We truly are a family redefined. We are husband, wife, son, daughter, step children, biological and adopted children and most importantly, Children of God.

A friend pointed out that I needed to update my blog header. After our adoption from Ethiopia, I had updated it stating how the adoption of Sara Joy completed our family. Well... the journey continues. After much prayer, we have decided to follow what we feel is God's calling for us...we went to Ghana with the intention of adopting a four year old girl, Isabella Hope. Little did we know that she would be the catalyst to bringing home not only her, but her half brother and sister. We will now be adding not only Isabella Hope to our family, but also Mary Grace (9) and Gilbert (6) who we will transition to the name Nathaniel Timothy. The shock is wearing off and the JOY and EXCITEMENT are overwhelming. Now truly, our family is complete. The great part of journeying with God, is that it's always an adventure. He knows where we are going, and for us it is all a marvelous surprise. Looking forward to sharing our family adventures as we walk daily through life and as we venture off to Ghana to bring home Mary, Nate and Isabella! It's always an adventure redefining our family!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

I can't believe how long it has been since I have blogged.... I guess things have just been very busy!  Here it is, Christmas morning, and I'm up before the kids.... How is that possible?  I remember Christmas when I was a kid - Christmas always came on Christmas Eve.  I guess because we had so much running around to do on Christmas Day, going to both grandmothers' houses to celebrate.  Anyway, each year we would go out and go for a walk around the subdivision to look at all the Christmas lights.  We would all be out in the driveway, ready to go, and mom would suddenly have to go in and go to the bathroom.  She took a LONG time (she must've had to go really bad :) and then when she came out, we would go take our walk.  Every time, when we got home, Santa had arrived at our home!  We then got to open our gifts.  I know it is a silly thing, but it's something that I remember.  It was our tradition.  We had a toboggan that my uncle Jim had made for us three girls and my dad would pull my youngest sister around the neighborhood on that.  (My older sister and I were too cool for that - even if we have pictures to prove otherwise.)  I want some of those same traditions with my family.  Since we are in SC, there will be no sledding, but we can make our own "non-snow" traditions.  This year we started with the lights at the zoo.  We loved them and will go every year - whether the kids want to or not!  We created memories!  And had a lot of fun in the process!

It's been a wonderful year!  To think that this time last year, we were waking up, dossier in Ethiopia, but no idea what child would join our family, or when.  Now, here we are a year later and little Sara is snuggled up in her bed with no idea of what is to come this morning!  She probably won't really understand a whole lot.  Next year though - will be a BLAST!  We are so blessed to have this little girl in our family!  God's plan, as I have always said, was going to be good.  Not only was it good, but it was GREAT! 

I'm going to have to be creative this year about pictures of the kids this morning.  I'm a bad mom and I left my picture transfer thingy (I know, very technical) and my memory card full of pictures at work.  I guess pictures with the camera on the phone are in order.  I was going to run out to work and get it last night, but we went to a party at a friend's house with the kids, and I didn't want to make Tim run out and get it and make the kids sit in the car.  The camera on the phone will do... yet another memory!

Tim has spent the last few days laying tile in Cameron's bathroom.  It is going to look so good when he is done.  He laid and glued all the tile yesterday and will probably grout it tonight.  Oooohhh, I can't tell you how much better it looks even just with the tile down and the little spacer things in it, with NO grout.  That is how bad I hated the other floor!  We also picked out some awesome glass tiles to go above the shower!  I can't wait to get those up.  I don't think Tim has ever done wall tiles before, but I'm sure he will do a great job.  I'll post pictures when he is done!  The man deserves a break at Christmas!  (I think he really enjoys it though!)

The reason for the season - Christ!  My savior!  The savior of my husband!  The savior of two of my children!  The savior I pray that Sara will choose.  Today, so long ago, a baby was born to save me!  Almost unthinkable and only thinkable by God!  And who else, but God, would sacrifice their son, for the world?  I am literally, eternally grateful!

Merry Christmas everyone!

In Christ,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Being Carried...

The other day, I posted this as my status on facebook:

Why do I struggle in His hands when I know He carries me to safe places? I'm like a small child struggling from their mother's arms, wanting independence and control, getting down only to get lost. Thank God He is the ultimate father - just like a mother always seeks her child, God always seeks me - even when I struggle away from His grasp. I've never gone too far. I need to settle in and be carried by Him.

I wanted to take some time and kind of explain what I meant.  When this thought came to mind, I was getting the kids ready for school / childcare one morning.  Specifically, I was doing Sara's hair.  Sara is 19 months old and a bit of a wiggle worm.  She does not like to get her hair done, although she is learning that it is a daily necessity.  Anyway, on this particular day, she was not really wanting to cooperate.  She was wiggling all over while I was trying to put ponies in her VERY curly hair.  As she was wiggling around and I was trying to keep hold of her head, the thought I wrote above came to mind.
Why is it that I wiggle and squirm until I am outside of the hands that I know guide me to saftey?  Once I wiggle free of God's hands, I feel like I have accomplished something.  Like I have achieved something big.  Sara does the same thing.  If I'm holding her, and she decides she wants to get down, she wiggles and squirms until she is out of my arms.  She then stands there, looks very pleased with herself, smiles and then goes about business under her own will and her own control.  She doesn't seem to understand that trouble lurks everywhere.  How can I expect a small child to understand the need to stay in safe hands, when I, as an adult seem to have days where I can't grasp that concept?
I think it is in our nature to want to "control" our own lives.  No one likes to be told what to do.  We like to give ourselves the freedom to make our own choices and deciding what will benefit us more than others.  It's only natural.  God's way is not the natural way - until you make it your natural way.

Living in the comfort of God's safe hands, is not "comfortable" at first.  I remember when we first met Sara - she wanted nothing to do with us.  She litterally cried at the sight of us, and when we held her, she arched her back and held her arms out to her nanny.  It was what she knew.  She didn't know that I had more to give her.  I would love her forever.  I would not just meet her needs, but I would help her to thrive.  After a few days, she would allow us to hold her.  One day she fell asleep in my arms.  It was such a joy for me.  I handed her over to Tim so he could feel her resting comfortably in his arms as well.  Today, she falls asleep each night in my arms.  She reaches to me to hold her.  I don't have to beg her to be with me - she reaches for me and I'm there for her.  As she learns to trust and obey me, I can give her more freedom, because she will respond to me if danger is near.  I can learn from this.

