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Saturday, October 17, 2009

One Year Ago Today

Family picture on vacation in August.

Kately and Lidya playing on the beach.


Taking a picture with Daddy at the zoo in September.







Our never before seen referral pictures.



























One year ago today we got "The Call" that changed our lives forever. In fact this exact time last year I was hearing my daughters name for the first time. It has been such a year since that call last year. Lidya has brought so much joy to our lives. She is a very strong-willed child with a mind of her own. I wish for one day her birth mother could be here to see how much joy and laughter she brings to so many people, not just her family but to strangers. She literally draws a crowd with her big brown eyes, smile and infectious belly laugh.
Katelyn and Lidya have become the best of friends. They love playing kitchen together, reading books, playing school and just sitting at the table talking while Katelyn writes her letters and numbers. Since Katelyn is in all day kindergarten our days have been quite different. It has been amazing to see how much deeper my bond with Lidya has grown. We are loving our "quiet" playtime together.
Sorry for the poor layout of photos. I really wanted my referral pictures first and then our updated pictures. Blogger is not allowing me to move them around.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A month in pictures

Lidya laughing at her sister.

My grown up girl!!!


Fun in the sun. Enjoying the beautiful spring weather.

(Notice the forever snotty nose.)

Holding her own bottle.

Katelyn had been sleeping on the floor in Lidya's room. We have since moved Lidya into Katelyn's room so that they can share a room. They are both sleeping so much better. Katelyn told Matt that she used scared to sleep in her room by herself. I guess Lidya makes her feel brave.

Playing in her exersaucers.

Lidya and her big eyes!!! Love those cheeks.

Favorite toy of all her Jumperoo.

Katelyn reading to Lidya.

Lidya in her Ethiopian outfit. This is one of my favorite pics.

Our one and only family picture to date. We needed this for our post- placement visit. Which went really well.


Katelyn and Lidya playing.

Katelyn actually took this picture of Lidya and I hanging out.

Their matching outfits. I just couldn't resist.

Sorry that I have been MIA. Life is very busy with 2 kids. We are doing very good. I am finally starting to really get the hang of this. Lidya is doing great. We are so blessed to have been chosen to be her forever family. To God be the Glory.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

One month ago today!!

One month ago today I held my daughter Lidya for the first time. It was a very surreal moment. This child that I longed for and prayed for for a year and half was now finally in my arms. Matt and I felt that until we got home and were in our car as a new family of 4 is when it finally hit us. Our desires had come true after all that time. It was real. I truly felt from the time I took Lidya from the arms of her special mother that she was mine. I loved her so much already and felt that connection. Today as I gazed into her eyes thinking back on that moment a month ago I realized how much more my love for her has grown. I can tell that as the days continue to pass we are bonding more and more. She fits right into our family. She is such a joy. Her smile just takes your breath away. Her eyes sparkle with such joy and laughter. I still have many moments when I grieve for her birth mother. I pray for her daily. I pray that God comforts her and gives her peace. Looking into her eyes that day we met, as I held Lidya on my lap and cried I couldn't imagine anything else in my life being harder than that moment. I can't imagine being in her position. My heart truly broke for her. I asked God why she couldn't be the one to raise her daughter, why is there so much poverty that she can't raise her own child. Why couldn't he help her somehow. Then I realized that God did make the way through adoption. Just like he made the way for us to be in relationship with him again through Christ. Just as Jesus is the answer; adoption is the answer. God has chosen our family to care, love, and raise HIS child. The longer that we're home the easier it is to forget Ethiopia, to forget her birth mother, special mothers, even Hannah's Hope. But I never want to forget. I have put pictures in Lidya's room of her with one of the special mothers and a picture that we have of her mother holding her and Almaz. These are the women that first loved her and cared for her. I NEVER want to forget them. I NEVER want her to forget them or where she came from and WHOSE she is. So as the months fly by as this first one did I am making a promise to myself and Lidya to NOT FORGET. Here is the video of first meeting Lidya. Thank you Clark for capturing this moment for us. I'd like to add too, that may we never forget what Christ did for us. How he adopted us into his family and how one day we will go to be with our forever family. This earth is not our home.
video

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pictures of our first few weeks home



Just look how happy they are!!! Such sweet smiles they have.


Lidya loves watching her big sister. Her eyes just sparkle when Katelyn plays with her. Katelyn feels the same.


Just so you all know Katelyn dressed herself this day.



Lidya hanging out in crib. She is doing so good sitting up.




