Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hangin' In the Dubai Airport

Wow! Fourteen hours on an airplane is a LONG time to sit! However, I'm so happy to say that we have made it safely from Houston to Dubai. We flew Emirates Airlines, and they were great. Very attentive to their passengers, and plenty to eat and drink. I highly recommend requesting the "strict vegetarian" meals when you book your travel. They were delicious and healthy! Brian went with the regular meals, and he liked his food, too.

Anyway, we have an overnight layover here in Dubai, and we're so thankful that our friends told us about the Dubai International Hotel inside the airport. It is very nice, and you do have to pay a pretty penny to stay here, but the beauty is that you never have to leave the airport. No shuttling to other hotels and no waking up at ridiculously early hours to get back to the airport to catch your flight. We will be able check out of our room about 15 minutes before we board our plane in the morning! YEA! We're especially happy about having this option when we're flying home on our second trip with our kids. And if being "stuck" in an airport hotel overnight is starting to make you feel claustrophobic, fear not! The Emirates terminal is HUGE and has lots of dining and shopping options, and the hotel has a gym and internet access in the rooms!

Here's a virtual tour of our room. We feel like it's got a futuristic Jetsonesque vibe. Not sure if it's just here at the airport, but it's loading really slowly (???) so don't get frustrated if it doesn't play.

Hopefully, we'll get a good night's sleep, and we're off to Addis Ababa in the morning! Thank you for your prayers and love!

Random side-note: Our flight was filled with predominantly Muslim passengers, many of whom (the women, that is) were dressed very conservatively, even with their heads covered. I traveled in my standard yoga pants and spaghetti strap tank top with a sweater in case I got cold. (Standard work out clothes.) Wow, did I ever feel like a brazen hussy. Our flight was really warm, so I didn't wear my sweater for much of my flight, and even Brian commented that I was brave to get up to go to stretch my legs without my sweater on, given the general demographic of the passengers. I think I'll dress differently for our next trip and on the way home.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Aaaaaaaand, we're off!

Our bags are packed, and we're off to the airport!

Please pray for safe travels, good health, sweet time with the boys, and that all goes well in court on August 4th!

We don't know what kind of access we'll have to the internet/telephone while we're there, but my sister is on standby to update our blog for us if we can't do it ourselves.

So check in, and hopefully we'll have some good news for you on Aug. 4th!

Love and hugs,
Brian and Tracy

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

T Minus 3 Days!

Dear R and B,

Ever since we found out that we "passed" phase one of the court process, life has kicked into high gear, and we have been BUSY getting ready to fly around the world to appear in court next week in Ethiopia.

We'll arrive in Addis Ababa on Sunday, and on Monday we'll get to meet YOU! We've been told that we'll have 2 or 3 one-hour meetings with the two of you. The first two will be on Monday and Tuesday, and the possible third one will be on Friday.

Your Dad and I are beside ourselves with joy that we get to meet you and hold you in just six days!

Our court date is Aug. 4th, and if all goes well, this is the day that a judge will interview us and declare that our adoption of you boys is finalized and legal. My birthday will be the next day, and I can't think of a better gift than getting to wake up that morning knowing that I'm your MOM!

See you soon!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Amazing Morning!

This morning, I woke up at 3:30, and I thought that maybe God woke me up to pray for our court date. When I glanced over at my cell phone, I saw that my sister had sent me a text message at 3 am. When I checked it, she had written, "My water just broke!"

Of course, I called her right away, and she said that they were waiting for my mom to get to their house to stay with their older child, and then they were off to the hospital. Their new son was born at 7:06 this morning via c-section. He is beautiful, and I'm already in love! I'm so excited that there will be 4 grandsons on my side of the family!

Soon after I arrived at the hospital and met him, my own phone rang with more good news--all went well in court this morning in Ethiopia! Our case worker told us to make our travel plans!

Our official court date is August 4th. We'll be in country from Aug. 1 - Aug. 7!

We're not totally sure where we'll be staying yet, but if you're a traveling family who will be there when we are, let us know where you'll be staying! We're looking forward to getting to know other Gladney families while we're there!

God is good, and He has blessed us this morning. I just feel like I want to acknowledge Him! Thank you all for your prayers for us and for our boys! We would certainly appreciate your continued prayers that all will go well on Aug. 4th, and that we can bring them home as soon as possible! Thank you, dear family, friends and blog friends!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tonight while we sleep...

...our first court date will occur in Ethiopia. Tomorrow between 10 and 2, we're expecting a phone call from our case worker with news.

We have so many people praying about our court date tomorrow, and it is a blessing to know that we and the whole situation are so covered in prayer. We thank you for your prayers and ask that as you head to bed tonight (if you haven't already) that you pray that all will go well tomorrow in court.

God is in control, and we are trusting Him.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Update on our Boys!

Dear R and B,

Earlier this week, I received an update on you sent by a Gladney staff member working in Ethiopia. Along with his update, he sent a photo of each of you. You are both so precious, and I can hardly wait to hold you in my arms! Here is what the Gladney staff member said about you:

B is a content little guy who has this intense little gaze—almost like he can peer into your soul. He really likes to focus on your face and it can be difficult to get him to look elsewhere sometimes! Today, he enjoyed sucking on his fingers and really liked it when I stroked his cheek. I got quite a few coo’s out of him when I did this. What a delightful little baby!
Oh, my soulful little baby! I wish I could show the world your beautiful face, but since I can't I'll at least share a little glimpse of your sweet little hand. Soon those tiny fingers will be wrapped around one of my own!