I have never truly rested in the hands of God.  I have been testing this water, but I quickly seek an opportunity to control my own destiny.  It has been an ideal time lately as our future at work is so uncertain.  I don't really "seek" opportunities to control my future... I just respond at the first opportunity I have to make a decision - so I feel like I am in control.  I have begun to make a conscious decision to rest.  I am trying really hard to just climb into God's hands and let Him lead me.  I'm not good at it yet.  I'm like Sara.  I hope soon I will fall asleep peacefully in the arms of God and then learn to reach for Him, knowing and trusting that He will carry me.  It's a very hard lesson to learn.  But at this time in my life, there has never been a more appropriate time to test that water.  I'll let you know how I do!

In Christ,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Great Giveaway Available

My friend Heather at The Other White House is having a great give away.  Go and check out her blog.  Leave her a comment, follow her blog, link her give away to your blog, live in the US and leave her a comment telling her you linked to her, and you will be in the running!  I'm in the running!  She has great craft ideas and lots of good photos.  Besides that, she's a good friend :)

Good luck!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

So Thankful

There are so many things for me to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend.  This post is a couple days late in coming, but  I felt my time was better spent with my family making memories than trying to write my thoughts on this blog.  The blog could wait... my family could not! 

I am SO very thankful that Sara is home with us for Thanksgiving.  She is such a joy to our family and I love her more and more every day.  She has bonded so well.  She is such a happy little girl!  Seriously, ALWAYS happy.  The only time she gets a bit crabby is when she is tired.  And she doesn't really get crabby, she just gets emotional.  If you tell her no to something, she will start to cry.  Normally, she will just understand that she can't do whatever we told her "no" to, and move on.  When she is tired, she will cry. 

I'm very thankful for my family.  I'm thankful for Tim, Cameron and Anna - along with my little Sara.  We had a really nice Thanksgiving dinner with my mom and Denis.  We traveled over to their home and spent the day with them.  It was very nice.  Mom and Denis got to spend some time getting to know Sara and we got to spend time talking and catching up on things.  It was very nice.

I'm thankful for the God who saved me.  He has blessed my life in so many ways, the greatest of which is to allow me to spend eternity with Him.  You really couldn't ask for more.  I'm thankful for the husband He provided for me and the children He blessed me with. 

I'm thankful for my job.  A bit hard to say right now, but since I still have one, I'm thankful for it.  For Tim and I, this is the company that has provided for our family for the last 7 years for me and 10 years for Tim.  It's hard to not be thankful for that.  I don't know what company we will be working for in the future, but for now, we continue to work for Roche, and I continue to be thankful.

For an update on Ms. Sara - she is doing absolutely wonderful.  She has been with us now for almost 4 weeks.  She is nearly potty trained when it comes to #2.  She does not tell me when she has to go, but I know her schedule, and I have not had to change a dirty diaper in three weeks!  What a blessing that is!  She is very good at listening to what we tell her to do in English.  She is not saying very many English words, but she is learning them quickly. She can now say "mama", "dada", "baby", "light" and "doggie".  She also learned to give kisses today.  She now has to kiss me about 100 times an hour.  I love it!  She LOVES to go for walks and loves to play rough.  She sleeps like an absolute charm.  You never hear a peep out of her after you put her to bed.  She is still extremely shy in new situations.  She warms up to people quickly though.  She likes grandma and Denis and loves, loves, loves her brother and sister!

Cameron and Anna have adjusted easily to having a new family member.  They really love her.  She is the perfect fit into our family.

Sometimes I look at Sara and the three years it took us to get her and I'm a bit overwhelmed.  God's plan was perfect!!!  I said it all along, but now I can SEE that it really was.  I can not imagine not having Sara in our lives.  I'm so thankful.  Adoption is such a miracle.  It's all God!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

In Christ,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

And now for some not so good news....

I want to share with you some very personal information.  It's hard to share, but I'm sharing in hopes that you will pray for us - pray for our family and pray for my colleagues.

So, I went back into work on Monday.  Monday was tough, leaving Sara at child care and then being back to work after quite some time away.  I had a lot to catch up on.  It was rough.  By the end of the day I was ready to go home.  I was anxious to see how Sara did.  Not a good day. 

Relatively speaking though, Monday was wonderful.  Tuesday turned out to be the really bad day.  On Tuesday we were called into an all employee staff meeting and were told that our branch of the company was being put on the market.  No one saw it coming.  It was a slap in the face. 

We are a bulk active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturer.  We make the active ingredients for many pharmaceutical compounds.  We make the active ingredient for an obesity drug.  We make the active ingredient for a cancer drug.  We also make the active ingredient for pandemic flu drugs.  I've worked at small molecule API manufacturing facilities my entire life.  It's all I know.  Sure, my knowledge can be applied to other areas - anything that requires GMP's, but I LOVE API manufacturing. 

Our site is beautiful - but it's also expensive.  In this economy, who knows if it will be sold.  And if it is sold, will it be sold to a reputable company?

So, our world was pretty much turned upside down.  In the middle of all of this, Tim was in Switzerland.  We couldn't even discuss the impact to our family.  For those of you who don't know, Tim and I work at the same company.... so, our family is pretty impacted.

Right now, it's difficult.  We are adjusting to a new addition to our family, and then this.  God's timing is perfect though.  If this happened a month ago, I could not, in good conscience, have gone and gotten Sara.  It's just too uncertain.  God wanted this little girl to come home to our family though.  I'm confident in that.

I'm also confident in the fact that God is holding us securely in His hand.  I wish I knew what was on the other side of this journey, but I don't.  He's not going to tell me either... not until we've walked thru it.  It's difficult.  Faith is difficult when it's challenged.  Trust is difficult when it's challenged.  We need faith and trust in God to make it through this.  My prayer is that when we do get to the other side of this, that we will be thankful for having gone through it.  I pray the grass is greener on the other side.  I don't know at this point what "the other side of this" will mean for Tim and I.  Will it mean we are still living in Florence, just working for another company?  Or will it mean picking up our family and taking our journey to somewhere new?  I wish I knew, but only time will tell.  We will wait and see where God leads our family.  I'm sure it will be to somewhere good.  While we wait though, we're scared... at least I am.  I think God would be OK with that.

