Wednesday, March 23, 2011

our homecoming

y'all, despite the last few days being pretty tough...we are SO blessed. during the frustrating and tearful moments throughout the day with our little greer, i just think about the last year of our life and know that he was made to be in our family. while it might be hard, we have such an awesome support system and so many people who have loving reached out to us or prayed for us along the way.

this afternoon i finally broke down today and watched a slideshow our friend josh at redtree photography did for us of our airport homecoming. talk about tears streaming!! i hadn't felt emotional stable enough all week to watch it, and obviously i still wasn't. i sobbed like a big ole baby looking at this! if you'd like a good afternoon cleansing cry, give this a look:

this guy is talented, huh? if you're in the kentucky/indiana area, you should look him up for your next wedding, senior pictures, family photos, etc. we're thankful to call him and his crazy wife good friends and we know that these pictures will be cherished for years to come!

also, our other very talented and dear friend, brooke, drove all the way up from georgia with her crazy and super-hyper hubby, brandon, to greet our little guy too. {by the way- i think brandon and ryan are long lost, ADHD brothers of some sort!} talk about great friends! it was so special to have them at the airport. we just wished we could have seen them more. here's brooke's blog about our special welcome home party:

if you came out to the airport to see us home, THANK YOU! we are so glad that so many of you got to meet our little man and hope that as soon as the dust settles, we'll be out and about hanging out with you all soon. your support and love means more than we can ever say!!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

alive and well!

hey there. we are alive and well, so sorry for the silence. we got home from ethiopia with greer on saturday and this is the first time i've been on a computer since last thursday. life is good, just busier and very different.

our little natty greer is such a joy, but truth be told, a challenge too. each day is getting a little easier but i feel like all my energy has been completely sucked out of me by the end of the day...hence why blogging and surfing the internet has been sparse! heck, i haven't even had the energy to watch any of my guilty pleasure reality tv shows, so you know i must be zapped!! hopefully, we'll get in our new groove soon though and i'll have more time to update all you lovely people on our new life as a family of 3! i've got much to say about our last day in ethiopia, the LONG flight home, and of course our little man so i promise i'll get back to blogging soon enough. until then, thanks for checking in on us.

"see" you soon!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

day 3 & 4 in Ethiopia

Hey all,

Hope you are doing well! We just finished up our fourth day here in Ethiopia and are preparing to head home tomorrow night. It has been a great trip but we are anxious to be back on US soil and really begin our journey of parenting little Natty {Greer}.

Yesterday was a great day of beginning stages of attachment for Natty and I. As I mentioned in my previous email, Ryan went to visit a water project in Dera yesterday with the other men in our group and I stayed behind at the transition home with Natty. From about 10:00 a.m. in the morning until past his bedtime, Natty and I were stuck together. After a couple of hours I think he was finally beginning to warm up to me a bit which was encouraging. We spent a lot of time playing with some of the older kids and just going through his normal daily routine together. Ryan returned home from a very rainy and muddy day in Dera around 6:30 p.m., and Natty was pretty receptive to him for the first time since we've been here. While we are still pretty nervous about the trip home tomorrow, we are hopeful that some of these first steps we've made while in Ethiopia will make the trip less scary for all of us!

From what we've seen so far, Natty is proving to be such a sweet boy, but he is definitely strong willed. He does not mind to wear his emotions on his sleeve, and when upset, everyone in the room knows it! Ryan and I can both see some major changes in him since last time we were here. He has grown so much and he seems to have really come into his personality. When he is happy, he loves to babble and sing in his own made-up language. {We double checked with one of the workers here to make sure he wasn't speaking Amharic – Ethiopia's language, and she assured us that he was not!} All the older kids, transition home workers, and nannies seem to flock to Natty, and he definitely loves the attention! There a few children here that can make him smile no matter how upset he may be, and I know it's definitely going to be hard for him to leave this place.

Today we spent all day running around Addis Ababa going to various places. We first had to revisit the Embassy this morning as they thought they lost a paper for our friends and travel companions, the Rowes. Thankfully, after making the trip all the way to the Embassy, the paper appeared and all the families in our group were all able to pick up the immigration paperwork and passports for our children. I'm pretty sure that Natty's Ethiopian passport with his US visa is one of the best things we've seen in a very long time! It is such a relief to know that the red tape and craziness of this adoption rollercoaster is finally coming to a close, although we know that the really hard work is just beginning!!

