Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Referral Day!

On this day, one year ago, we received a very important phone call that would change our lives forever. I dropped Michael off at work and was heading to my parent's house, which was 45 minutes away. I have no idea why Michael did not drive himself to work that day, but he didn’t. It was a few days before our production week for Grease and we were swamped. I had gotten about 15 minutes away and my phone rang. I looked down and saw the famous 817 area code. I answered and Kristin said, “Katie, your referral is ready”. I think I responded with, “That was quick.” Yes, it had been almost a year since going on the wait list, but we had only changed our referral request from siblings to one child on November 30. I told her I had to go back and pick up Michael and we would call her back. I called Michael and told him the news and went and picked him up. We went to our performing arts academy, so we could have a place view the emails by ourselves. We got everything ready and called Kristin back….voicemail. We called her back several times in the next thirty minutes. It was the longest thirty minutes of our lives. She finally called back and said she had been on a conference call with Belay. She sent us the email and we opened it up. We saw this tiny baby and asked how old she was and she told us she was two months old. These are the first pictures we saw...

We heard her story and Kristin went through all of the info with us. I said awkward, stupid things, because I was excited and nervous. The phone calls to our families began soon after. It was such an exciting day and one we will never forget!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

Having Sophia home for Christmas was such a joy! For years we dreamed of what it would be like to have a child at home during the Christmas season and we loved celebrating the birth of our Savior with Sophie.

Sophia opened so many presents. She was given lots of wonderful things and we are very grateful! My sister made her the cutest outfit. Everyone loved it and so did we! Thank you, Aunt Amy!

This picture was taken of Michael and I during Christmas 2009 and we included it in a baby photo album we sent to Sophie.

This is a picture of her in Ethiopia, taken on January 20, 2010, with the photo album. What a difference a year makes!

Christmas 2010 - a family at last!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

We forget...

My daughter did not grow inside of me. I did not experience morning sickness, feel her kick or hear her first cry. I will never know what her first months in Ethiopia were like. There are things we missed – things we did not get to experience. We did, however, get to experience a deep love. A love for a child we had never met. Michael and I will never forget the moments when we opened the email and saw the tiny face of our daughter. For three months we stared at pictures and longed to hold her in our arms. We looked at them over and over again, hoping to notice something new. We bought her clothes, dreamed about what our lives would be like once she was here and shared our story with others. Adoption consumed our thoughts and we busied ourselves with preparations to travel to Ethiopia.

Adoption. It was all we could think about. And now...we forget. It is true. We forget she was adopted. Her skin does not match our skin, but we don’t think about it. We look at her and see our beautiful, precious daughter. She brings so much joy to everyone she meets. She is a blessing and is as much our child as one I birthed would be. I do not say these things lightly or in a way that appears that we forget about her heritage or her story. We do not. We love Ethiopia and it is the country where Sophia Mekdes was created. She will know her story and we will tell her about the wonderful country that allowed us to bring her home.

I am not writing this to downplay the importance of adoption. Rather, I am writing this to share our story of love. Love created our family. God’s love for us and our love for Him, brought the three of us together. I know there are many people who consider adoption, but think they won’t be able to love their adopted child like they would a biological one. I believe those feelings are very normal. However, in most cases, those feelings go away the moment you meet your child.

We chose adoption. We will choose it again. To us, adoption is an amazing gift God gave us and we feel so blessed to be able to know Him in this way. We were given the chance to fall in love with a tiny baby 8,256 miles away. We loved her before we even met her. Naturally, meeting her was amazing. Holding her for the first time and kissing her soft skin, was surreal. The love we have for her grows deeper everyday.
Choose adoption. Let God turn your world upside down. You will experience a love deeper than you could ever imagine. Trust me. You will not regret it. If we had said no, we would have missed out on this…

Choose love. Take the jump. It may seem scary, but it is SO worth it!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Family For Vika: $800 Best Buy Gift Card Giveaway

A Family For Vika: $800 Best Buy Gift Card Giveaway: "We are raising funds for Vika's grant fund. She is in an institution in Eastern Europe and she needs to be rescued by a family. She is lis..."

