you doing?

Me: changing brother's poopy diaper.

Dev: again? Man he stinks!

Then....

Dev: Mom, what's that in the tubby? Oh man, he pooped again. Now my toys are pooped!

Mom: sorry buddy babies are poopy a lot.

Dev: Yeah. Can we get one that doesn't poop on my toys?

Funny stuff, people, funny stuff.


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ISAIAH, JOSIAH, AND LYDIA ARE COMING HOME!!!!!!

THESE ARE MIRACLE CHILDREN who came to AWAA with Micah Moo in August.

Sherry Semlow called me bright and early this morning with the good news. God has moved mountains and the Semlow sweeties are coming home. I had the great joy of spending time with them while in Ethiopia. They are PURE JOY and I can't wait to see them with their forever families. They are so ready to come home and we are praising God for his glorious redemption of these three beautiful kids.

I am crying TEARS OF SHEER PRAISE for this family as they are finally going to be together forever!!


Busy-Boy Isaiah- He found us in about 2 minutes and stayed with us the entire day.
His energy reminded me of Devon Michael. ALL BOY!

Josiah, Lydia, and Isaiah Semlow

Isaiah, Lydia, and Josiah (poor sweetie has chicken pox!)


Sweet Lydia Ayanne (who completely stole our hearts in 2 seconds). This little girl was so SAD in her referral pictures. Look at her now!


I wish I had a great picture of Josiah but the sweetie was just a little too sick while we were there to pose for pictures. He was NOT to sick, however, to guard his care package and candy like a doberman pincher!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dust Bunnies, Exhaustion, and Transition OH MY!

Hello! We are starting to emerge from our exhaustion induced hibernation! I've been trying to write this post for 2 days! If there were an adoption dictionary, the definition of post travel transition would be CHAOS and EXHAUSTION!! The house is a wreck, the laundry still not complete, the grocery list mounting...But, my sweet kids are fed, somewhat clean, and generally happy. I have sacrificed my need for order and cleanliness for a greater need, peace and SLEEP.

So, LOTS of changes in our house over the past few days. Micah is a dream, truly. He's getting up once a night and then up for good around 5-6. We're dog tired from the jet lag and all still trying to figure out our new roles and where we fit into this new family God has created. It's exhausting work, my friends!

We often say "God builds a house" and believe it to be true. Then, you SEE it happen in your life and it's amazing, more than words can explain. Micah is PERFECT for us. He's a happy baby, a great sleeper, and has many of the same triggers as his brother which make managing his meltdowns much easier for us as we are familiar with them (hates having his diaper changed, face wiped, waiting for food, sleeping alone, etc.) This is a real gift from the Lord. We couldn't be more in awe of his grace to us.

Micah is doing so well, we feel like he has always been a part of our family. We expected a much harder transition with him and are so thankful for his easy going nature. He's happy most of the time and really has begun to show signs of attachment. We went for a walk yesterday and when he saw the neighbors, he tucked his head into my neck and hid. I almost melted! He's also making great strides while taking his bottle. He looks us in the eyes now and will allow us to hold his bottle. He'll often play with our free hands while he's eating. He's a sweetheart and it takes about 3 seconds to fall in love with him.

It's a good thing Micah is adjusting so well because Devon Michael is having some issues ;0) I can hear the screaming right now. Sharing Mommy and Daddy has been so tough and sharing toys is nearly impossible. Yesterday he hit us many times out of frustration. We are trying to be patient and help him with this transition but it is so hard when we're exhausted and have no energy.

We aren't sure how to comfort him or help him fall in love with Micah as we have. He is grieving the loss of our family as it used to be. This is heartbreaking for us to watch.

Much of what he is experiencing we experienced during our wait for Micah. We had all the hardships of being Micah's parents without any of the benefits. Devon is experiencing all the hardships of having a brother without the benefits. Micah can't play with him, he can't swing or throw a ball. Micah takes up time from Mommy and Daddy without putting back into the family in a way that Devon can understand. This is so tough for Devon and he needs so much grace and love, so much more than we thought and were prepared for. This has been our biggest struggle yet and we are still trying to adjust our parenting, intentionally planning reactions, play dates, etc. to minimize and help the adjustment process.

Did I mention that this is EXHAUSTING??!!

Chad is doing pretty well. What he is struggling with most is the complete lack of free time and personal space. His exhausted wife is a bit frustrating as is his 4 year old who wants to jump and wrestle all the time ;0). He's been hurt physically more times in the past 4 days by Dev than in 4 years. Oh, and there's the constant wiping of butts and anti-bacting of hands that is becomming quite annoying.

