Waiting for our baby girl

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Ethiopia Day 1

Okay, I am terrible at blogging.  It's not that I don't think of it occasionally, usually composing posts as I drift off to sleep... but we are hard pressed to do much more than get through the day every day!  The past three months (can't believe Lilia has been home three months!!) have been hard and beautiful.  Very hard.  And very beautiful.  It is amazing to watch our newest daughter, a former orphan, come alive. This has involved much pain to see her hurt and fears surface but glorious to see her begin to heal.  I'll tell more about that in another post.  For now, I want to catch us up to speed.  We'll start with Ethiopia.  I am going to post parts of our travel journal and some pictures of our time there. 


May 18, 2010



We arrived in Addis Ababa last night at around 7:00 pm. It was a long trip, but Emma was a rock star traveler. We’re so proud of her. We crashed at about 9:00 pm and slept all night until 7:00 am this morning. Sleep felt great! We had a great breakfast this morning, and then got unpacked a bit and played. David, our driver, and Robel , our AWAA travel coordinator, came and picked us up at 12:30 pm for lunch. We ate pizza. It was really good. We’d heard they had good Italian food here, because of the Italian occupation. Well, it was really good. After that, we headed to the transition home. That’s really where we wanted to be all day.


When we got there, they found out who we were and said they would get Yabsira. So we waited outside at the front. What a crazy feeling, waiting for them to bring our daughter…Katie, Emma and I were all looking at each other, anticipating the moment…nervous, excited, almost crying, etc. When they finally brought her out, it was surprising that no tears were present. But joy overtook the moment and we were all just completely excited! Emma gave her hugs and kisses, Katie held her, I looked on and took pictures, then we all sat down together. What joy! Katie fed her a bottle and she just slurped it down without wasting any time at all. I guess when you start out that small, you don’t mess around when there is food present. Both Katie and I could have stayed there all day – staring into her eyes, feeding her, holding her, just being together. It’s been so long. We spent two hours together, and of course didn’t want to leave. But Emma had been such a trooper all day, and we can’t take Lilia home yet, so we left. She’s in a great place. The transition home is beautiful, and the people are so kind and great with the kids. Lilia has been in good hands.


Tonight, Emma fell asleep at dinner. One second she was chowing on pasta, the next she was asleep on Katie’s lap. I’m not joking either. I think she fell asleep in the course of 30 seconds. What a day. Well, we’re all heading for bed soon. Sweet dreams for us!


As a final note, we love Addis, and all the people we’ve met. The people of this country seem to be so proud of their place and all its history. Not a tourist kind of proud, but a deep rooted pride in being from this place. The people here also seem to have a deep love for children. We saw it over and over again. It’s such a beautiful thing, considering that children are often overlooked or treated as inconveniences in our country. We can’t wait to learn more about where our daughter is from.


Our bags


Dulles Airport (note how rested we looked then)

On the airplane- two 8 hour flights

Outside the Transition Home,
waiting for Lilia to be brought out so we could meet her for the first time!

And more waiting (it took forever)

Here she is!  I recognized those amazing eyes halfway
down the hallway as a nanny brought her out to us

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Because you need some pictures...


I know it's been a long time since we updated and you all are eager for pictures.  I really hope to post about our trip and how we are doing soon.  It is honestly so difficult to have time to blog right now, this adjustment is hard, but good.  For now, enjoy the pics!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

We are home!

Yes we made it home last Saturday evening after 27 hours of travel with a 6 month old and a three year old.  It was rough.  And the jet lag is even worse! :)  We'll update soon about our trip... once the blur and fog clears a little.  Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement.  Thank you Jesus that Lilia Yasira is finally ours, in every way!