Shortly we will begin to see friends leave.  The people I have worked with for the past 7 1/2 years have become more like family than colleagues.  Some of them will be asked to leave.  Some will leave due to the uncertainty.  Either way, it will be hard to see them go.  I'm dreading it.  Please pray for all of my colleagues as they find their way in this journey and find where God is leading their families.  Right now, it's not seeming like a good place - I pray that it ends up being good for each and every one of them.

I told Tim yesterday that it's so hard to be thankful for what you have, when it seems like a huge portion of what you have could quickly be stripped away.  That is hard.  But, I still have my job right now, and for that, I'm thankful.  It's likely that both Tim and I are secure for a relatively decent period of time.  For that I am thankful.  I'm thankful for my family.  I'm thankful for an optimist husband.  I'm the realist wife.  It's actually a good combination in times like this.  I'm thankful for Cameron.  My helpful child.  I'm thankful for Anna - my generous child.  I'm thankful for Sara - my happy little chatterbox.  I'm thankful for my mom and Denis who have been willing to help at a moments notice recently.  I'm thankful for MY God who will carry our family through this.

Please keep us in your prayers as we make our way through these uncertain times.

In Christ,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back to work

With a very heavy heart, I headed back to work today.  It was very difficult for me.  I got all of Sara's things packed up to take with her, and it felt like I was moving her out of the house.... Getting ready for work this morning I was stressed.  I wanted to throw up and I cried more than once.  I didn't want to go back.  I didn't want to leave Sara.  I was sure after all the bonding we did, that the daycare people would just undo it all!  What if she hated it?  What would I do then?

Well, time kept ticking by and needless to say it got to the point where I had to go into work.  We stopped by Sara's child care first.  I wish I could send all the kids to the same place, but Cameron and Anna's school does not start childcare until 3K.  So, Sara couldn't go there.  We did find a wonderful place for her to go though.  So, we pulled into the childcare facility.  I hugged her tighter than I think I have every hugged her before.  I took all of her things into the classroom and started organizing her things in her cubby and telling the teachers what she liked, didn't like and how she is using the potty now.  I had put Sara down and started to show her around the room.  Well, she clung to my legs.  In a way, that made me feel good.  But then, one of the childcare providers came up and started interacting with her and Sara decided to go with her.  As they were exploring, I stepped out. There were no tears - well, not for Sara anyway.  I felt like I was leaving my little girl!  When I got back in the car, Cameron asked why I was crying.  I said "I cried for you, I cried for Anna, it is only fitting that I cry for Sara as well".  I knew she was in good hands or I would not have left her there, but I wanted her with me!

I managed to keep myself from calling until around 11:00.  the childcare director took my call and I asked her how Sara was doing.  She said she was doing wonderfully!  She said she had poked her head in several times and she seemed very content and happy.  She also said that ever since we notified them that we were going to place Sara there, and then when we were going to get her, that they prayed for her at staff meetings.  They prayed for the transition of her into our family and for all of our safe travels.  She said everyone poked their head in to see Sara today because they desperately wanted to see the child they had been praying for.  Everyone fell in love with her!  It was SO good to hear!

Tim had to go out of town this week, so I had to do the first day of child care on my own.  Cameron and Anna understood the stress of sending her off, so they helped me out a TON this morning and also this evening.  Cameron wanted me to have a "relaxing" evening after my stressful morning this morning, so he basically took over the house.  It gave me time to play a little with Sara.

This evening I realized that Sara loves to have her head scratched after I take out her pony tails in the evening.  Not really scratched, but rubbed with my fingernails.... I love that feeling too.  I also found out that my baby girl likes reese's peanut butter cups!  She will immediately sit on the kitchen floor with her mouth open like a bird when she sees me get one out.  She knows she has to be sitting to eat and it has to be in the kitchen!

All in all, after my initial heartbreak this morning, it ended up being an ok day.  Sara loved day care.  They said she did not cry at all the entire day, and that she used the potty all day long!  Horray for that!  They were thrilled with her and I'm thrilled with them!  Getting the first day out of the way is the hardest....

If you stop by and read this, leave me a comment.  I love to read all of your comments and if you have a blog, leave me information on your blog.  I have decided I need to add to my blog list.  I want to keep up with some families who are just starting out on their adoption journeys... I need to read stories to keep this magical feeling alive in me regarding adoption.  Every story is a miracle unfolding.  So, read, comment and leave me your blog address.  Even if you don't have a blog, leave me a comment.  Let me know what you want to know about... otherwise, I just keep writing about life - it's what I know!

Surprisingly enough, this is one happy, blessed mom at the end of what started out as a pretty rough day!

Praise God for the child care that I have and the children that only HE gave me!  I truly am blessed!

In Christ,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Look what happened today....

They say that kids will make liars out of you.... well, I guess that is true.  Remember the post yesterday where I said that Sara didn't like Pearl.  Well, look what I found today....

Sara decided to climb up on Pearl's mat and hang out with her this morning.  It was so cute.  I heard some babbling and I went and looked and there Sara was - hanging out on the corner of Pearl's mat talking to her.  For the girl who screamed every time Pearl walked by, this was amazing.  I think these two are going to end up being best buddies!

In Christ,

Monday, November 8, 2010

The things I have learned

Now that we are home, I am really beginning to learn about Sara's likes and dislikes - and basically just about her in general.  It was very hard to determine her personality sitting in a hotel room with very little to do with a toddler.  Besides that, everyone was tired and it was difficult just to make it thru the day, let alone really absorb my new daughter.  But since I have been home, I have found out a lot about Ms. Sara Joy:

She is shy.  She is quiet around new people and only opens up when she is really comfortable.  There is no pushing her into doing anything or interacting with anyone she does not want to.  She just won't do it.

She has bonded really well with her momma!  I've been doing most of the care giving, so that's understandable.  Tim has offered to help, but Sara is a bit more comfortable with me right now.  Tim understands this and really just wants Sara to be content, so he is waiting patiently.  Also, Tim leaves in a week to go to Basel and I will be home by myself with her this week while Tim is at work and then next week while he is in Basel, so it was very important for her to get comfortable with me.

Sara loves her brother and sister.  It didn't take her long to warm up to Cameron and Anna.  I think it was because they are kids.  She is used to all sorts of kids.  Plus they are a little darker complected, so it's more along the lines of what she is used to.  No matter what the reason, she loves them.  AND... they are both SMITTEN by her.  Even Cameron.  It really surprised me.  I was sure Anna would be in love with her, but I figured Cameron, being 11, would be a bit disinterested.  Nope, he is in love with her.  It's so sweet to see him help her up and down stairs and make sure she doesn't get hurt.  Anna would love to change her diaper... not sure I'm up for that one yet!

