Author Unknown

Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it. But I'm afraid God might ask me the same question.

Mother Teresa

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

No, not yet...

Here we are, waiting again. I do believe this is the hardest part. Now that I've held my children, I'm going crazy trying to get them home!!

The next step is to have your paperwork submitted to U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia. This only happens on Wednesdays. To be submitted, you need the court decrees, birth certificates, and Ethiopian passports. We had a typo on the birth certificates, so that delayed us one week. We finally got that corrected and now have certificates with their names on them:

Kidist Michael Johnson
Liyon Michael Johnson

Don't worry! That's how they always do that. We'll get the middle names changed later :)

So, we had everything ready for submission yesterday. Then I got the sad e-mail from our coordinator that it didn't happen. Something about a conference at the Embassy and they only gave each agency a short time to submit files. Then I heard about a road blockage and our agency was late. Only one family was submitted (Yeah Andersons!!!) They are asking the Embassy if they can come back this week, but I'm not holding my breath. It looks like they'll try again June 1st.

We'll have some answers about a week later via an e-mail with their decision. If we clear, we'll set up an appointment to go pick up the children. If not, they need more paperwork or possibly a birth family interview.

After all this news, I decided chocolate was in order. I ate my share of it yesterday :) I did get some updated pictures from our agency! That was a ray of sunshine!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Trip #1 - the montage


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Waiting Boys

I have to write this post because it's been tugging at my heart every day since we've been home. I can't stop thinking about them and I can't stop praying they will find a family.

We have a list at our agency of children that do not have families yet. These are usually perfectly happy, healthy children. Sadly, they have not been chosen because of their age or they are part of a sibling set. Right now, we have five children on that list. Two are sibling sisters that will be adopted together. They are 6 & 8 years old. We also have three older boys. They are 8, 9, and 10. The boys have been there for a long time...I would guess some almost a year. I would love to post their pictures, but we are not allowed unless they are adopted.

Because we are adopting a boy, I spent a lot of time in the boys' rooms. I'd love to write this post about all the waiting children, but I didn't have the privilege to get to know the sisters as well. I do remember they were super sweet, very loving and giggly.

The boys have stolen my heart! They were so helpful and polite. They know some English and would try and translate words for you. If a toddler ran off with your shoes, they would retrieve them for you with a smile. They always waited patiently for the snacks and toys we brought and would let the younger kids have them first. They were excellent "big brothers" to the small ones and they were always there to help. My son would call them over when something fun was happening. They are great at soccer and can run very fast!

I think constantly about the last day. The boys were playing on their bunk beds and we came to say goodbye. They all gave me the BEST hugs and kisses ever! Not just a little hug, but it felt like these boys wanted (NEEDED) a family so badly. They all had huge smiles on their faces, but I was trying not to cry. At that moment, I was ready to put them ALL in my suitcase. If I had enough money, I would buy a bigger house and come back for every one of them!

I write these things not to make you sad. I'm hoping somebody is reading this blog and has thought about the possibilities of an older child. It took us a long time to decide to adopt an older boy. I was scared. But, after meeting Liyon, I realize it was one of the best decisions in my life! I hope there are prospective parents out there on that bubble, trying to decide if one of these children is right for them. Go with your heart and find out more. These kids are the sweetest!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Unbelievable Friends

Do you remember the adoption dinner I posted about a month ago? One of my friends from childhood, Steve Drew, painted an AMAZING picture for the auction. I fell in love with it! I wanted to bid on the painting, but knew it would sell at a much higher price then we could afford right now. I was so happy that some of our best friends won the auction and I would be able to visit the painting at their house.


Well, we came home from our trip late on a Saturday night. We were exhausted! It is so tough for one to experience that many emotions in one week! You are scared to go to another country, excited to meet your children, petrified of court, nervous to hear if we passed, elated to officially hug YOUR children, and the extreme sadness of driving away and leaving them there. We were walking in a daze.

I walked into the house and something caught my eye. The beautiful painting was resting over our entertainment center. I cried. I know Kyle and Becky read my blog, so I wanted to say THANK YOU again for the incredible gift. You have given us so much support along our adoption journey. Now I can't help but smile when I see the painting because it reminds me of one of the waiting children with our agency. We have high hopes he will have a new family soon!

(P.S. I found out my friend, Steve Drew, paints for a living. I would be happy to pass along his information if you are interested in having him paint something special for you.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A BIG Thank You!!

I can't even begin to describe the HUGE amount of love that has been showed to us during this adoption! I posted a little note on facebook and on my blog that we were collecting donations for the orphanage and the care center. We were OVERWHELMED with people that wanted to help!! Mike and I packed very light (Yes, me too, if you can believe it) and we were struggling with all the bags at the airports. About 175 lbs!! That is a great problem to have!! I didn't even get a picture of everything that we collected, but here is some of the great items donated!

A ton of clothes, medicine, formula, school supplies, toys and vitamins!

