Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Meeting Baby

Mom and Dad are in Ethiopia now. Here is a picture of Mom holding Maleah. Mom says she is kind of chubby! We can hardly wait to hold her ourselves!

Stay tuned because we'll be posting more pictures as we get them!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Packing We Have Gone!

Hello, fellow adoptive families! Several of you have emailed questions and I thought I'd just combine them all here on this post. I don't feel I have any expert things to share about the packing really, so you should check out other families that have traveled through Gladney as there were several wonderful posts!!! I'm too tired to find all the links, but just go search on all the past families and you'll find tons of great info! We did use Rubbermaid Roughneck totes for 4 humanitarian aid pieces of "luggage". The rest are our bags, as well as our children's bags for their trip. Yes, it did add up to a trailer load.

Where are you staying, did you get the house you were hoping for?

We are staying at the Ayat House. Several families have done reviews on it and we're thrilled this option worked out for our family. We'll be sharing it with Angie/Anil (Almost Mom blog) and we're excited about that. Our oldest son will be traveling with us.

Are you all packed?

I think so ... we'll have the bathroom stuff in the morning for everyone, but the trailer full of luggage sitting in our garage shows we are filled to overflowing! Some of the things I'm most excited about are care-packages we have the absolute privilege of delivering to some amazingly wonderful children! We will never forget the families that did this for us along our journey and we could not be happier to pass on that blessing!

What are you taking for gifts for caretakers, Belay, etc?

As many of you know we had a special project going on to help cover the needs associated with our adoption. So ... I have packets of hand-made cards for the caregivers as well as the In-country staff for their gifts. Many of you have been coming up with some wonderful ideas yourselves! For us, this just seemed the appropriate gift as these cards represent our journey to Ethiopia to bring home our daughter. In all the pictures we have of Arsema, there are two main caregivers that keep showing up. :) No doubt these special women have played a huge role in her attaching and thriving there at the Gladney Center for the last five months. For them I printed up pictures of them with Arsema as well as a picture of our family. I just put them in a simple photo book. Nothing fancy, but I think they will enjoy not only pictures of Arsema but also pictures of themselves with her as well.

We anticipate the opportunity to meet Arsema's birthmother also. For her we purchased a Bible in her own language. We have a quilted totebag purse type thing to put it in as well as some lotions. We also have a small photo book of pictures of Arsema and a family photo.

How long are your flights?

We have two flights to get us from North Dakota to DC. We end up with a long layover going at DC. Once we're on that flight it's 16 or 17 hrs. to Ethiopia. I forget exactly ...... just LONG! :)

How long will you be gone?

Not exactly sure! :) If we're able to come home early as some families have done (if paperwork goes through smoothly and there is an available flight back) we'll take it! If not, at least we'll all be home before Mother's Day, of which I'm thrilled about.

Are you excited?

I don't really know how to answer this. If you're asking if I'm full of anticipation to meet my daughter finally .... well of course YES! Am I excited that she now has to be moved from her caregivers .. the people she's grown to trust and love and feel safe with? .... no. There is loss with adoption. It's not always popular to talk about ... sometimes it makes people feel uncomfortable. But there is ... and I'm feeling it. It's been a very reflective time for me ... as have the last 12 months. There is a portion of my daughter's life that I don't know a lot about. I know that someday that will will matter to her. So I prepare to go to her birth country with great anticipation. I hope to find bits and pieces of her story from those who have loved her and cared for her. I long for any nugget that I can journal for her that she may have one day. I know these things will be something she'll treasure.

I don't think anything can quite prepare you for this journey. We're going with eyes wide open, hearts exposed .... ready for God to teach us, mold us, change us. We have climbed literal mountains to get to this part .... we have experienced God's faithfulness in ways we could never have imagined. HE alone is the one who has made all this happen. He has worked through so many people ..... yet if it wasn't for Him ... this would never have come to be.

We can hardly wait to smooch on these big cheeks of this precious child. What I have learned along this journey is that you can be over the moon with joy and yet be grieving at the same time. It's so strange, but it's true. I grief for Arsema's birthmother ... I long to see her ... Lord willing, we'll get that opportunity. I grieve for a people who are so loving, yet because of circumstances out of their control are left with pieces that cannot be put together. Above all else .... we rejoice. We rejoice in the One who called us on this journey of faith. We rejoice in what He's done both in our lives and in this precious little one's life. We give Him all praise.

What a gift today to receive yet a few more photos from a traveling family. Thank you Sharon!!! I just love her sleepy eyes waking up. :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Haven't I Waited Long Enough???

