Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Thursday, February 24, 2011

the wait continues...

For several days now I have thought about a new blog post...and then sit down to do it and nothing comes out. Nothing ever seems worthy of blogging about. I am struggling. I'm not good at waiting. I have good days and bad days. Or maybe I should say good times and bad times. But, that's how it is with anything that you're waiting for. I've been trying to get things done. Clothes are washed and put away. The nursery is coming along. I go up there a lot...and just look around. Sometimes I move something to a different shelf. Sometimes I refold the clothes. The other day, I went in and sat down in the glider and cried. There is a longing for my baby that is hard to describe. Rudy followed me up there and wanted to sit on my lap. So I rocked the dog...longing for the day I can rock my baby boy.

I'm no stranger to waiting and longing. This time last year we were closing in on a year long deployment. There were days that I just wanted to throw a fit. I was tired of sleeping alone. I was tired and being in a quiet house all by myself. Tired of eating cereal for dinner. Tired of hearing civilian friends complain that their husband was gone for 2 days. Tired of talking to my husband through a computer. But, low and behold, the day finally came. He was home! In my arms! Eating dinner with me! Going to sleep with me! Talking to me face to face!

So now, as I stare at pictures of sweet Levi...I am reminded that this too shall pass. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

the reason

Right before our trip to Ethiopia, our pastor at church asked us to stand up and talk about our adoption. Jason was preaching that day, so he kindly let me do the adoption talk. The last thing he said to me was, "just don't cry." HA! I think I cried through the whole thing. But, knowing that I would cry, I typed it out so that I didn't babble and would still make sense.

Here is what I said...

So, why adopt? It kind of goes back to Manuel’s message last week when he was talking about the value of human life. Jason and I have talked about adopting since before we got married. But, its not just a way to expand our family. We don’t have any biological children and don’t know that we can’t. But, it’s about saving a life. Its about giving a child a chance. A future.

John Piper did a sermon on adoption, and someone recently read part of it to me. I think it sums up a lot of our view of adoption perfectly.

He starts with Ephesians 1:1-6. I’m gonna skip ahead to verses 5 & 6. In love, he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

I think first and foremost our desire to adopt comes from the fact that we ourselves have been adopted by Christ.  Without this reality we would have no hope or future in this life. 

This sort of leads in to one of the implications he gives for adopting children…which is that we adopt a child for God’s glory, not our own. And that’s where we are. Jason and I want to bring a child into a covenant family and to share our faith with him. To give him hope and a future in the same way that God has given us those things. He will obviously not be ours biologically but, we hope that this will  serve as a testimony that God didn’t adopt us according to the color of our skin or any thing else that he could have seen in us but because he loved us.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

today was the second court date...


We are so so so happy!! Jason told me I can now legitimately call him daddy. :)

God is so good. And now there is one less orphan in this world.

Psalm 7:17 -- I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness

And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Showered with love

Once a month the Chaplain Wives get together for a coffee. A coffee is a military tradition, usually for the wives. Its pretty much a social event. Most units have regular coffees, although our's does not. But, the Chaplain Wives have one every month. Its a great time of fellowship, food, and laughs. We take turns hosting the monthly event. Last month it was a baby shower for me!!! My good friend, Carrie, hosted it at her house. It was simple and low key...and perfect. She had just the right amount of decorations. The perfect assortment of food. And read the most touching sermon about adoption. I was crying before I ever started opening gifts. I was so blessed by the wonderful group of Chaplain Wives at Ft. Bliss. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Last Day

Our last day arrived way too quickly. Our flight was at 11:45 Saturday night but we had to check out of our room at noon. Knowing it would be many, many hours before we would shower again, we decided to not rush around Saturday morning. We slept in the best we could, went to breakfast and then packed up our stuff. After getting ready, we checked out of our room. The guest house let us keep our suitcases there instead of lugging them around with us. Knowing that Levi typically napped at this time, we ventured out to the mercato. We wanted to stock up the orphanage with formula and although Danny said there were other places to buy it, he wanted up to experience the mercato. And an experience it was! There aren't really words to describe it. There were people everywhere. Stores everywhere. Cars everywhere. And there didn't really seem to be any order. I have no idea how Danny found a store that sold baby formula, but he did. After some negotiating by Danny, we were able to buy the formula and make our way back to the car. I have to admit, this was the only time I really felt unsafe while we were in Ethiopia. Danny had warned us to watch ourselves and our pockets because if anything would happen, it would be here. I followed closely behind him, with Jason right behind me. Of course, Jason said he was instantly in mission mode. I guess his time in the Army has paid off. At any rate, I was very happy to be back in the car. On our way back to the transition home, we stopped at Kaldi's. This time I had an iced caramel macchiato. They loaded up on the was awesome. 

