Sunday, February 28, 2010

Well, it's about 5:45 a.m. here now.  I've been up since 3:30 a.m.  We were able to visit the first church and museam in Addis Ababa yesterday afternoon, and then came back to the guest house for dinner.  The food was great, and we were both pretty wasted.  Unfortunately, Joe still had to spend another couple of hours on the phone with airlines trying to figure out who had our luggage and who was going to send it.  Basically, because our itinerary required switching airlines, the two airlines in JFK had been sending our baggage back and forth saying it was the other one's responsibility.  Frustrating to say the least, while we're sitting in Ethiopia with no luggage.  But, at around midnight last night, we did finally get an email letting us know the arrangements for our baggage and the flight numbers.  Lord willing, we should be able to have our luggage tomorrow afternoon.  Of course, we have been given "good" and hopeful news a few times throughout this only to call back to find out "nope, they're still in JFK".  Praising our Lord that we can place our confidence in Him . . . there truly is no confidence in men!
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, today we get to finally meet our son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My heart is filled.  This baggage junk has been overwhelming, and I have been praying for God's grace to "get over it".  Somehow I know that seeing Isaiah's face and holding him will make all of that just melt away!  The plan is to spend a few hours today with him at the transition home where he is living, get to see where he's been sleeping, talk to his nannies and the doctor there.  Then, tomorrow, we take him with us!
We came here for our son, and we are so thankful to be here.  But in the details of things, there are many things in our baggage that will be difficult to find while we are here - diapers, meds, clothes, etc. - things we could find a way to do without, but things that make my mommy heart hurt because of the planning and thought that went into them for our son and the other orphans here.  Parents want to make things "all better" for their children.  And while it is only for a time, my heart has been struggling with the possibility of  not having our luggage when we take Isaiah with us tomorrow.  BUT, God is good, He is faithful, and He is in control!!!!!!!!!!  We are still praying for God to get our luggage here, but also praying for His grace to accept His timing and let go of my plans, no matter how "good" I thought they were . . . man, you think I would've learned this lesson by now!!!
Thanks so much for your prayers and loving support!  Lord willing we'll have some great pictures to post on here tonight of our beautiful son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

We made it safely to Ethiopia, we're at our guest house with no luggage except our carry-ons.  It seems that our flights are worked out for the return trip, but after all of the "fun" the trip, here, we won't really know until we're sitting in our seats on the airplane! ;o)  We feel like we've talked to everyone and their brother at two airlines, and we'll keep making calls until our luggage gets here.  God knows, and we're obviously praying for the luggage to get here soon, but my struggle really is to handle this all in a way that honors God.  Gotta go - appreciate your prayers!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Well, I thought yesterday's travel woes were crazy . . . I had NO idea what we were in for!!! Right now I am sitting in the airport in Dubai, waiting to board our flight to Addis Abab, Ethiopia.

So, we had about a 4 hour layover in Wash/Dulles airport before we flew the 12 hour flight to Dubai. That was uncomfortable, but bearable, especially knowing we were done with our big travel gliche, right?!? Since we had a 12 hour layover here, our airline was supposed to be giving us a complimentary hotel. Knowing this, we tried not to sleep much on our flight over so we could sleep in the hotel and get our bodies on Ethiopia time. Also, because of the long layover, they were unable to check our luggage all the way through to Ethiopia. We would have to pick up our luggage in Dubai and recheck it. This is where the FUN begins!! ;o) So we made it to Dubai, but not our luggage. So we had to fill out a report with United (who we did fly with) and then take a shuttle bus to the Emirates terminal to check with them on our luggage. I was exhausted, disappointed, and fighting back tears already. When we finally find where to go and who to talk to, come to find out that since we were a "no show" for the Emirates flight from JFK to Dubai (see previous post), they cancelled our ENTIRE booking for our flight to Addis Ababa, AND our returning flight back to Dubai, then to JFK . . . and the flight was booked. . . seriously! Now, for those of you who know me (unless I'm self-deceived), I don't think I'm usually what you would call a dramatic person, but I literally got light headed and had to sit down when I heard this! and trust me, no amount of fighting was going to hold back those tears! After much time and confusion, and repeating our story 50 times, they printed us boarding passes and assured us we have flights on the way back . . . of course, we had assurances that we would have our same connecting flight to Ethiopia, and that our luggage was rerouted with us.

This really is the short version, and we are about to get on the plane, so I will have to tell you it all later. Right now, we will have to keep calling back to confirm our return flights, and have no idea where our luggage is - PLEASE PRAY THAT OUR LUGGAGE GETS HERE SOON!! Thanks - gotta get on the plane . . .

