Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guess who's in our room?

That’s right…in our humble opinion, the absolutely cutest and most beautiful 7 month old boy on the face of the earth J  We thank you all so much for all your kind posts and prayers.  We have definitely felt it!  Today started with a “paper work session” where we got all the necessary embassy/immigration paperwork completed with the help of Rachel.  After that, we did some souvenir shopping, had lunch at the Hilton and then went to the Transition Home to pick up our bundles of joy.  It was once again a surreal experience seeing our gifts from God and getting to interact with many of your wonderful children as well.  We were able to hand out all the packages to the respective children.  They are all adorable and it was so fun to watch the joy and happiness on their faces as they received and opened the items from their parents.  We took lots of pictures, though not as many as yesterday J  After a few hours at the Transition Home, we said some tearful and difficult goodbye’s to those nannies who have mothered our children for the last months…it was amazing to see their genuine love for these little ones…we came back to the hotel and got settled in a bit – basically, we laid on the bed staring at our son who seemed quite pleased with himself and his new toys.  He got a bottle and made it quite clear that the temperature was sub-par…once that was remedied, he did what we thought he’d do…he sucked that baby dry!  As we got ready to head upstairs (restaurant) for dinner, Ezana decided to empty his bottle right back onto “papa”.  After a quick wardrobe change we headed upstairs only to be greeted with some more displays of Ethiopian’s love of children.  As we prepared to order, our waitress came by and promptly took our son and “mama’d” all over him during our entire dinner, ensuring that we were able to eat in peace…it was the sweetest thing!

 

Well, we will keep this post short and without pictures as we’re “pooped’ (no pun intended) and need to get some rest for our embassy appointment tomorrow.  We covet your continued prayers.

 

With all our love,

Dietrich, Amy & Ezana

 

P.S.  Kari, Helen sends her love to you all and Zoie  - she loves you all to death!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thoughts at 6am in Addis.... :)

It’s 6am here in Addis and I don’t think I’m going to get back to sleep any more this morning, so I thought I’d type out some thoughts and feelings from yesterday.

First, to Annika, Christoph, & Nena…. You guys are just gonna die when you get Ezana in a few days!  You guys!  You know how we would always love a new picture we got of him when we were all at home and we would look at it all the time and ooooo & aaaaaa over it?  To actually see and hold that total cuteness in person is a million times better with so many more ooooo’s & aaaaaaa’s!!!!  You’ll see what I mean when I see you on Saturday at the airport, I promise! J  We love you guys!  Oh!  And while Papa was videotaping me holding Ezana yesterday, I gave him a huge kiss from each one of you and told him how much you all love him and can’t wait to see him! J  

 

OK!  To all of you that have done this already….Wow!  What an intense day….like no other day in my entire life!!!  To those of you waiting to come here….you are going to have the time of your life!  I wish all our family and close friends could be here to experience this with us!  It’s so cool!  Now, get this!  Guess how many pictures Dietrich and I took between the two of us with only one camera…………….   796!!!!!!!!!!!   NO I AM NOT KIDDING!!!!!!!!!  And that’s not counting video!!!  I’m not guaranteeing that all almost 8 hundred are the absolute best pics in the world, but they are pics nonetheless and I know all you with kids there will love them!!!!  And to all our family and friends at home…..OOOHHHHH!!!!!   We can hardly wait to share them with you….but you’ll have the real deal right in front of you so that will be a bit better than pictures…just a bit! LOL

 