Friday, October 8, 2010

goodies for my brown skinned babe

I was browsing the card section looking for a birthday card for miss Sophia Mekdes, when I saw a card adorned with a cute, brown faced girl. Behind the duplicate stack of cards, was a sign that said ‘Ebony’. “Wow, they have a section of cards for my sweet, brown baby”, I thought. I looked for more cards, and to my dismay, I didn’t find any. The entire section of girl’s birthday cards had ONE card with a little girl who had the same color skin as Sophia’s. ONE out of probably 50 cards. Now, many of them were bears, elephants, Dora, etc. They weren’t all little white girls, but you get the idea.

What really makes me sad…I never would have noticed this prior to our Ethiopian blessing. Never. That is embarrassing and I don’t really feel like I can complain, when I think about my previous lack of awareness. I do, however, wonder if there is a need for an ‘Ebony’ label, especially for only one card. Shouldn’t we just mix all of the cards together like one big {expensive} paper world?

I am noticing these types of situations more and more. I am fine with Sophia having both white and brown dolls, after all both colors exist in her family. However, I would like to have as many options for brown as there are for white, or at least somewhat close to the number of options. It seems like most clothing items with little girls on them, only have white girls. My sister was able to find a really cute ballerina shirt with a sweet brown girl on it. I love it. Yay, Old N*vy! (her legs are longer than two inches...she is somewhat squating in the picture)

Don’t forget about Sophia’s birthday celebration benefiting the Linck family. You can read about it in the previous post. Thank you to those of you who have posted about it on facebook and your blog. I really appreciate it!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Will you help us celebrate Sophia's birthday?

Our little Sophia is growing up so quickly! She will be one on October 12. We are celebrating in a BIG way and we want YOU to be a part of it!!!

As I said in my last blog post, we believe God calls Christians to care for orphans. Adoption is one way He uses us to care for His children. I LOVE reading adoption stories and especially love seeing how God provides the funding for adoptions. He provided for our adoption of Sophia in so many amazing ways. We never could have paid for her adoption on our own. So many of our family and friends gave their hard earned money to help bring her home and we are so thankful. You have no idea!

We know that it wasn’t too long ago that many of you helped with our adoption, but we are asking for you to give a little of your money to help bring another Ethiopian baby home to his or her forever family.

You see, we have some friends who are adopting from Ethiopia and we want to help them out. They are in the fundraising stage and are hoping to turn their application in on October 25, their 2nd wedding anniversary. They want to have all of the money for the fees raised ($18,000) before they submit the application. God has already provided in HUGE ways for them and it has been a blessing to watch.

So, back to Sophia’s birthday CELEBRATION!!!!! We are asking all of our friends, family, blogland buddies, total strangers, etc. to donate to the Linck’s adoption fund in Sophia’s name. If you know Sophia and she has brought joy to your life, would you please consider giving $5 or more, so Baby Linck can come home? If you don’t know her, but know how precious children are, would you donate money, as well?

For every $5 you donate, we will enter your name into a drawing for a prize. We will have a drawing when $100 has been donated and then again at $200, $300, etc. The more you donate the bigger your chance is to win.

The first prize is a brand new copy of “The Hole in Our Gospel”, by Richard Stearns!

Would you like an additional chance to win? If you donate money AND do a blog or facebook post about this, then your name will be entered an additional time (twice if you post on fb and your blog). Make sure you comment on my blog and let me know you posted about it.

To donate, please click here or on the link on the sidebar. This will take you to the ChipIn page I have created for Sophia’s birthday celebration. You are also welcome to write a check or pay with cash, if you will be seeing one of us in the near future.

“‘Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:37-40)

For more information on John and Jennifer Linck, please visit their blog
Thank you so much for reading this and for your consideration in helping John and Jennifer bring home their "Missing Linck". I am so excited to see how God will use Sophia's life to help bring an orphan home to their forever family!

