Lilypie Countdown to Adoption tickers

Lilypie Countdown to Adoption tickers

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quick Update

I know I have been terrible about updating my blog since we have been home. I think it is because we are just soaking it all in and still ooohing and awwwing over Jack and Hayley. I plan to write more in detail about the experience later, but this is just a quick update to let everyone know where things are at and how the trip went.

To summarize, the trip was amazing and exceeded our expectations in every way. The best part being the second Jack and Hayley were placed in our arms, we truly felt like a family and that we were meant to be. Secretly, our biggest fear was meeting Jack and Hayley for the first time and just feeling like they were cute and all, but they weren't our children and no real emotional connection to them. That fear was proven to be wrong and we couldn't imagine anything but them being our children. They were amazing, healthy, beautiful little babies. Or maybe I should say big babies; Jack is 15.4 lbs and Hayley is 16.5 lbs. It was great to see how healthy they were with our own eyes, and how wonderfully they are doing. They were just the best and it was one of the best moments of our lives being able to meet them and love them to pieces. Although, one of the hardest things we ever had to was leaving them behind. It was emotionally challenging and very hard for us to have to say goodbye.

So what is next?  We are waiting for an approval letter from MOWA. We were told that we should have the letter within 15 business days when we were in ET. Once the letter is received the court will need to ratify our case. Once complete our agency will submitt our file to the US Embassy for review. This review process can take 48 hours to 2 months. Once we receive approval from the Embassy we submit 3 days to the Embassy that we can appear for our Embassy appointment. The Embassy will pick one of the three travel dates and then we will travel. All in all, we are expecting that the entire process from court (the 17th) will take 8-10 weeks. Please pray that this time will go fast and we will be able to travel soon!

Thanks for your support and following our journey!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Greetings from Ethiopia

Christina and I are doing well and enjoying our first significant travel adventure.  We met our son and daughter today and the valuable time we spent justified our adoption experience. We are learning more everyday in everyway.  Thanks to all our friends, family and others for their support, encouragement and good wishes. - Sam

Friday, March 11, 2011

We made it!

We made it! Well at least to Amsterdam. Yesterday was
challenging adjusting to the time change, but we are feeling refreshed today
and ready to take on the days activities.

Here are some first impressions of Amsterdam:

1.      Everyone rides a bike and no bike helmets. You can
be wearing stilettos and a mini skirt, you still ride a bike.

2.      Anything and everything goes.

3.      They play a lot of 1990’s American music.

4.      People are helpful if you ask, but they don’t go
out of their way to help.

5.      All the stairways are spiral and small.

6.      There are no fat people here, probably because everyone
rides a bike everywhere.

7.      Everything is served in miniature sizes,
including coffee and beer.

8.      Cheese here is good and cheap!

Today we are off to the Anne Frank house, a few museums and
a bike tour!

Tomorrow we are off to Ethiopia!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We Leave Tomorrow!

AHHHHHHH! Can you believe that the time has come for us leave and finally go meet our children Jack and Hayley. A time that once seemed so distant is finally here. Pause. Deep Breath. The last few days have been a whirlwind of emotions of being excited, nervous, anxious, scared, impatient, and EXCITED!

We are all packed and ready to go. Here is our itinerary of events. Tomorrow morning we will go to church, pick up Sam's mom to come over to our house to watch our dogs and house and then we are off to the airport at 11:15. Our flight leaves at 3:30 and we will arrive in Amsterdam at 6:00 am (11:00 CST). We are hoping for early check in so we can catch a nap before we venture into the city. We will be in Amsterdam for Thursday and Friday and then we fly out to Ethiopia on Sat. morning.

Once we arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia very late on Sat. night, we are supposed to be picked up by a member of the Guest House where we will be staying. We will stay at the YGF, a guest house affiliated with Toukoul, on Saturday night. Sunday we head South to Awassa, Ethiopia for a 1 night trip. The orphanage is closed to visitors on Sunday so we figured we would take advantage of seeing some of the country. We will arrive back to Addis on Monday evening. The soonest we will be able to meet our kids would be Monday night, but likely it will be Tuesday morning. We will meet with the kids one more time before court on Thursday, St. Patrick's day. We will get to visit the kids one more time after court on either Friday or Saturday. We fly out on Saturday evening and will arrive back in MN on Sunday.

Over the next week and half I am going to do my best to soak it all in and just live in the moment (which is hard for me to do).  I am always looking ahead to what is next and not just 'being'. This trip will be like no other and I am sure life changing. It will be terribly hard to leave, knowing we are leaving behind Jack and Hayley and not knowing yet when we can return to bring them home for good. Please pray that wait is quick and we have the strength to make it through this challenging time. The one thing that I remind myself of that will help me to get through it, is that if Jack and Hayley can do it, then I don't really have anything to complain about as it is much harder on them.

While we are traveling we won't be making or receiving phone calls. However, I will have the ability to send out text messages. We plan to keep family and friends updated through texting. I also hope to update our blog from time to time to keep everyone informed.