Yesterday was so intense.  We had been very calm ever since we got here.  Even yesterday, the hours leading up to going to the Transition Home for the first time.  I didn’t know what to expect, it all seems so surreal, so I just went with the flow.  I knew we would be so happy when Rachel brought E. out to us, but I was in no way ready for my reaction when it actually happened!!!  Oh my goodness!!! J  Driving up to “the green gate”, the entrance to the TH, was so weird (in a good way! J).  And then standing in the courtyard where so many have stood before us and waited for their child to be brought out is even crazier!  I was totally into the VanWettens seeing Etsegenet first, taking pictures and all that.  And then Rachel caught my eye from across the courtyard, smiled a knowing smile, and announced we were next.  The next few seconds saw all my calmness and distraction completely disappear!   I was so over come with intense emotion I don’t even know how to describe it!  It was like in a movie where you see a person standing there and all the events, hard times, tears, prayers, phone calls, arguments, loves, hopes, dreams, everything, just come flying in together into that one moment and take you over.  Do you all know what I mean?  If not, go rent some mushy movie and it’ll probably have something like that in there…HAHAHA.  “Intense emotion” doesn’t even do justice to the moment.  It really was a culmination of everything that has happened in our lives beginning with that day 12 years ago when we first found that God had put the desire to adopt one day in both of our hearts up to that very moment we stood in the courtyard.  Amazing!!  It seriously gave us a whole new dimension of our own adoption by God through Christ.  Want the most amazing and intense charge in your life?  Adopt a child!  You’ll be sanctified beyond belief (which means you grow in Jesus) through the process and when you finally get your child, you’ll experience the love of God for your soul in a way you’ve never felt.  It will re-charge your life completely.

 

I have to tell you all reading this…Ezana is so absolutely yummy beyond belief!!!!  We are head over heels in love (which we thought we already were). hahaha

 

Let me tell some of you about your children that stood out to me on that totally intense day yesterday.  I can recall each and every one I saw but wasn’t able to find out who went with which family so I may not say something specifically about your child.  Please don’t be hurt or offended if I don’t.  You’ll understand one day soon…there’s just a lot going on.  All of them were so cute, fun, and loving.

 

OK:

Jason & Jessica:  Your baby girl with that bow on her head is just so sweet and beautiful.  She was sitting in a bumbo seat just looking around contentedly.  To hold her!  Oh!  She’s so heavy and so healthy and drooling up a storm J  I held her for a long time and gave her lots of love and told her about her mom and dad and brothers.

Karen Wistrom & Family: I already could tell that your oldest boy was very sweet and kind, but Rachel then confirmed it and said he was the sweetest boy there.  He came and hugged me and looked at pictures of himself on my camera before I even knew he was your son.  When I found out, I couldn’t stop touching his face, smiling and hugging him, and telling him how much his family loves him.  Your little guy is so cute too and it seems like the both love each other a lot.  The little guy is quite busy though and always running around.  I spoke to Fortuna and today I will give them their packages and read the letter to them.

Jori  & Tracey:  Your oldest daughter is so full of love!!!  She would leave me for a few minutes and the come right back with more hugs and I gave her lots of kisses for you.  At the end when we were leaving, she and I kept kissing and hugging right up to the green gate with promises of seeing each other tomorrow.  I told her how much her family loves here and how wonderful they are.  The little one is a busy body too and hard to catch on film.  I did get a few, but couldn’t find them last night J

Lori Laughner & family:  Oh! My goodness!  You are going to have some serious “girl problems” when your little guy gets older!! LOL  He’s just toooooo good looking and so fun to boot.  He was always around and always happy.

Sherry Semlow & family---Oh man!  Your little guy is intense!  So full of fun and mischief!  He loves to play and he’s so cute with that big smile!

Ana & Sam---Guess what!  Des. Sleeps in the same room as Ezana, in a crib right next to his!!!  Yipee!  They’ve been roommates all this time!!!  He’s just too cute for words!  Everyone just loves on him and those lips….you won’t be able to stop kissing them!!!

Rebecca & Zack--- Oh my goodness!  I can’t wait to give your little guy his care package tomorrow…I’m hoping you will have some amazing pics! J  You are going to die when you see him!  He’s amazing!  Hold on…you’ll be here SOON Lord willing!

Jen Sloniger & family---I could figure out which one was Jonas yet (sometimes it’s hard to understand the names the nannies say for the baby they are holding and Rachel was busy…she knows ALL  of them and who goes to which family!  Did I mention yet that Rachel is amazing?! Hahaha)  Anyway!  Never fear!  I will find him today and love on him and try to get just as many pics as we did yesterday! J

Heather Sparr & family---I’m pretty sure I know which little girl is yours, but I couldn’t ask anyone that could tell me for sure.  But don’t worry! I will have it nailed down today!  And if she’s the one I think she is, she IS SOOO CUTE!!!