Friday, September 10, 2010

our hearts are heavy for orphans

My heart is heavy. My thoughts have been consumed with the orphans in Ethiopia lately. So quickly, my memories can take me to the government run orphanages in Addis. Oh how I wish we could have spent more time with those precious kids. Their tenacity in the midst of such heartache humbles me. Their smiles make my heart swell, but their sad eyes make mine tear up.

As Christians we are called to care for the orphans. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (NIV) Now, I have seen this verse on countless blogs. I always thought it seemed a little pompous to put this verse on your adoption blog, as if the blogger was trying to show the world how ‘pure and faultless’ they are. Yes, I was being judgmental. Yes, my feelings have changed.

What does it mean in your life to ‘look after orphans and widows?’ In my opinion, it isn’t a question of ‘should you?’, but a question of ‘how will you?’ What will you do to care for the orphans and widows? What kind of sacrifice are you willing to make? What are you willing to give up for God? Maybe God is calling you to adopt. Maybe he is calling you to give money to a family who is adopting. Maybe he is calling you to do something bigger.

Michael and I have been spending a lot of time thinking and praying about what God wants for our family. We keep seeing the faces of the older children we met and we can’t sit back and do nothing. In addition to praying for orphans in general, there are six specific children we have been praying for. Three we met in Ethiopia and three my friend, Janet, met. We are asking God to move mountains and find homes for these precious kids. We know that God might ask us to be the family for one or more of these children or he might have other families in mind. If we are not to be their parents, we are sure he has other children in mind for our family. Either way, we know we will have to sacrifice.

I have read James 1:27 too many times to count. I have never really spent a lot of time thinking about the last part of the verse, “…keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” I am not a theologian, but I believe this verse is saying that the care you provide to the orphans and widows should be a sacrifice. It might not be easy. Perhaps ‘easy’ and ‘convenient’ is worldly. We avoid being polluted by the world when we make sacrifices and when we become okay with everything not being easy and convenient. We also become less worldly when we focus more on the world, in my opinion.

We feel called to care for orphans. It is as plain and simple as that. What does that look like? We don’t know. What we do know, is that we feel like God is going to be calling us to do things that are going to make us uncomfortable. He is asking us to make sacrifices and to lay our lives down for him. The dreams we had for our family may not be the dreams God has for us. We are scared and excited. We know everyone will not understand. You may not ‘get it’ and that is okay.

For those of you who have been to Ethiopia, you know where I am coming from. Your heart is not the same. You have more than likely lost sleep over the plight of these sweet people. For those of you who have never been there, trust me. Trust me when I say it is worth the sacrifice. God has great things planned for those kids. Will you be a part of it?

Will you pray that God would move mountains and set the lonely in families? Will you also pray that God would move mountains in our lives, so we can bring more children into our family? We are willing. Hear our cry, oh God. Here are specific things we need prayers for:

  • Guidance. Please pray that we would hear God’s call loud and clear.

  • Patience. I tend to rush into things, so please pray that we would wait for God’s perfect timing. Luckily, Michael is much better at waiting.

  • Provisions. Please pray that our business would continue to grow, so we have the money to support a growing family. We also live 25 miles from our business and put a LOT of miles on our cars going back and forth. We would love to move closer and get a home that would provide room for more children.

  • Adoption finances. Adoptions are expensive. Unfortunately, we don’t have $30,000-$35,000 in expendable income right now. Ethiopia now requires you travel for your court date. This means two trips and more money. God provided for our last adoption and we know he will again. Will you pray that we would come up with effective fundraising ideas and that God would stir in the hearts of others to help us bring orphans into our home? For those of you who supported our last adoption financially and through prayer, thank you so much!!!

We are not starting the adoption process right now, but when God gives the ‘go ahead’, we want to be ready. We want to start working on saving money and raising it, so we have a large portion before moving forward.

