Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just sad :( Warning...this post is a bit whiny and a big vent!

Well, since I haven't given any update since our son was officially declared our son by the Ethiopian government, I thought maybe I should give you all who are interested a follow up. To be honest things haven't been so wonderful! This part of the process has been hands down, the. absolute. hardest. part! I think it is definitely one of the hardest things, if not, the hardest thing I have had to endure in my entire adult life. I totally didn't expect this at all! I thought to myself {before we met him}, 'we have been waiting over a year-and-a-half, having to wait a little longer after the first trip won't be bad. I am use to this waiting thing!' Yeah right!
This, my friends, is a whole new ballgame. First of all, I did not expect all that the Lord had for me when we went to Ethiopia and met our Josiah Moti, not at all. I didn't have a clue how my heart would feel. So there was no way to prepare for leaving without him. It just plain hurts really bad! Imagine your own child or children, and having to leave them on the other side of the world...same exact thing! Another part is that nobody gets it!!! Unless they have been in your shoes with adoption, and prayed for, and fought for, and traveled half-way around the world for a child,and then had to leave him there, there is no understanding. You want to whine and cry on someone's shoulder, but you can't, because they don't get it! You feel like you have worn out your welcome in talking about him or Ethiopia, like people have heard enough about it, but you just can't keep your mouth shut, because it is on your mind 24/7! You are even timid to ask people to pray, because you fear they are sick of thinking about your life and praying for this over and over. But deep down you don't really care, because you know prayer is the only thing that you have right now, so you ask anyway! Helpless is a great word for it! There isn't a single thing you can do to make the process go any quicker. You just have to wait. In the meantime you get updates and pictures that only torture your heart more, but you can't wait until you get the next one!!!! You spend your days wanting to pray, but not wanting to think too much about it, or you will start crying again and getting angry! It's emotionally exhausting! Also I am aware that there is some warfare. Satan is upping his ballgame here at the end, because he knows he is losing the battle. One of God's fatherless children now is about to have a forever family, and that makes him super angry! So watch out for all the arrows! Pray it up, and put on your armor daily!
In saying all that, there are some good things coming out of this tough wait! It is drawing our hearts closer to our son, because we are fighting to get him home daily with our prayers. And it is drawing our hearts closer to the Lord, because He is all we have to lean on and rely on right now...literally! There isn't anything more or less we could do!
I was thinking the other day about what we could take from this, and I felt like the Lord showed me that later, when someone else we know is walking in these shoes, we will know exactly how they feel, and we can be that extra support for them! He let's us walk through things and experience hurts and pains so that we will know, just as Jesus did! He came here and lived on Earth to experience our same hurts and pains, so He would know! Now we know! We DEFINITELY know!
One thing I would like to say is to anyone who thinks this is over-the-top, because it is a child we only met once and barely know. YOU ARE WRONG! Just because I didn't grow him in my tummy , doesn't mean that he isn't loved like our girls! That is exactly how our hearts feel! We love him as much as we love our girls! HE IS OURS, and we want him home, and being separated from him now, is heartbreaking literally!!!! The Lord had already declared a decree in heaven and in our hearts that he was our son, long before the Ethiopian governement officially declared it!
So please pray for this end of our journey, and pray for all the other families and children who are in the same boat as us!
We are now just waiting on his birth certificate to come in and for his paperwork to be submitted to the US Embassy. It has already taken longer for this part than usual. Please pray that the rest is quick and smooth, and no trouble!!!
Pray for our girls as they prepare to welcome their brother home. Aaron and I are trying to do our best to focus our time on them right now and pour into them before we leave for our next trip to Ethiopia! So we will be doing more fun things as a family until that time comes! Pray that we do a good job at including them and making them feel a part of this, and that they will be so excited to see their brother when he comes home!
To all the other families waiting! I love you and have a deep appreciation for what you are going through, whatever stage you are at! Keep on keeping on! Our kids are worth every bit of it! Prayers and hugs to you all!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Have you seen these?

