"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

Our Family

Our Family

Monday, January 30, 2012

Our Trip to Africa

So sorry it's taken so long to post these pics. I'm finally getting around to telling you about the wonderful sight seeing parts of our journey to Africa. It was an awesome experience to be able to see these sights with all our children together. Even though Aby and Hannah lived here, they had never been taken to see any of these places so it was very exciting for all of us.

This is a picture of the University in the capital city, Addis Ababa.

These pictures were taken at Entoto Maryam which is the church on Entoto Mountain where the home of Emperor Melenick II also resides. He was a great leader in Ethiopia and is credited in large part for modernizing the country.

Emperor Melenik II's "Palace".

Emperor Melenik II, Final Resting Place

Entoto Maryam Church

These women carry several hundreds of pounds of these sticks up and down the mountain each day to sell at the markets for building supplies.

A monument in one of the town squares to commemorate the victory from the war with the Italians.

The largest church in Ethiopia.
The Gorge is a beautiful sight that is very much like our Grand Canyon here in the US. It is home to wild baboons (seen in the distance behind the kids).


During the rainy season, this waterfall covers much of this rock in width.

This bridge was built several hundred years ago before cement existed. It's built from limestone and crushed ostrich eggs.

Wild Cactus

Kids at the Gorge

Pictures of the countryside and the people on our way to the Gorge we stopped along the way to visit with some of the chilren).

The people in the city of Addis Ababa.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hello....Long Time, No Write

Whew! I love our new life but there is almost never any extra time to blog (or read, or sit down, or just breathe on some days :-) ). As you can imagine with four kids ages 8,7,6,and 5, our house sometimes resembls a three ring circus. We are still finally establishing some routines and settling in. Now that the holiday breaks are finally over, I'm hoping the daily school routines will help with some of this, assuming we don't have several snow days coming up. Aby started preschool 2 weeks ago (she goes from 9-2 on Tues,Wed and Thurs). I went to school all day long with her for about 4 days but shes finally going okay on her own now. Praise God, she finally believes I will come back. It's so sad to think about how that must feel that your Mom and Dad might leave you somewhere and not come back.

She LOVES school. She says all the time that "school is SO fun" and "school good" so we are making tremendous progress. We love her preschool and her teacher and we thank God that we found it. Its amazing in just a few short days how she's coming out of her shell and participating and learning. Hannah continues to do well at Kindergarten too.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

Sorry its been so long since I've posted. Lots going on around here and it's been hard to find time to post :-) I still plan on posting pictures of our trip to Ethiopia very soon. In the meantime, we've had several milestones in the last few weeks. The girls were home for one month on January 2nd and we've made great strides the last four weeks. Don't get me wrong, we still have many challenges but Praise the Lord, things are so much better now than they were when we first arrived :-) There were some days when I think I cried as much or more than the girls did but we are getting better and getting through it.

They had their first doctors appointment for a checkup on 12/22 and that was pretty disastrous - apparently whatever experience they've had in the past with Hakims (doctors) was not good. They were completely freaked out before we even got into the lobby. Because they were so hysterical, we kept it simple and postponed the dreaded shots until yesterday. I'm proud to tell you though that yesterday they did awesome! We were there over 2 hours doing an exam, drawing blood and getting shots (3 each!) and aside from at the end where Hannah got her shots, they were verycooperative and pleasant with no crying. Aby didn't cry at all, even when they drew 3 vials of blood and gave the shots. I distracted her with a video game and she was enthralled with it instead of worrying about what the nurse was doing.

Christmas was wonderful. They didn't want to get up at first but when we finally managed to get them downstairs to see all the presents, they loved it. We also enjoyed spending time with our friends and family and they fit in beautifully. They are now eating SO much better too. I thought for a while, they might exist only on rice and bread but in the last few weeks, they've grown by leaps and bounds on trying new things and liking most of them. They both even loved the cabbage and turnip greens we had on New Year's. I was shocked since none of our bio kids will eat either :-) The doctor said Hannah gained 2 pounds and Aby gained 1 pound in just over a week between their doctor visits.

Today was Hannah's first day of school. We set out to do 2 hours but then it was lunch time, and she wanted to stay. Then it was recess and art, then PE, etc. and she just kept wanting to stay, so we did. Later in the afternoon she said, "Mommy go to store and come back." Wow! I was shocked that she gave me her blessing to leave. I "left" and waited in the hallway til they came out to go to PE. She stayed at school until 2:30 when it was rest time. We didn't have a mat for her yet so we left since she didn't have a place or blanket to rest with. I found Averey's mat from Kindergarten last year when we got home so Hannah may stay the whole day tomorrow. She did great! She definitely had some moments of fear or worry/shutdown but overcame them and we're very proud of how she did.

Aby is adjusting better too. Unfortunately she throws loud and long tantrums when things don't go her way sometimes but the episodes are getting fewer and shorter so we're making progress :-)

We appreciate your continued prayers.


Monday, December 5, 2011

We're Home!

After many grueling hours on a plane or in an airport, all 8 of us are finally home. We had a wonderful trip with our whole family and we loved every minute of having us all together for this once in a lifetime experience. It was a precious time of bonding and seeing the beautiful country where two of our daughters were born.

Hannah and Abekeya are adjusting well (some days are better than others) and we're all learning how we fit together in our new lives as a family of 8. Please continue to pray for us - although this seems like the ending, it's really just the beginning. Pray specifically that Chris and I will have the patience we need to work through the frustrating times. Pray for the girls that they will develop the trust that every child needs to have with their parents and pray for our other children that they will not feel displaced or jealous throughout these changing times in our family.

Here are a few pictures of our new family. I will also do a seperate post on some of the beautiful sites we saw on our trip.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas Around Here :-)

I decided to decorate early before we left so we don't have to mess with it in the hussle and bussle of arriving home from Africa. Most of the ornaments on our tree have a story or meaning behind them. We have Baby's 1st Christmas for all of ours, Our New Home ornament, one from our honeymoon, our wedding, etc. It's always fun to reminisce about those special times in our life. Here are a few pics of new special memories we will have this year.

Each of our little ones have their own small tree in their bedroom (my teenagers think they're too old for this). Here's our new small tree addition.

I had to do a little editing on this old family favorite but I think it still works :-)

Here's a new one - all 8 of our names are here!

My children helped me make this for Chris last year when we first started the process. I can still remember his eyes welling with tears when he opened it. It was made before we knew specifically about our girls, when we were only waiting in anticipation to find out who God would unite us with. Thank you God for adopting all of us who believe and call on your name, into your Kingdom and for giving us a very special Christmas miracle this year. Great is Thy faithfulness Lord, unto me.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving - we all have MUCH to be thankful for. Praying you enjoy a safe and happy holiday with your loved ones.


Many Thanks for Another Beautiful Children's Shower!

Our close friends gave us a lovely coed shower for the girls. It was so nice that Chris could have all his guy friends at the party too :-) It is awesome to have a strong network of love and support. We love you guys.