Tuesday, April 28, 2009

First Bath with Mom and Dad

Monday, April 27, 2009

Meeting Melat

Friday, April 24, 2009


We are home at last, though not at the time we had intended. We had to take a later flight from Washington DC, since I spent most of the flight from Ethiopia either doubled over in my seat or in the bathroom, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I have never been so glad to be home. After some time of adjusting to the jet lag, mixed up sleep schedules, and general family regrouping, we'll be sure to post more.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Truly, All God's Children...

Allan writing again: "I am Kansas!", "I am Ohio!", the older boys said
excitedly. "Kansas!" a younger boy added taking the arm of the older
"Kansas"; they nodded when I identified them as brothers. These were,
of course, not their names they were sharing, but they were every bit
their identification as they waited expectantly for the day their
families would come and take them to America as we were for our Melat.
Still, there was something important they wanted to tell me. Pressing
their hands in front of them and bowing their heads, they gathered
around a boy who I knew was named Dave (one of the only names I can
remember!) Through our simple words and gestures, I understood what
they were communicating: Dave was still waiting to be matched to a
family; he was not a "Kansas", "Ohio", or any other of the 48 states
yet. This was how my day visiting Hannah's Hope ended yesterday
(Tuesday). Sarah and I had been able to wake up with Melat cradled in
her Moses-basket next to us. After bottle, bath, showers and breakfast,
we had headed back to her transition home to let her nap there while we
made our one and only trip out to shopping. It was hard for each parent
in our group to leave our children behind, even if only for a few hours,
but not so hard when you see first-hand how loved they are with their
'special mothers'. The best part of the day was coming back to reunite -
Melat still remembered us :) As she sat happily in momma's arms and
watched, I got to play with the other kids in the courtyard. They were
so much fun! Playing catch with balls, posing for endless photo shoots,
racing hotwheels, fixing dislocated axles on said hotwheels, and, of
course, soccer. The older boys relished the chance to kick a new, neon
yellow soccer ball around the court (purchased by one of our group).
Apparently, getting a funny looking adult like me to play with them was
a treat. It took about five minutes for them to finally communicate the
idea of playing 'keep-away', but we finally got on the same page and
had a great time...even though, when I missed, they insisted that I not
have to be "it" - "Ish, ish."(it's okay) they would say as they tapped
their chest and graciously insisted on taking my spot instead. One of
our best memories of this time at Hannah's Hope was when Tim and Dawn
pulled out cardboard Spiderman masks to fold and wear. Every boy, young
and old alike, swarmed them and soon the yard was full of web-flinging
superheroes! We'll share pictures of that when we can. I only wish it
was easier to visit these precious children than living on seperate
sides of the world will allow. It is a joyous place that truly fills
you heart. Today is a slower day that will be spent mostly around the
hotel with an afternoon trip back to Hannah's Hope. Tonight will be a
special trip to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant with music and
dancing... I'll volunteer Sarah to do the shoulder dancing if they ask
for audience participation, or maybe she can do the insanely fast head
shake/twirl. We'll be sure to bring back video of this. One more
thing... During the morning hours, the families from our group whose
children have biological family-members to meet with will be taking
turns embracing that poigniant moment. Even though many of you will
read this after these meetings take place, please pray for the families
on both sides - those giving and those recieving the care of the
child(ren). It is a special, but understandibly heavy moment. Thanks
for your continued prayers through all of this. In Christ's Love,
Allan, Sarah and Melat.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Love At First Snuggle!

Greetings from Addis Ababa! (This is Allan writing)

It is now 1:10AM, Tuesday the 22nd. It's been just a little over 24
hours since Sarah and I got settled in our hotel (it was a looooooong
flight and the 2 hour wait to get our Visa at the airport only made
longer), BUT!... Today Sarah and I made the long awaited walk from our
hotel over to Hannah's Hope, (Melat's transition home), and tonight she
is snuggled with us in our own bed! What a day!