Have you seen these dolls? They are so great! A friend of mine brought one over to my house and showed me. They are beautiful nice quality dolls that represent girls from around the world. They are called "Heart to Heart" dolls, and they are partnered with World Vision. A portion of the proceeds goes towards a girl in need living in a community from the country in which you purchase.
The doll I bought was Ethiopian, so the portion will go to helping a girl in Ethiopia, and the one my friend bought, will go to helping a girl in India! Isn't that just awesome?! What a great Christmas present these will make this year! There are about 6-7 different ones, and there are additional outfits you can buy to switch out as well. Also, each doll comes with a story about the girl the doll is representing, so it's also educational. My friend, Patty, bought the one from India. She was so cute with her nose ring and her henna on her hand. Of course when I found out there was one from Ethiopia I had to run out and get it! Keep these in mind this year when you are trying to make out your Christmas list. You can find them at Target for under $30.00!

Monday, August 22, 2011

1st grade

My sweet Alyssa is starting the 1st grade today. The other night we had meet-the-teacher,and we met her teacher, Mrs. Edwards

We had fun exploring her classroom. She was excited to have a big locker in the hallway, a pet turtle as their class mascot, and her class is upstairs this year!

Computer lab!

Such a cutie, all ready to go!

Aubrey had to have her picture taken with her new Dora lunch box too!

Dropping her off walking in all by her big-girl self :)

She was greeted at the door by her principle Ms. Chapman. She ran over, gave Alyssa a big hug and kiss on the cheek, and said, "Oh Alyssa, I am so glad to see you!" Alyssa was smiling from ear to ear, ready to conquer her first day!
We dropped her off by 8:00 and by 10:00 Aubrey was saying, "Mom, go get Alyssa. I want you to go get her."
I figured she would have a hard time with big sis being gone this year! They played really well together all summer. She and I both are going to miss our little Alyssa home with us! We love her so much, and are so proud of our first grader!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Speaking through her :)

Last week before we got the news that our paperwork was signed off on, our stomachs were in knots. A lot of crying and praying, and crying and praying was going on over here for that miracle! SO GLAD WE GOT OUR MIRACLE...whew!
After meeting our sweet boy we couldn't even imagine having to wait an extra 2 months to go get him. It was harder than we expected leaving him, just having to wait, and there was nothing we could do about it. EVERYTIME I prayed, the Lord asked me to fast and worship. So one morning for breakfast I decided I would take that time to do this. I put in the movie "Soul Surfer" for the girls...which they LOVE, and made them a little picnic palet in my room on the floor for breakfast, and I went in another room and turned on the worship and hit my knees. I prayed for us, and the other families we traveled with, I prayed for rain, ( We have had a drought and major heat wave in Texas and we are farmers), and I prayed for provision, I read from the Bible and just sang out worship. During this time I was getting frustrated because I wasn't feeling God's presence. I was thinking in my mind, is He hearing me? Is He here?
After a while, I got up and called it quits. I went into the room where my girls were and went to the bathroom to get ready for the day. three-year-old, comes in and says to me,"Mommy, I want you to go get baby Josiah and bring him home." I told her that I did too,so badly. She said, "But momma, I want you to go get him today. I want him today." I said, 'me too sweetie.'
Then she said, " And mommy, I want it to rain too." this point my eyes got really big, because I knew this wasn't something she would EVER say on her own, and there was no possible way she heard me. Then I heard that whisper in my head, "I hear you, and I see you."
WOW! Thank you Lord for speaking through my little Aubrey! She was reiterating my prayers! It was a turning point for my attitude and gave me such a peace that God definitely hears us, and sees us, all the time. He also showed me by speaking through my little girl, that He longs for us to come to Him like little children, to lean on Him, and cry out to Him. He wants us to come to HIM for help. He is our Heavenly Father, and He loves us so much, and He is so faithful! I knew at that point, whatever the Lord saw best to do in our situation, that it was best! He knows the things we do not, and I trust Him! I am so thankful He is such a personal God, who is just waiting on us to run to Him! So Friday we got our papers in and signed...PRAISE HIM! and then Saturday was just the icing on the cake. As Aaron was loading the truck for the farmer's market that morning, he comes in and says "It's lightening!" He looks on the computer at the radar and all over there are little storms popping up. We went to the market that morning and happily had to set up getting wet in the rain. It didn't pour, but it rained pretty steady for about 2 hours. It was so wonderful! It had been 40 some odd days here without rain!

