...Our Family...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas in Ethiopia

Today was Christmas and we spent it first by going to worship at the International Evangelical Church in Addis. We sat in on a French service where the singing was absolutely amazing. Though we couldn't understand the words, we were able to sing several praise songs because we knew the melody.

I was taken over by the uninhibited love and adoration that Africans exhibit when they worship. Their love for God was palpable and their thankfulness for Jesus was intoxicating. I could have stayed with them and sang all day!

We then went to the Christmas service and worshiped with people from around the world. We heard at least 5 languages being spoken in the church, which as so awesome! We were both emotional when singing "Emmanuel" thinking of the perfect child who came to earth to bear the sins of the world. It is fitting that we are here, celebrating Emmanuel while at the same time bringing a new life into our family, a life that would be lost without the mercy and grace of Jesus. Such a heart-opening experience!

We then went to lunch at Metro Pizza, which we have eaten at before and the pizza is just as good! We met up with a few families who returned from Harra*, the region that Haddy is from in Northern Ethiopia. They had been to her orphanage and had asked the staff for photos of Haddy Cake. They were told that Haddy was too small and sick and they didn't want to take photos of her. This answers a lot for us regarding her health before coming into the care of our agency.

Our hearts break thinking of the hunger and struggle she must have experienced, yet we are amazed at her fighting spirit! A premie baby, undernourished, underdeveloped, abandoned-- yet she remains strong and a total delight to all who meet her. She, like our Devon and Micah, is a living miracle and testimony of God's grace and redemption on earth.

We then went to be with our girl at the Transitional Home. She was a bit distant at first, unresponsive, which made us very worried for her. Then, we took the hat off that we had brought for her and she perked right up. Mommy was sad about the hat, but at least she doesn't mind bows!

We were able to hook her up to our monitoring equipment (Chad is THE man and was able to procure some equipment from work) and watch her vital signs. Her heart rate was very fast at first, which made us very uneasy. Then, after she was fed, her heart rate normalized. Her pulse ox. was at 100%, which is absolute perfection! She cried a bit, which made us all melt as she has the sweetest little pouty cry we've ever heard. We weighed her and found that she has gained 1 pound in 2 weeks! We are hopeful that she will continue to gain weight in their care.

We are so thankful for the nursing staff at the TH. They dearly love her and have kept very good documentation on her life and health with them. They work so hard to care for the babies as best they can while providing love and support. We are forever grateful.

Today we go to court to give our consent to bring Haddy into our family. I would be lying if I said I wasn't on the verge of tears at all times. I've been up since 4:30 am praying and worrying (which defeats the praying, I know) over this day. Passing today would give us the BEST scenario to get her home within a few weeks. We are still unsure of when I (Kim) will be coming home. This is starting to take its tole on me, as is the jet lag. Please pray for a favorable court date and sound sleep for Kim!

We will keep you updated with the court results as soon as we have them! For now, enjoy a few photos from our journey.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

We Made It--- Haddy Cake Metcha Day

Hi Everyone,

So, we're reopening the blog because we are currently in Ethiopia for our court date for Haddy Cake Kulp!

Our trip to court has been a crazy fast ride! We found out last Monday (5 days ago) that there was a strong possibility that our court date would be moved up given Haddy's medical status. At that time she was still in the hospital and without a diagnosis (we still don't have a diagnosis, btw, and won't until we get her home). On Tuesday we were told to spend a ridiculous amount of money on tickets because we would be leaving in 3 days! What a whirlwind. I feel like I was just sitting in my room with my friend Kate packing, but that was 5 days ago.

Our trip to Ethiopia was horrendously long, but uneventful (if you don't count Chad's birthday literally only lasting 16 hours because of the time change!). Ethiopian airlines is wonderful and their new planes are top notch. We have no complaints, save the lack of toilet paper 8 hours into a 13 hour flight (but Super Kim always carries TP ;0)

We arrived at our guest house via an amazing AWAA transport in the form of Yonas and David (amazing friends already). As we drove, memories of our last trip smacked us in the face in the form of beautiful landscape and people (as well as stifling pollution, inhaler, check). We had forgotten so much. This land is breathtaking in its beauty yet crippled in its poverty. Somehow distance had made my heart forget this strange and unbearable truth.

We had 5 minutes (ok, it was 30 but it felt like 5) to get ready to go meet Haddy. Our nerves took over and so I naturally started to pick at Chad and he immediately had to use the bathroom. ;0)

We drove a familiar route to the Transitional Home (run by our agency where little bows is) and found ourselves in no time at the silver gates.

Oh. My. Friends. She is a delightful, adorable, teensy-weensy bundle of JOY! She giggles and smiles so often that we found ourselves literally in puddles of love on the dirt floor. We can tell that she is a total LIFE GIVER as every. single. person. is madly in love with our Haddy Cake. They even had the massive pink bow I sent on her! (But, her hair was a hot-fro-mess which this mama will correct in no time, don't you worry little Cake.)

She is, by all accounts, a precious gift and we are so thankful for her. We can tell she is strong, alert, interactive, social, joyful, and just all around adorable.

What she IS NOT is at a healthy weight. Our little peanut is so, so, so, small. nothing quite prepared me for how small she is. Right now, wherever you are, imagine a sack of flower in your arms. That is our Haddy Cake, under 10 pounds at 5 months old.

A few things are clear to us, Haddy Alana is OURS. She is total joy, just like her namesake Alana, Chad's sister who is with Jesus. Alana was a life giver, a joy spreader, a sweet pixie of a girl who had her older brothers wrapped around her tiny elfin fingers. Haddy is and will be the same.

We are also sure that this baby is, despite her disposition and strength, very underweight and having feeding issues. She is also still tachypnic, meaning her breathing is still too fast.

We were notified today that our MOWCY* Letter (approving our family for her) has been written and sent to the court. We appear before the judge on Monday. It looks as though we will pass on that date and then, hopefully, be submitted to the Embassy on January 4th. We don't have an indication yet of how long her visa will take to process, which means we are not sure yet if Kim is staying or coming home on Friday Night.

Please keep praying for Haddy's health to improve and for her to begin eating normally. She is so small, we really want to see her put on weight!

We'll post pics as soon as we pass court. Love to you all!