Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Eli!

Mornings are lots of fun! We love our Bumbo chair!
I learned to roll over today! I'm getting stronger everyday!!

Gracie and Eli are becoming friends!
Big sis Baylee feeding Eli!

Morning stroller rides are lots of fun!

Monday, August 24, 2009

We are home!!

This is the America World sign indicating we were there as we were driving to the Transition Home to meet Eli! At the very bottom of this post is our "Meetcha" moment on video!!
This is where Eli lived for the last 3 1/2 months of his 6 month life. He was abandoned at the gates of an orphanage at about 1 1/2 months old and lived there for 3 weeks before coming to the Transition home.
Happy family of FOUR! I can't even describe that moment! This event was fully orchestrated by God and I am SO thankful for this gift!

Happy mamma!

Proud daddy!
My two babies!!

A street in Africa as seen through the window of our bus.

This is T, one of our guides. He is such a dear!

This is typical in Ethiopia.......goats, cows, chickens right in the middle of a busy street. The cows and goats are herded right in the middle of traffic. It was something to see.

The beautiful little girl is a street kid. This is who Baylee bought gum from.

Happy baby boy! His chubby cheeks remind me of Baylee at that age. He looks big here, but he really is quite small for his age. He seems very healthy though, but I can't wait for our doctor appointment next week to have him fully checked over.

This sling saved our lives! 12 pounds doesn't seem much, but when you are lugging him around all day all over the city, he got very heavy!! The sling saved my life!

The view from our Guest House terrace. This is Davi with Baylee. She is a precious little girl who Baylee quickly bonded with. Her family adopted a 6 month old and a 4 year old....little girls.

This is a little one that was adopted by another family we were with. She was such a cutie and took to Baylee. She immediately started braiding her hair.

This is at one of our group lunches right before we met our children.

Baylee, Davi, and Madison. Madison's family adopted a 7 month old baby girl. These 3 had lots of fun.

T was wonderful to entertain Baylee and Davi!

Sweet Robel with Eli the day we were leaving. He has such an amazing heart for the children of Africa! T and Robel were such an inspiration and model for Christ. We are planning on keeping in touch and trying to help support Robel's ministry with the street kids. T was actually one of Robel's youth at church when he was young. Baylee got quite attached to these 2 men and wants them to move to America, but I told her that they are God's angels in Ethiopia and need to stay there to continue God's important work.
This little guy captured Brian's heart.

We had a traditional coffee ceremony at one of the orphanges we visited.

The rest of the pics are of our stay in Rome. I took 250 pictures on our 9 day trip actually, so these are just a drop in the bucket! This is the Colloseum.

Vatican.........view from our hotel terrace

I can't remember what this was. I will have to look it up! Ha! We saw so much!

The MOMENT we met Eli!!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Leaving tomorrow!

Today we visited two orphanages.  Eli was abandoned outside the gates of an orphanage.  This orphanage was 3 hours away so we didn't get to go to it.  He was only there 3 weeks before he was moved to the transition home.  The orphanages were a tough thing to see.  The children were amazing.  You just want to scoop them up and take them home.  I got some video of the children singing I will share with you later.  Eli is doing great!  He has been so good as we tote him everywhere all day.  He actually slept through the night last night.  It was wonderful.  We will pray for that again tonight!!  Baylee has been a terrific big sister!  We call her sister mom!!  We are all ready to go home.  We have bonded with the 7 other families, 2 of which will travel with us tomorrow night.  That is comforting to us be traveling together!  After tonight, we will be up for 2 solid days, starting with 3 hours at the Addis Ababa Airport before takeoff, over 20 hours of flight time, 2- 3 hour layovers, and probably 2 more hours at the OKC airport! We would appreciate your prayers!  Love to you all!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We have Eli!!!!

Well, we have the most beautiful baby boy in the world!  He has been so happy and funny.  We heard his first laugh today!  He loves, loves, loves his daddy who is the one who can make him laugh.  We have him at the guest house now and we are learning about who he is.  He has such big expressive eyes that stare right into your soul.  We shopped today up and down the streets.  What an experience that was.  Fun, but so hard too.  There are so many heartbreaking things to see.  Robel, our guide, is a wonderful Christian man who was on the streets at 10 years old.  Now he watches out for a group of about 23 street kids.  He has Wednesday night service with them. Many have come to Christ.  These boys are homeless and sleep on the streets, but Robel teaches them how to work for their money.  They sell gum.  Baylee was especially touched by a young girl not much younger than her so she bought some gum from her.  We have a picture of this beautiful girl with Baylee.  Brian had a touched heart with a particular little boy who he bought gum from.  We have a picture of him as well.  We drove away in tears aching for these unadoptable children, both parentless and homeless.  There are 8 families here including us and we are hoping to all get together and buy these kids shoes, school supplies, and other things they need.  Robel helps them as much as he can.  It costs 40 American dollars a year to send a child to school..  So worth it to one day give them an opportunity to better their lives.  These children are just a drop in the bucket to everything/one we have seen.  This has been the most scary,exhausting, heartbreaking, yet meaningful, life changing, faith stretching, wonderful experiences of our lives.  I will try to upload a picture, but I'm not real optimistic that it will work!  When I get home and have had days to recuperate, I will have lots of pics and video to share!  Love you all!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hello from Ethiopia!

We made it to Addis Ababa today!  It was a very long night!  It is beautiful here, but destitute and heartbreaking too.  It is sure a heart opening experience.  Our guest house is clean and very nice.  We are here with 8 other families, 3 of which traveled to Rome as well.  Rome was fascinating!  It was just amazing to see the sights and learn about the history.  I want to learn more!  We had quite a scary taxi cab ride to the Rome Airport last night!  Wow!  All I can say is no street lines, no traffic lights, and no speed limit!  We didn't say 1 word the whole 30 min. ride there!  That is saying something for me!!!  Tomorrow we get to meet Eli!  We can't wait!  It's hard to believe the time is finally here!!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our little Eli has grown!!

Our baby boy has grown! He has grown 2 1/2 pounds and almost 2 inches in the last month and a half! He is now 5 months old and weighs 12 lbs and is 24 inches long. Poor little guy has had chicken pox already though and a bad case at that! I'm going to try vitamin E on his spots when he gets home. Speaking of getting him home, it's official.......we are leaving August 13!!!! We are heading to Rome first for a couple of days to see the sights and get used to the time change. Rome is an hour difference from Ethiopia. Ethiopia is 8 hours ahead of us! Whew....between jet lag, the time difference, and this emotional journey we are embarking on, I'm sure we will be physically and mentally exhausted when we get home!! We will need your prayers. :) We will get to Rome on Friday at 7:45 a.m. their time, be there 2 full days, leave at 1:15 a.m. and get to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at 8:10 Sunday morning. We luckily have all day to unwind! Monday morning, August 17th, is Meetcha Day where we will meet Eli for the first time. We will be traveling with 7 other families. They call the babies alphabetically, so thank you Brian for being a "C" name!!! We will be called first!!! We will spend a few hours with Eli and then have to leave him. :( That will be hard, but the next day is GOTCHA DAY where we get to keep him FOREVER!!!! Wednesday will be our Embassy Appointment, Thursday, we visit the orphanage, Friday is shopping and then we leave that night at 10:15. We will get back to OKC at around 6:00 in the evening on Saturday! Wowee!! What a journey for this little Oklahoma family of 3!! I'm sure we will be changed forever through it all. I pray that God will make us better people and help us to see things more clearly on a grander scale. Keep checking in, because we will try to post while on our trip to keep you updated!