Kimberly & Chad Kulp:  We got some great pics of your little guy.  Dietrich held him for a long time and got him to smile quite a bit.  He is so sweet and cute.  He has a very intense face and is so yummy to hold J

Stricklands: Don’t know if I spelled that right or if this family even reads our blogs, but if someone knows them, please direct them here.  I have to tell you that your daughter is so loving and sweet.  She hung around Dietrich and I for most of the time we were there.  So many hugs and kisses were exchanged – we just totally fell in love with her and gave her lots of love.  She sat with Dietrich in a chair with his arm around her just stroking his arm for a long time.  I think I got some great pictures.

You guys!  All your kids are just beautiful!  And so happy and loving!!!  It’s so neat!

 

To all families that have children at the TH or will, please don’t give in to your fears that your child(ren) aren’t being loved and taken care of!  Please try not to give into feeling like you should be getting more updates or communication about your child.  Please talk to yourself when these natural feelings arise and tell yourself that there are those that have been there and seen with their own eyes what goes on there and how much love and care is taken of each and every child in that home.  The nannies are so full of love and attentive care for all the children.  And not just that, but Rachel and Barrett LOVE  each of your children!  And that is an understatement!  They have such an amazing connection it seems with each and everyone one of those kids!  It’s like a rock star has entered the TH when they arrive!  I’m serious!  So please, please don’t give into your fears and negative feelings but trust that God has provided excellently for your babies while you are apart from them. 

 

We send our love to each one of you, our family and friends!!!  Talk to you again soon! J

 

 

Absolutely amazing!!! Words fail us so we'll just let pictures do the talking...

And even they, do no justice J

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday...

First off, thank you to everyone that sent emails and comments!  It was so sweet and encouraging to know we are being thought of and more importantly, prayed for.  We have felt it and praise God for you all!

We slept really good last night!  For all future travelers, please listen to what everyone has been saying…we have found it to be very true and helpful.  This is what I mean…

Sleeping aid + white noise + earplugs = good sleep in foreign country!!!!  LOL 

Our good travel buddies, the VanWettens and Redferns, displayed godly behavior by getting up early and going to a 2 ½ hour church service in Amharic.  We had every intention of doing that as well.  However, we somehow missed the alarm we didn’t set and slept in!!!  LOL  We had a leisurely breakfast upstairs at the hotel and then wandered down the road to watch a soccer game!!!  Some highlights of the game were a field with virtually no “out of bounds” and playing through patches of rocks, trash and a herd of cows(I can’t believe I forgot the camera!!!).  The true highlight was meeting a 12 year old boy named Joel (pronounced Noel but with a  J at the beginning)… he epitomized how Ethiopians are determined to succeed despite difficult circumstances.  Despite having no father (he was a soldier, killed during the Sudanese conflict) he walks 2 hours to school where he has worked hard to learn English and develop a love for Biology and Chemistry.  He told us he dreams of being a pilot as well as making gasoline out of plants some day.  We thought this was a brilliant idea!  As we were walking back to the hotel, he joined up with us and invited us to have coffee with his family some time.  Never once did he ask us for money.  He was more concerned with teaching us different words and being concerned for our welfare.  We feel blessed to have crossed paths with this special boy and hope to see him again before we leave. 

We went to lunch with Rachel and Barrett at the Lime Tree where we met up with our holy comrades, the VanWettens and Redferns.  J  There were some unexpected rain showers off and on during the afternoon which makes for some very slippery tile.  You’ll have to ask my derriere about that experience!  Suffice it to say that a very large bruise and wet jeans were the extent of my injuries!  That’s what I get for not going to church.  Our holy comrades fared better…LOLOL

We can’t believe that we finally get to meet and hold Ezana tomorrow!!!  Wow!  Can’t even imagine what it will be like.

I spoke to the kids last night and they are doing really well and sounded very happy.  Thank you Crawford family for taking such excellent care of them.  Glad to hear you love the nutella, Danielle!  LOL  Please give the kids big hugs and kisses for us when you read this. 

Sorry, no pictures today!  Promise to make up for it tomorrow! Hehe

Love to you!