Finally it was time to head over to Hope. I'm pretty sure I cried the entire way there knowing this was going to be our last visit with Levi. Actually, I had cried several times throughout the day thinking about leaving him. Anyway, we arrived at Hope to find our sweet little Levi still sleeping. After waiting what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only 15 or 20 minutes, he woke up. We spent the rest of the afternoon with him. It's funny how quickly the hours pass when you're trying to savor every minute with your sweet little baby. For the most part, we just sat there playing with him and loving on him. I tried to not let myself think about every minute that passed by was one minute closer to saying bye. Occasionally I would tear up and Jason would put his arm around me and silently let me know he was feeling the same way. I did my best to enjoy the last moments and tried to remain happy. We were there for a couple of hours and not once did he fuss or cry. After we fed him his bowl of cereal, we headed outside to enjoy some fresh air. Jason played soccer with the older kids, while Levi and I watched. He loves to be outside and he loves watching the older kids play. The older kids love him too. They were constantly running over to us and tickling his tummy or touching his face. Eventually the gate guard told us Danny was back to pick us up. This time I couldn't stop the tears. They were streaming down my face. Jason put his arms around us and we stood there for several minutes in a little family group hug. He told me that it was probably easiest to just hand him over to the nannies and leave quickly. Easier said than done. I did finally hand him over which is one of the hardest things I've done. I noticed the nanny was crying too. UGH! Anyway, we climbed into the car and drove in silence back to the guest house. 

We had such a wonderful time getting to know our son and loving on him. I am in awe that God chose us to be sweet Biniam's parents. I feel so blessed that we have the privilege of raising him and pray that we can be the best parents we can be. We take the calling of raising children seriously and will always try our hardest to be Godly parents to Levi Biniam. 

After loading our suitcases into Danny's car, we made our way through the guest house saying bye to the staff and other families. The guest house was such a wonderful experience. The staff was awesome and we got to know other adoptive families pretty well. I think there were 10 other families staying there. There was only one other American family and she was with our agency. It was such a blessing to spend time with Jennifer and her kids. She was there for Embassy. Her husband came in November for court, so it was just her and the kids. I really enjoyed spending time with her and sharing stories. We ended up eating most of our meals together at the guest house, exchanged info, and cried when we hugged bye. 

Finally we made it to the airport. We were really early, but there was no where else for us to go. We said our goodbyes to Danny and I got teary eyed again. He was such a great driver and we hope to use him again next time. We're already friends on facebook!  

After over 30 hours of traveling, we made it home. 

Thank you for following us on this journey.

We love you all so much.

ps. I hate reading super long posts and seeing no pictures. so, I've included a few pictures of Ethiopia. Hopefully in 5 more days I'll be able to share pictures of Levi!
a random donkey...its not uncommon to pass donkeys or goats as you're driving through the city

looking out of the kitchen at the guest house

a view of the yard at the orphanage

flowers from a tree outside of Levi's room

the sweet gate guard at the orphanage

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 3: Court

Hi again, was court...we did not officially pass. It was a long morning, with many tears and lots of frustration. We arrived at court at 9 and there were tons of other families waiting too. We stood around waiting for them to call us. I've heard you can wait up to 3 hours but we were called back fairly quickly. The judge speaks to the birth family first and then us. She asked us a few questions and I thought she was going to say, ok he's your's. But...she didn't. She said, well that's what I want to hear and then mumbled something else and we were escorted out of the room by our agency rep. It turns out our MOWA letter wasn't there yet.
 So, we waited for 2 more hours. Then our rep told us that MOWA was very busy and they couldn't do our letter today. Our rep doesn't speak english very well so it was very confusing. We took our driver with us to help translate and it was still confusing. So, after all that, we haven't officially passed court and we now have a second court date. Its not until February 9. :( I am disappointed and frustrated but its not really anyone's fault, I don't guess. The MOWA letter seems to be the biggest issues for families not passing court. ( MOWA (Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs of Ethiopia) must submit a letter to court saying that everything is in order for your adoption. They have had a difficult time getting the letters to court on time, as was the case with is not a reflection of our particular case and we will get our letter's just not ready yet.) It was hard though because while we waited we watched many other families walk out of the judge's office happy because they had passed. The other major hard thing about today was meeting Levi's birth mom. We got some information about her the other day, but it was incredibly emotional meeting her. I found myself staring at her, wanting to remember as much about her as I could. I could tell she was uncomfortable though. She does not speak amharic, which is the main language in ET. She had a translator with her, but I didn't realize all of this until we were back in our car. I thought the woman with her was her mother. So, it was a little like playing telephone. I would ask Danny to tell her something, he would tell her translator, who would then tell her. Who knows what she was actually hearing. We did take a picture with her and I hugged her. More like held her. I was almost to the point of sobbing and she began crying too. I heard that Ethiopians don't like to show emotion, especially in public, so I'm sure this was hard for her too. All in all, it was emotional and painful. But, I'm grateful for the chance to have met her and hopefully she knows how much Jason and I already love her precious baby boy.

