Friday, July 29, 2011

Marathons and Adopting

When we began our international adoption process, we had a number of people advise us that we needed to approach it as a marathon, not a sprint. While there is some utility in this analogy, it has one fundamental flaw: both sprints and marathons are measured races in which the participants can know at any time their position relative to the finish line. The adoption process, on the other hand, feels like a race in which the finish line continues to retreat as you get closer. And not only does it move, but each move is unpredictable in both timing and length.

As many of you know, our recent move to New York required us to re-do a number of documents and gain bureaucratic approvals to remain current in an approved status. Thanks be to God, we seem to have passed that hurdle quicker than we anticipated. However, we received news over the past couple of days that things in Ethiopia are not going as smoothly as we had thought. The US Embassy in Ethiopia is implementing additional verification requirements for every child approved for adoption. In our case, they want our adoption agency staff members to work with the Awassa Regional Police to verify witness statements regarding Solomon’s relinquishment. This requires the police to cooperate and, unfortunately, adoptions are low on their list of priorities. If the police do not provide the required information, the Embassy is requiring the adoption agency to run a 4-week ad in the Awassa newspapers to ensure that Solomon was freely given up for adoption.

Together, these changes will add weeks and possibly months to our process. We continue to trust God and his timing in all of this, despite our lack of understanding. It is frustrating and disappointing to feel so close and to think we can see the finish line only to have it moved over the next hill. We covet your prayers as God works in our lives and refines us in his fire.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011


We found our nice camera! We had it stashed away in the back of Riley's bedroom closet, but now that we've got a working camera & charger I'm back in business & will have to post pics of our house & all my fun projects. In the meantime, here are some pics of our day today...
These are 4 of the 1250 new cadet candidates who arrived 3 weeks ago for their summer training called Beast. Once they make it through those awful 6 weeks they officially become cadets and their academic year as a plebe begins. These guys have had no internet access, phone access, and have been drilled and harassed constantly for the past 3 weeks (even 10 years later Riley remembers that well). Today is what they call the Ice Cream Social, where the cadets are allowed to go to a host home on post for the afternoon to relax, eat, sleep, talk, call home using our phones, & get on the internet, etc. The four cadets who came over were so young -it's hard for me to believe Riley and I were this young when we met! The young men were extremely grateful for the food, especially the raw cookie dough & the ice cream sundae bar Ellie & Saedi set up. These guys were a pleasure to have in our home! I took some pictures of them to send to their mothers & I've already received two emails letting me know how nice it was to hear their son's voice & to see close up pictures of them.


Monday, July 11, 2011

New Pics of Sol at 9-10 months

I love it when these fun email surprises show up in my in-box. We received over 20 pics of Solomon today. Here are my favs...
looks like he's beginning to crawl & scoot

happy boy!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jellystone Park

Here's a fun Post Family picture from about a month ago...that's how far behind I am.
This past week we went on our first family camping trip since Isaac's birth. We stayed at Jellystone Park and it was a perfect one-nighter trip with the kids. We had a lovely campsite on a stream so we could hear the water at night and the kids had lots of exploring. There were fun activities for the kids (cake and ice cream for Boo Boo's birthday, wagon rides with Yogi Bear, water balloon tosses, bingo, etc) but we mainly hung out at the water park and added small detours to the playground or hiking around the lake. Our camera wasn't working so I have no pics of Isaac's first camping trip. Oh, and all 5 of us slept in a 3 man tent but it went well!

Since then, the girls came down with a nasty 12 hour flu of violent vomitting for about 7 hours. They're feeling great now, but they were pretty bummed when we had to shift cheat night from Sat night to Sun night! Oh, and I finished the last of the painting (for now...ha ha) tonight! So, the living room/dining room, girls' room, kitchen, & master bedroom are done! Riley starts back to work tomorrow and I've got to get used to having the kids on my own again. Our home study visit is Tuesday, and several other appointments are thrown in there as well. We've received Solomon's birth certificate and we finish up our doctor's appointments on Thursday. After that, there should be no more paperwork for a bit. Each day we're getting closer to bringing our son home!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


What a whirlwind we've been on this past month! I've done a terrible job documenting our family events lately, but I've been intentional about getting us settled in NY as quickly as possible, and so that commitment is taking up all my time. Before I try to summarize this past month I'm still in awe and praise about how well we are settling in and bonding as family and feeling at home here at West Point.