I'm still struggling with my stomach. It vacillates between pain and ache. I am sure my system just needs some time to adjust after our 10 day trip around the world and back again. If I felt well, we'd be doing just great. Until then, I'd say we're at about 75%.

I am also struggling a bit with my new role as Mommy of two. Whose needs come first? How do I choose between the 4 year old who can verbalize his needs and the 11 month old who cant? If I have to choose, does it mean I am sacrificing one for the other? I wish I had four arms instead of the two exhausted ones I have!

Honestly, I am the one struggling with the orphanage dust bunnies, not Micah! I feel the desperate need to undo all that 11 months of no parents has done to Micah. I am judging myself and Micah's reactions constantly against an invisible and unrealistic attachment yard stick. If I let him cry then he won't attach to me. If I don't meet his needs immediately, then he won't know I'm his mommy. If I yell or overreact, then he'll want her (Muluwork) back and not want me. These are absurd lies but they are ringing in my ears.

I am constantly whispering over and over again what my sweet friend Bethany Taylor said on her blog in January, when it comes to adoption and attachment, "time and truth are on my side." I wish this phrase would sink into my heart more quickly. As it stands, it seems like the space between my head and heart is the length of a marathon that I do not have the energy or wherewithal to run.

Yet, as I type, I can hear the sweet snore of my new baby boy and I feel overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness. Why did God choose us to parent this miracle child? How can we stand up to this task? It's very tempting to feel defeated and like a failure already.

But, time and truth are on my side and YOURS, my friends! I am going to fail. That's the beautiful truth of parenting. And when we do fail, we can point our eyes and the eyes of our children towards the one who never will. What peace this brings to my Mommy heart.


Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Devon helps his brother with "ashes" on his face

Poor sweet angel!


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Monday, April 20, 2009

Can I hold brother? Before and after!

Fun times for us, not so much for little Micah Moo!
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

We're Home- Pictures and Video

(Micah Moo eating, his favorite part of the day! He's a messy little man!)

Home is certainly where the heart is this day! Our hearts are full and blessed.

We're all under one roof and a mostly happy little family! We've each had a few meltdowns which are to be expected given the weight of what we have accomplished over the past few days. Micah does not cry often but he HATES his car seat. This battle is one we hate but it's so necessary.

We're all still figuring each other and our new roles out but it seems to be going well. Yesterday Devon didn't want to look at Micah but he has since warmed up to him and now checks on him continually.

We're exhausted beyond explanation. The jet lag and having double the work, double the needs to meet, double the messes has left us with very little energy. So, here's what you really want! More writing to come, promise!

Kim
Loving the car rides in Ethiopia and being held, not restrained by a car seat!

Uncle Robel LOVES his Micah Asrat and played with him all week. He cried when we left, he has such a sweet heart and soul. We have the utmost respect and love for this servant of God!

Loving his bath time and Mama's touch!

Daddy love is so precious and FUN. He loves to play and laugh with his favorite man!


video

Saturday, April 18, 2009

We're driving home!

Guess how Micah decided to welcome his new homeland? It took him all of 15 minutes to puke up his entire bottle all over our car. I guess Robel was right, ET babies aren't meant for car seats. He's sure cute though!

He did great on the plane but hasn't slept much and is totally off schedule. This is something a few days camped out at home will surely remedy.

We can't wait to see the boys meet! We'll post those pictures tonight!

Forever family is forthcoming!

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Last Day in Ethiopia/Bonding and Grief

So, we leave in about 1 hour. We are finally coming home with our Miracle Micah!!!
 
We are SO READY to be home but we have loved every minute in this country. I struggle trying to explain the feeling to you. It's like there is a string now tied to our hearts that will forever connect us, across time and oceans and miles, to this beautiful land. Our beloved is from this land, from these people, and we are forever part of this nation and it forever a part of us.
 
Today we visited a coffee factory and did last minute shopping. This was my favorite day so far as I love coffee and shopping and Micah Asrat has been purely giddy all day! I hope this lasts through the flight!
 
Yesterday was a hard day. Learning to be baby-parents again has been tough but learning to parent a child who is 11 months (TODAY!!) and whom we just met is really really hard.  Micah was fussy off and no and was showing clear signs of confusion and grief. When I would try to feed him, he would smack at my face and not look me in the eyes. This was new to us and so heartbreaking. Chad has begun to feel the funk so I was on my own during much of the morning fussiness. It's hard to know how to react. I know it's normal and important but I also know it's hurtful and hard to see.
 
We have loved Micah Asrat for 2 years. We have cried, prayed, dreamed, hoped for him for so long. We have suffered again and again as our journey became rough with court problems and paperwork nightmares. With each day, we were bonded more and more to him.
 