After court, we went to lunch. Our driver has gone home everyday for lunch, but today he let us to take him out. We were on our way back to Hope to hang out with Levi and I was craving Starbucks. :) We passed a Kaldi's, so Danny pulled in. Kaldi's is very similar to Starbucks...they even wear the green aprons. The coffee is amazing in Ethiopia.  After that we went back to the orphanage to see Levi. He was sleeping when we got there so we hung out for a while and played with some of the older kids. It's so nice to love on them too.

Levi woke up a happy little guy. He really is the calmest baby I've ever seen. He is so pleasant and easy going. (I know I keep saying that, but its true!) We had a really great visit with him. We were able to talk with the nurse about him and get some more information. She was really nice and showed me what they feed them. She also answered a few medical questions I had. The staff prepared a coffee ceremony for us. This consists of coffee and popcorn, both are amazing.  We also got to feed Levi a "snack." This time it was green...but smelled like mashed up bananas. We were sitting outside and all of the older kids were hanging around. We brought a little photo album for Levi and the older kids loved looking at our picture and then pointing at us. Shortly after we finished the coffee, Levi had a blowout diaper on Jason! As always, its hard to say bye to him and I cry thinking about how tomorrow is our last day with him.

I think overall, Jason and I are diappointed that we go home tomorrow night not knowing for sure that we will pass court. But, we know its in God's hands and that He is bigger than this problem. We will just have to wait a little bit longer...
There is someone waiting for the computer...she keeps coming in asking if I'm almost done, so I better wrap this up. It takes almost 20 minutes to type this email because the keyboard is broken. :)

I don't know if we'll get to email tomorrow. Our flight leaves late tomorrow night, but we have to check out of the guest house at noon. We'll spend most of our day with Levi. Pray for us as we tell him bye. The next time you hear from us, we should be back in El Paso. Thanks for your prayers and thank you all for your love and support.

Lindsay and Jason

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 2: spending time with Levi and a traditional meal out!

We are back at the guest house and waiting for dinner. Jason isn't sleeping...he's just resting his eyes, so I thought I'd send a little email while the computer was free. Today was a great day. We hung out with our cute little man this morning and again later this afternoon. He is such a sweet baby. We got there this morning during bottle time, so we were able to finish giving him his bottle. He is so happy and sweet and we love him to pieces. We take turns holding him and I hate when I have to hand him over to Jason! Another family from our guest house was at the transition home while we were there so they joined us for lunch. Our driver had his own lunch plans so he dropped us off at a little restaurant down the street from the guest house. The other family is from Ohio and have been such a blessing to be with. Its just the mom and the two kids they're adopting. The little girl is 8 and speaks english very well because she spent a lot of time with some missionaries. She was a huge help to us while ordering our food. It was a traditional Ethiopian meal but I'm not sure exactly what it was. It was a fun experience, that's for sure!! After lunch we had our driver take us to do some shopping. That was a crazy experience too! It was a little overwhelming to be honest with you. There are always people following us asking for money. And the shop owners jack up the prices because we are American. Luckily, Danny is there to help us out. He gets them to come down on their prices and tells us if its a good deal or not. He's very helpful and trustworthy. After that we went back to spend time with Levi. He was napping when we got there and he is soooooo cute when he's sleeping! Luckily he woke up right away. He was again, so happy!! I know I say that a lot, but he's seriously such a happy little guy. I'm amazed a what a good baby he is. I think I was afraid he'd cry the whole time and we wouldn't know what to do!! We played for awhile and just enjoyed being a cute little family of 3!! It's funny how I could just sit and stare at him for hours. One of the nannies brought in some kind of food for all of the babies so we were able to feed him. I have no idea what it was but it smelled like white gravy! He actually ate the whole bowl, which seemed huge to me, and this was the first time we have seen/heard him cry or get mad. Apparently we weren't feeding him fast enough. :) The nanny looked over and said, faster! We managed to feed him and not get too much food on him. But, I'm a real mom now because I'm wearing my son's drool and baby food all over MY shirt! As always, the time comes to leave. I hate saying goodbye to him and miss him the whole time we're not with him. We are really struggling with the jet lag/lack of sleep.