And this is what he had to say about my big boy:
Lately, when I have visited R, he has vacillated between stranger anxiety and gregariousness. Generally, he is pretty outgoing, happy and ready to play. But occasionally, when I come to visit, he will back off and not seem so comfortable engaging with the ferenji-who-only-visits-occasionally*. But overall, he’s a happy little guy (look at the expression on his face in the picture!). I think he just wants to make sure everything is okay before jumping in head first, so to speak. His caregivers help him feel that security, which of course, is completely appropriate and normal. He’s a real delight! NOTE: The bandage on R’s forehead was placed there by the doctor at the foster care centers due to the fact that R fell and bumped his head on a window sill. It left a bit of a scratch and a bruise, so the doctor put a padded bandage on the injury to cushion it in case R bumps it against anything.

Oh, R! I guess you are truly a BOY--already with a bandage on your forehead! I wish I could be there to kiss away the owies--soon, I hope!

In the meantime, I've gotta say that your curls are just to die for! I can't wait to meet you, to hold you, and to give you kisses on top of that head of awesome curls.

I love you both so much it hurts!

Last week, I found a book of nursery rhymes that your Nana gave me on my third birthday. One of the nursery rhymes is called "The Moon", and it made me think of you:

I see the moon and the moon sees me.
The moon sees the one that I want to see.
God bless the moon and God bless me,
And God bless the one that I want to see!

As we sleep under the same moon separated by thousands of miles, may our Great God bless us all as He holds us in the palm of His caring hand.


*A ferenji is what a white foreigner is called in Ethiopia.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We Have a Court Date!

BIG NEWS! Our adoption agency contacted us this afternoon to let us know that we have a court date scheduled for August 4th. The courts are currently scheduled to close for rainy season on the 6th. Talk about cutting it close.

BUT…we are NOT out of the woods yet.

In order to adopt from Ethiopia, we actually have to “clear” two court dates. Our first court date is July 19th. We do not attend this hearing. IF everything goes as scheduled on July 19th, THEN we fly over for the 2nd court date on August 4th. If there is any kind of “glitch” with the July 19th court date (and unfortunately, this often happens in Ethiopia), the 2nd court date of August 4th may have to be rescheduled…ugh…let’s not go there.

Please pray that all the paperwork is turned in and that all relevant parties (birthmother, court clerks, judges, etc) show up on the 19th so that we can show up in court on August 4th and meet our boys.

…if all goes as scheduled, we should be bringing them home for good sometime in late August or early September.

Riding the emotional roller coaster,


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Vaccinations - Advice Anyone?

As we prepare to make our two trips to Ethiopia, one of the things we've begun to pursue is getting our vaccinations. According to the info we were sent by Gladney,
"At this time, there are no mandatory vaccinations, although some of the suggested vaccinations are yellow fever, hepatits A & B, tetanus, typhoid, and meningitis. The CDC does recommend that all family members within the adoptive household be vaccinated for Hepatits A. Since you will be staying in Addis the whole time, it is at your discretion to purchase malaria medicine, since the malaria carrying mosquitos do not live in high elevations."
Soooooo, for those of you who may have already traveled or are about to travel, my questions are:

~Which vaccinations did you choose to get and why?
~Which vaccinations did you choose NOT to get and why not?
~Did you order the malaria meds and take them during your time there? Do you think it's necessary?
~What other prescriptions did your doctor write for you to bring with you when you traveled?
~Are there any over the counter meds you would recommend we bring with us?

Thank you for your input!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Preparing a Place for You!

Dear R & B,

I would be completely inauthentic if I said that I've haven't made a HUGE effort to keep myself busy with projects as a way to keep my anxiety at bay while we wait for a court date. See, ever since we first saw your pictures, I've been so READY to meet you and to bring you home, but alas, there is still a lot of waiting to do after a family is matched with their babies. And all this waiting is no fun!

So to help keep me distracted, we decided to wait to start preparing your nursery until after we received our match. Because you have both been living in rooms at the Gladney care center full of other children, we've decided to let you share a bedroom so that you won't feel so alone after we bring you to your new home.

We picked out a really cute safari animal theme for your room called Jigsaw Jungle, and I went looking for just the right shade for the walls. We even put three sample colors up on the wall to see which we liked best.

We went with the middle color green (called "Shagreen" at Sherwin-Williams) and went to town painting!

Soon, we were finished, and we really like how it turned out!

I can hardly wait to put your cribs in there and decorate the room. Preparing a place to welcome your children is so much fun! As I was thinking about it today, I was reminded of the words of Jesus when He said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

I've always heard that becoming parents really gives believers a more robust understanding of what our God feels for His children, and wow does that ring true when I read this!
It is wonderful to read these words, knowing how much I long to "take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." It's neat to think of Jesus preparing a place for me, as I'm preparing a place for you! You're on my mind so much, so it is sweet knowing that I'm on God's mind that way, too.

I love you boys so much, and I haven't even met you! How great is the love of God for us!

Until I can bring you here to be with me, I'll be preparing a place for you. Just for you.