She is that much more beautiful than we knew from her photos, and
extremely cuddly (with a capital 'C')! It has been love at first
snuggle and she has taken well to it all (Remarkably, she has not cried
once - that will probably change, but it's been so sweet for now) Today
was packed with our morning meeting, a bouncy, wild ride through the
streets of Addis to the US Embassy to obtain Melat's Visa. We were able
to get a few smiles from her along the way, but, oh my goodness, as soon
as we got to the quiet of our hotel lobby, she had all sorts of things
to say! What a happy little baby. It is so good to see how well she has
been cared for. In fact, the US Embassy worker processing most of our
group remarked how well-adjusted all the babies were. The only real
trouble we have had has been with taking turns holding her... (ok, so
it's really only my problem)

I should probably sneek back up to bed now, but I'm glad we could get
finally find a time when the computer and dial-up decided to cooperate
so we could let you all know how well we are doing. Pass the good word

Thank you for your prayers! Our God is good.

With Love, Allan and Sarah (and Melat, too!)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Oh boy!

Well, 12 hours from now we'll be leaving for the airport. I am ready to go!

Sort of.

The boys are running around right now undoing all my hard work -- pulling things out of suitcases, strewing toys down the halls. I think there may just be some divine intervention at work here -- you know, when the kids are driving me crazy its makes the separation anxiety that much easier. Its the Lord's way of motivating me out that door. I love the little darlings to pieces, but right now 30 hours on an airplane isn't sounding so bad!

Once we have them safely ensconced at grandma's, we'll pick up the last of the mess and FINALLY zip up those bags.

You know the Robert Frost line, "miles to go before I sleep"? Yep. Still much to be done.

Please pray for all of us, for traveling mercies for Allan and I, patience for the grandparents, and comfort for the boys.

When next we post (hopefully) it will at least be out of state!

And soon we'll be saying... "Oh, girl!"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mobile Picture Post?

One more test... does this mobile test also post an attached picture? We
shall see!

Mobile Systems Check... 1-2-3

In preparation of our trip to Ethiopia, we're testing a new option of
posting to our blog via email. This will allow us to (hopefully) send
the occassional update from the in-country dial-up option while we're
there. So, if you are reading this post then (Hurrah!) we've
successfully posted by email!

For any one else traveling, your Blogger.com site can easily be
configured to do this too. Just look under "Settings > Email" tab and
set a "Email Posting Address"... or ask me how.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bad Timing Update

Praise the Lord -- we were miraculously reinstated for our insurance coverage!

This also means that the last three months, when we supposedly weren't covered -- and had at least one or more doctor visits and multiple prescriptions filled, as it is cold season -- are also covered. This is miraculous because we were told repeatedly that the reason they cancelled us was "company policy" and could not be changed. Our advocate happened to be traveling to company headquarters in another state today and was able to move this mountain on our behalf...or rather, God was able to use her to move this mountain! Our plan representative also took up the cause and wrote a letter to the company. I feel so blessed to be aided by customer service people who actually took the time to serve their customers!

We knew it was a long shot, but our God is a God of long shots!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Plumpin'! *

Wahoo! We just -- and by "just" I mean in the last 5 minutes -- got an update, with photos, from one of the AGCI case workers who just returned from Ethiopia. And let me just say, my day is SOO much better now. I mean, how can one be blue in the presence of such CUTENESS?! She is just beautiful! And, apparently, quite the eater! She's got some mighty cute rolls going on.

Oh man, I cannot wait to hold her!

*If you've seen Madagascar 2, you know what I mean!

Bad Timing

Friday my husband called our insurance company to look into adding our daughter...only to be told that they never received our last payment and that we were cancelled three months ago. Somehow they neglected to tell us that little bit of info back when it happened. Our payment has vanished and so far they are refusing to reinstate our policy, despite the fact that we are willing to drive a payment to them. Nice.

Today we went to our immunization appointment to get our second round of hep shots...only to be told that they made our appointment one day too early (based upon when we got our last round...a certain amount of time has to pass before the next round) and that there are no more appointments this week.

Did I mention that we're leaving for Ethiopia in 5 days?? Yep. We have no health insurance and are only partially vaccinated. How's that for comforting?

