Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welcome Home!

What a homecoming we received once arriving at our local airport. Our family and friends were waiting with signs and banners. The tears fell as I hugged and kissed Graham, Noah and Lottie. I gave long awaited hugs to family and friends who had gathered to welcome us home. How sweet it was! After loading our luggage into my parents car, we , as a family of 6 got in our van and drove HOME! My mom had filled the refrigerator with food for the weekend and the dining room table was decorated with daisies and a welcome home Corrie cake. My dad had made a welcome home Corrie sign for the front of the house. Oh how good it was to be home!

We gave the children some of their souvenirs from the trip and they didn't waste any time in trying on their traditional Ethiopian clothing. I must say Lottie looked like a little Ethiopian princess and the boys were quite handsome in their new duds!

Corrie enjoyed meeting her new family and friends. We had to charge the camera battery once home. I was shocked when I went to take a picture and realized the battery had finally run out. I had prayed the whole trip for the battery to LAST as we had somehow in our hurriedness to get out the door two weeks ago, left the charger behind . It is a miracle and just one more sign of God's ordaining each of our steps that the battery lasted until we got home ! Once it was charged , we began taking pictures of Corrie meeting her new circle of family and friends.

Lottie had so looked forward to being a big sister and couldn't wait for her baby sister to come home. And she IS enjoying it , but it has not been without some emotional moments. I think she thought her baby sister was going to be more like a baby doll who would do anything she wanted to do, when she wanted her to do it. She is quickly realizing her baby sister has a mind of her own with her own likes and dislikes. So they are finding their way in this new sisterhood. Friday night they enjoyed their first bath together. They were both all smiles!

After traveling for close to 24 hours and being up for over 48 hours, we were ready to call it a night! I put Corrie in some pajamas Lottie picked out for her after the bath ,gave her a bottle of formula and laid her down in her new bed. She has a twin bed in the same room as her sister. It has nice tall bed rails to give her a crib like feeling. She whimpered 2 or 3 times during the night and I went in to check on her. I rubbed her back and each time she went right back to sleep. I never even had to pick her up. She slept from 9:30 to 7:30 the next morning and has done the same each night since. The other nights she has not even whimpered! I am a thankful mama!

Saturday morning, the boys awoke first , and went to check on the girls. The next thing I knew they were all up on Corrie's bed together! They were so cute together! My heart was so full as I focused on them through the lense of my camera. What a privilege it is to parent these 4 treasures from the King!

We spent a quiet saturday here at the house visiting with family and friends who were in town.

The boys were in a basketball tournament for the weekend, so Corrie's first outing was to a basketball game on Sunday. She enjoyed sitting in the bleachers with her sister and cheering her brothers on! Sunday night we went to my parents for a sunday meal which is our family tradition.

Monday brought swim team practice for the other 3 , so we decided to introduce Corrie to the pool! She LOVED it! So much so that she cried when I had to take her out of the water to leave!

No doubt she soon will be a little fish like the others!

We have been blessed by meals brought to us by our small group friends. It is so nice not to have to think about meal planning for a family of 6 in a jet lagged state. Corrie continues to eat well. She LOVES bananas! She also has eaten ham and cheese, oatmeal with fruit, chicken noodle casserole. She enjoys the bottles of formula as well. When she is excited about a bottle or food you are bringing her, she circles her ankles over and over....we call her Happy Feet! It is so very cute!

We are enjoying finding our new normal as a family of 6. We are finding it takes an exponentially longer time to get out the door . We will have to work on that!! We look forward to all that the days ahead will bring.

We pray that Corrie Sifan Rose will always know the unconditional love of her Savior and that of her Forever Family!

Welcome Home Little One!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Final Farewell

It is with great emotion that I write this final post from Ethiopia. The last couple days I have been longing to be home with family and friends and yet I know all too well this lump in the throat feeling of helping my daughter say goodbye to the people who have loved her so dearly and the land of her birth. Our daughter has had many homes while here in Ethiopia, and I am truly amazed at the depth of love she received in each one. Her first home with her mother where she was fed at the breast for almost 6 months , and then her home with an American missionary who loved her as her own for over 4 months, and then at the YWAM home in Gimbi for close to 3 months where the nannies adored her, The YWAM home in Adama with Tezerra close by where she was showered with love from the other orphans and widows for close to 4 months, and then the last month at the Thomas center. I first saw this as merely a technicality, a place she must stay until we come to pick her up. After meeting Abdissa and his wife and the staff at the Thomas center, I now know the incredible affection she was shown during her short time here. This is not just a job for them but a life work God has called them to and they give their ALL.Yesterday began quietly as we got ready for the day and decided we would do a little more
shopping. Little did we know our shopping trip would turn in to such an adventure! Battle had
seen a CNN news report before leaving America about an entrepreneur in Ethiopia who had
started a business where she employed women from a local leper community to do the work.
They make shoes all from recycled materials and sell them around the world. The soles are
made from old car tires and the fabrics for the top are Ethiopian fabrics. The name of the
company is Sole Rebels. We decided that we would like to try to find her business and buy
some shoes for souvenirs. Tsebay decided to help us in our endeavor , so we hired a driver and
drove to the area of the city where the leper hospital is. Tsebay got out and inquired outside
a few local businesses until she found someone that knew the brother of the lady that owned
the business. A little while later we were driving up to the gate of the house where they run the
shoe operation. The brother came out and said his sister was not there and that we needed an
appointment. We explained that we would have gladly made one but had no telephone number
and we were leaving the country tomorrow. As it turns out, he went and picked up his sister and
brought her back to meet with us. We toured the shoe operation and watched as each step
was handmade by the local Ethiopian people. We had not taken a camera or video and I don’t
think they would have allowed pictures anyway, but what a neat opportunity! A little while later
we were walking out with our new Sole Rebel shoes and a lot less cash! They were much more
expensive than we thought but a neat memory!

