Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ethiopian Dinner

Today Annaliese introduced her Great Grandma Mae, Grandpa Dan, Grandma Gloria, Uncle Brian, and Aunt Sarah (and cousin Keeley) to Ethiopian food. Thanks to all of you for joining us for lunch in Indy : )

Friday, July 26, 2013

Court Date

We finally have a court date for Annaliese!

This is just something we do as a formality to legally change her name, but she is already a legal US citizen and legally our daughter. She is thrilled, though, to be able to go to the doctor’s office without being called back as Birtukan (which is generally mispronounced) Jonathan DeNeal. She always says, “NOT Jonathan, I’m Annaliese!”

So, on the morning of August 20th, we will have this all legally changed. It is the final step in the adoption process!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Family Coordinator Assigned

After sending in our initial paperwork and fees, we have been assigned a new family coordinator with AWAA to assist us on this second journey. Unfortunately, the lady that we worked with for Annaliese’s adoption is no longer with AWAA, but we are sure this lady will be just as wonderful to work with!

Please continue to pray for our family and Elise (FC) as we proceed.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day #5

Today was our last full day here.

After bumming around this morning, we ate lunch and then walked downtown to check out a bookstore and a candy store. I always love to find, and stock up on, used Mary Higgins Clark books. Annaliese also picked out a new “little critter” book.

We then went on a trolley ride and Annaliese got to ride in the back. Before bed she reported that this was her favorite part of the day : )

After changing clothes, we then headed to the beach for the last time. The waves were the perfect size for Annaliese to jump into on her own. She also discovered that she likes to try to dive under them and have daddy throw her into them : )

We have had a great time here in Michigan, but are excited to head home tomorrow! Hope you have enjoyed the journey with us : )

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Day #4

We got to spend more time at the beach today. It was perfect weather - much less windy and no rain. Annaliese got to finish her first full sand castle before the tide came in and washed it away.

She also let daddy bury her in the sand…

I promise the picture is not photo-shopped, she really is under all that sand!
We ended the day with supper on the grill, eating outside and going down to the river for a community worship time.

She informed us today that she would like to move here - I assured her our family would be very sad it we lived so far away - but she still seemed interested. Then she realized she would not see Ms. Jenkins, her friend Jenna (from school), or Ms. Kim (from church) again and changed her mind : )

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day #3

This morning, Annaliese got to take her first train ride. It was on a train and tracks that were used as long ago as 1916. It was pretty neat. Unfortunately, the train was taken over by robbers and we had to give them all of our money & jewelery before the sheriff took them off to jail! It was pretty fun to see her reaction to all this commotion : )





Next, we headed to the city for a dinner at The Melting Pot. This is Jonathan and I’s favorite restaurant, but I must say that the ambience changes a little with a five year old : )


Finally, we ended the evening by going to the Musical Fountain show. Annaliese was not quite as impressed as we were, but she did enjoy some dancing : ) Not sure what kind of music we introduced her to, but she had fun.

Tomorrow we are headed back to the beach for a lazy day in the sun…

Friday, July 19, 2013

Day #2

We had another nice day together as a family!

Our initial stop was kind of a letdown, but we knew there was a chance of that, so we came back to the condo for lunch and then got dressed and ready to head to the beach. Annaliese was practically running circles around us - she was so excited : )

The waves were really big today since there were high winds and a chance of thunderstorms. We were all tired after trying to keep our heads above water at times!

* Sorry if this video makes you a bit sea sick - I was having a hard time staying upright! *

She loved building in the sand too : )

…and burying daddy.

After supper we headed to a large playground close to the condo.

I think she will sleep well tonight : )

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Family Vacation

We left this morning for our first family vacation : )

After stopping in Chicago for a check-up at the International Adoption Clinic we headed north to Michigan.

We went grocery shopping, got settled in our condo, and had a quick supper; then we headed down towards the water.

Annaliese kept seeing little piles of sand along the way and we teased her that this must be the beach. When we finally got to the actual beach she just said, “!” 

She loved taking her shoes off and walking in the sand and down the boardwalk.

We have a few plans for tomorrow morning, but will then head down to the lake to enjoy some real beach time. We cannot wait!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Here We Go Again!

So, I originally planned to stop blogging when Annaliese’s re-adoption was completed. We are within approximately one month of that happening and God decided He had other plans for our family…

Over the past month or so, Jonathan and I have begun feeling that “nudge” again. I (for one) have been resistant. I frequently found myself saying, “Yeah God, that’s a nice idea, but we […] right now.” Fill in the blank with things like, “don’t have the money” and “don’t have the energy.” Undoubtedly this second journey will be a much bigger step of faith for us than the first one was and we have been digging our heels in quite a bit.

Here are a few examples of ways I have been trying to shut the door, but God keeps opening them up wide –

·        I assumed our home study agency would want us to wait a minimum of 12 months before beginning again. I contacted them and they said only 6 were required.

·        Paperwork that we received from our agency once we were home with Annaliese stated that we would need to wait 18 months before we initiated another adoption. I contacted them (assuming to get a “no,” so I could let God know that He was wrong) and they assured me they only require 6 months. Of course, I cannot find where I read 18 months now either!!

·        We sent an application in, assuming that AWAA would see that things in our life were not in perfect order and would say “no,” but they accepted us into the ET program.

To top it off -

·        Annaliese has recently started asking (more frequently) for a brother and sister. In fact, the other day we were in the car and out of nowhere she said, “Mommy, daddy, go to Ethiopia. Meet my brother, sister. It’s okay mommy – I stay with grandma. Go, mommy!” 
There was one final thing that made it absolutely clear to us, but we cannot divulge those details at this time. To put it as a good friend of mine did, “Sarah, I think you have a neon sign hanging over your head!”

At this point, we are not sure how this will all turn out, but God has made it abundantly clear over the past few weeks that it is time for us to move forward. We are stepping out in faith and trusting that He knows what He is doing : ) As it is often said, “if it seems crazy, it is probably God” and this seems crazy to us right now! We are excited and scared all at the same time. Please pray for our family as we go through this process. We are not exactly sure what He has in mind for us, but we will keep trusting Him with each step we take : )

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Future Plans

Over the past week or so, Annaliese has been talking to me about her future. Here are her current plans:

She will live in a house that she will build with someone’s help next to our house. She will be married and would like to have at least one child, but she is not sure if she will “have a baby or a kid” (I think she is thinking adoption here). After discussing it further, she will adopt a baby from China.

Her husband will also help her make injera, but he may or may not be from Ethiopia. They will have a blue (formerly pink) convertible with green interior.  
We cannot wait to see what comes of this girl’s future – she is such a dreamer!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Family Day

Today we spent the day with family.

It started with my family to celebrate Josh and Caleb’s birthdays. Annaliese got to meet their other cousin Gianna for the first time. I had forgotten how much she loves babies! We saw a lot of this during our time with her in Ethiopia, but she is very nurturing and wants to hug and hold babies all the time when she is around them. It is so sweet : )

She also got to see her Uncle Daniel who she does not see too often...

Then we headed to Hanging Rock to have supper with Jonathan’s parents. They are getting ready to help at a horse camp, so Annaliese got to see and feed the horses. It took quite a bit of convincing, but she finally did it and loved it!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

Our first 4th of July celebration was a success : )

We went to the fireworks in Monticello on Wednesday night. It was fun to hear her “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” throughout the show.

On Thursday morning we went to the Champaign parade. After lunch, we came home and just enjoyed a quiet day at home as a family.

Can you guess who helped her pick out her clothes today?