Here are a couple of pictures from Ethiopia of us with two sweet girls we met and are praying for. We can’t show their faces, but they are so precious.

If you are feeling called to help others in the adoption process, I would encourage you to hop on over to my friend Jennifer's blog. They are in the fundraising stage of their adoption and they are selling puzzle pieces for $20. Once all of the pieces to the puzzle have been purchased, they will assemble the puzzle and frame it for their future child. Will you please consider giving them $20 or more?

Finally, a little bit about our favorite Ethiopian! Miss Sophia is growing so much. She is almost 11 months old! She has four teeth and is always on the move. She crawls and pulls up like crazy. She has no fear, which scares her mama! She is such a joy and everyone she meets LOVES her. She is completely spoiled by her daddy, Aunt Amy and her grandparents. My parents are completely enamored with her and it has been a joy to watch.

Sophia decided to crawl under the stool and then stood up inside of it.

Then it was time to figure out how to get out of it.

She knew she couldn't crawl back under it, so she took a diving leap and made it out successfully!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Life Chronicled

Since my diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis, I have wanted to start a separate blog for my two diseases. After writing the last post I decided I had much more to say and it would bog down this blog. So, instead of writing a short series, I will be going into great detail on my other blog.

I realize there may only be a few people who will follow me on both blogs, and that is just fine. It takes a special person to find the details of medical conditions interesting. WARNING: If you are not okay with reading details about bowels, poop and all things related, you might want to stick with reading this blog and not read my other one. After all, Ulcerative Colitis is a disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine. It is not a pretty disease and there is no candy coating it! After typing this I am VERY glad I made the decision to move these details to their new home.

I know the idea of blogging about these issues will seem strange to many of you and may make you uncomfortable. Some of you may have cringed a little when you read the words ‘bowel’ and ‘poop’. I know I am making the right decision. Both Type 1 Diabetes and Ulcerative Colitis (UC) can be diseases people are embarrassed to have. I have spent the last 10 years putting the emphasis on ‘Type 1’. There is nothing shameful about ‘Type 2’ diabetes, but it gets a bad rap. No one wants to talk about UC and, certainly, no one wants to hear about it. I have had many embarrassing moments because of my UC. It is for these reasons that I am stepping out there, letting my guard down, and speaking up for myself and others who know these diseases all too well.

Speaking of bowels, please pray for my dad. He was admitted to the hospital yesterday with an obstructed bowel. He will be having surgery this morning in hopes of removing the obstruction. They are going to try to remove it laparoscopically first, if that doesn’t work they will have to make a larger incision.

If you would like to follow me on my other blog, A Life Chronicled, please feel free to click on this link.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chronic(les), Part 1: Celebration

Today is my 31st birthday. In celebration I am going to do a short series on my life with two chronic, autoimmune diseases. Why are diseases worth celebrating? They are such a part of me and I haven’t really talked about them on my blog. I view my blog as a tool for me to share my thoughts and experiences about my life and the life of my family. I can’t be truly honest about my life, without sharing this part of me. I hope I can put a face to my diseases and you will learn a little bit more about me. Join me today as I celebrate my life and living it the way God designed.

An autoimmune disease occurs when your tissue is attacked by your own immune system. Your immune system is designed to attack invaders of the body, which includes infectious agents. Those with autoimmune diseases have antibodies in their blood that target their own tissue. Most autoimmune diseases are chronic, which is the case with mine. I will have them for the rest of my life. Every minute. Every day. Forever and ever. And…..I’m okay with that.

No one really knows what causes the battle within the body, but it has now happened to me twice. Both my endocrine and gastrointestinal system have been attacked by my own body. The result: Type 1 Diabetes and Ulcerative Colitis. I did not do anything to get either of these diseases. It is not my fault. This is very important to understand, for those with an autoimmune disease. It was out of my control. It is unknown what causes an autoimmune disease, but many in the medical field believe those who develop one have a genetic predisposition and it is triggered by an environmental factor, such as a virus. There can be a genetic link, but often the odds are very low. My sister also has an autoimmune disease, which she was diagnosed with two months prior to my diabetes diagnosis. Unfortunately, if you have one autoimmune disease you are more likely to develop another. Since they aren’t awards or money, I am good with the ones I’ve got!