But he does not know us! He doesn't know how we have ached for him or how many tears we have cried. He doesn't know that he is staying with us forever and that he will never be alone again. This knowledge will take time and will slowly seep into every nook and cranny of his heart. But, in the meantime, our hearts ache for him and our heads are spinning at times as to how to care for him.
 
Figuring him out has been the toughest part of this journey. Does this cry mean hunger or exhaustion? What does he need now? We often find ourselves in complete disarray at the warning signals he is obviously giving but that we cannot translate.
 
We have learned one thing for sure, the kid LOVES FOOD. He's territorial over it and is never as happy as when he gets it. He is frantic for his bottle and gives little warning before a complete hunger meltdown ensues. This is really the only time he ever cries. But man, can he WAIL! I wonder how long he cried for food before he was actually fed as a baby? How often was my sweet, happy Tanker starving?
 
So I whisper over and over again into his sweet ears, "O De halo, Micah Asrat, and you will never be hungry again."
 
Thank you God for helping our family to keep this promise. We are blessed to overflowing and so humbled by your grace to this amazing miracle baby.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Found in Translation

It's so hard to process all that we have seen, all that we have experienced in this beautiful country. Today we spent 3 hours at the Consulate on a hot day in a very overcrowded, full room. So many of us were feeling ill from the heat and wait that we had to wait outside. It was not a fun experience  but not ONE child cried or was cranky. The kids are adjusting so well, including our Micah!
 
And yet, for so many of us, today has been the day that reality has set in. No longer are we waiting for our children. They are in our arms and we are now a family. This reality comes with great joy and great hardship.
 
TODAY I REALIZED IN A REAL AND CONCRETE WAY THAT I DO NOT KNOW THE CHILD I LOVE, THE CHILD I CALL MY SON.
 
The waiting has ended and the learning has begun. And I am learning much about Micah that I did not expect. He is a social guy in small groups, hates hats and potatoes, and really loves FOOD! I mean he loves food to the point that he will eat anytime, anywhere, most anything even if he gets sick.
 
Still, there is so much that I don't know that, at times, I am completely overwhelmed. When we went to the restaurant the first night, the waiter asked what I wanted for the baby, and we had no idea. I almost began to cry! I don't know the songs he likes, I don't know what he smiled at last week, I don't know what it felt like to be starving and then to be loved and cared for by a woman who is now absent from my life. What I do not know about my son breaks my heart and scares me to death. How do you parent a child you do not know? What language do you speak?
 
Will my love translate?
 
What I have found is beautiful. The same words that speak to my heart in the US ring true here. I often feel isolated as I am away from the close friends and family that know me well enough to see what I am feeling without explanation. I would love to have my Sherry or Ashley or my Mom with me right now. Without them, I still have my husband and my God and this is enough.
 
I keep clinging to what I do know. I know that we love BOTH of our sons with all our heart and that they were made for our family. I know that I serve and love a God who is bigger than my fears and failings. I know that my God would not bring me to Ethiopia only to abandon me with a child I do not know. What I do know is so much greater than what I do not. God knew what I could handle and I praise him for his mercy.
 
This evening we came home to dinner and were greeted by a small group of Spanish families adopting toddlers. One child was hysterical. I have never seen such a reaction and my heart is broken for this little boy. I tried to comfort his crying mother with my broken Spanish. I even tried to use Mehelet to speak to him. I felt powerless and heartbroken to see a little guy who looks so much like my Devon Michael so sad. I wonder how much he has lost, how many times he has cried like this alone, how many scars, tears, bad dreams, sicknesses went untreated. Does he even know what it means to be loved? Do we know what it means to be loved, truly loved as we are by our God? I watched his mother carry him up the stairs as he cried and fought her, screaming for something none of us can understand.
 
I told his mother "Necisistas tiempo y amore." He needs time and love. So do I. This journey has been so hard, so long, so draining. Here, at the end (but really the beginning) I feel stripped bare and exposed.
 
I know my God has held me so many days and nights throughout this journey as I, just like this child, screamed and fought him. He LOVED me even though I couldn't understand His love. He cared for me even though I couldn't see His tenderness. He prepared a home for Micah and prepares one for me even though I do not deserve it. So many times on this journey I have felt alone, a scared child just screaming for someone to explain the pain, to fix what was broken. I was UNDONE by this adoption.
 
But here, in Ethiopia, as I watch my sweet son sleep and can no longer hear the screams of that sweet toddler, I realize that I have found translation at last, and that it has been the making of me.
 
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. 
 
