Saturday, January 30, 2010

Winter wonderland

This morning we awoke to our landscape being once again transformed into a winter wonderland. The weathermen were calling for 2-5 inches, which I think we got. The wind is blowing so strongly that it has made some big drifts. The road crews were out this morning and piled the snow from our col-de-sac right in front of our house, which made for an excellent spot to tunnel through.



Essie coming through the tunnel

Chloe coming through the tunnel



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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

US Citizens

We finally got Chloe's Certificate of Citizenship in the mail. We received Essie's last month. I'm not sure how 2 applications submitted in the same envelope take 4 separate weeks to process, but we are just glad Chloe's finally arrived.

We also traveled to Louisville yesterday for our fingerprint appointment at USCIS for adoption #2. Our agency rep is in Ethiopia this week so we hope to hear some news about our case when she returns to the States.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

UK Hoops

One of Amy's clients was kind enough to invite us to a UK Hoops (women's) game. We watched the Cats beat Auburn and even got to go down on the floor at halftime.


Ababa and Chloe enjoy some cotton candy

Mommy and Essie


Getting to meet the Wildcat



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Saturday, January 23, 2010

"New" Princess Dresses

I found a box of princess dresses that Matt's boss had bequeathed to us from his girls before our girls came home. They are just the right size now and as you can see, the girls loved them!

Chloe as Sleeping Beauty and Essie as Cinderella

They wanted to take one with Caesar

This photo, including the hand placement, was totally their idea. I think we've created photography monsters. =)

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Now?

One of the great lessons I learned in working with New Hope International Ministries was the “What Now Principle”. It was one of the most important elements of our “debriefing” of mission teams that returned from serving Christ in various places around the globe. We always pushed our team members to ask themselves, “Now that I have had this experience, what is the next thing that God would have me do in response?” The idea was that we did not want the mission trip to just be “something that we did that one time,” but a transformational experience that led us to deeper maturity in Christ – whether it be increased prayer burden, more financial giving, further service, change in lifestyle, or whatever God may be asking us to do in response to or as an extension of what we have experienced. In short – “What now?”

My first mission trip was to a children’s home in Guatemala. (I’ve blogged about the trip before - you can read about it here.) That trip was a very moving, life-changing experience for me. I began to think about God and the world in wonderful new ways. And it was then that I was first touched by the plight of the orphan. As I asked myself that important question – “What now?” – God began to speak to me about serving the least of these, and about adoption.

Fast forward several years to 2006 when we jumped into the adoption process, looking to fulfill both our dream and a passion that we believe God placed in our hearts. Through frustrations and two failed adoptions, we finally arrived in Ethiopia in March 2009 to bring home our beautiful twin girls. But first we were privileged to travel to our girls’ village near the Sudanese border to meet their birth family and see the orphanage where they had stayed. While there we met some amazing boys at the orphanage – bright, happy boys who had little prospects for being adopted due to a combination of factors that included their age, their gender, their remote location, and, perhaps, their skin color. As we returned home from that life-changing trip with our girls in tow, once again we began to ask ourselves that question that we had been trained to ask – “What now? Now that we have done this, what would God have us do next?”

Last month, we believe we received an answer. We found out that in Ethiopian adoption law, a family can adopt again within a year and use their same dossier from the first adoption. (Adoptive families can testify what an arduous task that can be to compile and submit.) So…we began to think about bringing home one of those boys that had touched our hearts. We wrestled with the decision and the excuses that arose – it’s too soon, it’s too expensive, we can’t afford it, we don’t have enough money, it costs too much. (Notice how many of those excuses revolved around money.) We decided this was an open door, and we should walk through it. We identified a 7-year-old boy and moved ahead.

When we told the girls they were getting a big brother, they were very excited. But Essie was concerned. “We are two sisters,” she said. “We need two brothers.” We began to think about the benefits of two - the boys would have each other, it is less expensive to do two adoptions together rather than one now and one later, we don’t know how long Ethiopian adoptions will continue smoothly, etc.

The same big question kept rising: “Can we afford to FEED and CLOTHE four children?” The praying and agonizing began again. After a night of fitful sleeping and stressing about our finances, I realized that I didn’t want to stand before God someday and say, “Sorry, Lord. I didn’t welcome that child into my home, because I was afraid it might make my life uncomfortable, and I like to eat out from time to time.”

