Saturday, March 15, 2014

10 Good Things About Disney

1. Meeting Elsa and Anna (without standing in a crazy long line)  

2. Followed by breakfast with the princesses.

3.  The flowers in Epcot were gorgeous.

4.  Classic Disney characters...she really loves the characters.

5.  Visiting Universal for the first was really fun. 

6.  Spending time with these people.

6.  Fabulous new parade in Magic Kingdom.

7. Meeting Rapunzel, Merida and Tiana

8.  Being together

9.  Hollywood!

10.......coming soon.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I am feeling more like  blogging these days!  So to kick us off here is cute pic of a cute girl!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wrap Up

I think it is time to wrap up this blog. I always wondered about people who adopted and then never blogged again. I thought things must have gone terribly wrong for them. But for me, I know that once we had our child home, I seldom have time to sit at the computer and blog. This little person fills up every empty space in my life and its a good thing.

Ella is thriving! She is now 16 months old. She is walking, running, and saying lots of words. She is very smart and can follow simple instructions. She loves to play with her baby dolls and is so sweet to them. She also loves to clean house. She fights me for the Swiffer, so for Christmas she got her own little broom and mop. She gets into everything and hides things like the tv remote in "her" drawer in the kitchen. I often find missing toys etc. in that drawer. She gives hugs and kisses. Seeing her little kissy lips and closed eyes moving in for a kiss is truly the cutest thing. We are completely smitten with her and wonder how we could have been so blessed to parent her.

Since I am not planning on blogging anymore (at least not at this spot) I just wanted leave you with a few recent photos of our girl and encourage you to care for orphans.....whatever that means to you. It could be simply praying, giving money , sponsoring, or even adopting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Our last day in Ethiopia....and flight home!

The last day in Ethiopia was filled with shopping, packing, and goodbyes. We spent the morning shopping for things for dresses for Ella. I got several dresses in different sizes. We bought some silver crosses. I bought one for each of my girls. I love shopping in Ethiopia. You can find so many treasures for a small price. I even like bargaining with the shopkeepers..something that I grew accustomed to in Doha.

We then went back to the Layla house for the goodbye party. Every time a child leaves Layla there is a goodbye party. The party is in the cafeteria and all the children from PreK to teens attend. They always start off singing and drumming. It is so moving to hear all the kids singing in unison. They sing Amharic church songs and sing in English. This time they sang "Amazing Grace" in English and I don't think you could have been there and not cried. I always think about the children that stay at Layla for many months and wonder how they feel at the goodbye parties seeing their friends leave to go home to a family. It was really hard for me to tell some of the teenage girls that I love so much that I was there to adopt a baby and not one of them. I am so happy to report that they now both have families. In fact one of them is on facebook and I get to chat with her often. I let the nannies and older girls hold Wubeski and tell her goodbye. Everyone seemed so happy for her and for us.

Not long after the party it was time to go to the airport. Looking back I way overpacked. I think I took a diaper for every hour in transit. At least we were prepared. Joan and I checked in and unfortunately did not have a bassinet seat for the flight from Doha to Dubai, but didn't really need it because the baby was no problem. The flight left at 7:30pm and we were on the same flight with some of other AAI families. Honestly I can't remember a lot about that it must have been uneventful. I was so grateful to have my sister with me. I don't think I would have done well alone. The layover in Dubai was short and soon we were on the flight to Doha. It was the middle of the night and we were sleepy and tired, but again the flight must have been fine, because I can't remember the details. When we arrived in Doha, we were greeted by the Al Maha service at the plane and were taken to a lounge where we waited several hours for Bill and the kids to arrive. The lounge was a welcome sight and we pulled up chairs to make makeshift beds and slept. Joan has a funny picture of me sleeping posted above. It illustrates the exhaustion we were feeling. I think Joan got a shower, but I slept the whole time. The entire time the baby was Perfect. She was a great traveler.

Early that morning, Bill and the kids arrived at the airport and we were all reunited. It was so good to see them. The kids were so happy to have their little sister with them at long last. We were able to stay in the Qatar Airways lounge until time for our flight. Bill's boss was also there for another flight and she got to meet the baby.

Soon after, we were checking in for our flight to the Houston. As we were getting our boarding passes, Bill shocked me with news that we were moving, probably back to Texas. This memory is seared in my mind. So many changes. A new baby...and now repatriating back to the US. Little did we know that the entire summer would be spent wondering if we were moving and where we were moving and when we were moving. Ultimately, we didn't know for sure until 2 weeks before we would have returned to Doha. I finally reached the point of completely trusting God to direct our paths. HE had led us and protected us and loved us for my first 40 years, surely we could trust him with the years to come.

