Tag - Adoption

Happy First Birthday, Liam!
Moving right along
5 months home
And it begins!
“Gotcha” Day
Getting Ready Part 1
» Trip One: To Ethiopia and Back

Happy First Birthday, Liam!

Wow. The first birthday is here already. It came so fast! But that’s what happens with adoption. You miss some of your sweet ones life and you just have to make it count with the time you are given! Sometimes I try to imagine a little newborn Liam Alula. What he may have looked like, sounded like, smelled like.

I don’t know. Can’t even guess. We truly know nothing about his little past.

What I do know, is that even though I didn’t hold him and protect him from birth I loved him from birth. While Liam was coming into this world, across the ocean, we were having a yard sale to raise money to bring home our yet to be known son. I was crying because I had not yet seen his face and I was loving him fiercely. He has been loved and sought after for every second of his little existence.

Four months later we received the call we were waiting for. This little face confirmed everything.

Several, several months later our 7 1/2 month old came home forever and life has been filled with good stuff. Here is a little taste of what we have been up to recently!

Moving right along

We are moving in every sense of the word. Moving to a new house, moving to a new school zone and moving along with our second adoption. All of our documents are turned in as of Monday, which is crazy to think we pushed though it so quickly. Now we are getting our finances in order, because once documents are in we can accept a referral and money will be due pretty quickly. We are getting ready to launch our t-shirt fundraiser (they are fun shirts!) and we have a massive yard sale scheduled for September 8th. We are praying that between these two endeavors we will have at least a good portion of the funds required to accept a referral. Will you pray with us?

5 months home

5 months home with Mr. Liam Alula.

I always wondered how this would all feel once we were truly in the swing of it, once Liam was home forever. And honestly, it’s a little different than I had imagined. I had no idea that I would forget where Liam came from. That probably sounds odd. But falling in love with Liam, Liam becoming my son… all of that led to feeling like he physically came from me. Yes, I know he didn’t. God grafted together a beautiful story of two countries, one little boy and one family… but nonetheless I still have to remind myself that Liam has an amazing story sometimes.

I think we were most excited about Liam’s Ethiopian heritage during the Olympics. I’m pretty sure I rooted harder for them than the US. There is just something contagious about the African Spirit. Something our Liam Alula DEFINITELY has. What joy this little boy has! And some serious determination as well.

It’s just been so good. Thank you God for shaping our family in this way, we are thankful and excited for the years to come as we watch your plan unfold.

And it begins!

Almost 4 months ago we found ourselves in Ethiopia bringing home our third child. There are four days that I hold very dear, my favorite days: our wedding, Elliott’s birth, Charlotte’s birth and the day I held Liam and brought him home forever.

Now we are looking forward to adding a fifth day to that list.

We have contracted with America World Adoption agency to adopt our daughter from China! We don’t know exactly who she is right now, our parameters are 2-4 years old and we are adopting through the special focus program. This means she will need a little extra care but we are so blessed to have Vanderbilt Children’s hospital in Nashville. We are confident that we will be able to meet her needs and we can’t wait to get started doing just that! Because we are going to be matched with a waiting child we will receive our “referral” much faster than we experienced with Liam. It’s an amazing day when you see your child’s face for the first time so we are greatly anticipating that day already!

Why Adopt from China?

There is a very large number of children currently waiting for homes. Many of these children are older or have special needs.

We feel a special connection to China, due to Calvin’s heritage, and find it very natural to respond to what is currently happening with the orphan crisis in China.

We simply feel that this is the door that God has opened for us as we continue to build our family through adoption.

We have room for more. In our family. In our home. In our hearts.

We are incredibly excited to begin this journey again. It wasn’t easy with our first adoption and it won’t be easy this time. However, we have an advantage. We have seen firsthand the way God builds a family through adoption. It’s an incredible thing and we are humbled to walk this road a second time.

Side note: Elliott and Charlotte have already proposed 3 names: Lisa, Debbie and Stacey. Their teacher’s names. Naming will be a little different this time as our little one will be older. We’ll just have to see!

“Gotcha” Day

On March 19th, 2012 I arrived in Ethiopia at approximately 7am.

A driver from the hotel picked us up, Mom went with me, and we headed back to the familiar Riviera Hotel. Wass, from Hannah’s Hope, would be on his way to get us in a couple of hours. Talk about a long two hours! Mom and I got to work. We set out all the baby gear, bottles, formula, wipes, diapers and Clorox wiped the surfaces. I’m not usually a germ-a phobic, BUT I didn’t want my baby getting any new viruses for the plane trip home. He was already feeling pretty crummy. That task took all of 30 minutes. So then we just sat around. I entertained myself by watching Mom adjust to being in Ethiopia for the first time. In Africa for the first time. Lots of firsts.

THEN! He was there. Wass was early! We charged down armed with cameras and iphones to document THE moment when I would reunite with my son! I’m not a crier. So I was hoping I would at least have one beautiful tear. One that would trickle down the right side of my face as I caught a glimpse of my son. That’s my good side you know… Little did I know MY moment was going to be a bit different than I had planned.