After our trip to the Embassy, we visited our adoption agency's {Arise for Children} in-country non-profit organization, Love in Action. We had previously visited there on our last trip with many donations of school and office supplies but we wanted to stop in and say hello again. Love in Action is doing exactly that for many different people in Ethiopia. They currently run an after-school tutoring and sponsorship program for 20 children and a job training program for several at-risk women. We are so thankful to be working with an adoption agency that values not only adoption, but also empowering those who cannot be adopted and their families, all while sharing the Gospel.

Later in the afternoon, we truly had a once in a lifetime opportunity of visiting the home of a birthmother whose 5 children have been recently adopted by another family in Louisville because she is HIV positive. To say that the birthmother was generous does not even begin to cover it. She greeted us with hugs and tears, and openly welcomed us into her home, which we soon found out was quite a distance off the beaten path. After a long walk, we finally made it there. It was nothing more than a square mud hut with a couple small rooms, but it was filled to the brim with hospitality and love as many of her friends and family gathered to meet us. They served us lots of traditional Ethiopian food and held a traditional coffee ceremony for us. Despite just finishing lunch before we arrived, we all did our best to eat what we could so that their generosity did not go to waste. We had no interpreter with us so I'm pretty sure we all made fools of ourselves as we tried to point and do ridiculous sign language to communicate back and forth. Even though our 30 minute quick visit turned into over an hour, it was totally worth it. This family was obviously so grateful that their children had been afforded the opportunity to be adopted and it made us think a lot about Natty's own birthmother.

We finished up this evening with some last minute souvenir shopping and another traditional Ethiopia dinner. While it's been a great cultural experience, Ryan and I both agree that we'll be glad to get home to some all-American cuisine!

Well, that's all that's been going on with us as of late. Our plans for tomorrow are to stick around the transition house all day so we can pack, spend more time with Natty, and prepare to say our goodbyes to our friends here. If you think of it, please be praying for our goodbyes. A few of the nannies have already told us how much they will miss Natty and how hard it will be to see him go. We are hoping that we are able to convey to them our gratitude for taking such amazing care of our son for the last 13 weeks while we could not, but I'm not sure there are enough words to do so. We absolutely love Ethiopia and the people, and will definitely be leaving a little bit of our hearts here tomorrow as we make the long journey home.

Thanks for thinking of us and checking in on us while we're away.