 
 
 

More Pictures and Update

video
Hey All!
We had such a blessed night with Micah Asrat. He's a joy boy and never cries unless he's hungry or you take away the wet wipes (obsessed with the sound of the bag and the color yellow!). We can't believe how wonderful he is and how God has worked in his life. He has spared us from so much in the time that we waited for Micah.
 
From Sept to January the Nannies called Micah "Alquato?" which means unhappy or crier. He's now called "LOVE" at the TH! They all love him so much and cried when he left. He is such a joy. He's so cute he looks like he's made of rubber like a baby doll!
 
He did very well last night and slept from 9-5 then wanted a bottle and was wide awake. I am normally a person who needs lots of sleep but I have done so well since being here. This is God's GRACE (just ask my mother or husband ;0) I could stare at him forever and didn't mind at all being woken up at 5, even without coffee! I am still having stomach pains and haven't found the cause so I'm drinking lots of water, taking activated charcol, and sticking to carbs. Hopefully it will get better.
 
The internet is beyond slow and takes about 10 minutes to post 1 email. Pictures took me an hour last night. BRING A MAC!!! They work well. Facebook is really hard unless you're up at 3 am!
 
Ok, prayer requests. First, Micah does have Chicken Pox and chest congestion. However, he's not scratching and is so happy that we're not worried. The forced air on the airplane is a concern however. Please pray for a safe and restful trip ( we're flying at night).
 
Also, the Koby baby is sick, please pray for him. The Bartell's paperwork may or may not be at the Embassy. They've contacted their state rep and they say it's now there. Pray that it is!!!!
 
Finally, pray for peace and calm over the last 3 days. We are ready to be home with Devon Michael and miss him so much. I am fearful for his safety (control freak!!) at times and just want to be with both of my boys. We both cried when we talked with him last night.
 
Love you,
Kim

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First Meeting!

Gotcha Day- Meeting the HAPPIEST Baby Ever!

Guess who's sleeping soundly, smiling, in  his bed? Even when he sleeps, he smiles. I'm not kidding, he's the happiest baby ever! Not a tear, not a whimper until we tried to take his bottle away. Tank lives up to his reputation! We have so much video of him laughing and talking. He says "Ah Boom" and "dadadadada" which is so unfair! His hair is so long but wound into tight springs by Muluwork. She loves him so!
 
Today was amazing, hard, incredible, sad, happy...you get it, right?! Muluwork, Micah's nanny was crying when we got there and didn't really stop for most of the day. When we got there, she had placed stickers that say "love" all over his face. We were overwhelmed with her love for him. We allowed her to have him for much of the 3 hours we were there and show us how to care for him in the way that she has, the way that has made him so secure and happy. She is a jewel, a sweet 18 year old girl who loves our Micah so much his picture is on her phone. Through tears she made me promise to send pictures and I told her how much she means to Micah. She will always be in our hearts. We were both crying when we left her as we drove away.
 
It was a surreal experience and one I will never forget.
 
We're doing really well but miss Devon like crazy. We're ready to have Micah and Devon together. Tomorrow is the consulate appointment and then Thursday is a free day. Friday we fly home at night. We're so pleased with how this trip has gone. It's a miracle how well we've done and how wonderful its been for us. We can't wait to come home but also to come back!
 
I also read on our yahoo group that the Semlows got a court date NEXT WEEK!!!! God is so good as I was sobbing as I left them today. I have so much love for them in my heart and can't wait to hear that they have passed court. LOVE YOU SHERRY!!! Congrats!
 
On to the notes for families.
 
Edith- F is GORGEOUS, smiley, healthy, has great color, and loves to be held. I held her for a while and kissed on her for as long as I could before she needed to eat. She was dressed in the cutest outfit and sweater and I brought along a surprise to make her extra girly! You're going to love that girl!
 
LA Jaime- B is shy and just learning to walk. She has the softest hair and the sweetest grin but I only saw a few and couldn't get them on camera. She waddled around holding my hand for the longest time. She loves to play with toys and is very quick to let anyone who gets near them know that they are invading her territory. If I could have, I would have taken her home with me!
 
Amy and William- N's just perfect for your family. His curls and smile are the sweetest and he runs well. The outfit you sent with Megan fit perfectly and man does he look great in blue!
 
Low's- B is so sweet, but so serious and a bit shy! He warmed up once I gave him the bubbles I brought him! I got 1 smile out of him but not on camera. He was scared of the bubbles but eventually started to play. We have great video, not that great pictures. He's one of a kind, dark and GORGEOUS just like our Micah. His belly is so sweet and I rubbed it over and over again!
 