Sara is an EXCELLENT sleeper.  After just two nights AND the change for daylight savings time, she is on a normal schedule.  She goes to sleep around 7:30 or 8:00 and will sleep until about 6:00.  Perfect!

Sara wakes up happy!  She gets out of bed easily and likes to chatter right after waking up.

She LOVES her bath. 

She LOVES to eat.  We're working with her on eating too much.  They fed her a TON at the orphanage.

She is happy when her belly is full.

She likes to wander around the house - she has already figured out which room is hers and the fact that this is where she can sleep, play and where her toys are.

She is a helper.  She picks things up constantly to give them to you.

She understands a TON of English.  She did not hear much of it at the transition home, so she clearly picked up on it quickly. 

She likes grandma's chicken noodle soup - well everything but the chicken.  She spit that out.

She LOVES, LOVES, LOVES bananas.

She does not like Pearl - she is finally to the point of tollerating her.  You can see progress every day.

She does not like the cats, but does like them more than Pearl.

She does NOT like the swings at the park.

She LOVES to walk outside. 

She responds to "Sara".  When I call her she will say "huh".  I'll have to work on her manners :)

She enjoys being outside.

She falls alseep in an instant.  She will cry for less than one minute and then she is out.

She is a WIGGLER in bed.  I mean ALL OVER THE PLACE.

She doesn't like to get her teeth brushed.  Probably just not used to it.

She likes to be active.

She actually likes to snuggle, but on her terms, not yours.

She helps you get her dressed.  She puts her arms in the sleeves and her legs in the pant holes and holds her feet out to put on her socks.  Too cute!

It has been very interesting since we have been home learning all about this little girl.  I'm sure it's just the tip of the iceberg!

In Christ,

Sunday, November 7, 2010

We are HOME!!!

After about 27 hours of travel, we finally made it home yesterday afternoon at about 3:30 with Sara Joy!  It was an absolutely amazing adventure to say the least.  I see the work of God ALL OVER this adoption.  It gives me chills to think of all the ways I have seen God work in my heart during this process, and to just watch His perfect plan unfold.  Everything that happened, He knew.  Everything that happened was in his control.  Everything that happened was for His purpose.  Everything that happened was perfect.

I wish I would have had the opportunity to update while we were in country... but the internet connection was intermittent at best.  Some times it was completely non-existent.  I was also focused on bonding with this incredible little girl.  I was so focused on her, that I didn't even get a single picture.  I know... I'm a bad mom.  I was focused on remembering the moment in my head - which in my mind is more important than getting it on my camera memory card.

We arrived there late Sunday night.  We were able to take our two totes.  There is an interesting story behind that... they almost charged us $150 for one extra tote.  I saw God work in that.  (He was working on my patience at that point).  Finally, we were able to convince the person behind the counter that there was not $150 worth of stuff in the tote and it was insane for me to pay that much - especially when the cost of the extra tote would have only been $25 or $50 if we paid it in Columbia.  BUT, the person in Columbia told us there was no charge for the tote because tags were printed without a charge.  When we got to Washington they wanted to charge us.  When I asked how much they said $150.  I nearly had a heart attack.  Anyway, after waiting three hours to talk to someone (someone who said I was not being patient - really, THREE HOURS is not patient???) they finally said that we did not have to pay for the tote.  Thankfully Kelly and Matt saved us some overhead compartment space because we were the last people on the plane and it was full.  We got settled in for the long ride, and were on our way.

We arrived Sunday night and got settled into the hotel.  All of our baggage and totes arrived so we were set.  All we had to do was go to sleep and in the morning we would get Sara.

Monday morning we went to the transition home and picked up Sara.  Once again, she was not thrilled to see us, but adjusted quickly.  I was surprised when we left with her, that she was fine with it.  We rode over to the hotel and got to know each other.  It was interesting.  She didn't really like me, but she liked me a little bit more than Tim.  I chalk that up to the fact that there were women who took care of her, not men.  She eventually would let Tim interact with her, but it took some time.  When she needed to be put to sleep, she wanted me, and I was fine with that.  We basically spent the day in the hotel.  She eats and sleeps well.  We will have to change some of her eating habits, but that will happen over time.  It has already started to happen.

Tuesday we went to the orphanage.  We took a tote of donations over there.  The nannies were THRILLED.  Thank you to all who donated each and every item.  They were happy with them all!  We received several monetary donations, and the night before we left, we took the kids to tar.get and split up the money and let them each pick things for the kids from the baby aisles (diaper cream, lotion, tylenol, stickers, coloring books, baby food, thermometers... things like that).  We had a BUNCH to take and as I said, they were thrilled.

Anyway, before going over to the orphanage, I did Sara's hair.  I attempted to do it the way it was when I picked her up on Monday - simply because I knew of no other way.  Apparently, even though I thought I did a decent job, with a child who was screaming and moving around while I was trying to do her hair, they didn't think so.  After ooohhhing and aaahhhing over her (they really did seem happy to see her again) we were upstairs playing with the other children and I looked over and they were taking Sara's hair ponytails out and were redoing it :)  Oh well.... I've gotten better at it now and have actually gotten compliments on it :)

My favorite little orphan girl (besides Sara, who is NO LONGER AN ORPHAN :) ) was there - Kalkatu.  I noticed her right away by her big huge smile and her little tongue just sticking out!!!  She smiled so big at me and then fell into my arms.  She did the same with Tim.  I'm telling you, if I didn't know any better, it would have seemed like God was telling me to take this little one too.  She was just attracted to Tim and I like a little magnet.  I think though, that this is it for Tim and I.  I know I said before that I wanted another, but I think that we have hit the balance square on the head with the addition of Sara to our family.  It is important to me to have enough time for each child in our home, and as much as I would love another, I think God has given me peace that this is enough.  We'll see if that changes over time, but Tim and I actually talked about it before we left, and while we were there.  We'll leave it in God's hands, but right now, He seems to be telling both of us that this is the number for our family.

We were very surprised to learn that Sara loves to take a bath.  When I put her in the tub, I thought she would scream... but she did just the opposite.  It was like she has lived in the water and it was her second home.  She absolutely LOVED it.  We brought some bath toys with us, so she enjoyed playing with those. 

