Monday, December 19, 2011

Just the Beginning...

What do you do at 4am when you can't sleep? Write on your blog. I think that this will be the last entry. We started this blog when we began the adoption process with Mekebo, about 5 years ago. After the emotional 3 year process to bring home Kokeb, Brian and I have decided that this will probably be the end to our Ethiopian adoption journey. But, every time I have said "never", things have turned out differently.

We left Addis Ababa on Thursday night after a few hours delay due to a malfunctioning oven. Kokeb did wonderfully on the 17 hour flight to Washington DC. She cried for the last hour, but everyone sitting around us were so wonderful and never made us feel bad for having a crying child. She snuggled with Daddy a lot of the time.

 She figured out that in the back of the plane, there were crackers and juice. She wanted to take walks to the back of the plane a lot. The flight attendants all knew her name by the end of the trip.

 She ran in the halls at Washington DC. It took us a while to get through US Customs, but Kokeb officially became a US Citizen on Friday morning (December 16). This is a picture of Daddy walking through the halls at O'Hare. Kokeb slept on both flights, from Washington DC to O'Hare and O'Hare to Madison.

I wish that I had a picture, but there were a lot of special people to meet Kokeb at the Madison airport. Her Nanna Anna, Papa Steve, Aunt Kristina and Lillian, Aunt Kara and Kaelyn, Papa and Grandma Kanis, Uncle Matt, Aunt Pam and cousin Kaitlyn. Of course, Eli and Mekebo were the first ones to kiss their baby sister. She loved riding in her car seat all the way home. Brian and I slept the whole way home; thank goodness for Papa and Grandma who drove us home.

Kokeb is adjusting well to her new surroundings. The Christmas tree, lights, brothers, new bed, different food, and a lot of new faces. 

Yesterday she was excited to go outside. She loves getting on her hat because she knows that it means we get to go somewhere. She liked walking through the snow.

Here she is giving her big brother, Mekebo, a big smile.

Elijah is getting really good at changing her diaper. He also wanted to try feeding her last night. He did a great job. 

I love this yogurt! Kokeb is full of silliness. She talks all the time and makes silly faces. 

Eli had a chance to feed her? Well, make way for big brother Mekebo too!

Kokeb is really good at going up the stairs, not so good at getting down. 

I can't express how blessed we are. I am so happy to be waking up in the middle of the night, changing diapers, feeding a baby, making bottles, and of course, getting some big sloppy kisses from the most beautiful girl I have ever known. Sometimes you wonder if your heart is big enough to love another person...but my heart is pouring over. I know Brian feels the same way. 

We are not only blessed because of Kokeb, but this journey has made us realize what wonderful family and friends that we have: from my parents who watched the boys while we were in Africa, to all the people at the airport, to all of the clothes from Aunt Pam, Aunt Erin, Terri, Jody, Kelly, Ingrid and Melissa, to Ruthie who also took a turn in watching the boys, to the wonderful tote full of goodies and clothes from Amanda, to Dan and Sheila who warmed up our house for us, to Paco who let us stay at his house before we left for Africa, to all the people that donated money and other items for the orphanages, and to everyone who have been praying for us. Of course, we owe a big thanks to the people at Helawi Orphanage who took such wonderful care of  her for the first 15 months of her life. Mulu and Birtukan will forever be a part of Kokeb's life story. We are forever grateful. 

And of course, without my wonderful husband, who calmed me down daily during this process, I couldn't have done this. I am so blessed to have someone like you who wanted to go through this process with me. I think we make a pretty good team! I love you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Last night in Ethiopia

Kokeb slept from 7pm last night until 6am this morning. The nannies told us she woke up at around 3am to have milk, so we were awake anticipating her waking up, but she never did! Today was a relaxing day. We had the whole day to get into a routine and hang around the Guest House. We took a lot of walks. Kokeb loves being carried in the ergo carrier. She had her first taste of ice cream and loved it. She eats anything...tomatoes, mangos, carrots. She is definitely taking advantage of us and we let her. She wants to be carried all the time! She already has us wrapped around her little finger. She has the funniest expressions. She wrinkles up her nose. She also started talking a little more. Another tooth popped through during the night, so now she has 3 on the bottom and 4 on the top. Some of the workers at the Guest House braided her hair today. The only difficult time that she has is before naps/bed. She cries and looks at the door like she wants someone she knows to come in. I can't imagine the thoughts that are going through her head. She took a 3 hour nap this afternoon. She is a tosser and a turner. She hates her diapers being changed. Tomorrow we pick up our final paperwork and head to the airport at about 6pm ET time (9am US time on Thursday). We can't wait for her to meet her family and friends. Eli and Mu- remember the book that we put together of pictures of our family for Kokeb? Whenever we show her the pictures of the two of you she gets a smile. I think she already knows that you are two special boys. Remember, when you see her for the first time, she may be really scared, but she will learn to love you both. We will call you on Friday morning when we arrive in the US. Tell Papa thanks for fixing our door. We miss you both a lot. Don't forget...we will have to bring Koki to see the lights when we get home!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My cup runneth over

Sweet baby girl is asleep. It is 7pm. What a day. I think I spent a majority of the morning crying. We were able to meet and talk with one of Kokeb's special nannies. We learned a lot more about her. Then the Helawi Foundation Orphanage had a farewell ceremony for Kokeb. I won't go into specifics, but it was amazing. She has a very special family there...they all love her as if she were their own. I do have to say, the very cutest thing was Kokeb passing out popcorn to everyone from the basket during the coffee ceremony. She just waddled her way from each person to the next.