We bumped along the road up to Hannah’s Hope and I sucked in my breath as I saw those big black gates. Knowing my son was waiting right behind them. I very patiently waited and fought the urge to rip open the van door and scale the gate myself. Seriously, the anticipation felt unending! Very dramatic, I know.

Wass honked the horn and the person-sized part of the gate was opened. We filed out of the van with the Smith family, who were also there on second trip, and made our way into the courtyard of the orphanage. And there he was. Right there! His caregiver was holding him. All of the sudden I felt really out of place. Weird. I don’t know how to describe it but I was fairly slow as I made my way over to Liam Alula. My weird feeling proved to be on track. At the site of me Liam’s caregiver began to tear up. She did not hand him to me as I reached out for him. Talk about awkward. At first I was like “woman, are you kidding me!” Not out loud of course! But I was certainly thinking it! And then I began to cry. For her. Not me. For her and for Ethiopia. For loss. She loved him. She cared for him for months, and as she turned her back to me, with my child in her hands, all I could do was pray for her sweet heart and hurt for her. This went on for several minutes. Me feeling like a not-so-great person and her trying to grieve and figure out how to relinquish him to me. Then I remembered something! I had taken pictures of them together on my first visit. I had those pictures in my back pack to give to her! Yes! I pulled them out and she turned to me and gave me my son. I stayed with her, trying to comfort her but we don’t speak the same language. I just hugged her and rubbed her arm and gave her the pictures. A staff member who could translate finally came over and allowed me to speak to her. To tell her how much I loved this child. How God loves him, how we have waited and how we have dreams for him to grown strong and healthy. She responded with tears in her eyes that these were her dreams too and we held hands over this baby boy we both love. I will never get to meet any of Liam’s biological family. They were never in the picture. We will never know anything about them. That has been sad for me in some ways. I’ve wondered who I will tell him about. Well. I will tell him about his sweet, loving caregiver from Hannah’s Hope. She knew how to love him well while we waited for him.

Getting Ready Part 1

Today I accomplished one big item on my to-do list. I organized the kids craft closet. I have let that closet go like nobody’s business. For the past several months I have turned a blind eye to the pure chaos of those four shelves. Well, no more! Momma is nesting. Observe:




Oh the beauty! I can hardly behold thee!

Best things about this project:

I used organizers I already had for the most part. Cheap. Free.

I really needed something better for paper and coloring books. Dollar area at Target came through like a faithful friend. I love our new red and yellow paper and book holders. (located on the left side of the 2nd shelf) I would advise you to run out and get some quickly. They have changed my life.

Total spent on this project: $7.50

Oh! One more thing. I’ve been blogging from my Iphone with the wordpress app. and it’s SO very handy. Watch out, I may become a once a day blogger.

» Trip One: To Ethiopia and Back

Wow. What a whirlwind. Our time in Ethiopia. Where do we start? This was a new kind of Africa for us. We’re used to the more rural, lush parts of Uganda. The huge city of Addis Ababa was a new experience. We heard a different population count from pretty much everyone in that city, from taxi drivers to orphanage employees. It seems that it falls somewhere between 3 and 5 million people. That’s quite a few folks. Addis is this crazy mix of nice coffee shops, big buildings, cows, lambs and extreme poverty. Addis is a mix of African middle class and starvation. It’s very unsettling to see a man selling off his little heard of sheep in front of a restaurant he could never afford. In a way, it’s nothing new for me. But at the same time I don’t ever want to get used to, or comfortable with, great need and desperation. Our experience with Addis was also heightened because our son is actually from that area. Many babies and children who are being adopted through our agency are from other parts of Ethiopia. But Liam is from Addis. This is his first home, the two orphanages he lived in were here in Addis. I keep saying this because I never want to forget it. I don’t ever want to forget how to teach him about his home. To teach him the good and the hard in a way that allows him to remember through my eyes. I don’t ever want him to lose his heritage. Speaking of heritage. We tried to experience as much about the culture as we could fit in. One evening we went to a traditional Ethiopian dinner and show. We got to see dances from all the regions and tribes in Ethiopia. Very fun and very delicious.

We also drank copious amounts of coffee. A friend in our travel group began suggesting that I hook myself up to an IV drip of coffee. Considering the jet lag I’m experiencing now that doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Taking in the culture (and shopping!) was great but the highlight of the trip was, of course, being with our son. We got to spend about 3 hours a day at Hannah’s Hope. We fed him, played with him, rocked him and even helped with a bath. It was heavenly. We are just so in love and ready to have him home. We did pass court while we were there so that was just beyond words exciting. We are now looking at a time line of about 8 weeks until we can fly back and bring him home for good. We are legally his parents in the eyes of the Ethiopian court system but the US embassy has to clear us in order for him to come home. Would you like to pray with us as we wait for that day? That would be awesome. We felt each and every prayer while we were in country. And we continue to feel God’s peace and presence now that we are back home.

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