"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

One month ago today...

Our first family of 7 photo.
May 30, 2010 - 1 month ago today - I finally held my son Joshua Gebeyehu Chad D. for the first time. It was a day I will cherish forever. BUT I have posted all about that - so today I share with you our homecoming!

As excited as I was to meet and hold my son, I was even more excited to bring him home to his daddy (and siblings and family and friends). But mostly his daddy! While I am certain we made the best decision possible for me to go and Chad to stay - it was hard! Finally taxiing into our home airport was the best feeling of the whole trip. We were so tired. The flights were so long. Gebeyehu struggled. To finally be HOME was the biggest relief.

OK enough words. Enjoy the photos of our arrival home. My friend Mary agreed to photograph our homecoming. She took 171 amazing photos. I can not thank Mary enough. The pictures are treasures, they make me cry every time I view them. They captured the day perfectly. I chose a few to illustrate our story.

We made it!

I texted Chad from Minneapolis and told him to just pray us home. I was so tired. I missed everyone so much. Gebeyehu struggled so on the airplane from Amsterdam. Oh how thankful I am to have this man as my husband.

Auntie Emily helped the kids at home make t-shirts. The kids had a blast and the shirts are treasures.

I love this picture! This family is waiting to find out what child or children God will place in their family. We went to Ethiopia for the exact same reason - our son was there. I am still in absolute awe of the way God is working in our family.

Jay was ready!

By this point I am not sure who was more anxious... me or my family waiting at the door!

Walking through those doors was perfection, one of those beautiful moments that are suspended in my heart and mind forever.

You know it is a big moment when my Jamison hugs me. Poor Joshua Gebeyehu was so tired! He barely slept at all the entire trip, but finally slept on the short flight from Minneapolis. Add a big time change to his lack of sleep - his body clock thought it was midnight - and you have an exhausted 2 year old. He was beyond wiped, but handled the commotion well hanging out on my hip and taking it all in through heavy eyelids.

My Sierra!


We both get a big hug from Daddy!

Grandpa Scott saying hello.

Daddy is happy to have a boy that likes cars!

I thought Gebeyehu might be too tired to respond to Daddy's gift, but a car is worth waking up for! He calls it Daddy macheena (the car Daddy brought him).

Brenna lost her first tooth while I was away!

I treasure the way Joshua Gebeyehu loves to snuggle close.

Meeting Grammy!

One more hug before we join everyone else. Chad, the kids, and grandparents waited for us upstairs. Our remaining "welcome celebration" took place on the main floor of the airport. It was so nice to have a few private minutes to introduce my husband and kids to their brother.
It was also very exciting to ride down the escalator down and be greeted by our amazing friends!

Seeing familiar smiles, colorful signs, and getting big hugs was wonderful.

The kids check out a sleepy JG. (A friend told me she overheard Brenna tell her buds that it would be alright to "pet" her brother. She cracks me up!)

Future friends!

Auntie Emily and cousin Lexi


Poor sleepy little man - let's go home!

Leaving airports behind!

Joshua Gebeyehu looked at the picture I brought of mama's macheena for hours while in Ethiopia. He was oh so tired, but popped his head right up when he saw the macheena from the picture. Seriously - he reacted before I pointed it out. This boy knows his cars!

Joshua seat in mama's macheena!

We are going home!

**Thank you for being there when we arrived! I loved every minute of it. Thank you also for your patience as you have been waiting to see and play with this boy. I clearly remember how hard he is to wait for! I will reassure you with the word my caseworker used with me all the time while I waited... SOON! Let me assure you he is worth the wait.

Thank you Jesus for choosing us to be Joshua Gebeyehu's family.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I love these kids!

I love these kids!

Monday, June 28, 2010


One month ago tonight, we were sleeping (or at least trying to sleep) on an airplane somewhere between here and Ethiopia. Tonight I would like to share with you some of the ways I have seen God answering the prayer request list I gave to you right before we traveled.