Wednesday we met up with Craig and Amanda Dyson.  They are missionaries living just outside of Addis Ababa.  The church we used to attend supports them and I learned of them thru there.  They are two very wonderful people.  I am not one to venture out and meet people, but I am SO glad that I did.  Amanda was very sweet.  They have a little boy Jackson, who was adopted domestically and we got to meet him as well.  They were so willing to help us in any way that they could.  They took us to some shops that they knew were reputable and we were able to get some last minute things that we wanted to bring home.  Amanda even gave me a gift - and Ethiopian scarf, some coffee, tea and a bracelet.  It was so very thoughtful.  After shopping we went to the Island Breeze restraunt.  It is safe American food.  They had the best pizza I have had in a long time.  It was very nice to spend time with them. 

Thursday we had our Embassy appointment.  When we got there, we waited for our turn, but as we were waiting, a man came out and said that the computers were down and they didn't know when they would be back up.  They said everyone should leave - except those who were adopting.  Thank goodness, because we had to have our embassy appt that day in order to get our Visa on Friday and leave on time.  They could not guarantee that the computers would be up and running, but they would do their best to make sure we were able to leave on Friday.  I put it all in God's hands and felt secure in the fact that He would get us home!

We passed our embassy appointment with no problem.  After embassy we went to the Family Restaurant for dinner / ice cream.  I had wanted ice cream since Monday night and no one had any. When we saw an ad for this place and they had ice cream, the whole group went over for dinner and to celebrate!

Friday morning we were to go back to the transition home at 11:00 to pick up our Visas if they were indeed ready.  Thankfully, they were.  We got our visas and then went back to the hotel and had lunch.  After lunch we packed up and just hung out with Sara until 7:00 when we headed to the airport for the journey home.

If you are friends with me on Facebook, I was able to update a couple of times and in one of my updates I told of an interesting turn of events....here is the story.

When we were given Sara's referral, we were told that she was 14 months old.  Which would now make her 18 months.  We were given a birth date of April 16th.  When we got her paper work, it said she was born October 24th - which puts her at just over 12 months.  It is clearly not the case.  We were told though, that we had to answer things at the embassy just like what we had in the paperwork.  I have pictures of her from before October 24th - I have some from as early as early September and she was clearly about 4 - 5 months old then, if not even a bit older.  I wanted to joke that it was nice for them to send me the 3D ultrasounds because they were so realistic - I just wonder how the nanny holding her got into the womb as well.  But, I kept it to myself.  I talked to Tim about the fact that we were possibly going to have to address this at the embassy and I didn't want to lie.  Again, I left it in God's hands.  I could say that "we were given information that she was born Oct. 24th" and that would not be lying, but that would not be telling the entire truth either.  I actually got an upset stomach over it.

When our time came for our embassy interview, I was very nervous.  God was in control... that was all I could tell myself.  I really did not want to have to lie to get my daughter out of the country though.  I was nearly shaking.  The gentleman started asking us questions - did we meet Sara before court, was this the child we met, what did we know about her family... and then he said, well, Sara was checked out by a US doctor working in Addis and he feels as though Sara is more like 18 months than 12 months.  Do you have a problem with this?  I nearly started crying.  God took care of it!  I didn't have to worry!  We had a very open discussion with the gentleman and he said it was no problem at all, that birth records in Ethiopia are not like they are in the US.  Also, there are often translation errors made.  Just so long as she fell into our home study range (and she did) we were fine as long as we were ok with an 18 month old.  We were MORE THAN OK - that was what we expected!  Thank you God for working that out for us!

Sara did excellent on the trip home.  She is very attached to me and insisted that I attend to her the entire time. Tim was great about it and offered to help, but I just needed to keep her from screaming on the plane, so I dealt with her.  She rode in her car seat well (for the very first time!) on the way home from the airport and then came home to meet Cameron, Anna, Grandma and Denis.  She warmed up to all of them right away.  She has a special love for Cameron and Anna it seems.

Well, Sara is about to wake from a nap and Cameron would like to get on this computer, so I need to stop writing.  Needless to say, we are THRILLED with Sara and how she has adjusted to our family.  We are all totally in love with her. 

Thank you for all of your prayers through this journey.  I have so much more to share and will do it over the next few days.

In Christ,

Friday, October 29, 2010

On our way (almost) - and a thank you!

We are almost on our way.... this time next week, we will be on our way home - WITH SARA JOY!!!  Sara's things are packed.  The totes are packed.  Tim is partially packed.  I am partially packed.  It's been a LONG day and I'm ready for it to be over.  I hope I'm this tired when I hop on that 17 hour plane ride tomorrow afternoon...

The totes:
We have totes PACKED FULL OF SUPPLIES!!!  We were thrilled with all of the donations that people made for the little orphan darlings in Ethiopia.  You can't imagine what I was able to fit in those totes.  I'll tell you a bit of what we have in there:
3 soccer balls
20 bibs
over 150 pair of socks (YEA!!!!)
scrubs (in all sizes)
latex gloves
26 tubes of toothpaste
over 350 tooth brushes
4000 stickers
4 boxes of crayons
coloring books
2 thermometers
tubs of diaper rash cream
baby tylenol
hand sanitizer
baby lotion
kids' clothes
teething gel
2 infant pop up toys
toddler bead toy

I want to thank everyone who sent donations for our family to take to Ethiopia.  I want to say a special thank you to "D" who drove all the way from her home in NC today, 1 1/2 hours each way, to drop 300 toothbrushes and a dozen tubes of toothpaste on my front porch.  She also sent 4 different sized sets of nursing scrubs - all packaged by size, with a ribbon tied around them to keep them neatly packed.  It was touching for me to think that someone would drive 3 hours round trip to make sure our family got to take some supplies to Ethiopia.  She also gave us a monetary donation to purchase items in Ethiopia that are better purchased there. 

This was just one of the many touching donations that were made.  This one really touched my heart though, because of the distance that this wonderful woman of God went to make sure we could take these items.  Again, thank you "D" for having such a big heart :) 

To everyone who so generously donated - THANK YOU!  I pray that God will bless you many times over in return.  I can't wait to bring these items over to the orphanages and take pictures of the little ones again!

I really can not believe how close we are to bringing our little Sara Joy home.  It's now right around the corner!  I'm looking forward to meeting up with all of my travel friends in Washington.  Safe travels to the Brocious, Wright, Baum and Warren families.... can't wait to see you all! 

