Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ethiopia Bound

Whew – I am packed and ready to go – Ethiopia here I come : )

Jonathan and I will leave the house EARLY Monday morning to arrive in Indianapolis around 2:30 a.m. so I can be prepared for departure at 5:30 a.m. This flight will take me to Washington D.C. where I will have a short layover and then fly straight through to Addis! It is a long flight, but will be nice to avoid the layover in Europe this time.

Please pray for safe travels and for Jonathan while he stays behind. We absolutely cannot wait for our family to be reunited on U.S. soil : )

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Another Curve Ball

Ahhhh – I am leaving on Monday morning for Ethiopia!!!

The past few days have been quite busy, so I apologize for the short notice. Many of you will think that we have lost our minds, but we are learning that the adoption process can cause that : )

We received an e-mail from the Embassy on Monday informing us that they would like to complete another interview with a birth relative prior to being able to clear us. We were disappointed; of course, but much more so when we learned the next day that the interview would not occur until October 10. We realize in the big scheme of things, that is not all that far away, but at the moment it feels like an eternity.

Jonathan and I discussed our options (other than just sitting back and waiting) and decided together that it would be a good option to have me travel back sooner than expected to begin the attachment & bonding phase of our lives with Annaliese. Since it has been nearly two months since we passed court, we are just concerned that she is confused about where we are and why we have not come back yet.

So, I will be wrapping up my time at work this week and then leaving for Ethiopia early Monday morning. Of course, the biggest down side to all of this, is that Jonathan is going to miss out on this time with our daughter. Although he is disappointed, he is being very supportive of pursuing this option and looking forward to now getting to take two weeks off of work to be at home with his family when we return (rather than spend one week traveling and one week at home)!!

Please pray for our family as we venture into a bit of the unknown here. I am anxious to see my beautiful daughter again and longing for the day when the three of us are back together : )

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Special Gift

Jonathan and I received a special gift for Annaliese tonight from my sister and her family.

When we got married nearly ten years ago, my sister was my matron-of-honor, and she was also quite pregnant (we were married on 5/24 and my nephew was born on 8/2)! She wore a blue dress, which she asked a friend to help her use to make a blanket for Annaliese. She was able to make a blanket, two pillows, and a handbag from it.

It was such a neat idea and special gift! Thank you so much Rachel for doing this – more memories to share with our precious girl : )

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thank You to Someone Special

Jonathan & I came home from bible study tonight to find that someone had mowed our yard for us! We have our guess as to who the culprit is, but please know that we truly appreciate it! Life has been a bit hectic lately and that has been put on the backburner.

We continue to feel so blessed : )

Friday, September 21, 2012

Embassy Processing Update

Now that our case has been submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Addis, we are being copied on all e-mail communication. It is wonderful to know what is happening and that it is actually being processed! Just wanted to let everyone know that the initial screening was completed this morning and they are now moving on to the next step.

They are now reviewing her orphan status to ensure she is appropriate to be adopted. Much of this was done prior to passing court, as well, but the U.S. Embassy wants to review this information. In many cases, interviews with birth families are requested, which can potentially delay clearance due to travel time and limited interview times available.

Please pray that this process continues to move smoothly so we can bring Annaliese home soon! We will keep you posted : )

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Getting So Close!

After six loooong weeks, we FINALLY got submitted to Embassy today!!!!!!

We were feeling very discouraged this morning when we did not wake up to the typical early morning e-mail, but we did get one from our agency this afternoon!

Every case is different, but many families seem to travel 2 – 3 weeks after being submitted to Embassy, if everything moves forward smoothly.

At this point, we will now wait to hear 1 of 3 things from the Embassy: our case is cleared, they would like additional information (i.e. birth family interview), or that our case is “not clearly approvable” & will be sent to Nairobi, Kenya for further clearance.

From what we understand, the Embassy will give us one of those three scenarios within 10 business days. Obviously, we hope we just clear and then move forward with scheduling an interview with the Embassy (in Addis Ababa) and making travel arrangements : )

We will keep you posted! Please continue to pray for our precious little girl. We are sooo close to bringing her home and starting this next phase of all of our lives : )

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another Purchase

How perfect is this little shirt for Annaliese?!?! We could not resist : )

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Finishing Touches

This evening we put the “finishing touches” on Annaliese’s bedroom and bathroom : )  For  the bathroom, we added the valiance to the window.

For her bedroom, Jonathan’s mom finished the curtains. They look great!

The border and appliques that are on them match the pattern on the bedspread.

One special touch that she added was that part of the fabric used for the appliqued butterflies is from a dress that she had made her mother, which would be Annaliese’s great-grandmother. She, unfortunately, will never be able to meet her, but now Annaliese has a small momento from her life. What a special thing to share with her as she grows up : ) Thank you, Gloria, for all of your hard work – we appreciate it so much!

The other decoration that we added to her bedroom is a sign that our friend, Susie, made for her for the shower. It is adorable! Thank you, Susie (and Peggy & Jenna), for your hard work on this – we love it!

Now, all we need is a precious little girl to enjoy it all. Please keep praying…

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

No News Today

Sorry to report that we did not receive any news today. Please continue to pray for Annaliese, Jonathan, and I as we long for our family to be reunited.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Shower to Celebrate Annaliese

What a special morning we had today!

The ladies from our bible study hosted a shower for us in honor of Annaliese : ) Several family members and friends from church came to help us prepare for bringing our daughter home.

I should have more pictures to share later, but they did a wonderful job with all the preparations! The decorations were beautiful - a sign with Annaliese’s name, flowers in vases with coffee beans (in honor of ET) as a weight, an enlarged family photo; and the food was delicious - brunch and a beautiful cake! There was also a frame where people could write well wishes for our family and we can add a family photo later. Everything was so well planned and put together.

We also received many wonderful gifts and giftcards which we appreciate so much! Just cannot wait to share all of this with our precious daughter. She is loved so much already.

Beautiful scarf & hat made by Linda Hatfield

More toys!

LOVE the little outfits!
And the battle begins...

Our "big ticket" wishlist item - thanks tech team : )

Thank you to everyone who planned this event and for those who came to share this time with us : ) We feel so blessed to call you all friends.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

No News Today

Sorry to report that there is no news about Embassy submission today. We did hear from our agency, though, and it sounds like we should be submitted next week. Our hearts are breaking for our little girl. Please continue to pray for her and that she understands we are coming back as soon as possible. We love and miss her so much.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Annaliese's Room

Jonathan has been working very hard on the dresser since we returned from our first trip and finally got it done today! It looks beautiful : ) Her room is almost all done!

We just about have her bathroom together too! This little girl is going to be spoiled : )