With much love,

Ryan & Lesli

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

an update from Ethiopia

Hey all,
Sorry we are just now getting a chance to send an update on our trip! We are up and ready to go this morning for our 3rd day in Ethiopia so I thought it was long past time to send an email. So far the trip has been wonderful and hard at the same time. We left Louisville on Saturday afternoon for an overnight stay in D.C., then headed out for Addis Ababa on Sunday morning. Our flights were good and uneventful so that was definitely a blessing. Little Charlotte and I did well on the flights, despite my worries, and both Ryan and I were very relieved about that!
When we arrived in Ethiopia on Monday morning, we were all beginning to feel the effects of little to no sleep on the long flight and were pretty much dragging from the beginning of the day. After a long wait in the airport for our visas and going through Customs, we were finally on our way back to the West Sands transition home to see our boy again. It seemed like the drive from the airport to the transition home was much longer than I remembered, but after much anticipation, we finally made it there. We didn't even hardly unload our luggage before we headed back to see our little Nathanel (Greer) again. Unfortunately, despite all our pent up excitement over seeing him again, he did not exactly share the same sentiment! In fact, I'm pretty sure our excitement was met by his sheer terror. We had heard from some friends who were here picking up their kiddos a couple weeks ago that he wasn't too excited to see them either, so we were somewhat prepared but it was still hard.
The entire time we spent with him in the morning consisted of him crying...actually, I think we could call it wailing...and clinging to his nannies. We have been praying for him to have a healthy attachment with his nannies for quite some time so that we know he is capable of forming a healthy attachment with us later on, and I can definitely say that God has answered that prayer!! In order to keep us awake for the day so we could get acclimated to the new time zone, our wonderful in country host, Woudneh, took us out for lunch at an amazing lodge in the Ethiopian countryside. Let me just tell you, this place was NICE! Apparently it is the hot spot for many foreign dignitaries when they come to Ethiopia and it was quite impressive. For a grand total of $11 each, we were served a wonderful meal, had access to kayaking on a private lake, use of the swimming pool, and received a discount on spa treatments. At the encouragement of Woudneh, several of the women in our group decided to relax at the spa. I received a one hour foot massage that cost a whopping $4, and I think it was probably the best $4 that I've spent recently :)
After a great day at the lodge, we were all eager to get back to our kids so we headed back to the transition home. Much to our dismay, little Natty was still not very thrilled to see us. It was about 6:30 and getting dark, but Ryan and I decided to try to take him for a little walk and alone time away from his nannies to see if it calmed his anxieties at all. After about an hour of straight crying, we finally got him to sit in our laps in the living room without too much fussing. However, any time an Ethiopian person would pass through the room, the crying would start again. I think he must have been reminded that we didn't look like everyone else and it set him off again! We finally took him back to his room around 8:00 for bedtime and were feeling pretty worn down and frustrated. I think the mixture of jet lag, pregnancy hormones, and rejection were getting to us so we called it a night early.
Yesterday we woke up pretty refreshed but also quite anxious over how the day would go. We had an appointment to be at the US Embassy around 1:00 p.m. and weren't exactly sure how Natty would handle being alone with us for the day. After breakfast, we headed back to his room and were greeted with more tears. We took him back to the living room of the transition home and did a lot more rocking and trying to sooth him. He cried for so long that it actually wore him out and he eventually feel asleep on Ryan. They napped together for about an hour and a half, and he woke up a little more settled and a little less scared. We kept him with us for the rest of the morning and things started to smooth out a bit. We got to change his clothes into his outfit we brought for the Embassy appointment and finally changed his diaper for the first time too. He was definitely feeling more comfortable with us, and we were very relieved! Plus, he looked super cute in his new shirt, jeans and shoes :)
We headed off to the Embassy with the 2 other families in our travel group and Natty did great pretty much the whole time. At the Embassy appointment, we quickly realized that it was a very similar set-up to the DMV! We took a number when we got there and waited for it to be called so we could go up to the window for our interview. After waiting about an hour and a half, we were the first family in our group to be called up. The interview was very quick and easy...maybe lasting 5 minutes total...and then the man behind the window announced that his visa was approved! We were relieved, but even more so when all the families in our group got their approvals as well. Woudneh will go Thursday morning to pick up his passport and immigration papers so that we can be on our way home Friday night.
Per Ethiopian law, adoptive families cannot go out in public with their children, so after our appointment we were whisked back to the transition house. We spent the next hour and a half or so with Natty playing in our room and all was going pretty well until the end. I think a mixture of hunger and tiredness played a role, but he quickly melted down and decided that he wanted nothing to do with Ryan or I. It was really hard after having such a better day with him, but we know that we're still making progress even if it's slow. We returned him to his room before heading out to the Crowne Hotel for a traditional Ethiopian dinner and show. The dinner was great and so was the show. We are so grateful to be traveling with other amazing families, and have really enjoyed our time with them in Ethiopia again. After dinner, Natty was already long asleep so we didn't go in and disturb him. We were all tired and the transition home was experiencing a power outage so we just decided to turn in for the night a little early.
Today, Ryan has headed off with the other men in our group to see a water project being done in Dera, Ethiopia by Hope Arising (, which Woudneh's wife, Betty oversees. I decided to hang back at the transition home so I can spend some extra time with Natty in his normal environment and see if I can get some tips from the nannies on our little guy. I cannot believe that in 2 more days we'll be saying goodbye to all the amazing people here and this beautiful country. It makes me sad to think about taking Natty from everything familiar but I also know that God has blessed us and him with this opportunity so we're trying to make the most of it! Please keep praying for our attachment with Natty. We have a feeling that our trip home could be a very long one as he grieves the loss of things that are familiar to him and embarks on a totally new journey.
Anyways, I know this update has been super long. If you've hung in to read it all, thanks! We are so appreciative of each and every one of you and can't wait to introduce you to our son :)
Blessings from Ethiopia and hopefully I'll update again (in much shorter fashion) soon!
Ryan and Lesli

Thursday, March 10, 2011

getting SO close

oh my word. i cannot believe that we board our first plane headed back to ethiopia in less than 2 days. i really don't think it has hit me yet that it's finally happening and it may not until we see the gate at the west sands transition home again. although just knowing that i will never have to be on a different continent than my son again {unless of course, one of us chooses to do so}, makes my heart happy!

last night i finally zipped up our little guy's suitcase, re-weighed all our donation bags, and packed up most of our toiletries. i also took it upon myself to randomly self-clean the oven {can you say, yuck! i'm pretty sure that smell was toxic!!}, do a couple loads of laundry, pull out the toddler bath seat and bath toys for greer, and partially clean out the fridge. my sweet husband also joined in on the fun by cleaning and conditioning our leather sofas...a much bigger undertaking than i estimated!