Now, no, I am not so arrogant to think that God did that just for us! There were so many people here in Texas praying for that rain! It was for everyone!!!!But He made me feel like it was, and it was definitely the icing on the cake! He is so sweet and good!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Introducing our son!

Remember when I asked you all to pray for a miracle with our paperwork? Well, God totally shocked and wowed us this morning and answered that prayer! He is so AMAZING like that! I met with a friend yesterday and she reminded me how the Lord LOVES to surprise us! This morning when Kathy with CHI called us to tell us the news, it was the biggest, most wonderful surprise! Words cannot describe the feeling! She said "It's official, he's your son!" I mean it folks, this was such an answer to prayer. Even the people with CHI and YWAM were surprised by God with this one!!!! It was so unexpected! HE IS ABLE to move mountains!!! He loves for us to lean on Him, cry out to Him for help, and Praise Him! He loves to give us the desires of our hearts! I love it that He did it this way! I love that He shows himself to others this way! There is just no denying Him all the Glory and credit with this!!!!! It couldn't have been done any other way! He is El Shaddai. He can move mountains, and He can process paperwork, even when all odds and the rainy season is working against your favor! His favor surpasses any and all else!
This road has been so long and hard, but we wouldn't trade any of it, because we and OUR GIRLS have gotten to know the character of our Father so much more! Our girls are so excited! I sat them down and told them "congratulations, you have a baby brother." and Alyssa says to me.." congratulations to you too mom, you have a son!" They are going to be the best big sisters to this little guy and already love him to pieces! We cannot wait to introduce them to each other!

So without further our son...Josiah Moti Reeves...AKA...Jo Mo :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 5- Court, Shopping, and then Home

Day 5 was the last day we would spend in Ethiopia. Our wonderful trip was was so short, yet so momentus.
Aaron and I woke up this particular morning to a not-so-great night's sleep. We quickly jumped out of bed and were made fast awake by our extremely cold trickle of a shower we took. But hey...still thankful we got a shower:)
We met the Gerig's and the King's downstairs for yet another wonderful plate of french toast and coffee. We sat waiting for our driver Adugna who would take us to court that morning. We were all nervous, not knowing what to expect, so we quizzed each other on the possible questions the judge may ask us, so we would be prepared.
Adugna arrived on time, and we hopped in the van to take our short trip to the courthouse. It only took about 5 minutes to arrive.
We were immediately greeted by a band of boys eagerly wanting to shine our shoes.

This is where we met Abdissa, who was not only our attorney, but a pastor in Ethiopia! Another amazing man with a contagious smile :)

Abebe also met us here. It was comforting having both these men with us to show us what to do and represent us. Abdissa and Abebe led the way for us and we followed them into a waiting room that was already full of people waiting. While we were waiting, Mark and Liane Wolbert stopped by to meet us.

They were a wonderful distraction from the nervous wait! Mark and Liane are the socail services and missions directors of YWAM Ethiopia. We all really enjoyed getting to meet them and chat until our names were called. We were surprised that they called us in by agency ( all together) and not one-at-a-time. The extremely beautiful and serious judge got right to it. She immediately started asking all us questions and we all answered together in unison. We were in and out in a matter of 5 minutes. It was a moment of feeling such relief, and gratefulness and joy! If we had the "MOWA" paperwork that is currently backed up, our kids would have been declared ours right then. But since MOWA was behind in their paperwork we have to wait for that to be processed and wait for the judge to sign off on it. See my previous prayer request for more info about this.

After all was said and done, we headed back to Addis House to make a quick change of clothes and then headed out to shop again. Brandy and Mike didn't have the extra day of shopping as we did, so they had some catching up to do. This time we went to the shops across from the post office.