This photo that Becca took cracked us up!  She's kinda lookin' like I feel a lot of days .... haven't we waited long enough?  You'd think these last days would be flying by.  They don't seem to be.  Oh well ..... we're almost there now!  I think I need to carry Naomi around between now and when we leave though to build up my arm muscles for this girly!  Naomi has always been SO tiny and petite ... it looks like Arsema has some very fun cheeks to smooch on!  :)  

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

We're Happy!

Aawwwww ...... nothing could make a momma happier while she waits than a new pic of her babe! Especially when someone was able to capture a BIG SMILE! Thanks Becca!!!! Wow .... less than a week and we can see these smiles in person! Now THAT makes me even happier!  What a long, long journey.  We can finally see the end in sight!

Suppose we ought to get back to packing!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pretty in Pink

What a pleasant surprise to receive this pic today!  It's kind of ironic when a friend that I've never met in person has met my daughter in person before I have!  What a blessing to have other adoptive families on this journey.  Our boys haven't been so fond of how many pics we get of their sister in blue "boys clothes".  Ha!  So when Becca offered to tuck in something to our sweetie, we couldn't resist to send a little pink.  Our littlest miss is weighing in just 4 pounds under her big sister now!  Oh my, that could be interesting!  Thanks so much Zach for sending this on to us!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tickets - Check!

Funny ... you wait and you wait and you wait ... then it's finally time to spring into action and do all the travel arrangements.  The insanity is quite lovely and much more treasured than the insanity of the wait!  :)  Anyway, we purchased some crazy expensive flights (perhaps a benefit of living where we do?) and are working on a place to stay.  We have packed our humanitarian aid and since it is SNOWING again here!!! ..... I decided I could go ahead and pack my clothes, since I have no use for them here at the moment (spring clothes that is) - yes, it's true, we're in long sleeves and sweaters here!

That's about it.  Just counting down the days!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Amazing . . .

The most precious gifts since our referral have been traveling families that have taken photos for us.  They give us a peek into our daughter's life, her personality, her journey.  We hope to return the favor to other families as we travel.  So to you waiting families! ... please just email us and we'll be happy to make arrangements.  It is truly AMAZING what the Lord has done on this journey ... both for Arsema, in giving her life .... then joining our lives together.  We wil never get over this miracle.  So enjoy the pics!, I've been saving them for this splendid day.  (note: the first pic is of her at nine months old, when she went from the orphanage into the Gladney care center)

Oh HAPPY Day!!!

Yes, Ladies & Gentlemen~

It is official!!! ... court went well and this part of the long journey is finally over!  So we introduce to you .... Maleah Faith Arsema Roberts!  We will be united with her near her 14 mo. birthday!  :)  Will share more photos later ... for now I  have FLIGHTS to book!  Praise be to God for getting us to today.

Monday, April 7, 2008

It's Almost Time! . . .

While our court date is "April 9th", with the time difference, it will all really be happening the night of the 8th.  Would appreciate your prayers that all the paperwork will be clearly presented and that the judge would grant our adoption to be official!

We received the most incredible little gift in the mail today ... a short video clip from a recently traveled family.  Thanks Waltons!!!  It was of our babe playing with the doll we sent her.  How fun it was to see her in action as her caregiver was trying to get her to give the dolly kisses.  We are ready to see it all in person!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

At Turtle Speed ... so it seems

So this is how the wait for the court appointment feels. I hope I don't discourage some ... I know there are those who have waited longer for even a court date. I think this whole thing is just catching up with this momma's heart. I watched the pics of our babe turn from baby-baby into baby-toddler wondering what on earth is going on in her life. And I've about had all the waiting I can deal with. This turtle image cracked me up ... it's how I feel ... get up and RUN turtle!! Ha.

Our babe should be finishing her TB treatments now and is getting so much stronger and healthy. We are thrilled. She is not fond of those she doesn't know ... hint, prayer request for when we meet her!!! She is especially attached to two of her caregivers and for that we are so grateful! This will mean a better transition and further attachment for her.

This week we had the most incredible gift as two families sent us pictures!! We even got two short video clips of our sweetie in action and one more is on the way I'm told, from another family. BLESSED!!!! ... wow, we've been blessed this week by those.

What are we doing while we wait? Cleaning and organizing and DOWN-sizing. Nothing makes me happier at the moment than to clear out clutter and have a home more manageable.

We hope next week brings news of a successful court date and that travel plans will be underway. Would very much appreciate your prayers on that.