Please pray for our travels.  Please pray for a smooth transition for Sara Joy into our family.  I pray she gets to know us and is comfortable with us before we turn her world upside down by bringing her home.  Pray for our travels with an 18 month old.  Also, please pray for my mom and Denis as they care for the kids while we are away - and for Cameron and Anna, that they will be safe while we are away and that they will have so much fun with grandma and Denis that they will not miss us too much.

I can't wait to come home and share pictures.  Last time we were in Ethiopia I was not able to update the blog.  I'll have to do it when I get home.  If you want, join me on facebook...I'll be able to update on there while we are in Ethiopia.

Next time I post, Sara Joy will be a US citizen and will be sleeping in her bed for the very first time!!!

So happy to be on this journey!
In Christ,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One more week....

I began thinking today about just how life is going to change.... and it is going to change!  That is for sure.  Cameron is 11 and Anna is 7.  It's been over 5 years since we had a child as small as Sara in our home!  Gone are the lazy, relaxing days.... but she is well worth it.

Tim put up Sara's shelves today.  The things we got her from our last trip to Ethiopia look really good in her room.  Now that I have the shelves up though, I realize that I'm lacking a couple of pictures.  We'll look for them this week and I'll get them up before we leave.  I want her room to be completely done when we come home

Sara's things are laid out for the trip.  We figured that Tim would take a bigger suitcase this time, and that he and Sara would share.  That way we can still take two totes over with us.  We are both taking less in terms of clothing this time.  The laundry service at the hotel was cheap and great.  The turn around  time was wonderful.  You set it out on your bed in the morning, and by the evening it appeared back there completely clean.  It was great!  It will save us some much needed suitcase room as well!

We didn't skimp on Sara's clothes though.  It's so difficult to judge what size clothes she needs, so I just packed a bunch of different stuff, in hopes that something will work.  In my mind's eye, she is much bigger than Cameron and Anna were at her age.  Also, the clothes she was wearing at the transition home didn't really fit her, and were always layered, so who knows what size she really was.  She is now just over 18 months, and we brought her 24 month clothes.  I think we threw a couple 18 months in there as well.  I hope something works.  As for shoes....well, we didn't measure her foot while we were there, like we should have.   Shoes are important to a kid who is walking.  They reported she wears a size 1 shoe.  Ah... I don't think so.  We estimated about a size 5.  If those don't work, she'll be walking around in her socks until we get home.  Not sure what else to do. 

We haven't even gone yet, and I'm anxious to get home.  I don't like being away from the kids.  I know they are in great hands with my mom and Denis, and the kids love them being here, especially since they don't have to go to after school care with them here - but I don't like being away from THEM!  You miss out on a lot.  Luckily Cameron and Anna have a  program, but it is the week we get back... so we will get to go, and we will get to take Sara with us.  Hopefully that goes well. 

I'm nervous about the changes that adding Sara to our family will bring.  We have life pretty  much in a routine, and we are going to have to find a new routine.  It'll all be fine - I just need to find that routine again.  Mornings will be crazy - they already are, but add an 18 month old into the mix and they will be even more crazy.  We just got to the point where we don't have to assist Anna with baths at night.... well, we'll be helping out again for the next few years with Sara.  That's ok though... bath time is always fun. 

There are some routines I can't wait to establish... like Tim reading a story to Anna and Sara every night.  He reads to Anna (or lets Anna read to him) every night when she goes to bed.  It will be interesting to bring Sara into that tradition.  She won't get it for awhile, but I'm sure she will grow to love it... just like Anna.

We are getting our totes packed up!  I didn't realize how little you could fit in one tote.  They really don't hold all that much when you are packing kids' clothes and things like that.  We are doing our best to take as much over as we can though.  Thank you to all who have donated!  I'll have pictures up of the tote donations in a few days - once I get everything organized and packed into them.

Pray for us as we are at the end of this part of our journey!  We are very excited to bring our Sara Joy Edom Roach home and start the next chapter of our journey together!

In Christ,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We're getting close

We are down to just nine days.  Nine days have to pass and Tim and I will be back on our way to Ethiopia.  Imagine that!!!  Only nine more days.  We have waited so long for this dream to come to fruition, and now, here it is.  The little seed planted so long ago is about to burst into this wonderful, beautiful flower - our new family member!  Technically, she is already ours, but I can't wait to have her in our home with us, truly part of our family.  Getting to know her mom and dad and her brother and sister!

So, for those who have wanted to help with the orphanage donation, I need your donations quickly.  We will pack up the totes next week Friday (29th) and will call it quits at that point.  Whatever we have on Friday will go over with us.  If we don't have it by Friday, and we get it later, we will attempt to send it over with another family.  We are hoping to get as much as we can over this time though.

Last weekend we went shopping and I think picked up the final things we needed for Ms. Sara.  We got her some more clothes and shoes, a stroller, carseat... all those fun things.  Her room has been ready for her for so long - thankfully we didn't have to worry about getting that ready as well.  I can't wait to see her tucked into her bed all snuggled up in a pair of jammies, smelling baby fresh from her bath! 

It'll also be nice not to have to think about adoption related anything (for awhile :)  Over the past three and 1/2 years, I have grown tired of paperwork and waiting, fingerprints and waiting, Dr. letters and waiting, homestudy and waiting, reference letters and waiting, waiting and waiting, waiting and waiting and more waiting and waiting.  I think you get the point that I'm tired of waiting.  Well, I'm waiting one last time.... nine more days.  Nine days until I'm back with my little girl. Then I'll just have to wait a bit to come home with her.  And then.... then we go through life together!  It's going to be great!!!

In Christ,

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Get Ready for a BIG surprise!!!

You have all had a chance to marvel at sweet Sara Joy (with her colorful attire and all).  Isn't she just darling?  Her cute little hair-do.... seemingly so managable for this mom who has NO experience with curly hair.  I am about to reveal something BIG.  Something SHOCKING.  Something that made me wonder exactly how I would manage this.....Be afraid... be very afraid (that's what I'm thinking anyway).  This is what I was introduced to on day three in Ethiopia with our Sara Joy.  Are you ready?  (if you are friends with me on Facebook, you have already witnessed this - if not, you are in for a big surprise!)

Sara had just gotten a bath prior to our arrival at the transition home on day three.  Here is what we saw:

Now THAT is some wild, BIG hair.  And look at the little "kissy lips" in the first picture.  Isn't she just a doll!