While we shopped we were once again followed by lots of children. Every now and again we would see them scatter and run off, only to realize there was a woman guard shooing them away from us. We didn't mind the presence of these beautiful children. Some of them joked with us and made fun of our accents as we tried to pronounce Amharic words. They were all so cute and precious. They would put out there hand and say..."Just one?" As we ended our time at the shops at the post office and hopped into our minibus, the kids were still coming up to the window begging. We had run out of our small bills so I reached in my bag and pulled out my protein bars. This is when the swarms of children and adults grew. Although the security guard didn't seem to appreciate our gesture, the people seemed to appreciate the food more than they did the money. Becky had some protein bars as well, and we had some crackers so we handed out as many as we could. The ones who were able to receive it, were so grateful. Next trip we will know to bring more things like crackers, protein bars, or granola bars hand out. They also liked our empty water bottles, we assumed for them to refill.

(One of the many beautiful faces peering inside our minibus. This particular girl's beauty caught our attention. She had the most beautiful eyes, but the sadness and desperation that peered through them broke our hearts. Most of the kids still had joy in their eyes, but hers seemed to be gone. My heart hurt for this beautiful girl as I wondered about her story.)

We then headed over to a coffee shop called "Tomoca." We were told that the BBC did a blind taste testing of coffees from around the world and "Tomoca" was voted "World's best coffee." (I think of the movie "Elf" when I say "world's best cup of coffee" everytime :) HAHA!
Anyway, we loaded up on coffee to bring home as gifts, and then we headed back to our guest house. Here Yonas suggested we go to "Lime Tree" for our lunch. Here we took our time, relaxed and just hung out for a while, while some of us enjoyed spaghetti dishes and others Indian cuisine and we all shared more fries:)

We then headed back to Addis House where we walked the streets for a while. We enjoyed interacting with all the playful children that followed us.

We ended our trip by relaxing and taking in the sites, on the patio area of the Addis Guest House in the wonderful 65 degree weather. We were honored with another coffee and popcorn ceremony before we headed to the airport to depart for home. Our time in Ethiopia, with our new friends who, seemed to be more than friends at this point, was too short and so special. We loved every second of it! It was a hard goodbye, but a comfort to know that we will be returning again soon! We are praying we get to travel back again with the Gerig's and the King's. Sharing this time with them was wonderful!

Getting back home was just fine until Aaron and I arrived in Washington DC. We had so much trouble with our last flight. I won't go into all the details, but we were so tired and I was in tears thinking we would never get home. The flights were full and for some reason we kept getting bumped off our flight. We prayed A LOT and by some miracle we made it on a 5:00 pm flight out on standby! We made it by the skin on our teeth, literally! For our troubles, we were given an $800.00 voucher towards our next trip. At the time, I was too tired to appreciate it, but Aaron reminded me that the Lord had already provided for our next trip! That was torturous at the time, but that $800.00 sure will come in handy when we are having to purchase our tickets for the next trip!!!!!
When we arrived in Dallas, Aaron's mother picked us up. Aubrey, our 3 year-old came running at us like a scene out of a movie, in what seemed to be slow motion, shouting..."Mommmmmmy!!!!" Alyssa gave us a hug and said, 'where's the plane?" She was more excited about seeing a plane up close than seeing mom and dad :) It was so good to see these two little munchkins we missed so much! We were totally exhausted, and couldn't even think straight. I don't think I have ever been that tired EVER, except for maybe after childbirth. We couldn't give our girls the attention we wanted to give them because of it. I think on our second trip, we will stay the night in D.C. before our homecoming, so we can be a little more fresh. This way we will be prepared to focus on our girls when they meet their new brother for the first time. We think it would be so much more enjoyable this way!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 4- Living Hope, A Sad Goodbye, and A Great Hamburger!

We slept wonderful this night in our comfy beds at Hotel Maya. We did, however, wake up to no water again, but we had our buckets. We were able to get some clean water brought to us, and Aaron and I took turns taking a VERY COLD sponge bath out of the bucket. But, it did the trick, we were clean...and cold :)
We met everyone downstairs for a nice Ethiopian style breakfast buffet and then we were off to start our day. Abebe was very excited to take us to a special place called 'Living Hope Ministries.' In Ethiopia abortions are very easy to get. There are many clinics and it only cost about $30.00 American dollars to have the procedure done. Living Hope ministries shows women and young girls that there is a different way. They offer them a free place to stay, they take care of the baby being born, they teach them a trade (jewelry making), they educate them, and teach them about Jesus. It was a wonderful place to visit! We were told that 95% of the girls that have been to Living Hope end up keeping their babies and 100% of them have come to know Jesus!!!!! AWESOME! We were able to meet some of the babies that were given Living Hope and a chance at Life and their beautiful brave mothers.