Katelyn LOVES taking a nap with Lidya in her crib.
Mommy loves it when they both take a nap.
(Not to often does it happen)

Katelyn and Lidya playing dress up.

Here are some more pictures since we have been home. It is hard to believe that this Thursday will be a month since our "Gotcha Day". Lidya is doing very good. She is still pretty sick with this terrible cold/virus and ear infection. She has been to the doctor 3 times in 3 weeks and has been on two different antibiotics. Slowly she is getting better. Please pray for her. I still need to get her blood work done but I have been waiting until she can breathe better and is not so sick. Well, have to go Lidya is getting restless in her jumperoo!! (Greatest invention ever. Thank you Aunt Robin)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Welcome to Ligonier Lidya!!!





While we were in Ethiopia, it got extremely cold, then warmed up, got cold again, and then warmed up to a little over 60 degrees. When you have that combination next to a body of water you get what we like to call an ICE JAM. We got a phone call from Emily's brother about 1:30 in the morning telling us, HERE IT COMES. The ice broke up and stacked tight together. With no where for the water to go, it starts spilling over the banks. The ice finally came apart a little bit later and the pictures above are the aftermath. It was definitely a unique experience for me coming from the city, but to Emily and her family it was no big deal. Emily's dad always told me about the ice jams, but I never had any clue what he was talking about. Lidya would never have experienced anything like snow and ice in Ethiopia, so I hope she enjoys it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Big Sister




As you can see from these pictures, Katelyn LOVES being a big sister. As a parent, it couldn't make us prouder to see how excited she gets to help Lidya and help us with anything we need. The other night Lidya woke up at 2:00 in the morning for a bottle, Katelyn got up and sat with Emily just to keep her company until Lidya fell asleep. Then she asked Emily to put a baby moniter in her room so she could help listen for Lidya when she cries. We are still going through the bonding process with Lidya, but it's amazing to see the almost instant connection between Katelyn and Lidya. It's almost like they have been sisters since birth.
Everything is going well with the whole family. I'm still a little tired because I had to go back to work this week and Emily got sick the other day, but from what I'm hearing there are a few other people from our travel group that have similar symptoms. Lidya is adjusting so much better than we could have imagined. She usually only gets up once a night and last night she slept the whole night. I thought she would have a tougher time getting used to our time zone, but not at all. That's it for now. More to come later.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

St. Mary's Day experience





Here's the explaination for my comment about the 500,000 Ethiopians in my last post. Our buddy Clark had arranged for a group of us to go to one of the ancient stone churches Ethiopia is known for on Thurday our last day (or so we thought). Almaz said we could go, but didn't suggest both parents go and one stay back with our kids. That morning starting at midnight, loud speakers all over Addis started with some type of religious chant that lasted until 6:00 in the morning. None of us had any clue what it was and possibly thought it was a Muslim call to worship. That morning when Johannas and Daniel come to pick us up, they informed us it was the Christian church proclaiming St. Mary's Day. So we got in the van and proceeded on our little site seeing adventure. The main thing we didn't realize is that we weren't going to a stone church, but to St. Mary's church about 10,000 ft above sea level and where half of Addis was also making their way. It took us about an hour in a van to make it to the top and we passed A LOT of people making their way up the mountain with A LOT of people already at the church. It was definitely an interesting experience and I'm glad we went because we got a private tour of the museum at the church and learned about the history of St. Mary's church. Needless to say, we were the only white people there and with camera's in hand, kind of brought a little attention on ourselves. These pictures don't do it justice on exactly how many people there were and what a weird feeling it was. We did get approached by a few people looking for money or food, but never felt in any danger. It was an experience that I will never forget.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

We're finally home!!!



Emily in front of the gate to Hanna's Hope.




Matt and Lidya in the lobby of the Union Hotel.




Emily and Lidya getting to know each other.



Here are just a few pictures from our trip to pick up Lidya. To say that this trip was life changing would be an understatement. Of course it would be because of getting our daughter, but it was also because of the Ethiopian people and how they live, how friendly they are, and how differently they view life as opposed to us Americans. I had to go to Wal-Mart this afternoon and I came back and told Emily, I would rather deal with 500,000 Ethiopians than 500 Americans (that's a shout out to Leann, Brett, Jared, Clark, Travis, Mike, and Leslyn with our trip to St Mary's church, but that's a whole other update). Forgetting that it was the Saturday before the Super Bowl in Pittsburgh, needless to say it was crazy. People were rude, in a rush, and not very considerate of others, so those of you who have been the Ethiopia already know that they are the exact opposite of that. Emily and I had a wonderful time and know it was all because of everyone's thoughts and prayers. We definitely couldn't have done this journey without the support from our friends and family. Katelyn is loving being a big sister and cries everytime Lidya takes a nap because she wants to play with her every second she can. Well, that's enough for now. We are still very jet-lagged and our bodies can't figure out if they should be on Ethiopian time or USA time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

EVERYONE SLEPT!!!!!!