Our adoption of Ella complete, I am amazed at the miracle of it all. She is a wonderful addition to our family. She is exactly what we needed. As a whole we tend to be a little too serious and she has brought an amazing light and joy to us. She has an effect on everyone who meets her. She smiles and laughs easily. She talks to strangers...with a sweet "Hi" to everyone she meets. We all are completely in love with our baby!

And as for Ethiopia...I have no doubt that I will be going back. Back to do what I can to help those in need and back to show Ella the beautiful country that is her home.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 4 in Ethiopia

Joan babysat Ella while I was at the airport straightening out my cargo problem.
This is one of the guards at the guesthouse. We gave him an ExxonMobil cap and he loved it. He is so sweet with all the children.

Mekdalawit kept Ella this night so Joan and I could go out to dinner.
The cargo...the van is full of boxes too.
This was the most frustrating day I had in Ethiopia. I had sent tons of donations to Ethiopia by cargo when our whole family went at the end of April to visit Ella. Unfortunately the donations did not make it before we had to return in Doha. So bright and early Thursday morning I set out with a driver in a van to go to the cargo place at the airport and collect the donations. Joan stayed with baby Ella and took extra good care of her while I spent hours at the airport getting the cargo. The bright spot in the whole affair was a great macchiato I got at a cafe in the cargo terminal of the airport. I ended up having to pay lots of money since they had to store my items for so long. In the end, I successfully collected the donations...after going through a multi-step process, which includes the inspectors digging through your stuff and then stuffing it back in your containers.

Joan and I had planned to go out that night to an authentic Ethiopian restaurant, but after the long day I had we decided to just go to a local cafe near the guest house, Caribo. I had invited our driver to go to the restaurant to Ethiopian restaurant with us and serve as a guide. I didn't figure he would go with us to the Caribo restaurant. To my surprise he did and we ended up enjoying his company very much. He told us the story of how he met his wife and it was very sweet.

Wubeski stayed with Mekdalawit, the manager of the guest house while we were out and was sleeping when we got back. Mekdalawit is just one of the amazing young women that works for AAI.

The next day would be our last in Ethiopia.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 3 Embassy Day

Ella doesn't seem too concerned about the embassy interview. She slept on the drive to the Embassy.
On our way to the appointment.
One of the sweet friends we met at the guest house. She and her husband and two children were there adopting an older boy.

I wanted to document our days in Ethiopia before I forget all the details. On Day 3, we decided Ella needed to see the doctor so we walked to Wanna. The doctor confirmed that she had an ear infection and gave her a prescription antibiotic. We hung around Wanna house and took pictures of some of the waiting babies.

Suddenly it was time to go to the Embassy interview, where we would be given the visa for Ella to enter the US. We ended up having to rush to catch the van back to the guest house and Joan ran into the guest house to get supplies (diapers, etc) for the trip to the Embassy. The funniest thing , she slipped right as she was going into the guest house and wiped out, but it didn't hurt her and she got up laughing. I know one day when we tell this story to Ella she will appreciate her Aunt Joan sacrificing her body to get her baby stuff for her.

We piled into the van with the other families and together we all went to the US Embassy in Addis Ababa. We had to go thru all the typical security and baggage check to get inside and silly me, I let them keep Ella's diaper bag at check in. We ended up having to go ask for it back when she needed a diaper change.

We all waited in a holding room with people from our agency and other agencies. AAI definitely had the most families there. I think there were 9 families. Our families were some of the first called and the first 2AAI families came back from the interview with sad faces. Due to missing information their children were not granted visas. This made all of us a little nervous.

When our name was called, we walked with Gail upstairs to interview with an embassy employee at a window. As we were walking, I asked Gail what they would be asking us and she said it was too late to ask that now~thanks Gail.

We were interviewed by a nice, young man who only asked three questions. Was this the baby we were expecting? When Gail told him we were an IR3 case, we had to show proof of our pre court visit to Ethiopia where we first met Wubeski. He asked "What happened to the child's parents?" and if we knew anything about how she was found.

The funniest thing that happened during the interview, was that he asked if the man in our photos from our "visit" trip was my husband, and I was all nervous and said "yes, he's the daddy" He was a little confused and thought I was saying Bill was my daddy. We all had a chuckle about that and it really lightened up the otherwise serious moment.

The whole interview only took 3 minutes and we went back to the holding room with big smiles. Ella was granted a visa to enter the US and everything would be ready to pick up on Friday.

All the other families sailed thru the Embassy appointments and we learned later that day that the first two cases were also granted visas when Gail was able to get the needed information. Everyone in the guest house was relieved that evening. All our children were coming home to the US.

We spent the evening visiting with the other families and thoroughly enjoyed being together. Even with her ear infection, baby Ella was just perfect and sweet!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Photos for you!