(sweet baby born at Living Hope)
Our husbands also left the place with their wallets a bit lighter than when we arrived. These women make beautiful hair bows for babies and girls, paper bead necklaces, and my favorite....the very unique and beautiful scarves with the beads and flowers attached to them!

(women working together to make jewelry)
50 % of all profit of these gems goes into savings account for these mothers for when they are ready to go and live on their own.

(Abebe with the directors of Living Hope and one of the mothers)
One really amazing thing is that you can hold jewelry parties at home to help support this awesome ministry! If that is something you may want to do you can check out their website at
From there it was time to get back to the widow's and orphan's home! We couldn't wait to get our hands back on our babies. We spent the day cuddling, kissing, and listening to Tezera tell stories of our children and also about provision. We brought some Welches gummy snacks for the kids andc we enjoyed watching Abebe get a big kick out of feeding these to the kids. They would line up one by one and take turns getting a bite. Each time Abebe would pop one in one of their mouths, he would just laugh and laugh. I loved it! It was so precious! Just a side note if you are traveling there anytime soon...Abebe said that these gummy snacks were a perfect treat for the kids. Since most of the kids were smaller, the fruit snacks were soft enough for them to chew. They are too little for the hard candies.
One other neat moment for Aaron was when he was talking with Tezera's husband and telling him that he was a farmer. In Ethiopia men and women do not hold hands in public, but men will hold hands with each other as a sign of friendship. So her husband took Aaron's hand and led him outside to show him his garden. I looked up and saw him walking outside holding this sweet man's hand. They were going to talk shop. Aaron admitted that it was a little awkward and not what he was use to obviously, but it was also very special. It was a sweet moment for me looking up and seeing him take Aaron's hand and lead him outside.

The widows enjoyed having their pictures taken. I walked over to take one picture and they all quickly gathered and waited their turn! It was so cute...they were like excited children wanting to see their pictures after we would take them! They would look, show one another, and talk in Amharic and give a little giggle. I LOVED these sweet women!

(See the woman in the middle, with the green scarf on her head? She was totally blind and the Lord healed her and now she sees! And the woman on the far right is the one that comforts me before we leave...just FYI :)

We also had the honor of being fed a scrumptious lunch by Tezera while we were there. We were fed rice, spaghetti, french fries, injera, and shiro wot. Aaron made the comment that this was his favorite meal of the whole trip. I would have to agree. Not only was it delicious, but Tezera was so honoring as she served us. She made sure our drinks and our plates were never empty so we were so full even half-way through our lunch. Her servant heart made me emotional while we were eating. I had to get up and go to the bathroom and regroup. I just kept thinking we should be honoring her and her staff and serving them. The Lord just really overwhelmed my heart on many occasions and I just felt such gratitude and love towards the people who live so selflessly!