We then went to the US Embassy. This went very smooth. Kokeb was a trooper. She loves traveling in the van; wait until she has to sit in a car seat!

She normally naps about 3 hours in the afternoon, but today she probably only got 40 minutes total. She fell asleep in the van and during a neighborhood walk. She is warming up to us. Today her smiles were abundant. She played with us and held our hands as she walked. She LOVES being held. She even pretended to talk on the phone.

Tonight after supper (which consisted of bananas and peach applesauce because she spent about an hour this afternoon in pain from being constipated) I gave her a tubby. It was an event. Does she ever have the hair! Tomorrow I get to take a hair braiding class, but I am not sure it will help me or not. I have never known how to braid. Oh goodness.

Brian walked with her to get her to sleep. We will see how the night goes. The nanny says she wakes up at about 3am to have milk. She is an early riser, usually before or around 6am. Oh man, the Anderson house is about to be rocked.

My cup is running over. My heart is full. She is a perfect part to our family. I can't wait for my family and friends to see her. Yes, she probably won't smile at first, but she is full of them deep down. Two more days in Ethiopia, then we head home. 

Jill said the internet is too slow for pictures.  BOO! :)

Monday, December 12, 2011


You would think we were first time parents. We were so tired last night, went to bed at 10:30pm, but both of us were wide awake at 2am. We talked in the dark about what we thought Kokeb was going to be she has changed. We played silly games on Brian's blackberry and I read the book The Help (thanks Mom, I love it). We left the Guest House at 9am and dropped off some papers at the CHSFS Office. We met Martha and the lawyer who have been the ones working this whole time on Kokeb's paperwork. They told us how Kokeb's case was very difficult. We expressed our thanks many times over. Then we headed over to Helawi. We brought a mega load of donations. They were THRILLED! They loved all of the formula and loved the pajamas that Pam bought. We had at least 10 containers of Big Cow (imagine like 4 normal formula cans in one), 8 cans of Bebelac for the infants, tons of diapers (disposable and cloth), a case of tylenol, augmentin, and vitamins. It was like Christmas for them. They were so appreciative. Thanks to everyone who donated...I wish you could have seen their faces light up. After handing in our donations, we walked up to Kokeb's room. One of her favorite nannies, Mulu, was holding her. Of course Brian and I were sobbing even before we saw her. Amazingly, she did not cry. She came to me without a fuss. I didn't think she had changed as much as I had imagined. She showed off her new talent...walking. Because of her large abdomen, she waddles like a 42-week pregnant woman. It makes me laugh just thinking about it. Amanda, she was wearing a 6-9 month dress. Ahhhh! We spent a lot of time outside with her. She can crawl up the stairs. And her bottom lip, well, you will have to see it for yourself. That girl can pout. We left around 11am and went to a presentation about the humanitarian projects that CHSFS is doing. Brian and I were excited to learn that they have been working in the very rural area that Mekebo's birth mother lives. They are just finishing a hospital there. Of course, we had to ask about volunteer opportunities. It sounds like what we have been looking for. After lunch, we headed back over to Helawi and woke Koki up to bring her back to the Guest House. She enjoyed the van ride, but was very sad when we reached the Guest House. She didn't cry much, but she looked sad. By the end of the day we were able to get a few smiles and some little words out of her. We tried playing with every toy and even blowing bubbles, but not much luck. She wants us to hold her all of the time, and of course we oblige. She has 2 bottom teeth and 4 top teeth. She was chewing on her fingers; must be getting some more in. Tsion, one of the managers at Helawi told me that they have been praying every day that Kokeb's family would come to bring her home. I told her that I had thought that the staff at Helawi was praying that Kokeb would stay and we were praying that we could bring her home. We are exhausted tonight. It is only 7pm, but it won't be long before I am asleep. I am actually surprised that I could write this. Sorry if the sentences don't make sense. Hope everyone is well. Tomorrow we have our farewell ceremony, Embassy appointment, and we take Kokeb into our care for good. Eli and Mekebo- We can't wait for you to hug your sister. We told her all about you. We told her that you won't wrestle her though. Are you being good for Papa and Grandma? Make sure you sleep in your own beds! Love you and we will see you in 4 days!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saint Mary Day