Friday, February 26, 2010

So, we've had a crazy day already.  We were supposed to fly Iny - D.C./Dulles - JFK - Dubai - Addis Abba, Ethiopia . . . well, we started out with a 2 hour delay on our flight out of Indy!  I was doing a lot of praying!!  We flew to Dulles, knowing we had already missed our connecting flight to JFK, and got off the plane as quickly as possible thinking we had to try to get a connecting flight to JFK.  It was 6:30 p.m. (the time we were supposed to be landing in JFK) and we needed to be on our flight to Dubai by 11 p.m. 
Wow!  United rebooked us onto a flight from Dulles flying directly to Dubai.  Think God was in control of this one?!?!  So here we sit in Dulles waiting to get on our direct flight to Dubai!  Don't know whether I passed this "trust me" test, but praising the Lord that He is good regardless!!

A Note to Our Family & Friends

As we take off, we just have a few thoughts we wanted to share.
First off, we are so thankful that you have chosen to join us throughout this adoption process. You’ve wept with us when we’ve wept and rejoiced with us when we’ve rejoiced. You’ve supported us through your prayers, your encouraging words, and your wallets. We have been amazed to watch God work, not only in our family, but in the lives of all of you!

We are thrilled beyond words to be going to meet our son and bring him home to his family, his extended family, and his church family! Please trust us when we say that we are probably more anxious for you to meet him than you are! However, we want to be sensitive to what is best for him, particularly during the first few weeks home.

This is new to us. We’ve done some research, but we’ve never done this before. What we do know is that Isaiah needs to know who his family is, and be assured of our love for him and his place with us. We know this will take time, but we have been told by those who have “been there, done that” that these first few weeks are critical. And so, we’re going to pray for wisdom, and “play it by ear”. Our plan is to take the time needed to get over the jet-lag for us, help Isaiah get on Eastern Standard Time, help him get healthy, and begin adjusting to our new family structure.

So, that being said, we hope that you will be understanding to all of this. We’re not going to hide ourselves in a bomb shelter or anything ;o) but we’ll need some time. We don’t want to overwhelm him with crowds during this already scary time. And practically speaking, his little immune system is going to be stressed out, and he may not be able to fight off the virus you might be carrying. And he may be carrying something that you could get from him.

As we said, we are anxious for you to meet Isaiah and rejoice with us in knowing him. We just ask that if you want to visit once we get back home, that you please call first . . . and please be understanding if we need to tell you “no” for now.

As we go, we still are so appreciative of your continued prayer support. Here are a few specific prayer requests for this week.

  • For our flight schedule with all of this nasty weather out east
  • For Joey, Gracie, Madie and Joshua as they spend such a long time away from daddy & mommy
  • For Grandma & Papaw McDaniel as they care for the children
  • For health & safety for all of us involved
  • For God to put Isaiah’s heart at peace, His peace that passes understanding
  • For all of our donation-filled luggage to get there safe, relatively undamaged, and at the same time that we get there ;o)
  • For all of us as we come home and transition into the family that God has made us

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WE'RE LEAVING IN 3 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As my husband so wisely reminded me this a.m., as I about went insane waiting to hear from our agency, nothing is "final" until we're home from Ethiopia with our son. But, our travel dates we're CONFIRMED by the U.S. Embassy, so, Lord willing, we will be on a plane out of Indy, headed to Ethiopia, on Friday afternoon!!!! It doesn't quite seem real yet, since it's been a "maybe" for so long!

If you are reading this, I request that you pray for orphans in general, but specifically right now for Ethiopia and this new policy they are seeking to institute that will affect the lives of so many. I understand the reasons for the policy change, but my heart breaks for the children who will have to wait longer for their family, and the families on this end who have to keep waiting. There are even some who were supposed to travel with us this week who will not be able to. So while we are rejoice, there is still sorrow for those who still wait.

This Psalm was brought to my attention by another family in our travel group - it has been a huge encouragement to me as I've read and prayed through it over these last few days!

Psalm 145
Great Is the LORD
A Song of Praise. Of David.
I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your saints shall bless you!
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
[The LORD is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.]
The LORD upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Okay, so, sure, in my brain right now I know that I should be just completely emotionally maxed out and frustrated right now! And, apart from God's grace, I would be! But my blog post title was truly my first reaction to the email from our agency, as I laughed! I know it's not funny . . . but it kind-of is right now!

So, we still don't know if we are going to travel this weekend or if our travel will be delayed. The meeting between our agency's staff in Ethiopia and the U.S. Embassy was supposed to take place on their Monday, which was last night while we slept, but for some reason the embassy was unable to meet. They are supposed to meet, now, on their Tuesday, which is tonight while we sleep. So, we should ;o) know tomorrow morning whether or not we can travel this week or if we are delayed. If we are delayed, they should be able to tell us how long the delay will be.