Friday, May 21, 2010

We made it

We've been in Addis Ababa for four full days now.  We are loving every minute and the afternoons we have with Lilia Yabsira at the Transition Home are precious beyond words.  I thought I'd just get on blogger and see if I could post, now that I now I can, we will try and unload parts of our travel journal we've been keeping.  We'll have to wait on pictures until we get back to the states though.  Ethiopia is a beautiful place and we are so thankful to be here.  We'll check in again soon!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The bags are packed...

and we leave tomorrow!!!!  It's hard to believe this two-year wild ride is coming to an end...and a beginning.  In less than three days, we will hold our baby girl who we have been waiting for, longing for, and praying for.  It's been a complete whirlwind of buying ticket, packing, organizing, cleaning, and joy the last few days but we are ready (almost).  Emma is coming with us, as well as Brendan's parents and my parents.  Thanks to all of you who have been a constant support to us with your prayers, encouragement, and help, we could not do this without you!  Thank you to my family who has helped us pack, clean, fed us, and hung out with Emma so we could get ready.  Thank you to our friends who are house sitting while we are gone.  Thank you to our church community for freeing Brendan to go with such enthusiasm and blessing (and helping carry the load while the music pastor is gone). We are pretty exhausted from all the preparations but very excited to be with Lilia!  We will be back on the 29th.  I will update the blog while we are in Addis Ababa if we are able.  We are coming baby girl!!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shout for Joy!

We serve a faithful God.  We got the call today saying we are cleared to go pick up Lilia!!!!!!  We are thrilled and have been crying tears of joy.  We leave Sunday and will be in Ethiopia for almost two weeks.  I truly believe God responded out of the prayers lifted up for our daughter and moved this mountain- even after we were told it was not likely!  We are so thankful and have so much to do.  Alleluia, our daughter is coming home!

**The above pic is Lilia a few weeks ago- she's up to 12 lbs!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Prayers Needed

Please pray for us and for Lilia. Brendan spoke with the Africa Program director from our agency today. They still have nothing new from the Embassy about Lilia's investigation. The Embassy has been in contact with them, continuing to investigate Lilia's case, but still has not cleared her for a visa. They are aiming for 8 weeks, which we are sitting at 8 weeks into the investigation, but they are under no obligation to finish at a certain point. They have said there are no red flags in Lilia's case but it is just taking longer because she is from a smaller orphanage. Please pray for us and Lilia. Our hearts are so heavy and weary. We just want to be with our little girl. We need God to move this mountain. Be our sustainer Lord Jesus and hold and strengthen Lilia's little heart.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Poem

My sweet sister Rachel (and best friend!) gave me a poem the other day that she had written for us. She has been a constant on our adoption journey, praying for us and Lilia. She is always coming alongside to listen and hope, and of course, be an amazing auntie to Emma who has needed extra special love lately. The poem brought tears to my eyes because she (as artists do) put my emotions and thoughts into a beautiful structure that expresses how I am feeling far better than mere words ever could. Here it is:



To Katie, In Waiting



This placental love that spans an ocean

in defiance of science

With careful ear can hear

the echo of your heartbeat in the

thrumming rain of Africa

in the child who has become your flesh

and wears the skin of your love.

And God who flung the stars into space

will reverse the plate techtonics

that drove these continents apart.

The umbilical cord shortens

The distant pulse dawns louder with each sunrise

as faith shrinks an ocean to a puddle

and stepping stones emerge above the waves

to lead you to the day

when eyes shall meet eyes

fingers to fingers

and you cradle your Heart once more

upon your chest.

Friday, April 09, 2010

No News

"Any news with your adoption?"


I hear this question a lot. Let me preface by saying that it means so much to our family to have friends who ask us how the adoption is going, how Lilia is, and how we are holding up. We are so thankful not to walk through this alone, but with dear friends and family, who encourage and support us. But I get tired of the answer I have to give again and again, "No, no news." This has been such a difficult ride for Brendan, Emma, and I. It has been so beautiful and encouraging to see how our hearts have expanded towards Lilia, and we love her as much as if she were already with us. She is the family member we pray for at every meal and bedtime. She is the missing link, the completing piece to the puzzle of our family that is missing. We won't be whole until she comes home.