Jacksons- Your little man was sleeping while I was there, so stinking sweet! I have a great sleeping shot but Rovangs got great photos for you. He's healthy and precious.
 
Sherry- YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH!!! Your 3 are so fun and so ready to come home. Josiah is looking better but you can tell that he is not feeling great. He didn't say much but was VERY vocal when someone tried to take the spiderman car I brought him. Let me tell you, he knows how to scare loiterers off! He loved the glasses and made me open the candy immediately. His curls are so soft and he's a joy. Isaiah was a bit shy with me until I showed him the car and he saw the gun you sent. We have great video of him shooting some of the kids :-) He's BUSY and happy, all over the place and knows how to play. Lydia is a gem. She's so outgoing and smiley. I just adore her beyond words. She loved all her gifts and carried them around for the rest of the day. She's smiley and focused on what she wants. She ate her skittles slowly, showing me every bite. I was chewing gum so she mimicked me and chewed her skittles just like gum. She is adorable and her CURLS are growing back! They are gorgeous and soft. You're going to DIE for her belly!
 
 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cut Off, Read Below First

Silly non-American key board!!!!!
 
Sherry- I adore them and so will you. They are busy, loving, a bit shy, and full of energy and I wouldn't have it any other way and neither will you. My dear friend, YOU are the only thing I am missing on this trip (and my little Devon but that would never have worked!!) How can I say on the computer how much your children love you and how special you are to me? I can't wait to be the one wishing and dreaming that I was in ET with you. CHOOSE TRUTH love. What is true, they are loved, they are cared for, they are waiting with open hearts and arms AND SO ARE YOU! Your Father's arms are open for you friend, even when I can't hug you myself! Love you so.
 
DEVON MICHAEL- You're brother is waiting for you. We miss you so much it hurts our hearts. Mommy can't think of you without crying but I know you're having a blast at Mimi and Pop-pops. We'll be home soon darling!!!
Everyone else, it's mass chaos at the TH.
 
Alecia R.- Watch out, arranged marriage is in our kids future. They are IN LOVE!!! Everyone at the TH says they are boyfriend and girlfriend. He's twice her size and full of lovin' so she'll be in great shape when they get older. T's curls are to die for.
 
Edith- F. looks healthy and SWEET! She has excellent color and can hold her own bottle. She's a fighter, the nannies said, and looks much better than most of the little one's her size. I'll hold her tomorrow for you and kiss her up and down.
 
Amy and William- N is just precious and about 18 months looking. His curls are soft and I couldn't stop touching them. I only saw him for a moment, it was nap time. He's healthy, a bit shy, and SO perfect for miss Lucy!
 
Everyone else, it's MASS chaos at the TH with courtyards, rooms, etc. I will find my picture kids tomorrow and kiss them to pieces, PROMISE. I know what you need...
 
DEVON MICHAEL- You're brother is waiting for you. We miss you so much it hurts our hearts. Mommy can't think of you without crying but I know you're having a blast at Mimi and Pop-pops. We'll be home soon darling!!!
Everyone else, it's mass chaos at the TH.
 
HOW GREAT THE LOVE THE FATHER HAS LAVISHED ON US....
 
Must sleep, arms tired from Tank-use. More tomorrow...
 
Love you all so much.
K

METCHA DAY- SMILES, NICKNAMES AND CHICKEN POX

 
I don't even know how to begin this post I am so tired and so excited at the same time. Though I crave sleep, I need to get this all out. First of all, there are so many of us that I can't get pictures up until tomorrow morning. Rest assured that, if we have power, you will see our Tongue Beast!
 
They are keeping us SO BUSY (eating, paperwork, shopping, more eating, etc. We are the only people we know who will be coming home having gained weight in Africa!) so, sorry to my stalkers out there who have been waiting all day!
 
Today was magical, surreal, perfect, GOD ORDAINED BLESSED!!! I was not nervous as much as excited and nauseated. Chad was Chad, only with a bigger smile ;0)
 
I didn't cry all that much which I am proud of! When we got to the TH Duni told the bus (that's right, we're such a large group we're in a BUS) that KULPS would be going first. We are so excited. However, sweet Micah David was sleeping in the TH! So, Chad and I left the group and walked into a large room with cribs, couches, babies, nannies, etc. He was all the way in the back sleeping like an angel. He had his feet together (NO muscle tone at all) and was so gorgeous. I began to rub his belly and he opened his eyes.
 