Dietrich & Amy

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Our first post from Addis

The flights over from Dulles were very good.  We didn’t sleep much but felt rested when we arrived.  Probably had something to do with the fact that the plane was only half full so there was plenty of room to get comfortable.  All of our luggage (including that of the VanWetten’s & Redfern’s) made it so the Transition Home and Kids Care are going to have a “Formula Bash” on Monday.  J

First impressions of the outside of the hotel were a bit “interesting” just because of the dirt/rock driveway, but the rooms are awesome and the staff has been very friendly and accommodating.  Once we got settled in to the rooms, we had “Elias” take us to the “Merkato” which was an unforgettable experience.  We bought lots of really cool things from some of the best sales people we’ve ever encountered J  We also saw a lot of extreme poverty and suffering on the way to the Merkato and back.  We must say that we had mixed emotions going and spending money on “souvenirs” in the midst of so much suffering.  However, we were reminded what a privilege we have to welcome one of these beautiful people into our family and can’t wait to see Ezana on Monday.  A highlight of our day was to meet Rachel and Barret in the later afternoon and go out to a great dinner with this wonderful couple together with the VanWetten’s and the Redfern’s.  The food was awesome and the company was even better.

Friday, October 24, 2008

We're off!


Oh! So sad! I typed the post below last night at the airport but then found that I couldn’t get on line to put it on the blog! Opps! J So, now we have just landed in Dulles, nothing is open and we are waiting for a few hours for the next leg of our journey. J Here’s the post from last night. Sorry blog-stalkers! J

OK! First off, I just want all you “blog-stalkers” to know that I’m doing this post for you!!! J Now that’s love! I have been in your shoes for many months over the last year and know how great it is to check a travel family’s blog and see updates! We practically lived for them during that week of travel! LOL So, as I sit here at LAX for another 2 hours I will give you a little run down of what’s been going on today. Enjoy the love….the best is yet to come (as Kari loves to say!).

Today went very well. It started off with our travel conference call at 7:30am (wanted to sleep in, but oh well! LOL). We then worked on all the various last minute things that needed to be done that couldn’t be done ahead of time…it all went smoothly. We got to hang out with the kids at various stages of all that stuff and then Dietrich’s parents arrive around 12:45pm . We are so thankful they came down from the Fresno area to look after the house and our dog! What a relief not to have to worry about closing up the house for nine days…locks, lights, plants, dog….you know, all that stuff. It was also an encouragement and blessing to have a few friends and neighbors call or came by to let us know they were think of and praying for us and our family! We then packed up the kids and all their stuff to take them over the our friends’ house. What a huge blessing that they were so excited to go there and were practically jumping out of the car at the curb when we got there!! They hardly had time to give us hugs and kisses before they ran off to play in the back yard! LOL No crying, no clinging, no nothing! I’m sure this was a result of all your prayers, so thank you! Another blessing (Yes! God has given us many today!!!), God was so good to give us a friend in the fire department! He had his wife called to warn us that we needed to leave a bit earlier for the airport than we planned. He had been fighting a fire that was right next to the freeway we had to take to get to the airport! Amazing! Dietrich’s best friend took us and our 10!!! bags down to the airport and we made great time. For those of you that have driven on the LA freeways you’ll know what a miracle that is!!! LOL And I have to tell you about a man named Winston at the United counter! What a blessing! We walked up to the counters and in big red letters it says no baggage over 50 lbs. I thought, OK! I need to start praying for a miracle here. So we get up to Winston and as Dietrich hands him our stuff God brought this thought to mind that I should ask if he minded being in a picture. So I whip out the camera and ask and as he laughs and says yes Dietrich tells him why. We then explain why we have so much luggage. He was so happy for us and kept telling us how cool it was! J Then he says that the extra we were suppose to pay for the 2 extra bags and the extra weight was on him!!!! Dietrich then showed him a pic of Ezana and he told us to make sure we give E. a hug from him! J He shook our hands and sent us on our merry way to gate 74!! Wow!!! So amazing! God is just so good! Our friends had given us money as a gift for the orphanages to pay for the extra bags and weight, so Dietrich got to call and tell him that Winston beat him out! LOL Wow! We have people fighting over who’s going to help! Just kidding! But really…that is exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask is it not?! And so now, here we sit trying to drink lots of water, wondering if we’ll be able to sleep much on this leg of the journey and looking forward to meeting up with the VanWettens at Dulles for breakfast before we hop on the plane for ET.

