Saturday, May 14, 2011

For Better or Worse...

Monday, May 16 is our 19th wedding anniversary.  For those of you doing the math, I was 20 years old when I got married.  We are so blessed to have Mother's Day, our anniversary, bring home our Nazeret, and Father's day all within a month!

When we got married, and I was just a baby, I discovered the Calla Lily.  It is such an elegant flower.  This has been our flower and a symbol of our love for the past 19 years.  A couple of days ago I discovered a beautiful "touch point" from God.  It turns out that the national flower of Ethiopia is...the Calla Lily.  All species of this flower are endemic to Africa.  Just another beautiful way that God has slowly woven a love for Ethiopia into our hearts throughout our lives.

If you will indulge me, I wanted to share some of my most meaningful pictures of the Calla Lily.

This picture was taken the year that our anniversary collided with the loss of our Nandad.  Notice the Calla Lilies in my bouquet in our wedding picture. (Yes, Michael had hair.)

 This beauty was growing in the Garden Tomb when I visited Jerusalem.

 Michela took this picture at the Transition Home the day we met Nazeret.

This was taken at one of the orphanages that we visited while in Ethiopia. It makes me think of a line from a Disney movie that goes something like this: "The flower that blooms in adversity is beautiful indeed."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I should be a professional "waiter" when this adoption is complete.  There is waiting involved in every step of this process from day 1.  Today, I am still waiting.

When we passed court after a two week wait, we were told we should be submitted to the Embassy on the 11th.  I have waited until today pretty well.  Tomorrow is the 11th and I don't know if we will be submitted or not.  Waiting doesn't seem quite as hard when you know how long you have to wait.  If we don't get submitted tomorrow, we will have to wait until the 18th and see if we get submitted then.  I just want to get back to Ethiopia and bring my daughter home. 

I've received reports from other families that Nazeret seems to be waiting well.  She is excited when visitors bring things from us and tell her how much we love her.  She has even shared (with another mom) something special that she would like her mommy to bring when she comes for her.  Yes, I think she is waiting better than I am.

God has really been speaking a theme to my heart over the past week.  You see, this adoption process feels a lot like a race to the "end".  Of course in some ways it the "end" you get to bring your child home....but there it is: "The end is really just the beginning."  So I'm not looking forward to the end, I'm looking forward to the beginning.

I'm hoping and praying that tomorrow brings us one step closer to our beginning.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 5...our last day

5 days!  We spent 5 days with our daughter in Ethiopia!  5 amazing days....ONLY 5 days.

Today is Mother's Day and I am finally sitting down to blog our last day together...until we go back to bring you home forever.

Our last night in Ethiopia was the first night that I slept well.  Our day started with a shopping trip.  We started in a really beautiful shop full of beautiful gifts arranged much like an American store.  We chose our treasures (all handmade items) and headed off to the Post Office area which is the market place.  We were given 20 minutes to get all the items we wanted to bring home and get back on the van.  Thanks to the help of our driver David, who is amazing, we pulled it off.   Our next stop was lunch.

I don't know how to explain the compulsion we had to get to Nazeret.  This was our last little bit of time together and the 3 of us would have been fine with skipping lunch...just to get to her faster.  That's not how things work, so we ordered and waited.  The power went out, so they had to come back and take new orders that could be cooked without the oven.  We ordered a sandwich with "imported ham" to share.  We really wanted out of there.  When they finally brought our sandwich, there was NO ham. He took our plates back and returned our sandwich with one thin slice of ham.  We didn't even care, we just wanted to get to Nazeret.

Finally, with mounting anticipation, we climbed in the vans to go spend our last few hours with our daughter.  Because it was Saturday, only the children with parents visiting would be out today.  We were excited to have the one-on-one time.  The time seems to stall and yet pass quickly.  I don't know how to explain it.  We just played and sat together.  I knew that one of the guides would come to us when it was time to explain that we were leaving.  We didn't have any idea what to expect, but we had prayed that she would understand.