We have always wanted to attend a church service in Ethiopia, but we have never had the chance...until today. It was amazing and each minute I kept pinching myself to make sure I was really experiencing such an amazing thing. Our driver, Solomon, picked us up at 7am. We traveled about 40 minutes to Entoto Mountain in Addis. He explained that today was a very special day, Saint Mary Day. This happens two times a year (Jess, what is the chance, huh?). We drove to the top of Entoto Mountain to attend church (Kiddus Raguel) at the oldest church in Addis Ababa. There were people singing and dancing all over the streets in Addis. People swarmed through the gates to the church. We never entered the church building because the service took place outside of the church. We even were blessed by the Prince of the church. We left the service about 30 minutes before it ended...and we had already been there for 2 hours. The chanting, dancing and rituals were amazing to watch. We had no idea what was being said, but the people were clapping and bowing and singing. Brian did take some footage of the service. Mom, I just kept thinking how you would have loved it. We will come back again so you can experience it. After the service we were able to see the Saint Mary Church and Museum. This is where the Emperor Menalik lived and was buried. Our driver also drove us through the Merkato. Holy smokers. I have NEVER seen so many people in one area before. New York City has nothing on the Merkato in Addis Ababa. It was breathtaking. People were selling everything you can think of. We came back to the Guest House this afternoon and took a nap. It is 7:30pm here now (on Sunday) and I think I better stay up pretty late so that I actually sleep tonight. Tomorrow is a big day. We get to see Kokeb and bring her to the Guest House in the afternoon. Maybe tomorrow night we will post some pictures. The internet has been working here which has been nice. We talked to our boys yesterday and they sounded pooped (Thanks for watching them Ruthie! I hope that they refrained from Bad Guys/Good Guys). I am sure they had fun with Macy too! Mekebo and Elijah- We love you! Did you listen to Melissa and Sarah today? We will be home in 5 days with your sister.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

First Day.

This morning we arrived at sunny Addis at 7:30am.The flight went well and seemed to pass rather fast. Brian and I probably only slept for a total of 1 hour each, but surprisingly, we were not tired when we arrived. Brian, in total Brian style, made about 20 friends on the plane while I watched movies and chatted to the college student sitting next to me.
After arriving at the Guest House we called a driver and got many things accomplished on our list. We had to change over dollars to birrs, get some shopping done for some friends (we got Lecha a super cute dress), shop for diapers and formula. We also were able to find Kebebe Tshehai Orphanage. When we arrived with the donations (many of the ones today were from Ingrid and Melissa…thanks!) we met with the head nurse. We told her that we also wanted to donate formula and diapers and she asked if we would  come back on Monday or Tuesday. So, Brian might have to take a trip there himself later in the week. We also bought a LOT of coffee.
We went to spend some of the money that was donated by our family and friends for the orphanage. We had 11,000.00 birr to spend, and after filling up two carts, and almost completely clearing out one grocery store of diapers, we ended up spending only 4,800.00 birr. WOW! Our friends and family is amazing. The orphanages are going to be thrilled.
Tomorrow we getting up early and heading to the Entoto Mountain. Our driver is going to take us to church. He told us it was a very special day tomorrow, so we are very excited!
According to our schedule, we won’t see Kokeb until Monday. Our Embassy Appoinment is Tuesday and that is when we get to take her into our care…for good.We are the only ones at the Guest House until tomorrow night, so it is a little quiet here. We miss our friends from our previous travel group. By the way, Bereket, thanks for the sweet message you left for Kokeb. 
Elijah and Mekebo: We miss you a lot but we know that you are having a great time watching Christmas TV specials with Papa and Grandma. Remember how we learned about “E.T. Purrs on the Red Nile Med”? Well, we flew over the MEDiterranean Sea and the Nile River. We were also really close to the Red Sea. We get to see your baby sister on Monday. I can’t wait to show you pictures!

We hope everyone has a great weekend! Peace and love from Ethiopia.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Time Together

Tonight Brian and I are enjoying some quiet time together. I like to consider this the calm before the unknown. We did have the afternoon and evening to travel into Washington DC but decided just to chill and relax at the hotel. Tomorrow morning we begin our long flight to Ethiopia.

We are so anxious to see our baby girl. Today we had a "discussion" about who gets to hold her first. We keep anticipating what she will be like, how she has changed since July. I just keep coming back to the fact that we are so blessed to be bringing her home. It is still surreal.

Elijah and Mekebo, we love you and already miss you. Please use your manners and help Grandma with chores. Mekebo, always remember that Papa will win the battle. Keep memorizing your lines for the Christmas Musical. Maybe you could keep a little book and write down the things that you do each day. You are going to be awesome big brothers.

Thank you so much to our friend, Paco, who let us stay at his house until 3am this morning in Madison. We are so blessed to have you as our friend.