What can I say? He is the most perfect child for our family that we could ever imagine. He rarely gave us the typical Micah skeptical look but was sleepy for a little while. Once he warmed up, man oh man, ALL SMILES!!! That's right, the baby who NEVER smiles smiled for his mommy from the very beginning. Not a tear, not a whimper, just smiles and laughter. He loves his daddy as well. He grabs at everything and is SO curious. He dances, claps, laughs, and smiles...
 
ALL WITHOUT PUTTING HIS TONGUE IN HIS MOUTH, EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
So, first nickname given by Mommy and Daddy, tongue beast. Second name, given by the group. TANK. He is a TANK my friends- fat rolls galore, bigest belly ever, 12 month clothing TANK. What's so amazing about this fact? When asked, his nanny (the GORGEOUS young one Muluwork who loves him so much she has his picture on his phone) said "He was so malnourished, we expected him to die."
 
MIRACLE MICAH. We are in complete awe. Love seems to small and finite a word for how we feel about this child. He is God's painting of Redemption.
 
LET THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD SAY SO!!! My loves, we are SAYING SO tonight. My favorite moment of the day was watching my sweet man hold his new son and say, with tears in his eyes, "He's perfect, just perfect for us."
 
He is a joy boy and we were sad to leave him. We will be even sadder to leave his nanny tomorrow. Please PRAY for Muluwork and her heart. She loves him so and wispers in his ear all day "Asrat, O' dehalo" or Asrat, I love you.  Breaks my heart and fills it at the same time. How is this possible?
 
Also, please pray for Micah David and the other children at the TH. Mommy, Micah has Chicken spots. Davie will have to stay away. No worries my friends, he'll be just fine. Dev has already been vaccinated and we've both had it before.
 
Also, please pray for my stomach as I am having lots of pains tonight.
 
On to the notes. At this point Iam going to just ramble from exhaustion. The TH is big and roomy with empty rooms. The nannies are pure love. The children are happy and loving (even with chicken spots).
 
Sherry- Sorry we got cut off. I LOVE YOU MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY and can't begin to express my love for your children. They are PURE LOVE

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday In Ethiopia----HAPPY EASTER

We are doing so well! We feel blessed to be here and are still loving this land and those we are traveling with. We are a bit tired but realize that the altitude is playing into this as is the 24 hours of sleep deprivation. No illnesses as of yet. Please pray that this continues! We are as impressed and in love with the coffee as we hoped to be and cant wait to purchase many pounds (40??) to bring home. We might as well, we're completely ruined!

Today we visited Entoto mountain to see the best view of the city and listen to a traditional service. The hike up the mountain was tough because of the altitude but we so enjoyed the view!  We then visited 3 different markets to purchase gifts, souviners, and traditional clothing. The Jacksons, Watsons, and Moffats arrived while we were gone and we finished the day with dinner at Zebra Grill. It was a wonderfully full day and kept my mind off of tomorrow.
 
Of course, we are all super excited to meet our kiddos tomorrow. I can't believe I just typed that word...TOMORROW! The only word that might make my heart leap higher is TODAY!! We got a new photo of Micah David today in the Christmas outfit we sent him. He is cuter than words can say! I have attached it and hope it sends!
 
We are also growing already in the 36 hours we have been here. I am so overwhelmed with God's great mercy and kindness to us. It's a good emotional (if this makes sense). The eyes of our hearts are being opened.
 
We are surrounded by joy and kindness but also poverty on a level that is unimaginable. Women carrying hungry babies, children begging everywhere with broken shoes or barefoot, the disabled. all deserving of love and a full belly and yet many of them left hungry for both.
 
Why were we chosen to live such a blessed, easy life when so many others were given hardships beyond understanding? Why do so many prosper and so many more suffer? I knew this was the reality I would face, but have come to realize that there is no preparing for it.
 
What offering can I give to my merciful God now that I know how much he has spared us from, even more, what He has spared our Micah David from in this life? I am filled with awe, humility, and gratefulness that is bringing me to tears often.
 
I am also surprised at the sadness I feel to take Micah David away from such a beautiful land and such amazing people. Ethiopia is his gorgeous home and I am more in love with this country than I could have ever imagined. To know that I will hold my son tomorrow, just one day after celebrating that my great God gave His son. What an amazing picture of grace that He has chosen to give to us after so many trials and tears.
 
I am in such awe of God's kindness to our family in all of these ways and so thankful for his mercy this Easter day.
 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Made It to Ethiopia!!!

We made it safe and sound to Ethiopia.
No problems, no lost bags, no hitches.
GOD IS SO GOOD!!!
 
 
The flight was awful, painful, murder but SO WORTH IT!!! When we touched down, we were both tearing (ok, Kim was full out bawling!). The visa and customs lines were long and the chaos that ensues when you exit the airport is more than overwhelming. So many hands out, so many sounds, so much smog!
 