Last week I posted a status update on facebook, that wasn’t really me. It said, “…needs to have a 30 second pity party. Sometimes having two chronic autoimmune diseases really stinks.” I don’t wallow in self pity, typically. You may hear me complain about many things, but you won’t hear me complain about my diseases very often. I kind of regret that status update. It is not the image I like to paint, nor the mentality I generally have. I was raised to deal with what was handed to me, take a moment and move on. I don’t want it to sound like my parents weren’t sensitive or caring. Actually, it is quite the opposite. They did, and still do, care about me very much and I believe that is why they raised me to not feel sorry for myself. They taught me to make the best of my situations and to use my experiences to make an impact on others. I am forever grateful for this.

I believe that my diseases have given me character, however they do not define me. When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, the nurses told me, “You are not diabetic, you have diabetes.” They felt saying I was “diabetic” defined me. It let the name of the disease take a greater position than me as a person. Really, I don’t care either way. I say both. The label doesn’t matter, but my attitude does.

Please stay tuned for my next two posts, in which I will share my experiences with each disease. I hope to post them this week. Thanks for reading about my life. I hope I haven’t lost half of my readers by boring you with this info!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

An update and nursery pics

Well, I have become one of those bloggers. You know, the kind that disappears after returning home. Life has been busy. Our transition home was a little difficult. She was great, I was a little numb.

Co-owning a business has it’s perks, but sometimes I wish I just had a job where I could leave the office and not take work home with me. I was able to take off four weeks, but that also left me with piles of things to catch up on. This is our busiest time of the year. We are preparing for summer classes, trying to decide on a schedule for the fall and spring, getting ready for our dance recital next week and we are in rehearsals for two musicals. Needless to say, I am not caught up yet.

I don’t really feel like I had the chance to soak in what we saw in Ethiopia and mentally deal with it all. We are still trying to figure out what God wants us to do with this knowledge and our experiences there. Almost everyday we wish we were in Ethiopia. We want to go back so desperately. That being said, we know we are where we are supposed to be. We have loved seeing our family and friends meet Sophia and fall in love with her. My friend, Lori, did an excellent job of communicating her emotions in her recent blog post. They spent a month in Ethiopia, so I can’t imagine what their transition home has been like. Please read her post and know that is how Michael and I feel. Lori and her family stayed at Bejoe’s, so we spent the last few days of our journey in Ethiopia with them.

Sophia is developing new skills everyday. She rolls over from her stomach and her back. She is trying to crawl. She is very strong. EVERYTHING must be in her mouth. She smiles and laughs all the time. When people meet her they ask me if she is always that happy. Yes she is. She is a delight and we feel so blessed that God trusted us with His precious child. It is an honor to be her Mommy and Daddy.

Amy took pictures of Sophie’s nursery right after we got home. For some reason a few of them are blurry, but I haven’t found the time to retake them. If I don’t post them now, it may never happen! I can’t really take much credit for the cuteness that is her nursery. Amy and Michael really deserve all of the credit. My mom, dad and Amy helped with the final touches while we were gone.

Amy made the adorable birdhouses. To see better pictures of them, see this blog post.

Michael painted the trees on the wall. The birds are decals.

My dad made this bookshelf and there is another under the other window. The deer is also a wall decal, like the birds.

Here are some more decals. Sorry about the blurry pic. The decals were purchased from this etsy seller. Amy bought them for Michael and I for Christmas.

We don't have doors for her closet, so Amy bought these curtains and added the ric-rac. So cute.

Again, I have Amy to thank for these bird counting cards. I love them and they look great in her room. I really do have the BEST sister!!!!