Until we arrive in a different continent and time zone...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pure Bliss: Our Christmas Miracle

Brian likes to wake up many times during the night to check his e-mail to see if we received any news from the US Embassy. Lo and behold, this morning at 3am there was an e-mail stating that our "case" had been cleared. What does this mean? Brian and I are traveling to Ethiopia to bring home our Kokeb! Of course we couldn't go back to bed. This day has been a little bit foggy and overwhelming.

I don't think it has really set in completely yet. I still feel, after waiting for three years, that we have to continue to wait. It has been over 4 months since we have seen her. I can't imagine how she has changed. She will be 16 months on December 22.

I would be fooling myself if I thought the next week or months are going to be an easy transition. Everything will be new to her...being outside in the cold weather, the language, the people that surround her, the new sounds, the time change, the food. However, there are two things that I think will help her out tremendously: Eli and Mekebo.

As Brian and I prepare to leave for this exciting adventure, I am still reminded daily of how blessed we are. We are so blessed so be able to smother this little girl with kisses and to share our love. We are so blessed with so many wonderful friends and family. Yes, we did have to wait. Yes, I did have to work on my patience. Yes, there were days where I was frustrated (thank goodness for Brian who always helped to calm me down). Thanks to everyone who has continued to pray for Kokeb.

Tonight I was beginning to pack suitcases (thanks Amanda for assisting; this girl thing is not something I am used to). I am so excited to be able to bring all of the donations that we have received! Everyone has been so generous and the boys and girls are going to love everything.

This is our Christmas miracle. This is the best gift that we could have received. Our Christmas cards will be late this year, but I promise it won't take three years!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Quick Rejection

Currently, this dress is our symbol of hope. Why? Read on.

Quick recap: On Wednesday (23rd) we found out that our paperwork had been resubmitted to the US Embassy in Addis. Thursday was Thanksgiving. Friday morning we received an e-mail requesting additional information/interview. So, we were not cleared to bring Kokeb home.

We didn't think the Embassy was open on Friday, so we were happy that we were rejected quickly. We are hoping that the interview will take place quickly.

On Thursday night, Brian and I did most of our Christmas shopping online. Earlier in the week we had seen a dress that we fell in love with and thought would be perfect for Christmas for Koki. After finding out that it was sold out online, my friend Melissa picked it up for us on Black Friday.

We are hoping she will be able to wear it for Christmas...this year. We are keeping the faith.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I love Thanksgiving. I love to reflect on all of the things in my life that truly bring me joy. I am so blessed. Of course the things that bring me the most joy are my family and friends. Elijah and Mekebo make me laugh every day. I love being able to teach them every day. I love watching them learn new things. Brian is the most optimistic and supportive husband. I don't know what I would do without him.

My extended family, from my mother and father, to my sisters and brothers, and my grandmother, have been such a source of encouragement this past year. I have awesome friends who have been such good listeners.

This picture of Kokeb was taken last month. Many of you know that we started our second adoption journey more than 3 years ago. We met, and kissed, and loved on Kokeb this past July. About 2 months ago the US Embassy in Addis asked for additional paperwork in her case. The past two months have tried our patience, but I know that there is a reason for everything.

Today, the day before Thanksgiving, we received word that we were resubmitted to the US Embassy. They will review her paperwork and let us know (hopefully early next week) whether or not we are cleared to bring her home or if they need additional information.

Throughout our entire journey, God has placed other adoptive families in our lives to support us. For this we are grateful.

So, tomorrow, as we sit down with our HUGE family, I will be thinking about all of the things that I am thankful for. And maybe, just maybe, next week we will have something really great to share.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


October 1- Yesterday we celebrated Mekebo's 4th birthday. What an exciting day for him! I can't believe he is 4 years old. Every year on his birthday I think especially hard about his birth mother. What an amazing woman she is. And I also thank God for letting us be a part of his life. I can't imagine our lives without the spark that he adds.

Yesterday morning we woke up really early so the boys could set up their stand at the Viroqua Farmer's Market. They sold birdhouse gourds, pumpkins, raspberries and okra. Elijah made the above sign and along side of it sat a picture of Kokeb.

After the Market, Mekebo had a birthday party at the pool. It was a fun time and I have to say that his friends have to be the best kids ever. It was a breeze.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Sad, mad, happy, blessed= all of the emotions that I felt, very strongly, all in one day.

It was 4am last Monday and I woke up to Brian rubbing my back like he had something to tell me. He had just checked my e-mail (which had been very common for the past 3 weeks since we were submitted to the US Embassy and were waiting to receive news) and he informed me that the US Embassy was requesting more information and paperwork re: Kokeb. We were not cleared to bring her home at this time.

Sad. I started to cry and didn't stop until I got out of the shower at 8:30am. I am ready to hold her in my arms. Her brothers are constantly talking about when their sister is coming home. Isn't 3 years long enough? But, for some reason, now is not the time.