Thank you so much for all of you who check here for updates and who are faithfully praying. We need the prayers (I need them), and we are so in need of God's grace! It is only by His mercy on us that we can keep the "big picture" in mind in this situation. We know His will is best and have full confidence in that . . . just kind-of wish we knew what that was right now ;o) But, I guess, it's obviously His will for us to not know for now!

A reminder for myself - "For God, alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from HIM"!!! Psalm 62:5

Friday, February 19, 2010

Guess what?!?!?! . . . more waiting!

So, we still do not know if we are going to be able to travel next week. Our agency expected confirmation from the US Embassy today, and we received an email from them basically saying they're still not sure, but to prepare our hearts as it is looking more likely that our travel will be delayed. They are having some type of a meeting with the US Embassy on Monday and said they would email us Monday letting us know what transpired.

Some of you may have seen a story that was recently aired on CBS regarding an apparent "bad" adoption from Ethiopia, where it seems there was recruiting of children that went on and at the very least, some significant misunderstandings. (This was not through our agency.) That story aired in Australia, I believe, about a year ago, at which point there was concern among adoptive parents that Ethiopia might close their doors to international adoption. But rather than ignoring the problem and just shutting the world out, as other countries in similar situations have done, Ethiopia continued to realize the need of their, literally, millions of orphans and instead stepped up their game with more significant investigation into every adoption. I don't know all that this entails, but I do know that for each adoption court hearing, they search for any known living relative to testify as to the legitimacy of the claims that the child was either a true orphan, abandoned, or willingly given up by the parent(s). That relative is required to be at court in order for the case to be passed. Apparently now, the US Embassy is lengthening their investigation process before issuing visas for these adoptions.

So, the boat we are in at this point is that Isaiah is legally our son through the Ethiopian court, but without approval from the US Embassy, we cannot receive a visa to bring him back to the United States. Lord willing we will hear on Monday whether we will travel as planned or have our travel delayed. We are resting in God's goodness . . . this has not rattled Him, He has not changed! Whatever the news on Monday, He IS good!!! Please pray for us as we wait through another long weekend!

These verses are all too familiar, I know. So much so, that it's easy to glaze over them in our reading. But, as I'm sure you have experienced in your walk with Christ, there are times when God makes our eyes ready and able to see His Word in a new and deeper way . . . these verses have been my heart's prayer and lifeline throughout this adoption process! I just love how this passage starts out . . .

"Have you not known? Have you not heard?The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint."

> Isaiah 40:28-31 <

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Yay! It worked!!!

(see previous post)


Sending a test post to see if I can email updates to my blog.  If this works, I may be able to post updates while we are in Ethiopia!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More news about, well, really nothing . . .

Okay, so we just received an email from our agency, basically stating that they still don't have confirmation from the US Embassy in Ethiopia. They still don't anticipate that they will not confirm our appointment, but don't have official confirmation from them yet. They anticipate receiving this confirmation by Friday . . . one week before we are supposed to be getting on a plane to Ethiopia. They also don't have confirmation yet regarding whether we will or will not be able to meet Isaiah's birth mother . . . they expect confirmation on that by Friday as well.

If we don't receive confirmation within the next 24 hours, we will have to decide whether to go ahead and book our flights, with the realization that we could have to cancel or change our flights if we don't get confirmation from the embassy. If we decide not to take that risk, then we will be risking flight prices going up and, more importantly, that we won't be able to get the flights that we need. Oh, that life would be a little bit more easy ;o)

Oh well, we'll continue to pray and plan toward our trip, trusting His goodness and care for our family!

Nothing yet . . .

For those of you who are checking here for updates, we haven't heard anything from our agency yet on confirmation of our travel dates. So, we're trying to wait patiently. We've been in contact with a travel agent and have some tickets on hold. If God allows, we hope to get confirmation very soon so we can go ahead and purchase the tickets.

Our agency is located just outside of Washington D.C., so with the massive amounts of snow they've had, our agency was actually closed from Friday afternoon, 2/5 until around 11 a.m. on 2/12 . . . and then yesterday, of course, was President's Day. I'm sure they're overwhelmed today with correspondence from many adoptive families, but I'm still hoping we'll hear something.

I'm trying to focus on a verse today, the same one I've had up at my computer desk for the last several months . . .

"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him." Psalms 62:5

In the grand scheme of things, this is just a little blip in time . . . praying for eternal perspective! :o)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Follow You"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Updates . . .