I hope all of my mommy friends had a great Mother's Day. I know I did!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Home and Days 11-13

We’re home. I never thought it would take me so long to catch up on my blog, but life has been busy. The jet lag has knocked us down. I finally got a good nights sleep the past two nights and feel like somewhat of a human being. Sophie is doing well and feeling much better, as am I. We arrived Wednesday night and she loved all of her family who was waiting to meet her.

She had a really rough day Thursday and was fussy most of the day, which is not at all her personality. Friday we took her to her pediatrician. He changed her formula, which we hope will stop her from spitting up half of what she eats and will get some other discomforts under control. He is going to do some lab work next week and we go back in two weeks for a follow up appointment. He thought she was right on target for her age and doing well, which was great to hear. Friday night we went out to dinner with my family to celebrate my Grandma’s 87th birthday. This was Sophie’s first time meeting her ReRe (this is what my sister thinks she should call her, because her name is Reba). She was, of course, the focus of the evening.

I didn’t have time the last couple of days in Ethiopia to update my blog, so I am doing it now.

Day 11

Monday we tried to finish our souvenir shopping. We wanted to get Sophia Mekdes some traditional Ethiopian dresses, so Beky took us to the big market in town. We bought several dresses, probably more than we should have, but they are precious. We got several different sizes and styles. We really wanted to make sure we got a dress that was the same style dress they wear in Gonder and we found one we both loved. She should be able to wear it in a couple of years.

The market is right by Entoto Mountain, so Beky took us there next. We saw many people walking from the market area to their homes at the top of the mountain. He said they were returning from church and made the climb everyday. It is STEEP. Women carry wood down from the mountain everyday. I can’t imagine how taxing this must be on there bodies. We stopped about half way up, so we could take pictures. We were greeted by four boys. This is how our conversation went:

Boy: Welcome!
Me: Thank you.
Boy: What is your country?
Me: America. I like Ethiopia.
Boy: We like America.
Me: This is a long, steep climb. Do you get tired?
Boy: Yes, very. Eucalyptus. (One of the boys handed me a piece of eucalyptus, while the others kicked around a deflated soccer ball).

The boys were precious. When we left Michael gave them each a couple of pieces of candy. They were so excited. I wish we could have done more for them. I am so grateful to have met these boys. As I have been thinking and praying about what God might have in store for us in the future, I have spent a lot of time focusing on the needs of orphans in Ethiopia and in other countries, as well. Being in Ethiopia allowed me to cross paths with children, like these boys, a boy begging to shine my shoes (Tom’s don’t shine!), little girls begging for money and so many others. These kids have families, but they still need so much.

Now, I obviously think adoption is a wonderful and beautiful thing. However, I truly believe more needs to be done to enable parents to raise their children. The ideal situation is for parents to have the resources to care for the children and raise them in a stable environment. This is not always possible and that is where adoption comes in. These children made me think more about what could be done to strengthen family groups and the resources available to them.

We stopped in at Island Breeze for lunch. Michael LOVED this restaurant. We had burgers that were very close to what we might have here in the States. Michael keeps referring to this restaurant as, “Ethiopia’s best kept secret.” I thought it was good, but he might have been a little too eager for some American food.

One thing I really wanted to do while in Ethiopia, was visit AHOPE. When we first decided to adopt, my sister created Project 8256, an etsy shop she created to sell her artwork online. The proceeds went to our adoption fund. We wanted to help other children with the money, so we donated 20% of the proceeds to AHOPE. For those of you who do not know, AHOPE is an orphanage in Ethiopia for children living with HIV.

I really wanted to visit their facility, so we asked one of the in-country staff if they knew where it was and they gave us a general idea. We drove around and found it. We honked the horn several times, hoping they would let us in and they did! I told them we would love to tour their facility and they let us. I won’t post pictures of the children, but will post a few pics of their happy facility. This orphanage was drastically different from the government run orphanages we had encountered the day before. They had bright murals on the walls, playgrounds, organization and more. When we walked in, many of the children were coloring. It was so nice to see the kids engaged in an activity. AHOPE was a very peaceful, happy place. I am so glad we stopped by!