Mad. After crying for so many hours, my tears were all dried up. I started to get mad at anyone involved in Kokeb's adoption especially regarding her paperwork. They have had 12 months to get her paperwork completed. Aghhhhh!

Happy. My friend, Jessica, with whom we met when we traveled with to Ethiopia in June, informed me that they were cleared to go and pick up their daughter. Their daughter is best friends with Kokeb. Jessica and Jason have been through a long adoption process and they are going to be wonderful parents. I can't wait for them to come home with their little princess.

Blessed. The night before we received the e-mail from the Embassy, one of my friends from Madison called and asked if they could come up for the day. So, God knew what he was doing and placed some wonderful friends in my life on Monday to cheer me up and keep me optimistic. I am blessed to have great friends. I am blessed to have my family. I am blessed that this will be an ethical adoption.

I know that God is orchestrating this from Above. I know there is a reason for all of this. I haven't felt this sad in a very long time, but I also haven't felt this blessed in a very long time. I pray that Kokeb is safe, is healthy, and is loved.

We have no idea how much longer "this" road may be. But, then again, our whole life is one big adventure and the road never ends.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Little Girl's Room: Evidence of Love

Today as I was finishing up hanging the final flowers on Kokeb's wall, I was looking around and realizing that this room means so much to me. It is a room full of love. Although Kokeb will probably not sleep in this room for many many months (because she will, of course, be sleeping with her mom and dad), it is symbolic of the last three years. For three years we have been waiting to bring home our princess. For the past three years we have had family and friends who have been thinking about us and praying for Kokeb's arrival into our family.

Here is some evidence...

My sister Pam gave us the dresser and mirror. All I had to do was paint it to make it a little more feminine.

All I have to do is tell my friend Amanda that I am in need of something and she is sure to go digging for one. She is letting us borrow her car seat (don't worry, her kids still have car seats). I can't wait to get it all buckled in the van.

My friend Melissa gave us a soft purple-flowered blanket and a soft book. It is in Koki's just can't see it. She is so thoughtful.

My dear friend Terri brought the pink bunny and carrot the day that we received our referral for Kokeb. It touched my heart and brought me such joy that someone would understand the excitement we had on that day.

My sister-in-law Cathy and my niece, Haley , gave Kokeb the green "Scentsy" frog to go along with the Princess and the Frog doll that she has. I can't wait to put the scent in when she arrives home!
This was totally a Daddy's purchase for Kokeb's first birthday. Of course his little princess would want a doll house, right? It was a good deal at a second-hand store in Minnesota. We hope she will play with it when she gets older (and doesn't want to eat the furniture).

Of course, I have to put another plug in for Brian. He took out the windows in her room and just finished installing them. He did a great job!

Ikea. I was looking at this light for a year and decided that it had a place in Kokeb's room. Love it. It is totally girlie.

And the closet. Ahhh... Some days I just open the closet and peek in. I don't think I have had to purchase more than a couple of articles of clothing. My friend Terri totally hooked me up. My sister-in-law Kristina also handed me some of her daughter's clothes. And yesterday, my friend Ingrid gave me some of her darling daughter's clothes and shoes. I am set. She is going to be a beautiful little girl.

Also, during the past month we have received a lot of donations to bring to the orphanage in Ethiopia. Thank you to Kelly, Melissa, Ingrid, my parents, the Bendels, Helen and the numerous others that have donated items and money for us to bring. It WILL make a difference in the life of a child.

It has been 3 weeks today that we have been waiting to be "cleared" by the US Embassy in Ethiopia. It is usually a 2-3 week wait. There has been Labor Day and the Ethiopian New Year, so the holidays have slowed it down. We hope that we receive news soon about our travel date.
Thanks for all of your prayers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Submitted to Embassy

I am sure by now all of our friends and family are sick of hearing about EACH little step we make in our adoption process. So, thank you to all of you who have to listen to me talk on and on about really does help me stay sane. Thank you for not acting annoyed, but rather supporting us every step of the way.

Today we were submitted to the US Embassy. What does this mean? It means that although the Ethiopian Government has deemed us parents of Kokeb, the US Embassy has to approve her paperwork and make sure her birth story is ethical. It is a good thing. Although we have to wait, it is a good thing. So, over the next few weeks they will look through Kokeb's paperwork, including her passport. They will then decide if we need further paperwork or if we are "cleared".

At the point we are "cleared" we will then receive our embassy date. This is the date that we have to appear at the US Embassy with Kokeb. This is usually 2 weeks after being "cleared".

So, there is a possibility that we will travel to Ethiopia in September. I am trying to stay optimistic. I dream about seeing Koki again. I dream about her first real smile and running my hands through her hair. I dream about bringing her home and having her see her best friend face-to-face, Bereket, who will live 2 hours away. Thank you for today God.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy Birthday

Today is Koki's 1st birthday. Oh how I wish we were together to celebrate. Oh how I wish we could have sang Happy Birthday to her so she could hear (we did sing to her, but somehow I don't think she heard us some 7000 miles away).