We also put together these little bags for the kids. They each had a few snacks, coloring pages, crayons, pipe cleaners, and a toy. The boys all had their very own matchbox car and the girls had a baby doll. We had plenty left over, and Sister wanted to save them for the new children that arrived.

We also received a generous amount of money from people with big hearts! We spent a lot of that on medicine before we left, but also bought tons of diapers and formula in the local grocery store.

I'm still collecting for the next trip and buying more items with the money donated.

I just wanted to say a GREAT BIG Thank you to all the people that have effected the lives of these precious, smiley children!!

James 1:27

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 6

This day was the toughest. I knew the time had come to tell the kids goodbye, but wanted the day to move in slow motion. None of the families wanted to leave the kids, and the older children could feel what was happening. Liyon kept checking to see if we were still there. He’d be eating lunch, and I would peek around the door and he’d get a great big smile on his face.

It looks like Kidist is adjusting well to her new home at the care center. She still is happy as can be and loves to be held. She is getting these little sore spots under her chin that we later found out was impetigo. I’ve heard that was very common in the orphanages and the new doctor has prescribed a medication. It was hard to put her down in bed for a nap. I knew we wouldn’t see her awake again until our second trip. I checked on her later and all I wanted to do was hug and kiss her. But, I didn’t wake her. It took great restraint!!

Liyon was even tougher to say goodbye to. We gave him hugs and kisses and said “ciao.” I was waiting by the van to leave and noticed he was in the boy's room laying face down on the mat. I snuck in there and realized he was crying. I’m not sure if it was because somebody had tried to take the hat his daddy gave him, or if he really understood this was our last day. I picked him up and snuggled with him in my lap. I wish so bad I knew Amharic and could tell him everything that was going to happen. That this would only be for a few weeks and we would be back to get him. I wanted to tell him about his new siblings that can’t wait to meet him. How we would buy him new clothes that actually fit and shoes that don’t have any holes. He would have a bed that is more than just foam, and wouldn’t have to share with other kids. And most importantly, that we would hug and kiss on him EVERY day. Oh, I wish he understood!

We spent our last few hours walking up the street by our hotel. There are huge holes in the street and you have to watch out for goat heads and skins on the sidewalk. Somebody did offer to sell me a “good goat.” Mike told me no, that I couldn’t take it on the plane. We bought some silver jewelry at a great price for Kidist when she gets older and a few more souvenirs. Then we headed for the airport for the long ride home.

I was sad getting on the plane and I had plenty of chocolate to keep my occupied. It was nice to be back in the U.S., but my heart is now divided between two countries. I’ve already started packing for the next trip. I can’t wait!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 5 - We passed!!

It was hard to sleep that night. The uncertainty of what the judge might say woke me up super early in the morning to listen to the singing from the mosque and the roosters. She could pass us with the wave of her hand, or say our file does not have all the information and request more documents. This could add weeks or months to bringing our children home.

Since we have spent all of our days at the orphanage, our group decided to take a few hours and go shopping on Thursday morning. We started out at the Friendship Mall. Most of the stores sold items just like you would buy in the U.S. There was a grocery store at the bottom and we were able to buy a bunch of donations. Then we found a store that sold all the good souvenirs that we had been looking for. Each lady had her own display of merchandise and as soon as you walk down the stairs, they start selling! Wow, that was overload! They are all fighting for your business and will chase you down if you start to look at somebody else's wares :)

Then we went to Salem's Place. I highly recommend this for anybody travelling soon. All the items are marked with the price - no haggling. The proceeds go to help organizations like the women at the Fistula Hospital. They also sell items that are handmade by people - like a young man with polio that hand paints bookmarks. On site, they have basket weavers, jewelry makers, and people creating scarfs on big looms. It is amazing to watch and everybody is very friendly there.

Mike called our Ethiopia coordinator twice about our ride to see the kids and forgot to ask if we passed court! The suspense was killing me!! As soon as we climbed in the car, I popped the question. Our coordinator was so calm about it. He said "ummm...sure" Wow!! It was great to pull into the care center and give MY kids a great big hug!!! It was such a sweet moment! All the mounds of paperwork, nights of worrying, and long prayers had just payed off. I was able to look them in the eyes and tell them about their new home.

We had prepared a few gifts for the kids to give them after we passed court. First, we made a book with pictures of our family for our baby girl. It is the type that has a handle to teeth on. We also brought our boy a poster of his new family to hang beside his bed. After we put it up, the boys in the room were chanting something. I'm not sure what, but I would guess by the big smile on Liyon's face, it was that he had a new family. It was precious to see how excited the kids are for each other. Then we also gave Liyon a necklace with our picture on it. I thought it might be a silly gesture at first, but he was SOOO proud of it. I think it helped him realize he was "taken." If the kids would start playing with it too much, he would hide it under his chin. To other travelling families with older children...I highly recommend a neclace, t-shirt, or something that they can wear. It really makes them feel special.

So, now the time you have all been waiting for!! PICTURES!!! Introducing the newest members of our family!!

Here is our adorable baby Kidist!

And here is our beautiful boy, Liyon!