I didn't even recognize her at first.  I asked where Sara was and Tim said - she's right over there.  I had never seen her with her hair down (and BIG) and it just threw me off.  Isn't she absolutely beautiful?

We had an absolutely amazing time playing with her on this day. She smelled so good (finally)!  I grabbed her and hugged her and just loved on her for as long as I could.  She will tolerate the lovin' for a bit, but then she wants to get down and play.  She is VERY active.  From what I can tell, she only likes to snuggle when she is tired. 

Her hair is very soft.  It is very thick though as well.  And talk about curly.  I have not a curl on my head and Cameron's hair is so short, who knows if there might be a curl in there somewhere... I doubt it though.  Anna's hair... as straight as mine.  I don't think you can find 1/2 inch of Sara's hair that is straight :)  It will be interesting to see how I learn how to take care of it.

While we were there, the nannies put her ponies back in.  Who would have thought there could be such a transformation.  She doesn't even look like the same kid - but honestly, I think she is beautiful with her hair up or down.  She just looks much older with it down (or not in ponies... cause even when it's down, it's pretty much UP!).

Yesterday I spent the day in the hair care section trying to figure out what she needed.  Or actually, what I needed to take care of her hair properly.  I was DYING for someone, anyone to walk by and help me.... no such luck.  I only obtained the help of my husband who sorry to say does not know much about girl's hair care.  When I'm out of town, I think Sara is going to be going to school with the big hair look!  So, any advice is appreciated.  I solicited help from my facebook friends as well... between this blog and facebook, hopefully I can figure out the right way to care for my baby's hair!

I can't even begin to express how ready and excited we are to bring this little girl home!  We CAN'T WAIT!!!  We are so lucky to have been blessed with this little girl.  We are very lucky to be blessed with the wonderful friends we have made along the way on this adoption journey.

13 days and we will be back on a plane to Ethiopia for the trip to bring our daughter home!!

By they way, if you have items you would like to send to Ethiopia for our orphan supply drive, please get them to me quickly.  Thank you to everyone who has already donated so generously!  We truly appreciate your help in being able to bring much needed supplies to the kids in Ethiopia who literally have nothing!  Can you imagine if just ONE sticker made your children happy?  Mine would wonder where the rest of the toys were for them to play with.  I have seen children grin ear to ear for being given just ONE sticker.  I hope the supplies we bring will give them some more joy!  I will need everything to arrive prior to October 28th... so just a little over one more week to get things to me to take over.

Thank you again for all of your help!

In Christ,

Friday, October 15, 2010

Embassy Appointment

Just a quick update... I'll write more later tonight - the kids are getting ready to go to the homecoming game with Tim (I get to stay home and have an evening alone YEAH).  I need to get them fed though before they go! 

We got our Embassy appointment today.  It will be November 4th.  We will leave for Ethiopia in just TWO WEEKS to bring our daughter home.  We leave on October 30.  Mom and Denis are hanging out with the kids again.  We are back home on November 6th... and SARA JOY EDOM ROACH will be with us!!!! 

We are a very happy family tonight!


In Christ,

Sunday, October 3, 2010

For those who want to help me help them

UPDATE:  I'm beginning to cross off items as I get responses for each item. 

I'm writing this blog post to ask for your help.  I don't ask for much from others, other than prayers.  But this time, I'm asking for help.  Not for me, but for the hundreds of orphan faces I saw in Ethiopia.  I can't do it alone.  Will you help me?

When we were in Ethiopia, we visited an orphanage in Addis Ababa.  It was one of many, many orphanages in that city.  What I saw broke my heart.  These children have NOTHING.  Each child I'm posting a picture of today, has NO family.  These are only a small fraction of the faces we looked into.  Hands we touched and faces we kissed.

Before going to the orphanage we stopped by a fruit stand and bought oranges and bananas for the children. We bought about 15 pounds of fruit for the equivalent of about $4.00. 

These kids own absolutely nothing.  They have nothing to call their own... not even a bed.  When they are hurt, no one comes to kiss their hurt away.  No one holds them when they are sick. 

I fell absolutely in LOVE with this little munchkin!
It made me so sad to see these children.  When we went into the orphanage, it seemed dark and damp.  We went into the toddler room, and there, sitting on a blanket, were 16 toddler orphans.  Each of them with a runny nose, and some of them with a cough.  There were two doctors who came to the orphanage with us.  They were adopting children with our agency as well.  Two of the children they said, were malnourished.  None of the children had socks on, and all were damp.  It was chilly for me being in there, and I was dry and appropriately dressed.  I felt the feet of many of these children, and they were cold.  Some were even red from the cold.  It's not that it was that "cold" in the orphanage, it was that they were damp.  One little girl, who was not potty trained, did not even have a diaper or underwear on.  She just had a bare bottom. 
 This little boy fell in love with Tim

We went up to the baby room - there were several baby rooms.  I don't think I have ever seen more babies all in one place...not even in a hospital nursery.  They were all in cribs - two or even three in a crib (for the tiny ones).  Two in a crib for the ones who were a bit older.

 This little one above, I believe had Down Syndrome.  Such a sweet little one!

These children need love, just like our children.  You may not be able to see it through the photographs, but they are desperate for love.  As I picked up each child (and I could not pick them all up - there were just too many) I told each and every one of them that I loved them.  I told them that Jesus loved them!  But then I had to put them back down.  I didn't get to hold each of them very long...I wonder if they believed me. 

The conditions in the orphanage hurt my heart.  I had never been to an orphanage before and I was sure I never wanted to see one again.  I was awake the entire night, in tears, having heated conversations with God, questioning Him, asking Him why He allowed these innocent children to live this way.  My answer came in the morning - God didn't do this, we did.  Our sinful nature did.  God also showed my heart that as much as I didn't want to go back and face this, I needed to step up and truly be the hands and feet of Christ.  To love these children like He would love them - with their runny noses, bare bottoms, infections, sores and all.  EMBRACE them - which is exactly what  I did.  And my heart felt much better once I looked past the poverty and dispair and saw them as children Jesus would and does LOVE! 

So, this is where I need your help, because I can't do it all on my own.  Tim and I are hoping to travel back at the end of October for a November 4th Embassy appointment.  We will get to bring our Sara Joy home.  That appointment has not yet been confirmed, but we should have it confirmed soon.  Our Sara Joy was one of these children!!!   When we go, we want to go armed with supplies.  There are a couple things we want to do...we want to provide things for the children, and also for the people who care for these precious little ones. 