There is something about a 1st birthday. The first taste of cake, learning how to rip open the wrapping and the hope and anticipation of what the next year will bring. Today we didn't get to watch Koki lick the frosting or open her gifts, but I AM filled with hope and anticipation.

So, tonight as I go to bed, I am going to hold on the hope and anticipation of the next year...of the next month. I am going to pray that soon we find out we are submitted to the US Embassy. Thanks also to my friend Jess who today gave me support and a full glass of optimism. Thanks also to my friend Kelly who sent me a box of clothes to donate to the orphanage in Africa. God is great.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

O Happy Day!

Today I am proud and (beyond) happy to announce our daughter, Kokeb Marcia Anderson.
Today we passed court in Ethiopia. Yes, we were in Ethiopia for our court appointment on June 30. However, the judge was missing a letter from the Ministry of Womens, Childrens, and Youth Affairs. Today we were told that the letter was received. Now we are considered the legal parents of Kokeb in Ethiopia.

Every day we pray for our daughter. Every day we wish she was home with us and not half-way across the world. Last night was my breaking point and God heard me. I feel like I have been pretty patient over the past 2 1/2 years, but now I am starting to get a little anxious.

Kokeb means "star". She is our star. Elijah and Mekebo love her already and they haven't even met her. Marcia (the "i" is supposed to have an accent over it) is after my mother. She has been so wonderful through each of our adoption processes. She even went with us to Ethiopia to see Kokeb in June. We are so thankful for wonderful, supportive parents.

What is next? We have to do some more waiting. We need to receive her birth certificate, visa and a US Embassy date. The time will seem long without her. To keep our time occupied Brian is going to Canada, the boys and I are going to Kansas to visit my brother, we are remodeling some of our kitchen, and we are reading books on attachment!

Thanks for all of your prayers. Please don't stop!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Court Decision.

I am writing this on Friday night in Ethiopia. Tomorrow we depart Bole Airport at 11pm. I can’t believe how fast the week went…how many things we did in one week.

Yesterday we had court and were presented in front of the Ethiopian judge. We went into the room in groups of 3 families. And the verdict… no MOWA letter. Yes, I cried. None of the six families passed. So, I was really bummed, but our CHSFS representative said that he was going to talk to MOWA. So, now we wait to hear when we get our letter for the rest of the paperwork to proceed. Thank you for your prayers; please continue to pray that we will receive our letter soon.

We transferred yesterday afternoon from the CHSFS guesthouse to the Ethio Comfort Guest House. We are definitely in middle class Ethiopia here. The shops and restaurants are much more Americanized.

Today (Friday) we spent 6.5 hours with our little girl at the Helawi Foundation in Addis. She was a little warmer towards us. I tried to feed her but she wanted none of that. She preferred Brian over me. She is going to be his little princess. I can’t wait to post pictures once we pass court! We tried to figure out what size she wears…the onesie she was wearing was newborn size and her pants were 4T. So, figure that one out! She showed us how she crawls. She also was talking to the nannies today. We were able to sit outside with her for about 10 minutes.

Eli and Mekebo, you are going to be able to make your little sister laugh and smile better than Mom and Dad I think. We can’t wait for you to hug and kiss her. She is going to be perfect in our family. We have waited so long for her to be a part of our family! We will see you in 2 days. Please remember that your little sister will not be with us. Next time…Have fun with Uncle Matt and Aunt Cathy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

YES! An update.......

Today is Wednesday and the first day that we have been able to check e-mail. It will be a short message, but we want to let everyone know a little bit about our time here. Our hearts are filled with love today. On Sunday we met Mekebo's birthmother. Mekebo, I want you know know that your birthmother is amazing. You are so much like her. She wants to see you. She wants you to know that she loves you. You have 2 families that love you!

And then our little girl...she is perfect. She has not warmed up to us yet, but hopefully some day she will love us. We spent about 5 hours with her on Monday. She cried a lot. She loves her nannies. The Director of the orphanage told us that he would like us to come back later this week to spend time with her so we will spend Friday with her. He thinks it will help her transition a little better. We can't wait to see her again. I can't imagine leaving her here but we know she is loved.

Yesterday we were able to visit the government run orphanage in Addis. Wow, we are blessed that she is in a private orphanage. Friends and families, be prepared for me to ask for donations. The next time we come back we want to bring many donations to this orphanage. The conditions are devastating.

Please pray for us. Tomorrow is our court date and we really want to pass. Tomorrow we will transfer to a new guesthouse near the airport.

Eli and Mu- we miss you dearly and we can't wait for you to meet your new sister. She will love you. She is beautiful. Her hair is curly and her eyelashes are amazing. She is wearing 6-9 month clothes now. We hope you are having a great time with Uncle Matt and Aunt Cath and Noah and Haley. We will see you on Sunday. I hope you are being good and listening well. Mekebo, we can't wait to show you pictures of your birthmother. She is about 5'0''. Love and kisses.