i am feeling more prepared each day as far as things go around the house and with packing, but i have to admit that i'm growing more and more nervous about returning to the game of parenting. i keep asking ryan if he really thinks we are ready to be parents again...especially when thinking of adding another baby to the mix in 2 months...but he keeps assuring me that we'll NEVER be ready. ha! very true. i'm thankful that His grace is sufficient in our weakness because i have a feeling that all our weaknesses will be brought very much to the forefront over the next several months {and YEARS!}.

speaking of adding baby #2, i know i have not given many shout outs lately to little baby charlotte but she is definitely not forgotten! she has been making her presence very well known by her frequent kicks and my growing belly :) i had several people tell me early this week that they felt like my little charlotte bump just popped out all the sudden over the weekend. i don't know if i can really tell a drastic difference, but either way, i'm just thankful that she's growing and doing well. i never heard back from my doctor's office on my gestational diabetes test, so it looks like i'm in the clear {despite that lovely bowl of sugary cereal i ate the morning of the test}! i have my next doctors appointment on the wednesday following returning home from ethiopia so i am sure i'll be anxious to get back and check on little charley's progress by then. per my doctor's orders, i will be wearing some lovely support stockings, walking a lot, and staying hydrated during our long flights so that both little C and i are in good shape.

it's kinda fun to think that charley has been along for this crazy rollercoaster ride to bring her brother home. seeing that i found out that i was pregnant just a few days before we received greer's referral, i can't wait to explain to the kids when they are older that we basically started and finished this crazy process as our little family of 4!! God's plans really are better than our plans :)

anyways, tonight we are celebrating my mother-in-law's birthday a little early with some delicious thai food and cupcakes from gigi's...yumm!! we're sad to be missing 2 birthdays {my mother-in-law's and my youngest niece, mikenna's} while we're gone, but i think both birthday girls understand!

well, enough with boring details from our little neck of the woods. hope y'all are having a good week so far, and bring on the weekend!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

burdened for ethiopia

since friday i have felt so burdened to pray for adoptions in ethiopia. as many of you have probably heard, the rumor mill is swirling with news that MOWA {the ministry of women's affairs - the division that oversees adoptions} in ethiopia, has threatened to cut the amount of adoption cases processed each day by 90%. instead of processing 50 adoption cases per work day, MOWA is saying that they will begin only processing 5 case per day beginning march 10, 2011. this still hasn't been confirmed by the ethiopian government, but is definitely the "talk" of the ethiopian adoption community right now...

according to the joint council on international children's services, the reasons for MOWA's dramatic cutbacks are:

1) the assumption that corruption in intercountry adoption is systemic and rampant

2) the Ministry’s resources should be focused on the children for whom intercountry adoption is not an option

not only is this information disturbing, but i can't help but to think of the many friends we know waiting anxiously to hear if this new system will come to fruition or not. my heart is particularly burdened for 2 friends in the home study process, 1 waiting on UCSIS approval, 4 waiting on court dates, and many waiting on embassy approval and clearance to bring their children home at last. ugh. these are just a few of the very real families we know waiting to give all the love and care in the world to a few ethiopian children. so many more are in their same situations...just waiting, hoping, and praying that this plan will be reconsidered.

my heart is even more burdened though for the millions of orphans in ethiopia that may never have a chance at a loving family if this is put into effect! this change could potentially cut the amount of international adoptions from ethiopia to just 500 per year, which is down from 4000 per year. meaning that 3500 children that could possibly have loving homes in just one year's time would be waiting in understaffed and understocked orphanages for years at their chance to possibly be adopted.

will you please join our family in praying for adoptions to stay open and ethical in ethiopia??

this is BIG. BIG for the children of ethiopia. BIG for the families who desire to love and parent these children. BIG for our family who hopes to possibly one day return to ethiopia and bring another brother or sister home for greer and charlotte. just BIG.

my heart is breaking just thinking about this. however, i do know that we serve a sovereign God and i'm praying that He's using this to shake up the system a bit, to get unethical adoption agencies out of the country, and to smooth the way for adoptions to continue in ethiopia for a long, long time. God is for orphans. He is for setting the lonely in families. He even gets justly angry over the harm of orphans and i believe that He is already all over this...

