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.

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.