Friday, June 24, 2011

And we are OFF!!!

Viroqua to Madison. Check. (A big thank you to Erin for taking the boys! Also, Molly Kramer rocks for driving us to the airport!)
Madison to Chicago. Check. 
Chicago to Dulles. Check.
Dulles to Addis...about to board the plane for the 12 hour ride. 

We are so excited to see what the next 9 days are going to bring. Emotions are going to fly. We arrive in Addis on Saturday at 0745 (they are 8 hours ahead of Wisconsin). 
We will continue to update. They are now calling for us to board. 

Eli and Mu- we love you SO much and can't wait to see you soon! Kisses! Hugs! We will give you sister kisses for you! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Test Run

Hi, it's Amanda!
Just stopping by to test a posting. I will be posting information for Jill, Brian and Glenda while they are on their VERY exciting trip. Prayers for a safe and wonderful trip!

Here We Go

Tomorrow is the day. We are in the midst of a crazy house. Suitcases
are setting everywhere. Adoption papers are being searched for. I am
tired but I can't sleep.

This has been a great week; my sister-in-law, Erin, and my nephews
Ryland and Cael have been here this week. The boys have had a blast
playing baseball in the rain, sliding down the redneck slip-n-slide
and eating by the bonfire. Tomorrow Erin will trek from Readstown to
Madison with four boys...may God be with her!

Thank you to Erin for watching our boys tomorrow. Thank you to Matt
and Cathy for watching the boys for 10 days! I know that I will miss
the boys more than they will miss me!

Monday, June 13, 2011


FINALLY! Today we received our litte "star's" social report. 14 pages of pure bliss. 14 pages to make this momma really really anxious to travel to Ethiopia to see one ADORABLE little girl.

I can't wait to show the pictures after we pass court! She has unbelievable hair- corkscrew curls all over her perfectly round head. Tiny little legs with no fat rolls to be seen. Eyes that twinkle. And a smile that lights up a room.

In two weeks from today we will be able to see her. I can't wait. I can't wait!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Family Pictures

This is a typical Mekebo look...complete with the squinting.

This is Eli, aka our little tree climber.

This picture concluded with them wrestling in the grass.

The boys took the chance to put us in choke holds.

It is June. I can't believe how the time is flying. Summers seem to go so fast. The boys get older and each summer has its own fun. Elijah will be doing baseball. Mekebo will be doing a combination class of football, baseball, golf, etc. And they will both be doing swimming lessons in August. We are going to continue homeschooling during the summer.

These family pictures were taken by my friend, Jody Bendel. She did a great job capturing our family. It always helps when you have a friend taking the pictures because they know the personalities of your children. Eli hams it up. Mekebo wants no part in pictures.

This week we received an update of Kokeb...she is 16.5 pounds now! She seems to be growing well.

We are counting down the days until we travel. YAY! Matt and Cathy are going to watch the boys on this first trip. We are so lucky that they can hang out with them. Noah and Haley have been here this week and we have had a blast. We are blessed to have such wonderful, and silly, family members! Haley even said she would teach Eli while we are gone.

Thanks for everyone's prayers. I know God is listening!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Court Date!

So, it was Tuesday, June 24. I was in the basement doing laundry when I heard Brian screaming from his office, "We got a court date! We got a court date!". Immediately I didn't get it. I had imagined a call from our CHSFS social worker with such important information... Anyway, I ran into Brian's office- jumping the whole way there.

Sure enough, we were granted a court date of June 30, 2011. The boys heard me screaming and immediatly came to see what was going on. I love these instances of PURE joy. How often do we scream and dance and shout because of happiness?

I still think and dream about my darling little girl. She is 9 months old now. What will she be like? Will she cry when we hold her? What one thing can we bring her that will encapsulate our love (we are allowed to bring one thing for her on our first trip)? Nothing will measure up.

So, now I am wishing that I didn't procrastinate about many things. June is going to be SO busy. We have to go to Madison to get our vaccince updates. My two nieces graduate. We are going with Brian to Minneapolis for a short get-away. My niece and nephew are staying in Viroqua for a week. My sister-in-law Erin is coming for a week. I love summer! We are so blessed to have wonderful family and friends.

This week has also had its sad point. One of my dearest friends called with devestating news. What can I do? What will help? I feel helpless. But, I can pray. And I have been praying constantly. Life is hard. God never said it would be easy. He has a plan for everything.

Can't wait to post a picture of our little girl and introduce her! Praying we pass court...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! Today I am celebrating the wonderful lives of my mother, Glenda Kanis, and my grandmother, Marie Bosman. Each of them have helped mold me into who I am today. My mom has shown me to be selfless and to be independent. My grandmother has shown me patience and perserverence. What great mothers!