There have been so many prayers, hours and hours of prayers, and many friends and family who have joined us in praying for Lilia to come home. Waiting, hoping, and praying. Yesterday, as I spent time with God, I again began to plead and cry out for our little girl to come home. She has been really sick over the past few weeks with pneumonia (is much better now) and we have been so heartsick that we can't be with her. I was reading Isaiah 55 and verses 8&9 were practically in bold as a read them: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." For me, this is the crux of the matter- I honestly can see no good that comes from this time of increased separation. Lilia has been without a family from day 1, and to make her go a week, day, or hour longer without a loving family when she has one seems cruel of God. BUT- His thoughts are not my thoughts nor His ways my ways. Brendan and I have chosen to cling to the promise that God will work all things together for the good of those who love Him- even when we cannot see any good coming from it. We may never know what the good is, but we know, because we know Him, that He is working for the good. I still can see no reason to be separated from my daughter, but today, in faith, we trust Him. It is not easy, in fact, it is a moment by moment, breath by breath choice and we don't do it perfectly, but we falteringly, stumble into His arms and choose faith. And remember that He loves Lilia far beyond what our frail humans hearts ever could and He is rescuing her and working good in her life.


I'll leave you all with some of my favorite pictures from the past few weeks. PS- You can expect another post once we have travel plans.


(Special thanks to Audrey Ferrel and Jen Boardman who delivered care packages to Lilia and took some awesome pictures of our little lady for us!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

February Referral Updates




Our agency sends out monthly updates for all families that have referrals. We received these pictures early this month of Lilia. They were taken at the end of February. Doesn't she look great!? She is up to 9.5 lbs (up from 6.5 at 2 months old) and is trying to roll over. She's also pulling up her head to a 45 degree angle which is great to hear developmentally.

I'd like to say these pictures brought nothing but pure joy, but it's not true. Mixed in with joy in seeing my daughter's face, I felt a deep sadness. A sadness that she is growing and changing and we're missing it. A sadness that she doesn't have her mama and daddy and big sister cheering over every little milestone, giving her millions of hugs and kisses a day. A sadness that she is halfway across the world and frankly, it is going to be awhile until we can bring her home.

Our agency is giving us the ballpark figure of traveling mid May. Why? Because recently all the requirements for issuing visas for children adopted from Ethiopia changed. We are currently waiting for our post placement paperwork to be submitted (it has been almost a month since we passed court) and it is taking forever. It has been so painful to wait any news and to hear nothing. If you think of us, please pray for Lilia and for us. Pray for God to stretch out his hand and bring her home faster than we have been told. Pray that whatever obstacle there is in getting this paperwork submitted would be taken out of the way. We need to get our baby girl home. This family is not going to feel complete until she is in our arms. Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement, honestly, we've need them.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Delays

I overheard Brendan and Emma talking yesterday morning. It went something like this:

Emma: Daddy, I’m sad

B: Why are you sad sweetheart?

Emma: I am ready to go to Africa

B: You are?

Emma: I’m ready to go to Africa right now.



Us too, Emma Bean, us too. We had been overjoyed to pass court two weeks ago and then find out we had tentative travel dates of March 13-19. We knew because of our homestudy update in progress (due to our move) that we most likely would be able to travel that soon, but set our sights on the last week of March. Two days later we received an email from our agency letting us know there were some changes in the works with the way visas were going to be processed and there would most likely be several weeks delay. We received another email the following week telling us the new regulations were that it would take 8 weeks after processing our post-placement paperwork for the Embassy to issue visas for adopted children from Ethiopia. Needless to say, we have been pretty much heartbroken. To think we are going to hold and bring home our baby girl within weeks, only to find it is months, is devastating. Our post-placement paperwork is being finished in Ethiopia and should be submitted by the end of the week. That puts us as traveling the last days in April or early days in May. Please pray for us as we are asking God to work something quickly. While we are not sharing openly Lilia’s story of becoming an orphan, her case is pretty straightforward. We are praying somehow that the visa processing time takes less.