We spent the rest of the evening trying to get packed and ready to leave the next day! Meanwhile Sophie fell asleep in this position…

I think she was practicing for dance classes with Aunt Cheryl or hoping to be a track star and working on her hurdling moves!

Day 12

We had a few more places we wanted to shop, because many of the shops were closed on Monday due to the Easter holiday. We wanted to get an Amharic Bible, which we did. I told Michael it could be Gone With The Wind and we would never know. They did assure us it was a Bible!

We also wanted to get some music from Gonder. Beky took us to a store and we got two CDs and a dance DVD. Thankfully, Travis suggested we test them, because one of them wasn’t working. The CDs are really cheep, so check them before you leave the country. Beky exchanged the blank one later that day.

Tuesday morning we also visited the National Museum of Ethiopia. It was pretty interesting. We found it very sad that they do not have a better facility. Their artifacts were not preserved well at all. Some were in display cases with skylights in them. The paper was starting to bubble inside and the sun was shining down on them.

After the museum we met up with the Knights, another Gladney family, and Travis, Joanna and Belay, Gladney in-country staff. We went to Island Breeze again. Michael couldn’t have been happier. This time we had pizza. It was nice to be able to visit with our new friends one last time.

After lunch we swung over to Tomoca, Michael’s favorite coffee shop. He and Beky had to get coffee one last time! We then went back to the Leprosy Hospital to shop again in their craft shop. We just loved it there and got some new things for our home and for our family.

We went back to the guest house after that and got ready to leave. We were very sad to leave Ethiopia and especially to say goodbye to the staff at Bejoe’s. They became our friends and loved on our daughter more than we could have ever expected them to. They are wonderful ladies and we miss them dearly.

Part of me wanted to stay longer, because I felt like God had more to teach us. There is a common game played at wedding showers that involves yarn. One of the hostesses goes around the room and starts unraveling a spool of yarn and you tell them when to stop. After everyone has their yarn, you go around the room and wrap the yarn around your finger. Each time you wrap it around, you must share something about yourself. The person with the longest piece, obviously has to say the most. While we were in Ethiopia, I felt like God was wrapping yarn around our fingers, slowly teaching us more about Him and about ourselves.

I started feeling nauseous before we left and feared that it would be a long trip home. Luckily it went away a few hours later! Sophie, however, had a fever the entire way home.

We headed to the airport about 8:00 pm and finally boarded the plane headed for Amsterdam.

Day 13

We slept a little bit on the plane, but not very much. We were lucky to have an extra seat on our row, so we could lay Sophie down to sleep. She did really well on the plane, but she seemed very lethargic and uncomfortable. I am sure the fever wasn’t helping that too much.

We had a five hour layover in Amsterdam. We ate breakfast and hung out in the very peaceful airport. We boarded the plane for Minneapolis and sat across the aisle from a 2.5 year old boy who screamed a good portion of the flight. Not fun. He did NOT want to buckle his seatbelt and the flight attendant kept telling him, “It’s the law.” Really? Your going to try that logic with a 2.5 year old?

When we landed in Minneapolis we went through customs, got her green card and had to recheck all of our luggage. We only had a two hour layover and we were concerned this would not be enough time. It was, so I am glad we didn’t change our flight! I wasn’t too thrilled to get on another plane, because we had a lot of turbulence when we landed in Minneapolis and I was still feeling a bit queasy! The flight was short and sweet. We could not have been happier to land in OKC and introduce our little darling to her family who had been praying for her and falling in love with her for three months.
I know I have more to share about our trip, but this is all I have time for now. I have pictures of the nursery to share and will try and get those up in the next couple of days. Thank you all for following our journey and for your sweet and encouraging comments while we were in Ethiopia!