We've been here for 2 weeks now and I'm slowly learning my way around (the first 2 weeks are always my least favorite since I'm directionally challenged). Our first week here the girls attended Pandamania Vacation Bible School on post from 9-12 each day. VBS was a short walk up the street and a perfect way to get the girls meeting kids. It also allowed Isaac to get his morning nap, Riley to get in-processed & me unpacking. Our friends Sean & Meghan introduced us to people who have introduced us to more people, and Riley knows a lot from his time here as a cadet, etc. We quickly met another family who have a 3 year old son adopted from Ethiopia. Veronica is my age and they also have 3 biological kids so we've had dinner with them a couple of nights already.

The house is coming along fast! The dity move went smoothly and between CraigsList, Target, Home Depot, Ikea & the Carpet Mill the house is live-able and actually starting to feel cozy! Meghan helped me pick out rugs and from there I found a lot furniture off Craigslist (I need a separate blog about that). Paint colors were decided Thursday night, purchased on Friday and the living room, dining room, kitchen and girls room are all painted!

Another fun highlight for me is that I joined a running club. It's called the Knight Runners and they meet every Sat morning at 730 for a group run. They usually have a 4 mile route and then a longer route option since several are training for upcoming half marathons. I've run with them twice now and have met some neat gals that way. My legs and lungs are quickly adjusting to there brutal hills!

Uncle Kyle was our first house guest!!! He took the train up yesterday and spent the 4th with us picnicking on the Hudson River, watching the Cornwall parade, licking ice cream cones, watching the amazing WP fireworks display and swimming at Round Pond.
The girls were in awe of fireworks this year-oooohing and awwwwing and commenting after every explosion.

And the adoption...well, we've got the court decree saying that Solomon is ours, but we can't bring him home yet because we're required to re-do several documents since we moved and have a new state. Big disappointment as we were hoping we could bypass all that. After several days of frustrating phone calls we finally chose a local agency who will come out and give us a home study update and file all of our NY background checks, physical, etc. We're praying for speed in processing & that none of this will delay getting an Embassy date and that we would remain patient with the system.

And now, the past month...
While Ry and I went to Ethiopia the girls had a great time with Grandma & Grandpa in Ohio. They saw their Aunt Meg everyday and loved all the things they did together- rode the carousel, played at the beach, went shopping at the mall, read lots of books, & played with their cousins.

After Ohio we drove to NY to see our new house, unload our things and spend 2 days unpacking. We drove to Niagra Falls on our 12 hour+ drive to Michigan.

Riley spent several days with his high school friends back in Michigan while the kids and I stayed at Mimi & Papa's. We went strawberry picking, played with cousins, & went to the Holland street fair where we watched street gymnasts, ate candy from the Peanut Store and watched Mary Poppins at the theater.

We spent a week in Indiana at Potato Creek for a "Post Family Reunion" with all Ry's siblings and kids. We had a great time in our own cabin but meeting up with everyone for Story Time, walks to the general store, swimming at the pond, paddle-boating, play-do, parade, pinatas, and dinners together.

After Potato Creek we drove back to Ohio to spend a few days with my parents at their lake cottage. We spent Father's Day with my dad and he and Riley got to do a bit of fishing.

Then, we drove to NY again to stay!!!

-Ellie lost her first tooth while driving from Ohio to West Point. She immediately wanted to call her Aunt Meg and everyone else she knew to announce her big news. Every morning she wakes up in our new house and asks to sit out on the front porch. She loves to be outside, picking flowers and watering flowers and making boquets. She also loves wrestling and punching her Dad.
- Saedi likes to wear headbands everyday, but she wears them across her forehead instead of on her head. She's a funny girl and likes to make up jokes (like calling Ellie "Ellievator") and prank people with fake pooo. Her favorite part of our house is the "Vasement"
-Isaac refuses to take milk from anything other then me. While Ry and I were in Ethiopia for 5 days he refused milk. He has 7 teeth and has stopped all baby signs. He purses his lips together and says, "oooooh" to everything. The boy is huge. 23 lbs and in 18 month clothes at 10 months old. He eats more then his sisters (3 meatballs and a large slice of watermelon) for dinner plus full nursings still. He pulls himself up constantly and loves to climb stairs but has yet to take a step.

Love you all! More to come...