We did get an exceptionally kind representative at the insurance co. who is advocating for our case to get us reinstated. In the meantime, we are reapplying -- which is what we're been told is our only option -- but that would mean we won't be covered for another month. We're also going to be buying an interim insurance plan to cover that gap. Its not cheap, but its cheaper than what our medical bills would be without insurance. We also have travel insurance, which would help in certain instances. Judging by our luck, we'll probably need it!

As for the vaccinations, well, we can call early Friday morning -- the day before we leave -- and see if there are any cancellations. We would have to go into downtown Seattle to the travel clinic however, which would require paying for parking AND probably paying double what we would have paid at the regular clinic for the shots. Oh, and hubby would have to miss more work.

Combine all this with the craziness of regular life these days and I'm almost to the point of laughing. Almost. Please pray for us. There is still much to be done.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

At Long Last...Nursery Pictures

These are from a collection of alphabet cards. They spell her name.

Its difficult to tell in photographs, but the walls are pale lavender, with darker lavender crown molding. The ceiling is a pale robin's egg blue.

The furniture is from IKEA.

I think we used a changing table for 2 or 3 months with our first son. From that point on, we just found ourselves changing him on the floor or the bed or whatever. Never used one with our second son and, given the pace of life now, didn't even bother this time around either!

The bedding is pale lavender with gingham.

A well-used (and loved) crib. The flower lamp is from IKEA, picked out by the boys. The amoire was mine as a little girl, and will now belong to our little girl!

In 9 days we'll have the baby to go with it!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Its a Baby, in a Baby, in a Baby


Monday, April 6, 2009

Yo, Grandma Grandma

Its takes a special person to take on these fellas while Mommy and Daddy fly to Africa!

Never Boring

In true chaotic fashion, we received official confirmation of our travel dates last Friday! (The news caught me between the pediatrician's office, picking up antibiotics, and packing to go out of town for the weekend. I was also trying to post regarding receiving our news about court, but hey, now that's old news! Let's just say I was jumping up and down at my son's bus stop and that he was mortified.)

We will be leaving the morning of April 18th, flying cross-country to Dulles airport, then, after a short layover, we will be flying on to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We'll arrive in Addis Sunday evening in time to grab a bite to eat and go to bed. Bright and early Monday morning, we'll get to meet our little girl!

The next few days in Ethiopia will be filled with our appt at the US Embassy, where we will get our little one's travel visa and passport, a short shopping trip, and a cultural dinner on Wednesday night. Thursday we'll pack to fly home later that evening. We arrive back in Seattle on Friday afternoon. Phew. It truly is a whirlwind trip.
Around here, the hurricane of activity to prepare for the trip is getting off to a difficult start. This week just happens to be Spring Break, which means this Mama ain't getting much of anything accomplished! Both boys are battling colds and Daddy has to work around the clock -- literally -- to make up for the time he will be needing to take off. Our color-coded to-do list has never looked so daunting. However, when I get the moment to sit, exhale, and rub my temples a bit -- usually behind a locked bathroom door, mind you -- I think that should it come down to throwing my toothbrush, deodorant, and soap in a backpack, along with a heap of formula, we will manage.

And now, because I know its much more entertaining than hearing me moan about my to-do list, some photos from our weekend outting. We went out to my husband's grandparent's home in Ocean Shores -- a 2 1/2 hour drive. We hadn't seen them for a while and greatly needed the time away with the boys. Miracle of miracles, the sun even shone for few days! Nothing like a trip to a Washington beach in spring...it was a balmy 65 degrees.

Yes, that's me in those big rubber boots. I got them in college when I was studying marine biology and needed to muck around in the surf. I was wearing those things before it was cool, people! Hubby finally got himself a pair this year. He's been jealous of my boots since the first time he saw them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No Foolin'

We got the call this morning -- we passed court! We're not sure when we're traveling yet, but odds are it will be the weekend of the 17th-19th. Our caseworker thought we would know for certain by Friday or next Monday.

Praise the Lord!

Melat Joelle Miller is officially ours!!!