We returned to the guest house after our little adventure to let Corrie Sifan get in a little nap
before the farewell party at the Thomas Center later that evening. We stopped to pick up the
other YWAM family at the Sheraton . They had been in Adama for the day. We got to say a last
goodbye to Tezerra as she had returned with their driver to visit family here in Addis. Soon we
arrived at the Thomas Center where we were greeted by the children dancing and singing to the
guitar and electric keyboard.
We could tell they were singing praise music as we recognized the Amharic word for “ Lord”. Oh what a thrill it was to see and hear these orphans singing praises to their Lord and King! ….their comforter, defender…and friend.

After the singing, Pastor Abdissa gave us a sermon message on always speaking words of
cheer, comfort, compassion, and Christian love. He was thanking us for making the sacrifices
necessary to love these children as our own in a nurturing forever family environment and telling us what a blessing we were to he and them. We received his kind words graciously but All I could think was, WE are the ones who have been blessed! I am reminded of the t-shirt I saw
that said “ I need Africa more than Africa needs me” Oh how true!

After he spoke, we cut a huge circular loaf of bread that we all enjoyed together along with
some popcorn , cookies, and roasted barley. They then presented each of us with gifts, along with ones for our children at home as well. Our gifts were traditional Ethiopian shirts and a dress for Sifan. We wore these over our clothes and took some pictures. We said our final goodbyes to the children and then headed to an Ethiopian cultural restaurant where we would eat traditional Ethiopian style. The restaurant was uniquely decorated to represent all the different areas of Ethiopia. They had traditional Ethiopian dancers and singers entertaining us throughout dinner. Corrie Sifan already has a love for music and we had great fun watching her clap and move to the rhythm. She also enjoys food! She ate her fill of the injera with spinach, ground beef and cabbage! I must say her diaper was a doozy this morning!

So yes, now I must turn my heart toward home, Looking forward to ALL that lies ahead for
Corrie Sifan Rose and our family. But not forgetting where she is from and the love that was
so freely lavished upon her here. We give All thanks and praise to our AMAZING, ALMIGHTY
GOD! To HIM be the glory…forever and ever!!!
To all our family and friends….this is our last post from Ethiopia…we CAN’T WAIT to see you

We love you!!!

It’s Official!

Today the US Government gave us permission to bring our daughter home to the good ole
We were picked up by Abebe this morning to begin the day and headed to the Sheraton Hotel
where the other YWAM family was staying. This is a 5 star hotel, so we took the opportunity for our Embassy day picture in front of the hotel fountain and then went inside to check out the lobby. It was quite beautiful! We went out to the courtyard where Corrie Sifan was mesmerized by all the fountains. On the way out we caught a glimpse of the Lion of Judah symbol on the front doors of the hotel.

From the hotel, we drove to a shopping district and did a little more shopping for items to bring home to remind her of her Ethiopian heritage. And a few little gifts for friends and family as well.
We found a local coffee roasterie where we got to see the ladies roasting , grinding and bagging
the coffee. This was special as Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee!
We then went to the CHI offices where they provided a traditional Ethiopian lunch for all of us. It was quite yummy and filling. Corrie Sifan enjoyed some injera with collard greens as well as
some rice and a ground beef mixture. We also enjoyed the Doro wat which is a spicy chicken
stew and some hard boiled eggs in a spicy sauce, spring rolls, fried zucchini and a tuna salad.
She enjoyed visiting with Abebe, Abdissa , and her friend Marcos.Soon , it was time to head to the Embassy. We had been warned that this is often a really long
process, but we were relieved when we were in and out of the Embassy within 30 minutes,
including all the security checks.

We will pick up her VISA on Thursday morning before our flight out late that night.
Once back in the USA, we can begin the process of re adoption which will give her permanent
US citizenship.This was another huge hurdle in the long adoption process and we are so very thankful to God
for going ahead of us every step of the way!