Sorry I am late posting today. Got the new update and Emily said everyone got 8 hours of sleep last night!!What a blessing and I know it was simply answered prayers. She said Lidya only woke for a half an hour and went right back to sleep and didn't get up until 7:30!! Tonight they have the cultural ceremony and are really looking forward to it. Tomorrow they will actually be leaving Ethiopia in the evening to begin their long trip home. Thank you in advance for your prayers to continue a safe and "enjoyable" (if that is possible on a 17 hour flight with a 6 month old) but ALL things ARE possible with our God!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ALL GOING WELL!!!!!

Just received another update from Matt and Emily and all is going well. Prayers are being answered as Lidya did sleep some last night and only got up once. Matt had taken a Tylenol PM and got a couple hours of sleep but Em did not and tossed and turned. She did get about 3 hours after Lidya went back to sleep but is getting pretty exhausted. Please pray tonight maybe she can relax some and get a few really good hours of physical and emotional rest. They have the "special" meeting tomorrow at 11 AM (3AM our time) so please if you wake during the night send prayers for this meeting to go well. Emily has always had a special place in a Mother's heart for her and I know this will be very emotional for her and Matt.All you who have gone through this will know how to really pray for them and I thank you in advance.

They went shopping and bought a matching Ethiopian outfit for Katelyn and Lidya which I'm sure are really awesome.

Keep the prayers going - I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 26, 2009

United together at last!!!

Matt and Emily were united with Lidya this morning and she smiled at them right away! I can not even imagine what they must have been feeling. After all these months to finally be with the sweet baby God hand-picked for this special family is truly unimaginable. God is good - all the time - and all the time- God is good. She said the Embassy appt. went off without a hitch and took all of 2 minutes. They go shopping tomorrow. She said they are hoping Lidya sleeps since they only got about 4 hours of sleep last night and are very tired. She thanked everyone for all their prayers and knows they are being answered as everything has been GREAT!! Thanks again and I'll post as soon as I learn anything new.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

THEY ARRIVED!!!!!

Hi Everyone-This is Emily's Mom and I've agreed to keep everyone updated on Matt and Emily's trip to bring their precious one home. I just got an email saying they arrived safe. Both flights went well. Hurray!!!! At least the first half of the grueling flights are done. They were going to bed as it was 10:15 there. In the morning they will go to Hannah's Hope. There is a chance of another Special meeting on Wednesday AM so please keep this covered in your prayers as I can not imagine how emotional that would be. For those of you who have already had that happen I know you will know exactly how to pray for them.



Katelyn is doing well and having a good time so far. She's getting a lot of special attention so I'm sure the week will go quickly for her. Thanks for all your support to Matt and Emily.



When I hear anything else I'll post again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

1 day!!!!!

I can't believe we only have 1 more day until we board the plane for Ethiopia!!!! 72 hours until I can finally hold my sweet Lidya! Words can not describe the joy that I feel to finally be at this part of our adoption journey.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

1 Week!!!!



This is what my kitchen looked like this afternoon!! No we did not decide to redo the kitchen 1 week before we left. When we woke this morning it was -15 degrees. Last night we had one pipe that froze that led to two pipes freezing that then led to one pipe bursting. Of course we had to put a hole in the garage wall and then tear out the one kitchen cupboard to get to the break. A shout out to my wonderful brother who came and fixed it since it happened about 15 minutes before Matt had to walk out the door for church. My brother is so great and just dropped what he was doing to come and help. ( My dad came too!! Thanks dad) Thank you Timmy for all that you do for your family. We love you!!! ( I am blessed to have my brother as a neighbor too!!) Everything is now fixed and put back together.
So, it is so hard to believe that this time next week we will be on our way to Ethiopia. I have so many emotions going on all at the same time. I am just ready for it to be here and be done packing and thinking about everything I have to do. I am ready to hold my little girl in my arms and kiss and cuddle her. Please pray for us as we have this last week to prepare. Please pray for Katelyn as she is going to have a week without her mommy and daddy. I am sure she is going to have so much fun though going to school and helping grandma make curtains for Lidya's room.