"DO NOT take advantage of a widow or an orphan. if you do and they cry out to me, i will certainly hear their cry. my anger will be aroused, and i will kill you with the sword;" -exodus 22:23-24a

we need to be crying out on behalf of these orphans!!!

if you want to help in other ways besides prayer, there are a few ways that you can do so here: emergency campaign for ethiopia. in particular, there is a petition to sign that will be given to the prime minister of ethiopia, as well as, a photo book with short, personal testimonies from families who have already adopted from ethiopia being given to MOWA. please help in any way you can!! thanks :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

wow. i can't believe we're only 5 sleeps away from leaving for our second trip to ethiopia!! i was beginning to think this would never happen and now i'm panicking a little about whether or not we can get everything in order before our trip. ah, the craziness of life always sneaks up on me! oh well. my to do lists can always wait...i've got a little boy to love on and bring HOME. and i doubt he'll even care if i've organized all my fabrics in my sewing room by color, washed the dogs, cleaned all the blinds, dusted ceiling fans, taken books and clothes to go0dwill, etc :)

so, as we wait for this final time, ryan and i are soaking up the last few days as dinks {double income, no kids} and are trying to rest up!! soon we'll be spitks {single + part time income, two kids...and that's just not as fun in an acronym}.

we had a fun, but busy weekend. we spent friday night strolling around the mall like we used to in high school with really no purpose {unless you count my mandated trip to the cookie shop}. and much to our delight, after a quick meal at the good ole mall food court, we ran into my bestie lindsay and her husband joe joe, so that made our strolling even more fun!

saturday was jammed packed with an adorable little guy's 1st b-day party, a welcome home celebration for our friends coming home from ethiopia with their twins, and a dinner with 4 other waiting adoptive families from our agency. {have i mentioned lately how much i love our agency and its families?? i mean seriously. these people were all perfect strangers to us just a few months ago and now it feels like we've experienced a whole lifetime together.}

yesterday, ryan and i taught the pre-k class at church, took our nieces out to lunch and bowling for mikenna's 7th b-day that we'll miss while in ethiopia, headed to do a little last minute stocking up at s@m's club, and finally came home for dinner and house cleaning. i don't know if it is pregnancy related or what, but my feet HURT last night like they haven't in a very long time!! ryan says it's because i don't believe in practical shoes, aka - tennis shoes. maybe for these last 11 weeks of my pregnancy i should rethink it but i don't really believe in any shoes except for flip flops and cute ballet flats. seeing as how i'm in desperate need of a pedicure right now, i've mostly been opting for flats so i guess my feet will have to suffer for the time being.

today, i embarked on my last full week as a full time employee at my job. it's very bittersweet as i'm not really sure what my life will look like not working full time, but i'm really excited to be able to dedicate more of myself to being a full time mommy. when we had R & P, i constantly felt like i was never really able to do anything well...parenting or working. i struggled desiring to be where i wasn't at the time and feeling like everyone around me was getting short-changed. however, moving forward, ryan and i have prayerfully decided that i'll be going part-time at my job, and the organization i work for has graciously allowed me to take a step back. the only problem i see with all of this is that one less income plus two more mouths to feed doesn't exactly add up! yikes, pretty scary but we are trusting the Lord to continue providing as He has been so faithful to do in the past. so, following our return from ethiopia, i'll be working solely from home for awhile so that greer can get acclimated and our attachment process can get underway. after awhile, i'll return to the office 2 days a week and greer will go to my mom's for lots of spoiling while i work. it should be an interesting time and i'm sure we'll have lots of kinks to work out, but i'm so thankful for the privilege to be home getting know my son for awhile!

well, that's basically everything going on in our lives right now as we wait out this last week. i hope y'all had a great weekend!! happy monday to you :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

our first meeting

in preparing to go back to ethiopia for our second trip, i have been thinking a lot about our experiences on our first trip. of course, the first thing that always comes to mind about that trip is our first meeting with natty.

i know i posted these on f@cebook but i thought that i'd go ahead and post them here too...just in case we aren't "friends" :)

here are the moments that i will forever cherish and never forget:

our first glimpse of his orphanage. the gate we'd been waiting to see...
touring his orphanage before we met him...

right before walking into his room for the first time...

the first moment we saw him...

holding and carrying our baby for the first time EVER...

daddy's first time holding him...

not sure what to think of each other...

first kiss from momma...

my absolute favorite picture of the day...