All that said, we are so thankful that Lilia is ours and she will come home! We received some pictures from our YG friends, Amy and Mike, who took a care package over to Lilia when they picked up their two beautiful boys. We are thrilled to have more pictures and see how great Lilia looks. They said “Your baby girl is a little precious peanut! We prayed over her and her eyes were moving around the whole time looking at things outside. I CANNOT wait for you to have the experience of going to Ethiopia to get her!!” Us too! So we’ll share a few of those pics here in the next post. Enjoy!

Pictures






Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WE PASSED!

We are so thankful and humbled at the mercy of Jesus. We got the call this morning at 10:30 a.m. from America World, telling us that our daughter passed court and she is legally, truly ours. We are so thankful for those of you who have walked along this journey with us. Introducing Lilia Yabsira Jamieson:




The first three pictures were our referral pictures and the last two were taken last week by a family who traveled to pick up their children. (Thank you Kara!) At this point it looks like we will most likely travel early April to bring Lilia Yabsira home. Thank you Jesus, your mercies are new each morning- great is Your faithfulness!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Awaiting the court date

Tonight while we sleep, our daughter will have her court appointment. This will legally make her our daughter and is a chance for the judge to make sure everything is in order and that she can be adopted. We will know tomorrow if she passed. We are hopeful, but cautiously. We want nothing more than for her to pass and come home soon. We are trusting God and His mercy to work that out. Please pray for us and join us in asking God to stretch out His arm so that our daughter will be an orphan no longer.

"Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this;
that power belongs to God,
and that to you, O Lord, belongs
steadfast love."

Thursday, February 04, 2010

COURT DATE!

We received our court date today! It was totally unexpected because we have only had our referral for a little over two weeks. We thought we'd have to wait a few more weeks until we heard. It is: February 17th!
We are so excited but honestly getting a little nervous with our homestudy update. Because we've moved and Brendan has changed his job in the last month and a half we have to update our homestudy. The homestudy then has to be sent to USCIS for the update and then to National Visa Center so we can get our visas. BUT, apparently, USCIS isn't taking just updates anymore, the homestudy has to be completely resubmitted. Which means a lot of work for our social worker and something they haven't done much of because this is a new thing. So please pray that we can get our homestudy visit scheduled in the next week or so (which would be a miracle!) and everything can be sent to USCIS so that we have no delays in travel. Another thing to keep in mind is that first time court dates have a 50% chance of passing. So, we may not pass the first time. A lot to pray about. But we are hopeful and SO anxious to get our baby girl home!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Emma Bean!

It's hard to believe our little gal is three years old today! It feels like yesterday that she was a tiny babe, and now she's a spunky, fun, smart, compassionate little lady. We had a great time celebrating her special day. Yesterday we went bowling (it's becoming a tradition) and out for ice cream. Then for a special dinner of pizza and broccoli at Emma's request. Today (her actual birthday), we had a scavenger hunt to find her presents and then went to her Mimi and Grandpa's house for playing, cupcakes, and more presents. Three years feels like a big deal. It is so neat to see Emma grow and learn and she's so excited to be a big sister. We are excited for the next year with her!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Referral Video

For a taste of the moment when we first saw the precious face of our new daughter you can watch this video. This is after we received the referral call and when we opened the pictures of her on our computer (sorry Brendan's head is not in the picture for some of the video-oops!):

video

This is a picture I captured today of Emma giving her sister's picture on the fridge a kiss. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

WE GOT THE CALL!!!!!!!!

Yesterday at 4:30 p.m. we received the phone call we had been hoping for, dreaming of. I was having coffee with my dad (we just moved across the country and started a new job but more on that some other time) and the phone rang. It was our America World family coordinator. She got Brendan on the line too and told us they had a beautiful 2-month old baby girl for us. I raced home to Brendan and Emma and we opened up her pictures on our computer. She is gorgeous and we are already head over heel for this baby girl who we have been waiting for for a year and a half (and dreaming of for the last 4 and a half years). We cannot show pictures of her on our blog until we pass court so you will have to take our word that she is a doll! We send off our referral acceptance this morning. In the next month or so we will have word on a court date and then should have a tentative idea of when we might travel to Ethiopia to bring her home. We praise you Lord Jesus. You are good!

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