We headed back down to spend some more time with our kids and Abebe announced that we had about 33 minutes left before we had to leave. I think you could've heard a pin drop. I ran over and grabbed "M" and held him tight, and immediately started crying. For some reason, I had thought we had a couple hours left so this was upsetting news. We sat on the floor holding our babies and Tezera had Brandy read from the Bible. We then had the pleasure of listening to the widows and the nannies sing praises in Amharic to the Lord. What a gift this was! It was beautiful! I sat holding tight to my little man knowing that these were my last moments with him until we would see him again. I had a water bottle that he set his eyes on, so I fed him little squirts of water from my bottle which kept him entertained as we listened to the women worship. They then honored us with a coffee ceremony and after what seemed like just a few short minutes, Abebe said, "It's time to go." I immediately started to bawl like a big baby. Aaron was crying as well. Brandy was really emotional as well and the nannies were crying with us and hugging us. I knew in my heart that they were crying because they were happy we were crying. I think our tears showed how much we already loved our children and this made them very happy for our children. On my way out one of the precious widows came and cupped my face in her hands. She said something in Amharic and hugged me and kissed my face and cupped my face in her hands again repeating something in Amharic. I didn't know what she was saying, but I knew she was comforting me! It was a moment I will cherish always! As I cried my way to the car, Abebe giggled at me and told me, "It's ok. Your babies are in good hands." This is knew, but what I didn't know was how hard it would be to say goodbye once I had met him. I thought our hearts were prepared. We knew exactly how everything was to go, but it didn't matter. No amount of mental preparation would've prepared me for how my heart felt as we were leaving. It was as if I had been pregnant for a year and-a-half, and I finally was able to meet this child who I had dreamed about and prayed for for so long, only to be able to see him for a couple days, and then to have to leave him and not see him again for another several months. It was so sad!!! I am still sad. I have cried everyday since we have been home, but I rest knowing that my God is in control, and I pray that our reunion will be sooner rather than later.
The ride home was pretty quiet for a while. It took us a while before we started to talk again to each other. Abebe had to stop to bring home a few watermelon.

That evening we ended at up at Sishu, which is a very nice and modern hamburger restaurant. I would also have to recommend Sishu as well if you travel to Ethiopia. They make great gourmet-type burgers with gouda cheese and special yummy sauce. I have to say that we have some pretty great hamburger joints in Texas, but Sishu could definitely hold their own. It was one great burger!!!! I have to mention the french fries in Ethiopia as well. They have the best fries! Everywhere we went someone ended up getting fries and we would all share. I think it's because they are all made from fresh cut potatoes. So Ethiopia's fries rock (but the ketchup is different), and so do all the soft drinks. They still serve them in the glass bottles with pure sugar cane as well, just like when I was a kid.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 3 - The BIG day!

We woke up from an ok night's sleep. Even with the Motrin PM I didn't sleep all too well and I had no problem getting out of bed. I had a rough start to my morning. I banged my knee in the shower pretty hard and then as I was drying my hair, the hairdryer shocked the tar out of me. It wasn't a little shock, it was a big one. It upset me up a bit and I cried it out and then I was fine. I think the mix of the nerves, excitement, and then the electrical shock surging through my hand and arm sent me over the edge for just a couple minutes.
After we got ready we rushed downstairs for yet another order of french toast and coffee, and hurried through our breakfast so we weren't late for our ride. Abebe, (pronounced Ah-buh-buh) our in-town representative had arranged to pick us up at 9:00 to head out for Nazret, also known as Adama. This is where the widows and the orphan home is where our son has grown up all but 2 weeks of his life. Abebe and our driver Abraham were right on time. They piled all of our luggage full of donations on the roof of the van and strapped it down so none of it flew away. Me and Aaron, and Todd and Becky climbed into the van and we were on our way. Adama was about a 2 hour drive from Addis Ababa where we were, and let me remind you about the driving in Ethiopia. There are no rules of the road. A lot of honking, and driving on the wrong side of the road, and almost hitting pedestrians goes on a lot. Abebe made the comment, "it's just best maybe if you close your eyes and not look at the road,." Good advice, Abebe...good advice :)
We saw alot of this on the way...
The ride to Adama was a good one, although it seemed longer than 2 hours. We were able to see some countryside. Aaron and Todd enjoyed looking at all the farms we past. We saw many people plowing their farmland the old-fashioned way with a cow pulling their plow.

Aaron was amazed at the different shades and types of soil there were even within the same field. One part of the field looked to be sandy soil and just right next to it the soil looked rich and black. We past HUGE vultures the size of my 3 year-old perched on top of the African tree tops. We past many farmers on the roadside selling watermelon.

Homes made out of straw seemed to be the common house for this area.