This morning we were able to attend a wonderful church in Monroe, WI. It was a wonderful service and we were able to light a candle for our little lady in Ethiopia. I can't wait to bring our little "star" home.

Mother's Day always holds many emotions for me. I share this day with the birth mothers of "our" children. Mekebo has two mothers. I have had dreams about spending days with his birth mother. My dream would be for Mu to truly feel loved by his birth mother and his adoptive mother.

Every day I think about my children's birth mothers. I used to be scared of the idea of an "open adoption" but now I dream about the possibility of that.

Regarding our current adoption: we are officially submitted to court and are waiting for our court date. I am praying for a miracle!

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Submitted to Court

Today we received word that our papers are officially submitted to the Ethiopian Court. So, now we wait for our court date (1st travel). Our little darling is 8 months now. She is 14.7 pounds. I can't wait to hold her and kiss her.

This past weekend Eli and I were able to watch my nephew run in his first half-marathon. It was so much fun to cheer him on throughout the course.

We also got to spend time with baby Macy. Eli and Mu love her so much. They try to make her laugh. They hold her. They helped give her a tubby. I can't wait to see them with a sister. They are going to be great brothers!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


It has been difficult sleeping. At first I couldn't fall asleep because all that I could think about was our little lady half way across the world. Now falling asleep has been easier, but if I wake up in the middle of the night I find myself staring at the stars and dreaming about the day we get to hug her, kiss her, hold her.

We pray constantly for her health, her safety, for the people taking care of her. What else can we do?

Paperwork has been keeping us busy. We are updating our dossier which will be needed for our court date.

Eli and Mu had a discussion about her name. Eli wanted Rosa. Mu wanted Flowerbush. So, her alias for now will be Rosa Flowerbush. It makes me laugh every time. Her true name is beautiful.

I have also been keeping busy with craft projects. Found fabric to make dresses, cute sweater pattern to knit. It is so weird to actually do craft projects for my children. It is usually other people that I do projects for. But, it is going to be so fun seeing her wearing these clothes.

We have some pretty awesome family and friends. They listen to us babble on about a child that we have never met. They act interested...thank you! You will never know how much it helps.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Over the last year and a half...

Where has the last year and a half gone? I laugh when I read the last posting I made. There has been so many changes and some things haven't changed a bit!

We are still having the time of our lives with our two boys. Elijah is 5-years-old and Mekebo is 3-years-old. They play together all day long and it is rare for them to be a part. Eli loves to draw and play baseball. Mushi just likes to do whatever his big brother does. Mu tickles my heart everyday with the comments and physical expressions he gives me. In a nutshell, we are blessed!

The adoption wait for our little girl was getting long, but we were doing pretty well being patient. It helps knowing that God is in control. In regards to adoption, Ethiopia was having some unethical adoptions, so the government is looking into each case more extensively. Knowing that the ethics are being improved makes it worth the wait.

So, on March 31, we received a referral for a 7-month old little girl. Brian was driving to Nebraska for work, and I was at home with the boys. We got the call from our social worker from CHSFS. I have been dreaming about this moment for 27 months! I was sad that I couldn't be in the same room with Brian when we got the news, but we were able to do a 3-way-call. It took all but 2 hours to accept the referral.

I wish I could share her beautiful picture, but we will have to pass court before that happens. All I can say is that she is GORGEOUS! Now at night I lay awake thinking about her and praying that the nannies are taking good care of her.

The journey continues. We don't know when we will travel for court (trip #1), but they estimate 12-20 weeks. After we return from our court trip, we will have more waiting to do. We then will wait to hear about our Embassy Date (trip #2).

What to do while we wait? I think I will make some cute dresses and knit some pink sweaters. That should pass the time, right? I am going to read some books on attachment. Bringing home our sweet daughter at an older age will be different than bringing home Mekebo at 5-months old. I am going to finish painting her room (why? especially since she will be sleeping with us for a long while). I may have to start investing in lavender to put on my pillow so I sleep better at night and don't stay up the whole night thinking about her. I am going to run some races. I am going to work more so I don't have to work as much when she comes home.

Am I guarded? A little. But it is SO hard to be guarded. I just want to love her with everything I am, but I don't want to be crushed if something happens. I am blessed to have a family that supports us. If something does happen, they would be there to support us.

Regarding my sister and her husband, Brian: they adopted a beautiful princess domestically. She is a wonderful addition to their family! And her three brothers adore her. She is a blessing to our family because she will be great friends with our new little girl.

So, today we worked on our Acceptance Paperwork. Bring followed the FedEx truck around town until he stopped and asked how much it was to send something overnight. After the mad driving, we decided to wait to send it in until Monday.

Thank you God for our little girl. Thank you God for her birth family and her birth country. Thank you God for our family that supports us. And to the nannies that are taking care of her, thank you!