Friday, March 4, 2011

flights are booked.

we booked our flights last night and i think things are pretty much in order for our trip to bring greer home. what a relief!

we are going to be leaving kentucky on saturday, march 12th, staying in D.C. over night, then leaving D.C. on sunday afternoon for arrival in ethiopia on monday morning. on tuesday, march 15th, we'll take greer with us to the US embassy in addis for his visa interview. from what we've heard from other families, this interview is pretty easy...about 5 minutes of quick questions to confirm that what we've been told about his background is accurate compared to his paperwork. if we pass the interview, the embassy will keep his passport for 2 additional days and stamp in his visa for his entrance into the US.

on thursday, we'll pick up his passport and begin packing our bags and saying our goodbyes before flying out on friday evening. thinking about leaving the friends we've made in ethiopia at our adoption agency without a scheduled return is already hard, but at least this time we aren't leaving our boy!! i know that the nannies at the transition home have taken such good care of our boy and i can't imagine how hard it is for them to have to say goodbye to him. i hope that we can accurately express our gratitude to them while we are there. here is natty greer with one of his favorite nannies on our last trip:

welp, that's all i've got for today...

this weekend will be a busy one! we've got lots to finish on our "to do" lists before leaving, plus some fun stuff thrown in too. i can't wait to hit the ground running and to be a few days closer to reuniting with greer. i hope your weekend is fabulous as well!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

travel dates confirmed!!

we have an embassy date of tuesday, march 15!! we are still working on our flight arrangements and logistics but i'm so happy to know that this time next week, we'll be down to our final days at home with just the 2 of us!

i'll let you know more when i know more. praise God! i get to see ethiopia again and kiss my boy sooner rather than later :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

not yet but soon

we don't have our travel dates just yet, but we're inching closer and closer to them by the minute. unfortunately, the embassy is closed today for a holiday - the victory of adwa {when ethiopia defeated the italians in 1896 from trying to colonize them} - so we hope to hear something tomorrow or friday. is it just me, or does it seem like the embassy closes for a lot of holidays? maybe i should rethink my line of work...

however, we did hear today that we did not receive an embassy appointment for next week as we had originally hoped. it looks like the embassy is totally booked up for next week already, and so are most of the flights. instead, our agency has requested our appointment on march 14, 15, or 16. if we get any of those dates, then we will be leaving around saturday, the 12th, so that's not too far away! not to mention, that is absolutely the latest my doctor will give me clearance to travel. i guess we like doing things down to the wire, yikes! i am really at peace with this and hoping that the extra few days of lead time will reduce our plane ticket costs so we don't totally break the bank. plus, we know our little man is in good hands!!

our friends and previous travel buddies, lewis and margaret, are in ethiopia right now picking up their twin boys. they had an embassy appointment yesterday and passed with flying colors so we're totally stoked for them. since they've been in ethiopia, they've been keeping us updated on little greer nathanel via f@cebook since they are staying at our agency's transition home. we love hearing about his progress and seeing pictures of him, especially these latest ones:

it looks like we're not the only ones not handling all this waiting very well :) according to lewis and margaret, our little guy is not the friendliest towards new friends. we're hoping this is a good sign of a strong attachment with his nannies, and not a sign of many tearful months to come! when i saw these pictures, i told ryan that we better enjoy our last week and a half or so of peace because things are about to get a little loud around our house. ha!

we've also heard that our little guy has begun walking. he was furniture cruising quite a bit when we were there in december so i figured he'd probably be taking off by now. apparently, he's still pretty unstable if he's not holding on to something but it's probably because he's so little! i know he's almost 16 months old, but picturing him walking already is funny to me. i guess we'll see how good his skills are when we get there...

tears or no tears, we cannot wait to get to our boy again. i cannot even begin to express how happy i am that the end is in sight!! it's hard to believe, but we attended our very first informational meeting for our adoption agency, arise for children, exactly one year ago today, and now we're preparing to book flights to bring him home at last. what a gift! if you are looking into adoption, i would strongly recommend checking out our agency :) this process is never easy but we are so appreciative of the hard work our agency has put in to make our son's homecoming a reality. they have prayed for us and with us, encouraged us not to give up, and introduced us to a great network of other adoptive families, and for this we will forever be grateful!

i'll keep you updated tomorrow as we hopefully hear our exact travel dates. oh, and if you think of it, please be praying for all the logistics - flights, hotel in d.c., ryan's work schedule, me traveling while 7 months pregnant, etc to work out perfectly for this second trip.

ps - if you're still also in the waiting process of adoption, read this great post from jamie ivey. it's such an encouragement to know that others get it. loving kids from afar stinks, but it helps to know that there is eventually an end and that others can relate. seriously, praise the Lord for the blog community!