It was great to get to experience the country-side a little bit. It was a lot different from the busy streets of Addis Ababa. On the way, Abebe made a phone call to the orphanage to tell the nannies we would be there today. He was talking in Amharic but I kept hearing him say our son's name and the Gerig's daughter's name. When he hung up he said that the nannies had misunderstood him and thought we were coming to take our children today and they were freaking out, because they weren't ready to say goodbye. Once he told them we were only visiting they calmed down. He was laughing as he told us this. Abebe has a contagious smile that makes you smile just looking at him. What an amazing man he is! He and his wife dedicate their entire lives helping orphans, among other things, and living the life the Lord has called them to, to the very fullest. I felt inspired just listening to his stories and hearing his passion about the work they do.

Once we got into Adama, we went straight to our hotel to check in. We stayed at the Hotel Maya, which was just beautiful and surprisingly very modern. To get to our rooms we had to walk under this tunnel of greenery and trees blooming with beautiful flowers of all colors. It was breathtaking.

Our rooms were super clean, had a stand up shower and modern bathroom, and even a flat screen TV. This would've been a really nice hotel even in America. The only thing, is there was no running water. We were given a bucket of water to pour into the toilet when we had to use it. It wasn't a big deal. I kept thinking to myself...' don't be a spoiled American, you are in Africa.' I did pretty good. We went to the lobby where we met the other couple that would remain with us the rest of the trip....our new friends, Mike and Brandy King.

Mike and Brandy had arrived several days earlier than us and traveled a 17-hour trip both ways to several different orphanages, one of where their daughter was. They brought their daughter, along with 4 other kids, back to the Thomas center and the Adama orphanage with them. Mike and Brandy really got to see the countryside, monkeys and all. We then left for lunch and we enjoyed hearing about their journey and getting to know this sweet couple! So lunch was over and it was time to go. I asked how long to the orphanage. Abebe told me maybe 5-10 min. By this time Aaron and I, along with Todd and Becky were more than ready to meet our kids. Since Mike and Brandy had already been to the orphanage, they offered to video and snap pics of our first meeting. Mike videoed and snapped pics of us meeting our little guy and Brandy did the same for the Gerig's. Brandy and Mike, if you are reading this, we are so grateful to you for capturing this moment. It is a treasured moment that we will value forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! It's been comforting reliving the moment over and over for us!
Mike told me that when we reached the cobblestone road that we would almost be there. So once we were on the cobblestone road I grabbed the camera and the video and got them ready to go. We pulled up to the gate of the home. It was a work in progress. The bottom 2 floors were finished and the top 3 still were being worked on. I think each layer was built in stages. When the funds would come in to continue, they would continue.