For the children, Tim and I are going to try to take on a special project.  We want to put a basketball hoop along with a cement pad at the transition home.  This would be to give the older children there something to do.  Everyone wants to provide for the little ones, but the older ones tend to be overlooked.  The assistant at the transition home will be e-mailing us information on the cost of putting up the basketball hoop and pad. 

For the younger children, we asked them what they needed and we were given a list.  They need
  • hand sanitizer
  • clothes
  • children's socks
  • diapers
  • formula
  • antibiotic ointment
  • clotrimozole cream
  • tooth brushes
  • tooth paste
  • anti-dandruff shampoo
  • easily cleanable toys (stuff animals, soft toys are not the best as they spread germs easily)
  • wipes
For the workers they needed:
  • pediatric scale (bathroom scale that would handle both small and older children)
  • latex gloves
  • Uniforms for the nannies (they wear nursing uniforms)
Tim and I are planning on taking two large totes of supplies over when we go to pick up Sara.  There are some things that we are better off buying in Ethiopia - things like formula and some of the ointments (because they are much cheaper there and you will get more for your money - also for the formula, it is best to buy the kind the children are already used to).  We are also hoping to buy fruit/vegetables and fresh water for the children.  The other things we can buy here and take over.  If you have gently used clothes or toys that you want to donate, we are happy to take them over.  If you want to contribute to help us buy supplies we would appreciate the help.  You are also welcome to purchase things on your own and send them to us and we will do our best to carry everything over. 

If you know of a local (Florence, SC) store that sells gently used nursing outfits, please let me know.  I would like to go back with some for the nannies.  If you know someone who would be willing to donate uniforms, please let me know.  If you know someone who would be willing to donate anything for that matter, please let me know. 

If you want to help us, please write a comment on this post with a way for me to contact you.  I will send you our contact information and we can go from there.  We will hopefully be leaving for Ethiopia again on or about October 30th, so we will need to have everything before that date.

Tim and I can't make a huge difference on our own, but together, we can.  If at all possible, please help us show these children, who have nothing and no one, that they are loved!

In Christ,

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day Two - Court Date

We arrived in Ethiopia late Sunday night - like 7:00 PM.  By the time we got our visa, got our luggage, found our group of families traveling together and got to our driver, it was probably around 9:00.  It gets dark in Ethiopia early - around 6:00 this time of year, so we did not get to see much of the sights of Etiopia.  There is a distinct smell to Addis Ababa though.  One I don't think I will ever forget.  I'm not sure if it is the smell of the leaves they burn to cook with, or what exactly it is, but once you smell it, you don't forget it.

The city is much different than the countryside, so I will describe the city.  (I went to the countryside on Thursday, so I will describe that then)  The city, by American standards, is pretty poor.  There was an abandon bus behind our hotel that I believe people were living in.  The buildings - they had metal roofs and I think concrete walls, but I'm not sure.  Every road was lined with concrete or metal fencing and the fencing was topped with some kind of protection to keep you from getting in - sometimes it was wound barbed wire, other times it was broken glass that was stood up on end that lined the top of the entire fence (it was cemented to it).  There are many homeless in Addis....including children.  We met one boy who we called "Stephen" that we met one day when we were out on a shopping trip.  He was in 7th grade and he lived on the streets.  Both of his parents had died.  When he saw us, he asked if he could come to America with us.  He wanted a home in America and asked how he could get into the orphanage so he could have a home.  Deanne asked the orphanage people what he needed to do.  We went back to the same area of the city the next day and he was still there.  He needed to go to the police station and tell them he had no family.  I hope he went, because I hate the thought of him living on the street.  It was very sad. 

The people in Addis are wonderful though.  Some have next to nothing but they are much happier than we as Americans are.  The average person in Ethiopia, from what I understand makes about $1 per day (or about 16 birr).  I'm sure there are those that make much more and some who make nothing, but can you imagine the average income being $1 a day?  A donkey to carry leaves to burn for cooking cost $3000 birr - which is why most women walk the 18 mile round trip up the mountain EVERY DAY to collect the leaves and carry them back down on their back.  Most can not afford even one donkey. 

Riding in a car in Ethiopia is an adventure. There are many, many public busses - but when I say public bus, don't think about a US transit system...  These are like 8 passenger vehicles that have maybe 20 people crammed into them.  Literally people hanging out doors.  And the vehicle is very old.  Sometimes the doors didn't even close... I'm not sure if they couldn't, or there were too many people crammed in there.

So, Tuesday morning we went to court.  Our court appointment was supposed to be for 8:30.  Well, by 8:30 we had not yet been picked up by our driver.  In Ethiopia, time is not as imp9rtant as it is in America.  Their answer to everyting is "no worries".  I'm a schedule / time driven person, so "no worries" didn't do much for me.  Anyway, we made it to the court room around 9:00.  There was another group of people there, with another agency who did their court appts first.  Then it was our turn.  There were five families in our group and Tim and I were number four to go.  As I waited, I got more and more nervous / anxious.  Deanne gave me her bible to read, which was very calming.  Then we were called.  "Parents of Edom"?  We got up and went into the Judge's room.  It was just a room.  The lady who called us was our witness.  The judge was absolutely beautiful.  A very striking lady.  She had incredible English.  She asked us a few questions about our family and our support system.  She then said "she is yours, congratulations".  I told her thank you and she said it was her honor.  No, really, it was mine!  It was over very quickly.  When I walked out of the room, I had tears in my eyes.  I now had officially, another daughter!

Deanne was the last one to be called.  She was waiting on one paper that had not arrived from the MOWA.  They said it would be "five minutes".  Five minutes in Ethiopia can range from 5 minutes to two hours.  We were all very nervous for/with her.  After about 15 minutes, the paper did arrive and Deanne passed court as well.  Her husband did not come on this trip, he stayed home with their other children, so she was very nervous that would cause problems.  It did not and her daughter was hers!

After court, we all got back in the van and went to the transition home.  Day 2 of seeing Sara went a little better than day 1.  She didn't take as long to warm up to me - but still took awhile with Tim.  She was playing outside when we got there, and I saw here immediately.  Here, she is officially our daughter!!!

After spending some time with our kids, we went over to the orphanage.... that will be my next post.  I went from the highest of highs (getting my daughter) to the lowest of lows - seeing the kids in the orphanage.  It changed my life forever!

In Christ,