We sat with her while Job explained to her in Amharic that we were going to go back to America (like the other kid's parents), but we would come back for her and then she would go to America with us.  He asked her if she wanted to go in a car or on an airplane.  She chose an airplane.  Good thing!  We had Job ask her if she wanted us to leave her bag full of goodies or bring it when we came back.  She pulled the straps up over her shoulder and zipped it shut....she wanted to keep it.  We had one last gift for her.   We had recorded our voices on one of those Hallmark books.  She LOVED it!  She called one of the older boys over and opened it.  She told him "Daddy!"  She turned the page and said, "Mommy!"  This helped to hold the tear in our hearts together.  Maybe she was really going to be okay until we could get back to her. 

Then it was time to leave.  She headed to the gate showing everybody and anybody, who would look, her bag of goodies.  Then suddenly she came straight to me hugged my neck and planted the most precious kiss ever on my cheek.  I asked her if she had one for Daddy.  She went to him and kissed his cheek when he bent down to hug her.  Without being asked, she went to Michela and kissed her too.

It was so hard to say goodbye, but God had answered our prayers.  She seemed to understand.  We were all doing better than anybody expected.  We would make it.

So here I am on Mother's Day waiting to get back to Ethiopia.  Today is a hard day.  I miss my sweet girl and I still don't know how long it will be until we bring her home, but everyday is a day closer.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 4 of ONLY 5

5 days!  We spent 5 days with our daughter in Ethiopia!  5 amazing days....ONLY 5 days.

Court Day April 8, 2011...this is the day we go before an Ethiopian judge to become Nazeret's parents forever!

I didn't sleep well the night before.  I woke up early and went downstairs to send messages home.  We had another adopting mom on a cot in our room. (Her husband had already gone home and she needed somewhere to stay.  That is how close you get to other families going through this.)  We ate breakfast and went back up to our room to wait.  I was so nervous and excited; I was sure I was going to be sick.  I chewed off all my fingernails (something I haven't done in years).  While we were downstairs, we heard that Duni was back and would be going to court with us and one other family.

I had heard so many great stories about Duni.  She works for AWAA and is a force to be reckoned with.  She had been out all week getting a signature for another family from a man that had held up their adoption for months.  She had gotten the signature and was back!  When she introduced herself, she was soft spoken, hair pined up in place, dressed in an American business suit, and wearing perfectly impractical shoes, topped off with a beautiful Ugandan magazine bead necklace. It was the next thing she said that brought me to a HALT, "The judge is not coming in today."  A million things ran through my mind.  This was NOT good news, but we would do whatever we had to do.  Duni declared that we would go to the courthouse and see what was going to happen.

The courthouse is just a regular looking building.  Michael had to go back and get our passports that we didn't know we needed and the rest of us headed up the five flights of stairs to the adoption court.  When we got up there, we found out that the judge had set an assistant in her place to take statements.  This meant we were not going to have to change our flight out tomorrow (good news), but there is also no way to pass court without a judge (bad news).  Michael made it back before we were called in to the court.  The three of us went into the "judge's chambers" along with Duni and a couple of men I had never seen.  The assistant asked us five questions that we answered yes.  One of the questions was "Do your other children know you are adopting?"  Michela waved at her and we all giggled a little.  The assistant said something to Duni in Amharic and we were done.  In the hall, Duni explained that we had a blurry seal that had to be redone and then the judge would sign our case.

That was it; we were done.  We went back to the guest house before lunch.  There was a little more to our morning that added to the emotions and stress, but we prayed about it all and it went as well as it possibly could.  We met up with other families for lunch.  It rained while we ate lunch.  The rain made it cool at first and then it got really hot and humid just in time to head to the TH.

When we arrived at the TH, we were told that Nazeret had been asking for her Mommy and Daddy.  What a heart warming thing to hear.  Our daughter couldn't wait to see us.  We played and laughed so hard together.  She found some baby rings hooked together and hid them.  She would then lift her hands and shrug her shoulders as if to say "where did they go".  We would move in her direction and she would pull them from their hiding spot and run away laughing.  She did this over and over until....Michela pulled them from their hiding place when Nazeret wasn't looking.  When Nazeret went to pull them out...they weren't there.  She was so funny!  She looked everywhere and was so confused until she saw Michela walking away with them swinging behind her back.  Nazeret busted out laughing!  This was one of the best moments on the trip.  We learned that she could play and tease and laugh about it all.  This is a very good thing.

We painted nails and jumped rope.  Suddenly the afternoon was over and it was time to leave.  We only had one day left with our beautiful girl.

Oh how I miss my girl.  Lord, please don't let it be much longer.