 
However, the weather is GORGEOUS and we are so in love with this country and these beautiful people already.  We also LOVE the Luncefords, Duboise, and Koby families and can't wait to connect with the other crew. It's been a fun 24 hours already!
 
We are overwhelmed to have come so far in this journey. This adoption has been so tough and much of our tears are in remembrance of what trials and pain we have walked and what joy is to come.
 
 
Sherry, Kevin, and Girls- we wish you were here! You're going to LOVE this country.
 
 
Saturday Crew- we are at Addis View because of water issues at Yesabe. Bring hair dryers and exchange money at the airport to give tips to the wonderful staff. 20-30 burr is typical.
 
Can't wait to meet our boy in 2 days. I am still in awe that we are here and of God's amazing mercy to us already on this trip. 
 
Our mourning has surely turned to dancing and we are so blessed!!!!!
 
 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Flying High

(posted by Sherry)

Kim called this morning and wanted me to post that they were ON the plane.

They had some issues with the shuttle man from the airport refusing to take them, since they had so many bags. They ended driving their car to airport parking, rather than leaving it at the park-n-fly hotel. Then one of their bags was overweight. When they went to redistribute items amongst their bags, an airport security man started yelling at them, so they left everything as it was, and the Ethiopian Air rep waived the overage fees.

They had met up with the Luncefords and Dubose at the airport and were all excited to be on their way.

Kim said the plane was fairly full, but no one was in the middle seat in her and Chad's row, so they were looking forward to being able to stretch out a bit.

The next time we hear from them, they will be in the same city as Micah. Praise the Lord!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Quick Stop at AWAA and Bags

We made good time to VA and decided to stop at AWAA to meet our kind guide during our court journey, Anna Graham. The office is gorgeous and so are the staff, sweet souls! Now its off to the hotel and a night to ourselves, the last one for quite a while I imagine!

Check out our trunk! Chad is a genius at packing the car. What you can't see is a sweet infant car seat just waiting for Micah David!

The only thing missing is my sweet friend Sherry right beside me.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

On our way!

We're in the car on our way to DC! The car is so weighed down with luggage it's sagging! So many donations came in this week. Saying goodbye to Dev was very hard but we're so excited to finally be on our way to our Micah Moo! More to come!

Kim
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-changes..Our Last Night As Three

Tonight is bittersweet. We have had a joyous time eating pizza, dying mister eggs ;0), and playing as a family. Despite our joy, Chad and I are fully aware of the weight of this evening.


This is our last night as a family of three. Wow, even writing that is heavy.


Our family has enjoyed 4 years of blessing, laughs, and smiles with our sweet son Dev. He's such a light, our sunshine, and has a smile that lights our day. We can't imagine our life without him and are so filled with love for him this night.


Devon is only four so his understanding of what is about to happen in his life is limited. He knows we are leaving on an airplane for a "long time" and that we will return with "Baby Brother Micah" in a week. He knows where he will be and who will care for him and he is truly excited.


But he has NO IDEA how much his life is about to change. He has been at the center of our universe for 4 years. I will not apologize for this because I wouldn't change it. We waited years for him and have enjoyed him as much as possible. He has been raised to believe that others come first but in a home where his needs are immediately met and love is always available within the second. We have no illusions-- this is going to change.


I expected the stress, the sadness of leaving Dev, the joy and anticipation of parenting a baby again. I did not expect the feelings of longing that I have this evening.


I wish I could freeze this moment in time. I wish it could last for much longer. My two boys and I enjoying our family as it is this moment. It's not that I don't want my baby boy, I do more than anything. But I am full of another baby boy this night, the baby I have rock-rocked every day for four years. The baby who will smile and say "Mommy, I love you so much!" for no reason and without prompting. The miracle who came into our lives and brought so much healing and light.


Devon, as we add to our family in a week and you work to find your new place as a big brother, know that Mommy and Daddy love you more than our hearts can hold. We are overwhelmed with joy and pride when we see you, not because we made you, because we did not. Rather, because we have been given such a gift to care for and enjoy.


Thank you for the laughs, for your sweet spirit, and for your intuitive empathy. You are our joy and we are in love with you always.

Testing 123

If this works, then we'll be able to email blog entries from Ethiopia. 

YEAH FUN!!!! 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Because We Can- Unimaginable Joy

We're going to be holding this little peanut in less than a week.
Unbelievable Journey, Unimaginable Joy!


Packing, Preparing, Praying, POOPED!!!

The fact that I am typing tells you that we have some energy left, but MAN ARE WE TIRED!