So what now? We have started the process of adopting two boys, ages 7 and 10, from the same orphanage where our girls were. We don’t know where the money is going to come from, and we know that we are going to have to make some serious changes in our spending habits, but God has shown us the next step, and we are taking it. Please pray with us.

The Tooth Fairy Comes for Essie

Essie lost TWO teeth today! (The same two that Chloe had already lost!) The tooth fairy must be getting well-acquainted with our address by now...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

10 months home

In honor of the girls being home for 10 months now (and to show off their too cute aprons again), we decided to make a cake. I still can't believe all the changes the girls have gone through in these past months.



Please ignore the giant cut down the cake-Ababa didn't know I hadn't taken a picture yet.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Injera!


Today we had a special treat of eating lunch at a Ethiopian restaurant in Louisville with other families who have adopted from Ethiopia. The girls were adamant that they weren't going to eat any Ethiopian food, but we were the last ones to leave the restaurant as the girls kept eating and eating.

Ababa and Chloe

Mommy and Essie-who doesn't look really happy here, but she was by the end of the meal. I am holding Injera in my hand which you use to dip in the food on the platter. It was very good!

Chloe shoveling it in

Parker, Essie & Chloe

Chloe still eating after everyone else is done

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Sledding for real this time

Grandpa brought Ababa's old sleds today and boy were they way more fun than the trash can lid!

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The Tooth Fairy Strikes Again

Chloe lost another tooth last night, right next to the first one so now she has a big hole where her bottom 2 front teeth should be. We can see the new teeth poking through though so she won't have a hole for long. Essie has finally decided that her tooth may indeed be loose (not just wiggly), now that she's seen Chloe accumulating wealth for losing teeth.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

First "big" snow-part 2

The snow kept coming today and Ababa came home a bit early from work to enjoy the girls' first sledding experience. Of course, I forgot to buy a sled today so we improvised with a trash can lid. The girls loved everything about playing in the snow til they got too cold. But some hot chocolate while we watched Snow White made everything good again.

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First "big" snow

Today we had the first snow accumulation we've had since the girls came home. It was a very exciting day. Here are some pics from their first go at the snow in the morning:

Making snow angels in the cul-de-sac

Making snow balls

Chloe & Essie enjoying their first snow accumulation

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Our first tooth fairy visit

We had our first experience with the tooth fairy on Monday night and honestly, it was a little traumatic for the girls. Chloe lost one of her teeth on the bottom and we thought that explaining the tooth fairy would help. We even had a book ready to explain it, but the girls really were just concerned that someone was going to come into their bedroom at night while they were sleeping. (Somehow this wasn't a concern with Santa) The book showed the tooth fairy flying around with wings so Essie kept calling her the tooth angel, which caused more confusion. I think the real problem was Chloe felt like she was loosing part of her body and since Essie has a tooth in the exact same place that is also loose, Essie was very worried about the whole thing too. But we finally got them settled down for the night and everything was much better in the morning when Chloe found that the tooth fairy had left her "monies". Well, actually that was almost a disaster too because the money had fallen on the floor under her bed (even though the tooth fairy put them in an envelope) so Chloe came down to our bedroom all dejected and said, "she no leave anything". But Ababa came to the rescue by helping her look one more time and finding them on the floor.

Chloe showing off her hole

Much happier in the morning with her "monies"

By the way, we realize that the going rate for the tooth fairy is $1, but since we have 2 little girls in our house that seem to be losing teeth at the same time, the tooth fairy was afraid she'd go broke before all was said and done with 50 cents it is!

For those of you concerned that our girls are too young to be losing teeth, you are right, they are. But we've noticed that other kids from ET have also lost teeth earlier than expected as well. It could be genetic or it could be a lack of calcium in their diet, not sure. Either way, there's not much we can do about it so we aren't worried.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Making cookies

I decided to put those new aprons to work today and had the girls help me make cookies. They did great and I have to say, they look so darn cute in those hats. Chloe is in yellow and Essie is in purple.


I love that our dog Caesar is trying to sneak a bite here.

Essie showing off the cookies she put on the sheet all by herself with just a little help from mommy to line up her rows.

Tasting the fruits (or cookies) of our rewards. Although it looks like Caesar finally got a bite, he's just licking his chops in anticipation