How can we recount all the kindnesses and love we have been shown by our family, friends, neighbors and even strangers?! God has been so good to bless us through them….meals, money, encouragement, help, errand runs, support and oh! So many prayers! Thank you to each one of you for “letting” God use you in our lives…we are so thankful and encouraged and hope you will be as well.

Oh! And by the way…for those of you that have been praying that the kids and Dietrich didn’t get my cold I would like you to know that God has answered!!!! You all know how colds pass around in a family! And Annika and I had just been sharing a water bottle a few hours before it hit me! Yep! Miracle! God is so, so good!

Danielle and Mike, if you read this, will you show it to the kids? Give them an extra kiss and hug for us tonight! Thank you for taking such good care of them!

And good night to all of you, especially the blog stalkers! We’ll post next from Dulles or ET…guess you’ll have to wait and see! LOL

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thank you....

to all of you that contributed to the "formula fund" we were collecting for the Kids Care Orphanage!!! :) There were a hand full from the YG and then a couple from our church. All in all we received $650. for formula and extra suitcases!!!!!! Isn't that great?!
So, last Friday night we went to Costco and bought 24, 2 packs of Kirkland Formula and last night
my daughter and I packed it all! What a chore! But it's all finished. Guess how many suitcases we are taking though....
6!!!!! eeekkk! LOL At least we won't have that many on the way home...unless I go a bit crazy with the shopping that is....which I kind of hope to do....hhhmmm...hope Dietrich doesn't read this post! LOL

So, we leave in 3 days...or 2 depending how you count!!!!!!! We are getting excited! But I came down with a cold last night...kind of expected it since I'm feeling a bit run down. Please pray the kids don't get it...I really don't want the Crawfords to have to take care of them when they are sick.
Thanks for all the prayers...we feel them tremedously!
I may post again but if not, we'll "see" you in ET! :)

Oh! forgot to put in a few pictures of the earrings my sis-in-law helped me make (well, I helped her...not much though! haha) as gifts for the nannies at the TH...here are some....




Thursday, October 16, 2008

Project Impact Fundraiser last weekend...

I only have a minute or two, but had to update about the fundraiser in Oregon last weekend that the VanWettens put on. All I can say is WOW!!! AMAZING!!! Ok, I'll say more... LOL
Really, it was an incredible weekend all around. We couldn't contribute much in the way of moola, but we tried to help out by doing work and being there to support it & them. :) We were so excited to finally meet our friends, the VanWettens, in person...we love Theresa, Ray and all their kids!! And meeting so many other adopting families was really incredible and a highlight to the weekend. Also meeting Duni & her family, our program director, was really pretty cool to say the least! It was so fun to sit around with all the "girls" that I have grown to love on the internet and get to laugh our heads off and actually be able to hear it instead of only reading "LOLOLOL"
and seeing " :) " Know what I mean? hahaha The infamous Kari Gibson flew out for the event...she had us rolling, we were laughing so hard!! :) And we got to meet her Zoie as well as the Wests and their cutie, Nathaniel! Anna Stager was so fun to talk to! And she and her husband gave us a check to buy more formula!!! Yeah! The Gamble family is fun and I loved Justine's cute slippers!!! LOL Justine! I am just so happy I'm not the only one that does that sort of thing! I definitely relieves my mind! LOL Oh! And though Ana & Sam Nunez aren't in any of our pics, they were so fun to meet...we loved seeing their pictures and hearing their story...what a cutie Josiah is!!! :) Getting to meet the Joners was special and seeing their tribute to baby Julia Alem was special...I don't think there was a dry eye in the place. And I can't forget Jori Armstrong!! That girl is a roit! So many laughs! And she brought us a very special gift...a onesie she had made for Ezana!!! Isn't it just too funny!!!!!! We soooo love it!!!!!!!











