Sunday, July 13, 2014

We've Got Our Son

Happy 7th Anniversary to us!!

We touched down in Addis about 11:30pm. So I think that means our official anniversary day began somewhere along the Visa and immigration line. We were the last ones in the line and thus became the last ones on our plane to go through. We quickly grabbed luggage and found our driver. An hour or so of unpacking, an anniversary kiss, and we crashed hard. 

Don't hate me but because we went to bed between 2 and 2:30 am, we decided to forego church for sleeping. We each got some personal bible time after we woke up at 9am and did breakfast. 

Our driver arrived at noon. Our original plan was to grab lunch and then pick up our kiddos. But our guide asked if we would be ok picking up our kids and then heading to lunch with them. You mean that is an option? Yes, please!! 

So we headed over to the transition home and as soon as IC saw us he was in a dead sprint. I got a big hug and then he gave the same to daddy.

We gave him marbles--something he had requested we bring back. Methodically, he divvied them out to his friends, making sure everybody got the amount he deemed appropriate. Then he kept a few for himself. The guide asked me the English word and I told him "marble." I asked him the Amharic and he told me what it was. To me it sounded pretty guttural and I told him it was a difficult word. To which he replied, "You know what is a hard word? Marble." Touché.

IC said some goodbyes (though I think we will be back for a few housekeeping items later in the week). One of the boys turned and asked me how old I was. I told him I was 30 and asked why he was asking. Our guide said he said I looked like a very young mom. And that's when I adopted a second child.

Just kidding. But seriously. Who doesn't love hearing they look very young? This girl eats it up.

We walked out the gate and took pictures by the sign, signifying the end of our son's time in the orphanage. At this point I feel like I should mention there was another sweet family with us. Not just any family. It just so happens God saw it fit to have the G family end this journey with us. Here's what you need to know about the G family. Mama Rachel and I became friends online when we received referrals at the same time. Then we followed each other through the process. They live one state over from us and we met them at a conference. We immediately felt like our families just meshed. Good thing, too, because we found out our kids actually are from the same region and the same orphanage before joining our agency's home. We are hoping to keep them lifelong friends. Because we sure think we are lifelong friends now!

We headed off to pizza lunch all together and shortly after, we arrived at the guest house to hang for the day. It's a weird distinction, the difference between embassy trip and court trip. Court trip the guides and the agency dictate your schedule. Embassy, not so much. We had some requests for the week but we really get to decide what to do and when to do it. Because, you know, essentially we are just hanging out with our son now. So that's pretty cool. And completely different.

First things first: we got cleaned up at home. This included a shower tutorial and newly cleaned clothes. It was precious. And then? Well. Then we played for the rest of the day. We said no to TV and video games and were met with utter compliance (somehow). We got out a 1st/2nd grade workbook and went through several pages. He did really well but some things in the book require cultural understanding. For instance, when we were matching animals to their surroundings, IC had no idea what to do with the dog. So he used deductive reasoning. "Bear? Cave. Bird? Nest. Dog? I guess it goes in this weird building but here they pretty much live on the street." Good point, buddy. Good point. For the most part, though, he did really well.

We put together a puzzle, did a little reading, put temporary tattoos ALL OVER (remember the tattoo story from our first day? We brought temporary tattoos and he was the happiest kid on the block) and did quite a bit of drawing. And then Mama Jess got tired so we laid down for a little while. I woke up and realized IC had crawled in next to E and we were all snuggling. Seriously, guys, great anniversary.

We headed up for a little sight seeing from the roof and IC and I did some cartwheels, spins, and handstands. My kind of thing! And then we headed down for soccer. Not my thing, but definitely his. He's so cute to put up with me as I attempt not to shank the ball ever 3 seconds. Daddy, expectedly, does better than I do. We gave a two-minute warning and headed up to dinner.

Since we had so much leftover pizza, we just did pizza in the room for dinner. I also had some apple squeeze packs and quickly found out he likes apple sauce. Another win. After dinner, we didn't do much. Just chilled, and played with our G fam friends and watched the kids play games. They are super cute together and we've kind of already arranged a marriage. Don't tell.

Around 8:30 we geared up for bed. Another shower (hey--he likes them!), jammies, a snack, and then tooth brushing. We read the story of Jesus' birth from the Jesus Storybook Bible, and said our prayers. E and I in English. IC in Amharic. It was the most perfect end to the best gotcha day ever.

Have you ever seen a cuter kiddo in jammies? I'm sayin.

E and I headed back into the common area of our suite and cracked open a bottle of wine and toasted to our anniversary. It's not where we planned to be when we were two selfish kids who stood on a mountain 7 years ago and said "I do." But God's stories are the best stories and this is more amazing than anything we could have written for ourselves.

We are up early for our embassy interview tomorrow to officially conclude the paperwork-ish process. We can't believe there's a sweet little boy sleeping in the bed next to ours tonight. Thank you for loving us and cheering us along on this journey. We're so thankful for you. And we're incredibly thankful to the Father. We covet your continued prayers on our behalf. This is just the beginning.


  1. We're so happy for you guys! My parents are visiting this weekend and I got to share your store with you, and they are happy too!


  2. I'm crying!!! I am so excited for you I can't hardly stand it!!! Love you friend!!

  3. This is awesome!! How beautiful!! Will keep praying!!

  4. He's so handsome. What a wonderful anniversary and cool provision from God. This family is blessed and I am blessed to read your story. Congrats to all three of you!