2.  I am thankful and grateful for the wonderful caregivers who are taking wonderful care of Jack and Hayley. I realize that resources are a bit limited, but they are doing the best they can with what they have. I cannot wait to meet the amazing women who are cuddling, hugging, kissing Jack and Hayley when we are not able to be there. I hope and I pray that everyday that they are held with a mothers love in mind. Thanks to these women who love and care for our children until we are able to.

A Family's Love Goes a Long Way

Please watch this heartwarming video. It goes to show that just a little love can make all the difference in the life of a child.

3. I am thankful for all the wonderful families who have opened their home and their hearts to adoption. Through our adoption process we have met so many wonderful people that continue to inspire us. The adoption community is so supportive and encouraging and we are grateful to be a part of this wonderful community.

I will catch everyone up this evening on our travel plans, so stay tuned...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A March Thanksgiving

Hi, It's Christina's husband, Sam. I'm compelled to document my thanks after reading Christina's recent posts. Here goes:

1. Christina's dedication to our adoption process makes me thankful. She is ready for motherhood and continues to "live it" everyday, every hour and every minute in her mind and actions. She has completed the lion's share of organizing, planning and communicating. She makes the often times nervous, unknown thoughts about the experience of parenthood easier and less scary. I can't wait for the opportunity to teach, educate and learn with two new SKINNERS.

2. I'm thankful for Fergus Falls. I grew up in a small town in Midwest MN. We just played in a basketball tournament with childhood friends and my brother. I can hardly walk today, but yesterday was one of the best days of the year. Life has a different feel, pace and their are tons of great people in Fergus. Our family and friends are the definition of supportive in all aspects of our lives. We are blessed.

3. I'm thankful for the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia and Amsterdam. Everyone talks about the 20 hours of travel. It sounds like parenthood to me, in some ways. You have a long journey that may be uncomfortbale (i'm 6'3") during parts of it, but it is all justified and validated during unbelievable moments and in the end. They are both opportunities, not obligations.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lists, lists, and more lists...

I feel like all I have been doing lately is making lists of things to do before travel, things to get before travel, things to know for when we travel and things to bring for travel!  It is taking it out of me, let me tell you. I feel for the most part, I have things organized and under control though. Partly thanks to my friend, excel, for housing all of my lists. Yes, for those of you who know me well, I am sure you get a good chuckle out of my excel lists, but yet you are not surprised. For those who will be traveling and want to see my 'lists' feel free to leave a comment and I will share the goods! It includes everything from bringing crisp twenties for a Visa at the airport, to bringing flip-flops to wear in the shower, to how many pairs of underwear to pack, to all the meds we need to bring, to where to get a good cup of coffee and which places have good Internet access.

7. Simply put, thank you excel and my Sony Vaio laptop for helping me keep my sanity.  Technology, I love you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Catching Up!

Okay, so this is much harder than you think to be committed to updating a blog every day. So 8 days until we leave and I am behind, again, on my countdown of things that I am thankful for. So here goes...

11.  We are thankful for all the great friends that we have that supported us though our adoption process. Many have wrote numerous letter of recommendation for us and cheered us on through every step. Sam and I really appreciate and value all of our friendships. They have been there for us though fundraisers, showers, referral celebrations and more. We hope to return the favor some day and hope that someone will be inspired through our story to adopt someday.

10.  We are thankful for lil Hayley who recently turned 7 months. She has the most beautiful big brown eyes that just jump out at you and draw you in. In every picture she seems so animated and full of life. We are thankful everyday for our beautiful daughter that we have never met that already brings us so much joy.

9. Oh our lil Jack is going to be a heartbreaker and we are so thankful for him. His kissable lips and adoring curls just make you long to hold him and kiss him. Jack is soon to be 7  months and we continue to pray he will have gained weight. With or without the extra lbs. he already feels like he is a part of our family and we cannot wait to hold him!

8.  We are so grateful and thankful that we have the two cutes nieces in the world, Stella and Alivia. Jack and Hayley will be so lucky to have older cousins to show them the ropes. Stella and Alivia will be adoring cousins and we look forward to play dates, pool dates, river dates and much much more.


Today was a busy day for Sam and I doing some last minute preparations for our trip!  At 1:00 we had a fingerprinting appointment with immigration services. Mind you, this is the third time that we have had to get our fingerprints taken. Then we took a trip to the dollar store and loaded up on bubbles, ring pops and pez dispensers to handout to kids in Ethiopia, Then we made another trip to target to get some additional things that we need for our trip, like cliff bars, face wipes, trail mix, Imodium, Vics, etc.  From there we traveled about 35 min. south to the Travel Clinic to get our Typhoid shot, the last of our shots that we needed for the trip. I am not done yet...we also had a meeting with our agency early evening to finalize our paperwork that we need to bring with us that will be submitted to Embassy after we pass court. Our agency also helped prepare for court, what to expect in Ethiopia, things we can bring for our kids, etc.

We topped off the evening with a some ahi tuna and blood orange salad. Now just relaxing on the couch watching Parenthood in preperation for parenthood.

Hopefully you will see me here tomorrow. Until then, take care.