Theresa...the "ham mouse pad" pic is for you girl!!! LOLOLOL Love you!!






















The night brought in $40,000. and 100% of it is going to Ethiopia!!! Isn't that incredible?!!!!










As well, we have learned that there is a formula shortage in ET right now...the orphanages are actually running out of it! So during the last conference call we had with our agency, when other families wanted to send formula I volunteered (for us! haha) to take any that people wanted to send. It has now escalated into people sending money to buy more formula and to pay for extra suitcases to take it all as well as cans of formula showing up in the mail!!!! It has been amazing!!! Other families traveling at the same time as we are are doing the same thing...it's so neat to see God working for the orphans of ET!

Well, it is late and the clock just keeps on ticking! Oh! Wait! There's something else! As some of you know we needed a bigger car to fit our growing family. So, we sold one car in June and have been looking for a used Honda Odyssey ever since. (No, we are not "mini van" people, but gas is just to expensive for a Land Cruiser!!! LOL Gotta be practical here!) Well, let me tell you! We...well, really Dietrich! has been looking hard for one and I am happy to report that our trip down to San Diego today (3 hours away!!) was successful!!! Yes! We have a car that will fit all 6 of us and just in the nick of time since we leave in a week to go get Ezana! LOL Yep! That's right! I am now a "mini van Mama"!!!!! LOLOLOL
Better get to bed! Good night! :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

WE PASSED COURT!!!

I had the paragraph below all typed out and then found out some sad news....some of our friends did not make it through court today! We are so very, very sad about this. How can a heart feel such heightened degrees of happiness and sadness at the same time? I think it may burst...it hurts so bad.
Well, I will still post what I was going to because we are thankful to God that we have passed court.....

I can hardly actually believe it!!!!!! As I type this I am in total shock! All this time, all this wait, all the agony in July and August, all of it gone in less than 30 seconds! Crazy!
We give all the praise and glory to God who has done exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we could ask or think!!! Bless His Holy Name!
Well, the race is on! Two weeks till we fly out! AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! OK! I feel better after that scream! LOL You know, it's as if it all doesn't matter anyway.....we'll be as ready as we can, but one way or the other I'm fly out of LAX on the 23rd....one suitcase or five! I don't care! As long as I get my Baby! LOL
Thank you for all of your love, prayers and encouragement!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ethiopia is 10 hours ahead of us here in Cali...

Yep! It's 9pm here as I type this and 7am in Ethiopia right now! I don't think Ethiopians are early risers :-) (from what I've heard) so I image the court won't open for a couple hours still. But, while we sleep the work will be done. Lord willing, we will be put out of our misery (Oh! the agony of waiting! :D) early in the day one way or the other. And whatever happens, God is good....just as good (if not better!) as He has always been. And by His grace we will trust Him no matter what the outcome.
Thank you for all the love, prayers and encouragement.
We hope and pray that our next post will be to introduce our new son to you all!!!! :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Flight reservations...

WOOOHOOO!!!!! Our travel agent at Susan Parr travel just sent us confirmation that we have reserved tickets for the flight out on Oct. 23 and coming back on Nov. 1!!!!!!!! This all has a bit of that "un-real" feeling to it!! LOL

Friday, October 3, 2008

Our boy would make a very pretty girl! LOL

We got the cutest picture of Ezana 2 day ago and have been staring at it ever since! And he's in the cutest outfit! White with pink polka-dots & a pink strawberry!!! LOL I told the kids that I was going to start buying pink clothes for him since he looks so cute in them! LOL We are so in love with our boy!!!! :) I just had to show the pics to Kari Gibson (an adoptive family that was in ET almost 2 months ago to get their baby girl, Zoie & took a care package to Ezana) and she emailed back practically screaming (I could hear it all the way from Branson! LOL)!!! The outfit Ezana is wearing is the one they sent to Zoie in a care package while she was still at the TH!!! She left it there for them to use for other babies probably hoping it would get used for other baby girls, but hey! like I said, our boy would make a very pretty girl!!! LOL
I can't wait till we pass court (Lord willing, next week!) so I can plaster our little guy's pictures all over our blog!!!