For those of you who are wondering, no, we do not have our travel dates confirmed yet. We don't really know a whole lot about all of the government workings with all of this, but here is the little we do know. When we go to Ethiopia we have an appointment with the US embassy. In the past our agency has always just had a set appointment time with them, so when they got our paperwork completed, they could confirm our travel dates for us. But, because of an increase in US families adopting from Ethiopia, the embassy has set up a new policy and must confirm our appointment. So, now we are waiting for them to confirm that we can have the set appointment time in order to confirm that we can travel on the planned dates. Perfectly clear?? ;o) Apparently we are the first travel group from our agency to be affected by this new policy - lucky us ;o) - so I don't think they really know when to expect confirmation. The travel coordinator at our agency said she doesn't anticipate us having to be delayed, but can't confirm our dates until they get confirmation from the embassy. My heart is so ready to go bring Isaiah home!!

As an update to our previous post, Gracie was doing well yesterday. She was tired, but that seemed normal as we didn't get back from the ER until around 11 p.m. and then woke her up twice during the night to check on her. She had a mild headache for most of the day and a little nausea in the a.m. She was feeling much better in the evening and went to bed around 8 p.m. last night. Then at 9:45-ish she came out crying and holding her head and said it hurt worse than when she fell. I immediately called her pediatrician and got her some Tylenol. While we waited for the return call from the doctor on call, I got us both ready for another very cold trip to the ER. As she was literally writhing in pain, we decided not to wait for the pediatrician to call back and just took off to the ER (which ended up is what he would've told us to do anyway). I was praying the entire way as I could tell she was in a lot of pain, but I was trying not to get into a wreck on the snow drifted roads.

When we got there, they took us back immediately. Since her catscan from the night before showed no issues and she wasn't having any dizziness or blurred vision, they gave her some stronger pain meds and did another x-ray on her neck (from a different angle) to check for muscle or ligament damage. The x-ray didn't show any damage, but the doctor concluded that she has a concussion and maybe some mild whiplash. So, she is feeling much better today, and we will see what tonight holds. I'm really hoping I don't have to spend another night in the ER :o) We praise the Lord for His care of our daughter, and protection of both of us on the roads last night! He never leaves us or forsakes us . . . ever!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happy 8th Birthday to Gracie . . . and what a day it was!!

So, she started her day with a bang, literally, slipped down her ladder while trying to climb down from her top bunk and hit her head. "Happy Birthday, Gracie!" After that her day picked up with her favorite breakfast (banana bread) and a trip to the library for our little bookworm. Then mommy and Gracie went to get her hair cut, which she has been committed to and growing for about 2 years now because she wanted to donate it to Locks of Love. She HATES having long hair, but committed and stuck to it, so as much as it pained me to see her hair getting cut so short, I truly admire her heart and commitment. She was thrilled, and then we all joined daddy down at the church building for lunch. After lunch Daddy took her on some errands and she got to exchange some books she had gotten for her b-day (ones she already had) and spend some of her b-day money. She was having a great day! Then her favorite dinner (chicken, mashed pot., gravy, corn, corn muffins), cake, and present time. She got mostly books as reading is what she loves to do most. She also got The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian on DVD.

The overalls and western shirt were a gift from her grandparents - she loves them! In fact, they were a replacement for ones she grew out of and wanted more!

So,we were all done with her party and were settling down to watch Prince Caspian. Gracie was in her top bunk looking at her books and Daddy warned her not to lean on her bed rail - it'll keep her from rolling out of bed at night, but it's not designed to hold her full weight.

Well, Gracie decided to end her b-day with another bang . . . again, literally. Not two minutes after that I hear crying and run into her room where her bed rail is popped down and she's on the floor. Apparently, she sat back against the rail and fell backwards landing on her head! After getting her calmed down and figuring out what was going on with her (how much was pain and how much was fear), she and I headed to the ER for the rest of her birthday evening. She was absolutely miserable, but the head catscan and x-ray of her neck showed do damage. She's not allowed to do any "close eye work" today, which means no school for her today, but it also means she can't read any of her books, which I know is really hard for her!

All in all, a birthday that I'm sure she will never forget! And we are thanking the Lord not only for entrusting her to us 8 years ago, but for His continued care and protection of her!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We LOVE snow!

Okay, so I really am sorry for all of you who don't like snow, but we really do love it!

In case you're wondering, Joey's eating the snowman's nose ;o)


Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Head & Shoulders . . . Hands & Feet!"

I was so excited to receive an envelope in the mail today from the family who took our care package over to Isaiah a few weeks ago. She sent us a disk with all the pictures she took, but for some reason, Blogger won't let me upload the pictures. (anyone have any insight? the files start "DSC") But we enjoyed seeing them! She also got his hand and foot print for us - priceless! Not only to see them, but to think that his hand and foot were on this paper! It will also be helpful so I can make sure I have the right sized shoes for him when we go.

This is Joshua on the phone to Grandma on January 21 - "We passed court!"

Josh doing his kung-fu moves :o)