  • Our travels were totally safe, I never felt nervous about being in danger of any kind. Every flight was on time. I felt much better physically getting off the long flights than I expected. We did not experience any serious sickness during our travels.
  • I slept really well on the flights to Ethiopia and arrived feeling quite rested. During the week there I slept and napped when Gebeyehu did - so I got more sleep than normal. Sleep was not as restful with the noises of Addis surrounding us, but even so I felt really rested.
  • Gebeyehu has been thrilled to be on my hip almost every minute since we met. He has faced so many changes and although there have been challenges, he is doing amazing.
  • I hope we were a blessing to those we encountered... what I do know is that we were able to deliver quite a bit of stuff. The shoes made it, the scrubs did too. Because of a couple surprise checks that arrived in my mailbox the week before travel, I was able to purchase a good supply of vitamins to bring to the care center. I was also able to donate some cash in addition to the girls' shoes at Children's Heaven. And, I was able to give a "tip" to each nanny that took care of Gebeyehu as he waited and donate some cash for whatever needs they felt greatest at the current time. I hope that our gift.s were pleasing to both God and the recipients.
  • It was really fun to meet the children at the care center, take pictures, and relay information to their waiting parents. I have the pictures from our trip set as the screen saver on our home computer, and there is something sobering about having pictures of orphans that I have met and tried to comfort in some small way scrolling through daily. The children we met are definitely a part of my heart and in my prayers daily.
  • Our trip to bring Joshua home was absolutely filled with fun, joy, and laughter. Being with a silly toddler made almost every minute fun. It was a time of rejoicing - no doubt about it.
  • It was a really hard week for Chad and the kids. Chad would never ever do it the same way again - but we made it. Thankfully the internet worked pretty good after our first 2 days there and we had lots of family in town trying to keep them distracted. A big thank you to all of you!
  • My sister-in-law's surgery was tough, but the results have been awesome. I am so thankful!
  • Although I was not at VBS 1 minute, my girls had a BLAST! I missed being a part of it and I am so proud of and thankful for the many people that worked so hard to make it such a fun event. My kids were blessed and I am sure many others were as well.
  • I think the way I most felt God was in the calm peacefulness of my heart. Traveling to Ethiopia was like nothing I have done before. Many of the things I experienced were different or less explained than I expected, but I did not feel overly stressed. Only God could have help me steady. I also feel like I really enjoyed and soaked in the experience. It was a rich beautiful time.

I wanted share some of these things because so often we ask for prayer and never really report how God answers. He was very present, very real, and I am very grateful. Thank you for blanketing our journey in prayer. I am blessed to have your support.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Lest I alarmed you with my last post, things are quite peachy here for the most part. Joshua and I have a wonderful time together - unless he is mad - then he struggles. That is normal to a point - but not to the extreme that he takes it too. I do want him to learn to trust in relationships so that he does not spend the rest of his life searching for the perfect someone or something that will make him "feel" happy and safe. However, I realize all this will take TIME. He has had a lot of practice and experience in asking for a "nicer" caregiver when one makes him mad. The exciting thing is that he will have EVEN MORE time and experience in being part of a family... eventually.

I have watched him having fun, learning lots, and becoming much more confident this week. Here is some proof!

One day Brenna, Joshua, and Mama met Daddy for lunch at Wendy's. He was a champ. He really liked his chicken nuggets, drank him milk cold, and tried a few fries.

We went to the zoo... twice. The first time the only thing that felt comfortable was the train.

He spent the rest of the trip in his stroller munching on goldfish. An animal lover he is NOT!

But when we went again, he was much more comfortable. He started to really understand that the animals could not get him. He pointed and called for us to look at the animals he spotted. He even wanted to get out some.

The only animals I would say truly interest him are birdies of all kinds - he tries to chase them in our yard - and monkeys. He enjoyed watching them swing.

He has recently discovered how good it is to have a Big Brother. Jay was on his "save me" last last night when Gebeyehu did not want to take a bath!

Brenna and Sierra trying to share at the park.

Now the zoo park yesterday was a big success story. For the first time Joshua chose to play on playground equipment when there were people other than his siblings around. (We have gone to several parks. He has fun if we are alone, but if others are there he perches on my hip.) He did a great job taking turns. He was also very appropriate with everyone around. Sometimes we have seen him be excessively shy with women and call any man who looks kind "ababa (daddy)". Yesterday this was not the case. He hung with his family and played nicely.

Another BIG success was grocery shopping today. Joshua was able to ride in the cart for the first time. (We have shopped quite a few times before and he has needed to be held chest to chest. When I would slide him to my hip to grab an item he would pull my arm back so he felt really securely wrapped.) Today, he sat happily in the seat chatting with me as we purchased a pantry full - as in 2 cart loads - of groceries. He liked examining each item and then putting it behind him in the cart. He would ask "Gebeyehu?" as in For Gebeyehu? if he knew he liked something. If he did not think he would like something he would loudly exclaim, "Gebeyehu, NO!" as in Gebeyehu does not want any of that! He also proudly helped carry in the groceries when we arrived home.

Perhaps what amazes me most is his handle on language. I expected him to be totally linguistically confused at this point in his life. He was born in a home that spoke Sidama, heard Amharic at the care center, and now English. To the contrary he is very verbal. We have entire conversations now that most anyone could understand. He parrots everything we say. He has great comprehension and retention. One day this week the dog sneezed. Joshua yelled to me "Mama, Riley bless you!" as in mama, tell Riley bless you. I think he had only heard me tell someone bless you after they sneezed once or twice. He just remembers and puts things together so well.

So do pray that he is released from fear and becomes more able to trust and attach. But also give thanks for all this boys successes. He is amazing and we are so proud of him.

I am off to pack a camper! I love summer - disappearing to the lake to hang undistracted with Chad and the kids is my very favorite thing. I hope you have a great weekend as well.