We have court tomorrow morning. Please pray that all goes well and we hear the judge say, "he's your's." We will also be meeting Levi's birth mom. I'm already emotional about meeting her so pray that it goes well and we can communicate our gratitude for her precious baby.

We've taken over 300 pictures! Can't wait to share them with you!! And thanks for all of the people who responded with his weight! :)

There is again a line for the computer, so I'm going to go.

love you all,
Lindsay and Jason

lunch with our new friends
a view of Levi Biniam's room

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 1: Meeting Levi Biniam

We are home and adjusting back to normal life. The jet lag has taken a toll on us. We arrived back in El Paso Sunday night around 7:00 and were warmly greeted by the youth from our church. That was a fun surprise!! We went to bed around 10:30, beyond exhausted. I woke up around 5:00 am and could not go back to sleep. Jason slept until!! Last night was much better for me...I went to bed at 7:30 and woke up around 6:30 this morning. Neither one of us slept straight thru the night last night, but I feel much more rested today. Jason is back to work today and I'm doing stuff around the house. I'm ready for things to be bck in order again. While
we were in Ethiopia, I sent a daily email update to family and friends. I will update the blog each day with that email. It's killing me that I cannot post pictures of sweet Levi yet. It's the first thing I am going to do after I hear that we pass court next week. Until then, here are the updates...
Hello again!I have waited 45 minutes for the computer and I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open.We slept well last night. Jason was wide awake at 5:30...I slept in until 6. :) We got ready for the day and went to breakfast in the dining room of the guest house. There are many families here also adopting, but we are one of the few american families. After breakfast we called our agency's office and arranged to have our driver come assoon as possible.

He picked us up in cute little Toyota and we were off. I was a little nervous as we got in last night while it was this was our first time seeing the city during daylight. The driving is crazy!!!You just go and basically pray no one hits you. People walk in the street and there are honking horns every second. We only drove for about 10 minutes when we pulled off the main road onto a dirt/gravel/bumpy/doesn't really seem like a real road kind of road. His phone rang and apparently we were at the right spot. They had moved Levi to the Hope Transition Home and we were parked right outside. I have to admit that I got a little teary as we were driving through the city knowing we were on our way to meet our son. I had no idea it would only take 10 minutes to get there!!

We walked into the gate and into the Hope office. We introduced ourselves and then they said we were free to go see our son. We walked over to another building and there was a door that said infant room. We walked in and looked around but didn't see him right away. Then a nanny picked him and showed him to us. Immediately I teared up and stared at his beautiful face. She handed him over to me and I fell in love. He is so sweet. Daddy was busy taking pictures of us. After I kissed him and loved on him for a moment, I handed him off to Jason. (he had tears in his eyes too...and the look on his face, I'll never forget.) I snapped a few pictures of him and Levi together. We made our way over to a couch where we just laughed and smiled and admired our precious baby. We were able to hang out with him for an hour, maybe more. The other babies in the room were demanding attention too, so we took turns holding Levi and playing with the other babies. Jason had the honor of feeding his first bottle from mommy and daddy. He was more interested in playing than eating. After a while, he fell sleep in my arms. Precious!! We put him in his crib and walked outside because they were preparing the coffee ceremony. We met another family who is here for their embassy appointment. We shared the coffee ceremony with them and then joined them for lunch. It was nice to meet another family and share our stories. After lunch we went back to hang out with Levi for a bit. Then because we were dead tired we came backto the guest house, took a nap and then ate dinner here.

one of the nannies preparing the coffee ceremony

Before I go...I'll share some thoughts on Levi. He is super tiny!!! His little legs are so skinny. The nurse weighed him and he was 6.4kg. Someone convert that for me!!
(I now know that it converts to a little over 14 pounds!) He may be small but he is beautiful and happy.He didn't cry one time and laughed a lot on the second visit. He loved Jason's hat and we love him. I can't wait to share the pictures. We'll go back tomorrow to hang out and then we'll do some shopping.

We're off to bed. The tylenol pm works great!!!

here are some pics:
our room at the Yeka Guest House

Jason and our driver, Danny on the first day

me in the backseat on the way to meet Levi Biniam