The MARATHON that has been this week is exhausting. On top of work, packing, parenting, preparing, shopping, packing some more, we have added Doctor's visits, dentist appointments, an Easter celebration with Devon, etc.

The packing is almost done (well, it WAS done but Mr. wants to separate stuff into separate bags in case we lose one bag but didn't tell me this brilliant idea until we were totally packed ;0). We've have a total of 7 bags, three ours, 4 donation items. That's a LOT of baggage.

We are finally surrendering to what we have learned throughout this entire adoption process, we are NOT IN CONTROL and never will be. You'd think we would have learned this over the past few months!

I don't have the energy for well thought out, long winded prayers. So, here you go.

-God, we need sleep.

-Please use your supernatural power to clear the snot out of our noses.

-Help us not die on the trip or flights.

-Help the baby we have loved for so long to love us back at some point.

-Help the son we have loved for 4 years to love his new little brother Micah and not make it his mission in life to kill Micah or at least maim him so that Micah can't touch his toys.

-Help us not to kill one another on the 18 hour flight.

-Please allow our bags to make it to Ethiopia in one piece, or if we lose one for it to be Chad's. ;0)

-Most of all, use us as you see fit, only we're pretty sure we could be of better use if we don't have diarrhea.

Monday, April 6, 2009

AHHHHH! WE'RE GOING ON FRIDAY!!!!!!

Miracle news!


Our paperwork is almost finished in Ethiopia and we have been cleared to leave on FRIDAY! We'll be holding our Micah in 1 week. Praise God!


Pray for us! Pray for travels, safety, calm, peace, protection from illness, etc.


Ok, no more time to type, time to get PACKED!!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Madness of the BEST KIND! 90% A Go!!!

We're so OVERJOYED to be 90% sure we're leaving on Thursday, and OVERWHELMED!!!


Yesterday I spent the day doing laundry, printing out the paperwork we need to take with us, packing for Micah David, packing for us, packing for Devon (going to Mimi's for the week), and making lists that keep growing and growing! It's madness of the BEST KIND.


I also attended a travel conference call with our agency that went through our basic itinerary, what we need to bring, paperwork, do's and don'ts of culture, etc. Because we've been planning to go for so long I knew most of what was discussed but it's nice to officially hear it all anyway.


So, how can you pray for us in all of this madness? Here's what's really on our hearts amidst all of this flurry of activity (i.e. what we're ignoring!!!).
  • We're only 90% sure we're going. The other 10% is driving us bonkers. Pray for peace, calm, and INTENTIONAL thought capturing.
  • Kim's back is a wreck because of illness, stress, etc. Please pray for the 17 hour flight!!!
  • Dev has an appointment with an ENT Dr. to discuss tubes and have his hearing checked this week, 2 days before we leave. Please pray that the information we receive will calm our fears rather than heighten them.
  • AFRICA!!!! There are so many variables, so many unknowns, so much OUT of our control.
  • Bonding with Micah David who is VERY attached to his Nanny.

We obviously have a choice to make. We can either be joyful and give control to God (who has it anyway). Or, we can be stressed and try to hold on to the illusion of control that is both deceitful and damaging. WE CHOOSE JOY!

To think we could be holding Micah in 10 days. WOW! That's worth every stress imaginable!

Friday, April 3, 2009

MIRACLE NEWS FOR SEMLOW FAMILY

WE ARE REJOICING IN THIS HOUSE TODAY! ISAIAH, JOSIAH, AND LYDIA SEMLOW ARE COMING HOME SOON!!!!!


Our great friends, the Semlow Family, who has walked every step of this journey with us as their three sweeties are also from the orphanage in the South that Micah David is from, received great news today. They have EVERY STINKING SIGNATURE NEEDED to transfer their children to the new orphanage and petition for a court date next week.


Please continue to pray that they receive an expedited court date and that they are able to travel ASAP. They have been waiting since September along with us.


PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pray for our ADOPTION DECREE

There is a BUZZ around our house that is palpable!

We are waiting on 1 piece of paperwork to come in before we are 100% sure we can leave next week. Right now, the agency is 85% confident that we can go. We would be leaving Thursday night, driving down to DC to stay with friends and then fly out to Ethiopia on Friday morning. We would arrive in Ethiopia at 8 am in time to spend a fun day shopping and getting adjusted to the time change.

Please pray that we can go next week! We are SO READY to be with our little guy. We've really begun to ache for him in ways we didn't expect since passing court.
We feel so BLESSED to be given the opportunity to travel so quickly and be with Micah so soon. Hopefully we will be with him in 10 days!!!!!!!!!