We walked in and were immediately greeted by Tezera( the director of the widows and orphans home) Tezera and Abebe led the way back to where our children were. The sweet widows were sitting in their favorite spot waving and watching us as we made our way back to the nursery.
As we walked in, it didn't take us long to spot him, and it seemed he spotted us right away as well, because he cut his eyes right to us. I know that may sound absurd, but I don't doubt that when he saw us he knew in his spirit that we were his, because we have been praying for so long for this moment!!!!
His sweet nanny, wearing her big beautiful smile immediately brought him over to us. She handed him off to Tezera and Aaron and I stood admiring our boy as she held him. He was looking back and forth between the two of us just smiling away. I was anxious to get my hands on him, but Tezera held him silently for several seconds before she handed him over. It seemed to me like she was giving silent thanks to the Lord for bringing us together. I knew in my spirit this was what she was doing. I will share with you some other time after we have officially past court more of our son's story, but it was definitely a praise-worthy moment for our little guy and us and Tezera!!!! And Tezera..I could write an entire post on this woman. She truly is a picture of the heart of Jesus. What an amazing woman!
I held my arms out to him and and he leaned into me inviting me to grab ahold of him. Of course, I was a crying mess (happy tears of course) and I couldn't believe we were there in that moment. This was a dream come true for us. My sweet Aaron waited patiently and let me have my turn with our boy, as he always selflessly does. He was more beautiful than any of his pictures revealed to us. His big brown eyes and sweet angelic face combined with all his rolls just melted our hearts. He was beyond beautiful. To top it off, he was so mild mannered, so laid back, and smiley. Just as happy as could be. The nannies were speaking in Amharic to each other and Tezera told us that they were saying that "M" looked just like his daddy. I thought this was funny at first, but Tezera said that they thought "M" was so handsome and Aaron is also handsome, so they said he looked just like his sweet!!!!
What I didn't realize was that when we arrived his sweet nanny was in the middle of changing his diaper, and didn't finish in all the excitement. So I was holding a half-naked baby. She took him from me so she could put the rest of his clothes back on. We were kind of warned that the nannies might be sizing us up when we were around our kids. Afterall they have raised our children and loved them as their own for most of their lives. Truthfully, we never once felt this was the case with these wondeful nannies. They were amazing from the very moment we arrived! You could see the joy they felt for our children and they were so helpful and just perfect in the way they handled everything. This particular nanny handed our son back to me and said "Mama and Papa." She was telling him that we were his mom and dad. It was so sweet. I held him for a smidge longer and drank in the moment, admiring my boy, then I let Aaron hold him. It was wonderful finally being able to see Aaron holding his boy! He just looked up at his daddy smiling and studying this strange man that was holding him. We then were able to take him wherever we wanted, so we walked out into the center of the home, where all the widows were. I was so amazed at how laid back our little "M" was. His eyes started to get heavy and I told Aaron that I thought he looked tired. Aaron gently pressed his head into his chest and baby "M" literally within 3 seconds was out like a light. No crying or fussing....he just laid his head down and went to sleep on his daddy's chest!!!! It was wonderful! Aaron then handed him over to me, and I sat on the stairway for about an hour and held my boy as he slept in my arms. I studied all his features and watched him make that sweet little sucking face that babies make with their lips while the sleep. And he has the sweetest most lucious little lips might I add :)
While he was sleeping, the men helped Tezera unload all of the donations we had brought! They were so blessed by them! Thank you to all that donated.....I want you to know that you were an answer to their prayers. Tezera said that they had just given all their older clothes away last week and she said "Look the Lord already provided more." Then also just a few days earlier one of the nannies was telling her they were in need of shoes. Some friends of ours found a bunch of shoes on sale at Target and sent them with us. So they were very excited to see that the Lord had provided shoes. It must be a wonderful thing for them, as they do the Lord's work to constantly see Him provide through others when they are in need!!!! They literally are living on faith alone!!!! So a big HUGE thank you to those that donated. Their storage closet that was almost empty is now almost full!!! This is life to these children! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! You blessed them more than you will ever know!

(Unfortunately this is the only pic I got of Tezera without our son in the pic. You can't really see her face, but after we officially pass court, I will post more of her. Please keep praying that the paperwork comes in this week for us)

After "M" woke up, he looked a little frazzled at who was holding him, but still didn't make a peep. His nanny brought him a bottle, but he wasn't too hungry, he only ate about half. We then moved to the floor area where we sat with the other families and watched him play with some toys. As we were watching him, I noticed he would start to look around and then get this little look of panic on his face. Then he started to cry the saddest little cry I ever saw. He was fine with us until he noticed there were no Ethiopian people around. His wonderful nanny came in to soothe him, and he was fine. Tezera said that "M" never cries. I thought,' great only with us.' But she then went on to tell us that it's good that he cries. It shows signs that he cares and that he knows how to bond. So then I was ok. He really would only cry for just a second and then be done. Then we would be good to go. He did this several times, but it was never a big crying fit, just sad little whimpers, that only lasted about 5 seconds. HE IS SO SWEET!!!!!
Next it was bath time. His nanny came and got him and took him to his bath. We took lots of pictures and videoed his bath. HE LOVED HIS BATH!!! I have a feeling he's going to enjoy the swimming pool. He smiled and giggled and splashed around the entire time!!! Then when it was time to get out, he threw his head back I want more! After his bath, he was a new man. He was even more smiley, and playful! It was awesome!
Before long it was time to leave back to go back to Hotel Maya.

Us, the King's and the Gerig's met in the restaurant area and enjoyed dinner together and reflected and conversated about our day, and the AMAZING staff at the widows and orphans home.
I had pizza and pepsi and Aaron had Ethiopian cuisine again. It was an emotional day, so we were tired. We headed back to our rooms and slept pretty good under our mosquito netted beds.